Three articles about JW prophecy from Investigator 4, 1989 January

1 JWs Their Prophetic Record

2 Worse Than Anyone Realized
3 Shameful Cover-up

J Ws: Their Prophetic Record

Gary Schmitt

(Investigator 4, 1989 January)

"True, there have been those in times past who predicted an 'end to the world', even announcing a specific date. Yet nothing happened. The ‘end' did not come. They were guilty of false prophesying. Why? What was missing? Missing from such people were God's truths and the evidence that He was using and guiding them."  - Awake 8th October, 1968, p 23, published by the Watchtower Society.

"When the prophet speaks in the name of Jehovah and the word does not occur or come true, that is the word that Jehovah did not speak. With presumptuousness the prophet spoke it. You must not get frightened at him." – Deuteronomy 18:22

Jehovah's Witnesses view themselves collectively speaking as God's modern-day prophet. However, when pressed on this claim, they retreat somewhat by denying that they are inspired in the same sense as the ancient Hebrew prophets such as Jeremiah and Ezekiel. And yet members who challenge the Society's record of numerous predictions are said to be challenging Jehovah God Himself.

In the April 1st 1972 Watchtower page 197, under "They Shall Know that a Prophet Was Among Them" the question was raised as to whether in modern times Jehovah God has had a prophet to help the people, to warn them of dangers and declare things to come.

The answer given was yes, and the prophet was identified as the organization known as Jehovah's Christian Witnesses. According to this article, the group was commissioned by Jehovah as the modern-day anti-typical Ezekiel, to proclaim the impending destruction of the modern-day anti-typical Jerusalem, namely Christendom. To prove this assertion, the article invites the reader to "review the record" of the organization's 'prophetic' activities. And indeed, this is what we will how attempt to do.

1799 to 1914: "The ‘Time of the End', a period of one hundred and fifteen (115) years, from A.D.1799 to A.D.1914, is particularly marked in the Scriptures." - Thy Kingdom Come, (1891), Pg 23.
This was believed for nearly half a century – from 1879 to the late 1920's, long after their supposed appointment as "the faithful and discreet slave" in 1919.

1873: The end of the six great 1000 year days beginning with Adam and the beginning of the great 7th day, the 1000 years of Christ's reign. - The Time is at Hand, (1916), Pg2.
1874: The beginning of Christ's Presence and ‘the Harvest', the gathering of the Bride into the place of safety which would take seven years ending in 1881. - WT Jan 1881. - Thy Kingdom Come, (1891), Pg 121.
This was the ‘anchor' date for the Watchtower for nearly 50 years. As late as 1929, fifteen years after 1914, they were still teaching this.

1874 to 1914: A period of 40 years, being the duration of the harvest work, at the end of which all prophecies relating to the close of this age will terminate, being fulfilled. - Ibid

Christ assumes his full Kingdom power as King of Kings;
the beginning of the judgement of the house of God;
the Fall of Babylon the Great (changed 40 years later to 1919);
the beginning of the resurrection of the saints.
- The Time is at Hand, (1889), Pg 239.
So far, the predictions have related to invisible events easy to make and hard to disprove.

The translation of the living saints from the natural to the spiritual condition (the ‘rapture' concept is no longer taught);
the closing of the door, ie the opportunity to become a member of the Bride;
the time when C.T, Russell was fully appointed as the Lord's Servant. WT Jan 1881.

1906: "A great storm is near at hand. Though one may not know exactly when it will break forth,it seems reasonable to suppose that it cannot be more than twelve or fourteen years yet future." - WT June 1893, Pg l94.

1910: "…but a trouble chiefly upon the Church may be expected about 1910 A.D."
- Studies in the Scriptures, Vol, 3, (l891), Pg 364.

1910 to 1912: "According to our expectations the stress of the great time of trouble will be on us soon, somewhere between 1910 and 1912...culminating with the end of the ‘Times of the Gentiles', October, 1914."
- Studies in the Scriptures, Vol 6, (1904) Pg579.

The complete end of Babylon the Great (false religion);
the full end of the Gentile Times and the farthest limit of the rule of imperfect men;
the Kingdom of God will have obtained full universal control and will be firmly established in the earth;
the presence of Christ as earth's new ruler and the overthrow of all Gentile governments) sometime before the end of 1914;
the last member of the anointed will be glorified or resurrected to be with Christ;
Jerusalem (literal) shall no longer be trodden down of the Gentiles;
by that date or sooner, Israel's blindness will begin to be turned away;
the Great Tribulation will reach it's culmination in a worldwide reign of anarchy.
- The Time is at Hand, (1889), Pgs 77, 78, 98, 99
- WT 15/1/ 1892 ; July 1894; 1/10/1907

None of these predictions for 1914 were presented as mere private scriptural speculation. Phrases such as "established truth" and "God's dates" were freely used to emphasize the certainty of these predictions being fulfilled. It was only as 1914 drew closer, without the anticipated preceeding storm of trouble eventuating, that a slightly more cautious line was taken. Even then, those doubting the chronology were considered to be lacking in faith and their relationship with God was questioned. Not one of the predictions came true. It became necessary to find replacements. With dogmatic zeal, two new dates were identified as certain of fulfillment:

1918: The complete destruction of Christendom and all it's churches and church members; the remnant of the anointed ones will be glorified or translated to heaven. - The Finished Mystery, (1917), Pgs 62, 64, 258. The Witnesses still teach that there was an invisible resurrection of the ‘dead in Christ' in 1918.

