Many things have been written on this topic, and this does
not want to be a simple copy. With the intent of giving an accurate historical retracing of the Beth- Sarim subject and all the " teaching " that went
with it, unlike the " Proclaimers" book , I'll take it from its start.
In this year on February 24, the discourse
"The World Has Ended -- Millions Now Living May Never Die"
is first delivered in Los Angeles, CA. , by brother Rutherford.
This is followed by another one , in March 31, in Boston ,MA.-
From those moments, and expecially after the release of the
book with the same title of the talk, i.e. « Millions Now Living
Will never Die » great expectations are aroused. Many years later,
a Society's publication, would confirm the wide use made of that book, not only in the United Stated but also in other parts of the world.
« The book Millions…had been widely used in the French field since 1921 and on the basis of its contents, much was expected
of 1925. But when 1925 came and went without the anticipated
happening coming to pass, those on the outside who had read the
book made fun of the brothers. Worse still, the faith of some of the brothers themselves was shaken. Some expected to go to heaven that year. (yb 80 p.62 )
*Note that no use is made of the words - idea or view –
and the quote concerns a « book » used in the field.
As for the statement « …some expected to
go to heaven that year… » I wonder who could be
included in that undefinite number !
An earlier watchtower 's article « Pursuing My Purpose in Life », stated the following :
« ..In May 1924, during one of Brother Rutherford visits to Glasgow,
he announced at the assembly… the following morning ….Brother
Rutherford said to me…would you like to go with him ?… When
I confirmed my decision that afternoon, among other things he said :
« George, it may be for a year, or it may be for a little longer. »
He had still great faith that the princes would be back the following
year, and that big changes would quickly take place. «
(w. 56 12/1 p.716 ).-
Note : we are in the year 1924, and it is very clear that
brother Rutherford himself « had great faith … ». Again no
use of the words – idea, view – Now let’s go ahead to the year :
« Indicative of this testing was the question meeting held by
Brother Rutherford during the Basel, Switzerland assembly, wich took place May 1-3, 1926.
The report of this convention stated : « Question : Have the ancient
worthies returned ?
« Answer : Certainly they have not returned. No one has seen them
and it would be foolish to make such an announcement. It was stated
in the ‘Millions’ book that we might reasonably expect them to return shortly after 1925, but this was merely an expressed opinion. »
A mistake had been made but, as Brother Rutherford stated, this was no reason to stop serving the Lord ».
(yb 80 p.62 )
Note : Just a little more than 8 years, after the first talk « Millions… », brother Rutherford in public refers to the
subject of "... the return of the ancient worthis " as " an
expressed opinion " ! What about his « great faith » on that
event that he had in 1924 ? Furthermore , announcing that kind
of event - in his own words - would be « foolish »!
A small detail: I don’t understand why, but in the publications, when
- brother Rutherford - is mentioned , the letter " b " is printed " B "! Let’s continue and we arrive , few years later in:
1929 Quote :
« House of the Princes «
Brother Rutherford had a severe case of pneumonia….In the 1920’s
under a doctor’s treatment , he went to San Diego, California…
From 1929 on, brother Rutherford spent the winters working at a San Diego residence he had named Beth-Sarim.
Beth-Sarim was built with funds that were a direct contribution for that purpose. The deed which was published in full in « The Golden Age » of March 19, 1930, conveyed this property to J.F.Rutherford
and thereafter to the Watch Tower Society.
Concernin Beth-Sarim, the book « Salvation « (*) published
in 1939 explains : « The Hebrew word ‘Beth Sarim’ mean ‘House of the Princes ‘ ; and the purpose of acquiring that property and building
the house was that there might be some tangible proof that there
are those on earth today who fully believe God and Christ Jesus and in
His kingdom, and who believe that the faithful men of old will soon
be resurrected by the Lord, be back on earth, and take charge of the
visible affairs of earth. »
(jv page 76 – published in 1993 – « Proclaimers… »)
(*) Footnote « Salvation « by J.F.Rutherford ,published in 1939, the quote is in page 311.
Note : What a strange event…three years after the public
declaration in Basel , brother J.F.Rutherford – the Watch
Tower Society - buys this property, naturally first the
plot of land and later builds the house, that he, had called
Frankly at this point one has already lost his bearings!
How can you claim that even:
« announcing an event » would be …" foolish ";
« to expect the ancient worthies » was an « expressed opinion »
and yet only few year later, the Watch Tower Society’s
President – the same person – goes ahead with that project –!
« ..a House of the Princes.. » !
There is another aggravating factor to this story, and it is the
fact the all the world, at that time, including the United States of America, was in the midst of an economic recession and poverty !
Btw, one had to wait for ..another nine years, until 1939, to get more information from the Society, on this topic.
Let’s continue and we arrive in :
« A few years after Brother Rutherford’s death,(*) the board
of directors of the Watch Tower Society decided to sell Beth-Sarim .
