Jehovah's Witnesses' False Prophecies

Jehovah's Witnesses' false prophecies since 1897

Home  >  Jehovah's Witnesses  >  False Prophecies

Jehovah's Witnesses' False Prophecies

This page documents the false prophecies of the Jehovah's Witnesses. Boxed in red below are sections from the Jehovah's Witnesses' own publications, and they provide irrefutable evidences of the Jehovah's Witnesses' history of issuing false prophecies and then lying to try to cover them up when they don't come to pass. If you are a Jehovah's Witness and can think of a way to defend any of these false prophecies, please feel free to advise. If you are not a Jehovah's Witness, please share this page with as many Jehovah's Witnesses as you can reach.

1897 - 'Jesus returned to earth in 1874'

In 1897, Charles Taze Russell, who founded Jehovah's Witnesses and its governing body The Watch Tower Society, wrote in Millennial Dawn, later renamed Studies In The Scriptures, that Jesus returned to earth in 1874 and has been gathering his elect for the impending end of the world:

Jehovah's Witnesses' False Prophecy 1897

"Our Lord, the appointed King, is now present, since October 1874, A.D., according to the testimony of the prophets, to those who have ears to hear it: and the formal inauguration of his kingly office dates from April 1878 A.D.: and the first work of the Kingdom, as shown by our Lord, in his parables and prophecy (the gathering of "his elect"), is now in progress." - Studies In The Scriptures, Series 4, pg. 621, 1897.

Until he died, Charles Taze Russell continued to make this false claim and distributed nearly 20 million copies of his Studies In The Scriptures around the world.

1908 - 'Jesus' earthly reign will begin in 1914'

Charles Taze Russell also prophesied and wrote, as recorded in the Times of the Gentiles chapter of the 1908 edition of his The Time Is At Hand, that 1914 will be the year when the end time battle ends and the earthly reign of Jesus begins:

Jehovah's Witnesses' False Prophecy 1908

"... the 'battle of the great day of God Almighty' (Rev. 16:14), which will end in A.D. 1914 with the complete overthrow of earth's present rulership, is already commenced." - The Time Is At Hand, pg. 101, 1908.

When World War I, then known as "The Great War," broke out in July of 1914, Jehovah's Witnesses claimed that it was the prophesied end time battle, and their membership rose sharply. But when the war did not end in 1914 as Charles Taze Russell had prophesied, the membership plummeted, he was exposed as a false prophet, and died in 1916.

1918 - "Millions now living will never die"

To stem the outflow of members, Joseph Rutherford, who took over Jehovah's Witnesses as the second president of The Watch Tower Society, began giving lectures in 1918 titled, "Millions Now Living Will Never Die" in which he claimed that the world has ended and millions of people alive in 1918 will never die:

Jehovah's Witnesses False Prophecy

1920 - "Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will be resurrected in 1925"

In 1920, Joseph Rutherford published a book titled Million Now Alive Will Never Die that included his prophecy that the earthly resurrection of the dead will start with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in 1925:

Jehovah's Witnesses False Prophecy

"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." - Millions Now Alive Will Never Die, pg. 89-90, 1920.

1922 - 'We are sure about 1925'

In 1922, The Watch Tower Society doubled down on Rutherford's prophecy about 1925, claiming:

Jehovah's Witnesses False Prophecy

"If any one who has studied the Bible can travel through Europe and not be convinced that the world has ended, that the day of God's vengeance is here, that the Messianic kingdom is at the door, then he has read the Bible in vain. ... The date 1925 is even more distinctly indicated by the Scriptures because it is fixed by the law God gave to Israel." - The Watch Tower, September 1, 1922, pg. 262.

Jehovah's Witnesses were sent to out to share his message, including in kiosks like the one below whose sign reads:

"The world has ended! The golden age is here! Million now living will never die! This means what it says: It's a fact - investigate."

Jehovah's Witnesses False Prophecy

And Jehovah's Witnesses were instructed to tell people:

Jehovah's Witnesses False Prophecy"Good morning! Do you know that millions now living will never die? I mean just what I say - that millions now living are never going to die. 'The Finished Mystery', the posthumous work of Pastor Russell, tells why there are millions now living who will never die; and if you can keep alive until 1925 you have excellent chances of being one of them."

