Part 1 of this series appeared in the October 1, 2014 Watchtower. If you have not read our post commenting on that first article, it might be beneficial to do so before proceeding with this one.
The November issue under discussion here reviews the math by which we arrive at 1914 as the start of Christ’s presence. Let’s employ some critical thinking as we examine it to see if there is a scriptural basis for the belief.
On page 8, second column, Cameron says, “in the larger fulfillment of the prophecy, God’s rulership would in a way be interrupted for a period of seven times.” As discussed in our previous post, there is no proof there is any secondary fulfillment. This is a huge assumption. However, even granting that assumption requires us to make yet another assumption: that the seven times are not figurative nor indefinite, and yet are not a literal seven years either. Instead, we have to assume each time refers to a 360-day symbolic year and that a-day-for-a-year calculation can be applied based on unrelated prophecies that were not written until almost 700 years later. Additionally, Cameron says that the fulfillment involves an unspecified interruption in God’s rulership. Notice he says, that it would be interrupted “in a way”. Who makes that determination? Certainly not the Bible. This is all the result of human deductive reasoning.
Cameron next says, “As we saw, the seven times began when Jerusalem was destroyed in 607 B.C.E.” Cameron uses the phrase “as we saw” to indicate he’s referring to a previously established fact. However, in the first article no scriptural nor historical proof was given to link the seven times to the destruction of Jerusalem, nor to link that destruction to 607 B.C.E. So we have to make two more assumptions before we can proceed.
If we are to accept that the seven times begins with the interruption of God’s rulership over Israel (not over the “kingdom of mankind” as Daniel states in 4:17, 25—yet another leap of logic), then when did that rulership cease? Was it when the king of Babylon turned the king of Israel into a vassal king? Or was it when Jerusalem was destroyed? The Bible doesn’t say which. Assuming the latter, then when did that occur? Again, the Bible doesn’t say. Secular history says Babylon was conquered in 539 B.C.E. and Jerusalem was destroyed in 587 B.C.E. So which year do we accept and which do we reject. We assume the historians are right about 539, but wrong about 587. What is our basis for rejecting one date and accepting the other? We could just as easily accept 587 and count forward 70 years, but we don’t.
As you can see, we are already building our doctrine on quite a number of unprovable assumptions.
On page 9, Cameron states that “the seven literal times must be much longer than seven literal years”. To bolster this point, he then states, “Besides, as we considered before, centuries later when Jesus was here on earth, he indicated that the seven times had not yet ended.” Now we are putting words in Jesus’ mouth. He said no such thing, nor did he imply it. What Cameron is referring to are Jesus’ words regarding the destruction of Jerusalem in the first century, not Daniel’s day.
“and Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations, until the appointed times of the nations are fulfilled.” (Luke 21:24)
The importance of this single scripture in the fabric of this doctrine can hardly be overstated. Simply put, no time element is possible without Luke 21:24. The entire secondary fulfillment hypothesis crumbles without it. As you are about to see, trying to tie in his words about the trampling of Jerusalem causes the assumption count to skyrocket.
First, we have to assume that even though he uses a simple future tense (“will be trampled”) he really meant to use something more complex to show a past and yet continuous future action; something like, “has been and will continue to be trampled”.
Second, we have to assume that the trampling he’s referring to has nothing to do with the destruction of the city he’s just foretold. The city’s destruction is but a footnote in the larger fulfillment which make the trampling refer to the Jewish nation not having God as king anymore.
Third, we have to assume that the appointed times of the nations began with Jerusalem losing her self-rule under God. These “gentile times” could well have begun with Adam’s sin, or with Nimrod’s rebellion (“a mighty hunter in opposition to Jehovah” – Ge 10:9, 10 NWT) when he set up the first kingdom to oppose God. Or they could have begun with the enslavement of the Jews under Pharaoh for all we know. The Scriptures just don’t say. The only use of the phrase in the entire Bible is found in Jesus’ words recorded at Luke 21:24. Not much to go on, yet we’ve built a life-altering interpretation based on it. Simply put, the Bible doesn’t say when the Gentile times began nor when they will end. So our third assumption is really two. Call it 3a and 3b.
