I don't post here much, so hopefully I put this in the right section. If not, let me know.
I've emailed my aunt about the new generation change, just to see her reaction to it and what her mindset is. I tried to keep it simple and not attack her personally as she has a heart of gold and has been a JW 40+ years. It's interesting to see how the mental gymnastics take place.
Here are the emails:
Yes, they did give a talk to help us understand how long the generation is in Matthew 24:34. A generation can be "A period of people in varying ages whose lives overlap during a particular event." For example: "All of the anointed ones 'as a group' who witness the beginning and also the conclusion of this system." For instance, the first part of the group would be those anointed ones who were on hand in 1914 when the last days began; the second part being those who were anointed later but still living as contemporaries of some of the 1st group. Some of these later anointed ones will still be alive when the Great Tribulation begins. Remember we used to think the 'generation' was a traditional definition of 80 or 90 years? This new clarification shows it can be a little bit longer, but not a LOT longer because it's still only a definite period of time because the lives of the anointed as a group overlap and conclude 'as a group' only for a number of years, not indefinitely. Am I making sense? The Governing Body doesn't know the exact time the end of this system will come of course, but we do know the time period. We are very close and as I Thessalonians 5: 2 says 'Jehovah's day is coming exactly as a thief in the night.' We're aware of the 'time' when the thief will come so we're alert, but we don't know the exact hour. It's very exciting times because we're so looking forward to Jehovah's promised new system. People need relief in so many ways.
Yeah, I find it odd when they explained it that way since no one uses the term "generation" in that sense. For instance, by the society's new definition, I would be considered a part of the World War 1 generation, simply because my life overlapped with someone who actually was alive during World War 1 . Which makes absolutely no sense. What are your thoughts ?
The general use of the word 'generation' is usually limited to the average lifespan of an individual, and it's already been 96 years since the last days began, so it stands to reason that the word 'generation' in Matt. 24:34 isn't the commonly used definition. (Like another expression that Jehovah used at Isaiah 43:10 "You are my witnesses, is the utterance of Jehovah, even my servant whom I have chosen...". The word servant is used to classify all of his witnesses together as an 'individual servant'.) My point is that 'generation' can be used to unite all of the anointed together from the beginning of the last days until the end of the last days, as an individual class or servant who are preaching the good news as well as warning people that the end of Satan's system will soon be here in order for God's will to be accomplished on earth. The bottom line is that Jehovah has told us in the Bible that his will is for obedient people to live forever here on earth as his earthly children. Psalms 37:9-11, 29; Proverbs 2:20-22; Matt. 5:5; Rev. 21:1-5. This Bible term generation in Matthew is a prophecy applying only to the anointed, so it wouldn't be used in the same sense as you being part of the World War 1 generation. At Proverbs 4:18 Jehovah has recorded "The path of the righteous ones is like the bright light that is getting lighter and lighter until the day is firmly established." Jehovah lets us know what we need to know as we get closer to Armageddon . There's not any real huge enlightenment, just refining what we already know.
I appologize, I didn't realize they changed the meaning of generation again in 2008, I thought they were still under the 1995 change. As you mentioned, the society is apparently changing their definition from a literal generation to a figurative one now, in which case the term "generation" can mean anything (i.e. 2, 3, 4 overlapping groups).
Here is the quote from the April 15th 2010 WT Para 14:
" . . . the word “generation” : It usually refers to people of varying ages whose lives overlap during a particular time period; it is not excessively long; and it has an end. (Ex. 1:6) How, then, are we to understand Jesus’ words about “this generation”? He evidently meant that the lives of the anointed who were on hand when the sign began to become evident in 1914 would overlap with the lives of other anointed ones who would see the start of the great tribulation."
Here is what Jesus said (Matthew 24:34):
"Truly I say to YOU that this generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur."
How do they get the idea of "2 literal overlapping generations = 1 generation" from Jesus' simple words recorded at Matthew ? It's similar to the blood change they made where they now allow blood fractions to be used despite no scriptural evidence. What are your thoughts ?
