The second study article of the March 1, 2004, Watchtower, entitled: "The Faithful Slave Passes the Test,"reasserts the teaching that Christ came in 1918-19 to inspect the household of anointed. Supposedly that is when the evil slave was thrown out and the faithful and discreet slave was appointed over all of Christ's belongings.
The Watchtower also applies a number of related prophetic illustrations to the same period; including the separation of the wheat and weeds; the wise and foolish virgins, as well as the parable of the master's talents.
For instance, under the subheading "Discreet and Foolish Virgins," the Watchtower comments:
"The ten virgins remind us of anointed Christians before 1914. They had calculated that the bridegroom, Jesus Christ, was about to make an appearance. Hence they went out to meet him, boldly preaching that the appointed times of the nations would end in 1914."
But is it possible to "calculate" mathematically the precise time of the Lord's coming? If so, why did Jesus advise his disciples to remain awake and on the watch? Indeed, if the hour of the master's coming can be calculated, why did Jesus specifically say to "keep ready, because at an hour that you do not think likely the Son of man is coming"? And if Christ came back then, why even bother to stay on the watch for another coming?
There are other problems with the Watchtower's insistence that Christ has already come to inspect God's house.
The obvious objection thinking readers might raise is the fact that nearly all of Jehovah's Witnesses presently recognized as being anointed were anointed after 1919. So that means that all of the individuals who supposedly passed inspection back then are no longer serving in God's earthly household.
As if anticipating the confusion such interpretations create, the Watchtower attempts to address this glaring discrepancy under the subheading "The inspection continues,"stating in the 19th paragraph:
"Of course, the majority of those who were to become Christ's anointed slaves during the time of the end were not yet serving Jehovah when Jesus began his inspection in 1918. Did they miss out on the inspection? Not at all. The inspection process only began in 1918/19 when the faithful and discreet slave as a class passed the test. Individual anointed Christians continue under inspection until their sealing is made permanent."
The Watchtower's interpretation, though, is akin to sowing a new patch on a weathered old wineskin. It just does not work. For one thing, anointed Christians have always been under heaven's inspection. In fact, the only people on earth under God's judgment since the time of Christ are anointed Christians in line for the kingdom.
At 1st Corinthians 4:1-4, Paul wrote: "Let a man so appraise us as being subordinates of Christ and stewards of sacred secrets of God. Besides, in this case, what is looked for in stewards is for a man to be found faithful. Now to me it is a very trivial matter that I should be examined by you or by a human tribunal. Even I do not examine myself. For I am not conscious of anything against myself. Yet by this I am not proved righteous, but he that examines me is Jehovah."
The text above indicates that the individual stewards of Christ are under continual examination by Jehovah as to their faithfulness. For example, Ananias and Sapphira were 1st century anointed Christians who played false with the holy spirit and were consequently executed by God. They failed to pass inspection.
Yet, Paul also revealed there is a time of inspection and revelation when Christ comes to inspect the congregation and not merely the individuals in it. That is why the next verse reads: "Hence do not judge anything before the due time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring the secret things of darkness to light and make the counsels of the hearts manifest, and then each one will have his praise come to him from God."
So, according to Paul, the coming of the Lord is the endof the inspection, not the beginning of an ongoing inspection, as the Watchtower teaches.
It would seem, then, that the only ones who have heard God's praise of "well done faithful slave" are either presumptuous or they have very fertile imaginations. Besides, when Christ comes to his Father's house he brings the secret things of darkness to light, as Paul says. If that inspection occurred back in 1918 there would be no doubt as to what is true and what is not. But, for example, how could the Watchtower carry on a secret 10-year NGO relationship with the United Nations if the Lord has already brought the dark things to light? It does not make sense and therefore it cannot be true.
According to Jesus, the time of his coming and inspection is during the tribulation. How do we know that? Consider what Jesus said to the Philadelphia congregation at Revelation 3:10, which reads: "Because you kept the word about my endurance, I will also keep you from the hour of test, which is to come upon the whole inhabited earth, to put a test upon those dwelling on the earth. I am coming quickly. Keep on holding fast what you have, that no one may take your crown."
What is the "hour of test"?
The Revelation Grand Climax commentary offers an answer to that very question. Paragraph 16 on page 62 says:
"What, though, is "the hour of test"?...the major fulfillment is the hour of sifting and judging that finally arrived during the Lord's day, climaxing from 1918 onward. The test has been to determine whether one is for God's established Kingdom or for Satan's world. It is for a comparatively short period, an "hour," but it is not over yet. Until it is, we must never forget that we are living in "the hour of test."
So, according to the Watchtower the "hour of test" began in 1918 and continues to the present. We are told that the ensuing 90-plus years since then are a short period of time!
Amazingly, the same paragraph in the Revelation book even cites Luke 21:34-36 as a proof text, which reads: "But pay attention to yourselves that your hearts never become weighed down with overeating and heavy drinking and anxieties of life, and suddenly that day be instantly upon you as a snare. For it will come in upon all those dwelling upon the face of all the earth. Keep awake, then, all the time making supplication that you may succeed in escaping all these things that are destined to occur, and in standing before the Son of man."