Fourth, We have to assume that Jehovah’s kingship over Israel ended when it was destroyed and not years earlier when the King of Babylon conquered it and appointed a king to serve under him as a vassal.
Fifth, we have to assume that the trampling stopped being upon the nation of Israel at some point and started to apply to the Christian congregation. This is a particularly problematic point, because Jesus indicates at Luke 21:24 that the trampling was on the actual city of Jerusalem and by extension nation of Israel when it was being destroyed and that occurred in 70 C.E. The Christian congregation had been in existence by that time for almost 40 years. So the congregation wasn’t being trampled by not having a king over it. In fact, our own theology accepts that it did have a king over it. We teach that Jesus had been ruling as king over the congregation since 33 C.E. So at some point after 70 C.E., the literal nation of Israel stopped being trampled on by the nations and the Christian congregation began to be. That means the God’s rulership over the congregation ceased at that time. When exactly did that happen?
Sixth: 1914 marks the end of the gentile times. This is an assumption because there is no proof it happened; no visible evidence that the status of the nations changed in any Scripturally significant way. The nations continued to govern after 1914 just as they had before it. To paraphrase Brother Russell, ‘their kings are still having their day.’ We say the gentile times ended because that’s when Jesus started ruling from heaven. If so, then were is the evidence of that rule? This takes us to the final assumption needed to support the use of Luke 21:24 in our theology.
Seventh: If the trampling represents the end of domination by the nations over the congregation of Christ, then what changed in 1914? Jesus had already been ruling over the Christian congregation since 33 C.E. Our own publications support that belief. Prior to that Christianity was often abused and persecuted, but continued to conquer. After that it continued to be abused and persecuted but continued to conquer. So we say that what was set up in 1914 was the Messianic Kingdom. But where’s the proof? If we don’t want to be accused of making things up, we need to provide proof of some change, but there is no change between 1913 and 1914 to indicate an ending of the trampling. In fact, our own publications apply the 2-witness prophecy of Revelation 11:1-4 to the time period from 1914 to 1918 indicating that the trampling continued past the cutoff date.
An Assumption Conundrum: Teaching that the Messianic Kingdom began in 1914 raises a significant conundrum for us. The Messiah is to rule for 1,000 years. So we are already a century into his rule. That leaves only 900 years to go. This rule is to bring peace, yet the first 100 years of it have been the bloodiest in history. So either he didn’t start ruling in 1914, or he did and the Bible was wrong. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why we don’t use the terms “1914” and “Messianic Kingdom” in the same sentence like we used to. Now we talk about 1914 and God’s Kingdom, a much more general term.
So there is no visible nor scriptural evidence that Jesus began reigning invisibly in the heavens in 1914. There is no evidence that the appointed times of the nations ended in that year. There is no evidence that Jerusalem—literal or symbolic—stopped being trampled in that year.
What do we have to say about that?
Reasoning from the Scriptures states:
As Jesus showed in his prophecy pointing to the conclusion of the system of things, Jerusalem would be “trampled on by the nations, until the appointed times of the nations” were fulfilled. (Luke 21:24) “Jerusalem” represented the Kingdom of God because its kings were said to sit on “the throne of the kingship of Jehovah.” (1 Chron. 28:4, 5; Matt. 5:34, 35) So, the Gentile governments, represented by wild beasts, would ‘trample’ on the right of God’s Kingdom to direct human affairs and would themselves hold sway under Satan’s control.—Compare Luke 4:5, 6. (rs p. 96 Dates)
Is there evidence—any evidence whatsoever—that since 1914 the nations have stopped “directing human affairs” and are “no longer trampling on the right of God’s Kingdom to direct human affairs”?
How many arms and legs do we have to lop off this black knight before he admits defeat and let’s us pass?
