"Armageddon ... will come in the twentieth century"

(Investigator 155, 2014 March)


Awake! magazine 1961 (February 22, pages 5 to 8) has an article titled The 20th Century in Bible Prophecy  which states:

'I'hose who look to the Bible in hope of finding encouraging facts about the future should not be surprised to find critical times included in its forecast for the twentieth century. Wars, food shortages, earthquakes, increase in crime and a collapse in morals are all prophesied for this generation. But then it also speaks of a group of people preaching about the righteous kingdom of God, a war of God against all wickedness, followed by a paradise without death—all to be realized in the twentieth century… (p. 5)

…more than 15,000 are preaching every minute of every day about this kingdom. What kingdom? The kingdom of God that is to crush all present kingdoms of men. (Dan. 2:44) That now-operating kingdom in heaven will, within the twentieth century, cleanse the entire earth of wickedness… (p. 7)

Can you not see that the twentieth century is the century indicated by the prophetic language of Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21, and 2 Timothy 3? Since, according to 1 Corinthians 14:33, 40, God does everything by order and arrangement, is it not only logical that whatever else is recorded in these above-mentioned Bible chapters must also come upon the twentieth century? If so, then What Is Ahead?  … (pp 7-8)

Revelation 16:16 calls it the "war of the great day of God the Almighty," Armageddon. This war will come in the twentieth century. It will come right on schedule, as have the wars, food shortages, earthquakes and other events foretold. This generation will see its fulfillment… (p. 8)

Final advice for those living in the twentieth century is given by Jesus himself: "Keep awake, then, all the time making supplication that you may succeed in escaping all these things that are destined to occur, and to hold your position before the Son of man."—Luke 21:36… (p. 8)

Now is no time to be applying yourself to fruitless endeavors in this doomed world. Now is the time to heed Bible prophecy concerning the twentieth century and live forever in the sunshine of God's new world. (p. 8)

The title "The 20th Century in Bible Prophecy" along with the first paragraph above are repeated in Awake! 1963 March 22, p. 32 in an advertisement.


JWs began to forecast Armageddon for the 20th century in 1945 under the heading The Sabbath In Shadow And Reality in:
•    The Watchtower 1945 February 15, pp 51-60
•    Let God Be True (1946) Chapter 7
Investigator publicized the 20th century date for Armageddon and suggested the prophecy is false in the articles:
•    The WTS Separates "Sheep" and Goats #27, November 1992

•    Armageddon by 2000 AD says "Jehovah" #51, November 1996

•    Armageddon by 2000 AD — A Prophecy by God to Spur JWs to Act #67, July 1999


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—How? 1971, p. 216)

The "Day of Jehovah" is Armageddon when all people worldwide who are not Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs) are slaughtered.

The same book also states:
Revelation, chapters seventeen and eighteen, forecasts the events of our present century. Regardless of whatever the symbolic harlot, Babylon the Great, may say in her heart she must suffer the punishment of loose women… (p. 255)
Revelation 17 & 18 describes the end of "Babylon the Great" which JWs interpret as all religions excluding their own. Notice when this occurs — "our present century".

And again:
Similarly down here in our twentieth century. If Christendom must go in the approaching "great tribulation," so must all the rest of false religion. (p. 113)


The JW Governing Body continued to stir JWs as follows:
But in 740 B.C.E., without a liberator and no longer able to battle for existence, the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel ceased, perished.

Do we catch the import of this for us today? We should do so, for, in our twentieth century, it is finding its fulfillment in the modern-day counterpart of the spiritually adulterous, unfaithful Israel. That counterpart is Christendom, with nearly a billion church members all around the globe. (The Watchtower 1976, March 1, p. 150)
If the wicked system of this world survived until the turn of the century (the year 2000), 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. However, the fact that their number is dwindling is one more indication that "the conclusion of the system of things" is moving fast toward its end. (The Watchtower 1980, October 15, p. 31)

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! (The Watchtower1984 March 1, p. 19)
The 1989 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses (page 3) refers to Revelation Chapter 7 which tells of a "great crowd" from all nations getting salvation. JWs believe the "great crowd" are JWs and are being gathered through their door-door work. The Yearbook says:
With confidence in the vision’s complete fulfillment during the decades of this twentieth century the anointed remnant of the bride class have never let up saying "Come!" Every effort has been made to broadcast the message to all nations. (p. 3)
In plain language this says the JW preaching will be finished, the entire "great crowd" gathered, in the twentieth century. And every JW knows that the finish of their preaching means Armageddon.


When did the JW leaders postpone Armageddon?

The Watchtower for January 1, 1989 stated:
The apostle Paul was spearheading the Christian missionary activity. He was also laying a foundation for a work that would be completed in our twentieth century. (w1989 1/1 12)
This prediction was in the single issue copies of The Watchtower i.e. the copies distributed door to door. In the bound volume reprints of The Watchtower for 1989, which were published in 1990, the sentence is altered to:
The apostle Paul was spearheading the Christian missionary activity. He was also laying a foundation for a work that would be completed in our day.
In 1990, therefore, the JW leaders, the Governing Body, got second thoughts regarding Armageddon in the "twentieth century".

The revision in the bound volume was surreptitious, neither announced nor publicized. The Governing Body use prophecy as "a spur" to make JWs spend more time going door to door and they probably wanted their prophecy for the "twentieth century" to keep on spurring.

When the bound volume reprints of The Watchtower for 1989 were published many JWs would have thrown their single issue copies away. They will have thrown away the evidence. The 1989 Watchtower for January 1 on the Watchtower Library CD likewise has the revision "in our day".

The truth about the predictions of the Governing Body of JWs on this website:

Dictionary of Jehovah's Witnesses at: