Did these Witness “Prophecies” Fail?


Did these Witness “Prophecies” Fail?

Richard Hollerman

How important is it that we speak the truth?  How serious is it that we lie?  What if a person speaks or promotes prophecies that are not true—and that fail to be fulfilled?  Notice the following warnings on false witnessing—which would include witnessing to a false prophecy:

  •   “A trustworthy witness will not lie, but a false witness utters lies” (Proverbs 14:5).


    “The LORD [Yahweh] hates . . . a false witness who utters lies” (Proverbs 6:16, 19).

  • “’The prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’ “You may say in your heart, ‘How will we know the word which the LORD [Yahweh] has not spoken?’ When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD [Yahweh], if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD [Yahweh] has not spoken.  The prophet has spoken it presumptuously.”


  • “He who speaks truth tells what is right, but a false witness deceit” (Proverbs 12:17).


  • “A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who tells lies will not escape” (Proverbs 19:5).


  • “A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who tells lies will perish” (Proverbs 19:9).


  • “A false witness will perish, but the man who listens to the truth will speak forever” (Proverbs 21:28).


  • “. . . all liars, their part will be in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).

How can we apply these warnings to our day?  For more than a century, certain prophecies were uttered or written but failed to be fulfilled.  This began with Charles Taze Russell’s prophecies in the nineteenth century and continued through contemporary people who call themselves, “Jehovah’s Witnesses.”

The question needs to be answered: Are the prophecies uttered by members of this group true—or have they failed?  If they have failed, how does God view the false prophecies and the false witnesses who promoted them?

1889—Charles Taze Russell (The Time is at Hand) stated that the final end of the kingdoms of the world and the establishment of the kingdom of God would occur in 1914.  “. . . the final end of the kingdoms of this world, and the full establishment of the Kingdom of God, will be accomplished by the end of A.D. 1914.” This utterly failed to happen.

1917—The Finished Mystery (“The Churches Cease To Be”).  God would destroy the churches wholesale and they would turn to the works of Russell in 1918.  “Also, in the year 1918, when God destroys the churches wholesale and the church members by millions, it shall be that any that escape shall come to the works of Pastor Russell to learn the meaning of the downfall of ‘Christianity.’” This also failed to happen.

1920—Millions Now Living Will Never Die. “1925 shall mark the resurrection of the faithful worthies of old. . . . we may confidently expect that 1925 will make the return of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the faithful prophets of old.” There was no resurrection in 1925 and the patriarchs and prophets are still in their graves. The house that was built in San Diego for the patriarchs finally was sold when these Old Testament worthies didn’t arrive. Thus, this prophecy failed to be fulfilled.

1966—Life Everlasting in Freedom of the Sons of God stated that the 6,000 years of man’s existence would occur in 1975 (or within weeks or months).  The end of the world and Armageddon would occur.  The year 1975 came and went, and reportedly the Witnesses lost about one million members when they detected this false and failed prophecy.

1985—Watchtower and Awake! Magazines stated that the end of the world would occur in 1986, the United Nation’s “International Year of Peace.” Despite 1 Thessalonians 5:3, the end of the world did not occur.

1988—Awake! stated that the generation that saw the events of 1914 would not pass away until the new world was initiated.  They suggested that a Biblical generation was 75 years, which would give 1989 as the crucial date.  They stated, “Today, most of the generation of 1914 has passed away. . . . Jesus’ words will come true, ‘this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.’ This is yet another reason for believing that Jehovah’s thieflike day is imminent” (Awake, April 8, 1988).  1989 did not see Christ’s return in glory. This prophecy also failed.

The “Jehovah’s Witness” organization, led by several fallible men (false teachers or false prophets) in Brooklyn, New York, has been wrong again and again over the years.  While they have been reluctant in more recent years to set precise dates for Christ’s return, they still must give account for past mistakes.  Jesus said, “Be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming” (Matthew 24:42). He also declared, “Be on the alert, then, for you do not know the day nor the hour” (25:13). 

What have we seen from this brief study?  God has warned us of false prophets and has also warned us of false witnesses.  Interestingly, members of this false group call themselves, “Jehovah’s Witnesses,” but Yahweh Himself warns, “A trustworthy witness will not lie, but a false witness utters lies” (Proverbs 14:5).  False witnessing is a serious offense that will not go unpunished (19:5, 9).

A month ago, two Witnesses knocked on my door and I briefly spoke to them.  The one Witness was to return the following Saturday along with his fater to speak with me further.  I gave him a couple of my tracts and, surprisingly, he took them.  I prepared the above study to go over with them but they never returned on the day appointed or on any succeeding Saturday.  On more than one occasion Witnesses have lied to me. This is called “theocratic lying”—but it is still lying, and all liars will be thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8).

Keep in mind some of the above facts when you engage a Witness at your door or anywhere else.  We think that there are some Witness novices who may not be fully aware of the many false prophecies and false witnessing of their organization.  Now is the time to warn them while there is yet time.

(You may be aware that there is much false prophesying occurring in our day, especially in the Charismatic and Word of Faith circles.  For example, Dave Wilkerson uttered a false prophecy in the 1980s in which he prophesied disaster on the country that would soon occur.  I wrote two letters to his organization without response. Some 25 or 30 years later, his prophecy still has not been fulfilled. The examples could be multiplied.  Whether we are speaking of the false Watchtower Witnesses or the Charismatic/Pentecostal “prophets,” let’s remember Jesus’ solemn warning, “Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many” [Matthew 24:11]. )

(Note: The above information was taken from David A. Reed’s Answering Jehovah’s Witnesses Subject by Subject.)




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