“Concerning that day and hour nobody knows, neither the angels of the heavens nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Mat. 24:36)
“It does not belong to YOU to get knowledge of the times or seasons which the Father has placed in his own jurisdiction…” (Acts 1:7)
You might think that given these inspired stipulations, there would be no way for us to calculate, starting from 1914, just when the end would come. In fact, for a time back in 1997, you would have been both right and of one mind with our teaching.
So the recent information in The Watchtower about “this generation” did not change our understanding of what occurred in 1914. But it did give us a clearer grasp of Jesus’ use of the term “generation,” helping us to see that his usage was no basis for calculating—counting from 1914—how close to the end we are. (w97 6/1 p. 28) [Italics added]
Now all that has changed. While Jesus told us no one can know the day or hour, we can have a pretty good idea of the year, give or take a few. And while Jesus also told us that it wasn’t for us to know the times and seasons, well…that was then, this is now.
You see, as of the release of the January 15, 2014 The Watchtower we have the best way yet to know just how close we are to the end. The reason we can say this is that the generation Jesus referred to in Matthew 24:34 consists exclusively of those anointed Jehovah’s Witnesses who received their heavenly calling while others of that class who had witnessed the events of 1914 while themselves anointed were still alive.
You may be thinking, “So how does this help us with our precise calculation?” I’m glad you asked. The fact is that we know just how many anointed there are and we know where they are. This is because every congregation reports on the number of partakers during memorial. It would be a small thing for the Organization to ask all congregations where there are anointed members to ascertain the year they first began to partake. This would allow us to determine which are of the generation and which were anointed too late to be included. My guess is that the actual number of those who could reasonably make up the generation based on this latest “new light” would be around five thousand. It’s not hard to keep track of five thousand individuals, especially in an Organization so full of obedient members trained in the regular reporting of statistics.
We could report on the year of anointing as well as the age of each individual. As the years go by, we would also report on the death of any making up the generation. We would therefore be able to accurately chart the declining numbers, calculate the average age at death and extrapolate a continually refined estimate of the year when all would be gone. That would give us an absolute end point, before which Armageddon must arrive.
All we had in the twentieth century were census numbers and statistical calculations. Now we have a small, specific number of individuals which we can track with scientific accuracy. Seriously, we never had a tool like this before. It seems remarkable that the Lord overlooked this possibility when telling us that we could not know the day or hour, nor the times or seasons. This must be seen as a major “oops!” in the grand scheme of things.