This is the first installment of what is to become a 32-page brochure entitled: Woe to the Stupid Prophets, which will be available for purchase.
WHO REALLY IS THE FAITHFUL STEWARD?
It is a weighty thing to preach and teach in the name of Jehovah. The letter of James offers a sober warning to any man aspiring to be a teacher of God’s people: “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, knowing that we will receive heavier judgment.” (James 3:1)
Local elders and ministerial servants are rightly considered teachers even though what they teach does not originate with them. All appointed ministerial servants, elders, circuit and branch overseers, are themselves taught by the Teaching Committee, which is overseen directly by the Governing Body. Surely, if even teachers of the local congregations will receive a heavier judgment in line with the stated word of God, how much more so will the teachers of the teachers be held accountable by the Grand Instructor?
An accounting with the household of appointed slaves who are tasked to feed the master’s domestics with food at the proper time is precisely what is implied in the provocative question: “Who really is the faithful steward, the discreet one, whom his master will appoint over his body of attendants to keep giving them their measure of food supplies at the proper time?”
Jehovah’s Witnesses are thoroughly familiar with the oft-quoted passage above, perhaps too familiar. Despite the fact Jesus posed it as an unanswerable question, the Governing Body refers to itself as the faithful and discreet slave and is routinely praised as such by Jehovah’s Witnesses. Nevertheless, the same familiarity with scripture does not exist for the much more detailed discussion of the very same question — “who really is the faithful and discreet slave?” that appears in the 12th chapter of Luke, where-in verses 47-48 Jesus explains the principle of accountability.
Referring to the two possible outcomes for the slaves who had been appointed to feed the domestics, Jesus explained: “Then that slave who understood the will of his master but did not get ready or do what he asked will be beaten with many strokes. But the one who did not understand and yet 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 who was put in charge of much will have more than usual demanded of him.”
There is only one household over which Jesus appoints a steward. Since Jesus already introduced the reader to the faithful and evil slaves in his illustration, it must be that all of those duly appointed to serve spiritual food fail to do the master’s will completely. That should not surprise us since Jesus reproved his apostles for their errors and lack of faith on numerous occasions, sometimes rebuking them severely. In the illustration, the determining factor that distinguishes the two erring slaves is their motive. Some slaves error out of ignorance and others out of willful disregard. Both are punished accordingly. The ignorant slave will be beaten with a few strokes. The willfully disobedient slave shall be punished with the greatest severity —being put out of the house altogether, where he is destined to weep and gnash his teeth in anguish, knowing his ultimate fate. The point being, the heaviest judgment is reserved for the teachers of the teachers —“the one who was put in charge.”
For many decades the Watchtower taught that the faithful slave was appointed over all of the master’s belongings back in 1918. It was not until 2013 that the second appointment was finally reset to some point in the future. In view of that recent “adjustment,” the paramount question to consider is this: What is the setting in which the appointed slaves are judged? The answer is simple and profound. The judgment occurs when the master comes unexpectedly, like a thief in the night. The time of his arrival cannot be ascertained by any means, such as chronology. And since the Governing Body has now inadvertently acknowledged that the master has not come to judge the slaves he has left in charge, Jehovah’s Witnesses ought to consider the implications of a future coming of the master —yes, the second coming of Jesus Christ to initiate the judgment of the house of God.
HOW MANY TIMES DOES JESUS COME?
Oddly enough, the phrase “second coming of Jesus Christ” does not resonant with Jehovah’s Witnesses. And there is a very good reason why that is so. It is because Jehovah’s Witnesses have been led to believe the epic second coming of the Lord already occurred in 1914. To be sure, though, the Watchtower does not commonly use that phrase —“second coming.” One has to go all the way back to 1985 to find even a hint that the second coming has already taken place. Here is that is stated in the February 1st, 1985 WT in an article entitled: Who Can Read the Sign Aright? :
“People of this 20th-century generation who do not desire or believe in the second coming of Jesus Christ do not read aright the “sign” of this system’s end.”
So, Jehovah’s Witnesses definitely believe that the second coming has already occurred, whether they know it or not!
