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FOUR problems with latest "GENERATION" teaching

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There are evidently FOUR basic problems in the latest explanation of the "GENERATION" teaching. Of course, this is the teaching based on Jesus' words in Matthew 24:34 where he says that "This generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur." The latest update to the explanation is that Jesus was referring to two groups of anointed persons: the first group who could discern the meaning of the sign they witnessed in 1914, and a second group of anointed persons, whose lives overlapped with that first group.

  • #1. It creates a set time limit for Armageddon to occur.
  • #2. It is based on the idea that the date 1914 was predicted in the Bible.
  • #3. It is based on a false definition of the word "generation."
  • #4. It is based on a false premise about a supposed belief in 1914 that didn't even exist in 1914.

If we're serious about:

  • paying constant attention to ourselves and our teaching, (1 Tim 4:16)
  • handling the word of God aright, having nothing to be ashamed of, (2 Tim 2:15)
  • not paying attention to false stories, (1 Tim 1:4-7)
  • making sure of all things, (1 Thess 5:21)
  • knowing that teachers will receive heavier judgment, etc., (James 3:1)

then we would not be very good Christians if any of us taught something that we were not sure about.

On this forum, participants have already dealt extensively with #1 and #2 above, but there has not yet been a thorough discussion and focus on points #3 and #4.

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4 hours ago, JW Insider said:

There are evidently FOUR basic problems in the latest explanation of the "GENERATION" teaching. Of course, this is the teaching based on Jesus' words in Matthew 24:34 where he says that "This generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur." The latest update to the explanation is that Jesus was referring to two groups of anointed persons: the first group who could discern the meaning of the sign they witnessed in 1914, and a second group of anointed persons, whose lives overlapped with that first group.

  • #1. It creates a set time limit for Armageddon to occur.
  • #2. It is based on the idea that the date 1914 was predicted in the Bible.
  • #3. It is based on a false definition of the word "generation."
  • #4. It is based on a false premise about a supposed belief in 1914 that didn't even exist in 1914.

If we're serious about:

  • paying constant attention to ourselves and our teaching, (1 Tim 4:16)
  • handling the word of God aright, having nothing to be ashamed of, (2 Tim 2:15)
  • not paying attention to false stories, (1 Tim 1:4-7)
  • making sure of all things, (1 Thess 5:21)
  • knowing that teachers will receive heavier judgment, etc., (James 3:1)

then we would not be very good Christians if any of us taught something that we were not sure about.

On this forum, participants have already dealt extensively with #1 and #2 above, but there has not yet been a thorough discussion and focus on points #3 and #4.

This is all above me, so i only have one group of questions.

Are you saying that the GB are telling lies ? Are making mistakes ? Are not guided by God's Holy Spirit ?

Are you saying that the information that Witnesses go out on the ministry with is false information ? 

Are you saying that you disagree with the GB on this matter ? 

 

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  • #4. It is based on a false premise about a supposed belief in 1914 that didn't even exist in 1914.

The simplest Watchtower explanation of the teaching is found here:

*** ws14 1/15 pp. 30-31 pars. 15-16 “Let Your Kingdom Come”—But When? ***

  • Jesus said: “This generation will by no means pass away until all these things happen.” (Read Matthew 24:33-35.) When Jesus mentioned “this generation,” we understand that he was speaking about two groups of anointed Christians. The first group was present in 1914 and understood that Christ began ruling as King in that year. Those who made up this group were not only alive in 1914, but they had also been anointed by holy spirit in or before that year.—Romans 8:14-17.     All those in the second group included in “this generation” were not simply alive but were anointed with holy spirit during the time that some members of the first group were still alive on earth. So not every anointed person today is included in “this generation” whom Jesus spoke about. Today, those in the second group are getting older. Yet, Jesus’ words at Matthew 24:34 make us confident that at least some of “this generation will by no means pass away” before seeing the start of the great tribulation. This convinces us even more that soon . . .

It only makes sense that this first group must have discerned the sign as it was occurring in 1914. Especially because the phrase in the Watchtower was "readily discerned." The above was from the Simplified version of the 2014 Watchtower. The version from the main Watchtower, where slightly different, is included below:

*** w14 1/15 p. 31 pars. 15-16 “Let Your Kingdom Come”—But When? ***

  • Jesus was referring to two groups of anointed Christians. The first group was on hand in 1914, and they readily discerned the sign of Christ’s presence in that year.   . . The second group included in “this generation” are anointed contemporaries of the first group. . . . This should add to our conviction that little time remains . . .

The Simplified version of the Watchtower said that the first group understood that Jesus Christ began ruling as King in 1914.

The regular version of the Watchtower said that the first group discerned the sign of Christ's presence in 1914.

But that first group did not actually discern either event in 1914. In 1914 that first group of anointed still only "discerned" that Jesus had begun his reign as king in 1878. They continued to believe that Jesus had begun his presence in 1874. Nothing changed in 1914 regarding the discernment of either event.

In fact, it was until 1943 that the Watchtower continued, officially, to teach that Christ's presence had begun in 1874:

*** ka chap. 11 pp. 209-210 par. 55 “Here Is the Bridegroom!” ***

  • In the year 1943 the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society published the book “The Truth Shall Make You Free.” . . . Naturally this did away with the year 1874 C.E. as the date of return of the Lord Jesus Christ and the beginning of his invisible presence or parousia.

But, the teaching about when Jesus became King is a little different. Years after 1914, the Watch Tower Society was still publishing that Jesus began his reign as King in 1878. And they continuing promoting that date in literature campaigns until 1933 or so. By 1922 there were already statements, not 100 percent explicit, but hints that the official doctrine might change, perhaps even as early as 1919. By 1925, the doctrine had officially changed that Jesus became King, not in 1878, but in 1914.

To review, today the official doctrine is as follows:

  • 1914: Jesus' presence began
  • 1914: Jesus' Kingdom reign began

From 1879 to 1922, and 1933, and even 1943, the teachings  were:

  • 1874: Jesus' presence began - (changed in 1943)
  • 1878: Jesus Reign as King began - (changed between 1922 through 1933)

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5 hours ago, JOHN BUTLER said:

Are you saying that the GB are telling lies ? Are making mistakes ? Are not guided by God's Holy Spirit ?

I would say that the GB are making mistakes. I don't know why this should be so surprising; they have admitted to dozens of mistakes over time, and some are more obvious than others.

This does not mean they are not guided by Holy Spirit. Even the apostles, who were more obviously guided by Holy Spirit made mistakes. Paul mentions some of them rather explicitly in the first two chapters of Galatians, and mentions more examples of the same types of mistakes in both First and Second Corinthians.

Being guided by Holy Spirit does not mean inspiration or perfect knowledge, but it should always move us in the right direction. Not all decisions are guided by Holy Spirit. Even if they are absolutely correct, it does not mean that Holy Spirit guided them. Some are just common sense business decisions. Some decisions accepted by the WTS have even been outsourced to worldly companies. It doesn't make them wrong, and it doesn't make the decision to outsource them wrong.

5 hours ago, JOHN BUTLER said:

Are you saying that the information that Witnesses go out on the ministry with is false information ? 

Are you saying that you disagree with the GB on this matter ? 

Yes, for me it is wrong. For me, I disagree with the GB on a couple of such matters. Doesn't make me better or 100 percent certain that I am right and they are wrong. Personally, I just think it means that there are strongly entrenched things. I don't insist on these issues in a congregational setting because there are easy ways to find agreement and speak in agreement. I just don't THINK in agreement all the time. For example, I have no trouble teaching that we are living in the last days, because Hebrews 1:1 and the letters of John show that we are in the last days since the first century. I don't have any problem with the idea that Jesus was in power as King in 1914, because I believe he was already King of Kings in the first century (because of 1 Tim 6:15, Revelation 1, etc.). The list could go on.

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@JW Insider Thank you for your answers.

I cannot understand why God would allow His "chosen faithful slave" to make so many mistakes. It makes no sense to me.

If you were teaching a child any subject, you would teach them properly, give them true good advice, give them accurate information. 

Why would you let them get it all wrong ? What purpose is there in even having an Organisation that carries your name, if you give that organisation false information or allow it to use false information ?  There is no sense, and, there is no LOVE in doing so. 

God is LOVE, I cannot see that He would allow such misguidance in an organisation that HE would have His own name on. 

Yes we know how God allowed the Nation of Israel to go astray etc, but according to some on here, we are so very close to the END that there is no time for all this misinformation and 'mistakes'. 

