Please see below this excellent article from a friend of mine, looking at the prophecies made in the Watchtower organization regarding 1975.
Introduction: Jehovah’s Witnesses never said the world was going to end in 1975. They believe this world will never end – it’s going to become a paradise earth. What they say is that “this wicked system of things” is going to end when Armageddon comes – wicked governments, wicked people and false religion will be destroyed. Armageddon is expected to come in the last thousand years of Jehovah’s seven thousand year “day of rest.” That is why they are so obsessed with chronology and trying to establish when Adam and Eve were created. The significance of 1975 is their belief that October 1975 marked 6,000 years since God stopped creating. They expected Armageddon would happen shortly thereafter. They were wrong. But they stubbornly cling to their chronology. Interestingly, the errors in their chronology go back to the destruction of Jerusalem which they claim, against all historical evidence, happened in 607 BC. They refuse to acknowledge any error because 607 BC gives them the basis for claiming Jesus’ second presence happened invisibly in 1914. Everything hinges on 1914. I was an active Jehovah’s Witness prior to 1975 and can testify to the anticipation, the expectations, the fervour with which we awaited October 1975.
Evidence – Video clip from public address on 1975 at District Convention in 1967:
The first five minutes from this video clip is taken from a district convention in 1967 and the talk, ‘Who will conquer the world in the 1970’s?’ The speaker says that “Jehovah has held out a new goal, a new year… 1975” and says that 1975 marks the end of 6,000 years of human history. He also said that Babylon the Great will be turned upon and urges everyone to get into the organisation while they still can. “The door is going to be shut before then (1975).” I attended the 1967 district convention (in my country) and can confirm that what is said on the video clip is the same message Jehovah’s Witnesses heard all over the world that year. The Society literature also had much to say about the significance of 1975 and how they were anticipating the start of the battle of Armageddon:
Life Everlasting (1966) – “According to this trustworthy Bible chronology 6,000 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.”
Watchtower 1 May 1968, pp 271-272 from the annual year book: “To calculate where man is in the stream of time relative to God’s seventh day of 7,000 years, we need to determine how long a time has elapsed from the year of Adam and Eve’s creation in 4026 BCE. From the autumn of that year to the autumn of 1 BCE there would be 4,025 years. From autumn of 1 CE to the autumn of 1967 is a total of 1,966 years. Adding 4,025 and 1 and 1,966 we get 5,992 years from the autumn of 4026 BCE to the autumn of 1967. Thus eight years remain to account for a full 6,000 years of the seventh day. Eight years from the autumn of 1967 would bring us to the autumn of 1975, fully 6,000 years into God’s seventh day, his rest day… the great sign of the ‘last days’ has been in the course of fulfillment since the beginning of the ‘time of the end’ in 1914. Some of the generation that discerned the beginning of the time of the end in 1914 will still be alive on earth to witness the end of this present wicked system of things at the battle of Armageddon.”
Awake! 22 May 1969, p15: “If you are a young person, you also need to face the fact that you will never grow old in this present system of things. …..all evidence in fulfilment of Bible prophecy indicates that this corrupt system is due to end in a few years. ….as a young person you will never fulfil any career that this system offers. If you are in high school and thinking about a college education, it means at least four, perhaps even six or eight more years to graduate into a specialized career. But where will this system of things be by that time? It will be well on the way toward its finish, if not actually gone! If this is not a prophecy, what do you call it?”
Watchtower, 1 July 1969 p 395: Within the life span of the 1914 generation: “People who were only just old enough to understand what was happening to the world in 1914 are now approaching seventy years of age. Yes, the numbers of that generation are dwindling fast, but before they all pass away this system must meet its end in the war of Armageddon.” My parents became Jehovah’s Witnesses in the 1930’s. They were that generation who believed they would still be alive when Armageddon came. They both died disappointed. The Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses has changed its definition of “generation” because that generation alive in 1914 are now dead – and Armageddon is long overdue.
Watchtower, 15 October 1969 pages 622 and 623: “More recently earnest researchers of the Holy Bible have made a recheck of its chronology. According to their calculations the six millenniums of mankind’s life on earth would end in the mid-seventies…. Would not, then, the end of six millenniums of mankind’s laborious enslavement under Satan the Devil be the fitting time for Jehovah God to usher in a Sabbath millennium for all his human creatures? Yes, indeed! And his King Jesus Christ will be Lord of that Sabbath.”
The Nations Shall Know That I Am Jehovah – How? 1971 p. 216: “Before the end of the 20th Century.” Again in 1971, they said it would come in the 20th century: “Shortly, within our twentieth century, the ‘battle in the day of Jehovah’ will begin.”
From “Our Kingdom Ministry”, May 1974, page 3: “Yes, since the summer of 1973 there have been new peaks in pioneers every month. Now there are 20,394 regular and special pioneers in the United States, an all-time peak. That is 5,190 more than there were in February 1973! A 34-percent increase! Does that not warm our hearts? Reports are heard of brothers selling their homes and property and planning to finish out the rest of their days in this old system in the pioneer service. Certainly this is a fine way to spend the short time remaining before the wicked world’s end.—1 John 2:17.”
After 1975 came and went without anything happening, hundreds of thousands of disillusioned Witnesses voted with their feet and left the organisation. I was one of them. The Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses blamed them for reading too much into what had been said: Watchtower 15 July 1976: “It may be that some who have been serving God have planned their lives according to a mistaken view of just what was to happen on a certain date or in a certain year… he should now concentrate on adjusting his viewpoint, seeing that it was not the word of God that failed or deceived him and brought disappointment, but that his own understanding was based on wrong premises.”
Awake! 22 June 1995: “More recently, many Witnesses conjectured that events associated with the beginning of Christ’s Millennial Reign might start to take place in 1975.”
Conclusion: No man knows the day or the hour when the Son of Man will return. It wasn’t in 1914, an invisible second ‘presence,’ nor was it in 1975. Only God knows.