1) Does the faithful and discreet slave include all anointed brothers at bethel or just the Governing Body?
Jesus indicated that he will appoint a slave to spiritually feed his body of attendants their food at the proper time. When we consider that Jesus commanded his disciples to preach the good news to the entire world, we can better appreciate what is involved. The food at the proper time would strengthen Christ’s slaves to do the required work. That would include providing the necessary direction and encouragement, as well as instructions to keep ministers from getting sidetracked or falling into sin.
There is no denying that the Watchtower has always emphasized the importance of preaching the good news and teaching others. To that end the Watchtower has become a large scale publishing house. The JW.org website has been recognized for publishing information in more languages, by far, than any other organization.
So, while the Governing Body may claim to be the few hands feeding the many, they could not do it without the many, many hands that are part of the Bethel family. And, of course, it remains to be seen if individuals have actually been faithful to their assignment.
As regards food at the proper time, Jesus once told his inquiring apostles that it did not belong to them to know the times or seasons that the Father has placed in his own jurisdiction. (Acts 1:7) So, knowing such things as when the Kingdom was coming is not food at the proper time. That explains why, on the one hand, under the direction of the Watchtower Jehovah’s Witnesses have been successful in carrying out Christ’s commission to preach to the ends of the earth and make disciples; while, on the other hand, virtually everything related to prophecy is wrong, for the very reason it is not food at the proper time.
2) What role (if any) will anointed women have when Jesus arrives? Will they also give a final witness?
It is most interesting that Jesus revealed himself to Mary and told her to go tell the apostles that he had been raised from the dead. No doubt Jesus intended that as a rebuke of his apostles, who all abandoned him after he was arrested.
Some 40 days after his resurrection —immediately prior to his ascension —Jesus commissioned all of his disciples to be witnesses of him in Judea and Samaria and to the most distant part of the earth. It was on that occasion that Jesus was lifted up into the sky and disappeared into the clouds when suddenly two angels appeared and said to the crowd: “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus who was taken up from you into the sky will come in the same manner as you have seen him going into the sky.”
Keep in mind that multitudes of Jews, as well as Samaritans, knew who Jesus was. Many thousands had been healed and miraculously fed by him. Great crowds followed him and heard him publicly speak in the open air, in their synagogues and in the temple in Jerusalem. The religious leaders were certainly aware of Jesus too, as were even some Roman authorities.
For that reason, it was not necessary for the disciples to merely give witness to the things Jesus said and did during his brief ministry. No, primarily they were to be witnesses to the fact that Jesus had been resurrected and that he had ascended to heaven. This is evident from the witness Peter gave to the religious authorities, when he said: “Rulers of the people and elders, if we are being examined today about a good deed to a crippled man, and you want to know who made this man well, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that in the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you executed on a stake but whom God raised up from the dead, by means of him this man stands here healthy in front of you.”
It is important to note that although multitudes had seen Jesus in his flesh, no unbelievers saw him after his resurrection. That is what Christ meant when he said the world would behold him no longer but his disciples would. And indeed they did. They were qualified to be witnesses because they had seen Jesus after he was made alive and gave them many convincing proofs. To their sheer amazement, they personally witnessed Jesus lifted skyward to return to heaven, just as he had told them.
As the two angels revealed, Jesus is to return in the same manner. In other words, the anointed disciples living when Jesus returns will see him —just as the original disciples saw him. And those who see the manifestation of Christ will be his witnesses —both men and women.
The situation today might be likened to the time during Jesus’ ministry when he sent the apostles and 70 others out to preach and declare that the Kingdom of God had drawn near. At the time, though, they had no comprehension of Jesus’ death —much less so his resurrection and ascension.
Like those originally sent out in pairs, Jehovah’s Witnesses today are following Jesus’ command to go preach and declare the good news that the Kingdom is near. And just as the apostles were blind to Jesus’ death, Jehovah’s Witnesses and their Governing Body know nothing about the return of Christ and the parousia. (Who Is Blind?)
On the occasion of Pentecost Peter addressed the crowds and gave witness to the fact that Jesus had been resurrected. In doing so he cited the prophecy of Joel —saying to the gathered throng: “And in the last days,” God says, “I will pour out some of my spirit on every sort of flesh, and your sons and your daughters will prophesy and your young men will see visions and your old men will dream dreams, and even on my male slaves and on my female slaves I will pour out some of my spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. And I will give wonders in heaven above and signs on earth below—blood and fire and clouds of smoke. The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and illustrious day of Jehovah comes. And everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved.”’
Fifty days prior to Pentecost Jesus had been executed on a stake. God caused the sun to go dark for three hours. A great earthquake occurred as well. Still, the prophecy of Joel pertains to the time of the end —when God brings the nations into judgment. That is why under inspiration Peter said these things were to occur in the last days since the book of Joel does not actually say that. In any case, just as God poured out his spirit on the 120 men and women gathered in an upper room in Jerusalem, during the last days a similar phenomenon is to occur. (More on Joel)
Interestingly, at the time of the Pentecost outpouring, those Jewish believers were not then sons and daughters of God. They actually became such when they were anointed with the spirit. That is when they were adopted. But the prophecy makes a distinction between sons and daughters and male and female slaves. That is because those will receive the spirit during the last days will already have been adopted as sons and daughters of God. The outpouring of spirit will not be for the purpose of anointing —as it was in the first century. Instead, it will move them to “prophesy” regarding the return of Christ.
The Watchtower will be obsolete then —having served its purpose. Then the witnesses of Christ return will preach for the same length of time as did Christ —three and a half years, 1,260 days, 42 months, time, times and half a time, etc.
The world will be judged by their response to the message proclaimed by Jesus’ witnesses.