Back in 2013 I posted an article in the Watchtower Review entitled The Evil Slave, in which I speculated that the Governing Body was preparing Jehovah’s Witnesses for the eventual repudiation of 1914. I could not have been more wrong. It seems that the leadership of the organization have actually doubled-down, as the saying goes; becoming even more entrenched, if that were possible.
The March, 2015, Watchtower article – Learning from the Illustration of the Talents – demonstrates their unwavering commitment to maintain the 1914 delusion until the bitter end. Other articles in the March issue have already been considered in the WT-Review, but because of some email inquiries from readers I have been moved to comment on this article too. So, let’s consider a few contradictions. Paragraph two states:
Jesus gave the parable of the talents as part of the answer to his disciples’ question about “the sign of[his] presence and of the conclusion of the system of things.” (Matt. 24:3) Thus, the parable finds its fulfillment in our time and is part of the sign that Jesus is present and ruling as King.
Now consider the fourth paragraph, which states:
Our publications have long explained that the man, or the master, in the illustration is Jesus and that he traveled abroad when he ascended to heaven in 33 C.E. In an earlier parable, Jesus reveals his purpose of traveling abroad, namely, “to secure kingly power for himself.” (Luke 19:12) Jesus did not immediately secure full Kingdom power when he got back to heaven. Instead, he “sat down at the right hand of God, from then on waiting until his enemies should be placed as a stool for his feet.”
It is true that all Christians who accept Jesus as Lord are under obligation to obey him as their master. And there is no question that Jesus ordered his followers to preach and teach others. Each will be judged individually based up upon their faithfulness or failure to obey. As Paul put it, “woe to me if I do not preach the good news.”
As the article also explains, while most anointed Christians have already finished their earthly course and await a resurrection, the coming of the master initiates a judging of those remaining ones – also known as the anointed remnant. But according to the 11th paragraph Jesus will come to settle accounts with his slaves toward the end of the great tribulation.
However, in the 19th chapter of Luke, which the fourth paragraph specifically cites, Jesus made clear that he calls his slaves to account upon his return after having secured the kingship for himself. Does Jesus take up his kingly power during the tribulation or before? Obviously, he becomes king before then. But if Christ became king in 1914 then we should expect that the slaves were called to account shortly thereafter, which, ironically, is what the Watchtower used to teach.
It used to be that the Society recognized that the calling of the slaves to account symbolized what the apostle referred to at 1 Peter 4:18, where he wrote: “For it is the appointed time for the judgment to start with the house of God. Now if it starts first with us, what will the end be of those who are not obedient to the good news of God?”
But while the Watchtower has moved the fulfillment of Jesus’ parables to the future they have inexplicably retained the teaching that the coming of the messenger of the covenant and “the appointed time for the judgment to start with the house of God” took place in 1918. This is a huge disconnect. But it is doubtful that any of Jehovah’s Witnesses will notice the Watchtower’s legerdemain.
Returning to the 11th paragraph the Watchtower adroitly places the coming of the master to a point during the tribulation. The Society states:
In his prophecy recorded in Matthew chapters 24 and 25, Jesus repeatedly mentioned his coming. Referring to the judgment during the great tribulation, he said that people “will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven.” He urged his followers living in the last days to be vigilant, saying: “You do not know on what day your Lord is coming” and “the Son of man is coming at an hour that you do not think to be it.” (Matt. 24:30, 42, 44) Hence, when Jesus said that “the master of those slaves came and settled accounts,” he was evidently referring to the time when he will come to execute judgment at the end of this system.
The question is, ought we understand that his “coming on the clouds of heaven” is the same thing as “the Son of man coming at an hour that you do not think to be it”? No. That is not reasonable or scriptural.
The timing of his coming on the clouds of heaven is “immediately after the tribulation of those days.” That being the case, how could Jesus’ coming to call his slaves to account at a hour they think unlikely be immediately after the tribulation in which the symbolic heavenly luminaries will go into eclipse and even unbelievers will be faint with fright in expectation of the evils coming upon the world? It is absurd to suppose that that critical time – when even the mankind will be forced to behold his coming – is the same coming of Christ at an hour and day that his slaves cannot discern. Clearly, if the judgment starts first with the house of God, which is undoubtedly what is portrayed in the illustrations of the minas and the talents, as well as the parable of the faithful and discreet slave who is judged as to his faithfulness in feeding the domestics of the household of God, then it must take place before judgment is executed against Satan’s world.
Ironically, the reason the slaves do not know the day or hour of the master’s coming is because the self-proclaimed “watchman class” has misled them into believing that Jesus came in 1914. And the only way that anyone within the organization could possibly discern a future coming of Christ to judge the house of God is to break with the Society and become branded as an apostate!
THE WATCHTOWER BANISHES THE EVIL SLAVE CLASS
Just as with the evil slave and the foolish virgins, the Watchtower’s conjurers have rendered the sluggish slave non-existent too. Here is their “adjusted explanation” of Jesus’ parable:
Jesus was not foretelling that a group of his anointed followers would make up a wicked slave class. Rather, he was warning his followers about what would happen if they thought and acted in a way that would cause him to view them as wicked and sluggish.
Although the Watchtower’s resetting of the coming of the master to call his slaves to account is the correct view, it hardly lends to their credibility that for over half a century they clung to an erroneous interpretation. However, their “adjusted explanation” needs a bit more tweaking.
Jesus’ parable clearly reveals that there is a wicked slave class – a group of persons who will be disbarred from entry into the Kingdom due to their unfaithfulness and foolishness. If that is not the case how can it be said with certainty that there is a group that will be faithful and wise and gain the master’s approval?
If the banishment of the evil and sluggish slaves is merely hypothetical, then by the same reasoning the harvest has no real fulfillment either. Aside for the nonsensical explanation the Watchtower serves up regarding the harvest and the dragnet, which supposedly began in 1914, the Society at least teaches that the uprooted weeds and rejected fishes symbolize actual persons who are unfaithful and unworthy.
That being the case, let it be noted that in all the illustrations Jesus used the exact same phrase to denote the punishment of the wicked, saying of the weeds and the fishes: “There is where their weeping and the gnashing of their teeth will be,” and of the evil slave and the sluggish slave who hid their master’s money: “And throw the good-for-nothing slave out into the darkness outside. There is where his weeping and the gnashing of his teeth will be.”
While Jehovah’s Witnesses could not possibly be expected to coherently explain how the parishioners of Christendom have been made to weep and gnash their teeth in anguish because of having been rejected by Christ in 1918, which the Society also teaches occurs during the tribulation, the point is the Watchtower has two different “adjusted explanations” for two sets of obviously related parables.
The reason the Watchtower is forced to resort to such convolutions is because Jesus specifically stressed that the illustration of the wheat and weeds and the dragnet will take place during the conclusion; in fact, Jesus went so far as to say that the harvest is a conclusion. So, because Bethel is wholly committed to perpetuating the delusion that the conclusion began in 1914 it is unavoidable that their stitched-up explanations are threadbare and have numerous loose ends that are always coming unraveled.
The truth is the world is on the edge of war – call it world war. It will undoubtedly coincide with the beginning of the end, the conclusion of a system – the coming of Christ in his parousia. Because the leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses have denied any sort of future day of reckoning we may expect that the weeping and gnashing of teeth will be most pronounced emanating from 25 Columbia Heights, Brooklyn, and related locations.
Then, we will indeed learn from the illustration of the talents!