How about some NEW dates!!
As I`ve looked into the history of the WT society it has become glaringly obvious that one of the main reason for the growth of the
org. has been it`s fixation on the end of the world. It`s common knowledge by now, but the whole thing grew out of the Advent movement
with it`s roots in England.The Adventists came up with the 1848 and the 1874 dates. CT borrowed heavily from those dates and added a few of his own.He taught our ancestors that the end of the world was coming in 1914 then 1915. Later on the Judge came out with the 1918 end of the world theory as well as the 1925 ressurection of the worthies and the 1941 Armageddon is right around the corner teaching. Then it was Knorr and Freddy who gave us 1975... During those years the org. grew and grew. Why? Because everyone likes a good end of the world prophecy. Recently, a college professor spoke on technics used to gain control over people and he said `false prophecy is a proven method by which to control people commited to a religion. Even when
the prophecy fails it can be re-interpreted time and time again to
continue it`s influence. That is certainly the case with the WTS.Now,
however, we have entered an era where the org. is in a tailspin growth
wise. With the exception of former communist countries and some third
world countries the trend is `downsizing`. So, how to remedy the situation and bring back growth. How about some new dates?! I`ve got
a few ideas. Number one, own up to the fact that the BC 607 is a bunch
of crock and say that `after further study we`ve determined that the
fall of Jerusalem was actually BC 586` (who cares that that`s what all
the archeological world has been saying all along). That would buy the
org. 21 years and bump the supposed return of Christ to 1935. Since the org. already has a 1935 date (sealing of the annointed) it would
merely have to change the meaning of the date itself (something they are very good at). At that point the 1914 date could be decreetly shelved. As far as something which would put the fear in people and
make Armageddon seem near; how about the date 1989 as the beginning
of the end. 1989 was the year that Communism bit the dust in the Soviet Union and eastern Europe. The scripture about `When everyone
is saying peace, peace...` could be used to focus on 1989 as the
brief time of quiet before the storm of Armageddon. Never mind that
every other date has proven to be completely wrong, a few new dates
might be just the thing to perk up the bros., bump up the hours and
bring in new studies. Besides by the year 2030 no one will care about
the 1935 and 1989 dates anyway... JWD
I think the Society has ran it's course with the dating game. To extend the end of the world date up to 2030 would be a real heart wrencher for the older JWs expecting to see the end any day now. Their hopes have already been dashed as far as this century prediction. The WT has become a social gathering for the elderly. Many have spent most of their days preaching a lie and I know a few that are starting to realize this. The only thing that really keeps them in the WT is that they are to old to start over making new friends and believeing something else to replace their misguided faith.
Proverbs 13:12 Expectation postponed is making the heart sick, but the thing desired is a tree of life when it does come. (NWT)
No doubt reason cries out against new dates. Reason,however, has never
seemed to be high on the list of motivational forces driving the WT.
It seems the the factors influencing most decisions are #1-Growth,
#2-Finances, #3-Legal matters (Not necessarily in that order). As the
years go by and the older members leave and/or die off, I would not be
surprised to see the org. going back to the tried and true method of
some form of date setting to give a sense of urgency for their message. Without Armageddon the WT has no way of convincing people to
throw away their futures and labor without pay to expand the WT kingdom. JWD
After SOOOO much emphasis on 1914, it would be suicide for the Society to take away its doctrines regarding that date. They have used it for too long for them be able to turn atound and say, "1914? Ohh.. we didn't mean you to take too much notice of THAT date."
Too many long-time JWs would see right through it. The r&f are too tired as it is. To then try to admit it was wrong all along.....??!!!
good one. But they seemed to have lost the brains behind the operation. They need to dream up a new prophet. You seem good on
tying dates together; better check the Brooklyn Help Wanted, JWD.
Could be a career move.
