One of the major flaws (I say one because there are many) in the Society's '1914-Gentile Times' doctrine is an oft-overlooked one. Very simply, the Watchtower Society predicted the end of the "Gentile Times" for autumn of 1914; yet the First World War began in the summer of 1914 (July 28) and really was triggered in June of 1914 with the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand. As such, the First World War actually lends no support whatsoever to the Watchtower Society's 1914-Gentile Times doctrine despite the fact that the Society has continuously offered it as support.
Rutherford was very aware of this major discrepancy in the doctrine. In fact, he went so far as to change the end date of the Gentile Times to match up with the start of World War I. Russell had predicted the end of the Gentile Times for the autumn (October) of 1914; Rutherford simply changed the date to August 1, 1914 (the date he considered the First World War to have begun):
...the "times of the gentiles" expired just 2,520 years later, 1913 years and seven months after the Christian era had begun, or, in other words, August 1, 1914. All know that that day marks the outbreak of the World War, the time when our Lord served notice on Satan that his lease had expired. --WT 4/15/1922 p.126
August 1, 1914, marked the end of the gentile times. It also marked the legal ending of the old world. There the ouster proceedings began, when he whose right it is took unto himself his power. --WT 1/1/1923 p.3
The Society continued to claim August 1, 1914 as the end of the Gentile Times for several years before deftly switching back to the original (and current) claim of autumn, 1914.
Despite switching back to autumn 1914 for the ending of the Gentile Times, the Society still couches their words (or they flat out lie) in an effort to lead the reader to the conclusion that the First World War began after (and resultant of) the ending of the Gentile Times. Consider:
The history books are there in the libraries to give us the details about World Wars I and II! Indeed, war of world proportions erupted at the end of the Gentile Times in 1914. --WT 5/15/1983 p.23
"At the end of the Gentile Times"? Sorry, Watchtower Society, but World War I erupted *BEFORE* the end of the Gentile Times, not *AT* the end of the Gentile Times.
Since the order of events that he set out back there shortly before his death lines up with the order of events that he depicts at Revelation chapter 6, it indicates that what that 6th chapter envisions shows that the end of the Gentile Times in 1914 and the outbreak of war on a world scale marked the start of his “presence” in his heavenly Kingdom and the beginning of “the conclusion of the system of things.” --WT 5/15/1983 p.23
The Society says "the Gentile Times in 1914 and the outbreak of war on a world scale marked the start of his 'presence'". How is that possible when the "outbreak of war on a world scale" began *BEFORE* his "presence"?
The Kingdom ambassadors were proclaiming that the Gentile Times had ended in 1914 and that the outbreak of World War I with all the horrible things accompanying it was the foretold proof that those “appointed times of the nations” had ended then. --WT 11/1/1964 p.652
"The outbreak of World War I...was the foretold proof" that the Gentile Times HAD (past tense) ended? How could that be, when the outbreak of World War I occurred *BEFORE* the end of the Gentile Times?
Well, after the end of the Gentile Times in 1914 man’s rule brought on two world wars and an era of violence surpassing even that of Noah’s days before the flood. --WT 10/15/1968 p.627
The Society says that "after the end of the Gentile Times...man's rule brought on two world wars". After?? How so?? World War I started *BEFORE* the end of the Gentile Times, not "after".
So it was not accidental that World War I erupted upon a peaceful world, to mark the end of those “seven times” in the lunar month of Tishri in 1914 C.E. --WT 3/1/1980 p.16
The society says "World War I erupted...to mark the end of those [Gentile Times]". Except that it didn't. Because World War I erupted *BEFORE* the end of those Gentile Times.
Actually, the Society unwittingly exposed the gaping hole in their own doctrine in just a few short paragraphs in the January 1, 1986 Watchtower magazine (page 6):
So the ride on the white horse was to begin at some future time when Jesus Christ would be enthroned as the heavenly King of God’s Kingdom. At that time God would send him forth with the command: “Go subduing in the midst of your enemies.” (Psalm 110:2) But when does this take place?
The crowning of Jesus Christ as heavenly King is described at Psalm 45:3-7. Then in Hebrews 1:8, 9 the apostle Paul quotes from this psalm and applies verses 6 and 7 to the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Detailed information and Scriptural proofs published by Jehovah’s Witnesses show that the coronation of Jesus Christ in heaven took place at the close of the Gentile Times, “the appointed times of the nations,” in the year 1914.—Luke 21:24.
Hence, any interpretation that puts the horsemen’s ride earlier than the year 1914 could not be correct. Also, since the rider of the white horse was in the lead, the other horses and riders following would represent events that would take place along with, or some time after, his ride begins. The ride of these four horsemen, therefore, must occur from and after the beginning of “the time of the end” in 1914. It has been since then that “the last days” have been seen to be in evidence.—Daniel 12:4; 2 Timothy 3:1-5, 13.
The Other Horses and Riders
The second horse is “bright red,” or “fiery-colored.” (Revelation 6:3, 4, An American Translation) Its rider “was granted to take peace away from the earth so that they should slaughter one another.” He was given “a great sword.” This proved true when 1914 saw the beginning of the worst war in all human history, the first global war. Back then it was called the Great War.
These paragraphs clearly demonstrate the problem with the Society's 1914-Gentile Times doctrine. To summarize these paragraphs:
1) The ride of the "white horse" would begin "when Jesus Christ would be enthroned as the heavenly King...at the close of the Gentile Times", which the Society says was autumn of 1914.
2) Any interpretation that puts the white horse's ride earlier than autumn 1914 could not be correct.
3) Since the white horse was in the lead, the ride of the other horsemen would follow and therefore could not take place before autumn, 1914.
4) The "fiery-colored" horse (who could not ride prior to autumn, 1914) is blamed for World War I (which began in summer, 1914).
Despite clearly stating that the "fiery-colored" horse could not ride prior to the end of the Gentile Times in autumn, 1914, the Society attributes World War I (an event which began in summer, 1914) to the ride of the "fiery-colored" horse. And therein lies the problem.