A great deal of discussion has centred on whether Russell, the founder of the Watch Tower Society, had connections with Freemasons. Under his leadership the Watchtower contained many Masonic symbols. The terms Watchtower, Golden Age, Jehovah, New World Order, all-seeing-eye, winged sun disk, two columns, pyramids and Russell’s strong Zionist stance are part of Freemasonry.
Much of this traces back to the Egyptians. The evidence is not conclusive that Russell adopted these beliefs from Freemasons and there is a more probable connection to his Second Adventist ties.
The purpose for what follows is to show that many of the beliefs and symbols Russell included in the Watchtower publications are what the religion now claim to be of pagan and even occult background. Russell’s Adventist and Masonic related beliefs help explain the source of some of his teachings and the development of his religion. It raises the question that if this is truly the only religion directed by Jehovah, why God allowed or even directed for symbols of this kind to identify his people, even well after the claimed cleansing of his spiritual temple in 1919.
“For years, Bible Students wore a cross and crown as a badge of identification, and this symbol was on the front cover of the “Watch Tower” from 1891 to 1931. But in 1928 it was emphasized that not a decorative symbol but one’s activity as a witness showed he was a Christian. In 1936 it was pointed out that the evidence indicates that Christ died on a stake, not a two-beamed cross.” Jehovah’s Witnesses – Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom p.200
It is interesting for Proclaimers to mention that the Bible Students wore a cross and crown. What it fails to mention in this brief reference is what this symbol represented. Wearing a cross is understandable, but why a ‘Cross and Crown’, and what is the meaning of it? The cross and crown is actually referred to as the Knights Templar, in honour of the Knights that are said to have devoted their lives to guarding the Holy Grail. This is a symbol that has been synonymous with secret societies, such as the Illuminati and is also used by Freemasons and Christian Scientists.
The Wreath that appears around the crown also appears in the symbol of the United Nations and the Star Trek logo, both heavily influenced by Freemasons.
The Knights Templar appears on each side of the pyramid monument that adorns Russell’s grave, as shown below. Why would Russell introduce what the Watchtower now claim is pagan symbology if he was directed by God’s Holy Spirit?
The Winged Sun Disk
The winged sun disk is an Egyptian religious symbol and appeared on the cover of Studies In the Scriptures – The Divine Plan of the Ages. This symbol is used by Freemasons and occult groups.
A Masonic reference work describes the winged sun disk it this way:
“… the Winged-Disk, with the Uraei of Egypt, the original of which we find in the text summarized by Naville in the “Myths of Horus,” pII. xii. ff; “horus commanded Thoth that the Winged-Sun-Disk, with Uraei, should be brought into every sanctuary wherein he dwelt, and into every sanctuary of all the gods of the lands of the South and the North, and in Amentet, in order that they might drive away evil from therein….” This is what is meant by the Winged-Disks, with the Uraei, which are seen over the entrances of the courts of the temples of all the gods and goddesses of Egypt.” (Churchwald, Albert, The Signs and Symbols of Primordial Man(London: George Allen & Co., Ltd.) 1913 p. 344)
The Rosicrucian Order, AMORC (Ancient and Mystical Order Rosae Crucis) is an occult organization that uses the Winged-Disk as their logo. Rosicrucians are said to have existed for millennium and the AMORC organization started in 1915. As stated on their website http://www.rosicrucian.org/home.html (as at 30 March 2005)
“The goal of the Council is to bring cosmic help to all those in need of it. The Council does this by putting certain spiritual energies into motion and directing them in accordance with mystical law and natural principles.”
A Rosicrucian reference work says this about the winged-disk or globe (Swinburne, Clymer, The Rosicrucians Their Teachings (Quakertown, PA.: The Philosophical Pub. Co.), 1923 p. 112):
“The Winged Globe is pre-eminently a Rosicrucian symbol, although the Illuminati may lay claim to it, and it may be admitted that it is of Egyptian origin. The Winged Globe is the symbol of the perfected soul making its flight back to the source of its creation in the Elysian fields beyond.”
This is not a common symbol of Christianity that Russell inadvertently borrowed, this was an unchristian symbol solely of pagan origins.
“Prof. Smyth found the first of these measures (a) to be 1874 Pyramid inches, the second (b), 1881 Pyramid inches, and the third (c), 1910 Pyramid inches; Thus reduced, they would give the dates (a) October, 1874, (b) October, 1881 and (c) October, 1910 A.D.” Studies In the Scriptures – Thy Kingdom Come p.363
Russell had great interest in the pyramid of Gizeh (or Giza) and its relationship with Bible prophecy. Bible Students continued to use the pyramid of Gizeh as part of prophecy until the 1930’s.
