With the recent coronavirus outbreak, JW.org has featured a few articles asserting that we are in the last days, with emphasis on “pestilences.” Although the information provided by the WT is as brief as can be I will consider each of the bullet points in more detail. (Here is article)
War on a large scale. —Matthew 24:7; Revelation 6:4.
Indeed, Revelation states that when the fiery-colored horse is unleashed peace will be taken from the earth and they will slaughter one another with a great sword. Does that describe the present state of the world? Hardly. Most people are going about their lives without any fear of war. Of course, if you live in the Middle East, in Iraq or Syria, you have lived through war and senseless slaughter; but most people alive now have not experienced war in their lifetime. It has been 50 years since America was embroiled in the Vietnam War, and even then, the battlefield was far away in the rice paddies and jungles of Indochina. The First World War ended more than a century ago and has faded from memory. WW2 is also receding into the past. So, ask yourself: If peace was taken from the world in 1914 has it since been restored? Do you know anyone personally whose life is impacted by war? (Prophecies You Have Seen Fulfilled?)
Famine. —Matthew 24:7; Revelation 6: 5, 6.
Famines are a common, regular scourge. According to Wikipedia, on average nearly one million people died annually from lack of food during the 20th century. Tens of millions were intentionally starved to death in China and in the USSR. However, according to the same Wikipedia article “since 1980, annual deaths had dropped to an average of 75,000, less than 10% of what they had been until the 1970s.”
Rather than food shortages, people in developed countries are more likely to be suffering from being overfed. (A Closer Look at 1914)
Given the stated policy of the Bank of England governor and all of the big banks to cut off funding for all industries that supposedly contribute to global warming, it is obviously the intention of the Empire to limit food production. The consequences would be famine. Coupled with the intention to crash the Dollar-denominated financial system in the near future, widespread food shortages are a certainty.
Great earthquakes. —Luke 21:11.
Jesus did not say there would be an increase in the number of earthquakes, only that there would be great earthquakes. In the same breath the Lord went on to say: “…and in one place after another food shortages and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and from heaven great signs.”
So, the great earthquakes accompany the other things Jesus foretold; namely, war, famine and pestilences and fearful sights. Here is a question to consider: Have we seen fearful sights and great heavenly signs? If so, what might these have been?
Pestilences, or epidemics of “terrible diseases.” —Luke 21:11, Contemporary English Version.
Epidemics or pestilences are infectious diseases that swiftly spread from person-to-person. Since the Spanish Flu ravaged the world over a century ago and has long since faded from consciousness the Watchtower has resorted to describing conditions such as heart disease and cancer as the fulfillment of the foretold pestilence that is stalking mankind. This is very dishonest. Such lifestyle diseases are not communicable. Even AIDS is 100% avoidable. It seems that the Governing Body views the Covid-19 pandemic as a godsend and they are using it to plaster more whitewash on their 1914 delusion. —Ezekiel 13.
Increase of crime. —Matthew 24:12.
Jesus did not say there would be an increase in crime. Jesus said there would be an increasing of lawlessness. Even so, in recent decades crime rates in the United States have been decreasing— not increasing. Again, here is what Wikipedia states: “Crime rates have varied over time, with a sharp rise after 1963, reaching a broad bulging peak between the 1970s and early 1990s. Since then, crime has declined significantly and current crime rates are approximately the same as those of the 1960s.”
Here is a question to consider: Can a person be considered lawless and not be a criminal? Absolutely! Jesus referred to persons who call him “Lord” and who prophesy in his name and expel demons in his name as “workers of lawlessness.” So, lawlessness has to do with a failure to submit to God’s will. Lawlessness is religious hypocrisy.
Ruining of the earth by mankind. —Revelation 11:18.
The Scriptures do not say that the ruination of the earth is something that takes place during the time of the end. Obviously, though, a global war would wreak havoc on the planet. The ruination that has taken place up to the present would seem insignificant if a nuclear exchange were to take place.
Deterioration of people’s attitudes, as shown by many who are “unthankful, disloyal, . . . not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness, betrayers, headstrong, puffed up with pride.” —2 Timothy 3: 1-4.
The apostle did not say that men will become slanders, betrayers and puffed up with pride during the time of the end. He said the last days would be hard to deal with because men will be thus and so. In other words, society will have already degenerated to that point when the last days begin and for that reason, there will be critical times hard to deal with.
Breakdown of the family, with people who have “no natural affection” and children who are “disobedient to parents.” —2 Timothy 3: 2, 3.
