Prophetic Speculations - What a Sad List of Embarrasing Dissappointments

by Lady Liberty 28 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • Lady Liberty
    Lady Liberty

    Thank you Alan Feuerbacher!!

    Some Prophetic Speculations

    Alan Feuerbacher

    1831: William Miller begins preaching Christ's return in the fall of 1843.

    1842: Miller and followers begin publishing a journal, The Midnight Cry.

    1843, late: Miller and followers disappointed; fix Christ's return in the spring of 1844.

    1844, spring: Miller and followers disappointed; fix Christ's return on October 22, 1844.

    1844, late: Miller and followers anticipate disappointment.

    1844, October 21: Miller says: "I told some of my brethren Christ would not come on the morrow" because the Second Coming would be "in an hour they think not". He was not responsible for the deception: "No one can honestly say that he has been deceived by me. My advice has always been for each to study the evidence of his faith for himself." God may have designed the delay so that people would turn to the Bible to study further and be reconciled to God. After all, to have erred in the precise date did not reduce the urgency of the times. Every passing day was one day nearer the end.

    1844, November 10: Miller safely revises the date and overcomes all possibility of disappointment: "I have fixed my mind upon another time, and here I mean to stand until God gives me more light. -- And that is Today, TODAY, and TODAY, until He comes."

    1845: Miller admits his mistake: "That I have been mistaken in the time, I freely confess; and I have no desire to defend my course any further than I have been actuated by pure motives, and it has resulted in God's glory. My mistakes and errors God, I trust, will forgive."

    1845: George Storrs, one of Miller's leading followers, declares that God had not been in the "definite time" movement, that they had been "mesmereized" by mere human influence, and that "the Bible did not teach definite time at all."

    1840s, late: Seventh Day Adventists, Second Adventists, and many other groups form from splinters of Miller's movement, carrying on with new prophetic speculations. Some decide that Miller had been right after all, that Miller had "expected the wrong thing at the right time".

    1860: Nelson H. Barbour discovers that certain chronological calculations show 6,000 years of human history ending in 1873; he begins preaching that the Second Coming of the Lord would be in 1873.

    1869: Barbour publishes 1st edition of the pamphlet Evidences for the Coming of the Lord in 1873; or the Midnight Cry.

    1871: Barbour publishes 2nd edition of Evidences.

    1873: Barbour begins publishing a monthly journal, The Midnight Cry, and Herald of the Morning.

    1873, late: Barbour revises his prediction to autumn, 1874; ceases publication of The Midnight Cry, and Herald of the Morning.

    1875: Barbour and followers decide that Christ had returned invisibly in 1874, that they had merely "expected the wrong thing at the right time"; in June Barbour restarts his journal as Herald of the Morning and lays the foundation for further predictions; in the September issue he makes a prediction that "the Gentile times" would end in 1914; in later issues he expands on this theme.

    1870s: Charles Taze Russell forms Bible study classes, adopts many teachings from former Millerites including George Storrs, and various prophetic speculators

    1876, January: Russell reads Barbour's magazine, invites him to teach him all about Bible chronology.

    1876, early: Russell convinces Barbour to cease publication of Herald of the Morning so that they can work on a book that would be a compilation of articles that would otherwise have been published in Barbour's magazine.

    1876, late: in the October issue of George Storrs' periodical The Bible Examiner Russell restates Barbour's prediction that "the Gentile times" will end in 1914.

    1877: Russell and Barbour publish the book Three Worlds, and the Harvest of This World, predict that "the saints" would be resurrected in 1878 and teach that "the parable of the Ten Virgins" began to be fulfilled in 1844 by Miller's followers; Russell publishes his booklet Object and Manner of Our Lord's Return.

    1878: Russell and Barbour restart publication of Herald of the Morning; "the saints" do not appear and so Russell spiritualizes their "resurrection", saying that it had indeed occurred but invisibly, and that he had been expecting "the wrong thing at the right time", just as Christ had invisibly returned in 1874; Russell and Barbour disagree on whether "the saints" had been resurrected, and this creates the first major disagreement between them.

