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At the beginning of the covid pandemic, a Jehovah's Witness I was meeting with told me that this pandemic was one of the last steps before Armageddon happens - and so Jehovah's Witnesses are permanently stopping public preaching on street corners, door to door, etc. until the end of the world comes.

My JW friend was a bit of an excitable fellow who often relied on confident, overdramatic language - so in some cases (this being one of them) it was hard to tell if he knew what he was talking about, or if he was just excited. I usually waited to see if official announcements showed up on JW.org.

I couldn't find anything on the JW.org website at the time or since then to support what my friend was saying. I understand that public ministry would need to stop because of covid. However, my friend was absolutely convinced and confidently preaching (to more than just me) that public ministry is permanently finished, and that the Jehovah's Witness leadership had said that it would never start again until after the world had ended. He suggested that JW leadership had taught that covid is simply a (possibly temporary) way to disconnect the Witnesses from the world while Jehovah makes major steps to destroy the world - so that His Witness will be safe.

Was his statement accurate? Has public preaching officially and permanently stopped worldwide for Witnesses until the end of the world? Or was my friend maybe a bit too excited in his statement - maybe misinterpreting something?

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    The following gives you the answer. jw.org/en/jehovahs-witnesses/meetings I must say I have not seen any Jw's in front of stores or at bus stops. I also have not seen them in neighborhoods. I have seen Mormons on their bikes from time to time.
    – Mr. Bond
    Jan 27 at 21:49
  • Due to Covid 19 pandemic Public ministry has been halted for most of the last two years because of the danger it can pose to our neighbors and ourselves. Preaching is done only via letter writing electronic communication telephone and video conferencing if yiu would like to arrange for a communication with us call a Kingdom Hall near you or visit jw.org/en/jehovahs-witnesses/request-a-visit and request a visit
    – User 14
    Jan 28 at 3:40
  • Thanks for your comments @kris and mr.bond, I've updated my question to clarify what I'm asking about. My friend was claiming that covid was simply a (possibly temporary) means in the process of Jehovah ending the world, so that the Witnesses could disconnect from the public and distance themselves safely while He ended things and destroyed everyone else. AND that the JW leadership had shared this message.
    – Alamb
    Jan 28 at 4:24
  • I understand the first part of my question (ie that covid has halted preaching). I'm more interested in the second half of the question - the claim that it's permanently finished until the end of the world (apparently according to JW leadership)
    – Alamb
    Jan 28 at 4:32

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First, Jehovah's Witnesses [JWs] do not believe the world will ever end. They expect the battle of Armageddon but that obedient ones will survive and live during a one-thousand-year reign of Christ over the earth, which will become a paradise and last forever. When JWs speak of 'the end' they mean the end of the present wicked system that will be destroyed at Armageddon. They never mean 'the end of the world'.

Second, the accepted answer is correct in simply stating that no statement about stopping worldwide, public preaching has ever been made. Your friend is mistaken, indeed. However, he is not delusional for there have been some statements made to JWs over a period of years (recently), and there are also written indications that a time will yet come when JWs will need to stop public preaching.

The 2014 book published by the Watchtower Society (quoted below) shows why your friend might have jumped to the conclusion that, at the beginning of the Covid-19 lockdown, their preaching work was then permanently finished:

"9 This will not be the time to preach the 'good news of the Kingdom'. That time will have passed. The time for 'the end' will have come! (Matt.24:14) No doubt God's people will proclaim a hard-hitting judgment message." (God's Kingdom Rules! chapter 21 pp220-230 for the full section.)

Your friend may also have seen videos shown to JWs at their summer conventions (in 2017 and prior to Covid-19) which dealt with JWs going door to door to give a warning message only (as the quote from their book stated.) One link is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z3TipJ_x6yg but because I currently won't agree to You Tube's terms, I cannot see anything they put up so I cannot confirm this 4-year-old link. However, it had the title, "The end is near for door to door preaching". Your friend might have noticed that.

In that 15-minute video, the only part relevant to your question was what a former JW found out from her aging JW mother. She said that the following year, in 2018, the JWs would be told that they would only go from door to door to give a warning - that Armageddon would be upon the world. JWs were told to have a three-day supply of food and water ready, then wait to be told from their leaders their instructions.

In light of the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic, that may well be viewed by JWs as confirmation that although they will receive preaching via Zoom (which non-JWs can also join, I think) their public door-to-door preaching is being wound up. Now they write letters and make phone calls, or e-mail people whose e-mail addresses they know. In that sense, they still continue their ministry, but so far no door-to-door work has resumed.

This is just to flesh out the bare bones of the correct, accepted answer, to add that although your friend was mistaken, he could also have read such bits in that book and saw JW-produced videos at their summer assemblies before Covid-19 struck. Even then, they were being encouraged to have "Go-Bags" ready, in anticipation of the Great Tribulation suddenly starting, and needing to hide away from public scrutiny, as much as possible, trusting that their obedience to instructions from their leaders would then give them Jehovah's protection.

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    Thanks for the clarification! That's useful information. And thanks for your first point too. I understand that Jehovah's Witnesses don't believe in the "end of the earth", but couldn't remember the terminology they use for the end of the wickedness and governments and whatever else. So I just summarized with a general "end of the world".
    – Alamb
    Jan 29 at 17:57
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    "In light of the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic, that may well be viewed by JWs as confirmation that although they will receive preaching via Zoom . . . their public door-to-door preaching is being wound up." I had to read this a few times and understand how you have written it. But to other readers that might just "glance" at it may sound differently. To clarify, the JW witnessing work is continuing just via letter-writing, telephone-witnessing, and other social distancing methods. The door-to-door ministry could resume if the situation with the COVID pandemic gets significantly better.
    – agarza
    Jan 29 at 21:45
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    @Kris – that’s just what I said: ‘the end’ is not that of the planet but of the wicked system on it. Also, I said the preaching message will be changed to that of ‘a hard-hitting judgment message’. But once JWs seek to hide at some stage during the Great Tribulation, they won’t preach. Certainly, ‘Go-Bags’ are not limited to JWs wanting to hide away during that time of trouble, but in conjunction with those assembly videos it’s clear they will be handy for that.
    – Anne
    Jan 30 at 17:36
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    @agarza I had already said that JW witnessing work is continuing via letter-writing, telephone-witnessing, but once the Great Tribulation gets so bad that JWs get out of the public eye, that will stop. JWs believe that Armageddon will start when, finally, the wicked turn on them as the last religious people standing, meaning they will have to hide away at some stage. If the door-to-door work resumes as it was before, do let us know.
    – Anne
    Jan 30 at 17:40
  • @Kris Hate to see you go, but I understand. I wouldn't mind continuing to communicate via email or other methods.
    – agarza
    Feb 1 at 1:05
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Has public preaching officially and permanently stopped worldwide for Witnesses until the end of the world?

This is untrue. No such statements have been made. When it is deemed safe public preaching will resume. In the mean time unprecedented efforts are being made by Jehovah's Witnesses to reach people via phone and letter writing.

Your friend is mistaken and although there will come a time when the preaching work will end now is not yet that time.

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    I'm glad to hear that. I look forward to seeing Witnesses on the streets and at my door again one day.
    – Alamb
    Jan 28 at 5:43
  • Perhaps as an update: Two days ago I saw the Jehovah's Witnesses back at their usual street corner for the first time since 2020.
    – Alamb
    Aug 29 at 6:17

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