A faithful witness is one that will not lie, but a false witness launches forth mere lies. (Proverbs 14:5 NWT)
B J Kotwall & B Stett
(Investigator 72, 2000 May)
"THE SCRIPTURES SHOW" JESUS RETURNED IN 1874
From 1876 Charles T Russell who founded the Watchtower Society – the publishing/legal channel of the Jehovah's Witness sect – promoted 1874 as the date for Christ's return and the start of Christ's "invisible presence".
That Christ returned in 1874 was official doctrine until 1930:
Bridegroom and Reaper
was recognized during the first three and a half years, from A.D. 1874
to A.D. 1878. Since that time it has been emphatically manifest that
time had come in A.D. 1878 when kingly judgment should begin at the
(Studies in the Scriptures Vol. II 1889 p. 239)
reality assume the kingly
office, power, etc.; viz., in the spring of 1878, three and a half
after his second advent at the beginning of the harvest period, in the
fall of 1874.
(Studies in the Scriptures Volume III 1891 p. 234)
Our Lord, the
King, is now present
since October 1874, A.D., according to the testimony of the prophets,
those who have ears to hear it: and the formal inauguration of his
office dates from April 1878, A.D.
(Studies in Scriptures Vol. IV 1897 p. 621)
Russell ... believed and taught that
we are living in the time of the second presence of our Lord, and that
his presence dates from 1874...
(WT December 1, 1916 p. 5998)
Fall 1874 A.D.
Advent of the Lord.
(The Finished Mystery 1917 p. 60)
Some of the
which, when understood
in their connections and significance, prove that the Lord's Second
occurred in the Fall of 1874 are as follows: [A list of 88
interpretations followed] …and these are but
88 of the proofs hastily
(The Finished Mystery 1917 pp 68, 71)
The time of the
second presence dates
(The Harp of God 1921 p. 231)
the second presence
(of the Lord) was due in 1874... This proof shows that the Lord has
present since 1874...
(WT March 1, 1923 p. 67)
Surely there is
slightest room for
doubt in the mind of a truly consecrated child of God that the Lord
Christ is present and has been since 1874.
(WT January 1, 1924 p. 5)
coming of the
Lord therefore began
(Creation 1927 pp 289, 291, 297, 298, 318)
that the second presence
of the Lord Jesus Christ began in 1874 A.D.
(Prophecy 1929 p. 65)
From 1874 onward
time of the Lord's
second presence, as above stated…
This circumstantial evidence fulfilling prophecy is what constitutes the physical facts, and is proof corroborative of the Lord's presence since 1874…
His presence beginning in 1874, he has carried on his harvest work from 1874 forward…
(Our Lord's Return 1929 pp 27, 33, 37)
JESUS' "RETURN" SWITCHED FROM 1874 TO 1914
In 1930 Christ's return and "presence" was switched from 1874 to 1914.
In The Golden Age magazine (1930 p.503) Joseph Rutherford, the second president of the WTS, wrote "Jesus has been present since 1914" but he gave no supporting explanation.
The prophecy of the Bible, fully supported by the physical facts in fulfilment thereof, shows that the second coming of Christ dates from the fall of the year 1914.Until 1943 there was little further mention of this doctrinal change. Then in 1943 the WTS published The Truth Shall Make You Free which revised the WTS's Bible chronology by bringing the date of Adam's creation 100 years forward. This removed any remaining prophetic significance of 1874. Christ's return in 1914 thus became the official truth for Jehovah's Witnesses (JWs).
(What is Truth? 1932)
After switching Jesus' "return" from 1874 to 1914 the WTS writers began to claim or imply that their early Bible Students had anticipated 1914 as the date of Christ's "presence" from their beginnings!
Consider some examples:
DECEITFUL CLAIM REGULARLY REPEATED
Why, then, do
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.
(WT 1954 June 15 p. 370)
fixes the time for
Christ's second presence and the assuming of his right to rule as at
this date was published in the Watchtower as early as 1879, 35 years
(Tract: Sign of Christ's Presence 1955 p. 3)
were the only Christian group found awake as to 1914…
(WT 1960 July 15 p. 433)
As we look back
years, we can clearly
see how God's organization in modern times has progressed in
For example, it learned that Christ's second presence was to be in the
spirit, and not in the flesh as many professed Christians believe. His
rule would be from the heavens. This was a new revelation of great
to God's people who had been anxiously awaiting his second
toward the end of the nineteenth century.
(WT 1965 July 15 p. 428)
For over thirty
before that date and
for half a century since, Jehovah's witnesses have pointed to the year
1914 as the time for the end of "the appointed times of the nations"
the time in which Christ would begin his Kingdom rule. (Luke
(WT 1966 February 15 p. 103)
"Do you believe
second advent of the
Lord?" I asked the young man [a WTS colporteur in 1928] who came to the
"Christ's second advent was realized in 1914" he answered.
