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?

  • Francis


    One of the Volumes mentioned it started getting fulfilled right at A.D.1874. also Volume six gives an awesome answer to 1 John 1:7. What do you think?

    Thank you for your willing to share.

  • Francis

    Hope this will help you Peter

    {A339} they are hopeful cheerful and always rejoicing in view of the glorious outcome foretold in God’s Word.

    Is it not our duty toward the truth with its cost and value along with the profit to be happy?
    In that post in question the Jewish man around 1443 A.D. numbered the Old Testament.

    The verses shared were a take from Cazenovi’s comment about 3:16 verses he likes.

    My highlights help all who are running the race for the high calling. How?
    The word repent is used twice.
    The word rebuke three times.
    Drawing close to God two times.
    Sins blotted out once.
    Whereas some bad ones actions don’t fit for the wonderful benefits. So all those running do not want to fall into those traps.

    Could write a lot more-but will hope that everyone will live up to their repentance and not have what happens in chapter 15 of the book the Divine Plan of the Ages near the back. Hebrews 6:6-10

    Hope this helps.

    • Peter K. (admin)

      Francis – Okay. Thanks. I think 3:19 passages might be a bit arbitray. If you see a connection and get a blessing, God bless you. Our minds all work a little different.

  • Francis

    I believe a Jewish man did the Old Testament in about 1443.
    On your 3:16, Tried a 3:19. What ya think?
    Acts 3:19 Repent—so your sins may be blotted out.

    Hebrews 3:19 through which we draw near to God.

    Revelation 3:19 Those whom I love, I rebuke and discipline. Therefore be zealous and repent.

    John 3:19 Now this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world and men loved the darkness instead of the light, because their deeds were evil.

    Luke 3:19 after being rebuked by John because of Herodias, his brother’s wife, and because of all the evil things Herod had done.

    Mark 3:19 who also betrayed him.

    It seems we all have to think about which side we are on. Being in the light and turning away from evil and drawing close to God, or taking after Judas and Herod.

    And is it possible for a true believer to rebuke someone in error?

    • Peter K. (admin)

      Francis / Max – We have been down this road before in the past. Your comments are confusing. It is difficult to understand what you are trying to say or ask. I need to ask you to think through your comments. Make sure you state yourself very clearly.

  • Francis

    Thank you, very valuable. Will research.

  • Francis

    Has anyone ever looked at Matthew, John and Luke’s verses of 19:14? Now Mark does not have that verse, so try the month verse 14. Mark 10:14.

    Now Matthew, John and Luke do not have any 18:74 for a verse. But with Mark we take a step back and look at 9:14.

    Does anyone think it is just a fluke?

    • Cazenovi (JW & Bible Student)

      Honestly this seems like a case of coincidence because the chapter and verse divisions of the Scriptures were added to the Bible for the sake of convenience. There is no authoritative basis for the divisions we use to navigate the scriptures. A man named Stephen Langton divided the Bible into chapters in the year A.D. 1227.

      Side note, it so happens that many of my personal favorite scriptures is the third chapter and starting with the sixteenth verse of several books f the bible.

      Abound in Him,

  • Francis

    E151 The Jews evidently identified the expression “The Son of Man,” with their hoped for Messiah, No doubt basing their hopes in large measure upon the statement of Daniel 7:13
    The new King(The Christ Complete) will dethrone and bind the former prince of the power of the air, Satan, and accomplish the final overturning of Zedekiah’s government, corresponding to the 2,520 years lease to the Gentiles.

    Hope Rus will also consider this part. rev. 12:12 Therefore rejoice Heavens! and those who tabernacle in them, Woe to the Earth and to the Sea! Because the Enemy is gone to you, having great Wrath, knowing that that he has a Short Season.

    The year 1914 fits that better then 33 A.D. OR 1874 A.D. For after that,the apostles died and shortly there after the night set in for centuries and the preaching work ceased.

    Also on that verse in Daniel 7:13, I find it interesting that when you go to Daniel 7:16,23,25,32, and Ezekiel 4:6 and Number 14:34 and Luke 21:24 and Rev. 11:2,3 and 12:6,14 you get the 2,520 year prophecy. Not to 1874 , but to 1914.

  • Ex Jw

    Was the cry for “Peace and Security”(1 Thess 5:3) fulfilled when the Bucharest peace treaty was signed in 1913?

    • Peter K. (admin)

      ExJw – Here is the text.
      1 Thessalonians 5:2-3 NASB “For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape.”

      For over a hundred years politicians and leaders claim peace and safety, yet destruction of their system keeps coming in sudden or unexpected labor pains that grow in severity and frequency each decade and will continue untill the kingdom is born out of the trouble. Yet all the while Jesus is present like a thief in the night.

      • Ex Jw

        Peter K. that makes sense, the cry for peace and security is an ongoing thing not just ONE major event like the JW’s teach. However, I think the Bucharest Treaty is still a significant event in history, especially in view of the fact that world war one broke out the very next year!

