Well, we finally have an official pronouncement in writing on the new position the organization has taken vis-à-vis the “faithful and discreet slave”, now available on www.jw.org.
Since we’ve already dealt with this new understanding elsewhere in this forum, we won’t belabor the point here. Rather, in the spirit of the ancient Beroeans, let’s look at the evidence presented by the Governing Body for this new teaching, ‘to see if these things are so’.
[All excerpts are taken from the Annual Meeting Report]
Let’s start with this opening thought:
“Consider the context of Jesus’ words in Matthew chapter 24. All the verses listed here were to be fulfilled during Christ’s presence, “the conclusion of the system of things.”—Verse 3.”
Since this premise sets the stage for what is to come, let’s examine it. Where is the evidence that the fulfillment of Matthew chapter 24 occurs during Christ’s presence? Not the last days, but his presence. We just assume the two things are synonymous, but are they?
Where in Scripture do we learn that the disciples believed Jesus would govern invisibly from heaven while the nations continued to rule on earth, blithely unaware of this presence? The question they framed at the start of Matthew chapter 24 was based on what they believed at that time. Is there any scriptural proof that they believed in an invisible presence?
At Mt. 24:3, they asked for a sign to know when he would start ruling and when the end or conclusion[i] would come—two events they obviously believed to be concurrent. A little over a month later, they again asked the question, framing it thus: “Lord, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?” (Acts 1:6) How do we get an invisible, century-long presence with no visible manifestation of his rulership on earth from these questions?
“Logically, then, “the faithful and discreet slave” must have appeared after Christ’s presence began in 1914.” (For a counter-argument, see Was 1914 the Start of Christ’s Presence?)
How is this logical? The slave is appointed to feed the Master’s domestics because the Master is away and cannot care for the duty himself. When the Master returns he rewards the slave that has proven himself faithful and punishes the slaves that have failed in their duty. (Luke 12:41-48) How can it be logical that the master appoints the slave to feed his domestics when the Master is present? If the Master is present, then how can he arrive to find the slave “doing so”?
“From 1919 on, there has always been a small group of anointed Christians at the world headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses. They have supervised our worldwide preaching work and have been directly involved in preparing and dispensing spiritual food. In recent years, that group has been closely identified with the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses.”
True, but misleading. The same can be said for any year from the time the world headquarters were established by brother Charles Taze Russell. Why are we signing 1919 as somehow significant?
“The evidence points to the following conclusion: “The faithful and discreet slave” was appointed over Jesus’ domestics in 1919.”
What evidence are they referring to? No evidence has been provided in this article. They have simply made an assertion, but given us nothing to back it up. Is the evidence available elsewhere? If so, we would welcome any of our readers to provide it using the commenting feature of the forum. As for us, we have not been able to find anything that qualifies as scriptural evidence that 1919 has any significance prophetically whatsoever.
“That slave is the small, composite group of anointed brothers serving at world headquarters during Christ’s presence who are directly involved in preparing and dispensing spiritual food. When this group work together as the Governing Body, they act as “the faithful and discreet slave.””
Again, no scriptural evidence is provided to prove that the slave corresponds to brothers working at the world headquarters. What we do have is empirical evidence. However, does that empirical evidence support the conclusion that the eight men of the Governing Body are the slave Jesus spoke of? We state that a “small, composite group of anointed brothers…are directly involved in preparing and dispensing spiritual food”. The Governing Body does not, by itself, prepare and dispense spiritual food. In fact, few, if any, articles are written by them. Others write the articles; others dispense the food. So if this is the basis for our deductions, we have to conclude that all those preparing and dispensing the food make up the slave, not just the eight members of the Governing Body.
When is the Slave Identified
Why all the emphasis in our publications on the slave? Why this need to identify the slave now? Here are some interesting stats.
Average yearly occurrence of the term “Governing Body” in the Watchtower:
From 1950 to 1989 17 per year
From 1990 to 2011 31 per year
Average yearly occurrence of the term “Faithful Slave or Steward” in the Watchtower:
From 1950 to 1989 36 per year
From 1990 to 2011 60 per year
The attention given to these terms and their related topics has almost doubled in the last 20 years, since the release of the Proclaimers book in which they were first named and pictured.
Again, of all Jesus parables, why the emphasis on this one? More important, who are we to identify the slave? Isn’t that for Jesus to do? He says the identification of the slave is done when he arrives and judges the conduct of each one.
