The Third Babylon

So, I listened to this talk I found on the Food for Thinking Jehovah's Witnesses website, which speaks about THE THREE BABYLONS.
  1. The original Babylon (the ancient city)
  2. Babylon the Great (Papacy)
  3. Little Babylon (Watchtower Bible and Tract Society)
The parallels are pretty amazing. He discusses 7 points.
  1. True believers are labeled as "apostates."
  2. A strong organization develops.
  3. A strong worship of an earthly organization develops.
  4. Claims of divine inspiration.
  5. Restricted views of salvation are promulgated.
  6. Threats of divine wrath against non-believers.
  7. Other false doctrine and practices are introduced.
Click on the link: THE THREE BABYLONS
 

Serenity

Well-known member
Well he had too. Think about it, the great pyramid corroborated Russell's Divine Plan. Rutherford changed it all, the great pyramid didn't corroborate Rutherford's beliefs, so he had to get rid of it.
My understanding is that Rutherford changed a lot of Russell's teachings, I believe perhaps as many as 100, maybe more, if I recall correctly. I have yet to actually find a list of what he changed, specifically, though I'd be very interested to see such a list, if one exists.
But, it seems to me anyway, that Russell was more right than wrong about the Divine Plan of the Ages outline of God's plan, other than 1914, of course, when he and the Bible Students thought Armegeddon was going to come.
 
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Serenity

Well-known member
Related to this topic of the differences and similarites of JWs and Bible Students, I came across this very informative video. Starting at about point 8:20 he states that the Bible Students believe that Christ's presence began in 1874 and that his presence is invisible. So, does this mean then, that what Robert says with regards to Jehovah's Witnesses being under an "operation of error", that the Bible Students must also be under the same "operation of error" spoken of at 2 Thessalonians 2: 11, 12? As the Bible Students also believe, like Jehovah's Witnesses, that Jesus Christ has already returned, is currently present and ruling, and that his presence is invisible.

So that is why God lets an operation of error go to them, that they may get to believing the lie, in order that they all may be judged because they did not believe the truth but took pleasure in unrighteousness.
2 Thessalonians 2:11, 12


They also still worship Jesus, which Jehovah's Witnesses did also, up until 1954, when that doctrine was changed and worshipping Jesus was considered idolatry by the Watchtower..

What are the Bible Students? - YouTube
 
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KingdomLeast

Well-known member
My understanding is that Rutherford changed a lot of Russell's teachings, I believe perhaps as many as 100, maybe more, if I recall correctly. I have yet to actually find a list of what he changed, specifically, though I'd be very interested to see such a list, if one exists.
I remember years ago seeing somewhere all the major changes that Rutherford made. But I have no idea where.
But, it seems to me anyway, that Russell was more right than wrong about the Divine Plan of the Ages outline of God's plan, other than 1914, of course, when he and the Bible Students thought Armegeddon was going to come.
Keep in mind that Russell's view of Armageddon was not the Witnesses view of Armageddon. It was a transition from Satan's kingdom to Christ's Kingdom. It wasn't the death and destruction that the Witnesses teach it to be.
 

Serenity

Well-known member
I remember years ago seeing somewhere all the major changes that Rutherford made. But I have no idea where.

Keep in mind that Russell's view of Armageddon was not the Witnesses view of Armageddon. It was a transition from Satan's kingdom to Christ's Kingdom. It wasn't the death and destruction that the Witnesses teach it to be.
The Bible Students actually had a printed countdown card by which they counted down the days to the time when they thought they'd be going to heaven, somewhat like the rapture, I guess. And, yes, I know from reading the Studies in the Scriptures books that Russell had a different view of Armegeddon than the JWs do, and I don't know that he was necessarily all wrong in his interpretation of the scriptures in that regard. I believe that was another teaching that Rutherford changed.

UPDATE: April 4, 2024

With regard to the rapture spoken of above, I found the clip belowclip regarding Russell's view of the rapture from MacMillian's book. So, apparently Russell didn't expect to be raptured at that time.

"When 1878 arrived, failure of the expected rapture brought great disappointment for Barbour and Russell, and their associates and readers. But one of Russell's associates claimed that Russell was not upset.

