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Second Coming of Christ–1914

Introduction by D.M. 1914 is the most important year for the Jehovah’s Witnesses. To them, it’s the year that Christ returned to lead their organization. There’s just a few problems about this, that most Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t think about.

First, Charles Taze Russell had prophesied that Christ’s return would actually be in 1874. When that didn’t occur, he covered up that embarrassment by saying that the Lord would return in 1914 (most likely due to WWI having started). In his book, Divine Plan of the Ages (which you can find on our website). Russell projected that those who were living in 1914 would witness Armageddon and the dawn of Christ's 1,000 year rule on earth.

Consider the false prophecy here. Russell first claimed that the "end times" started in 1799, and as mentioned, that Christ had returned in 1874. In later reprints, these dates would change when Armageddon failed to appear in 1874.

Without it looking like a false prophecy, the Watchtower organization, in 1921 made a change in Russell's, Studies in the Scriptures (Volume 3). Without indicating a correction in future books of Studies in the Scriptures (Volume 3), nor changing the original publisher’s date on the book, the Watch Tower organization changed the number 3,416 inches to 3,457. What's this number? It has to do with Russell's involvement in pyramidology. Russell had a "Chart of the Ages" (found in his Divine Plan of the Ages (which we provide on this website). Russell's pyramid chart was used by Russell and his followers to promote Russell's strange views of biblical theology (using scripture quotations), chronology of the Lord's return (using the pyramid). Images of pyramids are included. The organization did this so that Russell could be quoted as saying, “Thus the pyramid witnesses that the close of 1914 will be the beginning of the time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation–no, nor ever shall be afterward” (Studies in the Scriptures, Volume 3, p. 342.)

The cover up of the 1874 change to 1914 continued when Joseph Rutherford proclaimed that, “...Pastor Russell, for forty years pointed out from the prophecies that it [meaning the war] would come in 1914" (Millions Now Living Will Never Die, page 85-86). [This book is available on our website].

See how easily a failed “prophecy” can be changed to appear accurate? This is why we need to give love, understanding, and sensitivity when Jehovah’s Witnesses come to pay us a visit. They have been deceived. They firmly believe in this “prophecy” because it’s clearly written in their Studies in the Scriptures.

You might wonder, why would there have to be a change of year, anyway? If Russell had a loyal following, wouldn't they simply understand? The answer is "no." When 1914 came, and went, without the appearance of Christ, Russell’s "Bible Students" (as they were called) were quite upset and many were disillusioned. Russell cheered them up by stating that Christ did indeed return, but that His return was “invisible.” Russell began this crusade by saying that Matthew 24:3 is translated incorrectly. He explained to his followers that the word "coming," is incorrectly translated and should be the word, "presence" (if you want to know more, read about it in the article we provide on Charles Taze Russell). From that point on, Witnesses have believed that Christ has been here on earth ruling invisibly the Watch Tower organization.

To keep this belief strong, the Watchtower organization helped their followers out by writing articles of explanation (usually written by Russell).

To this day, Witnesses believe what Russell said about Christ's 1914 "prophecy." Sadly, Witnesses never seem to follow up on what Russell or Rutherford have said. If they did, they would come to see things differently (therefore, we must help them). For instance, Joseph Rutherford defends the 1914 prophecy, yet, in another instance, he admits that the 1914 prophecies failed (copy of original quote is included in the link). Another example is that the Watchtower (December 1, 1918–found in our 1874 section), had taught their followers that Charles Taze Russell, “discovered that the Scriptures clearly teach that the Lord would NOT return in a body of flesh, but would return as a spirit being, invisible to human eyes, and that his second presence was due in the autumn of 1874.”

Two things here. First, the Watchtower so often tells their followers that their doctrine is found "in the Scriptures." Yet, so often they don't provide the scripture verse to back up what they are saying--or, if they do use Scripture, they terribly distort the truth, or take scripture out of context. In the 1918 Watchtower, you will see that they do not provide any scripture to base their belief of Christ coming "invisibly." Secondly, as mentioned, Russell and his organization changed that 1874 date (and other dates). The only thing they didn't change was the part that Christ came “invisibly.”

