The purpose of this blog isn't to attack Jehovah's Witnesses, who, for the most part, are decent, moral people.
Rather, this blog will look at the bald facts about the teachings, practices and beliefs of this religion and how they affect the lives of the individuals and families who attend Kingdom Halls around the world.
Jehovah’s Witnesses proudly point to their door-to-door work as fulfilling scriptures like Matthew 24:14;
And this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.
Even though it is provable and measurable that many Christian groups have ministries, spreading the Gospel of Christ, distributing Bibles and baptising in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, a faithful Jehovah’s Witness will be quick to point out that they alone go from house-to-house and door-to-door, as per the 1st C model;
Acts 5: And every day in the temple and from house to house they continued without letup teaching and declaring the good news about the Christ, Jesus
Acts 20: while I did not hold back from telling YOU any of the things that were profitable nor from teachingYOU publicly and from house to house.
This is the argument used to ‘prove’ that Jehovah’s Witnesses alone are the true Christians and that their ministry alone is the only one approved by Christ.
Witnesses take enormous pride that their organisation, the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, does not use modern communication tools like television, radio or internet video sharing sites like YouTube. They instead rely heavily on going from house-to-house.
Much can be made of this claim and various arguments can be formed to address their boasts. For example, one could cite Jesus’ words in Luke 10:7;
Do not be transferring from house to house.
It would seem it was never Jesus’ plan that his followers - Christians - go from house-to-house. This is a difficult and uncomfortable verse for Jehovah’s Witnesses to deal with.
However, we’re not going to get in an argument about the validity of placing such a high level of importance, and thereby expending so many hours, on this one ‘delivery mechanism’.
Rather, we’re going to dwell on what happened after the door-to-door ministry in the 1st C. You see, it could very well be that the Jehovah’s Witness monopoly on Christ’s approval falls apart as soon as the door they’ve been knocking has been closed. Either Jehovah’s Witnesses follow the entire model of 1st C Christian preaching of the good news, including the content of the message, or they lose the right to claim absolute divine approval.
So, what happened in the 1st C when a person heard the Gospel message? The Bible doesn’t leave us guessing.
Acts 2: Now when they heard this they were stabbed to the heart, and they said to Peter and the rest of the apostles: “Men, brothers, what shall we do?”
After hearing the true Gospel, the Jews wanted to know what would and should happen next. Peter answered them;
Verse 38 “Repent, and let each one of YOU be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for forgiveness of YOUR sins, and YOU will receive the free gift of the holy spirit. For the promise is to YOU and to YOUR children and to all those afar off, just as many as Jehovah our God may call to him.” And with many other words he bore thorough witness and kept exhorting them, saying: “Get saved from this crooked generation.” Therefore those who embraced his word heartily were baptized, and on that day about three thousand souls were added.
It’s very clear from this passage of the Bible that the 1st C model of preaching was quickly followed by baptism.
Paul received the Gospel from Jesus and was shortly thereafter visited by Ananias. Note what happened next;
Acts 9: So An·a·ni´as went off and entered into the house, and he laid his hands upon him and said: “Saul, brother, the Lord, the Jesus that appeared to you on the road over which you were coming, has sent me forth, in order that you may recover sight and be filled with holy spirit.” And immediately there fell from his eyes what looked like scales, and he recovered sight; and he rose and was baptized, and he took food and gained strength.
Another example from Acts, Cornelius thirsted for God and received the Gospel message from Peter, even though he was a ‘Gentile’. Peter explained that everyone putting faith in Jesus would have their sins forgiven. Notice what happens when Peter is finished preaching;
Acts 10: While Peter was yet speaking about these matters the holy spirit fell upon all those hearing the word. And the faithful ones that had come with Peter who were of those circumcised were amazed, because the free gift of the holy spirit was being poured out also upon people of the nations. For they heard them speaking with tongues and magnifying God. Then Peter responded: “Can anyone forbid water so that these might not be baptized who have received the holy spirit even as we have?” With that he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
What an experience! While Peter was still preaching to them, these men became filled with the gift of God’s holy spirit and immediately were baptised.
