Watchtower Reworks the 6000-year Formula

One would think that such prophetic failures would bring an end to speculative date-setting, but it did not. The fact is that some forty-years later, Jehovah’s Witnesses leaders used the 6,000-year theory in a formula that began with the year of creation, 4026 B.C.E., to arrive at the year 1975.

An example of what was said about 1975 is found in the 1966 Witness publication, Life Everlasting in Freedom of the Sons of God:

According to this trustworthy Bible chronology 6000-years from man’s creation will end in 1975, and the seventh period of a thousand years of human history will begin in the fall of 1975 C.E. So 6,000 years of man’s existence on earth will soon be up, yes, within this generation. So in not many years … we are reaching what Jehovah God could view as the seventh day of man’s existence. … It would not be by mere chance or accident … for the reign of Jesus Christ … to run parallel with the seventh millennium of man’s existence. … Shortly, within our own generation, the symbolical trumpet will be sounded by diving power, proclaiming liberty in the land to all its inhabitants… The Long awaited time is at hand.

Did the Witnesses consider their organization’s calculations to be foolproof? Richard Singelenberg, in his article, “It Separated the Wheat from the Chaff,” observed:

“Let it be clear from the outset that the [Watchtower] Society in its literature never proclaimed flat-out that 1975 would be the definite end of this world and its population. Nevertheless, the formulations from 1966 onward on what might happen in that year, the sense of urgency on a probable apocalyptic event, later followed by a possibility of a cataclysm, had a startling impact on the proselytizing activities of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.”

Singelenberg’s observations were on target. The 1975 prediction, although cautious, became an emotional stimulant for the Witnesses. Although there was an indefinite feature to the calculation, just like in Russell’s assertions, the possibility was exciting to think about and urgent enough to increase proselytizing activities. With constant reminders in Witness literature about the nearness of the “new order,” Witnesses sold their homes, property and businesses and went into proselytizing full-time. When the forecast of 1975 came and went, many Witnesses expressed their disappointment and chagrin especially at the reaction of their leaders to blame the rank and file for misreading the Bible’s premises just like Rutherford did in the 1925 failure. It took four years before an expression of regret for their error came from those responsible for the failed prophecy. In confidence, I was told by a senior writer at the Witnesses corporate headquarters that over 500,000 people left the religion because of the religious movement’s 1975 prophecy.


Comments

Watchtower Reworks the 6000-year Formula — 1 Comment

  1. Is so sad to know that the most beautiful years of our life we speeded to follow some humans who claimed that they are the direct channel from God. I was baptized 1974 and till 1996 I was very dedicated. After that time my life has be changed and since that time I am in and out. Now I am on my way out. Two stories have impressed me, was the Crisis of Conscience, and Barbara Anderson’s story. I make the decision from now on I will stay away from any religion and cult. I like to thank Barbara for her courage to step forward and share with people the truth. Personally I know most of the things Barbara wrote were right. But I learned things which were impossible for any witnesses to know.

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