PAUL SAMUEL LEO JOHNSON, known internationally as Professor Johnson, author, lecturer, biblicist, pastor, editor, scholar, professor and preacher, was born at Titusville, Pa., October 4, 1873; died October 22, 1950. He was married January 3, 1905, to Emma B. McCloud, daughter of a Columbus contractor. No children blessed this union. His wife survives him.
Both of his parents were of Hebrew descent and pre-natal influence largely contributed to his work as a servant of God. His father and he inherited their immense physical strength from his grandfather, who was a very strong man. His father was a baker in Poland, who, while in his twenties, came to America, where for six months he worked 20 hours each day, except on the Sabbath when he rested, in order that he might send for his wife and children to come to America. Bro. Johnson’s father was of high intelligence and as a linguist could speak fluently in 14 different languages. His mother sailed to America in a sailboat which many times was in danger of capsizing in the severe storms which it encountered. These trials occasioned her, a naturally devout woman, to draw very close to God for His help. Little Paul inherited his religious capacities from his mother, and his physical strength and mental powers from his father. He was born about nine months after his parents’ reunion in America and the family settled in Titusville, Pa., which at that time was a booming oil city.
“Bro. Johnson’s father was very prominent in Hebrew religious circles and became the president of the synagogue in Titusville. When he traveled he was often invited to address the congregations and in later years when he moved from city to city he was elected as the president of those synagogues also. Little Paul was educated in the knowledge of Hebrew, which gave him some fine training for his future work. He became Bar Mitzvah (son of the commandment) on Oct. 15, 1886. He also did well in his other studies, especially history. At the age of eight, with the encouragement of his father, he started to write a history of the United States. Another significant event in little Paul’s early life was his being taken by his father to the funerals of Bros. Stetson and Storrs, where he first saw Bro. Russell and heard him deliver the sermons. His father’s prominence in Hebrew circles occasioned many trials for his son Paul, which especially occurred after his mother’s death when he was only 12 years of age. Having been his mother’s favorite son and loving her very, very dearly, her death on January 4, 1886, was the occasion for much grief for young Paul. He mourned his mother as few children would mourn the loss of one of their parents. A short time later his father remarried, an act of which young Paul did not approve. He was mistreated by his family due to his love and allegiance to his departed mother, which caused a great deal of disagreement in the family circle. He became so distraught and discouraged that he ran away from home several times in 1887.
The last time he ran away he came to Philadelphia with another lad around his own age and found work as a bootblack. It was here that he first took notice of a picture of Jesus in His sufferings and at that time expressed sympathy for Jesus; shortly thereafter he found a Bible in a rubbish heap and carried it with him when he and another boy attended a service at the Arch St. M.E. Church (Broad and Arch Sts., Phil.). The minister spoke to the congregation on a subject which was beyond the boys’ comprehension. This caused young Paul to take out his Bible and start to read it while the sermon was being delivered. John 3: 16 caught his eye and as he meditated on the words, “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life, his heart was filled with further sympathy and love for Jesus. He recognized Jesus as His Savior and repented of his sins, thus receiving faith justification. This occurred on December 25, 1887. Bro. Johnson believed that he consecrated and was Spirit-begotten on that date. Later that day he attended a meeting in a Y.M.C.A. and there told of his decision to accept Christ. On making this confession and telling of his nationality, he was told that he must immediately write to his parents’ and tell them of his decision to accept Christ. Accordingly, he wrote to his parents, telling them of his acceptance of Christ and joining the Methodist Church. When he returned home later his father said nothing except to remark sarcastically, “I’m a Methodist, I am!” because he did not wish to desecrate the Sabbath. But as soon as the Sabbath was over he asked young Paul, “Why did you become a Christian?” Young Paul’s reply was: “So that I could obey Moses and the prophets.” His father then attempted in vain to force him to renounce Christ and become a “yehuda” again, but young Paul staunchly refused, being firm in his conviction that Jesus had died for him. He was ready to adhere to it at any cost. Because of his stand his father declared him to be incorrigible and he was sent to Morganza Reformatory on February 8, 1889, where he was grossly mistreated by the other boys, who were imprisoned there for criminal offenses, as well as by the officials of that institution. His father promised to take him out of the reformatory if only he would renounce Christ; but in spite of all his efforts the young convert undauntedly clung to Jesus as his personal Savior and was fully consecrated to Him, though he had many incorrect ideas regarding God’s plan. There was a Lutheran minister, a Pastor Kuldell, who regularly visited the reformatory. He came during young Paul’s stay and was told that there was a young Hebrew lad who was imprisoned there for accepting Christ as his Savior. Pastor Kuldell had many conversations with the young boy and greatly assisted him in his Christian life. Young Paul quickly gained the friendship of an official of the institution, earned the merits which were necessary for his release and left the institution on July 1, 1889. Since his father, in sending him to a penal institution, renounced his right as guardian of the boy (a fact which his father learned to his chagrin when he tried to have him returned to Morganza), the state appointed a guardian for the young lad.