Russell’s belief in the sign of the pyramid most likely came from the Second Adventists. In 1859 John Taylor published The Great Pyramid: Why Was It Built? And Who Built It? He put forward the idea that the architect and supervisor of the Great Pyramid was not an Egyptian but Noah. (Other pyramidologists believe it was Melchizedek.) Piazzi Smyth, an astronomer accepted this idea. In June 1876 he published an article in the Bible Examiner, a journal owned by George Storrs in Brooklyn. In 1877 Joseph Seiss also published a book on the pyramid entitled Miracle in Stone.
George Storrs then ran a series of articles on the Pyramid and its prophetic significance in the Herald of Life and the Coming Kingdom.
Russell attributes his knowledge on pyramids to Smyth.
“Here, thanks to the very accurate measurements of all the passages, furnished by Prof. Smyth, we are enabled to reach what to us are by far the most interesting features of the testimony of this “Witness” yet delivered.” Studies In the Scriptures – Thy Kingdom Come p.338
Charles Taze Russell is buried in a family owned grave at the Rosemont United Cemetery, 226 Cemetery Lane, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This cemetery contains the remains of known Masons and overlooks a Masonic temple. It is claimed that Russell was embalmed at death and next to his grave is a pyramid erected as a memorial. Weighing several tons, it is complete with symbols of the knight’s templar, All-Seeing-Eye and the inscription Watch Tower Bible And Tract Society.
“AT THE GRAVE
On Monday, a party of about 150 was conducted by Brother Bohnet to the grave of Brother Russell. Upon a hillside, sloping towards the south, we joined hands around the grave and sang: ‘Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love; the fellowship of kindred minds is like to that above.’
Our last lingering look upon the scene recalled the peaceful manner of our Pastor’s ‘passing beyond the veil.’ Brother Rutherford’s words came to mind: ‘I am glad this prison experience was reserved for us, rather than for our dear Brother Russell.’
We visited the marble works and there watched the workmen slowly but surely chisel out the monument to be erected as a memorial to the Society. The Watchtower Society burial lots in Rosemont United Cemeteries, five miles due north of Pittsburgh City, contain ample grave space for all the members of the Bethel family, and the pilgrims and their wives – in all more than 275 adult graves. In the exact center of the Bethel lot will be erected diagonally the Pyramid Shape Monument as designed by Brother Bohnet, and accepted by Brother Russell as the most fitting emblem for an enduring monument on the Society’s burial space. The size of this structure is nine feet across the base, and its apex stone is exactly seven feet above the ground surface level.” Souvenir Report of the Bible Students Convention, Pittsburgh, PA. 1919 January 2-5 p.7
Pyramids are a major aspect of Freemason teaching and many pagan religions. They were generally used as temples and played an important part in the belief of the afterlife. According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica on DVD 2002
“Pyramids have been built at various times in Egypt, The Sudan, Ethiopia, western Asia, Greece, Cyprus, Italy, India, Thailand, Mexico, South America, and on some islands of the Pacific Ocean. Those of Egypt and of Central and South America are the best known.”
Russell’s interest was particularly in the Great Pyramid of Gizeh, built for Cheops, and was based on Isaiah 19:19-20;
“In that day there will prove to be an altar to Jehovah in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to Jehovah beside its boundary. 20 And it must prove to be for a sign and for a witness to Jehovah of armies in the land of Egypt; for they will cry out to Jehovah because of the oppressors, and he will send them a savior, even a grand one, who will actually deliver them.”
He believed that the sign of Egypt was related to the dimension of the pyramid of Gizeh. In the early 1900’s he went to Egypt to measure the pyramid and claimed that the passage of the great pyramid of Gizeh was 2170 inches and that it was built in 2170 B.C.E. The significance of this teaching is highlighted by it having over 60 pages devoted to it in Thy Kingdom Come.
Pyramid as appearing in Studies in the Scriptures Series III – Thy Kingdom Come and on the cover of The Divine Plan of the Ages
Russell originally used the size of a pyramid to prove that 1874 A.D. marked the beginning of the period of trouble, and 1914 as the end. When 1914 did not bring about Armageddon Russell changed the 1916 edition of Thy Kingdom Come to include new measurements on the size of the pyramid to show that 1914 was the beginning of the time of trouble. Russell’s claim was that the great pyramid of Giza had somehow changed size by 41 inches. The two quotes following are from different editions of the same book.
“We find it to be 3416 inches, symbolizing 3416 years from the above date, B. C. 1542. This calculation shows A.D. 1874 as making the beginning of the period of trouble; for 1542 years B.C. plus 1874 years A.D. 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, not ever shall be afterward.” Studies In the Scriptures – Thy Kingdom Come 1897 ed. p.342
“We find it to be 3457 inches, symbolizing 3457 years from the above date, B. C. 1542. This calculation shows A.D. 1915 as making the beginning of the period of trouble; for 1542 years B.C. plus 1915 years A.D. equals 3416 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, not ever shall be afterward. ” Studies In the Scriptures – Thy Kingdom Come 1916 ed. p.342
This belief in pyramids continued under the leadership of Rutherford as late as 1925.
