Why a 1914 Return Date is Impossible

by Sea Breeze 17 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Sea Breeze
    Sea Breeze

    Revelation 20:2-3

    And he [Jesus] laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,

    And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.

    We see that the Millennial Reign BEGINS with Satan being bound. He will be bound for 1000 years. No JW would believe that the devil has already been bound would they? Of course not. They think he is around every corner and smurf doll.

    Also, if Jesus already came into kingly power in 1914 and started to "reign in the midst of his enemies" as the WT teaches, then Satan will only be bound for 893 years... if he were bound now. See the problem?

    So, the Gentile Times have not ended and the New Covenant is still open to "whosoever".

    The dual class "Christianity", one with the New Covenant and one without it, that the WT teaches was unknown to the apostles. The bible says you are cursed if you preach a different gospel than what the apostles preached.

    Galatians 1:8-9

    But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

    How can they continue to get away with this?

  • waton
    The dual class "Christianity", one with the New Covenant and one without it, that the WT teaches was unknown to the apostles.

    SB, yes, that is the big void in their memorial/communion talk. Wt writer's understanding of the 12 tribes of the Israel of God. all members of all the tribes were in the Law, / are in the new covenant.

    new covenant for all, for forgiveness of sin. kingdom covenant later, if you are a male virgin and die by the axe.

  • Bobcat

    You might consider a different view regarding Jesus' reign:

    If you read Rev 20:4 carefully, it does not discuss the length of Jesus' kingship. Rather, it specifies how long his disciples would "reign" with him.

    The NT describes Jesus as ruling "until [God] has put all enemies under [Jesus'] feet." (1Co 15:25; Heb 10:12-13; Ps 110:1) For an analysis of when Jesus began ruling, based on what the NT indicates, see this post. And for an analysis of the Greek word parousia (translated as "presence" in the NWT), and that the word is never used in the NT in reference to WHEN Jesus is crowned or given ruling authority, see this post. (Both links are off-site.)

    But back to Rev 20:4. See the reasoning used in this post (also off-site) regarding who is being described in Rev 20:4.

    Incidentally, I agree with you on the New Covenant being intended for all Jesus' disciples.

  • Sea Breeze
    Sea Breeze


    So you believe that the "the thousand year reign of Christ" is really referring to only "the thousand year reign of the saints"? I never heard that take before. A plain reading of Rev. 19 & 20 introduces the physical return of Jesus and "the" thousand year reign on earth with Jesus immediately doing several things when he comes back to earth in the flesh. One of those things he does at first is bind Satan.

    Was Jesus reigning previous to this in heaven? yes. Will he reign after this (in eternity) along with Church-Age believers, of course: See Daniel 7:18

    "But the saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come."

    But, The Thousand Year Reign of Christ is a specific time period on earth. Just as the Age of Law had a beginning and an end - Moses to Calvary; and just as the Age of Grace had a beginning and an end - Pentecost to 2nd Coming; "The Thousand Year" Reign will have a beginning and an end - 2nd Coming to the final rebellion.

    This is the plain historical view of Christianity believed by the apostles and the early church leaders.

    Papias (AD 70-163)

    Eusebius (AD 263-339) quoted Papias as writing this, “There will be a millennium after the resurrection of the dead, when the personal reign of Christ will be established on earth.”

    Justin Martyr (AD 100-165)

    “But I and others, who are right-minded Christians on all points, are assured that there will be a resurrection of the dead, and a thousand years in Jerusalem, which will be built, adorned, and enlarged, [as] the prophets Ezekiel and Isaiah declare. . . And further, there was a certain man with us, whose name was John, one of the apostles of Christ, who prophesied, by a revelation that was made to him, that those who believed in our Christ would dwell a thousand years in Jerusalem.

    Lactantius (AD 240-320)

    In his writings, he referred to a thousand-year rule of Jesus. Speaking of Christ, he said, “But He, when He shall have destroyed unrighteousness, and executed His great judgment, and shall have recalled to life the righteous, who have lived from the beginning, will be engaged among men a thousand years, and will rule them with most just command.

