Pure Language Pure Bilge

Norman Hovland

"The Pure Language" was the theme for Jehovah's Witnesses summer assemblies in 1990. The same title is used on an article published in the May 1, 1991 issue of the Watchtower magazine. In this article we get some very interesting information that C. T. Russell was chosen by God in 1879 as the one who represented this "pure language". But what exactly is this pure language? How is it defined? We will let the Watchtower explain:

The Pure Language Defined
10 The pure language is the truth of God found in his own Word, the Holy Scriptures. It is particularly the truth regarding God's Kingdom, which will bring peace and other blessings to mankind. The pure language does away with religious error and false worship. [The Watchtower, May 1, 1991, pp. 12-13]

As we can see "religious error and false worship" have no place in the "pure language". Everyone must learn this language in order to save their lives:

12 Why should you be concerned about speaking the pure language? For one thing, because your life depends on learning and speaking it. [The Watchtower, May 1, 1991, p. 13]

What will happen to those who do not know this "language"?

With it, all seeking life in his promised new world may serve him in unison before all the nations are consumed in the fiery expression of divine wrath at "the war of the great day of God the Almighty," commonly called Armageddon. (Revelation 16:14, 16; 2 Peter 3:13) Happily, those who speak the pure language and call upon Jehovah's name in faith as united true worshipers will enjoy divine protection during the heat of that world disaster. [The Watchtower, May 1, 1991, p. 13]

It is of course as always very urgent to "conform", the "end" is as always, near:

To be delivered from God's wrath, we must speak the pure language and respond to God's warning before the day of Jehovah's burning anger comes upon us... Those who conform to God's righteous standards and keep speaking the pure language will be concealed in the day of Jehovah's anger. 17 Since the day of Jehovah's anger is near and salvation depends on learning and using the pure language, now is the time to be deeply involved in studying and speaking it. [The Watchtower, May 1, 1991, p. 14]

Not very surprising the Watchtower tells us that the only ones who speak this "language" today are Jehovah's Witnesses. This was made clear already in 1879, according to the Watchtower:

From 1879 onward it was made clear that Charles Taze Russell and his associates were being used by God to promote the pure language [The Watchtower, May 1, 1991, p. 18]

As "documentation" for this astonishing claim it was pointed out that the first Watchtower magazine was published in July 1879. As "proof" that God was behind the publishing, the magazine states:

In July 1879 these Bible Students began to publish the magazine now known as The Watchtower. Only 6,000 copies were distributed of the first issue. But "the hand of Jehovah" was with those Witnesses, for this journal is now published in 111 languages, with an average printing of over 15,000,000 for each issue. [The Watchtower, May 1, 1991, p. 17]

As the Watchtower informed us, "it was made clear" apparently from God that C. T. Russell and his associates were speaking the "pure language". It is consequently very natural to go back to that time and investigate the literature which was published by Russell and his associates. To see for ourselves what this "pure language" was all about in those days. While we do this we must of course keep in mind what the Watchtower stated above, that the "pure language" "does away with religious error and false worship."

First we will concentrate on a special angle of Russell's and the Watchtower's "pure language". There is one particular issue that has been of the outmost interest of the Watchtower Society from 1879 and until today, namely the question about where we are "in the stream of time", or more precisely when is the "end" due. The Watchtower has never been modest when it expresses itself about how much they KNOW about this. They know so much more than anyone else:

13 Jehovah's servants, who speak the pure language, are not bewildered about where they are in the stream of time. Jehovah has taught them that they are in "the time of the end," with Jesus present as a glorious invisible spirit. [The Watchtower, May 1, 1991, p. 18]

11 So God's servants know what this world's rulers do not. They know Jehovah's purposes and his seasons... Since Jehovah's servants of today obey him as ruler, God's holy spirit also reveals to them what season it is from his viewpoint. Amos 3:7 says: "The Sovereign Lord Jehovah will not do a thing unless he has revealed his confidential matter to his servants the prophets." [The Watchtower, April 15, 1986, p. 18]

As documented in the beginning of this article, the "pure language" according to the Watchtower consists of "the truth of God". This obviously makes it necessary to make the demand for an extremely high standard of quality from the message that was brought forward by Russell and his associates from 1879. It goes without saying that the "pure language" would have to be completely free from mistakes and falseness!

