Watchtower and Setting Dates
The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society has had a foundational problem with dates. This is not something new. Dates are in two categories: secular and spiritual. Since the Watchtower can draw some roots from the Adventist movement, the influence can be traced to William Miller, the Baptist farmer. Focus on the opening portion.
The Seventh Day Adventists were mentioned as well. They are religious “cousins” to the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. Here’s just one date that I will use from their doctrinal structure established by Ellen G. White: 1844.
At the time appointed for the judgment –the close of the 2300 days, in 1844–began the work of investigation and blotting out of sins. All who have ever taken upon themselves the name of Christ must pass Its searching scrutiny. Both the living and the dead are judged 'out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
The Great Controversy. 1858, 1950 ed. p. 486
The dates quickly became part of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society’s identity. These dates, once explicitly mentioned, have today been replaced by periods of time. However, the foundations of this organization is deeply rooted with utilization of a specific year being written.
What are the roots of the present day interpretation of 1914? What was originally supposed to happen? During the days of Russell, the Great Pyramid known as God’s Stone Witness was an influence early on with this quote:
In the passages of the great pyramid of Gizeh the agreement of one or two measurements with present truth chronology might be accidental, but the correspondency of dozens of measurements proves the same God designed both pyramid and plan and at the same time proves the correctness of the chronology.
The Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence. June 15, 1922 p.187
Notice the date is post inspection, hence Watchtower Jesus found approval. The Great Pyramid was designed by Jehovah. Since Jehovah designed it, one would figure it would last. However, it didn’t. Here’s a repudiation of what God designed:
Those who have devoted themselves to the pyramid have failed to see some of the the most important things that God has revealed for the benefit of his church. The mind of such was turned away from Jehovah and his Word.
The Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence. November 15, 1928 p.344
Let no one today add to his prophecy by saying that a pile of stone in the land of Egypt constitutes God's witness. God has made known that Satan’s organization and all who support it shall soon be destroyed in Armageddon.
Light-Vol. II. 1930 p.286
This was reiterated on page 201 of Proclaimer’s of God’s Kingdom (1993) with the following:
There are two ironies here is that the organization according to those who run it were selected as teaching the truth, yet something that was so prominently wrong was taught and believed as being right until the last two months of 1928.
The second irony is that this teaching, so prominent yet addressed in the 1993 history book was completely left out of the 2014 slimmed down history book:
This was replaced by stringing together a series of verses to arrive at 1914. This video will explain from 2:11-3:30:
So what we have is the society involved in jumping from one passage to another. Only portions of verses are used. These verses are not connected in any way to one another. If they were connected, the cross references in the middle would point from one verse to another.
Both ways to get to 1914, have a common problem: The Fall of Jerusalem.
Looking back at the video from 3:35-4:08, The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society is the only organization on earth that recognizes 607 BC. However, this was not always the case. This was originally 606 BC. Here is one quote:
(We would not say that it was not 605 or 607, but that as nearly as we can tell it was the year 606 B.C.) Then we reasoned that if 606 B.C. was the time when God took away the typical kingdom, no doubt He had at that time the purpose of giving some lease of power to the Gentile nations; and we looked to see what history and the Bible had to say upon the subject.
The Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence. November 1, 1914 p. 323
Obviously a change but here you go:
Babylonian armies destroyed Jerusalem in 607 B.C.E., and Jews from Judah were indeed deported to Babylon.
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. May 15, 2012 p. 18
Looking a little closer, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society reportedly relies on inspired Bible chronology rather than uninspired secular chronology. This is where Watchtower is speaking out of both sides of its mouth. The Bible itself contains absolutely no explicit historical dates. However, using historical sources combined with biblical events it is possible to date certain passages of scriptures. Insight on the Scriptures quotes a secular book for the fall of Babylon which it agrees with (537 BC). However, when it comes to the date of 587 as being the accepted fall of Jerusalem, secular sources are completely ignored.
I’ve looked at a book entitled “Gentile Times Reconsidered” which exhaustively covers the fall as 587 BC.
Earlier I spoke about what was originally mentioned about 1914. Here’s the quotes:
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 and Herald of Christ’s Presence. January 15, 1892 p. 23
So in short, we were supposed to have today, as you well know, that is the time Watchtower Jesus came back.
When it comes to the resurrection of those mentioned in Hebrews 11, we see the following:
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 Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and other faithful ones of old, and that these will have the first favor, 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. 1920 p. 88
Last I checked, I do believe that they haven’t come back to rule anything.
The next are just two quotes:
The Bible contains the only clear record of the origin of the human race, and traces that record from father to son for over two thousand years, then by reliable statistics to the year of the world 3,592, which it calls the “First year of Cyrus, king of Persia.” This particular year is known in secular history as 536 B. C.
The Way To Paradise. 1925 p. 19
The prophet Daniel, described by God’s angel as a “very desirable man,” lived a long life of faithful service. (Daniel 10:11, 19) His integrity to Jehovah remained intact from his exile in 617 B.C.E. until his death some time after he received a vision in 536 B.C.E., the third year of Cyrus, king of Persia. (Daniel 1:1; 10:1)
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. May 1, 2005 p. 12
The first quote said 536 was his first year. The second said it was his third year.
Obviously there are a myriad of other dates that the organization has used. Here is a small sampling:
The following period of 1,335 days would therefore end in the month of May, 1926.
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. May 1, 1960 p. 282
While the 2,300 days ran their course during World War II, which began in 1939, the offering of “the constant feature” at God’s sanctuary was severely restricted because of persecution. In 1938 the Watch Tower Society had 39 branches supervising the work of the Witnesses worldwide, but by 1943 there were only 21. Increases in the number of Kingdom proclaimers were also small during that period.
As we have noted, during the closing months of World War II, Jehovah’s Witnesses reaffirmed their determination to magnify God’s rulership by serving him as a theocratic organization. It was with this objective that the rearrangement of their work and governing structure was initiated in 1944. In fact, The Watchtower of October 15, 1944, contained an article entitled “Organized for Final Work.” It and other service-oriented articles of the same period indicated that the 2,300 days had ended and that “the holy place” was again in its “right condition.”
Pay Attention to Daniel’s Prophecy! 1999 p. 178, 179
How long must the “final work” last?
This would leave only seven more years from the autumn of 1968 to complete 6,000 full years of human history.
Awake! October 8, 1968 p. 14
Seven more years plus 1968 would equal 1975. Before the 7,000 year, the Watchtower dictates that Armageddon must occur.
Adam was created in 4026 B.C.E., which means that six thousand years of human history end about the fall of 1975 C.E.
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. July 15, 1967 p. 446
Again, we have another inference that Armageddon was to occur in 1975.
Why Awake! is Published Awake! is for the enlightenment of the entire family. It shows how to cope with today’s problems. It reports the news, tells about people in many lands, examines religion and science. But it does more. It probes beneath the surface and points to the real meaning behind current events, yet it always stays politically neutral and does not exalt one race above another. Most important this magazine builds confidence in the Creator’s promise of a peaceful and secure new world before the generation that saw the events of 1914 passes away.
Awake! October 22, 1995
The following Awake! removed the reference to 1914 the following issue. Here we are in the 102nd year since an individual was born in 1914. Since there are not many left, I can give the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society a little bit of wiggle room. However, if we use past statements as a predictor of future success, I can say with nearly 100% certainty they will be wrong yet again.
The Elijah work ended in 1918. Any attempt to carry on the Elijah work thereafter would be an attempt to revive a dead thing, and hence out of harmony with the Lord.
The Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence. May 15, 1933 p. 154
How dead is it? Out of harmony with the Lord?
Malachi’s prophecy showed that this great Elijah work would be done before “the great and fear-inspiring day of Jehovah.” That day concludes with the rapidly approaching war of the great day of God the Almighty, at Armageddon.
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. May 1, 2002 p. 22
So by statements from the Rutherford era, the present day Watchtower Society is “out of harmony.”
Brother Jaracz pointed out the following: “In 1919 there was the fall of Babylon the Great; in 1922 the thrilling exhortation to ‘advertise the King and the Kingdom,’ to preach the established Kingdom worldwide; in 1935 God’s people learned the significance of the ‘great crowd’ at Revelation 7:9; in 1943 they saw Gilead School begin sending out missionaries to the ends of the earth; today, in 1989, you graduates have the privilege of telling good things to people in your assignments who are eager to hear.
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. December 1, 1989 p. 22, 23
Can the Watchtower provide proof the fall?
The WATCH TOWER never claimed that the body of Christ will be changed to spiritual beings during this year. There is such a change due sometime. We have not attempted to say when, but have repeatedly said that it would not take place before the fall of 1881.
Zion’s Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence. May 1881 Reprints p. 224
So what happened?
Logically, the calling of the little flock would draw to a close when the number was nearing completion, and the evidence is that the general gathering of these specially blessed ones ended in 1935.
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. February 15, 1995 p. 19
Biblical proof of this event happening?
He was laying a foundation for a work that would be completed in our 20th century.
The Watchtower Announcing Jehovah’s Kingdom. January 1, 1989 p. 12
This is the original print version. It has been altered in the bound volume and CD-Rom.
If the work was to be completed, why is it still going on in 2016?
So I trust that you have a greater appreciation for the dates used by the organization. As I said earlier, the bible doesn’t have any specific date mentioned. The bible places no importance on it, yet this organization does. My final request is one that’s common, put down the uninspired Watchtower material and read the Word of God alone.