First of all let me assure this is not an attack on your beliefs, but information that you can confirm with some effort on your part from sources you can trust.
In 1916, on October 1, Charles Taze Russell re-wrote the introductions to almost all of the Studies in the Scriptures. In those new introductions he asserted firmly and repeatedly that mankind was in the "Time of Trouble" or the Great Tribulation. And thirty days later this very kind, gentle Bible teacher died on the anniversary of Noah's flood, October 31. (Surprisingly the Studies in the Scriptures are still being printed. These volumes are printed by the Dawn Bible Students Association, New Brunswick Bible Student Congregation and the Fort Worth Bible Students, and possibly others. These last editions will confirm what I have just said. [There are only six volumes written by C.T.Russell, the seventh was an assemblage of Russell's thoughts by others]).
C.T. Russell's personality, zeal, reasonableness, and decency earned him the trust and loyalty of many people. Perhaps more than he would have wished.
Had Russell lived three or four more years, he would have recognized his mistake that mankind had not, in fact, gone through the Great Tribulation. However it was not until well over fifty years later that F. Franz, in 1969, explained that the Great Tribulation had in fact, never started. Up until that time Jehovah's Witnesses believed and taught that the Great Tribulation had begun in 1914, had stopped temporarily, and would resume with the final event, the destruction of 'Babylon the Great'. Find an old-timer in your group, and I mean an old, old-timer, from the 1950's, and ask him and he (if he remember) will confirm this. Or read in your older books. (This is why Witnesses think that the Great Tribulation will begin with the destruction of Babylon the Great, when, in fact, that is the last event. Read Revelation chapter 16, hey, I'm not making this up. In the first century Jerusalem was destroyed at the end of the 3 ½ years not the beginning. Who does Jerusalem picture?) In point of fact, not only will Babylon not be destroyed at the beginning of The Great Tribulation, but during that time she will rise to a level of power and glory unprecedented in human history, it will be jaw-dropping and on an order of magnitude that will literally 'beggar the imagination’. Factor in this comment by Jesus about the 'Great Tribulation' at Matthew 24:24,25; "For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will give great signs and wonders so as to mislead, if possible, even the chosen ones. Look! I have forewarned you". How could false Christs and false prophets be performing great signs if Babylon the Great is dead? They would have to be part and parcel of 'Babylon'. In reading Revelation 18 it is obvious that Babylon is destroyed at the peak of her powers 'in one hour'. This dramatic rise in the power and glory of Babylon the Great may be a new thought to you, but just take a minute or two to re-consider it. (this additional thought should really put you over the top; The Destruction of Babylon the Great takes place after Armageddon. And on top of that, there is no such thing as the Battle of Armageddon mentioned in the Bible. Nope, not there. Re-read Revelation 16:16. Note Har-Magedon is described as a place, not an event. Verse 19 goes on to show that Babylon is "remembered" after the nations are gathered at Har-Magedon. And then after the Nations destroy Babylon, they in turn are dealt with by God. Hmm… now, that's a little different. note: this is not an interpretation, it's merely reading the sequence of events as written in the Bible)
Unfortunately for over fifty years (c. 1919-1969) prophecies that only have application to the Great Tribulation and beyond were mistakenly (but with no dishonest intent) applied to 1914. It was not until as recently as 1999 (May 1) that Russell's understanding of the Great Tribulation being 3 ½ years was re-recognized (at least for the first century). Also at that same time (May 1, 1999) it was recognized that the 'disgusting thing that causes desolation' had not yet stood in a holy place. Originally Mr. Rutherford had applied this to the League of Nations in the early years after WW 1. And it had been re-applied to the UN after WW 2.
Jehovah's Witnesses and the Bible Students are morally wonderful people. Interestingly they are usually the first target of a tyrannical government i.e. Nazi Germany, Russia, etc. However, in terms of Bible prophecy they are in URGENT need of re-calibration.
Ask yourself two questions.
What's the most disgusting thing the UN has ever done?
How much desolation have it ever caused?
Now ask those same questions about the Soviet Union/Russia…
Also consider this. What was the 'disgusting thing that causes desolation' in the first century?
Answer: The militarized arm of the then-dominant world power, Rome.
Who is going to be the dominant world power in the near future?
Answer: The 'King of the north' (re-newed Soviet Union). Not an NGO (non-government organization, the UN).
Russia/re-formulated Soviet Union also fits the beast that 'was but is not and will ascend' out of the abyss. Hey, don't have a cow, just think about it.
Bonus point riddle: Why would a known enemy secretly go to great lengths to prove to you that what you already know is true, is true? (You might need to read that twice, I'll wait…)
Answer: Because what you believe to be true is not true and it is to your enemy's advantage for you to keep on believing it.
The Point? Around 1985-6, at the time that the 'Generation of 1914' was near it's end the U.N. suddenly started becoming very powerful, right on time for the apparent fulfillment of Bible prophecy, and then in the early '90s it all went away. It looked so perfect and then it all went away and nobody said "hey, wait a second, I smell a Rat…". It's not a Scarlet Beast, it's a Red Herring.
Moral: All who agree with you are not your friends, all who disagree with you are not your enemies.[back]