As we can see the Watchtower categorically claims that they are not "bewildered about where they are in the stream of time", and that "They know Jehovah's purposes and his seasons." This makes it especially interesting for us to investigate what those who spoke the "pure language" in those days said about this particular subject.

C. T. Russell's interest for "God's chronology" was awakened when he chanced to read the Adventist Nelson Barbour's timetable in a publication with the title, "The Herald of The Morning", which Barbour published. He arranged a meeting with Barbour in 1876. During this meeting, Russell became convinced that Barbour's chronology was correct:

One morning in January 1876, 23-year-old Russell received a copy of a religious periodical called Herald of the Morning. From the picture on the cover, he could see that it was identified with Adventism. The editor, Nelson H. Barbour, of Rochester, New York, believed that the object of Christ's return was not to destroy the families of the earth but to bless them and that his coming would be not in the flesh but as a spirit.... So he arranged to meet with Barbour in Philadelphia. This meeting confirmed their agreement on a number of Bible teachings and provided an opportunity for them to exchange views. "When we first met," Russell later stated, "he had much to learn from me on the fullness of restitution based upon the sufficiency of the ransom given for all, as I had much to learn from him concerning time." Barbour succeeded in convincing Russell that Christ's invisible presence had begun in 1874. [Jehovah's Witnesses -- Proclaimers of God's Kingdom (1993), pp. 46-47]

In this way Russell started to spread the "pure language" message that Jesus had been "invisibly present" since 1874 as a truth. This was then of course part of the "pure language" that the Watchtower magazine published from July 1879. But it wasn't just this year that Russell got from Barbour. The year 1874 was only a link in a "prophetic" timetable, which the Watchtower called "Bible Chronology". According to this chronology the time of the end started in 1799, Jesus' invisible presence started in 1874, he was "crowned" and put on his throne in the heavens in 1878. Then 40 years would pass until 1914 when all the nations would be crushed and the "Kingdom of God" would be established on earth. Let us look at some examples of this "pure language":

"In this chapter we present the Bible evidence proving that the full end of the times of the gentiles, i.e., the full end of their lease of dominion, will be reached in A.D. 1914; and that the date will be the farthest limit of the rule of imperfect men. And be it observed, that if this is shown to be a fact firmly established by the Scriptures, it will prove; Firstly, that at that date the Kingdom of God, for which our Lord taught us to pray, saying, Thy Kingdom come, will obtain full, universal control, and that it will then be set up, or firmly established, in the earth, on the ruins of present institutions." (The Time Is At Hand, 1888, pp. 76, 77)

"Be not surprised, then, when in subsequent chapters we present proofs that the setting up of the Kingdom of God is already begun, that it is pointed out in prophecy as due to begin the exercise of power in A.D. 1878, and that the 'battle of the great day of God Almighty (Rev. 16:14) which will end in A.D. 1914 with the complete overthrow of earth's present rulership, is already commenced. The gathering of the armies is plainly visible from the standpoint of God's word." (Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 2, The Time Is At Hand, 1889 Ed., p. 101. The 1915 Edition of this texts changed "A.D. 1914" to read 'A.D. 1915')

All this was as we can see presented as "Bible evidence", and in 1991 the Watchtower magazine still claimed that those who presented it as such were used by God:

From 1879 onward it was made clear that Charles Taze Russell and his associates were being used by God to promote the pure language [The Watchtower, May 1, 1991, p. 18]

Our investigation has shown some very illuminating examples of the "pure language" as presented by God's chosen, C. T. Russell and his associates. But as the alert reader will understand, this presents us with quite a problem. As documented above the Watchtower has defined the "pure language" as "the truth of God" and in particular, "the truth regarding God's Kingdom". And this brings us right to the core of the problem, because according to the above book, The Time Is At Hand, written by Russell:

"the Kingdom of God, for which our Lord taught us to pray, saying, Thy Kingdom come, will obtain full, universal control, and that it will then be set up, or firmly established, in the earth"

As we all very well know, this didn't at all happen in 1914, it was simply NOT TRUE! It wasn't "the truth about the kingdom of God" that this kingdom should be "established" on earth in 1914, and that this does not at all meet the requirements that have to be demanded from the "pure language". This was of course well known by those who wrote the May 1, 1991, article in the Watchtower. In spite of this they still go ahead and make such a claim.

