The New Understanding of the appointment of the Faithful and Discreet Slave in the July 15 2013 Watchtower

Here are the first 18 paragraphs of the new understanding...

3 How, then, are we to understand Jesus’ illustration about the faithful slave? In the past, our publications have said the following: At Pentecost 33 C.E., Jesus appointed the faithful slave over his domestics. The slave represents all anointed Christians on earth as a group at any one time since then. The domestics refer to the same anointed ones as individuals. In 1919, Jesus appointed the faithful slave “over all his belongings”—all his earthly Kingdom interests. However, further careful study and prayerful meditation indicate that our understanding of Jesus’ words about the faithful and discreet slave needs to be clarified. (Proverbs. 4:18)

4 The context of the illustration of the faithful and discreet slave shows that it began to be fulfilled, not at Pentecost 33 C.E., but in this time of the end. Let us see how the Scriptures lead us to this conclusion.

5 The illustration of the faithful slave is part of Jesus’ prophecy about “the sign of [his] presence and of the conclusion of the system of things.” (Matt. 24:3) The first portion of the prophecy, recorded at Matthew 24:4-22, has two fulfillments—first, in the years from 33 C.E. through 70 C.E., and second, in a more far-reaching way in our day. Does this mean that Jesus’ words about the faithful slave would also have two fulfillments? No.

6 Starting with the words recorded at Matthew 24:29, Jesus focused primarily on events that would happen in our day. (Read Matthew 24:30, 42, 44.) Speaking about what will happen during the great tribulation, he said that people “will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then, in words meant for those living during the last days, he urged vigilance, saying: “You do not know on what day your Lord is coming” and, “At an hour that you do not think to be it, the Son of man is coming.” * In this context—when speaking about events that would take place in the last days—Jesus related the illustration of the faithful slave. Therefore, we may conclude that his words about that faithful slave began to be fulfilled only after the last days began in 1914. Such a conclusion makes sense. Why is that?

7 Think, for a moment, about the question: “Who really is the faithful and discreet slave?” In the first century, there was hardly a reason to ask such a question. As we saw in the preceding article, the apostles could perform miracles and even transmit miraculous gifts as proof of divine backing. (Acts 5:12) So why would anyone need to ask who really was appointed by Christ to take the lead? In 1914, however, the situation was much different. The harvest season began in that year. The time had finally arrived to separate the weeds from the wheat. (Matt. 13:36-43) As the harvest season began, a vital question thus arose: With many imitation Christians claiming to be Jesus’ true followers, how could the wheat—anointed Christians—be identified? The illustration of the faithful slave provided an answer. Christ’s anointed followers would be the ones who were well-fed spiritually.

8 The faithful slave must be made up of anointed Christians on earth. Such ones are called “a royal priesthood” and have been commissioned to “ ‘declare abroad the excellencies’ of the one that called [them] out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Pet. 2:9) It is only fitting that members of that “royal priesthood” have a direct share in teaching fellow believers the truth.—Mal. 2:7; Rev. 12:17.

9 Do all anointed ones on earth make up the faithful slave? No. The reality is  that not all anointed ones have a role in dispensing spiritual food to fellow believers worldwide. Among the wheat are anointed brothers who may serve as ministerial servants or elders in their local congregation. They teach from house to house and in their congregation, and they loyally support the direction from headquarters. But they do not have a part in dispensing spiritual food to the worldwide brotherhood. Also among the anointed are humble sisters, who would never try to assume the role of teachers in the congregation.—1 Cor. 11:3; 14:34.

10 Who, then, is the faithful and discreet slave? In keeping with Jesus’ pattern of feeding many through the hands of a few, that slave is made up of a small group of anointed brothers who are directly involved in preparing and dispensing spiritual food during Christ’s presence. Throughout the last days, the anointed brothers who make up the faithful slave have served together at headquarters. In recent decades, that slave has been closely identified with the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Note, however, that the word “slave” in Jesus’ illustration is singular, indicating that this is a composite slave. The decisions of the Governing Body are thus made collectively.

