Chapter 11. The return of Christ and the Kingdom of God

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Szymon Matusiak

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Chapter 11. The return of Christ and the Kingdom of God

 

Day of the Lord

 

Day of the Lord since 1873

 

And in the third issue of The Watch Tower, September, 1879, page 2, the editor pointed to the same date (1914), writing: “We believe that the Word of God furnishes us with indubitable proof that we are now living in this ‘Day of the Lord’; that it began in 1873, and is a day of forty years duration.” (“New Heavens and a New Earth” 1953 p. 207).

 

Day of the Lord since 1874

 

The Scriptural time-proofs which we have considered show that this trouble was due to date from the time of Christ's second advent (October, 1874) when the judging of the nations would commence, under the enlightening influences of the Day of the Lord. This is shown in the Great Pyramid thus... (Thy Kingdom Come 1898, 1923 p. 341).

 

Day of the Lord since 1914 and 1918 (teaching from ca. 1930)

 

His beloved Son, then, the King, bears the same title, and the title has a special application in the “day of the Lord”, which day began in 1914 and continues thereafter. (Light 1930, Vol. 1, p. 146).

 

There is a distinction in the meaning of “Jehovah’s day” and “the day of the Lord” (...) It was Jehovah who enthroned Jesus in 1914 and send him forth to rule. (Pss. 2:6; 110:1,2) That marked the beginning of “the day of Jehovah”. Within that day, and three and one-half years after its beginning, “the day of the Lord Jesus Christ” began when he opens his court for judgment. (...) To be enabled always to readily have in mind the clear distinction, hereinafter in this article the period beginning in 1914 will be designated “Jehovah’s day” and the period beginning in 1918 will be designated “Christ’s day”. (The Watchtower March 15, 1936 pp. 83-84).

 

Before he heard Jesus’ words to the seven congregations, the apostle John was granted a vision of “the Lord’s day.” (Revelation 1:10) That “day” began when the Messianic Kingdom was established in 1914. (The Watchtower May 15, 2003 p. 10).

 

The return of Christ

 

The way of parousia

 

Visible return

 

It was not until about 1874 that these things became clearer, so that we realized that when Jesus should come, it would be as unobserved by human eyes as though an angel had come... (The Watchtower August 1883 p. 513, reprints).

 

We saw that spirit beings can be present and yet invisible to men. ... It seems that not long after their 1874 disappointment, a reader of The Herald of the Morning, who had a copy of the Emphatic Diaglott, noticed something in it which he thought peculiar — that in Matthew 24:27, 37, 39, the Greek word parousia, which in our Common Version is rendered 'coming,' is in the Diaglott translated 'presence' — evidently the correct translation of the Greek. This was the clue; and following it, they had been led through prophetic time toward proper views regarding the object and manner of our Lord's Return... (The Finished Mystery 1917, 1926 p. 54).

 

In French edition of the book The Finished Mystery, published in 1918, the above statement contains the following thoughts:

 

“Soon after disillusionment in 1874 experienced by Russell and his friends (concerning the return of Christ)...” (p. 65).

 

Invisible return and later seen presence

 

‘The Object and Manner of Our Lord’s Return.’ (...) This pamphlet was published in 1877. (...) In that pamphlet, he wrote: “We believe the scriptures to teach, that, at His coming and for a time after He has come, He will remain invisible; afterward manifesting or showing Himself in judgments and various forms, so that ‘every eye shall see Him.’” (...) Within just a few years, on the basis of further study of the Scriptures, Russell realized that Christ would not only return invisibly but also remain invisible, even when manifesting his presence by judgment upon the wicked. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 pp. 132-133).

 

The doctrine of two-phased return of Christ, with the first, invisible coming for the rapture of Christians to heaven, and the second, visible coming with the saints for the judgment was taken by Russell from some Protestant authors – influenced by the Plymouth Brethren movement, formed by John Nelson Darby – (he also took from them the year 1914):

 

In 1856, Joseph Seiss, a Lutheran minister in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, had written about a two-stage second advent—an invisible pa·rou·si’a, or presence, followed by a visible manifestation. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 46).

 

Joseph Seiss, of the United States, pointed to 1914 as a significant date in Bible chronology in a publication edited about 1870. In 1875, Nelson H. Barbour wrote in his magazine Herald of the Morning that 1914 marked the end of a period that Jesus called “the appointed times of the nations.” — Luke 21:24. (Awake! November 8, 1994 p. 10).

 

Invisible return (years 1874 and 1914)

 

It was in the mid-1870’s that Brother Russell and those who were diligently examining the Scriptures along with him discerned that when the Lord returned he would be invisible to human eyes.—John 14:3, 19. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 132).

 

Hence, when C. T. Russell began publishing a new religious magazine in July 1879, it was called “Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence.” It was heralding Christ’s presence as having begun in 1874. This invisible presence was expected to continue until the Gentile Times ended in 1914, when the Gentile nations would be destroyed and the remnant of the “chaste virgin” class would be glorified with their Bridegroom in heaven by death and resurrection to live in the spirit. (The Watchtower August 15, 1974 p. 507).

 

They also came to understand that it was in the year 1914 that Christ’s invisible presence had begun and that this was, not by his personally returning (even invisibly) to the vicinity of the earth, but by his directing his attention toward the earth as ruling King. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 137).

 

Time of the Second Coming

 

The year 1874 (or 1875, about 1878) – teaching until 1933

 

As we saw in Chapter 2 of this book, the Bible Students spent decades pointing out that the year 1914 would be significant in fulfilling Bible prophecy. However, at that time they believed that Christ’s presence had begun in 1874, that he had begun to rule in heaven in 1878, and that the Kingdom would not be fully set up until October 1914. The harvest would extend from 1874 to 1914 and would culminate in the gathering of the anointed to heaven. Do mistaken ideas such as these cast doubt on whether Jesus was guiding those faithful ones by means of holy spirit? Not at all! (God’s Kingdom Rules! 2014 p. 50).

 

Calculate, and you will see that these two lines of evidence, which so perfectly unite in the testimony that 1875 (beginning October, A. D. 1874) is the date of the beginning of the Times of Restitution... (The Time is at Hand 1902, 1927 p. 196).

 

With the beginning of the second presence of the Lord, approximately A. D. 1875, there was a change in the work. The restitution of the truth there began and progressed. (The Watchtower September 1, 1930 pp. 261-262).

 

The second advent of the Lord Jesus Christ dates from about A. D. 1875, when he began to ‘prepare the way before the Lord’. There were those who loved God and who were looking for the coming of Christ. (The Watchtower October 15, 1930 p. 308).

 

The Scriptural proof is that the second presence of the Lord Jesus Christ is invisible and began approximately in the year eighteen hundred and seventy eight (A. D.). (The Watchtower September 15, 1931 p. 283).

 

The second and invisible presence of Christ dates from about eighteen hundred and seventy-four. From that time forward many of the truths long obscured by the enemy began to be restored to the honest Christian. (The Watchtower June 1, 1933 p. 174).

 

The year 1914 (teaching introduced in the years 1928-1934)

 

They also came to understand that it was in the year 1914 that Christ’s invisible presence had begun... (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 137).

 

In 1943 the Watch Tower Society’s book “The Truth Shall Make You Free” did away with the nonexistent extra 100 years in the period of the Judges and placed the end of 6,000 years of man’s existence in the 1970’s. It also fixed the beginning of Christ’s presence, not in 1874, but in 1914 C.E. (The Watchtower August 15, 1974 p. 507).

 

Prior to 1914 and years thereafter we thought that our Lord’s return dated from 1874; and we took it for granted that the parousia or presence of our Lord dated from that time. An examination of the scriptures containing the word parousia shows that the presence of the Lord could not date prior to 1914. (The Golden Age March 14, 1934 p. 380).

 

The following presentation shows both the new statements and the older texts about parousia pointing to the year 1914. It is significant that the latter appeared in the time when the doctrine of 1874 was still taught (until the year 1933):

 

If it is true that Jesus has been present since the year 1914, then it must be admitted that nobody has seen Him with his natural eyes. (The Golden Age April 30, 1930 p. 503).

 

In 1914 the Lord Jesus came the second time, and in 1918 began to gather together his faithful followers. (The Kingdom, the Hope of the World 1931 p. 57).

 

The year 1914, therefore, marks the second coming of Christ. (What Is Truth? 1932 p. 48).

 

Watchtower has consistently presented evidence to honesthearted students of Bible prophecy that Jesus’ presence in heavenly Kingdom power began in 1914. (The Watchtower January 15, 1993 p. 5).

