Increasing the King’s Belongings
1. (a) What question arises regarding the Kingdom joint heirs still among us? (b) If we observe such things going on with them, this gives evidence of what fact?
SINCE all the evidence indicates that God’s kingdom of a thousand years has approached, this question arises: What should we expect of those who are to be joined with God’s millennial King in the heavenly government? While they are among us, we should expect to observe them when they are being tested and inspected on how they handle that which belongs to the heavenly King with whom they are called to rule as kings. How do they take care of all the concerns that the heavenly King has on earth? If we observe a testing and inspecting of the joint heirs of that Kingdom taking place among us, it furnishes strong evidence that God’s Messianic King is ruling. He is present on his royal throne!
2, 3. (a) What we see developing is in fulfillment of what parable of Jesus, and part of his answer to what question of his apostles? (b) How did that parable begin?
2 This interesting development that has been taking place under observation of human eye during this twentieth century was pictured for us in a parable or illustration that Jesus Christ included in his remarkable prophecy as he sat on the Mount of Olives overlooking Jerusalem, on the eleventh day of the spring month of Nisan in the year 33 C.E. He was still giving his detailed answer to the questions submitted by his apostles: “When will these things be, and what will be the sign of your presence [pa·rou·siʹa, Greek] and of the conclusion of the system of things?” (Matthew 24:3) He had just finished giving to his apostles the parable of the “ten virgins” and drawing a lesson therefrom, and now he gives them a further parable by the fulfillment of which it will be signified that his invisible parousia has begun and is in progress. This parable is quite commonly called “the parable of the talents.” It begins:
3 “For it is just as when a man, about to travel abroad, summoned slaves of his and committed to them his belongings. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, to still another one, to each one according to his own ability, and he went abroad.”—Matthew 25:14, 15.
4. (a) According to the context of this parable, what is it that is “just as when” a wealthy man traveled abroad and committed valuables to his slaves? (b) Whom does this “man” picture, and why?
4 What is it, though, that is “just as when” a wealthy man commits his belongings to his slaves before his departure abroad? Why, it is the circumstances connected with the Kingdom about which Jesus Christ has been speaking. This is apparent from his preceding parable, that of the “ten virgins,” which he introduced with these words: “Then the kingdom of the heavens will become like ten virgins that took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.” (Matthew 25:1) It is also apparent from the parable that Jesus gives after his parable concerning the “talents.” (Matthew 25:31-34) In the parable now under consideration the wealthy man traveling abroad is, of course, the Lord Jesus Christ himself. It was concerning the “sign” of his presence that he was asked.
5. What earlier parable resembles in some features the parable of the “talents,” but how do the two parables differ in what they were meant to show?
5 This parable of the “talents” resembles in a number of features an earlier parable that Jesus gave and that is commonly called “the parable of the pounds” (or, minas). Curiously, the parable of the “talents” was meant to prove by its fulfillment in our day that the royal presence or parousia of the Lord Jesus Christ was in progress, whereas the parable of the “pounds” or minas was given by the Lord Jesus to show his listeners that, at that time, the Messianic kingdom was yet a long time in the future. Hence, the account that introduces the parable of the minas says: “While they were listening to these things he spoke in addition an illustration.” Why? “Because he was near Jerusalem and they were imagining that the kingdom of God was going to display itself instantly. Therefore he said: ‘A certain man of noble birth traveled to a distant land to secure kingly power for himself and to return. Calling ten slaves of his he gave them ten minas and told them, “Do business till I come.”’” (Luke 19:11-13) A long journey to a distant land and a return therefrom were involved, and this would mean a long time before the noble man got back with his kingdom power.
6. (a) What had happened just two days before Jesus gave the parable of the “talents,” and what did not display itself then? (b) So what question arises now?
6 Likewise, indeed, when the Lord Jesus gave his parable of the “talents” the Messianic kingdom of God was yet a long way off; it was not due to appear instantly. Just two days previously, Sunday, Nisan 9, 33 C.E., Jesus had made his triumphal ride on a colt of an ass into Jerusalem and the jubilant multitudes had cried out, “Blessed is he that comes in Jehovah’s name! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Save, we pray, in the heights above!” And yet the Kingdom had not displayed itself then. (Mark 11:9, 10) Is that Kingdom displaying itself in our day? That is the vital question for us now! A long time has passed since Jesus was here in the flesh.
7, 8. (a) How do we determine when the parable of the “talents” began fulfillment? (b) How does Acts 1:2-5 confirm this?
7 The parable of the “talents,” the fulfillment of which has to do with Jesus’ parousia or presence, began to go into reality in the days of the apostles nineteen centuries ago. The certain “man” of the parable, Jesus Christ himself, was still with them personally until the day of his ascension to heaven, ten days before the Festival of Pentecost was observed at Jerusalem. The parable opens with the man being “about to travel abroad” and summoning his slaves and committing to them his belongings. The resurrected Jesus did not start to “travel abroad” to a “distant land” until the day that he ascended into the sky and disappeared. So, before that event, he must have summoned the “slaves of his,” his then faithful disciples, and must have committed to them his belongings. That is why, too, the parable must have begun between the time of his resurrection from the dead and his ascension to his heavenly Father’s presence. In harmony with this we read, in Acts 1:2-5:
8 “Until the day that he was taken up, [Jesus had business to do with his disciples. He was taken up] after he had given commandment through holy spirit to the apostles whom he chose. To these also by many positive proofs he showed himself alive after he had suffered, being seen by them throughout forty days and telling the things about the kingdom of God. And while he was meeting with them he gave them the orders: ‘Do not withdraw from Jerusalem, but keep waiting for what the Father has promised, about which you heard from me; because John, indeed, baptized with water, but you will be baptized in holy spirit not many days after this.’”
9. (a) In the “talents” parable, how is the purpose of the man’s traveling abroad indicated? (b) In the corresponding parable of the minas, what was the purpose of the man’s going to a distant land, and how did Jesus confirm this at the Lord’s Supper?