11 It is noteworthy that in Jesus’ illustration, the faithful and discreet slave receives two distinct appointments. The first is over the domestics; the second is over all the master’s belongings. Since the illustration is fulfilled only in this time of the end, both appointments would have to come after Jesus’ presence in kingly power began in 1914.

12 When did Jesus appoint the faithful slave over his domestics? To answer that, we need to go back to 1914—the beginning of the harvest season. As we learned earlier, at that time many groups claimed to be Christian. From which group would Jesus select and  appoint the faithful slave? That question was answered after he and his Father came and inspected the temple, or spiritual arrangement for worship, from 1914 to the early part of 1919. * (Mal. 3:1) They were pleased with a small band of loyal Bible Students who showed that their heart was with Jehovah and his Word. Of course, they needed some cleansing, but they humbly responded during a brief period of testing and refining. (Mal. 3:2-4) Those faithful Bible Students were true Christian wheat. In 1919, a time of spiritual revival, Jesus selected capable anointed brothers from among them to be the faithful and discreet slave and appointed them over his domestics.

13 Who, then, are the domestics? Put simply, they are those who are fed. Early in the last days, the domestics were all anointed ones. Later, the domestics came to include the great crowd of other sheep. The other sheep now make up the vast majority of the “one flock” under Christ’s leadership. (John 10:16) Both groups benefit from the same timely spiritual food that is dispensed by the faithful slave. What about the Governing Body members who today make up the faithful and discreet slave? Those brothers also need to be fed spiritually. Hence, they humbly recognize that as individuals they are domestics just like all the rest of Jesus’ genuine followers.

14 Jesus placed a weighty responsibility on the faithful and discreet slave. In Bible times, a trusted slave, or steward, was a house manager. (Luke 12:42) The faithful and discreet slave is thus charged with the responsibility to manage the household of faith. That responsibility includes overseeing material assets, the preaching activity, assembly and convention programs, and the production of Bible literature for use in the field ministry and in personal and congregation study. The domestics depend on all the spiritual provisions dispensed by the composite slave.

15 When does Jesus make the second appointment—“over all his belongings”? Jesus said: “Happy is that slave if his master on arriving [literally, “having come,” ftn.] finds him doing so. Truly I say to you, He will appoint him over all his belongings.” (Matt. 24:46, 47) Note that Jesus makes the second appointment after he arrives and finds that the slave has been “doing so,” that is, faithfully dispensing spiritual food. So there would be an interval between the two appointments. To understand how and when Jesus appoints the slave over all his belongings, we need to know two things: when he arrives and what his belongings include.

16 When does Jesus arrive? The answer is found in the context. Remember that when the preceding verses speak of Jesus as “coming,” the word refers to the time when he comes to pronounce and execute judgment at the end of this system. * (Matt. 24:30, 42, 44) Hence, Jesus’ “arriving,” or “coming,” mentioned in the illustration of the faithful slave takes place during the great tribulation.

17 What do “all [Jesus’] belongings” include? Jesus did not qualify the word “all,” as if to limit his belongings to earthly things. In fact, Jesus has vast heavenly authority. “All authority has been given me in heaven and on the earth,” he said. (Matt. 28:18; Eph. 1:20-23) His belongings now include the Messianic Kingdom, which has belonged to him since 1914 and which he will share with his anointed followers.—Rev. 11:15.

18 In view of the foregoing, what can we conclude? When Jesus comes for judgment during the great tribulation, he will find that the faithful slave has been loyally dispensing timely spiritual food to the domestics. Jesus will then delight in making the second appointment—over all his belongings. Those who make up the faithful slave will get this appointment when they receive their heavenly reward, becoming co-rulers with Christ (Watchtower July 15, 2013).

So in summary the new understanding is...

