The Watchtower redefines a “generation”

Before getting too far into this subject, I’d like to make a prediction:

Ten years from now, when you ask Jehovah’s Witnesses why the Watchtower changed its teachings about “this generation will not pass away” in April 2010, they will have no memory of the release of this “new light” – and many will simply deny that it ever happened.Generation Truth Book

Or, it is more than likely that there will be NEW “new light” released between now and then that will change the Watchtower’s teaching on this subject once again.

Back to the new “generation” teaching in just a moment, but first I want to remind my readers about a similar situation involving the Watchtower’s promotion of “1975” as the year that Armageddon would begin.

From late 1967 until the end of the year 1975, that’s all you heard from the Watchtower and Awake! It was the only thing that every Jehovah’s Witness you knew or met on the street wanted to talk about. “Stay alive till ’75!” was a common greeting among the Witnesses at meetings and conventions. Everyone – from Circuit Overseers to the late Fred Franz, (then the Vice-President of the Society) – urged rank and file Jehovah’s Witnesses to set aside their plans and reschedule their lives for events that they were assured would come in 1975.

Witness families and individuals moved from their homes to “go where the need is greater.” Young people completely gave up their plans to go to college or to prepare for a career. Some canceled marriage plans, or put off having children, because they were so sure that Armageddon was coming by 1975. They heard comments like, “we’re not talking years, we’re talking months…” from high-ranking Watchtower leaders.  Comments and speculation about “1975” was a part of almost every Witness conversation.

When 1975 came and went and life went on pretty much as before, the Watchtower first denied that it had ever promoted that particular year as anything special. In fact, it actually accused the rank and file in local congregations of spreading that rumor and only imagining that the leadership in Bethel had promoted the idea – because it was they who wanted to believe that 1975 would see the start of Armageddon. The Governing Body claimed that the suggestion that 1975 was anything special never received any direct encouragement from the Watchtower Society.

Of course, everyone knew that was a lie, but like sheep, the rank and file simply accepted the responsibility for the failure of 1975 and then refused to challenge the Watchtower’s accusation that they had “run ahead of Jehovah.”

It took a few years, but the Watchtower eventually accepted some (but not all) of the responsibility for that false prophecy it had so eagerly promoted. The leadership still refused to make amends to all those faithful followers and their families who suffered by quitting good jobs or selling their homes at a discount. Nothing could be done for those who put off their personal plans for going to college, getting married, or having kids. I guess that as far as the Watchtower Society was concerned, that was just bad luck for them…

All along the Watchtower has continued to remind Jehovah’s Witnesses that “this generation (those that lived during 1914) would not pass” until all of their “end-of-this-system-of-things” prophecies were fulfilled.

In April (2010) that will all officially change – along with the Watchtower’s definition of the word “generation.”

A “generation” has always been used to describe transitions between particular populations. For example:

  • A “familial generation” would be considered as a time period starting from the birth of parents and ending at the birth of their children (the “next generation”), normally a period of 20 to 30 years.
  • Another version of a “familial generation” would expand a period of time to 50 to 70 years. This would account for a time period for a previous generation (grandparents / great grandparents) to completely die away.
  • A “lifetime generation” would be considered as the length of a typical lifespan of an individual. The Bible referred to “three score and ten” (70) years as the expected lifespan of a man. That would also match the “familial (grandparent) generation” definition.
  • “Generation” can also be applied to populations who lived around the time of a significant event. For example, those who lived during the French Revolution, the American Civil War, or World War 2. “Baby Boomers” and the “Woodstock Generation” would also fall in this category.

But now the Watchtower has decided to create an entirely new definition of what a “generation” is – and will then apply it to their presentation of the “this generation will not pass” prophecy.

This is how the Watchtower defines this prophetic “generation”: “…The lives of the anointed who were on hand when the sign began to become evident in 1914 would overlap with the lives of other anointed ones who would see the start of the great tribulation.”

In other words, any of the newly anointed class living now, whose life overlapped with someone from the original 1914 “anointed” class (although very old, a few are still alive today), could live to see the beginning of Armageddon.

Based on that Watchtower definition, we could assume that some of the anointed who were born in 1914 might live to be 100 years old, and someone born before they die might live to be 100 years old, it could be 2114 before Armageddon actually happens.