Given the lack of proof that the trampling upon which everything hinges cannot be shown to have ended, our attention is redistracted by Cameron in a way all witnesses are used to. He focuses on the fact that 1914 was the year in which the first world war started. Is that prophetically significant? He feels so, for he says on page 9, column 2, “Concerning the time when he would start ruling in heaven, Jesus said: “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be food shortages and earthquakes in one place after another.””
Actually, Jesus didn’t say that his presence would be marked by these things. This is yet another misinterpretation. When asked for a sign to indicate when he would start ruling and the end would come, he told his followers not to be misled into believing that wars, earthquakes, famines and pestilences were signs of his arrival. He started off by warning us not to believe such things were actual signs. Read the following parallel accounts carefully. Is Jesus saying, “When you see these things, know I am enthroned as king invisibly in the heavens and that the last days have started”?
“4 In answer Jesus said to them: “Look out that nobody misleads you, 5 for many will come on the basis of my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many. 6 You are going to hear of wars and reports of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for these things must take place, but the end is not yet.” (Mt 24:4-6)
“. . .So Jesus began to tell them: “Look out that nobody misleads you. 6 Many will come on the basis of my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and will mislead many. 7 Moreover, when you hear of wars and reports of wars, do not be alarmed; these things must take place, but the end is not yet.” (Mr 13:5-7)
“. . .“Then, too, if anyone says to you, ‘See! Here is the Christ,’ or, ‘See! There he is,’ do not believe it. 22 For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will perform signs and wonders to lead astray, if possible, the chosen ones. 23 You, then, watch out. I have told you all things beforehand.” (Mr 13:21-23)
“. . .He said: “Look out that you are not misled, for many will come on the basis of my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The due time is near.’ Do not go after them. 9 Furthermore, when you hear of wars and disturbances, do not be terrified. For these things must take place first, but the end will not occur immediately.”” (Lu 21:8, 9)
Does Jesus even mention the last days in these three parallel accounts? Does he say his presence will be invisible? In fact, he says quite the opposite in Mt 24:30.
Now consider this final passage.
“. . .Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look! Here is the Christ,’ or, ‘There!’ do not believe it. 24 For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will perform great signs and wonders so as to mislead, if possible, even the chosen ones. 25 Look! I have forewarned you. 26 Therefore, if people say to you, ‘Look! He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out; ‘Look! He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For just as the lightning comes out of the east and shines over to the west, so the presence of the Son of man will be. 28 Wherever the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.” (Mt 24:23-28)
Verse 26 speaks of those preaching an invisible, secret, hidden presence. He’s in the inner rooms or he’s out in the wilderness. Both are hidden from the populous, and known only to those “in the know”. Jesus specifically warns us not to believe such tales. He then tells us how his presence will be manifested.
We have all seen cloud-to-cloud lightning. It can be observed by everyone, even people indoors. The light from the flash penetrates everywhere. It requires no explanation, nor interpretation. Everyone knows that lightning has flashed. Even the animals are aware of it. That is the illustration Jesus used to tell us how the presence of the Son of man would manifest itself. Now, did anything like that occur in 1914? Anything??
As the article closes, Jon says: “I’m still trying to wrap my head around this.” Then he asks, “…why this is so complicated.”
The reason why it is so complicated is that we are ignoring or twisting plainly stated truths to make our pet theory appear to work.
Jesus said we have no right to know about the dates that God has put in his own jurisdiction. (Acts 1:6,7) We say, not so, we can know because we have a special exemption. Daniel 12:4 foretells that we will “rove about” and the “true knowledge” will become abundant. Included in that “true knowledge” is knowledge of the dates when things will happen. Again, another presumptive interpretation twisted to suit our needs. The fact we’ve been unfailingly wrong about all our prophetic dates proves that the Acts 1:7 hasn’t lost any of its force. It still does not belong to us to know the times and the seasons which the Father has placed in his own jurisdiction.