1925 January - 'Now, we are not sure about 1925' 

When the world rang in 1925 rather quietly, The Watch Tower Society began to backpedal:

Jehovah's Witnesses False Prophecy

"The year 1925 is here. With great expectation Christians have looked forward to this year. Many have confidently expected that all members of the body of Christ will be changed to heavenly glory during the year. This may be accomplished. It may not be. In his own due time God will accomplish his purposes concerning his own people. Christians should not be so deeply concerned about what may transpire this year" - The Watch Tower, January 1, 1925, pg. 3.

1925 September - 'It was Satan'

When there was no sign of the prophesied and resurrected Abraham, Isaac and Jacob nine months into the prophesied 1925, Jehovah's Witnesses were losing members again. In response, The Watch Tower Society claimed that their false prophecy had been Satan's:

Jehovah's Witnesses False Prophecy

"It is to be expected that Satan will try to inject into the minds of the consecrated the thought that 1925 should see an end of the work" - The Watch Tower, September 1, 1925, pg. 262. 

1931 - "Quit fixing dates"

Instead of confessing and repenting of his false prophecy, Joseph Rutherford published a book in 1931 titled Vindication in which he acknowledged "a measure of disappointment" on the part of Jehovah's Witnesses over his false prophecy, and then gaslit them, saying that "they" learned to "quit fixing dates": 

Jehovah's Witnesses False Prophecy

"There was a measure of disappointment on the part of Jehovah's faithful ones on earth concerning the years 1914, 1918, and 1925, which disappointment lasted for a time. ... they also learned to quit fixing dates for the future." - Vindication, pg. 338-339, 1931.

1968 - "Armageddon will be in 1975"

By the 1960s, a new generation of Jehovah's Witnesses was running The Watch Tower Society, and the downside of issuing false prophecies about the year of Armageddon to boost membership until that year was a distant memory. So they began to issue it again, this time for 1975, including in the October 8, 1968 issue of its Awake! magazine (source): 

Jehovah's Witnesses False Prophecy

Jehovah's Witnesses False Prophecy

"... within a few years at most there will take place a climax in human affairs so gigantic that it will affect every person on earth, every man, woman and child. It will, without fail, affect you. What is this climax? God himself will take a direct hand in world affairs. He will use his overwhelming power to crush wickedness and wicked people. (Rev. 11:18) This act of God is called "Armageddon" in some Bible versions... Time is fast running out for it! It is much later for this world than you may think! Indeed, it has only a few more years of existence left!" - Awake, October 8, 1968, pg. 4.

How many more years of existence? They prophesied on page 14, "... only seven more years from the autumn of 1968 to complete 6,000 full years of human history. That seven-year period will evidently finish in the autumn of the year 1975," and displayed a timeline titled, "6,000 Years of Human History Ending in 1975" on page 15:

 Jehovah's Witnesses False Prophecy

Jehovah's Witnesses False Prophecy

How sure were they this time? Sure enough to throw even Charles Taze Russell and Joseph Rutherford under the bus and call them false prophets. On page 23, they wrote:

"True there have been those in times past who predicted an "end to the world," even announcing a specific date. ... Yet, nothing happened. The "end" did not come. They were guilty of false prophesying. Why? What was missing? Missing was the full measure of evidence requirement in fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Missing from such people were God's truths and the evidence that he was guiding and using them. But what about today? Today we have the evidence required, all of it. And it is overwhelming!"

Jehovah's Witnesses False Prophecy

Jehovah's Witnesses' membership climbed until 1975, and then plummeted again when the world did not end.

Who is a false prophet?

God's instruction on how to recognize a false prophet is clear and simple. A false prophet is someone whose prophecy does not come to pass:

" 'But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.' And if you say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?’ When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him." - Deuteronomy 18:20-22.

Jesus did not return to earth in 1874. The world did not end in 1914. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were not resurrected in 1925. Armageddon didn't take place in 1975. And of the people who were alive in 1918, a few hundred thousand - not "millions" - are still alive today. So all of these were false prophecies.

Who is the false prophet of these false prophecies?

In 1972, The Watch Tower Society said it was all Jehovah's Witnesses:

Jehovah's Witnesses False Prophecy

"So, does Jehovah have a prophet to help them, to warn them of dangers and to declare things to come? These questions can be answered in the affirmative. Who is this prophet? ... This 'prophet' was not one man, but was a body of men and women. It was the small group of footstep followers of Jesus Christ, known at the time as International Bible Students. Today they are known as Jehovah's Christian witnesses." - The Watchtower, April 1, 1972, pg. 197.