Something I thought might be relevant since we are studying the God's Kingdom book. Not long ago, in a WT article, it was mentioned in reference to the "Kingdom being preached in all the inhabited earth" that this will not mean that literally everyone on Earth would have heard about the Kingdom before Armageddon starts.
When one does a bit of mathematics (not my forte) and calculates the percentage of current Jehovah's Witnesses in comparison to the World's population we arrive at 0.1%. This is a very small percentage indeed. (8 million JW to 8 billion population)
If we were to assume some averages, and use the United States as a fair example, then we can assume the ratio of 1 publisher to roughly around 400. This seems a fair number since "only a few are the ones finding the road to life". However, as we know, there is practically a non existent ratio when it comes to India and China, two of the world's countries with a population of over 1billion each (the majority of whom have never heard of the Bible, never mind Jehovah's Witnesses). If we would assume the same ratio of 1:400, then this would immediately create over 3 million Witnesses in each of the two countries, i.e. over 6 million in India and China alone, bringing the total of JWs to over 14 million. If we were to also add 650 thousand in Indonesia, 485 thousand from Pakistan, and 402 thousand from Bangladesh that adds another 1.5 million bringing the total to over 15 million, almost doubling the Witnesses today.
If we go by the fact that all people are equal in Jehovah's eyes, and that no nation is above another when it comes to salvation, and that all people are basically the same, then we have to assume that there are people in those countries who, if given the chance, would embrace the truth and put themselves on Jehovah's side and create that ratio of 1:400.
With that in mind, it is evident that either there is going to have to be a lot of preaching done, verging on the miraculous, in order to bring in over 7 million new Witnesses within the allotted time of the "Generation", or, Jehovah will judge their hearts and allow nearly HALF of the people, (agnostics or believers in false Gods) entry into the new world without them even needing to know him.
Or, is "this Generation" a lot longer than we think.....
Any scriptural thoughts?
By JW Insider
Even before C.T.Russell was born, commentaries on Bible prophecy included dozens of potential dates. Nearly 200 years ago, a couple of them even included 1914 as potentially significant time period. The "1914 presence" doctrine, however, is only about 75 years old.
All the ideas behind the Watch Tower's version of the 1914 doctrine have already been discussed for decades now, and all of them, so far, have been shown to be problematic from a Scriptural point of view. Since the time that the doctrine generally took its current shape in 1943, the meanings and applications of various portions of Matthew 24 and 25 have already been changed, and the timing of various prophesied events and illustrations have changed. Most recently, the meaning and identification of the "faithful and discreet slave" has changed. And the definition of "generation" has changed about half-a-dozen times. This doesn't mean that the current understandings are impossible, of course, only that it has become less likely from the point of view of reason and reasonableness.
Besides, for most of the years of teaching this doctrine, we have had the flexibility of extending the "1914 generation" from a possible 40 years, up to 70, then 75, then 80 years. And this has been applied to teenagers who saw 1914, 10-year-olds who saw 1914, then even newborns who saw 1914. With every one of these options already tried and stretched to their limits, we finally were forced to convert the meaning of generation from its most common meanings and give it a new "strained" meaning that has no other Biblical parallel. (See Exodus 1:6; Matthew 1:17; 16:4; 23:36; Luke 11:50)
But that flexibility is still seen as the last reason for hope that the Watch Tower Society might have still been correct in hanging on to 1914. Since the Bible says that a lifespan is 70 or 80 years and 1914 + 80 = 1994, the "generation" doctrine in its original form (1943) could remain stable until about 1994. Of course, a lifespan could technically reach to 120 years or more, and Gen 6:3 even gives vague support to the idea that the "1914 generation" could last 120 years, until 2034.
The current alternative solution is to make the generation out of the length of two lifespans, which technically could be double 120 years, or nearly 240 years from 1914. That would have had the potential to reach to the year 2154 (1914+240) except for the caveat that it can, by its new definition, only refer to anointed persons who discerned the sign in 1914 and whose lives overlapped (technically, by as little as one second) with the lifespan of another anointed person representing the second group. If persons from each group don't really discern their own "anointing" until age 20, for example, this would effectively remove 40 years from the overall maximum. 1914+120-20+120-20 = 2114. We could also assume a possible lifespan of more than 120 years, but otherwise, the new two-lifespan generation could potentially make the generation last 200 years. This "technical maximum" is not promoted currently, because for now we look at examples like Fred Franz who was part of that original generation already anointed and who saw the sign, and the typical example of an anointed brother who was apparently "anointed" prior to Franz' death in 1992 would be someone like Governing Body member, Brother Sanderson, who was born in 1965, baptized in 1975, and was already a "special pioneer" in 1991. His is currently 52.
