Anyone familiar with the history of the Watchtower (WT) is familiar with the many failed attempts of the WT to predict Armageddon. Recently, I was alerted to an article that appeared in the December 15, 2003 edition of the WT magazine. The major study article for this edition is titled, “Our Watchfulness Takes On Greater Urgency.” In this article the WT makes some very interesting statements.
What will help us to strengthen our conviction that the end is near? Consider the conditions prevailing during the time preceding a one-of-a-kind event in human history – the great Deluge of Noah’s day. People were so bad that Jehovah “felt hurt at his heart.” He declared: “I am going to wipe men whom I have created off the surface of the ground.” And he did just that. Drawing a parallel between then and now, Jesus said: “Just as the days of Noah were, so the presence of the Son of man will be.”
It is reasonable to assume that Jehovah feels about the present world as he felt about the pre-Flood world. Since he brought an endto the ungodly world of Noah’s day, he will certainly destroy the wicked world of today. Having a clear understanding of the parallel between that time and our day should fortify our conviction that the end of the present world is near. What, then, are the similarities?…
In Noah’s day, Jehovah declared: “My spirit shall not act toward man indefinitely in that he is also flesh. Accordingly his days shall amount to a hundred and twenty years.” The issuance of this divine decree in 2490 B.C.E. marked the beginning of the end for that ungodly world. Just think what that meant for those then living! Only 120 years more and Jehovah would bring “the deluge of waters upon the earth to bring to ruin all flesh in which the force of life is active from under the heavens.”
Noah received the warning of the upcoming catastrophe decades in advance and he wisely used the time to prepare for survival. “After being given divine warning of things not yet beheld,” says the apostle Paul, “[Noah] showed godly fear and constructed an ark for the savingof his household.” What about us? Some 90 years have passed since the last days of this system of things began in 1914. We are certainly in “the time of the end.” How should we respond to warnings we have been given? “He that does the will of God remains forever,” states the Bible. Now is therefore the time to do Jehovah’s will with a keen sense of urgency.
It is obvious that the WT is making a comparison of Noah’s time to the present day. According to the WT, the divine decree in Noah’s day (predicting the flood) occurred in 2490 B.C.E. They go on to state that the last days began in 1914. If God gave the generation in Noah’s day 120 years to repent, then it is reasonable to come to the same conclusion regarding today’s generation. 1914 + 120 = 2034.
It is interesting to note that the WT never makes this statement. It is left open for the reader to do the math and to come to their own conclusions. This is true for the following reasons.
First and foremost, the WT cannot be blamed for another false prophecy because they never directly stated that 2034 would be the date for the end. They draw comparisons and are involved in heavy speculation, but they never come right out and say, “2034 is the date for the end.” Hence, they cannot be accused of false prophecy in 2035, provided that they don’t say anything more specific between now and then.
Secondly, some JW’s will read this article and be stimulated to greater activity. Reports are heard of complacency amongst the ranks of JW’s in the door-to-door ministry. The WT has predicted the end many times throughout its deceptive history. This spurs members on to preach more, increase their meeting attendance and “Kingdom” activity, but more importantly, raise more funds.
After reading through this article a few times, a thought occurred to me. The WT is attempting to heighten the JW’s sense of urgency by pointing out the similarities between Noah’s time and today. Urgency. Thirty more years = urgency? Some Jehovah’s witnesses may focus on thirty years and lose a sense of urgency. After all, thirty more years is quite a long time from now. However, it is important to realize that there is no guarantee that there will be another thirty years. When the WT states, “Accordingly his days shall amount to a hundred and twenty years,” they are giving the impression that this is speaking of a time limit, not an appointment.
There are many things that will go through a JW’s mind after reading this article. Spanner, a member of an ex-JW internet discussion forum sums it up well;
It’s obvious the [WT] is injecting urgency into the [rank & file] (R&F). This [magazine] does mention specific dates, and it doesn’t take a genius to do the sums. But, being the [WT], deception is at the forefront. What will happen amongst the R&F is similar to what is happening here [on the forum]: some will take it quite literally and others will argue the toss. But the sub-conscious effect that the [WT] is hoping for amongst its followers will take effect: a state of urgency. The [WT], through this [magazine], has planted a seed within the R&F’s minds that there is hope, and that there is indeed a sense of urgency…but it is non-specific.
This is even more powerful than mentioning a specific, exact date. It’s vague. It can be interpreted in so many ways, and this is what the [WT] wants. The Society failed to support its self-proclaimed status as a “prophet” numerous times. Dismally. Here, the Society has a chance; Armageddon could happen any time from now.
A date has been hinted at, but not ascertained. Fear has been injected, but cunningly. And the table has been set for another “1914” but those who have donned the rose-coloured tinted spectacles will be blinded. (http://www.jehovahs-witness.com/10/61661/936787/post.ashx#936787)