Jesus said not to read signs into wars and natural catastrophes, but we do just that anyway.
Jesus said not to believe people who say Jesus has arrived in some hidden or concealed manner, but we are being lead by such people. (Mt. 24:23-27)
Jesus said his presence would be visible to everyone, even the whole world; so we say, that really only applies to us, Jehovah’s Witnesses. Everyone else is blind to the lightning that flashed in 1914 (Mt. 24:28, 30)
The fact is, our 1914 teaching isn’t complicated, it is just ugly. It has none of the simple charm and scriptural harmony we’ve come to expect from Bible prophecy. It involves so many assumptions and requires us to reinterpret so many plainly stated scriptural truths that it is amazing it has survived until now. It is a lie that misrepresents Jesus’ clear teaching and Jehovah’s purpose. A lie that is being used to usurp the authority of our Lord by supporting the idea that our leadership has been divinely appointed to rule over us.
It is a teaching whose time has long passed. It staggers on, like a hundred-year-old man, supported by the twin canes of indoctrination and intimidation, but soon those pegs will be knocked out from under it. What then for those of us who have put faith in men?
[…] was of the kingdom, but the kingdom to come, not the established kingdom. (Mt 6:9) It hasn’t been established yet. The other sheep refer to gentiles, not some secondary salvation classification. The Bible […]
I’m not sure how to move forward myself, but surely the veil has been removed from our eyes for a reason? As Jesus said, he who has been given much, much will be demanded (Luke 12:48). Some might reason that we do not want to ‘run ahead’ of Jehovah, but such thinking could just as much be part of our continued indoctrination to sit back and do nothing. Contrast that attitude with Phinehas. Did he ask Moses permission to execute the wrong doers? (Numbers 25 6-8). So there must be a balance of waiting and acting. I think the first… Read more »
Thank you so much. In answer to your question, it has been suggested that we use something like Google AdWords to bring people to the site. If someone googles jw.org (which many do instead of typing directly into the address field) they’ll get search results and if there are AdWords ads, they’ll appear on the right. I don’t know if that’s the way to go, and of course, there’s the cost factor.
Meleti this is an OUTSTANDING article. Its beauty lies in the fact that you avoid getting into a debate about whether or not Jerusalem was destroyed in 607 BCE or not. In my experience a futile debate and one that you cannot win. Instead by using simple logic and the proper use of the English language you completely DESTROY their argument. I’ve never seen it done with such simplicity and to such devastating effect. Bravo!!!! I really believe that this needs to be published – the world must know that the Society is an emperor with no clothes. What can… Read more »
Strong words, but these words have come out of our own mouth in the form of condemnatory articles directed at other religions. Less so recently than in years past, but still, we have never retracted any such articles, even the insulting cartoons and caricatures of the Rutherford years, so our silence gives consent.
We will leave judgment to God, but if we are to accept the human judgment of our organization upon other religions for teaching falsehoods, then our own judgment comes back on our heads for doing the same thing.
So the skinny of it is simple – Jehovah’s Witnesses are FALSE CHRISTIANS. Jehovah’s Witnesses are/have become AGENTS of SATAN I’m afraid as a JW there is no other way to put it. If all we stand on are lies, and the father of lies is Satan, that makes Satan the father of the movement known as Jehovah’s Witnesses. I’m not for one moment JUDGING any INDIVIDUAL, rather the corpus. As Jesus said Mat_7:2 for with what judgment YOU are judging, YOU will be judged; and with the measure that YOU are measuring out, they will measure out to YOU.… Read more »
I really don’t think most JW care if it is wrong, what saddens me is that most JW don’t really consult the scriptures they consult the WT, this is the road that most have taken, and their belief that this is Gods organization and Jehovah would never allow this to be wrong, we are Gods people and that is what they believe and cannot fathom that anything coming from the GB/FDS especially about their 1914 foundation could be wrong.