He renewed his consecration vows and was baptized on July 14, 1889, and returned home. His father ridiculed him and disowned him as a son on July 15, 1889, even having a mock funeral service for him. The young lad was sent to Allegheny where his guardian lived and where he worked in a shoe store for some time. Providentially, the Lord placed him within a half-block of the Bible House where Pastor Russell lived, but did not give him the Truth at that time. The Lord had other plans for young Johnson, viz., that he acquire the education necessary to fit him for the great work which the Lord would have for him to do in later years. Without this excellent education in the various schools of learning he would not have been so well fitted for the defense of the Truth as given by the Lord through “that wise and faithful Servant,” for how could he have refuted all the attacks upon the Truth without his knowledge, e.g., of Greek and Hebrew? On one occasion his landlady went to hear Pastor Russell and came back and said she did not believe in hell because Pastor Russell says there is no hell. Young Johnson said, “If Pastor Russell does not believe in hell, which the Bible certainly teaches, he must be an infidel.” The Lord permitted him through this misrepresentation to hold to that mistaken view for over 14 years, during which he was further educated and trained for his future work.
PREPARATION FOR THE MINISTRY
A natural step was his preparation for the ministry, so on September 8, 1890, he entered Capital University in Columbus, Ohio. He had little difficulty in mastering his studies, for he had rare intellect, in fact so great that he was nicknamed “the mental giant.” He was mistreated there by the students because of his nationality and their jealousy, but he successfully overcame all these obstacles. He turned many of these efforts at persecution into long-remembered humorous incidents. Had he not been gifted with a sense of humor, he would have fainted by the wayside. He easily surpassed the other students in his attainments, e.g., in Church History he never missed a question. The history professor gave him a mark of 99 instead of 100, because he reasoned that no one was perfect and thus he could not conscientiously give him a perfect mark. Bro. Johnson graduated from the college on June 19, 1895, having won the valedictory and also the highest honors ever given in the history of that university. In that same year he entered the Theological Seminary of the Ohio Synod of the Lutheran Church, from which he graduated May 25, 1898. His teachers all recognized his ability as a scholar.
He graduated from the seminary May 25, 1898 and accepted a position at a small missionary church in Mars, Pa., where he stayed until he was called to Columbus to take charge of St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church. He there manifested his zeal by building a new edifice for his congregation in a very short period of time. He was a strict believer and expounder of the Lutheran faith and on one occasion when he preached on the doctrine of eternal torment, a member of the congregation said to him, “You certainly made the church smell of sulphur this morning!” It was on this same morning that the congregation was being offered tracts by some of the brethren of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, among whom was a Bro. Van Hook of the Columbus Ecclesia. Pastor Johnson called his audience’s attention to the volunteers, who had unwisely stationed themselves too close to the door, and cautioned them against taking the papers. He believed he knew all about the teachings of Pastor Russell, hence thought he was protecting his flock.
