The key to unraveling the tapestry of misdirected doctrines and translations of the WTS is to find the contributing core factors. The main objective to focus on is the influential components that shaped the theology of Charles Taze Russell. 

Charles Taze Russell came into this world on February 16, 1852 in Allegheny, Pennsylvania. He was born to Joseph L. Russell and Ann Eliza Birney, who were Presbyterians of Scottish-Irish descent.  Pastor Russell did not surpass a seventh grade education, or receive any theological training or had any knowledge of biblical Hebrew or Greek.

Charles Russell formed a Bible study group in 1870 which lasted till around 1876. The group was formed to seek out the Biblical truth, and according to Russell, they first constructed crude ideas which later developed into clear understanding of God’s will.  But who among these students had Theological training and understood Hebrew or Greek to render these new revelations. Pastor Russell gives no evidence that any of his collogues possessed any Theological training.

According to Russell, it was in January of 1876 that his attention was drawn to the subject of prophetic time. He came across a publication called “The Midnight Cry and The Herald of the Morning,” written and edited by Nelson Barbour. From Barbour’s calculations of Biblical prophecy, Russell was convinced that Jesus returned not in the visible but invisible. Both men met in Philadelphia, in the autumn of 1876, when Barbour presented Russell with his doctrines addressing the return of Jesus Christ. Barbour explained that his time prophecies had passed unfulfilled, and he according to his calculations he could not find any flaw that set 1874 as the year that Jesus Christ would return. Then Barbour received a letter from one of his readers, who by using the Diaglott interpreted Matthew 24:27, 37, 39 to read {presence} instead of {coming}. Thus commenced the thesis that Jesus returned invisibly in 1874, to start the 40 years of harvest that would conclude with Armageddon in 1914. It was Judge Rutherford that changed 1874 to 1914 as the date of Jesus’ invisible return. Below is Matthew 24:27,37, and 39 as they appear in the Emphatic Diaglott.

Matthew 24:27 As lightning comes out form the east, and shines to west so shall be also the presence of the son of the man. {Emphatic Diaglott}

Matthew 24:37 As and the days of the Noah, ever so will be also the presence of the son of the man. {Emphatic Diaglott}

Matthew 24:39 And not they knew, till come the flood and took away all even so will be also the presence of the son of the man. {Emphatic Diaglott}

The original Greek word for presence is parousiva which means presence, coming, and arrival. It does not in any form mean invisible presence, invisible coming, or invisible arrival.

The KJV New Testament Greek Lexicon

Original Word


Transliterated Word


Phonetic Spelling



  1. presence
  2. the coming, arrival, advent
    1. the future visible return from heaven of Jesus, to raise the dead, hold the last judgment, and set up formally and gloriously the kingdom of God

 King James Word Usage - Total: 24

coming 22, presence 2

Greek Word: Parousiva
Transliterated Word: parousia
Book to Display: Matthew
Verse Count: 4

Mt 24:3   

And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

Mt 24:27   

For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

Mt 24:37   

But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

Mt 24:39   

And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

Transliterated Version

Matthew 24:3 Kathemenou de autou epi tou Orous ton Elaionproselthon auto hoi mathetai kat idian legontes, "Eipehemin pote tauta estaiKai ti to semeion tes sesparousias kai sunteleias tou aionos?"

Matthew 24:27 Hosper gar he astrape exerchetai apoanatolon kai fainetai heos dusmon, houtos estai heparousia tou Huiou tou Anthropou,

Matthew 24:37 Hosper gar hai hemerai tou Noe, houtos estai heparousia tou Huiou tou Anthropou.

Matthew 24:39  kaiouk egnosan heos elthen ho kataklusmos kai erenhapantas, houtos estai kai he parousia tou Huiou touAnthropou.

If it was God’s intention for Matthew to convey the idea that Jesus would returned invisible then Matthew would have used the word Aoratos which means invisible. See meaning below and in which verses it was used.

Original Word




Transliterated Word




Phonetic Spelling

Parts of Speech




  1. unseen, or that which can not be seen, e.g. invisible

 King James Word Usage - Total: 5

invisible 4, invisible things 1

  KJV Verse Count 





1 Timothy






Greek Word: Ajovratoß
Transliterated Word: aoratos
Book to Display: Romans
Verse Count: 1

Ro 1:20   

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

Transliterated Version

Romans 1:20  Ta gar aorata autou apo ktiseos kosmou toispoiemasin noumena kathoratai, he te aidios autoudunamis kai theiotes, eis to einai autous anapologetous,

Greek Word: Ajovratoß
Transliterated Word: aoratos
Book to Display: Colossians
Verse Count: 2

Col 1:15   

Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

Col 1:16   

For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

Transliterated Version

Colossians 1:15  hos estin eikon touTheou tou aoratou, prototokos pases ktiseos,

Colossians 1:16  hotien auto ektisthe ta panta en tois ouranois kai epites ges, ta horata kai ta aorata, eite thronoi eiteKuriotetes eite achai eite exousiai, ta panta di autoukai eis auton ektistai.

 Charles Russell is the author of the following article which appeared in the July 15,1906 edition of Zion’s Watchtower. In it, Pastor Russell gives his testimony touching on his early years, and where he obtained the practice of determining future Biblical dates by calculating prophetic times.


