In 2010, in order to revive a sense of urgency, the April 15 Watchtower announced yet another change to the generation doctrine.

So, what does “this generation” that “will by no means pass away” mean now?

  • The “anointed”?
  • The generation of 1914?

Both—but with a twist!

Now it means two groups of “anointed.”

…holy spirit is at work in bringing Bible truths to light. (Prov. 4:18) This magazine has long been used by “the faithful and discreet slave” as the primary channel for dispensing increased light. (Matt. 24:45) For example, consider our understanding of those who make up “this generation” mentioned by Jesus. (Read Matthew 24:32-34.) To what generation did Jesus refer? The article “Christ’s Presence—What Does It Mean to You?”—explained that Jesus was referring, not to the wicked, but to his disciples, who were soon to be anointed with holy spirit. Jesus’ anointed followers, both in the first century and in our day, would be the ones who would not only see the sign but also discern its meaning—that Jesus “is near at the doors.”

What does this explanation mean to us? Although we cannot measure the exact length of “this generation,” we do well to keep in mind several things about the word “generation”: It usually refers to people of varying ages whose lives overlap during a particular time period; it is not excessively long; and it has an end. (Ex. 1:6) How, then, are we to understand Jesus’ words about “this generation”? He evidently meant that the lives of the anointed who were on hand when the sign began to become evident in 1914 would overlap with the lives of other anointed ones who would see the start of the great tribulation. That generation had a beginning, and it surely will have an end. The fulfillment of the various features of the sign clearly indicate that the tribulation must be near. By maintaining your sense of urgency and keeping on the watch, you show that you are keeping up with advancing light and following the leadings of holy spirit.—Mark 13:37.”

The 2014 book God’s Kingdom Rules! (pp. 11-12) explains:

The generation consists of two overlapping groups of anointed ones—the first is made up of anointed ones who saw the beginning of the fulfillment of the sign in 1914 and the second, anointed ones who for a time were contemporaries of the first group. At least some of those in the second group will live to see the beginning of the coming tribulation. The two groups from one generation because their lives as anointed Christians overlapped for a time.

A footnote adds: “Anyone who was anointed after the death of the last of the anointed ones in the first group-that is, after those who witnessed the “beginning of pangs of distress” in 1914—would not be part of ‘this generation.’—Matt. 24:8.”

It includes an illustration:

In addition, Governing Body member David Splane has done a video in which he illustrates the “two groups” definition.

  • Watchtower president Fred Franz (1893-1992) was part of Group 1.
  • An “anointed” Jehovah’s Witness who was born shortly before Franz died would be in Group 2 because his life overlapped with that of Franz.


My question is, “Does anyone truly believe this is what Jesus meant in Matthew 24 when he answered his disciples’ question about when the end would come?”