But let us continue the investigation and look at the Watchtower Society's claim that they know so much about "Jehovah's purposes and his seasons". The man that "God" used to make known the "pure language" from 1879, died in 1916. His associates took over the ruins of his failed "chronology".

After an internal power struggle one of his associates took over as President in 1917. His name was Joseph F. Rutherford. He took over at a difficult time; everybody was disappointed and disillusioned after the 1914 fiasco. Something had to be done and quick to save the credibility of the "chronology" and a total disintegration of the organization. In record time Rutherford published the book The Finished Mystery in 1917. In this book everything that did not happen in 1914 was moved forward to the years 1918 and 1920:

"The Spring of 1918 will bring upon Christendom a spasm of anguish greater even than that experienced in the Fall of 1914.... The travail that is coming is to be upon nominal Zion -- "Christendom" ... "Babylon"; and it will be a great and sore affliction -- "A Time of Trouble such as was not since there was a nation." (The Finished Mystery, p. 62 [stated to be the "Posthumous Work of Pastor Russell" on p. 2)

"And the mountains were not found. Even the republics will disappear in the fall of 1920. And the mountains were not found. Every kingdom of earth will pass away, be swallowed up in anarchy." (The Finished Mystery, 1917 edition, p. 258)

"Also, in the year 1918, when God destroys the churches wholesale and the church members by millions, it shall be that any that escape shall come to the works of Pastor Russell to learn the meaning of the downfall of Christianity. (The Finished Mystery, 1917 edition, p. 485)

Again we can read some excellent examples of the "pure language" presented by the Watchtower Society back in 1917. As we can see "Christianity" was to be destroyed "wholesale" in 1918. The problem is, absolutely nothing of this happened! The only thing this shows us is the fact that the Watchtower Society from its first issue in July 1879, until 1920 didn't have a clue about, "Jehovah's purposes and his seasons". With this fact in our mind it is again time to remind the reader about the above quote:

"Jehovah's servants, who speak the pure language, are not bewildered about where they are in the stream of time."

Anybody who has read the Finished Mystery book from 1917 would of course be hard pressed to find a better example of complete and utter bewilderment about the "stream of time". If what is presented in that publication and many other of the Watchtower Society's publications at the time isn't bewilderment one wonders how things work in Brooklyn when they are really bewildered?

But let's take a look at the period after 1917. Rutherford was still in such haste that he didn't even stop to consider the failure of the 1918 and 1920 dates. He kept on the offensive and already in 1918 he launched a new date for the "time of the end": 1925! This date was to become the Watchtower Society's main message in the years to come. In 1920 a huge campaign was started with the catching slogan, "Millions now living will never die". Even today the Watchtower publications are almost bursting with pride when they remind their readers about this glorious campaign:

12 From 1918 to 1922, the John class began to hold out to distressed humanity the happy prospect that "millions now living will never die." [Revelation -- Its Grand Climax at Hand! (1988), p. 152]

What an exciting message they proclaimed--"Millions now living will never die!" Brother Rutherford had given a discourse on this subject in 1918. It was also the title of a 128-page booklet published in 1920. From 1920 through 1925, that same subject was featured again and again around the world in public meetings in all areas where speakers were available and in upwards of 30 languages. [Jehovah's Witnesses -- Proclaimers of God's Kingdom (1993), p. 425]

Up until the publishing of the Proclaimers book in 1993 it was almost impossible to find any references to what was the actual message of the "Millions" campaign. One had to go back to the original publications to find out what it was; something that the vast majority of Jehovah's Witnesses wouldn't bother to do. But let us take a look at the excellent examples of "pure language" from the twenties:

"The indisputable facts, therefore, show that the "time of the end" began in 1799; that the Lord's second presence began in 1874." (The Watch Tower, March 1, 1922)

'1914 ended the Gentile Times... The date 1925 is even more distinctly indicated by the Scriptures... by then the great crisis will be reached and probably passed' (The Watch Tower, September 1, 1922, p. 262)

But there were more quite sensational things that were supposed to happen that year:

"A simple calculation of these jubilees brings us to this important fact: Seventy jubilees of fifty years each would be a total of 3500 years. That period of time beginning 1575 before A.D. 1 of necessity would end in the fall of 1925, at which time the type ends and the great antitype must begin. What, then, should we expect to take palace? In the type there must be a full restoration; 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 favor, we may expect 1925 to witness the return of these faithful men and 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." (Millions now living will never die, 1920, pp. 89-90)

There was absolutely no limit to how certain this date 1925 was really "firmly established" in the "scriptures". The Lord had placed the "stamp of his seal upon" 1925, it wasn't the chronology of man but of God:

"We have no doubt whatever in regard to the chronology relating to the dates of 1874, 1914, 1918, and 1925. It was on this line of reckoning that the dates 1874, 1914, and 1918 were located; and the Lord has placed the stamp of his seal upon 1914 and 1918 beyond any possibility of erasure. What further evidence do we need? Using this same measuring line.... it is an easy matter to locate 1925, probably in the fall, for the beginning of the antitypical jubilee. There can be no more question about 1925 than there was about 1914." (The Watch Tower, May 15, 1922, p. 150)

"It is on the basis of such and so many correspondencies -- in accordance with the soundest laws known to science -- that we affirm that, Scripturally, scientifically, and historically, present-truth chronology is correct beyond a doubt. Its reliability has been abundantly confirmed by the dates and events of 1874, 1914, and 1918. Present-truth chronology is a secure basis on which the consecrated child of God may endeavor to search out things to come." (The Watch Tower, June 15, 1922)

"This chronology is not of man, but of God. Being of divine origin and divinely corroborated, present-truth chronology stands in a class by itself, absolutely and unqualifiedly correct...." (The Watch Tower, July 15, 1922, p. 217)

All the time up to 1925 the Watchtower continued to publish this "pure language" that the end would come in 1925. But like in 1914 this proved to be false. Again the Watchtower Society had demonstrated its complete lack of knowledge about "Jehovah's purposes and his seasons". This would of course not be such a serious matter if the Watchtower Society had shown themselves to be open and honest about their mistakes but unfortunately they do just the opposite. They prefer to gloss over, hide and rewrite their history:

6 In modern times the anointed who are celebrating the Christian Jubilee have been declaring liberating good news, especially since 1919. 'Why from that time?' you may wonder if you have been born more recently... For decades before that date, Jehovah's anointed ones published Biblical truths, such as in the famous series Studies in the Scriptures (1886-1917). They also distributed many informative booklets and tracts. During World War I, there came opposition, testing and sifting, and a slackening of their activities. But in 1919 the anointed remnant went forth with renewed zeal to proclaim Bible truths. [The Watchtower, January 1, 1987, pp. 24-25]

8 Consider, for example, the Bible study aid The Harp of God (1921), which presented vital truths as if they were ten strings on a harp. [The Watchtower, January 1, 1987, p. 25]

The very titles of some Bible study aids reflect the liberating influence they had on millions. [The Watchtower, January 1, 1987, p. 25]

*[Footnotes] Millions Now Living Will Never Die, 1920. [The Watchtower, January 1, 1987, p. 28]

These quotes from 1987, is a typical example of how the Watchtower Society writes their history. They portray the totally hopeless literature from their earlier days as fantastic messages of truth. Well aware of their readers' total lack of knowledge about this literature. It is really quite bold to call a book which message was that millions wouldn't die because the end would come in 1925, as having "a liberating influence on millions". A blatant lie and a false prophecy can't be very much liberating for anyone! Dishonesty and hypocrisy really reaches a new peak here. To call such nonsense a "pure language" is of course preposterous. It is pure bilge.