I will not go back to tell how the light began to break through the clouds of prejudice and superstition which enveloped the world under Papacy's rule in the\ dark ages.  The Reformation movement, or rather movements, from then until now, have each done their share in bringing light out of darkness.  Let me here confine myself to the consideration of the harvest truths set forth in MILLENNIAL DAWN and ZION'S WATCH TOWER.   Let me begin the narrative at the year 1868, when the Editor, having been a consecrated child of God for some years, and a member of the Congregational Church and of the Y.M.C.A., began to be shaken in faith regarding many long-accepted doctrines.  Brought up a Presbyterian, and indoctrinated from the Catechism, and being naturally of an inquiring mind, I fell a ready prey to the logic of infidelity as soon as I began to think for myself. But that which at first threatened to be the utter shipwreck of faith in God and the Bible, was, under God's providence, overruled for good, and merely wrecked my confidence in human creeds and systems of misinterpretation of the Bible. Gradually I was led to see that though each of the creeds contained some elements of truth, they were, on the whole, misleading and contradictory of God's Word.  Among other theories, I stumbled upon Adventism. Seemingly by accident, one evening I dropped into a dusty, dingy hall, where I had heard religious services were held, to see if the handful who met there had anything more sensible to offer than the creeds of the great churches.  There, for the first time, I heard something of the views of Second Adventists, the preacher being Mr. Jonas Wendell, long since deceased.  Thus, I confess indebtedness to Adventists as well as to other denominations. Though his Scripture exposition was not entirely clear, and though it was very far from what we now rejoice in, it was sufficient, under God, to re-establish my wavering faith in the divine inspiration of the Bible, and to show that the records of the apostles and prophets are indissolubly linked.  What I heard sent me to my Bible to study with more zeal and care than ever before, and I shall ever thank the Lord for that leading; for though Adventism helped me to no single truth, it did help me greatly in the unlearning of errors, and thus prepared me for the Truth.    I soon began to see that we were living somewhere near the close of the Gospel age, and near the time when the Lord had declared that the wise, watching ones of his children should come to a clear knowledge of his plan. At this time, myself and a few other truth-seekers in Pittsburgh and Allegheny formed a class for Bible study, and from 1870 to 1875 was a time of constant growth ingrace and knowledge and love of God and his Word. We came to see something of the love of God, how it had made provision for all mankind, how all must be awakened from the tomb in order that God's loving plan might be testified to them, and how all who faith in Christ's redemptive work and render obedience in harmony with the knowledge of God's will they <will> <then> receive, shall then (through Christ's merit) be brought back into full harmony with God, and be granted everlasting life.  This we saw to be the Restitution work foretold in `Acts 3:21`.  But though seeing that the Church was called to joint-heirship with the Lord in the Millennial Kingdom, up to that time we had failed to see clearly the great distinction between the reward of the Church now on trial and the reward of the faithful of the world after its trial, at the close of the Millennial age-- that the reward of the former is to be the glory of the spiritual, divine nature, while that of the latter is to be the glory of restitution--restoration to the perfection of human nature once enjoyed in Eden by their progenitor and head, Adam.

   However, we were then merely getting the general outline of God's plan, and unlearning many long-cherished errors, the time for a clear discernment of the minutiae having not yet fully come.  And here I should and do gratefully mention assistance rendered by Brothers Geo. Stetson and Geo. Storrs, the latter the editor of <The Bible Examiner,> both now deceased.  The study of the Word of God with these dear brethren led, step by step, into greener pastures and brighter hopes for the world, though it was not until 1872, when I gained a clear view of our Lord's work as our <ransom price,> that I found the strength and foundation of all hope of restitution to lie in that doctrine.  Up to that time, when I read the testimony that all in their graves should come forth, etc., I yet doubted the full provision--whether it should be understood to include idiots or infants who had died without reaching any degree of understanding, beings to whom the present life and its experiences would seem to be of little or no advantage.  But when, in 1872, I came to examine the subject of restitution from the standpoint of the ransom price given by our Lord Jesus for Adam, and consequently for all lost in Adam, it settled the matter of restitution completely, and gave me the fullest assurance that ALL <must come forth> from their graves and be brought to a clear knowledge of the truth and to a full opportunity to gain everlasting life inChrist.

Thus passed the years 1869-1872.  The years following, to 1876, were years of continued growth in grace and knowledge on the part of the handful of Bible students with whom I met in Allegheny.  We progressed from our first crude and indefinite ideas of restitution to clearer understanding of the details; but God's due time for the clear light had not yet come.  During this time, too, we came to recognize the difference between our Lord as "the man who gave himself," and as the Lord who would come again, a spirit being.  We saw that spirit-beings can be present, and yet invisible to men, just as we still hold and have set forth in MILLENNIAL DAWN, Vol. II., Chap. 5.  And we felt greatly grieved at the error of Second Adventists, who were expecting Christ in the flesh, and teaching that the world and all in it except Second Adventists would be burned up in 1873 or 1874, whose time-settings and disappointments and crude ideas generally as to the object and manner of his coming brought more or less reproach upon us and upon all who longed for and proclaimed hiscoming Kingdom.

