[Watchtower study for the week of March 31, 2014 – w14 1/15 p.27]
The title of this week’s study highlights one of the key problems affecting Jehovah’s Witnesses as a religion from the days of Russell when we were known simply as Bible students. It is our obsession with knowing when the end is coming. Staying awake is vital. Maintaining a sense of urgency is also important. But this overweening need we have to know when the end is coming, to try and divine the times and the seasons that God has put into his own jurisdiction, has been the source of continual embarrassment and disappointment to us. After over 100 years of prophetic failures and missteps, the 1990s arrived and it seemed like maybe we had finally learned our lesson.
So the recent information in The Watchtower about “this generation” did not change our understanding of what occurred in 1914. But it did give us a clearer grasp of Jesus’ use of the term “generation,” helping us to see that his usage was no basis for calculating—counting from 1914—how close to the end we are. (w97 6/1 p. 28)
Alas, that Governing Body is no more. A new one with many younger members has taken its place and set the tone for the new century. It is a tone us old-timers recognize all too well.
The third introductory question of this article is: “How do you feel about the end being so close?”
By the end of the article we will see that this new Governing Body is set to repeat the mistakes of the past. The mistakes of Russell, and Rutherford, and Franz. For they have now given us yet another means of “calculating—counting from 1914—how close to the end we are.” Those of us who have lived through the 1975 fiasco will surely feel the hackles raising.
But before we get to that let’s begin our paragraph by paragraph analysis.
Here we are helped to see that while the world is blind to the prophetically significant events that have been occurring since 1914 until this day, we, as a privileged people, are “in the know.”
You may notice in paragraph 2 that there is no mention whatsoever of Christ’s presence beginning in 1914. The absence of this particular doctrinal teaching has been noticed of late, causing some of us to speculate that a change is in the works. We still hold that God’s kingdom came in 1914—as the paragraph says, “in one sense”—but it appears that the presence of the Christ is not synonymous anymore with his installation as King.
We then state that with confidence that we “know” Jehovah installed Jesus Christ as King in 1914. The truth is, we know nothing of the sort. We believe based on what we are told in the magazines that Jesus Christ began to reign in 1914, but we do not know this. What we know is that there is no scriptural evidence to support this belief. We will not go into this further here as we have written extensively on the subject in the pages of this forum. If you’re new to the forum, please click this link to see the relevant articles that provide scriptural evidence proving that 1914 has no prophetic significance whatsoever.
Par. 3 “Because we regularly study God’s Word, we can see that prophecy is being fulfilled right now. What a contrast with people in general? They are so involved in their lives and pursuits that they overlook the clear evidence that Christ has been ruling since 1914.”
Indeed? What clear evidence, pray tell? We point to ‘wars and reports of wars, pestilences, food shortages, and earthquakes’, yet a careful examination of Jesus’ words indicates that he was telling us not to put stock in such things as harbingers of this arrival. Instead, he arrives as a thief in the night. (For a detailed consideration, see Wars and Reports of Wars—A Red Herring?)
Par. 4 “In 1914, Jesus Christ—pictured as riding a white horse—was given his heavenly crown.”
Really? And we know this how? There is scriptural evidence to support the idea that Christ began ruling in 33 C.E. There is also evidence that he will begin to rule as the Messianic King together with his anointed brothers at the time of his presence—a future event. There is no evidence that he began ruling in any sense of the word in 1914. Therefore, we have justification for believing that the events in the opening verses of Revelation 6 take place after 33 C.E. We also have reason to speculate that these events are yet future, occurring after Jesus’ enthronement as the Messianic King during his presence. However, there is no justification whatsoever for considering that 1914 plays any role in the ride of the Four Horsemen (For a more detailed consideration, see Four Horsemen at the Gallop.)
Par. 5-7 “With so much evidence that God’s kingdom is already established in heaven, why do the majority of people not accept what this means? Why are they not able to connect the dots, so to speak, between the state of the world and specific Bible prophecies that God’s people have long been publicizing?“
In the mid-1950s, it was far easier to believe that Matthew 24:6-8 and Revelation 6:1-8 were fulfilled in the 20th century. After all, we had just experienced the two worst wars of human history as well as one of the worst pandemics of all time, all within the life span of a single human being. Nevertheless, since the end of World War II the globe has experienced one of the longest periods of peacetime ever. True, there have been many small wars and conflicts, but this is really no different from any time in history. Moreover, Europe and the Americas—or to put it another way, the Christian world—has been at peace. The entire generation of 1914 has lived and died. They are all gone. Yet a generation of people born after 1945 in Europe, North America and most of Central and South America has never known war. Is it any wonder that people are having trouble “connecting the dots”?
