If you ask the typical JW what the most important date to them is, you will almost certainly get the answer of 1914. That is the year they claim that Jesus began ruling in heaven as king of God’s Kingdom and the foretold ‘Last Days’ began on Earth (to those counting, that is so far 105 years of last days….). Besides the fact that 1914 is a provably false date based on another provably false date of 607 BC and has been reinterpreted several times since CT Russel began to write and speak about it in the 1870s, that year is not the most important year for Jehovah’s Witnesses. That prize, if you hadn’t guessed from the title, goes to 1919. Yet, the year does not get the attention that JWs and the Watchtower magazine give to 1914 – by far. When it is mentioned it is usually only a passing reference to prove a point. Why is that the case? What is the ‘evidence’ for 1919 and does it make sense? First however, what do they claim about 1919?
To answer that you have to understand the most important verse in the Bible for JWs, Matthew 24:45. It says, “Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics, to give them their food at the proper time?” Why is that the most important verse in the Bible for them? Because that one verse is the basis (they claim) for the authority the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses have on everybody on the organization (notice how often that verse is used in the WT). I’m not going to get into what Jesus was actually talking about in this verse, except just to say that it was a series of ILLUSTRATIONS that Jesus was using to teach his disciples a lesson (In this case about the need to be prepared). JWs however take this to be LITERAL. In the last days, as they say, Jesus will LITERALY appoint a “faithful and discreet slave” who will be responsible for “giving food at the proper time”. In 1919 is when they claim that happened. It took place soon after the last days began (1914) and in 1919 they were chosen by Jesus Christ himself (from heaven) to be his true followers out of everyone on earth. From that year onward, the Watchtower Society headed by the Governing Body has been vested with full authority on Earth to speak on Jesus behalf. So it can print and teach whatever it wants to and claim it is coming from a “spirit-directed” organization, and if you don’t submit to those teachings and cooperate with the ‘faithful slave’, well that’s tantamount to rejecting Christ himself, as it was Christ who appointed these men.
Do you see why this date is so important? If you take away 1919, they are just any other religious organization giving its opinions on scriptures. They don’t have the authority to say that, for example, if a family member leaves the organization you have to shun them, or that if your dying you can’t take a blood transfusion to save your life, or that smoking a cigarette is a sin and will get you kicked out, or you shouldn’t go to college, or you should spend all your energy knocking on people’s doors for them, or that you need two witnesses before they can act on child abuse in the congregation, etc etc etc. These positions are unique to JWs and are only followed because they all believe that the JW organization is the ‘faithful slave’ spoken by Jesus and so must be obeyed without question, even if the scriptural support for these issues are shaky.
Before I dive into to this any further, it is interesting that JWs take this verse about the faithful slave literally. It obviously suits their purposes to do so, however they are not very consistent with this. The ‘Wheat and the Weeds’ parable is considered literal. By that I mean they believe an actual separating of good vs evil at the end and God destroying all the ‘weeds’. Same with the ‘Sheep and the Goats’ – literal application. But other illustrations like, ‘Lazarus and the Rich Man’, ‘the Good Samaritan’, or ‘the Prodigal Son’, are not taken literally, just as a lesson on some point. Sometimes that distinction can take place in the span of a couple of verses. Matthew 24:45 about the ‘faithful slave’ has a literal fulfillment in the 20th century they say. Yet just 3 verses later Jesus warns of ‘an Evil Slave’. Is that literal? Nope, just a warning says the Watchtower. In the 7/15 2013 issue on page 25 it says of this ‘evil slave’:
“Was Jesus foretelling that there would be an evil slave class in the last days? No….Jesus did not say he would appoint an evil slave. His words here are actually a warning to the faithful and discreet slave.”
Wait, what? So in verse 45 the ‘faithful and discreet slave’ is a real entity that will be fulfilled in 1919,but the ‘evil slave’ in verse 48 is figurative and is just a warning to the ‘faithful slave’? One part is real and the other part is not? What about the fact that Jesus spoke of a SINGULAR slave, and WT says it’s actually a COMPOSIT slave? (They do NOW anyways, back in the day it was taught that CT Russel WAS the faithful slave Jesus spoke about) So even the LITERAL faithful slave is SYMBOLIC in number? I’m sure glad that they have God’s spirit to help them decipher all this, because to me it just sounds like made up bullshit that they pick and choose from to further their own ideas.
If you look up the online Watchtower Library and go to the Index and click on the “#” symbol it will pull up the references to numbers and dates, in fact its the first things that is listed in the Index. Lets see what it lists…..1878, 1881, 1914, 1915, 1925….wait what is missing? Why not a link to 1919 references? This would be the obvious place to put it. Now, if you look under the letter “D” and scroll down to “Dates of Prophetic Significance” and then scroll down even more, you do get several references to 1919, but I found it interesting that they don’t place 1919 in the obvious place with the other dates. In fact, if you click on 1914 in the first list of numbers and dates it will take you to the “Dates of Prophetic Significance” section, so why couldn’t they have done that for 1919? The first reference connecting 1919 to the ‘faithful slave’ is the ‘God’s Kingdom Rules’ book published in 2014. In chapter 2 paragraph 35 it says:
“From early in 1919, it became clear that God’s spirit had done what the enemies of his people thought impossible. The faithful ones were revived! (Rev 11:11) At that time, Christ evidently fulfilled a key feature of the sign of the last days. He appointed “the faithful and discreet slave”, a small group of anointed men who would take the lead among his people by dispensing spiritual food at the proper time. – Matt24:45-47”
This shows the basic formula the Watchtower uses to prove a point to its followers. Make a claim, give no evidence to prove it, connect the idea with a scripture, and interpret the scripture to prove their claim. A JW will just take the info at face value.
In Part 2 I will show the JW answer to how they calculated the year 1919 into Bible prophecy, thereby giving them a so-called foundation to their claims for that year.