“In the great Pyramid of Egypt, standing as a silent and inanimate witness of the Lord, is a messenger; and its testimony speaks with great eloquence concerning the divine plan.” Watchtower 1925 May 15 p.148
In 1928, this teaching was discarded by Rutherford with the comment that the pyramid is “Satan’s Bible, and not God’s stone witness.” (Watchtower 1928 Nov 15 p.344) Was Rutherford implying that Russell was guided by Satan in coming up this teaching?
This was not an inaccurate mainstream teaching of Christendom that Bible Students had inherited, such as they claim to have done with practices such as Christmas. Neither did Jesus cleanse the Watchtower Society of this teaching when he came to his spiritual temple in 1919. Though Rutherford claims it was from Satan’s Bible he himself had written about it, and Russell had introduced it under the guise of being directed by Holy Spirit as God’s chosen “mouthpiece”.
All Seeing Eye
Crowning Russell’s pyramid is The All Seeing Eye, a symbol used by Freemasons, Mormons, in occult worship, Buddhism and appears on the American dollar bill. Other names for this are Eye of Horus or Utchat Eye as it is associated with both the Egyptian God Horus (god of war) and his father Osiris (who along with Isis comprise the Egyptian Triad). Called the “mal ochio” (evil eye), this object is regarded by Satanists as the symbol of Lucifer. It is known to have been Satanist Aleister Crowley’s favourite symbol.
To understand why Russell had an interest in the all Seeing Eye we can look to its meaning to Freemasons as explained by Albert G. Mackey, M.D.
“An important symbol borrowed by the Freemasons from the nations of antiquity. Among the Egyptians, Osiris, their chief deity was symbolized by an open eye.” The eyes of Jehovah are in every place,” beholding and watching, the evil and the good. The “All-Seeing Eye” is a symbol of watchfulness and the eye of the Grand Architect. It is the symbol of his Divine watchfulness and care of the Universe.” phoenixmasonry.org (15 Jan 2005)
The All-Seeing Eye may, then, be considered as a symbol of God manifested in his omnipresence-his guardian and preserving character-to which Solomon alludes in the Book of Proverbs (xv. 3), when he says, “The eyes of Jehovah are in every place, beholding (or as it might be more faithfully translated, watching) the evil and the good.” It is a symbol of the Omnipresent Deity.”
The reason that the Freemasons use this symbol invokes biblical connotations, yet has pagan origins.
The Tetragrammaton and word Jehovah have been used by Freemasons over the centuries.
“The equilateral triangle appears to have been adopted by nearly all the nations of antiquity as a symbol of the Deity. Among the Hebrews, it has already been stated that this figure, with a yod in the centre, was used to represent the tetragrammaton, or ineffable name of God.” phoenixmasonry.org 15 Jan 2005
The star on the original Watchtower seal has Masonic connotations, being used on Masonic Seals.
Two columns appeared on the invitation to The Photo Drama of Creation. These columns have Masonic origins:
“You entered the Lodge between two columns. They represent the two which stood in the porch of the Temple, on each side of the great eastern gateway. These pillars, of bronze, four fingers breadth in thickness, were, according to the most authentic account–that in the First and that in the Second Book of Kings, confirmed in Jeremiah–eighteen cubits high, with a capital five cubits high.” sacred-texts.com (9 Apr 2006)
The Pleiades are a dipper-shaped cluster of stars situated in the “shoulder” of the constellation Taurus. To the ancient Romans the constellation of the Pleiades was known for its association with homosexuality. In the 20th Century it was popularised by the UFO and flying saucer buffs. Also known as The Seven Sisters it is mentioned in the Bible in Job 9:9, Job 38:31 and alluded to in Amos 5:8.The constellation symbol is found on the west tower of the Mormon Temple and was known by the Egyptians as the “Dragon of the Seven Stars.”
I have heard Witnesses belittle the Mormon belief that they shall rule on planets as Gods. It may surprise these people that both Russell and Rutherford taught that when they died they would be taken to the Pleiades constellation, which was said to be the dwelling place of God. This is a close parallel with the Mormons belief, that on their resurrection they become gods on various planets.
Russell took this idea from Seiss. Seiss taught that the physical construction of the Great Pyramid indicated that Alcyone (the central star in the Pleiades constellation) is at the centre of the universe. This belief appears in Studies in the Scriptures, Series 3 p. 327.