9 The land “abroad” to which the “man” of the parable was to travel was heaven itself, where the heavenly Father of the Lord Jesus Christ resides. Luke 19:12 properly speaks of it as a “distant land.” In the parable of the “talents,” Jesus does not tell us the purpose for which the “man” traveled abroad. He indicates, nonetheless, that it was to obtain a special “joy” and really increase his “belongings” to “many things” more. So, when the man realized the purpose of his traveling abroad, he entered into his “joy” as Lord of those “slaves” whom he left behind. The parallel or corresponding parable of the minas indicates that the purpose of the traveling abroad was to “secure kingly power for himself and to return.” The possession of the kingdom was therefore his “joy.” In indication of this being the purpose of his going away to heaven, Jesus said to his faithful apostles after he had showed them how to celebrate annually the Lord’s Supper: “I make a covenant with you, just as my Father has made a covenant with me, for a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones to judge the twelve tribes of Israel.”—Luke 22:29, 30.
10. In the parable, whom did the “slaves of his” picture, and how was their acceptance of this designation shown?
10 In the parable, the “slaves of his” were those baptized disciples of Jesus Christ who were in line for a throne in the “kingdom of the heavens.” Even the apostles did not blush to confess themselves to be the “slaves” of the Lord Jesus. For example, the second letter of Peter is opened up with the words: “Simon Peter, a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:1) In introducing the last book of the Bible, Revelation, the apostle John says that Jesus Christ “sent forth his angel and presented it in signs through him to his slave John.” (Revelation 1:1) The disciple Jude begins his letter by saying: “Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ, but a brother of James.” (Jude 1) The disciple James starts his letter with the words: “James, a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes that are scattered about.” (James 1:1) The apostle Paul opens his letter to the Philippians: “Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus, to all the holy ones in union with Christ Jesus who are in Philippi.”—Philippians 1:1.
THE COMMITTING OF “HIS BELONGINGS”
11. The “belongings” that Jesus as the “man” of the parable left behind with his “slaves” were not of what kind?
11 The disciples who were in line for the heavenly kingdom were the “slaves” whom the departing Jesus Christ summoned before he left the earth and to whom he committed “his belongings.” (Matthew 25:14) What were these belongings? He did not leave any material belongings behind for his disciples, such as houses, lands, clothing, moneys in the bank. He left his aged mother Mary and his half brothers and half sisters behind when he died on the torture stake at Calvary, and to these any physical properties were left to avail themselves of according to the Law of Moses. And during his activity in preaching and teaching God’s kingdom for about three years and a half he was not storing up for himself “treasures upon the earth,” but was seeking first the kingdom of his heavenly Father. (Matthew 6:19, 20, 33; 12:46, 47; 24:3-47; Acts 1:14) What, then, did he leave behind that he could commit to his “slaves”?
12, 13. (a) What was it, then, that Jesus Christ left behind as his “belongings”? (b) How is this view of it borne out by what Jesus said to his apostles near Jacob’s well in Samaria?
12 It was a foundation for further Christian work, a cultivated field in which further preaching of the good news of God’s Messianic kingdom and making of Christian disciples could be carried on with results. It was a way prepared for his disciple “slaves.” Already in the year 30 C.E., when he was on his way through the land of Samaria and after he had preached to a Samaritan woman at “Jacob’s fountain” near Sychar, Jesus said to his apostles:
13 “Look! I say to you: Lift up your eyes and view the fields, that they are white for harvesting. Already the reaper is receiving wages and gathering fruit for everlasting life, so that the sower and the reaper may rejoice together. In this respect, indeed, the saying is true, One is the sower and another the reaper. I dispatched you to reap what you have spent no labor on. Others have labored, and you have entered into the benefit of their labor.”—John 4:35-38.
14. (a) How did the public careers of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ compare? (b) Among whom and in what way did Jesus leave a cultivated field capable of further productivity?
14 For about six months John the Baptist had served as a forerunner of Jesus and had proclaimed: “Repent, for the kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.” And after John’s imprisonment in the year 30 C.E., Jesus had taken up the same message. For the following three years Jesus persisted in preaching that message and teaching the people wherever the opportunity offered itself. The free public activity of John the Baptist was therefore quite short, only about a year, but Jesus’ public and private activity was three times as long. Both men could be said to have done a sowing work, Jesus taking up where John left off. Jesus began to reap disciples, but not all those possible to be reaped from his field of activity. (Matthew 4:12-23; 3:1-7) Moreover, Jesus had, by means of his public career that included his violent death and resurrection from the dead, fulfilled the Bible prophecies concerning the promised Messiah, and this was all public knowledge. This had an effect upon the Jewish people living in the territory in which Jesus Christ became the most controversial public figure of the times. This resulted in a cultivated field for the producing of Christian disciples.
15. (a) So what valuable thing with potentiality did Jesus Christ leave with his disciples? (b) With how many at the start did he leave those “belongings”?
15 Jesus thus put into the field of people in which he worked a potentiality, a latent power and capacity to bring forth disciples, a prepared condition of the field that was ready to react favorably or respond to the future work of Jesus’ disciples. This prepared field of potentialities (Christian possibilities) for the cultivating and reaping of Christian disciples was what constituted the “belongings” of the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ. This was what he committed to his disciple slaves. After his resurrection from the dead he had appeared to “upward of five hundred brothers at one time,” but thereafter on the Festival Day of Pentecost there were only about one hundred and twenty disciples gathered in the upper room in Jerusalem who were the first to receive the holy spirit when poured down from heaven. (1 Corinthians 15:6; Matthew 28:16-18; Acts 1:13-15) Hence, there were at least more than a hundred Christian “slaves” to whom he committed his “belongings” before he traveled abroad by ascending to his heavenly Father.
16. The “belongings” of the man of the parable amounted to how much money, and how did he distribute these “belongings” to his “slaves”?
16 How was the distribution of his “belongings” made, and upon what basis? We read: “And to one he gave five talents, to another two, to still another one, to each one according to his own ability, and he went abroad.” (Matthew 25:15) Thus eight (8) silver talents represented his “belongings” that he distributed to his slaves. This stood for a lot of wealth back there in the first century of our Common Era, for each silver talent equaled sixty (60) minas or around $850 of American money. The slave who received one silver talent got this amount of money to use; the slave who got two talents received twice that amount of money; the one who got five talents received five times that amount. Each slave received the amount of money that corresponded with “his own ability” to handle such an amount and do business with it. The wealthy man was familiar with his slaves and their abilities.
17. (a) What kind of abilities did the “slaves” of the parable have, but what about the parable’s fulfillment? (b) Who received the greatest responsibility in the parable, and in the fulfillment?