Some would say it's a testing, but for what ?  Why would anyone want to stay in an organisation that cannot be trusted to teach truth ? 

And, how can anyone go into the ministry with lies, or mistakes ?  Do you think that is really what God wants ? 

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1 hour ago, JOHN BUTLER said:

I cannot understand why God would allow His "chosen faithful slave" to make so many mistakes. It makes no sense to me.

I'm not judging you, but these questions sound legitimate with an element of true concern for people.

1 hour ago, JOHN BUTLER said:

Why would you let them get it all wrong ?

But you still, in my opinion go overboard with expressions like "so many mistakes."  How many is "so many"? Or, for example, when you speak of them getting "it all wrong." Is it really ALL wrong? When people think in polarized terms, it's difficult to get anywhere.

I think it's easiest get this point of view if you think of what was going on in the 2nd and 3rd chapters of Revelation. We don't know what all these doctrines and sectarian views were that were being picked up in various congregations, but there were several, as we also know from the letters of John and letters to Timothy, Titus, etc. -- and this was right back there when the last of the apostles hadn't even died yet. (It's also of interest that there is no mention of a GB of any kind in Revelation, but that each of these congregations appears to be taking on their own responsibility in front of Jesus as judge.)

Some of these congregations had it right, and some wrong, and some partially wrong. I assume that they had the major things right, but it must have been easy to get several things wrong.

  • (1 Corinthians 11:18, 19) . . .. 19 For there will certainly also be sects among you, so that those of you who are approved may also become evident.

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3 hours ago, JW Insider said:

But, the teaching about when Jesus became King is a little different. Years after 1914, the Watch Tower Society was still publishing that Jesus began his reign as King in 1878. And they continuing promoting that date in literature campaigns until 1933 or so. By 1922 there were already statements, not 100 percent explicit, but hints that the official doctrine might change, perhaps even as early as 1919. By 1925, the doctrine had officially changed that Jesus became King, not in 1878, but in 1914.

How in the world could the gb and the wt make this determination? If the Bible is our guide, as it should be, then you cannot wish away the words written in them. Jesus said in Matthew 28:18 " And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me."    How can ALL authority be given both in Heaven and Earth and this not be the King?

And I agree with your supporting scriptures (1 Tim 6:15 and Rev 1), the only caveat is that Rev is what John saw in the future. 

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9 minutes ago, Shiwiii said:

And I agree with your supporting scriptures (1 Tim 6:15 and Rev 1), the only caveat is that Rev is what John saw in the future. 

John saw the future, but Revelation 1 is not yet writing about visions of the future. In fact it is about the past, present and future. In the introduction to Revelation, it is about how the revelation had just been given to John who would write it down. In fact it clearly states that Jesus Christ was ALREADY the Faithful Witness, and was already the "Firstborn from the dead" and therefore already the Ruler of the kings of the earth. In other words, King of Kings. Therefore, he had already made Christians to be a kingdom (v.6). The introduction is to show the current authority of the one who gave him the visions, not his future authority. And I agree, of course, that he was already given "all authority" according to Matthew 28.

  • (Revelation 1:1-6) . . .A revelation by Jesus Christ, which God gave him, to show his slaves the things that must shortly take place. And he sent his angel and presented it in signs through him to his slave John, 2 who bore witness to the word God gave and to the witness Jesus Christ gave, yes, to all the things he saw. 3 Happy is the one who reads aloud and those who hear the words of this prophecy and who observe the things written in it, for the appointed time is near. 4 John to the seven congregations that are in the province of Asia: May you have undeserved kindness and peace from “the One who is and who was and who is coming,” and from the seven spirits that are before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ, “the Faithful Witness,” “the firstborn from the dead,” and “the Ruler of the kings of the earth.” To him who loves us and who set us free from our sins by means of his own blood— 6 and he made us to be a kingdom, priests to his God and Father—yes, to him be the glory and the might forever. Amen.

 

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23 minutes ago, JW Insider said:

 And I agree, of course, that he was already given "all authority" according to Matthew 28.

 

How does the wt get away with postponing this until 1874/1914/1919/1925 or whatever? 

How can regular witnesses not see this for themselves? 

I think this is intellectual dishonesty on the part of the gb and strips Jesus of His role to the jws in general. This isn't anything new, but this is bold of them to do it like this. 