In astonishment, I told him that was impossible. "You should read this book," he said, handing me The Harp of God. I was baptized the following year, March 23, 1929... (WT 1988 May 1 p. 22)
[Note: Nowhere in The Harp of God (1921) is the "second advent" of Christ put in 1914. On the contrary, 1874 as the date of the "presence" of Jesus is mentioned in The Harp of God on pages 230, 231, 234, 235, 236, 237 241, 244, 271). Also "the young man" could not have known in 1928 that "Christ's second advent" was realized in 1914" because that teaching had not been published at that time! Even the later editions of The Harp of God (1937 & 1940) retained 1874 as the date of Christ's "presence".]
He [a WTS
1921] explained to
me that Jesus had been present since 1914, invisible to man. This was
most thrilling news I had ever heard... In late 1921 I was transferred
back to England, and in the spring of 1922, I was discharged from the
(WT l990 September 1 p. 11)
[Note: When this purported conversation occurred in 1921 no WTS publication had mentioned 1914 as the date for the "return of Christ'' – nor for nine years afterwards!]
The Watchtower has consistently presented evidence…that Jesus' presence in heavenly Kingdom power began in 1914. Events since that year testify to Jesus' presence. (WT 1993 January 15, p. 5)
providentially caused sincere
19th-century Bible students to be in expectation. By linking the "seven
times" of Daniel 4:25 with "the times of the Gentiles", they
that Christ would receive Kingdom power in 1914. (WT 1998 September 15
IGNORANT DUMB DOGS REJECT 1874
So certain was the 1874 date still in 1929 that Rutherford, the WTS's second president, warned against ministers who disagreed with that date as follows:
To followers of Rutherford the abbreviation "D.D." or "d.d." meant dumb dog but was also a pun on "Doctor of Divinity". The pun was a Rutherford joke for 25 years: [C T Russell]…had too much of God's work to do to pay attention to the yelpings of little men – of the D.D's of Christendom (Isa. 56:10), who love slumber, but who snarl and bite when disturbed in their dreams of "peace, peace" (Jer. 6:14), social and civic gospels, church unity, and evangelistic raids on the pockets of the masses.Consolation magazine (1940 March 6 p. 24 Australian edition) carried the joke further with a photo of a dog wearing a sign advertising a Rutherford lecture. The caption to the photo is "NOT A DUMB DOG".
(The Finished Mystery 1917 p. 383)
Pastors, church ministers and Doctors of Divinity were people most likely to demonstrate the nonsense of Christ's return in 1874. Hence the booklet Our Lord's Return – prior to discussing 1874 in detail – disposed of them as "blind", "ignorant" and "D.D.'s"
Incidentally, thousands of anti-church comments like the above between 1917 and 1942 – mingled with ever-changing doctrines all labelled "truth" and with self-praises such as "peaceful Christians", "saintly", "watchful", "enlightened", etc – were leading causes of persecution of JWs during that era. But that's another story. Here the quote regarding "D.D.s" is used to show how certain the 1874 date still was in 1929.
WHAT WAS PREDICTED FOR 1914?
The early JWs or Russellites did preach about 1914 but not as the date for Christ's "invisible presence" since that, to them, occurred in 1874. What they did predict for 1914/1915 is that they themselves would ascend to Heaven, the world's nations and religions would be destroyed, and the survivors would be ruled by the Old Testament heroes like Abraham who would be resurrected and live in Jerusalem! For example:
And with the end
1914, what God calls
Babylon, and which men call Christendom, will have passed away, as
shown from prophecy.
(Studies in the Scriptures Volume III, 1891, p. 153)
JWs ADMIT MISTAKES
WTS writers sometimes publish "recollections" of aged JWs – like the two above. Their reminiscences – that in the 1920s it was taught Christ came in 1914 – are false. Historically the things "remembered" are anachronisms and could not have happened. Anyone who taught in the 1920s that Christ returned in 1914 would have been expelled and shunned for apostasy!
WTS publications say that JWs admit mistakes:
Be big enough to admit a mistake…In striking contrast to the position taken by the popes is that taken by the Christian witnesses of Jehovah. They readily admit to having made mistakes as to doctrine and worship.JW leaders publish lies about what was predicted for 1914, yet boast that the early followers were correct regarding 1914 even though they were wrong, and then boast again that JWs "readily admit…mistakes" when in fact they don't readily do so! That's why this article is called "Boastful Lies".
(WT 1972 November 1 pp 643-644)
A religion that teaches lies cannot be true.
(WT 1991 December 1, p. 7)
Many more "boastful lies" exposed on this website: