Jesus’ Secret Disciples

//Jesus’ Secret Disciples

Tuesday, October 4

Though you do not see him now, yet you exercise faith in him.1 Pet. 1:8.

When we become disciples of Christ, we embark on a journey. That journey can lead us to life, whether in heaven or on earth. Jesus said: “The one who has endured to the end will be saved.” Yes, if we stick to a life course of faithfulness, we can come in line for salvation. Along the way, however, we must be careful not to get distracted or lost.  How can we stay on course on our journey? Our Exemplar, Jesus, led the way. His journey was recorded in the Bible. By studying that record, we learn what Jesus is like. We can come to love him and exercise faith in him.  Recall that the apostle Peter said that Jesus left us a model for us to follow his steps closely. If we carefully follow his steps, we will reach “the goal” of our faith—salvation.

COMMENTARY

Not all of Jesus’ original disciples were literal footstep followers, like the apostles or the extended entourage of disciples, like the 70 whom Jesus dispatched to preach the Kingdom. Unlike the apostles who simply dropped everything and literally followed Jesus in his ministry, Jesus had secret disciples, who, because of their circumstance were afraid to reveal themselves as disciples.

One such secret disciple was Nicodemus. Another was Joseph of Arimathea. Both men were reputable members of the ruling body of the Jews —the Sanhedrin. Of Joseph of Arimathea the book of Mark states that he was waiting on the Kingdom.

Nicodemus approached Jesus at night, no doubt so as to avoid being seen.  And he confessed that no one could do the things Jesus did unless he was sent by God. It was to Nicodemus that Jesus spoke of his having come down from heaven and of being born again from the water and the spirit.

It was Nicodemus who spoke up when his fellow Pharisees condemned Jesus, saying to them: “Our Law does not judge a man unless it first hears from him and learns what he is doing, does it?” —John 7:51

Although Nicodemus may have appeared to be cowardly, when Jesus was put to death and all of his apostles fled and hid, Nicodemus, along with Joseph of Arimathea, stepped forward. Joseph  courageously approached Pilate and asked him for the body of Christ, which the two secret disciples then properly prepared for burial and placed in a tomb. Had the murderous Sanhedrin had their way they would have probably tossed Jesus’ body into the trash heap of Gehenna.

Moments before Jesus was arrested he told his disciples that in order for the scripture to be fulfilled the shepherd must be struck and the sheep scattered. And most assuredly, the scripture was fulfilled when Christ was arrested and put to death and the disciples fled in fear. Although just hours earlier Peter adamantly boasted he would die for his Lord, before the morning sun rose Peter three times denied that he ever knew Jesus —just as Jesus said he would.

The death of Christ completely waylaid the disciples. Although Jesus had repeatedly told them he was going to be handed over to the older men and put to death, they couldn’t understand. That is why upon after his  resurrection and appearances to them on one occasion he rebuked them as being senseless and slow in heart to believe all the things the prophets spoke. Yes, for them following Jesus took some major twists and turns and required that they humbly submit to Jesus’ scathing rebuke.

One prophecy to which Jesus was referring that had to be fulfilled is found at Zechariah 13:7, which states: “‘O sword, awake against my shepherd, against the man who is my companion,’ declares Jehovah of armies. ‘Strike the shepherd, and let the flock be scattered; and I will turn my hand against those who are insignificant.”’

The interesting thing about the prophecy that Jesus said had to be fulfilled is that the surrounding context of related prophecy has nothing to do with what took place in the first century. It is a prophecy related to the end of Satan’s world. As part of the same judgment Zechariah 13:4 states: “In that day each of the prophets will be ashamed of his vision when he prophesies; and they will not wear an official garment of hair in order to deceive. And he will say, ‘I am no prophet. I am a man cultivating the soil, because a man bought me when I was young.’ And if someone asks him, ‘What are these wounds between your shoulders?’ he will answer, ‘Wounds I received in the house of my friends.’”

The apostles who were scattered, of whom Jesus said were slow to believe the prophets, certainly did not claim to be prophets. However, the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses do claim to be prophets. No, not in the sense of the inspired prophets of old, but the Governing Body have assumed the mantle of the prophets by claiming to be the mouthpiece of a modern-day Jeremiah class, Ezekiel class, and a Micah class, etc. Their interpretation of prophecy —virtually all of which is tied to 1914 —is regarded by Jehovah’s Witnesses as The Truth.

