Saturday, July 2

Five were discreet.Matt. 25:2.

The five discreet virgins truly prepared themselves, bringing extra oil in their flasks along with their lamps. Have faithful anointed ones likewise proved to be prepared? They have indeed! Throughout the last days, anointed Christians have acted like those discreet virgins, prepared to carry out their assignment faithfully until the end. They count the cost of faithful service, realizing from the outset that their assignment will mean giving up many of the material advantages available in Satan’s world. They devote themselves exclusively to Jehovah and serve him, not with some date or deadline in mind, but out of love and loyalty to him and to his Son. They maintain their integrity, refusing to adopt the spirit of this wicked world and its materialistic, immoral, and selfish attitudes. They thus remain ready, steadily shining as illuminators, undaunted by any apparent delay in the arrival of the Bridegroom.

COMMENTARY

For many decades the Watchtower taught that the parable of the wise and foolish virgins was fulfilled way back in 1919. That was when the bridegroom was believed to have come and the wise virgins went into the marriage feast and the foolish were left behind. The foolish virgins were identified as Bible Students who refused to progress with the organization after Russell died. A Watchtower published as recently as March 1, 2004, stated the following: 

Then in 1919 something unexpected happened. We read: “Right in the middle of the night there arose a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Be on your way out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and put their lamps in order.” Just when things seemed darkest, there was a call to get active! In 1918, Jesus, “the messenger of the covenant,” had come to Jehovah’s spiritual temple to inspect and cleanse God’s congregation. Now, anointed Christians needed to go out and meet him in the earthly courtyards of that temple. It was time for them to “shed forth light.”

The foolishness of that interpretation should have been apparent long ago, since virtually every anointed person in recent decades received their calling after the door to the marriage feast was supposed to have been shut. However, it took until 2014 for the Governing Body to finally scrap 1919 —except they have not entirely.

While the coming of the bridegroom is now reset to the future, it is asserted that he comes during the tribulation to begin the judgment. While this is not far from the truth, it is nevertheless a contradiction, since the Watchtower teaches that Jesus comes on two occasions, separated now by a century and counting. And on each occasion of his coming he begins a judgment work. Here is what is stated in the 5th paragraph:

As was discussed in the July 15, 2013, issue of this journal, Jesus’ prophecy recorded in Matthew chapters 24 and 25 contains eight references to his “coming”; in each case, a form of the same Greek word is used. In every instance, Jesus was referring to the time during the great tribulation when he will come to carry out the judging work and then the destruction of this world system of things. Evidently, then, this parable applies during the last days, but its climax comes during the great tribulation.

In the quote above taken from 2004 the Society stated that Jesus came as the messenger of the covenant to “inspect and cleanse God’s congregation.” In other words, he came to judge. Yet, even after the Watchtower’s “adjustment” and their putting forth the notion that Jesus comes during the tribulation to judge his slaves they still teach that the messenger of the covenant came to start the judgment in 1918-1919. It seems that no matter how many times the Watchtower revises their interpretations they simply cannot avoid contradicting themselves, and this because of their overweening attachment to 1914 and the invisible parousia fantasy.

But does the coming of Jesus begin the tribulation? And is the final sealing accomplished before the tribulation, as the article associated with the day’s text states?

First, was Jesus “referring to the time of the great tribulation” when he spoke of his coming in connection with his slave? The answer is no. Jesus was referring to his coming alongside his slaves —what is known as the parousia. That is evident from the 12th chapter of Luke, where Jesus used various forms of the word “come,” saying: “Happy are those slaves whom the master on coming finds watching! Truly I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at the table and will come alongside and minister to them. And if he comes in the second watch, even if in the third, and finds them ready, happy are they! But know this, if the householder had known at what hour the thief would come, he would not have let his house be broken into.You also, keep ready, because at an hour that you do not think likely, the Son of man is coming.”

Noteworthy, Jesus also concluded his illustration of the 10 virgins by saying: “Keep on the watch, therefore, because you know neither the day nor the hour.” Clearly, Jesus’ coming begins the conclusion and leads to his parousia —when “he will come alongside and minister to them.”

What about this Watchtower statement in paragraphs 10 and 11, does the final sealing take place before the tribulation?

Recall our clarified understanding that Jesus, the Bridegroom, comes to render judgment near the end of the great tribulation. Is it not likely, then, that this part of the parable focuses on what happens just prior to that climactic judgment? It would seem so, for by that time the anointed will have received their final sealing. So, then, before the great tribulation starts, all the faithful anointed on earth will have received their final sealing. From then on, their calling is sure.

According to the Watchtower’s own teaching the opening of the 6th seal of Revelation symbolizes an extraordinary development —the beginning of the tribulation. That is easily verifiable by the fact that Jesus also referred to the very same phenomenon, such as the sun during dark and the moon turning to blood, as occurring “immediately after the tribulation in those days.” In the aftermath of those earth shaking events the seventh chapter of Revelation opens with these words: “After this I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding tight the four winds of the earth, so that no wind could blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the sunrise, having a seal of the living God; and he called with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying: ‘Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until after we have sealed the slaves of our God in their foreheads.”

The initial phrase of the passage above “after this” is in reference to the tribulation. So, the Watchtower is wrong, again. The sealing takes place after the tribulation. As Jesus said, the tribulation will be cut short on account of the chosen ones, apparently so that they may be sealed. No doubt their final sealing is symbolized in the parable of the 10 virgins by the door to the wedding feast being shut. As regards the foolish virgins, the same article states:

In view of the foregoing, what may we conclude? Was Jesus saying that many of his anointed servants would prove unfaithful and need to be replaced? No. Remember, he had just warned his “faithful and discreet slave” never to turn into an evil slave. That did not mean that he expected such an outcome.

The commonality of all of Jesus’ end-time parables is that there will be a separation. The faithful slave from the evil slave. The industrious slave from the sluggish slave. Two in the field, one will be taken and the other left behind. Ten virgins, five were wise and five were foolish. The wheat and the weeds. The good fishes from the unsuitable. Ultimately, the sheep from the goats.

Absolutely, there are going to be those who are found to be unfaithful! To assume otherwise is to deny a very explicit teaching of Christ.

Interestingly, the yearbook stats for 2015 indicates that over 15,000 of Jehovah’s Witnesses partook last year, thus identifying themselves as prospective virgins waiting on the bridegroom. However, Revelation and related accounts reveal that 7,000 will be the final number of those sealed —less than half of the present number, but close to the half-and-half split of the five wise and five foolish virgins. 

As indicated by the contradictions of the Watchtower’s teaching, the fact that they just can’t get it right is undoubtedly the main factor contributing to the lack of lamp “oil” on the part of the foolish virgins when the rousing call comes in the middle of the night: “Here is the bridegroom! Go out to meet him.”

Indeed, given the Watchtower’s long history of bumbling and fumbling and successive revisions, how foolish it would be for the virgins to go back to that institution for illuminating “oil” during the time of darkness that is about to engulf the world, since by then the Watchtower will have been totally discredited for having promoted a false parousia since its inception. 

No wonder Jesus emphasized the need to keep awake!

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