FaithfulSlaveWT71513StudyEdition

“Who Really Is the Faithful and Discreet Slave?”

“Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics?”—MATT. 24:45.

CAN YOU FIND THE ANSWERS? Who is the faithful and discreet slave?

Who are the domestics, and when did Jesus appoint the faithful slave over them?

When will Christ appoint the faithful slave over all his belongings, and what will they include?

BROTHERS, I cannot begin to count the times you have put into my hands articles that contained just what I needed when I needed it most.” That is how one sister expressed her appreciation in a letter to the brothers who work at our world headquarters.

Can you identify with her? Many of us can. Should that surprise us? Not really.

2 The timely spiritual food we receive is proof that Jesus, the Head of the congregation, is keeping his promise to feed us. Through whom is he doing so? When giving the sign of his presence, Jesus said that he would use “the faithful and discreet slave” to give “food at the proper time” to his domestics.* (<Reead Matthew 24:45-47.<) 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.—Matt. 4:4; John 17:3.

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. (Prov. 4:18) Let us examine the illustration and how it involves us, whether we have the heavenly or the earthly hope.

WHEN IS THE ILLUSTRATION FULFILLED?

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. (<Reead Matthew 24:30, 42, 44.) Speaking about what will happen during the great tribulation, he said that people “will see the Son of man cooming 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 affter 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.

WHO IS THE FAITHFUL AND DISCREET SLAVE?

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 alll 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.—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.

WHO ARE THE DOMESTICS?

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.

Whether our hope is heavenly or earthly, we are all domestics and need the same timely spiritual food

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.

APPOINTED OVER ALL THE MASTER’S BELONGINGS—WHEN?

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 corulers with Christ.

19 Does the faithful slave receive a greater reward in heaven than the rest of the anointed? No. A reward promised to a small group in one setting may ultimately be shared by others. For example, consider what Jesus said to his 11 faithful apostles the night before he died. (<Reead Luke 22:28-30.) Jesus promised that small group of men that a fine reward awaited them for their faithfulness. They would share his throne of kingly authority. But years later, he indicated that alll of the 144,000 will sit on thrones and share his rulership. (Rev. 1:1; 3:21) Similarly, as stated at Matthew 24:47, he promised that a small group of men—the anointed brothers who make up the faithful slave—will be appointed over all his belongings. In reality, all of the 144,000 will share his vast heavenly authority.—Rev. 20:4, 6.

All of the 144,000 will share Jesus’ vast heavenly authority (See paragraph 19)

20 By means of the faithful and discreet slave, Jesus is following the pattern he set in the first century—feeding many through the hands of a few. Jesus appointed that faithful slave to ensure that his genuine followers—whether of the anointed or of the other sheep—would have a steady supply of timely spiritual food throughout the last days. Let us be determined to show our appreciation by giving our loyal support to the anointed brothers who make up that faithful and discreet slave.—Heb. 13:7, 17.

ENDNOTES: (To be read as footnotes with the corresponding paragraphs.)

[Footnotes]

Paragraph 2:: On an earlier occasion, Jesus related a similar illustration in which he referred to the “slave” as a “steward” and to the “domestics” as “his body of attendants.”—Luke 12:42-44.

Paragraph 6:: Christ’s “coming” (Greek, er′kho·mai) is different from his “presence” (paa·rou·si′a). His invisible presence begins before his coming to execute judgment.

Paragraph 122: See the article “Look! I Am With You Alll the Days,” in this issue, pages 10-12, paragraphs 5-8.

Paragraph 166: See the article “Tell Us, When Will These Things Be?” in this issue, pages 7-8, paragraphs 14-18.

[Study Questions]

1, 2.. Through what channel is Jesus feeding us today, and why is it vital that we recognize that channel?

 3.. What have our publications stated about the illustration of the faithful slave?

4-6. Why may we conclude that Jesus’ illustration of the faithful slave began to be fulfilled only after 1914?

 7.. What vital question arose as the harvest season began, and why?

 8.. Why is it fitting that the faithful slave be made up of anointed Christians?

 9.. Do alll anointed Christians make up the faithful slave? Explain.

10. Who is the faithful and discreet slave?

11, 122. (a) What two appointments does the faithful and discreet slave receive? (b) When did Jesus appoint the faithful slave over his domestics, and whom did he select?