- the Gospel message was preached wherever people were
- baptism and acceptance by God followed immediately
Now let’s compare the 1st C Christian model with the Jehovah’s Witness model and bear in mind, Jehovah’s Witnesses claim they alone are closest to the 1st C Christian way of preaching and they alone are approved by God.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are encouraged to start ‘Bible studies’ while on the door-to-door ministry. These Bible studies follow a model of spending many weeks with the interested person, but it’s not actually the Bible that’s studied. Rather, the Watch Tower Society stipulate that to be accepted by God a person needs to study 2 of their printed publication. So, the person studies a book called “What Does the Bible Really Teach?”. This can take several months.
By the time they’ve finished studying this book they will have received a thorough indoctrination into the ‘unique beliefs’ of Jehovah’s Witnesses, including teachings such as 1914 and the acceptance of blood fractions, along with the necessity of door-to-door preaching. If by this point the interested person wishes to dedicate his life to serving God he has to meet with 3 elders who will, one at a time, cover 100+ questions in another Watch Tower Society publication. If the elders are satisfied with the interested persons answers to these questions, they will be considered ‘qualified’ to be baptised as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
However, baptism will not take place immediately. Rather, the interested person will have to wait until either a Circuit Assembly or District Convention, at which point they will be asked to answer two further questions;
- On the basis of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, have you repented of your sins and dedicated yourself to Jehovah to do his will?
- Do you understand that your dedication and baptism identify you as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses in association with God’s spirit-directed organization?
Having answered yes to these questions, candidates are in a ‘right heart’ condition to undergo baptism as a Jehovah’s Witness.
So, while Jehovah’s Witness boast that they alone match the 1st C Christian model of door-to-door preaching and are thus alone approved by God, their argument completely falls apart when we look at what happens after the door-to-door ministry. Rather than a person being free to be baptised and received by God immediately after learning the simple Gospel message of the Bible, Jehovah’s Witnesses require a lengthy study program of Society publications, a 3 hour questioning session with elders covering over 100+ pre-assigned questions and a wait of several weeks or months until the next approved baptism slot.
Compare the hoops the Watch Tower Society require a person jump through before they can be considered approved by God with the beautiful simplicity of how it was done by the true Christians of the 1st C;
Acts 16: But about the middle of the night Paul and Silas were praying and praising God with song; yes, the prisoners were hearing them. Suddenly a great earthquake occurred, so that the foundations of the jail were shaken. Moreover, all the doors were instantly opened, and the bonds of all were loosened. The jailer, being awakened out of sleep and seeing the prison doors were open, drew his sword and was about to do away with himself, imagining that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul called out with a loud voice, saying: “Do not hurt yourself, for we are all here!” So he asked for lights and leaped in and, seized with trembling, he fell down before Paul and Silas. And he brought them outside and said: “Sirs, what must I do to get saved?” They said: “Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will get saved, you and your household.” And they spoke the word of Jehovah to him together with all those in his house. And he took them along in that hour of the night and bathed their stripes; and, one and all, he and his were baptized without delay. And he brought them into his house and set a table before them, and he rejoiced greatly with all his household now that he had believed God.
Some Jehovah’s Witnesses would argue that even if their organisation, The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, is wrong they would rather be part of it than be anywhere else.
In other words, even if the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society is teaching errors and falsehoods, some would rather prescribe to these errors and falsehoods than be anywhere else. The reason the Jehovah’s Witness would state for feeling such a way is that they believe their organisation is ‘the truth’.
However, is this a spiritually responsible stance to take? Does such a viewpoint have any basis within Christianity?
The most obvious place to start would be with God’s Word. Jesus Christ, “the Word made flesh”, stated in John 17:17 “Sanctify them by means of the truth; your word is truth.”
Jesus didn’t mince his words. There is no doubt from this that God’s word is truth. What should be of interest for any Jehovah’s Witness meditating on this portion of inspired scripture is that Jesus uses the phrase “the truth”. Of course, Jehovah’s Witnesses apply the term “the truth” to their organisation and it’s doctrines.