  • Bobcat

    Hi Sea Breeze,

    Whether Jesus reigns on earth or in heaven is irrelevant in my reply above. Rev 20:4 specifically describes the 1000 years as a time when his disciples reign with Jesus, not when Jesus begins ruling. One of the links I included in my post was to NT indications of when Jesus begins ruling. As 1Co 15:25 shows, he is already ruling while he still has enemies. His disciples begin ruling with him after the destructive events in Rev 19 and Satan'a abyssal in Rev 20:1-3. Of course, Jesus' rulership during the 1000 years will be far more manifest than it has been before that. It will be open then (Dan 2:44), compared to behind the scenes (so-to-speak) as it is now. (Compare Mt 13:31-32, 33)

    As for what the NT indicates about when Satan is cast out of heaven, see this thread (off site). This should not be confused with when Satan is abyssed in Rev 20:1-3.

    The early church fathers you quoted are not incorrect per se. They just don't factor in that Jesus has been ruling God's Kingdom since he returned to heaven. (Col 3:13) It's just that his rulership is presently more discreet. But it will eventually be much more overt. This discreet, then overt rulership of Jesus is sometimes referred to as "Inaugurated Eschatology." (See posts # 13, 15, 17 starting here.)

  • Sea Breeze
    Sea Breeze


    The Millennium Reign, as a specific time period or dispensation on earth begins with Christ's Return.

    You might consider a different view regarding Jesus' reign:

    The point of this post is that at the beginning of the Millennial Rule, Satan will be bound for a thousand years. The WT doesn't line up with scripture here in that they teach Jesus has been ruling on earth since 1914. This cannot be true since Satan would, under that premise, only be bound for 893 years (instead of 1000 yrs.) should Jesus do it today. No JW would agree that Satan was bound in 1914.

    I appreciate your citations. But for me, I usually only regard literal, plain reading of scripture as authoritative and to a somewhat lesser extent, writings of the early church leaders in the first 2-3 centuries. JW's are certainly not going to regard writings outside the NWT bible and the WT as anything to be considered. Early church fathers might be considered a little bit.... maybe.

    This post is offered as a possible line of reasoning to be used on JW relatives, where using only the bible a person might show how WT doctrine doesn't line up with scripture.

    I plan on using the points made in the OP on my Dad soon.

  • Bobcat

    Hi SB,

    Wish you well.

  • Disillusioned JW
    Disillusioned JW

    Sea Breeze, the WT does not teach that is Jesus is ruling on the Earth. They teach that Jesus is ruling in heaven over the Earth. They teach that Christ (and also the 144,000) will not be on Earth during the 1,000 years, but be in heaven during that time. They teach that Christ is currently ruling among his enemies (while the enemies are active, hence their application of the 'nation against will rise against nation' and there will be 'famines in one place after another' of in Matt. chapter 24 and their application of Psalms 110:2) and that the 1,000 year period is the portion of his reign when his chief enemy (Satan) will be in the abyss and thus 'unable to mislead the nations anymore'. The WT thus teaches that Christ's reign is more than 1,000 years - something that even some JWs don't realize the WT teaches. Those teachings of them might conflict with the Bible, but nonetheless those are some of their teachings.

  • Sea Breeze
    Sea Breeze

    True. But, that point is irrelevant to the point I'm making. Long established JW doctrine is that God's Kingdom began ruling in 1914.

    Knorr and Franz belted this out over and over at the 1958 Intl. Convention in NYC to over 250,000.

    “God’s Kingdom Rules—Is the World’s End Near?” - Franz

    “All hail to God’s kingdom that now rules!” - Knorr


    God's Kingdom (the 1000 Year reign of Christ) began in 1914 according to the WT.

    "So, according to the Bible, the millennium is a period when Satan will not be free to mislead humans, .... mankind will be ruled righteously by Jesus Christ and his joint heirs." - w79 10/15 p. 4

    Doesn't line up with Scripture that says Satan will be bound for 1000 years. We are now talking only 893 years or less since they don't believe Satan is bound.

    The WT thus teaches that Christ's reign is more than 1,000 years - something that even some JWs don't realize the WT teaches. Those teachings of them might conflict with the Bible, but nonetheless those are some of their teachings.

