Kris Marlow (San Francisco, USA)

(Investigator 17, 1991 March)

THE WATCHTOWER SOCIETY would like Jehovah's Witnesses to believe that it had predicted the establishment of the heavenly kingdom in 1914.

In support of this claim it has repeatedly quoted the March, 1880, issue of Zion’s Watch Tower:

In the 19th century, the time had come to announce the imminent appearance of that King in heavenly power. Accordingly, in its March 1880 issue, Zion's Watch Tower declared, "The Times of the Gentileslextend to 1914, and the heavenly kingdom will not have full sway till then." Thus, the group today known as Jehovah's Witnesses went on public record well over a hundred years ago in making known that the year 1914 would mark the beginning of God's Kingdom. The enthronement of God's King was a preliminary step toward the final snuffing out of false religion’s flickering candle, so that it might no longer obscure divine light. (Awake! October 22, 1989, pages 20-21)

In the 'Watchtower' magazine of March, 1880, they said: "The Times of the Gentiles extend to 1914, and the heavenly kingdom will not have full sway till then." Of all people, only the witnesses pointed to 1914 as the year for god's kingdom to be fully set up in heaven. Why did the witnesses say that God’s heavenly kingdom would begin in 1914?
(From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained 1958 page 170)

These statements make it appear that it was predicted that the heavenly kingdom would begin in 1914.

But, what did the March, 1880, issue of Zion’s Watch Tower really say?

The complete sentence, from which the Society quotes, says this:

The Times of the Gentiles extend to 1914, and the heavenly kingdom will not have full sway till then, but as a "Stone", the kingdom of God is set up "in the days of these (ten gentile) kings," and by consuming them it becomes a universal kingdom – a "great mountain and fills the whole Earth." (Zion’s Watch Tower, March 1880, pages 2-3)

So, actually the 1880 Watch Tower predicted the year 1914 would bring the full establishment of the kingdom of God on earth, not in heaven. Two paragraphs earlier the same article taught that the kingdom was set up in heaven in 1878:

The parallels of the Two Dispensations seem to indicate that Christ was due as King, or in the kingly office in the spring of 1878.
So, the 1880 article really predicted for 1914 something far different from what the Society implies when quoting from it today.

Elsewhere, the Watchtower Society published the following good advice:

Use evidence honestly. In quotations, do not twist the meaning of a writer or speaker or use only partial quotations to give a different thought than the person intended. (Qualified to be Ministers 1967 page 199)

Does the Society follow its own advice?

Or is its approach more like the one described on page 17 of the December 22, 1974, Awake!?:

The usual tendency when rewriting history in an effort to support a certain view is to "pick and choose" information, finding that which paints a noble picture of the writer's side of the story. This is somewhat like a method of a clever lawyer who sifts through evidence and selects only the material that benefits his client while ignoring or suppressing other information.

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