The breakdown of society has been a long-drawn-out process. Ask yourself, since the WT claims the conclusion began in 1914, were the evils outlined by Paul in evidence back then? Obviously not nearly to the same degree as now. That being the case, the last days (according to the WT’s definition) have not always been critical times hard to deal with. (See article: Look! I Have Forewarned You)
Love of God growing cold in most people. —Matthew 24:12.
It seems the Governing Body is using a bit of trickery here. According to the Watchtower, the love of God will grow cold among people of the world due to the increase of crime. But in what way have the religionists of the world shown any love of God? And if the love of God is absent to begin with, how can it grow cold? Taken in context, the loss of love for God is displayed by brothers hating one another and betraying one another even into death. Already we see a growing number of Jehovah’s Witnesses who have become disillusioned and stumbled by the Watchtower’s increasing lawlessness, The love of many more will grow cold in the future.
Noteworthy displays of religious hypocrisy. —2 Timothy 3:5.
The most noteworthy displays of religious hypocrisy have come from the leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses. For example, their brazen alliance with the UN for 10 years as well as their refusal to take up the cause of the thousands of children who have been sexually abused by Jehovah’s Witness predators. No doubt we shall see more and more hypocrisy on display in the future.
Increased understanding of Bible prophecies, including those related to the last days. —Daniel 12:4.
This is truly laughable. The Watchtower has misinterpreted virtually every prophecy in Daniel— and for the matter, every other prophetic book. For example, the Watchtower makes the preposterous claim that the three horns of the beast were plucked out by the 11th ascending horn over a span of more than two centuries beginning when the Spanish Armada was wrecked in 1588! This ridiculous interpretation was first advanced in 1958. In what way has the Watchtower’s understanding of Bible prophecy advanced? (See article: The Spanish Armada or World War III?)
Global preaching of the good news of the Kingdom. —Matthew 24:14.
Jesus foretold that the good news must be preached first. During the tumultuous conclusion there will be no preaching and disciple-making. It will have ended. (See articles: And Then the End will Come and I Am with you All the Days Until the Conclusion )
Widespread apathy and even ridicule toward the evidence of the approaching end. —Matthew 24:37- 39; 2 Peter 3: 3, 4.
For over 140 years the Watchtower has been proclaiming that the time of the end has begun and the Kingdom has come. It is understandable that people would become weary of hearing the same warning issued over successive generations. The Watchtower has brought ridicule and mockery upon itself. Most notably, the 1975 fiasco and the over-lapping generations explanation. (YT video)
Ironically, the prophecies foretold that men would falsely herald that the presence has begun and the day of Jehovah is here. Jesus also forewarned that there would be those who falsely preach that the “due time has arrived.” The Watchtower is the only organization in existence that has claimed that the parousia has begun and the day of Jehovah (alternatively, the Lord’s day) is here. The promotion of a false parousia is, itself, the fulfillment of prophecy– the foretold operation of Satan with every powerful work and lying signs and portents.
The simultaneous fulfillment of all these prophecies, not just a few or even most of them. —Matthew 24:33.
The Watchtower’s sleight-of-hand scripture shuffling is on full display here. Have we seen the fulfillment of all these prophecies? Even according to the Watchtower the answer is no. For example, have we seen men become faint out of fear in expectation of the terrible things coming on the world? Back during the Cold War the Watchtower used to say yes, that the pall of fear and apprehension that characterized that time was the fulfillment of Jesus’ words. Now that has changed. For example, here is a comment from a recent article (July 15, 2015 paragraph 11) “Will the fulfillment of this prophecy include frightening signs and events in the literal heavens? We will have to wait and see. But whatever the case, the signs will cause terror and panic in the hearts of God’s enemies.”
Jesus foretold: “Furthermore, brother will deliver brother over to death, and a father a child, and children will rise up against parents and have them put to death.” — Mark 13:12
Let the Watchtower explain how this aspect of the sign is evident. So, clearly, we have definitely not seen all of the foretold events occur simultaneously. And since we have not seen all we have not seen any.
The failure of the Watchtower to discern the future is a significant aspect of prophecy. The book of Isaiah, particularly beginning in the 40th chapter, is a pre-recorded conversation God will have with his witnesses in the future when they find themselves in a helpless state— waylaid by their refusal to accept the truth. Jehovah addresses them as the blind and deaf, saying: “Listen, you who are deaf; look and see, you who are blind. Who is blind except my servant, so deaf as the messenger I send? Who is so blind as the one rewarded, so blind as the servant of Jehovah? You see many things, but you do not keep watch. You open your ears, but you do not listen.” — Isaiah 42:18-20 (See article: Opening the Ears of the Deaf and the Eyes of the Blind)
Are we living in the last days?
No. But that may change very soon.