If Jesus had meant that an organisation or group of people or set of doctrines and beliefs were truth, surely he would have stated such. But he didn’t. He said God’s word was truth. The context of Jesus’ words show that Jesus was praying on the night before his death. Other than the ‘model prayer’ this is the only recorded prayer of ‘the Word become flesh’ recorded in scripture, therefore it’s a very important passage of the Bible. Jesus wanted his followers to understand what he himself discerned to be truth, namely God’s word.
What would the truth accomplish? Would it teach errors or falsehoods? No, of course not, it’s the truth. Would the truth insist that errors and falsehoods be believed for fear of being cut off from family or friends? No, that would be ridiculous, the truth is the truth; it’s never wrong and it never, ever changes.
Rather, the truth would sanctify. The truth would set apart, would consecrate and make holy the followers of Christ. The truth would be without sin or error. If it had sin, mistakes, error or falsehoods it would not be able to sanctify and Jesus would be a liar.
It’s that serious.
What else did God’s Word made flesh, Jesus Christ, have to say about truth?
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” - John 14:6
Again, we see the use of the words ‘the truth’, this time Jesus is applying them to himself. Again, there’s no mention of a group of men or women on earth, there’s mention of a set of doctrines or ‘unique beliefs’, there’s no mention of an organisation or a “faithful and discreet slave” class. It’s very simple; Jesus is the truth.
Would the teachings of Jesus ever change? Would they ever contain error or falsehoods? Of course not, he was the truth and all of his utterances were truth. We have to cross reference John 14:6 to John 17:17; Jesus is God’s Word and God’s Word is truth.
So, if a Jehovah’s Witness was to say that the organisation they obey and follow is as close to the truth as possible, would they in turn concede that the organisation teaches errors and falsehoods and asserts that all Jehovah’s Witnesses need to unquestioningly believe and teach via their public ministry such errors? Any honest-hearted Witness would surely admit that the Watch Tower Society teaches errors. For example, for decades Jehovah’s Witness were taught, believed and preached that the generation who saw the events of 1914 would not pass away before Armageddon occurred. Now that teaching has changed. But that doesn’t alter the fact that for all those decades Jehovah’s Witnesses were being taught errors and falsehoods. No, the ‘Creator’s promise’ did not come true, as per the Awakes! masthead during the 1970s through to the 1990s stated.
And was it an error or a falsehood that caused the Watch Tower Society to decree that organ transplants were tantamount to cannibalism? Well, the Society eventually overturned such a teaching, so it couldn’t have been truth. And if it wasn’t truth, it must have been an error or a falsehood. And it wasn’t truth it couldn’t have sanctified those who choose to adhere to it.
These two errors alone mean that the Watch Tower Society cannot be ‘the truth’.
2 Cor 6:For what fellowship do righteousness and lawlessness have? Or what sharing does light have with darkness? 15 Further, what harmony is there between Christ and Be´li·al? Or what portion does a faithful person have with an unbeliever?
What fellowship do errors and falsehoods have with truth? If Jesus is the truth and God’s word is the truth, anything apart or asides from them that contains falsehoods cannot, by definition, be the truth. Remember, truth never changes. It never needs to be altered. And it can stand up to any questioning, scrutiny, examination or testing. The truth fears nothing; it is the truth.
If you’re a Jehovah’s Witness and you’re reading this, perhaps you feel angered or upset or confused or maybe even belligerently opposed to what you’ve read. If so, please consider what the publications of the Watch Tower Society have to say about seeking truth;
“When persons are in great danger from a source that they do not suspect or are being misled by those they consider their friends, is it an unkindness to warn them? They may prefer not to believe the warning. They may even resent it. But does that free one from the moral responsibility to give that warning?
If you are among those seeking to be faithful to God, the issues these questions raise are vital for you today.”
Watchtower January 15, 1974 p.35 Can You Be True to God, Yet Hide the Facts?
Mankind’s Search for God
To help us to have a clearer understanding of other religions, their teachings, and their historical background, the Watch Tower Society released around the world during the 1990 “Pure Language” Conventions a new publication entitled Mankind’s Search for God. Equipped with this instrument, we will be better able to preach to people of the non-Christian world as well as to those of Christendom.