17 In the parable, the abilities were natural abilities or abilities that the slaves had cultivated and developed. In the fulfillment of the parable of the “talents,” the “ability” is not a mere physical or mental ability, although such kind of ability can be valuable and helpful. Rather, the “ability” represents the spiritual possibilities that are to be found in the Christian slave who is in line for the heavenly kingdom. The zeal, the willingness, the eagerness that the Christian slave has contributes to his possibilities for use of the spiritual wealth committed to him. The one who receives what resembles five talents according to his own ability bears, of course, the greatest responsibility. The Lord Jesus Christ thus laid upon his apostolic slaves the greatest responsibility, and they had a pioneering work to do on a large scale, as well as to be secondary foundations of the Christian congregation.—Revelation 21:14; Ephesians 2:20-22.
18. (a) What did the “slaves” in being only three represent? (b) In the parable the “slaves” were all men, but how about the fulfillment?
18 The Lord Jesus Christ has, of course, more than three spiritual “slaves” for whom he has covenanted for the heavenly kingdom. So the three “slaves” of the parable stand for three respective classes of prospective heirs of the heavenly kingdom. We must remember that the spirit-begotten Christian congregation contains many believing women. On the Festival Day of Pentecost of 33 C.E. Jesus’ mother Mary was one of such women, and likely Mary and Martha of the town of Bethany near Jerusalem were among the “some women” mentioned in Acts 1:14, who received the holy spirit on that notable day of Pentecost. (John 11:1-45) Also, when under the pressure of persecution at Jerusalem the evangelizer Philip went north to Samaria, he found believing Samaritan women, for we read: “But when they believed Philip, who was declaring the good news of the kingdom of God and of the name of Jesus Christ, they proceeded to be baptized, both men and women.”—Acts 8:12.
19. (a) In the parable, what did the “man” expect the slaves to do about his “belongings”? (b) What does Jesus Christ expect about the “belongings” that he left with his disciple “slaves”?
19 In the parable, the traveling man expected his slaves to do business with those talents during his absence and bring increase on them. He did not desire them to let the money lie idle and unproductive. Likewise the Lord Jesus Christ when committing to his disciple “slaves” all his belongings on earth expected them, in fact, commanded them, not to let the prepared, cultivated field that he committed to them go without further attention and development so as not to produce more. Nor was the field to be left to its original proportions without being added to, spread out, enlarged. No, but increase was expected by the absent Lord Jesus Christ, and, consequently, failure to bring increase would result in punishment for the one not living up to his responsibility.
DOING BUSINESS WITH THE “TALENTS”
20. What did the “man” expect of the slaves entrusted with the talents, and how did the meeting of those expectations pay off for the slaves?
20 The slaves of the parable, if not specifically told, realized that increase was expected of them. The parable makes this apparent, for we read: “Immediately the one that received the five talents went his way and did business with them and gained five more. In the same way the one that received the two gained two more.” (Matthew 25:16, 17) Evidently, these two slaves did not deposit the money in a bank and let it gain interest by the operations of the bankers; but they themselves engaged in business ventures with skill and discernment and sharp astuteness. Their personal efforts paid off, for their respective moneys doubled in amount. Each one made use of “his own ability,” with loyalty and devotion for his owner, as well as a desire to win his approval.
21, 22. How were the “belongings” of Jesus Christ to be increased in quantity, and to what extent? Over what area?
21 How, now, is that portion of the “belongings” of the Lord Jesus Christ that is committed to the prospective Kingdom heir doubled in amount in the fulfillment of the parable? The Lord Jesus told how it was to be done and the Bible account furnishes illustrations of how it was done nineteen centuries ago. Some days before his ascending to heaven the Lord Jesus materialized and appeared to his disciples at a prearranged place on a mountain in the province of Galilee. There he said to them: “All authority has been given me in heaven and on the earth. Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you. And, look! I am with you all the days until the conclusion of the system of things.” (Matthew 28:16-20) But on the day of his ascending to heaven he was more specific about the course that the work of increasing his “belongings” was to take. About this we read:
22 “When, now, they had assembled, they went asking him: ‘Lord, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?’ He said to them: ‘It does not belong to you to get knowledge of the times or seasons which the Father has placed in his own jurisdiction; but you will receive power when the holy spirit arrives upon you, and you will be witnesses of me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the most distant part of the earth.’”—Acts 1:6-8.
23. (a) To what areas had Jesus restricted his preaching and teaching, and with what result? (b) Where, then, did the disciples find Christ’s “belongings,” to work with until whose due time?
23 During his earthly activity as a Kingdom preacher and teacher Jesus had restricted his efforts to Jerusalem and the provinces of Galilee and of Judea (including Samaria) and to Perea on the eastern banks of the Jordan River. In those areas Jesus had produced a prepared, cultivated condition among the Jews and Samaritans for the making of more disciples. This condition in those areas was what the disciples were to take advantage of in increasing the number of Christian disciples; it was the “belongings” that Jesus their Lord committed to them as “slaves.” So, first of all, they were to work in those prepared areas until the time or season that the heavenly Father held within his own jurisdiction. This they must do, remembering that “Christ actually became a minister of those who are circumcised in behalf of God’s truthfulness, so as to verify the promises He made to their forefathers.”—Romans 15:8.
24. (a) After receiving holy spirit, how did the disciples at once put the “belongings” of their Lord to work, and with what amount of production? (b) What field for productivity did the Jewish believers find on returning home after Pentecost?
24 In harmony with this the disciple “slaves” back there capitalized on the prepared, cultivated estate that the Lord Jesus had committed to them as his “belongings” for which he had worked, and they put that spiritual estate to work in order to produce an increase of the disciples. They did that at once, right there on that Festival Day of Pentecost of 33 C.E., at Jerusalem, and at once there was a production of about three thousand baptized who were put in line for the Kingdom by their being baptized with holy spirit. These were all circumcised persons, whether natural Jews or proselytes to the Jewish faith. The belongings of the Lord Jesus that had been committed to the disciples continued to be used still more, Christian business being done with those “belongings,” so that sometime later the number of disciples in Jerusalem had gone up to “about five thousand.” (Acts 4:4) Doubtless, hundreds of those Jews and proselytes who left Jerusalem after the celebration of Pentecost and returned to their homes in various parts of the earth found a field for activity in behalf of Christianity among their home Jewish neighborhoods.