 

The Watchtower and related publications of Jehovah’s Witnesses have often provided Scriptural evidence that Christ’s presence began in the year 1914. (The Watchtower March 1, 1997 p. 10).

 

Christ’s “presence” since 1914 has gone unnoticed by most of earth’s inhabitants. (The Watchtower September 15, 2010 p. 28).

 

The place of Christ’s return

 

Literal and invisible return “on the earth” (teaching since 1927)

 

Our Lord’s parousia (presence in the world) begun in 1874, will continue till the end of the Millennial age. (What Say the Scriptures About Our Lord’s Return—His Parousia, Apokalupsis and Epiphania 1914 p. 65).

 

For the Lord Jesus is now invisibly present on earth, establishing his kingdom. (The Watchtower November 1, 1922 p. 339).

 

The Truth that THE GOLDEN AGE stands for is that Christ Jesus returned to earth in 1874, and that His kingdom is in process of construction before our very eyes. (The Golden Age March 25, 1925 p. 407).

 

“Paying attention to the earth” and “heavenly presence” (teaching since 1927)

 

The presence of the Lord has been difficult to explain and to clearly understand. Many have labored under the impression that the Lord Jesus must be bodily in the very vicinity of the earth in order to be present. Such a conclusion is unreasonable. Distance is no hindrance to the Lord. He could be in the Pleiades and at the same time direct the affairs of earth as well as he could if he were on the immediate surface of the earth. We understand that the presence of the Lord began to be made manifest about 1874, that he took his great power and began his reign in 1914, and that he came to his temple in 1918. (The Watchtower June 1, 1927 p. 163).

 

Further proof is given, in another picture, that Christ would be active as King and would be “present,” in the sense of turning his attention and exercising kingly power toward the earth. (The Watchtower July 1, 1974 p. 398).

 

They also came to understand that it was in the year 1914 that Christ’s invisible presence had begun and that this was, not by his personally returning (even invisibly) to the vicinity of the earth, but by his directing his attention toward the earth as ruling King. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 137).

 

He does not need to move physically in order to “come.” Rather, he “comes” in the sense of turning his attention to mankind or to his followers, often for judgment. Thus, in 1914 he “came” to begin his presence as enthroned King. (The Watchtower March 1, 2004 p. 16).

 

Second, a major application from 1914 C.E., when Jesus began his invisible heavenly presence as king of the Messianic kingdom... (The Watchtower August 15, 1978 p. 31).

 

Jesus’ heavenly presence has been marked on earth by frightful ‘wars, famines, hatreds, pestilences, and lawlessness.’ (The Watchtower December 15, 1997 p. 11).

 

The number of Christ’s returns

 

One return (1874)

 

And discriminating carefully, they discern that there are three words of distinctly different signification used in the respect to the Lord’s second advent; namely, parousia and epiphania and apokalupsis. Parousia is used in respect to the earliest stage of the second advent, while apokalupsis and epiphania relate to another or a third advent, but merely to a later feature of the second advent. (What Say the Scriptures About Our Lord’s Return—His Parousia, Apokalupsis and Epiphania 1914 p. 12).

 

Our Lord’s parousia (presence in the world) begun in 1874, will continue till the end of the Millennial age. The word is not applicable merely to a little period of presence at the beginning of the Millennial age Christ’s parousia and that of his Church will continue throughout the age. (What Say the Scriptures About Our Lord’s Return—His Parousia, Apokalupsis and Epiphania 1914 p. 65).

 

Four returns (1874, 1914, 1918, Armageddon)

 

For the purpose of enabling the student to more fully and easily understand the proof of the Lord's second coming, the time of his coming is here divided into separate periods, to wit: (1) The day of preparation, (2) the end of the world, (3) coming to his temple, and (4) Armageddon. (Creation 1927 p. 311).

 

The Scriptural proof is that the period of his presence and the day of God's preparation is a period from A. D. 1874 forward. The second coming of the Lord therefore began in 1874; and that date and the years 1914 to 1918 are specially marked dates with reference to his coming. (Creation 1927 p. 310).

 

With the coming of 1914 the outward events or physical facts made known in fulfilment of prophecy were so clear and plain that all who study the Word of God with a desire to understand could understand, whether they were consecrated to the Lord or not. (Creation 1927 pp. 310-311).

 

The time must arrive when Christ Jesus comes to his temple to take an account with his followers. The Scriptural proof supports the conclusion that the coming to his temple was in the year 1918. (Creation 1927 p. 310).

 

Armageddon

(...) After this witness is completed, Jesus testifies that then shall come the final end, and that this end shall be marked by the greatest trouble the world has ever known. (...) This is undoubtedly the same time referred to by the Lord, when he said: “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him.” — Revelation 1: 7. (...) The Scriptures, and the circumstantial evidence in fulfilment thereof, which is called the physical facts, prove that the second coming of the Lord dates from 1874; that from that date to 1914 was God's “day of preparation”; that in 1914 the Lord Jesus Christ took unto himself his power and ousted Satan from heaven; that in 1918 the Lord came to his temple; that now the world-wide witness declaring the good news of the King and his kingdom is progressing, and that when completed there shall be such a demonstration of divine power that all the peoples of the earth may know that God is acting through his King, whom he has placed upon his throne. And this will be in fulfilment of the prophecy of Jesus above quoted. (Creation 1927 pp. 338-339).

 

Three returns (1914, 1918, Armageddon)

 

After 96 C.E., Jesus did not ‘come’ in any significant way until he was enthroned as King in 1914. (...) Then, in fulfillment of Malachi 3:1, he ‘came’ again in 1918, when he came to Jehovah’s temple to judge first the household of God. (...) He will ‘come’ once more, in the near future, when he “brings vengeance upon those who do not know God and those who do not obey the good news about our Lord Jesus.” (The Watchtower April  1, 1989 pp. 11-12).

 

He does not need to move physically in order to “come.” Rather, he “comes” in the sense of turning his attention to mankind or to his followers, often for judgment. Thus, in 1914 he “came” to begin his presence as enthroned King. (...) In 1918 he “came” as messenger of the covenant and began judging those claiming to serve Jehovah. (...) At Armageddon, he will “come” to execute judgment on Jehovah’s enemies. (The Watchtower March 1, 2004 p. 16).

 

Two returns (1914, Armageddon)

 

The Watchtower issue of the year 2013 states that the return of Jesus to the spiritual temple took place in 1914 (not in 1918), namely, in the same time as parousia. Thus, the Watchtower Society reduced the returns of Christ from three to two. Now it is parousia and coming to the temple as the united event in 1914, and the future coming of Jesus in Armageddon:

 

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*. (...) *This is an adjustment in understanding. Previously, we thought that Jesus’ inspection took place in 1918. (The Watchtower July 15, 2013 pp. 11, 14).

 

Signs confirming the Second Coming

 

The signs confirming the Second Coming in 1874

 

It was in the year 1874, the date of our Lord's second presence, that the first labor organization in the world was created. From that time forward there has been a marvelous increase of light, and the inventions and discoveries have been too numerous for us to mention all of them here, but mention is made of some of those that have come to light since 1874, as further evidence of the Lord's presence since that date, as follows: Adding machines, aeroplanes, aluminum, antiseptic surgery, artificial dyes, automatic couplers, automobiles, barbed wire, bicycles, carborundum, cash registers, celluloid, correspondence schools, cream separators, Darkest Africa, disk plows, Divine Plan of the Ages, dynamite, electric railways, electric welding, escalators, fireless cookers, gas engines, harvesting machines, illuminating gas, induction motors, linotypes, match machines, monotypes, motion pictures, North Pole, Panama Canal, pasteurization, radium, railway signals, Roentgen rays, shoe-sewing machines, skyscrapers, smokeless powder, South Pole, submarines, subways, talking machines, telephones, television, typewriters, vacuum cleaners, and wireless telegraphy. (The Harp of God 1928 p. 240).

See The Revelation of Jesus Christ According to the Sinaitic Text 1918 p. 153; The Golden Age January 14, 1925 p. 251; The Golden Age May 20, 1925 p. 543.

 

The signs confirming the Second Coming in 1914

 

By the events of the World War, famine, and pestilences, and great distress that befell the nations during and after 1914, the second coming of Christ and his kingdom are clearly proven. (The Kingdom, the Hope of the World 1931 p. 8).

