Understanding certain key Bible texts are crucial to our understanding of so many spiritual matters- Our role in God’s arrangement, what kind of Christian we should strive to be, etc. And even the principle of headship comes into play- Who is our head? How submissive do we need to be as Christian Witnesses of Jehovah?  To whom do we submit? Notice Paul’s words to the Corinthians:

(1 Corinthians 11:3) . . .But I want YOU to know that the head of every man is the Christ; in turn the head of a woman is the man; in turn the head of the Christ is God.

The Christian “chain of command” is here enumerated. Jehovah is at the top, with his Son closely following. Then come people- men and women, brothers and sisters in service to God and Christ. For clarity, husbands are not to dominate over their wives, and all human worshipers are equal in Christ. Acts 10:34 says:

“For a certainty I perceive that God is not partial, 35 but in every nation the man [and woman] that fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him.

So then, as human servants of our Creator, who is our head and who is NOT our head? That is key because there is one group conspicuous by their absence from the headship arrangement, and that is a “governing body”, or “faithful slave” class. If we again consider 1 Corinthians 11:3 we see the simple statement that “The head of every man is the Christ”. It does not say that “the head of every man is the elders under the direction of the governing body.” It does not say that “the head of every man is the faithful and discreet slave class” either. So what is the meaning of Matthew 24:45-47? Who really is the FDS? This definition is the official teaching of the WTS:

*** w81 3/1 p. 24 Do You Appreciate the “Faithful and Discreet Slave”? ***
Witnesses of Jehovah understand that the “slave” is comprised of all anointed Christians as a group on earth at any given time during the 19 centuries since Pentecost.

This definition, by itself, may be completely accurate and acceptable. A deconstruction of this statement and all the many ramifications is for another topic. But notice how “going beyond the things written” (1 Cor 4:6) has occurred in recent times with articles like this one:

(WT 9/15/2010 page 23, par 8) The apostles and the elders of the Jerusalem congregation acted as a governing body. Christ used this instrument to lead the entire group of his anointed “brothers” on earth. (Heb. 2:11; Acts 16:4, 5) In this time of the end, Christ has committed “all his belongings”—all the earthly interests of the Kingdom—to his “faithful and discreet slave” and its representative Governing Body, a group of anointed Christian men. (Matt. 24:45-47) The anointed and their other sheep companions recognize that by following the lead of the modern-day Governing Body, they are in fact following their Leader, Christ.

So by that line of reasoning, ipso facto, 1 Corinthians 4:6 now becomes:

(1 Corinthians 11:3) . . .But I want YOU to know that the head of every man is the modern-day Governing Body; the head of the Governing Body is Christ

So the insertion of another member into the headship principle has taken place among Jehovah’s Witnesses. If Christ is in fact our mediator, then why do we need the governing body to intercede on our behalf? Why are the two words even being capitalized, if not to exalt it to a higher level and near-equal footing with Christ? Isn’t that what has been done to the Pope in Rome? Tying all this into Matthew 24:45-47 helps to make the point even clearer. The following commentary on these verses is quoted from the site WernerBibleCommentary.org:

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With the passage of time, there would be disciples who would cease to use what had been committed to them for the benefit of fellow servants. To warn about this danger and the serious consequences, Jesus related a parable. He introduced it with the question, “Who then is the faithful and wise slave whom his master put in charge of his body of servants, to give them their [due portion of] food at the appropriate time?” In this question, the slave is represented as a steward in charge of the food supplies. He had been entrusted with the duty of seeing to it that all the other slaves who labored for the master received their allowance of food at the appropriate time. If, upon his return, the master found that this slave had proved to be faithful or trustworthy, he would grant him far greater responsibility, putting him in charge of all of his possessions. As one whom his master approved, the slave would be happy, having faithfully discharged his duty. (Matthew 24:45-47 [Many of the details of this parable parallel the one in Luke 12:41-48, which includes additional features.])

On the other hand, the slave would be unmasked as evil if he misused his position, ignoring his accountability to his master and acting as one who thought he was delaying his coming. His having been entrusted with the food supplies required that he faithfully work for the good of his fellow slaves. When starting to abuse them, beating them for not complying with his tyrannical demands and indulging his selfish desires like one who chose to eat and drink with lowlifes, the evil slave also acted against the interests of his master. This evil slave was himself but a slave and had not been granted the authority of an owner, let alone an abusive and corrupt owner. (Matthew 24:48, 49)

On a “day” and in an “hour” or at a time the evil slave did not expect, the master would arrive and severely punish him (literally “cut him asunder”), treating him like the hypocrites who conceal their base ways and actions with a false front. Cast out as disapproved from the master’s household, the slave would weep bitterly and gnash his teeth (in anger over his loss, because of the pain of losing out, or in a vain effort to suppress his uncontrollable sobbing). (Matthew 24:50, 51) What a strong warning this is to all who begin to act the part of masters and fail to conduct themselves as lowly and unassuming slaves! The coming of the Son of God will definitively answer the question as to who has proved to be faithful and wise in the community of believers, selflessly laboring for them.

