In late 1914, some Bible Students were disheartened because they had not gone to heaven. During 1915 and 1916, opposition from outside the organization slowed down the preaching work. Worse, after Brother Russell’s death in October 1916, opposition arose from inside the organization. Four of the seven directors of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society rebelled against the decision to have Brother Rutherford take the lead. They tried to cause division among the brothers, but in August 1917, they left Bethel—a cleansing indeed! Also, some Bible Students gave in to the fear of man. Still, as a whole they willingly responded to Jesus’ cleansing work and made the needed changes. Hence, Jesus judged them to be true Christian wheat, but he rejected all imitation Christians, including all of those found within the churches of Christendom.
Over the years the Watchtower has “adjusted” their understanding of several of Jesus’ teachings regarding the judgment.
For example, it used to be that Bethel taught that the preaching work of Jehovah’s Witnesses was accomplishing the separation of the sheep and the goats. But about 20 years ago that notion was discarded. Instead, now the Watchtower points forward to a future fulfillment, which is surely the correct view.
More recently the Watchtower “adjusted” the fulfillments of the illustrations of the appointment of the faithful slaves over his belongings, the slaves and the talents, and the wise and foolish virgins to the future as well. This, too, is the correct understanding.
However, the Watchtower has thus far refused to reset the fulfillment of the illustration of the harvest to a future day. Why? The reason is because Jesus clearly stated that “the harvest is a conclusion of a system of things.” And the Governing Body is certainly aware of the fact that if they were to “adjust” their understanding of the timing of the harvest then the entire 1914 facade would collapse, and that is not permissible.
So, they are compelled to concoct absurd explanations, such as the notion that the harvest is carried out over a span of more than a century; that the weeds represent the common churchgoers, who are evidently continually uprooted and bundled up, generation after generation, but never thrown into the fire.
Sadly, Jehovah’s Witnesses never think to question how or why Jesus dispatches his angels to remove lawless persons and stumbling blocks from Christendom.
Worse, because the related illustration of the dragnet is also accomplished during the conclusion, Bethel has gone so far as to blasphemously claim that the unsuitable fish have already been discarded, and are still being discarded, one “fish” at a time. This, when interested persons leave off studying to become Jehovah’s Witnesses. Why the angels would remove some poor, hapless soul who simply may not have gotten the sense of things and leave the pedophiles behind is anyone’s guess.
But this is the sort of nonsense the Watchtower is forced to put out there as nutritious spiritual food all because they must exert their deluding influence until such time as the Christ actually arrives and the real harvest begins.