[Original publication date: March 12, 2004]
Summary: In early November 1995 Jehovah’s Witnesses made newspaper headlines around the world. This time it was not a record crowd at a stadium convention or even a controversial blood transfusion case that attracted international attention, but the postponement of “the End.” One headline read “Armageddon Not Coming.” The related article stated that Jehovah’s Witnesses had announced that “Armageddon [had] been delayed and [that] the end of the world [was] no longer nigh.”
ARMAGEDDON NOT COMING?
Why would the international news media focus on what appeared to be a minor change in the eschatology (end-times teaching) of a religious sect?
Aside from the fact that the secular press has an almost natural penchant for ridiculing those they deem to be “irrational fundamentalists,” remember that Jehovah’s Witnesses are not a small, unimportant sect. Witnesses are found in over two hundred countries worldwide, with membership [in 2001] topping five million – along with another seven million actively interested in their teachings. Nor is the recent alteration in doctrine minor. Instead, the change has far-reaching psychological implications for Witnesses, not to mention the impact the move may have on their membership and style of preaching.
The important announcement from the leadership of the Jehovah’s Witness organization came in the 1 November 1995 Watchtower magazine; but before we consider the announcement, it will be helpful to outline the history of Watch Tower end-time predictions. Continue reading “Apocalypse Delayed – Again”