 

Through the years and in the face of unparalleled wars, famines, earthquakes and other developments constituting the “sign” of Christ’s “presence” in Kingdom power since 1914, Jehovah’s people have been undaunted in declaring the good news. (The Watchtower May 1, 1984 p. 19).

See The Watchtower January 1, 2008 p. 8.

 

Some of the Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe in the current evidences of the Second Coming

 

Today, some Christians are pursuing interests and careers suggesting that they have lost awareness that we are now deep in “the time of the end.” (Daniel 12:4) Fellow believers can well pray that such ones rekindle or bolster their faith in the Scriptural evidence that Christ’s presence began in 1914 when Jehovah installed him as heavenly King and that he is ruling in the midst of his enemies. (The Watchtower January 15, 1999 p. 11).

 

 

The text of Matthew 24:30

 

Applied to the return of Jesus in 1874

 

The revealing of the Lord's presence will gradually extend to the world and will be made manifest especially to the world in a time of trouble, just as Jesus indicated when he said: “And they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.” Matthew 24:30. (Our Lord’s Return 1925 p. 16).

 

Applying the same rule, then, of a day for a year, 1335 days after 539 A. D. brings us to A. D. 1874, at which time, according to Biblical chronology, the Lord's second presence is due. (Our Lord’s Return 1925 p. 25).

 

Applied to the return of Jesus in 1914

 

But Jesus connected this event with his SECOND coming and the consummation of this system of things, saying: “And then the sign of the Son of man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will go to wailing and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” (Matthew 24:30, NW) His coming into the Kingdom in 1914 marks the beginning of his second presence or par.ou.si'a. This Greek word means presence. (“This Means Everlasting Life” 1950 p. 221).

 

Referred to the return of Jesus at Armageddon

 

On the other hand, in Matthew 24:30, which tells of the “Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” as Jehovah’s executioner at the war of Armageddon, the Greek word er·kho’me·non is used. (Reasoning From the Scriptures 1989 p. 341).

 

The Kingdom of God

 

Let the honest-hearted person compare the kind of preaching of the gospel of the Kingdom done by the religious systems of Christendom during all the centuries with that done by Jehovah’s Witnesses since the end of World War I in 1918. They are not one and the same kind. That of Jehovah’s Witnesses is really “gospel,” or “good news,” as of God’s heavenly kingdom that was established by the enthronement of his Son Jesus Christ at the end of the Gentile Times in 1914. (Luke 21:24) (The Watchtower May 1, 1981 p. 17).

 

The proclamation of the Gospel of the Kingdom

 

Teaching about the Kingdom already done

 

The Apostle (Acts 15:14) tells that the main object of the gospel in the present age is “to take out a people” for Christ’s name—the overcoming Church, which, at his second advent, will be united to him and receive his name. The witnessing to the world during this age is a secondary object. (The Plan of the Age 1908 p. 92).

 

Jesus further stated as an evidence of the end of the world: “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come”. Matthew 24:14. (...) And thirdly, this has already been done and we are at the end of the old order and the new is coming in. (Millions Now Living Will Never Die! 1920 pp. 56-57).

 

Besides the above Scriptures, time-proofs of the Lord's Return, are the fulfilments of the promised signs: The Gospel has been preached in all the world for a witness: (Matt. 24:14; A91); (The Finished Mystery 1917, 1926 p. 69).

 

However, those early Bible Students did not grasp the full significance of Matthew 24:14. By the late 19th century, the Bible, which contains the good news, or gospel, had been translated and printed by Bible societies in many languages and distributed around the world. Thus, for some decades, the Bible Students reasoned that a witness to the nations had already been given. Gradually, Jehovah gave his people a clearer understanding of his will and purpose. (Proverbs 4:18) The Watch Tower of December 1, 1928, said: “Can we say that [the] circulation of the Bible accomplished the foretold preaching of the gospel of the kingdom? Decidedly no! In spite of this Bible distribution it is still necessary for God’s little band of witnesses in the earth to print literature explaining God’s [purpose] and to call upon the homes where these Bibles have been placed. Otherwise the people would be left in ignorance as to the setting up of the Messianic government in our day.” (The Watchtower February 1, 2006 pp. 24-25).

 

Teaching about the Kingdom only in the twentieth century

 

Earlier, The Watch Tower of July 1, 1920, had examined Jesus’ great prophecy about ‘the sign of his presence and the end of the world.’ (Matt. 24:3, KJ) It focused attention on the preaching work that must be done in fulfillment of Matthew 24:14 and identified the message to be proclaimed, saying: “The good news here is concerning the end of the old order of things and the establishment of Messiah’s kingdom.” The Watch Tower explained that on the basis of where Jesus stated this in relation to other features of the sign, this work would have to be accomplished “between the time of the great world war [World War I] and the time of the ‘great tribulation’ mentioned by the Master in Matthew 24:21, 22.” That work was urgent. Who would do it? (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 292).

 

This has been true particularly since the year 1914 C.E., when, just as calculated by the International Bible Students Association, the Gentile Times, “the appointed times of the nations,” ran out and God’s due time came for him to install his Messianic kingdom in the heavens for the deliverance of mankind. Since then, not God’s coming kingdom, but God’s established kingdom, could be preached as good news world wide. And it has been thus preached! By whom? By Jehovah’s witnesses. (The Watchtower November 1, 1970 pp. 660-661).

 

That issue of The Watch Tower further stated: “In 1920, . . . Bible Students came to a correct understanding of our Lord’s prophecy contained in Matthew 24:14. They then realized that ‘this gospel’ which was to be preached in all the world for a testimony to the Gentiles or all nations, was not a gospel of a kingdom yet to come but a gospel to the effect that the Messianic King has begun his reign over earth.” (The Watchtower February 1, 2006 p. 25).

 

The Kingdom and the time of its creation

 

The Kingdom in 1878 and 1914

 

Be not surprised, then, when in subsequent chapters we present proofs that the setting up of the Kingdom of God is already begun, that it is pointed out in prophecy as due to begin the exercise of power in A. D. 1878, and that thebattle 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 1902, 1908 p. 101).

 

(...) the full establishment of the Kingdom of God, will be accomplished at the end of A. D. 1914 (The Time Is at Hand 1902, 1908 p. 99).

 

(...) the organization of the Kingdom and the taking by our Lord of his great power as the King in April 1878, and the time of trouble or »day of wrath« which began October 1874 and will end October 1914 (The Day of Vengeance 1897 p. 604).

 

As we saw in Chapter 2 of this book, the Bible Students spent decades pointing out that the year 1914 would be significant in fulfilling Bible prophecy. However, at that time they believed that Christ’s presence had begun in 1874, that he had begun to rule in heaven in 1878, and that the Kingdom would not be fully set up until October 1914. The harvest would extend from 1874 to 1914 and would culminate in the gathering of the anointed to heaven. Do mistaken ideas such as these cast doubt on whether Jesus was guiding those faithful ones by means of holy spirit? Not at all! (God’s Kingdom Rules! 2014 p. 50).

 

The Kingdom in 1878 and 1915

 

Be not surprised, then, when in subsequent chapters we present proofs that the setting up of the Kingdom of God is already begun, that it is pointed out in prophecy as due to begin the exercise of power in A. D. 1878, and that thebattle of the great day of God Almighty” (Rev. 16:14), which will end in A. D. 1915 with the complete overthrow of earth’s present rulership, is already commenced. (The Time Is at Hand 1916, 1927 p. 101).

 

(...) the organization of the Kingdom and the taking by our Lord of his great power as the King in April 1878, and the time of trouble or »day of wrath« which began October 1874, and will cease about 1915 (The Battle of Armageddon 1912, 1923 p. 604).

 

(...) the full establishment of the Kingdom of God, will be accomplished near the end of A. D. 1915 (The Time Is at Hand 1916, 1927 p. 99).

 

The Kingdom in 1878 and after 1915

 

(...) the organization of the Kingdom and the taking by our Lord of his great power as the King in April 1878, and the time of trouble or »day of wrath« which began October 1874, and will cease about 1915 (The Battle of Armageddon 1915, 1918, 1925 p. 604).

 

We see no reason for doubting, therefore, that the Times of the Gentiles ended in October, 1914; and that a few more years will witness their utter collapse and the full establishment of God’s kingdom in the hands of Messiah. But by that time, the Elijah class will have passed beyond the Veil; for “when he [Jesus] shall appear in his glory, we [the church] also will appear with him.” (The Watchtower September 1, 1916 p. 5950, reprints).

 

The Kingdom in 1920?

