The Watchtower has a video about wrong expectations. It’s told from the point of view of a Jehovah’s Witness who’s now a grandfather. He relates how hard it was for him when his wife died so young but that Jehovah and his fellow Witnesses saw him through it.
Then it segues into another test of his faith. He wanted this old system of things to end, and some Witnesses started believing in a particular date (which the video doesn’t specify). Some Witnesses even sold their property and belongings in anticipation. But through his own Bible study and teachings at Watchtower meetings he realized that Jesus said no one knows the day or the hour.
When the date came and went, he knew that his dedication was to Jehovah, not to a date. Some Witnesses left, but most remained loyal to Jehovah.
But here’s what the video doesn’t tell you.
The date it refers to is 1975. It was the Watchtower organization itself that started, promoted, and fueled expectations about that date. It began in a 1966 book, Life Everlasting—In Freedom of the Sons of God and continued through 1975.
Contrary to the video’s assertion that the Watchtower meetings had cautioned that Jesus had said that no one knows the day or the hour, in an August 15, 1968 article entitled “Why Are You Looking Forward to 1975?”, the Watchtower said this:
One thing is absolutely certain, Bible chronology reinforced with fulfilled Bible prophecy shows that six thousand years of man’s existence will soon be up, yes, within this generation! (Matt. 24:34) This is, therefore, no time to be indifferent and complacent. This is not the time to be toying with the words of Jesus that “concerning that day and hour nobody knows, neither the angels of the heavens nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Matt. 24:36) To the contrary, it is a time when one should be keenly aware that the end of this system of things is rapidly coming to its violent end. Make no mistake, it is sufficient that the Father himself knows both the “day and hour”!
To be fair, that article did state that Jehovah’s Witnesses “have not dedicated their lives to serve Jehovah only until 1975.”
However, it was the Watchtower itself that encouraged Witnesses to sell their property in anticipation of the end coming in that year. Specifically, the May, 1974 issue of Our Kingdom Ministry stated: “Reports are heard of brothers selling their homes and property and planning to finish out the rest of their days in this old system in the pioneer service. Certainly this is a fine way to spend the short time remaining before the wicked world’s end.”
In fact, if the video narrator had spoken out at the meetings before 1975 and urged caution he would have been reprimanded for his lack of faith and for causing other Witnesses to stumble.
In the video, it’s all been turned around. You would think it was the Watchtower that urged caution rather than being responsible for the 1975 speculation.
In talking with a Witness, you might ask how it is that so many Jehovah’s Witnesses came to believe the end would come in 1975. Aren’t Witnesses unified in what they believe? How would so many Witnesses worldwide have come to anticipate the end in that year if they hadn’t learned it from the Watchtower?
The Watchtower now casts the whole fiasco as a test of faith in which the heroes are Jehovah’s Witnesses who overcame the disappointment of their failed expectations and remained loyal to Jehovah and the Watchtower organization.
You might ask Jehovah’s Witnesses, “If your dedication is to Jehovah and not to a date, why are you tied to an organization that has promoted so many wrong dates—1975 being just one of them?”
And what about the year 1914? Jesus said no one knows the day or the hour of his return, but the Watchtower claims that it does know that Jesus returned invisibly in 1914, taking up his kingly rule in heaven at that time and starting the clocking ticking for the end of this system of things. It was that belief that led to its speculation about 1975.
Ask Witnesses, “Is the Watchtower now abandoning its dogma about 1914, or it still tied to that date?”
You can watch the Watchtower video by going to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GO3ARNNSfKk&feature=youtube.
Is the Watchtower saying that its discredited speculation about the end coming in 1975 was actually a good thing? Are they saying that Jehovah wanted them to promote a false date in order to test the faith of Jehovah’s Witnesses?
Please share your thoughts in the comments.