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GB evil slave2In the late 1920s, The Watchtower Organization began to identify the Bible Students who had left the organization as the evil slaves (documentation below). Yet in 2013, the Governing Body eliminated the “evil slaves” as a class, instead applying it as a hypothetical danger to the composite Faithful Slave, which they say has never become a reality.

Why did the Governing Body make this change in doctrine?

I can only speculate since I cannot read minds. However, let me share my view on this and then let us know your view. We want to know what you think too. We are all trying to figure this out together.

Here is what I think happened. To consolidate complete power and control, the Governing Body now identifies only themselves as the “Faithful and Discreet Slave.” This move has marginalized the “other anointed” brethren, making them now insignificant. These “other anointed” brethren cannot use the claim of “special insight” to disagree with the Governing Body with any credibility or influence.

In explaining the Faithful Slave, the Governing Body had to address the Evil Slave as well. The Evil Slave is too tightly connected to the discussion of the Faithful Salve and they could not ignore it. They could no longer apply the Evil Slave Class to the Bible Students who had left the organization, mostly in the 1920s. To do so would draw everyone’s attention to the International Bible Students Association, or the Bible Student Movement, which has existed continuously, in an unbroken chain, since the days of Brother Russell. This would contradict the old claim that these apostate Bible Students had died out and no longer exist. Part of the Governing Body’s strategy has been to ignore the Bible Students and pretend that we have not existed for about 75 years. This is a smart strategy. They don’t want JWs discovering a viable alternative. The Internet age makes this strategy much more difficult now.

In changing how they apply the “Evil Slave,” have they created an even bigger problem for themselves? They say that the “Evil Slave” is a hypothetical possibility without addressing how to apply any test to discern if the Faithful Slave ever turns into an Evil Slave. If the Faithful Slave were to change into an Evil Slave, would the Evil Slave admit to it? Of course not. The Evil Slave would continue to claim to be the Faithful Slave. Right? So what is the test? Why would Jesus mention such a possibility if it were totally irrelevant and would create unnecessary doubts? Why would not Jesus leave the impression that the Faithful Slave would always remain faithful? Has the JW Organization “beaten its men and maid servants” when they had questions or an honest difference of opinion? Can we put them to a test? [Personally, I think the Faithful Slave and Evil Slave are both different; not two possibilities for one group.]

For your personal reference and research, below we have applicable quotes from the 2013 Watchtower and also from Watchtowers in the 1920s applying the “Evil Slave” to us Bible Students who left the organization. Ouch! I am not sure whether my feelings should be hurt for having been called an Evil Slave or for now just simply being ignored? LOL

Notice when you read the quotes below from the late 1920s about the Evil Slave, that Rutherford’s Watchtower makes many criticisms against Bible Students of pride, laziness, slander, libel, etc. However no citations or evidence is provided to support the claims. Rutherford does not identify the person, people, group, publication, etc. He does not provide quotes from publications.

Here are the quotes.


July 15, 2013 Watchtower Study Edition, page 24, top shaded section says, “Jesus warned about an evil slave who conclude 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.” – Read 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 the 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, “if 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.”


Watchtower: February 15, 1929, page 55

“faithfulness of the remnant.


“29 There is a third division of the Psalm and it is addressed to the wicked. That does not mean that God is here speaking to those who have never known him. The wicked ones are those who have received a measure of enlightenment upon the Word and plan of God, and who have used it selfishly and wrongfully and who have despised its instruction. The term -“wicked” includes many who are in the denominational church systems, and also those who have been instructed in the truth after making a consecration to do the will of God. These afterwards cast away his words or cast them behind them. These go to make up the “evil servant” class.–Matt. 24:48, 49.

“Some who made a consecration or covenant with the Lord, and who thereby agreed to do his will, received not the truth in the love of the truth. They expected some personal selfish profit therefrom. They looked forward to the time when they might enjoy great honor and dignity, aiding Jesus to conduct the judgment of the world. Their selfish expectations were not realized at the time set by them, and they said in substance: ’The Lord has delayed his coming.’ They began to smite their brethren because their brethren insisted that the Lord was giving his people more light. The evil ones said in substance: ’If there is any more light to be received, the Lord will not send it through anyone except us, but our conclusion is that there is no more light to receive.’

