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“Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics, to give them their food at the proper time? Happy is that slave if his master on arriving finds him doing so. Truly I say to ​YOU, He will appoint him over all his belongings,” (Matthew 24:45-47, New World Translation, emphasis added).

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.

“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, emphasis added).

According to the Watchtower (i.e. the JW publishing corporation), these so-called “anointed Christians,” which number the 144,000 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
The Watchtower teaching argues that while the 144,000 were the “faithful and discreet slave” and responsible for dispensing “food at the proper time,” it is the “Governing Body” who represents the 144,000 and leads the worldwide organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses.

As of July 15, 2013, this is considered to be “old light” (i.e. no longer true) by the Governing Body.  Rather than viewing the entire group of 144,000 as the “faithful slave,” it is the Governing Body alone who is 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.  They demand 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 live the Christian life on their own (Hebrews 13:17). Christians differ with the Watchtower in identifying this “channel” as the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses instead of all those 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.  During this inspection, Jesus and Jehovah inspected all Christians worldwide and found the “Bible Students” (now called “Jehovah’s Witnesses”) to be the only ones whose 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 are many problems with this approach.  First, there is no biblical evidence that an inspection took place between 1914 and 1919.  While the Watchtower cites Malachi 3:1-3, there is no evidence that this refers to an inspection would take place thousands of years after its “initial” fulfillment.

The Watchtower even admits that Malachi 3:1-3 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”?  Nothing.

The Watchtower interprets an “inspection” from Malachi 3:3 in assuming there is a second fulfillment of the prophecy.  However, 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 supposed 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 1914-1919 should encourage Christians to challenge the Watchtower Society.  If the year span of 1914-1919 is proven to be biblically insignificant, then the JW leadership can no longer justify their self-proclaimed authority.       

“Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics, to give them their food at the proper time?” (Matthew 24:45)

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.”  This is contrary to the biblical view that Christ began His rule at His ascension (Eph. 1:20-22).

In addition, they argue that Christ has been “present” since 1914.  While this year 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 after 1914 rather than during the first century as previously taught by the Watchtower.

This is a very problematic interpretation of Matthew 24.  In verse 45, the master puts his slave in charge.  Then, in verse 46, the master returns.  This implies that the master was 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 difficulty arises when we consider that the Watchtower leaders have already declared themselves to be the “faithful and discreet slave.”  But when does Jesus declare them to be “faithful and discreet”?  According to Matthew 24:45, He declares this 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 who are faithful and discreet.

This next point is likely to be the most detrimental 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 He surely would have made 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.  Therefore, there must be persons in Jesus’ audience who are the “faithful and discreet slave.”

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 have existed since the first century.  After all, Jesus directly admonished 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 in which Christians should be encouraged to challenge JW’s.  There is very little in which the JW can use to substantiate these new claims by the Watchtower.  Therefore, if confidence in the leadership is questioned, this may create an excellent opportunity to share the gospel.  But until then, JW’s will continue to believe anything that their leaders teach.  Consequently, they will hold to the false gospel that the Watchtower’s message truly is.

Hello, and thank you for writing.  

Well, your post does a great job of exposing the WT error on the Faithful and Discreet Slave, and their changing teaching on this issue.  I will not try to add much to your writing, because you covered it pretty well.  

The fact is, the Watchtower tells us that our very salvation hinges on properly identifying and associating with "the Slave", yet they themselves cannot even properly identify it.  The Slave has gone from being "Christians collectively", then to Charles Russell himself, eventually the "anointed 144,000", and most recently, ONLY the Governing Body.  Its almost enough to make your head spin.  

But that's the problem when a religion tries to impose a SELF-SERVING interpretation of a simple teaching, that ALL Christians are to be faithful.  And then they tell us that we have to "properly identify" the "Slave", yet they have been trying for a hundred years, and still can't get settled on the Slave's identity.

I am not sure if it has occurred to these dear people, the serious implications of CHANGING the teaching yet again.  This means that the "Slave" was not previously correctly identified, and it also means that those whom JWs have believed for YEARS that comprised the Slave, actually do not.  Furthermore, it begs the question....Before the JW had a GOVERNING BODY, WHO was the "Slave" then?

And the sad part is, that most JWs simply accept this change as wonderful "new light", and never see the many holes in the doctrine.  

Something else of note.....The JWs believe in what is known as the "1919 appointment".  Simply put, the year 1919 is believed to be the year in which Jesus personally inspected all the "Christian" religions, to see which one He would entrust to dispense "spiritual food", and appoint as His "faithful and discreet slave".  So, they actually believe that Jesus appointed them as the "faithful and discreet slave" in 1919.  

