B J Kotwall

(Investigator 35, 1994 March)

In his life story  (The Watchtower 1993 August 1 p. 21) Basil Tsatos indicates he was disappointed that no date for the return of Christ was given in the book The Harp of God.

However, 1874 is the distinct date given in The Harp of God (1921 edition p.234; 1928 edition p. 240) Later printings of 1937 and 1940 retained the date.

The Watchtower Society (WTS) claims:

"The literature … is published in the name of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. Regardless of who may write certain articles they are checked carefully by members of the Governing Body before they are published. So they are properly viewed as coming from the Society."
(The Watchtower 1959 October 1 pp. 607-608)

Why didn't the Governing Body correct the glaring error by Tsatos?

Next I refer to my expose of the WTS's failed prophecies about the "King of the North" and the "King of the South". (Investigator No. 25)

Recently The Watchtower had a further 11 pages of speculation on the subject. The failure of the prediction that the now-defunct Soviet Union would coexist with The King of the South (Britain and America) until Armageddon was not admitted.

Instead we read:

"So who is the king of the north now? We cannot say." (The Watchtower 1993 11/1 p. 21)

"One thing we do know. Soon, the king of the north will conduct an offensive campaign that will be triggered by reports that will disturb him… This campaign will immediately precede his 'end'." (p. 21)

"Hence, the report 'out of the north' may well be Satan's propaganda inciting the king of the north and all the other kings to attack Jehovah's people." (p. 22)

How close are these alleged future events?  The article says:

"We are on the homestretch in the race for life." (p. 23)

Previous prophecies that Armageddon will occur "within our twentieth century" (The Nations Shall Know that I am Jehovah 1971 p. 216) have not yet been discarded. (See Investigator 21 p.17 and 27 p. 48)

The "homestretch" therefore, must mean within 7 years!

Within these 7 years another WTS doctrine will be virtually defunct. The WTS has long taught that many of the people who witnessed 1914 will live to see Armageddon. In Investigator 24 I dealt with the generation of 1914 and indicated that a doctrinal shift may be expected.

One possibility would be to transfer to 1935 the significance that 1914 has had for Jehovah’s Witnesses. This would mean transferring the return of Christ, the casting of Satan from Heaven to Earth, the start of the Kingdom, and the start of "the time of the end" and of the last generation to 1935. This would gain 21 years.

The year 1935 is already important to JWs and is often mentioned. 1935 is supposedly the year the selection of the 144,000 who go to Heaven was completed (except for replacements when someone becomes an "apostate"). It's also when the gathering of the secondary "great crowd", who get eternal  life on Earth, started. Also, since the "Governing Body" and the directors of the WTS have to be of the 144,000 (Investigator 31 p. 38) they need to have been converted by 1935. (The Watchtower 1982 December 15 p.19; February 1 p.14; 1985 March 1 p 14; 1993 May 1 p 17; Then Is Finished The Mystery of God 1969 pp. 123-205)

Shifting the significance of 1914 to 1935 would also permit J WS to accept the historical date for the destruction of Jerusalem, 586 BC, instead of 607 BC. This is because the WTS calculates 1914 by adding 2,520 years to the year when Jerusalem was destroyed. (See Investigator 9)  If they start with 586 BC they'll get 1935 instead of 1914!

The doctrine of Satan's fall from Heaven would also agree better with 1935 than with 1914 because Hitler’s thousand-year Third Reich started in 1933 and seriously persecuted the J Ws.

However, a switch to 1935 gains only 21 years! Other doctrines, besides those mentioned, would be affected and Governing Body authority and credibility would be seriously undermined. When a similar wholesale change in chronology and doctrine occurred in the 1920s the sect lost about 3/4 of its members! (J Ws: A Statistical Survey 1992 p.143)

An alternative to discarding 1914 would be to redefine the word "generation". The Watchtower 1980 October 15 p. 31 says:

"It does not refer to a period of time which some have tried to interpret as 30, 40, 70 or even 120 years, but rather, it refers to people living at the 'beginning of pangs of distress' for this condemned world system."

The author of J Ws: A Statistical Survey argues:

"Of course if it does not refer to a period of time and is not limited by '120 years', which incidentally was the maximum confirmed lifespan of any human in recent centuries, then the way is prepared for a completely new interpretation of the word 'generation'."  (p. 297)

Whether it will be a new date or a new interpretation the WTS has backed itself into a corner. Doubtless just as present-day WTS writers misrepresent (or even lie about) the 1920s so will future WTS writers hide much of the "truth"  currently taught.