Early in 1903 he desired earnestly to have a more fruitful ministry for the Lord. Having read R.A. Torrey’s booklet on the baptism of the Spirit as an indispensable equipment for the Lord’s service, Pastor Johnson, still serving as a minister in the Lutheran Church, was so deeply impressed with the theory of the booklet that he re-consecrated himself, this time, he thought, for service, an unclear idea he had imbibed from the said booklet. Among other things, he told the Lord that he was willing to become a doormat on which the church members might wipe their feet, if that should be the Lord’s way of making him more effective for the Lord. He arose from his knees fully persuaded that the Lord had given him the desired gift. From that time onward, despite several errors that he had imbibed from the booklet, he manifested a different spirit from that which prevailed in the Lutheran Church and shortly afterward his study of the Bible extending over a period of 2½ months, without human aid, opened up to him a number of teachings that drew him away from those of the Lutheran Church and into some truths which were peculiarly harvest truths. However, his prejudice against “Russellism” was so great that he would not read its literature, nor listen to its expounders.
The following are the teachings that solely from Bible study without human help became clear to him from about February 23 to May 5, 1903, after which date no further such openings of the Scriptures came to him at that time: (1) the unity of God, as against the trinity; (2) human mortality, as against the deathlessness of the soul; (3) death, not eternal torment, as the penalty of sin; (4) Papacy, the beast, and Protestantism, the image of the beast, as Babylon; (5) the identity of the Millennium and the Judgment Day and that they are the same period; (6) probation for the non-elect dead during the Millennium; and (7) 1914 as the end of the Age. Immediately, while in the nominal church he began to teach and preach some of these things, which, of course, caused a great amount of opposition in the congregation and among the leaders of the Lutheran Church. His leaving the Lutheran Church was given wide publicity in newspapers all over the country. This occurred May 1, 1903.
HE FINDS THE TRUTH
Strengthened through the firm stand that he had taken and by the truths which the Lord had opened to him, he longed to be of greater service to the Lord, but realized that there were many things regarding God’s plan that he did not know. It was then that he contacted a friend who was an adherent of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society and asked him for advice on the subject. This brother promised to send one of the elders of the Columbus Ecclesia to confer, with him. By the strange irony of Providence, who should come to assist him but Bro. Van Hook, the tract distributor whom he had vigorously opposed when still Pastor of the St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church. Bro. Van Hook was amazed at the amount of Truth the Lord had revealed to Bro. Johnson without his having read Truth literature and tactfully induced him to read Bro. Russell’s writings, especially the Volumes and the Towers, which Bro. Johnson did, rapidly absorbing the glorious Truth as he studied it. How his heart rejoiced when he came to the chapter on “Christ in You, the Hope of Glory,” where he received his first knowledge of many of the glorious promises made to the Christ class. “Tabernacle Shadows” served to deepen this impression.
Under the guidance of the Columbus Ecclesia, Bro. Johnson increased in knowledge and the fruits of the Holy Spirit and at their request did unofficial pilgrim service in the surrounding vicinity, which service was also widely publicized in newspapers, his first sermon under the auspices of that ecclesia being preached on June 14, 1903. It was unusual for anyone so new in the Truth to be given such opportunities of service and soon his activities came to the attention of Pastor Russell, who invited him to Allegheny to discuss the matter of his being appointed as a pilgrim of the Society. After a short visit at the Allegheny Bible House during which Bro. Russell tested him, and upon receipt of a letter of recommendation from the Columbus Ecclesia, he appointed Bro. Johnson a pilgrim, i.e., a full-time traveling speaker, on May 1, 1904, exactly one year to the day after he had renounced the Lutheran Church. He labored long and fruitfully in the pilgrim service, traveling throughout the United States.
Having had difficulty in 1903 in seeing the Church’s share in the Sin-offering, he had earnestly prayed to the Lord to steel his mind against that doctrine if it were untrue, as it seemed to him at that time to impinge against the doctrine of the Ransom; but he vowed unto the Lord that if He would prove it to him as being true, he would defend that doctrine unto death. Upon ending that prayer he again opened the book on “Tabernacle Shadows” and for the first time the host of Scriptures treating of the Church’s share in the Sin-offering became clear to his mind and he joyously realized that Pastor Russell had set forth the matter aright. Often thereafter, he preached on this doctrine as he traveled from city to city, proving it by abundant literal and figurative Scriptures. On January 3, 1905 he was united in marriage to Sr. Emma B. McCloud, the service being performed by Pastor Russell at the Bible House in Allegheny. Sr. Johnson thereafter traveled with Bro. Johnson for many years in the pilgrim work.