These wrong views so generally held of both the object and manner of the Lord's return led me to write a pamphlet--<"The Object and Manner of The Lord's Return,"> of which some 50,000 copies were published. It was about January, 1876, that my attention was specially drawn to the subject of prophetic time, as it relates to these doctrines and hopes.  It came about in this way: I received a paper called <The Herald of the> <Morning,> sent by its editor, Mr. N. H. Barbour.  When I opened it I at once identified it with Adventism from the picture on its cover, and examined it with some curiosity to see what time they would next set for the burning of the world.  But judge of my surprise and gratification, when I learned from its contents that the Editor was beginning to get his eyes open on the subjects that for some years had so greatly rejoiced our hearts here in Allegheny--that the object of our Lord's return is not to destroy, but to bless all the families of the earth, and that his coming would be thief-like, and not in flesh, but as a spirit-being, invisible to men; and that the gathering of his Church and the separation of the "wheat" from the "tares" would progress in the end of this age without the world's being aware of it. I rejoiced to find others coming to the same advanced position, but was astonished to find the statement very cautiously set forth, that the editor believed the prophecies to indicate that the Lord was already <present> in the world (unseen and invisible), and that the harvest work of gathering the wheat was already due,--and that this view was warranted by the time-prophecies which but a few months before he supposed had failed. Here was a new thought: Could it be that the <time> <prophecies> which I had so long despised, because of their misuse by Adventists, were really meant to indicate when the Lord would be <invisibly present> to set up his Kingdom --a thing which I clearly saw could be known in no other way?  It seemed, to say the least, a reasonable, a very reasonable thing, to expect that the Lord would inform his people on the subject--especially as he had promised that the faithful should not be left in darkness with the world, and that though the day of the Lord would come upon all others as a thief in the night (stealthily, unawares), it should not be so to the watching, earnest saints.--`I Thes. 5:4`.I recalled certain arguments used by my friend Jonas Wendell and other Adventists to prove that 1873 would witness the burning of the world, etc.--the chronology of the world showing that the six thousand years from Adam ended with the beginning of 1873--and other arguments drawn from the Scriptures and supposed to coincide.  Could it be that these <time> arguments, which I had passed by as unworthy of attention, really contained an important truth which they had misapplied? Anxious to learn, from any quarter, whatever God had to teach, I at once wrote to Mr. Barbour, informing him of my harmony on other points and desiring to know particularly why, and upon what Scriptural evidences, he held that Christ's <presence> and the harvesting of the Gospel age dated from the Autumn of 1874.  The answer showed that my surmise had been correct, viz.: that the <time arguments,> chronology, etc., were the same as used by Second Adventists in 1873, and explained how Mr. Barbour and Mr. J. H. Paton, of Michigan, a co-worker with him, had been regular Second Adventists up to that time; and that when the date 1874 had passed without the world being burned, and without their seeing Christ in the flesh, they were for a time dumb-founded. They had examined the time-prophecies that had seemingly passed unfulfilled, and had been unable to find any flaw, and had begun to wonder whether the <time> was\ right and their <expectations> wrong,--whether the views of restitution and blessing to the world, which myself and\ others were teaching, might not be the things to look for. It seems that not long after their 1874 disappointment, a reader of the <Herald of the Morning,> who had a copy of the <Diaglott,> noticed something in it which he thought peculiar,--that in `Matt. 24:27,37,39`, the word which in our common version is rendered <coming> is translated <presence.>  This was the clue; and, following it, they had been led through prophetic <time> toward proper views regarding the object and manner of the Lord's return. I, on the contrary, was led first to proper views of the object and manner of our Lord's return and then to the examination of the <time> for these things, indicated in God's Word.  Thus God leads his children often from different starting points of truth; but where the heart is earnest and trustful, the result must be to draw all such together. But there were no books or other publications setting forth the time-prophecies as then understood, so I paid Mr. Barbour's expenses to come to see me at Philadelphia (where I had business engagements during the summer of 1876), to show me fully and Scripturally, if he could, that the prophecies indicated 1874 as the date at which the Lord's <presence> and "the harvest" began. He came, and the evidences satisfied me.  Being a person of positive convictions and fully consecrated to the Lord, I at once saw that the special times in which we live have an important bearing upon our duty and work as Christ's disciples; that, being in the time of harvest, the harvest-work should be done; and that <Present Truth> was the sickle by which the Lord would have us do a gathering and reaping work everywhere among his children. I inquired of Mr. Barbour as to what was being done by him and by the <Herald.>  He replied that nothing was being done; that the readers of the <Herald,> being disappointed Adventists, had nearly all lost interest and stopped their subscriptions;--and that thus, with money exhausted, the <Herald> might be said to be practically suspended.  I told him that instead of feeling discouraged and giving up the work since his newly found light on restitution (for when we first met, he had much to learn from me on the fulness of <restitution> based upon the sufficiency of the ransom given for all, as I had much to learn from him concerning <time),> he should rather feel that now he had some good tidings to preach, such as he never had before, and that his zeal should be correspondingly increased.  At the same time, the knowledge of the fact that we were already in the harvest period gave to me an impetus to spread the Truth such as I never had before.  I therefore at once resolved upon a vigorous campaign for the Truth. I determined to curtail my business cares and give my time as well as means to the great harvest work. Accordingly, I sent Mr. Barbour back to his home, with money and instructions to prepare in concise book-form the good tidings so far as then understood, including the time features, while I closed out my Philadelphia business preparatory to engaging in the work, as I afterward did,traveling and preaching. The little book of 196 pages thus prepared was entitled

