Saturday, January 1, 2011

  When scriptural understanding began opening up to me, I believed that all such spiritual food should be forwarded to the Governing Body. This was my belief due to the description of the slave, in Matthew 24:45-47. Here it seemed obvious, that of all the slaves in the household that were expected to be faithful and discreet, there was a particular slave among them who had the distinction of being the Steward over the others. This would be the one who would determine, out of all the foodstuffs brought in by the other slaves, which provisions would be served, and when.

This is a simple illustration, and it is simple to understand in it's purity. Jesus gave it to Peter, and an accurate understanding can be attained, if we consider how Peter himself would have understood it.

In the first century, there were household slaves. No matter what their position within the house, they were all required to be faithful and discreet. So in the application of this illustration, all in the household are to strive to be 'the faithful and discreet slave', from the lowest (domestics under the steward), to the highest (the Steward).

The distinction between the slaves comes to our attention when Jesus points out the Steward (one of the slaves) as being over the others (1Cor.12:28 "abilities to direct"); and he accurately points out that this is the position of menu oversight. According to the accuracy of this illustration and the way Peter would have naturally understood it, the Steward Slave of the household, is not the source of the food he manages and dispenses. He does not do the sowing of seed in the garden, nor the picking of vegetables, nor the preparing of meals, nor the setting of the table, nor the cleaning of the dishes afterward. He was usually an older slave who had been with the Master a longer time, and who already experienced working at many of the jobs now under him. Now that he is older, his Master wisely uses this one's experience, and mercifully relieves him of the labor intensive work. He is simply asked to manage the determine how it is conducted and what the menu will be for the week, so to speak. Though he organizes the feeding schedule, he does not directly provide the food.

So, to get back to my situation, I believed that as I was gathering this spiritual food, it was proper to forward it to the Governing Body, for them to determine how and when to dispense it. I was unprepared for the announcement that went out through a Wt. study article, that the men on the Governing Body consider themselves the only source of any spiritual light, as well as it's dispensers.

When Jesus explained to us how this light would come, he said that Holy Spirit would teach the anointed all things, and lead them into all the truth. There are so many scriptures like Joel 2:28&29 and Acts 2:17&18, that show that this ability to prophesy in the time of the end, can come from even the lowest of the household slaves (1John 2:20,26,27). Remember, all slaves are to be faithful and discreet in presenting whatever they are given. It is up to the Steward alone, to arrange and dispense it in an orderly fashion.

If a Steward refuses the contributions of the other slaves, will he really be able to properly care for the needs of the household? Jesus said that such a Steward would be acting unreasonably, as if drunk. What do the scriptures reveal as to the symbolic drink such a one would become drunk by? It is likely the same drink being imbibed by the "confirmed drunkards" he is now in the company of (Matt. 24:49). Those said to be in scripture, symbolic confirmed drunkards, are drunk with power, such as Babylon the Great. (Rev. 17:2,6) So, the position this Steward has been given, may have 'gone to his head'. The absence of the Master has no doubt contributed to this. We are told in Matt.24:48, that this steward begins these bad behaviors and traits, because as he puts it, "My Master is delaying".

This does not necessarily mean that he wants his master to stay away, so that he can get away with this deterioration and neglect of the household. No, but he has become angry with the Master because the Master is taking too long to arrive! He is irritated that he must unexpectedly stay an extended time at his post. This delay brings about unwelcomed changes, that he did not expect to be faced with. Some of these developments reveal him to be unreliable.

He then expresses his resentment upon the slaves under him. When they bring in to him the provisions for the day, he beats them. Rather than appreciate the contributions of his fellow workers, his drunken state of mind causes him to believe that because of simply having this station of authority, all credit belongs to him for all the household's needs being fulfilled. He now sees himself as the "Master" of the household, rather than a fellow slave. Such a Steward could no longer be proficient in "giving the proper food at the proper time." In beating his fellows, his focus is not on the quality of the provisions, but on the subjugation of those trying to prove faithful to the real Master.

