When I set this blog/forum up, it was for the intention of getting a group of like-minded individuals together to deepen our understanding of the Bible. I had no intention to use it in any way that would disparage the official teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses, though I realized that any search for the truth might lead in directions that might prove, shall we say, inconvenient. Still, truth is truth and if one discovers a truth that conflicts with conventional wisdom, is one being disloyal or rebellious. A 2012 District Convention part suggested that the mere search for such truth constitutes disloyalty to God himself. Perhaps, but we really can’t accept the interpretation of men on that point. If these men would show us from the Bible that such is the case, we will halt our investigations. After all, one must obey God as ruler rather than men.
The fact is the whole discussion concerning the search for truth is a complicated one. There were times that Jehovah hid the truth from his people because revealing it then would have done damage.
“I have many things yet to say to YOU, but YOU are not able to bear them at present.” (John 16:12)
So we can take it that loyal love trumps truth. Loyal love always looks for the best long term interests of the loved one. One doesn’t lie, but love may prompt one to withhold the full revelation of truth.
There are also occasions when some individuals are able to handle truths that would harm others. Paul was entrusted with knowledge of paradise that he was forbidden to reveal to others.
“. . .that he was caught away into paradise and heard unutterable words which it is not lawful for a man to speak.” (2 Cor. 12:4)
Of course, what Jesus held back and what Paul would not speak of were true truths—if you’ll forgive the tautology. What we discuss within the posts and comments of this blog are what we believe to be Scriptural truths, based on an unbiased (we hope) examination of all the Scriptural evidence. We have no agenda, nor are we burdened with legacy doctrine which we feel obliged to support. We simply wish to understand what the Scriptures are saying to us, and we are not afraid to follow the trail no matter where it may lead. For us, there can be no inconvenient truths, but only truth.
Let us resolve to never condemn those who may disagree with our point of view, nor resort to judgmental name-calling nor strong-arm tactics to uphold our point of view.
With all that in mind, let us get into what is sure to be a hot topic for discussion because of the implications of challenging the status quo on this particular Scriptural interpretation.
It should be noted that whatever conclusion we eventually come to, we are not challenging the right of the governing body nor other appointed individuals to carry out their assigned duties in caring for the flock of God.
The Faithful Steward Parable
(Matthew 24:45-47) . . .“Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics, to give them their food at the proper time? 46 Happy is that slave if his master on arriving finds him doing so. 47 Truly I say to YOU, He will appoint him over all his belongings.
(Luke 12:42-44) 42 And the Lord said: “Who really is the faithful steward, the discreet one, whom his master will appoint over his body of attendants to keep giving them their measure of food supplies at the proper time? 43 Happy is that slave, if his master on arriving finds him doing so! 44 I tell YOU truthfully, He will appoint him over all his belongings.
Our Official Position
The faithful steward or slave represents all the anointed Christians alive on earth at any given time taken as a class. The domestics are all the anointed Christians alive on earth at any given time taken as individuals. The food is the spiritual provisions that sustain the anointed. The belongings are all of Christ’s possessions which include the property and other material possessions used in supporting the preaching work. The belongings also include all the other sheep. The slave class was appointed over all the Master’s belongings in 1918. The faithful slave uses its governing body to effect the fulfillment of these verses, i.e., the dispensing of food and the presiding over the Master’s belongings.[i]
Let us examine the Scriptural evidence supporting this important interpretation. In doing so, let us remember that the parable doesn’t stop at verse 47, but continues on for several more verses in both Matthew and Luke’s account.
The topic is now open for discussion. If you would like to contribute to the topic, please register with the blog. Use an alias and an anonymous email. (We do not seek our own glory.)
I think this article has aged poorly… Sorry! I just relatively recently discovered this website.. it’s been only a few months since I “woke up”.. the Matthew 24 series were mind blowing… Good work
As you alluded to in another post that the 2nd coming of Christ is yet future, that being the case? the Master has not yet arrived to make an inspection of his household, there fore the faithful slave has not yet been appointed over all the masters belongings. So would it not mean then; that neither the faithful slave nor the evil have been identified?
Well put. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head.
In Luke 12 we must consider that Jesus was answering Peter’s question concerning whether he spoke to his immediate group of disciples or all there present (I.e the “little flock” vs the “multitude.”). The issue in view was being ready for Christ’s return. Jesus’ answer to Peter’s question with this question would seem to imply the one who he was telling to be ready would be the faithful slave, which is to say any faithful individual is such a slave. The various slaves simply reflects that there would be Christians, both faithful and unfaithful, who would act in various ways.… Read more »
[…] a previous post, several of the forum members provided valuable insights on this subject. Before moving on to […]
[…] The identification of the Faithful and Discreet Slave class has been discussed extensively under Meleti’s earlier article, and in the current context is really a moot point since in the capacity as God’s channel and […]
*** w88 10/1 p. 9 Keep Ready! *** Continuing the illustration, Jesus points to the possibility that not all members of that steward, or slave, class will be loyal, explaining: “If ever that slave should say in his heart, ‘My master delays coming,’ and should start to beat the menservants and the maidservants, and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of that slave will come on a day that he is not expecting him . . . , and he will punish him with the greatest severity.” How adroitly we make “that slave” mean “the slave class” in one verse and… Read more »
Very good point. I had completely missed that inconsistency.