<The Three Worlds;> and as I was enabled to give some time and thought to its preparation it was issued by us both jointly, both names appearing on its title page--though it was mainly written by Mr. Barbour. While it was not the first book to teach a measure of restitution, nor the first to treat upon time-prophecy, it was, we believe, the first to <combine> the idea of restitution with time-prophecy.  From the sale of this book and from my purse, our traveling expenses, etc., were met.  After a time I conceived the idea of adding another harvest laborer and sent for Mr. Paton, who promptly responded and whose traveling expenses were met in the same manner.

But noticing how quickly people seemed to forget what they had heard, it soon became evident that while the meetings were useful in awakening interest, a monthly journal was needed to hold that interest and develop it. It therefore seemed to be the Lord's will that one of our number should settle somewhere and begin again the regular issuing of the <Herald of the Morning.>  I suggested that Mr. Barbour do this, as he had experience as a type-setter and could therefore do it most economically, while Mr. Paton and I would continue to travel and contribute to its columns as we should find opportunity. To the objection that the type was not sold, and that the few subscriptions which would come in would not, for a long time, make the journal self-sustaining, I replied that I would supply the money for purchasing type, etc., and leave a few hundred dollars in bank subject to Mr. Barbour's check, and that he should manage it as economically as possible, while Mr. Paton and I continued to travel.  This, which seemed to be the Lord's will in the matter, was done. It was after this, while on a tour of the New England States, that I met Mr. A. P. Adams, then a young Methodist minister, who became deeply interested and accepted the message heartily during the week that I preached to his congregation.  Subsequently, I introduced him to little gatherings of interested ones in neighboring towns, and assisted otherwise, as I could, rejoicing in another one who, with study, would soon be a co-laborer in the harvest field.  About this time, too, I was much encouraged by the accession of Mr. A. D. Jones, then a clerk in my employ in Pittsburgh--a young man of activity and promise, who soon developed into an active and appreciated co-laborer in the harvest work, and is remembered by some of our readers.  Mr. Jones ran well for a time, but ambition or something eventually worked utter shipwreck of his faith, and left us a painful illustration of the wisdom of the Apostle's words: "My brethren, be not many of you teachers, knowing that we shall have the severer judgment."--`James 3:1`[Diaglott] { Zion's Watch Tower, 15 July 1906}


It is clearly evident by Pastor Russell’s article that Barbour influenced him into believing, and teaching prophetic time. Until Russell met Barbour, Pastor Russell was a critic of the Adventist movement. It was interesting to read that out of Barbour’s desperation, he accepted the idea that Jesus returned invisibly, from an unknown reader of his publication. It would be crucial to know the educational level, and the theological training that this mysterious reader had.

    Barbour largely influenced Russell’s theology. Russell being a Presbyterian, believed in the Trinity and thus in the deity of Jesus Christ. What influenced Russell to believe that Jesus Christ is a “god” instead of God? When we follow the trail, it was Barbour in his desperation to validate the predictions of the Adventist clutched onto this notion that Jesus returned invisible. When Barbour believed his reader’s interpretation of Matthew 24, then Barbour would have believed that the Diaglott has the correct translation. Afterwards Barbour would have influenced Russell with this idea.

Pastor Russell believed that the translation of The New Testament found in the B.F. Wilson’s Emphatic Dioglott  to be true. Among the many publications of the WTS B.F. Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott occupied an important position. Around 1902 the organization acquired the printing plates and commenced reprinting the Dioglott. It was such a common publication that it was in large demand among the readers of Zion’s Watchtower.  It was in such demand that the electroplates used in printing were worn down. Pastor Russell recommended the Diaglott as an indispensable aid in the studies of his students, and according to him without it they would be at a disadvantage.

See the excerpts form Zion’s Watchtower below.


A. D. 1914--A. M. 6043



Rejoicing in Tribulation..........................291
Persecution Sure Result of Faithfulness.......291
Present Methods of Persecution................292
The Master's Crucial Test.....................292
How Far Are Our Experiences
Jehovah's Abiding Presence with His People........295
Idea of God's Omnipresence an Error...........295
Glorious Inheritance of Spiritual Israel......297
The Anointing of the Church.......................297
"Christ in You, the Hope of Glory"............297
Conditions of Membership......................297
Why Gethsemane's Agony?...........................299
The Cause of the Master's Sorrow..............300
An Unfaithful Treasurer's Fall....................301
"A Root of all Evil"..........................301
Oblivion--No Hope of Resurrection.............302
Take Up Thy Cross and Follow Christ...............302
Our Convention Tour...............................303
Interesting Letters...............................303



Foreign Agencies:--British Branch: LONDON TABERNACLE, Lancaster Gate, London, W. German Branch: Unterdorner Str., 76, Barmen. Australasian Branch: Flinders Building, Flinders St., Melbourne. Please address the SOCIETY in every case.


