The Watchtower Reprints, May 15, 1917, p6091 - the WBTS made it very clear that the recently deceased C.T. Russell was viewed as a prophet in this statement: For over 40-years the WBTS agreed with the obvious Biblical view but then, in just three years, Rutherford changed their views - what caused this?
"Truly there lived among us in these last days a prophet of the Lord; and although now he has passed from human sight, his works remain an enduring witness to his wisdom and his faithfulness!"
The WBTS history of false prophesying includes changing doctrine from a Biblical view to a false view - in order to support one of these false prophecies!
Early in the history of the WBTS, C.T. Russell held the following view (which was at least consistent with a view expressed by many Bible-believing Christians then and now):
That the re-establishment of Israel in the land of Palestine is one of the events to be expected in this Day of the Lord, we are fully assured by the above expression of the Prophet. Notice, particularly, that the prophecy cannot be interpreted in any symbolic sense. It is not a Canaan in heaven to which they are appointed, but a Canaan on earth (Studies in the Scriptures - Thy Kingdom Come, 1891, p244).
The WBTS produced a headline over a photograph purporting to be a large crowd listening to Russell which read:
Pastor Russell Addressing an Enthusiastic Audience at the Jewish Mass Meeting at New York Hippodrome Reproduced from 'New York American' (People's Pulpit of Brooklyn Tabernacle, Vol. II, No. 10, 1910, p3).
The People's Pulpit was an internal news-sheet of the WBTS and the article accompanying the picture read:
'Without assuming the role of a seer, I answer you that Zionism is about to take on fresh vigour; that its most prosperous days are yet to come. It is my thought that some of your most earnest and saintly people will go to Palestine quickly, that the rejuvenation there will be astonishing to the world. Further, it is my thought that Jews in every part of the world, in proportion as they come under the holy influence of God's promises through the prophets, will go to Palestine sympathetically - by encouraging those who can better go than themselves and by financial assistance and the establishment there of great enterprises'.
So Russell then held to the clear Biblical view that the Bible prophets do foretell a return to Israel for the Jews - as has been born out by the events which are ongoing to this day.
C.T. Russell successor, the second president, 'Judge' Rutherford continued these views - as shown by the record of a meeting he addressed at the New York Hippodrome:
Today, while the Jews do not accept Jesus as the Messiah (and we are not here to ask them to do that now), yet the orthodox and devout Jews of the world have their faces turned towards Jerusalem, looking for the time, and that shortly, when they shall find a home for their people and the blessings for which they have been looking, lo, these many centuries (The Watchtower, 1 April 1920, p127).
Comment: we notice here a dangerously un-Biblical view that more and more apostate 'Christian' groups are taking up in these End Times - the failure to at least challenge Jews with the fact that Jesus is their promised Messiah! Not to make this clear to them is to reveal a hatred towards God's chosen people that His Word warns will be punished by Him (Genesis 12:1-3):
'Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.'
The WBTS also wrote:
At New York, Tuesday, October 23rd, at Manhattan Opera House, Judge Rutherford was scheduled for a lecture on the 'Restoration of Israel'. The house was filled, about 2,600 being present.... It was expected that many Jews would be at the lecture; for the announced topic seemed to be of more interest to Jews than to Christians, though when the Christian is rightly informed he sees that the restoration of Israel is a necessary part of the program of the Christian's God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the holy prophets; and he sees that Israel's regathering is the harbinger of everlasting peace and of the setting up of the kingdom for which Christians have so long prayed (The Golden Age, 7 November 1923, p63).
Judge Rutherford, known throughout the world as a friend of the Hebrew people, is vigorously supporting the claim of the Jews to the Holy Land (Comfort for the Jews, 1925, forward).
But is Israel cast off for ever? The answer is, No, indeed! ... But now the day of jubilee has come and the day of Israel's warfare is done. The time has come for her blindness to be removed and for her to see what wonderful provisions God has made for the salvation of the Jews and for the establishment of them again in their homeland (Life, 1929, pp108, 221-222).
However, by 1932 Rutherford was saying the opposite:
'The Jews were evicted from Palestine and 'their house left unto them desolate' because they rejected Christ Jesus.... To this day the Jews have not repented.... Many of them have been returned to the land of Palestine, but they have been induced to go there because of selfishness and for sentimental reasons.... Therefore this prophecy must have its chief fulfilment upon the true people of God's kingdom which are now on the earth.... Does the returning of the natural descendants of Israel to the land of Palestine vindicate the name of Jehovah God? It certainly does not; especially since they have returned there in unbelief. On the other hand, the restoring of his faithful remnant people to their proper position as his true and bold witnesses, and causing them to declare his name fearlessly and boldly, is for his own holy name's sake and is for the vindication of his name (Vindication, 1932, pp257-258, 267).
