1914 Generation

The primary purpose of this article is to update my book “The Bible vs. The Watchtower (The Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Authority)You Decide…” on the Watchtower’s metamorphosing “1914 generation” doctrine, including clarification regarding the one specific event that Christ foretold must take place before His coming.

The Watchtower recently modified their doctrine concerning the 1914 generation to add a second group of anointed Christians, effectively extending the length of the “generation” and the time for the Watchtower’s doctrine to be fulfilled. This “New Light” or modified position is found in the Watchtower article of January 2014, entitled “‘Let Your Kingdom Come’ — But When?”, which states the following:

Paragraph 15:
“In his detailed prophecy about the conclusion of this system of things, Jesus said: ‘This generation will by no means pass away until all these things happen.’ (Read Matthew 24:33-35.) We understand that in mentioning ‘this generation,’ 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. Those who made up this group were not merely alive in 1914, but they were spirit-anointed as sons of God in or before that year. –Rom. 8:14-17.” [Emphasis added.]

Paragraph 16:
“The second group included in ‘this generation’ are anointed contemporaries of the first group. They were not simply alive during the lifetime of those in the first group, but they were anointed with holy spirit during the time that those of the first group were still on earth. Thus, not every anointed person today is included in ‘this generation’ of whom Jesus spoke. Today, those in this second group are themselves advancing in years. Yet, Jesus’ words at Matthew 24:34 give us confidence that at least some of ‘this generation will by no means pass away’ before seeing the start of the great tribulation. This should add to our conviction that little time remains before the King of God’s Kingdom acts to destroy the wicked and usher in a righteous new world. –2 Pet. 3:13″

Paragraph 17:
“What conclusion can we draw from the three lines of evidence that we have considered? Jesus cautioned that we would not — and we do not — know the exact day or hour. (Matthew 24:36; 25:13) But we can and do know ‘the season,’ as Paul mentioned. (Read Romans 13:11.) We are living in that season, the last days. If we give our full attention to Bible prophecy and to what Jehovah God and Jesus Christ are doing, we cannot fail to see compelling evidence that we are indeed living close to the end of this system of things.”

In this article, I will focus on the Watchtower’s revised understanding regarding the words of Jesus Christ found in Matthew 24:34: “Truly I say to you that this generation will by no means pass away until all these things happen.” [All Bible quotations are taken from the Watchtower’s current New World Translation of The Holy Scriptures.]

As set forth on pages 46-47 of my book, the following are Watchtower past truths on this issue:

“And, very important for us, it was foretold that such final results would take place within the lifetime of just one generation, the generation that was alive in 1914.” (Awake, October 8, 1973, emphasis added.)

“Hence our generation is the generation that will see the start and finish of all these things, including Armageddon.” (Watchtower, June 1, 1951, p. 335.)

These previous Watchtower magazines paint a clear picture that the “generation” consists of the one singular generation of those alive in 1914, and that they will see the start and finish of this system, which includes Armageddon. However, this position has evolved over the years, as set forth on page 51 of my book:

“To be sure, the Watchtower’s current position regarding the ‘generation’ in Matthew 24:34 is one that developed through a series of revised interpretations, from initially signifying ‘the lifetime’ of the generation alive in 1914, to those ‘who began to witness the events of 1914,’ to ‘those who saw with understanding what began in 1914,’ and finally to ‘those who see the signs of Jesus’ second coming but fail to mend their ways’ (with no reference to 1914).”

With this history of Watchtower teaching regarding the 1914 generation in mind, let us examine what they are now teaching as Jehovah’s current truth. (I say “current” because it appears He keeps changing His Mind.) Let us begin by dissecting each paragraph followed up with questions of my own:

Paragraph 15 purported “truth”: “We understand that in mentioning ‘this generation,’ Jesus was referring to two groups of anointed Christians.”

Questions to consider: It appears that the Organization now knows the thoughts of Jesus Christ. They say they understand that Jesus is referring to two groups. But where did they acquire this understanding? Does Christ ever say this? In Matthew 24:34, Jesus says: “Truly I say to you that this generation will by no means pass away until all these things happen.” Jesus Christ only refers to a singular generation. He never mentions two groups within the one “generation.” Therefore, since Jehovah’s Breathed Word fails to communicate this “New Light” posture, where did this new understanding come from? And, if Jesus Christ meant two groups, why then did He only refer to one? The truth is … Jehovah’s Word contradicts the Watchtower’s newfound doctrinal position.

Why then does the Watchtower put forth this revision to the 1914 generation doctrine? Paragraph 16 of the Watchtower article provides the answer:

Paragraph 16 purported “truth”: “The second group included in ‘this generation’ are anointed contemporaries of the first group. … Today, those in this second group are themselves advancing in years.”

