"50 Years a Watchtower Slave" Chapter 5 Part B

by new boy 10 Replies latest jw experiences

  • new boy
    new boy

    One thing they never talked about at the assemblies was how many predictions they made in the pass about the so called end of the world. Predictions that never came to be. I didn’t know it at the time and most Jehovah’s Witnesses didn’t know that Charles Russell (1852-1916), the founder, believed that Christ had secretly arrived in the year 1874 and that he would establish the Kingdom of God on Earth in October 1914 Russell based this prophecy on his studies of the Bible and the Great Pyramid.

    A key component to the calculation was derived from the book of Daniel, Chapter 4. The book refers to "seven times". He interpreted each "time" as equal to 360 days, giving a total of 2,520 days. He further interpreted this as representing exactly 2,520 years, measured from the starting date of 607 BC. This resulted in the year 1914 being the target date for the Millennium. Russell's belief became a key teaching of the Jehovah's Witnesses. Since late in the 19th century, they had taught that the "battle of the Great Day of God Almighty" (Armageddon) would happen in that year.


    Said. “And, with the end of A.D. 1914, what God calls Babylon, and what men call Christendom, will have passed away, as is already shown from prophecy." Studies In The Scriptures, Vol. III, (1897)

    "...we consider it an established truth that the final end of the kingdoms of this world, and the full establishment of the Kingdom of God, will be accomplished by the end of A.D. 1914" (1889).

    "In the coming 26 years, all present governments will be overthrown and dissolved." Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. II, (1889)

    However in 1912 he back pedaled"...he wrote that, while the prophecy remains valid, the power of the Gentiles could end either in October 1914 or in October 1915."

    Lots of people join Russell's movement and it expanded rapidly, in the years leading up to 1914.

    However, as the year 1914 came and passed without the visible appearance of Christ. The society regarded the start of the World War 1 as confirmation that the process leading to Christ's return, had started. They decided that 1914 was the year that Jesus invisibly began his rule from heaven.

    In November 1914, immediately after Russell's prophecy had failed, he wrote that the period of transition could run a "good many years."

    The Watchtower magazine suggested that the destruction would happen "...shortly after 1914 with the utter destruction" of other Christian denominations and the inauguration of Christ's millennial reign. They first predicted that this would happen in 1915. Drawing a parallel with the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman Army in 70 CE, the authors of the 1915 Edition of "The Time Is At Hand" wrote:

    "The Gentile Times prove that the present governments must all be overthrown about the close of A.D. 1915; and Parallelism above shows that this period corresponds exactly with the year A.D. 70, which witnessed the completion of the downfall of the Jewish polity."

    After Russell's death in 1916, members of the society rewrote large portions of his Studies in the Scriptures to reflect the new belief that the year 1914 was merely the beginning of the end of Gentile times.

    They later delayed the millennium to 1918. A 1917 publication, "The Finished Mystery" stated:

    "...in the year 1918, when God destroys the churches wholesale and the church members by millions, it shall be that any that escape shall come to the works of Pastor Russell to learn the meaning of the downfall of Christianity."

    That year also passed uneventfully, except for the end of World War I.

    The WTS introduced the concept that Christ would establish his millennial kingdom on earth "before the generation who saw the events of 1914 passes away." With many humans achieving a life span of over 90 years, this could place the War of Armageddon at any time between 1914 and the early 21st century.

    The next estimate of the end of things was some time in 1925.

    In 1918, J.E. Rutherford, the WTS' second president and the author of "Millions now living will never die" wrote:

    "...there will be a resurrection of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and other faithful ones of old ... we may expect 1925 to witness the return of these faithful men of Israel from the condition of death, being resurrected and fully restored to perfect humanity and made the visible, legal representatives of the new order of things on earth.... Therefore we may confidently expect that 1925 will mark the return of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the faithful prophets of old, particularly those named by the Apostle in Hebrews 11, to the condition of human perfection."

    In 1922, Rutherford wrote:

    "Fulfilled prophecy shows beyond a doubt that (Christ) did appear in 1874. Fulfilled prophecy is otherwise designated the physical facts; and these facts are indisputable....We understand that the jubilee type began to count in 1575 B.C.; and the 3,500 year period embracing the type must end in 1925....It follows, then, that the year 1925 will mark the beginning of the restoration of all things lost by Adam's disobedience."