13. Who are included in the domestics, and why?

14. (a) The faithful slave is charged with what responsibility, and what does this include? (b) What warning did Jesus give to the faithful and discreet slave? (See the box “If Ever That Evil Slave . . .”)

15, 166. When does Jesus appoint the faithful slave over all his belongings?

17. What do Jesus’ belongings include?

18. Why will Jesus delight in making the appointment over all his belongings?

19. Does the faithful slave receive a greater reward in heaven than the rest of the anointed? Explain.

20. Why did Jesus appoint the faithful slave, and what is your determination?

[Picture on page 200]

[Box on page 222]

DID YOU GET THE POINT?

“The faithful and discreet slave”: A small group of anointed brothers who are directly involved in preparing and dispensing spiritual food during Christ’s presence. Today, these anointed brothers make up the Governing Body

“His domestics”: All who are fed, whether they are of the anointed or of the other sheep

“Appointed over his domestics”: In 1919, Jesus selected capable anointed brothers to be his faithful and discreet slave

“He will appoint him over all his belongings”: Those who make up the composite slave will get this appointment when they receive their heavenly reward. Along with the rest of the 144,000, they will share Christ’s vast heavenly authority

[Picture on pages 222, 233]

Whether our hope is heavenly or earthly, we are all domestics and need the same timely spiritual food

[Box on page 244]

“IF EVER THAT EVIL SLAVE . . .”

  Jesus has placed the weightiest of responsibilities on the faithful and discreet slave—namely, overseeing the domestics and giving out spiritual food at the proper time. Jesus knew that those with greater responsibility have greater accountability. (Luke 12:48) Hence, he concluded his illustration about the faithful and discreet slave with a powerful warning.

  Jesus warned about an evil slave who concludes in his heart that the master is delaying and who starts to beat his fellow slaves. When the master arrives, said Jesus, he will punish that evil slave “with the greatest severity.”—Reead Matthew 24:48-51.<

  Was Jesus foretelling that there would be an evil slave class in the last days? No. Granted, some individuals have manifested a spirit similar to that of the evil slave described by Jesus. We would call them apostates, whether they were of the anointed or of the “great crowd.” (Rev. 7:9) But such ones do not make up an evil slave class. Jesus did not say that he would appoint an evil slave. His words here are actually a warning directed to the faithful and discreet slave.

  Notice that Jesus introduces the warning with the words “iif ever.” One scholar says that in the Greek text, this passage “for all practical purposes is a hypothetical condition.” In effect, Jesus was saying: ‘If the faithful and discreet slave were ever to mistreat his fellow slaves in these ways, this is what the master will do when he arrives.’ (See also Luke 12:45.) However, the composite faithful and discreet slave has continued to keep on the watch and to provide nourishing spiritual food.

  The anointed brothers who together serve as the faithful slave recognize that they are accountable to the Master for the way they care for his domestics. The heartfelt desire of these anointed brothers is to fulfill their responsibility loyally so that they might hear a “well done” from the Master when he finally arrives.

[Picture on page 255]

All of the 144,000 will share Jesus’ vast heavenly authority (See paragraph 19)

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Jesus' Question

At Matthew 24:45-47, Jesus asked the question, 'Who is the faithful and sensible slave that the master has put in charge of his household, to provide their food at the right times?' Then he went on to say that, this 'slave' would be 'blest if he's found doing so when his master arrives.' And the reward for providing for the Lord's house servants would be: 'He'll put him in charge of all that he owns.'

In Greek, this slave is described as 'pistos doulos kai phroinimos' (faithful slave and prudent). However, prudent is no longer a common word in American English, so we have chosen a synonym, 'sensible.'

The Slave's Appointment

When does this arrival of the Master happen… when does he find the 'faithful and sensible slave' (the 'doorkeeper' in Mark and the 'faithful house manager' in Luke) 'providing 'his house servants' their 'provisions?' Well, in all three Gospel accounts, his arrival is said to be 'at an hour that you don't think to be it.' In fact, at Mark 13:32, Jesus immediately precedes this prophecy of the faithful slave with the words, 'Nobody has known that day or the hourneither the angels in heaven or the Son, just the Father.' So as you can see; the 'day and hour' that no one would know is when Jesus will arrive and appoint his slave (or slaves) over 'all that he owns.' And this appears to happen at his (Jesus') arrival (gr. elthon) to bring God's Kingdom to the earth, not his 'parousia,' which some teach is an earlier event. That this appointment comes after his arrival, is attested to in all three Gospel accounts.

