Armageddon by 2000 AD:
A Prophecy by God to Spur JWs to Act

(Investigator 67, 1999 July)

Prophecy Spurs JWs

Prophecies are to Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs) what spurs are to horses – they motivate!

Charles Taze Russell the first president of the Watchtower Society (WTS) – the corporation which manages JW legal and financial matters – wrote:

Seeing this, our natural weakness, the Lord has provided time-prophecies as a spur to quicken and awaken us fully, and keep us active in his service. (Russell. C T 1889 The Time Is At Hand p. 365)

One of many "spurs" in The Time Is At Hand stated: subsequent chapters we present proofs that the setting up of the Kingdom of God is already begun, that it is pointed out in prophecy as due to begin the exercise of power in A. D. 1878, and that the "battle of the great day of God Almighty" (Rev. 16:14.), which will end in AD, 1915, with the complete overthrow of earth's present rulership, is already commenced. (p. 101)

Concerning C T Russell, it was claimed:

Truly there lived among us in these last days a Prophet of the Lord... (The Watch Tower 1917 June 1 p. 163)
Prophecies Still Spur JWs Now

The article Armageddon by 2000 AD says Jehovah in Investigator 51 showed that Jehovah's Witnesses used to teach that Armageddon would occur in the 1970s and [that they] still believe in Armageddon by 2000 AD.

The Investigator article gave at least six plain quotes from WTS literature including:

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)

As in C T Russell's time the idea behind such prophecy was still to spur or to motivate:

Let it be emphasized that our paying attention to the prophetic word should not just be for the purpose of gaining knowledge. Far from it! That word should stimulate us to act on that knowledge, causing us to do God's will, and especially now, "in the final part of the days." (The Watchtower 1983 November 15 p. 21)

The following 1969 statement, aimed at making teenagers quit school, illustrates the idea:

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." – Matt. 24:34.
Therefore, as a young person, you will never fulfill any career that this system offers. If you are in highschool and thinking about a college education, it means at least four, perhaps even six or eight more years to graduate into a specialized career. But where will this system of things be by that time? It will be well on the way toward its finish, if not actually gone! (Awake! 1969 May 22 p. 15)

The Jehovah's Witnesses have actually made false predictions for almost thirty dates! See the list in Investigator No. 56. For example in 1913:

From the leisurely manner in which some are going about matters it would seem that they expect about fifty more years of harvest. We expect that harvest will be ended in about a year from now. (IBSA Convention Report 1913 page 320)

That the "spur" was effective back then before 1914 is seen from a letter published in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

Very many have gone so far as to sell their homes over here, expecting to die before 1914 (at the latest), and many others have so arranged their affairs as to last till that date only. (1911 December 26)

That the "spur" was also effective in the 1970s – when Armageddon was scheduled for the mid 1970s – is seen from the American edition of the meeting guide titled The Kingdom Ministry:

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.
(1974 May, p. 3. Reproduced in Investigator No. 45)

Two Sorts of Prophets Distinguished

Awake! 1993 March 22 pp. 3-4 drew a distinction between a "prophet who speaks in the name of Jehovah" and  "others...voicing expectations based on their own interpretation of some scripture text..."

The latter, the article says, "should not be viewed as false prophets..."

It's clear that the WTS leaders wished to put themselves in the second group but they did so without citing any of the their own failed predictions involving almost 30 dates.

JW Prophets Speak In The Name of Jehovah

The Watchtower of 1943 claimed that "Jehovah God" does all the interpreting and:

"He merely uses the ‘servant class' to publish the interpretation..." (July p. 202)

The WTS also teaches that:

No man's opinion is expressed in The Watchtower... (1931 November p. 327)

It's also claimed that JWs:

...base everything they teach in their evangelizing work upon the Bible. (The Watchtower 1992 September 1 p. 19)


The religion that is approved by God must agree in all its details with the Bible. (The Truth that leads to Eternal Life 1968 p. 14)

JWs publicly claim the Bible is infallible and inspired by God. If then JWs "agree with" the Bible "in all its details" and "base everything ... upon the Bible" then it follows that the WTS prophecies are "inspired of God". This conclusion is so obvious that JWs themselves call certain prophecies "the Creator's promise".

From 1982 to 1995, for example, the statement of purpose on page 2 or 4 of Awake! referred to:

...the Creator's promise of a peaceful and secure new order before the generation that saw the events of 1914 C.E. passes away.

Clearly the WTS leaders are of the first sort of the two sorts of prophets they distinguished. The WTS leaders – the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses and the successive presidents of the organization – are "prophets who speak in the name of Jehovah". (Deuteronomy 18:20) Their prophecies, it follows, allegedly come from God!

Like The Inspired Prophet Ezekiel

The book "The Nations Shall Know That I am Jehovah – How?" (1971) claims that the 7th century BC prophet Ezekiel was:

...a true inspired prophet of Jehovah. (p. 277)

Ezekiel's appointment to prophesy the destruction of Jerusalem supposedly has a modern counterpart in JWs prophesying the destruction of Christendom:

Who is Ezekiel's present-day counterpart, whose message and conduct corresponds with that of that ancient prophet of Jehovah? Of whom today was he a "sign" or "portent"? Not some individual man, but of a group of people. (p. 58)

The "group of people" is claimed to be the "remnant" (about 10,000 people) still alive of the 144,000 who in JW theology will go Heaven.

They were, says the book:

...commissioned to serve as the mouthpiece and active agent of Jehovah. (p. 59)

They were "commissioned" in 1919 (p. 61) and:

...Jehovah commissioned this dedicated, baptized anointed class of servants to speak to all the nations in His Name. (p. 66)

They are:

...true spokesman for Jehovah the Sovereign Lord. (p. 291)

In practice it's not the entire "remnant" who invent the prophecies and theology of JWs. Rather, at present it's the "governing body" and until 1970 it was almost exclusively the president and officers of the WTS.

If JW leaders are the "counterpart" of "a true inspired prophet of Jehovah" and serve as "the mouthpiece...of speak to all nations in his name" as a "true spokesman for Jehovah" we would expect their message to be inspired and infallible.

To believe such things would truly "spur" and "stimulate" the believers.

Occasionally, however, the JW leaders deny being "inspired" or "infallible". In view of the above evidence such denials are simply self-contradictions.

WTS Prophecy To Fail Again

Should we therefore be intimidated and "spurred" into joining JWs and "stimulated" to trek door to door with The Watchtower?

The article Armageddon by 2000 AD Says "Jehovah" concluded:

JW prophecies are known to have failed for many other dates. These include 1878, 1881, 1906/1907, 1912, 1914, 1915, 1918, 1920, 1924, 1925, 1928, 1930s, 1935/1936, 1942, 1940s, 1970s. Generalizing from this trend of failure, the prophecy of "within our twentieth century" should prove to be false. (Investigator No. 51 p. 45)

Dictionary of Jehovah's Witnesses at: