What was expected to happen in 1914?

*** w89 4/15 pp. 6-7 par. 8 The Infamous Harlot—Her Fall ***

8 For some 40 years the Bible Students boldly proclaimed that the year 1914 would mark the end of the Gentile Times. As expected, that year brought world-shaking events, not the least of these being the first world war.

One has to wonder how the Watchtower can portray their own history in this light.  But then again, many JW’s and non-JW’s reading the literature may be unaware of its history of failed predictions.  Therefore, such ones would see no reason to question these commendations.

However, when one considers the nature of the actual predictions made pre-1914, it would be difficult to deny that such words are not an accurate portrayal.  Some may even conclude that such a misrepresentation of pre-1914 predictions are nothing short of dishonest.

Compare the above quotation to what was really said about 1914:

“The date of the close of that ‘battle’ is definitely marked in Scripture as October, 1914.  It is already in progress, its beginning dating from October, 1874.” –Zion’s Watch Tower Jan. 15, 1892 p. 22

“We see no reason for changing the figures—nor could we change them if we would.  They are, we believe, God’s dates, not ours.  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.  We see no reason for changing from our opinion expressed in the View presented in the Watch Tower of Jan. 15, ’92.  We advise that it be read again.” –Zion’s Watch Tower, July 15, 1894 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.” –The Time is at Hand (1908 ed.) p. 99

“Be not surprised, then, when in subsequent chapters we present proofs that the setting up of the Kingdom of God is already begun, that it is pointed out in prophecy as due to begin the exercise of power in A.D. 1878, and that due ‘battle of the great day of God Almighty’ (Rev. 16:14), which will end in A.D. 1914 with the complete overthrow of earth’s present rulership, is already commenced.” –Time is at Hand(1911 ed.) p. 101

It should be readily obvious to anyone that there was more going on than predictions merely about “world shaking events” and the “end of the gentile times.”  Thus, what happened in 1914 was notexpected, contrary to what the Watchtower would have us believe according to the above quotation.  On the contrary, what was expected was “the complete overthrow of earth’s present rulership.”


8 thoughts on “What was expected to happen in 1914?

  1. Hello Mike,

    Russell readily noted many times that his thoughts on prophecy were not in cement. As we should know, man’s understanding of truth is progressive. When we turn out to be wrong about somethin, we will change it. That’s as it should be.

    Remember, Moses went 40 years too soon to free the Israelites believing that God was delivering them at that time by means of his hand. He was wrong. He even killed a man based upon that wrong notion. But was he rejected by God as Israel’s deliverer?


    1. Rotherham,

      What you raised here is certainly of interest, but i’m afraid it doesn’t directly relate to my argument in this post. My intention was to display the fact that the WT is not accurately representing their own history.

  2. Hello Mike,

    Your confusion is not recognizing the difference between the end of the Gentile Times and the battle of Armageddon. Yes, they once thought that the end of the Gentile Times would initiate Armageddon. They were wrong about that. However, we still maintain that the Gentile Times ended in circa 1914. And the Bible Students had stated for 40 years that the Gentile Times would end then, and we believe they did. Their mistake was in connecting the events of Armageddon with the end of the Gentile Times, NOT in expecting the end of the Gentile Times in 1914. We believe that they were correct in that expectation, but obvioulsy wrong about the immediacy of Armageddon at that time.

    So I see no misrepresentation of their history in what you have quoted above.


  3. Of course what they expected then was inaccurate. That wasn’t your contention. You said we misrepresented our history. We didn’t. Lots of mistakes are made if you just rely on generalities to make arguments.

    1. Rotherham,

      This is why I post the actual quotations. It’s a helpful exercise to actually look at the early predictions side-by-side with what the WT today says about them. Obviously, I don’t expect you to agree on this. After all, to be faithful to Jehovah, you can’t agree by definition, right?

  4. I will agree with anything that actually presents the truth of a matter. I would have to say that you have no accuratley done so.


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