Analysis: The 1914 generation, or first group of anointed ones, have either passed away or only a handful are still alive. If the first group all pass away before the system’s end, then the Watchtower’s doctrine would be proven false. Therefore, in order to protect their position, they invented a second group of “contemporaries” to extend the lifetime of the “generation.” But if we analyze the common meanings of “contemporary” and “generation,” it becomes clear that the Watchtower’s interpretation makes no sense.

The Cambridge Dictionary defines “contemporary” as “someone living during the same period of time as another.” The Cambridge Dictionary defines “generation” as “all the people of about the same age within a society.” Thus, while contemporaries co-exist with each other, they are not necessarily within the same generation. A person who is 15 years old can co-exist with (and be a contemporary of) someone who is 75 years old, but the two are not from the same generation. Thus, the Watchtower’s play on words cannot be reconciled.

Matthew 24:34 speaks of only one generation.
There is no mention of two groups, and no mention of contemporaries.

While the Watchtower is correct when they say world conditions are worsening, and Bible prophecy is being fulfilled, there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever to substantiate the addition of a second group to the 1914 generation. To the contrary, the words of Jesus Christ Himself in Matthew 24:34 contradict the Watchtower’s “New Light” doctrine (“this generation” is singular and does not reference contemporaries).

Once again the Watchtower continues to modify their false truths of yesterday for new truths today, which become false truths tomorrow for pseudo truths in the future.

Is Watchtower doctrine, which evolves and changes over time, really a rock upon which to place one’s faith? If Bible truths are what you’re seeking, then the answer is obvious … No.

THE ONE SPECIFIC EVENT

Because the Bible is God Breathed and contrary to the convoluted and erroneous Watchtower 1914 generation doctrine, I am compelled to close this article with some illuminating material. That said, however, I will keep it to a minimum and only highlight the most profound passages.

To begin with, in his book, “Exegetical Commentary on Matthew” (pg. 412), Greek scholar Spiros Zodhiates discusses Matthew 24:34, as follows:

“In general, Jesus taught that the generation that ‘see [s] all these things (v. 33) will not pass away without witnessing the completion of all the events prophesied. ‘All these things were typically fulfilled in the forty years from A.D. 30 to 70 when Jerusalem was destroyed. Jerusalem’s destruction was a sign for believers to prepare for the rapture of His church and parousia. Typical fulfillment of prophecy enhances imminence – the nearness of the Lord’s return.’”

Dr. Zodhiates helps us to understand the typical fulfillment during the first century. We know Christ did not, and has not yet, appeared because Christ Himself told us what His appearance would be likened to … contrary to the postulated position of the Watchtower (“returned but not seen”):

“For just as the lightning comes out of the east and shines over to the west, so the presence of the Son of man will be.” Matthew 24:27

Christ’s appearance will not be missed — when lightening flashes, it lights up the entire sky. But is there something — some event — that we can look to as a precursor to His return? Perhaps an event that Christ tells us will transpire first?

“Before expounding on the dramatic events leading to the overthrow of the temple, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives and further taught His disciples … Tell us … what [ti, the singular neuter pronoun of tis {5101}, ‘what one thing,’ meaning, from the context, ‘what one sign’] shall be the sign of thy coming [from parousia {3952}, presence, appearance], and of the end … to bring together to completion … of the world … age?

The Second Coming of the Lord Jesus will begin with the snatching away of believers to be with Him in glory. The word parousia derives from para (3844), which denotes close proximity … Parousia describes single events as well as processes of several events. There is no doubt that Jesus will return physically to earth in His glorified body. Revelation 1:7 says, ‘Every eye shall see [from optanomai {3700}, to see physically] him (Acts 1:11).” Zodhiates, “Exegetical Commentary on Matthew,” pg 391, discussing Matthew 24:3 (emphasis added).

Although He did not give us the day, hour, or year of His return, He did foretell of a what … the one thing to look for:

“Therefore, when you catch sight of the disgusting thing that causes desolation, as spoken about by Daniel the prophet, standing in a holy place (let the reader use discernment).” Matthew 24:15

Zodhiates comments on Matthew 24:15 below (pg 398):

‘“When,’ the Greek conjunction hotan (3752), focuses on a specific event within the nation of Israel, which will be miraculously preserved. The appearance of the abomination of desolation is connected with the worldwide preaching of the gospel of the kingdom at ‘the end.’ This is the closest Jesus gets to answering the disciple’s question of when in verse 3. However, the ‘when’ is eclipsed by a ‘what,’ that is, some physical object called an ‘abomination of desolation’ is given in place of a date. There will be a day and hour when this profane, sacrilegious idol will be erected, but the disciples were to deduce the time from the sign, not the sign from the times.