There are four slaves: one who is judged as faithful and rewarded, one who is judged as evil and punished with the greatest severity, one who gets many strokes, and one who gets few. All are initially commissioned to feed the domestics and their judgment is based on how well or how poorly they have performed this task by the time the master arrives. Since he hasn’t yet arrived, we cannot say who the slave is with any certainly unless we want to be in the position of running ahead of the judgment of the Master, Jesus Christ.
Look at what Jesus actually says:
“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…48 “But if ever that evil slave should say in his heart, ‘My master is delaying,’ (Mt. 12:47, 48)
“Then that slave that understood the will of his master but did not get ready or do in line with his will will be beaten with many strokes. 48 But the one that did not understand and so did things deserving of strokes will be beaten with few. . . .(Luke 12:47, 48)
One slave is commissioned, but four slaves result at the outcome. The faithful slave is not identified by being commissioned to feed the domestics. The four slaves that are identified at the judgment all stem from the one, single commission to feed the domestics. Their judgment is based precisely on how well they performed that duty. The task of feeding isn’t over yet, so it’s too early to say who the faithful slave is.
So again, why do we feel it is necessary to repeatedly (an average of 4 times per issue of the Watchtower) emphasis who the slave is?
Greatest Man Chapter 78 “Keep Ready”: The “master” obviously is Jesus Christ. The “steward” pictures the “little flock” of disciples as a collective body, and the “body of attendants” refers to this same group of 144,000 who receive the heavenly Kingdom, but this expression highlights their work as individuals. The “belongings” that the faithful steward is appointed to care for are the master’s royal interests on earth, which include the Kingdom’s earthly subjects. 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… Read more »
So pleased to find this site Maleti, and I agree with you !!! All I can say is; Once the number is sealed WHO is our leader except the TRUE anointed one… our Lord Jesus…. son of YaHWeH. Personally…I believe the bride of Christ is His choice and not our business, nor do I find any scriptures that show a Gov body representing Jehovah on earth as the flocks teachers. The Aid book under “faithful and discrete slave” correctly says ; “Thus the entire Christian congregation was to serve in a united stewardship, dispensing such truths”. This was CHANGED …in… Read more »
‘Vitriolic attack’….’vituperous opinions’?? What does that even mean? English is my third language so you lost me there. . Your thinking and arguments are mostly against what is understood to be current truth. You’ve torn down core doctrines here including 607,1914,faithful slave, governing body ,other sheep etc You have poked holes on the Society’s interpretation of Daniel and Revelation….if you revealed your identity,you know very well that you would be labelled an apostate and disfellowshiped..just having this website itself is not allowed and you know it. .. you must know very well that the Society strongly discourages these kind of… Read more »
Our policy is clearly stated in the About This Forum section. Our purpose is principally bible study and research. Of course, where that research reveals that some of our teachings may be wrong, we have a duty to the truth to speak about it. However, offering vituperous opinions is outside our scope. If you have proof of misconduct, that would be another thing. We’d be willing to consider it and possibly air it, as long as we can verify and establish that the evidence is untainted and valid. Even then, let the proof speak for itself, as angry or negative… Read more »
Pardon me for thinking that this was a forum where one could freely express their views, yes I have doubts ,I don’t consider my comment as an attack ‘against us’…I am one of ‘us’, I’m merely stating what I’ve observed in my country,which could be different from yours. Meleti, I’m an active Witness, baptised as a teen over 30 year ago. .I served in the full time service for almost twenty years, most of them in Bethel,my dear husband is a serving elder. Because of all that, I know how the organization works and I’m certainly not naive…. My brother,you… Read more »
Simply not true. Some get baptised young, but many choose not to. People are not shunned for not getting baptised nor do we shun brothers and sisters for not getting out in the field service nor do we shun a brother (baptised young or not) for leaving the congregation of his own free will. I have served as an elder for the better part of forty years and neither I nor my fellow elders have ever “hounded” anyone to go out preaching. I’ve known many who have left the congregation but continue to associate with family members. Shunning is only… Read more »
I live in a country where Muslims preach on the streets,they manage to convert Christians because they know the Bible even better than the average Christian…. As for the reasons you give for their growth ,the same reasons can be given for the growth in the JW organization , children baptised at a young age, and if you leave,they kill you. ..spiritually and socially. Fear of shunning especially losing family is what keeps many in the organization…Im sure that if shunning was discontinued,the numbers would drop drastically.. .and as for the ministry, why do we have to submit a field… Read more »
I fully agree with the point about the brotherhood, I truly cherish it and is what I look forward to at the meetings.
