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Cry of Peace and Security

The phrase "peace and security" triggers Jehovah's Witnesses with excitement that the end is about to occur.

They will refer to 1 Thessalonians 5:3;

"Whenever it is that they are saying, “Peace and security!” then sudden destruction is to be instantly on them, just like birth pains on a pregnant woman, and they will by no means escape."

The words "sudden destruction" and "instantly" lead Watchtower to say Jehovah's Day will occur straight after this cry.

"However, just before that day of Jehovah begins, world leaders will be saying “Peace and security!” ... No matter who will share in saying “Peace and security!” that development will indicate that Jehovah’s day is to begin." Watchtower Study Ed. Sep 2012

Has the cry of peace and security gone forth? Jehovah's Witnesses have thought so on a regular basis.


In 2017, Trump uttered peace and security when discussing the United Nations.

"We support your efforts to look across the entire system and to find ways the United Nations can better and be better at development, management, peace and security. The United Nations was founded on truely noble goals." Trump: The UN has not reached its full potential Sep. 18, 2017

In 2018, Trump tweeted;

"The highly anticipated meeting between Kim Jong Un and myself will take place in Singapore on June 12th. We will both try to make it a very special moment for World Peace!"

At an Indiana rally "Donald Trump claimed that "America is being respected again" and vowed to "secure peace" with North Korea as he campaigned ahead of the US's midterm elections." The Independent 11 May 2018

Jehovah's Witnesses lit up forums with comments this was a sign the end is about to occur, besides themselves with excitement for Armageddon. Inactive ones were inundated with messages from family members to "return to Jehovah." This was wishful thinking, as the end did not descend upon the world. Nor should it be expected, as such claims have been commonly made by the President over many decades.

Previous Presidents

Barack Obama 2009 "I believe that America holds within her the truth that regardless of race, religion, or station in life, all of us share common aspirations - to live in peace and security;" A New Beginning (June 2009) wikiquote.org as of 14 Jun 2020

George W Bush 2001 "America and our friends and allies join with all those who want peace and security in the world." Remarks on the September 11 attacks (11 September 2001) wikiquote.org as of 14 Jun 2020

Bill Clinton 1998 "Because we are blessed to be a wealthy nation with a powerful military and a worldwide presence active in promoting peace and security, we are often a target." Documents on Terrorism President Clinton Remarks to the 53rd UN General Assembly; September 21, 1998 avalon.law.yale.edu

George H W Bush 1991 State of the Union 29 Jan 1991 "What is at stake is more than one small country [Kuwait], it is a big idea — a new world order where diverse nations are drawn together in common cause to achieve the universal aspirations of mankind: peace and security, freedom and the rule of law." Watchtower 1991 Jul 15 p.3

Ronald Reagan 1985 "We strive for peace and security, heartened by the changes all around us." Ronald Reagan's Second Inaugural Address Ronald Reagan Second Inaugural Address

Jimmy Carter 1980 "Together as one people, let us work to build our strength at home, and together as one indivisible union, let us seek peace and security throughout the world." State of the Union 23 Jan 1980

Gerald Ford 1976 "As a major world power, we in America have an obligation to maintain peace and security both here and abroad." - Remarks on Arrival at Bossier City, Louisiana. April 27, 1976 presidency.ucsb.eduas of 14 Jun 2020

Richard Nixon 1974 The following statement was made by King Faisal Ibn Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia at a State dinner in Jidda June 14 1974 "We hope that the United States of America will continue her efforts for a just and lasting peace in the area so that it may live in peace and security, because it is peace and security that form the basis for its development and prosperity."

Lyndon Johnson 1967 "Is the aggression a threat not only to the immediate victim but to the United States of America and to the peace and security of the entire world of which we in America are a very vital part?" The Pentagon Papers, Gravel Edition, Volume 4, (Boston: Beacon Press, 1971), pp.671-678.

