Many Jehovah’s Witnesses may be surprised to know that the founder of their movement, Charles Taze Russell, was fascinated with Egyptian symbolism. This is often reflected in his life and writings. Even in his death, he had a huge pyramid structure dedicated to him, which can still be seen to this very day (see: Charles T. Russell Pyramid Tombstone Gravesite, Rosemont United Cemetery for further documentation, maps, and photographs). This tombstone was a fitting symbol for Russell reflecting his interest with the Great Pyramid of Gizeh.
During his life, Russell was so fascinated by the Great Pyramid of Gizeh that he looked to it for collaboration for his prophecies. He did this by using a system of measurments:
"In the passages of the Great Pyramid of Gizeh the agreement of one or two measurements with the present-truth chronology might seem accidental, but the correspondency of dozens of measurements proves that the same God designed both pyramid and plan..." (Watchtower 1922 June 15 p.187. This reference is not available on 1993/1995/1999 Watchtower CD-Rom)
In his Studies in the Scriptures series of books he wrote:
"So, then, if we measure backward down the "First Ascending Passage" to its junction with the "Entrance Passage," we shall have a fixed date to mark upon the downward passage. This measure is 1542 inches, and indicates the year BC 1542, as the date at that point. Then measuring down the "Entrance Passage" from that point, to find the distance to the entrance of the "Pit," representing the great trouble and destruction with which this age is to close, when evil will be overthrown from power, we find it to be 3416 inches, symbolizing 3416 years from the above date, BC 1542. This calculation shows AD. 1874 as marking the beginning of the period of trouble; for 1542 years BC plus 1874 years AD. equals 3416 years. Thus the Pyramid witnesses that the close of 1874 was the chronological beginning of the time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation -- no, nor ever shall be afterward. And thus it will be noted that this "Witness" fully corroborates the Bible testimony on this subject..." (Charles Taze Russell, Thy Kingdom Come, Studies In The Scriptures, vol. 3, 1904 edition).
In the 1910 version of the same book, Russell changed his dating from 1874 to 1914, a date that Jehovah‘s Witnesses still hold to as relevant to this very day:
"So, then, if we measure backward down the "First Ascending Passage" to its junction with the "Entrance Passage," we shall have a fixed date to mark upon the downward passage. This measure is 1542 inches, and indicates the year BC 1542, as the date at that point. Then measuring down the "Entrance Passage" from that point, to find the distance to the entrance of the "Pit," representing the great trouble and destruction with which this age is to close, when evil will be overthrown from power, we find it to be 3457 inches, symbolizing 3457 years from the above date, BC 1542. This calculation shows AD. 1915 as marking the beginning of the period of trouble; for 1542 years BC plus 1915 years AD. equals 3457 years. Thus the Pyramid witnesses that the close of 1914 will be the beginning of the time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation -- no, nor ever shall be afterward. And thus it will be noted that this "Witness" fully corroborates the' Bible testimony on this subject..." (Charles Taze Russell, Thy Kingdom Come, Studies In The Scriptures, vol. 3, 1910 edition).
Despite the issue of Russell changing key dates in his prophetic speculations (a major problem in and of itself), it is incredible that a man claiming to be God’s servant, actually used an occultic pagan Egyptian structure in support of the dates for his prophecies! It would also appear that Russell was not unique in his interest with the pyramid of Gizeh. He just seems to be one of many others who were fascinated with it. Interestingly, most of these groups were occultists!:
"The most intense speculation has always stemmed from the dozens of occult groups who see the pyramids as a source of immense, untapped power waiting to be released. In the late 1800's and early 1900's, occult organisations like `The Golden Dawn' used many of the trappings and imagery associated with ancient Egypt, from the hierarchy of priests to the modes of dress. Self-appointed magicians, for example the notorious `Great Beast' Aleister Crowley (himself a former leader of the Golden Dawn), styled his workings and ceremonies after the manner of the Egyptians. How he achieved this is not clear since the majority of his rituals are based in equal parts on tradition, guesswork and inspiration rather than hard fact. Crowley, a self proclaimed master of the occult, claimed that the secrets were passed to him by an being called `Aiwass' while communing with `the secret masters' and `higher entities' during trance states. In his biography, Crowley tells of spending a night meditating in the Kings chamber of the Great Pyramid alone with his wife." (The Giza Enigma, http://seekers.100megs6.com/the%20giza%20enigma.htm)As well as the initial attraction to the pyramids, by occultists, during this time, the Dictionary of the Occult, under the section on "Pyramids", explains how these ancient structures have been commonly used in occult lore to work with dates and calanders:
"The remains of four-sided stone structures of ancient Egypt and of the pre-Columbian cultures of Central America and Mexico used as ceremonial structures and as burial chambers. In occult lore they were also used for initiation in the mysteries, for calendric and astronomical purposes, and as reprositories or transformers of spiritual energy. It is alleged that the polyhedral geometry of the pyramid generates supernatural powers. In 1959 a Czech radi engineer, Karl Drbal, claimed that razor blades placed in the cavity of a pyramid modelled on the dimensions of the Great Pyramid (Cheops) of Giza in Egypt would be mysteriousely sharpened within twenty-four hours. Soon afterwards people were advancing the efficacy of pyramids for nurturing plants, healing wounds, curing headaches and aiding meditation. (Geddes & Grosset, Dictionary of the Occult, pp. 186-187, emphasis added).
Notice from the above occult sourcebook (an unbiased source, in that it is nothing to do with Russell) that pyramids were used for calendric purposes, just like what Russell did when he came up with his 1914 date (previousely 1874 in earlier eds. of the same book). As stated earlier, 1914 is a date that modern day Jehovah’s Witnesses still hold to.
The second president of the Watchtower Society, Joseph Rutherford, eventually began to distance himself from many of Russell’s teachings and doctrines in an attempt to stamp his own mark on the organisation. One of the many things he rejected from Russell’s teachings was his teaching on the Great Pyramid. He wrote:
"It is more reasonable to conclude that the great pyramid of Gizeh, as well as the other pyramids thereabout, also the sphinx, were built by the rulers of Egypt and under the directions of Satan the Devil... Then Satan put his knowledge in dead stone, which may be called Satans' Bible, and not God's stone witness..." (Watchtower 1928, November 15 p.344. This reference is not available on 1993/1995/1999 Watchtower CD-Rom).
Despite the fact the Rutherford turned against Russell’s teachings about the Great Pyramid, the fact still remains that at the foundation of Jehovah’s Witnesses there is a man who was heavily involved in pagan Egyptology and occultic symbolism.
Related links to external sites:
Russell's "pyramid chart" from his book Divine Plan of the Ages (still used by those who follow the teachings of Russell to this day - i.e. "Bible Students"): http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/2919/chart.html
The Charles Taze Russell Files: http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/2919/russell.html
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