25. (a) How had Jesus already worked for some “belongings” in the case of Jews and proselytes attending the Jerusalem festivals? (b) How did persecution cause the Christian faith to be spread to distant Jewish communities?
25 Possibly, many of those returning Jews and proselytes had come in contact with Jesus Christ and had heard him on previous visits to Jerusalem to attend all the festivals. That being so, Jesus had even produced a prepared, cultivated condition in the case of those visiting Jews and proselytes, and the apostles and fellow disciples at Jerusalem took advantage of this part of Jesus’ belongings and put such “belongings” to work. (John 12:20-29; Acts 2:5-11) So it came about that, before ever the apostle Paul got to Rome, Italy, there was a congregation of many Christians there. (Romans 1:1-7; 15:22-24) Also, the persecution that arose at Jerusalem against Christ’s disciples there resulted in the spread of the Christian faith to many Jews outside the Jewish provinces. In Acts 11:19 it is written: “Consequently those who had been scattered by the tribulation that arose over Stephen went through as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, but speaking the word to no one except to Jews only.”
26. (a) Holding down the disciple-making to only the Jewish field continued till when and till what event? (b) How did work in that newly-opened-up area result in increase in the spiritual “talents”?
26 This holding down the increasing of the “belongings” of the absent Lord Jesus Christ to only the Jews and Jewish proselytes continued till the autumn of the year 36 C.E. Then the time of increasing the number of Christian disciples in other areas arrived, just as Jesus himself had commanded, saying: “Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them,” and, “you will be witnesses of me . . . to the most distant part of the earth.” (Matthew 28:19, 20; Acts 1:8) Then it was God’s due time for the Jewish disciples, to whom Jesus had committed his spiritual “talents,” to use those “belongings” of his in order to make more spiritual “talents.” This began by the action on the part of the five-talents class, when the apostle Peter was sent to the Roman capital of Judea at Caesarea to convert Cornelius to the discipleship of Jesus Christ. (Acts 10:1 to 11:18) By this the whole Gentile or non-Jewish world of humankind was opened up for disciple-making. This was an area that had not ‘belonged’ to Jesus Christ on earth by assignment from Jehovah God for him to sow and reap and make disciples.—Matthew 15:24.
27. This opening up of a worldwide area for productivity called for what on the part of the Jewish disciples?
27 Here now was a vast area in which there had been no conditioning of the people by Jesus Christ himself, no prepared, cultivated state left by Jesus as a pioneer for his disciples to use to advantage toward increasing the Christian congregation. With the benefit and the advantage and the impetus of what Jesus had done in providing the original field under cultivation, they could now as experienced, qualified workers sow the seed and cultivate the possibilities of growth and thereby add other fields for the producing of disciples of Jesus the Messiah. This required pioneering efforts on their own part, and called for courage, sincere effort, careful attention and perseverance to be exercised by them that no loss might be suffered. They were no longer building on another man’s foundation, but were themselves doing all the preliminaries to disciple-making in a brand-new area. This showed obedience to their Lord.—Romans 15:17-21.
28, 29. (a) Following the pattern set by the first-century disciples, how have the later disciple “slaves” of Christ done according to their ability? (b) What has been the most vital factor involved in the bringing in of increase?
28 The apostles and other first-century disciples of Jesus Christ set the pattern as to how to ‘do business’ with the figurative “talents” that were committed to them. They increased the number of their Lord’s talents one hundred percent. The class of Christian “slaves” entrusted with “five talents” of the Lord’s “belongings” made five talents more. The class of Christ’s “slaves” that were made responsible for two talents of what belonged to their Lord made two talents more. It was a hundred-percent increase, proportionately, for each class, so that each one did up to the extent that was possible for him, and no one was better than anyone else. He did as much as could be expected of him. Each one did his utmost according to “his own ability.” However, the increase made with the belongings of their Lord did not owe itself wholly to the use of the “ability” of each “slave.” There was another factor that entered into the matter, and this was the most essential factor of all. The apostle Paul refers to this factor when he speaks comparatively of his own service and that of the eloquent disciple Apollos, saying:
29 “What, then, is Apollos? Yes, what is Paul? Ministers through whom you became believers, even as the Lord granted each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God kept making it grow; so that neither is he that plants anything nor is he that waters, but God who makes it grow. Now he that plants and he that waters are one, but each person will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers. You people are God’s field under cultivation, God’s building.”—1 Corinthians 3:5-9.
30. (a) Who, then, is to be credited primarily with the increase? (b) In the first century, what evidence was there of the increase in the area cultivated by disciples?
30 God, therefore, is the One to be credited with the increase, and Christ’s “slaves” are merely the instruments that he is pleased to use in effecting the increase. He helps the “slaves” to meet their responsibilities. He equips the “slaves” with what they need for carrying on successfully the work of making disciples from people of all the nations. Thus the prepared, cultivated disciple-producing area that the departing Son of God left to his faithful disciples is added to, because other areas of this kind are brought into existence all around the globe through the obedience of Christ’s “slaves” to his commands and their imitation of his example. What evidence of this was there in the first century of our Common Era? This: congregations of disciples who were heirs of the kingdom of the heavens sprang up outside of Jerusalem and of all Judea and Galilee and Samaria. Congregations were established in Asia, Africa, Europe and islands of the Mediterranean Sea.
31. As an example of the foregoing, what does the location from which Peter wrote his first letter indicate about him?
31 For instance, take the apostle Peter. He was one of the four apostles who, after hearing Jesus predict the destruction of the magnificent temple in Jerusalem, put the question to him: “When will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are destined to come to a conclusion?” (Mark 13:1-4) Well, about thirty years later, around 62-64 C.E., or several years before “these things” did occur with the siege and destruction of Jerusalem along with its temple, the apostle Peter was doing missionary work outside the Roman Empire. Yes, the first letter that he wrote to fellow Christians inside the Roman Empire was written in the city of Babylon on the Euphrates River in Mesopotamia, and in this letter he refers to the Christian congregation there at the close of his letter, saying: “She who is in Babylon, a chosen one like you, sends you her greetings.”—1 Peter 5:13.
32-34. (a) About when and from where did Paul write his letter to the Colossians? (b) How does Paul therein indicate the worldwide increase of the “talents” committed to the disciples?