    1879: Russell and Barbour split company; in July Russell begins publishing his own journal, Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence; Russell continues to proclaim that Christ had returned in 1874 and that "the Gentile Times" would end in 1914; Russell reaffirms his teaching that Miller's movement in 1844 began the "modern day" fulfillment of end-times prophecies.

    1880, late and early 1881: Russell predicts another earthly "resurrection of the saints" in October, 1881.

    1881, late: Russell spiritualizes the October "resurrection", saying that it closed a period of "the high calling".

    1880s: Russell refines beliefs, including exactly what would happen in 1914.

    1889: Russell publishes volume 2 of The Millennial Dawn, The Time Is At Hand; predicts that by 1914 "the Kingdom of God" will have obtained full control in heaven and on earth, that Christ would be reigning visibly, that "the saints" would all be resurrected, that the city of Jerusalem would be highly honored again, that "the Battle of Armageddon" (which had begun in 1878) would have culminated in worldwide anarchy and given way to "new heavens and new earth" with peaceful blessings, and that "God's Kingdom" would be "in the earth and then smite and crush the Gentile image" and would "fully consume the power of these kings".

    1904: Russell decides that 1914 was not necessarily the proper date for "the Gentile times" to end after all, that perhaps it would be 1915 and that other things he had predicted might turn out rather differently.

    1914, early: Russell waffles about the certainty of his dating scheme, wonders if he had been "expecting the wrong thing at the right time".

    1914, late: Russell and followers decide that the outbreak of "the Great War" is a fulfillment of Russell's predictions and that the war would culminate in the Battle of Armageddon.

    1916: Russell writes that some of his predictions had indeed not been fulfilled, but much like William Miller did, that they "certainly did have a very stimulating and sanctifying effect upon thousands, all of whom accordingly can praise the Lord -- even for the mistake. Many, indeed, can express themselves as being thankful to the Lord that the culmination of the Church's hopes was not reached at the time we expected; and that we, as the Lord's people, have further opportunities of perfecting holiness and of being participators with our Master in the further presentation of His Message to His people."

    1917: The book The Finished Mystery predicts that the War would soon end in the Battle of Armageddon.

    1918: The Watchtower Society begins delivering public lectures titled "Millions Now Living May Never Die" which were quickly changed to "Millions Now Living Will Never Die".

    1920: In the booklet "Millions Now Living Will Never Die" the WTS begins predicting that 1925 would see the resurrection of the faithful prophets of old and the beginning of the Battle of Armageddon.

    1925: Armageddon does not come.

    1920s, late: The Bible Students lose 3/4 of their membership; those who remain begin to forget about 1925.

    1940:The Watchtower informs the public that Armageddon is only months away.

    1942: After J. F. Rutherford's death Nathan Knorr announces that the end of the War would not see the Battle of Armageddon after all, but that it would soon follow.

    1950s: The Society tells its followers to expect Armageddon very soon.

    1961: In the book Let Your Name Be Sanctified Fred Franz tells JWs that in 1942, when upon his deathbed Rutherford appointed Franz and Knorr to head up the Society, the "Elijah" work was finished and the "Elishah" began. This work, he wrote, began in the 1870s with Russell. Putting this together with Russell's teachings on "the Ten Virgins", it would seem that William Miller really began this modern-day Elijah work and is the spiritual father of Jehovah's Witnesses. Of course, Miller has many other "daughters".

    1966: In the book Life Everlasting in the Freedom of the Sons of God Fred Franz tells JWs that 6,000 years of human history would be finished in 1975 and that it was a good bet that Armageddon would come by then.

    1967: The Society instructs District Overseers to deliver speeches at circuit assemblies announcing that Armageddon would definitely have arrived by 1975.

    1968: The Society institutes a six-month Bible Study campaign in anticipation of the great influx of new converts in the few years before Armageddon.

    1960s, late, through early 1970s: JWs inform the world that it is extremely likely that Armageddon will come by 1975.

    1975: The Society informs its followers that Armageddon did not arrive.

    1976: Fred Franz blames the JW community: "it didn't come because YOU were expecting it". The Watchtower blames the JW community for being disappointed by listening to it.

