Douglas Coupland and the McJobs
Year of the Big Mouth

Barfendogs Blows a Gasket

I had to read that Watchtower paragraph twice. (May 1, 2007) Some Christians baptized after 1935 have apparently been given the heavenly hope. Looks like we can’t set a date for when the calling of Christians to the heavenly hope ends, the article said!

This is new. Until recently, there was a such a date: 1935.

This kind of thing used to send Tom Barfendogs, that perennial apostate, into orbit. You could just look at him, see him slowly redden, and then he'd explode into a tirade of.....ring!....ring!.......hello?

It was Barfendogs!

Did ya see that? Tommy, he screamed. They flipflopped! See that? Didya? What about 1935, huh?! They just changed it! Just like that! When you gonna open your eyes, pal?! When you gonna smell the music? Hah? When you gonna see....

So help me, I don't know why I give this guy the time of day. He's got an axe to grind so big it would scare off Paul Bunyan.

Actually, I don't give him the time of day. I put down the phone, and went off to check the mail, made some coffee, put a load in the wash, and cleaned out the cat litterbox. When I returned, he hadn't noticed a thing.

False prophets! That's what they are, Tommy, like I try to tell ya if ya'd just listen. But no! You'd just rather be led by the nose and just like that.....

I hung up the phone, but it made no difference! I could still hear his shrill voice!

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They didn't flipflop at all. Nobody ever said adjustments like this wouldn't happen. In fact, we've been assured many times that they would, in accord with scriptures such as this:

"And as for you, O Daniel, make secret the words and seal up the book, until the time of [the] end. Many will rove about, and the [true] knowledge will become abundant."    Dan 12:4

Jehovah's Witnesses do believe we're in the "time of the end," and that "true knowledge will become abundant" during that time. With regard to prophetic matters, it's progressive. It happens by degrees.  The Watchtower has stated this innumerable times. Illustrating it with this scripture, for example:

But the path of the righteous ones is like the bright light that is getting lighter and lighter until the day is firmly established. (Prov 4:18) Just like how at dawn you can't make out too much, maybe only shapes, but as the day progresses the details steadily become more clear.

So adjustments in understanding are to be expected, same as how it happened in the first century.

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When Jesus' disciples began their ministry, they spoke to no one but Jews. Why would they not? Jesus was a Jew. They themselves were Jews. Jesus, they believed, was the Messiah foretold in the Jewish scriptures. And Jews kept their distance from non-Jews. They didn't mingle.

Early congregation growth was explosive. (Acts 2:41; 4:4) Acts, the history of early Christianity, tells us:

Consequently the word of God went on growing, and the number of the disciples kept multiplying in Jerusalem very much; and a great crowd of [Jewish] priests began to be obedient to the faith.  (Acts 6:7)

Later...

Then, indeed, the congregation throughout the whole of Judea and Galilee and Samaria entered into a period of peace, being built up; and as it walked in the fear of Jehovah and in the comfort of the holy spirit it kept on multiplying.   (Acts 9:31)

It all happened within the Jewish community.

The first disciples to tell the Kingdom message to non-Jews had some explaining to do. Should they really be doing that? Weren’t they stepping out of bounds? The matter was not settled by scripture. It was settled by holy spirit, and scripture was bought in afterwards to support what holy spirit was already doing. Specifically, believing non-Jews were receiving gifts of the spirit (healing, speaking in other languages, (tongues) prophesying) just like the Jewish believers. So who were those disciples to forbid what God was obviously approving?

Now the apostles and the brothers that were in Judea heard that people of the nations had also received the word of God.  So when Peter came up to Jerusalem, the [supporters] of circumcision [Jewish believers] began to contend with him, saying he had gone into the house of men that were not circumcised and had eaten with them.  At this Peter commenced and went on to explain the particulars to them, saying.......when I started to speak, the holy spirit fell upon them just as it did also upon us in [the] beginning. At this I called to mind the saying of the Lord, how he used to say, ‘John, for his part, baptized with water, but you will be baptized in holy spirit.’ If, therefore, God gave the same free gift to them as he also did to us who have believed upon the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I should be able to hinder God?” Now when they heard these things, they acquiesced, and they glorified God, saying: “Well, then, God has granted repentance for the purpose of life to people of the nations also.”    Acts 11:1-18

Something similar can be seen in the present day. From the standpoint of the governing body of Jehovah's Witnesses, only two centuries count: the first and the twentieth (plus a few years). The ones in between suffer the apostatizing of "primitive" Christianity and then witness its gradual re-awakening. The last days spoken of in the Bible are seen to have started in the early 20th century....with a bang....with World War I, and continue to the present amidst ever-worsening conditions.

