This is the last article of an eight part series examining
2013, Watchtower Magazine.
The entire series is available as a PDF without illustrations and hyperlinks to other Watchman articles to facilitate sharing of the information during the month of September when Jehovah's Witnesses will be studying the July articles. ( Click here for PDF)
Overall, it seems that the Governing Body are in the process of subtly de-emphasizing 1914 in preparation for 2014, which will mark a century since Jesus is supposed to have begun ruling. They probably intend to completely walk away from 1914 by next year and hope that the majority of Jehovah's Witnesses will not notice. There is no question that the process is well underway.
Hence, the last study article regarding the identity of the faithful slave has ostensibly made the evil slave disappear. This is significant. But why have they done this? First, consider the supplementary information box in the article, where the Watchtower states:
Was Jesus foretelling that there would be an evil slave class in the last days? No. Granted, some individuals have manifested a spirit similar to that of the evil slave described by Jesus. We would call them apostates, whether they were of the anointed or of the “great crowd.” But such ones do not make up an evil slave class. Jesus did not say that he would appoint an evil slave. His words here are actually a warning directed to the faithful and discreet slave.
Under the last subheading the Watchtower resets the appointment of the faithful slave over all of the master’s belongings to a future time. That being the case, the master’s coming to the house to judge his slaves, which is when the evil slave is also judged and thrown out, is also a future event. That means that those whom the Watchtower considers to be apostates could not possibly be the evil slave. But for the past 70 or 80 years Jehovah's Witnesses have been led to believe that Jesus expelled a so-called “evil slave class” from the intimate company of the leadership of the International Bible students back in 1918. Even as recently as nine years ago an article in the March 1, 2004 Watchtower, entitled The Faithful Slave Passes The Test, the Society stated:
Before 1914, many members of the faithful slave class had high hopes of meeting with the Bridegroom in heaven that year, but their hopes were not fulfilled. As a result of this and other developments, many were disappointed and a few became embittered. Some of these turned to ‘beating’ their former brothers verbally and consorting with “confirmed drunkards,” religious groups of Christendom. These former Christians came to be identified as the “evil slave,” and Jesus punished them with “the greatest severity.” How? He rejected them, and they lost out on their heavenly hope. They were not, however, immediately destroyed. They first had to endure a period of weeping and gnashing of teeth in “the darkness outside” the Christian congregation. Since those early days, a few other anointed individuals have shown a similar bad spirit, identifying themselves with the “evil slave.” Some of the “other sheep” have imitated their unfaithfulness. All such enemies of the Christ end up in the same spiritual “darkness outside.”
Now, though, the Governing Body claims that no such evil
slave class exists. Only a few disparate individuals have displayed certain
characteristics common to the evil slave of Christ’s parable. Jesus’ comment – “if ever that slave”— is cleverly reduced to a mere warning, with
the implication that no such evil slave will ever be manifested.
In order to accomplish this bit of trickery the Governing Body employs a fallacy of argumentation called a straw man. Their straw man is the presumed belief that Jesus appoints an evil slave. But no one believes that. To my knowledge the Watchtower has never taught that.
But does the evil slave have to be appointed by Christ? Of course not. Did Jesus knowingly appoint the son of destruction as an apostle? Again, of course not. Judas became a thief and eventually betrayed Jesus. But originally Jesus must have considered him to be faithful. So it is, that Jesus appoints those who prove themselves to be faithful. However, because the master is seemingly delaying some of the otherwise faithful slaves become evil. That is the point of the illustration. It is not merely a hypothetical. Does not the very fact that Jesus posed the question - Who really is the faithful and discreet slave? - imply that not all of those who are appointed will prove themselves to be faithful and discreet?
Obviously, it became necessary for the Watchtower to dissolve the evil slave class since some of Jehovah's Witnesses may actually be astute enough to discern that if the master has not yet come to judge his household of slaves, and Bethel is that house, than the evil slave must presently be associated with the Watchtower. (It would certainly explain a lot that is otherwise mystifying. For example, the Watchtower's secret ten-year partnership with United Nations is certainly the case of associating with the drunkards.)
Just as the Watchtower has cleverly placed the man of lawlessness outside the organization, identifying him as the clergy of Christendom, even though Paul clearly stated that Satan's agent sits himself within the very temple of The God, so too, the evil slave has also been relegated to the netherworld with no possible influence over Jehovah's Witnesses in the future.
What does all of this mean?
Consider an important adjunct to the parable of the two slaves in the 12th chapter of Luke, which the Society adroitly neglects to consider. After saying that the evil slave would be punished with the greatest severity Jesus went on to state: “Then that slave that understood the will of his master but did not get ready or do in line with his will will be beaten with many strokes. But the one that did not understand and so did things deserving of strokes will be beaten with few. Indeed, everyone to whom much was given, much will be demanded of him; and the one whom people put in charge of much, they will demand more than usual of him. I came to start a fire on the earth, and what more is there for me to wish if it has already been lighted?”
In this context Jesus makes it certain that there are two sorts of slaves and both of them are destined to be punished, albeit individually, according to the degree of their guilt. The evil slave is willfully neglectful. And the other is merely ignorant.
Keep in mind that after Jesus was resurrected he sternly rebuked his apostles on numerous occasions for their thick-headedness and ignorance. Shall the self-aggrandizing and woefully blind “faithful slave” somehow escape the master’s rebuke when he comes? (See article: Who Is Blind?)
Please note that in the context of the flogging of the
slaves Jesus said that he came to start a fire. In the same issue of the
Watchtower the Society continues to insist that Jesus has already come as the
refiner. However, they rightly now teach that he is coming in the future to
settle accounts with his slaves. But according to Malachi Jesus’ coming will be
with the fire of a refiner. No wonder Malachi asks: “But who will be putting up with the day of his coming, and who will be
the one standing when he appears? For he will be like the fire of a refiner…”
Jehovah’s judgments are contained throughout the Hebrew
prophecies and will be realized at the coming of Christ. There are many such
prophecies that indicate that Christ’s coming will be to eliminate an evil
presence within the leadership of God’s people. Malachi is merely one. Consider
Zephaniah 3:11-13, the context of which pertains to the occasion when God pours
out his burning anger, which results in the following: “In that day you will not be ashamed because of all your dealings with
which you transgressed against me, for then I shall remove from the midst of
you your haughtily exultant ones; and you will never again be haughty in my
holy mountain. And I shall certainly let remain in the midst of you a people
humble and lowly, and they will actually take refuge in the name of Jehovah. As
regards the remaining ones of Israel, they will do no unrighteousness, nor
speak a lie, nor will there be found in their mouths a tricky tongue; for they
themselves will feed and actually lie stretched out, and there will be no one
making them tremble.”
Just as the stupid prophets are destined to be removed from
the intimate company of God’s people, the “haughtily
exultant ones” are too. The days for the glorification of the Society and
its “faithful slave” are nearly at an end. The July 2013, Watchtower Magazine, is a vivid demonstration of the use of a
“tricky tongue,” or pen as the case may be. The now-onrushing fiery day of
Jehovah will incinerate the Watchtower’s 1914 lie and devour those who
knowingly promote the lie.
But many of Jehovah’s Witnesses who have the true faith will survive the disaster that is destined to befall the faithless and evil slaves in their midst. They will endure God’s rebuke and emerge as “a people humble and lowly,” who will never again idolize any earthly institution.