32 Then there was also the apostle Paul. He had at last reached the imperial capital of Rome, but as a prisoner who had appealed to Caesar for a fair trial. From his place of custody in Rome he wrote to the Christian congregation in Colossae, Asia Minor, about 60-61 C.E. This was almost ten years before “these things” predicted by the Lord Jesus Christ, and yet as early as that before the end of the Jewish system of things as centered in Jerusalem, the apostle Paul spoke of the worldwide increasing of the figurative “talents” that Jesus had committed to his “slaves.” As Paul is referring to the ‘telling of the good news’ to them he writes:
33 “We heard of your faith in connection with Christ Jesus and the love you have for all the holy ones because of the hope that is being reserved for you in the heavens. This hope you heard of before by the telling of the truth of that good news which has presented itself to you, even as it is bearing fruit and increasing in all the world just as it is doing also among you, from the day you heard and accurately knew the undeserved kindness of God in truth. That is what you have learned from Epaphras our beloved fellow slave, who is a faithful minister of the Christ on our behalf, who also disclosed to us your love in a spiritual way.
34 “Indeed, you who were once alienated and enemies because your minds were on the works that were wicked, he now has again reconciled by means of that one’s fleshly body through his death, in order to present you holy and unblemished and open to no accusation before him, provided, of course, that you continue in the faith, established on the foundation and steadfast and not being shifted away from the hope of that good news which you heard, and which was preached in all creation that is under heaven.”—Colossians 1:4-8, 21-23.
35. This testimony to the zeal of the first-century disciples was effected during what limited period of time, and in fulfillment of what prophecy of Jesus?
35 What a testimony those inspired words of the apostle Paul were to the zeal of those first-century “slaves” of the Lord Jesus Christ in ‘doing business’ with the “talents” that he had committed to them! What an accomplishment that was for them in such a short period of time—the good news “bearing fruit and increasing in all the world,” the good news already “preached in all creation that is under heaven”! Think of it: Jesus Christ had “manifested himself once for all time at the conclusion of the systems of things,” in the years 29-33 C.E., and yet even before the conclusion of the Jewish system of things was finished in the year 70 C.E., by the annihilation of their religious capital, the Jews throughout the then known world had received a witness concerning the Messianic kingdom of God. Indeed, all the Gentile nations had also received such a witness, in a typical fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy on the “sign” of the “conclusion of the system of things,” namely: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.”—Matthew 24:14; Hebrews 9:26.
CULMINATION OF THE PARABLE’S FULFILLMENT TODAY
36. Did the Lord of the disciple “slaves” come again before or after Jerusalem’s destruction, and what did John’s closing words of the Revelation indicate about Christ’s coming?
36 Those first-century “slaves” who increased the precious “talents” to such a worldwide extent in spite of wars, pestilences, famines, earthquakes and persecutions all died off, but their departed Lord and Owner did not return in their day, either before or after the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman legions. About twenty-six years after that horrible event shocked the Jewish religious world, the apostle John had his prison term on the Isle of Patmos brightened by receiving the divine Revelation, in which he pointed to the future and said: “Look! He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, and those who pierced him.” And John closed the Revelation account with the prayer: “‘Amen! Come, Lord Jesus.’ May the undeserved kindness of the Lord Jesus Christ be with the holy ones.” (Revelation 1:7; 22:20, 21) That fervent prayer for the Lord’s coming was not actually answered before more than eighteen centuries had passed.
37. (a) Contrary to what expectation, when did the Lord Jesus Christ return? (b) From then on, the Kingdom-preaching took on what new meaning, and why?
37 Only with the return of the Lord Jesus Christ and his parousia or presence would the culmination come in the fulfillment of the parable of the “talents.” In the latter half of the past nineteenth century it was thought that the Lord had returned in the year 1874 C.E. and that with that year his invisible presence in spirit had begun. But really the “sign” of his presence and of the conclusion of the system of things did not present itself during the succeeding four decades. Not until the end of the Gentile Times in the year 1914, about October 4/5 or the middle of the Jewish lunar month Tishri. At that time the preaching of the good news of a coming Messianic kingdom of God turned into the preaching of the good news of the established kingdom of God. World events that followed piled up evidence that in the aforesaid critical year God’s kingdom of the heavens was born by the enthronement and crowning of his Messiah, Jesus the son of David the son of Abraham. (Matthew 1:1) The one had come who has the “legal right” to it. In fact, he had returned!—Ezekiel 21:25-27.
38. The parable of the “talents” was given as part of what prophecy, and so how should the culmination of its fulfillment in our day be indicated?
38 The parable of the “talents” was given by Jesus Christ as being a part of the many-featured “sign” for indicating the fact of his parousia or presence. So the bringing of the fulfillment of the parable to a head in our time ought to add to the testimony that he has returned in spirit and that his presence is upon us. Certainly if we say that the royal presence of the Lord Jesus Christ began at the close of the Gentile Times in 1914, then there ought to be facts available to verify that the fulfillment of the parable is undergoing its culmination in our day. What are the facts?
39. What did the slave with the one talent do, and when did settling of accounts with the slaves begin?
39 First, we look to see how the parable turned out. So we take up reading further in Jesus’ parable, as follows: “But the one that received just one went off, and dug in the ground and hid the silver money of his master. After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them.”—Matthew 25:18, 19.
40. (a) In the parable, with what did the “master of those slaves” return? (b) The year 1914 C.E. had to do with what “kingdom power” in particular, and how so?
40 When the “master of those slaves” came, he came back with what he had traveled abroad to gain. His own words later show that he had gained a “joy” to share with his faithful slaves; he came back with “many things” that he had not had when he committed the eight silver talents to them. An earlier parable given by Jesus, the parable of the “ten minas,” specifies that what he came back with was “kingly power.” (Luke 19:12-15) The Gentile Times, or “the appointed times of the nations,” have to do with “kingly power,” particularly the “kingly power” of the family of King David of Jerusalem, the kingly power of which Davidic family Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon overthrew in the year 607 B.C.E. That disastrous year was the date when the 2,520 years of the Gentile Times began their count down to the year 1914 C.E. So the end of those Gentile Times about October 4/5 of 1914 should logically witness a reversal of the situation of such long standing. It was therefore not without significance that October 4/5, 1914, found the Gentile nations in trouble, already for two months embroiled in the first world war of human history.
