1930's Great Crowd - Still a "generation" problem?

by xelder 34 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • bennyk

    The alterations of the definition of "this generation" in 1995 and 2007 do not get the Society out from the quagmire of their teachings. Reasonably, the words recorded at Luke 21:28 could be meaningful only if the foretold redemption occurred during the lifetime of the Christians who first saw "these things begin to come to pass" (which the WTS claims occurred in 1914) -- emphatically not several human generations later.

  • Quandry

    Since Revelation defines the great crowd as coming out of the great tribulation, doesn't that create a life span problem? What is going through the minds of even the youngest baptized 10 year old members of the great crowd in 1935 who are now in there 80's.

    I really can't believe I never thought about this before. It does present problems if one thinks about it, doesn't it? Most of the ones who stood up at that time and were told they were the "great crowd" who would never die (and this goes along with the 'millions now living will never die' thing) are dead now. Somebody was lying, weren't they?

    This is a great point to use with JWs....if you can get them to reason this far.

  • designs

    The current teaching by the Society on "generation" is a recycling of a view Rutherford expressed back in 1927 while still a Bible Student Assoc..

  • TheOldHippie

    I started wondering about that years ago - that a group was called, just in time or not too early to be able to survive thru all the problems and calamities arising and then live thru the tribulation and into the New World. But almost all of them are dead now, and the huge majority are far younger. So the group that was called because it would never have to die - has died.

    Another strange "thing" is, when you look at it from above or see it as a time-line: You have from year 100 onwards very few of the remnant each century, very few, hardly noticeable in a table or figure, but then you have this huge pile from around 1880 increasing towards the 1930s and 1940s - and then cooling off till you these days have only very few once again. The obvious question, "Why the bump in the first third of the 20th century, when after all nothing happened during those years?"

  • wha happened?
  • ninja

    hippie dude.....great point

  • hamsterbait

    Nark - You are right.

    When you quoted the "earlier resurrection" I remembered an excellent post by Leo on how the NWT has "overtranslated" the text (apparently not uncommon with non experts using a dictionary)

    The WTS still has to find a way round the "end times" thing - how can they keep everybody in a frenzy of preaching, when the end might not come for another 100 years?


  • TD
    This is a great point to use with JWs....if you can get them to reason this far.

    My observation (in line with what Narkissos said earlier) is that this is the next thing to impossible.

    When a JW finally gets it through their thick skull that many of the earliest members of the "Great crowd" have died, (And most don't even realize that) the very first thing out of their mouth is, "Oh....Well they were Other Sheep!" as if this solves the problem.

    It takes a great deal more explaining to show a JW that their organization clearly teaches that during the Christian era, "Other sheep" do not exist apart from the "Great Crowd" In JW theology, there are two and only two classes of Christians -- the annointed and the great crowd. There are obviously those who by quirk of fate (e.g. Untimely death) may be exceptions to the rule, but there is no formal third class.

    It's even harder to explain to a JW the reasons for this, as these reasons are not specifically stated in JW literature. Creating a third distinct class of Christians apart from these two groups would be a theological nightmare. It would create a class of Christians who do no attain some immediate form of salvation and are in fact, no different than unbelievers. (e.g. They grow old, they die and theoretically get resurrected like everybody else.) Why be a JW at all if this is the case?

    Even XJW's who generally are far more familiar with JW theology than the average JW are often inclined to say, "Well, they could say the great crowd survives as a class. That would get them off the hook." But as JW's interpret it, John's perspective in the vision leaves no room for this kind of wiggling. John is on the other side of the tribulation (i.e. After it has ocurred.) He did not see a group of people who hope to survive. He did not see a class of Christians who as a group survive. He saw a group of survivors -- people who already had survived. (This is of course said with my imaginary JW "hat" on.)

    If you tell an entire generation that they are of this group and that generation dies off well before the end comes, then you've got a serious problem on your hands. --Which is what the JW leadership is facing right now.

  • Narkissos

    Maybe the next-to-last generations of the "great crowd" "other sheep" who die for the last one to survive have a preparatory function, a bit like the dinosaurs in WT paleontology? Dying is such a... die-hard habit that you can't get rid of it at the first try.

    Which makes me think that it took 40 years for one generation to die in the desert, so that the next might enter the promised land... 1935 + 40 = 1975! Hmm... forget about that.

    More seriously (?) I was thinking that the notion of being of the "other sheep" vs. "great crowd" would equate JWs more and more with pre-Christian believers (from Abel to John the Baptist) in their own eyes; but it is quite possible, as TD suggests, that it equates them with "just anybody". Well, the remaining JWs might finally come to serve Jehovah for nothing, and answer Satan at last!

  • TD
    Well, the remaining JWs might finally come to serve Jehovah for nothing, and answer Satan at last!

    There's an interesting thought. I think the whole situation illustrates the tightrope that Christian religions seem to walk when it comes to a question of the extent to which a reward is tied to faithfulness.

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