I concur with you, Katrina. This makes me think of the sin of the congregation of Laodicea. (Re 3:14-18) Their sin was apathy. Many witnesses have zeal, but it is not based on accurate knowledge. The Watchtower is our Bible now. The fact that this week’s study paints a picture of the Israelites in Korah’s day which is 180 degrees from what the Bible depicts will go unnoticed by almost all of Jehovah’s Witnesses. How many will read the rest of the account. I wonder how many of those who do will even then notice that the account shows them… Read more »
I just sat through the third consecutive baptism talk in which the name of Jesus or the good news of salvation by ransom or even of Chrisktian discipleship goes without a single mention. At Acts 18:25 we read of Apollos, well versed in scripture but being familiar only with a baptism of repentance that John preached. In the same way that Priscila and Aquila had to instruct him regarding baptism into Jesus (verse 26), so too there are now three decades of disciples baptized into the idol of the organization, but without scriptural instruction in Christianity. By the meaning of… Read more »
It’s funny…Some Christians do not consider wearing the cross as a form of idolatry or worship. They view it as a way to identify themselves as Christians.
Wearing JW. Org buttons, pins etc IMO are not any different than the wearing the cross. If the cross is idolatry so are these pins and buttons . BTW didn’t the Bible students wear pins too?
What happen to “advertise advertise ,advertise the King and His kingdom?
What are these JW ORG Pins and badges .kev
For those unfamiliar with the new JW.ORG logo, the Watchtower Headquarters flagship building in Brooklyn now sports the logo on its architectural forehead:
I agree with you, Katrina. Just listen to the comments made during Bible Highlights from Elders and others who simply quote Watchtower references. I tell the friends to look for their own highlight; find something they’ve read that applies to them. If we always use someone else’s highlight then it’s not our highlight, and doesn’t require any work on our part other than going to WT Library.
This thread made me think and revisit 2 Corinthians 11:14-15 New International Version (NIV) 14 “And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.” Here we see that there can be people who can masquerade as servants of righteousness. Take note: “people who are servants of righteousness”, meaning they are also doing righteous acts. Because of the mask of righteousness, it would not be that easy to distinguish them from those genuine ones. Shall… Read more »
Thank you once again for a well thought out and well written Article. This really is incendiary stuff when I think about it, because what it boils down to is this: No 1914 = No 1919 = No Appointed FDS/GB This means that the present GB are simply self-appointed men who hold the position and power they do by. as you say, indoctrination and intimidation. None of this need shake our faith in the Lord or the promises that are truly in God’s Word, nor should it stop us showing we are “awake” by being truly Christian in all we… Read more »
Thank you for the work you put into this article, it really does show. I appreciated the Monty Python reference of course, but even more the emphasis you added to Luke 21:8,9. I always picked up Jesus reference to false Messiahs which is also in the parallel gospel accounts and not so much on “the due time near, DO NOT go after them”. I just find it interesting, because Jesus is obviously not contradicting his counsel to “keep awake”, and “stay in expectation of it” , because that is the job of each and every Christian. It seems to me… Read more »
Joel, I shared your sentiments exactly when I read this article!
Thanks meleti for your common sense approach to scripture . Ive come to the same conclusions .The more time goes on . The more i read the bible The more i think and reason The more this 1914 doctrine is sounding ludicrous .we only have to look around at the world and open our eyes to see that doesnt make sense .kev
Meleti are you saying that this doctrines wrong ?????