It is understandable why the Watchtower downplays the second coming as having taken place in 1914. Most people who have not been indoctrinated would think such a thing to be incredible, even absurd, given the obvious fact that the world has gone on in a business-as-usual fashion for more than a century. As for reading the sign aright, is it possible that the leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses falsely claim to read the sign aright? What if the genuine sign has not presented itself yet? After all, Jesus said “when you see these things occurring” —meaning, as in the process of happening in the present moment. Put another way, how is it possible for events that took place more than a century ago to be “occurring” in the future?
More to the point: Why is it deemed impossible that the “sign of this system’s end” could display itself in the future? Why are the teachers of the teachers so cocksure there will not be another world war accompanied by food shortages and global pandemics that far surpass the horrors of the First World War and the Spanish Influenza? In view of the ominously deteriorating state of the world, it hardly seems discreet for the master teachers to leave upon no possibility that the nations may be plunged into a full-scale war and for all of the events Jesus foretold to begin occurring on a massive scale.
No one would admit to it to believing such a thing, but because the Watchtower holds to the position that the second coming has occurred, Jehovah’s Witnesses are compelled to believe that the glorious Christ comes on more than one occasion. Although not calling it such, the Watchtower implies that there is a third coming. How sensible is that, though? It is not reasonable at all. Nor is it scriptural. And yet, it is exactly what is implicitly taught by the teachers of the teachers.
To illustrate the incongruity, for many decades Jehovah’s Witnesses believed that the sheep and the goats were being separated by the worldwide preaching. In 1995 the Watchtower correctly readjusted the fulfillment to the future. However, now Jehovah’s Witnesses hold the belief that Christ sat down on his glorious throne in 1914 and he is coming again in the future —arriving with all of his angels to also sit down on his glorious throne.
Consider more closely the context of the 12th chapter of Luke where Jesus exhorted his disciples to be ready for his coming: “Be dressed and ready and have your lamps burning, and you should be like men waiting for their master to return from the marriage, so when he comes and knocks, they may at once open to him. 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.”
In the few verses above Jesus used the words “come,” “comes” and “coming” five times. More notably, the same passage reveals that if the master finds his slaves in a watchful state he will come alongside them and become their minister. This calls to mind the original evening meal when the Lord girded himself as a slave and washed the feet of the apostles. On the same occasion, Jesus also spoke of his going away and returning —coming again for the second time. His second coming must be an extraordinary event in the outworking of Jehovah’s purpose —the consummation of the new covenant that was initiated at the original evening meal.
Hence, in the 12th chapter of Luke Jesus linked his coming to judge his household of slaves to his parousia. Or have the teachers of Jehovah’s Witnesses become so dull in their thinking that they do not recognize the significance of the phrase “come alongside” as relating to the word parousia, which literally means to come alongside?
As already stated, prior to 2013 the Watchtower taught that the faithful slave was appointed over all of the master’s belongings in 1918-19. Now that the coming of Christ has been readjusted to a point in the future and the scriptures cited above clearly connect his coming with the parousia, in what sense will Jesus come alongside his faithful disciples in the future if the presence of Jesus began in 1914? Are there multiple parousias as well as multiple comings?
Consider another familiar passage that speaks of the coming of the Lord. Malachi 3:1-2 states: “Look! I am sending my messenger, and he will clear up a way before me. And suddenly the true Lord, whom you are seeking, will come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant will come, in whom you take delight. Look! He will certainly come,” says Jehovah of armies. “But who will endure the day of his coming, and who will be able to stand when he appears? For he will be like the fire of a refiner and like the lye of laundrymen.”
Jesus himself alluded to his fiery coming when he exhorted Christians to not allow themselves to become weighed down with overindulgence and anxieties of life so that they may succeed in standing before the Son of man. Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe the Son of man has come. However, the exhortation to succeed in standing before the Son of man echos the question posed in Malachi: “Who will be able to stand when he appears?” In view of the fact that the Watchtower teaches that the messenger of the covenant came in 1918, the question must be posed: Is there more than one occasion when covenanted Christians will be made to stand before the Christ?
Sound reasoning should dictate that the coming of the messenger of the covenant to cleanse the temple is the exact same thing as the coming of the Son of man to judge the slaves of his household. Is not the house of God also the spiritual temple? That being true, how can Christ be coming if he has already come? A more pointed question might be: Why are Jehovah’s Witnesses required to believe two contradictory “truths”?
