The May 1/97 issue of the Watchtower magazine contains a question from a reader on pg. 29, which stems from a major change in the wording of the Why Awake Is Published statement
that is found on pg. 4 of every issue of the Awake magazine. This change occurred on Nov. 8/95 and reads in part, like this:
“Most important, this magazine builds
confidence in the Creator’s promise of a peaceful and secure new world that is about to replace the present wicked, lawless system of things.”
For many years previous
to Nov. 8/95 it read this way:
“Most important, this magazine builds confidence in the Creator’s promise of a peaceful and secure new world before the generation that saw the events of 1914 passes away.”
It is good to ask questions, and the Watch Tower organization realized that this important change needed to be addressed, because it involves issues like, ‘the length
of a generation’, and ‘the calculating and setting of dates and events’, which reflect upon the most important standard of all... Truth.
The Watch Tower organization identifies itself as the only true channel on earth that
Jehovah God uses to proclaim His truth to the world, and so their followers confidently look to the organization for this truth as nourishment, thereby, providing spiritual perspective, guidance, and sight; and based on this premise, if I were a Jehovah’s
Witness, I would too.
Now, when it is declared in print, for many years, that Jehovah the Creator promises that
the generation that witnessed the events of 1914 will not pass away before the new world is established, wouldn’t Jehovah’s Witnesses accept and believe it as God’s truth?
Certainly; because after all, it is the Creator’s promise not man’s promise. Man can be wrong; the Creator cannot. And the Bible does counsel us to let God be true and every man a liar (Romans 3:4).
I think that the reason that
readers of the Watchtower and Awake magazines might ask questions like the one on pg. 29 is because, whether you calculate the length of a generation in the Biblical way or in 21th century thinking,
a generation is a generation, and the people that saw the events of that specific year of 1914 have virtually, if not literally all passed away, thus presenting a huge problem regarding the fulfillment
of the Creator’s promise.
Since we know that God cannot fail, then the appropriate thing for any God-fearing
organization to do, would be to humbly admit that it was not God speaking, but themselves?
One thing I have learned
during my life when faced with prospects of a ‘bad call’ or an unhealthy choice I have made, especially when it affects others, the natural tendency is to protect myself and save face. Could it be that the Watch Tower, instead of admitting making a 'very bad call' on an extremely serious matter, chose rather, to attempt to extend the length of that 1914 generation, to buy more time on their prophetic clock, and then calling this adjustment "Improved understanding" and even going so far as to state that it isn't needful to
calculate or set dates of future events?
Well, what is disturbing to me about this “improved understanding” and “setting of dates” is this:
The Christian churches, which the Watch Tower has labeled as followers of Satan, that is, Christianity in general, has from the beginning heeded
the warnings of Christ about not calculating and setting dates, yet the Watch Tower in its brief 100+ year history has many times speculated, calculated, and fixed dates of events. Some
examples are 1874, 1914, 1918, 1925, 1941, 1975, and most recently of course, the generation of 1914.
How much ‘improved understanding’ does the organization that wears the name of Jehovah
need, to know what the ‘so called’ followers of Satan knew all along? In fact, 1914 and 1935 are
calculated and fixed dates that Jehovah’s Witnesses still hold to be God’s truth.
to the prophetical claims already noted in this article, it would seem that the Watch Tower thought it 'most important' in recent years to actually remove
'Why Awake Is Published' including the errant claim from the Awake magazine altogether.
I don’t know if readers of these magazines accept the explanations given by the organization or not, but I do know this. As a Christian,
I have never nor will ever need to have a fixed year, for example, for the return of Christ because that would be laying a false premise, leading to a false hope, and I may even influence others into that same error. Jesus taught that it is not for us to know
the exact time of His return. He said that He would come as a thief. Do you think that a thief would ever tell you when he is going to steal from you? Would I be so arrogant as to think that the Almighty would trust me or you or any group with information
of such great significance? (Matthew 24:42-44)
No, as a Christian I already have security, peace and assurance that my Lord will return... In His time... Not mine.