We say this not to promote spiritual complacency. There is no room for complacency in the heart of the Christian. We say it to avoid the trap of false urgency. But more on that later.
Par. 8-10 “WICKEDNESS IS ADVANCING FROM BAD TO WORSE”
Here we are using 2 Timothy 3:1, 13 to promote the idea that we are now in the last days and that the deteriorating social conditions are an indication the end is very near. While it is true that there is a good deal more licentious behavior, it is also true that there are far more freedoms and far more protection for human rights than at any other time since the fall of the Roman Empire, and possibly even before that. Let us not put words in God’s mouth. Social conditions are not used in the Bible to indicate that we are very near to the end of the system of things. We have misapplied 2 Timothy 3:1-5 for many decades. We forget that Peter applied the prophecy of the last days to his time. (Acts 2:17) Additionally, a careful reading of the entire third chapter of 2 Timothy indicates that Paul was referring to events that existed in his day and would continue to exist right down to the end. Based on the relatively few occurrences of “last days” in the Christian Scriptures, we may well conclude that it refers to the time following the payment of the ransom by Christ. Once that phase had been passed, what remained for humankind could be termed the last days of sinful human society. (For a more detailed discussion of the “last days”, click here.)
Par. 11, 12
Here we quote 2 Peter 3:3, 4 to deal with those who would ridicule what we are saying. All those who are regular readers and/or participants of this forum are firm believers that the presence of Christ is inevitable. We all want it to come soon. We hope it will come soon. However, we do not wish to provide ridiculers more grist for their mill by making false and foolish predictions; predictions which are presumptuous in that they exceed our authority and intrude into that which is the exclusive jurisdiction of Jehovah God.
Par. 13 “Historians have documented that here or there some society or nation experiences such deep moral decline and then collapse. Never before in history, though, has the overall morality of the entire world deteriorated to the extent that it has now.”
The first sentence is irrelevant to the discussion. We’re not talking about the internal collapse of society due to moral decay. We’re talking about a divine intervention. The moral state of the world is irrelevant to God’s timetable.
Frankly, I do not see how the world can carry on for that much longer. In the next 50 years, all things being equal, the world population will double and reach a point that is no longer sustainable. However, what I feel or believe is irrelevant. What 8 million Jehovah’s Witnesses feel or believe is irrelevant. The fact that things seem to be deteriorating does not give us reason to believe that the end is upon us. It may well be. It could come tomorrow or next week or next year, or it could come 30 or 40 years from now. The fact is, it shouldn’t matter. It shouldn’t change anything about the way we worship God and serve the Christ. Yet, so much emphasis is being put on it by the Governing Body that many are starting to again think it is upon us. If it fails to come within our new time frame, the disconfirmation may be too much for many. We are being led to put faith in dates yet again.
Unfortunately, that does not seem to be of concern to those who are writing these articles.
Not content to leave us with an unscriptural, and frankly illogical, understanding of the meaning of “this generation” as given by Jesus in Matthew 24:34, the Governing Body has seen fit to tighten up the timetable. We are now told that the first half of this generation is made up exclusively of anointed Christians who were alive on or before 1914. That means that if a brother were baptized in 1915, he would not be part of the generation. There were only about 6,000 Bible students partaking in 1914. Even if all of them were 20 years of age in that year, it would still mean that by 1974 they’d all be 80 years old.
Now to tighten up the timetable even further, we are told that the second part of the generation—the part that lives to see Armageddon—is comprised exclusively of those whose “anointed lifetime” overlaps with the first half. It doesn’t matter when they were born. It matters when they started to partake. In 1974, there were 10,723 partakers. This group differs from the first group. The first group began to partake upon baptism. The second group had to wait to be specially chosen. So Jehovah, presumably, would take the cream of the crop. Brothers and sisters usually started partaking years after they had been baptized. Let’s set a conservative lower limit of age 40, shall we? That would mean that the second half of the generation was born no later than the mid-30s, which would put them in their mid-80s now.