It is deemed to be out of the question that Jesus’ presence could manifest itself in the future. According to the Watchtower another world war is out of the question, even as the nuclear powers of the world are feverishly preparing for that very thing. This is why Jesus’ future presence will result in the so-called prophet class becoming ashamed of the fraudulent visions they have promoted. (For a more complete consideration of the prophecy of Zechariah see the article The Coming Fall of the House of God.)

And because Bethel exerts total control over the spiritual lives of Jehovah’s Witnesses —like a shepherd over a flock —the coming of Christ will result in the organizational shepherd being struck and the sheep being scattered on a massive scale.

How will it be possible to follow Christ then? In a word —by faith. Those with faith will go forward into a new reality. Perhaps even some members of Sanhedrin-like Governing Body will prove themselves to be like Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea and step forward. Others who may be considered as insignificant now may show extraordinary faith then.

There are a growing number of Jehovah’s Witnesses who are aware that Jesus did not begin ruling the world in 1914. Like Jesus’ secret disciples in the first century, they too are waiting for the Kingdom to come.

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2017-06-10T08:32:37+00:00 October 4th, 2016|Commentary|35 Comments
  • Joel

    Another thought provoking commentary Brother King. But one intriguing question:

    Even as the overall contextual prophecy of Zechariah 13:4 has its complete fulfillment in our time, “in that day”, you say that the prophets their spoken off is the Governing Body of the Watchtower Society. Yes, the so-called “Ezekiel Class,” “Jeremiah Class,” “Micah Class,” that will be ‘ashamed of the “fraudulent visions they have promoted’.

    While I tend to agree with you, please note what the July 15, 2015 Watchtower said about that same scripture at Zech. 13:4. In the article entitled “Your Deliverance is Getting Near!” (pp. 5), talking about the event that will trigger the beginning of the Great Tribulation, note this comment:

    “Should we conclude that the destruction of Babylon the Great results in the death of all the former members of (Christendom’s religions)? Apparently not.”

    . . . they then quote part of the same scripture you quoted in your above commentary:

    “The PROPHET Zechariah was inspired to write about . . . (those) who were previously part of false religion: ” He will say I am no prophet. I am (just) a man cultivating the soil . . . and if someone asks him, ‘what are these wounds between your shoulders?’ He will answer, ‘I received these wounds are in the house of my friends!'”

    . . . Now listen to their reasoning of this scripture:

    “Apparently, even some of the CLERGY will abandon their religious course and DENY that they were ever a part of those false religions.”

    You see the discrepancy? You, Brother King, say that the “prophets” of Zechariah 13:4 who run from their exposed failed prophecies pictures the Watchtower Society and all their errors in prophetic speculation down through the years.

    . . . whereas the Watchtower says that these “prophets” of Zech. 13:4 who in the last days get scared and say “I am NO prophet,” are the CLERGY of Christendom! Yes. All the false religious leaders of professed Christianity who abandon their religious denominations, lying, apparently out of fear.

    So which one is it Brother King?

    Are the “prophets” of Zechariah’s prophecy the CLERGY of false religion, as the Watchtower claims? Or are they in fact the Watchtower Society themselves?

    Could you kindly clear this up, not just for me, but also for all our many E-Watchman family?

    Thank you. I await your reply.

    • Annie

      I would say that the WT, because they have not seen that they are in error, have no need to apply that prophecy to themselves, Joel.

      If you read the link that Robert provided it clearly shows that Jehovah is speaking about HIS house, therefore it must be HIS organisation, to quote;

      “Jesus gave no indication that the second temple would ever be rebuilt, yet he prophesied that during the conclusion of the global system of things another “holy place” would be desolated by a “disgusting thing”; signifying that the organization foreshadowed by the city of Jerusalem would be trampled on by the nations until the appointed times of the nations had ended. According to
      prophecy, the fiery time of the great tribulation will serve as the backdrop for Christ and his angels to cleanse Jehovah’s house of evildoers for the last time.”

      • Joel

        I
        . . . ummm, I hear ya Sis; but give me a bit more . . . just a little bit more . . . (that was my Robert DeNiro impression!) Lol! Oh well.

        • Annie

          did you read the link, Mr DeNiro? It’s quite a long article, but really informative
          https://e-watchman.com/coming-fall-house-god/

          • Joel

            Actually Ann, I did read the entire commentary. And you were right, it is one of Brother King’s longer more in-depth works. But I got the gist of it. And it certainly does indeed appear as if many of the “in that day” prophecies of Zechariah seem to find fulfillment, unfortunately, in God’s house, the modern day Watchtower Society.