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Since the scriptural use of FDS is a parable and seems to apply to all Christians do we really need them as our head? What is the will of God and Christ in this matter?

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25 Comments on Headship as it relates to Matthew 24:45-47

  1. andrew says:

    It would seem that the Governing Body of the JWs is just another tyrannical authoritative religious body in a long list thru out all of christendom’s history. Of course after you come to this realization you begin to realize what this means, namely, the JWs are not Jehovah’s exclusive people. Also you realize you have to go back and really see if all the doctrines that the Society has taught are truly biblical. You also begin to wonder how much value did all your “theocratic” activities really have? (pioneering, working on kingdom halls, all the endless organizational tasks done by elders that don’t have to do with helping our brothers.)

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  2. serein says:

    iv been pondering on this for quite a wile now both me and my husband totaly agree that the govening body of jws is not the mediator between us and jehovah and they arnt the fds.

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    • jacqueline says:

      Hello serein, I agree with you. I am Jacqueline from the http://www.friendsofjehovahswitnesses.com web-site. ezekial 34:4-6 aptly describes those would be shepherds. Those nine men (7) are neither faithful nor descreet. The concious class of christians are more faithful than those. I personnally will not worship the golden calf nor disrespect Jesus by letting them take his place in my life. sixscreensof the watchtower will be on phone hook-up every Sat at 6pmCST over 200 bro.& sis are on talking live. 732.432-8710-pin 9925# and a live web-cast is on Friday by Bible Students. see the friendsofjehovahswitnesses site to get instructions. We can see the speaker ask questions and we type talk to each other. It is very upbuilding. Almost everyone is a former witness that will not worship the gb and some are still witnesses. If you come on say hello so I can say hello back. Peace Jacqueline

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      • serein says:

        hi jacqueline i live in england so i duno what the time difference is but il try and see if i can get on the phone today i missed the web cast

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        • jacqueline says:

          The Bible Students are going to start a call in Bible discussion group. I don’t know the particulars yet but check the http://www.friendsofjehovahswitnesses sit. Sometimes it is easier to talk live. Others can come in like on http://www.sixscreensofthewatchtower. This is a great site. The brother has courage to start this, still going to the KH. call in number for sixscreens is every Saturday at 6pm CST 712.432-8710 pin 9925. I am not smart enough to figure out UK equilvalent. Isn’t it exciting to talk to friends all over the world. I am in Chicago, Il time zone. Good-bye Serein
          Peace

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  3. Picardo371 says:

    JJ, how can I email you a chart I did on the FDS? I would like to get your feedback on it.

    D

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  4. Picardo371 says:

    I think that Luke 12:47-48 furnishes proof that the FDS is not any one person (Pastor Russell) or one composite entity (all the anointed as represented by the Governing Body).

    Luke 12:46-48 (NASB)
    47 “And that slave who knew his master’s will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will receive many lashes,
    48 but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few. From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more.

    This, along with complementary parables in Matt. 25, among other places, reinforces the idea that the FDS parable (not prophesy), like many others, encourages Christian watchfulness and the faithful discharge of ones Christian duties using the gifts entrusted to him by his Master. If one is found faithful in this regard, then he will be appointed over all the Master’s belongings in the Kingdom, after the Master’s return.

    NWT
    Rev. 20:6 “Happy and holy is anyone having part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no authority, but they will be priests of God and of the Christ, and will rule as kings with him for the thousand years.”

    Rev. 5:10 “and you made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God, and they are to rule as kings over the earth.”

    IMO, this scripture has been hijacked by the evil slaves (not just the GB) who’s will it is to dominate and have in subjection the slaves of our Master. It has been used through history by many as a pretext to beat their fellow slaves. My thoughts…

    D

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  5. Amos says:

    Good point brother Dennis, to which I agree.

    Another thought that I have, is that if it is prophecy, “where does it fit in the timeline?”
    The FDS, do not receive their appointment until “after the return of the Lord.” My thought then, is that prior to the Lord’s return, ALL the slaves were equal, like the wheat & weeds would ALL grow together, “until the Harvest”.

    Just some of my reflections.

    Amos

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    • Picardo371 says:

      Hello Brother Amos,

      Yes, it’s this time line that’s the Achilles Heel for the GB and why the Lord must have returned invisibly in 1914 (or sooner if you are in agreement with the majority of Bible Students). If they drop this teaching, then Matt. 24:45-47 is no longer applicable to them, they have not been set over all the Masters belongings and the whole house of cards comes tumbling down. From past conversations I know we are in agreement on the second advent.

