The “Faithful & Discreet” Changes

The Faithful and Discreet Slave

Insight on the Scriptures Vol.1 (1988)

Legend

  • TEXT signifies text deleted.
  • TEXT signifies text inserted.
  • TEXT signifies text changed.
1988 Print Edition
FAITHFUL AND DISCREET SLAVE

When answering the apostles’ question concerning his future presence and the conclusion of the existing system of things, Jesus Christ included a parable, or illustration, dealing with a “faithful and discreet slave” and an “evil slave”. The faithful slave’s master appointed him over his domestics, or household servants, to provide them their food. If approved at his master’s coming (evidently from some trip), the slave would be rewarded by being placed over the master’s entire property.-Mt 24:3, 45-51.

In the parallel illustration at Luke 12:42-48, the slave is called a steward, that is, a house manager or administrator, one placed over servants, though he is himself a servant. Such a position was often filled in ancient times by a faithful slave. (Compare Ge 24:2; also the case of Joseph at Ge 39:1-6) In Jesus’ illustration the steward is first assigned only to the supervision and timely dispensation of the food supplies to the master’s body of attendants, or servants, and later, because of his faithful and discreet handling of this ministry, his assignment is widened out to embrace supervision of all the master’s holdings. Regarding the identification of the “master” (Gr., ky’ri·os, also rendered “lord”), Jesus had already shown that he himself occupied such a position toward his disciples, and they addressed him as such on occasion. (Mt 10:24, 25; 1 8:21; 24:42; Joh 13:6, 13) The question remains concerning the application of the figure of the faithful and discreet slave, or steward, and what his dispensing food to the domestics represents.

Commentators often view this as a general exhortation to any and all who have individual positions of responsibility in the Christian congregation. The requirement of faithfulness in discharging responsibility clearly applies to all such. (Compare Mt 25:14-30; Tit 1:7-9) Yet, the impossibility of each and every one of these individuals being placed over “all” his master’s belongings at the same time, the time of the master’s arrival, is obvious. This, however, does not require that the “slave” prefigure only one particular person who would be so privileged. The Scriptures contain examples of the use of a singular noun to refer to a collective group, as when Jehovah addressed the collective group of the Israelite nation and told them: “You are my witnesses [plural] , . . . even my servant [singular] whom I have chosen.” (Isa 43:10) Similarly, the figure of the unfaithful “evil slave” could apply to a collective group in the same way that “the antichrist” is shown to be a class made up of individual antichrists.- 1 Jo 2:18; 2 Jo 7.

Those forming the Christian congregation are referred to by the apostle Paul as “members of the household of God” (Eph 2:19; 1 Ti 3:15) , and the same apostle shows that ‘faithful stewardship’ among such household members involved the dispensing of spiritual truths on which those becoming believers would ‘feed. ‘ (1 Co 3:2, 5; 4:1, 2; compare Mt 4:4. ) Whereas this was a prime responsibility of those appointed as ‘shepherds’ of the flock (1 Pe 5:1-3), the apostle Peter shows that such stewardship of the divine truths was actually committed to all the ‘chosen ones,’ all the spirit-anointed ones, of the Christian congregation. (1 Pe 1:1, 2; 4:10, 11) Thus the entire anointed Christian congregation was to serve in a united stewardship, dispensing such truths. At the same time the individual members making up such composite body, or the “domestics” making up the “house” of God (Mt 24:45; Heb 3:6; Eph 2:19), would also be recipients of the “food” dispensed. (Heb 5:11-14; compare 1 Co 12:12, 19-27) Expanded responsibility would result from faithfulness maintained until the master’s promised ‘arrival. ‘-Mt 24:46, 47; Lu 12:43, 44.