1. No appointment of any slave at all was made in the Christian era until 1919. 

2. In 1919 capable anointed brothers in the Watchtower were appointed over the domestics, which domestics were initially the anointed remnant (1NC saints) and later included the Great Crowd of other sheep (the rest of the JWs).

3. No appointment has yet been made by Jesus over all his belongings. That appointment will occur during the Great Tribulation in the future.

4. They state that in the first presence there was no reason to ask who was the FDS because the first presence " apostles could perform miracles and even transmit miraculous gifts as proof of divine backing".

1. & 2.

The trouble with no faithful and discreet slave being appointed until 1919 is that God would then have no administration appointed to provide food at the proper time to Christians for 1886 years from 33CE to 1919CE. This would mean that the entire New Testament was not officially food at the proper time. It would mean that all of Paul's letters were not officially food at the proper time. Yet the words of the Governing Body of the Watchtower post 1919 were food at the proper time. How likely does that seem to you? Further trouble with this new understanding is that Jesus made it abundantly clear to Peter and anyone who reads John 21 that the first presence church was appointed to feed at the proper time saying...

15 When, now, they had breakfasted, Jesus said to Simon Peter: Simon son of John, do you love me more than these? He said to him: Yes, Lord, you know I have affection for you. He said to him: Feed my lambs [at the proper time - this refers to the appointment of FDS1, over which Peter was the president, to feed the domestics at the proper time].
16 Again he said to him, a second time: Simon son of John, do you love me? He said to him: Yes, Lord, you know I have affection for you. He said to him: Shepherd my little sheep [who are all my belongings. This refers to the appointment of FDS1 on 33Nisan17 to be the shepherd of the sheep of Jesus, which means to be appointed over all of his belongings, since he did not own any goats].
17 He said to him the 3rd time: Simon son of John, do you have affection for me? Peter became grieved that he said to him the 3rd time: Do you have affection for me? So he said to him: Lord, you know all things; you are aware that I have affection for you. Jesus said to him: Feed my little sheep [at the proper time]. (John 21 NWT).

Another problem with delaying the appointment of any FDS to feed the domestics is that most of the doctrinal foundation of the Watchtower was developed by Russell prior to 1916 when he died. So the new understanding disenfranchises all of his work and thus dishonours the founding father of the church - breaking the commandment of Moses to honour ones parents.  

Peter was given the keys of the kingdom...

19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of the heavens, and whatever you may bind on earth will be the thing bound in the heavens, and whatever you may loose on earth will be the thing loosed in the heavens. (Matthew 16 NWT)

Everything he bound was bound in heaven. If that is not a heavenly appointment I do not know what is. Furthermore he got precisely the same commission as Jesus got from his father, Jehovah, namely...

21 Jesus, therefore, said to them again [on 33Nisan17]: May you have peace. Just as the Father has sent me forth, I also am sending you [So the first century church has the same commission as Jesus, namely to feed and to look after the sheep - these are in fact the two appointments of the FDS].
22 And after he said this he blew upon them and said to them: Receive holy spirit.
23 If you forgive the sins of any persons, they stand forgiven to them; if you retain those of any persons, they stand retained. (John 20 NWT)

18 And Jesus approached and spoke to them, saying: All authority has been given me in heaven and on the earth.
19 Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, (Matthew 28 NWT)

Since Jesus sent Peter forth just as his father sent Jesus forth and since Jesus had all authority both in heaven and on earth, then putting a two piece jigsaw together reveals that Peter was sent forth with all authority in heaven and on earth. So he certainly was appointed over all of Jesus' belongings.

As regard the authority to feed at the proper time we also have the account in Acts 6...

