Did the Last Days Begin in 1914?

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Image by Nicole Nile. Adapted for Redemption of Humanity. Used under licence.

Last edited on 5/Apr/2021

The Bible’s Answer

Introduction

According to an official Jehovah’s Witness Watchtower article published in August 2015, titled “Watch Your Associations in These Last Days”, the following was said:

1. In what time period are we now living? WE ARE living in very difficult times. The Bible calls the era that began in 1914 “the last days.” These “critical times hard to deal with” are marked by conditions that are far worse than any experienced by mankind prior to that climactic year. (2 Tim. 3:1-5) Moreover, the world will continue to deteriorate, for Bible prophecy foretold that “wicked men and impostors will advance from bad to worse.”—2 Tim. 3:13.¹

According to the Watchtower Society, the “last days” began in the year 1914, during which they claim Christ was enthroned and returned to the earth invisibly*. But was the year 1914 actually when the last days began?

When the Last Days Began

The Bible answers this for us:

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. (Hebrews 1:1–2)

This Bible passage makes it clear that the “last days” began not in 1914, but 2,000 years ago when Jesus Christ walked the earth. In biblical usage, the “last days” refer to the Messianic era, which began with Christ’s first coming, and will finish when he comes again to judge the living at the dead, which could happen at any moment now (James 5:7–9John 6:4012:48). This is why the author of Hebrews wrote that Jesus came to the earth “at the end of the ages”, i.e. the last days, to put away sin by his sacrifice on the cross:

But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. (Hebrews 9:26)

This is also why the apostle Peter wrote “The end of all things is at hand” (1 Peter 4:7) 2,000 years ago, another clear reference to the fact that the New Testament Christians were also living in the last days. Furthermore, after the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Christians on the Day of Pentecost, Peter again said:

Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel: 17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; 18 even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy. (Acts 2:14–21)

Here, we clearly see that in the Scripture which Peter quoted, the prophet Joel taught that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit would happen “in the last days”, and that this was fulfilled 2,000 years ago on the Day of Pentecost. This again clearly teaches that the last days began 2,000 years ago.

When the Greatest Era of Tribulation Took Place

In addition, the Watch Tower Society said that the year 1914 marked the beginning of conditions “far worse than any experienced by mankind prior to that climactic year.” Yet the Lord Jesus said:

But when you see the abomination of desolation standing where he ought not to be (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 15 Let the one who is on the housetop not go down, nor enter his house, to take anything out, 16 and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. 17 And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! 18 Pray that it may not happen in winter. 19 For in those days there will be such tribulation as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, and never will be. (Mark 13:14–19) (See also Matthew 24:15–21)

Jesus’ own words prove that the greatest era of tribulation began when “the abomination of desolation” took place, which was when the temple in Jerusalem was desecrated and destroyed by the Romans 2,000 years ago in 70 AD (See Daniel 9:26–27Mark 13:1–5 and Luke 21:20–24). In fact, the Watch Tower Society even misquoted 2 Timothy 2:1–5 to support their teaching that the last days began in 1914, even though the passage says no such thing:

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. 2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. (2 Timothy 2:1–5)

Conclusion

Because the Watch Tower Society teaches that the last days began in 1914, even though the Bible so clearly teaches that they actually began in the first century 2,000 years ago, the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Watch Tower Society are therefore unbiblical and false prophets. Furthermore, because an honest reading of the above Scriptures would never lead anyone to the conclusion that the last days began in 1914, this shows that this teaching is a deliberate twisting of the Scriptures. It therefore makes one wonder: since they have mishandled such a clear and simple Bible teaching, how many more Bible teachings have they mishandled?

Notes

* The Bible refutes the notion that Jesus was only enthroned in 1914 because it teaches that he has always been reigning as King, before (Zechariah 9:9John 12:15John 17:5), during (Matthew 2:2John 1:49; John 18:36–37), and after his earthly ministry (1 Corinthians 15:25; Colossians 3:1; Revelation 17:14). It also teaches that he will continue to reign as King for all eternity (Hebrews 1:8). The Bible also refutes the belief that Jesus returned invisibly in 1914, because Jesus said that when he returns, everyone will see him and know about it (Matthew 24:23–27; Matthew 24:29–31), and that on that day he will judge the world (Matthew 25:31–32). He also taught that no one can know the day or hour of when he will come again (Mark 13:32–37Matthew 24:36), and that no one will expect it (Matthew 24:44, 48–50; Luke 12:39–40).

References

1. Watch Your Associations in These Last Days, The Watchtower—Study Edition  |  August 2015, www.jw.org, last accessed on 17 Dec 2019, <https://www.jw.org/en/library/magazines/w20150815/watch-associations-last-days/#?insight[search_id]=28dffc11-f547-4d9d-b290-b4881885fc33&insight[search_result_index]=92>

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