Truly, there can’t be many the years left for this generation, if our definition is correct.
Ah, but we could take it a step further—and I don’t doubt that someone is going to do this—and actually track those left. We know where they are. We can send out a letter to all the congregations asking the elders to keep track of anyone who was anointed on or before 1974. We can get a very precise number that way and then watch them age and die off.
While this may sound ridiculous, it is eminently practicable. In fact, if we are really taking seriously what paragraphs 14 through 16 are teaching us, we would not be doing our due diligence if we did not carry this out. Here we have a means to accurately measure the upper limit of how much time is left. Why would we not take it? Certainly the injunction of Acts 1:7 should not restrain us. It hasn’t until now.
It is hard not despair following an article like his one.
(For a detailed analysis of the flaws in our current understanding of Matthew 24:34 read State of Fear and “This Generation”—2010 Interpretation Examined.)
 I am going to indulge in a pet peeve. I have long found the overuse of phrases like “as it were” and “so to speak” in our publications to be both annoying and condescending. These are phrases one uses when there is a possibility that the reader might assume a metaphor is real. Do we really need to use “so to speak” in this case? Do we really need to make sure the reader doesn’t assume that we are talking about literal dots that the people of the world will fail to connect?
Thanks for your comments Meleti. By the way, in my post above where I said “the article has a very short memory,” I was talking about the WT study article, not the article I provided the link to. One good thing the WT study article had was a reference to Jude 14, 15. In looking that up I got another reference that shows that NT writers viewed themselves to already be in the “last days.” (Jude 17-19) . . .As for you, beloved ones, call to mind the sayings that have been previously spoken by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ,… Read more »
Interesting article where the author discusses how bad things are compared to prior times;
This is not to say that there haven’t been bad times/events in the 20th century. But the article has a very short memory:
Thanks Bobcat. I’m going to set time aside today to view this. I’m sure it will add to the evidence that Satan was cast down in the first century.
Gods Word is Truth. Not believing in 1914 and Christs presence is enough to get one DF, and I suppose it does depend on the elders in different congregations, but usually on judicial committees, they have a few come in from other congregations or one depending. Not agreeing that the channel is the GB would of course have you outed. However in some instances, ones that have asked questions about the FDS and its appointment as I have, puts one under suspicion, asking relevant biblical questions these days is looking for trouble, doubting is a no no. Speaking to others… Read more »
Hello everyone Thank you so much for all the detailed information showing the differences in approach, attitude and wording that has been published from the GB as regarding ‘generation’, the work of R H Esse, and the intriguing thoughts that have accompanied it all. Like so many others on this site and who might not even know of its existence, I prefer to believe and follow what Jesus told us, that only Jehovah knows the day and the hour when He will step in, and things will happen. Is it really for us to try to calculate? In our little… Read more »
I have read these particular paragraphs (14-16) over & over and for the life of me I just can’t understand how this “new light” makes any scriptural sense. I worked with an anointed brother in service and asked him to explain it as if I were a bible study, He could not even attempt it and commented that the GB should stop trying to calculate the “end” and just leave the generation stuff alone. “Jesus already told us no one knows the day” so basically we should listen to him. He is an interesting brother who does not serve (MS… Read more »
“Interesting point about “presence” if they change this then I can see a mass of very confused b/s, some that probably did not believe it will be thankful that their patience has paid of on waiting on Jehovah, but what of those few that have been DF for not agreeing, I know of two.” Katrina what is B/S? Why do they kick people out for teachings that change so much and often ? Why are we commanded to accept the teachings of men or else ? No retroactive reinstatements are in store for those who were threw out of the… Read more »
GWIT, I believe B/S is an abbreviation of brothers and sisters.
Thanks Keep onSeeking!
Hi Gwit, yes b/s, lazy me meaning brothers and sisters.
On the subject of repentance over a wrong teaching, well what have the to repent for, and they would be classified as an apostate, and looked upon with suspicion if they did try to come back.
Apostasy, from Jehovah’s standpoint, is a turning away from him and a rejection of his word.(Isaiah 9:16,17; Jer. 17:13, NWT)
The biblical definition of apostasy is the only definition that matters so where are on the same page.
