Skip to comments.The Jehovah's Witnesses in Crisis: Anxiety and disillusionment sets in as 2014 approaches
Posted on 06/24/2011 3:11:41 PM PDT by NYer
Raymond Franz, former leader of JW and author of Crisis of Conscience
The teaching of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society that Armageddon will come before the "generation of 1914" passes away is causing increased anxiety among Jehovah's Witnesses as 2014 approaches and there are still no clear signs of how and when Jehovah will bring an end to this evil "system of things."
According to the teaching that the Jehovah's Witnesses have held for decades, people who were alive in 1914, when Jesus began "invisible rule" in heaven (an event marked by the outbreak of the first world war), will not die off completely before Jesus "turns kingdom attention to the earth" and executes judgment on "enemies of God," a phrase which, in Jehovah's Witnesses lingo, means essentially everyone of us who have not seen the light and joined the "Jehovah's only visible organization on earth," that is, The Jehovah's Witnesses.
According to Jason Barker, a close watcher of the Jehovah's Witnesses, the society has "long watched the aging of members who were alive in the year 1914, increasingly expecting Armageddon to occur as the elderly Witnesses pass away."
According to Jason Barker, precise interpretation of Jesus' Mount Olivet Discourse statements that, "verily, verily I say unto thee, this generation shall not pass away before all these things shall be fulfilled," has been elusive, going through endless subtle revisions over the years as the 1914 generation of senior members of the organization aged and died off gradually, and with increasing anxiety over the possibility that the prediction of the leadership of the group might fail.
With 2014, marking a hundred years of the generation of 1914 just around the corner, and with the "generation of 1914" fast disappearing, anxiety has heightened among witnesses over their expectation of imminence of Armageddon.
Jason Barker does a brief sketch of the pattern of various revisions of the Jehovah's Witnesses end-time teaching with regard to their 1914 teaching:
1889-Charles Taze Russell began teaching that Armageddon will come in 1914
After 1914 when Armageddon did not come leaders of the movement began teaching that Jesus had come invisibly and that the outbreak of the First World War was the sign that Jesus had begun "ruling in the midst of his enemies" in heaven.
1950-Watchtower admonishes Jehovah's Witnesses to look forward to Armageddon, 36 years having passed since 1914 and the generation of 1914 already well advanced in age
1961-The Society announces that the prophesied endtime events leading to Armageddon had begun with the generation of those alive in 1914
1967-The Society revises the meaning of the word "generation" to mean only those individuals who were alive in 1914 and able to view the "momentous" events of 1914 with understanding.
1968-The society makes another subtle change now emphasizing that the age of understanding is 15 years or older, implying that Armageddon would come before all those 15 years or older in 1914 die.
1984-The meaning of "generation" is now again revised to mean all those who were born during the year 1914
1988- The society states that a biblical generation is 75 years, meaning that Armageddon will come within 75 years of 1914, thus, 1989 was delcared a significant year in the official eschatological calender
1988- Later in 1988, the society revises its position once more, now defining a generation as between 70-80 years and thus extending the expectation of Armageddon to 1994
According to CeeJay, a former Jehovah's Witness, the revision of the meaning of "generation of 1914," in 1995, followed a publication by the dissident Raymond Franz , a former member of the Governing Board of the Jehovah's Witnesses, who was "disfellowshipped" by the organization in 1980, on accusation of apostasy. In his book Crisis of Conscience, Raymond Franz discussed the Watchtower's increasingly difficult position as the "generation of 1914" rapidly died off with no signs of Armageddon.
…the Governing Body would welcome some means of escape from the increasingly difficult position created by tying the phrase this generation (along with the accompanying words that it will not pass away until all these things have taken place) to the steadily receding date of 1914… Undoubtedly the most desirable escape would come with an explanation that both retained 1914 as the start of the last days and at the same time successfully disconnected the phrase this generation from that date. But if the phrase this generation could be unlinked from 1914 and be applied to some future period of unknown date, then the passage of time…might not prove too difficult to rationalize particularly with a membership trained to accept whatever the "faithful and discreet slave class and its Governing Body may offer them
The Jehovah's Witnesses governing body, as anticipated by Raymond Franz, a former insider, finally sought to douse the tension among its members as the generation of 1914 passed away, by issuing a statement in a November 1, 1995 article, in which it now began subtly refuting its previous statements on the duration of the "a biblical generation". The article official article said:
…Eager to see the end of this evil system, Jehovahs people have at times speculated about the time when the great tribulation would break out, even tying this to calculations of what is the lifetime of a generation since 1914. However, we bring a heart of wisdom in, not by speculating about how many years or days make up a generation, but by thinking about how we count our days in bringing joyful praise to Jehovah. (Psalm 90:12) Rather than provide a rule for measuring time, the term generation as used by Jesus refers principally to contemporary people of a certain historical period, with their identifying characteristics.
Thus, beginning from 1995, as the millennium drew to a close, with the generation of 1914 fast disappearing without any sign of action from heaven, and with the 80 years span for a "biblical generation" having expired, the governing body of the Jehovah's Witnesses began implying effectively that a generation could be indefinitely extended.
