* w04 3/1 pp. 13-14 ‘The Faithful Slave’ Passes the Test! ***
‘TheFaithful Slave’ Passes the Test!
"It is the appointed time for the judgment to start with the house of God."—1 Peter 4:17.
AT Pentecost 33 C.E., Jesus appointed a "slave" to provide food at the proper time for his "domestics." In 1914, Jesus was enthroned as King, and soon it was time to inspect that "slave." For the most part, he found that the "slave" had proved itself "faithful and discreet." Hence, he appointed it "over all his belongings." (Matthew 24:45-47) However, there was also an evil slave, who was neither faithful nor discreet.
2Jesus spoke of the evil slave immediately after discussing "the faithful and discreet slave." He said: "If ever that evil slave should say in his heart, ‘My master is delaying,’ and should start to beat his fellow slaves and should eat and drink with the confirmed drunkards, the master of that slave will come on a day that he does not expect and in an hour that he does not know, and will punish him with the greatest severity and will assign him his part with the hypocrites. There is where his weeping and the gnashing of his teeth will be." (Matthew 24:48-51) The expression "that evil slave" draws our attention to Jesus’ preceding words about the faithful and discreet slave. Yes, the "evil slave" came from the ranks of the faithful slave. How?
3Before 1914, many members of the faithful slave class had high hopes of meeting with the Bridegroom in heaven that year, but their hopes were not fulfilled. As a result of this and other developments, many were disappointed and a few became embittered. Some of these turned to ‘beating’ their former brothers verbally and consorting with "confirmed drunkards," religious groups of Christendom.—Isaiah 28:1-3; 32:6.
4These former Christians came to be identified as the "evil slave," and Jesus punished them with "the greatest severity." How? He rejected them, and they lost out on their heavenly hope. They were not, however, immediately destroyed. They first had to endure a period of weeping and gnashing of teeth in "the darkness outside" the Christian congregation. (Matthew 8:12) Since those early days, a few other anointed individuals have shown a similar bad spirit, identifying themselves with the "evil slave." Some of the "other sheep" have imitated their unfaithfulness. (John 10:16) All such enemies of the Christ end up in the same spiritual "darkness outside."
5Nonetheless, the faithful and discreet slave went through the same tests as "that evil slave." Rather than becoming embittered, however, they were readjusted. (2 Corinthians 13:11) Their love for Jehovah and their brothers was strengthened. As a result, they have been "a pillar and support of the truth" during these tumultuous "last days."—1 Timothy 3:15; 2 Timothy 3:1.
Inspection Time Begins!
15The parable continues: "After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them." (Matthew 25:19) In 1914—certainly a long time after 33 C.E.—Christ Jesus began his royal presence. Three and a half years later, in 1918, he came to God’s spiritual temple and fulfilled Peter’s words: "It is the appointed time for the judgment to start with the house of God." (1 Peter 4:17; Malachi 3:1) It was time to settle accounts.
16What had the slaves, Jesus’ anointed brothers, done with the King’s "talents"? From 33 C.E. onward, including the years leading up to 1914, many had been working hard at Jesus’ "business." (Matthew 25:16) Even during the first world war, they had shown a strong desire to serve the Master. Now it was fitting to give faithful ones new opportunities to ‘do business.’ The time of the end of this system of things had arrived. The good news had to be preached worldwide. "The harvest of the earth" had to be reaped. (Revelation 14:6, 7, 14-16) The final members of the wheat class had to be located and "a great crowd" of other sheep gathered in.—Revelation 7:9; Matthew 13:24-30.
17Harvesttime is a joyful time. (Psalm 126:6) It is fitting, then, that when in 1919, Jesus entrusted his faithful anointed brothers with increased responsibility, he said: "You were faithful over a few things. I will appoint you over many things. Enter into the joy of your master." (Matthew 25:21, 23) Moreover, the joy of the Master as newly enthroned King of God’s Kingdom surpasses our imagination. (Psalm 45:1, 2, 6, 7) The faithful slave class share that joy by representing the King and increasing his interests on earth. (2 Corinthians 5:20) Their delight is seen in the prophetic words of Isaiah 61:10: "Without fail I shall exult in Jehovah. My soul will be joyful in my God. For he has clothed me with the garments of salvation."
18Sadly, some did not pass inspection. We read: "The one that had received the one talent came forward and said, ‘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 you have what is yours.’" (Matthew 25:24, 25) Similarly, some anointed Christians had not engaged in "business." Before 1914 they had not enthusiastically shared their hope with others, and they did not want to start in 1919. How did Jesus respond to their insolence? He took away all their privileges. They were ‘thrown out into the darkness outside, where their weeping and the gnashing of their teeth would be.’—Matthew 25:28, 30.