(Investigator 160, 2015 January)

The phrase "rapidly approaching" in reference to Armageddon is used in Watchtower Society publications to spur Jehovah's Witnesses to spend more time going door-to-door — even to drop out of high school or secular employment to do so.

If Armageddon is truly "rapidly approaching" and only JWs will survive — and any JWs who did not preach sufficiently will also perish — then more hours spent going door-to-door makes sense.

Old JWs have heard it hundreds of times and are used to it, but to new ones and young ones "Armageddon rapidly approaching" is a frightening threat.

Occasionally a specific year or period is predicted such as:
Revelation 16:16 calls it the "war of the great day of God the Almighty," Armageddon. This war will come in the twentieth century.
(Awake! 1961, February 22, p. 8)

Mostly, however, non-specific but threatening phrases are used such as "rapidly approaching", "very near" and "at the brink".

Here are some examples of "rapidly approaching":
The great battle is rapidly approaching. (Preservation 1932, 153)

When you see the most terrible storm of all time rapidly approaching, why not break away from the cruel and oppressive things of this world, and flee to the kingdom of God and find safety…
(Universal War Near 1935, p. 38)

…the Devil has hastened to gather all his forces of wickedness to the battle of the great day of God almighty, and which gathering is rapidly approaching its climax…
(Watchtower 1940 3/1 69)

Armageddon is rapidly approaching
(Watchtower 1940 12/15 382)

The rapidly approaching battle of Armageddon makes the matter of praising God increasingly urgent for survival.
(Watchtower 1950 3/1 67)

But the end of such things is near, for Jehovah God, the Great Shepherd, is directing a marvelous pastoral work world-wide to gather honest-hearted men to his fold before the rapidly approaching storm of Armageddon strikes.
(Watchtower 1954 4/1 224)

The Deluge did not destroy the earth, it merely rid the earth of its undesirable tenants. So likewise with the rapidly approaching cataclysm of Armageddon; earth's wicked tenants will be destroyed, but it will remain.
(Watchtower 1954 10/1 580)

The battle of Armageddon will take place within this generation… With Armageddon rapidly approaching, it is important that Jehovah's witnesses tell people about Jehovah’s loving provisions for deliverance.
(Watchtower 1955 5/15 256)

With the execution of fiery judgment at the appalling battle of Armageddon rapidly approaching, Jehovah the Great Shepherd feels for these sheeplike ones.
(Watchtower 1955 11/15 698)

Because of all this they will perish at the rapidly approaching battle of Armageddon.
(Watchtower 1956 11/15 679)

Do you know that this world is already in its “time of the end” and that it is rapidly approaching the climax? With it the life of every individual is at stake. (Watchtower 1958 5/1 288)

Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that the end of the world is rapidly approaching, on the basis of their deductions from Holy Writ.
(Watchtower 1961 4/1 214)

So, whereas we know that we are rapidly approaching the battle of Armageddon, we do not know when it will begin, neither when it will end, and hence how long it will be.
(Watchtower 1961 11/1 671)

Yes, just as human governments today send out urgent storm warnings, so the government of God, his kingdom, by means of its earthly representatives, the Christian witnesses of Jehovah, is sending out urgent warnings regarding the great storm of Armageddon that is rapidly approaching.
(Watchtower 1962 7/1 390)

Now, in 1964, we are living in the fiftieth year of Kingdom rule. The assault of Gog of Magog, Satan the Devil, against all Christians is approaching rapidly.
(Watchtower 1964 6/15 368)

To an unnumbered great crowd of persons from all nations and peoples, he promises to grant survival through a rapidly approaching great tribulation, and then entrance into a new order of his own making.
(Watchtower 1976 10/1 593)

So, then, since the "war of the great day of God the Almighty" at Har-Magedon is now rapidly approaching, let us examine God's use of Jeremiah at that ancient time.
(Watchtower 1979 11/1 17)

Now is when they need to prepare themselves to withstand the pressures that will come against God’s people during the rapidly approaching "great tribulation." 
(Watchtower 1981 11/15 20)

The difficult time all faithful Christians are now having is soon to end, for we are rapidly approaching a new, happy era.
(Watchtower 1983 3/1 8)

Even as righteously disposed humans survived the Deluge, however, so Jesus showed that some will survive the rapidly approaching "great tribulation."
(Watchtower 1983 10/15 18)

Shortly after the destruction of false religion, Jesus Christ will use his heavenly army to destroy the rest of this wicked system of things. It will perish in the rapidly approaching "war of the great day of God the Almighty" at Har-Magedon.
(Watchtower 1984 7/15 17)

We are, therefore, rapidly approaching that glorious time when Christ Jesus will fully take over rulership of earth's affairs and unite all obedient mankind under his one government.
(Watchtower 1986 10/15 7)

Those who are upright will soon see the wicked perish from the earth in the rapidly approaching "day of Jehovah's anger."
(Watchtower 1990 9/15 28)

Moreover, the prophecy showed that this work would be done before "the great and fear-inspiring day of Jehovah." That rapidly approaching event includes "the war of the great day of God the Almighty" at Har-Magedon, or Armageddon.
(Watchtower 1991 9/15 22)

Yes, Jesus will serve as God's Executioner during the rapidly approaching "great tribulation."
(Watchtower 1995 11/15 15)

And their devotion to God and his service will be rewarded in their being spared from the eternal destruction about to befall proud, unrepentant sinners in the rapidly approaching "day of Jehovah."
(Watchtower 1997 9/15 17)

God will bring destruction upon all wicked humans. The last of them will draw his final breath in the rapidly approaching "war of the great day of God the Almighty."
(Watchtower 2000 2/1 8)

That deliverance in 1919 and the divine protection they experienced since then have allowed the anointed remnant to do what? To shine forth in giving a final witness before Jehovah brings an end to Satan’s wicked system of things in the rapidly approaching "great tribulation."
(Watchtower 2001 5/1 12)

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.
(Watchtower 2002 5/1 22)

We also know that the majority of the 144,000 are already united with Christ. Only a relatively few remain on earth. What a powerful indication that the time for the execution of God's judgment is rapidly approaching! Soon, Satan's entire world system will be destroyed.
(Watchtower 2007 1/1 30)

Most JWs who were spurred by "rapidly approaching" Armageddon to distribute Watchtower Society publications in the 1950s and earlier are deceased. Armageddon had not "rapidly approached" after all and they sacrificed education, employment and time in vain. They were misled.


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