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What Happened in 1914?

According to the book, “Pastor Russell – Founder of the Bible Students,” published by Bible Students Christian Classics:

So what did happen in 1914? Is there any evidence to support or deny the position of Pastor Russell? The outbreak of an unprecedented world war caused the following reaction from the publisher of a noted periodical.  The August 30, 1914, issue of The World Magazine in a feature article about Bible Student predictions reported:

The terrific war outbreak in Europe has fulfilled an extraordinary prophecy. For 25 years Bible Students have been proclaiming to the world that the Day of Wrath prophesied in the Bible would dawn in 1914. The Bible speaks of a “time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation.” This prophecy of Daniel Bible Students identify as the “Day of Wrath,” the “Time of the Lord,” and the so-called “End of the World,” references which are plentiful in the Scriptures.

Historians have much to say about that eventful year 1914. The following is a part of the historical record.

Edmond Taylor while quoting Arnold Toynbee said:

“Looking back from the vantage point of the present we see that the outbreak of World War I ushered in a twentieth-century “Time of Troubles”… from which our civilization has by no means yet emerged. Directly or indirectly all the convulsions of the last half century stem back to 1914: the two World Wars, the Bolshevik Revolution, the rise and fall of Hitler, the continuing turmoil in the Far and Near East, the power-struggle between the communist world and our own. More than 23,000,000 deaths can be traced to one or the other of these upheavals.”

Britannica Great Books, THE GREAT IDEAS TODAY:

“A world mesmerized by Science and progress mocked the mysticism of religious sects which had long predicted that the world would end in the year 1914; fifty years later the world isn’t so sure that it didn’t end in 1914.”


“If ever there was a year that marked the end of an era and the beginning of another, it was 1914. That year brought to an end the old world with its sense of security and began a modern age whose chief characteristic is insecurity on a daily basis.”

1914 is clearly marked by unbiased historians as the ending of a world. The convulsions since are at once the processes of its disintegration and the birth pains of a new world. Britannica editors, as noted, observed that a religious group (actually known as Bible Students) predicted 1914 would mark the ending of a world in just this manner.

The list of writers describing the unprecedented destructive forces unleashed in 1914 is phenomenal and more continue to add their observations to this day.

In his book, OUT OF CONTROL, Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Advisor and professor of American Foreign Policy at John Hopkins University, notes that the 20th century began amid great hope and promise, but became the century of insanity. In elaborating on his observation of 175 million slaughtered in the name of the “politics of organized insanity,” he says:

“Contrary to its promise, the twentieth century became mankind’s most bloody and hateful century of hallucinatory politics and of monstrous killings. Cruelty was institutionalized to an unprecedented degree, lethality was organized on a mass production basis. The contrast between the scientific potential for good and the political evil that was actually unleashed is shocking.  Never before in history was killing so globally pervasive, never before did it consume so many lives, never before was human annihilation pursued with such concentration of sustained effort on behalf of such arrogantly irrational goals.”

These observations of history confirm Pastor Russell’s prediction that the old world began to end in 1914 and is currently being ushered completely out of existence by a consuming process of wars, revolutions and anarchy. The evidence of history clearly teaches that 1914 is the most significant date in modern times as it marks a sharp break with the past. The wars and upheavals, social turmoil and unrest since 1914 are greater, deeper, and more unrelenting than anything mankind has ever experienced. Were Pastor Russell’s expectations then flatly and patently wrong? Was he indeed a false prophet? NO! Pastor Russell was correct concerning 1914 being the beginning of the end. He was indefinite as to the length of this trouble that would terminate our world or social order Without making a prediction, he allowed that it could last a hundred years after 1914. No one has given a better explanation of the events of the 20th century.

Let the reader note that this was not the last word of Pastor Russell on the subject—that the world would end amidst the greatest and most widespread trouble ever before experienced by man. NO! The trouble of the present time and recent past is merely the passing of the old order as a new order of righteousness, peace, and everlasting life is to be ushered in for the benefits and blessing of all the families of the earth who accept and obey God’s words of life. This is the real reason the doomsayers opposed him.   Their theology could not accept this good news of the Gospel of the Kingdom for the vast majority of humankind.

144 comments to What Happened in 1914?

  • Antichrist is here. Love has a name it is union God the Father and the Christ the lord.

  • Anonymous

    Now some of you bible student’s will need to understand you are sharing heaven with others including jehovahs witnesses. Heaven has a number 144000 .

  • Anonymous

    1914 a world war happen. Started in 1913 by money people. Christ came in 1914 like he comes every day to some body new.

  • Hi bible students. Many people on earth are claiming they are God is this the antichrist spoken of in bible. There has been antichrist in world for 1000s of years.

  • Noel

    I tell my bible study group that Jesus started to reign as king in heaven on 1914, because of what Matt. 24:6,7 and Rev.12:7-9 say. But I’m now beginning to see that these passages doesn’t say anything about Christ starting to reign. I don’t know how to tell my group that I made a mistake. Another thing,what you guys are saying is that the end of the world started in 1914.Matt. 24:8 simply states that the troubles of 1914 are the beginning of sorrows. But really, why must a Christian concern himself with the year 1914?

    • Jacqueline (Bible Student)

      Hi Noel welcome and thanks for your expressions. I am not a numbers or date person myself. I stick to the signs given that signifies his presence. Shepherds and Jesus parents knew he was present before he was visibly identified in his first coming, learning and preparing for his work of being faithful to fulfil the law and nail it to the cross.
      I do believe the gentile times expired in or about 1914 thus freeing the nation of Israel to return to their land with the Barfour Declaration and ultimately becoming a nation in 1948 after the second war. From the time of their desolation forward 2520 yrs would put you during the first great war 1914.
      Someone else will answer you with a better answer on dates, but I wanted to let you know we do see your comment. Give them a bit to read thru and assimilate.

    • greg (Bible Student)

      Greetings Noel.

      If I’m hearing you accurately, I hear you asking (at least) two specific questions:

      How do I correct a mistake without maybe weakening the confidence of others?
      What’s the big deal about 1914 anyway, and how can we be sure?

      Before I reply further, I’m wondering if you can maybe confirm for me that I heard you clearly. I’d really hate to use a whole lot of words to answer NOT-your-question. 🙂


      • Noel

        Hi Greg, thanks for the response. Yes, you got me right.


        • greg (Bible Student)


          I personally believe the dates 1874 and 1914 are of some significance when studying Bible Chronology. But I also acknowledge that I would be left with some questions regardless of what I choose or decide believe because my beliefs are shaped with partial and limited information. I simply do not know all the things I may yet come to know.

          So for me, beliefs must be “tentative.” I can have a lot of confidence in my beliefs, and I can have deep convictions about why I believe what I believe. But the beliefs themselves must be held tentatively. I always want to be willing to reassess my beliefs in the light of new information, awareness and experience to see if they are still worth believing. I want to be willing to adjust my understandings and beliefs if I discover that I am in some way mistaken. And I always want to remain willing to search for and accept new information.

          If I’m not willing to question my own beliefs, then I have become dogmatic, prejudiced, and dangerous. If I’m not willing to look at information that challenges my beliefs, then I’ve become closed-minded.

          I suppose I would illustrate it this way: Suppose you introduce me to your child, who is 8 years old, 42 inches tall, and is wearing a red coat. 15 years later you again introduce me to your child who is now 23 years old, 6 feet tall, and wearing a blue coat, and I respond, “That’s not your child!” Worse still, I refuse to allow myself to be convinced otherwise. Can you think of anything more tragic?

          My beliefs are intimately tied to my experience as well as my expectations, and if my expectations are faulty, or if I’ve denied, ignored, or rejected parts of my experience, then my beliefs can be erroneous. It would be foolish to cling to my beliefs in spite of evidence that suggests I need to modify and improve or even discard some of my beliefs.

          I once heard a Bible student sister say, “Only a fool don’t change his mind.” So for me, there’s no shame in admitting I learned or discovered something new. But there is great danger in persisting to subscribe to a belief long after it has been shown to be flawed.

          I agree with Richard Feynman when he wisely said, “In order to [learn and grow], one must leave the door to uncertainty slightly ajar.” He also said, “I’d rather have questions that can’t be answered than answers that can’t be questioned.”

          Moreover, believing something doesn’t make it true, and not believing something doesn’t make it untrue. It’s only when I forget this that I get myself into trouble. An individual can only hope to form beliefs that are consistent with the information they already have.

          With the limited information I currently have, I’m not dogmatically attached to ascribing specific meaning to the date 1914, but I am satisfied –for the moment– that 1914 is still important to note and consider. For me, 1914 simply fits with my many other learnings and expectations as the date when the Gentile Times ended, not the date when Jesus started reigning as Heavenly King.

          The date 1914 *supports* my understanding; it’s not *fundamental* *to* my understanding. In other words, I don’t adopt the date and try to build from there. I built my present understanding other ways, with other learnings, and so 1914 just kinda fits into my understanding. I could also find myself satisfied (convinced) at some future time that 1914 is completely erroneous, and yet most of my understanding (tentative beliefs) could remain largely unchanged.

          I hope there’s something in my words that you can use, even though I’m worried because I’ve used far more words than I’d have liked; and I’m worried I repeated myself nauseatingly and that I unnecessarily complicated the issue. Sigh…


    • Anon CJ

      I don’t do dates. We say WWI is the fulfillment but then we have to question every what every battle before and after that means. 606/607 is an incorrect date. No history verifys this date. All evidence shows 586/587 BC the only evidence that 607 was the true date was a book by Russell. He didn’t start with 606-697 and add 2,529. He went backwards. And it wasn’t even really him but the second Adventists he studied with. And the evidence that he was right was the Bible Students believe he was the Faithful and Wise Servant. I do not believe he was because if we read the Parable of the Faithful Servant he was appointed BEFORE the master left. The Bible says it’s not for us to know the times and season yet we claim to know. Jesus said we would not know the day or hour. Yet we claim that 1874 was a Second Adventist prediction that failed AGAIN . So they made the fulfillment invisible. They then said 1878 would be the fulfillment of the rapture of the saints. This failed so so it just have been invisible right!? No. Jesus said it’s not for us to know the times and seasons. But the claim that’ Russell made that “well he didn’t say we wouldn’t never know” just opens the door to date prediction. Date setting breeds division. Jesus gave Parable after Parable on how we wouldn’t know the the time and yet we claim to. I suggest that you listen to Bob Carnegie’s talk on “Are we Wise or Follish Virgins”. Extremely insightful about date setting and that our dates come from Second Adventists that have already shown they don’t know when the date was starting with 1843-1844. Ask yourself. Couldn’t jesus add 6,000 years from the day he created Adam and have known the day 1874? Couldn’t jesus had added up the Jewish Age and just mirrored it and came up with 1874-1878? Simple. If Jesus knew the scriptures more than we did then he could have known Russell (Second Adventists) dates and started them and came up with 1874. That’s a failed Adventists date and the made the fulfillment invisible.

    • Lee Anthony (Brandon)

      I agree completely with Anon Cj on this. Dates and date setting has and unfortunately still does cause divisions.
      Jesus taught many simple lessons specifically ones about christians being faithful to that which they have been given. Jesus gave a parable about his coming being as a thief, he also said no one knew the day or hour not even him. In 1 thess 5:1-2 we have the same thought when talking of times and seasons that essentially it should not concern us as the day of the lord comes as a thief…

  • Anonymous

    Ashely..the bible help us to know what that number 666 means,it those not mean that the number will be on your four head,but according to rev 1:1. It help us to know dat d bible book of revulation is writting in signs,so like the israelite,the law says “u must tie the law on your head”dose that means that the will write the law on thier head.no.so like the israelite our way of life will determine if we have that mark,like the istaelite thier way of life will detetmine if the have JEHOVAH LAW WRITTEN ON THIER HEAD

  • Ashley Nave

    Additionally I wouldn’t be surprised that Revelation chapters 12 & 13 is prophetic. I additionally brought up the issue of Nephium giants and demons at Genesis chapter 6 and questioned if the bible was throughly complete. The movie The Omen was brought up on how unexplained or unusual things happpened when the movie stars were making the movie- People believe that the movie is cursed and not just because of evil spirits, however it is noval on the fictious side of the Antichrist. The movie was made in the 1970s. It seems that Revelation 13:15, it looks like it turns out there might be a demon child or child that is Satan’s or origin’s of the Nephium demons or evil spirits. This is something that the Jehovah’s Witnesses might know or talk about. Adolf Hitler was evil, but there is something evil that is yet to probably happen in the advaning period of the last days. The movie had political and government affairs in it. It might be a movie but some movies are not meant to be made.

  • Ashley Nave

    I one other about 666 or 616? In chapter 13 Mark of the wild beast? Some believe that the bible might having books or parks in there. The Ethiopian bible has 81 books, The King James has 66 books, and the Catholic Bible has 73 books. Sometimes I don’t know who to turn to about certain topics- Is the bible really thoroughly complete? Ethiopia is the closest country where the very origins of Christianity started. Now 666 is said to government or political, but is it ever true that there might something left the Nephium demons or evil spirits? Knowing that a movie called the Omen- You better believe it- strange or unexplained things when the actors were making the film I try not to watch The Omen, but something always told me that there might be a evil demon child belonging to the origin of the Nephium. If people believe that holy and good things come Jehovah is possible at Matthew 19:26. Knowing the Nephium giants or feller angels at Genesis Chapter 6. For some reason I believe Satan probably has things we are unaware about. My family has been attacked by Satan many times. I always had fear of witches to some point. I hold my feelings and expressions too long about certain things.

  • Jacqueline (Bible student)

    Ashley, thank you for commenting. I am at a convention now but will answer some of you questions later. I am sure others will comment also. This one about 1914 is interesting. I will post a link for you on Rev. 12th chapter. It is very different from what Jehovah witnesses believe. I will do this tonight.

  • Ashley Nave

    In 1914, It was a marked date for Christ Jesus to start ruling as king in heaven. It describes it at Revelation Chapter 12. A war broke out in heaven and Michael the Archangel and other holy angels fought Satan the Devil and demons, they were cast down to the earth. On earth World War 1 happened, and 1940 World War 2 took place. Now the test is this: Ask yourselves what about World War 3 that’s the final war and World Religious War will eventually take place. That is the true test to really know. Have people noticed that times are worsening now a days? Yet we are living in critical times at 3 Timothy 3:1-5,13. Now know the final test.

    • Peter K. (admin)

      Ashley Nave – Nice to have you visiting and commententing about various topics. It would be interesting to hear your comments on the various articles themselves, what you agree with or disagree with.

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