Terms to the Lord's Poor as Follows:--All Bible Students who, by reason of old age, or other infirmity or adversity, are unable to pay for this Journal, will be supplied Free if they send a Postal Card each May stating their case and requesting its continuance. We are not only willing, but anxious, that all such be on our list continually and in touch with the STUDIES, etc.



The cloth bound edition of the Diaglott is permanently out of stock. We still have leather edition on hand. These are printed on a good grade of Bible paper, round corners, red under gold edges, silk sewed, black flexible sealskin binding. Price, $2.50, prepaid. With each order for the leather Diaglott goes a year's subscription to THE WATCH TOWER.


A. D. 1915--A.M. 6043



Love of the Father and the Son our Pattern........211
Why Jesus Loves His Own.......................211
Hypocrisy the Great Sin.......................212
How We May Minister Unto the Lord.............213
We Must Fellowship Whom God Fellowships.......214
The World Waking Up...........................215
A Letter of Deep Interest.....................216
Question Meeting--Oakland Convention..............216
Sin-Offering Made by High Priest..............217
Proper and Improper Advertising...............217
True Definition of Babylon....................218
Israel's Priests Died Typically...............219
Politicians and False Religion....................220
Were God's Plans Defeated?....................220
King Asa's Reform Work............................222
True Covenanters, All of Us...................222
Interesting Letters...............................223
South African Convention......................223
Spent 50 Years Hunting for True Church........223



Foreign Agencies:--British Branch: LONDON TABERNACLE, Lancaster Gate, London, W. German Branch: Unterdorner Str., 76, Barmen. Australasian Branch: Flinders Building, Flinders St., Melbourne. Please address the SOCIETY in every case.



Terms to the Lord's Poor as Follows:--All Bible Students who, by reason of old age, or other infirmity or adversity, are unable to pay for this Journal, will be supplied Free if they send a Postal Card each May stating their case and requesting its continuance. We are not only willing, but anxious, that all such be on our list continually and in touch with the STUDIES, etc.







The New England and Middle Atlantic States Railroads have joined in a flat rate of 2c a mile in each direction, going and returning via same route. Tickets will be on sale July 23-25 (in New England 24-26), with final return limit August 3. Confer with your ticket agent some days in advance that he may secure the necessary ticket-forms acct. I.B.S.A. Convention.

The following Pilgrim Brethren are on the Convention Program for public addresses; namely, R. H. Barber, E. W. Brenneisen, J. A. Gillespie, J. F. Rutherford, H. C. Rockwell, C. T. Russell, Menta Sturgeon, W. J. Thorn, R. G. Jolly, R. J. Martin.

Other Brethren may be heard also in symposiums.

One Part of the "Photo-Drama of Creation" is to be shown each night of the Convention.

Board and lodging information is obtainable from the I.B.S.A. Class Secretary, H. E. Spear, 48 Scott Street, Springfield, Mass.

Present indications point to quite a considerable attendance at this Convention.



This very valuable work has been out of stock for some months. We thought to discontinue it because the electroplates of many of the pages had become much worn and unfit to print from again. We have, however, decided that the book is almost indispensable to Bible Students and that many who are joining the ranks of Bible Students would be much disadvantaged if they could not secure this book as an aid in Bible study. We have, therefore, corrected the plates and made many new ones, preparatory to the printing of a new edition which we hope will be ready for mailing about September 15th.

Heretofore we have had two editions, one on heavy paper, cloth covers, price $1.50, and the other on India paper, leather binding, gilt edge, price $2.50. We have concluded to have but one kind hereafter. It will be on thin Bible paper in leather binding. The price will be $2.00. We will, however, give with each copy one year's subscription to the WATCH TOWER--to a new reader--this with a view to bringing the WATCH TOWER and the Diaglott to the attention of all Bible Students and to making their acquaintance in a practical way. If any who are already subscribers to the WATCH TOWER desire a Diaglott for their own use they may send the premium subscription to some friend, but if the matter be not mentioned at the time the book is ordered, it will be too late to write us about it afterward. The WATCH TOWER is cheap at $1.00 per year, and the Diaglott extremely cheap at $2.00. The Fowler and Wells Company, from whom we purchased the electroplates of the Diaglott, charge a much higher price for it, namely, $4.00 in cloth binding, $5.00 in leather. Our prices also include postage.


During the early years of the WTS Pastor Russell considered the Diaglott an important element in the development of his followers. But how credible is the Diaglott? Was it translated by credible Greek and Hebrew scholars? Was there a committee of Theologians trained in Hebrew and Greek to validate the translation of the Diaglott? Unfortunately, the Diaglott was composed without the supervision of theologically trained scholars, and it was B. F. Wilson who alone wrote the Daglott.

