(This originally appeared in the Winter 2002 edition of the MCOI Journal)
In the July 1, 1994 WATCHTOWER,* page 5, under the heading “Wheat and Weeds,” there appears this interesting statement: “Jesus Christ himself taught that true Christianity would temporarily disappear from view.” Did Jesus truly teach that in time true Christians would “disappear from view?” Frankly, there is no such teaching in the Bible. Jesus did say weeds would be sown among the wheat (Matt. 13:25), and these two groups would “grow together” until God’s angels are sent to harvest “the crop” at the end of the age (Matt. 13:30). The “wheat” (genuine Christians) would not disappear, they just would be mingled in the same field with the “weeds” (false or pseudo-Christians). This is the situation today, and it will continue until the “harvest” at the end of the age.
Why would the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (WTBTS)** twist Jesus’ words in this fashion? It’s just another example of necessity proving to be their mother of invention. They need a “disappearance” teaching, because they must find a way to explain away the mysterious absence, down through history, of their brand of “Christianity” (the “wheat” of Jesus’ illustration) led by the so called “Faithful and Discreet Slave.”
Who is the “Faithful and Discreet Slave?”
Anyone who reads the WATCHTOWER magazine on a regular basis is familiar with this character. The often-alluded-to “Faithful and Discreet Slave” (F&D slave) is a pseudonym for the
leadership of the WTBTS (eisegesis: Matt. 24:45). Supposedly made up of all “anointed” Jehovah’s Witnesses (JWs)† on the earth at any given time,1 in reality, the F&D slave only speaks the opinions and gives the orders of the governing body (a handful of very elderly men) of the WTBTS (a.k.a. “Jehovah’s Organization”). Ironically, though they refer to themselves as a slave, they wield the power of popes and kings over the lives of the so-called “great crowd” JWs—their hapless “subjects” on the earth.2 They are the ones who interpret the Bible for the general membership, and they protect their monopoly in this area by teaching that no person can understand the Bible without their “help.”3 While they portray themselves as the oh-so-humble leaders of “Jehovah’s Organization,” in reality, the “slave” is the organization to whom all JWs must pay dutiful homage!4
When did “Jehovah’s Organization” come into being?
An objective person, looking at the cold, hard facts, would rightly conclude the WTBTS came into existence in 1879 when the WATCHTOWER magazine began to be published by founder CT Russell. This founding is well documented in history. The Jehovah’s Witness organization (the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society) began with Charles Taze Russell when he broke away (and took a following) from the Second Adventists in the 1870’s. Early on, these followers of Russell were known simply as Bible Students because of Russell’s aversion to organized religion.5
Who established the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society?
Although their 1993 history book JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES: PROCLAIMERS OF GOD’S KINGDOM traces the history of the WTBTS back to the 1870’s and no further; at the same time, it makes the claim there were “witnesses of Jehovah” in the first century. They even assert the first-century existence of the “governing body” and teach that the first-century Christian church was basically a mirror image of the modern-day WTBTS organization. They claim the organization was established, not really by Russell in the 1870’s, but by Jesus Christ in the first century! Russell, they claim, merely “restored” true Christianity after long, dark centuries of apostasy. Of course, any group can claim to be true Christianity “restored” and, in fact, many other groups—from the Mormons to Gwen Shamblin’s Remnant Fellowship—make this exact same claim. The “great apostasy” teaching is very convenient indeed! But, it does create a very thorny problem—if there was a JW organization in the first century that apostatized and fell out of favor with God, how are JWs purer and superior (as they continually boast) to “Christendom?”
The “slave’s” role in “Christendom”
The one thing you really need to understand about the Jehovah’s Witness organization is that they hate the Christian Church with a passion! All Christian denominations and sects are together derogatorily labeled as “Christendom”—the “weeds” of Jesus illustration—an evil religious entity that apostatized early on in Christian history and continues to mislead the deluded masses today. Ironically though, if the WTBTS story about the great apostasy is true, it was the JW’s own F&D slave from the first century who “lost the faith” that needed to be restored by CT Russell in the 1870’s. If the original F&D slave (commissioned by Jesus) had only remained FAITHFUL, no apostasy or Pagan teaching would ever have taken hold! But, no. As the original F&D slave apostatized and took on Pagan beliefs, “Christendom” was born. Therefore, the “F&D slave” was an integral part of Christendom for many centuries, shared in all her alleged errors in theology and practice, as well as her wars, crusades, and inquisitions.
Somehow, this logical inference escapes the average JW. So, to make sure the issue remains sufficiently fuzzy to keep their adherents with the program, it became necessary for the current F&D slave to invent an alternate history for itself—one not so bedded with evil “Christendom.”
This alternate story claims the F&D slave did not really apostatize (so, who did?). They allegedly existed down through history as a group receiving their instructions from God, remaining completely faithful and loyal to Him, and dispensing truth (“food at the proper time”) to the people of every era from the first century to our present day. They have masterfully woven these two contradictory stories together. It will be our object, in this article, to separate and unmask them as the lying cover-up that they are.
The two-story two-step
Keeping in mind Story #1—the “great apostasy,” nineteenth-century-restoration theory, we move on to Story #2. Revisiting the parable of the “wheat and the weeds,” the WTBTS’s aforementioned book JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES: PROCLAIMERS OF GOD’S KINGDOM states on page 44 that “True Christianity then, was never completely stamped out.” The article goes on to name some “truth lovers” (Wycliffe, Tyndale, Second Adventist George Storrs, and others) who were on the scene at various points in church history. The implication is that some of them were of the “wheat class,” (a.k.a. true Christians, a.k.a. JWs, a.k.a. the F&D slave organization) hoping the reader will come away believing good “wheat” did exist down through history and did not participate in Christendom’s “sins” or her supposedly Pagan teachings. Yet, they weasel around actually labeling these men as “wheat” saying:
“Although we cannot positively identify any of such persons as the wheat of Jesus’ illustration, certainly ‘Jehovah knows those who belong to Him.’”
This is a smokescreen, like so much of the WTBTS’s verbiage. They cannot just identify these “truth lovers” as Christians, because some sharp person might just “notice” Tyndale, Wycliffe, and yes, even Russell’s Adventist associate George Storrs, were NOT Jehovah’s Witnesses—in either doctrine or practice—by any stretch of the imagination. And those of us familiar with WTBTS teachings know if they were not JWs receiving their spiritual food solely from the F&D slave class organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses, they were not true Christians. Remember, according to the WTBTS, nobody can hope to understand the Bible without the F&D slave’s provision of study guides, magazines, etc.
“… Besides individually possessing God’s Word, we need a theocratic organization. Yes, besides having God’s Spirit of illumination, a Christian needs Jehovah’s theocratic organization in order to understand the Bible. He needs to attend the meetings arranged for by that organization and to study with fellow Christians … Jehovah God is dealing with his organization, and does not deal with individuals who are outside of his organization or who defiantly try to act independently of it.”6
“Jehovah God … does not deal with individuals”—keep this in mind as we proceed. So, the vague intimations some of these men might have been true Christians or “wheat” is merely a rabbit trail. It is offered because the WTBTS cannot produce a single, solitary scrap of historical evidence that even one JW (or any person holding their doctrines but going by another name) existed before their real beginning in the 1870’s. Much less can they show an organized group (the F&D slave) has been on the scene—century after century, generation after generation since appointed by Christ in 33 AD (or CE, as the WTBTS would have it)—faithfully interpreting the Bible and providing spiritual food to “truth lovers” (JWs) of every age. Yet, we shall see that this is exactly what they teach as fact.
The phantom “slave”
Why is there no evidence for the F&D slave’s existence in the historical record? My dears, the answer to that is simple—the inconsistent and highly contradictory history of the “faithful and discreet slave” (as taught by the WTBTS) is a phantom—a lie—a preposterous fraud! They are dancing the two-story two-step, and both stories are bogus!
Getting the story straight
What are the two stories again? Let’s look at them together for the sake of comparison:
Story #1: True Christianity apostatized soon after the death of the Apostles. This apostasy did not take place all at once, but involved a syncretization process that came about like this: After Christ’s Apostles died, their followers or disciples began slowly to mix elements of the true faith with elements of Paganism. This resulted in a totally apostate church (a.k.a. the vile and evil “Christendom”) within a few centuries time. True Christians (a.k.a. “the wheat,” a.k.a “truth lovers”) existed, but they were independent individuals scattered here and there among “Christendom’s” various denominations and movements, and no one can say for a certainty who they were.
Story #2: True Christianity never really apostatized at all. The true Christians (the “wheat,” the Christ-appointed F&D slave) remained LOYAL AND PURE down through the centuries, one generation of the F&D slave faithfully feeding the next. Being found faithful at Christ’s return, the F&D slave was rewarded by being appointed over all the Master’s belongings. Imitation Christians appeared on the scene after the death of the Apostles, but never gained dominance over the F&D slave, nor turned the F&D slave to disloyalty or to false teaching.
So, while the WTBTS asserts there was a “great apostasy” in the early centuries and most believers fell away into Pagan teaching, they teach (according to Story #2, anyway) a remnant of believers (JWs, naturally) resisted the urge to “Paganize” and remained ever true to Jehovah with their light getting ever brighter. This supposed remnant of anointed JWs is the “the faithful and discreet slave” of Matthew 24 whom Jesus allegedly found and rewarded when he “returned” invisibly in the year 1914.7 Only one problem: The two stories—the “great apostasy” and the “faithful remnant”—are completely incompatible and show the WTBTS’s history to be a fairy tale.