In looking at the magnificent temple, Jesus had said (v.2) that one stone would not be left on another, but the entire structure would be ‘thrown down’ or destroyed.

Jesus now spoke of ‘the abomination of desolation.’ The abomination, then, whatever it is, will cause desolation. Believers will see or perceive this disgusting thing at the completion of the age. Furthermore, they will need to ‘mind’ what was written in the book of Daniel to perceive accurately how this event fits into the general scheme.

An antichrist is one who opposes Christ. ‘Anti’ also means in place of, so this last Antichrist will be a supplanter; he will try to replace the true Messiah. Three-and-a-half years into Daniel’s seventieth week, this beast will attempt to replace Christ (Daniel 9:27; 2 Thess. 2:3-10; Rev. 13:5). This ultimate Antichrist surpasses the attempts of former antichrists to replace God as the object of worship (Rev. 13:12)…. According to Daniel 11:36 …, this Antichrist magnifies himself above every god, including the Almighty God, arousing His indignation.” (Emphasis added.)

Here, Christ references the Prophet Daniel and tells the reader to “use discernment,” that is, judge well, look for spiritual direction. This implies that the key event which is to take place prior to the coming of Christ was prophesied during the time of Daniel. The relevant passage is found in Daniel 9:24-27, which speaks directly to the Nation of Israel, so the fulfillment of this prophecy must have direct application to the Nation itself. Without going into a lengthy discussion, I will simply quote the passage and briefly explain the context:

Daniel 9:24-27 sets forth the prophecy of the coming of the Messiah — the 70 weeks of years. As we know, Christ appeared just as Daniel predicted, but Daniel also predicted that someone else would appear:

Verse 24: “There are 70 weeks that have been determined for your people and your holy city, in order to terminate the transgression, to finish off sin, to make atonement for error, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up the vision and the prophecy, and to anoint the Holy of Holies.”

Verse 25: “You should know and understand that from the issuing of the word to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Leader, there will be 7 weeks, also 62 weeks. She will be restored and rebuilt, with a public square and moat, but in times of distress.”

Verse 26: “And after the 62 weeks, Messiah will be cut off, with nothing for himself. And the people of a leader who is coming will destroy the city and the holy place. And its end will be by the flood. And until the end there will be war; what is decided upon is desolation.”  (Emphasis added.)

Verse 27: “And he will keep the covenant in force for the many for one week; and at the half of the week, he will cause sacrifice and gift offer to cease. ‘And on the wing of disgusting things there will be the one causing desolation, and until extermination, what was decided on will be poured out also on the one lying desolate.'”

In verse 26, Daniel speaks of both the Messiah and a leader who has yet to come. According to verse 27 of Daniel’s prophecy, The Antichrist will make a 7-year covenant with the Nation of Israel (this is the 70th week of Daniel’s prophecy which marks the beginning of The Great Tribulation), and breaking the covenant three-and-a-half years later. It is this event — “the disgusting thing that causes desolation … standing in a holy place” — that Jesus is alluding to in Matthew 24:15.

What happens once the covenant is broken 3-1/2 years later?

for then there will be great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world’s beginning until now, no, nor will occur again.” Matthew 24:21

Immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” Matthew 24:29

Jesus Christ is seen coming after the tribulation period …

Then the sign of the Son of man will appear in heaven, and all the tribes of the earth will beat themselves in grief, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.” Matthew 24:30

In Matthew, chapter 24, Jesus Christ pinpoints and draws attention to one specific event which must take place before His coming (verse 15). Thereafter, He tells us about the Great Tribulation (verses 21-29) and His return at the end of the Tribulation period (verse 30). Then Christ says something very profound in verse 34:

Truly I say to you that this generation will by no means pass away until all these things happen.” Matthew 24:34

Therefore, based on Scripture, Jesus Christ returns after (a) Matthew 24:15 is fulfilled, (b) The Antichrist makes a 7-year covenant with the Nation of Israel and breaks it 3-1/2 years later, causing sacrifices to cease (Daniel 9:27), and (c) the fulfillment of Matthew 24:29.

Finally, based on the context of Christ’s statement at Matthew 24:34, it becomes crystal clear that there will be one generation who sees the events of Matthew 24:15, as well as the beginning and end of the Great Tribulation. As Dr. Zodhiates helps us to appreciate:

“Imminence in these verses refers to Christ’s coming in judgment after the Tribulation period and is aimed squarely at unbelievers.” (“Exegetical Commentary on Matthew,” pg. 412)

Scripture does not evolve. It is truth yesterday, today, tomorrow and forever.
Stop believing the self-serving and evolving Watchtower and put your faith and trust in the Bible.

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