41. (a) Did World War I kill off the small number of the disciple “slaves” of the Lord Jesus Christ then on earth? (b) What did the nations seek to do to them as respects further witnessing by them?
41 What, though, about the Christian “slaves” of the heavenly Master Jesus Christ to whom he had committed his valuable “talents”? To this day there is still a small number of those faithful “slaves” who were on the earthly scene at that marked time and who discerned from the Holy Scriptures the meaning of World War I. This international conflict that finally dragged in twenty-eight nations and empires in total warfare did not kill off those loyal “slaves” of the newly enthroned heavenly King, Jesus Christ. The earthly enemies, who did not want Jesus Christ to rule over them as King of all the earth, would have liked to kill off these “slaves of his,” but did not succeed in doing so. They tried, in effect, to take away from them those figurative “talents” that they had received from their heavenly Master and Owner. They tried to undo all the fine accomplishments and spiritual gains that these “slaves” had made for the newly enthroned heavenly King. To this end they tried to kill the influence of these with the people of all the nations. They tried desperately to undermine the prepared, cultivated foundation of these for future Kingdom witnessing.
42, 43. (a) The end of World War I in 1918 found the “slaves” of the heavenly Master in what state? (b) To all appearances, what had happened to the “talents” entrusted to them?
42 The end of World War I on November 11, 1918, found “slaves” of the reigning heavenly King practically killed as respects that good reputation with the people inside and outside of Christendom. The favor with the people as Christians was practically dead under a shroud of misrepresentation and vilification by nationalistic patrioteers and war-minded fanatics. Violent mobbings had taken place against them. Either their Bible literature was banned or they themselves were proscribed. Many of them were in prison, most outstandingly of all these being the president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, also the secretary-treasurer thereof, and six other prominent associates under false charges from which they could be exonerated only after the war madness had died down.
43 Seemingly, these “slaves” of the Rightful Ruler of this earthly globe were stripped of everything. His “talents” committed to them seemed to have been wiped out. Their enemies rejoiced at having put those “slaves” out of the service of their heavenly Master for all time to come, for the ability of these to start all over again appeared to have been put in doubt.
44. (a) When did a reversal of matters set in, and how? (b) What question now arose as to the surviving “slaves,” and why?
44 It was not till more than four months later, after the war ended, that the enemies were surprised, startled at a reversal that started to set in. This was when those eight representatives of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society were released from imprisonment in the Atlanta (Georgia) Federal Penitentiary on March 25, 1919, and admitted to bail the next day in Brooklyn, New York. Exoneration from the grossly false accusations against them came shortly in due course. But how much did this count with the war-prostrated people who carried with them the prejudiced, distorted viewpoint respecting the “slaves” of Jesus Christ because of war propaganda and war fever? It was something for the “slaves” to consider. Could they pick up and go forward again in the face of such forbidding circumstances? Did they have the courage and the confidence of their heavenly Master to do so? It was indeed a time of test for these Christian slaves.
45. (a) According to the parable, what was due to be carried on by the “master of those slaves”? (b) As regards their possession of “talents,” what needed to be done in behalf of those Christian slaves?
45 The parable of the “talents” pictured that when the traveler returned from abroad he would settle accounts with them. This meant an inspection of them. Quite logically, with that turn of events in the spring of 1919, it would be the due time for the heavenly “master of those slaves” to inspect them. But what account could they render with respect to his “talents” that had been committed to the slave class? Any increase that they may have gained prior to the climax of wartime persecution in 1918 seemed to have been wiped out. They were as if they had no figurative “talents” in their possession at all. If, now, they were to show any increase in their Master’s “talents,” they must produce this increase in the postwar period and render such increase of his belongings to him in the future. They must be given a new and further opportunity to ‘do business’ with his precious “talents.” This is just how it worked out historically, due to the merciful considerateness of their heavenly Master.
46. (a) What was it the time for them to dispel, and for what did they need to reorganize? (b) In view of their heavenly Master’s being possessed of “kingdom power,” for what was the situation opportune and the time auspicious?
46 The year 1919 was the vital time to dispel the fear of men that had been created among the slave class during the violence and hysteria of the first world war and that had caused the slave class to withdraw considerably from doing business as responsible slaves of the reigning King, Jesus Christ. It was then high time for them to begin reorganizing their broken, crippled ranks for the biggest endeavor of their lives in their service of their Master now possessed of kingly power. Now, as never before, their Master had the rightful claim to all the earth as his field at his disposal for the producing of further disciples favored with the hope of the heavenly kingdom. He could commit this opportune situation to them for ‘doing business’ in his service. It was the auspicious time for the “slave” class of disciples to arise as pictured by the slave to whom “five talents” were entrusted, and also for the class pictured by the slave who had two talents committed to him. They did so, for the parable of the “talents” could not fail of its fulfillment, especially at its culmination.
47. In 1919, how were they strengthened not to fear but to present themselves for the postwar work?
47 No time was lost. In 1919 those two classes of “slaves” got busy. They received strong reassurance from the Watch Tower articles of August 1 and 15, 1919, on the theme “Blessed Are the Fearless.” They hailed the announcement of the eight-day convention to be held at Cedar Point, Ohio, on September 1-8, 1919. They did not shrink back from attending that general convention for fear that they might be confronted with a postwar work that would require great energy and courage on their part, with further persecution.
48. (a) How did the Cedar Point conventioners receive the announcement of a new magazine as a companion of The Watch Tower? (b) How has this additional magazine been used till now?
48 With eagerness to learn how Jehovah purposed for them to do the work that lay ahead of them, six thousand who came particularly from Canada and the United States of America daily attended the sessions of this convention of the International Bible Students Association. With surprise and yet hearty appreciation they received the announcement of a new magazine to be published beginning October 1, 1919, The Golden Age, as a companion to The Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence. This new magazine would be an additional adjunct in announcing God’s established Messianic kingdom. It would be another instrument for them to use in doing the planting, watering and cultivating of new areas for the production of more disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. Side by side with The Watch Tower that new magazine (now Awake!) has worked in an increasing circulation until now, arousing new interest in honest-hearted persons and readying them to receive the deeper things of God’s Word. It has done an excellent preparing work.
49. What was done with regard to branches of the Watch Tower Society, and to what extent have areas thereby brought under cultivation been increased?