    1970s, late: Many JWs abandon ship.

    1980: The Society admits to having had some share in the disappointment.

    1980s: The JW community and WTS leaders forget about 1975; some expect Armageddon in 1984 or 1994 based on the time for 70 or 80 years for a generation from 1914 to expire; a small number of WTS publications hint or state outright that "it will all be over" by the year 2000.

    1990s: Many JWs quietly expect "the end" by 2000; the WTS keeps up their expectations with general statements of "real soon now".

    1995: The WTS changes its teaching on "the generation" but keeps up with the "Real Soon Now" theme.

    The above brief chronology documents some 170 years of "crying wolf" by prophetic speculators. Not a single prediction has ever come true. Contrast this with what happened when God spoke through Moses -- "it all came true." (Joshua 21:45)

    Even if some of the predictions of today's prophetic speculators should come true, it would be purely by accident, just as when the wolf came after the boy had "cried wolf" every day for years. It would be no credit to the boy.

    In fact, because Jesus said that "at an hour that you do not think to be it, the Son of man is coming", anyone who correctly "predicts" the time of his coming cannot be his follower. Conversely, no one who is Jesus' true follower would presume to make such predictions.

    William Miller ultimately learned the proper attitude the hard way: "I have fixed my mind upon another time, and here I mean to stand until God gives me more light. -- And that is Today, TODAY, and TODAY, until He comes."

    IP: 48HwDi1Dp4+lcOCO 17-Oct-06 09:04 by Lady Liberty: Correct formatting
  • knock knock
    knock knock
    1967: The Society instructs District Overseers to deliver speeches at circuit assemblies announcing that Armageddon would definitely have arrived by 1975.

    Is there documentation on this?

  • BrentR

    Isn't the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over hoping for a different outcome?

  • coaster

    I asked my 65 year old elder dad just how many times would he continue to believe directions given to him by a close friend if just about every single direction was so incorrect, you were always getting lost using the friends directions. I sounded better when I said it in real time.

  • Leolaia

    knock knock...I think that is a reference to Charles Sinutko's public address, the only one from the time that was recorded. To be sure, he waffles between definite language ("Don't wait till 1975, the door is going to be shut before then") and less definite language ("Did it say for certainty the time when God executes the wicked and starts off a thousand year reign by Jesus Christ? No."), but he is clear that he claims that 1975 is a date that Jehovah has provided, that it is not wrong to look forward to 1975 and the things promised, and that the expectation of 1975 should give us all the little bit of energy to "in this final burst of speed to the finish line".

  • stillajwexelder

    good summary thanks

  • WTWizard

    The list goes on. Like the song We Didn't Start the Fire, when we are gone it will still burn on and on and on...

    Just this past year, they were dropping hints that Armageddon would be within a few weeks. Last summer, they were hinting that there wouldn't even be another summer a$$embly (that busted). They outright claimed that the False Religion tract from last fall was going to set off the Great Tribulation (well, the churches are still very much in business nearly a year later. That busted.) There was discussion about Matthew 24:14 having been fulfilled until they denied that this past March. There was the prophesy implied that this was to be the last Crapmorial. And they failed to officially announce the next summer's a$$embly, though I have seen at least one booking for 2008. Then there was the threat about the first of June that they were forecasting Armageddon "in days, weeks" even pinning it to June 12 (another total bust, just like I thought it would).

    Either they have high-ranking traveling hounders starting these rumors and then denying them, or the Society is sending letters to the hounders to stir them up. What is happening is that people will become zealous for a time, thinking their time is almost up, and then they get the notice that it's business as usual, with a reminder to keep up the zeal. No matter what, I will not believe any more of their prophesies because they have busted on so many of them. And, if they predict the end to come every week and then roll it back to the following week, I will know it's to stir up the flock into an unending frenzy of getting people to come in. No matter what dates I see come up, I will view it as another false prediction.

  • JCanon

    A lot of this is very on point for false prophecies. But we are now past 1947, the benchmark date for when the Jews were to return to their homeland. That actual event can be used to date practically every major event in ancient history, if you understand the Bible's chronology and patterns. So while, yes, you can pile the false prophecies up as high as the Empire State Building, that doesn't mean the correct understanding of the prophecies don't work at all. Just because JWs and others in the earlier times didn't get the numbers right doesn't mean at some point they wouldn't work out.

