Not all religious groups claim to foretell the future. Those that do can be exposed as false if they fail a simple test. If their prophecies fail, God has not spoken through them (Deuteronomy 18:22). Hence, they are of human origin.
In his six volumes, Studies in the Scriptures, Charles Taze Russell (founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses) made many predictions that were tied to specific dates (e.g., 1878, 1910, 1915). As these volumes were reprinted, some of the dates were changed because the original dates passed without the predictions being fulfilled. In time, all of the dated prophecies failed and the movement had to reinterpret the predictions or ignore them altogether.
One example (of many) is striking. In Volume II, Mr. Russell predicted:
In view of this strong Bible evidence concerning the Times of the Gentiles, we consider it an established truth that the final end of the kingdoms of this world, and the full establishment of the Kingdom of God, will be accomplished near the end of 1915. Then the prayer of the Church, ever since her Lord took his departure—“Thy Kingdom come”—will be answered; and under that wise administration, the whole earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord—with knowledge, and righteousness, and peace (Psa. 72:19; Isa. 6:3; Hab. 2:14); and the will of God shall be done “on earth, as it is in heaven” (p. 101, emp. in orig.).
Realizing that even as late as 1995 (when this article was written), the world still does not know the peace promised in this “prophecy,” the Jehovah’s Witnesses have had to “spiritualize” what Russell plainly intended to be taken literally. But, say what they will, an objective observer must conclude that this prophecy failed and that the prophet was false.
Copyright © 1995 Apologetics Press, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may be copied, on the condition that it will not be republished in print unless otherwise stated below, and will not be used for any commercial purpose, as long as the following stipulations are observed: (1) Apologetics Press must be designated as the original publisher; (2) the specific Apologetics Press Web site URL must be noted; (3) any references, footnotes, or endnotes that accompany the article must be included with any written reproduction of the article; (4) textual alterations of any kind are strictly forbidden; (5) Some illustrations (e.g., photographs, charts, graphics, etc.) are not the intellectual property of Apologetics Press and as such cannot be reproduced from our site without consent from the person or organization that maintains those intellectual rights; (6) serialization of written material (e.g., running an article in several parts) is permitted, as long as the whole of the material is made available, without editing, in a reasonable length of time; (7) articles, in whole or in part, may not be offered for sale or included in items offered for sale; and (8) articles may be reproduced in electronic form for posting on Web sites pending they are not edited or altered from their original written content and that credit is given to Apologetics Press, including the web location from which the articles were taken. Further, documents may not be copied without source statements (title, author, journal title), and the address of the publisher and owner of rights, as listed below.
For catalog, samples, or further information, contact:
230 Landmark Drive
Montgomery, Alabama 36117
Phone (334) 272-8558