But this is not the only illustration Jesus gave to describe and explain this development. When we combine the three he gave, all three are clarified. In the next parable, the character that becomes this Steward is the wicked slave of Matthew 25:24. What this wicked slave states, gives us insight into the mind of the Steward. The Wicked slave says to his returned Master, "I knew you to be an exacting man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you did not winnow. So, I grew afraid and went off and hid your talent in the ground. Here, have what is yours." (Matt.25:24&25)

First, we are shown that this wicked slave does not really know his Master intimately. He attributes bad motive to his Master, saying he is "exacting". We recall the Jewish religious leaders that went beyond the things written because of thinking this very way about Jehovah. They were so interested in establishing their own righteousness, that they increased the load of worship and took pride in conforming to their own doctrines (Isa.28:10,11,12; 8:15; 59:10; Rev.13:10). They were so involved in these things, that they ignored the "weightier matters", such as humility, love, mercy, and justice (Matt.23:23; Jer.22:3). So in application, such men would rather establish and defend their own righteousness (John7:18; 8:50,54), than risk accepting other provisions through the contributions of others; contributions that may not conform to their own "exacting" doctrines. They come to believe (and teach) that their own doctrines are from an exacting Master, and they expect others to agree. We see the parallel with the Steward's rejection of contribution, when beating his fellow slaves. )

But then the wicked slave says that the Master "reaps where he does not sow." Since we know we are talking about providing spiritual food (from the household illustration), here we see the slave believes that he is under duress to provide results without the Master giving supplies. In other words, he thinks the Master expects spiritual food to be served, without providing any source of food. So, in the midst of all the provisions the domestics offer, the wicked slave does not view the source as coming from the Master himself. Jesus is providing an abundant source of food for the Steward to dispense, but drunk with power, he does not humbly recognize the value of the provision, and blames the Master for the difficult task of providing food out of nothing. We see however that in the end, this wicked slave will have to say, "Here, have what is yours.", finally admitting the true source of what was given him.

Next, we see the that the wicked slave accused the Master of "gathering" wheat that he did not himself "winnow". Is this true? See Matt.3:12... There we are told that Jesus himself shovels, cleans up, and "gathers" his wheat-like ones into his storehouse; He himself will also "burn up the chaff"; until his "threshing floor" is completely cleaned up, and all the "chosen" are segregated.

Why does this wicked slave deny that the Master does this himself? 
Because the wicked slave wants this authority for himself. What does he decide to do?
This wicked slave takes it upon himself to "beat/thresh" the wheat (Matt.24:49). He takes it upon himself to separate the wheat from the chaff...even gathering what he decides is "wheat", into the storehouse. He also takes it upon himself to burn the "chaff" with fire (Rev.13:13). So, in preferring to think the Master a cruel, unfair, "exacting man"; he enforces these standards, by taking authority he was not given. 
These exacting standards are really sourced in the heart of the wicked slave, according to his own desire. He raises himself as Master over his fellow slaves. He will gather as saved, those who support him. He will burn up as chaff, all those who defy him. The result? He judges, condemns, and exacts punishment upon his spiritual brothers. He has stepped into the shoes of the Master, and performs wickedly (Luke 6:37; Matt.23:10,11,12; Mark 10:42,43,44).

We see in Matt. 25:25 that, eventually the brightness of spiritual light coming from the other domestics becomes intimidating, causing this wicked slave to "become afraid". This moves him to bury what he views as a threat. This is in strange harmony with what the Governing Body has done with the letters of understanding coming from other faithful slaves around the world, discarding (burying) and discouraging them, from contributing. Their sense of intimidation is prophesied to increase. The intensity of their persecution toward their former brothers, will also increase. It is prophesied that they will go so far as "killing" the faithful.

This brings us to the clarification that the last illustration provides...that of the wise and discreet virgins.

First, these figures are clearly identified as anointed ones near the very end of this system (Rev.14:4). For, the setting is just previous to the Marriage of the Lamb, which has not yet occurred. We see that the 10 virgins are divided into two groups of 5. We understand this to mean that there is a 50/50 chance of being either wise or foolish...a warning to anointed ones in the time of the end, indeed!

