I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to talk about the 100th anniversary of Watchtower false prophecy. This blog post is about a video I did about an article I wrote in our newsletter. Wow, that’s three different mediums. I think I’ll post this on Twitter too. Anyway, enjoy the video. I’ll also post the article below for your convenience. I know people enjoy references just about as much as I do and all the references are included in the article.
Please take this unique opportunity to take advantage of… this… unique… opportunity. Yeah, um. I mean, share it with your Jehovah’s Witness family, friends, loved ones and any random Witness who knocks on your door.
2014: The 100th Anniversary of a Watchtower False Prophecy
October of this year, 2014, marks the 100th anniversary of the Watchtower’s (WT) most important date. Current WT doctrine teaches that Jesus returned to earth invisibly at that time and has ruled from the heavens as King since then. The official WT web site, JW.org, speaks of this 100 year anniversary in an article titled, “100 Years of Kingdom Rule-How does It Affect You?” Paragraph three states, “About 20 years before 1900, God’s servants began to understand a prophecy that was written by Daniel over 2,500 years ago: ‘In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed.’ (Daniel 2:44) For more than 20 years, the Bible Students preached that 1914 would be a very important year… later that year, World War I began, and Bible prophecy came true.”
Technically, this quote is true. The Bible Students, as Jehovah’s Witnesses were then known, did preach that 1914 would be a very important year, but what the article fails to mention is exactly what was expected in 1914. The WT today would have you believe that they always taught that Jesus would become King in the heavens in 1914. The primary teaching book used by Jehovah’s Witnesses to indoctrinate people today is titled, “What Does The Bible REALLY Teach?” This book states on page 85, “World events that began in 1914 confirm that the calculation of these sincere Bible students was correct. The fulfillment of Bible prophecy shows that in 1914, Christ became King and God’s heavenly Kingdom began to rule.”
When the quote from the book is paired with the quote from the web site, this makes it look like the WT successfully predicted World War I and the coronation of Jesus as King in 1914, but what was taught then and what is taught now are two completely different doctrines. First, let’s look at what was definitely not taught about 1914.
It is impossible for the WT to have successfully prophesied that Jesus was going to become King in 1914 for one simple reason; at the time, they taught that Jesus had already become King in 1874 and taught that doctrine until the 1930’s. Two quotations, one before the 1914 date and one afterwards will prove this point.
“Our Lord, the appointed King, is now present, since October 1874, A.D.” (Studies in the Scriptures, Vol.4, p.621, 1897)
“The Scriptural proof is that the second presence of the Lord Jesus Christ began in 1874 A.D.” (Prophecy, 1929, p. 65)
If we were to take only these two quotes into consideration, then the WT taught that Jesus was King 17 years prior to 1914 and 15 years afterwards. This means that the WT never taught that Jesus became King in 1914, the very year that current WT publications point back to as a fulfillment of prophecy. Instead, the Bible Students were taught by the WT that Jesus had already begun reigning as King in the Heavens since 1874 and that 1914 would mark the end of the Kingdoms of man to be replaced by the Kingdom of God on Earth. Here are a couple of quotations explaining exactly what was expected to happen in 1914.
“We present the Bible evidence proving that the full end of the times of the gentiles, i.e., the full end of their lease of dominion, will be reached in A.D. 1914; and that the date will be the farthest limit of the rule of imperfect men.” (The Time Is At Hand, 1888, p. 76, 77)
“And, with the end of A.D. 1914, what God calls Babylon, and what men call Christendom, will have passed away, as already shown in prophecy.” (Studies In the Scriptures – Thy Kingdom Come, 1891, p.153)
We see from the two previous quotes that the WT taught that by October of 1914, Man would no longer rule the world and “Christendom” (false religions claiming to be Christian), would be wiped off of the planet. Bold claims to be sure, but not quite as bold as this next quote.
“We see no reason for changing the figures – nor could we change them if we would. They are, we believe, God’s dates, not ours. But bear in mind that the end of 1914 is not the date for the beginning, but for the end of the time of trouble.” (Watchtower July 15, 1894, p 266; p 1677 reprints)
This is a very interesting quote for a number of reasons. First, this date is taught to be “God’s date.” This was not to be thought of as speculation or the personal view of the WT leaders. This was presented as a date that God Himself had chosen which could not be changed even if they wanted to change it.
The other interesting thing about this quote is that it clearly states that the end was expected: Not the beginning of the end, but the end of the end. Ironically enough, the Watchtower today points back to 1914 as the beginning of the end and then has the audacity to claim that 1914 was a successfully predicted prophecy! Again, this is impossible because they were teaching that Jesus had already begun ruling in the heavens as King since 1874 and they were expecting the end of the World in 1914, not the beginning of the end.
As 1914 came and went, the predictions continued to 1915, 1916, 1918 and even 1925 at which time Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were expected to be resurrected to live in a mansion in San Diego, California. Obviously, none of these prophecies came true. The thing I like best about these false predictions is that the very fact that you, the Christian reader, is alive today to study WT history, this very fact proves that the WT is a false prophet. If all of “Christendom” was to be destroyed 100 years ago, then none of us should be here at all. I’d like to wish the Watchtower a happy 100th anniversary to being a false prophet.