1 Now in these days, when the disciples were increasing, a murmuring arose on the part of the Greek-speaking Jews against the Hebrew-speaking Jews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution [not of domestics but of food, a physical belonging of the church and therefore of Jesus who owned the church].
2 So the 12 called the multitude of the disciples to them and said: It is not pleasing for us to leave the word of God to distribute [food] to tables [We will appoint others to distribute physical food at the proper time so that we can concentrate on our appointment to distribute spiritual food at the proper time].
3 So, brothers, search out for yourselves 7 certified men from among you, full of spirit and wisdom, that we may appoint them over this necessary business;
4 but we shall devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word [the ministry of spiritual food]. (Acts 6 NWT)

Logically one cannot state that the signs of the times of Matthew 24 apply to both presences and then selectively apply one of those signs (the appointment of a faithful and discreet slave both to feed and over all Jesus' belongings) only to the second presence. All signs apply to both presences otherwise they would not be in the account. Make no mistake, the appointment of a faithful slave to feed the domestics, the appointment of that same faithful slave over all of Jesus' belongings (his sheep - the saints), the wicked behaviour of that evil slave and the cutting in two of that evil slave are all signs of both presences - for more see U34.

Every true church is built upon the foundation of the Christ whose flesh is the anointed remnant and who presence on earth through that remnant. So the signs of Jesus' presence are the signs of the existence on earth of the remnant. Now Jesus does not run true churches through chaos. He appoints a slave over them, a faithful and discreet slave. Every true church has a faithful and discreet slave running it by appointment. Not just the Watchtower and not just after 1919.

3. No appointment has yet been made by Jesus over all his belongings. That appointment will occur during the Great Tribulation in the future.

One problem with this interpretation is that Governing Body is therefore not presently appointed over Jesus' belongings. Jesus' fiance is one of his belongings, since Hebrew husbands owned their wives outright and their fiances were treated as their wives from a judicial standpoint. So the GB has not been appointed yet over any anointed remnant by their own understanding. So the GB has no longer has any authority over any first new covenant saint. Another problem is the wording of the parable in Matthew 24. For it clearly says the following...

45 Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom the master appointed over his domestics, to give them their food at the proper time?
46 Happy is that slave if his master on arriving finds him doing so.
47 Truly I say to you, He will appoint him over all his belongings.
48 But if ever that evil slave should say in his heart, 'My master is delaying,' 
49
and should start to beat his fellow slaves and should eat and drink with the confirmed drunkards, 
50
the master of that slave will come on a day that he does not expect and in an hour that he does not know
51
and will cut him in two and will assign him his part with the hypocrites. There is where [his] weeping and the gnashing of [his] teeth will be (Matthew 24 NWT adapted from Greek).

If we permit the holy spirit to have a normal command of language, then the same slave that is appointed to feed is appointed over all Jesus' belongings (that slave), then becomes wicked (that evil slave) then starts to beat his fellow slaves, then the master comes to that slave and cuts him in two and assigns him his part with the hypocrites. This chain of events cannot be avoided. So the FDS does not end up in heaven. It ends up cut in two with the hypocrites. However the anointed remnant do end up in heaven. for Jesus ransomed them, not the Governing Body of the Watchtower.

Another problem is that one cannot claim to be the one true church if one is not appointed over all of Jesus' belongings. The Watchtower have interpreted themselves out of being God's only true people.

4. They state that in the first presence there was no reason to ask who was the FDS because the first presence " apostles could perform miracles and even transmit miraculous gifts as proof of divine backing". This is nonsense. Any Jew would ask the question given the competition with Moses. In fact many Christians thought they were still under Moses hence the Jerusalem decision in Acts 15. But one cannot deduce from the incorrectly inferred lack of competition between faithful slaves that there was no appointed faithful slave. Later in the first presence the Catholic church corrupted the Faithful Slave and a new church was set up by Paul, who was appointed as the first president of the second FDS. The question then actually applied between his church and the RC church.

The article states that the GB is 'closely identified' (Watchtower speak for 'is in fact') with the FDS. If the GB is appointed over all Jesus' Belongings during the Great Tribulation and for the 1,000 kingdom of God, then the rest of the 144,000 anointed kings are disenfranchised. Further they say that the FDS will receive their heavenly rewards by virtue of this appointment and become co-rulers with the Christ. Actually that will not happen. The anointed will become co-rulers not the GB.