Let’s take a look at the confounding contradictions about the history of “Jehovah’s Organization” and its ever faithful “slave” that are espoused by the WTBTS out of both sides of its mouth.
The “F&D slave” has been in continuous existence down through church history, though its identity may have been “unclear”
In the article entitled, “Do you appreciate the Faithful and Discreet Slave?” the March 1, 1981 WATCHTOWER states, on page 24:
“Beginning with Pentecost, 33 CE and continuing through the 19 centuries since then, this slave-like congregation has been feeding its members spiritually, doing so faithfully and discreetly … Especially has the identity of this ‘slave’ become clear at the time of Christ’s return or presence.”
Note the slave has not only been in continuous existence, but it continued throughout the centuries faithfully feeding the flock of JWs.
The slave has always been a group, not individuals scattered here and there
Is it possible the slave did exist down through history but was only an individual here and there and so “disappeared” for that reason? NO. Not at all! For, as the WTBTS itself proclaims:
“Witnesses of Jehovah understand that the ‘slave’ is comprised of all anointed Christians as a group [emphasis theirs] on earth at any given time during the 19 centuries since Pentecost.”8
In addition, as we should all know by now, Jehovah God never works through individuals—He only works through His organization!
The slave would remain loyal, and the evil slave would never gain dominance over them
It is a most important point that the slave did not apostatize along with “Christendom”—“he” remained LOYAL to Jehovah since 33 CE.
“Shortly after Jesus’ resurrection and ascension to heaven he formed the Christian congregation, on Pentecost day of the year 33 CE. There the ‘faithful and discreet slave’ class, with Jesus’ apostles taking the lead, began to feed the individuals in God’s newly formed ‘household of faith’ with spiritual food. This slave class, the spirit-anointed Christian congregation, would remain loyal right down to the time of Christ’s coming to destroy the present wicked system of things.”9
The slave remained loyal, did it? Later we shall detail exactly what loyalty to Jehovah means, according to the WTBTS. But for now, we shall just comment that if the slave had remained faithful and loyal, the slave would never have gotten involved in any of the practices identified by the WTBTS as being Pagan, such as holiday celebration, use of the cross, Phrenology, Pyramidology, participation in war, etc. If at any time they had done any of these things, they would have gone into DARKNESS, and the light would have blinked out and they immediately would have become weeds just like everyone else. Yet, of course, according to Story #1, the slave was “soiled” by all of these things, but did not become weeds, just weedy! This seems to be most inconsistent.
Would the weeds ever gain dominance over the wheat? No. Christ would not allow that.
“Christ would not let any such disloyal ones have dominance over or break up his congregation and stop the work it is doing.”10
This statement makes it hard to understand just how the slave could “disappear from view.” And, if the weeds could not break up the congregation or stop the work it was doing, why have we no record of their work down through history?
The “slave” fed not only itself but also each succeeding generation from Pentecost until now
The Jan. 15, 1975 WATCHTOWER says on page 46:
“Jesus had said: ‘Look! I am with you all the days until the conclusion of this system of things.’ (Matt. 28:20) Jesus Christ is the Head of the congregation, his slave, and his words show that he would strengthen them to feed his “domestics” right down through the centuries. Apparently one generation of the “slave” class fed the succeeding generation thereof, as well as continuing to feed themselves … no individual could have provided so well. But with family effort, all are well fed. As a family [emphasis theirs] they are one body, just as the ‘faithful and discreet slave’.”
The slave was not an individual or individuals, but it was a family, a body, an organization. Yes, the organization itself dates back to the first century, according to the WTBTS.
“… if you were a true worshipper of Jehovah in the first century, you had to be a part of his Christian organization.”11
And “God has always used an organization,” and eternal life is unattainable without it:
“A third requirement [for eternal life] is that we be associated with God’s channel, his organization. God has always used an organization.”12
Nor would Jehovah have used the slave to feed each succeeding generation if they were isolated, independent individuals scattered here and there across the globe.
“Jesus Christ himself called attention to this method of feeding his people—not as isolated, independent individuals, but as a close-knit body of Christians having real love and care for each other.”13
Since the WTBTS teaches the slave fed itself and all ensuing generations, “he” (the slave) had to be an organization to accomplish this. Scattered individuals could not feed even themselves,much less others. The JWs apologetics manual, Reasoning from the Scriptures, on pages 282-3, makes it very clear that “true Christians would be an organized people,” and faithful servants of God could not be individuals who are scattered in the various churches of Christendom. In fact, the slave, either corporately or individually, could not possibly have been involved in Christendom in any way because:
“How clear it is that, as in times past, Jehovah God has a visible organization today! … However, we cannot be part of God’s organization and, at the same time, be part of false religion … for what fellowship do righteousness and lawlessness have? Or what sharing does light have with darkness? … we could not be obeying that command by remaining a part of, or of giving support to, a religious organization other than the one Jehovah is using.”14
So much for the “truth lovers” the WTBTS lauds in the PROCLAIMERS book—they were not the wheat, not the slave! They were WEEDS pure and simple, part of false religion—“Christendom.”