As in the first century, the governing body tracks specific developments with regard to Kingdom increase today. And they make statements based on what holy spirit appears to be accomplishing, just as was done in the first century. For example, the heavenly calling, the call of certain Christians to rule with the Christ in his heavenly kingdom (manifested in their partaking of the emblems at Memorial time) has long been thought to have ceased in 1935.

Now, I freely confess it sounds weird to link a specific year to a heavenly event. Yet, it was in that year that the "great crowd" of Revelation 7:9 was identified. This is the group that survives the end of this system and lives right on under Kingdom rule on earth. There's really no point in gathering this group beforehand, since by definition, they must live long enough to survive the "great tribulation."

Prior to the 1930's, nearly all congregation members professed the heavenly calling. But in time, folks began packing in who simply didn't feel that the heavenly calling applied to them. They just didn't identify with it. Instead, the scriptures about living forever on earth is what rang true to them.

...and you made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God, and they are to rule as kings over the earth.    Rev 5:10

They began to identify, not with the ones who would rule, but with the ones who would be ruled over, living forever on earth.

Revealing the identity of the great crowd (Revelation 7:9) cleared in all up, and all these ones instantly found their place. Did this all take place at the lead of the holy spirit? Today, it is rare for one of Jehovah's Witnesses not to have the earthly hope.

Since the great crowd was identified at a summer convention in 1935, that year has long been thought to be the date in which the heavenly calling ceased, since the number of that group, while large, is finite. (unlike that of the great crowd)     (Rev 7:4-10)

So in more recent years, when someone began partaking of the emblems, people didn't know what to make of it. Maybe they were nuts! Or at least unbalanced. Or presumptuous, thinking the heavenly call would give them special prestige. Some of them were genuine, no doubt, since an anointed member who falls away would have to be replaced. But, realistically, how often would that be? Not very. And you'd expect a replacement to come from the ranks of those who had served God for many decades. So if a new partaker came along who didn't fit the profile, you'd sort of scratch your head and shelve the matter, curious how it would all play out.

We still don‘t know, but that latest Watchtower advances things a bit, and the adjustment process will continue to run its course. It always has. It will continue to.

Furthermore, adjustments of understanding must always be taken in context. The essential teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses, the foundational points, have remained unchanged since the movement began in the late 1800's. What is God's Kingdom? What will it do for humankind? What happens at death? Where are the dead? Why do we die? Why does God permit suffering and evil? Who is God? How may we fit in with his purpose? Who is Jesus Christ? What is the Holy Spirit?

These are the basic building block teachings of Jehovah's Witnesses, the answers to which have not essentially changed in 100 years.

 

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Tom Irregardless and Me            No Fake News but Plenty of Hogwash

Defending Jehovah’s Witnesses with style from attacks... in Russia, with the ebook ‘Dear Mr. Putin - Jehovah’s Witnesses Write Russia’ (free).... and in the West, with the ebook ‘TrueTom vs the Apostates!’ (free)

Comments

Screech

Great post, Tom. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I find it interesting how people can focus only on what they want to hear and believe, to the exclusion of anything else.

I do like the thought that the anointed class will also include those who were raised and lived in our "modern" era, and who understand the attitudes and influences and how it affects an imperfect human who has grown up around it with no previous culture to compare it to.

Still, it doesn't mean that Armageddon is any farther off. Jesus told us that only "the Father" knows when Armageddon will be, so why should we be upset if the Watchtower doesn't have a date or gets a date incorrect in regards to supporting ideas?

I like to think that truth doesn't change according to what we want to believe. That's a double-edged sword, but if we have a humble attitude, and remember that Jesus' sheep will always recognize their shepherd, then we will not be unduly confused or frustrated when additional understanding is granted to us.

tom sheepandgoats

I don't have the sense that it's much of a change. Nothing was taken back about the identifying of the great crowd in 1935 and its significance. Only this new statement is floated, which isn't entirely consistant with what's been said up till now. And no one pretends that it is.

It's a wait and see position. There are many areas of the faith like that, all comparative details, and we simply have to hang in there and see how it all plays out. To become bent out of shape over such things, like Barfendongs, as if they are of equal stature to those points raised in the post's final paragraph, seems to me very foolish

Screech

I agree with that. There are much more important things to get upset about, like the increase in the price of hot dogs or Pepsi-Cola...$1.79! How am I gonna keep my lights on?

Screech

What I meant by my comment was that persons like myself only have a concept of the world as it was post-1987 (when I started becoming aware of world events). Everything I know about the time before that was learned via the internet and books. My perspective is such that I cannot truly understand the change in culture and behavior that has gone on since 1914. Living in such an environment is outside my realm of experience.

This means that my idea of the "good 'ol days" will be very different from a WWI veteran's idea of the same. So the paradigm (excuse my spelling) will be affected accordingly.