Now, in this illustration, the spiritual food and talents are translated into lamps of spiritual light filled with oil.

The foolish ones start out, by taking only their lamps into the night to meet the Bridegroom. However, we note that unlike the discreet virgins, they do not bring an extra receptacle (back-up oil) (Matt.25:3,4). Why? They evidently have their own idea of how long the Groom will take to arrive, and it is not very long. They also feel that the amount of "light" they already have, is sufficient.

Yet we see the discreet virgins take their receptacles filled up. They ascribe dignity to the Groom, leaving his arrival to his own discretion. They voice no insistent expectations as to time limits. They prove their subjection by taking receptacles, remaining open to whatever the spirit may direct.

Well, as we know, the Bridegroom delays. This is a parallel to the Steward's angry statement, "The Master is delaying!'

We see why the Steward desires to beat his fellow slaves, the faithful and discreet ones. Because like Cain who jealously killed his brother, the foolish virgins discern that, *as the night prolongs*, the lamps of the wise virgin's are burning more brightly than theirs. (Matt.25:7&8)

The foolish virgins demand of the wise, "Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are about to go out!" The oil providing light to their lamps is Holy Spirit. These foolish virgins believe that God's spirit is something the wise ones should give away in compromise, so that the foolish ones lamps won't appear so darkened. The wise virgins recognize the traits these foolish ones are manifesting, and reply, "Perhaps there may not be enough for you and us".

They answer correctly. To compromise would mean a loss of spirit for all. They are not willing to part with their precious possession. So they then tell the foolish virgins, "Be on your way, instead, to those who sell it and buy for yourselves." (Rev.18:11)

Who is it that "sells" spirit  (favor, blessing, understanding, guidance, direction)? (Why, here is the parallel to the "Confirmed Drunkards" that the steward goes off to accompany.) These peddlers of the word have amassed shameless luxury from selling their "wares" (Rev.18:3). Such peddlers are the only source left to these foolish virgins to fill their darkened lamps. In order to go through with this transaction, they must submit to those in control of it (Rev.13:17). 

Rather than rely on the provisions of Jehovah (Eph.1:17,18), they turn to another source. Are these anointed ones turning to other churches to find Holy Spirit? Not at all likely. But they are willing to turn to the darkness of the doctrines of men (Matt.6:22,23). They will pay a heavy price for this oil. It is not the free gift of Jehovah's spirit. (Isa.55:1,2,3,4) They no longer turn to the Bridegroom Lamb or his Father for supplies (John5:40).
 What is the price for this  "purchase" of defiled oil? They have exchanged their clean virginal standing (Rev.14:4,5*). They have compromised the truth given by God's spirit and have instead, returned as harlots. They have defiled themselves with a "woman" Rev.14:4. That "woman" has become their mother (Rev.17:5) They are no longer in covenant with Christ (Gal.4:26).
We see in the parable that the foolish virgins comply to this suggestion, and go off in the middle of the dark night, with dim lamps, to buy.
  Satan himself also sells "light" (2Cor.11:14) to his ministers. The price for it, is their integrity. If they are willing to surrender their loyalty and subjection to Christ; he will provide them with what their prideful hearts prefer to hear....that they are powerful, prominent, and superior to their brothers in Christ. This stature seems preferable to them; compared to the humiliating, grievous course of Christ (John12:43).

Without Holy Spirit, the foolish virgin's self-esteem is derived from their visible authority, power, and accomplishments. Like the Jews of Jesus' day, who pointed to the physical temple in Jerusalem as the sign of their authority, the only source of their light is no longer Jehovah. No wonder the oil of God's spirit is in short supply within their lamps!

If these foolish virgins do not repent and wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb, they will be shut out of their reward 
(Rev.7:2,3,4,14). These one's will lose entry into the Marriage of the Lamb, left unsealed when this system finally ends (Matt.25:11,12). They must remember and submit to the true identity of their Lord, Master, and Bridegroom...and no other leader and head (Matt.23:10; Eph.1:22,23).

    All the virgins must choose from which mother they will receive the light they shine. Will it be from what Holy Spirit gives them directly (1John 2:27), or from the dark, defiled waters served by those proving unfaithful (Rev.9:2;8:10,11)?

