Sharing in “the Joy” of the “Prince of Peace”
1. (a) For what reason did a certain man travel abroad? (b) What is implied in Jesus’ parable, though not directly stated?
IN JESUS’ parable of the talents, the man who possessed the eight silver talents did not travel abroad simply for pleasure as on a sight-seeing trip. He had a serious reason for traveling abroad; he desired to secure something valuable. He went abroad, as the parable shows, to gain a certain “joy,” along with “many things.” (Matthew 25:21) Thus 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.
2. (a) In Jesus’ case, what did the traveling abroad of the wealthy man picture, and to whom did he go? (b) With what did the Master return?
2 Since the wealthy man in the parable pictures Jesus Christ, the man’s traveling abroad for a long trip pictures Jesus going to the one Source of the special joy that he had in view. To whom, then, did he go? Hebrews 12:2 tells us: “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.” Yes, indeed, Jehovah God is the Source of that joy. It was to him that Jesus went away, leaving his faithful disciples here on earth entrusted with his “talents.” The Master returned with “many things” that he had not had when he committed the eight silver talents to his three slaves. 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.
3. What kind of time was it when Zechariah 9:9 commenced fulfillment in the first century C.E.?
3 On being newly installed, a king has reason to be joyful, and so do his loyal subjects. We recall the occasion when the Son of God rode into Jerusalem to fulfill the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9. Concerning the fulfillment of that prophecy, it is written: “Most of the crowd spread their outer garments on the road, while others began cutting down branches from the trees and spreading them on the road. As for the crowds, those going ahead of him and those following kept crying out: ‘Save, we pray, the Son of David! Blessed is he that comes in Jehovah’s name! Save him, we pray, in the heights above!’ Now when he entered into Jerusalem, the whole city was set in commotion, saying: ‘Who is this?’”—Matthew 21:4-10; see also Luke 19:36-38.
4. After being enthroned as King, why did Jesus Christ have a special basis for inviting his faithful “slaves” into a joyful condition?
4 If, then, it was a joyful occasion when he merely presented himself to Jerusalem’s inhabitants as the one anointed with Jehovah’s spirit for the kingship, how much more was it the case when he was actually enthroned as King at the close of the Gentile Times in 1914? It was a most joyful occasion for him. Then, indeed, he did enter into a joy never experienced before. On settling accounts, he could therefore say to the disciples whom he judged to be “good and faithful”: “You were faithful over a few things. I will appoint you over many things. Enter into the joy of your master.” (Matthew 25:21) There was now a new joy in which his approved “slaves” could share. What a reward!
5. (a) The apostle Paul was an ‘ambassador’ for Christ at what stage of affairs? (b) But today the anointed remnant are “ambassadors” for Christ after what development?
5 In 1919 the anointed disciples of the reigning King, Jesus Christ, did enter into an approved condition, and this was attended with immense joy on their part. Nineteen centuries earlier the apostle Paul wrote to his fellow believers to tell them of their exalted position: “We are therefore ambassadors substituting for Christ.” (2 Corinthians 5:20) That was written when Jesus was yet merely the heir apparent with the prospect of receiving “the kingdom of the heavens.” (Matthew 25:1) So, then, he needed to sit at God’s right hand and to wait there for the day of inauguration. But now, since 1919, the approved remnant have been “ambassadors” sent forth by One actually reigning as King. (Hebrews 10:12, 13) This fact was specially called to the attention of the International Bible Students at the Cedar Point, Ohio, convention in 1922.
6. The postwar efforts of those who had received the “talents” were directed first to what type of work?
6 In 1919 they had already had committed to them the equivalent of the “talents” of the reigning King, Jesus Christ. This had enlarged upon their accountability to their reigning King. From the outset, their postwar efforts were directed to a “harvest” work, the gathering of what was “the wheat” class. (Matthew 13:24-30) Since, as Jesus said, the harvest is “a conclusion of a system of things,” the postwar year of 1919 was the due time for this harvesting of the wheatlike “sons of the kingdom,” the faithful anointed remnant, to begin.—Matthew 13:37-39.
7. (a) Into what sort of time did the harvesters enter with their Master? (b) Into what condition has Jehovah brought the harvesters, and what prophetic statement do they take up?
7 Harvesttime is a joyful time for the reapers, as the Master of the harvest enjoys the occasion with them. (Psalm 126:6) This harvesttime has been greatly enriched by the mounting evidence that God’s Kingdom by Jesus Christ was set up in the heavens in 1914 and that Jehovah restored a righteous standing to his dedicated people on earth. As a class, they take up the 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; with the sleeveless coat of righteousness he has enwrapped me.”
Gathering “a Great Crowd” of Sharers in “the Joy”
8. What joy that the anointed remnant had not anticipated was to be their portion at the end of the gathering of the Kingdom heirs?