 

Some interesting developments in connection with the setting up of the Kingdom may begin in 1920, six years after the great Time of Trouble began. (The Finished Mystery 1917, 1926 p. 178).

 

The Kingdom 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. (Millions Now Living Will Never Die! 1920 p. 89).

 

Be that as it may, there is evidence that the establishment of the Kingdom in Palestine will probably be in 1925, ten years later than we once calculated. The 70 jubilees, reckoned as 50 years each, expire October, 1925. (B186.) Gen. 15:1-16:3, read connectedly, indicates that Abraham's vision as to when he would receive the Kingdom was not granted until ten years after the Covenant was made, or 2035 B. C. (The Finished Mystery 1917, 1926 p. 128).

 

The year 1925 also held expectations for Jehovah’s servants. It was thought that a cycle of 70 typical Jubilees (70 × 50 years) from the time Israel entered the Promised Land would end in 1925 and mark the beginning of the great antitypical Jubilee, the Millennial Reign of Christ Jesus. It did not turn out that way. (The Watchtower February 15, 1984 pp. 23-24).

 

Kingdom fully established in heaven after taking the anointed to heaven

 

However, at that time the Bible Students felt that the setting up of the Kingdom, its full establishment in heaven, would not take place until the final members of Christ’s bride were glorified. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 138).

 

Invisible Kingdom in heaven since 1914

 

A real milestone was reached, therefore, in 1925, when The Watch Tower of March 1 featured the article “Birth of the Nation.” It presented an eye-opening study of Revelation chapter 12. The article set forth evidence that the Messianic Kingdom had been born—established—in 1914, that Christ had then begun to rule on his heavenly throne, and that thereafter Satan had been hurled from heaven down to the vicinity of the earth. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 pp. 138-139).

 

Kingdom within a “few years”

 

We see no reason for doubting, therefore, that the Times of the Gentiles ended in October, 1914; and that a few more years will witness their utter collapse and the full establishment of God’s kingdom in the hands of Messiah. But by that time, the Elijah class will have passed beyond the Veil; for “when he [Jesus] shall appear in his glory, we [the church] also will appear with him.” (The Watchtower September 1, 1916 p. 5950, reprints).

 

Because Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the other faithful prophets described by the Apostle Paul in Hebrews 11 are promised a better resurrection; (...) Hence these faithful men may be expected on earth within the next few years. They will constitute the legal representatives of the Christ in the earth. They will be the visible representatives of the kingdom of heaven. (The Harp of God 1921, 1925, 1927 p. 339-340).

 

It is a special pleasure to announce that the next few years will witness the full establishment of that kingdom which is to be the desire of all nations. (The Watchtower October 1, 1929 p. 302).

 

The Kingdom in power in 1931

 

The Time of the establishment of the Kingdom in power is indicated as “in the fourteenth year after that the city (Christendom) was smitten” – or thirteen years after 1918 viz.. in 1931. – Ezek. 40:1. (The Finished Mystery 1917, 1918 [850,000 Edition] p. 569).

 

The Kingdom in power in 1932

 

The Time of the establishment of the Kingdom in power is indicated as “in the fourteenth year after that the city (Christendom) was smitten” – or thirteen years after 1918 viz.. in 1932. – Ezek. 40:1. (The Finished Mystery 1918 [75,000 Edition] p. 569).

 

The Kingdom in 1935?

 

But now you can hear every one of them say: “Millions Now Living Will Never Die”. Suppose we should be wrong in the chronology and that the kingdom will not be fully set up in 1925. Suppose that we were ten years off, and that it would be 1935 before restitution blessings began. Without a doubt there are now millions of people on the earth who will be living fifteen years from now; and we could with equal confidence say that “Millions Now Living Will Never Die”. Whether it be 1925 or 1935, restitution blessings must soon begin, as shown from all the evidence; and when that time comes, all who respond obediently to the new arrangement shall be blessed with life, liberty, and happiness. (The Watchtower October 15, 1920 p. 310).

 

We eagerly anticipated the coming of God’s Kingdom. I recall that when we received the 1935 Yearbook, one of the brothers, at seeing the full schedule of text discussions for the year, asked: “Does this mean we are going to complete another entire year before Armageddon comes?” In reply the conductor asked: “Do you think, brother, that if Armageddon should come tomorrow, we will stop reading the Yearbook?” (The Watchtower September 1, 1995 p. 24).

 

The Kingdom in 1975

 

However, Bible chronology which indicates that Adam was created in the fall of the year 4026 B.C.E. would bring us down to the year 1975 C.E. as the date marking 6,000 years of human history with yet 1,000 years to come for Christ’s Kingdom rule. So whatever the date for the end of this system, it is clear that the time left is reduced, with only approximately six years left until the end of 6,000 years of human history. (1 Cor. 7:29) This corroborates the understanding of Jesus’ words that the generation alive in 1914 with the outbreak of World War I would not pass away until the end comes. (The Watchtower May 1, 1970 p. 273).

 

What about such ones in just a few short years from now? Will they be there? Then there will be no old system of things at all, but God’s kingdom will be in full control over the earth and its affairs. (The Watchtower August 1, 1972 p. 468).

 

More recently, many Witnesses conjectured that events associated with the beginning of Christ’s Millennial Reign might start to take place in 1975. Their anticipation was based on the understanding that the seventh millennium of human history would begin then. These erroneous views did not mean that God’s promises were wrong, that he had made a mistake. By no means! (Awake! June 22, 1995 p. 9).

 

Kingdom within “the generation of 1914”

 

The kingdom of the heavens is here! And soon, within this generation, it will come in all its destructive force against Satan and his wicked system of things. (The Watchtower October 15, 1961 p. 632).

 

But you may wonder: ‘When will this promised deliverance come?’ Respecting the generation that would start experiencing ‘great signs from heaven,’ Jesus said: “Truly I say to you, This generation will by no means pass away until all things occur.” Therefore, some of the 1914 generation who began to witness those “signs” will still be alive when God’s Kingdom takes full control of earth’s affairs.—Luke 21:32. (Awake! March 8, 1985 p. 8).

 

This time of the end is, however, to be a relatively short period—stretching over one generation. (Luke 21:31, 32) The fact that we are now 80 years beyond 1914 indicates that we can soon expect the deliverance that God’s Kingdom will bring. (Awake! November 8, 1994 p. 10).

 

The Kingdom in the twentieth century

 

What kingdom? The kingdom of God that is to crush all present kingdoms of men. (Dan. 2:44) That now-operating kingdom in heaven will, within the twentieth century, cleanse the entire earth of wickedness. (Awake! February 22, 1961 p. 7).

 

Kingdom “is near”, “soon”

 

For a detailed discussion of how we know that the coming of God’s Kingdom is near, see chapter 9, “Are We Living in ‘the Last Days’?,” of the book What Does the Bible Really Teach? (The Watchtower April  1, 2010 p. 10).

 

Soon, when that Kingdom comes and replaces all governments of the earth, everyone who serves Jehovah God and his chosen Ruler, Jesus Christ, will enjoy peace, health, and happiness. (The Watchtower October 1, 2010 p. 25).

 

The birth of Antichrist or of the Kingdom of God?

 

The birth of Antichrist – a title appearing in the commentary on Revelation 12

 

THE BIRTH OF ANTICHRIST (The Finished Mystery 1917, 1926 p. 183).

 

God’s Kingdom is born – a title appearing in the commentary on Revelation 12

 

God’s Kingdom Is Born! (Revelation—Its Grand Climax At Hand! 1988, 2006 p. 177).

 

The birth of the Messiah Kingdom or the time of a war between pagan Rome and papal Rome?

 

In 1925, a landmark article appeared in The Watch Tower, entitled “Birth of the Nation.” It laid out convincing Scriptural evidence that the Messianic Kingdom had been born in 1914, fulfilling the prophetic picture of God’s heavenly woman giving birth, as recorded in Revelation chapter 12*. (...) *Before then, it was thought that the vision pointed to a war between pagan Rome and papal Rome. (God’s Kingdom Rules! 2014 p. 50).

 

The Kingdom of God on earth?

 

Kingdom “on earth”

 

When thus restored, it will again be the Kingdom of God on earth, under man, God’s appointed representative. (The Plan of the Age 1908 p. 248).

 

The most prominent teaching of the Bible is that concerning the kingdom of God on earth through which all the families of the earth shall be blessed. (What You Need 1932 p. 3).