            • Annie

              it saddens me to a great extent actually, Joel, the fact that the leaders of the WTS have fallen so low. I really live in hope that not all of them are subject to satans rule & that come the judgement there will still be one or two left faithful. What a tragic waste really, that they should have spent so much of their lives thinking that they serve Jehovah when in fact it is satan himself who ‘pays their wages’
              Similarly when I think of the ordinary members of the congregations who faithfully go to all the meetings, how shocked they will be! I pray every night that the majority of them will see beyond the fall of the WTS.

            • Joel

              You know in truth Annie, within the Faithful Slave there are false and true—an evil Slave and a Faithful Slave.

              I Know over the years, that NOT ALL the Brothers who are currently and those who were members of anointed are crooks and scammers! Because when Jesus comes back to ‘gather his elect’ from the four corners of the earth, some of the remaining 144,000 will be either a few of the current Governing Body, or some of the past. He has too!

              But you are so right, the Watchtower Society has done so much good for so many people, for so many years, that it would be ashamed that NOON of Christ’ brothers are worth a damn! Excuse my French.

            • Joel

              You know in truth Annie, within the Faithful Slave there are false and true—an evil Slave and a Faithful Slave.

              I Know over the years, that NOT ALL the Brothers who are currently and those who were members of anointed are crooks and scammers! Because when Jesus comes back to ‘gather his elect’ from the four corners of the earth, some of the remaining 144,000 will be either a few of the current Governing Body, or some of the past. He has too!

              But you are so right, the Watchtower Society has done so much good for so many people, for so many years, that it would be ashamed that NONE of Christ’ brothers are worth a damn! Excuse my French.

        • Anderiega

          Hi Joel! When I get confused, (with certain WT prophetic applications) I ask myself : would any of these prophecies ever apply to anyone other than God’s people? Yes, I know there’s prophecies regarding Edom and Tyre, etc….but it comes to talking about prophets being lashed or disciplined, I think the pattern is pretty clear if we let it be clear: it always refers to God’s people being refined, reproved, readjusted. Not Christendom.

          • Joel

            That’s an interesting ‘rule of thumb ” to follow. Thanks Little Fish!

          • sally

            I had the same question as Joel as I have been taught that just about everything is about Christendom! Including the scripture in Zechariah 13:4. Of course, it is becoming more and more clear that isn’t even logical. Why would God give so much time in his holy book to False Religion? We are very fortunate to have Robert break these articles and texts down for us like this and then be able to ask questions and discuss. Its the best online meeting ever!

            • Bklyn Kevin

              The watchtower likes to play pin the tail on the donkey and the watchtower would like you as well as others to believe that Christendom is the donkey but when one thoroughly studies the scriptures they will clearly see that the watchtower is the donkey. I personally am not so inclined to believe that the watchtower is completely deluded without any common sense. I mean after all did not the
              Apostle Paul say “they did not believe the truth but took pleasure in unrighteousness.
              2 Thessalonians 2:12.

            • Joel

              . . . something to think about for sure . . .

            • Burt Reynolds

              That’s true. I find that scripture difficult because it states they know the truth and actively disregard it for their own benefit, and are content for others to die so that these elders can enjoy this temporary glory and praise from deluded witnesses. Here we are with our miserable scrapings trying to alleviate ourselves from sin and ‘glorify’ Jehovah’s name, dust that we are, in the hope of living in righteousness, while they mock this loving provision and spit on their own lives. That some people can be this obtuse in spite of themselves, to choose death, either is a madness from Satan, or a love of evil and a mocking of God and of their own creation. How strange it is that such a mentality exists. How ignorant of the love of righteousness can one be?

            • Bklyn Kevin

              That’s because their madness is as Satan’s madness, you know the old saying, birds of a feather flock together.

              Ezekiel 28:
              [Satan] “You were the model of perfection,Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
              13 You were in Eʹden, the garden of God. You were adorned with every precious stone—Ruby, topaz, and jasper; chrysʹo lite, onyx, and jade; sapphire, turquoise, and emerald;

              14 [Satan] I assigned you as the anointed covering cherub. You were on the holy mountain of God, and you walked about among fiery stones.

              15 You were faultless in your ways from the day you were created Until “unrighteousness” was found in you.

              17 [Satan] Your heart became haughty because of your beauty. You corrupted your wisdom because of your own glorious splendor. I will throw you down to the earth. I will make you a spectacle before kings.
              Read more> https://www.jw.org/en/publications/bible/nwt/books/ezekiel/28/#v26028017

            • Joel

              Totally in agreement! Thanks Sally.

