Settling Accounts Over the Use of Christ’s Funds
1. What government is without any economic problems, and who now have to settle accounts with this government?
WITH one exception, there is no government without economic problems. Most governments are in heavy debt. The one government that is an exception is the now widely proclaimed “kingdom of the heavens.” (Matthew 25:1) There are still on earth those prospective members of that heavenly Kingdom who are in the service of that government. During this most critical period of all human history, these servants of “the kingdom of the heavens” are being called to account. They have to settle with the government as to how they have used the valuable things entrusted to them.
2. Why should we be very interested in a certain parable as told by the “Prince of Peace”?
2 To illustrate this matter, the foremost representative of that “kingdom of the heavens” long ago related a parable, or an illustration. This should interest us today, for the “Prince of Peace” included it in his long-range prophecy concerning “the sign” that would mark his “presence” in the Kingdom with full authority to rule. (Matthew 24:3) We today are inextricably involved with the consequences that follow the fulfillment of the prophetic parable, since our continued existence, our very life, is involved. So here now is the way that the “Prince of Peace” told the parable to his apostles a few days before his sacrificial death on Calvary.
The Parable of the Talents
3. How did the slaves who received the talents from the master before his departure handle them during his absence?
3 “Keep on the watch, therefore, because you know neither the day nor the hour. 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. 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. But the one that received just one went off, and dug in the ground and hid the silver money of his master.
4. What did the master say to those slaves who increased the number of the talents?
4 “After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them. So the one that had received five talents came forward and brought five additional talents, saying, ‘Master, you committed five talents to me; see, I gained five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave! You were faithful over a few things. I will appoint you over many things. Enter into the joy of your master.’ Next the one that had received the two talents came forward and said, ‘Master, you committed to me two talents; see, I gained two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave! You were faithful over a few things. I will appoint you over many things. Enter into the joy of your master.’
5, 6. What excuse did the third slave give for hiding the talent, and what did the master do to him?
5 “Finally 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.’ In reply his master said to him, ‘Wicked and sluggish slave, you knew, did you, that I reaped where I did not sow and gathered where I did not winnow? Well, then, you ought to have deposited my silver monies with the bankers, and on my arrival I would be receiving what is mine with interest.
6 “‘Therefore take away the talent from him and give it to him that has the ten talents. For to everyone that has, more will be given and he will have abundance; but as for him that does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. And throw the good-for-nothing slave out into the darkness outside. There is where his weeping and the gnashing of his teeth will be.’”—Matthew 25:13-30.
7. What is represented by the talents?
7 In this parable, what is represented by the talents? Something of high value, not monetarily but in a spiritual sense. The talents represent the commission to make disciples of Christ. Along with this commission goes the highly privileged opportunity of acting as ambassadors for Christ, the King, to represent the Kingdom to all the nations of the world.—Ephesians 6:19, 20; 2 Corinthians 5:20.
8. (a) Into what darkness has the “sluggish” slave class been cast during this “conclusion of the system of things”? (b) Why is the world of mankind not enjoying the light of God’s favor and blessing?
8 Beyond all question, we today have reached the culmination of the fulfillment of this prophetic parable! There has descended upon this generation the darkest period of all human history! Indeed, there is a fitting darkness outside the visible part of Jehovah’s organization into which the “sluggish” and “good-for-nothing” slave class can be thrown at the order of the Master. Such a “darkness outside” depicts the bedarkened condition of the world of mankind, especially in a religious sense. The world of mankind is not enjoying the light of God’s favor and blessing. It is not in the light of the knowledge of the Kingdom of God. It is under “the god of this system of things,” who “has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, that the illumination of the glorious good news about the Christ, who is the image of God, might not shine through.”—2 Corinthians 4:4.
9. (a) In fulfillment of the parable, who is pictured by the “man,” and how far did he travel? (b) What evidence is there to indicate his return?
9 Today the evidence is overwhelming that the one pictured by the “man,” who had at least eight silver talents in his possession, has returned from his travels abroad. That “man” is Christ Jesus. His traveling abroad took him into the presence of the Creator of the sun, moon, and stars of our universe. To mark his return, two wars of world proportions, accompanied now by many other wars of lesser proportions, have bloodied our earth. As predicted, these have been accompanied by famines, pestilences, and earthquakes, and by the increasing of lawlessness and the preaching of “this good news of the kingdom” in all the inhabited earth. This has fulfilled the details of what Jesus said would be “the sign of [his] presence and of the conclusion of the system of things.”—Matthew 24:3-15.