2014 CD-ROM Edition
FAITHFUL AND DISCREET SLAVE

When answering the apostles’ question concerning his future presence and the conclusion of the existing system of things, Jesus Christ included a parable, or illustration, dealing with a “faithful and discreet slave.” The faithful slave’s master appointed him over his domestics, or household servants, to provide them their food. If approved at his master’s coming (evidently from some trip), the slave would be rewarded by being placed over all the master’s belongings.—Mt 24:3, 45-51.

In the parallel illustration at Luke 12:42-48, the slave is called a steward, that is, a house manager or administrator, one placed over servants, though he is himself a servant. Such a position was often filled in ancient times by a faithful slave. (Compare Ge 24:2; also the case of Joseph at Ge 39:1-6.) In Jesus’ illustration the steward is first assigned only to the supervision and timely dispensation of the food supplies to the master’s body of attendants, or servants, and later, because of his faithful and discreet handling of this ministry, his assignment is widened out to embrace supervision of all the master’s holdings. Regarding the identification of the “master” (Gr., kyʹri·os, also rendered “lord”), Jesus had already shown that he himself occupied such a position toward his disciples, and they addressed him as such on occasion. (Mt 10:24, 25; 18:21; 24:42; Joh 13:6, 13) The question remains concerning the application of the figure of the faithful and discreet slave, or steward, and what his dispensing food to the domestics represents.

“Slave” is in the singular. This, however, does not require that the “slave” prefigure only one particular person who would be so privileged. The Scriptures contain examples of the use of a singular noun to refer to a collective group, such as when Jehovah addressed the collective group of the Israelite nation and told them: “You are my witnesses [plural], . . . even my servant [singular] whom I have chosen.” (Isa 43:10) The “antichrist” is shown to be a collective group made up of individual antichrists. (1 Jo 2:18; 2 Jo 7) Similarly, the “slave” is composite. It was to be appointed in the time of the end as a channel to give out spiritual “food at the proper time.” (Mt 24:3, 45; Lu 12:42) In the first century, Jesus set a pattern for how spiritual food would be dispensed in the Christian congregation. Just as he had distributed literal food to the crowds through the hands of a few disciples, spiritual food was to be provided through the hands of a few. (Mt 14:19; Mk 6:41; Lu 9:16) Jesus trained the apostles for the role they would have after Pentecost 33 C.E. as a channel in dispensing spiritual food. They were later joined by other elders to serve as a governing body in order to settle issues and to direct the preaching and teaching of the Kingdom good news. (Ac 2:42; 8:14; 15:1, 2, 6-29; 22:17-19) After the death of the apostles, a great apostasy set in. But in the time of the end—in keeping with the pattern he set in the first century of feeding many through the hands of a few—Jesus selected a small group of spirit-anointed men to serve as “the faithful and discreet slave,” to prepare and dispense spiritual food during his presence.

The domestics are all those who belong to the Christian congregation, both the anointed and the “other sheep,” who are fed spiritual food. (Joh 10:16) This includes the individual members making up “the faithful and discreet slave,” since they too are recipients of the food dispensed. Those who make up the faithful slave will receive expanded responsibility if they are found faithful at the master’s promised arrival. When they receive their heavenly reward and become corulers with Christ, he will appoint them over “all his belongings.” Along with the rest of the 144,000, they will share Christ’s vast heavenly authority.—Mt 24:46, 47; Lu 12:43, 44.

<- Previous Page | Next Page ->

1 thought on “The “Faithful & Discreet” Changes

  1. The governing Body of Elders should be held accountable for their sins
    and in my opinion– the crimes against Almighty God and the crimes
    against the simple rank and file Jehovah’s Witness. The treachery and
    misleading dogma is screaming loud and clear to the gates of Heaven! As
    these atrocities accumulate, the bigger picture will definitely take
    shape. Sooner or later, be it Jehovah himself, the Lord Jesus Christ,
    the governments of Earth or even Satan, Some entity WILL render Justice
    to those that have mislead and inflicted so much pain and suffering
    while hiding behind the name of GOD.

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.