His having originally experienced much difficulty in seeing the two parts of the Sin-offering enabled him afterward to appreciate that doctrine probably more fully than any other individual in the Truth, excepting Bro. Russell. He proved this in the 1908-1911 sifting, during which time many lost their standing, rejecting the Truth on the two Sin-offerings, Mediator, Covenants and Ransom. Remembering his vow of 1903, Bro. Johnson threw himself into the controversy with every power of body, mind and heart. Almost everywhere he went during the height of the sifting from early in 1909 to May, 1910, he preached on one or another of the four pertinent subjects, especially emphasizing the Church’s share in the Sin-offering, as he recognized it to be the key to the other involved points.
His zeal and heavy work contributed to his suffering “brain fag” on May 22, 1910, but the Lord immediately thereafter rewarded him for his steadfastness in service by giving him a sudden, unpremeditated insight into the types of the five siftings of the Harvest, as St. Paul points them out in 1 Cor. 10: 5-11. This understanding flashed through his mind with no study at all, by a sudden illumination. Since he believed that he had received some very important new truths in that trial, he desired to report the matter to Bro. Russell as quickly as possible. Writing out a paper explaining the matter, he boarded a train for Brooklyn, to which city the Society headquarters had been moved. Before reaching Brooklyn the train was wrecked, the only experience of this kind Bro. Johnson ever had in his career, but he arrived unharmed at Bethel and submitted his paper to Bro. Russell, who made an abstract of the lengthy article and later published it in the 1913 Tower. Returning to the West Coast, Bro. Johnson for about three months did hard physical labor and thus successfully overcame the brain fag under which he had suffered. He had feared that his brain was forever wrecked and could no more retain its hold on the 300 lectures which he delivered in rotation, quoting on the average of 125 Bible passages in each, but the Lord granted him an exceptionally quick recovery, for his wearied brain held firmly to all his discourses and he resumed his pilgrim work, being more fruitful than before. During the ensuing years, he traveled throughout the U.S. and Canada giving lectures for the brethren and the public, during which time he lectured in almost every city of 10,000 or over in the U.S. and Canada. Pastor Russell in later years sent him only to the larger cities and classes.
On October 31, 1916, his close friend and associate, Pastor Russell, died on a Sante Fe train near Pampa, Texas. His death was a great loss to Bro. Johnson, for they loved one another very much. Bro. Russell had made arrangements for Bro. Johnson to go to England in November to serve the brethren and investigate Society matters there. After Bro. Russell’s death he went on this trip. There Bro. Johnson experienced one of the most severe trials of his brilliant career. He worked hard in England and Scotland for several months and became very weary due to this hard work and great loss of sleep. The trouble there distressed him, for he could not understand how brethren could act so deceptively, for he had learned to look at the brethren as “Christ in you the hope of Glory” and could not conceive of how so-called brethren could mistreat one another as they did. Details of his work and its results in England are given in his writings, especially E7 and E10. He returned to America, only to become embroiled in controversy with various ones here.
