1914 a Marked Year—Why?
WHERE were you in the year 1914? Would you answer: ‘I was not born’? But a few million people today can still remember the year 1914.
In 1914 Mary was completing her last year in high school, learning German and anticipating a rewarding career as a schoolteacher. That summer, before going off to college, she was out in the fields of her father’s farm on the northeastern coast of the United States picking worms off the shiny skins of ripening tomatoes when halfway around the world, in Sarajevo, an assassin’s bullet cut short the life of an Austrian archduke. It sparked the explosion of World War I. When news of the war reached Mary, she thought: ‘It has come true! Just what the Bible Students were saying has come true; 1914 is going to be a marked year!’
Mary was not the only one who felt that way about world events. On August 30, 1914, the arresting headline “End of All Kingdoms in 1914” blazed across page 4 of the Sunday magazine section of The World, a leading New York newspaper. “The terrific war outbreak in Europe has fulfilled an extraordinary prophecy,” stated this feature article. “For a quarter of a century past, through preachers and through press, the ‘International Bible Students [Jehovah’s Witnesses],’ best known as ‘Millennial Dawners,’ have been proclaiming to the world that the Day of Wrath prophesied in the Bible would dawn in 1914. ‘Look out for 1914!’ has been the cry of the hundreds of traveling evangelists who, representing this strange creed, have gone up and down the country enunciating the doctrine that ‘the Kingdom of God is at hand.’”
Whether you were alive in that year or not, 1914 should mean more to you than a mere calendar sheet curled and yellowed with age or a headline on a crumbled magazine page. It is a momentous year that touches your life today.
Why Is 1914 a Marked Year?
How did Jehovah’s Witnesses know more than 30 years in advance that 1914 would be an important date for divine rulership? Though the Witnesses at the time did not understand the full implication of events about to take place, the Watch Tower magazine as far back as December of 1879 pointed to 1914 as a marked date in regard to Bible prophecy. And the March 1880 issue of the Watch Tower linked God’s Kingdom rule with the ending of what Jesus Christ referred to as “the appointed times of the nations,” or “the times of the Gentiles.” (Luke 21:24; Authorized Version) That Watch Tower said: “‘The Times of the Gentiles’ extend to 1914, and the heavenly kingdom will not have full sway till then.”
What is meant by the expression ‘Gentile Times,’ or “appointed times of the nations”? And how is it connected with God’s Kingdom? To answer these questions, let us take a more detailed look at Jesus’ words. He said: “Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations [Gentiles], until the appointed times of the nations [Gentiles] are fulfilled.”—Luke 21:24.
What is meant by “Jerusalem”? It points to God’s Kingdom. How do we know? Ancient Israel was God’s chosen people from 1513 B.C.E. down to the first century of our Common Era. (Exodus 19:6; Matthew 23:37, 38) Jehovah organized them under a typical theocratic government, or God-rule. Jerusalem became the capital city. It was there that the God-anointed line of kings from David sat “upon Jehovah’s throne.” They ruled as kings for Jehovah. (1 Chronicles 29:23; 2 Chronicles 9:8) The Cyclopaedia by M’Clintock and Strong states: “Jerusalem had been made the imperial residence of the king of all Israel; and the Temple, often called ‘the house of Jehovah,’ constituted at the same time the residence of the King of kings, the supreme head of the theocratical state.”
When and how was Jerusalem trampled on by the Gentiles? The trampling began in 607 B.C.E. How? By the abrupt ending of the Davidic dynasty. King Zedekiah was dethroned and the city of Jerusalem destroyed by waves of invading Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar. The Bible at Ezekiel 21:26, 27 foretold this breach in the Davidic line of kings by saying: “Lift off the crown . . . it will certainly become no one’s until he comes who has the legal right, and I must give it to him.” God’s rule was under restraint until “the appointed times of the nations” would end. Thus, the Gentile Times were a time period when the nations ruled without Jehovah God’s having a government to represent his rulership in the earth.
When the Gentile Times ended, Jehovah was to give the power to rule to the One “who has the legal right,” Jesus Christ. Therefore, 1914 would mark the time when Christ began to rule as King in God’s heavenly Kingdom, and since his rulership extends down to this day, it touches you.
How was the chronology figured to mark 1914? The June 1880 issue of the Watch Tower magazine explains: “The long period of 2520 years and their bitter experience under the dominion of the beasts, (human governments, Dan. vii.) is clearly represented in Dan. iv., by the ‘seven times’ of Nebuchadnezzar and his bitter experience among the beasts.” So we must return to the baffling dream of the Babylonian king to trace its line of chronology to 1914.
Jehovah, by means of his prophets, has always given his people a prophetic blueprint to follow. “For the Sovereign Lord Jehovah will not do a thing unless he has revealed his confidential matter to his servants the prophets,” states Amos 3:7. For example, Noah was God’s special messenger over 4,000 years ago. Jehovah gave Noah a prophetic warning of the watery destruction that was to come upon that wicked world. (Genesis 6:3; 7:4) What occurred then was also a pattern of a future destruction of the ungodly during the invisible “presence of the Son of man,” Jesus Christ. (Matthew 24:37-39) So it should not seem unusual that what Daniel traced out for Nebuchadnezzar’s world rulership—his fall and his return to power—was also a small-scale illustration of variations in theocratic world domination by God’s anointed King.
What do we see when we examine the prophetic pattern of Daniel 4:10-17? The giant, heaven-high tree represents divine rulership. The tree was cut down when God’s Kingdom of Judah with its capital in Jerusalem fell in 607 B.C.E. After “seven times” of beastly rule by the nations passed, the two constraining bands of metal were released, and divine rulership was restored when Jesus Christ began to rule as King in God’s heavenly government in 1914.
A Day for a Year
How do we know that the “seven times” are 2,520 years? The calculations are made in a way similar to those made by the Watch Tower Society’s first president, C. T. Russell, in 1877 and recorded in the book he coauthored entitled The Three Worlds. This is how it is done: In Revelation chapter 12, verses 6 and 14, we learn that 1,260 days are equal to “a time [that is, 1 time] and times [that is, 2 times] and half a time,” or a total of 3 1⁄2 times. So “a time” would be equal to 360 days. “Seven times” would be 360 multiplied by 7, or 2,520 days. Now if we count a day for a year, according to a Bible rule, the “seven times” equal 2,520 years. (Numbers 14:34; Ezekiel 4:6) Therefore, the duration of the “seven times,” the Gentile Times, is from 607 B.C.E. to 1914 C.E.
What reasons are there for believing that Nebuchadnezzar’s prophetic tree dream stretches into our 20th century and finds fulfillment in God’s Kingdom? One reason is this: Much of the book of Daniel involves prophecies that find fulfillment in world rulership and God’s Kingdom after the lifetime of Daniel. Read, for example, Daniel chapter 2. It depicts a multimetal image representing successive world powers that are pulverized. By what? God’s Kingdom! (Daniel 2:44) Or read Daniel chapter 7 where successive world governments are seen as wild beasts rising out of the sea and finally being replaced by one rulership. Which one? God’s Kingdom! (Daniel 7:14) Or read Daniel chapters 11 and 12. In those chapters a king of the north and a king of the south keep testing each other out in a battle for world supremacy until they meet their defeat at the hand of Prince Michael. (Daniel 12:1) Who is this Michael? Jesus Christ, ruler in God’s Kingdom!
Thus the year 1914 was marked for a very good reason. It signaled the start of the righteous rule toward the earth by God’s Kingdom. It spelled doom for the wicked. It pointed to “the last days” of this ungodly system of things. (2 Timothy 3:1) It signaled a countdown to the start of a Paradise earth.
There are other reasons why 1914 is a marked year that touches you. These will be considered in future issues of The Watchtower.
[Blurb on page 6]
The Watchtower magazine, as far back as December of 1879, pointed to 1914 as a marked date
[Blurb on page 6]
God’s rule was under restraint until the Gentile Times ended
[Blurb on page 7]
When the Gentile Times ended, Jehovah gave the power to rule to Jesus Christ
[Blurb on page 7]
1914 marked the time when Christ began to rule as King in God’s heavenly government
[Box on page 8]
Another prophecy, found in the ninth chapter of Daniel, focuses on the human arrival of the Messiah—the future King of God’s Kingdom—even pinpointing the very year of his appearance! A time period of “seventy weeks” is involved. (Daniel 9:24-27) It is generally recognized by Bible scholars that each day of those prophetic weeks is equal to one year. Since one of Daniel’s prophecies correctly predicted the human arrival of the Messiah, it should not be so unusual if another one of his prophecies predicted the invisible arrival of the Messiah, or Christ, in God’s heavenly Kingdom.
[Chart/Picture on page 8]
WHAT THE KING’S DREAM MEANS FOR YOU
Tree Divine Rulership
Tree Chopped Down and Banded 607 B.C.E., Rule by God Through
Human Kings Ends
Seven Gentile Times 2,520 Years of Rule by Beastly
Bands Released 1914 C.E., Rule by God Through
Heavenly King, Christ Jesus,
[Picture on page 5]
In its August 30, 1914, issue, the New York newspaper The World drew attention to the remarkable fact that the International Bible Students Association (Jehovah’s Witnesses) had pointed to 1914 as a marked date in Bible prophecy