The expression "standing before the Son of man" clearly has reference to standing before him while under his judgment. According to Christ, the day of his inspection comes in "suddenly"—"instantly"—"upon all those dwelling upon the face of all the earth." Elsewhere, the Watchtower always applies Jesus' exhortation at Luke 21:34-36 to the oncoming tribulation. That is the only sensible interpretation.
So how is it that "the hour of test, which is to come upon the whole inhabited earth,"mentioned in Revelation, is said to have begun nearly a century ago? The Watchtower cannot account for such a glaring contradiction.
Perhaps a more important question is what accounts for the way the Watchtower plays fast and loose with the truth by applying the same prophecy in two different ways with no explanation? The answer is that they are not being honest.
Jehovah speaks about this very matter where he says thru Ezekiel: "For there will no more prove to be any valueless vision nor double-faced divination in the midst of the house of Israel. For I myself, Jehovah, shall speak what word I shall speak, and it will be done. There will be no postponement anymore, for in your days, O rebellious house, I shall speak a word and certainly do it," is the utterance of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah." (Ezekiel 12:24)
"Double-faced divination"is the perfect way to describe the Watchtower's contradictory interpretations of the Bible's visions. Is it not also a "valueless vision" to look to 1914 as the coming of Christ when the Scriptures so plainly reveal his coming and the "hour of test" is in the future?
What is more, Ezekiel indicates that the men who are the source of "valueless visions" and "doubled-faced divination" are among God's people. Ezekiel 13:9 reads: "And my hand has come to be against the prophets that are visioning untruth and that are divining a lie. In the intimate group of my people they will not continue on, and in the register of the house of Israel they will not be written, and to the soil of Israel they will not come; and you people will have to know that I am the Sovereign Lord Jehovah."
Surely, the twisted and distorted interpretations that Jehovah’s Witnesses are forced to accept as coming from the faithful slave are in reality coming from an unfaithful and evil slave residing "in the intimate group" of Jehovah's people today. No doubt the organization will only be relieved of the burden of the 1914 dogma when the false and lying visionaries are expelled by Jehovah's judgment.
But, is there is an actual day of inspection for the congregation that Christ established? The apostle Peter answers yes, saying: "Maintain your conduct fine among the nations, that, in the thing in which they are speaking against you as evildoers, they may as a result of your fine works of which they are eyewitnesses glorify God in the day for his inspection."
According to Jesus, the Jews paid dearly for failing to discern the time when the Jewish system of worship came under God's inspection. Is there a modern parallel? Yes, there is. First, though, consider Jesus' words in the 19th chapter of Luke in connection with the typical city of Jerusalem: “And when he got nearby, he viewed the city and wept over it, saying: "If you, even you, had discerned in this day the things having to do with peace—but now they have been hid from your eyes. Because the days will come upon you when your enemies will build around you a fortification with pointed stakes and will encircle you and distress you from every side, and they will dash you and your children within you to the ground, and they will not leave a stone upon a stone in you, because you did not discern the time of your being inspected.”
Does Jesus' prophecy have any relevance for Christians? Not, according to the Watchtower. Supposedly the modern parallel has to do with Christendom being destroyed. However, according to Isaiah, God's anointed congregation will suffer a similar siege during the finale. Isaiah 29:3-4 reads: "And I must encamp on all sides against you, and I must lay siege to you with a palisade and raise up against you siegeworks. And you must become low so that you will speak from the very earth, and as from the dust your saying will sound low."
Isaiah's prophecy exactly mirrors Christ's prophecy. (A palisade is a fence of pointed stakes.) But, the prophecy in Isaiah did not apply to the 1st century. It applies to the final days of the system. According to the context of the surrounding chapters the prophecy has to do with Christ's coming. Furthermore, the prophecy foretells that God's own visionaries and prophets will be blind to such judgments. That certainly explains why the Watchtower does not understand such things as these.
For example, Jehovah explains the reason he pronounces "woe to Ariel," saying: "Woe to those who are going very deep in concealing counsel from Jehovah himself, and whose deeds have occurred in a dark place, while they say: "Who is seeing us, and who is knowing of us?" The perversity of you men! Should the potter himself be accounted just like the clay? For should the thing made say respecting its maker: "He did not make me"? And does the very thing formed actually say respecting its former: "He showed no understanding"?
As an example of the Watchtower's perversity in concealing Jehovah's counsel, consider how the Watchtower directs virtually every unflattering judgment in the Bible against Christendom. But, why should Jehovah liken Christendom to a piece of pottery that the Heavenly Potter is molding to suit his purpose? Does that make any sense?
Rather than referring to the clergy of Christendom, the real spiritual drunkards are Jehovah's Witnesses and their leadership; who are oblivious to God's impending judgment!
Sadly, the Watchtower is not able to discern that the time of the inspection looms ahead—at Christ's coming as a thief in the night.
So, rather than the faithful slave having passed the test back in 1919, as the Watchtower boasts, the real hour of test lies immediately ahead.