How long is "this generation"? Three items appear below:
1 Quotations From WTS Publications Linking A Generation To A Number of Years
2 Jehovah's Witnesses change teachings about end of world
3 O.K. sinners, you're off the hook for now.
From Watchtower Society's Publications
Linking A Generation To A Number of Years.
B J Kotwall
(Investigator 46, 1996 January)
On the following pages a partial extract from WTS's publications is reproduced, wherein they have linked the 1914 generation to a certain number of years.
Most of these quotations have been extracted from a CD-ROM which the WTS issued last year. (The CD-ROM is not sold to "outsiders", and even JWs who request to purchase this CD-ROM are interrogated very thoroughly before their request is considered. The reason of course is that it is a very potent tool in the hand of researchers who wish to expose the WTS.)
w52 9/1 543 Questions from Readers
Some persons living A.D. 1914 when the series of foretold events began will also be living when the series ends with Armageddon. All the events will come within the span of a generation. There are hundreds of millions of persons living now that were living in 1914, and many millions of these persons could yet live a score or more years.
g62 9/22 28
Even if we were to use seventy or eighty years as the length of a generation, this would not enable us to determine the time for Armageddon's commencement.
Why? Because this war of God is not scheduled to occur exactly at the end of this generation. It comes within the generation.
w66 5/15 292 Keep Your Heart Strong
Because they rebelled, God required them to wander in the wilderness for forty years, until that generation died and a new one grew up.
g66 10/8 18
It is to be carefully noted that the youngest of those who saw with understanding the developing sign of the end of this system of things from its start in 1914 are now well over 60 years of age! In fact, the greater part of the adult generation that experienced the start of the "last days" has already passed away in death.
w67 4/15 244 The Most Urgent Warning Ever Given
It is to come within the generation that has already seen two world wars and it is only a few short years ahead of us.
g68 10/8 13
Even if we presume that youngsters 15 years of age would be perceptive enough to realize the import of what happened in 1914, it would still make the youngest of "this generation" nearly 70 years old today... Jesus said that the end of this wicked world would come before that generation passed away in death.
w68 12/1 715 Putting First the Preaching of the Good News
A generation, according to Psalm 90:10 is from seventy to eighty years. The generation that witnessed the end of the Gentile Times in 1914 does not have many more years left.–Luke 21:24, 32-36
w68 12/15 754 How We Know It Is Getting Near
We of "this generation" have seen these foretold things "start to occur" in 1914, and now for the last fifty-four years we have seen them occurring. So our convictions have been confirmed. From a long train of foretold events we know that the kingdom of God is getting near to its act of destroying this system of things and its supporters at Armageddon and bringing about our glorious deliverance.
w69 1/1 545 The Faith That Pleases God
Yet the time that he has set for the accomplishment of his righteous purpose toward the earth is scheduled to run out within the coming few years of this generation.
w69 2/15 101 The Last Days of This Wicked System of Things
How soon will that be? God's own Son, Jesus Christ, gives the answer. After drawing attention to the many things that mark the period from 1914 onward as the "time of the end," Jesus said: "This generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur." (Matt. 24:34) Which generation did he mean?
Jesus had just referred to persons who would "see all these things." "These things" are the events that have taken place since 1914 and those yet to occur down to the end of this wicked system. (Matt. 24:33) Persons born even as much as fifty years ago could not see "all these things." They came on the scene after the foretold events were already under way.
However, there are people still living who were alive in 1914 and saw what was happening then and who were old enough that they still remember those events. This generation is getting up in years now. A great number of them have already passed away in death. Yet Jesus very pointedly said: "This generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur." Some of them will still be alive to see the end of this wicked system. This means that only a short time is left before the end comes! (Ps. 90:10)
w70 9/1 536 How to Train Your Powers of Perception
And time is certainly limited, with about 56 years already gone of the generation witnessing the sign of the "time of the end." (Matt. 24:34)
w74 2/1 72 Earthquakes Affect Everyone
He did not predict that the above-listed events (including earthquakes) would occur within any "ten-year interval." Rather, he said: "Truly I say to you that this generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur." (Matt. 24:34) A whole "generation" is much longer than ten years.
w74 6/15 359 The Horsemen of the Apocalypse – Their Effect on Our Lives
Jesus stated, as recorded at Matthew 24:34: 'Truly I say to you that this generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur." The generation that saw he beginning of "these things" in 1914 is now well up in years and, in fact, is near" to 'passing away.'
w75 5/1 278-9 Why We Have Not Been Told "That Day and Hour"
The general time period is clearly marked in God's Word. The "generation" that Jesus foretold would see not only the events of the year 1914 but also the "great tribulation" is now well up in years.
w77 12/1 734 "Victorious Faith" International Conventions
Today, we are more than 60 years into the "conclusion of the system of things," and we rejoice that there are still with us some of the generation of 1914 who, like the apostle John, are living examples of faithful endurance. (Matt. 24:3, 34)
w78 10/1 31 Questions from Readers
This helps us to understand "generation" in Matthew 24:34. In common English usage today "generation" might be used for (1) all persons who were born and who live about the same time, or (2) the average span between the birth of parents and that of their children, usually 20 to 30 years. Which did Jesus mean? Obviously not the latter, for in its first application the "generation" ran from 33 C.E. until 70 C.E., or at least 37 years.