Why would the WTBTS praise these apostates, anyway?
The “slave’s” food is “progressive” and the light always gets “brighter and brighter”
Any person at all familiar with the WTBTS knows they claim to receive “new light” from Jehovah all the time. The slave faithfully feeds its subjects and the “spiritual feeding program” is progressive. The light keeps getting brighter and brighter as time goes on, which conveniently gives the WTBTS cover for all of its now-discarded, former “truths.”! So, since the light is progressive, the slave’s light, if he really existed down through the years, must have kept right on getting brighter and brighter over the centuries between Pentecost when they were first appointed until modern times. In other words, the slave’s understanding of scriptural truth had to continually build upon itself, which would necessarily mean the slave had much greater light in the sixth, tenth, or fifteenth centuries than did the Apostles in the first century CE. It would also mean the slave’s understanding of the truth could never have been even temporarily darker than in the apostolic period. The slave would enjoy the privilege of knowing everything Peter and Paul knew plus the rich additional information (light) they had received in the ensuing centuries. Are you with me so far?
About the progressive nature of the food dispensed, the July 15, 1960 WATCHTOWER states:
“Down through the years the slave-like congregation has been feeding its true members faithfully and discreetly. From Pentecost, AD 33, up to this very present hour this has been lovingly and carefully performed. Yes, and these ‘domestics’ have been fed on progressive spiritual food that keeps them abreast of the ‘bright light that is getting lighter and lighter until the day is firmly established.’ All this has been proved to be ‘food at the proper time’ as stated by Jesus.”
Wouldn’t you think, then, with all that faithful feeding going on, that the day would have been firmly established by 600-700 AD or so? But, no, not according to Story #1. The slave by 700 AD was in very deep weeds, if you’ll pardon the expression.
The path of the unrighteous righteous
The teaching of “progressive light,” which is the WTBTS’s justification for the shifting nature of the “truth” it expounds, is supposedly backed up in Scripture at Proverbs 4:18. I think it would be worthwhile to examine that Scripture before moving on. In looking at the passage, we see there are two paths spelled out there. There is the path of the RIGHTEOUS, which is the path that had been allegedly trod down through the centuries by the F&D slave (the “wheat”). Now, what about the other path? Oh, that is the path of the UNRIGHTEOUS (the “weeds”) of which Prov. 4:14-15 says:
“Into the path of the wicked ones do not enter, and do not walk straight on into the way of the bad ones. Shun it, do not pass along by it, turn aside from it, and pass along.”15
What would happen to any who would not listen to this advice? Verse 19 states:
“The way of the wicked ones is like gloom. They have not known at what they keep stumbling.”
Therefore, we must ask what would happen if, at any time over the centuries, the slave had chosen the path of the wicked. Well, the light would blink out, of course. That would be the end of the progressive feeding program right there, and they would now stumble along with the rest of the weeds in the gloom. According to Story #1, that is exactly what happened, but Story #2 denies that.
Now you see him, now you don’t, now you do again
The July 15, 1960 WATCHTOWER states on page 435:
“From the 1870’s onward the thin line of true Christians began to come to historic view again as in the days of the first century.”
This is important. The slave has now “come to … view again.” If Story #2 has any truth in it at all, and the slave has indeed existed down through the centuries as “wheat,” one generation feeding the next, they will be loyal, they will be a group, and their teachings would have been progressively getting “brighter” down through history. Yet, amazingly, the WTBTS denies this, and informs us that:
The slave was not a group, but was made up of scattered individuals who were part of Christendom—the “weeds”
“A decided move was made by many of the wheat group to disassociate themselves from the many weed-like sects of Christendom.”16
Now this creates a real problem, doesn’t it? Why would the “wheat” (the slave) need to disassociate itself from Christendom? When and how did they become associated with Christendom, the weeds? Hadn’t they stayed LOYAL all through the centuries? Story #2 demands it!
“After speaking of the faithful and discreet slave that would be loyal till his coming … We note that Jesus did not say that the ‘faithful and discreet slave’ would turn disloyal … Jehovah God will have only loyal tested ones as inheritors of the Kingdom.”17
If the slave had at some point apostatized and disloyally gotten involved with evil Christendom, they, of course, would no longer be the faithful and discreet slave, right? They would be weeds just like everyone else who fell into apostasy. However, let’s go on:
“This gathered group of Christians from many parts of the earth formed a new association that later came to be known as Jehovah’s Witnesses.”18
Here is another major problem. Why would the slave class need to be gathered? When had it gotten scattered? Remember the WTBTS says the loyal slave was always a group—never individuals; and Jehovah God does not ever work with individuals or give them any light on the Scriptures. He always and only works through the organization! Logically then, if they were individuals, they were not the faithful and discreet slave. And if they were any part of Christendom, they also were eliminated as being the slave, of course, since one “cannot be a part of God’s organization and at the same time, be part of false religion.”
