What Gave the JW's the Idea?

Norman Hovland

In a thread, far down on the page Longworth asked an interesting question:

The July 15th, 1999 Watchtower on page 18 says that some of it's members, "Unable to make time calculations concerning the fulfillment of certain prophecies, and putting "Jehovah's day" off in their minds, they abandon true worship." Now we apostates ask, where did they get the idea for time calculations?

I think that one is quite easy to answer. Let us take a look at what Jehovah's "official" journal have said about this matter. One should think that bombastic statements like the one in this Watchtower quote should end all discussions about the Watchtower Society's claims:

"As Jehovah revealed his truths by means of the first-century Christian congregation so he does today by means of the present-day Christian congregation. Through this agency he is having carried out prophesying on an intensified and unparalleled scale. All this activity is not an accident. Jehovah is the one behind all of it." (The Watchtower, June 15, 1964, p. 365, §22)

First of all it is interesting that they actually admit that they do indeed teach that Armageddon would come within a "generation" from 1914. Although the reason why they teach it is the rather lame one -- "because they have faith that it is so". As usual, time proved them wrong, again:

"WHY do Jehovah's witnesses say that Christ "returned" in the year 1914 and then began to rule as King? Because they have faith that it is so. Why do they teach that the universal war called Armageddon will take place within this present generation and will utterly wipe out this world's present systems of religion, commercialism and politics, and that millions of people will survive that global catastrophe and live on forever on earth under ideal conditions? It is because they have faith that it will be so." (The Watchtower, 1957, p. 73)

The Watchtower didn't seem to be lacking in confidence though:

"These events began to occur on earth in the year 1914, and continue to assert themselves to the present day. Not just one or two of these momentous happenings have come upon this generation, but all of them. NO FALSE ALARM THIS!" (The Watchtower, 1953, p. 648)

Again, it turned out to be just that, a new false alarm. In the next quote we get information about where the average Jehovah's Witnesses got the information about these "time calculations". In Brooklyn they claim to know all sorts of things. It is for example amazing how Brooklyn even knows exactly what Jesus meant:

"The foretold events having begun A.D. 1914, the generation of mankind that is still alive from that year is the generation meant by Jesus Christ." (The Watchtower, April 15, 1961, p. 236, §31)

"We know that Jesus Christ will take such action within this generation. Bible chronology clearly establishes that in 1914 C.E. he was given rulership over the world of mankind." (The Watchtower, 1973, p. 61)

"What does all this mean? Jesus' words, at the conclusion of telling his disciples of all these things, give us the answer. He says: "Truly I say to you that this generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur." (Matt. 24:34, NW) He meant what he said. The generation that began to see these things in 1914 will witness the final accumulated judgments of Jehovah God, though some individuals who are part of this generation may die before the end of this world's system of things takes place." (The Watchtower, 1953, p. 124, §35)

It is equally amazing what Jesus, God and the Bible has said about the generation:

"This cannot be very far off, for Jesus said that the generation that saw 1914 "will by no means pass away until all these things occur." -- Matt. 24:34, NW." (The Watchtower, 1956, p. 616)

"As Jesus said, the end would occur in the same generation that saw the beginning of the "last days" in 1914. -- Matt. 24:34." (The Watchtower, 1968, p. 265)

"These Bible prophecies also reveal that the "generation" that saw the events beginning in 1914 would also see the "conclusion of the system of things." -- Matt. 24:3, 7-22, 32-35." (The Watchtower, February 15, 1981, p. 10)

"It is on its deathbed and the prophecies of God's Word foretell its end within the generation of men that has been living since 1914. (Matt. 24:33, 34)" (The Watchtower, 1957, p. 568)

It is really very amusing to read quotes like the one Longworth mentions above and then compare it to statements like this:

"Bible prophecy and the physical facts in fulfillment thereof prove that since 1914 C.E. the generation now living is in the "time of the end."" (The Watchtower, 1974, p. 123)

It is equally amusing to compare quotes like this:

"The holy spirit of Jehovah is working mightily today! How thankful we should be for the provision God has made of this slave class, the modern spiritual remnant, as they faithfully dispense the revealed truths of Jehovah!" (The Watchtower, June 15, 1964, p. 365, §23)

With this:

"Jehovah's Witnesses, in their eagerness for Jesus' second coming, have suggested dates that turned out to be incorrect. Because of this, some have called them false prophets. Never in these instances, however, did they presume to originate predictions 'in the name of Jehovah.' Never did they say, 'These are the words of Jehovah." (Awake! March 22, 1993, p. 4)

In one moment the Watchtower tell us that Jehovah is behind all they do, and that:

"they faithfully dispense the revealed truths of Jehovah!"

The next moment they tell us that in spite of all this:

"Never in these instances, however, did they presume to originate predictions 'in the name of Jehovah.' Never did they say, 'These are the words of Jehovah."

Anyone should understand how utterly dishonest and stupid this is.