49 Also, communications between the headquarters of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society and its branch organizations around the globe that had been disrupted by the world war were reestablished and strengthened, and, as time and circumstances revealed the need, new branches were set up in various lands. This increased the areas that were brought under closer supervision of the “slaves” of the heavenly Master Jesus Christ and aided greatly in intensifying the work for cultivating such areas for the gathering of more disciples of people of all the nations. From the few branches that then existed the number has soared to ninety-five branches today. These have the oversight over the seeding and cultivating operations that are being carried on in two hundred and eight countries and islands of the sea.
50. (a) Why did those attending the 1922 Cedar Point convention see themselves at the position of Isaiah at the temple? (b) Isaiah’s response to Jehovah’s invitation raised what question respecting them?
50 In September of 1922 these Christian slaves who are in line for the heavenly kingdom were forcefully made aware that they are indeed now under inspection of the King of kings and Lord of lords, the reigning Lord Jesus. In fulfillment of Malachi 3:1, he has accompanied Jehovah God when coming to his spiritual temple for judgment work with regard to his spirit-begotten “slaves” at the temple. Those attending the second convention of the International Bible Students Association in Cedar Point, Ohio, on its fourth day, September 8, 1922, designated as “The Day,” now saw themselves to be in the position of the prophet Isaiah, when he had a vision of Jehovah God at his temple. Isaiah felt the need for being spiritually cleansed, and he was mercifully given the needed cleansing. This put him in the favorable position to respond to Jehovah’s invitation with the eager cry: “Here I am! Send me.” (Isaiah 6:1-8) So the question was, Would the I.B.S.A. conventioners respond similarly to Jehovah’s invitation to service then being extended to them?
51. In closing his speech of “The Day,” what questions did the Society’s president put to the conventioners, and what final exhortation did he give them?
51 In the second-last paragraph of his speech that dealt with Isaiah’s vision, the Watch Tower Society’s president, J. F. Rutherford, put a number of questions to the conventioners, including these final ones: “Do you believe that the Lord is now in his temple, judging the nations of the earth? Do you believe that the King of glory has begun his reign?” With high enthusiasm the thousands of conventioners shouted affirmatively. At this the speaker climaxed his speech by saying: “Then back to the field, O ye sons of the most high God! Gird on your armor! Be sober, be vigilant, be active, be brave. Be faithful and true witnesses for the Lord. Go forward in the fight until every vestige of Babylon lies desolate. Herald the message far and wide. The world must know that Jehovah is God and that Jesus Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords. This is the day of all days. Behold, the King reigns! You are his publicity agents. Therefore advertise, advertise, advertise, the King and his kingdom.”—See The Watch Tower under date of November 1, 1922, pages 332-337.
52. (a) In 1920, what did the Society do for increasing the distribution of Bible literature? (b) In 1924, what other means for advertising the Kingdom did the Society start using, enlarged later by what other publicity means?
52 With greater zeal and effort than ever before the “slaves” of the returned Lord Jesus Christ went forth to advertise him as reigning King, preaching publicly both from house to house and from the public platform. Since 1920 they had begun operating their own printing establishment in Brooklyn, New York, and this enabled them to come into possession of greater quantities of Bible literature, magazines, booklets, tracts, hardbound books, and finally Bibles themselves, at greater economy, to use in advertising the Messianic King and his kingdom. From Sunday, February 24, 1924, radio stations owned by legal corporations of these “slaves” began to be used in broadcasting the Kingdom message to a numberless invisible audience at their radio receivers. In course of time scores of radio stations were brought into use, either on rented time or on free time, in a number of lands to sound out the Kingdom good news to the very ends of the earth. To these publicity means were added, some years later, sound cars with loudspeakers and portable phonographs carried by Christ’s “slaves” from door to door to advertise the Kingdom to the householders.
53. Why did the readers have reason to be thrilled at the leading article of the issue of March 1, 1925, of The Watch Tower?
53 It was a thrill for the readers of The Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence when they received their issue of March 1, 1925, and read the leading article entitled “Birth of the Nation.” Why? Because they received therein a closer understanding of Revelation, chapter twelve. Their eyes of spiritual discernment were opened to see that the symbolic birth of the man child, so excitingly presented in that chapter so long a mystery to them, pictured the birth of God’s Messianic kingdom in the year 1914, at the end of the Gentile Times. The article concluded, on page 74, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is here. The day of deliverance is in sight. Let this good news be heralded to the peoples of earth. Victory is with our King. Faithful now to the end of the war; and we shall forever bask in the sunshine of his love, where there is fulness of joy and pleasures for evermore.”
54, 55. How did the number of those participating in the Lord’s Supper in 1925 indicate an increase in the areas of activity?
54 The annual celebration of the Lord’s Supper on the following date, Wednesday, April 8, 1925, brought something encouraging to light. Because of the planting, watering and cultivating work that had gone on till then in additional areas of activity, with the newly provided instruments for Kingdom publicity, the number of congregations of disciples with heavenly hopes increased. The membership of congregations increased. So at this celebration of the Lord’s Supper the number of participants therein indicated this growth and production of disciples of Christ. How many, then, did participate that year? The September 1, 1925, issue of The Watch Tower, page 263, under “Memorial Reports,” says:
55 “We are pleased that the number participating in the Memorial is so great, because it manifests much interest in the truth everywhere, and this is as it should be. The grand total reported to date is 90,434, which is 25,329 more than were reported a year ago.”
56. What did this indicate with regard to the “business” transactions of the disciple “slaves” who were entrusted with the “talents”?
56 Truly the “slaves” of Christ, the class pictured by the slave entrusted with “five talents,” and the class pictured by the slave to whom two talents were committed, were prompt and early in ‘doing business’ with them, so as to add other areas that would be fruitful with more disciples of Christ. The published facts prove that these “slaves” were being blessed in their efforts and were rewarded with increase. This encouraged them on still more.
57. (a) Why did the wealthy man of the parable travel abroad? (b) So what questions arise as to Jesus Christ in the parable’s fulfillment?
57 However, now historically another factor comes to plain view in the matter. In Jesus’ parable, the man who possessed the eight silver talents and three slaves did not go traveling abroad simply for pleasure as on a sight-seeing trip. He had a serious reason for traveling abroad; he desired to secure something valuable. What he went abroad for, as the parable shows, was to gain a certain “joy,” along with “many things.” Consequently, he had to travel a long distance, requiring a long stretch of time, in order to apply to the one who could impart to him that particular “joy.” This is implicit in Jesus’ parable, although the parable of the “talents” does not explicitly say so. Since the wealthy man in the parable pictures the Lord Jesus Christ, the man’s traveling abroad for a long trip pictures the Lord Jesus going to the one Source of the special joy that he had in view. To whom, then, did he go? Who was that Source of joy?