Even the placement of this portion of the prophecy in Matthew's account – after the 'great time of difficulty' [1914Speculation] and after Jesus' coming – testifies that it is after the previous things that he spoke of in Matthew 24 have happened, that he recognizes the faithfulness and sensibleness of this slave and appoints him over all his possessions. And although someone once put a chapter break immediately following this prophecy, the next two parables (of the ten virgins and of the three slaves) appear to be a continuation of this same description.

Who Really Is 'the Faithful and Sensible Slave?'

While it's a fact that many religions and their leaders have claimed to be this faithful slave down through the centuries, their claims seem to be at best boastful; because, the Lord obviously hasn't arrived on the earth, since his sign has yet to be seen in the sky. Notice how all three texts show that this is when the slave is recognized and appointed, not at some earlier date.

Now, from the context of the verses, it appears as though this faithful slave represents those who have been appointed to take the lead in directing the Lord's household by providing them regular spiritual sustenance. And if they are deemed as having been faithful and sensible; then, according to the two descriptions that follow, those who have kept 'their lamps lit' will be invited to the 'wedding banquet of the Lamb,' and these faithful slaves will be appointed over 'cities' and over all the Lord's 'possessions.'

Is it possible that when Jesus spoke of the faithful slaves, he was just talking about all faithful Christians? No, that doesn't appear to be the case; for, the context of Jesus' words are self-explanatory. Notice that he says this slave is found to be giving 'his household' their 'food.' And the parallel account in Luke (which the majority of commentators agree is likely the most accurate) speaks of the slave as holding the position of 'house manager,' or, 'major domo,' or, the one that is over all the other faithful slaves. Therefore, this slave must represent those who are taking the lead in providing for the spiritual needs of other Christians.

The 'Bad' or 'Evil' Slave

Now, when Jesus was talking about the faithful and sensible slave (at Matthew 24:48-51), he mentioned another possible outcome FOR THAT SLAVE (or, FOR THOSE SLAVES). He warned of a change in attitude that comes when the Master's arrival is later than expected. Note that he said: 'But, if that bad slave (gr. ho kakos doulos ekeinos, or, the bad slave that) should say in his heart, My master is late in arriving, and then he starts beating his fellow slaves, and eating and drinking along with the drunks; that slave's master will arrive on a day and hour that he isn't expected, and he'll cut him down and assign him among the hypocrites… and that's where he'll weep and grind his teeth'

So, notice that this bad slave was once a faithful slave, but he becomes discouraged during a long wait for the Lord's arrival and falls into evil ways… 'He didn't come when we said he would.' So, he starts 'beating' his fellow slaves, by passing the blame onto them for expecting the earlier arrival of the Lord, and by excommunicating or disfellowshipping any who might disagree with them and their false prophecies. History shows that this has truly happened (and continues to happen) to leaders of religious groups that have been expecting the coming of Jesus ('the Lord') through the centuries. For, they've finally given up, allowed their 'lamps to go out,' and misused their position of authority to harm the faithful.

As you can see from Jesus' words; what constitues an 'evil slave' is not the mistakes in his teachings, but his bad actions toward fellow slaves.

Therefore, any who would wish to be found as 'faithful slaves' must be very careful not to become discouraged if the Lord's arrival is later than they may have taught or expected. They must stay awake and be found watching (even if that means sounding an occasional false alarm) when the Master actually arrives. And they must be found supplying solid 'spiritual food' to Jesus' household at that time. In addition, they must always deal very lovingly with their 'fellow slaves' to be found 'faithful' and to be put in charge of everything that the Master owns… not beating the other slaves over whom they have been in charge.