While talking with Russell about the events of 1878, I told him that Pittsburgh papers had reported he was on the Sixth Street bridge dressed in a white robe on the night of the Memorial of Christ's death, expecting to be taken to heaven together with many others. I asked him, "Is that correct?" Russell laughed heartily and said: "I was in bed that night between 10:30 and 11:00 P.M. However, some of the more radical ones might have been there, but I was not. Neither did I expect to be taken to heaven at that time, for I felt there was much work to be done preaching the Kingdom message to the peoples of the earth before the church would be taken away.

— Alexander Hugh Macmillan[33]
 
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Serenity

Well-known member
The Bible Students actually had a printed countdown card by which they counted down the days to the time when they thought they'd be going to heaven, somewhat like the rapture, I guess. Yes, I know from reading the Studies in the Scriptures books that Russell had a different view of Armegeddon than the JWs do, and I don't know that he was necessarily all wrong in his interpretation of the scriptures in that regard. I believe that was another teaching that Rutherford changed.
They have reprints of the Charles Russell's / Bible Students 1914 Countdown card on eBay.

Here's a photo.
s-l1600.jpg
 

Serenity

Well-known member
Another viewpoint on the differences between what Russsell believed and taught and what Jehovah's Witnesses believe and teach. Video runs about 8 minutes.

Charles Taze Russell's View of Armageddon VS. JW's Today - YouTube
 

Serenity

Well-known member
So, I listened to this talk I found on the Food for Thinking Jehovah's Witnesses website, which speaks about THE THREE BABYLONS.
  1. The original Babylon (the ancient city)
  2. Babylon the Great (Papacy)
  3. Little Babylon (Watchtower Bible and Tract Society)
The parallels are pretty amazing. He discusses 7 points.
  1. True believers are labeled as "apostates."
  2. A strong organization develops.
  3. A strong worship of an earthly organization develops.
  4. Claims of divine inspiration.
  5. Restricted views of salvation are promulgated.
  6. Threats of divine wrath against non-believers.
  7. Other false doctrine and practices are introduced.
Click on the link: THE THREE BABYLONS
Thank you for sharing this very interesting talk. The speaker said that it was 1990, so that was 34 years ago.

It is of interest that Malachi 4: 5, 6 says that before the coming of the great and fear inspiring day of Jehovah, that Jehovah would send Elijah the prophet who would turn the heart of fathers back to sons and the heart of sons back toward fathers. In other words, there would be a reconciliation, no doubt a spiritual reconciliation.

While Jesus said that John the Baptist was the Elijah that was fortold to come prior to his arrival (Matthew 17: 10-13), these verses, to me, seem to apply to the day of Jehovah at the end of this system. The fortold coming of Elijah would come, according to Malachi, before that time. After reading many of Russell's writings, and seeing the results of his work, I've wondered if this prophecy could apply to him. It certainly seems that Russell's work was of a restorative nature, clearing up many of Christendom's falsehoods that had kept people in spiritual darkness for centuries. As we know, many Biblical prophecies have a dual fulfillment.

Jehovah's Witnesses, while claiming that Russell was their founder, don't print his publications, or encourage their members to read them. Why is that? I find that rather strange indeed.

“Look! I am sending to YOU people E·liʹjah the prophet before the coming of the great and fear-inspiring day of Jehovah. And he must turn the heart of fathers back toward sons, and the heart of sons back toward fathers; in order that I may not come and actually strike the earth with a devoting [of it] to destruction.”
Malachi 4:5, 6
 
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Serenity

Well-known member
It is of interest that Malachi 4: 5, 6 says that before the coming of the great and fear inspiring day of Jehovah, that Jehovah would send Elijah the prophet who would turn the heart of fathers back to sons and the heart of sons back toward fathers. In other words, the goal would be reconciliation.

While Jesus said that John the Baptist was the Elijah that was fortold to come prior to his arrival (Matthew 17: 10-13), these verses, to me, seem to apply to the day of Jehovah at the end of this system. The fortold coming of Elijah would be before that time. After reading many of Russell's writings, and seeing the results of his work, I've wondered if this prophecy could apply to him. It certainly seems that Russell's work was of a restorative nature, clearing up many of Christendom's falsehoods that had kept people in spiritual darkness for centuries. As we know, many Biblical prophecies have a dual fulfillment.