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Quote " I'm not judging you, but these questions sound legitimate with an element of true concern for people." 

Thank you @JW Insider You are probably one of the very few here that feel that way. I am very concerned.

We should be willing to give our lives for others. But i don't see that love in the JW Org. 

And yes i do go OTT with expressions about 'all those mistakes' but there seems to be BOOKS that have been withdrawn, not just simple sentences or paragraphs, whole books.

Has the Revelation book been officially withdrawn now ?  Wherein it states on page 9

"It is not claimed that the explanations in this publication are infalible" 

Well, I think that says it all for me really. How many times did we study that book, three times cover to cover i think.

And does it prove now to be false teachings ? How far wrong am I  ?

Would you judge me worse than those that pretend to be God's 'Faithful slave' ?  

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8 hours ago, Shiwiii said:

How does the wt get away with postponing this until 1874/1914/1919/1925 or whatever? 

The loophole is in Colossians:

  • (Colossians 1:13) . . .He rescued us from the authority of the darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son. . .

In earlier versions it was preferred to translate this to make it sound like something so unique and special that it didn't sound like Christ has the Messianic Kingdom yet, as in "the kingdom of the son of his love." In fact, this introduction is much like that of Revelation in proclaiming the unique position of Jesus Christ in the entire universe:

  • (Colossians 1:13-17) . . .He rescued us from the authority of the darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 by means of whom we have our release by ransom, the forgiveness of our sins. 15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; 16 because by means of him all other things were created in the heavens and on the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All other things have been created through him and for him. 17 Also, he is before all other things, and by means of him all other things were made to exist, . . . He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might become the one who is first in all things; 19 because God was pleased to have all fullness to dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all other things by making peace through the blood he shed on the torture stake, whether the things on the earth or the things in the heavens.

Being over all other thrones and lordships and governments and authorities, while simultaneously saying that Jesus already has a Kingdom, is pretty much the same thing as saying that Jesus is already King -- in fact, already "King of Kings."

But the loophole was found in the 10 words I skipped from verse 18, where it adds ". . . and he is the head of the body, the congregation." So all that needed to be done, was to ignore all the talk of Jesus position and authority, and focus on this idea of "and he is head of the body, the congregation." The "kingdom" is therefore not Christ's Kingdom, not the Messianic Kingdom of God through Christ, but merely Jesus headship over the congregation as a kind of "kingdom."

But this "kingdom" cannot have a capital "K" as in "Kingdom" because that would remind us of God's Kingdom through Christ. In the rest of the NWT, every mention of God's Kingdom, sons of the Kingdom, the Kingdom of heaven, the Son of man coming in his Kingdom, sitting at the right of Jesus in his Kingdom, this good news of the Kingdom, the Kingdom of the Son of the Most High, eat and drink at the table in my Kingdom, Jesus' Kingdom, etc., etc., are all capitalized. Although there is no Greek support to capitalize some of these and not others, the NWT chooses NOT to capitalize Colossians 1:16. It is the only exception in the Greek Scriptures when referring to God or Christ's Kingdom. (Clearly because it is one of the few references to the word that cannot be pushed to the future, but is already in the present.)

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54 minutes ago, JOHN BUTLER said:

Thank you @JW Insider You are probably one of the very few here that feel that way. I am very concerned.

Actually, I think you are engaging in exaggerated thinking again. I am surely one of many who is very concerned. But not all of us wish to speak up. It's not our nature. The kind of person who goes online to look at a forum such as this is probably already showing a level of concern about others, and the possibility that not all is right and that this could hurt others.

I'm sure there are several here who are also concerned about people like me, too, and they show it by speaking up to make sure that I don't go too far in pushing a view that could stumble others. But if you look closely, almost everyone here, even those most active in defensive of the GB, will show signs of not being 100 percent in agreement with all the current teachings. I'm sorry he's not here to defend himself, but even the famous Allen Smith spoke of ideas he had that he might send in to the Watchtower Society that would adjust a certain defense of their chronology. He even spoke of having addressed a question related to Mexico/Malawi to Raymond Franz about a claim in his book. So I think you are seeing different kinds of Witnesses on this forum that you weren't seeing in your congregation. Hopefully, if you were not satisfied with the level of effort in "making sure of all things" in your own congregation, you might find it in a loosely webbed community such as this. I see a lot more interest in scripture, prophecy, and world events here than I see in the average Witness in the Hall. I think a lot of the interest shows up as "crazy" speculation, but I'm sure that's how my own interests show up to others, too.