 

THE SCRIPTURES CLEARLY TEACH (...) THAT THE WORLD has ended, and the Lord Jesus Christ has been placed by Jehovah upon his throne of authority, has ousted Satan from heaven and is proceeding to the establishment of God’s kingdom on earth. (The Watchtower October 15, 1931 p. 306).

 

THE SCRIPTURES CLEARLY TEACH (...) THAT THE WORLD has ended, and the Lord Jesus Christ has been placed by Jehovah upon his throne of authority, has ousted Satan from heaven and is proceeding to the establishment of God’s kingdom on earth. (The Watchtower November 15, 1942 p. 338).

 

Since the heavenly Father’s kingdom is to come to this earth in answer to Jesus’ own prayer, why should this earth be destroyed at that time or at any time afterward? God’s kingdom comes to stay here for all future time. (The Watchtower December 15, 1958 p. 764).

 

Manifestly, God’s kingdom comes to earth and his will is then done on earth because it is his purpose for the earth to remain forever as part of the universal realm over which he is the King of eternity, the Most High Sovereign. (The Watchtower January 1, 1959 p. 25).

 

Kingdom only in heaven, not on earth (teaching since 1996)

 

We sometimes hear brothers speak of or pray for God’s Kingdom to come to the earth. Is this a correct expression? Strictly speaking, it is not a Scriptural way of expressing things. God’s Kingdom is heavenly. (...) The Kingdom was established in heaven in 1914, and it will never be transferred to the restored earthly Paradise or elsewhere. (...) But we should bear in mind that the Kingdom will not come to the planet Earth in a literal sense. The Kingdom government resides in heaven, not on earth. (The Watchtower June 1, 1996 p. 31).

 

Kingdom is in heaven, not earth. 2Ti 4:18; 1Co 15:50; Ps 11:4 (Bible Topics for Discussion 1997, 23. Kingdom).

 

Kingdom (...) not to come to earth (Watchtower Library 2014, Watch Tower Publications Index 1986-2014, Kingdom).

 

The reign of Christ

 

The proof appearing in the preceding chapters shows that the kingdom was born in 1914; but the fact thereof was not understood by the servant class until some years afterward. (Light 1930, Vol. 1, pp. 301-302).

 

The reign since 1878

 

As we saw in Chapter 2 of this book, the Bible Students spent decades pointing out that the year 1914 would be significant in fulfilling Bible prophecy. However, at that time they believed that Christ’s presence had begun in 1874, that he had begun to rule in heaven in 1878, and that the Kingdom would not be fully set up until October 1914. The harvest would extend from 1874 to 1914 and would culminate in the gathering of the anointed to heaven. Do mistaken ideas such as these cast doubt on whether Jesus was guiding those faithful ones by means of holy spirit? Not at all! (God’s Kingdom Rules! 2014 p. 50).

 

(...) they also concluded that if Jesus’ baptism and anointing in the autumn of 29 C.E. paralleled the beginning of an invisible presence in 1874, then his riding into Jerusalem as King in the spring of 33 C.E. would point to the spring of 1878 as the time when he would assume his power as heavenly King. They also thought they would be given their heavenly reward at that time. When that did not occur, they concluded that since Jesus’ anointed followers were to share with him in the Kingdom, the resurrection to spirit life of those already sleeping in death began then. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 632).

 

That time came 1845 years after our Lord had ridden into Jerusalem and offered himself to the Jews as their king, in the spring of A. D. 33. And it was in 1878, then, that the process of setting up the kingdom began. There our Lord raised the sleeping saints from the tomb and joined them to himself, while his members upon the earth continued the work of making ready the remaining members of the body and of giving a world-wide witness of the coming change of dispensation. (The Watchtower June 1, 1922 p. 174).

 

(...) the time of the presence of the Lord – viz, since 1878, when he took his great power as king (...) by the resurrection of the dead in Christ and the change of the living in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye; for “blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth [from 1878]; ... they rest from their labors [from the toil and weariness of labor], but their works follow with them.” They shall not sleep, but they shall be changed instantaneously from the human to a glorious spiritual body. (The Watchtower July 1, 1922 p. 207).

 

The reign since 1914 (teaching since 1922)

 

With the close of the (Jewish) year 1914, he whose right it is took unto himself his great power and began his reign; (The Watchtower May 1, 1922 p. 138).

 

The gentile times under the supervision of the god of this world ended August 1, 1914. Before that date it would not have been consistent for the Lord, the King of glory, to take unto himself his great power and reign. (The Watchtower November 1, 1922 p. 333).

 

In 1914, Jehovah established his Kingdom in the heavens under his appointed King, Jesus Christ. (The Watchtower January 15, 2010 p. 31).

 

Interestingly, although from 1922 the official doctrine claimed that the reign of Jesus started in 1914, the books teaching on the reign from 1878 were still printed in the years 1923-1927:

 

The Return of the Lord is here pictured as accomplished, the sleeping saints raised, and the full number called. This was all fulfilled in 1878. (Rev. 11:17.) At that time our Lord took unto Himself His great power and began His Reign. (The Finished Mystery 1917, 1926, 1927 p. 217).

 

Clarification since 1925

 

It was about 1925 that the faithful discerned the fact that the kingdom had begun and that Satan had been cast out of heaven and must now confine his operations to the earth. (Light 1930, Vol. 2, p. 309).

 

A real milestone was reached, therefore, in 1925, when The Watch Tower of March 1 featured the article “Birth of the Nation.” It presented an eye-opening study of Revelation chapter 12. The article set forth evidence that the Messianic Kingdom had been born—established—in 1914, that Christ had then begun to rule on his heavenly throne, and that thereafter Satan had been hurled from heaven down to the vicinity of the earth. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 pp. 138-139).

 

The period between parousia and the reign of Jesus

 

Period of 3.5 years (1874-1878)

 

As we saw in Chapter 2 of this book, the Bible Students spent decades pointing out that the year 1914 would be significant in fulfilling Bible prophecy. However, at that time they believed that Christ’s presence had begun in 1874, that he had begun to rule in heaven in 1878, and that the Kingdom would not be fully set up until October 1914. (God’s Kingdom Rules! 2014 p. 50).

 

Period of 40 years (1874-1914)

 

Jesus said that he would come again and receive his bride unto himself. (John 14:3) In 1874 he returned. In 1914 he took unto himself his great power and began to reign. (Revelation 11:18) (The Watchtower February 1, 1923 p. 36).

 

The same time (1914)

 

That 1914 marked the end of the Gentile Times and the establishment of the Kingdom of God in the heavens, as well as the time for Christ’s foretold presence. (The Watchtower April  1, 1986 p. 31).

 

“The renewal of all things” (Acts 3:21),

restitution

 

Since 1875

 

A careful study of times and seasons taught in Scripture convinced us that the Lord was due to be present in 1874, and other time teachings of the Word showed that in the spring of 1875 the restitution of all things was due to commence. (The Watchtower August 1883 p. 513, reprints).

 

Since 1874

 

The date of our Lord's second advent, and the dawn of the Times of Restitution, we have already shown to be A. D. 1874. We should expect, therefore, to see some marks of God's returning favor to Fleshly Israel shortly after A. D. 1874, as one of the first features of restitution work. (The Time is at Hand 1902, 1927 p. 211).

 

Calculations based on this cycle of years led to the conclusion that perhaps a greater Jubilee for all the earth had begun in the autumn of 1874, that evidently the Lord had returned in that year and was invisibly present, and that “the times of restitution of all things” had arrived.—Acts 3:19-21, KJ. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 pp. 631-632).

 

Since 1881

 

Does the question arise with any, what beginning of restitution work was marked by October 1881? We answer. Nothing occurred which the world could discern. We still walk by faith and not by sight. All the preparatory steps toward the great restitution work since the date 1881 are to be reckoned as droppings of the great shower of blessing which shall ere long refresh the whole earth. That which occurred in 1881, like that which occurred in 1874, can be discerned only by the eye of faith in the light of God's Word. It was the date of the close of the high-calling, and hence the date for the beginning of restitution blessings to mankind in general. (Thy Kingdom Come 1898, 1923 p. 367).

 

Since 1874

 

Prior to 1874 the Church for a long time had been in bondage to Babylonish systems. That year marked the second presence of our Lord (...) Restitution began in 1874. (The Watchtower April  1, 1924 p. 101).

 

Since 1925

 

(...) o about April 1, 1925, at which time we may expect the resurrection of the Ancient Worthies and the beginning of the blessing of all the families of the earth, living as well as dead. The last year of the 3,500 years will be itself a jubilee year witnessing the antitype, the great jubilee, of restitution. (Millions Now Living Will Never Die! 1920 p. 110).

