How Young is This Generation?
The Watchtower continued to use the interpretation of an “average lifetime of man” for many years after 1951. Even though they dismissed such an interpretation as non-biblical! Yes, they continued to build upon this interpretation for many years later. In 1968, the age of the “generation” of 1914 was considered anyone who was at least 15 years old. In an Awake! article entitled, What Will The 1970’s Bring, they said the following:
THE fact that fifty·four years of the period called the “last days” have already gone by is highly significant. It means that only a few years, at most, remain before the corrupt system of things dominating the earth is destroyed by God. How can we be so certain of this?
One way is by noting what Jesus said when he gave his great prophecy about the “last days.” After he listed the many events that would mark this period, he also stated: “Truly I say to you that this generation will by no means pass away until all these things occur.”-Matt. 24:34.
Jesus was obviously speaking about those who were old enough to witness with understanding what took place when the “last days” began. Jesus was saying that some of those persons who were alive at the appearance of the ‘sign of the last days’ would still be alive when God brought this system to its end.
Even if we presume that youngsters 15 years of age would be perceptive enough to realize the import of what happened in 1914, it would still make the youngest of “this generation” nearly 70 years old today. So the great majority of the generation to which Jesus was referring has already passed away in death. The remaining ones are approaching old age. And remember, Jesus said that the end of this wicked world would come before that generation passed away in death. This, of itself, tells us that the years left before the foretold end comes cannot be many.
– Awake! Oct 8, 1968, What Will The 1970’s Bring? pp.13-14 (589 & 590)
In 1968, the Watchtower was certain “that only a few years, at most, remain”. Yes, because 15 year olds in 1914 were almost 70 years old in 1968, they were certain that the years left before the foretold end could not be many. How wrong they were! Jesus was obviously NOT speaking about those 15 year-olds in 1914. One should read that Awake! article in full to get a full sense of the nonsense that the Watchtower published in 1968 to scare its readers into thinking the end of the world was imminent.
Ten years later, in 1978, they reduced the age of those from the generation of 1914 from 15 to somewhere older than a baby but old enough to know that a World War was taking place. See The Watchtower Oct 1, 1978, Questions from Readers, pp. 31.
In 1980, they made the assumption that a 10 year old was old enough. See The Watchtower Oct 15, 1980, Questions from Readers, pp.31.
Eventually, as time went on, a 10 year old child was not young enough. Babies had to be included in the “generation” mix. See The Watchtower May 15, 1984, pp.5, 4th paragraph.
So how long is a “Generation”?
According to Jehovah’s Witnesses, up until the early 1990’s, it was somewhere between 36.5 years and the average lifespan of a man, if the average lifespan of a man was 80+ years.