I was speaking from the standpoint of reinstatement. In “Apostasy” cases what is the person disfellowshipped for ? Are they dissed for disagreeing with teachings( which changes frequently ) of the “slave?” Or are they disfellowshipped for disagreeing that the “slave” is God’s appointed channel ? If this person wants to be reinstated what is the person expected to repent from? Especially if the teaching that the person initially disagreed with is no longer being taught..
When was the last time that Wt said Jesus’ invisible presence began in 1914? I wonder if they really are going to change this.
many people of Christian origin believe that there will be an end, and as far as the ridicule the WT brings up, well one can hardly blame others for ridiculing when they have preached false dates on a few occations, not only has t his stumbled the b/s but no doubt some in the world as well. Interesting point about “presence” if they change this then I can see a mass of very confused b/s, some that probably did not believe it will be thankful that their patience has paid of on waiting on Jehovah, but what of those few… Read more »
should have added that the research was not mine taken from perimeno site.
“Alas, that Governing Body is no more”. Not quite. Gerrit Losch has been in the GB since 1994.
Ah, but one man does not a Governing Body make. 🙂
The JW religion for the most part is an unholy marriage between those who out of pride believe themselves to be superior and want to tell others how to live and what to believe (the GB and the wannabe GB), and those who out of an inferiority complex want to relieve themselves of any responsibility for their beliefs. I had several elders tell me that we don’t have to decide what is right and wrong we only need to listen to the GB. If the GB is wrong that’s between them and Jehovah. In others words the philosophy of “just… Read more »
“I had several elders tell me that we don’t have to decide what is right and wrong we only need to listen to the GB. If the GB is wrong that’s between them and Jehovah. In others words the philosophy of “just following orders” is the way to go.” Unfortunately I have heard a few people say the same thing . In a discussion I had with one of my family members regarding the parable of the faithful and discreet slave based on Luke ( not the infamous Matthew account) he came to the conclusion that Jehovah would set matters… Read more »
It’s quite an interesting approach 🙂
Actually, why not following the local guru ? It’s always between them and Jehovah anyway. So convenient to take off any responsibility and the “work” that comes with it, for searching the truth.
Or would they say “the GB you appointed led me into the sin” …
I think it’s quite a lack of respect towards the Truth itself, as well as our conscience and mental abilities, precious gifts from Jehovah.
Hi GWIT, I was just applying the counsel of Proverbs 26:5: “Answer the stupid one according to his foolishness, So that he does not thing hi is wise.” This new understanding is foolishness. However, to reveal how stupid it is, I felt it necessary to take this line of reasoning to its logical conclusion. A theocratic death watch is inevitable if the brothers buy into this “new light” en masse. This is the macabre consequence of teaching an interpretation of Mat. 24:34 that is wholly of human origin. It is my hope that the brotherhood will ponder this and see… Read more »
It is a theocratic death watch indeed . I don’t know any JW that has not engaged in speculation of this sort and to think it that this passed off as a teaching of the Most High.
Par. 3 “Because we regularly study God’s Word, we can see that prophecy is being fulfilled right now. What a contrast with people in general? They are so involved in their lives and pursuits that they overlook the clear evidence that Christ has been ruling since 1914″ It is not only people in general that overlook this “clear evidence” it is also Jehovah’s Witnesses. If I would have missed this watchtower I would have overlooked Christ’s rule since 1914. It is only by means of the governing body and the “new light “ found in the WT , not the… Read more »
Yes … it seems that the current GB is going down the same slippery slope as the GB did in the late 60’s and early 70’s. Although they are not saying a specific date (like 1975), they are implying a date and saying the same type of things like “little time remains”. It is because of Watchtowers like this that I can’t and don’t take anything these guys (the current GB) say seriously!! ——————————————————– The “generation” of Matthew 24:34 1969 Version: (All Persons old enough to remember) “After drawing attention to the many things that mark the period from 1914… Read more »
This Generation” The Watchtower of February 15, 2008,(pages 23-25), offered an updated explanation regarding “this generation,” as mentioned by Jesus at Matthew 24:34. But this was not a “new” understanding, as it returned to the interpretation of 81 years earlier, in the 1927 Watchtower, February 15, page 62. The changing explanations over the years of “this generation”: C.T. Russell taught that “this generation” referred to people in general, who were living at a significant time in history.(Battle of Armageddon, pages 603-605) J.F. Rutherford changed this in 1927 to apply only to the members of the “new creation,” the anointed. “Some… Read more »
Thank you so much Katrina for all of those references. The 90’s was my era in the truth I am fatigued regarding the changes in the generation teachings. I can only imagine what it must be like for those who have been in the “truth” much longer than I. When it is laid out this way…. This teaching seems like a train wreck !
