1874, 1914 and 1943

by TD 96 Replies latest jw friends

  • TD
    TD

    A persistent meme that floats around on JW related internet forums holds that Christ's Second Coming was moved forward 40 years (i.e. From 1874 to 1914) in the year 1943. (This appears to be based primarily on a statment in the book God's Kingdom of a Thousand Years Has Approached on page 209 and to a lesser degree, a footnote at the bottom of page 133 of the publication Jehovah's Witnesses - Proclaimers Of God's Kingdom.)

    The purpose of this thread is to demonstrate with actual scans from the period literature when the adjustment was made.

    Let's go back to a point when the significance of 1874 was crystal clear. The May 1881 issue of Zion's Watch Tower emphatically taught that all time prophecies bearing upon Jesus' coming ended at or before 1874 and that "He came there":

    The Harp Of God, a Rutherford era book intended for Bible study with the masses was also quite clear about the significance of 1874:

    Rutherford era Watch Towers were also very clear:

    This was the view held throughout the 1920's. The last clear, unambiguous reference to 1874 in connection with the start of the Parousia appeared in the 1929 book Prophecy:

    You can see however that a wind of change was blowing the very next year. In contrast with the clarity of the previous quotes, note the lack of specificity in the October 14, 1930 issue of The Watch Tower on page 308:

    Even more indeterminate is a statement which appeared in the November 1, 1932 issue of The Watchtower on page 325:

    The 1932 booklet, What Is Truth clearly stated:

    Similar statements had already appeared in the April 30, 1930 issue of The Golden Age and the 1931 booklet, The Kingdom, the Hope of The World. The first distinct reference to 1914 as the year of Christ's second coming did not appear in The Watchtower until the December 1, 1933 issue:

    The adjustment in 1943 did away with 1873-74 as a "Millenium Marker," but as you can see, Christ's Second Coming had been uncoupled from 1874 almost exactly a decade prior to that.

  • Cameron_Don
    Cameron_Don

    Hello TD,.

    I recall when you brought this informatoin to my attention a year or so ago. When I wrote "Captives of a Concept" I was not aware of the above specific 1933 Watchtower statements until you brought them to my attention. But in my footnote on page 22 I had acknowledged the following...

    "NOTE: There is some evidence that Rutherford first mentioned 1914 as the beginning of Christ’s Second Coming in the 1930s. But the Proclaimers book doesn’t mention any date prior to 1943."

    I also said,

    The point I wanted to make is that, "

    Either way it wouldn’t make any difference because the change of date (from 1874 to 1914) was made long after Jesus’ (1918-1919) examination was over."

    And I concluded my reasoning by saying that "The time to pass an examination is when it is given, not (19 years [1933] or 29 years [1943] years) after it is over. And they themselves say that Jesus’ examination was over in the spring of 1919."

    I recall when you originally brought this matter to my attention you agreed that as far as the above point I was trying to make, it would not have made any difference whether the date 1874 was changed to 1914 in 1933 or 1943. In 1919 the Society would have given Jesus the wrong answer (1874) for the date of his parousia.

    Don

  • St George of England
    St George of England

    It is very difficult to get JW's to accept that 1914 has not always been taught as the date for Christ's Second Coming.

    In fact, about a year ago, a circuit overseer in his talk, said that from the 1870's JW's had taught that Jesus would be enthroned in 1914, that came about and the doctrine has never changed. He said you can check in the old literature from those days for proof!

    I should have challenged him to show me some proof but never did.

    George

  • diamondiiz
    diamondiiz

    It's true that Rutherford started to change the 1874 in the earlier 1930s but if WTS wants to point to 1943 as per Proclaimers book as the official change who are we to question them on that one :) Rutherford's new ideas were very slowly introduced while that entire decade was really quiet when it came to mentioning anything about 1874/1914.

  • Cameron_Don
    Cameron_Don

    I made another 'typo'. The above statement shoud read: "The time to pass an examination is when it is given, not (14 years [1933]) or 24 years [1943] after it is over. And they themselves say that Jesus’ examination was over in the spring of 1919."

    Don

  • cantleave
    cantleave

    Don I think we can forgive you a typo or two on here

  • clarity
    clarity

    TD great stuff!

    Isn't it wonderful when your religion is also a publishing CO. Whoops, guess they never thought about the ramifications of having all that crap in print!!

    I believe it was Rutherford who said in your print outs ...."Fulfilled prophecy consists of historical & physical FACTS, which are indesputable! Such FACTS never stultify themselves!

    This goes on to say that due to FACTS the expectation for the return of the Lord was 1874.