A Practical Instrument
The book then raises the logical question. “Is it reasonable to assume that the religion imposed at one’s birth is necessarily the whole truth?” Thus, every person is encouraged to examine other religions with an open mind. As is stated on page 10: “Understanding one another’s viewpoint can lead to more meaningful communication and conversation between people of different faiths.” It continues: “True, people may strongly disagree about their religious beliefs, but there is no basis for hating a person just because he or she holds a different viewpoint.“-Matthew 5:43, 44
Watchtower April 1, 1991 p.17 Mankind’s Search for God
We are quickly approaching the time of year that is most precious to Jehovah’s Witnesses; the Memorial of Christ’s death.
This meeting is hugely important and great amounts of time, effort and endeavour are spent on the part of Jehovah’s Witnesses globally as they prepare their Kingdom Halls to welcome the millions who come to celebrate the Memorial. Many Jehovah’s Witnesses take holiday time from work and spend around 50 hours in one month preaching from door-to-door and inviting their neighbours, workmates and family members to attend the Memorial. It is expected that over 11 million people world-wide will be in attendance.
Much care and attention is paid to the technicalities of the meeting. For example, someone will be assigned to purchase the exactly correct type of unleavened bread and unfortified wine. In fact, it’s likely the brother delivering the Memorial talk will highlight this during his discourse; how the bread is unleavened and unsalted, the wine has no added ingredients and how this symbolised Christ’s perfect body and shed blood.
Likely the Memorial emblems will be placed on a table at the front of the Kingdom Hall, perhaps on the platform next to the speaker. The table will be covered in a gleaming white, crisply pressed tablecloth. The emblems will be arranged on the table with incredible care and attention.
Jehovah’s Witnesses take this meeting very seriously. Most will be dressed and groomed to an even higher standard than normal. All will be on their reverent based behaviour, even the children. Many will have spent time in the days leading up the Memorial studying the passages of scripture where Christ and his apostles prepared to celebrate the Passover. They will have read and perhaps even meditated and prayed over the verses of scripture where Christ took the bread and, after giving thanks, broke it and explained that it represented his body which was to be broken on their behalf. And then how he took a cup of red wine, prayed over it and passed it around, instructing his closest friends - the men he called brothers - to drink from it, explaining that it represented his blood which would be poured out to forgive sins.
On Memorial night itself a local elder will be called to pray over the bread and a little later another elder will pray over the wine. It will be painstakingly explained that the bread and wine represent Christ’s loving sacrifice to atone for mankind’s sins. But, strangely, the speaker - if he sticks closely to the outline provided by the “faithful and discreet slave” class - will also be at pains to point out that for virtually everyone in the Kingdom Hall eating the bread or drinking the wine would be wrong.
Because Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Christ’s broken body and shed blood apply for only 144,000. This means that Christ died for literally 144,000, enabling them alone to have the benefits of his sacrificial death.
So, while great care, time, thought and attention has gone into preparing the ‘Lord’s Supper’ at the Memorial, 99.7% of those in attendance will not take a bite from the bread nor a sip from the cup. As the symbols of Christ’s death and sacrifice are passed around the Kingdom Halls of Jehovah’s Witnesses, each person in attendance will - one after another - pass them on. Each one will refuse to eat the bread and will refuse to drink from the cup.
How would Jesus himself have felt about this?
I don’t think he’s left us in much doubt.
“Most truly I say to you, ‘Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in yourselves. He that feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has everlasting life, and I shall resurrect him at the last day; for my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. He that feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood remains in union with me, and I in union with him’” - John 6:53-56
Yes, Jehovah’s Witnesses desire everlasting life. They live with that hope in their heart and mind. But when presented with the means to achieve it, they pass it on.
No matter how much preparation goes into the Memorial, no matter how much thought is put into buying the unleavened bread and unfortified wine, no matter how clean and tidy the Kingdom Hall is, no matter how many people have been dutifully invited to attend, no matter how many Auxiliary Pioneered in the lead up to the celebration, no matter how crisp the tablecloth is, it matters not one jot if we choose to refuse Christ’s sacrifice when presented with it.
