The 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.
What 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.
Harvesttime 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. Enterintothejoyofyourmaster."
(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."
*** w94 8/1 p. 31 Questions From Readers ***
Let us first look at Revelation 11:2, the end of which mentions "forty-two months." We continue in verse 3: "I will cause my two witnesses to prophesy a thousand two hundred and sixty days dressed in sackcloth." When does that apply?
Well, Jehovah’s Witnesses have long recognized that this prophecy found its fulfillment with spirit-anointed Christians after the end of "the appointed times of the nations" (the Gentile Times) in 1914. (Luke 21:24; 2 Corinthians 1:21, 22) Commenting on this, Revelation—Its Grand Climax At Hand! (1988) says on page 164: "There was a marked period of three and a half years when the hard experiences of God’s people matched the events prophesied here—starting from the outbreak of the first world war in the latter part of 1914 and continuing to the early part of 1918."
Note that the dating offered was "the outbreak of the first world war in the latter part of 1914 [till] the early part of 1918." This matches the dating often presented, such as in "Then Is Finished the Mystery of God," pages 261-4, (1969).
However, The Watchtower focused on prophecies in Daniel, a book that twice mentions a period comparable to that mentioned later in Revelation—3 1/2 years, or 42 months. To be specific, Daniel 7:25 says that God’s holy ones would be harassed "for a time, and times and half a time," or 3 1/2 times. Later, Daniel 12:7 foretells "an appointed time, appointed times and a half," or 3 1/2 times, that would be climaxed with "a finishing of the dashing of the power of the holy people."
So we have prophecies dealing with a comparable period at Daniel 7:25, Daniel 12:7, and Revelation 11:2, 3, as well as at Revelation 13:5. Our publications have shown that all of these found fulfillment in the 1914-18 period. But in treating each of these prophecies separately, the dates for the beginning and for the end varied a little.
However, The Watchtower of November 1, 1993, asked: "How were all these parallel prophecies fulfilled?" Yes, the prophecies of 3 1/2 times mentioned at Daniel 7:25, Daniel 12:7, and Revelation 11:3 were recognized as "parallel prophecies." Hence, they would correspond as to their beginning and their end.
As to the ending, the magazine showed how the harassment of God’s anointed ones (Daniel 7:25) climaxed in June 1918 when J. F. Rutherford and other directors of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society were "sentenced on false charges to a long term in prison." That event certainly was "a finishing of the dashing of the power of the holy people," as noted at Daniel 12:7.
Counting back from June 1918 leads us to December 1914 for the beginning of the 3 1/2 times. In that closing month of 1914, God’s anointed ones on earth learned the theme scripture for the coming year: "‘Are ye able to drink of My cup?’—Matthew 20:20-23." The article announcing it warned: "Who knows but that there may be some special trial, cup of suffering or ignominy, for the loyal followers of the Lamb during 1915!" As Daniel 7:25 foretold for this period of 3 1/2 times, ‘harassment arose and continued against the holy ones themselves of the Supreme One.’ Nations were embroiled in World War I, making it easier for them to carry out unjustified harassment. The conclusion is: All three parallel prophecies—Daniel 7:25, 12:7, and Revelation 11:3—found fulfillment in the 3 1/2 years, or 42 months, from December 1914 to June 1918.