    • Searcher

      Hi Joel,

      the book of Zechariah denounces Jehovah’s prophet’s and leaders for their corruption and more importantly their mistreatment of Jehovah’s sheep that is clear, no doubt this applies to the nation of Israel at the time of writing. We also know these prophecies have application for Jehovah’s day, his grand day of judgment. So once again he denounces his household, his temple and particularly its leaders and prophet’s. So we need to determine who are God’s people today, were does his spirit reside, were is his household? Is it with Christendom or Jehovah’s witnesses, that is what you need to decide to make the prophecies of Zechariah become a reality.

      “So you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow citizens of the holy ones and are members of the household of God, and you have been built up on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, while Christ Jesus himself is the foundation cornerstone. In union with him the whole building, being harmoniously joined together, is growing into a holy temple for Jehovah. In union with him you too are being built up together into a place for God to inhabit by spirit.”

    • Burt Reynolds

      The clergy do not profess to be prophets. The churches have nothing to do with the bible, they are the religion of men, by men. It does not really matter what their sayings are in relation to this. It is those professing to speak for Jehovah that carry the weight of prophesy. No one except those that delude themselves have faith in the churches with their heaving mass of filth and sin….not that they are blameless in the deceit …..but it is only the watchtower that professes the Name, and do will carry the consequences.

      • Bklyn Kevin

        I’m inclined to agree with you Burt because Christendom on a whole doesn’t even recognize Jesus as the son of GOD in fact they claim Jesus is GOD and in reality that makes them Christendom an antichrist.
        1 John 4
        2 This is how you know that the inspired statement is from God: Every inspired statement that acknowledges Jesus Christ as having come in the flesh originates with God.

        3 But every inspired statement that does not acknowledge Jesus does not originate with God. Furthermore, this is the antichrist’s inspired statement that you have heard was coming, and now it is already in the world.

        • Joel

          Excellent Scriptures. I thoroughly understand.

      • Joel

        Understood

    • ewatchman

      The context of the 13th chapter of Zechariah has to do with God effecting a cleansing of sin and uncleanness in the land. Are to to suppose God is going to cleanse Christendom?

      • Joel

        No. God is not going to cleanse Christendom—He is going to DESTROY her, and all her cohorts.

        Thank you Brother King.

    • was Zechariah part of some 1st century sect? no.
      take Christendom and throw it in the trash. not a biblical world; solves everything. (in few cases the Christendom sect is mentioned – https://e-watchman.com/the-judgment-of-moab/ & https://e-watchman.com/the-prophetic-significane-of-moab2013711the-prophetic-significane-of-moabthe-prophetic-significane-of-moab/)

  • Basavaraj Of North Karnataka

    The coming of Christ will result in the organizational shepherd being struck and the sheep being scattered on a massive scale is a fear inspiring event and a hard thing to digest but that is what will be the reality. Thanks for Robert King for preparing JWs to meet that day. Thanks to Jehovah through Jesus for giving a person like Robert king among us.

    • Joel

      Here here!

  • Besorongola Rainisoa

    I don’t agree with you when saying THAT “The apostles who were scattered, of whom Jesus said were slow to believe the prophets, certainly did not claim to be prophets” SO “although Nicodemus may have appeared to be cowardly, when Jesus was put to death and all of his apostles fled and hid, Nicodemus, along with Joseph of Arimathea, stepped forward”. The Bible show that the envegelism was done by the apostles not by “SECRET DISCIPLE”.

    • ewatchman

      What us it exactly that you do not agree with? I think you have proven my implied point. The secret disciples were not lesser disciples simply because they did not preach.

      • Besorongola Rainisoa

        My view is that the apostles were only very briefly “scattered “and then they regained control and continued to be faithful disciples of the Christ. So I do not agree taht they “disappeared” and were “replaced ” by secret disciples.

        • Annie

          Besorongola, Bro Robert did not say that the disciples fled permanently & were replaced, only that they were briefly scattered. As we can see from the Bible they continued in their work after the death of Jesus.

          Nicodemus & Joseph of Arimathea did step forward to claim the body of Jesus for a proper burial, but they did not do the preaching work.

        • ewatchman

          I think you misunderstood. I did not claim or imply that the apostles who denied and abandoned Jesus were replaced by the secret disciples. The point is, the secret disciples were no less disciples simply because they did not openly accompany Jesus.

          • Besorongola Rainisoa

            Ok, I get what do you mean now. Sorry, this is a typical problem of language barrier…

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