“They further claim that all the light that God gave to his church was given prior to 1917. They still claim to be in God’s covenant, but they entirely disregard his commandments. They claim to be mouthpieces for the Lord, even though they speak words contrary to what he has instructed. With this let us now note the opening of the third division of the Psalm, in which the Lord, addressing the wicked, says : 32 “But unto the wicked, God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth? Seeing thou hatest instruction, and castest my words behind thee.” (Verses 16 and 17) The ones here addressed are impressed with their own importance. If anyone attempts to bring to their attention some further light which God has caused to he shed upon the temple class, they push it. aside. They hate instruction and hate the ones who bring it to their attention. They declare that they do not want any more light because ’there is none to be given’. They have no joy in the Lord, they do not understand what the joy of the Lord is, and of course they have not entered into that joy.”


Watchtower: February 15, 1929, page 56

“Those forming the evil servant class indulge in slanderous speech against those whom they once called their brethren and who are still striving to serve the Lord. They speak bitter words against them and hate them without a cause. (1 John 3 :15) They busy themselves to concoct all manner of evil schemes against those who are active in the Lord’s service. To this end they magnify small matters, and publish vile and libelous reports of and concerning those who are diligently striving to serve the Lord. Some of this evil class have even gone to the extent of stealing the Watch Tower mailing list and have thereby procured a list of names and addresses to which they regularly mail their vile accusations. Of course the Lord foreknew the development of such evil class and caused his prophet to write down what would come to pass. 38 Then the Lord graciously permits those who are faithful to him to understand why he foretold the workers of iniquity and how the faithful would be the targets for their evil darts. Why did he do that? The answer is that whatsoever he has caused to be written was written that the faithful might have comfort and hope. (Rom. 15 :4) Mention is here made of the fact concerning the evil ones because the Scriptures point it out, and in order that those who are striving to be faithful to the Lord might not be in the least disturbed or discouraged by vile and slanderous accusations that are laid against their brethren.

“The fact that the Lord foretold these things, and that one is the object of such persecution, should cause him to rejoice rather than to be discouraged. It was Paul who declared: ’Through much tribulation ye shall enter the kingdom.’ 39 The people composing the class that indulges in such wicked and lawless course of action deceive themselves into believing that they are ’doing god service’ by slandering their brethren. They even think that God is as they are. God foreknew this, of course, and therefore caused his prophet to write these words: “These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself; but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes. “–Verse 21. 40 This prophecy shows that God has been longsuffering with those opposers of the truth and has kept silence. But the time comes for him to speak. “But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men.” (2 Tim. 3: 9) Those who have devoted themselves to the Lord’s service are not to be discouraged by reason of the activities of the evil class against them: “Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity …. Rest [be silent to, margin] in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.”–Ps. 37 : 1, 7, 8.”


Watchtower: October 15, 1928, page 318

“The year 1914 marked the end of the world and the time when Jehovah placed Christ Jesus upon his throne as the rightful King of the world. Three and one-half years thereafter, to wit, in 1918, Jesus came to the true temple of God, first for judgment upon the house of God, and then for judgment upon the professed house of God, which judgment includes the complete destruction of Satan’s organization, including that professed temple.–Ps. 11:4-6; 1 Pet. 4:17. Prior to 1914 there was no evidence of the fulfilment of our Lord’s prophecy as set forth in Matthew 24. The evidence of his presence from 1874 until 1914 must be found and is found in other portions of the Scriptures.

From 1914 to 1918 the Bridegroom seemed to tarry and the “evil servant” class became manifest and therefore unfaithful. The motive of the evil servant class was selfish, because they had been looking to the time when they might receive a reward for themselves. Those unselfishly devoted to the Lord’ remained faithful and were faithfully representing the Lord the best they could when he came to his temple, and of these faithful and approved ones is made up “that faithful and wise servant”. To the “faithful and wise servant” the Lord committed all of his goods, to wit, his kingdom interests. He brought these faithful ones into the temple condition, gave to them the garments of salvation, and covered them with the robe of righteousness.”


