Tenet 14 – Jesus Christ is never returning personally or bodily to the earth. He became invisibly present in a spiritual, figurative sense in 1914, when he began ruling as King in heaven. wit.irr.org
After many failed prophecies, Watchtower publications contained the following:
The excerpts are taken from The Failed Prophecies of The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (They list many more of Watchtower ‘s prophecies than I copy here. Visit that site to see all)
1879 “Christ came in the character of a Bridegroom in 1874…. at the beginning of the Gospel harvest.” (Watchtower, Oct 1879, p. 4)
1880 “We need not here repeat the evidences that the “seventh trump” began its sounding A.D., 1840, and will continue until the end of the time of trouble, and the end of “The times of the Gentiles,” A.D., 1914, and that it is the trouble of this “Great day,” which is here symbolically called the voice of the Archangel when he begins the deliverance of fleshly Israel. “At that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince (Archangel) which standeth for the children of thy people and there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation.” Dan. xii. 1. Nor will we here, again present the conclusive Bible proof that our Lord came for his Bride in 1874, and has an unseen work as Reaper of the first-fruits of this Gospel Age. (Zion’s Watchtower November, 1880 p. 1)
1903 “When Uranus and Jupiter meet in the humane sign of Aquarius in 1914, the long-promised era will have made a fair start in the work of setting man free to work out his own salvation, and will insure the ultimate realization of dreams and ideals of all poets and sages in history.” (Watchtower, May 1, 1903, p. 130-131; p3184 Reprints)
1904 “According to our expectations the stress of the great time of trouble will be on us soon, somewhere between 1910 and 1912, culminating with the end of the ‘Times of the Gentiles,’ October, 1914.” (The New Creation, Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 6, p. 579, 1904)
1908 “In view of this strong Bible evidence concerning the Times of the Gentiles, we consider it an established truth that the final end of the kingdoms of this world, and the full establishment of the Kingdom of God, will be accomplished at the end of A. D. 1914.” (The Time Is At Hand; 1889; 1908 ed.; p. 99)
1914 came and went without the Kingdom of God being accomplished. This is how they explained the failed prophecies from 1903,1904, and 1908…
1914 “Even if the time of our change should not come within ten years, what more should we ask? Are we not a blessed, happy people? Is not our God faithful? If anyone knows anything better, let him take it. If any of you ever find anything better, we hope you will tell us.” (Watchtower, Dec 15, 1914, p. 376.)
1914 “Studying God’s Word, we have measured the 2520 years, the seven symbolic times, from that year 606 B.C. and have found that it reached down to October, 1914, as nearly as we were able to reckon. We did not say positively that this would be the year.” (Watchtower, November 1, 1914, p. 325)
1914 “While it’s possible that Armageddon may begin next Spring, yet this purely speculation to attempt to say just when. We see, however, that there are parallels between the close of the Jewish age and this Gospel age. These parallels seem to point to the year just before us part particularly the early months.” (Watchtower Reprints, VI, Sept 1, 1914, p. 5527)
1914 “There is absolutely no ground for Bible students to question that the consummation of this Gospel age is now even at the door, and that it will end as the Scriptures foretell in a great time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation. We see the participants in this great crisis banding themselves together… The great crisis, the great clash, symbolically represented as a fire, that will consume the ecclesiastical heavens and the social earth, is very near.” (Watchtower Reprints, VI, May 1, 1914, p. 5450)
1915 “In view of this strong Bible evidence concerning the Times of the Gentiles, we consider it an established truth that the final end of the kingdoms of this world, and the full establishment of the kingdom of God, will be accomplished near the end of A.D. 1915. (The Time Is At Hand, 1915 edition, p. 99)
1918 “Therefore we may confidently expect that 1925 will mark the return of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the faithful prophets of old, particularly those named by the Apostle in Hebrews 11, to the condition of human perfection.” (Millions Now Living Will Never Die, p. 89)
In 1929, this was put out by Watchtower in Prophecy publication.
1929 ‘If these prophesies have not been fulfilled, and if all possibility of fulfilment is past, then these prophets are proven false.’ (Prophecy, 1929, p 22)
With a declaration such as that, would not the entire organization crumble if all the above prophecies were shown to be inaccurate? Therefore, Watchtower began to teach that Christ actually returned in 1914 and began to reign spiritually on earth through their organization. This teaching continues today. I’m not sure how they deal with the following verses from the Holy Bible.
THE BIBLE TEACHES
“Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” Acts 1:11
Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Matthew 24:44
For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of His Father, and then He will repay each person according to what he has done. Matthew 16:27
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. John 14:1-3
Hebrews 9:28 – So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation.
Titus 2:13 – Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
Revelation 1:7 – 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. Even so, Amen.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientists to see that Watchtower has been wrong repeatedly. Why choose to believe something that clearly contradicts what the Bible teaches? I can’t answer that. I do know that for those who join the “organization,” these teachings prevent them from looking for the blessed hope of His appearing as we are instructed to do. It is good to remember Christ’s words and know that every eye will see Him upon His return:
Matthew 24: 23 At that time, if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There He is,’ do not believe it. 24 For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders that would deceive even the elect, if that were possible. 25 See, I have told you in advance.
Also see (Mark 13:24-27; Luke 21:25-28)
26 So if they tell you, ‘There He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.