Sunday, July 15, 2018

KJV versus JST: Luke 12 and the Coming of the Lord


KJV – Luke 12:36-48
JST Luke 12:41–57 (Appendix)
Commentary
35 Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;
36 And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.

(This is included to give us some additional context to this parable.)

41 For, behold, he cometh in the first watch of the night, and he shall also come in the second watch,
and again he shall come in the third watch.
42 And verily I say unto you, He hath already come, as it is written of him;
and again when he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch,
Here we get the interesting information that there are three different visits when Christ would come. He reveals that His mortal ministry is during the first watch, and that there are two other visits still in the future.
I personally think that the second watch is Christ’s second coming, and the third watch is His coming at the end of the Millennium.
Also, notice the end of JST v42 corresponds to KJV v38, but there is a difference in that in the KJV the visits are ‘iffy’, and in the JST, the visits are certain.
37 Blessed are those servants, whom the lord
when he cometh
shall find watching:
verily I say unto you, that he

shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.
blessed are those servants
[]
when he cometh, that he
shall find so doing;
43 [] For the Lord of those servants
shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.
1 The change of “watching” into “so doing” emphasizes that good servants will be found engaged in activity, and not idle. It is possible that watching was meant to evoke the idea of prophetic gifts and warning. However, the Lord wanted Joseph Smith to emphasize that service is also required of servants who want to be commended when the Lord comes.
2 We also get a change that emphasizes that the Lord Himself will serve His people when he comes. He will make them sit down to meat, meaning He will provide meaty doctrine for all, similar to how He taught the Nephites when He came to the Americas.
38 And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.
[]



44 And now, verily I say these things unto you, that ye may know this, that the coming of the Lord is as a thief in the night.
45 And it is like unto a man who is an householder, who, if he watcheth not his goods, the thief cometh in an hour of which he is not aware,
 and taketh his goods,
 and divideth them among his fellows.
Here Joseph Smith sent the parable in a different direction, changing it from “like servants waiting for their lord to return from a wedding” to “like servants guarding their lord’s goods from thieves.”
The emphasis changes from watching with joyful anticipation to defensive guarding from unexpected, stealthy attacks.
What are the householder’s goods that are being defended? The goods may represent the property of the church that is used to build the kingdom. (And certainly there have been times when outsiders have endeavored to dispossess the church of its property.)  The householder’s goods may also represent rank-and-file members of the church. (And certainly the adversary is always trying to steal members from the church by various means.) While it is true that the members have agency, seeing members as goods that can be stolen is meant to emphasize that leaders must do all they can to guard and warn the members.
39 And this know, that

if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.
46 []And they said among themselves,
If the good man of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through
and the loss of his goods.
1 Here the change in v 46-47 in the JST shows us that what looked like instruction only from Christ is actually part of a conversational exchange as the disciples think about the parable.
The disciples seem to want to use their effort in the most efficient way. They speculate that if the householder just knew when the thief was coming, he would be ready.
2 The JST adds that the thief is not just interested in breaking into the household, but also stealing goods. (That’s why he’s called a ‘thief’ after all.)

40

Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.
47 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you,
be ye therefore ready also;
for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.
Here the JST shows us the Savior responding to the disciples’ wish to know when the thief was coming by turning it back into a metaphor for His own coming.
41 Then Peter said unto him, Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or even to all?
48 Then Peter said unto him, Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or [] unto all?


42 And the Lord said,






Who then is that faithful and wise steward,
whom his lord shall make ruler over his household,
to give them their
portion of meat in due season?
49 And the Lord said,
I speak unto those whom the Lord shall make rulers over his household, to give his children their portion of meat in due season.
50 And they said,
Who then is that faithful and wise servant?
51 And the Lord said unto them, It is that servant who watcheth, to impart his portion of meat in due season.
Here the JST reveals Christ is directing this warning to church leaders (present and future) who have the responsibility to give portions of meat in due season (meaning, teaching the appropriate principles at the time they are needed.)
Of course, then the disciples want to know what would constitute faithful and wise behavior of a servant. So Christ repeats the necessity of watching and imparting meat in due season.
The JST makes this interchange obvious, while the KJV makes it seem like Jesus is just asking rhetorical questions and never quite answering.
43 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
52 Blessed be that servant whom his Lord shall find, when he cometh, so doing.

44 Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.
53 Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.

45 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;
54 But the evil servant is he who is not found watching.
And if that servant is not found watching,
he will
say in his heart, My Lord delayeth his coming;
and shall begin to beat the menservants, and the maidens,
and to eat, and drink, and to be drunken.
Here the JST draws a stronger distinction between a faithful servant and an evil servant.
Evil servants are those who don’t watch. Not watching will lead them to the notion that the Lord delays his coming, which will in turn lead to abusing the other servants of God and falling into to decadence, excess, and drunken behaviors.
(It should be noted that there are more ways of getting drunk than with alcohol. Anger and lust also cause changes in brain chemistry that prevent people from thinking straight.)
46 The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him,
and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.
55 The Lord of that servant will come in a day [] he looketh not for [],
and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him down, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.
Here the JST clarifies the language about the punishment visited upon the evil servant.
The KJV language makes it sound like the evil servant will be hewn in half with a sword, but if so, then why afterward appoint him his portion with the unbelievers if he no longer lives?
The JST language about cutting down the evil servant evokes the idea that their position of authority will be taken away. Then, if they are afterward appointed their portion with the unbelievers, this evokes the additional prospect of excommunication.
47 And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself,

neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.
56 And that servant who knew his Lord’s will, and prepared not for his Lord’s coming,
neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.
The JST clarifies that the servants’ preparation is to be for the Lord’s coming.
48 But he that knew not,

and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes.
For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required:
and to whom men have committed much,
of him they will ask the more.
57 But he that knew not his Lord’s will,
and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few.
For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required;
and to whom the Lord has committed much,
of him will men ask the more.
1 The JST clarifies that the ignorance here is about knowing the Lord’s will.
2 The JST also clarifies that it is the Lord who commits much privilege and responsibility to his servants, not men. It also shows that men require more from those who have those spiritual privileges and responsibilities. This is a reminder that places of authority in the church are not to be considered cushy places to loll.

To sum up, I think the JST clarifies the danger of not watching, how it leads to abuse and decadence, and what the real penalties are of yielding to those temptations. It is neat to see this interchange between Christ and his disciples clarified and how He answered their questions.

This is another example of how blessed we are to have the Joseph Smith Translation.

Note: I used [] in the JST sections to show where material from the KJV hadn’t been included in the JST.