Oops—The slave had not remained loyal, his light had to be “restored”
The July 15, 1960 WATCHTOWER, page 435, goes on to say:
“Yes, the ‘domestics,’ or individual anointed ones, were being spiritually revived with increasingly restored light of Bible truth by the collective ‘slave’ group.”
The “collective slave group” revived its members with restored light? Huh? What kind of double-talk is this? How did the collective slave, scattered as it was, get revived in order to revive individual members of itself? Where did the “restored light” come from? Who could revive the slave once he had fallen into apostasy and had become a weed, no different from the rest of Christendom? Could CT Russell have done it? Could he have read the Bible and “discovered” these lost truths and gathered together the “slave individuals” and taught them? No, because according to the WTBTS, NO INDIVIDUAL can understand the Bible without the faithful and discreet slave! Jehovah God never works with individuals—He always uses organization!
The wheat (slave) did survive and shone as brightly as the sun
The July 15, 1960 WATCHTOWER also asks the question, on the same page:
“Would Satan entirely succeed, with no wheat left after the master’s absence of 1900 years? Jesus confidently answers that question in the above-referenced-to illustration of the sower by saying, ‘Just as the weeds are collected and burned with fire, so it will be in the consummation of this system of things. At that time, the righteous ones will shine as brightly as the sun in the kingdom of their Father.’ So it was indicated that many of the ‘wheat’ class of righteous ones, anointed ones, would survive here on earth up to and during the ‘time of the end.’”
This scenario is impossible for this reason: If the slave has indeed been scattered, has associated with the weed-like Christendom, and become an unfaithful, evil slave, why would it not be burned along with the rest of the weeds? Of course it would! Yet, according to the WTBTS, the slave is righteous and shining. However, Scripture tells us that if a person gets on the path of the wicked, he is unrighteous, and the light would not get brighter and brighter for him at all (Prov. 4:19). How would such a one shine?
The slave was an awake spiritual watchman with unclean garments from long association with Christian apostasy
Just how bad was this apostasy? The July 15, 1960 WATCHTOWER, page 435:
“Under the direction of this religious corporation the great world-wide campaign to announce the 1914 end of the ‘times of the nations’ was undertaken, as mentioned earlier. The Watchtower Witnesses of Jehovah proved to be awake spiritual watchmen. But the scriptures describe them as having unclean garments because of their long association with Christian apostasy.”19
Long association? Just how long of an association did the slave have with weedy Christendom? How many generations ago had the slave lost his light? How did “he” get it back?
The slave’s practices and beliefs were similar to weed-like Christendom
“They had many practices, characteristics and beliefs similar to the weed-like sects of Christendom. So from 1914 to 1918 a period of fiery testing came upon them, not unlike the ancient period of Babylonish captivity of the Jews back in 607-537 BC.”
Israel was sent off to Babylon for blatant apostasy. Is this what the slave was guilty of—blatant apostasy of the highest order? Of course! The WTBTS always teaches that apostates make up the EVIL SLAVE—but here they are telling us the loyal F&D slave was made up of apostates too.
The slave was worldly, unclean, polluted, and weed-like, so Jehovah god reproached the slave and sent the slave into Babylonish captivity for apostasy
“All this came to pass in connection with transgression on their part in having the fear of man, not conducting themselves in a strictly neutral way during the war years, and being tainted with many religiously unclean practices.”20
Can this group of apostates be the same group who on the last page (page 435 of this same WATCHTOWER) was called “shining righteous ones?” Let’s go on:
“Jehovah and Jesus Christ permitted these witnesses to be reproached, persecuted, banned, and their officers imprisoned by the nations of this old world. Notice, however, that this watchman’s voice was not stilled until they had completed their pre-1914 phenomenal work of warning the peoples of the nations.”
Puuuleeeeease! If their pre-1914 work was phenomenal, it was phenomenally foolish! The apostate slave was “warning the peoples of the nations” of something that never came to pass—they were prophesying Armageddon was to occur in 1914, and that the great battle had, in fact, already commenced (see Studies in the Scriptures, vol. 2, p101, 1907 edition)! Why would God wait until they had finished broadcasting this false prophecy all over the world before taking them off into captivity? Did He have to wait and see if they would turn out to be right? Oy vey! The WATCHTOWER goes on to say:
“As we now know, this watchman class of the ‘faithful and discreet slave’ was being cleansed for still greater watchman service in the turbulent years to follow their restoration in 1919.”
