Jehovah's Witnesses of the Watchtower False Prophecy - 1874

Where did the 1874 date come from?

At midnight, or during the night (the Greek word is not definite, like ours), there was a cry made: "Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him." Who made the cry is a matter of no consequence. The cry was made before morning too; i.e., the announcement and preaching that the Bridegroom was due to be here in 1874, was made, as is well known by many of our readers. (We understand that morning began to dawn in 1873, where the 6,000 years from Adam ended.) It was made first among the Second Advent denomination. "Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps." Their lamps once pointed them to 1844, but He "tarried." A cry is now made that the tarrying time was thirty years (from '44 to '74), as paralleled by the thirty years of the Jewish age, from the birth of Jesus until He "came," being thirty years of age. This cry proclaimed to the virgins that the "2,300 days" did end in 1844, but that the thing expected was wrong. Instead of the "sanctuary cleansing" meaning the burning of the world, it is now seen that the sanctuary, or God's dwelling-place, is the church, and therefore it is the church that is to be cleansed. It is to be cleansed by the separation of the wise and foolish virgins at the end of the tarrying time-- 1874--when the Bridegroom came. When the cry is heard, the virgins begin to awaken. Some have of the oil (the spirit) in their vessels (themselves), as well as in their lamps (the word). These are able to see. To see what? That the Bridegroom is coming merely? No, they all knew that, but it enables them to see the time of his coming and to again go forth by faith as before. Watchtower, April 1880. (Jesus Christ began His return to the earth in 1874)

We speak of His coming or manifestation as Bridegroom and Reaper between the Autumn of 1874 and the Spring of 1878, in the same sense as He was so spoken of during the three years and a half between His baptism and His entry into Jerusalem as King. His coming as Bridegroom was first expected and recognized by the watchers, and His work as Reaper afterward seen. In this case, as in the pattern, His manifestation to the watchers was not a coming from heaven, but a manifestation in his official relationship. In either case there was but one coming from heaven--the most holy--and that coming at the beginning of the tarrying. The tarrying in either case is the period of time after He had come, before entering upon His work. Watchtower, July 1880. (Jesus Christ was not physically returning but of a manifestation in his official relationship)

Such has been the result; these who once rejoiced in the light of "The sure word of Prophecy" which shows us the presence of our Lord as the "Bridegroom," "Reaper" and "King," that proves to us that the "times of restitution of all things began in 1874," and that consequently "the heavens" which were to receive Him until that time, now no longer receive him, but that He is present, and that soon when the separation of wheat and tares is complete, "we shall be changed to His glorious likeness and see Him as He is. All, all this light they have lost, and have now reached the condition of outer-darkness, the condition of darkness on the subject of the Lord's presence that the world and a worldly church have always occupied. The parable says "there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth," meaning, we suppose, that such shall go through the time of trouble upon the world. Watchtower, August 1880. (the changing of earth back into a paradise began in 1874)

Really, we, as living stones, are now being taken out of the quarry of humanity, fitted, shaped, trimmed and polished for our positions in the glorious temple of God, and this is the work of this gospel age. Ye are "built upon the foundations of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone, in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the spirit." Eph. 2:20-22. Solomon, the peaceful and wise king, built the pattern, so a wiser and "a greater than Solomon," called "the Prince of Peace," is to build the antitypical temple. As the building of the temple required seven years (1 Kings 6:38), and much or nearly all of the materials used were made ready before the work of construction began, so with the building of this antitypical temple. We believe that the seven years ("harvest") from the autumn of 1874 to 1881, is the time for the construction of this temple, i.e., the bringing of all the members- -fruit-bearing branches of the Vine--into the perfect spiritual condition. And the living stones for this temple selected and prepared during this gospel age, were nearly all ready before the construction commenced (1874), and must all be ready before the temple is completed, and it must be completed before "the glory of the Lord" fills it. 2 Chron. 5:1-13, and Rev. 15:8. Watchtower, December 1880. (the gathering of true believers began in 1874 and will end in 1881)

As John had said, he purged his floor, gathered his wheat and burned the chaff. So here the parallel is being fulfilled: We find, [as heretofore shown--see "Day Dawn"] the law and the prophets declaring him present at the culmination of the "Jubilee cycles" in 1874. And the parallels show us that then the harvest began, and that the gathering of the Bride into the place of safety, will occupy a parallel seven years of time, ending in 1881. But how, when, and why did the "house of servants" stumble over Christ? If we can ascertain this it should give us a clue to how, when, and why, the Gospel house stumbles, especially in view of the fact that in so many particulars the closing work of that age is the exact pattern of this. Watchtower, January 1881. (the gathering of true believers began in 1874 with the destruction of false believers in 1881)

This last class is to be the bride. Careless of the opinions, smiles or frowns of the world, she cares only to be in favor with her beloved-- the heavenly bridegroom. And these are to recognize him now, the others are to stumble and not recognize Him until these have all gone in to the marriage and the door to that high position is closed. Our understanding is that the Bridegroom came in 1874; and this little company is being brought to a knowledge of his presence, and in that sense, being separated from other true Christians who either are overcharged with the affairs of this world or bound by chains of denominationalism, are making void the word of God through their traditions, etc., and still others, who, not being in condition of heart to receive Him on the evidence of His word, but who turn to seek light on His presence in other directions and find it not until the door to that high calling is shut. Matt. 25:10. Watchtower, January 1881. (Jesus Christ returned in 1874 and the opportunity to go to heaven will be closed in 1881)

Well 1873 came, the end of 6,000 years, and yet no burning of the world, &c.; but prophecies were found which pointed positively to 1874 as the time when Jesus was due to be present, and the resurrection of Daniel was also due as proved by the ending of jubilee cycles and the 1335 days of Dan. 12. The autumn of 1874 anxiously expected, finally came, but the earth rolled on as ever; "all things continued as they were from the beginning of creation." All their hearts were sad; they said, surely we have been in error--but where? Surely it is clearly taught that Jesus will come again; perhaps our calculation of time is at fault. Carefully they examined the chronology but it seemed faultless and positively declared that the 6,000 years ended in 1873. Then the prophetic arguments were carefully reexamined: Was an error found? No, they stood the test of all investigation and the jubilee argument and "1335 days" of Daniel could not possibly be prolonged beyond the fall of '74 or spring of 1875 and these periods were both past. Watchtower, February 1881. (Are we in error? Of course not!)

