One of the key scriptures used by the governing body of Jehovah's Witnesses to maintain members' obedience to them is Jesus' illustration in MATT 24:45-47.
We were always taught that there must be a faithful and discreet slave class that is dispensing spiritual food on the earth at this time. I guess this is why the question is always raised when leaving the organisation, "Where will you go?" This assumes that you need an organisation to feed you and supply you with your spiritual needs.
I spent many years whilst in the organisation trying to figure out the meaning of Jesus' illustration because it always stood out to me that the illustration is in the form of a question, "Who really is the faithful and discreet slave.....?".
Then it hit me one day ...... it's an ILLUSTRATION! And .... it's one of 8 illustrations all proving the same point. Are YOU going to be faithful or not? The passage is addressing us as individuals and not referring to an organisation.
Please read MATTHEW 24:36 - 25:46 and you will find the following 8 illustrations:
The holy spirit "will guide you into all the truth" - JOHN 16:13
Can you see the same point being made in each of these? As Romans 14:12 says, "Each of us must render an account for himself to God." If the faithful and discreet slave is a class, then who does the woman who is taken at the hand mill symbolise? Who is symbolised by the slave given ten talents as opposed to the slave given two? As Jehovah's Witnesses, we didn't have any trouble applying the slaves entrusted with talents (or minas) to us as individuals but with the faithful and discreet slave all of a sudden it's a class.
The thing that the organisation emphasised was the job that the slave was given, namely, to give food at the proper time. This, however, is not the point of the illustration. The point is, did the slave prove trustworthy with his assignment? Jesus could have used any number of assigned jobs for that slave that would have applied just as well. For example ….. he could have said, "Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over all his domestics to give them their tasks for the day? Happy is that slave ……" or "Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his vineyard to collect the fruits at the proper time. Happy is that slave ….." When you look at the seven illustrations, the principle in each of them was obedience to the master's commands. Jesus said to the congregation in Thyatira in Revelation 2:23, "…..and I will give to you individually according to your deeds.' And again in Revelation 20:13, "…..and they were judged individually according to their deeds." The whole bible indicates that Jehovah judges us individually! We can be so thankful for that. 😊 So it would seem that Satan has used this scripture in MATT 24:45 to his own ends, trying to centralise everyone under the authority of a group of men. That's no surprise of course. Satan used scriptures wrongly when tempting Jesus didn't he?
So when it comes to spiritual food, the bible is all we need. Paul wrote in 2 TIM 3:16 + 17 that God's Word helps a person be 'fully competent, completely equipped for every good work." However, just reading the bible as we know doesn't necessarily feed us. There are millions of people worldwide who read the bible every day (including many Jehovah's Witnesses) and yet do not have the light. Our friend Dom made a very good point the other day on this matter. He quoted MATT 13:11 where Jesus said to the disciples, "To you it is granted to understand the sacred secrets of the kingdom of the heavens, but to those people it is not granted." Dom commented on the phrase, 'to you it is granted.' What a great point! It is GRANTED us to understand. It is not something that you can understand without being granted. So our food comes from the bible but …. it only has a nourishing effect if we are guided by the holy spirit and can thus 'get the sense of it'. This requires a good heart along with effort to meditate on the scriptures and humility as we pray for holy spirit.
By the way ...... I took this photo myself when visiting a garden nearby. I am so appreciative of living in such a beautiful part of the world! I thought this photo illustrated our pathway well as we are led along by the holy spirit on our walk with our Father, Jehovah and his son, Jesus. What a beautiful pathway that is!
1. Noah's day - you were either in the ark (and thus saved) or you drowned
2. You were either a man in the field who was taken or one left behind
3. You were either a woman grinding at the hand mill who was taken or not
4. You were either awake when the thief came or you were not
5. You were either a faithful slave or an evil one
6. You were either a discreet virgin or a foolish one
7. You were either an industrious slave or a sluggish one
8. You were either a sheep or a goat