    In that regard, thus we note it was prophesied that the actual dates would not be revealed until after the fact. Take the second coming and the Ten Virgins. These virgins represent the entire body of anointed ones with JWs. But as the Bible prophesied about there being spiritual darkness after the "great tribulation" (after the Holocaust) among God's people, so likewise all ten virgins are said to nod and their lamps grow dim. That means they were not going to have the refined understanding of the chronology. They would focus on critical dates, like 1874, 1914, 1994, etc. But they wouldn't fully appreciate the meaning of those dates. Not at first. But after the second coming occurs, then the 5 wise virgins with the extra oil get their lamps in order and meet up with the messiah. That is, they get the dates right and trust the Bible rather than revised secular dating.

    So while Alan's arguments are often right on point with missed prophecies of the past, especially prior to 1947, there is little criticism when aligning major chronology events to 1947, the actual date for the "end of the gentile times."

    For instance, 1947 would end the 1290 days mentioned in Daniel 12. That means the second coming would occur to fulfill the 1335 days in just 45 years, which is 1992. 1992 must fulfill the "7 times" prophecy of Daniel, which is 2520 years from the fall of Jerusalem, which would be redated to 529BCE (rather than 607BCE or 587BCE). That is the Biblical prophetic date based on 1947 for the fall of Jerusalem, year 19 of Nebuchadnezzar! But is that a credible date? Good question. Lots of arguments pro and con. But it is of note there is an independent reference in the VAT496, an ancient astronomical text, that also dates year 19 of Nebuchadnezzar specifically to 529BCE, because of two references found in that text, thought first to be "errors" but that coordinated to the same lunar cycle in 511 BCE, dated to year 37 of Nebuchadnezzar. The theory behind the double-dating in the text, of course, is that the diary was created to safely hide the original chronology that had been changed, so they very cleverly created a diversion by all the astronomical references in the diary matching the new dating of 568BCE for year 37 of Nebuchadnezzar, but included these 511BCE references which would be considered as "errors" by the casual reader. Thus it was an ingenius way to "hide in plain sight" a reference to the original chronology. But case in point, whether you understand that theorum or not (though you're free to confirm the matchups with 511BCE if you wish) the theoretical alternative original dating for the NB Period based on this text would confirm that the original dating for the fall of Jerusalem is in 529BCE. Thus the VAT4956 matches precisely the 1947 return of the Jews to their homeland, which marks their Jubilee.

    Now note that the 529BCE dating is 74 years from the 1st of Cyrus, which would have to occur in 455BCE. This works out perfectly for the baptism of Christ after the "word goes forth to rebuild Jerusalem" in 29 CE, which is 483 years later. So you have perfect internal Biblical relative chronology. But note, that the year the Jews return from Babylon in 455BCE is a jubilee year and thus it must match the final jubilee year as well when the Jews return to Palestine. That is, 1947 not only has to match up with the chronology prophecies, say for the fall of Jerusalem in 529BCE, it must also be the 49th jubilee date, 29 jubilees after 455BCE. A jubilee is the first year of every 49. Thus 455BCE would be a jubilee year in a 490-year period of ten jubilees. We need only count down 490-year periods from 36CE to determine whether or not 1947 is a jubilee year. 4 x 490 is 1960. 1960 plus 36CE is 1996. Thus a 490-year period for the last days ends in 1996 and begins in 1506. The first year of the last 49 years would be the last jubilee of this period. 1996 minus 49 is 1947. Therefore, 1947 fulfills the jubilee pattern of years as well.