How does Jesus feel, looking down from heaven, when he sees people who claim to be his followers refuse his body and his blood?
If you are a Jehovah’s Witnesses, please, prayerfully consider whether you wish to have everlasting life or not and read again the means by which Jehovah has made this possible.
For Jehovah’s Witnesses, the year 1914 is the absolute foundation of their beliefs in the 21st century. 1914 is the year they believe Jesus Christ, as King of the Kingdom, was given heavenly authority. They believe this is the year that Jesus, in his Watchtower assigned role as Michael the Archangel, expelled Satan and his demons from heaven, banishing them to the earth. This is the year that, for 70 years, Jehovah’s Witnesses believed- under the leadership of CT Russell, Judge Rutherford, and for a time Nathan Knorr - Armageddon had broken out (they believed and taught from 1878 to 1943 that Christ had actually been given heavenly authority in the year 1874, not 1914, the ‘last days’ having started in 1799).
From 1970 to 2007 Jehovah’s Witnesses were exposed to teachings about the year 1914 in their publications a total of 6156 times. This means that at least four times per week the average Jehovah’s Witness is reminded of the importance of the year 1914.
The importance of the year 1914 is one of the beliefs considered to be ‘unique to Jehovah’s Witnesses’ and as a result falls into the category of ‘the truth’. All Jehovah’s Witnesses have to believe what they are taught about 1914. Failure to believe can result in judicial punishment, as per the ‘Pay Attention’ book (the Watch Tower Society’s handbook given to congregation elders). Jehovah’s Witnesses who are known to even believe something different from that which is taught in Watch Tower Society publications can be disfellowshipped. Disfellowshipping brings with it the punishment of shunning.
In view of the following, it must be acknowledged that the teaching of 1914 should be absolutely water-tight, having clear, conclusive evidence as to it’s veracity there in black and white in God’s Word of Truth, the Bible. It should be as obvious and understandable to any honest-hearted reader of the Bible as the truth of Jesus’ resurrection.
However, is that the case? Is Christ’s return in 1914 an obvious, Biblical teaching?
Sincere lovers of truth, please pick up your Bible and prove to yourself that Christ returned in 1914. It should be easy to do without any outside help or references. This teaching, afterall, is the absolute foundation of your faith that the Watch Tower Society was chosen as God’s sole channel of communication in 1919.
One of the most unique teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses is that they alone have understood and interpreted the signs pointing to the arrival of God’s Kingdom in 1914.
A valid question, therefore, is would the Kingdom of God come with “striking observableness”?
Consider Jesus’ own words by reading Luke 17:20;
The kingdom of God is not coming with striking observableness
The word ‘observableness’ comes from a Greek medical word meaning ‘to watch closely’. The use of this word is logical as it was Luke, a physician, who recorded the above statment. Another use of this word would be to describe astronomers closely observing ‘signs in the heavens’, the movements of the planets and so forth.
The context of Jesus words reveals that he had just healed ten leprous men and was now being questioned by the Pharisees as to when the Kingdom of God was coming. So, Jesus using this Greek medical word ties in with his treatment of the leprosy. Leprosy is evident due to the external signs or symptoms. Jesus was drawing a comparison with the way leprosy is diagnosed and the “striking observableness” of His Kingdom.
What was the comparison?
While leprosy has external symptoms which are diagnosed under close observation, Christ’s Kingdom would not have such symptoms or signs.
Jesus urged all, including the Pharisees, to look within themselves for the Kingdom of God. Jeremiah 31:33 tells us that God would write His law in our hearts. The law of the New Covenant, embodied in Christ Jesus, would be within us.
Too simple? Not according to Jesus.
For many years Jehovah’s Witnesses in Mexico did not open their meetings with song and prayer. Jehovah’s Witnesses did not use Bible at their meetings or in field service in this land.
Because doing so would have been illegal. In Mexico the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society had chosen to be registered, not as a religion, but as a ‘cultural group’.
The reason for doing this is very interesting when we consider the subject of Jehovah’s Witnesses and neutrality. Witnesses cite many examples in the Bible of servants of Jehovah not bowing to pressure from ‘superior authorities’ but instead keeping their integrity to their Heavenly Father and being blessed as a result.