However, the generation problem is just one more problem now which we can add onto the list of all the other points that make up the 1914 doctrine. Here are several points related to 1914 that appear problematic from a Scriptural point of view:
All evidence shows the 1914 date is wrong when trying to base it on the destruction of Jerusalem. (Daniel 1:1; 2 Chron 36:1-22; Jer 25:8-12; Zech 1:12, 7:4; Ezra 3:10-13) Paul said that Jesus sat at God's right hand in the first century and that he already began ruling as king at that time. (1 Cor 15:25) Jesus said not to be fooled by the idea that wars and rumors of wars would be the start of a "sign" (Matt 24:4,5) Jesus said that the "parousia" would be as visible as lightning (Matt 24:27). He spoke against people who might say he had returned but was currently not visible. (Matt 24:23-26) Jesus said that his "parousia" would come as a surprise to the faithful, not that they would discern the time of the parousia decades in advance. (Matt 24:36-42) Jesus said that the kingdom would not be indicated by "signs" (Luke 17:20, almost any translation except NWT in this case) The "synteleia" (end of all things together) refers to a concluding event, not an extended period of time (Matt 28:20) Jesus was already called ruler, King and even "King of Kings" in the first century. (1 Tim 6:15, Heb 7:2,17; Rev 1:5; 17:14) Wicked, beastly King Nebuchadnezzar's insanity and humiliation does not represent Jesus as the "lowliest one of mankind." (Heb 1:5,6; 2:10,11; Daniel 4:23-25; cf. Heb 2:7; 1 Pet 3:17,18) The demise of a Gentile kingdom cannot rightly represent the time of the rise of the Gentile kingdoms (Daniel 4:26,27) The Gentile kings did not meet their demise in 1914. (Rev 2:25,26) The time assigned to the Gentile Times that Jesus spoke about in Luke 21:24 is already given as 3.5 times, not 7 times (Revelation 11:2,3) The Devil was already brought down from "heaven" in the first century. (1 John 2:14,15; 1 Pet 5:8; Luke 10:18; Heb 2:14) The Bible says that the "last days" began in the first century. (Acts 2:14-20; 2 Tim 3:1-17; 1 Peter 3:3-5; Heb 1:2, almost any translation except NWT in this case.)
By JW Insider
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.
By Patrick J Delaney
After much prayerful reflection on the Scriptures, I have come to the realisation that the true identity of the “generationÂ” Jesus spoke of at Matthew 24:34 may soon be revealed. There Jesus said, Â“This generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur.Â” I think the understanding JehovahÂ’s Witnesses currently hold on this scripture is incorrect. I believe that Joel chapter 2 will have a second fulfillment in the last days of this complete world system, just as it had a primary fulfillment in the last days of the Jewish system at Pentecost 33 CE. At that time true Christians were sealed with Holy Spirit. I believe that there will be yet another true spirit anointing or sealing in the near future. This is what John was referring to when he spoke of the sealing of the 144,000 in revelation chapter 7. The spiritual Israelite nation must be reborn. (Isaiah 66:8). The great crowd mentioned in the same chapter belong to the same group but are seen standing before the throne after Armageddon coming out of all nations. This sealing will result in a true restoration of pure worship as indicated by EzekielÂ’s prophecy of the valley of dry bones. (Ezekiel 37). Jehovah blows his spirit into the bones and they live. The preaching work up to now could be compared to the work of John the Baptist. It is a baptism of repentance for forgiveness of sins. By their actions JehovahÂ’s Witnesses prove themselves to be true Christians having repented of their sins. Yet they are not spirit anointed. I believe Jehovah is preparing them for a true spirit anointing. Their understanding of scripture will be refined. (See Malachi 3:1) The great worldwide preaching work, in fulfillment of the the Â“angel flying in mid heaven with everlasting good news to declareÂ” is yet future. (Revelation 14) The fulfillment of the prophecies in Matthew 24, and other related prophecies concerning the last days find their real fulfillment in the future. The last days have not yet begun. Jesus told his followers to Â“Learn from the fig tree when itÂ’s branch grows tender and puts forth leaves.Â” (Matthew 24:32-34). The fig tree represents Israel. I believe that this illustration could be a referring to the spiritual Israelite nation blossoming forth beginning with an outpouring of Holy Spirit. At least some of the generation of Christians that witness the birth of this new spiritual nation will be still alive on earth to witness the end of the age. This outpouring of Holy Spirit may occur in the very near future.