 

Since 1874

 

The restitution or restoring of all things, of which Jesus spoke, and also that mentioned by the Apostle Peter, must begin with the restoring to the people of God the truths that had been hidden during the dark ages. That restitution work would progress during the manifestation of the second presence of Jesus Christ. It would be expected that the days of understanding of the prophecies would begin sometime after the manifestation of the Lord's second presence, and the understanding would continue to increase thereafter. The Scriptural proof is that the second presence of the Lord Jesus Christ began in 1874 A.D. (Prophecy 1929 p. 65).

 

Since 1878

 

The restitution or restoring of all things, of which Jesus spoke, and also the restitution mentioned by the Apostle Peter, must begin with the restoring to the people of God the truths that had been hidden during the “dark ages”. That restitution work would progress during the manifestation of the second presence of Jesus Christ. It would be expected that the days of understanding of the prophecies would begin sometime after the manifestation of the Lord’s second presence, and the understanding would continue to increase thereafter. The Scriptural proof is that the second presence of the Lord Jesus Christ is invisible and began approximately in the year eighteen hundred and seventy eight (A. D.). (The Watchtower September 15, 1931 p. 283).

 

Since 1918

 

The restoration must begin with the restoring of the truth to Jehovah’s covenant people, and the one great truth that they must learn after the coming of Christ Jesus to the temple is the meaning of the name of Jehovah, the Most High, and that his paramount purpose is the vindication of his name. (...) Its application is specifically from 1918 until all the kingdom class are for ever associated with the Lord Jesus Christ. (The Watchtower May 15, 1933 pp. 149-150).

 

Since 1914

 

Consequently, since the sending forth of Christ Jesus with Kingdom power in 1914 it is a time of restoration with respect to Jehovah’s people on earth. Not just a restoration of lost truths. No; but also a restoration of the Kingdom arrangement among his people, a restoration of the theocratic organization which recognizes and submits to the universal sovereignty of Jehovah God, the King of eternity. (The Watchtower December 1, 1951 p. 722).

 

To accomplish this, Jehovah will use the Messianic Kingdom, ruled by his Son, Jesus Christ. The evidence shows that this Kingdom began ruling in heaven in 1914.* (Matthew 24:3-14) *“The times of restoration of all things” began when the Messianic Kingdom was established with an heir of faithful King David on the throne. (Draw Close to Jehovah 2002, 2014 pp. 77-78).

 

Gathering to heaven

 

Gathering before Armageddon

 

Those of the original remnant who survived the experiences of World War I used to quote Psalm 50:5, “Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.” They used to think that only these saints were to be gathered or harvested before Armageddon, although it was timely for them since 1918 to herald the message, “Millions Now Living Will Never Die.” It was even suggested that this harvesting of such spiritual saints might end with the year 1924, after which the heavenly glorification of these anointed, spirit-begotten followers of Christ would take place. (See The Watchtower, January 1, 1924, ¶¶ 11-32.) (The Watchtower December 15, 1951 p. 749).

 

Gathering after Armageddon (teaching since 1928 or 1929)

 

Not until 1929 was it revealed to Jehovah’s witnesses that some of the remnant will go through the battle of Armageddon, and then that increased their efforts to declare the truth. (The Watchtower May 1, 1936 p. 136).

 

Only from the end of the year 1928 was the prospect opened up to the spiritual understanding of the anointed remnant of the “Israel of God” to survive the “war of the great day of God the Almighty” at Har–Magedon and enter here on earth into Jehovah’s righteous new order. (See The Watch Tower under date of December 15, 1928, page 376, paragraphs 35, 36.) (The Watchtower December 15, 1974 pp. 765-766).

 

This does not say that “the chosen ones” will all have been taken to heaven before the great tribulation, does it? Rather, it holds out the prospect to them, along with associates in the flesh, of surviving that great tribulation on earth. (Reasoning From the Scriptures 1989 p. 315).

 

Gathering before Armageddon (teaching since 2013)

 

Hence, it appears that all anointed ones who still remain on earth after the initial part of the great tribulation has passed will at some point be raised to heaven before the outbreak of the battle of Armageddon. This adjusts what was stated on this subject in “Questions From Readers” in The Watchtower of August 15, 1990, page 30. (The Watchtower July 15, 2013 p. 5 [or p. 8]).

 

How does this gathering of the anointed remnant relate to the event that will occur next, Armageddon? The timing of the gathering indicates that all anointed ones will be in heaven before God’s war of Armageddon begins. (God’s Kingdom Rules! 2014 p. 228).

 

The division into “sheep and goats”

(Matthew 25:31-46)

 

The division in the Millennium (teaching until 1923)

 

More accurate understanding of Jesus’ parables also resulted. An outstanding example involved the parable of the sheep and the goats, as recorded at Matthew 25:31-46. It had long been thought that this parable would be fulfilled during Christ’s 1,000-year reign. But then Jehovah’s Witnesses saw that it simply could not apply at that time. (The Watchtower December 1, 1981 p. 25).

 

In August 1923, at an assembly in Los Angeles, California, U.S.A., it was shown that Jesus’ parable of the sheep and the goats would be fulfilled before the Millennial Reign. (Matthew 25:31-40) (The Watchtower November 1, 1993 p. 12).

 

The division since 1918 (teaching until 1958)

 

The very next year, bright light shone on the parable of the sheep and the goats. (The Watchtower May 15, 1995 p. 18).

 

Since 1918 Christ Jesus on his throne at the temple has been judging the nations and dividing the people as “sheep” and “goats”. He pronounces favorable judgment upon the “sheep” and ushers them into life everlasting under the Kingdom. (“The Truth Shall Make You Free” 1943 p. 363).

See Riches 1936 p. 295.

 

Then in 1918 Jehovah, with his King-Son, appeared at his temple for judgment and commenced the separation of his “sheep” from the “goats.”—Rev. 12:7-9; Matt. 25:31-46. (The Watchtower March 15, 1958 p. 177).

 

The division since 1914 (teaching from 1958)

 

When does the King separate people? The King arrived in his glory A.D. 1914. Then he sat down “on his glorious throne.” So it is now, during this “time of the end,” that the King separates people. The King puts goats on his left. This means the goats are not in the King's favor. The King puts the sheep on his right. This means the sheep are in the King's favor. (From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained 1958 p. 200).

 

After his ascension to heaven, Jesus was to wait until the time came for God to give him Kingdom power. Then he would separate “the sheep” from “the goats.” (Matthew 25:31-33; Psalm 110:1, 2) That time came when “the last days” began in 1914. (The Watchtower April  1, 1993 p. 16).

 

We have long felt that the parable depicted Jesus’ sitting down as King in 1914 and since then making judgments—everlasting life for people proving to be like sheep, permanent death for the goats. (The Watchtower October 15, 1995 p. 19).

See The Watchtower July 15, 2013 p. 6.

 

The division in the future, in the great tribulation (teaching since October 15, 1995)

 

In other words, the parable points to the future when the Son of man will come in his glory. He will sit down to judge people then living. His judgment will be based on what they have manifested themselves to be. (...) Understanding the parable of the sheep and the goats in this way indicates that the rendering of judgment on the sheep and the goats is future. It will take place after “the tribulation” mentioned at Matthew 24:29, 30 breaks out and the Son of man ‘arrives in his glory.’ (Compare Mark 13:24-26.) Then, with the entire wicked system at its end, Jesus will hold court and render and execute judgment. (The Watchtower October 15, 1995 pp. 22-23).

 

Judgment Ahead! Note that Matthew 24:29-31 foretells that (1) the Son of man comes, (2) this coming will be with great glory, (3) the angels will be with him, and (4) all the tribes of the earth will see him. Jesus repeats these elements in the parable of the sheep and the goats. (Matthew 25:31-46) Hence, we can conclude that this parable deals with the time, after the opening outbreak of tribulation, when Jesus will come with his angels and sit down on his throne to judge. (The Watchtower May 1, 1999 p. 13).

See The Watchtower September 15, 2010 p. 28-29.

 

The millennial reign of Christ

 

The Millennium already present (since 1874, 1872 or 1873)

 

The Bible chronology herein presented shows that the six great thousand-year Days beginning with Adam are ended, and that the great Seventh Day, the thousand years of Christ’s Reign, began in 1873. (The Time is at Hand 1927 p. II, THE AUTHOR'S FOREWORD).