The situation in Mexico for many years was that religious groups could not own property. If they did own property, the law required it be handed over to the state. The religious group could still use the property for religious purposes, they just couldn’t own the property.
As the Watch Tower Society began to grow and establish congregations in Mexico, they were faced with a dilemma. Would they obey the ‘superior authorities’ and turn ownership of their properties over to the government, trusting that Jehovah would sustain and look after them? No. Instead, the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses took the decision to keep ownership of property and sacrifice the use of the Bible at meetings and ministry, using the names Jehovah and Jesus, prayer and singing songs of worship and praise at meetings.
In order to facilitate this they had to register in Mexico, not as a religious group, but instead as a cultural group. Thus, they choose bricks and mortar over the Bible and prayer.
What would have been the neutral thing to do?
Surely Jehovah would have been well pleased if the Watch Tower Society had turned ownership of their Kingdom Halls over to the government in order that the Witnesses could still openly praise his name, use his Word, pray publicly to him. Rather, they made a political decision to sidestep the laws of Mexico. Didn’t this show a lack of trust in God?
In the late 1980s things changed politically in Mexico and religious groups could now own property.
The Yearbook 1990 page 10 reported this change. It said;
‘On April 1st a change in the status and organisational procedures of JWs took place in Mexico: Prayer may now be freely offered at all congregation meetings, and the bible may be used in field service. A woman active in a Catholic Bible Study program said about the witnesses new religious freedom: ‘If they left us speechless before, now that they are opening the bible at the doors, we are lost!’
Pause and think about this for a second. For many years Jehovah’s Witnesses did not use God’s inspired word the Bible when preaching from door to door. Yet, Catholics could actively be part of Bible study programs. For many years Jehovah’s Witnesses did not lift up their voices in praise to their Heavenly Father. At meetings they could only use Watch Tower publications, not the Bible.
All so that they could remain in control of their property.
Quite a sacrifice to make.
And just think, the government’s rules changed in Mexico, so in due course Jehovah’s Witnesses were able to own property. What a waste those years of not using the Bible, praying and singing publicly were.
In part 3 we will consider what happened to Jehovah’s Witnesses in Malawi due to their neutral stand and we’ll compare that to, again, Mexico.
This is a plea to any honest hearted Jehovah’s Witnesses who may be reading this blog.
Did you notice in August 15th 2008 Watchtower study article that the following statement was made on page 17 paragraph 4;
Jehovah and “the faithful and discreet slave” deeply appreciate all their past and present contributions to the Kingdom work. (Matt 24:45)
This statement was made in reference to the hard work and effort of elderly Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Does anything trouble you about this statement? Please very carefully read it over. Is anyone missing? We have Jehovah and we have “the faithful and discreet slave”. But whose blood bought the congregation?
Shouldn’t the statement read “Jehovah and his Son Jesus Christ deeply appreciate…”?
And which scripture is used to support the thought that Jehovah (our heavenly Father and creator) and “the faithful and discreet slave” (a disparate group of Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide who partake of the memorial emblems) deeply appreciate older Jehovah’s Witnesses’ efforts in the Kingdom work?
What does that verse say?
Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics, to give them their food at the proper time?
Out of all the verses in the Bible that could have been used to show that God loves and appreciates older Christians, the writers of the article selected a verse which has Jesus asking a rhetorical question, “Who really is the faithful and discreet slave?”
Do you see the two problems we’ve encountered here?
Firstly, the paragraph should really comment on how Jehovah and his faithful Son Jesus feel about the efforts of older Christians, not how Jehovah and a group of older Christians around the world feel. It doesn’t make sense! Remember, Jesus is King of the Kingdom and has been exalted to his Father’s right hand and given full authority in heaven and on earth. Jesus has been given the right to give life to whomever he pleases and has been appointed as judge of all mankind, including Jehovah’s witnesses.
John 5:22 For the Father judges no one at all, but he has committed all the judging to the Son,23 in order that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He that does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.
A Christian must honour Jesus just as they honour the Father. Does removing Jesus and replacing him with “the faithful and discreet slave” honour Jehovah?