Also, it is evident that by the word "generation" Jesus did not mean just the Jewish children born in 33 C.E. Luke relates that after being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom was coming, Jesus told his disciples: "[The Son of man] must undergo many sufferings and be rejected by this generation." (Luke 17:20-25) That rejection certainly was not by newborn babies. Likewise, the way things worked out shows that the "generation" he spoke of in Matthew 24:34 included his listeners and others who could discern the fulfillment of his words from 33 G.E. onward until Jerusalem's destruction.
Thus, when it comes to the application in our time, the "generation" logically would not apply to babies born during World War I. It applies to Christ's followers and others who were able to observe that war and the other things that have occurred in fulfillment of Jesus' composite "sign." Some of such persons "will by no means pass away until" all of what Christ prophesied occurs, including the end of the present wicked system.
g81 7/22 4 What Will the Future Be Like for Your Children?
Certainly with the outbreak of World War I in 1914, our earth has witnessed every one of these conditions. Jesus added: "Truly I say to you that this generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur." So before the "generation" that saw "these things" begin in 1914 'passes away,' dies off, God will bring in a secure new order of righteousness. Since those of that "generation" are up in years, the foretold change is very near.–Matt. 24:35
w81 11/15 11 "Peace and Security" – Then "Sudden Destruction"
Jesus foretold that some of those who were alive when the "last days" began would live to see this system's end. Already 67 years have passed since the "generation" of 1914 saw the start of these troubles. (Matt. 24:34)
w83 4/15 4 The Black Horse of Famine
For many years Jehovah's Witnesses have made known that it is the generation that saw the year 1914 that has witnessed the results of the horseman's passing. Is their understanding correct? 'Of course not,' some may say.
w84 3/1 18-19 Kingdom Unity a Reality Today
It has been thrilling to see the fulfillment of Jesus' sign showing that the Kingdom was established in the heavens in that momentous year 1914. And Jesus has told us to rejoice at seeing the dark storm clouds of Armageddon gathering since that time. He has told us that the "generation" of 1914 - the year that the sign began to be fulfilled - "will by no means pass away until all these things occur." (Matthew 24:34) Some of that "generation" could survive until the end of the century. But there are many indications that "the end" is much closer than that!
w84 5/15 5 1914 –The Generation That Will Not Pass Away
Jesus used the word "generation" many times in different settings and with various meanings. But what did he mean when he spoke of a 'generation that would not pass away'? Some have interpreted "generation" to mean a period of 30, 40, 70 or even 120 years. However, a generation is really related to people and events, rather than to a fixed number of years.
w84 7/15 16 Build Your Future With Jehovah's Organization
True, the "generation" contemporaneous with the Kingdom's establishment in 1914 is moving along in years. But Jesus' words indicate that it "will by no means pass away" before the "great tribulation" has brought an end to this world of unrighteous human society "lying in the power of the wicked one," Satan the Devil. How soon will that occur? Surely before long, for this is the 70th year of Kingdom rule!–Matthew 24:21, 34; 1 John 5:19.
Reasoning From the Scriptures 1985 239 Last Days
Luke 21:31. 32: "When you see these things occurring, know that the kingdom of God is near [that is, the time when it will destroy the present wicked world and itself take full charge of earth's affairs]. Truly I say to you, This generation will by no means pass away until all things occur." The "generation" that was alive at the beginning of fulfillment of the sign in 1914 is now well along in years.
w85 5/1 7 Why God Has Not Yet Executed His Judgment
We also know that the 1914 generation is well into the evening of its existence, thus allowing only little time for this prophecy yet to be fulfilled. But we also know - for this we have Jesus' own promise - that "this generation will by no means pass away until all these things happen."–Revelation 17:11; Mark 13:30.
w86 2/15 5 Apocalypse – When?
Yes, as this magazine has drawn to the attention of its readers over the years, the evidence points to the 1914 generation as the generation spoken of by Jesus. Thus, "this generation will by no means pass away until all these things [including the apocalypse] occur."
Even though more than 70 years have gone by since 1914, there are still individuals around who lived through that era.
g86 11/8 8 A Sure Hope for the Present Generation
Since the "generation" of 1914 is now well advanced in years, God's promise is really up-to-date news for young people today.–Daniel 12:4; Matthew 24:3, 7-14, 34.
g88 4/8 14 The Last Days – What's Next?