But this is unfortunately the methods such people use, when they try to fool gullible people into believing their line about a "pure language". As have been documented the literature published by Russell and his associates really qualifies as "pure bilge" more than anything else

But let us investigate further into Russell's alleged "pure language". A very central element in his "chronology" which was given much space in his book, Thy Kingdom Come is the mystic role the great pyramid play in "God's Plan":

"...this measurement is 3416 inches, symbolizing 3416 years.... This calculation shows A.D. 1874 as marking the beginning of the period of trouble...." (Russell, Studies in the Scriptures: Thy Kingdom Come, Series III, p. 342, 1897 edition [1916 edition changed to read: "We find it to be 3457 inches, symbolizing 3457 years.... Thus the Pyramid witnesses that the close of 1914 will be the beginning of the time of trouble...."] note: the measurement was the length of an interior passageway discovered inside the Pyramids. It has no reference in Scripture.)

The man whom God used to spread the "pure language" from 1879 really had great confidence in the pyramids.

After Russell died, the Watchtower continued to push the pyramid connection and in 1922 the Watchtower printed another article about how secure its measurements made the "chronology":

So how did the "pure language" fare after Russell's death? Well, we have seen some examples of how Rutherford approached it and we can safely say it didn't get any better, in fact it got worse, as we have seen from the Finished Mystery, which was supposed to be a "verse for verse" explanation of the Revelation and Ezekiel, and is as such a fount of "pure bilge". Yes, even in today's Jehovah's Witnesses eyes what is printed in that book must be pure bilge. But to illustrate we can show you some examples of the pure bilge from 1917 and compare it to the pure bilge of today

Pure bilge from 1917:

"Revelation 9:11 [And] they [had a] HAVE THEIR king [over them].-- The same king as exercises general rulership over all the ecclesiastical affairs of this prevent evil world. [Which is] the angel of the [bottomless pit] ABYSS.-"The prince of the power of the air."-- Eph. 2:2. Whose name In the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon.-- And he is "a bad one," sure enough.-- 2 Cor. 4:4. But in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon -- That is, Destroyer. But In plain English his name is Satan, the Devil. (The Finished Mystery, 1917, p. 159)

Pure bilge from 1992:

Revelation 9:1-12 also speaks of a plague of locusts, sent forth by Jehovah under "a king, the angel of the abyss," who is none other than Christ Jesus. His names Abaddon (Hebrew) and Apollyon (Greek) mean "Destruction" and "Destroyer." [The Watchtower, May 1, 1992, p. 11]

Pure bilge from 1917:

12:5. And she brought forth a man child.-- The papacy.-- Z.'79-12-2. (The Finished Mystery, 1917, p. 187)

Pure bilge from 1988:

Revelation 12:5. "And she gave birth to a son... Rather, it is the birth of God's Kingdom in 1914... [Revelation -- Its Grand Climax at Hand! (1988), p. 180]

Pure bilge from 1917:

Revelation 12:7. And there was war in heaven.-- Between the two ecclesiastical powers, Pagan Rome and Papal Rome. Michael.-- "Who as God," the Pope.-- B275; C62.

Pure bilge from 1988:

But who is Michael? The name "Michael" means "Who Is Like God?"... 16 These and other scriptures lead us to the inescapable conclusion that Michael is no one else but the Lord Jesus Christ in his heavenly position. [Revelation -- Its Grand Climax at Hand! (1988), pp. 180-181

As we can see, no arguments, no matter how far fetched and ridiculous is spared in 1917, to "prove" that Revelation was fulfilled on Russell and the Watchtower organization from the 1870. Absolutely all "rules" for a somewhat sober and sane interpretation of scripture were completely overlooked. The whole book can hardly be called anything but a collection of nonsense and tripe, and will of course not even remotely qualify as anything even resembling "pure language"!

The "explanations" have of course changed since 1917, time itself has made it necessary to do so. The needs of the Watchtower Society has changed so in 1988, the Bible texts have to mean the opposite of what they meant in 1917, or they have to mean something else.