And don’t you find it bizarre that the scripture cited to prove that Jehovah and “the faithful and discreet slave” deeply appreciates the efforts of older Christians actually has Jesus asking “who really is the faithful and discreet slave”.
In other words, the verse does not identify who the “faithful and discreet slave” is.
Please carefully consider the position the “faithful and discreet slave” has in your life. Has it overtaken the Lord Jesus himself? If it has, you’re not honouring Jehovah. Have the publications of the “faithful and discreet slave” replaced or been put in a comparative position of importance in your life to that of the Bible? If so, please remember that only God’s Word of Truth the Bible is inspired. Only the Bible and Jesus have the “sayings that lead to everlasting life”.
Article submitted by Barry Peterson
This is perhaps the most important doctrine of the Watchtower Bible and tract society (WTS), although strangely most JW’s are not aware of the acute significance of the teaching. The belief stems from the question Jesus himself posed in 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.”
This idea was first promoted in the early days of the WTS. The NWT of the Bible was not yet in use, so the term used was “faithful and wise servant”- which applied soley to Charles Russell (president of the WTS) himself. This teaching continued for years after his death in the year 1916. After J. F. Rutherford had been president for many years the doctrine was modified to the present format where all of the remnant of the “144,000” are in fact the “faithful slave” and are in turn represented by the Governing Body.
The basic import of this doctrine has not changed at all over the 130 years of the WTS’s existence. The Idea is that The WTS is God’s “channel of communication” on the earth and therefore Jehovah’s Witnesses are required to have unwavering confidence and faith in what the organisation teaches via the published material. The WTS teach that they were “appointed” as the faithful slave circa 1919 C.E.. Jesus apparently made an inspection of all of the Christian groups and decided that the WTS were the most worthy.
There are a number of issues that should be of concern regarding this teaching , and perhaps the best place to start is with the Bible itself. Firstly is it reasonable to conclude that this parable has a real time prophetic application and that the benefactors of Jesus invisible inspection would in fact be placed in a position of absolute authority?
Benjamin Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott - published and distributed by the WTS - gives the definition of a parable;
“it denotes a fictitious narrative , invented for the purpose of conveying truth in a less offensive or more engaging manner than that of direct assertion”.
So in other words a story.
Why are there not a raft of prophecies (and modern day applications) concerning the many, many parables Jesus gave?
Can one derive from the Bible any mention of Jesus coming to inspect the world’s religions at a specific time and thereafter “appointing” one as “God’s mouthpeice” to the exclusion of all others?
Also worth noting in the verses in question is the fact that it is Jesus himself who does the appointing, not the slave who appoints himself or makes a claim to that effect.
These are all very valid questions but on close inspection of the context of the verses in question a more startling fact becomes apparent. Remember Jesus has just given his counsel regarding the “signs of the times” and the “end of the system of things”. In fact Vs. 36-44 describe the very end of the system, where a comparison is drawn with the destruction of Noah’s day and verse 42 shows that this is speaking of the very day of Jesus coming as opposed to a general period of time.
The whole import of Jesus words is of not knowing the day of his inspection, hence he instructs he followers to “keep on the watch” because the Son of Man will come “at an hour that you do not expect him”. And the reward that the faithful ones would recieve? Being given all his belongings, i.e. their Kingdom inheritance.
We then come to the verses 45-47 where the “slave” doctrine originates. Is it reasonable to conclude that these verses apply to a time some 90 years ago?
Since the Master’s arrival is at a time when the dometics or slaves do not expect, some within the household are warned against “beating” their fellow slaves because they feel the Master is delaying. This is further evidence that the actual meaning behind the parable is to counsel or warn Christ’s brothers against both mistreatment of their fellow “slaves” and also that they must remain spiritually alert.
Surely the counsel Jesus gave in all his parables were for all his followers for the whole period until the judgement day, which is why there is an element within most of his parables of warning and judgement regarding a Christian’s life course. If this parable has already been fulfilled then the whole point Jesus was making in this parable is now moot, an historical curiosity.
In part 2 we will consider if there is any evidence to support the WTS teaching that Christ inspected his Christian household on earth in 1919.