54 minutes ago, JOHN BUTLER said:

We should be willing to give our lives for others. But i don't see that love in the JW Org. 

Indeed, it's probably a rare thing in most situations. But it has already happened under severe us vs. them circumstances. And I'm sure that as a group we are beyond the majority when it comes to trust of one another, the ability to work with other races, nationalities, and material classes.

  • (Romans 5:7) 7 For hardly would anyone die for a righteous man; though perhaps for a good man someone may dare to die.

I know it's probably not quite as far ahead of others as some of us would like to think, but I've stayed with Witnesses all over the world that I barely knew, and vice versa. I've trusted many Witnesses with material things, and they with me. I hardly give a second thought to the idea of trusting another Witness. (Yes, I know. Please start another thread if you wish to bring up how trust can lead to child sexual abuse.)

I see an unusually successful attempt to show love to others among millions of other persons. It's refreshing to meet and greet others with so much in common, and invariably find people we know in common.

54 minutes ago, JOHN BUTLER said:

Has the Revelation book been officially withdrawn now ?  Wherein it states on page 9

"It is not claimed that the explanations in this publication are infalible" 

The Revelation book is still very much available on JW.ORG, WOL and the WT-LIB CD/DVD, also available online in desktop format. It's still the truth that these explanations are not considered infallible.

54 minutes ago, JOHN BUTLER said:

And does it prove now to be false teachings ? How far wrong am I  ?

I'm sure much of it will prove false, just as most of everyone's explanation of Revelation in the entire world has proved false when the time for fulfillment of those explanations finally came. We just have to learn not to speculate unless we label it as speculation.

54 minutes ago, JOHN BUTLER said:

Would you judge me worse than those that pretend to be God's 'Faithful slave' ?  

There is a difference in believing that you have a terrible and awesome responsibility, having been asked and assigned to work on the Governing Body, and "pretending" to be God's faithful slave. It's a traditional concept among most JWs that the GB represent the rest of the anointed and that this is Jehovah's only arrangement that makes sense. The types of persons on the GB who ask others to join them as replacements and helpers are exactly the types of persons who also think this is the only arrangement that makes sense - and that they shouldn't even consider the possibility of another arrangement because it would be 'doubting' Jehovah. So it never happens that they are actually 'pretending' they are just believing.

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4 hours ago, JW Insider said:

When people think in polarized terms, it's difficult to get anywhere.

Polarized thinking impedes progress. Unfortunately, it is now the order of the day.

I even think it is exacerbated by the self-deceptive phrase ‘critical thinking’ and its corollary of avoiding ‘cognitive dissonance.’ It’s a concept worthy of a pamphlet, perhaps, but no more.

Not only is it possible to hold two contradictory ideas in one’s head at the same time, but it is surely the mark of a dogmatist to refuse to do it. Often you put something promising but incomplete on the shelf until you can reconcile it with other ideas.

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21 hours ago, JW Insider said:

#4. It is based on a false premise about a supposed belief in 1914 that didn't even exist in 1914.

Just another small point on #4 before moving on to point #3.

There have also been many times when our publications stated that for several decades in advance of 1914, Russell and his associates predicted that in 1914:

  • Jesus would return as King,
  • or would begin his presence,
  • or that his presence would begin invisibly in 1914,
  • or that the "time of the end" or "last days" would begin in 1914,
  • or that 1914 would be the beginning of a time of great trouble on the earth.

None of those statements are true. And for the last couple decades, these false statements have no longer been repeated in our publications. The only remaining prediction that can rightly be stated as having been predicted several decades in advance is this:

  • 1914 would mark the "End of the Gentile Times"

All the latest publications only focus on this one point now, since it is generally admitted that, long after 1914, we still taught that:

  • Jesus had returned as King in 1878,
  • had begun his presence in 1874,
  • that the invisible presence in heaven had begun in 1874 and the visible effects upon the world would begin to be seen just after 1914,
  • and that the "time of the end" had begun in 1799,
  • and that 1914 would be the END of the great trouble on the earth, not the BEGINNING.
    • (About a decade before 1914, this last idea was adjusted to push the time of trouble before 1914 to a time beginning in October 1914 and ending around or just after 1915.)