“Look! I am sending to YOU people E·liʹjah the prophet before the coming of the great and fear-inspiring day of Jehovah. And he must turn the heart of fathers back toward sons, and the heart of sons back toward fathers; in order that I may not come and actually strike the earth with a devoting [of it] to destruction.”
Malachi 4:5, 6
Who could the "fathers" and the "sons" be that are referred to at Malachi 4: 5, 6?

We know very well from scripture that Jehovah is our Father in heaven.

And now, O Jehovah, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are our Potter; and all of us are the work of your hand. Isaiah 64:8

But Jesus is also our Eternal Father.

For there has been a child born to us, there has been a son given to us; and the princely rule will come to be upon his shoulder. And his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9: 6

As for the "sons" could this be referring to the anointed sons of God?

It is for discipline YOU are enduring. God is dealing with YOU as with sons. For what son is he that a father does not discipline? Hebrews 12: 7

Russell and the Bible Students certainly seems to have been the reappearance of the anointed remnant. They restored the worship of Jehovah, cleared up many demonic false teachings, and began observing the Lord's evening meal, which hadn't been observed for many centuries.

For I received from the Lord that which I also handed on to YOU, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which he was going to be handed over took a loaf and, after giving thanks, he broke it and said: “This means my body which is in YOUR behalf. Keep doing this in remembrance of me.” He did likewise respecting the cup also, after he had the evening meal, saying: “This cup means the new covenant by virtue of my blood. Keep doing this, as often as YOU drink it, in remembrance of me.” For as often as YOU eat this loaf and drink this cup, YOU keep proclaiming the death of the Lord, until he arrives.
1 Corinthians 11: 23-25
 
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Serenity

Well-known member
It is of interest that Malachi 4: 5, 6 says that before the coming of the great and fear inspiring day of Jehovah, that Jehovah would send Elijah the prophet who would turn the heart of fathers back to sons and the heart of sons back toward fathers. In other words, there would be a reconciliation, no doubt a spiritual reconciliation.

While Jesus said that John the Baptist was the Elijah that was fortold to come prior to his arrival (Matthew 17: 10-13), these verses, to me, seem to apply to the day of Jehovah at the end of this system. The fortold coming of Elijah would come, according to Malachi, before that time. After reading many of Russell's writings, and seeing the results of his work, I've wondered if this prophecy could apply to him. It certainly seems that Russell's work was of a restorative nature, clearing up many of Christendom's falsehoods that had kept people in spiritual darkness for centuries. As we know, many Biblical prophecies have a dual fulfillment.

Jehovah's Witnesses, while claiming that Russell was their founder, don't print his publications, or encourage their members to read them. Why is that? I find that rather strange indeed.

“Look! I am sending to YOU people E·liʹjah the prophet before the coming of the great and fear-inspiring day of Jehovah. And he must turn the heart of fathers back toward sons, and the heart of sons back toward fathers; in order that I may not come and actually strike the earth with a devoting [of it] to destruction.”
Malachi 4:5, 6
Interestingly, Jesus said that Elijah had already come, when his disciples inquired about the prophecy of Elijah's coming. Jesus said that Elijah had already come but they didn't recognize him, but did with him as they pleased, referring to John the Baptist. John the Baptist was beheaded.

However, I say to YOU that E·liʹjah has already come and they did not recognize him but did with him the things they wanted. In this way also the Son of man is destined to suffer at their hands.” Then the disciples perceived that he spoke to them about John the Baptist. Matthew 17: 11, 12

While the Watchtower claims that Charles Russell was their founder, they have actually done away with him, in that they no longer make his writings available to their members and discourage, actually, forbid reading his publications. The Watch Tower Society ceased publication of Russell's writings in 1927, a mere 11 years after his death.
 
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Watchman

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While the Watchtower claims that Charles Russell was their founder, they have actually done away with him, in that they no longer make his writings available to their members and discourage, actually, forbid reading his publications.
I occasionally read Russell's writings. While he was off on prophecy, he definitely had more spirit than the GB running the WT now. Of course, the GB is off the mark on prophecy, too.
 

Serenity

Well-known member
It is interesting what Russell wrote in the Divine Plan of the Ages with regards to the priestly line in Israel and the limits of their power over the people.