Could this failure to discern that Christ has not come be the primary reason the Lord will come at an hour you do not think likely and chastise even the “faithful” for their lack of discernment?
WHAT IS THE END?
Jesus said the “good news of the Kingdom will be preached in all the earth and then the end will come.” It has long been assumed that the preaching and disciple-making work takes place during the period known as the conclusion and that “the end” is the end of the entire wicked system at Armageddon. There are many reasons for believing otherwise.
Mark wrote in his account something that does not appear in Matthew and Luke; namely, that the good news has to be preached first. First before what? Please consider the full context of Jesus’ remarks: “As for you, look out for yourselves. People will hand you over to local courts, and you will be beaten in synagogues and be put on the stand before governors and kings for my sake, for a witness to them. Also, in all the nations, the good news has to be preached first. And when they are taking you to hand you over, do not be anxious beforehand about what to say; but whatever is given you in that hour, say this, for you are not the ones speaking, but the holy spirit is. Furthermore, brother will deliver brother over to death, and a father a child, and children will rise up against parents and have them put to death. And you will be hated by all people on account of my name. But the one who has endured to the end will be saved.”
True Christians have always been persecuted in one way or another. There are many lands throughout the world that do not permit Jehovah’s Witnesses the protection that is provided in the so-called free world. Jehovah’s Witnesses have especially flourished in America, no doubt due in no small part to the freedoms guaranteed in the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights. Even during times of heated persecution back in the Rutherford era, the U.S. government via its Supreme Court upheld our rights. Since the end of WW2, the nations as a whole have enjoyed an extended period of relative peace and prosperity, which has greatly facilitated the worldwide work sponsored by the Watchtower Bible Society.
The question is: If the good news is preached first what comes afterward? Intense persecution. The context in which Jesus said “the good news has to be preached first” speaks to a level of persecution that has not been experienced in the modern era. That can be said with the utmost confidence since it is clear that what Jesus foretold is not merely the persecution of Christians by the state (local courts, governors, and kings).
In the first century, any Jew who confessed faith in Jesus was certain to be thrown from the synagogue. What about during the conclusion?
It is not likely that true Christians would ever attend a Jewish synagogue. Does that mean the words of Christ have no relevance? Not at all. The Jewish synagogue is analogous to the Christian congregation. In the book of Revelation Jesus spoke of those who claimed to be Jews but who are actually a synagogue of Satan.
In his letter to the Romans, Paul —the foremost Christian teacher —informs us that the real Jews are those who are true to God’s anointing. That being true, those who lyingly claim to be Jews and who comprise a synagogue of Satan must falsely claim to be anointed. We should not think this strange. A similar situation existed in the Corinthian congregation. The inspired apostle revealed that prominent men who were presiding over the congregation —whom Paul dubbed “superfine apostles” —were not anointed Christians, but were actually false apostles, deceitful workers, mere agents of the Devil who had cleverly disguised themselves as ministers of righteousness. Apparently, the disguise was very effective, which was why Paul was gravely concerned that just as the serpent had seduced Eve by his cunning, the brothers and sisters in Corinth might be corrupted by the presence of Satan’s false teachers in their midst.
At the mouth of two witnesses, in the second chapter of his second epistle, the apostle Peter testifies that “there will be false teachers among you” who “will greedily exploit you with counterfeit words.” Since the presence of the false teachers immediately precedes their judgment, it is evident that false apostles preside over Christ’s congregation up until he comes.
As regards the synagogue of Satan, in his letter of admonishment to the Smyrna congregation, Jesus wrote: “I know your tribulation and poverty—but you are rich—and the blasphemy by those who say they themselves are Jews, and yet they are not but are a synagogue of Satan. Do not be afraid of the things you are about to suffer. Look! The Devil will keep on throwing some of you into prison that you may be fully put to the test, and that you may have tribulation ten days. Prove yourself faithful even to death, and I will give you the crown of life. Let the one who has an ear hear what the spirit says to the congregations: He that conquers will by no means be harmed by the second death.”