      You said, “My thought then, is that prior to the Lord’s return, ALL the slaves were equal, like the wheat & weeds would ALL grow together, “until the Harvest”.” Yes, and upon the Masters return some will no doubt be faithful and some evil.

      D

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  6. Amos says:

    The other thing is that, at the Lord’s return, He first takes the saints, then executes judgement on Satan & his system. So if this is prophecy, the FDS would not execute their appoinment until following Armageddon, DURING the millennial age.

    Amos

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  7. Amos says:

    John, the bro. that I meet with & myself, are very excited at what we are finding in the scriptures of late. He also has a Sr. who is along the BS path, who he is in constant contact with. She is also in agreement about this.

    We have also just received our copies of a new NT translated direct from the oldest known Aramaic manuscripts, the Peshita texts. This is an amazing translation, as it does not have the errors of most other later translations, plus it has several hundred pages in the appendix, that explain much, & makes the NT come alive with clarity.
    It is; “Aramaic English New Testament” or “AENT”.
    While it is not cheap, US$65.00, we consider this well worth the cost when compared to the clarity of text.

    Amos

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  8. Alden says:

    This is a crucial topic. It is being discovered by independent sources that the WTS has overstepped its authority by declaring itself the FDS of Jesus’ illustration (which is not a direct prophesy). It is the same type of instrument the Catholic Church uses to establish it’s authority in using Jesus’ words to Peter concerning the “Rock”.
    The illustration of the FDS had an application to Jesus’ followers then as it has had through the centuries till now. Are we faithful, are we discreet servants of our Lord and Master? Then he may decide to entrust us with greater responsibilities, but never giving people to us to “possess”.
    True, the illustration can be applied to institutions as a whole, too, but the evidence shows, and as Jacqueline has pointed out, the WTS has often proved “indescreet” in its expressions. As far as the faithfulness of the WTS is concerned, this is a matter to judge on the part of Jehovah – and He will judge!

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    • Amos says:

      Greetings Alden,
      I agree with your comments on this topic. As most here will probably agree that we are still in waiting for our Lord’s return, it bares looking at this FDS point again.

      We will notice that the “slave” was not appointed over the Lord’s household until AT or AFTER the return of Christ. (and that’s assuming this is an actual prophecy). If this is actually correct, then the “slave’s appointment” would be relevant to the next age, the Millennial Reign of our Lord, when THEY would be as stated in Rev.5:9,10 as follows;

      9, “And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.
      10“You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.”

      I just thought I’d add this view into the conversation.

      Your brother in Christ,
      Amos

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      • Dennis says:

        Amos:
        Greetings Alden,
        I agree with your comments on this topic. As most here will probably agree that we are still in waiting for our Lord’s return, it bares looking at this FDS point again.

        We will notice that the “slave” was not appointed over the Lord’s household until AT or AFTER the return of Christ. (and that’s assuming this is an actual prophecy). If this is actually correct, then the “slave’s appointment” would be relevant to the next age, the Millennial Reign of our Lord, when THEY would be as stated in Rev.5:9,10 as follows;

        9, “And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.
        10“You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.”

        I just thought I’d add this view into the conversation.

        Your brother in Christ,
        Amos

        Yes Amos, I agree 100%. The reward if faithful can be found at Rev. 5:9,10 and takes place after the second advent in the Kingdom. This is very much in harmony with the parables in Matt. 25 (which feature rewards and punishments also) and I believe they all are teaching the same basic lessons. Be on the watch, faithfully preform your Christian duties, if you do this you’ll be rewarded in the kingdom, if not you will suffer loss. If the chapter division for Matt. 25 had of been placed at Matt. 24:45 instead, then most JW’s would probably have a whole different understanding of the FDS. IMO the identity of the FDS can best be determined by reading the parables in Matt. 25. Remember, there where no chapter or verse divisions in the original manuscripts.

        Christian Love To All,

        Dennis Parker

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  9. Alden says:

    It’s paradox how the WTS harps on submission to headship while, at the same time, usurping, for example, the headship of a father over his houshold when it comes to behaviour toward DFed ones of his own family. The father is not free to exercise his headship in determining what behaviour is appropriate, but must submit to WTS teachings; as if the WTS knew and loved the child more than the parents themselves!

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    • Dennis says:

      Alden:
      It’s paradox how the WTS harps on submission to headship while, at the same time, usurping, for example, the headship of a father over his houshold when it comes to behaviour toward DFed ones of his own family. The father is not free to exercise his headship in determining what behaviour is appropriate, but must submit to WTS teachings; as if the WTS knew and loved the child more than the parents themselves!

      Interesting point.

      Dennis

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  10. JWB says:

    Alden, you might be interested to know that the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of Britain along with some of its local appointees (aka elders) apparently think nothing of a father’s headship when it comes to baptism of minors. If you are not familiar with this demonstration of contempt for headship, please follow the link on this page entitled “Parent objects to son’s baptism.”

