It is alright for a preacher to identify himself as “a faithful and wise servant” of Matthew 24:45, but to think and say that the Lord was prophesying about one man who would one day rise as “the faithful and wise servant” is in every way false. Furthermore, to teach that the faithful servant is the head over other servants of God because of these words – “his lord hath made ruler over his household” (v.45) – is a gross misinterpretation of Scripture!
When interpretation of Scripture veers out of context confusion begins where there should have been none. When we look at how simple the parable of Matthew 24:45-51, and the obvious meaning of the phrase “fellowservants” in the passage, one wonders how such a strange doctrine rose from the Scripture.
Matthew 24:45-51 was a simple parable which the Lord spoke and was also recorded by Mark and Luke. The manner in which the parable was narrated indicates that it was not a prophecy but an illustration of a quintessential good servant or evil servant. The Lord begins by asking, “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?” (v.45). In these words he asked a question and indicated that a good servant ought to give his household meat in due season. He went further to state that “Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing” (v.46). Now, do you notice that if this were a prophecy of a certain individual to rise in this endtime, the words in Matthew 24:46 mean that the person should be alive until the coming of the Lord Jesus? Apart from that the prophecy further implies that the faithful and wise servant will eventually turn into an evil servant who shall begin fighting his fellows servants – “But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants… The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him” (v.50). But we are certain that this isn’t foretelling the future of any individual because prophecy is never phrased with such “if” parabolic conditions. When this parable is read from the record of Luke, it is quite clear that the “wise servant” and “evil servant” are not two persons but actually referring to one person who may become evil – “Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing… But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him” (Luk.12:42-45).
Now notice that the evil servant smites his “fellowservants”! The word “fellow” indicates that he is not the only special one; he is one among other fellows. This even becomes more conspicuous when we read the record of the same parable by Mark. Mark wrote: “For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch” (Mar.13:33-37). Yes, servants of God have one authority, the Word of God!
An important question to ask at this point is this: What is the origin of ‘The Wise-Servant’ doctrine?
Whence came ‘The Wise-Servant’ Doctrine?
A false doctrine can arise out of a misinterpreted scripture or spiritual experience. The wise-servant doctrine arose from what I believe was a true spiritual experience.
Brother Ewald Frank once had a wonderful experience. God spoke to him to store the food because a draught was coming. When brother Branham met him, he told him both the experience and its interpretation. The food was the Message which was to be stored. After Brother Branham died, Brother Frank surely played an important role in ensuring that the Message be put in print form. However, God telling him to store the food because of the coming famine doesn’t mean he was the only one tasked with the responsibility. This is evident in the following words of Brother Branham’s prayer in the message, CHRIST IS THE MYSTERY OF GOD REVEALED (63-0728):
Bless our dear beloved pastor [Bro. Neville], the shepherd. We pray that you’ll anoint him with the Holy Spirit of Thy Word and reveal to them and feed the flock. Once, just a while ago when you showed the vision, the little tabernacle here . . . but to store up the food; that there would come a time when this would all be needed. When we seen Brother Sothmann and Brother Woods ready to cross over into another country to. . . But you said, “Store up this food here for the time.” Lord, reverently I’ve tried to do that.
If brother Neville would have let pride to get a hold of him, he would have started an agenda of proclaiming, “I am the one to feed the flock because the prophet said, ‘Feed the flock’”. It is important to always remember that whenever a thought or idea veers off from context misinterpretation follows and confusion occurs where there should have been none! In all this it is still interesting to note that the prophet had indicated what was the storehouse of the ‘food’ – not in Germany but Jeffersonville Indiana. Here is what he said in the message TAKING SIDES WITH JESUS (62-0601):
You remember what that dream that I got the interpretation was. “Go back and store up food.” Where was the store house? this tabernacle… And here’s where the food’s been stored up.
Who can deny that in terms of the distribution of printed sermons of William Branham, Voice of God Recordings (in Jeffersonville Indiana) has done more than all efforts of other ministries put together? We may disagree with beliefs that come out of the Branham Tabernacle or Voice of God Recordings, but no one can deny that they are the main vehicles through which Brother Branham’s messages have been stored and distributed.
But, What really constitutes the ‘food’?
What really is the “meat in due season” that a faithful servant of God ought to give to his household? Is it merely repeating the messages of William Branham on the tapes, or reading the Spoken Word books? Does the giving out of the food mean repeatitively sharing a testimony of what God did when His prophet was here?
We know that all prophets of the Old Testament pointed to the coming of the full manifestation of the Word in Christ. But after Christ came, taught and asecended to heaven, did the apostles go round only repeating word for word what Christ the ‘full word’ had taught? Was Peter’s mission to keep emphasising how he was the one given the keys to open the kingdom of heaven? Was that the ‘food’? Not so. In the epistles we find much more than Jesus taught, not because the Lord was not the full Word but, because the life of the Word was still present among them. Likewise, one can read a Spoken Word book but without inspiration his soul will still starve of the real food. The actual food is not the spoken or written words of William Branham but what the Spirit speaks through those words! Thus, without the Spirit one can listen to tapes but still not eat of that food which can sustain his or her present need. That food can only proceed from the mouth of God and only he that hath an ear to hear the Spirit can truly hear! God uses his servants to bring out this timely food. It is the meat in due season! It is not food taken from a microwave of a library. Thus, “every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old” (Mat.13:52).
In conclusion, let it be clear that there are only Seven Church Ages. To lift one man in this endtime as the successor of the Seventh Church Age messenger will land us into ‘Revelation Chapter 23’! May we therefore give heed to the admonition of saint Paul – “that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another” (1 Cor.4:6).