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Jehovah's Witnesses' end of the world predictions

Predictions for the years 1925 & 1975

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For earlier predictions, see the preceding essay

 

1925 prediction:

The next estimate of the TEOTWAWKI after 1920 was set at sometime in 1925.

bulletIn 1918, J.E. Rutherford -- the WTS' second president and the author of "Millions now living will never die" -- wrote:

"...there will be a resurrection of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and other faithful ones of old ... we may expect 1925 to witness the return of these faithful men of Israel from the condition of death, being resurrected and fully restored to perfect humanity and made the visible, legal representatives of the new order of things on earth.... Therefore we may confidently expect that 1925 will mark the return of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the faithful prophets of old, particularly those named by the Apostle in Hebrews 11, to the condition of human perfection." 1

bulletIn 1922, Rutherford wrote:

"Fulfilled prophecy shows beyond a doubt that (Christ) did appear in 1874. Fulfilled prophecy is otherwise designated the physical facts; and these facts are indisputable....We understand that the jubilee type began to count in 1575 B.C.; and the 3,500 year period embracing the type must end in 1925....It follows, then, that the year 1925 will mark the beginning of the restoration of all things lost by Adam's disobedience." 2

bulletIn 1923, a Watchtower article predicted:

"Our thought is, that 1925 is definitely settled by the scriptures. As to Noah, the Christian now has much more upon which to base his faith than Noah had upon which to base his faith in a coming deluge." 3

As the year approached, the WTS appeared to back-peddle somewhat:
 

bulletWatchtower magazine predicted in mid-1924:
"The year 1925 is a date definitely and clearly marked in the Scriptures, even more clearly than that of 1914; but it would be presumptuous on the part of any faithful follower of the Lord to assume just what the Lord is going to do during that year." 4
bulletAt the beginning of 1925, a Watchtower article commented:
"With great expectations Christians have looked forward to this year. Many have confidently expected that all members of the body of Christ will be changed to heavenly glory during this year. This may be accomplished. It may not be... Christians should not be so deeply concerned about what may transpire this year." 5

1925 also came and passed uneventfully.

Additional predictions: 1932 and 1941:

bullet"Christendom to be overthrown" in 1932. 6
bullet1941-Fall: The world is "...in the remaining months before Armageddon." 7

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1975:

Some Witnesses expected a dramatic event to occur in 1966-JUN (6/66) because the number 666 was referred to as the Mark of the Beast in Revelation 13:18. It was in this month that the WTS published "Life Everlasting in Freedom of the Sons of God." It contained a chronological chart which shows that 1975 was the "end of the sixth thousand year day of man's existence." 8

They regarded the year 1975 a promising date for the end of the world, based on their original belief that it was the 6,000th anniversary of creation of both Adam and Eve at the Garden of Eden in 4026 BCE. They believe, along with many other conservative Protestant denominations, that the world would exist for exactly 1,000 years for each day of the creation week. Their Watchtower or Awake magazines taught that:

bullet"according to reliable Bible chronology Adam was created in the year 4026 BCE, likely in the autumn of the year, at the end of the sixth day of creation." 9
bullet"According to reliable Bible chronology, Adam and Eve were created in 4026 BCE" 10
bullet"Are we to assume from this study that the battle of Armageddon will be all over by the autumn of 1975, and the long-looked-for thousand-year reign of Christ will begin by then? Possibly, but we wait to see how closely the seventh thousand-year period of man’s existence coincides with the sabbathlike thousand-year reign of Christ....Our chronology, however, which is reasonably accurate (but admittedly not infallible), at the best only points to the autumn of 1975 as the end of 6,000 years of man’s existence on earth." 11

This prophecy was reinforced in their publications, notably Watchtower and Awake!, and at their assemblies. The close proximity of the end times encouraged the membership to increase their proselytizing efforts.

Membership rose significantly in the years leading up to 1975. Some members sold their possessions, cashed in their insurance policies, etc. in anticipation of the Millennium's arrival.

It never came.

For subsequent predictions, see the next essay

References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Millions now living will never die," (1918), Page 89.

  2. "The Watchtower," 1922-NOV-1, Pages 333 & 346.

  3. "The Watchtower," 1923-APR-1, Page 106.

  4. Watchtower magazine, 1924-JUL-15, Page 211).
  5. "The Watchtower," 1925-JAN-1, Page 3.

  6. Cited in: Rado Vleugel, "2004: Jehovah's Witnesses still on the watch for the end of this world," WatchTowerInformation Service.org, at: http://www.watchtowerinformationservice.org/

  7. "The Watchtower," 1941-SEP-15, Page 288.

  8. Mathew Schmalz, "When Festinger Fails," Chapter 13 of Jon Stone, Ed., "Expecting Armageddon: Essential readings in failed prophecy," Routledge, (2000), Page 239. Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store.

  9. The Watchtower Magazine, 1968-APR-1.
  10. "Awake," 1968-OCT-8, Page 14. Online at: http://www.blueletterbible.org/

  11. "The Watchtower," 1968-AUG-15.

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Copyright © 2003 to 2009 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2003-DEC-28
Latest update: 2009-AUG-31
Author: B.A. Robinson

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