Thursday, September 29

There is where his weeping and the gnashing of his teeth will be.Matt. 25:30.

In the parable of the talents, the last slave buried his talent instead of doing business with it or even depositing it with the bankers. This slave showed a bad spirit, for he deliberately worked against the master’s interests. The master rightly pronounced him “wicked and sluggish.” The master took the talent away from him and gave it to the one who had ten. The wicked slave was then thrown “out into the darkness outside.”  Since this third slave hid his talent, was Jesus here indicating that one third of his anointed followers would prove to be wicked and sluggish? No. Rather, he was warning them of the need to remain diligent—to ‘do business’ with their talent—and avoid the attitudes and actions of a wicked slave.  Jesus was warning his spiritual brothers about what would happen if they lost their sense of vigilance and did not prove to be prepared.

COMMENTARY

For many decades the Watchtower taught that the related parables of the faithful and discreet slaves and the wicked and sluggish slave —along with the parable of the 10 virgins —were fulfilled back in 1918-19. It was believed that the breakaway Bible Student groups were the sluggish slave and foolish virgins.

But then in 2013 the Governing Body reset everything to the future, except, of course, the actual coming of Christ to judge his slaves. Because of Bethel’s obdurate attachment to 1914 as the beginning of the reign of the Kingdom of God, Jehovah’s Witnesses are like a man trying to look into the distance with a pair of binoculars that are badly out of focus. As a result everything is blurry.

But obviously, the coming of the master to judge his slaves commences the Kingdom’s rule over the world. And the biblical principle is that judgment starts with the house of God first.

As an example of their out-of-focus view, while resetting the coming of the master to judge his slaves to the future, the Watchtower inexplicably clings to the notion that the judgment commenced in 1914 when the messenger of the covenant suddenly came to cleanse the temple.

But consider the parable of the talents more closely. Evidently Jesus uttered two different versions of this illustration. He related one version as recorded by Luke while he was heading to Jerusalem to be hailed as King. Then, a few days later he repeated the same illustration in the context of the conclusion of the system of things.

In the first telling of the story, Jesus said: “‘A man of noble birth traveled to a distant land to secure kingly power for himself and to return. Calling ten of his slaves, he gave them ten minas and told them, ‘Do business with these until I come.’ But his citizens hated him and sent out a body of ambassadors after him to say, ‘We do not want this man to become king over us.’ When he eventually got back after having secured the kingly power, he summoned the slaves to whom he had given the money, in order to ascertain what they had gained by their business activity. So the first one came forward…”’

Reasonably, when the master eventually gets back, returning after having secured kingly power for himself, that is when he summons his slaves and requires that they make an accounting for themselves. That is when he comes. There is no indication in the story that another long interval transpires from the time the master secures the kingdom until he comes to collect his money.

Except in the Watchtower’s interpretation more than a century has passed since the master returned as king. Entire generations have come and gone since his supposed return and the master still has not called his slaves to account! The 2013 “adjustment” aside, it is painfully obvious that the Watchtower still does not have things in proper focus.

To underscore the Watchtower’s error, some 20 years ago the parable of the sheep and goats was revised. Prior to 1995 Jehovah’s Witnesses believed that their worldwide preaching campaign was causing people to be separated into two camps. But no longer. Now Bethel realizes that the parable has a future fulfillment.

However, that presents yet another problem, because Jesus segued his discussion of the wicked and sluggish slave into the parable of the sheep and goats by saying: “When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit down on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.”

Obviously, the return of the master with kingly power is the same event as the coming of the Son of man in glory and power, when he sits down on his glorious throne. Presently Jehovah’s Witnesses are required to believe that Jesus comes on multiple occasions and that his sitting down on his glorious throne is not a unique event.

No doubt the Watchtower’s intransigent attachment to 1914 will be a contributing factor in some being unprepared, resulting in their being thrown into the outer darkness when the king comes to call his slaves to account. “There is where his weeping and the gnashing of his teeth will be.”

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