Watchtower: February 15, 1927   page 56

“declaring his message of the kingdom.


“9 All who were begotten and anointed of the holy spirit and thereby in Christ constituted a part of The Servant class. The parable of the talents shows that some of That Servant class, when the Lord came to his temple, were found to be unfaithful; and to such the Lord said: “Thou wicked and slothful servant, . . . Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents …. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”–Matt. 25:26, 28, 30.

“Undoubtedly then the evil servant is made up of that part of the Servant class who were found unfaithful when the Lord came to his temple. “But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming ; and shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken: the lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”–Matthew 24 : 48-51.

“Call to mind now the facts, how that in the latter part of 1917, which was the beginning of 1918, there began to be a division amongst the Lord’s people who claimed to be consecrated and in present truth. Some said, in substance if not in terms, “There is no more work to be done”; and they refused to do any more. They were not content with this, but went about saying all manner of evil against their fellow servants and smiting them; that is to say, those who had been fellow servants with them, and who still remained faithful to the Lord, were the objects of the assaults of the others, who had taken a different course. 52 The “drunken” mentioned in the above text of necessity must be that class mentioned by the Apostle: Paul as drunken on the false doctrines of this world. This evil servant class, many of them at least, began to sleep so far as the work was concerned; and a dark time was on the church. “:For they that sleep, sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.”–1 Thessalonians 5: 7-8

“The facts show that the controversy and trouble and smiting began in 1917, before the Lord came to his temple. The words of the Master are: “The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of.” Those who turned away from present truth in 1917, and since, do not believe that the Lord has come to his temple; and they oppose those who have called attention to the fact of the Lord’s coming to his temple. The evil servant clearly does not refer to an individual human being, but does refer collectively to those who were found unfaithful when the Lord arrived at his temple.


Watchtower: February 15, 1927   page 57

“…Servant class, and who, since 1918, have refused to participate in announcing the kingdom, and who engage in smiting their fellow servants, and fellowship with the world, constitute the evil servant class. Therefore it now more clearly than ever appears to us that the obligation laid upon each one of the Servant class, from this time forward, is faithfulness in performing his or her part of the covenant with the Lord. To those who continue faithful he has promised to grant an abundant entrance into his everlasting kingdom.”


  • just stay sweet and good

    Gaza…..To label any one as a “evil slave” is hate talk . Judgement Day is not here YET!!! Notice in the illustration there are many faithful servants doing the work the master left them to do.

  • Gasa

    Mth 24:45-51 Nwt talks about “a faithful and discreet slave” the assumption is that this slave was chosen in 1919 the was chosen to feed and care for masters belongs, us. In the GN bible it says this servant is “placed in charge of the other servants” this is confirmed in Wycliffe Comentary says “by faithful performance of his duties ..will increase his duties when the Lord returns”.
    In other words the servant is chosen to care for the others servants but if it changes conduct it could turn into the evil slave. The other servants mean there is not just one which is born out of history, the differing servants exist meaning there is more than one.
    One, group. comment was if the GB did turn really bad and act evilly what about those 8.5million members, the rank and file ?
    Jesus did say he would be with his people (I do not think this is one group but all those tying to serve him in the last days) all the day to the conclusion of the age. So there are faithful Christian preaching to the end. Also the servant is only judged on masters return at tribulation and Armageddon. So for JWs is endure to the end dispite GB.
    Interesting comments why GB 2013 changed ‘understanding of evil slave’ and your explanation. Any more comments would be very welcome or examples.
    Thank you.

    • Peter K. (admin)

      Gasa – Our best approach to finding Truth is to remember that the Bible is the SOURCE. With that in mind we are off to a good start. Whomever the “faithful and discreet slave” is, it would not be a person or group that suppresses Christian liberty and disfellowships those who politely disagree and present scriptural evidence that convinces them. Our relationship with Jehovah God should be through Jesus and the Bible, not through a human organization that can punish those who disagree. This seems very out of harmony with how Jesus and the Apostles behaved.

  • Anon JC

    In the WT May 15,1936 they believed that Evil Servant class was the antitypical scapegoat. They say that the two goats were both taken and one rejected me destroyed.

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