  • Ex Jw

    Peter K. Bro. Russell said: “Immediately after taking the crown in the Spring of 1878, our Lord gathered to himself those of his saints who slept, awaiting the time for the establishment of the Kingdom. R2982:5. How do we know that Christ has resurrected some of his saints already especially in view of 1Thessalonians 4:15-17?

    • Peter K. (admin)

      ExJW – Thanks for your question. It is a good and important question.

      If Albert Einstein were alive today, I might ask him, “Can you explain the theory of relativity to me?” He might answer “Have you studied Trigonometry and Calculus?” I would answer “no.” He would respond, “Get back to me after you have mastered Trigonometry and Calculus.”

      Okay, this is an exaggeration, but my point to start is that it takes of lot of study to nail down various foundation points of Scripture that would lead me to agree with Brother Russell that the sleeping (dead) saints were resurrected and glorified after Jesus returned.

      For example, I believe that Jesus’ return is invisible (as is the resurrection of the sleeping saints) and therefore, we would not see a visible manifestation of this. https://www.friendsofjehovahswitnesses.com/2014/07/26/day-of-the-lord-comes-as-a-thief/

      I believe there are several lines of scriptural reasoning that show that there is a Harvest period of time after Jesus presence in which the sleeping saints are raised, but saints remain alive on earth I really need to do an article on this. This article helps. https://www.friendsofjehovahswitnesses.com/2015/09/22/the-harvest-is-the-end-of-the-age-matthew-1339-what-is-the-harvest/

      Also, notice how things change after Jesus returns, those who die do not sleep, but their works (activity) follow with them in their new glorified condition.
      Revelation 14 (NASV)
      13 ¶ And I heard a voice from heaven, saying, “Write, ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on!’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “so that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow with them.”
      14 Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and sitting on the cloud was one like a son of man, having a golden crown on His head and a sharp sickle in His hand. [This marks Jesus second presence]

      Also notice that the context of Luke 12:35-37 is clearly at the time of His return, at which time he feeds them food (Truth) here on earth. Verse 42 says that Jesus appoints a “Steward” to dispense the food, so this is not in heaven.

      Luke 12: (NASV)
      35 “Get dressed for service and keep your lamps burning;
      36 be like men waiting for their master to come back from the wedding celebration, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him.
      37 Blessed are those slaves whom their master finds alert when he comes! I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, have them take their place at the table, and will come and wait on them!

      Here is the scripture you are inquiring about.
      1 Thess 4 (Rotherham)
      16 Because, the Lord himself, with a word of command, with a chief-messenger’s voice, and with a trumpet of God, shall descend from heaven,–and, the dead in Christ, shall rise, first,
      17 After [Greek is “After”] that, we, the living who are left, together with them, shall be caught away, in clouds, to meet the Lord in the air:–and, thus, evermore, with the Lord, shall we be!

      First notice that the dead rise FIRST and the living are “caught away” AFTER that. Why after? Why not at the same time? Because as Revelation 14:13 shows as they die during the harvest, the saints join the Lord and their works continue.

      Doesn’t verse 17 say that they are caught up “together” at the same time? No. It is “together” at the same place, just as the same Greek word for “together” is used in 1 Thess 5:10 not of time, but of place.

      • Ex Jw

        Peter K. I know what you’re saying but still I see no “iron clad” scriptural evidence that they arrive in heaven at different times, true Rev 14:13 says their works ‘continue’ or ‘go right with them’ but that would be true whether or not they went to heaven at the same time(in the sense that God remembers their works they did while on earth, and gives them credit for it when they get to heaven), besides, since the Elect are Christ’ bride, why would he just want a piece of her with him? would you want just a piece of your bride a little at a time our the whole woman all at once?

        • Peter K. (admin)

          ExJw – If you are not convinced, you should not accept what I say and what you cannot honestly convince yourself from scripture.

          For me, when Rev 14:13 says “blessed are the dead who die from henceforth,” it implies that those sleeping prior did not get this same new blessed benefit, to be immediately resurrected and continue working.

          In 1 Thess 4:16-17, is it not clear that the sleeping saints are raised when Christ returns? So if they are not raised yet, wouldn’t that mean the Lord has not yet returned?

          You asked “why would he [Christ] just want a piece of her with him? I agree with you that I personally would like it more simple and that he take the whole Church at once. However the scriptures I referenced and others convince me otherwise. For example, I think the Harvest article helps show you have messengers [I think the 144,000] working in heaven and earth during the Harvest.

          However, you are in good company with many fine brother who would agree with you.

  • Francis

    Thank you for agreeing and that nice site to look to of yours. I liked and agreed with your ending.

    But notice a statement that I don’t agree with and am discussing it in friendship and not war like ways.

    I hope Peter reads this one as I won’t have to put it in twice.