This latest Armageddon-postponement-tactic by the Jehovah's Witnesses leadership has led to disillusionment for many longstanding members who began defecting. The sense of disappointed and let-down by former members of the group is evident in the forum Jehovahs-Witness.net., having several former members of the group as contributors. One contributor comments bitterly:
Growing up as a JW, you see the world differently than most everyone else. You see the world as something that is going to end very soon. All that we know will be gone by the time we're adults: When we were young, we were living in the last days and were expecting Armageddon before we grew old. We were the people who would cheat old age and death. Therefore we didn't have to worry about jobs, careers, houses, families. We were gonna party like it was 1999, the end would come and we'd all be in Paradise…It's a delusional expectation that has caused entire generations (not just mine, but my parents and grandparents before me) to waste their lives expecting to live forever and to be young forever. How sad to see people in their twilight years still expecting some miraculous event to transform them back to what they can never be again…
The evidence is that with the last revision by the leadership of the Jehovah's Witnesses on the subject of how long a "biblical generation" lasts, more and more witnesses are coming under pressure to review their convictions and many may be in need of help to re-adapt to a reality they had turned their backs on for too long.
I thought that that response of yours to Mark was about “asking personal questions”, ok, never mind
Just another Harold Camping-type prediction....
Sorry, juggling too many threads..
Interesting information. I always thought a generation was 20 years.
Pick a number, any number...
I love Jehovah’s Witnesses. I hate the Watchtower organization for enslaving them. It is yet another example of good people being deceived by an evil ecclesiastical body.
A little flexibility is allways good I guess sask intended
Done and done.
Well, no. Harold Camping was winging it, based upon numerology apparently, and has done so numerous times in the past several decades, and has been proved wrong every time. He had no church to speak of. He was and is a false prophet.
This interpretation of The Olivet Discourse is foundational to the beliefs of Jehovah’s Witnesses and will lead to many leaving, assuming time proves it false. It’s an erroneous interpretation that is coming up on a century old, hence the unease in JW circles. It’s not yet demonstrably false to those who’ve accepted it but that time is looming large.
Above and beyond this particular instance, it’s a group that is in error Biblically in several ways above and beyond. I can only hope that the inevitable disillusionment is limited to JW and not to the Bible or Jesus Christ. If these individuals can see or be shown the error, then maybe this can be avoided. But, they’re a determined lot, verging upon strident, the JW are. Well, some of the door-to-door proselytizers have blown right past strident and into asinine, to be quite honest, and this is coming from someone who does not look upon visitation from various churches as a bad thing.
There’s always hope, though. Always hope. As NoGrayZone has pointed out on another thread, there are a few decent people who manage to be what I accept as Christian within this church, despite the erroneous teachings.
I wonder why they just built a new “Kingdom Hall” about 2 miles from my house when it’s just about to be taken out by Jehovah?
Okay .. I am confused. Isn't the Watchtower Organization their parent organization? Does it not follow that if one disagrees with the organization, one leaves it?
Interesting, I dated a Jehovah’s Witness once, but I didn’t know about this stuff.
The JW’s beliefs are 10 times nuttier than that of false prophet Camping
Think Stockholm Syndrome. If ones family is entrenched, and the children are raised in that environment, that is all they know.
Now these children grow up and start having their own thoughts and probably think its them that is the problem.
I've known some bad ones and a few good ones. My sister's sister-in-law (ex), who was a practicing JW her entire life is now Roman Catholic.
I'm not too sure if she is still being "shunned" and "corrected" by her children. I try to stay as far away from that entire family.
However, the good few I stated lead more of a Christian life than most "Christians" I know.
NO,no, no. Why should the JWs be any different from those RCs who refuse to leave the church despite their fundamental disagreements on abortion, gay sex, women priests, and a whole host of other issues>
Better to stay and take over, along with all the assets, and throw the fundies out.
That’s the way the Left works, and that’s the way all those in error they are unwilling to give up work. In this case, those in error are already in charge, and they’re getting their stories ready.
So I wonder exactly how does the Jehovah’s Witness “New World Translation” holy book interprets the teachings of Matthew 24.
I actually happen to have that Bible (studied w/ the JW's in my mid twenties, now 40). I read Matthew 24. If you want me to post the whole thing, I will; however, this Bible doesn't predict any such thing......
Matthew 24:36-44..... "Concerning that day and hour nobody knows, neither the angels of the heavens nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 For just as the days of Noah were, so the presence of the Son of man will be. 38 For as they were in those days before the flood, eating and drinking, men marrying and women being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, 39 and they took no note until the flood came and swept them all away, so the presence of the Son of man will be. 40 The two men will be in the field; one will be taken along and the other be abandoned; 41 two women will be grinding at the hand mill: one will be taken along and the other be abandoned, 42 Keep on the watch, therefore, because YOU do not know on what day Your Lord is coming. 43 "But know one thing, that if the householder had known in what watch the thief was coming, he would have kept awake and not allowed his house to be broken into. 44 On this account, YOU too prove yourselves ready, because at an hour that YOU do not think to be it, the Son of man is coming.
I typed this exactly how it is in the New World Translation Bible you speak of. How ANYONE can post a date, I have no idea.
However, He being so merciful gives us warning signs....pangs that the time is near. If anyone bothered to open their Bibles anymore they would know that NO ONE CAN predict the time.
People need to start opening their Bibles and stop listening to MEN!
What is really sad is that Jehovah can’t be his name as the letter J only came into the alphabet 500 years ago. Plus hovah in Hebrew is mischief. Man, they don’t even have His name right.
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