They have just told us that this group was world tainted, having the fear of man, garment polluted, religiously unclean, weed-like, and sent off to captivity for apostasy. By what logic do they then refer to the slave as “faithful and discreet?” The phrase “to follow their restoration in 1919” is interesting also, since we have seen that the slave had already been “restored” and “revived” in the 1870’s. How many times did they have to be restored? Why would they have to be restored anyway, since Story #2 claims the slave faithfully fed itself “food at the proper time” down through the centuries, which could only have resulted in brighter and brighter light?
How does this work out in practice? If someone in the slave class decided to teach or “feed” some Pagan theory (such as Pyramidology) to the flock as CT Russell DID, would this new pyramid teaching be “brighter” than the light they had prior to receiving it? I wouldn’t think so. Even the WTBTS today admits the Pyramidology they taught is a grossly Pagan teaching. So, if the slave’s light does not always get brighter but sometimes gets much darker, how can the WTBTS use Prov. 4:18 to excuse their errors?
The slave was sent into captivity because they held many false doctrines
The book Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Divine Purpose on page 91 explains why they were sent into this Babylonish captivity in this way:
“There were many false doctrines and practices that had not been cleaned out of the organization … With considerable misunderstanding they had accepted earthly political governments as the ‘superior authorities’ that God had ordained according to Romans 13:1.”
Yet, this supposed “considerable misunderstanding” that earthly political governments are the superior authorities is exactly what they teach today! What’s up with this? Can the light get darker and then lighter again? How are we supposed to know what is really true for all time?
The Bible speaks
How does this scenario fit the Bible anyway? The verse quoted by the WTBTS to back the all-important F&D slave teaching is Matthew 24:45:
“Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics, to give them their food at the proper time? Happy is that slave if his master on arriving finds him doing so. Truly I say to YOU, He will appoint him over all his belongings.”21
Where in this passage does it even imply that if the master found the slave UNFAITHFUL upon his return that the faithless one would still be appointed over all of the master’s belongings?
According to this passage, would the master (Jesus) return to find his slave in apostasy and send “him” into Babylonish captivity?
At what point should we imagine Jesus said to the Watchtower slave, “Well done?” Before he sent them into captivity? After? Whether before or after, WHY? What had they accomplished that was well done or good and faithful? Even punishment with captivity would not make them faithful and discreet; at best it would only make them penitent. But the passage does not mention a penitent unfaithful slave rewarded with “new lofty service.” It does go on to talk about an evil unfaithful slave, however, but for some reason the WTBTS thinks that title refers to some other unfaithful apostates! Matthew 24:48-51 states:
“But if ever that EVIL SLAVE [emphasis ours] should say in his heart, ‘My master is delaying,’ and should start to beat his fellow slaves and should eat and drink with the confirmed drunkards, the master of that slave will come on a day that he does not expect and in an hour that he does not know, and will punish him with the greatest severity and will assign him his part with the hypocrites. There is where [his] weeping and the gnashing of [his] teeth will be.”22
It is the evil slave who is punished when the master returns. JWs need to really consider the implications of this. Note the evil slave thought he knew exactly when his master was supposed to arrive, and so believed the master was delaying. As far as the beating of fellow slaves is concerned, that sounds like a spiritually abusive situation to me. Maybe the evil slave told its fellow slaves they were really supposed to serve and obey him as God’s supposed representative on earth? Maybe he told them that, if they wanted to gain eternal life, they had to please him, follow his directives, and obey his rules?23
The slave was brought back from captivity and rewarded with “new lofty service” even though they continued in the same Pagan practices long after 1919
“A faithful remnant of some thousands of the ‘domestics’ of the ‘faithful and discreet slave’ class survived this time of testing. From the spring of 1919 forward they began to rise from the dust of inactivity to their new lofty service as watchmen to the world.”24
They say this even though they have already taught the slave class had already been employed as “watchmen to the world,” warning the nations erroneously about all they prophesied would happen in 1914, but that did not happen. Why did God grant them a “new lofty service” after they had just come out of apostasy? Then again, why say they came out of apostasy at all, considering they celebrated birthdays and holidays until the late 20’s, still displayed crosses for years, and taught the world was now going to end in 1925, and that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were to be resurrected at that time? Worse, they erected a nine-foot pyramid at Charles Taze Russell’s gravesite in 1919 right after they were released from this so-called captivity. Reasonably then, why would the Lord have released and rewarded them?
The slave was “rich in its loyalty and integrity,” and “strong in its ancient faith,” and “obedient,” which is why it was rewarded with kingdom service, which Jehovah surely would not leave “in the hands of a novice organization of spiritual babes”
The last paragraph of page 436 of the July 15, 1960 WATCHTOWER really caps it. It states:
“Now that the long-expected Kingdom had become an established reality in heaven, surely its growing interests in the earth after 1919 would not be left in the hands of a novice organization of spiritual babes. And that proved to be true. It was the 1900-year-old ‘faithful and discreet slave,’ the old Christian congregation, that was entrusted with this precious Kingdom service.”
