Charles Taze Russell 1852 - 1916

The founder of the Jehovah's Witness branch of Christianity, which was known during his lifetime as The International Bible Students.

Originally an Adventist, Russell split with that church because he disagreed with their belief that Christ would come to Earth in the flesh in 1874. He instead came to believe that Christ would return as a spirit, present but invisible, and published a pamphlet to this effect entitled The Object and Manner of the Lord's Return. Thus began a long and illustrious publishing career.

In 1877, with the help of N.H. Barbour, he published another book entitled Three Worlds or Plan of Redemption, which predicted that the end of Satan's rule on Earth, known as the "Gentile times" would finally end in 1914.

In 1879 he started a periodical called Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence (in circulation today under the title The Watchtower). By 1880 he was the leader of several congregations of followers, mostly concentrated around Pittsburgh. By the early 1900's more than 3,000 newspapers in the US, Canada and Europe regularly published his sermons.

It was not until 1931 that his International Bible Students voted to change their name to Jehovah's Witnesses.

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