The 'Doorkeeper' of Mark's Prophecy

In Mark 13, we find the same account as in Matthew 24, 25, but with slightly different words and in an abbreviated form. Here Jesus says (Mark 13:32-37): 'Why, no one knows that day or that hour… not the messengers in heaven or the Son, just the Father. So, stay awake and keep watching; because, you don't know when this time will come! It's like a man, who, before leaving his house and traveling abroad, instructed each of his slaves to just go on doing their jobs… but he commanded his doorkeeper to stay awake! So, stay awake, because you don't know when the Master of the house is coming – whether it's late, or at midnight, or at rooster crowing, or early in the morning – so that when he suddenly arrives, he doesn't find you sleeping. What I'm saying to you I'm saying to everyone: Stay awake!'

The point that Jesus was making here, is that those who are in charge of his slaves should always be alert and watching for his arrival, and never allow themselves to fall asleep to this responsibility. In addition, Jesus' final words on this subject, 'What I'm saying to you, I'm saying to everyone,' indicate that although the 'watchmen' or 'door keepers' have the primary responsibility of staying awake, each of his fellow slaves share in that responsibility.

By the way; the Greek word that is translated as doorkeeper here is thyroro, from the words thyra (door) and ouros (keeper). This is the same word that Jesus used at John 10:3, where he spoke of himself as the 'doorkeeper of the sheep.' So, Jesus is also a faithful and sensible slave.

The Faithful, Sensible, House Manager of Luke's Account

It is interesting to note, once again, the time when the slave is identified and when he receives his reward, as found in the parallel account of Luke. At Luke 12:40, we read that Jesus said:
'So, you must also stay ready!
For, the Son of Man will arrive,
At an hour you consider unlikely
.'

Then he continues with at Luke 12:42-44, saying:
'Who is the faithful house manager…
The sensible one, assigned by his lord
,
To be in charge of his faithful friends,
And provide them their meals at the right times?
For, this slave will be blest, if he's found doing so,
When his master arrives!
I tell you the truth… he'll put him in charge of all that he owns!'

In Greek, this person is described as ho pistos oikonomos ho phronimos, or, the faithful house manager, the sensible. These words are found in a different setting than they are in Matthew 24 and Mark 13, for Luke puts Jesus speaking them at a different time than what is found in Matthew and Mark. However, Luke claims that the things he wrote in his Gospel were put in a chronological order, whereas Matthew was obviously following a theme of thought, and Mark seems to have just quoted (loosely, with a variation of descriptions) from Matthew's account. So, we don't know if Jesus gave the same illustration on more than one occasion, or if the words in Matthew (and Mark) were just written out of chronological order. However, they all appear to be quoting Jesus' same illustration or parable.

And notice that in Luke's account, more is added to Jesus' prophecy. At Luke 12:47, 48, he is recorded as saying:
'So, the slave who knows what his master expects,
And doesn't prepare or do what he wants,
Will be lashed with a whip many times.
But, he who does not understand,
And does things for which he deserves to be whipped,
Will be beaten with [just a] few [strokes].
For, from those to whom much is given,
Much is also expected.
And of he who's put in charge over much,
Much more is also required.'

These additional words of Jesus emphasize the need for the 'house managers' to continue providing nourishing spiritual food of the deeper things of God's Word, not just 'Sunday sermons' on 'repenting over bad deeds, having faith in God, or learning about baptisms, [spiritual] appointments, the resurrection of the dead, or the judgments on this age' (Hebrews 6:1, 2)… the 'milk' of the Word of God.

Another question that is raised in the latter part of Luke's account is: Who are those 'who don't understand' and what will their outcome be? We will likely have to await future events to unravel the full meaning of this prophecy.

The Ten Virgins

Notice again that the five wise virgins of Matthew 25 were only identified as such and rewarded after the Lord arrived. And they are thereafter invited to attend the Lord's wedding banquet, because they are spiritually awake and ready! So, notice that they are invited after the master has taken his bride. The fact that the virgins are not the bride is confirmed in the Aramaic targums of Matthew's text, which say that the bridegroom arrives with his bride. This outcome (of being invited inside the banquet) is quite different from that of the five 'virgins' who were less prepared (and note that they weren't killed; they just weren't allowed to enter the wedding banquet).

Notice that this sequence of events in Jesus' parable is exactly the same as what happened in an ancient Jewish wedding. For, first the groom would go to the bride's home to accept her from her family (which is the wedding), then the marriage is consummated. And thereafter, they both travel to meet their friends to celebrate the union at the wedding banquet. So, the banquet is not the wedding, and the virgins who are invited are not the bride!