    In later Watchtowers as shown here they state that FACTS show that jesus will return in 1914.

    Websters dictionary: Stultify ... to make seem foolish, stupid or to make worthless!!!

    clarity

  • TD
    TD

    Don:

    I recall when you brought this information to my attention a year or so ago.

    I remember and still agree that a difference of 10 years doesn't affect your argument in the least. I made a promise to repost these scans awhile back.

  • wha happened?
    wha happened?

    I love posts like this. It reminds me of the insanity I left behind

  • djeggnog
    djeggnog

    @TD:

    A persistent meme that floats around on JW related internet forums holds that Christ's Second Coming was moved forward 40 years (i.e. From 1874 to 1914) in the year 1943....

    The purpose of this thread is to demonstrate with actual scans from the period literature when the adjustment was made....

    The adjustment in 1943 did away with 1873-74 as a "Millenium Marker," but as you can see, Christ's Second Coming had been uncoupled from 1874 almost exactly a decade prior to that.

    @Cameron_Don:

    When I wrote "Captives of a Concept" I was not aware of the above specific 1933 Watchtower statements until you brought them to my attention. But in my footnote on page 22 I had acknowledged the following...

    "NOTE: There is some evidence that Rutherford first mentioned 1914 as the beginning of Christ’s Second Coming in the 1930s. But the Proclaimers book doesn’t mention any date prior to 1943."

    Either way it wouldn’t make any difference because the change of date (from 1874 to 1914) was made long after Jesus’ (1918-1919) examination was over....

    I recall when you originally brought this matter to my attention you agreed that as far as the above point I was trying to make, it would not have made any difference whether the date 1874 was changed to 1914 in 1933 or 1943. In 1919 the Society would have given Jesus the wrong answer (1874) for the date of his parousia.

    @St George of England:

    It is very difficult to get JW's to accept that 1914 has not always been taught as the date for Christ's Second Coming.

    In fact, about a year ago, a circuit overseer in his talk, said that from the 1870's JW's had taught that Jesus would be enthroned in 1914, that came about and the doctrine has never changed. He said you can check in the old literature from those days for proof!

    I should have challenged him to show me some proof but never did.

    @diamondiiz:

    Rutherford's new ideas were very slowly introduced while that entire decade was really quiet when it came to mentioning anything about 1874/1914.

    @clarity:

    This goes on to say that due to FACTS the expectation for the return of the Lord was 1874.

    @TD, you seem to know as much about what "Christ's Second Coming" means as does @Cameron_Don, who is clueless. Assuming you have read @Cameron_Don's book, or some of it, I hope you weren't convinced by anything you read [email protected]_Don's book, for what it isn't is a book of truth. What might be "a persistent meme" floating about on internet websites as to movement regarding the date of Christ's Second Coming by 40 years may just be a misunderstanding on your part, for there has never been any "move" of the date Christ's Second Coming from 1874 to 1914.

    What is clear to me here is that you have confused Jesus' invisible presence, or parousia, with his Second Coming, where his presence had been understood in Russell's day to have begun in 1874, Russell believing his presence to have occurred some 40 years earlier than 1914, the year they had calculated Christ's Second Coming would occur, but the notion that Jesus' presence began in 1874 is no longer the understanding of Jehovah's Witnesses today.

    It's odd that he, @Cameron_Don, could have written such a book that contains too many erroneous statements about Pastor Russell and the Bible Students to count, like, for example -- I will insert a quote from Chapter 3 on page 23 in his book here -- "they didn’t know that Jesus' Second Coming began in 1914." On this same page, this cultleader goes on to write: "[I]f Jesus did return in 1914, neither President Russell nor President Rutherford ever knew it. 39 It is possible that there is not a single Jehovah's Witness who realizes this."

    As I believe you know already, I happen to be one of Jehovah's Witnesses, but what you may or may not know is that I'm someone that is quite familiar with the history of Jehovah's Witnesses, so I find it ridiculous that @Cameron_Don would suggest that it's possible that "not a single Jehovah's Witness" knows what he believes to be true about Russell and Rutherford's being ignorant of Jesus' 1914 "return," his Second Coming. This is exactly what I meant about @Cameron_Don's being "clueless."

    BTW, what I thought to be unnecessary was @Cameron_Don's footnote 39 which pretty much states the same thing: "According to the Proclaimers book, the date for Christ's Second Coming ("invisible presence") was not changed to 1914 until the year following Rutherford’s death. Therefore, if Jesus returned in 1914 neither man ever knew it. This should come as quite a surprise to most Witnesses if they were able to realize it."

