1918 and 1925The Watchtower predicted wholesale destruction of Christendom’s churches for 1918 and the resurrection of the patriarchs for 1925. Obviously, they were wrong on both counts.

Most Jehovah’s Witnesses are unaware that in a 1917 book, The Finished Mystery (Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. VII, 1917, pp. 484-485), the Watchtower specifically predicted, “The Churches to Cease to Be,” stating that Ezekiel 24:20-21 is a parable concerning what was about to happen to Christendom.

Referring to the Watchtower’s recently deceased president, Charles Taze Russell, it stated, “Also, in the year 1918, when God destroys the churches wholesale and the church members by millions, it shall be that any that escape shall come to the works of Pastor Russell to learn the meaning of the downfall of ‘Christianity’” (emphasis added).

You can have the Witnesses look up these references in Watchtower literature. When they have verified their authenticity, ask:

  • Was this statement true?
  • Did it come from God?
  • Where did it come from?

Two years after this 1918 prophecy failed, the Watchtower published a book, Millions Now Living Will Never Die!, announcing that the resurrection of the Old Testament prophets would begin in 1925:

As we have heretofore stated, the great jubilee cycle is due to begin in 1925. At that time the earthly phase of the kingdom shall be recognized. [The faithful men named in Hebrews 11] are to be resurrected as perfect men and constitute the princes or rulers in the earth, according to his promise [Scripture citations omitted]. Therefore, we may confidently expect that 1925 will mark the return of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the faithful prophets of old, particularly those named by the Apostle in Hebrews chapter eleven, to the condition of human perfection” (emphasis added) (Millions Now Living Will Never Die!, 1920; part of this quotation also appears in the Watchtower’s book, Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom, 1993, p. 78).


  • How certain were the Watchtower writers that they were communicating truth from Jehovah when they published this?
  • What would have happened to a Jehovah’s Witness who expressed disagreement about the accuracy of this prophecy and refused to teach it in the door-to-door ministry?

Although most Jehovah’s Witnesses have heard of the Millions book and cite it as evidence that the Watchtower has been vigilant in warning about the nearness of Armageddon, what most of them don’t know is that the title is based completely on the Watchtower’s erroneous prediction about 1925:

Based upon the argument heretofore set forth, then, that the old order of things, the old world, is ending and is therefore passing away, and that the new order is coming in, and that 1925 shall mark the resurrection of the faithful worthies of old and the beginning of reconstruction, it is reasonable to conclude that millions of people now on the earth will still be on the earth in 1925. Then, based upon the promises in the divine Word, we must reach the positive and indisputable conclusion that millions now living will never die” (emphasis added) (Millions Now Living Will Never Die!, 1920, p. 97).

Ask the Witnesses:

  • How certain would you say the Watchtower was about its teaching that the resurrection would come in 1925 and that millions then living would never die?
  • Does the Watchtower still teach that millions of people who were alive when that statement was made will never die?


Your turn:

Have you ever confronted Jehovah’s Witnesses with false prophecies of the Watchtower such as these? What was their reaction?

Share your thoughts in the comments.