 

In this chapter we present the Bible evidence which indicates that six thousand years from the creation of Adam were complete with A. D. 1872; and hence that, since 1872 A. D., we are chronologically entered upon the seventh thousand or the Millennium – the forepart of which, the “Day of the Lord,” the “day of trouble,” is to witness the breaking into pieces of the kingdoms of this world and the establishment of the Kingdom of God under the whole heavens. (The Time is at Hand 1902, 1927 p. 33).

 

One who taught us through the Chronology that six thousand years from Adam's creation ended with A. D. 1872, and that the seventh thousand the Millennial age, began there; who through the Jubilee cycles taught us that the Lord would be present and the Times of Restitution begin in the fall of 1874; and who through the Times of the Gentiles showed us that we must not expect these things to be done in haste, but by seemingly natural means covering a period of forty years... (The Time is at Hand 1902, 1927 p. 242).

 

The Millennium (Rev. 20:3, 4, 7) began in 1874, with the Return of Christ. It was at about that time that Pastor Russell came to his fellow-Christians with the beginning of a better understanding of the Bible, “the vision of God.” (The Finished Mystery 1917, 1926 p. 386).

 

Some few have been calling attention to the fact that we have been in the Millennial dawn ever since 1874 (The Golden Age June 23, 1920 p. 604).

See The Watchtower December 1, 1916 p. 6013, reprints; The Watchtower November 15, 1904 p. 3460, reprints.

 

Millennium expected in specific years

 

1914 and the Millennium

 

That period, reckoned from the time of King Zedekiah's overthrow, ends with this year [1914]; for, according to the Scriptures the crown was taken away from King Zedekiah in 606 B.C. If so, with the close of the present year, Messiah should take to Himself His great power and begin the long-promised Millennial Reign of Glory, the opening or beginning of which, according to the Bible, will be a very dark hour – “a Time of Trouble such as was not since there was a nation,” “nor ever shall be” – the like again. (Pastor Russell’s Sermons 1917 pp. 416-417).

 

Those two generations of the Toutjian family, my parents and my grandparents, held great expectations for the year 1914. As early as 1880, The Watch Tower had publicized the date as marking the end of the “appointed times of the nations,” or Gentile Times. (Luke 21:24; compare Authorized Version.) Would 1914 bring the end of Satan’s rulership and the long-awaited Millennial Reign of Christ Jesus? As the date drew closer it became apparent that human expectations do not always coincide with Jehovah’s timetable. (The Watchtower February 15, 1984 pp. 22-23).

 

1914 A.D. End of the “seven times more,” or 2,520 years more.

1914 A.D. Beginning of the 1000-year day of the Second Adam.

2914 A.D. End of the 1000-year day of the Second Adam. (The Watchtower November 15, 1922 p. 356).

 

Fall 1914 A.D. End of Times of the Gentiles. (...)

Fall 2914 A.D. Dominion restored to mankind (The Finished Mystery 1917, 1926 p. 60).

 

The 1,000-year reign of Jesus Christ with his 144,000 joint heirs did not begin in 1914 at the inauguration of the “kingdom of the world ... the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ.” What did begin there for Jesus Christ was his official, royal “presence,” or parousia, about which his apostles had asked, according to Matthew 24:3. (The Watchtower March 1, 1978 p. 28).

 

1925 and the Millennium

 

The millennium sets in in the year 1925, human woe will then start to vanish, and disease and sickness, and death itself will be no more, was the message pronounced through a radio-transmitter by ex-Judge J F. Rutherford… (The Watchtower June 15, 1922 p. 180).

 

The year 1925 also held expectations for Jehovah’s servants. It was thought that a cycle of 70 typical Jubilees (70 × 50 years) from the time Israel entered the Promised Land would end in 1925 and mark the beginning of the great antitypical Jubilee, the Millennial Reign of Christ Jesus. It did not turn out that way. (The Watchtower February 15, 1984 pp. 23-24).

 

1975 and the Millennium

 

The Witnesses had long shared the belief that the Thousand Year Reign of Christ would follow after 6,000 years of human history. (Jehovah’s Witnesses—Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom 1993 p. 104).

 

However, Bible chronology which indicates that Adam was created in the fall of the year 4026 B.C.E. would bring us down to the year 1975 C.E. as the date marking 6,000 years of human history with yet 1,000 years to come for Christ’s Kingdom rule. So whatever the date for the end of this system, it is clear that the time left is reduced, with only approximately six years left until the end of 6,000 years of human history. (The Watchtower May 1, 1970 p. 273).

 

More recently, many Witnesses conjectured that events associated with the beginning of Christ’s Millennial Reign might start to take place in 1975. Their anticipation was based on the understanding that the seventh millennium of human history would begin then. (Awake! June 22, 1995 p. 9).

 

The generation of 1914 and the Millennium

 

Truly, the “pangs of distress” have brought much sorrow to mankind since ‘nation began to rise against nation’ in world war. (Mark 13:8) Yet Jesus assures us that, just as the approach of summer is to be recognized by the young leaves that the fig tree puts forth, so “these things happening” must soon reach their culmination with Christ’s coming to execute judgment. He says: “Truly I say to you that this generation will by no means pass away until all these things happen. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” (Mark 13:21-27, 30, 31) Moreover, the Revelation that Jesus gave, later, to the apostle John, assures us that 1,000 years of God’s kingdom by Christ will follow the passing away of the Devil and all his works. (The Watchtower October 15, 1979 p. 17).

 

(...) and Christ would rule in the midst of his enemies for a period not exceeding one generation. The complete end of wickedness would come by means of a “great tribulation,” culminating in the war at Har–Magedon and followed by Christ’s Thousand Year Reign of peace. (Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Twentieth Century 1989 p. 15).

 

The Millennium expected “soon”

 

The “slave” now represented the enthroned Messianic king, whose complete rule over the earth for a thousand years would soon begin! (The Watchtower February 1, 1975 p. 79).

 

I left a folder entitled ‘The New Millennium—What Does the Future Hold for You?’ Wasn’t it encouraging to read that soon the Millennial Reign of Christ Jesus will begin, bringing Paradise conditions to the earth? [Show illustrations of Paradise in Kingdom News No. 36.] (Our Kingdom Ministry No. 11, 2000 p. 4).

 

For 135 years, from its very first issue, The Watchtower has called on its readers to be awake to the fact that Satan’s wicked rulership will soon end and be replaced by the Thousand Year Reign of Jesus Christ.—Rev. 20:1-3, 6. (The Watchtower July 15, 2014 pp. 25-26).

 

The betrothal and marriage of the Lamb

 

The marriage since 1878

 

To our understanding the wise virgins have been entering into the marriage since the autumn of 1878, A. D., and are still entering in-passing beyond the vail, changed in a moment, “in the twinkling of an eye.” (1 Cor. 15:52.) Soon the entire first resurrection will be complete, the last member being changed. Then and there the door will be shut and no more will be permitted to enter. (The Watchtower October 1, 1906 pp. 3868-3869, reprints).

 

The door of opportunity still stands open to all the consecrated, robed by faith in the wedding garment of Christ’s righteousness; the message, “Behold, the Bridegroom!” is still going forth; the wise virgins are still going out to meet him, and entering in with him to the marriage; and the foolish have not yet returned with oil in their vessels. But, since “the King came in” (since 1878, the parallel in time to our Lord’s typical assumption of the office of King of the Jews—Matt. 21:1-13), the inspection of the guests and the testing of their appreciation of the wedding robe have been in progress. (Thy Kingdom Come 1898, 1923 p. 204).

 

The marriage in the future (teaching from ca. 1927)

 

When the members of the new creation are complete, this marriage of the Bridegroom and bride will be consummated. — Revelation 19:7; 21:2. (Creation 1927 p. 231).

 

Many centuries ago God made known the fact that he would prepare a bride for his beloved Son and that in his due time there should be a marriage in heaven. (Light 1930, Vol. 2, pp. 151-152).

 

The marriage since 1918 (teaching from ca. 1948)

 

The marriage of the Lamb began to be consummated in 1918 C.E. (The Watchtower September 15, 1966 p. 575).

See The Watchtower February 1, 1948 pp. 43-44.

 

Bible chronology and modern correspondencies indicate that the Bridegroom King came to the spiritual temple in the spring of 1918. Then he began to resurrect from the dead the faithful members of the spiritual bride and to unite them to himself in the heavenly Kingdom. As the expression of the remnant of the bride, pictured by the discreet virgins, Revelation 19:7 states: “Let us rejoice and be overjoyed, and let us give him the glory, because the marriage of the Lamb has arrived and his wife has prepared herself.” (The Watchtower February 1, 1985 p. 17).