    The lesson here is, in the early days when so many events were still to occur (i.e. the great tribulation/Holocaust, 1940-1947, the "end of the gentile times" and 1290 days in 1947, the 1335 days and second coming in 1992) there was doubt as to the fulfillments. But now those dates are past and so we can RETROCALCULATE the timelines by the modern events themselves!!! So it's not the same chronology argument pre 1947. In other words, 10 different people could have come up with predictions that were wrong about when the gentile times would end, when the Jews would officially come out of exile. But once 1947 actually occurred and we see the Jews in their restored promised land again as prophesied, then we don't have to speculate any more nor can we, since the event marks it's own fulfillment date. NOW what we have to do is RETROCALCULATE to double-check all the coordinated prophecy dates based upon the modern fulfillment. So it doesn't matter how many people were wrong in the past about when the gentile times would end now, we know it happened in 1947, so that locks in all the chronology events from the Exodus to the Second Coming connected with this event. It's just a matter of correcting the Bible dating at this point based on 1947 to see if the Bible's prophesies and timelines really were fulfilled correctly. Of course, obviously they were. We can especially use the VAT4956, for instance, to confirm the fall of Jerusalem in 529BCE, and we have excellent RC14 dating for Shishak's invasion c. 871BCE which also confirms archaeologically that the Bible's timeline is not only right on point, but far superior to the revised and incompetent timelines based upon secular history that the academic world is using, partly because they don't know any better and partly because it's the same old game of pagans (Freemasons) using whatever they can to do their intellectual Bible and messiah bashing.

    So move out of the past folks!! Everybody who didn't predict 1947 as the correct date for the end of the gentile times, was wrong. So noted. But the more important issue now is coordinating all the prophecies now to that event to correct all the dating, now that that event has been fulfilled.


    POSTSCRIPT: Oops, sorry. Basically there are only really a few major dates as follows that are based on 1947:

    1947 - End of gentile times, end of 1290 days.

    1992 - 1335 days, 45 years after 1947, second coming.

    529 BCE - 2520 years prior to second coming, fall of Jerusalem, year 19 of Nebuchadnezzar, confirmed by VAT4956.

    525 BCE - Year of last deportation, year 23 of Nebuchadnezzar. VERY IMPORTANT! Josephus and Bible both date the 70 years from this event to the 1st of Cyrus.

    455 BCE. 70 years from last deportation in 525BCE, 74 years after fall of Jerusalem in 529BCE. This begins a new 490-year period where the 1st coming in the 70th week begins in 29 CE. Jesus, indeed was baptized in 29 CE. So that 29CE FIXED DATE and 1947 are perfectly coordinated.

    1386 BCE - This is date of the Exodus, 19 jubilees prior to 455BCE, the return from Babylon. Also a jubilee year coordinated with 1947. 1947 is the 69th jubilee, the Exodus is the 1st Jubilee, in a week of 7 days of 490 years each. See 3430-year Covenant Jubilee chart below:

    906 BCE - The 4th year of Solomon, based upon 480 years after the Exodus in 1386 BCE. His rule thus occurs from 910-870BCE. Shishak's invasion in his 39th year (5th of co-ruler Rehoboam) in 871 BCE is supported by radiocarbon 14 dating for this event from short-lived grains found at Rehov, a city mentioned by Shishak's inscription during his invasion. This RC14 dating, likely our best and only other means of actually determining any "absolute" dating, does not agree with the current chronology for that event dated 54 years too early based upon the revised timeline! Thus the Bible's timeline gains scientific and archaeological credibility by new discoveries, likely not addressed by any of the old arguments, not even by Olof Jonsson in his new book, JTR, 4th edition.

    ALL DATES prior to the Exodus can use JW dates by simply subtracting 127 years. That is, the relative timeline from the creation of Adam down to the Exodus is very straightforward. JWs use the date of 1513 BCE for the Exodus, which is off (too early) by 127 years. So for the Creation of Adam or the Flood or any other event, in case you wanted the absolute dating rather than just the relative dating, you simply subtract 127 years.

  • fresia

    1967: The Society instructs District Overseers to deliver speeches at circuit assemblies announcing that Armageddon would definitely have arrived by 1975.

    What publication did you get this from? I have never heard that before, where did you get this infomation?

    They never directly said 75 Armageddon was coming, they did place unusual importance on 75 to do with Adam's creation.

  • mkr32208

    Jc, jc, jc... You are a strange strange fellow...

    The fact that they were wrong proves they were right....

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