 Benjamin Wilson was born England in 1817. While living in Halifax, he came under the influence of Campbell’s “Restoration Movement”, and became a member of the “Disciples of Christ.”  In 1844, while living in Geneva Illinois, Benjamin Wilson began a publishing business. During this time the “Disciples” in Geneva were in communication with John Thomas who broke away from the “Disciples” and formed the “Christadelphian Church.”  Under the influence of John Thomas, B.F. Wilson started printing and publishing “The Gospel Banner,” and during this time he worked on his “emphatic” translation, and made the elecro-type plates. Wilson published the first part of his interlinear translation in 1857, with its completion in 1863, and published it as one volume in 1864. Wilson claimed that--"Scrupulous fidelity has been maintained throughout this version in giving the true rendering of the original text into English; no regard whatever being paid to the prevailing doctrines or prejudices of sects, or the peculiar tenets of theologians." However, Wilson possessed a strong prejudice against the Authorized Version. This is evident by Wilson’s statements found in the preface "To the Reader", that "the Authorized Version is simply a revision of the Latin Vulgate". Thus, the “Authorized Version came from diligent and competent work of the Greek scholars, which was far beyond Wilson’s capacity of to appreciate. Wilson never obtained any theological training in the interpretation of biblical Greek to English.


Wilson was largely influenced by John Thomas a “false prophet” who did not believe that “The Word was God.” According to Wilson’s interlinear, “a god” is the proper translation of Theos, found in John 1:1.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with the God, and a god was the Word. {Emphatic Diaglott}

The following is taken from “The Restitution,” November 1906. It was written by B.F. Wilson’s nephew, W.H. Wilson. In it W.H.Wilson notes the influences on B.F. Wilson’s beliefs, and that the Diaglott was solely B.F. Wilson’s work.


        As the early pioneers who in those early days so earnestly contended for the faith which was once delivered to the saints, are now asleep in Jesus, waiting for the coming of the King.

        I thought it might be of interest to many of like precious faith to learn something of the history of its introduction into the Western STATES, so long ago.

        First, I will go back and show how the truth first began to illuminate the minds of those who afterwards introduced it.

        Now let your minds follow me across the mighty ocean, to Halifax, England. At that place, about the year 1839 or 40, Certain ones were enduring a great struggle, in order that they emerge out of the gross darkness of old Babylon, and bask in the full sunlight of God's saving Message of Life. Among that number, was my father, Joseph Wilson, and his brothers, Benjamin, John and James, also Benjamin Boyes, Richard and William Appleyard. At that time they were all members of the same Baptist Church at Halifax.

The Campbellites and Disciples of Christ

        About this time Alexander Campbell began preaching what he called the “Reformation,” Urging the people to get back to the Primitive Faith and Practice. He started well, but stopped short of ascertaining the primitive faith.

        He introduced baptism for the remission of sins, ignored all human creeds, and established weekly communion.

        A congregation was organized on this partial reformation called “The Disciples of Christ”, at Halifax, England.

        The parties named above left the Baptist church, and united with this organization. The little light which they had received made them more anxious for light. The congregation then formed itself into an investigating class, with a firm determination to search carefully the Holy Scriptures. They resolved to begin with the first chapter of Genesis, and go through the entire Word of God. They had not progressed very far in the study of Genesis, before they came across the Covenants of Promise, made unto Abraham, and repeated unto Isaac and to Jacob, An enquiry was made as to whether those promises had been fulfilled or not? You can imagine how like a golden cord they discover that those promises permeated and ran through both the Old and the New Testament Scriptures, and constituted the base of the gospel of the kingdom. It was at this point, that the true light began to shine, and as the investigation progressed, the light shone brighter and brighter, until they were led unto the obedience of the one true faith and hope of the gospel.

Entry into America

        While the investigation was in progress, my Uncle James and Benjamin Wilson and Benjamin Boyes emigrated to America in 1844, bringing with them what light they possessed. Later on, in 1849, my father, Joseph Wilson, his brother John Wilson, William and Richard Appleyard, also sailed for Geneva, Illinois, where my Uncle Benjamin had previously located, and engaged in the printing business. Uncle James had bought a farm a few miles west of Geneva. Later still came Joseph Crockroft, and he became a partner with Uncle Benjamin in the printing business.

        Later still George Westgarth and family located in Geneva. Meetings for Bible study were still continued in their homes, at Geneva.

        About this time came Dr. John Thomas, who had been in the Reformation work along with Mr Campbell. He soon passed Mr. Campbell in his Bible study, and obeyed the gospel of the kingdom, and then Campbell and Thomas became antagonists. John Thomas became a noted proclaimer of the gospel of the kingdom and life eternal only through Christ. If I mistake not, he baptized my father and Uncle Benjamin. Both Campbell and Thomas then transferred their labors into the State of Virginia. For a time Virginia became a fierce battleground, where Thomas and Campbell waged many a conflict.

        Finally, John Thomas located in Hoboken, New Jersey. He planted a church at Brooklyn, NY. From Hoboken he published a magazine, called “The Herald of the Kingdom.” Hoboken was the center point from which the gospel of the Kingdom radiated in the Eastern States, and Geneva, Illinois, for the Western States. I remember as a boy witnessing baptisms at Geneva, as first one and another, learned the true gospel message. A church of believers was then formed at that place.

        Bro. Underwood engaged in a flour mill, at St. Charles, and became quite an accomplished student of the prophecies. My Uncle Benjamin, owning a printing office, commenced the publication of a magazine called “THE GOSPEL BANNER,” Which became an uncompromising exponent of the gospel of the Kingdom, and eternal life only through Christ. Books, tracts, and hymn books were then published, and the light began to spread in every direction, Geneva, being the center point.

