Jehovah`s Witness/1874 - More accurately


A recent question was asked by Harry regarding the Watchtower beliefs regarding 1874.  If one reads carefully, Rando didn't exactly answer the question.  Please see below.

Harry asked, "I was reading the Watchtower proclaimed the end of the world was to come in 1874?"  

Rando answered, "The Watchtower" has never claimed that the end of the world would come in "1874".   and went on to say "The Watchtower didn't exist until "1881".  However, this Apostate exclaims we taught the second coming in "1874"?  

First, allow me to say that I agree with Rando that "The Watchtower" has never claimed that the end of the world would come in 1874.  I also agree with him that the teaching that 1874 would be the end of the world was propagated by the Adventists.

I have not found anything published by Charles Taze Russell prior to 1874 to lend credence that he believed the Adventist viewpoint.  However, in 1876, after reading Herald of the Morning   by Nelson Barbour, Russell bought into the idea that 1874 was the second advent of Jesus Christ and that Armageddon would be complete in 1914 (He later changed 1914 to the beginning of Armageddon).  He did publish these ideas.

"The second advent of our Lord in the end or harvest of the Gospel age, occurring in the fall of 1874,   proves to be at a point of time exactly parallel to the time of his first advent, in the end of the Jewish age. ... the Jubilee Cycles show October 1874 to be the date of our Lord s return.  ... While the time-prophecies thus point to and harmonize with 1874 as the date of our Lord s second presence,   assuring us of the fact with mathematical precision, we find ourselves overwhelmed with evidence of another character; for certain peculiar signs, foretold by the Lord and the apostles and prophets, which were to precede his coming, are now clearly recognised as actually fulfilled. ... The cleansing of the sanctuary was also accomplished as predicted, and at a time sufficiently in advance of 1874 to make ready "a people prepared for the Lord" a people in devout expectancy of his coming"" The Time of the Harvest (1911 ed.) pp.125,127,129

"... he would in reality assume the kingly office, power, etc., viz., in the spring of 1878, three and a half years after his second advent at the beginning of the harvest period, in the fall of 1874.   " The Time of the Harvest (1911 ed.) p.234

"A careful study of times and seasons taught in Scripture convinced us that the Lord was due to be present in 1874,   and other time teachings of the Word showed that in the spring of 1875 the restitution of all things was due to commence." Zion's Watch Tower 1883 Aug p.1

To show that Armageddon would be complete by 1914:

"The date of the close of that "battle" is definitely marked in Scripture as October 1914. It is already in progress, its beginning dating from October, 1874." Zion's Watch Tower 1892 Jan 15 p.23  

In 1904, Russell changed 1914 to be the beginning of Armageddon.

So now to address Rando's statements.  Rando is upset that "an apostate" claims that the "Watchtower taught that the second coming was in 1874."  Well, as you can see above, Charles Taze Russell certainly taught that very thing in his publications which were clearly after 1881.  In fact, here are more.

"Bible prophecy shows that the Lord was due to appear for the second time in the year 1874. Fulfilled prophecy shows beyond a doubt that he did appear in 1874. Fulfilled prophecy is otherwise designated the physical facts; and these facts are indisputable."   Watchtower 1922 Nov 1 p.333

"Surely there is not the slightest room for doubt in the mind of a truly consecrated child of God that the Lord Jesus is present and has been since 1874;…"   Watchtower 1924 Jan 1 p.5)  

"“The Scriptural proof is that the second presence of the Lord Jesus Christ began in 1874 A.D.”"   Prophecy 1929 1,589,000 ed. p.65

"“Applying the same rule then, of a day for a year, 1335 days after 539 A.D. brings us to 1874 A.D. at which time, according to Biblical chronology, the Lord's second presence was due.”"   Creation 1927 2,175,000 ed. p.298

"“The Scriptural proof   is that the period of his presence and the day of God's preparation is a period from 1874 A.D. forward. The second coming of the Lord, therefore, began in 1874;   and that date and the years 1914 and 1918 are specially marked dates with reference to his coming. “Prophecy can not be understood until it has been fulfilled or is in the course of fulfillment. From 1874 to 1914 the prophecy concerning the Lord's coming was being fulfilled and could be understood, and was understood, by those who were faithful to the Lord and who were watching the development of events, but not by others."” Creation 1927 2,175,000 ed. p.289

1874 was not dropped as the start of the second coming until the 1930’s, when articles such as the following started to be released.