John F. Kennedy 1962 "In short, our leadership in science and industry, our hopes for peace and security, our obligations to ourselves as well as others, all require us to make this effort, to solve these mysteries, to solve them for the good of all men, and to become the world's leading space-faring nation." Address at Rice University in Houston on the Nation's Space Effort

Dwight D. Eisenhower 1957 "Thereby we have helped to maintain peace and security during a period of great danger." Eisenhower Doctrine ruhr-uni-bochum.deas of 14 Jun 2020

Harry S. Truman 1949 "In addition, we will provide military advice and equipment to free nations which will cooperate with us in the maintenance of peace and security." avalon.law.yale.edu as of 14 Jun 2020

Franklin D. Roosevelt 1944 "The maintenance of peace and security must be the joint task of all peace-loving Nations." presidency.ucsb.edu as of 14 Jun 2020

1986 International Year of Peace

If there was ever a stand out year for the cry of peace and security it was when the United Nations recognised 1986 as the International Year of Peace. This was in response to the 1985 Geneva Summit [1] where Gorbachev and Reagan met on a "mission of peace" to discuss ending the nuclear arms race. Nothing could be more climatic for Watchtower doctrine, considering the importance put on the United Nations as central in prophetic fulfilment of the last days.

Also, who are the “they” who say “Peace and security!” just before the end comes? It is unlikely that any part of this world could proclaim such a thing without the cooperation or direction of the major political powers. Hence, it appears that the rulers of the nations play a large part in the outworking of this prophecy. The United Nations organization, supposedly dedicated to peace, could also play a role. Watchtower 1981 Nov 15 pp.14-15
"The Bible clearly paints a picture showing that the United Nations will very shortly be given power and authority. The UN will then do some very astonishing things that may well amaze you." Awake! 1991 Sep 8 p.10

The League of Nations formed over a century ago, and reformed as the United Nations in 1945, with the specific mission to maintain peace and security.

"Maintain International Peace and Security

The United Nations came into being in 1945, following the devastation of the Second World War, with one central mission: the maintenance of international peace and security. The UN does this by working to prevent conflict; helping parties in conflict make peace; peacekeeping; and creating the conditions to allow peace to hold and flourish. These activities often overlap and should reinforce one another, to be effective. The UN Security Council has the primary responsibility for international peace and security. The General Assembly and the Secretary-General play major, important, and complementary roles, along with other UN offices and bodies." Maintain International Peace and Security as of 14 Jun 2020

When the United Nations recognised 1986 as an International Year of Peace, Watchtower cautiously aligned this with 1 Thess 5:3.

"Yet one more event will come as an unmistakable signal that world destruction is imminent. Of this the apostle Paul wrote: "Jehovah's day is coming exactly as a thief in the night. Whenever it is that they are saying: 'Peace and security!' then sudden destruction is to be instantly upon them . . . and they will by no means escape."-1 Thessalonians 5:2, 3; Luke 21:34, 35. The world's leaders know that a nuclear war means virtual extinction. Also, critical problems such as pollution, the population explosion, and domestic problems demand attention and money. So they want to relax the strained international relations. An evidence of this is the proclamation by the United Nations of 1986 as the 'international year of peace and security.' This, no doubt, is a step toward the fulfillment of Paul's above-quoted words." True Peace and Security - How Can You Find It? (1986) p.85
"We are not suggesting that the UN proclamation for 1986 is in fulfillment of 1 Thessalonians 5:3, which states: “Whenever it is that they are saying: ‘Peace and security!’ then sudden destruction is to be instantly upon them.” We do not know how long Jehovah will permit the nations to campaign for peace and security; however, this may be a significant step leading to further developments as we draw closer to the “great tribulation.” Kingdom Ministry Mar 1986 p.1

Watchtower's cautious wording did not smother the enthusiasm of followers. The 1980's was a great time to be one of Jehovah's Witnesses, and I vividly recall the excitement. If a tweet by Trump can get Jehovah's Witnesses excited, imagine the impact of the United Nations declaring a year of peace. A call of peace and security had been made, and the generation teaching made it seem certain the end would without doubt happen within the next few years.

There was no sudden destruction when the International Year or Peace was called, or when the United Nations was formed, both now occurring decades ago. Yet when Jehovah's Witnesses noticed the United Nations using the term peace and security, they feel inspired and vindicated, such as the elder who texted a doubting brother link to a United Nations webpage.

1899 Peace Conference at The Hague

Watchtower has always referred to cries of peace and security as evidence of the world's imminent end. In 1915 Russell pointed to the 1899 Peace Conference at The Hague as fulfilling prophecy, and that the Great Tribulation had begun in 1914.

