Jehovah’s Witnesses And Chronology

Mar 26, 2013 by

Jehovah's Witness DatesEver wonder why Jehovah’s Witnesses are so hung up on chronology and dates?

If you study the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses you’re in for a lot of date memorization. As I recall, it was almost as bad as high school history only that the dates we learned in high school were accurate dates of actual events.

So why all of the dates of history and why the concern about them by the Watchtower and their followers?

Because dates make the “impending doom” of Armageddon more “real” in the minds of the rank and file Jehovah’s Witnesses!

Think about it:

If I could have some arcane arithmetical formula “make sense” in your head and cause you to believe that the end is coming next year would I be able to control you?

Could I cause you to quit your job, sell your house, take your kids out of school and have your whole family start working for me for free?

Could I cause you to bequeath all of your savings to the Watchtower when you die?

It happens every day folks. Sad but true. I saw a lot of it in 1975 when the last failed prophecy by the Watchtower flopped.

Now Jehovah’s Witnesses will try to counter this line of reasoning and say that dates are important. They say that they establish all sorts of things with regard to the will of Jehovah and the end times. However, if you look at the end of their line of reasoning it always points to the same eventuality:

The coming day of Armageddon!

Let me ask you one simple question: Did Christ EVER quote a date? EVER?


When His disciples (being human) quizzed Him on when this great day was coming how did He respond?

Matthew 24:36

“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

You see dates weren’t important to Christ. What WAS important to Him was helping liberate the Jews and later the non-Jews from slavery to the Judaic system as well as to free them all from slavery to sin itself.

He accomplished His goal and paid the ultimate price: He died at the hands of the Romans but at the request and full consent of the Jewish religious leaders of His time.

Dates, with regard to the Watchtower, have but one aim in mind: To sufficiently motivate “the faithful” to work even harder than ever before. Would this high degree of “output” be out of love? No. Quite obviously it is out of FEAR of not being “good enough” for Jehovah when that day comes. Cracking “the whip” of fear, guilt and low self esteem, these Watchtower taskmasters drive the hapless JW’s and their families to more field service, book studies, meetings, assemblies, personal study and for what? For the “feeling” that they probably may be saved in the day of Jehovah’s anger?


Did Paul or James or John EVER tell the Christians of their time to look toward a specific date?


I have another question to ask you:

Did Christ or Paul, or Peter or any of the apostles ever once tell the congregation to turn in their time? To report the number of people they preached to? To count the number of tracts or books (scrolls) they placed with the householder? There is simply NOTHING in the Bible record to support that.

It seems ridiculous in view of the history of the early congregation doesn’t it?

No, the only people that keep up with time in service, product placed, and potential prospects are CORPORATIONS.


They make MONEY and tell their employees WHAT TO DO!

Class dismissed.

Doug Shields is an activist against religious oppression, control and abuse. He has a lot of experience dealing with these issues because he was an active Jehovah’s Witness himself for over twenty-three years. Doug has been privileged to help elders, ministerial servants, full time pioneers and even a circuit overseer to find the strength and determination to face the painful truth about the Watchtower Bible And Tract Society.

If you would like to have Doug speak at your church, meetup or other event you can contact him here.



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  1. Hi Doug..
    I’d like to know your thoughts on the year 1919…please.
    Exactly how did the WT arrive at that date as the year the FDS was appointed….? I really haven’t seen it explaned clearly in WT publications and I’m certain most JWs can’t explain it. .

  2. The Watchtower leader’s maxim:

    “If at first you don’t succeed, lie lie again.”

    I tried to calculate all of the reasons why they’ve moved the date back and quite frankly I didn’t have enough breadcrumbs to find my way home.

    There is a very interesting book on the chronology:

    The Gentile Times Reconsidered by Carl Jonsson and James Penton

    It really drills down into the actual predictions by the Watchtower as well as the dates they use and why they are inaccurate. Great book and worth getting if you can find it.

    The second book I will recommend is Apocalypse Delayed by James Penton. (You can buy it in our online store if you like!)

    The scholarship and writing quality is excellent and you won’t be able to put it down. It goes all the way back to the beginning of the movement and moves forward in time describing with painful accuracy all of the missteps of the Watchtower leadership.

    Both books are great. I own them both and strongly recommend them.

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