1914 is a pivotal point in the history of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The apparent ability to predict the meaning of 1914 is a great source of credibility for Jehovah’s Witnesses. However, it is important to know that the teaching of 1914 before 1914 is not the same as what is taught today.
Prior to 1914, Jehovah’s Witnesses believed that Armageddon would end in 1914, and this included the fall of false religion (including Christendom) and the end of all earthly governments followed by heavenly and earthly resurrections and the establishment of paradise on earth.
They were so specific about this prediction, that they narrowed this down to an exact date, October 1, 1914. Nothing that was claimed about 1914 came true. When this prophecy failed, the Organisation of Jehovah’s Witnesses changed their claims, and today it is taught that 1914 marked the end of the Gentile Times and the date of Jesus Christ’s invisible presence.
The original teaching of 1914 is not taught to Jehovah’s Witnesses today, in fact it has been covered up pretty well.
I urge you to read on as I deep dive into:
- What Jehovah’s Witnesses taught prior to 1914.
- What Jehovahs Witnesses teach today.
- The differences compared.
- How the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses covered up the original teachings.
What did Jehovah’s Witnesses Teach before 1914?
Prior to 1914, it was no secret what the Jehovah’s Witnesses believed and taught religiously. The teaching back then was that Jesus arrived and started to rule invisibly in 1878  and that 1914 would mark the end of the system of things, which means that the following was going to take place before the conclusion of 1914:
- The War of Armageddon.
- End of false religion including Christendom which Jehovah’s Witnesses refer to as Babylon the Great.
- The end of all Governments.
- The destruction of all unbelievers (non-Jehovah’s Witnesses)
- The establishment of the Kingdom of God on Paradise on Earth.
The Time Is At Hand, Published in 1911 by the Watchtower and Bible Tract Society published the following statement.
|“we consider it an established truth that the final end of the kingdoms of this world, and the full establishment of the Kingdom of God, will be accomplished near the end of A.D.1914.”|
Studies in the Scriptures – The Time is at Hand (1889) 1911 ed. p.99
But there is more. Here is a short summary of other pre-1914 claims made by the organization about 1914.
- Thy Kingdom Come (1911 ed.) p.228 
“the deliverance of the saints must take place some time before 1914 is manifest”
- The Day of Vengeance p.547
“the Day of Vengeance … will end in October, 1914”
- Watch Tower 1911 Jun 15 p.190 (reprints p.4842)
“October, 1914, will witness the full end of Babylon”
Make no mistake, these were “established truths” according to Jehovah’s Witnesses at that time. They wholeheartedly were expecting the end of all Governments, the Destruction of False Religion along with the unbelievers would take place before the end of 1914.
What do Jehovah’s Witnesses teach about 1914 today?
The Watchtower has very quietly abandoned the previous doctrine that Armageddon would come and end before October 1, 1914. A new doctrine was established and today it is claimed that the current doctrine has always been what they taught, even before 1914.
Today, Jehovah’s Witnesses teach:
- That 1914 Marked the End of the Gentile Times.
- That Christs Presence Started in 1914 – Invisibly.
- That the Battle of Armageddon will conclude before the generation of 1914 has passed.
- That Armageddon Will Come Before Contemporaries of the 1914 Generation Pass Away.
TODAY, JEHOVAHS WITNESSES TEACH THAT 1914 MARKED THE END OF THE GENTILE TIMES
Today, Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that they accurately predicted the end of the Gentile Times. There is no mention at all of what they actually predicted in any of their new publications. In fact, most modern-day Jehovah’s Witnesses have no idea about the history around this infamous date.
|“Very noteworthy was the striking accuracy with which that book pointed to the end of the Gentile Times, “the appointed times of the nations.”|
Yearbook 1975 p.37
JEHOVAHS WITNESSES TEACH THAT CHRISTS PRESENCE STARTED IN 1914, INVISIBLY
The Organization also teaches that Jesus’ presence started in 1914. They claim that the second coming happened in 1914, but just not in a visible way.
The Problem with this Teaching of Christs Invisible Presence
Bible warns us of those announcing his presence and that his presence is hidden from others [invisible?] and refers to these ones as false prophets.
The Bible also tells us that his presence will be like lightning shining over from the east to the west, which is visible and even audible for everyone to see and hear.
|23 “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.|
You’d think that after burning their fingers the first time, that they would abandon their attempts to predict Armageddon, but you’d be wrong.
JEHOVAHS WITNESSES TEACH THAT THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON WILL CONCLUDE BEFORE THE GENERATION OF 1914 HAS PASSED AWAY
You can imagine the excitement of the Jehovah’s Witnesses when World War I broke out on the 28th of July 1914! However, disappointment followed suit for many when none of their actual predictions came true.