However, the growth in the organization has been stagnating in recent years … more so in Western countries…..also the fastest growing religion worldwide is Islam. . I doubt that is seen as proof of God’s blessing.
The growth that Islam is experiencing is due to two factors: birthrate and the fact that if you try to leave their faith, they kill you. When we claim our ranks are nearing the 8 million mark, that is not a count of meeting attenders or those who claim to be JWs on a census. That is the number who go from door-to-door in the preaching work. It is not easy to be a JW in this world. In fact, it is quite hard. It is a narrow and cramped road. To have millions who are willing to face the… Read more »
Meleti, I’d like to know your thoughts on this. ..if we are to understand that the Slave was appointed in 1919, that would mean the Master went away in 33CE, leaving his followers without any spiritual feeding program. …that doesnt make sense…what did Jesus mean when he told Peter to ‘ feed my little sheep’? and what about Jesus’ first century disciples?the writers if the Greek Scriptures,do we not view their writings as spiritual food?and what about the thousands of Christians who worked tirelessly to spread Christianity and translate the Bible,? Also does it mean that Bros Rutherford and Knorr… Read more »
From the time Jehovah formed his people under Moses, there have been difficult times and even apostasy. True worshippers remained faithful to Jehovah, but did not depart from the flock. Jeremiah lived at a time of great apostasy, but where else would he go. He remained with Jehovah’s people, yet did not compromise his faith nor his adherence to Jehovah’s law. So I concur with you that we must stick to “the way, the truth, and the life”, but our loyalty to Jesus Christ requires us to continue with the only organization that shows evidence of having Jehovah’s blessing. Yes,… Read more »
Meleti, may I respectfully ask, what do you feel is the “evidence of having Jehovah’s blessing?” Also, in what way does this people demonstrate “the love Jesus spoke of at John 13:35?”
I could point to the worldwide growth we are experiencing at a time when other religions are declining, but the real proof for me is on a personal level. I have traveled extensively and seen the brotherhood in many different countries and the love that is manifested transcends national boundaries and traditional prejudices. Jesus’ words at John 13:35 constitute proof to all people. Rather than having me explain it, I would recommend you to experience if for yourself.
Meleti you make a good point by citing the example of Anna. Then you said, “We simply have no where else to go.” With respect, please remember that Peter told Jesus “To WHOM shall we go away to? YOU have sayings of everlasting life.” (John 6:68) Surely you will agree that to say “we have no where else to go.” is a misquote of the above scripture? It is not about the WHERE. It is about the King of God’s Kingdom, Jesus. He is our leader and our mediator, and so we do have somewhere to go- we need to… Read more »
Kudos to you Meleti for shining a light on these strange new developments. There are a lot of “Awakening Witnesses” as I call them that are actually starting to examine the scriptures without bias, and can no longer worship the “slave” as some of their fellow JWs do.
Thanks for the thought. I think “worship” is too strong a word, but there is a definite tendency to revere men, and to accord them too much honor. Yet, we have an excellent example in Anna, the prophetess. (Luke 2:36-38) . . .Now there was Anna a prophetess, Phan?u·el’s daughter, of Ash?er’s tribe (this woman was well along in years, and had lived with a husband for seven years from her virginity, 37 and she was a widow now eighty-four years old), who was never missing from the temple, rendering sacred service night and day with fastings and supplications. 38 And in that very… Read more »
I am still digesting the information, but you raise many valid objections that I completely agree with.
The final six words of the article fall a little short in my case:-
“Appealing to heart and to reason.”
Or… what if He was making a, “Private Covenant/Contract…”, with the 12… to sit at His table… separate from the, “New Covenant…?”
Is there a parallel for this in the wilderness arrangements, laid out for the Israelites…?
May I respectfully offer a thought on the following comment please? “When Jesus said that he was making a covenant with his apostles for a kingdom, he was not excluding the rest of the anointed from that covenant even though they weren’t present then. That’s true.” But if that is true…? Why were The Lord’s words so specific, even to the point of qualifing his promise to the 12…?, – They’d been arguing about who was the greatest…and as usual, in His loving and patient way, He reproved them by saying that although He was among those sitting at the… Read more »