Rutherford continued with the teaching in the 1928 book Reconciliation, and said on page 14:
“The constellation of the seven stars forming the Pleides appears to be the crowning center around which the known systems of the planets revolve even as our sun’s planets obey the sun and travel in their respective orbits. It has been suggested, and with much weight, that one of the stars of that group is the dwelling-place of Jehovah and the place of the highest heavens; that it is the place to which the inspired writer referred when he said: “Hear thou from thy dwelling place, even from heaven” (2 Chron. 6:21); and that it is the place to which Job referred when under inspiration he wrote: “Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?” – Job 38:31.
The constellation of the Pleiades is a small one compared with others which scientific instruments disclose to the wondering eyes of man. But the greatness in size of other stars or planets is small when compared with the Pleiades in importance, because the Pleiades is the place of the eternal throne of God.”
Mention of Pleiades is also in Creation 1927 p.94. This teaching was not discontinued until 1953.
“Some attribute striking qualities to these constellations or star groups and on the basis of such they then offer private interpretations of Job 38:31, 32 that amaze their hearers
when viewed scripturally they are completely without foundation…. Hence it is useless to indulge in unprofitable speculations. Incidentally, Pleiades can no longer be considered the center of the universe and it would be unwise for us to try to fix Gods throne as being at a particular spot in the universe. Were we to think of the Pleiades as his throne we might improperly view with special veneration that cluster of stars” Watchtower 1953 Nov 15 p.703
The Watchtower subtly blames the members, saying ‘some attribute striking qualities’, but does not refer to the fact that the reason the members had this belief was that it had been taught in Watchtower publications.
Astrology & Spiritualism
Russell was not only into Egyptology but also referred to Astrology for confirmation of his predictions.
“The above thoughts came to us as we recently read the predictions of some noted astrologers, whose information we credit to the spirit demons and not to ability to read destiny in the stars. One of these in particular closely touches dates and incidents on the line of our Scriptural expectations as follows:–
ASTROLOGICAL PREDICTIONS OF OUR TIME
“In a dozen publications of this present springtime over all Europe astrologers agree that an extraordinary period is approaching. In the first place Saturn enters the sign of the Fishes in April, 1905, to remain there during 1906 and 1907. He will come out only in July, 1908. And these conjunctions, most rare in astrology, promise to be particularly hard on France.”” Zion’s Watch Tower 1905 Oct 1 p.293
The constellations of the Zodiac were regarded in 1914 as of Divine origin with each of the 12 Zodiacal signs having corresponding statements in the Bible.
“AN ASTROLOGER’S OUTLOOK
We seriously question all the claims of astrology; yet the following seem remarkably true to our expectations based upon the Word of the Lord Saturn is the representative of the great motive power that has dominated the mind of man up to the present time. Jupiter, representing law, religion and morality, has been perforce subservient to Saturn’s greater and more potent force. When Uranus and Jupiter meet in the humane sign of Aquarius in 1914, the long-promised era will have made a fair start in the work of setting man free to work out his own salvation, and will insure the ultimate realization of dreams and ideals of all
In 1903 Jupiter will be in the Sign of Pisces-sign of the feet, or understanding, and the synthesis of the new religion is Love.” Zion’s Watch Tower 1903 May 1 p.131
Uranus and Jupiter meet in the humane sign of Aquarius every 80 or so years and this occurrence is held as a powerful sign by Astrologers. The start of World War One in 1914 is stated by Astrologers to be proof that extraordinary events do occur with the meeting of Uranus and Jupiter in Aquarius.
The 1933 book Occult Theocrasy, tracing religious occult beliefs throughout history rightfully discussed the early 1900’s Watchtower Society.
“In 1879 Russell founded The Watch Tower of which he was the sole editor. The Russellite teaching, drawing its own arbitrary conclusions and proclaiming them as final, professes to prove from Biblical sources that all Christian churches are evil and corrupt, that the time of the Gentiles ended in 1914, and that the Jews must henceforth reign supreme over the world. It also elaborates an occult dogma alleged to be based on biblical precedents.”1
A look at the history of Jehovah’s witnesses show Russell was greatly influenced by Masonic teachings, partly due to the views of Adventist teachers around him. These were not a minor error on his part, but rather well developed teachings that were promoted for fifty years, well into the leadership of Rutherford. Long after Jesus is said to have inspected and cleansed his organization in 1919 Jehovah’s Witnesses continued to promote these pagan views as truth. It is difficult to reconcile these teachings with Watchtower statements that they are the only channel the Lord uses to feed his members with truth, and that there has been no significant change in the truths they have promoted.
(1) Occult Theocrasy, Volume 1, Lady Queenborough Edith Starr Miller (published posthumously for private circulation only, 1933) p.539