Hello Steven, I was wondering,what was the whole issue with 1975 when people started speculating that the end was near? Thank you.
1975 started out as simply being a date in history that presented itself as the earliest possible date that the end of the world would be upon us.
I know it's kind of odd to say that since 1914 was also thought as a possible date way back then.
1975 was believed to mark 6000 years from the time that Adam was created and it is still believed to mark that time. The problem was that it was perhaps over-emphasized as the possible time for the end of the world to come to the point that many believed it to be so.
Personally, during the summer of 1975 my wife and I with our children moved from New England to Southern California. If we personally believed that the world would end in the fall of 1975 then we never would have done that but we would have stayed close to friends and family. The response that all Jehovah's Witnesses should have shown should have been similar. "Life continues as normal except that because of the possibility presented we should have been engaged in the preaching work even more urgently than normally (2 Timothy 4:2)." All should have kept in mind that the date was based on numerous assumptions and not on facts and all Witnesses should have remembered the scripture that says "Concerning that day or the hour nobody knows, neither the angels in heaven nor the Son, but the Father." - Mark 13:32 But many if not most believed what they wanted to believe.
Truth be known, while 1975 may have marked (with emphasis on "may have")6000 years since man was created that in and of itself means very very little. The possibility of this meaning anything only would be true IF Eve was created within 2 weeks of Adam's creation and if they both sinned within a month of Adam's creation. It was assumed that Adam could have named most of the animals in a short time and that he would be desiring a mate within a short time and that they would have sinned within a short time of Eve's creation because Adam would not be able to resist making love to Eve for very long and they sinned before Eve conceived her first child. That is a lot to assume.
What really determines when the end will come (that is if anything does as far as a timetable goes) are things like when the end of the sixth creative day came and when Eve became pregnant for her first child. Why do I say that? Because at the end of the sixth creative day God blessed the day and pronounced his work as good. By that fact alone we can safely assume that sin did not take place until the seventh creative day, God's day of rest. (By the way, we believe that these creative days are thousands of years long.)So how long did Adam live before the seventh day began? The Bible does not tell us and for good reason. God does not want us to know. (see Acts 1:7) And when did Eve become pregnant with her first child? We don't know and no doubt it is for the same reason. So we can't figure it out. Isn't it interesting that the Bible does not mention how old Adam was when Cain or Abel were born but only tells us his age when Seth was born?
It is unfortunate that some banked their faith on a date rather than looking at the bigger picture.
The January 1, 2013 issue of the Watchtower makes the following statement:
"Jehovah's Witnesses have had wrong expectations of when the end would come. Like Jesus' first-century disciples, we have sometimes looked forward to the fulfillment of prophesy ahead of God's timetable. (Luke 19:11; Acts 1:6; 2 Thessalonians 2:1,2) We agree with the sentiment of longtime Witness A. H. Macmillan, who said: "I learned that we should admit our mistakes and continue searching God's word for enlightenment."
Why then do we continue to highlight the nearness of the end? Because we take seriously Jesus' words: "Keep Looking, keep awake."The alternative, to be found "sleeping" by Jesus, would prevent us from gaining his favor. (Mark 13:33,36) Why?
Consider this example: A lookout in a fire tower might see what he thinks is a wisp of smoke on the horizon and sound what proves to be a false alarm. Later though, his alertness could save lives.
Likewise, we have had some wrong expectations about the end. But we are more concerned with obeying Jesus and saving lives than with avoiding criticism. Jesus' command to "give a thorough witness" compels us to warn others about the end. - Acts 10:42
We believe that even more important than focusing on when the end will come, we must be confident that it will come, and we must act accordingly. We take seriously the words of Habakkuk 2:3 which says: Even if [the end] should delay [compared to what you thought], keep in expectation of it; for it will without fail come true. It will not be late"