Why ? « The Watchtower » of December 15, 1947, explained : » It had fully served its purpose and was now only serving as a monument quite expensive to keep ; our faith in the return of the men of old time
whom the King Christ will make princes in ALL the earth (not merely
in Califonia) is based , not upon that house Beth-Sarim, but upon God’s Word of promise. »
(jv page 76 – published in 1993 – « Proclaimers… »)
(*) - January 8. 1942, in San Diego, CA.-
Footnote on : " jv page 76 " – published in 1993 –
« At the time, it was believed that faithful men of old times, such as
Abraham, Joseph, and David, would be resurrected before the end of this system of things and would serve as « princes in all the earth ,»
in fulfillment of Psalm 45 :16.
This view was adjusted in 1950, when further study of the Scriptures
indicated that those early forefathers of Jesus Christ would be resur-
rected after Armaghedon.-
See « The Watchtower , » November 1, 1950, pages 414-17.
(end of the footnote).
Note : Now, the house Beth-Sarim is sold, five years after the death of the President of the Watch Tower Society, and not before, during his life!
Could it be , that brother Rutherford would have been opposed to
it ? After all it was brother Rutherford that set the all things in motion with the - famous - public talk " Millions....".
Note also it « was expensive to keep.. » yes, expensive for whom? And whith the money coming from where ?
Important also the statement, 8 years after the publication of the book « Salvation » , that «…the King Christ Jesus will make princes in ALL the earth…not merely in California.. »... what a great revelation!!!
One should not miss the final touch about :
« ..our faith ….based not upon that house Beth-Sarim, but
upon God’s Word of promise ».
As the icing on the cake, how about ..." ... it was believed that faithful… resurrected before the end… » and very revealing :
« ..the view … in 1950….early forefathers…resurrected after…
Armaghedon » !
Think about it, all this men made TEACHING with all the consequences did go on FROM 1918 UNTIL 1950 !
But if you think that’s all finished in this Beth-Sarim saga.. you are
wrong because we will take a leap into :
§25 " Even after the convention in 1922.. some of God’s
holy ones were still looking longingly to the past. The basis study material for their meeting was still the Bible and the volumes of
Studies in the Scriptures, by C.T. Russell. At that time, there was a
widely held view that pointed to 1925 as the year for the resurrection to begin and for Paradise to be restored to the earth. Thus , many
were serving with a fixed date in mind."
dp 303 17 Identifying True Worshippers in the Time of the End
(Daniel….prophecies) publ. 1999
Note : Now this material on page 303 was scheduled for book study on 2001, more that 50 years after the watchtower article, that I
just quoted, that adjusted the « view » and yet, even now in this
new publication , to be " discussed " worldwide in all the congrega-
tions' book studies, there are some …inaccuracies - to use a very
delicate and sensitive word -!
· The reader is told about study material …from brother Russell,a
very misleading statement made to link " study " with C.T.Russell.
Forgetting that since 1918 , in addition to the public talk on the
same theme, it was published and widely distributed the book « Millions Now Living Will Never Die « and on the basis of the content of THIS book, «… much was expected of 1925 »;
That C.T. Russell had , in this case, nothing to do with the date of
1925…- We all know by now, who came out with it..yes,....you've
guessed right again... brother J.F. Rutherford ! ! !
Notice also , to confirm what I say, that as a result of that extensive TEACHING and not VIEW, that « …. Many were
serving with a fixed date in mind.. » !
Guess who was CERTAINLY included in those « many.. » ?
Yes you’re right again, brother J.F. Rutherford.!
So in conclusion, even today the new baptized ones, have very, very, little knowledge of the Society past.
I 'm sure and many of you will agree with me , that to retrace
TRUTHFULLY the Society's history of the ..the 50’s, 40’s, 30’s ,
20's and so until one arrives to the first steps of C.T. Russell as
a Bible Student, is a very hardous task.
Truly, it is very difficult for many to retrace the past history of the
WTS, for the simple reason, that MOST of the publications
pre-1950 are not in possession of most publishers, and as
many of you already commented in this forum, ...ANY KIND
of REQUEST about them, has the effect to arouse DOUBTS,
NEGATIVE COMMENTS and even, - INCREDIBLE BUT TRUE
accusations of APOSTASY !!!
As a result, for many new ones and others, the alternative is…
to receive as GENUINE HISTORY of the WTS, HISTORY
that has been REWRITTEN AND WELL REVISED!
I hope that my intention to give you, just ONE exemple, of
this " h i s t o r y " has not been too heavy,
N.B. How many more " teachings", "truths" have been
- c r e a t e d , and m o d i f i e d in the succesive years,
only to be completely abandoned ....,or should one say
e l i m i n a t e d after 10,20,30,40,50 years ?
One has to keep in mind that at the beginning - A L L -
these " informations" , " teachings " and " truths" were
published worldwide privately and publicly, as
" S c r i p t u r a l l y based beliefs "!