Amazingly though, in 1919 the Watchtower still taught the notion that the "slave" was not a corporate slave, but was one man....C.T. Russell.  This belief was finally discarded for good in 1927.....So, this implies that the "anointed ones" were the "slave" for 8 years, and DIDN'T EVEN KNOW IT, because they still taught that the slave was "Pastor" Russell!!

That, in addition to the many odd and ridiculous teachings that they held to in 1919 (many of those coming from THE FINISHED MYSTERY  published in 1917), makes this notion all the more unbelievable.  Teachings such as.....Michael the archangel being the Pope, etc.  Yet, these are the teachings Jesus would have found during His "inspection".

Furthermore, they do not seem to consider that the accounts in both Matthew and Luke, actually show the possibility of the Faithful Slave, becoming the Evil Slave.  This is a possibility that JWs will never consider, although this presents a huge problem in interpreting the "Slave" as a "class", rather than a command to individual Christians.  If you understand it to mean a command to all Christians, then it makes sense that a faithful slave could, over time, become an evil slave, while other faithful slaves remained faithful.  However, if you interpret this as a "class", then what happens if the "Slave" becomes EVIL and UNFAITHFUL?  Simple...there isn't a "Slave" left.  

Now, JWs may try and claim that the "evil slave" is different than the "Faithful Slave", but this is not true, if you just read what is writing, for it clearly says....

"But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;"

The word "THAT" , refers back to the previously faithful slave.  And another thing....This notion of knowing what is going to happen in 2014, 2015, or any other year, is completely bogus, because this previously faithful "Slave" thought His Lord was DELAYING His coming, PROVING that he did not KNOW when His Master's coming would be!  

You made an excellent point, also, that I would like to see some JWs here respond to, when you said....

"This is a very problematic interpretation of Matthew 24.  In verse 45, the master puts his slave in charge.  Then, in verse 46, the master returns.  This implies that the master was 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."

Very interesting, and I wonder how many JWs have actually thought of this, or the many other problems, with their unbiblical teaching on this topic.

Anyway, I have several other questions to reply to from you, which I am just now able to sit down and address.  I apologize for my answers to the others being so short, but I have limited time today, and I want your writings to get posted by tomorrow.  

Thanks for writing, and take care.  

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Derrick Holland


I was raised in the religion known as Jehovah`s Witnesses for 13 years. Since becoming a born-again Christian, I have researched extensively this religion, especially their doctrines and their history. I can answer questions about their doctrines from the perspective of Biblical Christianity. To be clear: Jehovahs Witnesses is the religion of my upbringing, though I myself was never baptized into the religion, nor have I ever been considered as a Jehovahs Witness.


29 years of Biblical research into the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith, and how they differ from the teachings of the Watchtower.

I would advise each questioner to this forum, to carefully READ the profiles of the various volunteers. There are several such as myself, who are not practicing JWs, but will provide you with an accurate and honest answer, regarding JW teaching. If we don't know the answer, we will try to research and get it for you. There are also some excellent practicing JWs here, who also endeavor to give you a factual and honest answer, based on their point of view. I believe by getting both points of view, the questioner can weigh the evidence for themselves, and make an informed decision. Unfortunately, there are also 3 here who claim to be JWs, but do NOT give honest, or well-researched answers. They will tell you only what they want you to believe, and they often hide facts about the history of their religion, as well as print untruths about other people's beliefs. This is done in an attempt to deceive the unsuspecting reader. It can be easily seen who these 3 are, simply by reading the public posts and "answers" which they write. Their posts will normally be filled with personal attacks, and if you question them about some teaching or aspect of the Watchtower that makes them uncomfortable, they will often reject your question, question your motives for asking it, tell you that you have been reading "apostate" sites, or turn the conversation into an attack on another expert. These ones are better avoided, as there is nothing to be gained by way of positive discussion, as they are not interested in intelligent conversation, or honest dialogue. If after reading the forum, you still have any questions as to who they are, just ask me, and I will be happy to tell you. And I can also provide documentation of their willful dishonesty. One thing is for a forum where people from both sides claim to be "Christians", there should never be any willful lying. Such ones only create a distraction in the forum, and provide nothing of any real value.

High School, some college. Studies of God's Word, the Bible, and how it compares to JW theology. I have found my own personal study and experiences to be far more valuable than any formal education or training. The Bible message is clear...Salvation is ONLY through and by the shed blood of Jesus Christ, and no religious organization has a thing to do with it. While attendance at a Bible-preaching, Bible-believing church is a must for spiritual growth and fellowship, no church can grant salvation to its members. Nor is joining a particular group a prerequisite for being saved.

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