    Good point. They must deviate from scripture either on the length of the millennium reign (which would make the term an oxymoron) or have Satan being bound for less than 1000 years in order to accommodate a 1914 Return of Christ and the start of his Kingdom.

    Yet, the KM says this:

    He foretells thousand year rulership, mentioning it six times in Revelation 19:11 through 20:10. Evidence that Kingdom was established in heaven in 1914 C.E. and that seventh millennium of human history will soon begin shows why we have reason to believe millennial rule has approached. (Pars. 11-14, 17, 18) - km 9/73 p. 3-4

    So the thousand year reign of Christ is now the unbiblical 1107 Yr. reign of Christ! - km 9/73 p. 3-4

  • Disillusioned JW
    Disillusioned JW

    Sea Breeze, while it is true that Charles T. Russell taught that the 1,000 portion of Christ's reign would begin in 1914, decades later the WT was teaching the 1,000 year portion would be later. During the time of Franz and Knorr (at least since the 1970s) the Watchtower while teaching that Christ's reign started in 1914 CE were also teaching his 1,000 year reign was in the near future, and that it would be after the battle of Armageddon. You are equating the 1000 year reign of Christ with the entire time period of Christ's reign, but the WT (at least since 1970) does not do so. The WT (at least since 1970) says that the 1,000 year reign of Christ is only a portion (the main portion yes, but not the full portion) of Christ's reign.

    Around the year 1970 the WT was teaching that the 1,000 year portion of Christ's reign had a very high likelihood of starting in the year 1975 (or very soon afterwards). [They were teaching that the year 1975 would be the completion of the 6,000th year of human existence and they were teaching that each of the creative days of Genesis were 7,000 years long.] Around the year 1970 the WT was also teaching that Christ began his rule as God's king in the year 1914. I was raised in the WT religion from infancy and I got baptized into the WT/JW religion in the early 1980s, and a few weeks ago I reviewed their literature from the 1974 time period regarding this topic, so I know what I am writing about. Note the following evidence from the WT literature.

    The WT published a book called God's Kingdom of a Thousand Years Has Approached with the copyright date of 1973. Notice that title says the 1,000 year reign was in the near future at the time the book was published, not that in the past. Page 12 in ph. 11 says in part the following:

    '... little did Nebuchadnezzar know that at the end of those "seven times" of Gentile domination in 1914 the "King of the heavens" would give the "kingdom of mankind" to the one whom he wanted to--His Messiah!--Daniel 9:25.'

    Page 44 in ph. 41 says in part the following:

    "According to the Bible's timetable, the beginning of the seventh millennium of mankind's existence on earth is near at hand, within this generation. Now as at no time in the past the inhabitants of earth need the binding and abyssing of Satan the Devil in a real way. The world events immediately ahead of this are about to take place, and mankind's great adversary and oppressor will be sealed up in the abyss for ten centuries of time. The royal rule of Christ and his resurrected congregation for a thousand years of peace and blessing to the human family is before us with all its glorious possibilities!"

    The final chapter of the WT's book called God's Kingdom of a Thousand Years Has Approached. Ph. 1 of that chapter on page 398 says the following:

    "THE KINGDOM of God by his Messiah for a thousand years has approached! The basis for announcing this good news is solid, firmly established in inspired Scripture and in world events since 1914 C.E. The millennial kingdom's approach means that the political governments of imperfect, dying human rulers are approaching their end. "In the days of those kings," said the inspired prophet Daniel to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, "the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin. And the kingdom itself will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite."--Daniel 2:44."

    On page 405 of the book the first part of ph. 15 says:

    'Thus when the glorious thousand years of Messiah's reign over all the earth are ready to begin, a "grand salvation" will indeed have been wrought by God for all his loyal ones on earth. Just think of it! For these loyal ones there has come a good riddance of all the wicked ones on earth and in the invisible realm about the earth. There can now follow a preservation of such loyal ones all during the thousand years of God's Messianic kingdom, the loyal ones of the "great crowd" being the ones that will forever keep living upon the cleansed earth.'

    Sea Breeze, I agree with you that the WT's teaching that Christ became king in 1914 is an erroneous teaching and that it conflicts with the Bible's teaching. It is one of the reasons I stopped believing in the WT/JW religion.

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