What is the 1914 Doctrine?
Per the article from the Watch Tower publication, “What Does the Bible Really Teach?” we have the following quote that defines the basic teaching:
“1914 indeed marked the birth of God’s heavenly Kingdom and the beginning of ‘the last days’ of this present wicked system of things.”
The article also states that 1914 is the answer to a famous question that the disciples of Jesus asked him. “When will these things be and what will be the sign of your presence and of the conclusion of the system of things”? (Matthew 24:3)
From the article itself we can gather almost all the primary points that make up the teaching.
- 1914 marked the end of the “appointed times of the nations” (also known as the “Gentile Times” which Jesus spoke of in Luke 21:24).
- God’s rulership, represented by Jerusalem, was trampled on by the nations until Jesus became king in 1914.
- God’s rulership, represented by the Davidic kingdom began to be trampled when Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem and its temple in 607 BCE, and the line of Davidic kings in Jerusalem was interrupted.
- The time period from 607 to 1914 was indicated in Daniel 4 where Nebuchadnezzar’s dream was described. The dream is about an immense tree being chopped down but allowed to sprout again after a period of seven times.
- The seven times of Daniel 4 are considered to be seven years of 360 days each, totaling 2,520 days, which are considered to be 2,520 years.
- The “presence” (Greek, parousia) spoken of in Matthew 24:3, means Jesus presence as heavenly king beginning in 1914.
- The sign of that “presence” (parousia) has included “dramatic world developments—war, famine, earthquakes, pestilences.“
- 1914 marked the the beginning of “the last days” of this present wicked system of things.
Three additional points are very important to the doctrine, and are included in other Watchtower discussions, but are not included in the referenced article. These are, in fact, the keys to understanding the structure and work of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
- The “sign of Christ’s presence (parousia)” is a composite sign that not only includes war, famine, earthquakes and pestilence but includes, per Matthew 24:14, the preaching of the good news of the kingdom in all the earth.
- The beginning of the “last days” in 1914 is tied to Jesus words in Matthew 24:34: ” Truly I say to you that this generation will by no means pass away until all these things happen.”
- The identification of “faithful and discreet slave” from Matthew 24:45 with the “Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses” can only happen in the generation that began in 1914 and is tied to events that began in 1919. (Matthew 24:45 asks: “Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics, to give them their food at the proper time?”)
To allow a comprehensive study or discussion of the 1914 teaching, this site will therefore include the following sections:
- 1914 Doctrine (overall discussion)
- Gentile Times (Daniel 4 “Tree Dream” prophecy)
- 607 BCE (Nebuchadnezzar and destruction of Jerusalem)
- Parousia (Matthew 24:3 “..the Parousia and the “conclusion of the system of things. [or, End of the Age]”)
- Generation (Matthew 24:34 “This generation will not pass away until…”)
- The Sign (Matthew 24:3 “What will be the sign of your Parousia?”)
- Kingdom (When did Jesus Christ become King of God’s Kingdom?)
- Faithful Slave (Matthew 24:45 “Who is the “faithful and discreet slave?” and how is this teaching tied to 1914?)
The article from the Watch Tower publication “What Does the Bible Really Teach” is the most basic summary of the teaching that Jehovah’s Witnesses use as the basis for explaining the doctrine. The link to this material on jw.org can be seen here: http://www.jw.org/en/publications/books/bible-teach/1914-a-significant-year-in-bible-prophecy/
This site provides details and resources so that anyone who wishes can look into the various components of the 1914 doctrine in much greater depth. However, we also provide a very basic response to the article that is reproduced below. The link for the rebuttal to the article is found here:: https://ad1914.com/response-to-article-in-what-does-the-bible-really-teach/
Additional documents in this section:
How Many Mistakes in one Paragraph – by Doug Mason – It’s a commentary (pdf format) on remarks made about Russell and his 1876 article published by George Storrs in The Bible Examiner about 1914. The remarks are found in the June 15, 2015 Watchtower, p.22, par. 10.
Another Commentary on Russell’s article “The Gentile Times: When Do They End?” published in 1876 in The Bible Examiner.