By the time 1925 rolled in, Rutherford’s backpedaling about that date was in high gear when he said in the February 15, 1925 Watch Tower:
“No one may safely predict exactly what will take place, even within the next year; but God has given general indications in his Word of many things which are yet to come to pass. He has not specified exactly their chronological order. Therefore let us first note some of the prophecies which are still unfulfilled.”
Rutherford then lists eight unfulfilled prophecies. He concludes the paragraph by saying,
“All the prophecies relating to the Millennial Age are yet to be fulfilled.”
In this same article, Rutherford plays the “blame” game.
It seems to be a weakness of many Bible Students that if they locate a future date in the Bible, immediately they center as many prophecies upon that date as possible. This has been the cause of many siftings in the past. As far as we recall, all the dates foreseen were correct. The difficulty was that the friends inflated their imaginations beyond reason; and that when their imaginations burst asunder, they were inclined to throw away everything. No doubt Mr. Miller was correct in locating 1844 as a Bible date. But he expected too much. 1874 was also easily located. 1878 was also a marked date, and one which caused Brother Russell a severe trial until he corrected his expectations, as noted in his “Harvest Siftings”, of April, 1894, now out of print. Many can remember how “absolutely” sure some were about 1914. No doubt the Lord was pleased with the zeal manifested by his servants; but did they have a scriptural basis for all the expected to come to pass that year? Let us be cautious, therefore, about predicting particulars. The Lord will make them clear as fast as they become meat in due season. However, we feel sure that he will not chide us if we earnestly and reverently search for what may be revealed, watching also the facts about us.
With that statement, the case was closed. It must have been comforting to the Bible Students to know that the Lord was not going to chide them for their over-eagerness in expecting something big to happen in 1925. But what must they have thought when their leader, Joseph F. Rutherford did just that?