By James Thomas Rook Jr.
A 32 year old Bethelite at Warwick, NY was walking along a sidewalk at Bethel, going to the cafeteria for the evening meal, and as he walked along, was in deep prayer to Jehovah God.
He said, "Jehovah, you have promised to give me the desires of my heart. That's what I am asking you for right now. Please give me a confirmation that you will reward my faith and service to you.”
Suddenly the sky clouded up over his head and God in a booming voice spoke to him. "I have searched your heart and determined it to be pure. The last time I granted someone the desires of his heart request .... it was to my servant Solomon.”
“ He didn't disappoint me with his request for wisdom.”
“ I think I can trust that you won't disappoint me either. Because you have been faithful to me in all ways, I will grant you the desires of your heart."
The Brother sat and thought about it for a while and said, "I've always wanted to have a deep understanding of the Bible, and I have really tried, but I have forsaken a good education, and taken a vow of poverty and cannot afford a car or the classes I need to become an Engineer when my service here at Bethel is up …. could you help me afford a car, and a stipend so I can go to school, and learn to provide for myself and my future family as I get old?"
The Lord laughed and said, "That's impossible! Think of the logistics of that! I would have to start creating again to make you a car, and money to use, and get you into a college without any background that would make sense for what you would be learning!”
“ … Your request is very materialistic, a little disappointing. I could do it, but it's hard for me to justify your craving for worldly things. Take a little more time and think of another request …. a request you think would honor and glorify Me as well."
The Brother thought about it for a long while and tried to think of a really good request.
Finally, he said, “Oh God, please hear my request. I was Baptized when I was eight years old, and paid attention all my life, taking notes, reading the Bible, and meditation … but I just cannot understand the “Overlapping Generations” thing. I can’t see how Jesus or the Apostles or any disciples in the Early Church ever understood that, when Jesus was speaking. Can you help me to understand the “Overlapping Generations” Doctrine?”
“I want to know what all the other Brothers and Sisters know, what they feel inside and what they're thinking ...I want to know how to be as truly happy as they are, knowing these deep things about You ....That's the wish that I want, Jehovah … my hearts desire."
… after a few minutes, God said, "How about a Corvette and a full scholarship to Stanford University?"
So, I am reading in Matthew about how many generations there we're from the deportation from Babylon until the Christ, 14 generations. The way I do math 607 divided by 14 equals 43.3 years. This is how Scripture measures a generation.The way I see it since 1914 we have had 2 complete generations and are now working on a 3rd. According to Jesus shouldn't the end have come by now?
So if this is the basis for your belief, then probably what you'll want to do is first of all find out which bible book your foundational scripture is in. (It's Exodus by the way.)
Ex 1:6 - Eventually Joseph died, and also all his brothers and all that generation.
It's not a complicated scripture.
Let me ask you this. If you die in 2017 and all your brothers and all your generation also die at some point, what does "generation" mean if you don't impose any weirdness on the text? Do your precise birth and death times change the fundamental meaning of the word generation?
Of course there are overlaps in a "generation". The only possible way for there not to be overlaps would be for each generation to have a batch of children be born at the same minute of a certain year, and die at a simultanous minute of a later year.
But does your grandfather suddenly become part of your generation just because your life overlapped with him? Does that overlap of a few years between you and your brothers give latitude to distort the language to allow for President Kennedy to be of your generation even if your life overlapped with him?
By Outta Here
Since 2009 there has been a great deal of discussion around the concept of an "overlapping generation" in connection with Jesus words at Matt. 24:34.
I don't see anything particularly difficult about the idea myself.
I mean, you have a two stage relay. Start point: 1914 CE on one end. Finish point: the "great tribulation" on the other end. The track between is the stream of time.
As it is impossible for one team of runners to span the distance from the start, 1914 CE, to the finish, the "great tribulation", there are two teams of "anointed" Christians. Starting the race, those who saw the year 1914 eventually meet up with those (born later) who will see the outbreak of the great tribulation. The baton is passed and the race completed by the second group.
The entire group are seen as the (anointed) generation of the last days in Jesus prophecy. Not really rocket science is it?
But, in all the discussion around this, I see a phrase in Jesus words at Matt 24:34 I find intriguing. He said that "this generation will by no means pass away" (NWT)
Other translations render this differently, many saying simply "will not pass" or words to that effect. Why does the NWT render it in this particular manner?
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Leander H. McNelly