It was at this time that J.F. Rutherford, setting aside the arrangements which Bro. Russell had made, usurped control of the Society by declaring, through a legal technicality, that the offices of the majority of the Board, who opposed him, were vacant. He then proceeded to elect some of his own supporters in their places, thereby seizing complete control. It was this course which caused Bro. Johnson and others to arise in opposition, and for Bro. Johnson to become his leading opponent. As J.F. Rutherford and others set aside one after another of the truths which were given through Bro. Russell, Bro. Johnson rallied to the defense of the Truth, as his writings (especially the ones on Merariism and Gershonism) attest. His ability to analyze the various matters and his thorough knowledge of the Scriptures made it possible for him to be very thorough and detailed in his refutations, so that the errorists who opposed him were left without any Scriptural ground on which to stand. When many of the others who opposed J.F. Rutherford’s course decided to form a corporation of their own, and began to practice some of the very things which they had condemned in J.F.R., Bro. Johnson again arose in opposition and became the leader of those who opposed their course. The many who viewed the situation as he did gathered themselves around him and it was about this time that he founded the Laymen’s Home Missionary Movement, an interdenominational religious movement which now has members in about 40 countries. He became the editor and publisher of many of Pastor Russell’s works; he became and continued during his earthly lifetime as the editor, author and publisher of the PRESENT TRUTH AND HERALD OF CHRIST’S EPIPHANY, a monthly religious journal which was also translated into several different languages and published by various branches of the Movement, and the “Herald of the Epiphany,” an eight-page bi-monthly religious journal which contains the simpler features of God’s plan. He also traveled and lectured extensively in various places. He was author and publisher of “GOD,” “CREATION,” “ELIJAH AND ELISHA,” “THE EPIPHANY‘S ELECT,” “A MISCELLANY,” “MERARIISM,” “GERSHONISM,” “NUMBERS (VOL. 1),” “THE PAROUSIA MESSENGER (VOL. 1),” “THE EPIPHANY MESSENGER,” “EXODUS,” “THE BIBLE,” “SAMUELS — KINGS — CHRONICLES,” “THE PAROUSIA MESSENGER (VOL. 2),” “CHRIST — SPIRIT — COVENANTS,” etc. He directed a large public work, the publication of millions of free Biblical tracts, most of them written by Pastor Russell, and a lecture bureau, with over 100 speakers. He continued in his work, including his service as General Pastor, Teacher and Trustee and Director of the Movement to the end.
BROTHER JOHNSON’S LAST MONTHS
AN ACCOUNT of our dearly beloved Bro. Johnson’s last months would not be complete without relating some events in his past few years, for his physical afflictions caused a gradual death. As the dear brethren generally know, Bro. Johnson wore out his body in the Lord’s service. In July, 1946, while on a pilgrim trip in England he had an attack of nervous exhaustion. This no doubt was accompanied by a slight stroke. The doctors whom he consulted in England firmly advised him to cease his activities until he could recuperate, but his zeal for the Lord and His people prompted him to continue his trip throughout England, Denmark, Poland, France and Belgium before returning to America. He recuperated somewhat from this attack and went about his normal activities at the Bible House. He had traveled to the Los Angeles and Chicago Conventions, and had been home only one day when on Nov. 19, 1946, he was stricken with a severe attack of coronary thrombosis, which kept him bedfast for nine weeks. In most cases sufferers of this type of thrombosis die instantly, but the Lord preserved Bro. Johnson, for his work was not yet finished. After his partial recovery from the attack of thrombosis, he resumed his normal activities, though at a much slower rate, due to his decreased strength. He frequently worked to exhaustion, as many of his messages in the PRESENT TRUTH informed us.
He continued his normal activities under great difficulties for some two years, until he was forced in Sept. 1948 to undergo a rectal operation. It usually takes some time to recover after an operation of this kind, but before he had had an adequate chance to recuperate, he, against the doctors’ advice, left by plane for the West Coast to attend the Los Angeles Convention. On the way back he stopped off at the Chicago Convention and served the brethren there, despite much physical suffering. After his return home, he required considerable physical rest. After recuperating somewhat, however, he went back to his normal routine, but with decreased ability; he required more physical assistance now than at any other time, for the operation had greatly weakened him.
He very gradually grew weaker, and this became more noticeable in the last six to ten months of his life on earth. He was still serving the Philadelphia Ecclesia on the first Sunday of each month with a discourse and a question meeting. He went about his daily routine, which at that time consisted of handling his correspondence, i.e., reading it, noting the orders, subscriptions, etc., and answering it, working on the books, and also working on and overseeing the publication of the PRESENT TRUTH, Herald, etc. He was still reading the Parousia and Epiphany volumes daily as he had opportunity, in order that he would be better able to remember the Truth. Sometimes when reading the Epiphany volumes, especially “God” and “Creation,” he would tell us that he marveled at the fact that the Lord had given these things to the brethren through him. His condition appeared to be the same, but he was beginning to lose his appetite and much of his weight and strength, which losses were aggravated by frequent stomach and intestinal upsets.
One day early in February he awoke in the morning with a severe pain in his chest. He said that it resembled the pain he had had when attacked with coronary thrombosis. This had happened on a few occasions before, so he followed the doctor’s suggestion and changed his position, i. e., he got up out of bed and stayed up until later in the morning. His doctor later told us that incidents like this seemed to indicate that some of the small vessels of the heart were bursting and becoming useless.
In the first part of March our dear Brother had an attack of intestinal grippe which continued for about three days. During this spell the doctor kept him on a rigid diet, which was continued for some time afterward. This sickness prevented his service to the Philadelphia Ecclesia on March 5. He experienced another stomach upset in the middle of April, but our dear Brother still went on with his regular work as before, though weakened still more. It was during this time that he spent a considerable amount of time on his finishing touches to the book, “Christ—Spirit—Covenants,” and got it ready for the press. Early in August he was again taken sick with another stomach attack, this time accompanied by a severe bowel condition. This was the worst he had had and it lingered longer than the others. This attack began on the day on which he was scheduled to serve the Philadelphia Church. Only by exercising a great amount of will power was he able to go to deliver the discourse and conduct the question meeting. His subject was Ps. 46, which proved to be a great blessing to the brethren. About a week later he returned to his normal diet and resumed his routine duties.
HE SERVES AT THE CONVENTION
He attended the Philadelphia Convention under a great physical handicap and served the dear ones on two days. After the Convention he was in good spirits and was much more active in his work, including the reading of some books on the Reformation. He felt so much better that he asked one morning to have all the arrangements made to go to the Chicago Convention and later also talked of going to Los Angeles, if able. On Sept. 9 for the last time he entertained some guests at the Bible House and seemed to feel better as he recounted some of his early experiences to them for about two hours at the table. On Sept. 19 he had another spell of stomach sickness, which was to be his last. Extending over a period of several days, it weakened him very much.
On the 23rd and 24th of Sept. some difficulty in breathing developed. The doctor diagnosed it as pulmonary edema due to heart and other troubles, and suggested a minor operation, but Bro. Johnson said that he did not want to go to a hospital. After he had been given special treatment he seemed to improve, but this was only temporary, however, and he soon began feeling worse again. On Oct. 2 he sat at his desk for the last time. On his birthday, Oct. 4, he was very weak and tired, but the doctor advised Sr. Johnson to have a birthday party for him in spite of his illness, saying that Bro. Johnson might not be with us long. Sr. Johnson was carried upstairs and we had a birthday party for him. He appreciated it, especially a cake and a little bunch of flowers, but could hardly eat, due to weakness and weariness. He seemed to be very tired for several days, even though his heart and blood pressure were better.
The doctor decided to change his medicine and this seemed to result in his mind becoming so active that he got very little rest day or night until the doctor changed the medicine again. But now he was much weaker due to lack of sleep for about a week. It was also about this time that Bro. Alger, an osteopathic physician, arrived to treat Bro. Johnson. Bro. Johnson’s hand was getting too shaky to sign his name very legibly. The last time he signed his name was on Oct. 15 and at that time he had also stopped attending to the mail. He seemed to be restless again and weaker. On the day that Bro. and Sr. Hedman returned from their trip he was definitely worse. He did not clearly recognize them the next morning. During Tuesday night, Oct. 17, he continually called for water, for his illness caused an abnormal thirst. Finally he fell asleep and early the next morning he seemed better and more talkative. Several times he repeated the words, “O come, let us worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” This was the last thought on the Scriptures he was heard to express. During his illness he often would be praying aloud, saying, “Lord, give me the heritage of the saints,” “Jesus, give me Your life,” etc.