Those men which the Watchtower magazine claims that Jehovah used to publish the "truth" of the "pure language" in 1917, claimed that Abaddon, was Satan the Devil. In 1988, they claim that Abaddon is Jesus Christ. In both cases, the claim is presented in the same dogmatic and cocksure manner. Both are excellent examples of the kind of "pure language" the Watchtower Society produces.

Investigating the Watchtower Society history is an excellent example of the truth in the saying that when you have started out lying, you have no choice but to continue. The literature published by the Watchtower Society is primarily a long seemingly never-ending exercise in producing nonsense, rubbish and rot, totally hopeless drivel and tripe, all under nicely wrapped and stamped with the libel "pure language".

All the time from Russell's death in 1916 the leaders of the Watchtower Society have known full well the truth about what they have been doing. Take a look at the following. In 1922, the Watchtower magazine wrote: (OBS. I only have the Danish issue and the following is a translation from that language to English.)

"It shouldn't be necessary for us to point out that if there is made an alteration of 19 years to the Chronology, the time from Jacob to Jesus would be shortened from 1845 to 1826 years, and the whole System of dates based on the Jewish Parallels, would collapse; the dates in the system of Jubilation years would fall out of their present place in the existing place in the symmetry, the Parallel of the 2520 years would vanish, the whole system of dates would be torn away from each other; there would be no basis for our Faith, in the ensuing Chronological confusion; there would be no real Basis for Believing in the Lords Presence, Pastor Russell's position and work, the End of the Age, the Harvest work and the literature that is published by the Society. Many years ago Pastor Russell investigated these matters thoroughly, and he declared, in an article we will republish shortly, that a change of one Year would destroy the whole system of the Chronology. [(Danish) The Watch Tower, August 15, 1922, p. 125]

This issue of the Watch Tower printed something which is extremely rare, it spoke the truth. If their so-called Chronology were wrong with as little as one year, their whole foundation would totally collapse. There would be no "real Basis for Believing in the Lords Presence, Pastor Russell's position and work, the End of the Age, the Harvest work and the literature that is published by the Society."

Already in the end of 1925 the facts demonstrated that this very Chronology had completely failed, and thus the whole Watchtower Society "theology" collapsed completely. This has been crystal clear at least since 1925. We can therefore establish once and for all that the leadership of the Watchtower Society has been fully aware of what they have been doing since 1925. They know that what they do is fraud.

If the leaders of the Watchtower Society had been honest and truthful people they would of course have taken the full consequences of what they wrote in that Watch Tower issue, that their teachings were without any basis. What does history show us? Did they choose to be honest? The answer is NO! They chose to continue with the fraud, the manipulation of dates and exploitation of people's fear of the "end". It continued, and still continues to this day.

One may ask how long this self appointed FDS, presently consisting of a bunch of frail old men, can continue this fraud? How long will they be able to maintain the illusion of their "God given authority" and their claimed position of being "God's channel of communication", without ever having been able to produce a single rational argument for their extraordinary claims?

As demonstrated, it was crystal clear already in 1925 that there was absolutely no basis whatsoever for their bold claims, all they had published before and after that date has been sheer fantasy without any basis either in Biblical, historical or scientific realities.

The problem for the Watchtower Society was pointed out in an excellent way in the above quoted Watchtower. If the Chronology were off even as little as one year, their whole foundation would collapse. The Chronology was the whole basis for their existence. They erected their whole religious "building" or structure on it. When the foundation was removed, their whole structure fell.

But continuing and perpetuating their illusions wasn't enough for the Watchtower Society. They had to condemn those who refused to buy their lies and fairytales; they persisted in printing and preach the "gospel" of eternal death to those who would not listen to their deluded ranting. They had to create a monster organization that became more important than everything. More important than your family. Your father, mother, sister and brother. Yes more important than life itself. An organization which white painted facade has to be kept "clean" no matter how much filth and abominations it contains.

What a monument the Watchtower Society is of someone who has absolutely no idea, no clues as to what a "pure language" is, absolutely no clue about the very concept of purity.