8 Little did the anointed remnant who entered into “the joy” of their Master realize that toward the end of the gathering of the last members of the heirs of the heavenly Kingdom there would be another joy, something not anticipated. This was to be the ingathering of an earthly class who would live in the Paradise earth under the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ. Who else but people from this earthly class would be the proper ones to invite to what would be the first disclosure of information concerned with them?
9. Who were specially invited to attend the Washington, D.C., convention in 1935, and what timely information was there disclosed to them?
9 So it was that, in response to the invitation published in The Watch Tower,* hundreds who were seeking a relationship with Jehovah, along with his name people, attended the general convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Washington, D.C., May 30 to June 2, 1935. At that convention they were stirred to the depths of their hearts to learn that the “great crowd” forevisioned in Revelation 7:9-17 was to be an earthly class.
10, 11. For whom in heaven should this have proved to be a time of special joy?
10 What a great joy the holding of that convention in Washington, D.C., must have been for the Most High God, Jehovah! What a great joy it must also have been for his Son as the Fine Shepherd who would now start to gather these “other sheep” into the “one flock”!—John 10:16.
11 While being led along and pastured, figuratively speaking, the members of the remnant and the increasing “crowd” of the “other sheep” mingle together peacefully and lovingly. The heart of their “one shepherd” must now swell with joy at having such a large “flock” near the close of this “conclusion of the system of things.”
Envoys of the “Prince of Peace”
12, 13. (a) Who has been invited to share with the anointed remnant in the joy of the returned Master, and what is the reason for this? (b) The “great crowd” of “other sheep” serve the interests of the “Prince of Peace” in what capacity?
12 Those sheeplike ones who make up the “great crowd” now have a huge share in the joy of the Master, Jesus Christ. This is largely due to their having an active share in bringing in the ones needed for completing the “great crowd,” for which no number is given in Revelation 7:9.
13 The gathering work in which the “other sheep” are sharing has zoomed to worldwide proportions, far beyond the ability of the diminishing number of the anointed remnant to cope with. Accordingly, it has become increasingly necessary for the growing number of the “other sheep” to have an ever greater share in bringing in still more of the “other sheep” with an earthly hope. Thus the “other sheep” are serving as faithful envoys of the “Prince of Peace.” Proverbs 25:13 adds: “Just like the coolness of snow in the day of harvest is the faithful envoy to those sending him, for he restores the very soul of his masters.”
14. (a) What do the symbolic sheep of Jesus’ parable at Matthew 25:31-46 inherit? (b) How has the Kingdom been prepared for them “from the founding of the world”?
14 In the parable of the sheep and the goats, the symbolic sheep are the ones to whom the King Jesus Christ says: “Come, you who have been blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world.” (Matthew 25:31-46) They inherit the earthly realm over which the Kingdom of the heavens will rule during the Millennium of Christ’s reign. Since the time of faithful Abel, Jehovah has been preparing this realm for the world of redeemable mankind.—Luke 11:50, 51.
15, 16. (a) What “adornment” of a king, as mentioned by Solomon, does the Master have today in spite of his rule in the midst of his enemies? (b) In what form does the reigning King have this “adornment” today? (c) What have those making up this “adornment” done?
15 Wise King Solomon of ancient Israel wrote: “In the multitude of people there is an adornment of a king.” (Proverbs 14:28) The royal Master of today, Christ Jesus, who is an official far higher than earthly King Solomon, has just such an “adornment” as regards a “multitude of people.” This is true even now before the start of his rulership of a thousand years, yes, when he is reigning in the midst of his earthly enemies, over whom Satan the Devil is the superhuman invisible king.—Matthew 4:8, 9; Luke 4:5, 6.
16 Today’s “adornment” fit for a high official with the rank of king is now found in the swelling number of his “other sheep” who make up the “great crowd.” Jubilantly they are crying out in unison: “Salvation we owe to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:9, 10) They already experience salvation from the doomed system of things, of which Satan the Devil is “the god.” (2 Corinthians 4:4) They have already, figuratively speaking, “washed their robes . . . in the blood of the Lamb” and made them white so as to appear spotless before Jehovah God, the Judge.—Revelation 7:14.
17. (a) To what salvation do the “great crowd” yet look forward? (b) What privilege will they enjoy during the Millennial Reign of the “Prince of Peace”?
17 Yet they look forward to the divinely provided salvation that they will experience at Jehovah’s crowning victory in “the war of the great day of God the Almighty” at Har–Magedon. His magnificent victory there will result in the vindication of his universal sovereignty, and they will be earthly eyewitnesses because of being preserved alive through the terrible end of this wicked world. (Revelation 16:14; 2 Peter 3:12) What a precious privilege! What great joy the “Prince of Peace” will then share with the surviving “great crowd” of his loyal “other sheep”!
Page 2 of the Watch Tower issues of April 1 and 15, May 1 and 15, 1935.
[Picture on page 71]
The Fine Shepherd’s heart must now be filled with joy at having so many “other sheep”