"We think that this saying of 'peace! peace!' has been going on for some years. The Church systems and everybody have been claiming, ever since the first Peace Conference at The Hague, that war had to come to an end, that we were having the time of peace that the Bible tells us about. ... The Lord long ago pointed out this great Time of Trouble, which has already begun and which will culminate in an awful period of anarchy, the Armageddon of the Scriptures." What Pastor Russell Said p.529

Bible Times

Peace and Security is not a modern phrase, but rather the promise of politicians and desire of humans throughout history.

For instance, after capturing Babylon in 539 B.C., Persian King Cyrus the Great declared he had enabled peace. This is recorded on lines 35-37 of a clay cylinder known as the "Edict of Cyrus," a replica of which is housed at the United Nations.

A century later, around 625 B.C., Jeremiah 8:11 writes of people proclaiming ““There is peace! There is peace!” When there is no peace.”

It is not surprising that Paul uses both peace (Εἰρήνη) and security (ἀσφάλεια) at 1 Thes 5:3. "Εἰρήνη and ἀσφάλεια comprise two of Rome's core values... ."[2] Further, "H. Koester and H. L. Hendrix have argued that the phrase Εἰρήνη καὶ ἀσφάλεια (trans. 'peace and security', 1 Thess. 5:3) offers a critique of a Roman imperial slogan of the Pax Roman. The relevant terminology occurs frequently, not only on the coinage of the period, but is also reflected in epigraphic materials."[3]

How to Respond

When Trump tweeted "peace and security," it was common for inactive Jehovah's Witnesses to receive messages urging them back to the religion. Some respond with an eye-roll; others try to reason with family members.

"In true Wishful Thinking reasoning, my PIMI family is falling all over themselves about the above tweet...and I can’t roll my eyes hard enough." Trump Tweet Has My PIMI Family Buzzing as of Jun 2020
“I brought up about how Gorbachev and Regan did the same in 1986, I brought up about 1974 in how they once again claimed the end of the world and told their followers to sell their houses and use the remaining time that is left to go in service. My mother acted dumb and said " I don't remember that, I can't see that happening." So I sent her a screen shot of the 1974 Kingdom Ministry within seconds of making that statement and said "since it's in your publications it must be true right?" Then she backed right off and simply said "I'm just trying to encourage you."

WELL.....that just lit my insides on fire and now I was upset. I asked her to explain to me what she meant by the word "encourage" me. "You mean you're telling me this as a scare tactic to get me to come back in? You're telling me this because I will die if I don't? Those are threats not encouragement! You are raised as a witness to believe that love and fear is the same thing, that to love Jehovah you must fear him, that if you fear you will die you must love him again. I told her very strongly that I broke that generation of guilt and fear and love when I had my own kids and that kind of thinking is not allowed in my house ever! So keep your encouragement to yourself it doesn't work with me anymore.

Does she realize that every time they pray for the new system to come that they are actually praying for their own children to die (all my siblings are no longer in), that they look at us and their grandchildren and great grand children and say " I love you " then go home and before falling asleep pray for us to die? With that the conversation ended.” My Mother Had To Tell

Be aware that use of reason is unlikely to change the mind of a Jehovah's Witness. Helping Someone Leave discusses why this is, and things to consider when replying to such messages. It may be best not to engage if such conversations upset you and lead nowhere positive.

Watchtower positions two opposites, both war and peace, as indicating the imminence of Armageddon. This strategically ensures Jehovah's Witnesses remain in a perpetual state of stress. Despite the current President uttering the words peace and security, the Great Tribulation won't come during their rule. When the next leader utters ‘peace and security,’ Jehovah's Witnesses will get giddy with expectation prophecy has been fulfilled and the world is about to end, conveniently forgetting these utterances were of no meaning during their lifetime, or countless generations before them.


[1] Wikipedia Geneva Summit 1985 as of 14 Jun 2020

[2] Speech-in-Character, Diatribe, and Romans 3:1-9: Who’s Speaking When and Why King, Justin p.66.

[3] Numismatics and Greek Lexicography Michael P. Theophilos p.156

Written Jun 2020.

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