The Tower have made their position on speculating with dates, quite clear. It was the members that got in a mess by trying to set dates, the GB had nothing to do with it! Here is their disclaimer:
"Eager to see the end of this evil system, Jehovah's people have at times speculated about the time when the "great tribulation" would break out, even tying this to calculations of what is the lifetime of a generation since 1914. However we "bring a heart of wisdom in." Not by speculating about how many days or years make up a generation, but by thinking about how we "count our days" in bringing joyful praise to Jehovah. (Psalm 90:12) Rather than provide a rule for measuring time, the term "generation" as used by Jesus refers principally to contemporary people of a certain historic period, with their identifying characteristics"
"Is anything to be gained, then, by looking for dates or by speculating about the literal lifetime of a "generation"? Far from it! Therefore, in the final fulfilment of Jesus' prophecy today, "this generation" apparently refers to the people of the earth who see the sign of Christ's presence but fail to mend their ways. Does our more precise viewpoint on "this Generation" mean that Armageddon is further away than we had thought? Not at all." (Watchtower - 1 November 1995 - Pages 17,19,20)
I'd say the date of 1934/1935 for the date of the end of the gentile times will become truth soon for the witnesses as more and more people realise how flawed 607BCE is.
I believe you are on to something there, It would be very easy for them to say that new light has come from above and shown that the fall of Jerusalem, in fact did occur in 586bc.
They can blame Russel for miscalculating, and they can align themselves with modern archaeology, perhaps opening their doors and windows to further light. Wouldnt be the first time they attempt to cover their arse.
Beside CT wont complain, much of his stuff has been "shelved" anyways. In fact this could be an oppurtunity to rid themselves of the man and say he was involved in the occult and that demons were his source of inspiration and that is why Rutherford did what he did to take over, because he was divinely inspired, and saw an element of truth in the lies the demons shared with Russell.
I remember shaking in my boots during the fall of communism, at the time i was 19 and even though I was ready to abandon the borg, it caused me to hold on for just a bit more, cause i really believed the time of peace and security was beginning.
The fact of the matter is that for the first 50 years the WT made a
huge deal out of the 1874 date. Yet, when they dropped it nobody seemed to say `boo..` No doubt dropping 1914 would have a huge impact
on the older JWs, but most of them wouldn`t quit anyway.The org. is
their life, their entire families are in, it`s beyond religion for
them, it`s more like `culture`.People don`t throw away their culture
just because they don`t like everything about it. Besides the future
of the WT lies in how many NEW people they can get in.The old ones
don`t peddle the literature as much as new excited believers would.
As far as dropping the use of dates altogether... the org. has made
many statements in the past about `getting wiser and not setting dates` and then they go right back and do it again. The fact of the
matter is without some supposed `inside track` on special knowledge
about when the end is coming, the WT is just another small religion
with some quirky teachings about blood,etc.As suicidal as setting new
dates seems to appear, it is really the only way the org. can ever
regain some serious growth. Without growth it will wither and die.
I am fairly sure that the WTBTS is going to continue to move away from date setting. They know that if they were to start emphasizing any new dates, then that would just stir up more attention to all of the failures of their past. And I believe that in their hearts they know that they have no kind of divine guidance and so are not going to set themselves up for making yet another false prophecy. The last thing they want is to see are articles in the mass media entitled "End-of-World Cult Sets A New Date For Armageddon" that would no doubt contain entertaining write-ups of their previous mistakes.
So I doubt if there is much of a chance that the Gentile Times will be re-scheduled to a later date. The same goes for moving up the 6,000 years since Creation date. My suspicion is that tossing the chronological doctrinal superstructure (I thank Ray Franz for this phrase) would have started back in the second half of the1970s if it weren't for the fact that Fred Franz was still around and was so adamantly against suggestions for revisions.
The movement away from what Russell called "time-prophecies" will be slow, sure, and mostly silent. The WTBTS would prefer not to annoy the older JWs, but most oldtimers are stuck because of family ties and are not considered the most productive in generating literature sales. The WTBTS has a chance to dump all of the moldy baggage of 607 BC, 1914 AD, and various other dates which have not yet been officially denied, and so be better able to concentrate on gaining new converts.
Perhaps only another couple of years will go by until all new literature coming out of "God's True Channel" will have nary a mention of 607 BC or 1914 AD. And concerning the parousia of Christ, they will either have to drop it or come up with an entirely new approach that is separate from the calendar.