The Jehovah's Witness Governing Body is now the Faithful and Discreet Slave

Some of the quotes that are indented have QUOTE MARKS and others do not.  That is inconsistent.

Make them all quoted.

by Michael Felkner
editd by Matt Slick


As recently as 2007, the Watchtower taught that a select group of 144,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses comprised the “faithful and discreet slave” of Matthew 24:45. [You site Matt. 24:45 several times but never quote it.  The reader needs to see the verse.]

“Just as all members of ancient Israel formed one “servant,” so also all anointed Christians on earth at any one time form one “faithful and discreet slave.” (Watchtower, November 1, 2007 p. 30)

[It should be formatted like this]

Just as all members of ancient Israel formed one 'servant,' so also all anointed Christians on earth at any one time form one 'faithful and discreet slave'”, (Watchtower, November 1, 2007 p. 30).

[Notice the red quote arrangement]

According to the Watchtower (i.e. the JW publishing corporation), these so-called “anointed Christians” are unique in the following ways:

  • They rule and reign with Jesus in heaven
  • They partake of the bread and wine
  • Jesus is their exclusive mediator
  • They are born again

According to JW teaching, while the 144,000 were the “faithful and discreet slave” and responsible for dispensing “food at the proper time” as Matthew 24:45 indicates, it is the “Governing Body” who represents the 144,000 and leads the worldwide organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses.  [So Matthew 24:45 indicates that the JW’s position is right?  It isn’t clear.  You imply that the way it is written.  I crossed it out to make it more clear.]

As of July 15, 2013, this is considered to be “old light” by the Governing Body. Rather than viewing the entire group of 144,000 as the “faithful slave,” it is now the Governing Body alone who are the “faithful slave.”

"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," (Watchtower, July 15, 2013 p. 22)

This “small group” is the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses. This group demands absolute unquestionable obedience from all Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide. Therefore, to question them is to question God.

How does the Governing Body come to the conclusion that they alone are the “faithful slave” of Matthew 24:45?

"That faithful slave is the channel through which Jesus is feeding his true followers in this time of the end. It is vital that we recognize the faithful slave. Our spiritual health and our relationship with God depend on this channel," (Watchtower, July 15, 2013 p. 20).

Followers of Jesus agree that it is Christians who preach, teach, and admonish fellow believers (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Therefore, we would not advocate the unscriptural idea that followers of Christ should live the Christian life on their own (Hebrews 10:25; 13:17). Where we differ with the Watchtower is in identifying this “channel” as the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses instead of all Christians who faithfully preach and teach Scripture.  The Governing Body concludes that they alone are the “faithful slave” by a supposed inspection that took place between 1914 and 1919 where Jesus and Jehovah inspected all Christians worldwide and found the “Bible Students” (now called “Jehovah’s Witnesses”) to be the only ones who’s hearts were really with Jehovah and
the Bible. Therefore, Jesus selected a small group of anointed (i.e. among the 144,000) JW’s to be the “faithful slave.”

There is a multitude of problems with this approach. First, there is no biblical evidence that an inspection took place between 1914 and 1919. While the Watchtower cites Malachi 3, there is no evidence that this refers to an inspection that is to take place thousands of years later after its “initial” fulfillment at the time of Malachi. The Watchtower states that Malachi 3 is referring to Jesus’ cleansing of the temple during His earthly ministry (Matt. 21:12-13; John 2:14-17). While there are other ways of looking at this prophecy, let’s say for the sake of argument that we agree with the Watchtower. What does this have to do with an inspection between 1914-1919 where Jesus chooses the Governing Body as the “faithful slave”?

The Watchtower interprets an “inspection” from Malachi 3 in assuming that there is a second fulfillment of the prophecy, yet they provide no biblical evidence for this. Instead, it is assumed that the “cleansing” spoken of in Malachi 3:3 finds its second fulfillment in various events that transpired within the JW organization between 1914 and 1917. This included outside opposition to the Watchtower Society as well as internal struggles where the leadership was challenged.

Due to the faithfulness of the JW’s during these difficult years, it is claimed that this is what led Jesus to choose the Society’s leadership as the “faithful slave.” These points related to 1919 [shouldn't you say 1914-1919?  I'm confused why you focused only on 1919 when it is the END of the 5 year span] are ones in which Christians must challenged the Watchtower Society.  If 1919 [1919? 1917? 1914?] is proven to be biblically insignificant, then the JW leadership can no longer justify their self-proclaimed authority.

The Watchtower’s interpretation of Matthew 24:45 is extremely problematic. By putting together an array of highly speculative and complex chronological threads, they come to the conclusion that 1914 is the day in which Christ began his rule at the “conclusion of this system of things.” In addition, they argue that Christ is now considered to be “present” since 1914. Since 1914 ['since 1914 used two time sin a row is awkward] is considered to be the “beginning of the end,” it supposedly follows that Matthew 24 is speaking of events following 1914. Therefore, this “faithful slave” will appear following 1914 rather than the first century as previously taught by the Watchtower.

[You might want to quote sections of Matthew 24 in a block quote so as to prep the reader]

This is a highly problematic interpretation of Matthew 24. In verse 45, the master puts his slave in charge. Then, in verse 46, the master is said to return. This implies that the master is away. This creates a big problem for the Watchtower because they are claiming that the master is present during this appointment that supposedly happened in 1919.

Another problem arises when we consider that the JW leaders have already declared themselves to be the “faithful and discreet slave.” But when does Jesus declare them to be “faithful and discreet”? When he returns. Therefore, it is nothing short of presumptuous and arrogant for someone to claim this position before Christ actually returns to bless those ones who are faithful and discreet.

This next point is likely to be the most detrimental and one that the Watchtower has yet to address. Many JW’s may not realize that there is a parallel account in Luke regarding the “faithful slave.” In Luke 12:37, Jesus describes the blessing of the slave when He returns. Peter’s response to the parable is noteworthy: “Lord, are you addressing this parable to us, or to everyone else as well?” If Jesus were referring to a small group of men that would appear 2,000 years later, then surely He would make this clear. Instead, He goes on to explain the parable similarly to Matthew’s account in 24:45. Jesus is providing an answer to Peter’s question and directing it to the audience of Jesus.

So who really is the “faithful and discreet slave”? The answer is very simple: anyone who is found faithful to Christ’s command to “give them their rations at the proper time” (Luke 12:42) when He returns. Surely, these faithful slaves are ones who have existed since the first century. After all, didn’t Jesus directly admonish Peter to “feed my sheep?” (John 21:15-17).

This issue of the Governing Body’s unique appointment as the “faithful and discreet slave” is one that Christians should be encouraged to challenge. There is very little in which the JW can use to substantiate these new claims by the Watchtower. Therefore, if their confidence in their leaders is questioned, then this may create an excellent opportunity to share the gospel. But until then, JW’s will continue to believe anything that their leaders teach and hold to the false gospel that the Watchtower’s “gospel” actually presents.


About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.