JW’s, how did Russell determine 1874 and 1914 as the dates Christ began his "invisible presence"?

Please don't try saying this is old news and not applicable to today as 1914 is still your current teaching.....

Until about 1930 the Watchtower Society taught that the "invisible presence" of Jesus Christ began in the year 1874.

In 1930, the Watchtower, still under Rutherford's authoritarian direction, continued to harden its position and attempt to rewrite its history. It switched the date for Christ's "invisible presence" from 1874 to 1914.

As it is not like all the biblical teachings they keep getting “New Light” to emend their incorrect understanding, this was supposed to be an actual event that did happen in 1874.

How were they wrong about an actual event they told us did occur in 1874?

Since 1930, they have employed the date of 1914 as the date Christ started His "invisible presence", how can we be sure that this "invisible presence" is the correct "invisible presence" as the 1874 "invisible presence" was apparently not correct?

How do they know that Christ did start His "invisible presence" in 1974 that is now an “Old Truth” [gotta love that phrase, an incorrect teaching called an “Old truth”] and then know He did not start His "invisible presence" until 1914?

Why did they not know until 1930 that it was 1914 and not 1874 that Christ started His "invisible presence"?

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  • Anonymous
    7 years ago
    Best Answer

    Russell said 1874 was the date of Christ's invisible 'presence' but he never said that about 1914! However, it's important to acknowledge that he DID specify 1914 as an important date, based upon his calculations for 1874. He based his understanding on the 70 weeks of Daniel chapter 9. At the time Russell did his calculations, the Adventists had already produced their interpretations, which differed with the dates but agreed with the return of Christ being invisible.

    Russell agreed in all important respects with Adventist Uriah Smith (who wrote a massive book on the subject). Russell took 454 BC as the date of Artaxerxes to rebuild Jerusalem as the starting point for his calculations, however. This led him to say that Jesus' ministry began in AD 29 (the end of the 69th week) and his crucifixion occurred at the mid-point of the 70th week. For 7 years following the start of Jesus' ministry the Covenant with the Jewish nation remained in force. Its end was three and a half years after Jesus' death, marked by the conversion of Cornelius in AD 36.

    Russell's next application of the year-for-a-day rule showed the influence of William Miller and John Aquila Brown, who preceded him. Russell interpreted Leviticus 26:27-33 as 2,520 years beginning with the ending of the typical Kingdom of God and the consequent lease of universal dominion to Gentile governments, as in Ezekiel 21:25-27. He said the times of the Gentiles (Luke 21:24) began to count from 606 BC. That date is not attested by historical scholarship. But it was chosen from the date of the restoration during the first year of Cyrus, 536 BC, on the assumption that Jerusalem had remained desolate for 70 years during the exile (2 Chronicles 36:21). This led him to declare the 'times of the Gentiles' would extend to AD 1914.

    However, Russell believed that the Kingdom of God was established in heaven in 1874! The end of the 'times of the Gentiles' was, for him, the due date for the establishment of the kingdom on the earth, an event that would be intimately connected with the fortunes o the Jewish nation. Let me quote from Russell's 1889 book:

    "The world is witness to the fact that Israel's punishment under the dominion of the Gentiles has been continuous since BC 606, that it still continues, and that there is no reason to expect their national reorganisation sooner than AD 1914, the limit of their 'seven times' - 2,520 years. But as this long period of their national chastisement draws near its close, we can see marked indications that the barren fig tree [Israel] is about to put forth, showing that the winter time of evil is closing, and the Millennial summer approaching, which will fully restore them to their promised inheritance and national independence."

    Russell believed that, in so far as the 'times of the Gentiles' were a punishment upon the Jewish people, their ending would be marked by the return of the Jews to Palestine. The government they would establish would be the beginning of the Kingdom of God on earth and would rapidly replace all other national governments (Daniel 2:44).

    So, when 1914 did NOT bring Israel to the fore, as expected, and Russell died in 1916, the new leadership quickly 'readjusted' what Russell had said about 1914, making it look as if he had predicted Jesus' invisible second 'presence' for 1914, and not 1874! In "Time of the Gentiles", the 1911 edition (page 101) spoke of God's Kingdom already begun at AD 1878, and that Armageddon, "is already commenced" and would END in AD 1914 with the complete overthrow of earth's present rulership. But in post 1914 editions of this book they changed that to "which commenced in AD 1914", instead of "is already commenced" (from 1974)! One word changed and a whole new teaching about 1914 spawned! And a bit later, they completely dropped all ideas about the nation of Israel - shortly before Israel returned to their promised land!

    I hope that helps you see that Russell did calculate 1914 long before 1914, but that his interpretation about its significance was totally different to what the JWs believed after his death.

    Source(s): The Time is at Hand, page 92, published in 1889, written by Russell. See also page 97. Counting the Days to Armageddon – JWs and the Second Presence of Christ, chapter 5, by Robert Crompton, James Clarke & Co 1996.
  • 7 years ago

    Russell never taught Christ began his invisible presence (Parousia) in 1914. He expected the Church to be complete in 1914.

    You mention above that the switch was done in 1930--Russell died in 1916.

    He based his conclusion on Chronology. It is clearly marked out in his second volume the Time is at Hand.

    By taking all the Chronology given in Genesis, the 40 years in the wilderness, the 6 years of Joshua, then the period of the Judges, Kings and so forth. He counted six thousand years from the creation of Adam.

    Also allowing that the Day with the Lord is a thousand years, otherwise called the Millennium, that would mean the Parousia would have to be a thousand years long.

    Also understanding that Jesus' coming is not a singular 24 hour event, you are left with the task of figuring out when certain events happen.

    He explains the Manner and object of Christ's return in a volume as well.