    One other thing: @Cameron_Don claims to have been quoting from the Watch Tower, dated December 1, 1984 (I didn't check this because this is not being quoted for the truth of the matter, but just to quote what he wrote in his book), in his footnote 40 that appears on page 24 of his book, he writes the following:

    "On page 14 it says, 'So when Christ’s invisible presence began in 1914, happy were [Jehovah’s Witnesses] to have been found watching.' But that is not true. There wasn't anyone associated with the Watchtower Society who was watching for Christ’s 'invisible presence' to begin in 1914 because they all believed that it had already begun forty years earlier. In the same way, today they are still not watching for his 'invisible presence' to begin – not because they believe that it happened in 1874, but because now they believe it happened in 1914."

    Someone ought to tell the clueless wonder that the reason Jehovah's Witnesses aren't "watching" for Jesus' invisible presence to begin is because (1) Jesus' Second Coming was signaled by the composite sign of his invisible presence that began when the Gentile Times ended in 1914 and (2) as we are all living today during the conclusion of this system of things, Jesus' presence continues until his manifestation occurs (the sign of the Son of man appears in the skies above our heads in all time zones!) signaling the end of Jesus' presence and the beginning of Armageddon, the end of this system of things.

    @St George of England believes that we, Jehovah's Witnesses, haven't always taught 1914 as being the year when "Christ's Second Coming" began, and I'm thinking that he was indoctrinated by the anti-JW cultic "inspired expressions" one finds in @Cameron_Don's book, as have so many here on JWN seem to be @Cameron_Don's disciples, but I thought it would be enough to just post here just a few random quotations (unedited, except I do admit having corrected a single typo I'd discovered in one of the articles) from Watch Tower magazines released in both 1913 and 1914 that argue the contrary to be the case, quotations that make mention of Jesus' presence, or parousia, as having begun in 1874 during the "Gospel Age," which Age ended at his Second Coming in 1914 when the "Millennial Age" began, which is pretty close to what Jehovah's Witnesses still teach today.

    However, the difference between what the "Bible Students" -- and this would include Pastor Russell -- taught in Russell's day and what Jehovah's Witnesses teach today is that the Bible Students believed Jesus' presence to have begun in 1874, some 40 years earlier than what Jehovah's Witnesses teach today. The other difference is that the so-called "Millennial Age" which was in active use by the Bible Students then, but not so much by Jehovah's Witnesses today, would begin after Armageddon.

    The point not to be missed here though is that Jehovah's Witnesses today teach that Jesus' presence began in 1914, and what is more, his presence has not yet ended, but it continues to this very day. If @St George of England had challenged me to produce proof that this doctrine "has never changed," I would only need to provide these quotes from these 1913 and 1914 issues of the Watch Tower.

    @diamondiiz suggests that the decade of the 30s (and maybe he also meant to include the decade of the 20s, but I don't really know) -- was quiet with respect to 1874/1914, but I don't believe this to have been the case at all, since it was only when the Society released the book, The Truth Shall Make You Free, back in 1943 that the adjustment was made -- not in a revisionist sense, but from the standpoint of what Jehovah's Witnesses had begun teach -- that Jesus' invisible presence had begun in 1914 instead of 1874, but as I say above, regarding Jesus' Second Coming, it continued to be taught in our day as having occurred in 1914 the same as it was in Russell's day, for just like Jehovah's Witnesses today, Russell believed the Gentile Times ended in 1914, at which time Jesus would be enthroned and begin ruling as king in God's heavenly kingdom during his presence.

    But you will see from the quotes I provide below, Russell and the Bible Students weren't just teaching Jesus' Second Coming would come at the end of the Gentile Times in 1914, but they were all of them looking forward to 1914 as being a pivotal year, a period when they all expected to be glorified. either in 1914, or soon thereafter.

    I'm hoping that @clarity can provide a quote from any of the Society's publications that were available in Russell's day (or since) that indicates that there was ever an expectation on the part of the Bible Students that the return of the Lord -- Christ's Second Coming -- would occur in 1874. I don't think such a quote exists, but I'm hoping one such quote can be found, although I do not believe such a quote exists.

    Watch Tower

    September 15, 1913, p. 291

    "Are Suicides Morally Responsible?"

    (5) The only exceptions to this rule of restoration Adam’s original perfection will be those who during this Gospel age--from the death of Christ to his second coming--are called out of the world, invited to become new creatures in Christ, and made associates with Jesus, sharers in his exaltation to the divine nature and in his office. These are justified (reckoned perfect) by faith in Christ’s redemptive sacrifice, and then given the opportunity to present themselves as living sacrifices.--Romans 12:1.