The doctrine that 1914 is the year in which Christ began ruling as the king of the Messianic kingdom is false. As a consequence, everything depending on that doctrine, such as the fall of Babylon at that time, the cleaning of the Christian congregation and the 1919 appointment of the faithful and discreet slave is also wrong. All the prophetic fulfillments we have tied to those years (1914, 1918, 1919, 1922, etc.) are as a consequence wrong. We must look elsewhere for a fulfillment to the bowls and woes of Revelation, for they were not fulfilled by some man reading… Read more »
Dear brother, you dismantle the 1914 foundational doctrine, and everything else will fall like a house of cards. I have brought up this thing to my wife and she did not feel good about it. She said something like this: “If we are not in the last days, then what’s the purpose of the preaching with no sense of urgency? People will have just slacken.” I told her we have to keep on the watch as Jesus Christ warned his followers before, that there’s no need to harp on the last days for Christians to be motivated to preach and… Read more »
I cant believe you answered that meleti its our sick sense of humour around our parts that prompted me to ask a question like that .even so thanks for your comment and i have to say serious this time i totally agree . Kev
Yes very well presented Meleti I had visions of Monty Python’s argument sketch. Beroean- “So 1000 years -100 = 900 years of Christ’s rule remaining?” GB- “No it doesn’t!” Beroean- “That’s what we’re saying!” GB- “No your not” Beroean- “Yes you are” GB- “No we’re not” Beroean- “So the 1000 year reign hasn’t started yet?” GB- “Yes it has” Beroean- “And we are 100 years into it?” GB- “Yes we are!” Beroean- “And their are 900 years to go” GB- “No there isn’t” Beroean- ” Look I came here for a Bible discussion” GB- “No you didn’t, you came here… Read more »
🙂 🙂 🙂
Don’t they teach now that the 1000 years rule will actually start only when all 144000 are in the heaven? Sorry but with all their flip flops it’s getting really confusing.
Yes. In fact, we’ve always taught that the 1,000 years begins after Armageddon. Russell thought that 1914 was the start of the great tribulation. So starting the 1,000 year reign then made sense and was consistent with the other scriptures pertaining to that theme. Rutherford also thought that the Great Tribulation began in 1914. For a while he thought phase two of the GT would come in 1925, but when that didn’t happen, the date got moved ahead. Franz and Knorr also thought the GT started in 1914, and that phase two (Armageddon) was very near. It wasn’t until the… Read more »
w14 01/15 p. 16 para. 14-15: “Even though Jehovah crowned his Son, Jesus Christ, as the Messianic King in 1914, this was not the full answer to our prayer “let your Kingdom come.” When we pray for God’s Kingdom to come, we are asking God that the Messianic King and his associate rulers come to put an end to human rulership and remove the earthly opposers of the Kingdom. The time for this to happen is very near. How ﬁtting that our yeartext for 2014, the 100th anniversary of the establishment of God’s Kingdom in heaven, is Matthew 6:10: “Let… Read more »
As a comedy sketch, one needs to visualize the true king demolishing the stand-ins in his place, who guard the bridge to forward progress.
In an academic sense the same demolition was written up in detail by a JW scholar who was dis-fellowshipped for his exposition of the facts. Read his rebuttal here:
Thanks Meleti, well done and clealy presented. To be honest, to me this whole doctrine and the impact it has (and must have according to GB) on the whole JW population gives me a very unpleasant feeling. I really wonder if the doctrine about the hellfire is any worse as both doctrines are used to control and influence behavior of the members.
We have discerned that we’re in the last days because we have special knowledge (Dan 12.4). And we have that special knowledge because we’re in the last days.
I guess this little theological hula-hoop survives because we keep getting distracted by the comely hips of imminent paradise.
The Black Knight reference, for those not knowing the comedy sketch, is seen at:
great write and ditto bobcat3
Well written analysis, Meleti. I’d like to print this out and post it on the KH door in a way similar to Martin Luther’s posting of his 95 thesis.
That brings up an interesting question: If we were to try to organize such a thing, how many would actually do it? And would HQ, if they got word of it, write a letter to every congregation on Earth instructing them to post a guard?
I suppose if the date were not decided on until the day before, HQ wouldn’t have time to react. Would it be best if it were posted inside, so they’d know active, key-carrying JWs were the ones asking the questions?
The issue is that it would be highly unlikely to reach anyone. The first person to see the letter would likely tear it down and throw it away. As we can all personally attest, until a person is ready to wake up, they will turn a blind eye to any information, even if it’s thrust in front of them.