    In 1923, a Watchtower article predicted:

    "Our thought is, that 1925 is definitely settled by the scriptures. As to Noah, the Christian now has much more upon which to base his faith than Noah had upon which to base his faith in a coming deluge."

    As the year approached, the WTS appeared to back-peddle somewhat:

    Watchtower magazine predicted in mid-1924:

    "The year 1925 is a date definitely and clearly marked in the Scriptures, even more clearly than that of 1914; but it would be presumptuous on the part of any faithful follower of the Lord to assume just what the Lord is going to do during that year." 4

    At the beginning of 1925, a Watchtower article commented:

    "With great expectations Christians have looked forward to this year. Many have confidently expected that all members of the body of Christ will be changed to heavenly glory during this year. This may be accomplished. It may not be... Christians should not be so deeply concerned about what may transpire this year."

    Just like 1914 the year 1925 came and went to the dismay of the church leaders.

    They regarded the year 1975 a promising date for the end of the world, based on their original belief that it was the 6,000th anniversary of creation of both Adam and Eve at the Garden of Eden in 4026 BC. They believe, along with many other conservative Protestant denominations that the world would exist for exactly 1,000 years for each day of the creation week. Their Watchtower or Awake magazines taught that:

    "According to reliable Bible chronology Adam was created in the year 4026 BC, likely in the autumn of the year, at the end of the sixth day of creation."

    "According to reliable Bible chronology, Adam and Eve were created in 4026 BC."

    "Are we to assume from this study that the battle of Armageddon will be all over by the autumn of 1975, and the long-looked-for thousand-year reign of Christ will begin by then? Possibly, but we wait to see how closely the seventh thousand-year period of man’s existence coincides with the Sabbath like thousand-year reign of Christ....Our chronology, however, which is reasonably accurate (but admittedly not infallible), at the best only points to the autumn of 1975 as the end of 6,000 years of man’s existence on earth."

    This prophecy was put forward in their publications, notably Watchtower and Awake and at their assemblies. The close proximity of the end times encouraged the membership to increase their proselytizing efforts.

    Membership rose significantly in the years leading up to 1975. Some members sold their possessions, cashed in their insurance policies, etc. in anticipation of the Millennium's arrival.

    So no time to waste back in the nineteen sixties and early nineteen seventies. No time to think about jobs. So college educations were not just frowned a ponded but highly discouraged. Very few people going to college back then. If you did go you were considered to be a spiritually weak person. It was never said to your face but talked behind your back. Yes, it was time to spread the news.

    There was much talk of staying single and not getting married at all. It was no time to settle down and starting a family. The society knew if you got married, the odds of staying in the full time ministry was very low. So not only were less people getting married but many who were married decided to not have children for a while. They would wait until “the great tribulation” was over. Then it would be save to start their families. The thousands that served at the many “Bethel” headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses around the world give up having any families too. It was law that no children were allowed at Bethel. So many who served there for 30, 40 and even 50 years gave up this privilege. There was a lot of very bitter people there who believed “the end” was coming any day. The only thing that ended was their possibility of having a family.

    There was a scripture that was quoted a lot back then. “And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! … For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. ”

    Something strange happened to me while I was in field service in the late nineteen nineties. I was going door to door in Tigard Oregon. I ring the door bell, like I have done thousands of times before. How many people have I talked to after forty years of “spreading the good news” who knows? This door was very different, at least the person behind it was. A pleasant looking blond haired man came to the door. He was in his late thirties and a slight smile on his face. I launched into my three minute sermon. He just stood there smiling. So I pulled out the “Watchtower and Awake” magazines and show him some stupid article about who knows what. After rambling on for minutes I finally asked him, what he thought. He stood there for a moment then he got a smile on his face and said. “I’m so grateful I don’t believe like you.” I stood there not knowing what to say. Then he said it again. “I’m so glad I don’t believe like you do.” I stood there with a strange look on my face and he said. “Wait here.” He turned and came back with a Watchtower in his hand. He also had with him what looked like his twelve year old son. Then he opened the watchtower up and read from it. “Your magazine says here. This is your magazine isn’t it?” I nodded yes. “It says here and I quote your magazine. ‘In view of the times we are living, it might be wise to not to have children because of the times we are living in.’ So, you see if I believed the same way you and your religion does, I would have never known the pleasure of my son here.” He put his hand on his sons head and smiled at us and said “Good bye.” I had nothing to say. He stepped back and shut his door. I thought to myself he was right.