    (6) As Christians, during this Gospel age, might sin wilfully and thus forfeit all relationship to God and die the second death, so in the coming age, during the Millennium, the world in general, after having been brought to an accurate knowledge of the truth, may by wilful sin forfeit all relationship to God, and die the second death.

    Watch Tower

    October 15, 1913, pp. 307, 308

    "Resume of the Ending of the Times of the Gentiles"

    We think of October, 1914, as, in round numbers, the ending of the Gentile times.

    We say that according to the best chronological reckoning of which we are capable, it is approximately that time--whether it be October, 1914, or later. Without dogmatizing, we are looking for certain events: (1) The termination of the Gentile times--Gentile supremacy in the world--and (2) For the inauguration of Messiah’s kingdom in the world. The kingdoms of earth will come to an end, and "the God of heaven will set up a kingdom."

    NOAH’S DAY SIMILAR TO THE PRESENT TIME

    Our thought in connection with the inauguration of Messiah’s kingdom is that there is a similarity between the ending of "The world that then was," and the ending of this Gospel age.

    Then it will take a certain time for the bringing in of God’s favor--the peace, the blessing. It will be some little time before this peace will be developed, as represented by the dove’s returning to the ark, unable to find rest for its foot. The dove was again sent forth, and this time it returned with an olive twig, indicating that the blessing of the Lord was bringing about vegetation again. Thus Noah knew that the waters were considerably abated. We do not undertake to say that the trouble will all be over in a year; but, with the kind of trouble that the Bible seems to picture to our minds, we cannot see how it could last more than a year, and yet any of mankind be left alive. There would be no flesh saved--all would be destroyed. The Lord intimates that unless these days be shortened such would be the fact.--Matthew 24:22.

    It is not our thought that the events associated with the inauguration of Messiah's kingdom will all be momentary, instantaneous in a literal hour, or day; rather, we are to expect that it in to be a gradually increasing trouble. It is to be a culmination of trouble--" such as never was since there was a nation."
    (Daniel 2:44) The Scriptures do not say that the trouble will come in an hour, or in one day, or in one year. The intimation is that the catastrophe coming upon our civilization will be a very sudden one. (Revelation 18:8, 10, 17, 21; 1 Thessalonians 5:3) But it will be very sudden if it comes within twelve months. The flood required many days to come, and many days to assuage.
    As a matter of fact, however, the first day of October is not the end of the Jewish year, which varies at its closing’, just as at its beginning. It is regulated by the moon, instead of the sun. The Jewish calendar can never depart from this fixed arrangement of regulation by the moon. The date 1914 is not an arbitrary date; it is merely what the chronology of the Scriptures seems to teach. We have never said positively that the Scriptures do so teach--that the Jewish favor will begin exactly at that time, or that the Gentile times will end [exactly] at that time.

    LIGHT FROM THE PROPHECY

    The elect will constitute the kingdom before that time. On the divine plane they will then begin the work of blessing and restitution; and this will have the effect of bringing the strife and trouble in the world to an end. Thus the difficulties will not be so prolonged. The olive branch will sprout, the dove will find a resting place, and the new dispensation will be fully inaugurated.

    When we look through the prophecies relating to the times of the Gentiles, we find that there are two promises--one appertaining to the Jews and the other to the world. During this period of 2,520 yearn, known as the times of the Gentiles, the Jew was to have more or less tribulation from the Gentiles. He was not to be free--he would be more or less under subjection to the "powers that be." At the clone of this period the church will be glorified. The kingdom will not be established until that time. At the end of the Gentile times Messiah will appear and set up his kingdom.

    Referring to the last king of Israel, Zedekiah, we read, "Thou profane, and wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end; thus saith the Lord God, Remove the diadem and take off the crown; . . . I will overturn, overturn, overturn it; and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it to him." (Ezekiel 21:25-27) If this period of overturning be rightly understood to be 2,520 years, it would seem to end with the second coming of Christ and the setting up of his kingdom. The Gentile supremacy was to pass from nation to nation until the time of the establishment of Messiah’s kingdom. That would prove that the treading down of Jerusalem would then cease--it would not continue after the end of these Gentile times.

    Watch Tower

    February 1, 1914, pp. 45-47

    "The Faithful are Watchful"

    [The text to which reference is made here is Luke 12:37, KJV]

    This Bible students understand to signify that at the parousia of Jesus, his second presence, he will first of all make himself known to his faithful followers, while the world in general will be ignorant of the fact that he has come. His manifestation to the world will come later; as we read, "He shall be revealed in flaming fire "--judgments. When he shall appear [to the world], we [the church] shall appear with him in glory.--Colossians 3:4.