Since Jesus gave us a revelation of the things that must shortly take place during the Lord’s day, it is evident that the persecution to come will originate within the organization. Those who make up a synagogue of Satan must be the evil slaves who will not accept Jesus when he comes. The Devil will use them to persecute the true Jews —just as he used Jesus’ disloyal apostle, Judas. The evil ones will cause many to be stumbled and have Christ’s brothers beaten in the synagogues and handed over to prison and death. Surely, Jehovah’s Witnesses will not be going about their peaceful ministry when their former brothers will come to hate and betray them and family members will have their loved ones handed over to be killed. By then the good news will have been preached and terminated.
One of the last things Jesus said to his disciples before he ascended to heaven was the well-known command to go make disciples. Christ assured his followers that he would be with them all of the days until the conclusion of the system. Clearly, the time to make disciples and baptize is prior to the conclusion. If Jesus is with his followers before the conclusion we should expect something different, something more intimate when he comes alongside the watching ones to minister to them. What then is the conclusion?
THE HARVEST IS A CONCLUSION OF A SYSTEM
In the 13th chapter of Matthew Jesus explained that the harvest is a conclusion of a system —or, the end of an age, as some translations word it. Jesus used many illustrations involving planting and harvesting. He once said that the fields were white, ripe for the harvest. He also spoke of a concluding harvest that would be accomplished, not by human harvesters, but by the angels whom Christ will dispatch to uproot out of his Kingdom all persons doing lawlessness and all things that cause stumbling.
The Watchtower claims that the concluding harvest began in 1914. If that is true, are we to believe that the angels have removed lawless persons from Christendom? That is not an unreasonable question since the International Bible Students had already become a separate and distinct sect. Even in that knowledge, the teachers of Jehovah’s Witnesses insist that the false Christians were bundled up back in 1918 and that the wheat was distinguished. Or are there no stumbling blocks among Jehovah’s Witnesses presently because the angels have removed all things that cause stumbling? Who would believe such nonsense? Incredibly, the Watchtower would have millions of Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that very thing!
Jesus spoke a related illustration: “Again the Kingdom of the heavens is like a dragnet let down into the sea and gathering fish of every kind. When it was full, they hauled it up onto the beach, and sitting down, they collected the fine ones into containers, but the unsuitable they threw away. That is how it will be in the conclusion of the system of things. The angels will go out and separate the wicked from among the righteous and will cast them into the fiery furnace. There is where their weeping and the gnashing of their teeth will be.”
According to the December 2014 Watchtower article entitled: Do You Grasp the Meaning? the teachers wrote the following:
“The symbolic separating of fish does not refer to the final judgment during the great tribulation. Rather, it highlights what would happen during the last days of this wicked system. Jesus showed that not all those attracted to the truth will take a stand for Jehovah. Many have associated with us at our meetings. Others have been willing to study the Bible with us but are not willing to make a commitment. Still others are no longer associating with the Christian congregation. Some youths have been raised by Christian parents and yet have not developed a love for Jehovah’s standards.”
The question posed is a good one, do you grasp the meaning? In order to line up the illustration of the conclusion with 1914 the Governing Body make the absolutely astounding claim that the millions of marginally interested persons who do not commit to baptism and the other millions of Jehovah’s Witnesses who have already left the organization, many undoubtedly being spiritually sickened and stumbled by the Watchtower’s brazen hypocrisy —including the thousands who have been victimized by pedophiles —have, in reality, been thrown away by the angels as unsuitable.
Surely, though, if anyone is unsuitable for life in God’s Kingdom it is the false teachers who have disowned the owner who bought them —who brazenly blaspheme God in order to glorify the Watchtower and condemn to the slaughter the very sheep they have been appointed to feed and shepherd. Sadly, apparently none among Jehovah’s Witnesses grasp the meaning of the illustration of the dragnet!
Just like in the natural world, the symbolic harvest brings an end to the metaphoric planting, cultivating and watering. In truth, the conclusion of the system is the end of the Christian age. It marks the end of preaching and disciple-making. It is the end of the calling and choosing. It brings about the final sealing. That is why Paul said that by observing the evening meal “you keep proclaiming the death of the Lord, until he comes.”
Let him that has an ear hear: The conclusion is when Christ comes to judge the house of God. Some will be found faithful —some unfaithful. Some will be set aside as suitable. Some will be tossed away.