: The complete destruction of every kingdom on earth. - The Finished Mystery, (1917), Pgs 258, 542. Before 1920 was even allowed to pass, a new date for this prediction was set forth — 1925.

: "It may be that the worldly systems will go down in the fall of 1921." - Millions Now Living Will Never Die, (l920), Pg 114.

: "We might expect the harvest to end 50 years after 1874 or with the end of 1924." WT 15/1/1924

: The resurrection of the ancient ‘worthies' (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob etc) and the reconstruction of the earth.
- Millions Now Living Will Never Die, (1920), Pgs 88-90, 97.

- WT 15/7/1922 (This chronology is not of man, but of God…absolutely and unqualifiedly correct.)

- WT 1/9/1922, Pg 262. (The date 1925 is even more distinctly indicated by the Scriptures than 1914.)

- WT 15/6/1922 (Scripturally, scientifically and historically present-truth chronology is correct beyond a doubt. Its reliability has been abundantly confirmed by the dates and events of 1874, 1914 and 1918.)

- WT 1/4/1923, Pg 106, (More evidence for 1925 than Noah had to believe in the flood.)

Keep in mind that virtually all of what was called "present truth chronology" has now been rejected by the Watchtower.

Remember that these statements were made after 1919 when the Witnesses believe they were appointed as "the faithful and discreet slave" dispensing food at the proper time. Once again, those who doubted this chronology were portrayed as repudiating God and Christ. (see WT 1/5/1922)

With the failure of 1925 the Watchtower still hadn't learnt its lesson. For decades after, expressions such as "Armageddon is at hand" and "only a few years" and "the remaining months before Armageddon" were being frequently used. Finally a new date was identified.

1975: The end of 6000 years from man's creation and the probable beginning of Christ's millennial reign. - Life Everlasting in Freedom... (1966), Pgs 29, 30.

Jehovah's Witnesses continue to defend their poor record of predictions with platitudes such as "the light of truth gets brighter", a reference to Prov 4:18, or "we have never claimed to be perfect!"

Raymond Franz,a former member of the Governing Body of Jehovah's Witnesses, makes this telling comment in his book 'Crisis of Conscience':-

Everyone has the right to express opinions. But men who claim to be God's spokesmen on earth surely do not have the right to express mere opinions while claiming that what they say is backed up by God's own Word and should be accepted as such. When statements are spread around the globe as God's message for mankind, as spiritual "food in due season", those publishing them are certainly neither "faithful" nor "discreet" if they irresponsibly express fallacious opinions, argue tenaciously for these, belittle any who disagree or, worse, question their loyalty and humility before God."



From Investigator 4, 1989 January
April 1 1988
South Australia 5017

To the W B T S

Dear Brothers,

I've been getting the Witness magazines for years. Only recently, however, did I accept a Study with brother ***** of Port Adelaide Congregation.

I wish to ask a question. The magazines sometimes say things as follows:

"The evidence from fulfilled Bible prophecy shows that we are very, very late in the ‘last days' of this wicked system of things." w1977 4/1 p. 198

The words "very late" suggest that the greater part of the last days had by 1977 passed. In 1977 the "last days" were 63 years old. If the greater part had passed then the remainder should be less than 63 years as measured from 1977.

In other words the 1977 Watchtower is predicting that Armagedon will be over before the year 2,040 i.e. 1977 + 63)

Similar reasoning follows from: 

"We also know that the 1914 generation is well into the evening of its existence, thus allowing only little time…" (w1985 5/1 p.7)

"Having started in 1914, the time of the end is now well advanced." (w1986 10/15 p.7)

Brothers, do you agree with my conclusion especially the underlined parts?

Yours faithfully,

If the reasoning in the above letter be accepted then the following is a false prophecy:

  "The work of giving testimony has been progressing during the past ten years … and is almost done". (GOOD NEWS 1932 p. 60)

This approach means that in addition to false prophecies for about 25 specific dates like 1915 or 1975, there are many more false prophecies for less-specific periods.

The record of JW Leaders is therefore worse than anyone realized! No wonder then that the letter got no reply. They couldn't answer "Yes"; they couldn't answer "No".


(Investigator 4,  1989 January)

Watchtower 10/10/1987
Box ...

Dear witnesses

A very dear friend of mine, Mrs Lorenz, showed me a letter she sent you and your reply. She asked you:

"Can you please tell me exactly what the Jehovah Witnesses predicted for the year 1914?"

Your reply, in part, was:

"When these appointed times would conclude the world would enter its ‘last days' and we could expect a great time of turmoil and trouble culminating with ... Armageddon." (Copy of your letter is attached)

You also supplied pages from REASONING, which present only your current interpretations, and said: "These pages ... will answer your question."

This implies that your current interpretations are exactly the same as what was originally predicted for 1914.

Only 2 weeks prior to Mrs Lorenz's letter I sent you a 9-page summary of Witness predictions for 1914 and other dates. I showed that no prediction for any date was ever fulfilled. One quote I supplied was: "But bear in mind that the end of 1914 is not the date for the beginning, but for the end of the time of trouble." (w1894 July)

I pointed out that your founder, Mr Russell, predicted Armageddon for c.1910 and world peace, under the rule of resurrected Jews in Israel, for 1915.

You men at the Sydney office know about the false prophecies of your American bosses. You could have told Mrs Lorenz the truth about what they originally predicted. Instead you tried to mislead her. Shame on you! …

If your past prophecies were all false then how can any sensible person trust your present claims?

Remember the story of the shepherd boy who lyingly kept crying, "wolf"? When the real wolf came no one believed him and he lost all his sheep. 

Yours sincerely 


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