    It is our Lord’s parousia that is described in today’s lesson--His earliest manifestations of his second advent.

    For such as receive him he will make a feast. Out of the divine Word he will bring things new and old, for their refreshment and comfort. The Bible will become to them a new book; they will feast upon the riches of God’s grace, and the dark things will become clear, the hidden mysteries shall be revealed. The Master himself will be the servant, the revealer, the setter-forth of these viands of truth. Many Bible students believe that we are now living in this very time; and that each faithful, watchful follower of Jesus will be granted a hearing of the knock and the privilege of participating in this feast, which many tell us they are now enjoying.

    OUR GOLDEN TEXT

    "The heart of this lesson is found in Verse 37, which refers to all of the Lord’s servants who will be living at the time of his second coming--who in the earliest stages of his second coming, in the time of his parousia, his presence, will be faithfully watching, on the alert to serve every interest of the Lord’s cause, seeking his will, doing his will, searching the Scriptures, obeying the Scriptures, to the best of their ability."

    The world will see him not, and know not of his presence, and his church will know of his presence only by his "knock "--by the intimations given in the Scriptures--the fulfilment of prophecy. It will then be for the watchful ones to recognize this fulfilment, and by faith to open their hearts and minds promptly to acknowledge the Master’s presence and all that presence implies of the nearness of his kingdom and of the proving of all who will be found faithful, worthy to share in that kingdom as members of his bride.

    Watch Tower

    August 15, 1914, pp. 252, 253

    "The Ten Virgins"

    "In the preceding chapter the Master traces various experiences of his people down to the time of his second coming--the time of the consummation of this (gospel age and of the inauguration of Messianic age, the age immediately ahead of us."

    PAROUSIA AND EPIPHANIA

    Many Bible students hold that this parable began to have its fulfilment in the Millerite movement, which in 1844 culminated in a disappointment. For some fourteen years prior to that time a cry had gone forth throughout the church that the time of the second coming of Christ was at hand. History tells us that many noble characters of all denominations believed the message and, in the strength of their faith, went forth to meet the Bridegroom. But they were disappointed, in that the Bridegroom tarried.

    Then all of the "virgins," both wise and foolish, slumbered and slept. A general stupor, uncertainty and drowsiness came over all. Some of them dreamed of strange knockings during that time, too. Later, at midnight, the Bridegroom came apparently, and announcements were made to that effect--"Behold the Bridegroom! Go ye forth to meet him!"

    An increasing number of Bible students believe that this latter cry sounded forth just thirty years after the disappointment of the followers of William Miller; namely, in 1874. They do not claim that Jesus came in the flesh then; but, on the contrary, they hold that he is never to come in the flesh--that he is flesh no longer, that he has "ascended up where he was before"--to the spirit plane--far above angels.

    These Bible students call our attention to the fact that the Bible distinctly differentiates between the parousia of Christ and his epiphania, at his second coming.

    With the conclusion of this work of separating the wise virgins, and after they shall have entered into the joys of their Lord by the glorious change of the first resurrection, then will come Immanuel’s Epiphania, revealing, showing forth. "When he shall appear, ye also shall appear with him in glory." "He shall be revealed in flaming fire, taking vengeance." In other words, the revelation of Christ to the world will be subsequent to his revelation of himself to the "wise virgin" class. The world will know that he has taken his great power and begun his reign of righteousness, not by seeing Jesus in the flesh, but by seeing the great time of trouble which then will break upon the world--"a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation."--Daniel 12:1; Matthew 24:21.

    The word parousia signifies presence, without in any sense of the word indicating that the presence is visible. The word epiphania signifies the revealing of one who is already present. These Bible students claim that in the end of this Gospel age Christ will be present, invisible to men, during a period of forty years, doing a work especially in his church--rewarding the faithful, as shown in the parables of the Pounds and the Talents, and receiving the "wise virgins," as in the parable of our lesson.

    THE LAMPS AND THE OIL

    The views of these Bible students are interesting to us. Whether all of their conclusions may be accepted or not, they are at least worthy of consideration, inasmuch as they furnish a new interpretation of some Scriptures not previously understood.

    Whether they have the times and seasons properly divided is another matter, upon which each individual Christian should use his own judgment. Let us follow the parable from this standpoint; for we know of no other to which the terms and conditions of the parable could be applied.

    @djeggnog

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