J. A. Bengel states in his New Testament Word Studies: "The Hebrews...reckon seventy-five years as one generation, and the words, shall not pass away, intimate that the greater part of that generation [of Jesus'day] indeed, but not the whole of it, should have passed away before all should be fulfilled." This became true by the year 70 G.E. when Jerusalem was destroyed.
Likewise today, most of the generation of 1914 has passed away. However, there are still millions on earth who were born in that year or prior to it. And although their numbers are dwindling, Jesus' words will come true, "this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened."
w89 10/1 12 Do You Condemn the World Through Your Faith?
For years, Jehovah's Witnesses have been telling a modem generation that Jesus' presence as Messianic King in heaven began in 1914 and runs parallel to "the conclusion of the system of things." (Matthew 24:3)
w90 4/15 20 Prepare for Deliverance Into a New World
God's time to bring deliverance is very near! The attitudes and events that Jesus foretold as the sign of his presence and of the conclusion of the system of things are clearly in evidence. The features of that sign first began to appear over 75 years ago, and Jesus said that "this generation" would by no means pass away before God's execution of judgment on this ungodly world occurred.
w90 7/1 26 Settling the Universal Issue for Good
By now, more than 70 years after that battle in the heavens, only "a short period of time" remains before the war of Jehovah's great day breaks out and God vividly displays himself as Jehovah of armies to the present generation of mankind.– Revelation 12:12; Zechariah 14:3.
w91 11/1 13 Endurance That Gains the Victory
However, the generation that was foretold to witness and experience "the conclusion of the system of things" is now well advanced in years. (Matthew 24:3, 32-35)[Here Investigator reprinted a diagram from the pamphlet: Is Time Running Out For Mankind? (1973)
On the diagram was the claim that "World Wars, Massive Famines, Disease Epidemics, Violent Crimes, Global Pollution" would occur starting 1914 and "All In One Generation".
Also: "The generation seeing the start of the sign in 1914 is now far along in years. Time is obviously running out!"]
Investigator No. 21 had indicated in November 1991 that the Watchtower Society (WTS) was about to tackle the failure of their prediction for the 1914 generation to see the end of the world.
This has now happened with the issues of Watchtowers (WT) of October 15, and November 1, 1995 and the concurrent Awake! of November 8, 1995:w1995 11/1 17, 19, 31 A Time To Keep Awake
Rather then provide a rule for measuring lime, the term "generation" as used by Jesus refers principally to contemporary people of a certain historical period, with their identifying characteristics. (p. 17)
Is anything to be gained, then, by looking for dates or by speculating about the literal lifetime of a "generation"? Far from it! (p. 19)
... "this generation" apparently refers to the peoples of earth who see the sign of Christ's presence but fail to mend their ways. (p. 19)
…we need not conclude that Jesus was referring to a set number of years making up a "generation." (p. 31.)
The Orlando Sentinel (USA Florida) 1995 November 18
Jehovah's Witnesses change teachings about end of world
NEW YORK – After warning for decades of Armageddon and the dawn of a new world, Jehovah's Witnesses are now saying, in effect, "Never mind."
A spokesman for the sect said that a re-examination of church scripture prompted the leadership to see the term "this generation" as referring to people of a historic era rather than the lifespan of certain individuals.
"It doesn't change our belief that we are living in the time of the end," said Robert Johnson of the 4.7 million Witnesses, including 900,000 Americans.
Johnson and other Witnesses contended the shift will not lead to a falling away of members.
But some prominent ex-Witnesses predicted the change will take away much of the urgency of the Witnesses' door-to-door message that time is short.
"This is a monumental change after all this time," said Ray Franz of Winston, Ga., who was on the Witnesses' governing board from 1971 until 1980 when he quit the organization.
The change was plainly evident in recent issues of Awake! – one of two major magazines for Witnesses.
Previously, the masthead routinely noted that "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."
But the Nov. 8 issue blurred the timetable by changing the words to the promise of a new world "that is about to replace the present wicked, lawless system of things."
Sunday Sun (Canada, Toronto) 1995 November 12)
OK, sinners, you're off the hook for now
LONDON (Reuter) – Armageddon has been delayed and the end of the world is no longer nigh, Jehovah's Witnesses have announced.
Charles Russell, founder of the movement that now boasts 5 million members, first forecast that the world would end in 1914.
Two more "false alarms" occurred in 1925 and 1975 and now the movement has decided not to give any more exact forecasts on Judgment Day, when it believes only its followers will be saved.
Senior church figures, cited in its official Watchtower magazine, called for an end to Armageddon speculation.
"We do not need to know the exact timing of events," they said in a decision reported by the independent newspaper.
"Rather, our focus must be on being watchful, cultivating strong faith and keeping busy in Jehovah's service."
The Watchtower 1985 5/1 7 [See above] says "we have Jesus' own promise". And Awake! 1986 11/8 8 calls the prophecy "God's promise".
This means JWs make God and Jesus liars since the prophecy failed.