Is it Truth?
“A religion that teaches lies cannot be true.” Watchtower 1991 Dec 1 p.7
This site contains many pages discussing Watchtower doctrine, changed teachings and failed date predictions. For those without the time or patience to wade through it all, here is a brief thought to dwell on:
For over 130 years, the Watchtower has stated that “the end” is just a few years away. Was that the truth?
Whilst fear-inducing warnings about the imminence of Armageddon may be motivational, the light of history allows reality to shine. Consider the following Watchtower statements that for a certainty the end would come in 1914, in 1925, within the twentieth century; and that these predictions were from Jehovah himself.
"We have no doubt whatever in regard to the chronology relating to the dates of 1874, 1914, 1918, and 1925." Watch Tower 1922 May 15 p.150
"… this chronology is not of man, but of God.
… the addition of more proofs removes it entirely from the realm of chance into that of proven certainty.
… this is proof of divine origin, and that the system is not a human invention but a discovery of divine truth." Watch Tower 1922 Jul 15 pp.217-218
"But bear in mind that the end of 1914 is not the date for the beginning, but for the end of the time of trouble." Zion's Watch Tower 1894 Jul 15 p.226
"True, it is expecting great things to claim, as we do, that within the coming twenty-six years all present governments will be overthrown and dissolved. In view of this strong Bible evidence concerning the Times of the Gentiles, 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 at the end of A. D. 1914." Studies In the Scriptures - The Time Is At Hand (1889) pp.99, 101
"And every island fled away. - Even the republics will disappear in the fall of 1920.
And the mountains were not found. - Every kingdom of earth will pass away, be swallowed up in anarchy.
The three days in which Pharaoh's host pursued the Israelites into the wilderness represent the three years from 1917 to 1920 at which time all of Pharaoh's messengers will be swallowed up in the sea of anarchy." Studies In the Scriptures - The Finished Mystery p.258
"That period of time beginning 1575 before A.D. 1 of necessity would end in the fall of the year 1925, at which time the type ends and the great antitype must begin. What, then, should we expect to take place? The chief thing to be restored is the human race to life; and since other Scriptures definitely fix the fact that there will be a resurrection of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and other faithful ones of old, and that these will have the first favour, 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." Millions Now Living Will Never Die p.88
"The year 1926 would therefore begin about October first, 1925. We should, therefore, expect shortly after 1925 to see the awakening of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Melchisedec, Job, Moses, Samuel, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, John the Baptist, and others mentioned in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews." The Way to Paradise (1924) p.224
"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 then Noah had upon which to base his faith in a coming deluge." Watch Tower 1923 Apr 1 p.106
1941 - Only a Few Months
"Receiving the gift, the marching children clasped it to them, not a toy or plaything for idle pleasure, but the Lord's provided instrument for most effective work in the remaining months before Armageddon." Watchtower 1941 Sep 15 p.288
1960's - Within a Few Years
"It means that only a few years, at most, remain before the corrupt system of things dominating the earth is destroyed by God." Awake! 1968 Oct 8 p.13
"If you are a young person, you also need to face the fact that you will never grow old in this present system of things. Why not? Because all the evidence in fulfillment of Bible prophecy indicates that this corrupt system is due to end in a few years. Of the generation that observed the beginning of the "last days" in 1914, Jesus foretold: "This generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur." Awake! 1969 May 22 p.15
1987 - Immediate Future
"If we follow the good example of Jehovah's organization by using our time and resources in the best way possible to advance Kingdom interests and glorify Jehovah's name, we can confidently expect to win the race for life and share in the marvelous blessings Jehovah has in store for his servants in the immediate future and throughout eternity!" Our Kingdom Ministry 1987 Feb p.3
Prior to the turn of the Century
"That now-operating kingdom in heaven will, within the twentieth century, cleanse the entire earth of wickedness." Awake! 1961 Feb 22 p.7
"Shortly, within our twentieth century, the "battle in the day of Jehovah" will begin against the modern antitype of Jerusalem, Christendom." The Nations Shall Know That I Am Jehovah p.216
"Some of that "generation" could survive until the end of the century. But there are many indications that "the end" is much closer than that!" Watchtower 1984 March 1 pp.18-19
What affect have these blatantly false predictions had on the lives and decisions of followers?
"Reports are heard of brothers selling their homes and property and planning to finish out the rest of their days in this old system in the pioneer service. Certainly this is a fine way to spend the short time remaining before the wicked world's end." Kingdom Ministry May 1974 p.3
"Today there is a great crowd of people who are confident that a destruction of even greater magnitude is now imminent. The evidence is that Jesus' prophecy will shortly have a major fulfilment, upon this entire system of things. This has been a major factor in influencing many couples to decide not to have children at this time." Awake! 1974 Nov. 8 p.11
Is It Later Than You Think?
The 2012 Special Talk was entitled "Is It Later Than You Think?"
Kingdom Ministry 2012 Feb p.4
This was also the theme for a 1968 Awake!, which predicted;
"The fact that fifty-four years of the period called the "last days" have already gone by is highly significant. It means that only a few years, at most, remain before the corrupt system of things dominating the earth is destroyed by God." Awake! 1968 Oct 8 p.13
Four decades on, Watchtower can reintroduce this fear inducing message, safe in the knowledge few followers that read the same message in the 1960's are still around to remember it as failed deception.
Over the last hundred years, the generation teaching was constantly tweaked to make it appear the end of the generation had been reached. Now that the "generation" that were alive prior to 1914 are virtually gone, the generation is now an "overlapping" generation, so that a generation includes the life span of people that knew people born prior to 1914. The doctrine is obviously a stretch of the imagination, and sad that Jehovah's Witnesses are so gullible as to accept it as truth.
After such a string of false predictions, Watchtower is less blatant of recent years, but still constantly promotes that the end is about to come through more subtle statements.
Since its inception in the 1800's, the main theme of the Watchtower Society is that Armageddon would soon arrive, and its followers would never grow old or die. The Watchtower attempts to dismiss these false statements as "relatively minor" (rs p.146), "enthusiasm" (w79 p.29) and "incomplete" light (jv p.146). Do not let clear thinking be swamped by these clever semantics. Watchtower predictions, forcibly presented as the "established truth" and "of God", are not examples of light that got clearer over time, they are the fanciful falsehoods of human imaginations. They are not timely reminders to worship God, but specific statements that manipulate the actions of members. They never were truth, they were lies promoted in the name of God.
"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." - John F. Kennedy
Paul Grundy 2005 - 2021