If 1914 is not the year that Jesus’ Kingdom came to power how can it possibly be true that Jehovah’s Witnesses are accomplishing what Jesus said; namely, that the good news of the Kingdom will be preached in all the earth before the end?
This is a very complex issue—a paradox—and it requires a bit of knowledge and thinking ability to resolve. On the one hand, it seems that some people are quick to dismiss the Watchtower’s entire message by seizing upon the falsity of 1914 because the seven times calculations are based upon the assumed wrong date of Jerusalem’s destruction.
Trinitarians who cannot defend their doctrines using the Scriptures in an honest way are likely to cite a passage in Deuteronomy that states that if a prophet speaks in the name of God and his word does not come true he is a false prophet. End of story—for them anyway.
It is, after all, well known that the Watchtower has suffered a number of belly flops, as it were. There was the 1975 fiasco. And 20 years later in 1995, the Watchtower was forced to acknowledge that its long-held belief that the 1914 generation would not pass away before the end was wrong. Even the L.A. Times reported on the Watchtower’s embarrassing flop.
No matter, the Governing Body doggedly doubled down and in a truly cringe-worthy manner redefined what Jesus meant when he said “this generation will by no means pass away until all these things happen.” Then, in 2014 they celebrated 100 years of Kingdom rule.
But let us not allow yourselves to be led by the empty reasoning of Evangelicals or ex-JWs who have an agenda intended to move us to make snap judgments that ultimately involve our everlasting destiny. Rather, let us seek to resolve the issue based upon a deeper understanding of God’s word. The question is, does the prevalence of false prophets within an organization mean that the organization is false? The answer, of course, is no. Considering that Israel was once God’s nation and it had many false prophets really puts things into perspective.
Furthermore, the Christian apostle and close friend of Jesus forewarned: “However, there also came to be false prophets among the people, as there will also be false teachers among you.” — 2 Peter 2:1
Please note that Peter did not say there might be false teachers among you. No, he stated for certain, there will be. What is more, Peter’s warning applies specifically to Christians living immediately prior to the second coming of Christ, since the false teachers who will exploit you with counterfeit words will be destroyed, just as surely as God punished the angels that had sinned and incinerated Sodom and Gomorrah. Obviously, no such destruction has ever taken place in the Christian era.
The question really comes down to this: Since the existence of false prophets is destined by prophecy, why would God allow false teachers to exploit his people with counterfeit words? Hold that thought.
Returning to the original question, let us reshape it slightly. Did the apostles and 70 disciples whom Jesus personally trained and sent out to preach the message that “the Kingdom of God has drawn near” know what the Kingdom of God was? No, they did not. They had no inkling that Jesus was going to rule the entire world from heaven. They were thinking merely in terms of the earthly throne of David being restored in Jerusalem.
Further, they could not grasp what Jesus was saying when he spoke of his impending death and coming back to life. When he told them he was going away to prepare a place for them they were totally lost. They were “clueless,” as the modern phrase puts it. Think of it though, what we now consider to be the most basic cornerstone of the Christian faith, namely, the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ, was completely beyond their ability to understand. Yet, Jesus entrusted them with the Kingdom message. Let that sink in.
Even after Jesus was resurrected and they were anointed with holy spirit and their minds were opened to understand the prophecies the apostles were still laboring under the delusion that Jesus would return before John died. It was not until John wrote his gospel many decades later, that he cleared up the confusion that persisted during the apostolic era. “So the saying went out among the brothers that this disciple would not die. However, Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but he said: “If it is my will for him to remain until I come, of what concern is that to you?” — John 21:23
So, the apostles had to deal with their own embarrassing belly flop, as it were.
Now, let us place the Watchtower in a historical context. After the apostles died wicked men began to come to the fore in the scattered congregations. By the fourth century, the emperor of Rome craftily seized control of Christianity, including the Bible itself. Under the authority of the popes of Rome and Constantinople, the light of truth was snuffed out. A long period of ignorance descended upon Europe, appropriately called the Dark Ages. There were a few groups that emerged here and there who had some grasp of the truth, but they were persecuted and murdered and the light was snuffed out. It took the renaissance and the Protestant reformation along with the development of the printing press to finally bring about the circumstance where honest men and women were permitted to examine the Bible.
Still, it was not until America, which was founded by devout Christians fleeing persecution and whose descendants designed a nation that would allow for complete and total religious freedom, that the environment was ripe for the good news of the Kingdom to be preached throughout the world. There is no reason to doubt that the Watchtower has spearheaded that work since its founding shortly after the American Civil War ended.
Not only that, but the anointing that was obviously curtailed as the night descended upon the original Christian congregation, was renewed; first among the Bible Students and now among Jehovah’s Witnesses. The last phase of God’s purpose is now ready to commence; that being the harvest.
The fact that God has allowed an operation of Satan to create a false parousia does not negate the truth. No, it confirms it. Jehovah is still God. Satan and his world are going to be destroyed. God’s Kingdom is going to rule over a great crowd of survivors. That is good news, indeed!
Just as the apostles who were entrusted with the Kingdom message had to be tested, so too those today who call themselves Kingdom proclaimers, must be sifted by Satan during the concluding harvest.
The post-resurrection appearances of Jesus cannot presently be appreciated by Jehovah’s Witnesses. That is because the 40 days Christ spent on earth as a materializing spirit are a foregleam of his parousia and revelation.
Virtually every appearance Jesus made prior to his ascension involved rebuking his followers for their density of mind and lack of faith. For example, Luke 24:25-27 ascribes these words to Jesus: “O senseless ones and slow of heart to believe all the things the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into his glory?” And starting with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them things pertaining to himself in all the Scriptures.”
While it is true that there are false teachers who, like the superfine apostles in the first century, are agents of Satan who have merely disguised themselves as ministers of Christ, the vast majority of Jehovah’s Witnesses are just followers of men who are oblivious to the deception that has been worked upon them involving 1914. The rank and file really have no choice in the matter anyway. If they dare dispute 1914 they will certainly be dealt with as apostates for questioning the Governing Body.
But that will all change with the rockets’ red glare and bombs bursting in air—to quote a patriotic song. The falsity of 1914 will become evident when the world becomes engulfed in war—a war that the false prophets have claimed cannot occur since, according to them, all the features of the sign of Christ have been in evidence since 1914.
The imminent beginning of the foretold war, famine, and pestilence will serve as a wrecking ball to shatter the Watchtower’s 1914 doctrinal wall. Then, Jehovah’s Witnesses will have their faith tested. Will they continue to trust in fraud and deceit or will they move forward in faith into the new reality that will present itself with the visible parousia of Christ—his manifestation to the chosen ones in the aftermath of the now-looming crash of civilization?
There is no reason to be senseless and slow in heart to believe all the things the prophets have spoken on this matter: “Since you reject this word and you trust in fraud and deceit and you rely on these, so this error will be for you like a broken wall, like a bulging high wall ready to fall. It will crash suddenly, in an instant. It will be broken like a large potter’s jar, so completely smashed that no fragment among its pieces will be left to rake the fire from the fireplace or to scoop water from a puddle.” — Isaiah 30:12-14
The fraud of 1914 will have served a vital function to clear out the faithless and wicked. From the carnage will emerge the sons of God who then will shine as brightly as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father.