On Thursday morning he was no longer able to speak to us and the only recognition he showed was to nod his answer when asked if he wanted a drink of water. He seemed to be very tired, however, and it was only with difficulty that he was awakened to eat his breakfast. He continued in this tired condition for the rest of the day. Bro. Alger suggested consultation with another osteopath, and his suggestion was followed. On Friday Bro. Johnson seemed to have much difficulty in swallowing his food and this increased gradually until he was unable to take much food without choking on it. On Saturday morning he could not take even a drink of water. When the doctor arrived and examined him he said that no more could be done for him, that he would be with us only a few hours more. All were surprised and shocked to hear this, as we firmly believed that the Lord would keep him here much longer. We did not think that it could be this way, and yet the good Lord, who makes no mistakes, had arranged it so. Several days earlier we had asked whether intravenous feeding and other special treatment would help, but the doctor had said it was not advisable in Bro. Johnson’s case. We asked him again if there was anything which could possibly be done and he replied, No.
We decided to have him call in another doctor to give his opinion of the case. He came and after an examination suggested removing him to a hospital. He said there was a slim chance of his responding to special treatment. So our dear Brother was moved to the M.E. Hospital early Saturday afternoon, where he was given intravenous feeding and oxygen, which seemed to help him to breathe easier. But tests showed that he had a very high uremic count in his blood. A specialist examined him and confirmed the opinion that he did not have much chance for recovery. There was a case similar to his in the hospital in which there had been a recovery and we reasoned that if this other man had recovered in a similar case, surely the Lord would preserve Bro. Johnson. So we were a little encouraged again. One of us stayed at the hospital with him, while the others went back to the Bible House.
On Sunday morning Bro. Johnson was decidedly worse, his breath getting shorter, his kidneys ceasing to function and his blood pressure and pulse getting weaker. They now placed him into an oxygen tent. It became quite evident that unless the Lord performed a miracle Bro. Johnson would not remain in the flesh much longer. Some of the other brethren came and Bros. Krewson, Hedman, A. Gohlke and Jolly in turn offered a special prayer at the bedside subject to the Lord’s will. It was then that the following telegram was sent to some of the classes: “DEAR BRETHREN, BROTHER JOHNSON CRITICALLY ILL. HOSPITAL. PRAYERS DESIRED FOR GOD’S WILL.” Bro. Johnson never regained consciousness again. He did not have any noticeable pain and at about 2: 30 his breathing began to become irregular and it finally ceased at 2: 40 p.m. Thus ended the earthly pilgrimage of this beloved servant of God. His labors of love on behalf of the Lord, the Truth and the brethren had finally used up his human all. He now went home to meet His beloved Lord and Master.
After Bro. Johnson’s death the following telegram was sent to various ecclesias and to our representatives in other countries: “OUR DEAR BROTHER JOHNSON PASSED BEYOND THE VEIL TWO FORTY SUNDAY AFTERNOON. FUNERAL FRIDAY, OCTOBER 27, ONE O’CLOCK, TABERNACLE. FAITH CAN FIRMLY TRUST. PRAYERS NEEDED.” The following letter was mailed to other ecclesias and to certain isolated individuals “Greetings in the name of our dear Lord and Redeemer!
Our dear Brother Johnson passed beyond the veil on Sunday, October 22, at 2: 40 p.m. at the M.E. Hospital, Philadelphia. The funeral services will be held Friday, October 27, at 1: 00 p.m. in the Epiphany Tabernacle, 11th St. and Snyder Ave., Philadelphia, followed by interment at Whitemarsh Memorial Park, Ambler, Pa. Of course, we all feel our loss very deeply, but rejoice in his great gain. This came earlier than we had expected, but God, who doeth all things best, saw fit to take him home at this time. It is not ours to question why, for we can rest by faith in our Father’s supreme wisdom and love and trust Him to guide us in this dark hour. “We would rather walk in the dark with God than go alone in the light.” Please notify the dear ones in your locality as you have opportunity. We especially ask for your prayers on our behalf and on behalf of all God’s dear ones. (Signed) R.G. Jolly, on behalf of the Bible House Family.”
The Present Truth #384, December 1950