  • stillin

    Based on your bio, I gather that family means a lot to you. And it should. I'm glad for you that this incident was such an eye-opener.

    I wonder if the F&D guys have wised up about guessing anything having a date with it. It was great for beefing up the numbers, but then the disappointment sets in.

  • James Jack
    James Jack

    I am getting in to your story!

    Thanks for posting.

  • tepidpoultry

    The latest talk/buzz primed by Warchtower has to due with 1914 plus 120 years =2034 ratonale is Noah's wait,

    It was noted by Penton that they can't stop speculating/predicting or they will lose their fan base,

    These guys are very calculating (excuse the pun)


  • evilApostate

    tepidpoultry18 minutes ago

    Where do they say that? I would luv to see it.

  • Distracted

    I found the 120 yr prediction quoted here: http://www.quotes-watchtower.co.uk/2034.html Somewhere, I have read that they have backed off of this date of 2034 because it's too far away to create urgency in the minds of believers and recruits, and also, it gives them plausible deniability.

    Here is a pretty good article about the quandary that the WT is currently in: https://jwsrefined.com/2012/12/16/generation/

  • evilApostate


    7 minutes agoI found the 120 yr prediction quoted here: http://www.quotes-watchtower.co.uk/2034.html Somewhere, I have read that they have backed off of this date of 2034 because it's too far away to create urgency in the minds of believers and recruits, and also, it gives them plausible deniability later on.

    I see. Even though it hints at 120 years equaling a generation, it doesn't explicitly state 2034.

  • tepidpoultry


    It doesn't specifically state "2034", nowhere in print that "Armageddon will be in 1975" either,

    But the article, as planned, (as 1975) gets the grass roots brothers excited and talking,

    Then when things don't turn out they blame the brothers for talking out of turn, being presumptuous, and if they leave "not waiting on Jehovah"

    These guys are diabolical,

  • tepidpoultry

    The Prophesy of 1925 that New Boy talks about fails,


    These ones are now written off as "Evil Slave"

    Meanwhile the Good Guy Rutherford celebrates the fact that he is an "ass"

    (his words) by building a mansion (Beth Sarim) for the resurrected princes,

    Labour for construction/maintenance all by volunteer/slave labour,

    Money for this as well as two luxury cars provided by private Witness donors, (I'm thinking they liked old Uncle Joe)

    Watch Tower has been successful in almost completely suppressing this information ( I am aware of only 2 paragraphs in the Proclaimers Book)

    Ask anyone today about this and see what happens,

    This is a cult

  • Distracted

    When 1975 came around, the witnesses I knew had heard enough that they thought "no one knows the day or the hour." It is true, however, that 1975 was talked about and speculated on frequently. including the idea that Adam was created on a certain year and the sabbath resting of God would enter into it's last millenium of the 7th 7,000 year long day. (Witnesses used to believe that the creative days in Genesis were 7K years long). But then we were cautioned to realize there could have been several years before Eve was created (and Adam/Eve sinned) so things were still extremely urgent but not necessarily immediate. And this was a loving thing from Jehovah to allow us more time to engage in our lifesaving preaching work.

    Only a few that I knew personally in the area actually did highly irrational things. My congregation was made up of a lot of stable older people though, probably already inured to the date setting and disappointments. I was a teen so I was actually relieved when it didn't come then. 'Fraid I would be destroyed for having a few impure thoughts. LOL. I remember telling my non-witness Dad that he needn't bother saving for us to go to college because we wouldn't need it. My first huge mistake.

    Even so, we were thinking that Armageddon could come at anytime after that year. This whole thing does quite a number on a person's head. I still have relatives buying this garbled nonsense hook, line and sinker. It's so much easier than facing up to the very real problems humans need to acknowledge and to do something about them. Or facing up to their own mortality.

    ETA There are sources that say the year 1975 specifically appeared in 1966 WT and Kingdom Ministries, in talks, etc... http://www.jwfacts.com/watchtower/1975.php but mostly it was alluded to by other phrasing. Maybe the society realizes now that a hint can go a long way when it comes to Witnesses speculating.

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