There are two women (mothers) present in the Revelation of the Lord's day. All anointed must choose to whom they will become daughters of...
There is "Sarah" (the New Covenant) (Rev.12:1,2,4,5 (Rev.2:26,27) Rev.12:6,13,14 (Matt.24:28) Rev.12:15,16  (Rev.16:12)  Rev.12:17; Gal.4:22,23,24,26,28,31) who finally gives birth to the full number of those sealed...

and there are the harlots, who have left their covenant with God to fornicate with Satan. Satan offers them a different covenant (key)... a Covenant with Death (Abyss) Rom.10:7. They agree, by accepting this Key to Satan's abyss of death, darkness, and deception (Rev.9:1). This covenant (Babylon the Great) becomes their mother.
(Rev.17:1,2,3,4,5,6; 8:10,11; 9:1; 11:7; Isa.28:14,15) 

Babylon the Great is called "the mother of the harlots".
"Jerusalem above" is called the mother of her seed...the faithful anointed. (Sarah: Gal.4:24,26,31)

Those who belong to each of these women covenants, are the children/seed of that covenant.
The children of Babylon the Great are harlots.
The children of the New Covenant/Sarah, are Virgins.

By the end of this world, all the anointed kings of the earth(who have not yet received their kingdom. Rev.17:12), will have made their choice as to which woman/mother they will belong to. 

These king designates will either be spiritually fed by the darkness (food stamped with 666), giving their future Kingdom rule away (Rev.16:13,14; 17:12,13,17); 
the "seed" of the "woman"/two witnesses, will be fed in a place prepared by God (Rev.12:6,14), where they will in turn, feed others (Rev.11:3; Matt.24:28).

To the latter, the blessings of the promise are given...light, true food, spiritual protection, life, and entry to the heavens. 
To the former, the powers of the key to the Abyss and it's deceptive death-dealing darkness, and rulership with the Locust/Scorpions and Wild Beast will be given. The end of their mother, will be destruction by fire (Rev.17:16).
The virgins who turn to this Covenant, will surrender their position of kingship with Christ, and give it over to the Mother of the harlots and her Beast (Rev.17:12,13). In doing so, they actually side with Satan, and against Christ (Rev.17:14).

And so, these virgins become segregated. These kingdom heirs choose to give their kingdom positions to one of two women. After their choice is made, they will have chosen sides....Satan, or Christ. The ones who side with the Mother of the harlots and the power of the Beast, will in time, seek or support the killing of the faithful virgins (Rev.17:6;11:7). This escalates into the battle of Armageddon.

All of Jesus' illustrations describing events leading up to the birth of the Kingdom, are single layers that, when stacked, line up to explain themselves. When examined in this way, they augment one another.

 We have as our head a Great Teacher, who loved his own and saw to it we would have a rich supply of knowledge to draw upon. Thanks and praise to Jehovah for His loving care.

So then, what are the discreet virgins, as well as all the other sheep, to do if they feel these prophecies are presently being fulfilled? Well, even if such ones are enduring beatings from the Steward, we MUST turn to Jehovah and His word for direction.

In all these three illustrations, never do the good slaves take matters into their own hands. We are told that the Master, when he returns, will settle accounts, punish that slave, and reward the discreet. In the meanwhile, the discreet must continue to remain awake and busy, faithfully working with what the spirit teaches and directs.

We have given to us the example of David and Saul. The parallels are exact. David was hunted by Saul. Even though David was in a position to humiliate Saul, what did he do, and how did it turn out for him? He respected that Saul was still the anointed of Jehovah. He did not take matters into his own hands. He waited on Jehovah. Jesus has told us the Master is going to return. That is enough for us. We know that David's humble submission turned out well for him.

All should take heart that present developments reveal the season of the arrival of Our Lord! Only the drunken Steward will not expect the hour of the Master's inspection and arrival of judgment. We are not in darkness. Take courage. The things we are enduring are according to the footsteps of the Christ. Who of us would want to beg off from such an honor?