Treasures from God’s Word and Digging for Spiritual Gems – “Keep on the Watch” (Matthew 25)
Matthew 25:31-33 & Talk – How does the illustration of the sheep and the goats emphasize the preaching work? (w15 3/15 27 para 7-10)
The first issue is in paragraph 7 when the claim is made “Those referred to as ‘my brothers’ are spirit anointed men and women, who will rule with Christ from heaven. (Romans 8:16,17)” This scripture states that Christ’s brothers are those who are God’s children, however gives absolutely no hint that they will rule from heaven.
Then they suggest “Jehovah has progressively shed light on this illustration and the related illustrations recorded in Matthew 24 & 25!”. Exactly how Jehovah has done this is left to our imagination. Furthermore, whenever Jehovah or Jesus revealed anything progressively, it was not by changing what was already said, often reversing the previous understanding. It was only by adding more details, never by changing what they had told us.
They then admit, regarding this illustration, that “Jesus does not directly mention the preaching work” but nonetheless because it is an illustration they feel they have the authority to interpret it so that it does refer to the preaching work. We are further asked to “consider the context of Jesus’ words. He is discussing the sign of his presence and the conclusion of the system of things. Matthew 24:3” Then, in comes the preaching by referencing Matthew 24:14.
So let us “consider the context of Jesus’ words.” Did you spot the portion of Matthew 24:3 they omitted to mention? “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your presence and of the conclusion of the system of things.” So what where “these things” the disciples were referring to? That would be the things referred in in the preceding verses—Matthew 23:33-24:2, specifically the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple. In the next two verses (4,5) Jesus made it plain not to look for his presence before these things happened. These things would happen after verses 6-14 occurred. What would happen is described in verses 15-22. So the sign of the preaching was for the first century before Jerusalem was destroyed.
From Matthew 24:23, we can conclude that he switches attention to the question of his presence. Based on their question soon after recorded at Acts 1:6, it is very likely that they would have suspected his presence would have coincided with or followed on the heels of the destruction of the City. Thus, they needed to be warned not to be misled by false reports of his presence in some hidden or invisible manner.
In paragraph 9 the article says “He describes the sheep as “righteous” because they recognize that Christ has a group of anointed brothers still on earth“. This is another baseless assumption. How so? Let us just swap out part of James 2:19. “You believe “that Christ has a group of anointed brothers still on earth” do you? You are doing quite well. And yet the demons believe and shudder”. [Note to readers. We are not implying the complete accuracy of the quoted statement. We are just making the point that recognition is not sufficient to be declared righteous.] Recognition and belief means nothing unless backed up by (a) truth, (b) faith and (c) matching works displaying fruits of the spirit. (James 2:24-26)
Jesus taught that he would have one flock which would know his voice. (John 10:16) It therefore makes sense that the sheep on his right hand are that one flock. When in Matthew 25:31,34 “the Son of Man [Jesus] arrives in his glory, and all the angels with him ..” he says to these ones “come … inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world” then this is surely a parallel account and expansion on Matthew 24:30-31 where “the Son of Man [Jesus]” will be seen “coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory”, and where the very next thing he does is “send forth his angels with a great trumpet sound, and they will gather his chosen ones [sheep] together from the four winds”.
Therefore the claim “the illustration of the sheep and goats shows that the anointed would have help” is a leap far too far as the ‘anointed’ or ‘chosen ones’ are the sheep and not a separate class. Furthermore the prophecy of Matthew 24:14 was shown in last week’s clam to have been fulfilled in the first century and does not have a specific dual fulfillment as claimed by the organization. (Another case of an unsubstantiated type/antitype)
In summary the illustration of the Sheep and Goats only emphasizes the preaching work in the minds of the Watchtower writers. It has no support in scripture.
Matthew 25:40 – How can we express our friendship toward Christ’s brothers (w09 10/15 16 para16-18)
Before reading the suggested answer let us examine the context. Please read Matthew 25:34-39. There we find the following:
- Feeding the hungry.
- Giving a drink to the thirsty.
- Showing hospitality to strangers.
- Giving clothes to those without clothes.
- Caring and treating the sick.
- Giving comfort to those in prison.
So how does the article help us to do this? By highlighting 3 things in the following order. Why not try to match them with the above?
- Wholeheartedly sharing in the preaching work.
- Financially support the preaching work.
- Co-operating with the direction of the elders.
Did you spot the matches? No? Have another look. Still no? One last time. Still no? That’s the difficulty. The article is not on the same page as the scriptures it is claiming to apply. Jesus instructions were practical and brought real and immediate benefits to those to whom the help was given. Even the suggestion that by doing these 3 things then we support ‘the anointed remnant’, is flawed. If as the organization teaches, the remnant have the responsibility to preach, then they alone have that responsibility. If someone else helps and that gets the job done, it still does not mean that the remnant have fulfilled their personal responsibility. In fact it could be argued that because they didn’t do a proper job then others were required to help them.
Likewise with donations to the organization, these are not passed on to each ‘anointed one’ individually, so how does it help them? The vast majority of elders do not claim to be Christ’s brothers, so how does co-operating with them assist them? These are all very ingenious ways to use the Bible to get financial support and obedient compliance from the rank-and-file JW.
Matthew 25:14-30 – Parable of slaves and talents
This illustration should be read in conjunction with Matthew 24:45-51, as it is a parallel account with the illustration expanding on the brief account in chapter 24. However, it is never used to support the organization teaching on the ‘faithful and discreet slave’. Why not?
When we examine Matthew 25, what do we find that may be the reason behind this?
Verses 14 & 15 talks about a master giving three slaves an amount of money according to their talents. (Pun intended!) After a long time the master returns and holds an accounting. Those with 5 talents and 2 talents had doubled their amounts and were rewarded by being given responsibility over many of the master’s belongings. They are both called “good and faithful slave” a familiar description. The third slave had buried his talent and lost his master even the interest he could have gained. He was called a wicked slave. This is almost identical to Matthew 24 except there are 2 faithful slaves instead of one. The wicked slave is definitely not hypothetical here, nor is there one slave who is faithful and discreet, there are two. That is why they never use this parable in conjunction with Matthew 24:45-51 because it clearly disallows the interpretation they wish to put on it. Is this a case of where the organization will “consider the context of Jesus’ words”. No, because then they would be forced to come to an understanding that is unpalatable to them.
Jesus, The Way (jy Chapter 14) –Jesus begins to make Disciples
Nothing of note except this question to ponder. Why did Jesus not correct Nathanael when he stated “You are King of Israel”? He usually gently corrected people making incorrect statements. The conclusion we can draw is: because by his anointing by Holy Spirit at his baptism he was now already God’s chosen King of Israel, whether or not the Jews accepted him as such.