This “faithful” 1900-year-old slave had apostatized some unspecified number of years prior to its “restoration,” although nowhere is it spelled out how any restoration was possible with no one UN-apostatized to teach the others. To reiterate, no one can understand the Bible without the slave, and the slave had lost his light on the Scriptures. Where did the light come from to restore the truth? The WATCHTOWER goes on extolling the slave:
“Rich in its loyalty and integrity, long in its patient suffering and of persecution, strong in its ancient faith in Jehovah’s precious promises, confident in the leadership of its invisible Lord, Jesus Christ, obedient in its centuries-old commission to be witnesses in the earth, finally cleansed by a fiery test by 1918, the matured ‘slave’ as represented by a remnant now stood ready for new assignments of service.”
How can this be the same group spoken of across the page? What was it about the leadership’s jail time that made them loyal, obedient etc.? Another thing we could imply from this is that it is quite possible to be a faithful obedient slave, rich in loyalty and integrity and still celebrate birthdays, Christmas, Easter, display crosses, etc. If it were not possible, then neither would the slave have been doing any of those things.
What does it mean to be loyal?
Since the WTBTS maintains the 1900-year-old slave was “rich in loyalty,” the question begs to be asked—what does it mean to be loyal to Jehovah? Naturally, we don’t have to speculate—the WTBTS tells us in no uncertain terms what loyalty is, and what you have to do to remain loyal to Jehovah God. The March 15, 1996 WATCHTOWER, on page 15 states:
“Loyalty to Jehovah God will also keep us from doing anything that would bring reproach upon his name and kingdom … loyalty to God also involves not yielding to the fear of man … thus, we do not compromise when faced with persecution … If we are loyal to Jehovah God, we will avoid making friends with his enemies … loyalty to Jehovah’s organization means having nothing to do with apostates.”
So, if the slave existed at all down through the centuries, as taught in Story #2, he certainly was NOT loyal to Jehovah! The slave compromised the truth, brought reproach on his name and kingdom, made friends with God’s enemies, and as far as having nothing to do with apostates—they joined “Christendom!!!”
Let’s wrap it up
Look at this chart. According to the WTBTS’s conflicting claims:
How can these claims be assessed? Logically, the slave cannot at the same time be: Faithful yet unfaithful; dispensing only ever-progressive light, yet gone into darkness; obedient, yet apostate; finally cleansed, yet still dirty; associated with “weed” Christendom, yet still “wheat” who would not be burned; a group dispensing spiritual food to its individual members, yet scattered in various religious organizations; righteous shining lights, who were sent into captivity for their Pagan practices and apostasy.
What difference does it make anyway? Should we care the WTBTS’s teaching of its history does not match up to the facts? Yes, Gentle Reader, it makes all the difference in the world. The WTBTS bases its authority on Matthew 24 and claims to be that slave who is the only God-approved religion who is responsible for providing spiritual food for all. People are actually asked to put their faith in the slave organization to attain salvation!25 Pretty big claims for a late-nineteenth-century-arrival religious group! Nevertheless, they expect us to pay homage to them and actually worship God through them!26 All their boasting about the slave re minds me of Dorothy and her group and their encounter with the Wizard of Oz. All that buildup of hopes and expectations, but what happened? They saw something the “wizard” did not intend them to see—the little man who really was the one running the show. What did “the wizard” say to them when he realized he was found out? “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!” Don’t look, don’t see, and don’t investigate. Just believe I am what I pretend I am.
If the “slave” has existed throughout the centuries dispensing food at the proper time, and, in fact, was approved for whatever reason by Jesus in 1919, and appointed as the one true channel of God’s truth, we should all be following him. However, if this history is bogus, then we could read the Bible for ourselves, could we not? We wouldn’t need to come to any manmade organization for salvation, but could come directly to Jesus, as He invites all to do.Ω
Love to all,
*The WATCHTOWER is one of two bi-monthly publications of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (also known as Jehovah’s Witnesses) which keeps the members abreast of the Organizations latest teachings.
**The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (also referred to as “Jehovah’s Organization”) is the government or clergy of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
†Jehovah’s Witnesses are the members of the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society.
The foregoing is an excellent topic to discuss with JWs who come to your door. Please feel free to write or e-mail us to re-quest a document pack that can be used to present this material to a JW. Joy Veinot; firstname.lastname@example.org
© 2015, Midwest Christian Outreach, Inc. All rights reserved. Excerpts and links may be used if full and clear credit is given with specific direction to the original content.