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    • Alden says:

      Yes, JWB, I am interested and have read it. Thank you very much! Under-age persons are not allowed to marry but they can make a decision with almost as many far-reaching consequences for the rest of their lives! If they fail, they will be shunned for the rest of their lives. Actually, according to contractual law, minors cannot be held accountable – at least not in the extreme way the WTS practices. But the WTS quite evidently has turned a deaf ear to this problem. Amazingly, in my 42 years of experience, I have never heard of a baptism ever being nullified. Any experiences out there about this?

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  11. elpajaroloco says:

    Though the gb has not always had the appropriate understanding of the scriptures, they humbly admit that. I do not personally agree with their stance on everything either. I do not worship them. They are not perfect or infallible by any means. The important fact remains that no other group or organization has done more to make known the name of the Most High God Jehovah, and to clear His Precious Holy Name from the milleniums of efforts to keep it hidden and the reproach that has been heaped against it.(Rev.4:11)Nor has any other establishment brought out the richness, beauty, and fullness of the position that His Son Jesus my Lord and Savior occupies as his foremost and most faithful servant and witness. Please, for the sake of your own souls never forget that the issue of Jehovah’s universal sovereignty is paramount, and the fact that the firstborn of all creation His Master Worker Jesus Christ willingly laid down his life for ALL OF US as unworthy sinners in order that we might be reconciled to our Creator and see the fulfillment of his wonderful promises is crucially important.(1 Tim. 2:3-7) It is imperative, that we make known the name of our Loving God Jehovah and explain to the uninformed and misguided masses the position that Jesus occupies at his right hand.( Colossians 1: 13-20) Those who truly have faith in Our Heavenly Father believe that His Word is Truth and realize that we will all be held accountable by Him for our actions. The gb is a group of men who ,though may have had the Spirit of God bear witness to them that they have been chosen as Christ’s brothers,are at present just sinful men like any of the rest of us. They are not under inspiration but rather are led by Holy Spirit.(Rom.8: 14) Never worship the creation, worship the Merciful Creator Jehovah who is making an estimate of hearts and from whom nothing is hidden. Love Jehovah your God with your whole heart, mind, and soul. Your lack of faith in Him and the fact that He will in His due time set all matters straight is disturbing. Eventually, when the smoke clears and if we are blessed by His mercy to be there we will realize the true meaning and fulfillment of all He has tried to teach us. In the meantime never stop drawing close to the God of all comfort by prayer and meditation on his word. Trust in Him and know that all those of His sheep who have been neglected, mistreated, and abused by those in positions of responsibility and trust will have their desires satisfied by Him. Know that no one checks our Makers hand. Not you, not I, not any group of men. No one.

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  12. JJ says:

    El Parajo Loco

    With regard to the Governing Body, you mention that “They are not under inspiration but rather are led by Holy Spirit.” If they are truly led by Holy Spirit would they change and reverse themselves multiple times on doctrinal matters? Would they put into effect damaging doctrines that have caused the death of many of our brothers and sisters? Would God’s Holy Spirit allow homosexuals to serve on the GB? How about a pedophile? Would God approve of teachings that are enforced to the point of spiritual execution if one of the sheep disobeyed, yet later turn out to be wrong and then reversed?

    If you haven’t already had the opportunity, read Crisis of Conscience. It will help you to appreciate that these regrettable things have happened untold times under the direction of these men. I have met many of the ones mentioned, and have confirmed a number of the details referred to therein.

    It is a horrible truth to learn that you have been misled, but once you do what will a Christian person do? Go along with what they know to be falsehood to keep up appearances? Or follow their Bible-trained conscience despite the outcome?

    My faith is as strong as I know how to make it, and I am continuing to wait upon Jehovah through daily prayer and Bible study. But that is not the same as waiting upon a man-made organization. I wish you well in your own Christian walk. Do not be afraid to “examine all things” to see if they are so.

    JJ

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  13. Ruth says:

    Brother JJ.
    Clear and to the point.
    Sister Ruth.

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  14. andrew says:

    elpajaroloco,
    I would also add that although from time to time the GB admits it is not inspired, all JWs must act as if they were.
    For instance if a JW disagrees with any procedure or doctrinal issue he must not voice his reasons for disagreeing. He must accept all teachings as if they were from God even though they may be changed later showing that they really weren’t from God.

    Also the GB demands the right to rule consciences. If a JW conscience is in conflict with a ruling of the GB, he is expected to ignore his conscience and obey the GB.

    For instance if it bothered a JW’s conscience to turn in field service time in light of Matt. 6:1-4 according to the Society he does not have the right to listen to his conscience. He must obey without question. Let me ask you when does the bible ever encourage obedience to an earthly authority over obedience to what is right?

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