It’s quite a challenge to analyse why 1918 became a special date, but note these extracts from The Finished Mystery published in that year (formatting may not be perfect as extracted from PDFs of old document): The data presented in comments on Rev. 2:1 prove that the conquest of Judea was not completed until the day of the Passover, A. D. 73, and in the light of the foregoing Scriptures, suggest that the Spring of 1918 will bring upon Christendom a spasm of anguish greater even than that experienced in the Fall of 1914. Reexamine the table of the Parallel… Read more »
About the Master’s Arrival In recent years I’ve become increasingly impressed by the absolute truthfulness of the Bible. That may seem a remarkable statement, because we hold the Bible to be the word of God, so why wouldn’t I have always felt that way. The fact is—and we all do this—I would read a Bible principle and accept it as true in the broad sense, but I would immediately, and largely subconsciously, start making up exceptions. For example, “Do not put YOUR trust in nobles, Nor in the son of earthling man, to whom no salvation belongs.” (Ps. 146:3) I… Read more »
Actually technically the “arrival” in this context was supposed to happen in 1918/19.
All of the Bible’s references to the arrival of the Lord can be perfectly understood to occur once only in order to commence his presence which is yet future. The mere fact that we have to have so many arrivals to make our theology fit should be enough to have us wondering why the emperor left his clothes at home this morning.
Occam’s razor anyone?
Well then we would simply need to examine Rutherford’s scriptural evidence for the claim. Personally I have never gotten to grips with it, and so have had to relegate it’s level of importance within my own framework of understanding. I would be keen to take another look if someone can provide the necessary explanation. The problem is now that you and I don’t seem to be in any disagreement, which in itself is fine, but it puts our discussion at risk of sounding like one of those convention parts “Questions About xyz” to make a predetermined point. Someone needs to… Read more »
If you look at Luke 12:41-48 there appear to be four categories of slave or steward. 1. The faithful one. 2. The evil one who is assigned to the unfaithful ones. 3. The one who understood, but didn’t get ready and receives many strokes. 4. The one who didn’t understand and therefore only gets a few strokes. We say the faithful one refers to a class of humans, specifically, the anointed. Therefore, the other three must also be classes of humans. Who are they? More important, where do numbers 3 and 4 fit in? They aren’t assigned to the unfaithful… Read more »
Thanks Meleti for this post. I did some research in the WT library about slave 3 and 4. There was only one reference I could find in the Insight book under the heading “Beating”, it said: Jesus went on then to show that one who has greater responsibility and fails to take care of it is more reprehensible than one who does not know or understand his duties so well. Such a one’s punishment, the number of “strokes,” would be proportionate to his responsibility.—Lu 12:47, 48. I thought the explanation of “beating” seemed reasonable, however it leaves many question regarding… Read more »
Thanks hezekiah1 and welcome to the discussion and forum. Your point taken from what the Insight book says on the subject of “Beating” does indeed complicate the fulfillment of this parable from our official point of view. If the Slave is a class and the judgment of the slave is on a class level, then the same must be true for the two slaves that are given strokes. Two classes are beaten; one many times and one few. However, we teach that the faithful slave gets the reward of everlasting life and the evil slave of everlasting destruction. What then… Read more »
Interpreting the slaves as classes seems to inconsistent both internally and when measured against Jesus’ general use of slaves in parables. For example take the ten slaves entrusted with varying numbers of minas (Luke 19). We do not try to say that each slave represents a “class” in the sense that they equate to a named group today. Rather each Christian has the opportunity to fit into one of the categories portrayed, and skilfully by using just three characters plus the king, Jesus covers the gamut. In the case of the unmerciful slave in Matthew 18 we would not try… Read more »
Until the master arrives is it really possible to label the slave as either “faithful and discreet” or “evil”? It is a strange turn of phrase to talk about him being “faithful and discreet” and then continue by referring to “that evil slave” as if talking of the same person. However if the slave in the parable is simply one who has the potential to be either then the question cannot be finally answered until the master’s arrival, and the judgement will be his, not ours. Therefore, at the risk of spinning your article in another direction, in my opinion… Read more »
No risk at all. This is one of the directions I had hoped the discussion would go. We claim the Master arrived in 1914, but didn’t turn his attention to the slave until 1918. I’m not sure of the justification for this four-year delay, but that isn’t critical at this point. The real point is if the Master arrived at that time, then both the faithful slave and the evil slave have been judged. That implies the faithful slave can do no wrong. It’s fate was sealed almost 100 years ago. It judgment is an historical event. Does that make… Read more »