- The religion of the WTBTS is a rather bizarre two-class system—the upper crust “anointed” JWs which number less than10,000 people, and the lower class “great crowd” comprised of all the other millions of JWs. The upper class JWs are the only ones who are supposedly born again, who have Jesus as their mediator, and who will eventually rule over the earth (and the great crowd) with him. The great crowd or “other sheep” are their loyal subjects who may eventually earn eternal life on Paradise earth if they faithfully and unquestioningly obey the dictates of the “anointed,” now and forever ↩
- The WATCHTOWER, June 15, 1957, p370: “It is vital that we appreciate this fact and respond to the directions of the “slave” as we would to the voice of God, because it is His provision.” The WATCHTOWER, February 15, 1976, p124 : “Would not a failure to respond to direction from God through his organization really indicate a rejection of divine rulership?” ↩
- The WATCHTOWER, June 15, 1951, p375: “…Besides individually possessing God’s word, we need a theocratic organization. Yes, be-sides having God’s spirit of illumination, a Christian needs Jehovah’s theocratic organization in order to understand the Bible.” ↩
- The WATCHTOWER, February 1, 1952, p79-80: “God interprets and teaches, through Christ the Chief Servant, who in turn uses the discreet slave as the visible channel, the visible theocratic organization … The truth we are to publish are the ones provided through the discreet-slave class organization, not some personal opinions contrary to what the slave has provided as timely food. ↩
- CT Russell, ZION’S WATCH TOWER, September 1, 1893, p266:“There is no organization today clothed with such divine authority to imperiously command mankind. There is no organization doing this today; though we are well aware that many of them in theory claim that they ought to be able to do so.” ↩
- The WATCHTOWER, June 15, 1951, p375 and the WATCHTOWER, October 1, 1967, p587 state: “The Bible is an organizational book and belongs to the Christian congregation as an organization, not to individuals, regardless of how sincerely they may believe that they can interpret the Bible.” ↩
- YOU CAN LIVE FOREVER IN PARADISE ON EARTH (New York, NY: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc., 1982) p193: “On his return in Kingdom power in the year 1914, did Christ find a ‘faithful and discreet slave’ class providing spiritual ‘food’ or information? Yes, he found such a ‘slave’ made up of the remaining ones on earth of his 144,000 brothers.” Very inconveniently for the sake of this story, Russell and his followers believed in 1914 that Russell ALONE was the “slave.” Moreover, Russell emphatically taught that the “slave” could not have been a class of people but must be ONE individual only! So if Christ returned in 1914 and found a faithful slave GROUP, and rewarded them for their faithfulness, watchfulness, etc., they never knew it! Even after Russell died, his followers continued to look to him as the faithful servant, even believing that he gave them direction from heaven! The slave-as-class teaching came on the scene some years later ↩
- The WATCHTOWER, March 1, 1981, p24 ↩
- The WATCHTOWER, February 15, 1975, p109 ↩
- The WATCHTOWER, February 15, 1975, p110 ↩
- YOU CAN LIVE FOREVER IN PARADISE ON EARTH (New York, NY: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc., 1982) p193 ↩
- The WATCHTOWER, February 15, 1983, p12 ↩
- The WATCHTOWER, January 15, 1975, p47 ↩
- YOU CAN LIVE FOREVER IN PARADISE ON EARTH (New York, NY: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc., 1982) p202 ↩
- The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, (New York, NY: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc.,1984) p812 ↩
- The WATCHTOWER, July 15, 1960, p435 ↩
- The WATCHTOWER, February 15, 1975, p110 ↩
- The WATCHTOWER, July 15, 1960, p435 ↩
- The WATCHTOWER, July 15, 1960, p435 ↩
- The WATCHTOWER, July 15, 1960, p436 ↩
- The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, (New York, NY: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc.,1984), p1207 ↩
- The WATCHTOWER, August 1, 1981, p26: “Your attitude toward the wheat-like anointed brothers of Christ and the treatment you accord them will be the determining factor as to whether you go into ‘everlasting cutting-off’ or receive ‘everlasting life.’ Prove yourself to be a loyal companion of the anointed ‘wheat’ class, the ‘faithful and discreet slave,’ whom Christ has appointed to provide spiritual ‘food at the proper time.’” ↩
- The WATCHTOWER, July 15, 1960, p436 ↩
- The WATCHTOWER, March 1, 1979, front cover states: “PUT FAITH in a VICTORIOUS ORGANIZATION;” and the WATCHTOWER, November15, 1981, p21: “… now the witness yet includes the invitation to come to Jehovah’s Organization for salvation.” ↩
- The WATCHTOWER, December 15, 1961, p748: “Jesus Christ is the Foundation Cornerstone, and all true followers anointed with God’s spirit are this superstructure built upon him to form a living house in which God can dwell by His spirit … It is through the agency of this living spiritual temple that all mankind must henceforth render acceptable worship to God.” ↩
- The WATCHTOWER, December 15, 1961, p748 ↩