"The rights and the privileges of the priests were limited; they were given no civil power whatever, and wholly lacked opportunity for using their office to impose upon the rights or consciences of the people; and this arrangement was made by Moses, a member of the priestly line."
The Divine Plan of the Ages, Chapter III, A Divine Revelation, pg 46

How different this was from what the governing body has done, now even making medical decisions for Jehovah's Witnesses, telling them to inject themselves with an experimental potion that has proved to cause severe, often deadly side effects, and has done far more harm than good, and they use God's word to support it!
 
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KingdomLeast

Well-known member
The fortold coming of Elijah would come, according to Malachi, before that time. After reading many of Russell's writings, and seeing the results of his work, I've wondered if this prophecy could apply to him. It certainly seems that Russell's work was of a restorative nature, clearing up many of Christendom's falsehoods that had kept people in spiritual darkness for centuries. As we know, many Biblical prophecies have a dual fulfillment.
I've entertained the same thought. Russell himself never claimed it, he taught that the Bible Students made up the "Elijah Class"." And by "Bible Students, I refer to all the anointed in his day who were preaching the message.
Jehovah's Witnesses, while claiming that Russell was their founder, don't print his publications, or encourage their members to read them. Why is that? I find that rather strange indeed.
The Witnesses for the most part have to associate themselves with Russell so as to be defined as a Church of sorts. Many of the denominations we have today stem from the 1800s. A Church born in 1931 doesn't have much. Keep in mind that the Society has for the most part demoted Russell. They believed he was that "Wise and Faithful Servant", then a few years later, he was demoted, and just one of the "Faithful and Discreet Slave Class". Today there is no FDS class, so he's not even a part of that class. Then they taught that the Governing Body started way back in the first century, which would have made Russell a part of that body, But he got demoted again, when the Current GB made some adjustments, especially when they taught that Jesus appointed them in 1919. Russell was already dead by then, so he didn't make the cut.
 

Serenity

Well-known member
I've entertained the same thought. Russell himself never claimed it, he taught that the Bible Students made up the "Elijah Class"." And by "Bible Students, I refer to all the anointed in his day who were preaching the message.
Yes, it seems very much so that Charles Russell has definately been completely downplayed as not of any real significance. What Charles Russell, and the Bible Students did though, is really remarkable. The amout of spiritual light they had been given stood in stark contrast to the churches of Christendom. If you read some of his writings, he had more spiritual light and a better grasp on and insight into Biblical truth than the organization does today. He was mistaken about some things, but on other things he was ahead of his time by at least 100 years.

What you said about Russell never claiming the title of being the fortold Elijah is interesting as well, because while Jesus identified John the Baptist as being the Elijah who was not recognized as such, when John the Baptist was asked if he was the Elijah who was prophesied to come, John's reply was, "I am not."

"Are you Elijah?” John's answer was simple and straightforward: “I am not” (John 1:21). This would seem to settle the matter and put an end to any controversy. Later, however, Jesus said of John the Baptist: “He is Elijah who is to come” (Matt 11:14).
 
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KingdomLeast

Well-known member
Another viewpoint on the differences between what Russsell believed and taught and what Jehovah's Witnesses believe and teach. Video runs about 8 minutes.

Charles Taze Russell's View of Armageddon VS. JW's Today - YouTube
He's right. Armageddon is a clash of the masses. God will raise up a "great army" of disillusioned people, BLM, and all these other factions of groups like the yellow vested ones in France, etc. Who will bring the world to its knees in the end Jesus will step in.
 

Serenity

Well-known member
He's right. Armageddon is a clash of the masses. God will raise up a "great army" of disillusioned people, BLM, and all these other factions of groups like the yellow vested ones in France, etc. Who will bring the world to its knees in the end Jesus will step in.
I believe that the Great Tribulation and Armegeddon are two separate things and two separate events. The Great Tribulation comes about as the culmination of circumstances brought about by mankind. God cuts this event short on account of the chosen ones, otherwise no flesh would be saved. Matthew 24:21, 22. Armegeddon is the war of the great day of God Almighty when the nations gather to war against Him and Jesus Christ and his armies. Revelation 16:16; Revelation 19:19. This rids the earth of all enemies of God's kingdom, so it will not be cut short by God as will the great tribulation.
 
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