Notice how Psalm 45:13-17 prophesied this event:
'The king's daughter is glorious within,
And she's wrapped in clothes embroidered with gold.
Then, all the virgins who follow in her train,
(Those closest to her) will be carried to you.

They will be carried in gladness and praising,
And be led to the king's
Holy Place.
In place of your fathers, sons will be born,
And you'll appoint them as rulers over the lands.
From one generation to another,
All will remember your name.
Yes, all the peoples will praise you,
Through the age and the age of the ages.'

Also, note the similarities in Jesus' words that lead up to another (parallel) account… the one of the faithful slave, as found at Luke 12:35, 36. It says there:
'So, wrap on your sashes and light up your lamps;
Then, act like men who await the return,
Of their master, after taking his bride;
So that when he arrives and starts knocking,
They can open [the doors] to him right away.'

Obviously, there is enough similarity between these accounts to safely conclude that all these parables are discussing the same slaves or virgins and the same period in time.

So, to recap: Notice that in Jesus' parable, the wedding has already occurred and that the slaves or virgins are awaiting the coming of the Lord and his bride so they can enter the wedding banquet.

But in Jesus' parable of the ten virgins, all have fallen (spiritually) asleep during a dark period, as they await the Lord's arrival. But fully half of the group has retained enough 'oil' to keep their lamps from going out, and some are awake and watching at his arrival (not his nearness or parousia, but his arrival or elthon).

The clear indication from all of these illustrations, is that those virgins who are considered 'sensible' are the ones who have kept on looking for him and awaiting the Lord's arrival. But 'those who just don't care' have stopped looking, waiting, and being prepared to enter his wedding banquet.

However, the reward for the righteous (being appointed over all the Lord's possessions), as the next parable shows, is received after they enter the wedding banquet. So, since no person or group of people can enter the wedding banquet unless they have proven themselves ready and faithful. Also, no one can really claim to be this 'faithful and sensible slave' until they are proclaimed such by the Lord Jesus… which happens after his arrival to bring God's Kingdom to the earth. So, no it hasn't happened yet!

Similarities to Revelation

There are also striking similarities between the story of the ten virgins and the account found at Revelation 19:7-9, which says: 'Let's rejoice, shout in joy, and glorify him, because it's time for the Lamb's wedding! His bride has prepared herself and she has been found as worthy to be dressed in bright, clean, fine linen. This fine linen represents the righteous actions of the Holy Ones. Then he told me, Write this: Those who are invited to the Lamb's wedding banquet are blest.'

So, notice that these blest ones (like the virgins in Matthew 25) are not the bride… they are just invited guests at 'the wedding banquet of the Lamb.' So, they appear to be the same as the virgins or faithful slaves of Jesus' parable.

Just think about it… If you were invited to a wedding banquet, would you assume that you were the bride?

The Three Slaves

The next parable in Matthew 25 (the one about the three slaves who were entrusted with the master's belongings after he went away) seems once again to parallel Jesus prophecy of the 'faithful and sensible slave.' For, notice the wording there (Matthew 25:21): 'Then his master told him: Well done, good and faithful slave! You have been faithful in a few things, so I will appoint you over many… enjoy the favor of your master!'

However, in this parable, there were three slaves, and two of them have been faithful in taking care of the (spiritual) treasures that the Lord gave them, while the third did nothing with it. And again, we notice that the first two slaves were rewarded upon the Lord's 'coming' (gr. erchetai), and their reward was being appointed over earthly cities. So, although their invitation to the Lord's wedding banquet appears to be heavenly (or possibly, high in earth's atmosphere), the area of their rule is earthly.

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From The Faithful and Sensible Slave

Open Link The Faithful and Sensible Slave (revised and updated 4/9/2012)

INDEX:
*Jesus' Question
*The Slave's Appointment
*Who Really Is 'the Faithful and Sensible Slave?'
*The 'Bad' or 'Evil' Slave
*The 'Doorkeeper' of Mark's Prophecy
*The Faithful, Sensible, House Manager of Luke's Account
*The Ten Virgins
*Similarities to Revelation
*The Three Slaves

 

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