But now that the teaching is better grounded in the idea that the prediction was that 1914 would be the "End of the Gentile Times" it would be good to know if we are talking about the same belief.

It's not the same.

The End of the Gentile Times referred to the fact that Palestine would see an Israeli government beginning in 1914 because the governments and institutions of the Gentile kings and governments would all collapse during a period of several months beginning in October 1914 with some likely holding on until the end of 1915.

The expression End of the Gentile Times, was the equivalent of saying that the non-Gentile Kings have had their day. The U.S. government was therefore set to collapse within months of October 1914. The government of Great Britain would also collapse. There would be no more Russian government, no more Chinese government, no more Mexican or Canadian governments. No League of Nations, no United Nations, no more banks, no more "Wall Street." This all collapses in the 1914 time period, because all gentile governments and institutions would collapse with only a blessing on the Israeli government in what is now Palestine. 

In Russell's view the blessings on the earth would come through the fact that true Christians would make up Christ's bride and rule simultaneously from heaven while the Israeli government ruled from earth out of the city of earthly Jerusalem.

It was a true Zionist movement, which is why the primary magazine was called Zion's Watch Tower.

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1 hour ago, JW Insider said:

It was a true Zionist movement, which is why the primary magazine was called Zion's Watch Tower.

Russell's view was clearly stated in "Studies in the Scriptures" Volume II, (The Time Is At Hand) under the heading:

STUDY IV      **     THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES   **    What are Gentile Times?

The following are excerpts from this chapter in the book:

  • During this interval, the dominion of earth was to be exercised by Gentile governments; and Israel, both fleshly and spiritual, have been and are to be subject to these powers until their time is expired. . . . . . . Thus, while Israel was waiting and hoping for the promised dominion of earth, . . . the desire for universal empire became general among other nations. . . . It will be established gradually, during a great time of trouble with which the Gospel age will close, and in the midst of which present dominions shall be utterly consumed, passing away amid great confusion.

The above was written at a time when Russell still taught that the time of trouble would completely END in 1914, and 1914 initially was seen as the first year of peace "the end of the time of trouble" following the great chaos and confusion of the trouble as the Gospel age closed in 1914.

In this chapter we present the Bible evidence proving that the full end of the times of the Gentiles, i.e., the full end of their lease of dominion, will be reached in A.D. 1914; and that that date will see the disintegration of the rule of imperfect men. And be it observed, that if this is shown to be a fact firmly established by the Scriptures, it will prove:

  • Firstly, That at that date the Kingdom of God, for which our Lord taught us to pray, saying, "Thy Kingdom come," will begin to assume control, and that it will then shortly be "set up," or firmly established, in the earth, on the ruins of present institutions.
  • Secondly, It will prove that he whose right it is thus to take the dominion will then be present as earth's new Ruler; and not only so, but it will also prove that he will be present for a considerable period before that date; because the overthrow of these Gentile governments is directly caused by his dashing them to pieces as a potter's vessel (
      Hello guest!
    ; 
      Hello guest!
    ), and establishing in their stead his own righteous government.
  • Thirdly, ...
  • Fourthly, It will prove that from that time forward Jerusalem shall no longer be trodden down of the Gentiles, but shall arise from the dust of divine disfavor, to honor; because the "Times of the Gentiles" will be fulfilled or completed.
  • Fifthly, It will prove that by that date, or sooner, Israel's blindness will begin to be turned away; because their "blindness in part" was to continue only "until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in" (
      Hello guest!
    ), or, in other words, until the full number from among the Gentiles, who are to be members of the body or bride of Christ, would be fully selected.
  • Sixthly, It will prove that the great "time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation," will reach its culmination in a world-wide reign of anarchy; and then men will learn to be still, and to know that Jehovah is God and that he will be exalted in the earth. (
      Hello guest!
    ) . . .  But the Lord's Anointed and his rightful and righteous authority will first be recognized by a company of God's children while passing through the great tribulation--the class represented by m and t on the Chart of the Ages (see also pages 235 to 239, Vol. I); afterward, just at its close, by fleshly Israel; and ultimately by mankind in general.
  • Seventhly, It will prove that before that date God's Kingdom, organized in power, will be in the earth and then smite and crush the Gentile image (
      Hello guest!
    )--and fully consume the power of these kings.
    Its own power and dominion will be established as fast as by its varied influences and agencies it crushes and scatters the "powers that be"-- civil and ecclesiastical--iron and clay.

