The current Recession/War/Pandemic "Proves" Armageddon is Close
Year after year, I have read forum threads where an inactive Jehovah's Witness receives messages from family begging them to come back, because Armageddon is "so close" and it is the "very end of the Last Days." Watchtower portrays world events as so bad that human life is at immediate risk of annhilation, and some Watchtower article, or recent world event, has Jehovah's Witnesses in a panic, or flurry of excitement, that Armageddon is upon us. I receive emails from Jehovah's Witnesses that I have been proven wrong by a current recession/earthquake/war/cry-of-peace/pestilence and the end is about to occur.
In 2020, Covid-19 was declared a pandemic and had a unique affect on the world. Lockdown and isolation was not an indication of the world's end, but rather how far the world has progressed, containing a virus that in previous centuries would have had far greater infection and death rates. Pandemics have ravaged humanity on a constant basis throughout history, resulting in large percentages of the population dying. The explosive population growth since the twentieth century is a direct result of modern medicine understanding and containing the outbreak of disease.
Covid-19 is unremarkable in how contagious or deadly it is in comparison to other pandemics. The percentage of the population that will die from Covid-19 is far less than previous pandemics, such as the Black Plague. The number of deaths is also significanlty less than the Spanish Flu, which has a similar fatality rate and contagiousness, due to goverments being better able to contain the spread, treat patients, and the rapid development of vaccines.
Click image to enlarge. Source informationisbeautiful.net 30 June 2020
Inflation and Recessions
In June 2022, Watchtower published the article Soaring Worldwide Inflation—What Does the Bible Say? Here it argued that inflation is a sign of "the last days."
"Jesus said that “fearful sights,” or frightening events, would mark this time period. (Luke 21:11) Soaring inflation causes fear."
It went on to quote Revelation predicting inflation.
"The book of Revelation foretold rising food prices during this period of time. “I heard something that sounded like a voice. . . . It said, ‘A quart of wheat or three quarts of barley will cost a full day’s pay.’”—Revelation 6:6."
It is astounding that Watchtower leaders compare Revelation 6:6 with the plight of the developed world under inflation, where food does not take up "a full day's pay."
In 2009, I received emails that the recession in the United States would lead to Armageddon. Not only doesn't this concept have any logical merit, it is incredibly conceited at several levels.
Why should the recession that Jehovah's Witnesses are currently suffering be the one that results in Armageddon? Recessions occur regularly. "A Review of Past Recessions" as of 27 June 2022 notes that "The U.S. has experienced 34 recessions since 1857 ..."
A recession indicates a period of economic decline that results in the loss of jobs and wealth. Whilst some suffer greatly, the majority of Americans and people in developed countries continue to live far more affluent lives during a recession than the poorest quarter of the global population.
“Most people who ever lived — at least, prior to the 20th century — lived in conditions very similar to those of the very poorest in the world today.” (How the World Became Rich: The Historical Origins of Economic Growth, Jared Rubin, Mark Koyama, 2022.)
As a thought experiment, if a recession was to occur that resulted in the complete collapse of the economy, internet, oil industry, and power grid, something almost unthinkable, it would only take people back to how humans lived a little over a century ago.
Peace And Security
The United Nations proclaimed 1986 to be the "international year of peace," a monumentous occasion for Jehovah's Witnesses. I was part of many feverish discussions about how this cry of "peace and security" must signify the end. I remember discussing this with my Aunty, who felt it had to be the cry that fulfills 1 Thessalonians 5:3, because "the world can't last much longer" and the New System would definitely arrive within the next 5 years.
Decades later and my Auntie is still claiming the end is just a few years away with so much conviction that her young teenage grandchildren rushed to get baptised, and were besides themselves with expectation over Covid-19.
In a conversation that I had with my brother in law Tony in 1995, after the generation teaching was changed, I discussed that I had no faith in Watchtower doctrine anymore, and we could grow old and die in this system. He said; "we will know soon enough." I am disappointed that I did not ask him how long"soon enough" would be. Was there some specific time frame he had in mind for when Armageddon must arrive, and if it did not, would that be proof that overall Watchtower is wrong? I am sure he had such a time frame, possibly 2014. If he had committed to a date, would he wake him up if I held him to that date as it passed unfulfilled? I doubt it. Cognitive Dissonance makes justifying a failed belief easier than admitting an entire belief structure is wrong.
Jehovah's Witnesses talk about it being the "last days of the last days" or the "final minutes of the last days." The Bible does not use such phrases or break the Last Days into smaller components; this is a concept coined by Watchtower leaders out of necessity since their failed interpretation of the Last Days has continued for over 100 years. Don't be overcome by fear from the insistence of Jehovah's Witnesses that Armageddon is absolutely, certainly about to occur. Look at Watchtower history to know that its doctrine is without basis and hence continously shifting, using emotional fear and not logical substance to control its followers.
Written June 2020, updated June 2022.
Paul Grundy 2005 - 2022