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   In our study of, and search for, the Bible's true doctrine, it is very important to realize the effect Rome had upon the forming of current Christian doctrine, whether you are Protestant or Catholic.  Many have shown that the majority of what Christian's believe today came, not from the Bible, but from Roman Councils, and traditions.  Beginning in the fourth century such Church Councils, convened through the influence of Emperors, "acceptable" Christian doctrine began to be codified.  Had the leaders of Christianity held to the doctrines of the Bible, instead of giving heed to heathen traditions, perhaps these Councils would have had some good.  Sadly, as time went on the Popes gained more power and authority, decided to make up their own doctrines, and enforced them through threats and murder in Inquisitions.  In substituting truth for error, "killing in God's name", forbidding to marry and eat certain meat, they fulfilled what Jesus and Paul had prophesied.  (John 16:2; I Timothy 4:1-3)
   For the historical record regarding the development and codifying of doctrine, and the issuing of Creeds by the Popes and the Roman Church, please read our page History of Christianity and Doctrine to the 19th Century.  
   As soon as the Papal institution lost its power, and the "Holy Roman Empire" came to an end in the early days of the nineteenth century, faithful Christians returned en masse to the Bible for the first time in nearly 1,400 years to see what truths were there.  Pastor Russell emerged as a leader in this.  Though he and the group he met with in Allegheny in those early years of the 1870's did not claim to originate many of these truths, Pastor Russell was the first to compile them and teach them as a united whole.  It was history alone that permitted this.  Remember that the Papacy had only just lost its iron rule over society in 1798, and the first successful Bible Society, with the goal of providing Bibles for the world, was established in 1804.  Much of the nineteenth century would have remained dark indeed had those events not occurred.  But, we can thank the heavenly Father for the greater light of our day!  
   Unlearning popular error, and the traditions which have existed and been forced on mankind for 1,400 years, is a difficult thing.  But those with an honest heart, a reasoning mind, and a loving spirit will discard those traditions as easily as discarding the belief that the world is flat.  
   Here are some of the more significant things which not only faithful Christians throughout the centuries believed and gave their very lives for, but which Pastor Russell, and Bible Students today, believe the Scriptures (not the creeds) show is the truth:

 —The first man, Adam, sinned. As a result of this sin, death has passed genetically to all of humanity. (Gen. 3:16-19; Exodus 34:7; Rom. 5:12)

 —Man was not given a mysterious entity called a "soul", rather Adam "became a living soul".  Death is unconsciousness, and called "sleep".  Part of the curse on Adam, and as a result, all of humanity after him, was "in dying you will die" - it is a dying process, not just the act of death.  As a result, we are all born dying.  The belief that one is more alive (or even conscious) after death was the first lie created by Satan. (see original Hebrew of Gen. 2:17); I Cor. 15:45; Psalm 146:3,4; Eccl. 9:5,10; Psalm 51:5; Genesis 3:4; John 8:44)

 —Mankind was condemned to death, not eternal torture. In the original languages of the Bible, "Hell" is the common grave, in a place of unconsciousness, where one "sleeps" awaiting the time they will be awakened (resurrected) from the dead, and restored to human perfection during the time of God's Kingdom. (Rom. 6:23; Psalm 146:3,4; Mark 5:39-41; John 11:11-14, and 22-25; Daniel 12:2; Eph. 5:14; I Cor. 15:21)

 —Abraham, the Father to all who have faith in God, was given a promise which will very soon be fulfilled. "In thee, and in thy seed, shall all of the families of earth be blessed." (Gen. 12:1-3; and 22:18)

 —This promised seed is composed of two parts: The spiritual and the earthly. "As the stars of the heavens, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore" (Gen. 22:17; Rom. 11:25,26)

 —Christ Jesus was the promised spiritual seed, giving up his perfect human life as a Ransom for Adam, and as a result, all of humanity, which will be "testified in due time". (Gal. 3:16; I Tim. 2:6; I John 4:3; II John 1:7; Rom. 5:17-19)

 —Jesus was the "firstborn" of a larger body of faithful Christians who also comprise the promised spiritual seed. (Rom. 8:29; Gal. 3:29)

 —These faithful Christians are also a bride for Jesus, "a people for his name", called out of all nations. This bride, called "the church", when completely assembled with Jesus in heaven, shall assist in the resurrection, and then the restoration of mankind to perfection. (Acts 15:14; Eph. 5:30-32; Heb. 12:23; I Cor. 6:2,3; Luke 22:29,30; Rev. 3:21; II Tim. 2:12; James 2:5; Obadiah 1:21; James 1:12; Rev. 2:10)

 —Faithful Christians, as with all the rest of humanity since creation, sleep in death, until the return of Christ Jesus, when he wakes them. During the interim period, those faithful Christians who are alive and remain on earth at that time will live out their lives, and upon their human death will not sleep as their brethren did, but are immediately "changed in a moment, in the blinking of an eye" and given their spiritual body. (I Thess. 4:13-15; I Cor. 15:51-53; Rev. 10:7; Rev. 14:13)