Obviously, the battle of Armageddon didn’t happen and people were still living under human rulership, so they had to come up with an answer to their desperate followers.
The organization quickly went to the scriptures, looking for ways to keep their followers, and used Matthew 24’s famous passage, “Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.” and claimed that the generation in this account refers to the generation that witnessed the and understood those scriptural events that occurred in 1914.
This teaching has since been abandoned and again, replaced with “New Light” Which brings us to the most current teaching.
JEHOVAHS WITNESSES TEACH THAT ARMAGEDDON WILL COME BEFORE THE CONTEMPORARIES OF THE 1914 GENERATION PASS AWAY
In more recent days, it was becoming obvious that no one alive in 1914 is still alive today, which exposed yet another false prediction. This is when they came up with more “New Light”, and called it the “Overlapping Generation”
Now, the teaching is that end will come before the generation that overlapped the original 1914 generation passes away. They managed to convince millions by simply changing the Bibles definition of the length of a generation
How the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses hides their original teachings.
It is as if the organization pretends that the past doesn’t exist. They have continued to lie about what the original predictions for 1914 were.
- Watchtower 2013 Feb 15 p.18
“Decades before 1914, Jehovah’s worshippers declared that the world would enter into an unequaled period of trouble.”
- Watchtower 2004 Feb 1 p.19
“As that “time” approached, Jehovah took steps to reveal the answer to a group of humble Bible students. They also came to realize that 1914 was the beginning of the end for this system of things.”
- Watchtower 1993 Aug 15 p.9
“Jehovah’s Witnesses have consistently shown from the Scriptures that the year 1914 marked the beginning of this world’s time of the end and that “the day of judgment and of destruction of the ungodly men” has drawn near.”
- Awake! 1973 Jan 22 p.8
“Jehovah’s witnesses pointed to the year 1914, decades in advance, as marking the start of “the conclusion of the system of things.”
- Watchtower 1954 Jun 15 p.370
“Why, then, do the nations not realize and accept the approach of this climax of judgment? It is because they have not heeded the world wide advertising of Christ’s return and his second Presence. Since long before World War I Jehovah’s witnesses pointed to 1914 as the time for this great event to occur.”
Watchtower rewrote their own history by changing their old publications and coming up with what the organization likes to refers to as “New Light”
Some Examples where the Watchtower changed their statements to cover their previous claims.
|Pre 1914||Post 1914|
|“That the deliverance (Earthly resurrection) of the saints must take place some time before 1914 is manifest …”|
Thy Kingdom Come on p.228
|“That the deliverance (Earthly resurrection) of the saints must take place very soon after 1914 is manifest,… .”|
Thy Kingdom Come on p.228
|“The year A.D. 1878 … clearly marks the time for the actual assuming of power as King of kings, by our present, spiritual, invisible Lord – …”|
The Time is At Hand (1911 ed) p.239
|“The Watchtower has consistently presented evidence to honesthearted students of Bible prophecy that Jesus’ presence in heavenly Kingdom power began in 1914.|
Watchtower 1993 Jan 15 p.5
|“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.|
Zion’s Watch Tower 1894 Jul 15 p.226
|“Jehovah’s witnesses pointed to the year 1914, decades in advance, as marking the start of “the conclusion of the system of things.”|
Awake! 1973 Jan 22 p.8
This evidence clearly shows that the Organisation of Jehovah’s Witnesses falsely predicted the end of this system in 1914 and that they are dishonest about their past.
Rather than publicly acknowledging that they were wrong, and humbly revising their understanding with transparency, they recalled their old publications, edited them, and republished them, covering their tracks with a new agenda in mind.
|Pre 1914 Teaching||Current Teaching|
1914 marks the literal end of the Gentile Times, the end of all human rulership.
|That 1914 marks the end of the Gentile Times but now, in an Invisible Way. However, humans are still ruling…|
Christs invisible presense started in 1878
|Christs presence started invisibly in 1914|
The Battle of Armageddon will conclude before October 1st, 1914.
|That the Battle of Armageddon will conclude before the 1914 generation passes. (This failed and was recently changed to overlapping generation)|
Clearly, the organization needs Armageddon to be imminent to keep and gain members. This is why they cling so tightly to the teaching of an impending doomsday being around the corner.
At any given point in time, Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that Armageddon will happen in just a few years. Each time the date fails, the Governing Body will come up with “New Light” as an excuse to postpone the event to a later (but always imminent) date.