10. (a) Why did the man travel abroad? (b) Why was it that the world of mankind did not actually see his return?
10 Although not specifically indicated in Jesus’ parable, the man traveling abroad, to be absent for a long time, really made his trip to gain “the kingdom of the heavens,” earlier referred to in Matthew 25:1. Despite the outbreak of World War I, Jehovah God, whose kingdom over Israel was overthrown in 607 B.C.E., enthroned the rightful Heir of the Kingdom in 1914 C.E., at the due time for the trampling to be halted. No, the Gentile nations did not see with their natural vision the enthronement of the One whom King David called “my Lord.” (Psalm 110:1) They could not do so because the man of the parable, Jesus Christ, had said to his disciples, before traveling abroad: “A little longer and the world will behold me no more.”—John 14:19.
11. (a) What would be part of the sign to mark his return and presence? (b) When would this take place?
11 Since the coming to heavenly Kingdom power by Christ was invisible to human eyes, he had to make apparent his presence in the heavenly Kingdom by the sign that the apostles requested of him three days before his martyrdom. Part of that convincing sign was to be that the man would come back from abroad and take up an accounting with his slaves to whom he had entrusted the highly valuable talents. This being the case, that taking of account of those favored with the use of the talents was due to take place after 1914.
12. (a) Upon whom has devolved the obligation to take the lead in giving the Kingdom witness? (b) Their ultimate salvation depends on what?
12 This would mean taking account with those who were heirs of “the kingdom of the heavens.” This would signify taking an account with the remnant of that Christian body, which had been begotten by God’s spirit from the day of Pentecost of the year 33 C.E. (Acts, chapter 2) There was to be a remnant of these ones on earth during this “conclusion of the system of things” from 1914 onward. These would be the ones upon whom the obligation would fall to take the lead in the fulfillment of Jesus’ prophecy for that time: “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; Mark 13:10) Upon them rests the responsibility of being faithful to the end, in order to be saved into the Kingdom of the heavens. (Matthew 24:13) With their final salvation in view, the Almighty God has strengthened them to endure until now, in spite of worldwide persecution. This fact evidences his approval of them!
False Claimants to the Talents
13. (a) Who claims to have received the talents? (b) At what judgment of her do we arrive?
13 Christendom claims to be honorably entrusted with the talents of the wealthy man in Jesus’ parable. But when we take an account of her course of action since 1914, at what judgment do we arrive? This: She has not lived up to her claims. Unfaithful to the man of the parable, she has allied herself with the kingdoms of this world; the politicians of those worldly governments are her paramours. She still backs up the United Nations, the successor of the now-defunct League of Nations.
14. Where do we find Christendom today?
14 She does not even correspond to the one-talent slave, who proved to be sluggish and who did not increase the belongings of his master. So in this period since the climax of World War I in 1918, Christendom has definitely been exposed as always having been in the darkness outside the Master’s well-lighted house. In the dead of night out there in the world is where, figuratively speaking, her weeping and the gnashing of her teeth have already begun to take place. More of it will yet take place when her political paramours turn upon her and strip her naked as the most reprehensible part of all Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion.
“Evil Slave” Class Thrown Out
15. Who have fulfilled the picture of the sluggish slave, and where do they now find themselves?
15 Those who have actually been part of the spirit-anointed remnant and entrusted with the Kingdom valuables, but who have quit making the effort to increase the interests of the returned Master, have been thrown out of the Master’s royal service. (Matthew 24:48-51) No longer do we find the sluggish “evil slave” class preaching “this good news of the kingdom.” Rather, they specialize upon their personal salvation instead of the interests of God’s Kingdom. They now find themselves in “the darkness outside,” where the world of mankind is. Their symbolic talent has been taken away from them and has been given to the class that has shown the willingness to use that talent during the remaining part of this “conclusion of the system of things.”
16. (a) For what use of the figurative talents is this the most auspicious time? (b) What obligation now falls on the “great crowd” of “other sheep”?
16 Never was there a time more auspicious for proclaiming the “good news of the kingdom” by employing the “talent,” that is, the unusual privilege, the opportunity, of acting as “ambassadors substituting for Christ,” the reigning King, and making disciples for him. (2 Corinthians 5:20) And as the end draws on apace, it behooves the “great crowd” of “other sheep” to assist those remaining spirit-begotten ambassadors as they zealously make full use of the valuable “talent” entrusted to them.
A Greek talent of silver weighed 654 ounces troy (20.4 kg).
[Picture on page 59]
Those who show the traits of the wicked slave are thrown out of the Master’s service and into the darkness