The Watchtower regularly has made strong comments as to the date of Armageddon, or that it will be very soon. When dates have been set, and passed by without event, the Watchtower has shirked responsibility and blamed the members for their bad attitude and misunderstanding in having expectation for these dates, consider 3 examples.
Thy Kingdom Come (Studies in the Scriptures Vol.3) (1908) p.228
That the deliverance of the saints must take place some time before 1914 is manifest, since the deliverance of fleshly Israel, as we shall see, is appointed to take place at that time, and the angry nations will then be authoritatively commanded to be still, and will be made to recognize the power of Jehovah’s Anointed. Just how long before 1914 the last living members of the body of Christ will be glorified, we are not directly informed; but it certainly will not be until their work in the flesh is done; nor can we reasonably presume that they will long remain after that work is accomplished. With these two thought in mind, we can approximate the time of the deliverance.
The Time Is at Hand (SS-2), 1907, p. 101
The ‘battle of the great day of God Almighty’ (Rev. 16:14), which will end in A.D. 1914 with the complete overthrow of earth’s present rulership, is already commenced.
Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Divine Purpose p.52
“There is no doubt that many throughout this period were overzealous in their statements as to what could be expected. Some read into the Watch Tower statements that were never intended.”
Jehovah’s Witnesses – Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom p.61
“There were also other expectations concerning 1914. Alexander H. Macmillan, who had been baptized in September 1900, later recalled: “A few of us seriously thought we were going to heaven during the first week of that October. Had some been attracted by the thought of their own early salvation rather than love for God and a strong desire to do his will?”
The Watchtower. May 15, 1922
We have no doubt whatever in regard to the chronology relating to the dates of .. 1925.. What further evidence do we need? Using this same measuring line .. it is an easy matter to locate 1925, probably in the fall, for the beginning of the anti typical jubilee. There can be no more question about 1925 than there was about 1914.
Watchtower. 1922 November 1
We understand that the jubilee type began to count in 1575 B.C.; and the 3,500 year period embracing the type must end in 1925.. It follows, then, that the year 1925 will mark the beginning of the restoration of all things lost by Adam’s disobedience.
Millions Now Living Will Never Die, 1925 p110
.. about April 1, 1925, at which time we may expect the resurrection of the Ancient Worthies ..
Watch Tower 1926 pp.196,232
“It was stated in the ‘Millions’ book that we might reasonably expect them to return shortly after 1925, but this was merely an expressed opinion; besides it is still shortly after 1925. … Some anticipated that the work would end in 1925, but the Lord did not state so. The difficulty was that the friends inflated their imaginations beyond reason; and that when their imaginations burst asunder, they were inclined to throw away everything.”
Yearbook 1975 p.146
“So, as Anna MacDonald recalls: “1925 was a sad year for many brothers. Some of them were stumbled; their hopes were dashed. They had hoped to see some of the ‘ancient worthies’ [men of old like Abraham] resurrected. Instead of its being considered a ‘probability,’ they read into it that it was a ‘certainty,’ and some prepared for their own loved ones with expectancy of their resurrection.””
Watchtower 1993 Nov 1 p.12
“Ever since the 1870’s, Bible Students had been serving with a date in mind – first 1914, then 1925. Now they realized that they must serve for as long as Jehovah wishes.”
Life Everlasting in Freedom of the Sons of God (book) 1966 pp. 26-30
The time is fast drawing near for the reality that was foreshadowed by the Jubilee of liberty to be proclaimed throughout the earth to all mankind… Most certainly the near future would be the most appropriate time for it. God’s own written Word indicates that it is the appointed time for it… In this twentieth century an independent study has been carried on that does not blindly follow some traditional chronological calculations of Christendom, and the published timetable resulting from this independent study gives the date of man’s creation as 4026 B.C.E. So six thousand years of man’s existence on earth will soon be up, yes, within this generation.. Since the time of Ussher intensive study of Bible chronology has been carried on. In this twentieth century an independent study has been carried on that does not blindly follow some traditional chronological calculations of Christendom, and the published timetable resulting from this independent study gives the date of man’s creation as 4026 B.C.E. According to this trustworthy Bible chronology six thousand years from man’s creation will end in 1975, and the seventh period of a thousand years of human history will begin in the fall of 1975 C.E. So six thousand years of man’s existence on earth will soon be up, yes, within this generation. Jehovah God is timeless, as it is written in Psalm 90:1, 2: “O Jehovah, you yourself have proved to be a real dwelling for us during generation after generation. Before the mountains themselves were born, or you proceeded to bring forth as with labor pains the earth and the productive land, even from time indefinite to time indefinite you are God.” So from the standpoint of Jehovah God these passing six thousand years of man’s existence are but as six days of twenty-four hours, for this same psalm (verses 3, 4) goes on to say: “You make mortal man go back to crushed matter, and you say: `Go back, you sons of men.’ For a thousand years are in your eyes but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch during the night.” So in not many years within our own generation we are reaching what Jehovah God could view as the seventh day of man’s existence. How appropriate it would be for Jehovah God to make of this coming seventh period of a thousand years a sabbath period of rest and release, a great Jubilee sabbath for the proclaiming of liberty throughout the earth to all its inhabitants! This would be most timely for mankind. It would also be most fitting on God’s part, for, remember, mankind has yet ahead of it what the last book of the Holy Bible speaks of as the reign of Jesus Christ over earth for a thousand years, the millennial reign of Christ. Prophetically Jesus Christ, when on earth nineteen centuries ago, said concerning himself: “For Lord of the sabbath is what the Son of man is.” (Matthew 12: 8). It would not be by mere chance or accident but would be according to the loving purpose of Jehovah God for the reign of Jesus Christ, the ‘Lord of the Sabbath,’ to run parallel with the seventh millennium of man’s existence.
Kingdom Ministry May 1974 p.3 How Are You Using Your Life?
Yes, the end of this system is so very near! Is that not reason to increase our activity? In this regard we can learn something from a runner who puts on a final burst of speed near the finish of a race.Look at Jesus, who apparently stepped up his activity during his final days on earth. In fact, over 27 percent of the material in the Gospels is devoted to just the last week of Jesus’ earthly ministry!—Matt. 21:1-27:50; Mark 11:1-15:37; Luke 19:29-23:46; John 11:55-19:30.
By carefully and prayerfully examining our own circumstances, we also may find that we can spend more time and energy in preaching during this final period before the present system ends.Many of our brothers and sisters are doing just that. This is evident from the rapidly increasing number of pioneers.
Yes, since the summer of 1973 there have been new peaks in pioneers every month. Now there are 20,394 regular and special pioneers in the United States, an all-time peak. That is 5,190 more than there were in February 1973! A 34-percent increase! Does that not warm our hearts? Reports are heard of brothers selling their homes and property and planning to finish out the rest of their days in this old system in the pioneer service. Certainly this is a fine way to spend the short time remaining before the wicked world’s end.—1 John 2:17.
Watchtower 1976 Jul 15 p.441
“But it is not advisable for us to set our sights on a certain date, neglecting everyday things we would ordinarily care for as Christians, such as things that we and our families really need. We may be forgetting that, when the “day” comes, it will not change the principle that Christians must at all times take care of all their responsibilities. If anyone has been disappointed through not following this line of thought, he should now concentrate on adjusting his viewpoint, seeing that it was not the word of God that failed or deceived him and brought disappointment, but that his own understanding was based on wrong premises.”