Treasures from God’s Word and Digging for Spiritual Gems – “Remain Spiritually Awake during the Last Days” (Matthew 24)
Matthew 24:39 (w99 11/15 19 par. 5, ‘no note’)
Here we find Translation bias in the NWT to support the teachings of the organization. The NWT says:
“and they took no note until the flood came and swept them all away, so the presence of the Son of man will be.”
A quick review of the Kingdom Interlinear shows the phrase “they took no note” is translated “and not they knew” (i.e ‘they knew nothing’). This conveys a different meaning.
That this is the true meaning of this passage is confirmed by Jesus’ next words in verses 42-44. Jesus three times emphasizes this point when he says ‘you do not know’, ‘if the householder had known’, ‘you do not think it to be’, regarding his coming. Verse 39 only makes sense in context if translated ‘they knew nothing’, because his coming would be like that of Noah’s day. It would be a shock to them.
A review of translations on Bible Hub will reveal (all 28!) either ‘they knew not’ or the equivalent. The Berean Bible reads particularly nicely and says “And they were oblivious, until the flood came and swept them all away. So will be the coming of the Son of Man.” The meaning here is crystal clear.
This verse does not, therefore, refer to people ignoring a “life-saving preaching message”, as the Organization contends.
Matthew 24:44 (jy 259 par. 5)
“On this account YOU too prove yourselves ready, because at an hour that YOU do not think to be it, the Son of man is coming.”
If Jesus stated that he will come at a time we do not expect, then how were the early Bible Students able to discern 1914? The simple answer is that it is a guess, backed up by making it a matter of faith, because it cannot be proven. How did they get insight that even Jesus did not have? Furthermore, if it could be worked out from the book of Daniel as well as from what Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 24, then surely Jesus as God’s son could have done so?
Matthew 24:20 (Wintertime, Sabbath day) (nwtsty)
“Keep praying that YOUR flight may not occur in wintertime, nor on the Sabbath day”
From the wording of this verse, it clearly was applying to the first century Jews who had become Christians. There is no room for any antitypical fulfillment; no room for thinking that it will apply to use in our future. Nowadays, the Sabbath can be Friday, Saturday or Sunday depending on where one lives. Also, with Christians living all over the world, some of them will be in wintertime and some in summertime no matter when Armageddon strikes.
Matthew 24:36 (nor the Son)
“Concerning that day and hour nobody knows, neither the angels of the heavens nor the Son, but only the Father.”
In the first century Jehovah God had not yet seen fit to let Jesus know when he would come. Therefore how can we calculate it today? If the organization says we can calculate it today then they are saying that Jesus Christ was not able to calculate it in the first Century. I for one am not prepared to take such a stand against our Lord, Christ and Mediator.
Matthew 24:48 (evil slave)
“But if ever that evil slave should say in his heart, ‘My master is delaying,’
The current teaching of the organization is that the faithful slave is real and consists of 7 or 8 men. Yet, in the same parable, Jesus decided to make the evil slave a hypothetical construct. Does that make sense? They also claim the faithful slave is a composite slave. Let us examine every instance where Jesus used the word ‘slave’ in a parable.
- Matthew 18:23-35: parable about slaves owing debts to the master and each other.
- Matthew 25:14-30: parable about slaves given money to do business while the master was away.
- Mark 12:2-8: parable about vineyard and cultivators who killed the owners slaves then his son.
- Luke 12:35-40: parable about slaves watching for the master returning from his marriage.
- Luke 12:41-48: parallel passage to Matthew 24:45-51.
In every passage, when Jesus says ‘slave’, he means ‘slave’ singular, and he uses the plural ‘slaves’ for multiple slaves.
Indeed in the parallel passage to Matthew 24 in Luke 12:41-48 it is clear Jesus is talking about individual types of slave. After talking about slaves (v37) awaiting the return of their master, then he asks a rhetorical question ‘who is the faithful slave?’ In context he is expanding on the subject of slaves and their attitude to awaiting the master’s return.
How does he expand on this?
- The faithful slave will be the individual entrusted with caring for the master’s attendants, and who does so, and who is still awake on the return of the master.
- The ‘evil’ slave is self-indulgent, eating and drinking, and then abusing the attendants. He will be punished severely. He is punished severely for abusing his authority. A sin of commission.
- There are two additional types of slave mentioned in Luke’s version of this parable. (Luke 12:41-48) Both fail to do the master’s will; one knowingly, and the other in ignorance. One is punished severely and the other lightly.
