“Individual Speculation”

Autor: Włodzimierz Bednarski

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Today three years passed from the moment when I started to write Polish version of the book Armageddon in 1975 – ‘Probability’ or ‘Possibility’?

I am thankful to Jan (John) Lewandowski for his wise remarks, so that I decided to supply my work with several passages which I did not include earlier, but which were given to me by this known expert.

Should we add something to this work after some reflection?

Yes. We should add a discussion of a passage published in The Watchtower October 15, 1974.

These are words are the report of a summer convention of 1974. It was a significant time for publishers. It was even emphasized by The Watchtower Society which quote a journal:

Jehovah’s witnesses really believe this. God’s purpose, as quoted above from the Bible, is to set up his government that will crush out of existence all human rulership. Correct, therefore, was the headline in the Milwaukee Journal, “THE END IS NEAR, WITNESSES SAY.” The article noted: “There is a feeling of urgency among the estimated 41,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses meeting at County Stadium through Sunday.” Imagine, if you can, the excitement of knowing that God will soon destroy this wicked system of things, and in time have the earth transformed into a paradise. Jehovah’s witnesses are extremely confident that this will soon occur, because of what God’s Word teaches. (The Watchtower October 15, 1974, p. 634).

The following passage was mentioned above, and it is worth of a comment:

The publications of Jehovah’s witnesses have shown that, according to Bible chronology, it appears that 6,000 years of man’s existence will be completed in the mid-1970’s. But these publications have never said that the world’s end would come then. Nevertheless, there has been considerable individual speculation on the matter. (The Watchtower October 15, 1974, p. 635).

But when The Watchtower Society wrote about “individual speculation”, it should admit that it was created such speculation by producing its own chronology.

Secondly, “individual speculation” embraced almost all Jehovah’s Witnesses. That alleged “individual speculation” lied in expecting Armageddon and the millennial Kingdom.

Thirdly, as for the chronology, allowing to say that “it appears” something, it rather “indicates” to The Watchtower Society, without any “guessing”, and it still indicates, because this chronology is still in use (see Insight on the Scriptures 1988 vol. 1, p. 459).

Here is just one passage of those years which “indicates”, and does not say that “it appears”:

However, Bible chronology which indicates that Adam was created in the fall of the year 4026 B.C.E. would bring us down to the year 1975 C.E. as the date marking 6,000 years of human history with yet 1,000 years to come for Christ’s Kingdom rule. (The Watchtower May 1, 1970, p. 273).

Is that true that “these publications have never said that the world’s end would come then”?

Maybe The Watchtower Society did not pronounce it every time (but see the above quotation), but it “speculated” about ‘the end’, which is proved by passages quoted in this book. Is that just a “speculation” or “pronouncing”? I leave the decision to the reader.

Now we include words which appeared directly after the above quotations, and which were already discussed in this book:

So the assembly presentation “Why We Have Not Been Told ‘That Day and Hour’” was very timely. It emphasized that we do not know the exact time when God will bring the end. All we know is that the end will come within the generation that sees fulfilled on it the sign that Jesus Christ said would then be in evidence. (See Matthew chapters 24, 25.) All indications are that the fulfillment of this sign began in 1914. So we can be confident that the end is near; we do not have the slightest doubt that God will bring it about, the speaker stressed. But we have to wait and see exactly when, in the meantime keeping busy in God’s service. (The Watchtower October 15, 1974, p. 635).

In this passage we find words about ‘generation 1914’ and that “the end is near”. Maybe there is nothing strange about it, but after the rejection of that teaching in November 1995, rank and file publishers were blamed of “speculation”, again.

But this subject was extensively discussed in the last chapter, so if you are interested, you can read it.

It seems that the discussed passage was the first try by The Watchtower Society to safeguard itself against possibility, if nothing would happen in 1975. And the teaching on “generation 1914” was a form of little delay of Armageddon. But it also failed, because this interpretation was rejected and ‘generation’ that remembered the year 1914 passed away.

We also present a sentence in which The Watchtower Society talks about „speculation” and what is interesting, it is from the article discussing 1975 (Making Wise Use of the Remaining Time):

With accurate knowledge of Jehovah and his purposes, the Christian rejects the speculations of men. This includes the speculations of historians who do not believe the Bible, but who attach fantastic dates to events in man’s history. (The Watchtower May 1, 1968, p. 270).

Can we reconcile the assurance that Jehovah’s Witnesses do not „speculate” with the statement of The Watchtower Society that there was much “individual speculation” about 1975?

Thus, it is worthwhile to quote several passages from Witness publications which refer to the term „speculation” in the context of 1975. These are statements published before 1975 campaign, during the campaign and from October 1975:

Whatever time elapsed between Adam’s creation and the end of the ‘sixth day’ must be subtracted from the 5,988 years in order to give the actual length of time from the beginning of the ‘seventh day’ until [1963]. It does no good to use Bible chronology for speculating on dates that are still future in the stream of time. - Matt. 24:36. (“All Scripture Is Inspired of God and Beneficial” 1990 p. 287; see ed. 1963 p. 286);

What about all this talk concerning the year 1975? Lively discussions, some based on speculation, have burst into flame during recent months among serious students of the Bible (…) The nearness of such an important date indeed fires the imagination and presents unlimited possibilities for discussion. (The Watchtower August 15, 1968 p. 494);

“Six Thousand Years of Human Existence”. In 1969 The Watchtower magazine in Czech began publishing a series of articles based on the book Life Everlasting - In Freedom of the Sons of God. Chapter 1, under the subheading “Six Thousand Years of Human Existence Closing,” contained an explanation of the Jubilee and of Bible chronology. This material influenced some in a positive way; it also led to many questions and much speculation. (2000 Yearbook of Jehovah’s Witnesses pp. 196-197);

The same applies to the beginning of Christ’s millennial reign. The Bible provides us no way to fix the date, and so it does us no good to speculate when that date may be. (The Watchtower October 1, 1975 p. 579).

We see from that statements that Jehovah’s Witnesses were busy with “speculation”, because even The Watchtower Society several times rebuked them for it. But could they have another approach to the subject of the year 1975? It seems they could not, because the organization “fed” them with such speculative statements:

If the 1970's should see intervention by Jehovah God to bring an end to a corrupt world drifting toward ultimate disintegration, that should surely not surprise us. If you feel that this is painting the picture too darkly, consider what warnings the hard facts have forced even men of this world to express. They sense that disaster is approaching, but, lacking the Bible's guidance, they do not know what to do about it. (Awake! October 8, 1968 p. 14).

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