The part of the April 15th, 2010 Watchtower that you printed is talking about a specific time period called the last days. The generation is referring to that time period, so therefore all of the anointed ones alive at the beginning of the last days, along with the anointed thruout the last days and being alive when the great tribulation begins, are grouped together as one generation. How would you define generation in that scripture? The whole context is talking about the last days leading up to the great tribulation (vs. 21 & 22).
Since this system hasn't ended yet, and it's lasted longer than a literal generation as it is commonly defined, and since the scriptures say that God cannot lie....how would you define 'generation' in Matthew 24:34? Some of our closest friends have come into the truth in the last 10 years and they are so happy that the end didn't come before then. I look at it as Jehovah's undeserved kindness that Jehovah isn't in a hurry to destroy what he's created.You also mentioned that the Watchtower Society has changed their view of blood fractions . Again the understanding of the blood issue is being refined because Jehovah said not to eat blood (or take it into our body in any way), but he didn't say we can't eat meat. He knows that when meat is properly bled there are still fractions of blood left in the meat, but it's okay to eat it. You can't wring out every fraction of blood. The fraction of blood isn't life sustaining for the animal or for ourselves. The command not to eat blood was that Jehovah doesn't want us to try to sustain our life by having blood transfusions . Blood is sacred to Jehovah because it represents life, and the ultimate sacrifice of blood was represented by Jesus' sacrifice. A fraction of blood in a serum isn't life sustaining.
In regards to the generation, you asked me how I would define Jesus' word "generation". The answer is "I wouldn't" because I do not claim to be directed by God's spirit. However the governing body claims to be directed by God's spirit and that is the difference. They have changed their belief as to what "generation" is 6 times now and this latest change makes 4 of the previous definitions wrong. This means that either: a) God has purposely been giving the society the wrong information. or b) The governing body isn't directed by holy spirit. This is not simply human error or a case of human imperfection misinterpretting God's spirit direction. For example, in 1927 generation = only the anointed (Feb 15 WT), in 1995 generation = only the wicked ( Nov 1 WT), in 2008 generation = only the anointed again (Feb 15 WT). If God is directing them to write these "truths", why would he have them flip flop contradicting definitions ? Either way this definition will change again in the future proving this current truth to be old light and the cycle continues. My point is, if they don't know then they should stop guessing. In regards to blood, correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds like you may have confused a fraction of blood (i.e. small percentage of blood, not acceptable) with a blood fraction (i.e. hemoglobin, is now acceptable). But I will ask, what does God say about blood ? His opinion is the only one that matters and his statement is so simple. "You must abstain from blood." Simple as that. Remember when Jesus' followers asked him what the greatest command was out of all the thousands of laws the Pharisees had made ? He simply said Love God and Love your neighbor as yourself. Sadly, I see the parallel of the society taking Jesus' simple words and creating many complex, illogical laws. (i.e. you can't donate blood, but you can take fractions of blood from another person) It's like saying you can't eat ham sandwiches, but you can eat ham, cheese and bread seperately.
The way I look at the Governing Body is that they aren't infallible and they admit when they were mistaken. Jehovah does use them as he did the Governing Body in the days of the apostles, and his holy spirit does direct them as a body. They give us our spiritual food at the proper time and if Jehovah sees the need to clarify the information in the future, he does. The purpose of the worldwide Christian congregation is to preach the good news and help interested ones to learn about Jehovah so they can bring their lives into harmony with his will and purpose. We do this out of love for Jehovah and his Son. No other organization on the earth is working so hard to reach everyone possible with the good news of God's Kingdom and the blessings it will bring. We also realize from the Bible that we're living at the end of the last days and we don't want to be distracted by lesser important things. The organization encourages us to simplify our lives. By going to the meetings we're encouraged spiritually and we remain united to do Jehovah's will. Satan would like to break up our unity so we'd become like his imitation christianity and then start teaching our own individual ideas. I'll stay with Jehovah's organization and trust him to direct us. I strongly feel as Peter and the apostles did at John 6:68, 'Whom shall we go away to?' I wish you felt the same way. What other organization on earth is preaching the good news and directing people to Jehovah God? Who do you believe has the truth?
How would you comment to this last email ?
EDIT: Sorry for the screwed up formatting