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.
“They are we believe, God’s dates, not ours.” Zion’s Watch Tower 1894 Jul 15 p.226
“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…. the chronology of present truth [is]… not of human origin.” Watch Tower 1922 Jul 1 p.217
“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
Only a Few Years Left
“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.” Watchtower1941 Sep 15 p.288
“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
“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
Prior to the turn of the Century
“And if the wicked system of this world survived until the turn of the century, which is highly improbable in view of world trends and the fulfillment of Bible prophecy, there would still be survivors of the World War I generation.” Watchtower 1980 Oct 15 p.31
“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 Mar 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
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 “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.