 —The nation of Israel, cast from God's favor during the first advent of Christ, are RESTORED to favor during the second advent for the purpose of saving all the nations. Israel and the Jews comprise the earthly part of the promised seed. (Luke 13:35; Acts 15:16,17; Rom. 11:25-27; Isaiah 42:6,7; Isaiah 49:8-10)

 —The ancient prophets of Israel will be the first of humanity resurrected to life on earth, and will be both the guides and official representatives of the nation of Israel and faithful Jews, guiding the remainder of mankind in all other nations to human perfection. This constitutes the inauguration of the foretold "New Covenant". (Heb. 11:40 and Heb. 12:23; Isa. 1:26; Eze. 16:61,62; Jer. 31:31-34; Psalm 45:16; Zech. 8:22,23)

 —The Kingdom of God is the 1,000 year judgment day during which mankind will be given opportunity to be restored to life. A period of 100 years is given to each human to prove some form of advancement and compliance with righteousness before they could be judged and sentenced to death due to their own sins. (II Peter 3:7-9; Isa. 65:20; Jer. 31:29,30)

 —Satan is bound, and other fallen angels who supported him are destroyed, so that mankind will have a full opportunity to learn righteousness in the Kingdom of God. "Nothing shall hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain". (Matt. 12:29; Rev. 20:1-3; I Cor. 6:3; Isa. 11:9)

 —The Bible has recorded the passage of time in detail so that through it we are able to determine exactly where we are in the stream of time. From the creation of Adam, to the end of the year 1874, passed exactly 6,000 years.

 —As pictured and symbolized in the Jewish ceremonies given to Israel by God, mankind's "work week" of sin and death would encompass 6,000 years, the final 1,000 years to be the Kingdom of God. (Exodus 20:9-11; Psalm 90:4; II Peter 3:7-9; Heb. 4:8,9; Col. 2:17; Heb. 10:1)

 —The beginning phase of the Kingdom would bring a "time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation" upon the whole earth for the purpose of wiping out all existing governmental and religious institutions (with the exception of Israel) to make way for the fuller establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth. At the same time it would be a time when "many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased". (Dan. 12:1-4; Hag. 2:6,7; Jer. 30:11)

 —During Jesus' first advent he was in the flesh, and everything was performed openly in the presence of everyone. But during Jesus' second advent he would be a spirit, invisible to human eyes, and everything clearly discerned at first only to his followers, and not the rest of the world. Only those who are following him faithfully would be able to discern that he had indeed returned by the signs he foretold, accompanied by the terrible "time of trouble" upon the earth. (John 14:19; I Tim. 6:14-16; I John 3:2; I Cor. 15:45; Heb. 5:7; Matt. 24:3; Eph. 1:18; Dan. 12:1; John 21:4,12; Matt. 28:17)

 —Jesus, who is now a glorified spirit creature returned invisibly to the earth at the end of the year 1874, and therewith began to bind Satan's influence, and bless the earth with "restitution", directing the great advances in knowledge, science and technology worldwide. (John 14:19; Acts 3:19-21; Matt. 12:29; Dan. 12:4)

 —Chronologically the Bible shows that the required 70 jubilees given to Israel, which were to be held every 50th year, come to completion at the end of the year 1874. Therewith begins an anti-typical jubilee where all of mankind will being to clamor for their rights, real or imagined, and cast off religious and social oppression unlike ever before in human history. (II Chron. 36:21; Lev. 25:8,10,11)

 —From the destruction of the Jewish Temple and the end of the representative Kingdom they ruled as God's people there was prophesied a period of "seven times", or prophetic "years" of 360 prophetic day/years each, to total 2,520 years. At the end of this period "he shall come whose right it is and I will give it to him". Jesus would expressly begin to rule over the earth, and in response "the nations were angry". These 2,520 years ended in 1914, and WWI marks the time when the nations, guided by Satan, became angry. (Lev. 26:28,31-35; Eze. 4:6 and Eze. 21:27; Rev. 11:17,18)

 — "The harvest is the end of the age" which began in 1874. The "tares" and the "wheat" were now ripe for harvesting. What was once entirely a wheat field planted by Jesus and his Apostles, now appeared to be a tare field. The true faith is hard to find on earth. (Matt. 13:24-30 and 36-43; Luke 18:8; II Thess. 2:3-7; Matt. 7:13,14 and 21-23; Luke 13:24-28)

 — God is not a Trinity, but the Father alone is God. Jesus, the son of God, was given a higher nature than what he had before he became a human because of his faithfulness. The holy Spirit is the power of God manifested, and not a personality. (Deut. 6:4; John 17:5; Phil. 2:9; Heb. 5:8,9; I Cor. 11:3; John 14:28; Luke 1:35; John 7:39 and 20:22)