Jeffery M. Schwehm's Letter to the Watchtower Society

Posted by Jeffery M. Schwehm on November 20, 1996 at 15:17:43


Dear Sirs:

I have read the information in the November 1, 1995 Watchtower that teaches that the "generation" that Jesus talked about at Matt. 24:34, 35 no longer refers to the "generation that saw the events of 1914", but now "refers to the peoples of earth who see the sign of Christ's presence but fail to mend their ways." The same Watchtower adds on page 20 the following statement:

"Though we at no time have known the "day and hour", Jehovah God has always known it, and he does not change."

I have also been reading the May 15, 1984 Watchtower which has on the cover "1914-The Generation That Will Not Pass Away". Starting on page 6 and continuing on page 7 this issue of the Watchtower says the following:

"Jehovah's prophetic word through Christ Jesus is: "This generation [of 1914] will by no means pass away until all things occur." (Luke 12:32) And Jehovah, who is the source of inspired and unfailing prophecy, will bring about the fulfillment of his Son's words in a relatively short time."

Another quote from the same page says:

"Just as Jesus' prophecies regarding Jerusalem were fulfilled within the life span of the generation of the year 33 C.E., so his prophecies regarding "the time of the end" will be fulfilled within the life span of the generation of 1914."

In addition to this, in the October 22, 1995 Awake! magazine and in preceding issues, the masthead on page 4 under "Why Awake! is Published" stated the following:

"Most important, this magazine builds confidence in the Creator's promise of a peaceful and secure new world before the generation that saw the events of 1914 passes away."

So, according to the October 22, 1995 Awake! and previous editions, the most important reason you had for printing the Awake! magazine was because you wanted to build confidence, not in any promise made by you, the Watchtower Society, but in the Creator's promise that the new system would be here before the generation that saw the events of 1914 passes away.

Now, the November 1, 1995 Watchtower says that "Jehovah does not change", but if you read the quotes from the May 15, 1984 Watchtower, it appears to me that Jehovah DOES change. Notice how the Watchtower says in the May 15, 1984 issue that it is "Jehovah's prophetic word through Christ Jesus" that the world would end before the 1914 generation passes away. You even add the date parenthetically to the scriptural quotation. Also, if you read the two different Awake! masthead statements on why the Awake! magazine is published, it looks to me like the Creator has changed His promise to us.

So my questions are, how can you say that Jehovah does not change when it is obvious that His prophecy about the 1914 generation has changed? Or could it be that this prophecy about the 1914 generation was not from Jehovah? If the latter is true, what position does this put you, the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, in when you attribute a prophecy or teaching to God that He did not make or teach?

Another question that I have is about the new understanding of the parable of the sheep and the goats. You have taught for a very long time that the parable of the sheep and the goats was being fulfilled in our day since around 1914 and that individual Jehovah's Witnesses were participating in the fulfillment of this parable by going from house-to-house. It is interesting to me that the October 15, 1995 Watchtower on page 22 says the following about the fulfillment of the parable of the sheep and the goats:

"Yet nothing indicates that at that time, or for that matter since, Jesus sat to judge people of all the nations finally as sheep and goats."

So you teach now that the parable of the sheep and the goats will be fulfilled some time after the Great Tribulation. I was reading the December 1, 1981 Watchtower recently and there is an article in this issue entitled "The Light's Increase In Modern Times". In this article, you talk about how God has given you progressive light on understanding the Bible. On page 25 paragraph 15 under the subheading "Light on Prophecies and Parables", you comment on the parable of the sheep and the goats. This is what you say:

"More accurate understanding of Jesus' parables also resulted. An outstanding example involved the parable of the sheep and the goats, as recorded at Matthew 25:31-46. It had long been thought that this parable would be fulfilled during Christ's 1,000 year reign. But then Jehovah's Witnesses saw that it simply could not apply at that time. Among the many reasons was that during Christ's millennial reign his "brothers" would not be upon the earth, let alone be in need because of being sick or persecuted. So, it must be fulfilled now, as the enthroned Jesus in heaven gathers the nations for judgment, and this is borne out by the observable facts in fulfillment."

So, it is interesting to me that you have taught previously that the parable of the sheep and the goats is not being fulfilled now, but would be fulfilled after the Great Tribulation. Since this is the case, how can the information in the October 15, 1995 Watchtower be considered "new light"? It appears to me that you are just resurrecting very "old light". Also, the October 15, 1995 Watchtower says that there is NOTHING to indicate that Christ began judging the people of the nations beginning in 1914 or since 1914. However, the December 1, 1981 Watchtower says that the parable of the sheep and the goats is being fulfilled now "as borne out by the observable facts in fulfillment." My question to this is, what observable facts did you see in 1981 that you do not see now in 1995? Also, does this mean that you, God's visible channel on earth, has been teaching a doctrine for the better part of this century based on NOTHING?

So, you can see that I am really confused about this and I would appreciate it if you could clarify these things.


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