I want to second GWIT’s comment. I really appreciate your laying out that bit of history like you did.
Was Brother Barr the originator of this? Here as what I found. Can you confirm this as is below?
Hi Katrina I truely appreciate this research. It helps me by seeing the wording of the time. These were and are are strong and definite assertations. I like many others believed there word whiole heartedly Here is some material that I gleened and rewrote some time ago. Portions are copied and paste from the reasearch of others. Error 1 As I have come to understand the base of the teaching is error which has led to the Watch Tower fighting with everyone about the fall of Jerusalem. By all accounts Jerusalem fell in 587 B.C. but the Watch Tower has… Read more »
Katrina, “By 1995 time for “this generation” had run out and the explanation needed to be updated. Therefore, “this generation” became “the wayward people who make up this contemporary ‘wicked and adulterous generation,’” but no longer limited to any particular date.(w95 11/1 p. 15 par. 21)” Is that accurate? I looked up the article and saw this: “Suddenly, at Jehovah’s own predetermined “day and hour,” his fury will be unleashed upon the world’s religious, political, and commercial elements, together with the wayward people who make up this contemporary “wicked and adulterous generation.” (Matthew 12:39; 24:36; Revelation 7:1-3, 9, 14) How may… Read more »
A correction on my last post. The last sentence should read:
The cited Scripture here is Matthew 12:39, not Matthew 24:34.
Para 8 to 10 2 timothy 3 v 1 to 5 . I have noticed the missaplication as well meleti if we read the whole letter it becomes obvious to me anyway that its not a prophecy to be fullfilled 2000 years later but a warning given to timothy of the attitudes he would face in his day ..Ok we may face the same today but its not specific to our time as we have been lead to beleive .For this new understanding of the generation It just doesnt seem to ring true at all to me .I just cant… Read more »
well we were warned. Psalms 146
And the fact that many are doubting is good, maybe they will find sites like this one, search for answers from the bible.
Articles like this are why Jehovah’s Witnesses create great atheists. Continuing to promote unscriptural teachings while claiming to be the only source of truth has destroyed the faith of many. We are being encouraged to serve with a date in view. When things fail to materialize people are left disappointed and give up on god. Many people never expected to grow old in this system. It much more realistic to accept what we read in Ecclesiastes. We will all likely die one day. So our focus should not be on hoping we can avoid ever dying. Instead we should focus… Read more »
Great comment. There is most certainly a mutiny on the rise and the energy and strength for it is being provided by Jehovah himself!
Apology, a did not sign that comment.
One point I notice about par 14-16 is that there wasn’t any scriptural reference given to justify about the “overlapping generations” logic.
But I think, at this point, questioning these statements is the responsibility of everyone. If many say about the GB “they are only human”, the same have the responbility to question how “only human” can come up with such precise revelations, and this, without any scriptural support.
Quite right, JB. Since this idea was first introduced back in 2010 (though there was a hint at it in a sidebar back in ’07) the Governing Body have never provided Scriptural support, save for one weak attempt at using Exodus 1:6, which of course, proves nothing of the sort.
Recalling a Q & A assembly part a couple of years back where Brother Elder answers Brother Weak’s quandry, “I can’t get my head around this new explanation of the generation not passing away,” Bro.Elder slides in with a quick overview of the new multi-generational generation definition. By the time he’s done, no new disciple who has any brains would have the courage to do anything but agree that it should have always been a forgone conclusion. Their demo ended something like this: Bro. Weak: “Thank you so much Brother Elder for that clear explanation! I now know it was… Read more »
Thank you Meleti,
I was waiting for your observations of this weeks watchtower. I am too confused by all of the changes to make a decent comment on them.
I am sure though, from what I have read in the bible, that Christ took up rulership after his death in 33 CE.
I truly enjoy your break down of these articles and the clarity of speech.
Love to all on the forum