These are clearly types of slaves, and it depends on their actions as to what type they are. So on the basis of this passage in Luke, the faithful slave is not a group of men living in Warwick, New York. Indeed, rather than staying alert for the arrival of the master they have been constantly giving false alarms as to his arrival, and in doing, have so exhausted the attendants by crying wolf too many times that many have fallen away. Additionally the evil slave is a type of slave who forgets about Jesus’ return and instead abuses his fellow slaves.
Matthew 24:3 (conclusion of the system of things)
The NWT 2013 edition Glossary defines it as “The period of time leading up to the end of the system of things, or state of affairs, dominated by Satan. It runs concurrently with Christ’s presence.”
Hebrews 9:26 talking about Jesus says “But now he [Jesus] has manifested himself once for all time at the conclusion of the systems of things to put sin away through the sacrifice of himself”. So the Apostle Paul considered the first century (before the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans) as the conclusion of the system of things, not as an event centuries in the future. The book of Hebrews was written about 61 CE, only 5 years before the Jewish revolt started and 9 years before the destruction of Jerusalem and the majority of the nation of Israel.
Who is correct? Romans 3:4 says “But let God be found true, though every man [and organization made of men] be found a liar.
Video – Close to the End of this System of Things
This is a portion from a previous Monthly Broadcast. It is an attempt to reinforce the overlapping generations teaching.
But before examining it, let us check the meaning of the following words from the dictionary.
- Generation: – All of the people born and living at the same time regarded collectively and viewed as lasting 30 years; the average age period between the birth of the parents and the birth of the offspring.
- Contemporaries: – A person of roughly the same age as another. From Latin – con = together with, and tempus = time.
The implications of these definitions are:
- For a generation:
- Will be limited to people with a 30-year span of birth dates.
- Any group of people considered to be a generation will not include those young enough to be the children of that group of people.
- Will be born and live at the same time, not overlap.
- For contemporaries:
- Someone who is 50 and another who is 20 would not fall into the category of ‘roughly the same age’.
- While we cannot be precise, for a 50-year old, his contemporaries would likely be aged between 45 and 55, those he would have known at school for instance, being slightly younger and slightly older.
Having set the basis by which we can understand Jesus words, let us examine the video.
David Splane opened by asking what scripture comes to mind to understand a generation. He suggests Exodus 1:6. This is an interesting choice, as it allows the organization to stretch the meaning and the time (although not legitimately). If he had chosen Exodus 20:5 for instance which talks about “the error of fathers upon sons, upon the third generation and upon the fourth generation.” It is quite clear from this scripture that fathers is the first generation, sons are the second generation, then the grandsons the third generation, and great-grandsons the fourth generation. So looking at Exodus 1:6 it talks of Joseph and his brothers and all that generation. The normal understanding would be that Joseph and his brothers and those born around the same time. So the interpretation put forward by David Splane that the generation had to live sometime in Joseph’s lifespan is disingenuous. Joseph’s children were not in his generation and yet they lived in their father’s lifespan.
David Splane moves on to Matthew 24:32-34 stating that all the things Jesus mentioned started to occur from 1914 onwards, which meant Jesus was near at the doors. He further says only the anointed saw the signs and discerned the signs which meant something invisible was happening. Although no scriptural support is given for the invisible aspect. One of those claiming to be anointed was Fred Franz born in 1893 and baptised in November 1913. David Splane mentions others such as Rutherford, McMillan and Van Amburgh who were also ‘anointed’ at the time of 1914. They would qualify as the generation of Fred Franz according to the dictionary definition. But then he goes on to include Swingle, Knorr and Henschel as contemporaries of the first group mentioned even though they were born much later and anointed later. However, we can see by the dictionary definitions above that cannot be the case. David Splane does that so they can stretch contemporaries to include the current governing body.
At the 9:40 minute David Splane makes the bold and unsupported claim that in order to be part of ‘this Generation’ someone would have to have been anointed before 1992. This is language gymnastics. Even if 1914 were the start of the last days, which is another whole subject in itself, it would have to be the generation that was alive at the time of the start of those days. This, even at a stretch, would restrict it to those born between about 1900 and 1920. All this generation have now passed away. Were any of the present Governing Body ‘born and living at the same time’ as Fred Franz? Not anywhere near according to normal English usage of the terms. All of the current Governing Body were born long after 1920. He then states the newly anointed would have to be a contemporary of Fred Franz. Hence as even those so-called contemporaries are almost passing away now, then Armageddon must be at the doors is the conclusion. However this whole video is a travesty of the English language and the words that Jesus spoke.
P.S. The day after completing this review Meleti released his video discussing this doctrine of ‘overlapping generations’ as it has been named. No doubt you will find it interesting that independently we come to the same conclusions based on common sense, and more importantly God’s Word and its self-explanation.
Jesus, The Way (jy Chapter 13) – Learn from the way Jesus faced Temptations.
Nothing of note.