Article contributed by jwfacts.com (original is linked here.)
Portentous emphasis is placed on 1919, this being the year that Jesus is said to have chosen the Watchtower and its Governing Body to represent him on earth. The Scriptural backing the Watchtower uses to support this year is flimsy and illogical.
“Similarly, starting in 1919, Jehovah brought forth the seed of the woman as a spiritual nation.” Revelation – It’s Grand Climax p.184
“Jehovah has shown much compassion toward his remnant of spiritual Israel and their sheeplike companions. His eye has been upon them constantly since their spiritual deliverance in 1919.” Watchtower 1994 Mar 1 p.17
How solid is the doctrine that supports this year?
Following are the steps used to arrive at 1919, which is based largely on Revelation 11. Each step is a failure in logic, as shown by bullet point. (Note that some of this reasoning changed in 2013, which will be discussed later.)
- The starting point is October 1914, the year Jesus is said to have commenced ruling in heaven.
- Neither 1914, nor specifically the month October, are Scripturally supported as the start of Jesus heavenly reign, and is a topic in its own right.
- In June 1918, Jesus came to inspect his earthly organisation. 3 1/2 years from 1914 to 1918 correspond with the 3 1/2 years between Jesus baptism and his throwing the money changers out of the temple. (See Revelation – It’s Grand Climax p.32) A second parallel is drawn with Revelation 11:2,3, where is speaks of the temple being trampled for 42 months or 1260 days (3 1/2 years). June 1918 corresponds to the jailing of the Watchtower board of directors. (See Revelation – It’s Grand Climax pp.164,167)
- Jesus rulership was said to have commenced in October 1914, but the 42 months are said to have started in December. There was no explanation for the 2 month gap, other than it is required for the 42 months to end in June 1918.
- After 9 months, in March 1919, the Watchtower board of directors were released. The 9 month period is based on the 3 1/2 days of Revelation 11:9-11. (See Revelation – It’s Grand Climax p.169)
- The 42 months of Revelation 11 is said to be a literal 42 months, but the 3 1/2 days from the same passage in Revelation 11 is said to be figurative of 9 months. (3 1/2 years = 3 1/2 years … 3 1/2 days = 9 months)
- This led to great fear amongst all other religions.”There were truly great convulsions in the realm of religion. The ground seemed to move under the leaders of the established churches as this body of revivified Christians got to work.” Revelation – It’s Grand Climax p.170
- The release of Rutherford from jail was irrelevant to most people, and it can hardly be said that the result was that “great fear fell upon those beholding them.” (Rev 11:11)
- The release of the Watchtower directors from prison in 1919 is supposed to correspond with Jesus appointing the Watchtower Governing Body as his slave.”Anointed Christians who survived the testing period of 1914-19 were freed from the dominating influence of the world and from many Babylonish religious practices. The remnant went forward as a cleansed and refined people, willingly offering sacrifices of praise to God and having the assurance that they as a people were acceptable to him.” Watchtower 1998 May 15 p.17″In 1919 the cleansed slave class could look forward to ever-expanding activities.” Watchtower 1993 May 1 p.16″Similarly, starting in 1919, Jehovah brought forth the seed of the woman as a spiritual nation.” Revelation – It’s Grand Climax p.184
- There is no Scriptural reason as to why the raising of “two witnesses” or the release from prison of the Watchtower directors in 1919 should indicate that Jesus has chosen them as his Faithful Slave.
- “How long did this respite for the seed of God’s woman last? Revelation 12:6 says 1,260 days. Revelation 12:14 calls the period a time, times, and half a time; in other words, three and a half times. In fact, both expressions stand for three and a half years, extending in the Northern Hemisphere from the spring of 1919 to the autumn of 1922. This was a period of refreshing recuperation and reorganization for the restored John class. … After 1922 Satan spewed out a flood of persecution against the Witnesses.” Revelation – It’s Grand Climax pp.184-185
- Does anyone really believe that what happened to Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1922, a period no one is alive to remember, is fulfilment of Revelation prophecy?
The following table is taken from the Ministerial Training School notes conducted during the mid 2000’s.
In 2013, this teaching was simplified by removing 1918 from the equation.
“To settle that question, Jesus began to inspect the spiritual temple in 1914. That inspection and cleansing work involved a period of time—from 1914 to the early part of 1919. … Footnote to Paragraph 6: This is an adjustment in understanding. Previously, we thought that Jesus’ inspection took place in 1918.” (Watchtower 2013 Jul 15 p.11)
The article explains that since Jesus cleansed the temple twice, it shows an ongoing cleansing work between 1914 and 1919. However, this does nothing to clarify why 1919 has any Scriptural relevance, as no backing is given to support how long the cleansing would be for.
Watchtower 2014 Nov 15 conjoins the 1260 days with the 3 1/2 days to arrive at 1919.
“How long did this inspection and cleansing take place. It extended from 1914 to the early part of 1919. This period of time includes both the 1,260 days (42 months) and the symbolic three and a half days referred to in Revelation chapter 11.” Watchtower 2014 Nov 15 p.30
This becomes nonsense, as the Watchtower presents the 1260 days as literal, but the 3 1/2 days as symbolic, yet adds them together to support the period of time from 1914 to 1919. The timeline graphically highlights the discrepancy by a multiple of 75 in the time frame of the figurative 3 1/2 days and literal 1,260 days.
The timeline does not provides a specific start and end date for the 1260 days, because they do not align with any specific occurrence, as detailed at 1260 days.
It should be a matter of grave concern for each of Jehovah’s Witnesses that the underlying doctrine for 1919, the year so key to their leadership’s authoritarian claims, rests on such baseless Scriptural manipulation.
Written 2013. Latest update Mar 2014
Paul Grundy 2005 – 2014