58, 59. (a) To whom did the resurrected Jesus Christ go to obtain that “joy”? (b) To whom else is He the Source of joy, as indicated in Romans 15:13?
58 This is indicated for us in Hebrews 12:2, which reads: “We look intently at the Chief Agent and Perfecter of our faith, Jesus. For the joy that was set before him he endured a torture stake, despising shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
59 Ah, yes, Jehovah God is the Source of that “joy.” It was to him that the resurrected Jesus Christ went away, leaving his faithful disciples here on earth, entrusted with his “belongings,” his “talents.” The heavenly Father was the Source of Jesus’ special cause for “joy.” Jehovah God is the Source of joy also to the disciples of his beloved Son. Accordingly, one of those disciples, when writing to fellow Christians in Rome, said: “May the God who gives hope fill you with all joy and peace by your believing, that you may abound in hope with power of holy spirit.” (Romans 15:13) God was able to answer that proper prayer.
60. (a) To whom was it timely to give due prominence, now that Jesus Christ had returned with his “joy”? (b) How was this due prominence given to Him as respects his name?
60 In the proper course of things it would be good timing to have God, the heavenly Source of joy, given due prominence in the eyes of the “slaves” of the Lord Jesus Christ after his joyful return, now that God’s Messianic kingdom had been born in the heavens. The time had come for this divine Source of joy to make a name for himself, and this required that first His personal name be made known. That Name was duly made known. Deservedly, it went into regular use among his reverent worshipers on earth and it has been published throughout the whole earth as it had never been publicized at any previous time. When the year 1926 opened up, the first issue of The Watch Tower presented its leading article entitled “Who Will Honor Jehovah?” From then forward, the divine name, which appears thousands of times in the original Hebrew text of the Holy Bible, was exalted to its rightful elevation among the “slaves” of the Son of God. They began to be witnesses for Him foremost, but not diminishing their witness for his Son Jesus Christ. They lovingly acted on their obligation to be witnesses for the Only One who bears the name Jehovah.
61. (a) By a resolution in 1931, the disciple slaves of Jesus Christ declared themselves opposed to being called by what names? (b) By what name did they henceforth desire to be called?
61 Five and a half years of such witnessing for the divine Name followed. Then came the time for the Christian “slaves” to identify themselves, to differentiate themselves from all the professed Christians of religious Christendom. To this end, action was taken by the “slaves” of Jesus Christ on Sunday afternoon, July 26, 1931, at the international convention held in Columbus, Ohio, U.S.A. At 4:00 p.m., there was presented and read to the thousands of conventioners a resolution, the fourth, fifth and sixth paragraphs of which we are here pleased to quote:
NOW, THEREFORE, in order that our true position may be made known, and believing that this is in harmony with the will of God, as expressed in his Word, BE IT RESOLVED, as follows, to wit:
THAT we have great love for Brother Charles T. Russell, for his work’s sake, and that we gladly acknowledge that the Lord used him and greatly blessed his work, yet we cannot consistently with the Word of God consent to be called by the name “Russellites”; that the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society and the International Bible Students Association and the Peoples Pulpit Association are merely names of corporations which as a company of Christian people we hold, control and use to carry on our work in obedience to God’s commandments, yet none of these names properly attach to or apply to us as a body of Christians who follow in the footsteps of our Lord and Master, Christ Jesus; that we are students of the Bible, but, as a body of Christians forming an association, we decline to assume or be called by the name “Bible Students” or similar names as a means of identification of our proper position before the Lord; we refuse to bear or to be called by the name of any man;
THAT, having been bought with the precious blood of Jesus Christ our Lord and Redeemer, justified and begotten by Jehovah God and called to his kingdom, we unhesitatingly declare our entire allegiance and devotion to Jehovah God and his kingdom; that we are servants of Jehovah God commissioned to do a work in his name, and, in obedience to his commandment, to deliver the testimony of Jesus Christ, and to make known to the people that Jehovah is the true and Almighty God; therefore we joyfully embrace and take the name which the mouth of the Lord God has named, and we desire to be known as and called by the name, to wit, Jehovah’s witnesses.—Isa. 43:10-12; 62:2; Rev. 12:17.
62. What invitation was extended in the last paragraph of the resolution?
62 The eighth and last paragraph of the Resolution said:
We humbly invite all persons who are wholly devoted to Jehovah and his kingdom to join in proclaiming this good news to others, that the righteous standard of the Lord may be lifted up, that the peoples of the world may know where to find the truth and hope for relief; and, above all, that the great and holy name of Jehovah God may be vindicated and exalted.
63. (a) By whom, altogether, was this resolution on the New Name adopted? (b) How was the resolution thereafter publicized and thereby notice served on the world?
63 This resolution was enthusiastically adopted, not only by those in convention assembled at Columbus, Ohio, but also, later on, by the congregations of the “slaves” of Jesus Christ all around the globe. Thus they voluntarily embraced the name “Jehovah’s witnesses.” This Resolution on the name was also published in the booklet released at the convention entitled “The Kingdom, the Hope of the World.” That title was also the subject of the public address by the Society’s president J. F. Rutherford to both the visible convention audience and the invisible audience listening in by means of a vast radio network, from twelve o’clock noon onward. Thereafter this booklet containing both the public address and the Resolution was placed directly by personal bearers into the hands of the religious clergymen, Catholic and Protestant, and afterward into the hands of prominent political and professional men. There was also a wider circulation among the people in general. In this way notice was served on all the world that these justified and spirit-begotten worshipers of the Most High God would walk in the name of their God and acknowledge only the name Jehovah’s witnesses.—Micah 4:5.
64. Why do they recognize themselves to be Jehovah’s Christian witnesses?
64 Inasmuch as there were also witnesses of the one living and true God before the first coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, they recognize themselves to be Jehovah’s Christian witnesses.—Isaiah 43:10-12; 44:8; Hebrews 11:1 to 12:1. See also The Watch Tower as of September 15, 1931, pages 278, 279.