Since 1920 the Watchtower Society has constantly preached that Armageddon is “just around the corner”  and that “millions now living will never die!”

I want to direct you to Danny Haszard’s great article on this subject. He’s done such a great job, anything else I could write would be simply redundant and would not be so descriptive. Click here to read his great presentation on this subject. Among other things, it should also make you reconsider the issue of the Watchtower Society’s credibility and truthfulness to its own followers.

Is this our generation?
Could these men living in 1914, three of them dead for decades, be considered to be part of this current generation? In April, the Watchtower will claim that they are.

A thoughtful review of the WT’s new “generation” policy…

For more information on this subject, also check out this excellent article at

7 thoughts on “The Watchtower redefines a “generation”

  1. Well done! I’m going to play that for my husband. i am not and never was a JW and never would be… I feel sad for those raised in that faith because they are so brainwashed, they can’t possibly see the huge lie that has been fabricated… but I’m hoping my husband will be able to see… thanks again.

  2. Ray Franz var en ekte kristen mann som hatet hykleri og løgner,han nektet å fortsette å skrive å proklamere løgner da han allerede hadde funnet bevisene i jws liberery,der deres egne dokumenter talte mot dem.Han forsto at løgnene var gått i arv og blitt en del av tradisjonen.Han tok hensyn til Jesu ord til sin Far i en bønn: Far du har elsket sannhet og hatet løgn. Også ovenfor Abraham og Sarah viste han at han kunne vike fra firkantede tradisjonelle regler når det gjaldt sannhet. Han inspirerede profetene til å skrive at en kvinne skulle være lydig mot sin mann.Men i en strid mellom Abraham og Sarah hadde Sarah rett i Guds øyne så han sa til Abraham:Du skal lyde Sarah.Fordi han hater løgn og elsker sannhet tar han aldri veksler på håndsopprekninger eller tall,eller følger stivbente regler som setter Guds ord ut av kraft og begår lovløshet.Lovløshet er å misbruke Guds ord slik at Guds ord blir en byrde slik Jesus sa.Hvis Guds lov.som opprinnelig var ment til et gode for mennenskene-blir gjort til en byrde,har man følgelig allerede forbrudt seg mot loven.Presidentembetet og titler er også et brudd på Guds lov fordi det skaper et klasseskille jesus advatre om:Ingen skal kalle seg leder for en er dres lederKristus.V

    English translation:

    Ray Franz was a true Christian man who hated hypocrisy and lies, he refused to continue writing to proclaim lies when he had already found evidence in the JW’s library, where their own documents advocated them. He understood that the lies had been passed down and become a part of tradition. He took into consideration the words of Jesus to his Father in a prayer: Father, you have loved truth and hated falsehood. [Since before] Abraham and Sarah, he showed that he could [not] depart from the square traditional rules regarding the truth. He inspired the prophets to write that a woman should obey her man. But in a dispute between Abraham and Sarah, Sarah was right in God’s eyes when he said unto Abraham, Thou shalt obey Sarah. Because He hates lies and loves truth, he takes never switch on [håndsopprekninger] or numbers, or follow the stiff-legged rules that puts God’s word out of power and commit lawlessness. The lawless are misusing the word of God so that God’s word becomes a burden as Jesus said. His law as God originally intended for the good of mankind – will be made a burden, have thus already [forbrudt] against laws. Presidential offices and titles are also a violation of God’s law because it creates a class distinction the Jesus warned us about: No one should call himself the leader over everyone’s real leader Christ.

  3. jeg vil bare ha noen tilleggsord om Guds syn på Lovløshet.Bibelen bruker dette navn ien religiøs forstand og det er ingen tvil om at Jesus betrakter fariseerne og de skriftlærde som lovløse fordi de satte Guds ord ut av kraft grunnet tradisjonene.Firkanter og bokstavelige tolkninger av loven mætte vike for nestekjærligheten,de angav hverandre slik at noen ble steinet.Til slutt ble det loven for lovens egen del og de skriftlærde opphøyet seg selv til en nærere rolle innenfor Gud til å dømme-Ray Franz hadde nok av ubehagelige assossiasjoner da han forlot sitt embetet.Jesu ord om flisen og bjelken i eget øye lå hm vel også nær fordi han læ tettere intil bibelen enn de sækalte skriftlærde i Brooklyn gjorde.Gud ser på hjertet og ikke på titler.De som forskudderer sin frelse for fremtiden er blandt de inbilske som bibelen fordømmer fordi kravet om å anstrenge seg på det kraftigste er progessivt

    English translation:

    I will only have a few additional words about God’s views on lawlessness. The Bible uses this name in a religious sense, and there is no doubt that Jesus considered the Pharisees and the scribes as lawless because they put God’s word out of power due [their] traditions. Squares and literal interpretations of Acts might give way to charity, they provided [for] each other so that some were stoned. To end the law for the law part, and the scribes elevated himself to a closer role in God to judge. Ray Franz had enough of unpleasant associations when he left office. Jesus’ words about the speck and plank in your own eye was probably also close because he was closer to satisfactory proof of the Bible than the so-called scribes in Brooklyn did. God looks on the heart and not on titles. They that did his salvation for the future are among the ones that the Bible condemns as the requirement to strive for the most powerful is progressive.

  4. @anne g ryan -mitt siste ord i denne saken er at på bibelsk grunnlag sto Gud på Ray Franz side i denne saken,fordi gud aldri har sett noe behov for å benytte seg av falske og indbilske mennesker som forskudterer sin arv så som Russell,som utroper seg selv på forskudd når den kristne anbefaling ligger i anstrengelsene.Det nytter ikke å be undersåttere anstrenge seg på det kraftiggste med hensyn til timeantall så lenge man alt har oppnådd himmelens frelse bak vakre bord Brooklyn high- Man kan på en måte bare legge seg tilbake i en oppredd seng fordi himmelen er lovt og man kan nesten foreta seg hva man vil av ukjærlige handlinger fordi Gud elsker sine børn og tilgir gjerne untagen når undersåttere dømmer undersåiiere og gir dem hard dom,slik at flisen ligner bjelken i øyet.

    English translation [sorry, this is the best I can do…]

    My last words in this case is that based on the Bible God was on Ray Franz’s side in this matter, because God has never seen any need to make use of false and ignorant people to oversee his inheritance, such as Russell, who proclaim themselves advance – when each Christian’s recommendation is his efforts. It is no use to ask extra effort on the part of the rank and file with respect to the number of hours as long as we have already achieved heavenly salvation behind the beautiful desks at their Brooklyn headquarters can in a way only add back in a made-up bed because heaven is promised and you can almost make out what will happen due to their unkind actions because God loves his children and forgives to [no available translation] judge [no available translation] and provides them with the hard sentence, so that the tile is similar to the beam in the eye.

  5. @anne g ryan – Ann, Thank you for your comments. I think we get your points (at least I hope we do), but I haven’t been able to get very good translations and I’m not sure why. Perhaps some of our other readers can understand what you are trying to tell us and provide us with better versions.

  6. I realize the discrepencies you point out among the jw’s, but why is it that they are the only ones recognized worldwide for fullfilling the mandate jesus gave at Matt24:14 and Matt 28:19,20 if they donot have God’s backing?

  7. Art – Exactly who is it that “recognizes” the JWs as the only ones recognized worldwide for fullfilling the mandate jesus gave at Matt24:14 and Matt 28:19,20? Does the New York Times? The San Francisco Chronicle? NBC or Fox news? The British, French or German governments? Wal-mart? Barnes and Noble? The United Nations? Just who is it?

    That is the kind of statement that the Watchtower and Jehovah’s Witnesses have been using since the days of Judge Rutherford. Fred Franz did while he was alive, and so have members of the Governing Body. They all like to make statements like that, but based on what and whose authority?

    I don’t recognize that JWs are the only ones “recognized as fulfilling that mandate…” Neither do any of my friends. What do you think Jehovah’s Witnesses do that qualified them for that honor? Does their knocking on doors and hiding out in coffee shops qualify them for such recognition? If that was the case, Mormons would make a better case in my neighborhood. Do JWs knock on doors in every country? The very fact that the Watchtower fails to use every tool at its disposal to promote the “truth” through the wide use of satellite and cable TV, the Internet, and other electronic means shows that they aren’t leading – they aren’t even following – in getting the word out.

    I’m sorry, but you’re going to have to come up with a better argument than that to use as proof that the Witnesses can claim some special role in spreading the word. Try again, if you want…

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