Note how the WBTS changed their doctrinal view:
-1891: Israel's establishment in Palestine expected and assured.
-1910: Jews should return to Palestine quickly.
-1920: Jews will then be blessed.
-1923: Restoration of Israel is a necessary part of the programme of 'the Christian's God'.
-1925: Rutherford vigorously supports the claim of the Jews to the Holy Land.
-1929: The time has come for the establishment of the Jews in their homeland.
-1932: The Jews are suddenly rejected by the WBTS.
All the honest Biblical Christian has to do to find the answer is to examine the record of Failed WBTS Prophecies - and this will lead straight to the reason for this Change of Doctrine!
Remember that Rutherford introduced a new date of 1925 that was to herald the return by resurrection of the faithful men of old to Jerusalem in Palestine:
'That period of time, beginning in 1575 before AD 1, of necessity would end in the fall of the year 1925, at which time the type ends and the great antitype must begin. What, then, should we expect to take place? In the type there must be a full restoration; therefore the great restoration must mark the beginning of restoration of all things. The chief thing to be restored is the human race to life; and since other Scriptures definitely fix the fact that there will be a resurrection of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and other faithful ones of old, and that these will have the first favour, we may expect 1925 to witness the return of these faithful men of Israel from the condition of death, being resurrected and fully restored to perfect humanity and made the visible, legal representatives of the new order of things on earth, right here in Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will become the capital of the world, and out from this nation will flow blessings to all the nations of the earth' (The Golden Age, 16 March 1921, p381).
The Jewish legal year begins in the fall, about our October first. The year 1926 would therefore begin about October first, 1925. It would be very reasonable to expect to see some beginning of God's favour returning to the Jewish people, as a part of the world, shortly after that date.... Christ will soon begin to deal with the world as individuals, commencing with the Jew first, through the ancient worthies. We should, therefore, expect shortly after 1925 to see the awakening of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Melchisedec, Job, Moses, Samuel, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, John the Baptist, and others mentioned in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews. These will form a nucleus of the new kingdom on earth. One of the first things necessary will be to put Jerusalem in condition to be the capital of the world. This will necessitate a great deal of work, but there will be many willing workers. Current news informs us that attention is already being centered upon Palestine, and thousands of Jews are trying to return there.... if Jerusalem is to be the capital of the world, it should be able to get into quick touch with every locality.... Already we see great changes coming in. The wireless and radio can carry messages half way around the world now; and by the time the princes are brought forth these inventions will be perfected to reach all the way around.... The princes can easily radio their instructions to any part of the world. Think of Prince Abraham having some general instructions to give, calling `Attention'; and all the people everywhere listening, and hearing every word he speaks, as easily as though he were addressing them from the platform of a public hall. Of course if any one desires to visit Jerusalem and personally interview the princes, or if the princes should desire to make a personal inspection of some public work, aeroplanes will soon be so perfected that it will be a matter of but a few hours ride to any part of the earth to or from Jerusalem (The Way to Paradise, 1924, pp224-226).
So the written record shows clearly that the WBTS set the new date of 1925 which was meant to herald the resurrection of the faithful men of old, and the return of Jews to Palestine, making Jerusalem the capital of the world. The WBTS stated this, not as a mere possibility, but as a certainty 'since other Scriptures definitely fix the fact that there will be a resurrection of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and other faithful ones of old:
Lo, our King is here, and the year 1925 marks the date when all shall see His mighty power demonstrated in the resurrection of the ancient worthies, and the time when 'millions now living will never die' (The Golden Age, 1 March 1922, p350).
Note the order in which these WBTS 'adjustments' occurred:
-1920: The new date, 1925, is promoted.
-1924: The 'faithful men of old' expected to be resurrected and returned to Jerusalem in 1925.
-1924: This resurrection and return now expected shortly after 1925.
As usual, the WBTS date - in this case 1925 - came and went with the same result as all their other dates.
Even though Russell and Rutherford had made every effort to make their prophecies come to something by actively encouraging the Jews to return to Israel, rather than admit they were wrong and had prophesied falsely in the Name of the Lord, they put out stories about Beth Sarim ('The House of the Princes') to try and cover-up the real reason it came into existence.
But, as you can see, the works of the WBTS make it absolutely clear that they expected the heroes of the faith to be resurrected and, when that false prophecy failed, they decided to change clear Biblical doctrine and join the many false Christians who have usurped God's chosen nation with their version of 'the church' in a heresy called 'Replacement Theology'.
In The Watchtower, November 1, 1972, p644, we read: