Sep 032005
 

As with so many articles here, all this started with a post to the Jehovah’s Witness Forum on AOL. A Jehovah’s Witness there wrote:

The Society has never lied to us (the learners, the readers). A mistake is different, very different than a deliberate lie. The scripture says that imposters will advance from bad to worse, misleading and being misled. This is not the case with the WT Society. Mistakes have been discerned, they have been corrected in the proper light.

That is a wonderful sentiment, one that I held for many years. But on closer examination, it does not hold up. In the 8/15/1993 Watchtower, page 9, in the article ” Why You Need to Attend Christian Meetings”, the Watchtower made the following statement:

Jehovah’s Witnesses have consistently shown from the Scriptures that the year 1914 marked the beginning of this world’s time of the end and that “the day of judgment and of destruction of the ungodly men” has drawn near.

An examination of older Watchtower publications shows that Jehovah’s Witnesses (or Bible Students as they were previously known) did have NOT “consistently shown from the Scriptures that the year 1914 marked the beginning of this world’s time of the end…” Rather, the Watchtower pointed to another date for the beginning of the “time of the end.” In the Finished Mystery book, on page 239, the Watchtower Society says:

This is without question a fulfillment of the prophecy testifying to the “time of the end.” These physical facts can not be disputed and are sufficient to convince any reasonable mind that we have been in the “time of the end” since 1799.

Also, from the March 1, 1922 Watch Tower:

The indisputable facts, therefore, show that the “time of the end” began in 1799; that the Lord’s second presence began in 1874.

The book Creation, published by the WTS in 1927 has a very detailed explanation as to why they felt 1799 was the beginning of the time of the end. Here are a few quotes. Creation, page 293:

Napoleon began this Egyptian campaign in 1798, finished it, and then returned t.o France on October 1, 1799. The campaign is briefly, yet graphically, described in the prophecy, verses 40-44; and its being completed in 1799 marks, according to the prophet’s own words, the beginning of “the time of the end”.

Creation, page 294

Twelve hundred and sixty years from 539 A. D. brings us to 1799, which is another proof that 1799 definitely marks the beginning of “the time of the end “.

Creation, page 295

From shortly after 1799, the date of the beginning of  “the time of the end”, we should expect to find an increase of knowledge, particularly with reference to the Bible.

Going back just a few years to 1921, in the book The Harp of God says on page 236:

“The time of the end” embraces a period from 1799 A.D., as above indicated, to the time of the complete overthrow of Satan’s empire and the establishment of the kingdom of the Messiah. The time of the Lord’s second presence dates from 1874, as above stated. The latter period is within the first named, of course, and in the latter part of the period known as “the time of the end.”

Another example is from the 1/15/93 Watchtower, page 5 in the article “Caught Away to Meet the Lord’-How?”:

The Watchtower has consistently presented evidence to honesthearted students of Bible prophecy that Jesus’ presence in heavenly Kingdom power began in 1914. Events since that year testify to Jesus’ invisible presence.

The WT actually taught for many years that Jesus returned (invisibly, of course) in 1874 and that he took power in heaven in 1878. So, are these just “mistakes” that were corrected in due time, or were both statements from the 1993 Watchtower deliberate attempts to misead the readers of the Watchtower as to what the Watchtower taught in the past?

Dec 292004
 

The Watchtower has quoted various historians to try to prop up their 1914 teaching. Here are some examples where they quoted from Barbara Tuchman’s “The Proud Tower”.

Watchtower quotes from “The Proud Tower”:

*** w92 5/1 3 1914-The Year That Shocked the World *** “The Great War of 1914-18 lies like a band of scorched earth dividing that time from ours. In wiping out so many lives . . . , in destroying beliefs, changing ideas, and leaving incurable wounds of disillusion, it created a physical as well as psychological gulf between two epochs.”-From The Proud Tower-A Portrait of the World Before the War 1890-1914, by Barbara Tuchman.

*** w92 5/1 5 1914-The Year That Shocked the World *** Indeed, 1914 changed much. It had not produced a better world, and the war did not turn out to be “the war to end all wars,” as many people had hoped. Instead, as historian Barbara Tuchman observes: “Illusions and enthusiasms possible up to 1914 slowly sank beneath a sea of massive disillusionment.”

*** g94 11/8 9 Sarajevo-From 1914 to 1994 *** “The Great War of 1914-18 lies like a band of scorched earth dividing that time from ours. In wiping out so many lives which would have been operative on the years that followed, in destroying beliefs, changing ideas, and leaving incurable wounds of disillusion, it created a physical as well as psychological gulf between two epochs.”-The foreword to The Proud Tower, by Barbara W. Tuchman.

A more complete quote from “The Proud Tower”

The Great War of 1914-18 lies like a band of scorched earth dividing that time from ours. In wiping out so many lives which would have been operative on the years that followed, in destroying beliefs, changing ideas, and leaving incurable wounds of disillusion, it created a physical as well as psychological gulf between two epochs. This book is an attempt to discover the quality of the world from which the Great War came.

It is not the book I intended to write when I began. Preconceptions dropped off one by one as I investigated. The period was not a Golden Age or Belle Epoque except to a thin crust of the privileged class. It was not a time exclusively of confidence, innocence, comfort, stability, security and peace. All these qualities were certainly present. People were more confident of values and standards. , more innocent in the sense of retaining more hope of mankind, than they are today, although they were not more peaceful nor, except for the upper few, more comfortable. Our misconception lies in assuming that doubt and fear, ferment, protest, violence and hate were not equally present. We have been misled by the people of the time themselves who, when looking back across the gulf of the War, see that earlier half of their lives misted over by a lovely sunset haze of peace and security. It did not seem so golden when they were in the midst of it. Their memories and their nostalgia have conditioned our view of the pre-war era but I can off the reader a rule based on adequate research: all statements of how lovely it was in that era made by persons contemporary with it will be found to have been made after 1914. – Forward to “The Proud Tower – A Portrait of the World Before the War: 1890-1914″ by Barbara W. Tuchman, page xv, xvi