In one of His parables pointing to the end of this age Jesus says, "The Bridegroom came and they that were ready, went in with him to the marriage and the door was shut." (Matt. 25:10). Our understanding of this is, that the Bridegroom came in 1874 and since then the ready (consecrated) ones have been going into a condition of light with reference to his presence, and preparation for marriage, and that this fall, the door of opportunity to join this company will close. Watchtower, May 1881. (Jesus Christ returned in 1874 to enlighten his consecrated ones with the opportunity soon ending)

But the teachings of THE GREAT PYRAMID are quite different. We have great respect for it, though we do not build our faith upon it. It has well been called "A Miracle in Stone," and it commends itself to us as a work of God, and not planned by men, for it seems in every respect to be in perfect accord with God's plan as we are finding it written in His Word; and this it is, that causes our respect for it. It has an entrance passage downward to a pit representing the "broad road to destruction." From this a passage starts upward-- representing the Law dispensation. This in due time enlarges and becomes a "grand gallery," seven times as high, still leading upward, representing the Gospel Age. Thirty-three inches from the beginning of the grand gallery is a well, representing the death and resurrection of Jesus. From this well there is another downward passage-way which connects with the entrance passage near the pit, and seems to teach the restoration of all men from the "horrible pit" of death, through and on account of Jesus' death. The "grand gallery" measures 1874 inches long at the top, 1878 inches long at a groove cut in its sides about midway between bottom and top and 1881 inches, at the bottom. (The upper end wall impends or slants forward). Now notice how aptly these three distinct dates (1874, 1878, 1881,) are marked by the pyramid, in ending the grand gallery, and see how ably it supports the teaching of the Bible, viz: that the gospel favors and privileges have been ending during these seven years--and will entirely cease this year. Two other ways, in which the Pyramid corroborates scripture, are these: At the top of the "grand gallery"-- just where it measures 1874 inches, there is an opening or passage-way which seems to say, something might go out or come in here. For some time we thought this might represent the "change," or catching away of the church as spiritual beings; but it would have been due in 1874 and no translation took place; then it must mean something else. It seems very plain and clear to us now that that opening can mean nothing else than what the Prophets have taught us, viz: that there the Bridegroom came a spiritual being. It fits, as all the other parts of that wonderful structure fit and harmonize with the Word. Watchtower, May 1881. (the great pyramid of Egypt proves the 1874 date to be correct)

The day of vengeance of our God is the time of fire, or purifying trouble, in which the world and all the church, except the "little flock," are to be tried and purged, and made ready for the blessings of the Millennial Age. [It is this Day of the Lord," in which, from prophetic evidences, we believe we have been, since 1874, and which we believe will continue with increasing severity--first, on nominal Zion, and secondly, upon the world, until 1914, the first seven years of which, as heretofore shown, are years of favor and end in October of this year.] Watchtower, July/August 1881. (God's day of vengeance began in 1874 and will end in 1914)

When 1874 came and there was no outward sign of Jesus in the literal clouds and in a fleshly form, there was a general reexamination of all the arguments upon which the "Midnight Cry" was made. And when no fault or flaw could be found, it led to the critical examination of the Scriptures which seem to bear on the manner of Christ's coming, and it was soon discovered that the expectation of Jesus in the flesh at the second advent was the mistake; that the human nature had been taken for the purpose of giving a ransom for humanity, and that the human nature remains a sacrifice forever; that Jesus, though put to death in the flesh, was quickened or made alive in spirit-- Sown a natural body, raised a spiritual body, &c., and that all spiritual bodies can be present unseen. Soon too, under critical examination Matt. 24:37 and Luke 17:26,30 were seen to teach positively that "in the presence" of Christ, "in his days," the world would be ignorant of the fact, and be attending to their affairs as usual. Then the words of Paul: "Ye brethren are not in darkness that that day should come upon you as a thief," indicated that the church should possess a light on the subject while the world would be in ignorance. Peter's words, too, were in harmony: "Take heed to the sure word of prophesy, which shines as a light in a dark place." Watchtower, October/November 1881. (Jesus Christ will not return in a physical manner since he was not seen coming back in 1874)

It was evident, then, that though the manner in which they had expected Jesus was in error, yet the time, as indicated by the "Midnight Cry," was correct, and that the Bridegroom came in the Autumn of 1874, and he appeared to the eyes of faith-- seen by the light of the lamp--the Word. Afterward it was seen that the thirty years of tarrying between 1844 and 1874 was the exact parallel to the thirty years of tarrying at the first advent, from the time the wise men visited the babe until Jesus stood on Jordan and was anointed with the Holy Ghost for his work, at thirty years of age. (Acts 10:38.) Watchtower, October/November 1881. (Jesus Christ delayed his return from William Miller's timing of 1844 to Charles Russell's timing of 1874. The return of Jesus Christ in 1874 was not a physical manifestation since he was not seen but the dates are all correct!)