How They Started to Explain Away 1925

by cabasilas 6 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • cabasilas

    Starting in 1918 and especially after 1920 the Bible Students (as Jehovah's Witnesses were then known) started emphasizing the year 1925. These predictions can be seen clearly in the book Millions Now Living Will Never Die. When 1925 came, how did the Watchtower Society start preparing their followers for the disappointment?

    The February 15, 1925 Watchtower contained a long study article entitled "The Year of Jubilee." Reading it is reminiscent of how later Fred Franz would start explaining away 1975 in audio lectures he gave early on in that year. While the Millions book was more dogmatic, this Watchtower was a bit more restrained. Still, there are some rather wild statements printed about the significance of that year.

    For those interested, a newly made PDF of this February 15, 1925 Watchtower can be read online or downloaded from the Internet Archive:

    Remember, this is 6 years after Christ supposedly appointed Watchtower leaders to their position of authority to dispense "food at the proper time."

    A suggestion: download the PDF of this issue and share it with JW friends. It could prove to be enlightening reading.

  • cabasilas

    Here's the conclusion of the article from pages 56-58 of that Watchtower. Portions that show some of the back-pedaling from the dogmatic statements as found in Millions Now Living Will Never Die are italicized.

    In July, 1917, it 
    appeared to many that the work might be violently
    overthrown and the dark night set in. The darkness
    increased until the spring of 1919. Seven years from
    the date when the truth seemed to go under a cloud
    it is shining forth with greater brilliancy than was ever
    known before.

    Some may be inclined to make light of all this.
    So were the people of Nazareth when Jesus said that
    the words of the prophet were being fulfilled before
    their eyes. To us it is a matter of rejoicing as we see
    these indications of God's care and interest in his peo-
    ple, and his overruling in their work; and we are
    stimulated to push on with greater zeal than ever be-
    fore, assured that the Lord is still in direct charge, and
    that he is carrying on his work exactly on schedule
    time. It is not often that he calls the attention of
    his people to the fact while they are passing through
    some pre-dated experience. In the face of all the fore-
    going historical and physical facts, who shall say that
    the date of the Columbus Convention was not in the
    mind of Jehovah when he sent Nebuchadnezzar to fore-
    close the mortgage, July 606 B.C., 2530 years ago?
    Does it not also indicate, according to the dates above
    given, that the last chronological typical jubilee began
    in July, 1924, instead of October; and that the anti-
    typical jubilee may begin about July-August, 1925?
    Would it be unreasonable to expect that Jehovah will
    mark that date to the world as clearly as he did the
    year 1914? and as clearly as he has marked the begin-
    ning of 1925 to the Church?

    WHAT ABOUT 1926?

    That 1925 will be a phenomenal year in many
    respects is evident.

    The Catholics are celebrating their "jubilee", which
    began Christmas Eve, December 24th, 1924. The
    "jubilee door" of St. Peter's at Borne was opened by the
    Pope at that time, and is to remain open for one year.
    All who pass through the door are promised his special
    blessing. Rome is expecting hundreds of thousands to
    take advantage of this special favor, and is making
    great preparations to take care of the throngs which will
    visit the city during 1925.

    The Jews also are looking upon 1925 and expect to
    receive some special blessing from Jehovah, though they
    do not seem to he certain what it may be. We do
    not know where they received their intimation, unless
    they have been reading some of our Society's litera-
    ture. Nevertheless they are expectant. Various Pro-
    testant denominations are becoming worried over the
    loss of interest in religion on the part of their congre-
    gations, and are trying by various means to overcome it.

    It seems to be a weakness of many Bible Students
    that if they locate a future date in the Bible, im-
    mediately they center as many prophecies upon that
    date as possible. This has been the cause of many sift-
    ings in the past. As far as we recall, all the dates
    foreseen were correct. The difficulty was that the friends
    inflated their imaginations beyond reason; and that
    when their imaginations burst asunder, they were in-
    clined to throw away everything.
    No doubt Mr. Miller
    was correct in locating 1844 as a Bible date. But he
    expected too much. 1874 was also easily located. 1878
    was also a marked date, and one which caused Brother
    Russell a severe trial until he corrected his expectations,
    as noted in his "Harvest Sittings", of April, 1894,
    now out of print. Many can remember how "absolute-
    ly sure" some were about 1914. No doubt the Lord was
    pleased with the zeal manifested by his servants; but
    did they have a Scriptural basis for all they expected to
    come to pass that year? Let us be cautious, therefore,
    about predicting particulars. The Lord will make them
    clear as fast as they become meat in due season.
    ever, we feel sure that lie will not chide us if we earnest-
    ly and reverently search for what may be revealed,
    watching also the facts about us.

    We may reasonably expect that 1925 will be a
    very active year for the saints on this side the vail; and
    also that the adversary will be increasingly active in
    his opposition, as he knows that his time is shortening.
    The world will be so engrossed with its own troubles
    that it will not have much time to think of other
    tilings, until people wake up to the facts that their
    schemes have been soap bubbles, and that the truth
    has been scattered all over the world. The adversary
    will he quick to suggest that the scattering of the truth
    has been the cause of their disappointments. This will
    anger them, and they may attempt strenuous measures
    to sup press it, in order to direct attention from them-
    selves and to hold their power over the masses. How
    long before they attempt this we may not know, nor
    need it trouble us. Our Captain is in full control of
    the situation, and victory is sure.

    No one needs "glasses" to see that the world—polit-
    ical, financial, religious, national, and international — is
    perplexed and anxious. No one may safely predict
    exactly what will take place, even within the next year;
    but God has given general indications in his Word of
    many things which are yet to come to pass, He has not
    specified exactly their chronological order. Therefore
    let us first note some of the prophecies which are still

    Babylon is yet to be east down, as a stone thrown
    into the sea. (Revelation 18: 21) The battle of Arma-
    geddon is yet to he fought. (Revelation 16: 16) The
    "time of trouble such as never was" has not come upon
    the earth. (Matthew 24:21,22) The devil is yet to
    be bound and east into prison. (Revelation 20:1-4)
    The last of the saints are to be changed. (1 Thessa-
    lonians 4:15-17) The Lamb is to come forth vic-
    torious. (Revelation 17 : 14) The ancient worthies are
    to be brought forth and made princes in all the earth.
    (Acts 7:5; Daniel 12:13; Hebrews 11:13; Psalm
    4S: 16) Jacob is to have his time of trouble. (Ezekiel
    38: 14-23) All the prophecies relating to the Millen-
    nial Age are yet to be fulfilled.


    We know the work of restitution must come to the
    Jews first, and through them to the rest of the world.
    As the Scriptures state that Jerusalem is to be the
    capital of the world and that the ancient worthies are
    to be princes in all the earth, we are warranted in ex-
    pecting that the kingdom work will begin at Jerusalem.
    (Isaiah 2:3; 27:13; Zechariah 14: 17) Jerusalem
    will need a great deal of cleansing before it will he in
    condition to he the capital of the world. The city may
    be undergoing changes during all the Millennial Age,
    but it will take several years to do some necessary
    preliminary work.

    According to prophecy we look for a season of great
    prosperity to come to Palestine, which will not extend
    to the Gentiles. It will he necessary for the Gentiles
    to make application for it, as stated in Isaiah 2 : 2-4.
    It will take time for some of the Gentiles to overcome
    their natural prejudices against the Jews and to humble
    themselves sufficiently to accept favors through them.

    They may need some of the severe experiences described
    in Zechariah 14 : 17-19, R. V.

    Whether the blessings here referred to as rain are
    literal or not, they refer to something that represents
    God's favor. If literal rain be meant, it might take
    several years of drought before the Gentiles would at-
    tribute the lack of rain to their refusal to make applica-
    tion for God's blessings at the hands of the Israelites.
    All this will take more or less time.

    In the past God's dealing has been with the Jew
    first and then with the Gentiles; and the prophecies
    state that this rule will continue to be his method.
    (Zechariah 8 : 20-23) As the Jews increase in the favor of
    God by accepting the ancient worthies as the represent a-
    tives of Jehovah and by falling into line with his ar-
    rangements, disease and death will rapidly decrease and
    shortly cease altogether. The Jews will be going up
    the highway of holiness, physically as well as other-
    wise. These blessings to the Jews will be quickly
    noticed by the Gentiles, and will create in them a desire
    for similar favors. It will be one of the means used
    by Jehovah to cause them to seek him. Possibly these
    are the blessings referred to as "rain" in Zechariah
    14:17. As the literal rain refreshes the mown grass,
    so a rain of blessing will refresh the withered hopes of
    mankind.— Psalm 72 : 6-9 ; Acts 3:19.

    We know of no scriptures which state that all dy-
    ing will cease immediately throughout the earth as soon
    as the kingdom is set up at Jerusalem. On the contrary
    Isaiah 2:2-4, Micah 4:1,2, and Zechariah 14:16-19
    state that the nations will have to go to Jerusalem for
    their blessings — not individually, but representatively,
    at least. "Ask and ye shall receive," will doubtless be
    the law in the age to come. All the blessings of resti-
    tution will be supplied in abundance, but will not be
    forced upon any.

    From scriptures already quoted, and from many
    others, we have reason to expect that after the kingdom
    is established at Jerusalem its influence will rapidly
    radiate to the uttermost parts of the earth. How
    rapidly we are not informed, but with all the modern
    conveniences it should not take very long.
    those of the righteous who will be carried through the
    great time of trouble will be dealt with first, before
    those in the graves will be brought forth. It does not
    seem unreasonable, therefore, to think that twenty-five
    years, possibly more, will pass before the awakening of
    the dead shall begin.


    Some may conclude that we are expecting a tranquil
    transfer from the present condition to the kingdom of
    Christ. We have no warrant from the Scriptures for
    such expectation. If we had but the present situation
    of the world to judge from, reason dictates that with
    the high-pressure tension throughout the world—politi-
    cally, financially, religiously, fanatically and ignorantly —
    with the wheels of activity already grating and heated
    with the friction of selfishness and superstition, it would
    be impossible to make the great changes outlined in the
    Bible without clashes between the contesting parties,
    which must result in great trouble, distress and loss of
    life and property. However, the Word of God does not
    leave us any doubt about it. Isaiah 13: 1-13; Joel 2:1-
    11; Psalm 46:7-10, and Matthew 24:21,22 speak
    in no uncertain terms. The people of the world are
    not yet willing to acknowledge their inability to save
    themselves, or to accept the leadership of even Jehovah
    himself. God's power will be necessary. "I will cause
    the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low
    the haughtiness of the terrible." — Isaiah 13. 11.

    Recent inventions can be used for the destruction
    of life and property which almost makes one's blood
    curdle to think about. God will permit the destruction
    to go far enough to sober mankind by its very horror,
    The exposing of unrighteousness in high places is pre-
    paring the people to take vengeance into their own
    hands, and great will be their wrath when once they

    The French Revolution gives a picture of what a
    maddened people can do. The world held its breath in
    horror and sought to cover its eyes from the sickening
    sight. It took the French nation many years to re-
    cover from the shock. How long it will take the world
    to sober up after its debauch is not stated.

    How much of all this will come to pass in 1926 is
    not stated.
    At present we do not find any definite date
    beyond 1926 indicated in the Scriptures. When the
    Bible Students found 1914 in the Bible they heralded it
    far and wide, but the Lord left the curtain down at
    that date until we had reached it. God set his seal
    upon 1914, and the work started that year is still go-
    ing on. We find the date 1925-1926 clearly indicated
    in the prophetic outline, and the Lord has not lifted
    the curtain sufficiently for us to sec distinctly beyond.
    We feel sure that he will set his seal upon that date
    as clearly as he did upon 1914, and he will then let us
    see beyond as soon and as far as will be good for us.

    Let us learn from experiences of the past not to be
    too positive about details.
    We need have no worry.
    We know that God knows. So

    'We'd rather walk with him by faith
    Than to go alone, by sight;
    We'd rather go with him in the dark,
    Than go alone in the light.'

    Many of us may be called home during 1925 and
    1926. Whether we shall be called, or whether Jehovah
    shall leave some of us here for a little further work,
    what does it matter?
    If we are faithful, we are just
    as acceptable and commendable on this side the vail,
    and just as sure of our reward. With such a glorious
    hope and the evidences all about us of the divine power
    and protection and leading, every consecrated heart should
    be inspired to put forth all the energy possible to
    complete the race victoriously. Let us go forth con-
    fidently, carrying high the banner of the King, pro-
    claiming, "The Lord reigneth!" — Psalm 96:10;
    Isaiah 52: 7,8.

    As we thus keep diligently at work,singing as we
    go, trusting in Jehovah for all things necessary, we
    will fortify our minds against the darts of the adversary
    and increase our own courage, and also be a greater
    encouragement to others. —-Romans 16 : 20.
  • Band on the Run
    Band on the Run

    Should not the English usage be "meet" and not "meat." The Book of Common Prayer response to Let us give praise to the Lord is "it is meet and right so to do." It is a very meet, comely....... Small detail, I know.

    Need to read more and return.

  • Ding

    All this after they told us that we could confidently expect the resurrection of the patriarchs in 1925.

    Now they have "spiritualized" all the references to the Jews, Israel, and Jerusalem so the entire premise on which all this was based has been abandoned.

    But it's all "the truth" until they change it...

  • cabasilas

    Should not the English usage be "meet" and not "meat."

    Actually, it's "meat," from the King James' translation of Matthew 24:45-47. They used the term "meat in due season" to refer to new interpretations of doctrine.

    For a background on how Watchtower leaders pushed 1925, see:

  • Listener

    These are big changes that have occurred in doctrine, from visible to invisible and from physical to spiritual

  • BluesBrother

    I guess this falls into the category of stuff for which JFR later confessed " I made an ass of myself"!

    Thanks for sharing

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