FIRST published in 1886, Millennial Dawn, was the earliest work of Jehovah’s Witness founder Charles Taze Russell.
Although much of the book’s content is an embarrassment to present day Witnesses, it still contained many unscriptural notions and false prophecies.
In 1911, just three years from Armageddon, Professor William G. Moorehead gave his opinion on the book.
Now, in the coming issues of Concern, you can read just what the professor had to say regarding Mr. Russell’s writings.
5. After His resurrection Jesus became Divine. (Series I, pp. 178, 179: Series II pp. 107, 108, 131, 155.) The teaching is, that as a reward for His perfect obedience Jesus was exalted after His death to the highest nature, the Divine. For this Christ-dishonouring doctrine there is not a shred of Scripture. Christ’s exaltation is always joined with His bodily resurrection from the dead, and with His glorious person as the God-man Mediator. (Acts 2:32-36; Rom. 8: 34; Eph. 1: 19-23; Phil. 2:6-11; 1 Thess. 1:9,10; 1 Tim. 2:5, 6; 3:16; Heb. 1:3,4; 1 Peter 3:21, 22; Rev. 1: 17,18.) The Lord Jesus did not and could not become Divine at His exaltation, for He was Divine from eternity. Can a mere creature become a sharer in the godhead, and be endowed with the infinity and the almightiness of God? Is not the Divine Essence incommunicable? Believers are indeed said to be partakers of the Divine nature, (2 Pet. 1:4) but this does not mean that they partake of the perfections of the Almighty. “Partakers of Christ” (Heb. 3:14) is exactly equivalent.
But, was there a resurrection of Christ at all if Dawnism teaches the truth? His body was not raised: “He is no longer human in any sense or degree”, we are told. His human spirit did not die, for He commended it to His Father. He promised the penitent thief that “this day though shalt be with me in Paradise”, and it was His spirit that should be in that blessed place. The spirit being He had before His advent was changed into His human spirit, it did not retain a separate existence at all. Well then, who or what was raised up?
The books furnish unmistakable evidence that Mr. Russell holds that a particular class of the saved, called the “little flock”, will share with Jesus in the possession of the Divine nature. This notion is taught with caution and reserve, but hints of it are met with here and there in the volumes. One can easily guess who constitute this favoured company. On meeting with it one is instantly reminded of the lie of Satan, “Ye shall be as God” (Gen. 3:5).
6. The Second Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ took place in October 1874. (Vol. II, 187,199; 234-245). This startling announcement is reached by a process of chronological and mathematical reasoning founded partly on the Hebrew Jubilee years. Of the results of his calculations Mr. Russell entertains no misgiving. He is persuaded, or affirms that he is, the Lord actually came to our earth in the fall of 1874 and He is now present here. (Vol. II, 240.) Accordingly, the glorified Son of God has already been in the world personally and literally for thirty-seven years! In reading this amazing statement which is made again and again one stares and rubs his eyes and stares again. Old fashioned Christians have for centuries believed that the glorious advent of Christ will be accompanied by the most majestic tokens of the divine presence and the most stupendous changes and revolutions in both earth and sky. They are profoundly convinced that the Word of God warrants such anticipation; nay, it is because of the Lord’s own testimony touching this mighty event that they thus believe and expect. But this period in the last five hundred years marked by immensely more tragic events than any of this.
As if to put us on guard against being deceived by plausible arguments and evidences of His presence or Lord has with most solemn words warned us: “Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is the Christ, or Here; believe it not, . . . If therefore they say unto you, Behold, He is in the wilderness; go not forth: Behold, He is in the inner chambers; believe it not. For as the lightning cometh forth from the east and is seen even unto the west; so shall be the coming of the son of Man” (Matt. 24:23-27, R.V.). Mr. Russell refused to accept the word “lightning”, and he substitutes for it “bright shining”, and makes it refer to the sun’s rising. He does so to escape the idea of the suddenness of the advent as symbolised by the lightning’s flash, for this rendering would contradict his theory that Christ’s “presence” is gradually disclosed, that