There is a Morning Worship video on JW.org delivered by Kenneth Flodin, Helper to the Teaching Committee, titled, “This Generation Will…Not Pass Away”. (See it here.)
At the 5-minute mark, Flodin says:
“When our current understanding first came out, some quickly speculated. They said, “Well, what if a person in his forties was anointed in 1990? He would then be a part of the second group of this generation. Theoretically, he could live into his eighties. Does that mean this old system is going to continue, possibly till 2040? Well, indeed that was speculative. And, ah, Jesus…remember he said that we weren’t supposed to find a formula of the time of the end. In Matthew 24:36, just two verses later—two verses later—he said, “concerning that day and hour, nobody knows.”
“And even if the speculation is a possibility, there’d be very few in that category. And consider this significant point: There’s nothing, nothing, in Jesus’ prophecy that suggests those in the second group alive at the time of the end would all be old, decrepit and close to death. There’s no reference to age.”
“Well, Jesus said simply that this generation would all pass away…would not all pass away… before he comes to full kingly power…our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, Jesus’ prophecy could reach its culmination this year and be absolutely accurate. Not all of the second group of this generation would have passed away.”
Here Flodin mildly rebukes the reasoning that some use to set an upper limit to the length of the generation, terminating in 2040. ‘This is speculative’, he says. This appears like reasonable thinking, but then he immediately undermines his own logic when he next says, “even if the speculation is a possibility, there’d be very few in that category.”
What are we to take from that?
While acknowledging at least the possibility that the speculation could be true, he shows it would be improbable because there would be “very few in that category”—meaning that too many would have died off to make the possibility likely.
What are we to conclude?
Given that the end must come before all of the second group are dead, the only option Flodin leaves us with is that it will likely come sooner than 2040.
Next, in a backhanded boost to this kind of thinking, he says, “There’s nothing, nothing, in Jesus’ prophecy that suggests those in the second group alive at the time of the end would all be old, decrepit and close to death.”
The current Governing Body are representative of this group. If they will not be “old, decrepit, and close to death” when the end comes, how much time is left? Again, while appearing to condemn those setting a time limit, he strongly implies the time left is very short.
While saying that Jesus said we were not to “find a formula of the time of the end” and adding that those who tried it are engaging in speculation, Flodin is leading his listeners to no other conclusion other than to believe the end is likely much closer than 2040.
For the vast majority of Jehovah’s Witnesses serving today, this kind of reasoning is new, and likely very exciting. There is however a relatively small group of older ones for whom this presents an unpleasant reminder of past failures. I’ve often heard newer ones dismiss 1975, saying that we never really said the end was coming then, but that it was just some brothers getting carried away. Having lived through those days, I can attest that this was simply not the case. (See “The Euphoria of 1975”) Nevertheless, the publications were carefully worded to engender belief in the significance of that year without actually fully committing to it. The reader was left with no doubt as to what he was expected to believe. And here we go yet again.
Have we learned from our mistakes? Absolutely, we have learned from them, and we are thus able to repeat them exactly!
The misapplication of Matthew 24:34 has misled thousands and changed the course of countless lives; and here we are doing it yet again, but this time with an entirely fabricated doctrine based on a definition of generation that is nowhere to be found in the Bible, nor in the world for that matter.
Shame on us!