The year, 1914, became significant for another reason. Let me explain. The Jehovah's Witnesses had been taught that they were the 144,000 mentioned in the Book of Revelation (7:1-8; 14:1-5). Of no great surprise, there became a problem. When the number of Jehovah’s Witnesses surpassed the 144,000 mark they began to question the doctrine. Second president, Joseph Rutherford (in 1935) assured everyone that the doctrine is correct, but added something new to this doctrine. He told his followers that the 144,000 are Witnesses--but not all Witnesses. Those 144,000 are the Witnesses who were born in 1914 or before. They would be referred to as the "1914 Generation." Only they will get to go to Heaven (if they die).

Not only would they be the “elect” for Heaven (the 144,000), but Rutherford announced that many of them wouldn’t die. That was the purpose for writing the book, Millions Now Living Will Never Die (the book is on our website, in the JW section). It's safely assumed that most of the 1914 generation are now dead. Another failed prophecy.

So, what about all the other Jehovah's Witnesses who were born after 1914? Rutherford said they are are part of the "great crowd;" the "great company" (using Rev. 7:9-7). These Witnesses will remain on the new earth (called "paradise") for eternity, without Jesus. (See the Watchtower 6/15/92, pg. 23; Also Proclaimers 1993, p. 166).

What's even more amazing is that Rutherford made it doctrine, that only the 1914 Generation were allowed to participate in communion. The rest of the folks were only allowed to "observe" the 1914 Generation participate in communion. Can you imagine what communion must be like, currently, when the Witnesses come together for communion (which is once a year)? Without having anyone in the congregation, who's part of the 1914 Generation, why bother with communion? Sadly, without them following Jesus, they don't understand that all are invited to the Supper. Jesus said, "do this in remembrance of Me" (Luke 22:19). (See the communion section for more information.)

The link below offers two things. First, Joseph Rutherford’s admission that the prophecies of 1914 had not been fulfilled. Secondly, a Watchtower cover (May 15, 1984) of the 1914 Generation–with the statement that “1914: The Generation That Will Not Pass Away” (Watchtower, May 15, 1984).

Here's the link:

Click here to view 1914 Prophecy

         Here are some questions you can ask your JW visitor:

1. Who’s right? If Russell claimed that Christ came back in 1914, and Rutherford claims that he came back in 1874 (see Harp of God, p. 230–scanned copy is in the 1874 prophecies) which one of these men (who are supposedly led by God) is right? Or, are they both wrong?

2. Look at Deuteronomy 18:22. Is it possible that the Watchtower Organization is a false prophet? If one of the men are wrong, or both of them are wrong what does this really mean?

3. Look at Revelation 14:1-5. Why do you believe this refers to the Jehovah’s Witnesses (primarily those in the 1914 generation)?

4. Take a close look at Revelation 14:4. Notice what it says about the 144,000. We are told in verse 4 that “these are the ones who have not been defiled with women, for they have kept themselves chaste....” In the JW scripture, it literally says that these 144,000 are men who “did not defile themselves with women, in fact, they are virgins.”

5) Think carefully. Are you sure that the 144,000 in the Book of Revelation are Jehovah’s Witnesses? If so, then all JW women who died (especially the women who were part of the 1914 generation), are not in heaven.

6. Please explain: What does the Watchtower mean by the statement, "1914: The Generation That Will Not Pass Away." Did you know that Joseph Rutherford in his book Millions Now Living Will Never Die said that this 1914 Generation wouldn't die.

While the Watchtower organization will not make Rutherford's Millionsavailable to Jehovah's Witnesses today, there was a time when the Watchtower encouraged all Witnesses to buy and to read it. Rutherford told his followers that his booklets, magazines, and books such as Millions Now Living Will Never Die!

Rutherford told his followers that his bookletts, and books, such as "Millions" "contain the message of God's truth and are from the Lord Jehovah, and provided by him through Christ Jesus and his underofficers... Theinterpretation of prophecy, therefore, is not from man but is from Jehovah... (Found in Vindication I, 1931, p. 120; similar quote found in The Watchtower, May 1, 1938 p. 143.)

© Donna Morley, 2008

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