The Emphatic Diaglott

        While I was a boy, my father put me into the “Gospel Banner” Office to learn the printing business. It was during this time, that the “EMPHATIC DIAGLOTT”, was translated and printed. I can now in my mind's eye see my Uncle Benjamin, sitting at his desk, making a literal word for word translation of the New Testament. I remember seeing the Greek type arrive from England. Many readers of the Diaglott, may not be aware that my Uncle not only translated the Diaglott, but took charge of the mechanical work as well. He electro-typed the entire book himself. The following was the process he followed.

        As each page of the Diaglott was put into type, he took an impression of the page of type in wax. This wax mold was then black-leaded with very fine blacklead dust. He had a vat containing acid. In this acid, he hung a copper plate, and also the wax mold, before he went home at night. In the morning he would find the wax mold would be covered with a thin sheet of copper. This acid dissolved the copper, and the black lead attracted it to the wax mold. He then made metal plates out of melted metal and fastened the copper sheet upon it. He then printed the first edition of the book, from these plates, on a hand press. I used to ink the plates, by a soft roller, while he worked the press.

        Thus, from Geneva as the early gospel center, issued one of the most useful aids for Bible study, that ever issued from the press, in any section of this country.

Look well to your teachers,

Yours in the Blessed Hope.

W. H. Wilson.

Great care is exercised when qualified and educated individuals embark on the task of translating the scriptures. There is a set standard by which they operate. It is a means of measuring the translation to ensure that it qualifies. They take into account many aspects of the language. They take into consideration the background of the individual who wrote, to whom it is being written, the culture and political atmosphere at that time, any outside language and culture that can have a contributing factor on the subject that is being written about, ect. When the interpreter does not have a standard to follow or improve on, then he sets his standard and by so becomes the standard. Thus B.F. Wilson could not help but become the standard by which he wrote the Diaglott. He translated according to his beliefs, and not in accord with any previous methods.  By making a word for word translation absent of any knowledge of the setting in which the New Testament works were written, Mr. Wilson basically made a bland and bias translation, justifying his theological views.


Dr. John Thomas was the founder of the Chrisadelphians and a great influence on B. Wilson. Below are the root beliefs of the Christadephians.

Their  fundamental beliefs are:

1.            The Bible is God's word and the only message from him. It is without error, except for copying and translation errors.

2.      There is only one God - the Father. The Holy Spirit is God's power.

3.      Jesus is the Son of God, and a human being, through his mother Mary.

4.      Man is mortal, having no existence when dead.

5.      By living a sinless life, ending with his sacrificial death by crucifixion, Jesus has opened the way of salvation from death.

6.      Belief and baptism are essential steps to salvation.

7.      God raised Jesus from death. Jesus is currently in Heaven, on God's right hand. He will one day return.

8.      When Jesus returns, he will raise his "sleeping" followers from death and grant immortality to the faithful who have tried to live by God's precepts.

9.      His followers will help him to rule, bringing justice, righteousness and peace to the whole world - the Kingdom of God.

10.  That man has not an immortal soul - that after death he remains out of being till re-created at the Resurrection - that heathen, infants, and idiots will never rise from the dead, but perish like the brutes - that there is no personal immortal devil or Satan, no endless hell, that sin is the devil.

11.  That God and Christ have not now a Kingdom on earth, that Christ is not now a King, and that, therefore, none have been "translated into the Kingdom of God's dear Son."

12.  That the Kingdom of God foretold in Scripture, and yet to come, is the Kingdom of David, and will consist of the twelve tribes of the literal Israel, re-organized in Abraham's land, as the Kingdom of Christ, with all Gentile nations as His dominions - that at the return of Christ He will raise the dead saints, but in mortal bodies, and with them enter Jerusalem, and appoint Rulers of the Kingdom from among His brethren; that for some forty years they will be engaged in executing vengeance upon the nations and punishment upon the peoples, binding kings and nobles with chains and fetters, and organizing the world upon new and better principles.

13.  That the foregoing things are included in the Gospel and Hope, and that the understanding and belief of them are essential to valid immersion into the Divine Name; that there is, therefore, no salvation without such understanding, belief, and immersion.


In 1850, John Thomas published “Elpis Israel”, which turned out a great blunder, in as much as his ideas that the kingdom of God will have a prophetic bearing upon the existing European kingdoms. Thus John Thomas portrays himself as a prophet and proves himself a false one; because he presented a blueprint of unfulfilled prophecy, which marked out great events and fixed the time for their accomplishment. Take a sample from “Elpis Israel.” 


