(Investigator 129, 2009 September)


In 1994 the Watchtower Society (WTS) produced a CD-ROM of Jehovah's Witness (JW) publications titled "Watchtower Library 1993".

Updates followed at intervals — currently 2007.

The CD includes The Watchtower from 1950, but other publications from 1970 or later.

The CD omits first editions of revised publications, convention reports, hymn book, and sundry minor literature.

Any word and its frequency of use in the literature on the CD, together with references and context, are searchable in seconds.

Table I, for example, shows how often certain JW buzz-words appeared in JW publications on the CD-ROM.

Table 1

Jehovah     250,832 governing body    2,740
Bible    131,069 other sheep    2,589
Jesus    128,188 Bible truth    2,140
Jehovah's witnesses    45,311 144,000    2,047
organization    16,832 pioneering    1,895
meetings    14,019 Jehovah's organization    1,835
new world    11,636 book study    1,626
the end    13,394 blood transfusion    1,122
magazine    10,679 door to door    1,117
pioneer    9,495 apostate    1,088
kingdom hall/s    8,785 God's organization    799
hours    7,987 true Christianity    763
Bethel    6,131 Bible teaching    377
Armageddon    5,162 great multitude    345
house to house    4,416 Bible education    323
great crowd    3,919 faithful slave    269
true Christians    2,832 light of truth    235


After installation Watchtower Library 2007 opens easily and displays an efficient search function at the top. Type any word or phrase — upper or lower case, it's not case sensitive — and click the adjacent question mark. Up comes a list of all occurrences including references (i.e. publication, date, and page).

Phrases searched should have quote marks to bring up references of the entire phrase and not individual words in it. Each search takes only seconds. After that, a click on any item in the list brings up the text, which can be scrolled up and down.

To find how often certain Bible verses were referred to, use brackets rather than quote marks. (Psalm 90:10) gives the same search result as (Ps. 90:10). Psalm 90:10 puts life expectancy at 70 to 80 years, and was cited increasingly in WTS publications as the doctrine of the 1914 generation surviving until Armageddon approached refutation. (1970s—33 citations; 1980s—60)


With Watchtower Library we can trace the WTS's promotion of anticipation for Armageddon.

The article Why the Rising Tensions World Wide? (Awake! 1965 10/8) attributes political tension to Satan having being thrown out of heaven in 1914 and knowing "his end [is] near", in the "immediate future" and "shortly". The last days began in 1914 and: "the end of these last days is positively insight … it will be in this generation." World tensions "will quickly reach their peak." The "annihilation of wickedness…comes on apace" and occurs "shortly".

Such comment read almost weekly persuaded many JWs to cease education or employment and go door to door more.

Table 2 lists phrases that express the nearness of Armageddon and/or paradise, and their frequency.

Table 2

Armageddon is near 15 nearing its end 47
Armageddon now near 5 nearing the end 29
about to strike 9 nears 188
almost completed 12 not much longer 15
at the brink 19 now at hand 44
at this late date 47 now near at hand 38
climactic fulfillment 4 the remaining months or years 1
close at hand 78 remaining time 157
deep in the last days 5 shortly now 27
deep in the time of the end 28 six thousand years 286
deep into the last days 11 so near to 18
deep into the time of the end 16 so little time is left 1
do not delay 69 soon coming 9
draws ever closer 15 the few years remaining 1
draws on apace 6 the near future 516
fast approaching 184 the nearness 178
final years 22 the time is growing shorter 1
getting very close now 1 there is so little time left 3
hastens on 3
these last days 811
how deep we are into 1
this generation 884
immediate future 107 time is running out  74
immediately ahead 38 very near 286
immediately before us 6 very shortly 32
in our time 577 very soon 225
Imminent 443 very very near 2
just ahead 188 very very soon 1
likely this very decade 1 well advanced 20
limited time remaining 2 while there is still time 16
much closer than 10 while there is yet time 53
near at hand 282 within a few years at most 1
nearer than most people think 3 within our twentieth century 1

Note that not every repetition of every phrase in Table 2 refers to Armageddon's nearness, because sometimes the phrase is used in other contexts.

Of the nine occurrences of "about to strike", for example, one refers literally to a clock. Of the 20 occurrences of "well advanced" only seven refer to being "well advanced" into the final days or last generation. Of 47 occurrences of "nearing its end", only 36 occur in end-of-the-world contexts. Of 18 occurrences of "so near to", only six refer to Armageddon or the "new world".


Here are some quotations:
The "day of Jehovah" beginning in A.D. 1914 is far spent and the accomplished end of this world is at hand. (w1950 4/1 103)

We are virtually on the verge of entering into the righteous new world. Though so near to our glorious goal, there is still danger of falling... (w1951 4/15 231)

Beyond doubt, we are well advanced in these "last days." (w1965 8/1 462)

…this old system is nearing its complete end. Within a few years at most the final parts of Bible prophecy relative to these "last days" will undergo fulfillment… (w1968 5/1 271)

Here we are, twenty-four years after World War II closed in 1945 and a portion of the anointed remnant of elect ones are still here and the war at Armageddon is still ahead, although getting very close now… But on April 1 of the year 1969…only 10,368 partook of the bread and wine. This included quite a number of the remnant who experienced the "beginning of pangs of distress" during World War I. A number of these should survive still longer to see and go through the war of Armageddon, in harmony with Jesus' words, at Matthew 24:33-35. (w1970 1/15 52)

…we are living deep in the time of the end. (w1972 4/1 216)

The countdown…now nears its zero hour. So close is it that people who were alive in 1914, and who are now well along in years, will not all pass off the scene before the thrilling events…come to pass. (Survival Into a New Earth, 1984, 184)

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! (w1984 3/1 12)

…the end of all humans who refuse to submit to God's sovereignty is drawing perilously near. (w1990 10/15 19)
In 1967 the JW leaders began fanning anticipation for 1975 with articles like Why Are You Looking Forward to 1975?  (w1968 8/15 494)

WTS publications referred to the secular book Famine 1975 (published 1967) eleven times until 1975, and then no more.


Pre-1950 WTS publications are out of copyright and several anti-JW ministries sell CDs of them.

Research Applications International offers CDs with ten years of The Watchtower per CD. Any word or phrase can be searched and its total occurrences and all pages on which it appears ascertained.

For example, the word "Armageddon" appeared the following number of times in The Watchtower during the 1940s:

1941 286 1946 140
1942 343 1947 141
1943 195 1948 141
1949 210
1945 205

Mentions of Armageddon were regularly supplemented with expressions such as "very near", "now approaching" and, in 1948, "just ahead of us". (p159)
Research Applications International also produces The Pastor Russell Anthology CD containing material written by Pastor Russell (excluding his Watch Tower articles).


Some groups that split from the WTS and published literature of their own are also now reproducing it electronically. The New Covenant Fellowship in Australia offers a "memory stick" containing The New Covenant Advocate (1909 to 1944).

The New Covenant Fellowship began in 1908 and was led by two Americans, Ernest Henninges and wife Rose Ball (the same Rose Ball who 15 years earlier often kissed Pastor Russell and sat on his lap).


The WTS offers Watchtower Library only to baptized JWs who are instructed not to loan it out.

However, some JWs disenchanted by the ever-changing "Bible truth" permit use of their CD.


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