So, the Watch Tower's view of "The End of the Gentile Times" referred to the crushing and scattering of all "powers that be" both governmental and religious powers BEFORE October 1914, fully consuming the power of the kings of the earth so that FLESHLY Israel's rulership from Jerusalem could quickly fill the void and fill the need for order in a time of complete world-wide anarchy. Fleshly Israel would, of course, be helped and guided by blessings flowing from the heavenly portion of God's kingdom government, and his approval and blessing upon the government of fleshly Israel. 

Recognizing God's lease of power to these worldly or Gentile governments, we know, not only that they will fail, and be overthrown, and be succeeded by the Kingdom of Christ when their "times" expire . . . . Christ's Kingdom cannot take the control, though it will be organizing and preparing to do so in the few years which close the Gentile Times, while these kingdoms will be trembling, disintegrating and falling into anarchy. . . . 

In view of this strong Bible evidence concerning the Times of the Gentiles, we consider it an established truth that the final end of the kingdoms of this world, and the full establishment of the Kingdom of God, will be accomplished near the end of A.D. 1915. . .

Be not surprised, then, when in subsequent chapters we present proofs that the setting up of the Kingdom of God is already begun, that it is pointed out in prophecy as due to begin the exercise of power in A.D. 1878, and that the "battle of the great day of God Almighty" (

    Hello guest!
), which will end in A.D. 1915, with the complete overthrow of earth's present rulership, is already commenced.

It should also be noted that the emphasis on Jews returning to Palestine was a big part of Russell's teaching as the Watch Tower, right up until 1914 was making statements like this:

Another thing we have been expecting is the return of the Jews to Palestine. There is more and more now being said about the Jews returning to Palestine, and more interest is being aroused in the matter. When we first began to draw attention to this subject of the return of the Jews to the Holy land, there was no movement at all of this kind. It has all come since.

Rutherford continued in support of the belief in the Zionist movements in Palestine up until about 1930, notably with the book: "Comfort for the Jews" in 1925.

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It should be clear that the anarchy of World War I had nothing to do with the predictions about an end of the Gentile Times.

This is why we regularly need to quote a worldly newspaper that misquoted the prediction instead of quoting our own Watch Tower publications when we speak about what was predicted "decades in advance."

*** it-1 p. 135 Appointed Times of the Nations ***

  • It is a historical fact worth noting that, on the basis of the points and evidence above presented, the March 1880 edition of the Watch Tower magazine identified the year 1914 as the time for the close of “the appointed times of the nations” (and the end of the lease of power granted the Gentile rulers). This was some 34 years before the arrival of that year and the momentous events it initiated. In the August 30, 1914, edition of The World, a leading New York newspaper at that time, a feature article in the paper’s Sunday magazine section commented on this as follows: “The terrific war outbreak in Europe has fulfilled an extraordinary prophecy. For a quarter of a century past, through preachers and through press, the ‘International Bible Students’ . . . have been proclaiming to the world that the Day of Wrath prophesied in the Bible would dawn in 1914.”

 

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Quote " I'm not judging you, but these questions sound legitimate with an element of true concern for people." 

My reply was "Thank you @JW Insider You are probably one of the very few here that feel that way. I am very concerned."

I quote you "Actually, I think you are engaging in exaggerated thinking again. I am surely one of many who is very concerned."

What I was meaning was that you are one of the few that seem to think that i am concerned for others. Sorry for confusion. 

Yes I'm sure others are also concerned. 

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@TrueTomHarley  " Not only is it possible to hold two contradictory ideas in one’s head at the same time.. "

Do you mean to actually believe both sides, or do you mean to be considering both sides ?

Anyone that does not consider both sides of a discussion is rather foolish of course. But I would find it impossible to believe both sides, though I might be able to understand why others should believe the opposite to me. 

Polarized thinking = black or white. Right or wrong. True or false. 

I think Jesus showed us the way on these things. The Bible makes clear not to mix the false with the truth.

There is always a right way and a wrong way, everything else is just excuses. 

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@JW Insider  Am i right in thinking that you are proving Russell had no guidance from God on these matters.

Are you saying that Russell expected God to use the fleshly Nation of Israel to rule over this Earth. If so, why would God use the nation which He handed over to the Romans to destroy ? 

