Chapter 7 – The Tempest

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“Look! A calamity is going forth from nation to nation, and a great tempest itself will be roused up from the remotest parts of the earth.”

 –Jeremiah 25:32 –

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PageLines- D-7-The-Tempest-thumb.jpgWhen Charles Taze Russell formed the original Allegheny Bible study group in 1874 it had been less than a decade since the American Civil War had ended. To put things into some perspective, at that time the last wave of the westward-heading pioneers were still plodding across the open prairie in ox and horse drawn covered wagons and wars were still being waged using muskets, bayonets and iron cannon balls. When the Watchtower originally began publishing its message to the world it was still more than a decade before the first crude “horseless carriages” would appear on city streets and country lanes. And the Wright brothers had not even launched the era of aviation when the first International Bible Students in America and Europe began to anticipate the great and fearful sights that Jesus foretold would appear in the heavens as a sign. .

There were no telephones, no radios, no televisions, no computers, no i-pads or earth-orbiting satellites back then. The man-powered printing press and the telegraph were still the state-of-the-art means of communication and the bicycle was the most modern form of personal transportation. The world was a much bigger and simpler place, or at least it must have seemed that way. 

But that was the setting on the world’s stage when the forerunners of the modern movement of Jehovah’s Witnesses first came on the scene and began to announce the coming of the great tempest of Jehovah. And for a brief period during the terrible tumult of the First World War, especially as it was accompanied with the horrific Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918, it surely must have seemed to many as though the horsemen of the Apocalypse had been unleashed and that civilization itself was in its death throes. 

But of course, that was not the case at all. Instead of marking the start of the calamitous conclusion of the system of things, since 1914 the world has developed in ways that were unimaginable to that bygone g