    God’s Word!!! I believe Rus is part right on Jesus being a king at the resurrection. But over the congregation of believers. Why do I say that? Because John received the Revelation in 96 A.D. And that book says he was taken to the Lords Day. Rev. 1:5-10.

    So we now come to where Peter and I don’t quite agree. And Peter will disagree with you Rus because you say he did not receive the kingship in 1874 which I believe Peter believes. If wrong please correct me Peter. So here we have three seekers of truth with three different times. 33 A.D., 1874 A.D AND 1914 A.D.

    A very wise Bible Student had two dates we will discuss. 1874 A.D. and 1914 A.D. This wise person had 1874 A.D. as the return to his Kingship. Whereas, he had 1914 A.D. as the end of the Gentile Times. But we know the Gentiles did not summit to the New King. And Revelation shows that they would not and will not.

    But this is why I like that wise mans thoughts on 1914, 4 years before that date he was warning the brethren to expect hard times, also the 1914 date would be hard times. Meanwhile God’s Word and His chief spokesman said when asked about his coming showed wars famines false teachers false everything and many other bad things. These things started in 1914 not 1874 A.D.

    As always, we have three truth seekers and we don’t have to fight. Again Rus, that’s for that site, going right now to read it again.

    • Peter K. (admin)

      Francis – Thanks. We Bible Students will sometimes disagree with each other on a point in a study. We don’t think of it as fighting. Rather, we appreciate is as Christian Liberty and the opportunity to learn from each other.

      So I think it is very good for you to express your opinion and perspective and for me to do the same. It is in the atmosphere of Christian liberty and rising above pride and hurt feelings that we can all learn from each other. I often learn from many of our friends like you who share their insights.

      The Founding Fathers of America created our Constitution and their intent was to create a new nation allowing free speech. The First Amendment says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

      When you think about it, the Constitution is protecting offensive speech, because there is really no need to protect speech that is politically correct or that pretty much everyone agrees with, as no one is going to try to shut that down. It is when we go against the flow or say something different that it can create potential conflict. It was only under this atmosphere of free speech and press that the Early Watchtower could flourish. In Europe, the Christendom would have shut Russell down before the Bible Student movement got off the ground.

      Nowadays, in America, free speech is being assailed every day. Sadly, Rutherford shut down free speech in the Watchtower and its leadership has never thought twice about returning to the good old days when Christian liberty prevailed.

      So Brother Francis, it doesn’t bother me if on some point you and I come to different conclusions. We are both still brothers and we will both be enjoying Jehovhovah’s at the time when “every knee shall bow and every tongue shall give praise to God” Romans 14:11.

      Just to clarify, Brother Russell believed Jesus reign began in 1874-1878.

      Page 305 of volume 3 says, “…the lease of Gentile dominion, “The Times of the Gentiles,” will expire with the year 1914; and that the advent of him whose right it is to take the dominion was due in 1874.” Ezekiel 21:27

      Rev 14:14 – A golden crown— “1878 clearly marks the time for the actual assuming power as King of kings by our present, invisible Lord—the time of his taking to himself his great power to reign. (Rev. 11:17, 18) B239 Identifying himself with the prophecy of Dan. 7:13. E151 Divine authority. R1362:1 Immediately after taking the crown in the Spring of 1878, our Lord gathered to himself those of his saints who slept, awaiting the time for the establishment of the Kingdom. R2982:5 Christ comes as King before the end of the harvest. R116:2*” From the Expanded Biblical Comments

      I think one of the early acts of the King was to judge Babylon (Christendom) and call his followers out of it (the Gospel Harvest). Rev 18:4 (NASV) “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues…”

      Thanks for being with us Francis.

  • Francis

    For one of all the mighty host, arose and proved God’s great design. John 6:45 It is written in the prophets, they will all be taught by God.

    That future, therefore, yours and mine. John 6:45 Everyone who has listened and learned from the Father comes to me.

    His word discloses this new ray of light, for guidance on our way. John 6:47 Amen, A men I tell you, he who believes has eternal life.

    Based now on faith, but sure as sight. Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of realities not seen.

    Rejects the dogmas of today. Psalms 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my path. John 17:17 Make them holy in the truth, your word is truth.

    We all must except the new earth or new order and arrangement of society will exalt God and his law, as over and controlling all. This will come in God’s do time. In which every Kingdom will disappear.

    Do you agree?

    • Peter K. (admin)


      Thanks for your scriptures and question. I of course agree with the scriptures you quoted, however it is not clear to me what you are trying to say with these verses.

      I think perhaps you are saying we should accept the teachings of God’s Word, not of men. I agree with that.

      I think you are saying that God’s kingdom on earth is coming soon and we will all have to accept it. I agree with that.

      I think you are saying that when God’s kingdom is set up, all opposing governments will be subdued and those nations will be brought under the control of God’s kingdom. I agree with that.

      I hope I understood you correctly, but if not, please take the opportunity to clarify your views or to continue the discussion further. Thanks.

Leave a Reply to Ashley Nave Cancel reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>