    There are three words used to describe Jesus' second Advent. Parousia, Epiphania and Apokalupsis.

    There are scriptures that say Christ will come like a thief and others that say every eye will see him. That must be harmonized, and I know of no other Christian group that looks at the different words use nor tries to harmonize these seeming contradictions.

    Parousia covers the entire coming and this is the word used in Matt. 24 when he describes the events that will be going on, he also uses the other words.

    Russell erroneously taught a 40 year harvest, by making parallels with the end of the Jewish Age, and that he later admits was false reasoning. That is why he thought the Church would be gone in 1914, he based them on these parallels. Like I said, he admits he had no basis for doing it.

    The Epiphania has not yet happened. This occurs when the Church (Little Flock) is complete. This won't happen until the hour of power of the beast (Catholic Church--which is a church/state union)

    The Apokalupsis is what the world sees, it is the inauguration of the Kingdom on the earth. Jude says he comes with myriads of his angels (this is the Bride of Christ--elsewhere seen in Rev. on white horses following behind him.)

    I know the that Witnesses don't allow anyone to read Russell's works, and that they keep them under lock and key, but they are readily available on the internet and in printed form for anyone who is interested in what he really taught.

    I have read Russell's works, I believe a lot of it. I am also not so blind that I cannot see he drew some wrong conclusions---like we all do, so if we want to label someone who in all sincerity misinterpreted the scriptures as a false prophet, then we better start calling ourselves one too, because I know I don't have all the Truth.

    Hind sight is 20-20, but if we are not looking ahead at the prophecies that God has given us, because we are afraid or have no interested in them, we are spiritually blind and God has no use for us. We are to watch and pray and to try to understand the prophecies.

  • Linda
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    Sasi is mostly correct. You must remember however that when the "bible students" got together in the late 1800's, they were not Jehovah's witnesses. They were Catholics, Baptists, Lutherans, etc. They celebrated Christmas, said bless you when someone sneezed and exchanged birthday presents.

    The bible teaches that the light would grow brighter as the end approached and indeed it has.

    The early brothers were wrong to predict the end of the world just as the early apostles were wrong to preach that it was coming in their lifetime. God did not correct them because the point they were making was that you must turn to God or be lost. While the end of the world might be 10,000 years away - the end of YOU might be tomorrow.

    Some of the early dates were based on the 6000 years of man's existance. This cannot be exactly calculated because it starts with Eve and not Adam. We do not know how long he was alone before she was created.

    The 1914 date is calculated from the time line given in the bible and the signs that Jesus gave occurred exactly at that time. If you do not want to recognize them, that is up to you.

    It would be advisable, instead of nitpicking about someone else's mistakes to turn your attention to your own behavior and your appearance in the sight of God. Only those who are acceptable to Him will survive Armageddon and while we do not know the day or hour it is coming, we know full well it is coming soon.

    Source(s): JW
  • Rick G
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    Brother Russell spoke of how and who brought up the year 1974, and it is recorded in one of our publications.

    Time Prophecies and the Presence of the Lord

    One morning in January 1876, 23-year-old Russell received a copy of a religious periodical called Herald of the Morning. From the picture on the cover, he could see that it was identified with Adventism. The editor, Nelson H. Barbour, of Rochester, New York, believed that the object of Christ’s return was not to destroy the families of the earth but to bless them and that his coming would be not in the flesh but as a spirit. Why, this was in agreement with what Russell and his associates in Allegheny had believed for some time! Curiously, though, Barbour believed from Biblical time-prophecies that Christ was already present (invisibly) and that the harvest work of gathering “the wheat” (true Christians making up the Kingdom class) was already due.—Matt., chap. 13.

    Russell had shied away from Biblical time prophecies. Now, however, he wondered: “Could it be that the time prophecies which I had so long despised, because of their misuse by Adventists, were really meant to indicate when the Lord would be invisibly present to set up his Kingdom?” With his insatiable thirst for Scriptural truth, Russell had to learn more. So he arranged to meet with Barbour in Philadelphia. This meeting confirmed their agreement on a number of Bible teachings and provided an opportunity for them to exchange views. “When we first met,” Russell later stated, “he had much to learn from me on the fulness of restitution based upon the sufficiency of the ransom given for all, as I had much to learn from him concerning time.” Barbour succeeded in convincing Russell that Christ’s invisible presence had begun in 1874.

    *** jv chap. 10 p. 133 Growing in Accurate Knowledge of the Truth ***

    This was influenced by the belief that the seventh millennium of human history had begun in 1873 and that a period of divine disfavor (of equal length to a former period considered to be one of favor) upon natural Israel would end in 1878. The chronology was flawed because of relying on an inaccurate rendering of Acts 13:20 in the King James Version, belief that there was a transcription error at 1 Kings 6:1, and failure to take into account Biblical synchronisms in the dating of reigns of the kings of Judah and of Israel. A clearer understanding of Biblical chronology was published in 1943, in the book “The Truth Shall Make You Free,” and it was then refined the following year in the book “The Kingdom Is at Hand,” as well as in later publications.

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  • Mr. E
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    I'm still looking for biblical support for the "invisible" return of Christ. From what I've read "every eye shall see" His return.

  • /\
    Lv 7
    7 years ago

    Ah, the things they come up with

    to explain their failed prophecies.

    Always good for a chuckle or two..

    Haha, *Jesus' invisible second 'presence'.*

    Is that like 'double secret probation'?

  • 7 years ago

    Try speaking to those old JW mamas, they are still as stubborn as ever! Not even growing wiser. No Holy Spirit there!

  • 7 years ago

    Do you really think an organisation that has "re-invented" Christianity will give you a coherent, unbiased, logical, and honest answer ?

  • They're trolls.

  • 7 years ago

    ''The Watchtower'' is a cult

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