"The prophecy of the Bible, fully supported by the physical facts in fulfilment thereof, shows that the second coming of Christ dates from the fall of the year 1914." What is Truth? (1932) p.48

1874 was not removed entirely from Watchtower doctrine until 1943, when a change in how the 6000 years were calculated meant it could no longer be used as the end of the 6000 years.

"Providentially, those Bible Students had not realized that there is no zero year between "B.C." and "A.D." Later, when research made it necessary to adjust B.C. 606 to 607 B.C.E., the zero year was also eliminated, so that the prediction held good at "A.D. 1914."-See "The Truth Shall Make You Free," published by the Watch Tower Society in 1943, page 239." Revelation - Its Grand Climax at Hand! p. 105

Interestingly, when they removed the "zero year", they conveniently kept 1914 as the end of it, AND MOVED THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM FROM 606 B.C. to 607 B.C.   Russell wrote, "Then, we were content to say, "606 B.C. seems a well authenticated date for the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, and B.C. 536 the date when the seventy years' appointed desolation of the land ceased." …   As to the methods of counting, Encyclopaedia Britannica says, "Astronomers denote the year which preceded the first of our era as 0 and the year previous to that as B.C. 1-the previous year B.C. 2, and so on.  Whichever of these ways we undertake to calculate the matter the difference between the results is one year. The seventy years of Jewish captivity ended October, 536 B.C., and if there were 536-1/4 years B.C., then to complete the 2,520 years' cycle of the Times of the Gentiles would require 1913-3/4 years of A.D., or to October, 1914. But if the other way of reckoning were used, then there were but 535-1/4 years of the period B.C., and the remainder of the 2,520 years would reach to A.D., 1914-3/4 years, otherwise October, 1915."  Watch Tower 1912 Dec 1 pp. 377-8

So, let's sum this up.  Harry asked a good question about the Watchtower predicting the end of the world in 1874.  I agree with Rando that this never happened.  I disagree with Rando that the Watchtower didn't refer to 1874 as the second advent of Jesus Christ.  They did, over and over.  Russell also predicted the end of Armageddon to be in 1914 and changed it to the beginning of Armageddon.  He also said that the destruction of Jerusalem occurred in 606 B.C.  Once 1914 appeared valid as something big happened, the acknowledgement of the "zero year" issue moved the destruction of Jerusalem back to 607 B.C. rather than using the established date of 606 B.C. to look forward to 1915 instead.

Also, just to be clear, in 1879, Charles Taze Russell began publishing Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence.    He co-founded Zion's Watch Tower and Tract Society   which was officially registered in 1884.

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I am not a Jehovah's Witness, however I can answer many questions concerning the ideas and doctrines on which they disagree with mainstream Christianity. I have spent a great deal of time in ministry with current and ex-Jehovah's Witnesses, as well as those who have started to become disillusioned with the Watchtower Organization.


Jehovah's Witnesses are generally wonderful and moral people who are zealous for God. However, in their zeal, they have pledged allegiance to what they believe is God's spirit-directed organization. This allegiance blinds them from allowing God's word alone to work in them. My hope is to share the love of Jesus Christ with all who seek salvation, no matter their label or denomination. My experiences come from the relationship that I have with Him as the source of my daily strength. These experiences create an undeniable testimony of salvation by grace through faith in the cleansing blood of the Lamb of God. Through prayer and meditation on God's holy word alone, we find truth as revealed to us through the Holy Spirit.

As the word "organization" is misleading in this particular area, I want to be clear that, as a member of the body of Christ, the label or denomination of the church I attend is not the source of my salvation. I do not go to or through any organization for official knowledge or guidance. I go to God's word alone.

I have a Bachelor and Master's Degree with extensive educational experience.

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