Chris

Interesting information on 1935. I've been aware of individuals being given the heavenly calling even in recent years, but they've typically been regarded as ones who were called in to perhaps replace one of the anointed who had fallen away.

But the interesting part is that the article mentions not being able to set a cut-off date for the heavenly hope. So it can be extended indefinitely, which I'm sure it will. Usually, small adjustments like this pave the way for more siginificant changes down the road.

BTW, I read your comment on my blog. I'll respond later when I've had a chance to digest your comments. Thanks.

Steven Braun

My father in law always used to say: " The Society should stay away from dates."

Good advice.

tomsheepandgoats

Well....yeah. This one's a little awkward, I guess.

Still, it's part of "keeping on the watch." I suppose it's better to mis-set your alarm once in anticipation of the big day than to sleep right on through it.

BoyohBoy

Flash forward to now. What was significant about what we have learned thus far is this: 1) additions could have been choosen after the mid 30's(implication is a genuine anointed one could be younger as opposed to the time tested replacement); 2) All chosen would have to overlap with the first part who saw the events of 1914. To me this is more limiting that 1935 ever could be. The 1935 point there was a slim chance a newer person could be a replacement- but remember the box in one of our studies where Franz stated no more additions...but said if a newly bapitized person was indeed chosen this one was a replacement. As I recall though most wanted to favor the older person theory. The generation makes it not a possibility at all if a person doesnt overlap with the 1914 anointed. Of course when does the overlapping end? That would be a hard one to ascertain I guess. But for sure it would be safe to say there is no possibility now.
I do think this was meat in due season because the Bible doesnt say all the anointed would die off before Armageddon, and yet that is what we are seeing when we look at the really old members of the anointed. I remember as a teenager, I am 45 now, you could find individuals in the congregations from the Russell period, and now even ones from the early 30's are getting harder to find. Even in the Governing Body, with Brtoher Barr finishing his earthly course, you will find some members of the earthly older and dedicated longer than everyone on the Governing Body. The youngest one is only 10 years older than me!

I am happy to be alive to see these time and I look forward to more things to come.

tom sheepandgoats

On the other hand, the world teeters on the edge of catastrophe on ever so many, and on an ever increasing number of fronts. Exactly in keeping with the message JWs have conveyed for over 100 years, and exactly opposite to what nearly everyone else has held. Religion, too, has become a caracature of what it once was, again in keeping with what JWs have long said would happen.

Not to mention the last two paragraphs of the post, which bear repeating.

And you're concerned about timing?

'Generation' thoughts have changed before. Perhaps they'll change yet again before we're all through. Or perhaps not.

I'll stay the course.

boyohboy

I have read your comment and re-read mine to see if I saw what you were saying. I do not see it. I wasn’t really talking about timing, just the evolution of 1935 from the original blog till now. Here is what we know for a certainty. A Generation of somebodies will not die before the end-Jesus mentioned this as an important detail of the Last Days (Matt 24:34). The contemparary aspect of the Generation was forshadowed in Esther and Mordecai, Elijah and Elisha. This part has never changed in over 70 years. Rutherford did a rather large watchtower article(s) on the subject and then turned that into a book called Preservation, I think. We also know that the anointed will be here on the planet as least up till the start of the tribulation (and maybe after, not so sure on that) and as we know this has been discussed in various publications over the years. That is why the current Generation explanation makes sense to me. The older ones that date back from the mid 1930’s and before are almost all gone and it will not be long before none will be left-this will not work in view of what has been stated in the Bible.
1935 was never in the Bible at all. Nothing more needs to be said. I am so glad we can all move on now. I was beginning to wonder if we ever would.
The Generation as we now understand it to mean, for me is not an indication of how close we are to Armageddon, but really how deep we are in these Last days. What that means in the long run I really don’t care. I do know is that I should be serving Jehovah because I love him( my neighbors too), be putting on the new personality and then everything will fall in place. I am not really concerned if I should die before the end comes because Jehovah will ressurrect those who are loyal to him for sure. I have never waited on baited breath for the never ending speculations made by some in the congregation that have been made over the years because I am a firm believer in the scripture that says “Let God be found true though every man a liar.”(Rom 3:4) If it happens like that then hopefully I am prepared if not oh well so be it, now lets move on.
I really like your blog. Very well thought out and you are a faithful brother to boot. Very nice.
You dont have to worry about me making any further comment on this subject. I am happy you allowed me to voice my opinion on your blog.

tom sheepandgoats

BohB: Looks like I may have misunderstood your original comment. Sorry. Thanks for 'keeping on knocking' with a clarificataion. You've certainly made clear what our motivation for serving God ought to be.

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