And where would it leave the preaching of the Good News Earthwide ? People from all nations etc. 

I do admit that it is all above me and I do wonder how much God actually expects us basic humans to understand.

Digging into scriptures, reading God's word, surely does not involve all this ? If it does then many with good hearts will surely fail. 

 

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2 hours ago, JOHN BUTLER said:

  Am i right in thinking that you are proving Russell had no guidance from God on these matters.

I can't answer your question directly. But I will give my opinion that Jehovah did not direct Russell at all on these particular matters of chronology.

You can safely ignore the rest of this post, as it is just going to be my own ramblings about how I come to this particular conclusion and still have respect for what Russell did, without discounting Jehovah's ability to work through any person.

This is a question that I wish had come up under a different topic. Without a set of clear visible miracles, belief in guidance from God is a matter of faith. I believe that Russell had faith that he was guided from God. I don't believe we are supposed to have faith in people when it comes to religious matters. So you get right to the heart of the matter with your question.

Russell may have had guidance from God on several matters. It may be because of a certain type of guidance from God that he viewed traditional religion through a certain filter, looking for a more sensible and rational God. It may have the right time in the late 19th century to meet a religious demand for a more sensible and rational God. This motivation could have worked in either direction. He was a product of wonderment at the quick strides that apparently allowed science to overtake religion in the United States. Or, Jehovah needed persons like him to begin promoting something that would attract good-hearted Christians to coalesce at such a critical stage in history.

In either case, we know that Russell felt a motivation and an overall direction that might have led him to read the Bible, or listen to religious preachers and teachers with that certain "filter" that moved him to choose, not just one doctrine, but a set of unrelated doctrines that quickly shook up traditional Christianity.

He picked a lot of these doctrines from Second Adventists even though most of Adventism had been recently shamed and very few wanted to be associated with Adventism. He picked a lot of it from "Age-to-Come" doctrine, even though the Age-to-Come teachers rejected him. Adventists, having been shaken, disappointed, and embarrassed in the 1840's, 1850's, 1860's, and most recently in 1873 and 1874 had already been making themselves more and more unwelcome in traditional churches as they kept updating their constantly failing end-times beliefs. These end-time groups were more apt to look for alternative doctrines from the traditional churches, and many had become non-Trinitarian, and many had become non-Hellfire believers, non-Immortal Soul believers, non-combatants, etc. Adventists hadn't developed these teachings themselves, necessarily, but were also picking them up from rogue Baptists, rogue Episcopalians, rogue philosophers, etc. The way I read the stories of several semi-successful Adventists is that they had to include a strong non-chronology angle to their doctrines rather than merely promoting another date. (Seventh-Day Adventists are a good example.)

We might assume that, sooner or later, of course, one of these groups was going to hit on something that would attract some special, additional attention. (Kind of like the way a good idea, a song or video or even a false conspiracy can "go viral.") Or someone would soon hit on a specific eclectic mix of doctrines that would be seen as Truth. Or a set of these doctrines would merely land in the lap of a skilled orator, writer and promoter. Or some combination of the above.

All we can see is the end result of Russell's eclecticism. And we might have faith that Jehovah took a specific interest in Russell's talents. He had a talent for speaking, writing, and used them to shake up traditional Christianity by promoting that collection of Bible doctrines that gave a very different, but refreshing look, to Christianity. Were these doctrines really random and the ones that made no sense would finally just "shake out" from the mix? Or did Russell just happen to have a good heart and a love for God that allowed him to read the Bible with a filter that helped him weed out many of the traditional doctrines that were not rational?

Depending on the significance we attach to some of the specific doctrines that Russell ended up promoting in tandem that no one else was promoting, we also might consider that Jehovah was guiding at least some of his decisions and efforts.

There are many ways, through faith, to look at the way Jehovah directs our efforts. We can't speak for others, but we know that we can rightly have faith in this "direction" even if it doesn't lead to a perfect outcome. People pray for a spouse, find one, and just know it was Jehovah's will at the time. People are about to make a terrible life choice and are steered in another direction. A driver of a car may swerve to avoid a person and hit a tree, unharmed. Not a perfect outcome, but it was still good "direction." When Russell moved away from some strongly entrenched traditional church doctrines, he may have steered into a few problems, too.

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