 

The marriage in the future (teaching from ca. 1988)

 

Then, at God’s due time, the marriage of the Lamb can take place! The prophetic account in Psalm 45 describes the order of events. First the enthroned King rides forth to the conquest of his enemies. (Verses 1-7) Then the marriage is performed, the heavenly bride being attended on earth by her virgin companions, the great crowd. (Verses 8-15) Next the marriage becomes fruitful, with resurrected mankind being raised to perfection under oversight of “princes in all the earth.” (Verses 16, 17) What glorious blessings accompany the marriage of the Lamb! (Revelation—Its Grand Climax At Hand! 1988, 2006 p. 277).

 

Knowledge of Jesus about “the day and the hour” and the knowledge of the Watchtower Society

 

Knowledge of Jesus about “the day and the hour” from the moment of resurrection

 

Still others who fear his coming and who do not desire to see him say: ‘No one can possibly know the time. Why, therefore, should one spend his time in discussing the question?’ The last-named class, in support of their contention, cite the words of Jesus when he said: “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only”. (Matthew 24:36) It is assumed because he used these words that no one would ever know except Jehovah. (...) He did not say that no one would ever know of the hour or the day of his coming. (...) When Jesus arose from the dead he said: “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth”. (Matthew 28:18) He must have, known then the time of his coming, because now as the creature divine everything was committed into his hands for the outworking of God's plan. At the time of his appearing surely the angels of heaven would know about it; and the day must come when the watchers would know. (The Harp of God 1921 pp. 224-225; 1928 pp. 229-230).

See Our Lord’s Return 1925 p. 18.

 

Knowledge of Jesus since 1914

 

Jesus knows “the day and the hour”

 

His presence has already extended over 12,706 days, but sometime there will come a day. We do not know the day nor do we know the hour (...) Back there not even Jesus himself knew. Evidently he knows now. – Matt. 24:35, 36; Mark 13:31, 32. (The Watchtower July 15, 1949 p. 219).

 

When on earth Jesus, like Noah, confessed that he did not know the day or the hour when that which corresponds with the flood would break out, but now in his heavenly contact with God he knows. (The Watchtower November 15, 1951 p. 681).

 

Jesus will be notified of “the date and time”

 

Of course, Jesus did not say that no one ever would know. To the extent that it would be necessary for Jesus, some time in the future, to know the starting time for Armageddon so as to muster his heavenly armies for that battle, he no doubt will be advised. (The Watchtower April  1, 1963 p. 223).

 

Jesus probably knows “the day and the hour”

 

Does Jesus Christ know when the “great tribulation” will begin? He may, but we cannot say definitely that he does. (The Watchtower December 15, 1975 p. 768).

 

Does Jesus now know the timing of Armageddon? It seems quite reasonable to believe that he does. (...) Since Jesus has now been empowered as the one to conquer in God’s name, it seems reasonable that his Father has told him when the end will come, when he will “complete his conquest.” (The Watchtower August 1, 1996 pp. 30-31).

 

Watchtower Society and the knowledge of “the day and the hour”

 

“The day and the hour” of Jesus’ return is a past event – the time is known

 

Suppose we admit, for the sake of the argument, that no man knows the day nor hour of the Lord's appearing. What difference does that make? The hour and the day have already passed. He is here! And let all truly consecrated Christians rejoice. “But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need, that I write unto you,” says Paul. (1 Thessalonians 5:1) The times and seasons are clearly established by the overwhelming proof that the Lord is now present. (The Harp of God 1921, 1927 p. 250; 1928 p. 257).

 

“The day and the hour” – unknown

 

We therefore cannot construe Genesis 7:4 to mean that sometime in the future, yet well before Armageddon, Jehovah God will advise his people on earth as to when Armageddon will begin. Besides, Jesus long ago said about it: “Concerning that day and hour nobody knows, neither the angels of the heavens nor the Son, but only the Father.”—Matt. 24:36. Of course, Jesus did not say that no one ever would know. (The Watchtower April  1, 1963 p. 223).

 

“The day and the hour” can be known and is known

 

Those of the New World society are awake. They will know when Armageddon is to begin. (From Paradise Lost to Paradise Regained 1958 p. 206).

 

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”! Even if one cannot see beyond 1975, is this any reason to be less active? The apostles could not see even this far; they knew nothing about 1975. (The Watchtower August 15, 1968 pp. 500-501).

 

How close we may exactly be to the end of the present divisive system of things cannot be predicted, as Jesus reported that even he did not know the day or the hour at the time of his earthly ministry. (Matt. 24:36) However, Bible chronology which indicates that Adam was created in the fall of the year 4026 B.C.E. would bring us down to the year 1975 C.E. as the date marking 6,000 years of human history with yet 1,000 years to come for Christ’s Kingdom rule. So whatever the date for the end of this system, it is clear that the time left is reduced, with only approximately six years left until the end of 6,000 years of human history. (1 Cor. 7:29) This corroborates the understanding of Jesus’ words that the generation alive in 1914 with the outbreak of World War I would not pass away until the end comes. Only a short time, then, remains for persons who love righteousness to show God that they want to be in his “ark” of protection and live to see the blessings of the new system of things. (The Watchtower May 1, 1970 p. 273).

 

We were expecting that 6,000 years of man’s existence would be reached in 1975. Would this date bring us to the start of Christ’s Millennial Reign? That possibility intrigued us. Now we can look back on that year and appreciate that the words of Jesus at Matthew 24:36 do not allow us to fix a date for the end. He stated: “Concerning that day and hour nobody knows, neither the angels of the heavens nor the Son, but only the Father.” (The Watchtower February 15, 1984 p. 25).

 

“The day and the hour” unknown, but in the past the date was calculated by the Watchtower Society

 

As Jesus himself stated so plainly: “Concerning that day and hour nobody knows.” (Matt. 24:36) Always there is the need to pay strict attention to the apostle Paul’s counsel: “Do not go beyond the things that are written.”—1 Cor. 4:6. Although many of Jehovah’s Witnesses have had to adjust their views in this matter, can we deny that we are in the “time of the end”? Surely the evidence of the impending end of this system grows daily... (The Watchtower July 1, 1979 p. 29).

 

Of course, well-meaning, faithful Christians in the past have sincerely tried to predict when the end would come. Yet, Jesus’ caution has been proved true time and time again: “Concerning that day and hour nobody knows, neither the angels of the heavens nor the Son, but only the Father.”—Matthew 24:36. (The Watchtower June 1, 1993 p. 15).

 

It must be acknowledged that we have not always taken Jesus’ words in that sense. There is a tendency for imperfect humans to want to be specific about the date when the end will come. Recall that even the apostles sought more specifics, asking: “Lord, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?”—Acts 1:6. With similar sincere intentions, God’s servants in modern times have tried to derive from what Jesus said about “generation” some clear time element calculated from 1914. For instance, one line of reasoning has been that a generation can be 70 or 80 years, made up of people old enough to grasp the significance of the first world war and other developments; thus we can calculate more or less how near the end is. However well-meaning such thinking was, did it comply with the advice Jesus went on to give? Jesus said: “Concerning that day and hour nobody knows, neither the angels of the heavens nor the Son, but only the Father. . . . Keep on the watch, therefore, because you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.” (The Watchtower June 1, 1997 p. 28).

 

“The day and the time” are known – 4/5 October 1914

 

When did that one with the “legal right” come and receive the kingdom from Jehovah the great Theocrat? It was in 1914 C.E., at the end of the Gentile Times about October 4/5 (Tishri 15). Then Jehovah enthroned his Son Jesus Christ in the “heavenly Jerusalem.” (Paradise Restored to Mankind—By Theocracy! 1972 p. 331).

 

(...) parousia of Christ in Kingdom power began first about October 4/5, 1914 C.E. (Man`s Salvation out of World Distress at Hand! 1975 p. 287).

 

The remaining 1,914 years stretch from then to 1914 C.E. Thus, the “seven times,” or 2,520 years, ended by Tishri 15, or October 4/5, 1914 C.E. In that year “the appointed times of the nations” were fulfilled, and God gave rulership to “the lowliest one of mankind”—Jesus Christ... (Pay Attention to Daniel’s Prophecy! 1999 p. 97).

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Opracował: Piotr Andryszczak
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