"The eleventh chapter of Daniel is therefore fulfilled as far as the first colon of the fortieth verse. The things which remain to be accomplished in the time of the end are briefly outlined in the remaining part of the chapter. The King of Egypt, having pushed at the Little Horn, as we have seen, the next event of the prophecy is an attack upon him by the King of the North, as it is written, 'And the King shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships;' that is, the Russo-Assyrian autocrat shall attack Constantinople by sea and land, and with such whirlwind impetuosity that the Sultan's dominion shall be swept away. The Russian fleet of forty ships in the Black Sea is in preparation for this event. The whirlwind nature of the attack implies, I think, not only its overwhelming character, but that when it is made, the allies of the Sultan will be off their guard; that is, by the autocrat's assurances of peace and moderation, for which they will give him credit, Constantinople will be left unprotected, and it will fall into his hands before they can come to the rescue. To 'push at him,' and to 'come against him,' are phrases which imply more than simple invasion; they indicate likewise the direction that invasion is to take. In the case of the King of the South, when he 'pushed at him,' he directed his course towards Constantinople, but he did not come against him, because he was stopped by 'the powers.' The King of the North, however, is to do more than push; he is actually to 'come against' the Sultan, which can only be done by sitting down before Constantinople. Now, between the pushing of the King of the South, in 1839, and the coming of the King of the North, there has, as yet, been an interval of ten years. It is not to be supposed that the Autocrat would attack the Porte without some provocation, real or pretended. It is, therefore, the mission of the Frogs, as we have seen in a former chapter, to bring about such a state of things as will involve the Autocrat and Sultan in war. This situation has been created, and, it is probable, that when spring arrives the Sultan will be attacked, and that 1850 will see the end of the Ottoman dominion. The reader will perceive, then, that the operation of the Frog power comes in between the attacks of the King of Egypt and the Russo-Assyrians upon the Porte. The policy they originate is to involve the whole habitable in war, the more immediate effect of which will be, that 'the King of the North shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.' To 'enter into the countries' implies invasion, but to 'overflow and pass over,' indicates conquest. The result of the conquest will be that 'many countries shall be overthrown.' The war will have made terrible havoc with the Horn-kingdoms and the Austro-Papal Empire; the former will have lost their independence, and the latter will have been 'destroyed unto the end.'"{ Elpis Israel, pp. 375, 376.}.

John Thomas composed the above predictions in 1849, predicting that they should be fulfilled sometime in 1850. He wrote that the first part of Daniel 11, down to the first part of verse 40 was at that time {1849} fulfilled. John Thomas predicted that the Emperor of Russia would invade and conquer Constantinople, by way of the Black Sea. John Thomas also forecasted that the Ottoman Empire would come to an end, and a world war would commence. During this war the King of the North {Russian Czar} would subjugate many countries. None of these events developed, but the contrary, Russia was defeated and none of the predictions happened, and the time is long since passed. Russia was completely beaten by Turkey, France, and Britain. The Turkish, French and British armies occupied Russian territory, instead of the Czar taking Constantinople, and the Russians sunk their fleet, to prevent it from falling into the hands of the British.


"How highly important is this exhortation now, seeing that in about a dozen years the resurrection will have transpired, and no further invitation to inherit it be presented to the world. ** The glory that shall follow is great for the approved. The world is theirs, when all nations come and do homage before the Prince of Israel, because His judgments are made manifest. But before they can have 'power over the nations,' they must bind the strong that rule them. This is their mission at the end of the 1335 years: 'To execute vengeance upon the nations and punishment upon the peoples; to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron; to execute upon them the judgment written; this honour has all his saints.' From A.D. 1866 to A.D. 1911, a period of over forty years, they will be engaged in this work and in the organizing the world upon new and better principles." – {Anatolia, p. 97.}

In “Anatolia,” John Thomas scribes that for forty years, starting in 1866, the resurrected saints will be engaged in "executing vengeance upon the nations and punishment upon the peoples." John Thomas expected that during this time the Lord would be found in Jerusalem, with himself busy binding "kings with chains and nobles with fetters of iron." Needless to say that this also did not come to pass.


"That God is a material being residing in an unknown but local centre. In Him are assembled light, heat, electricity, colour, substance. The chief of these materials is electricity, which is OMNIPOTENT in its operations. Different elements and substances are but different forms of the same eternal essence, or first cause, described in the Bible as SPIRIT, but in scientific language as ELECTRICITY. The Omnipresence of God only means that His Spirit - [electricity] - flows from Him everywhere. The Holy Spirit is not a personality, but the vehicular effluence of the Father."


John Thomas and Wilson remained good friends until the mid 1860s, when both men began to have distinctive theological differences, which heighten later that decade. In 1864, Benjamin Wilson renamed the local congregation, the "Church of God of the Abrahamic Faith". By this date, Wilson’s theology was a mixture of Campbellism, Thomasism, and Adventism.


From the above information, we can identify the individuals that contributed directly or indirectly to the core beliefs of Charles Russell. The trail winds through false doctrine, false translations and false prophets terminating with a false religion.

It is important to understand the roots of our spiritual beliefs. The WTS doctrines could be referred to as a “chicken soup” of false and antiquated doctrines. It does not matter that the elders of the WTS attempt to change the recipe by adding something here and eliminating something there, they are still making “chicken soup.” Lately they have attempted to distance themselves by covering up what originated during  the 1800s,  unfortunately for them, they can pour all the ketchup they want they still have the same old “chicken soup,” for the key recipes came from the "Emphtic Diaglott." And when the elders attempted to heal their spiritually sick followers with their “doctrinal soup” they infected their followers with spiritual botchulism and allow them to die spiritually dead, for they never knew who God really is.

Sources for the Greek translation: Elis Ultra Bible, Crosswalk.com, Thayer’s and Smith’s Bible dictionary, and Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Web Counters

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