Staying Awake with the “Faithful and Discreet Slave”
1. (a) How is the “faithful and discreet slave” equipped to perform God’s will? (b) Of what interest is this to newcomers?
THE Biblical connections and the abundant array of Scriptural credentials of the “faithful and discreet slave” class have already been examined. This class was found to be the anointed witnesses of Jehovah operating today in all parts of the earth through their now seventy-six-year-old legal servant, the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania. This “slave” class has a governing body rendering counsel and direction as prefigured by Elihu when he gave counsel to ancient Job. (Job 32:1-6) From 1919 onward the governing direction of the New World society of Jehovah’s witnesses has become theocratic rather than continuing with the carry-over democratic arrangements of weedlike Christendom. (Matt. 13:25, 38, 39) The former democratic method featured the will of the people on every level of organization from the bottom up. But the theocratic method assures that Jehovah’s will is done on every organizational level from the top down. Now that the kingdom of heaven had been established in 1914, the time was here to feature God’s will on earth in all matters. This was in answer to the model prayer: “Let your [God’s] will come to pass, as in heaven, also upon earth.” (Matt. 6:10) The time had come for multitudes of others besides the “domestics” of the anointed “slave” class to learn about the divine will and to perform it. Such newcomers must stay awake with the “faithful and discreet slave” in doing the divine will and thus qualify to survive this old world’s end for life in a paradise restored on earth.
2. What evidence is there as to how the divine will is made known today?
2 How is this divine will to be made known and brought to the attention of the worthy multitudes of men of good will toward Jehovah? Again the awake world-watchman, the “slave” class, must undertake another world educational campaign following their restoration as witnesses after 1919. Such a global work has now been under way for more than forty years and is reaching its fruitful culmination. The facts show that during this time and up to the present hour the “slave” class has served as God’s sole collective channel for the flow of Biblical truth to men on earth. Just as the early Christian congregation collectively served as the channel of communication from heaven to earth, so in our time. (Eph. 3:10) Abundant spiritual food and amazing details as to the doing of God’s will have been flowing through this unique channel actually as a miraculous evidence of the operation of holy spirit. The present stature of the New World society of Jehovah’s witnesses, numbering nearly a million ministers in 175 lands, gives eloquent testimony that it is not the product of human ingenuity. Rather, it is the product of holy spirit operating theocratically through a tested channel, influencing the lives of dedicated men and women in all walks of life.—Zech. 4:6.
3. In Revelation 22:1, 2 what are the “broad way,” the “river of water of life,” the “trees of life” and their “fruit”?
3 The Bible figures this channel arrangement as New Jerusalem’s “broad way.” Through the middle of this “broad way” is channeled a “river of water of life,” a flood of publications of crystal-clear truth bringing life-giving benefits to all who imbibe its refreshment. Where does the Bible mention this? “And he showed me a river of water of life, clear as crystal, flowing out from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of its [New Jerusalem’s] broad way. And on this side of the river and on that side there were trees of life producing twelve crops of fruit, yielding their fruits each month. And the leaves of the trees were for the curing of the nations. And the spirit and the bride keep on saying, ‘Come!’ And let anyone hearing say, ‘Come!’ And let anyone thirsting come; let anyone that wishes take life’s water free.” (Rev. 22:1, 2, 17) Thus organizationally the “discreet slave” class since 1919 has been channeling an ever-increasing flow of Biblical publications by the millions that contain the “waters of life” featuring Jehovah’s will as emanating from God’s throne in heaven. Note there are “trees of life” on each side of this “river of life.” These are the “domestics,” the anointed remnant as individuals, who draw first from these waters of truth. Being thus filled with truth, the individual anointed ones produce Kingdom fruitage and the fruitage of the spirit continually, during all seasons, to feed spiritually and help their many new associates of the “nations.”—Gal. 5:22-24.
4. Explain about the “leaves,” the “nations,” the “bride,” and what it means to say: “Come!”
4 The anointed remnant as individual “trees” are also said to be producing “leaves for the curing of the nations.” What are these leaves? These appear to be the organizational arrangements made through the anointed remnant to bring about a spiritual healing of men of good will. The anointed as individuals are used to serve in the Society’s printing factories, to write and publish books and magazines, and are sent out as public speakers; some travel as branch, circuit and district servants, others continue as faithful congregation overseers and study conductors. Almost all of these more than fourteen thousand of the remnant still reported participate in the field, regularly training new ones in the house-to-house service and Bible study work. They strive to be faithful examples to men of good will of what dedicated servants of God should be. They will resist the tendency, because of getting older in years and weaker in bodily strength, of retiring to let the others, the men of good will, do the hard service work. Retirement could lead to their seeking only bodily comforts and so becoming materialistic. Down to their dying day these faithful spirit-begotten, anointed sons of God will be shedding forth their “leaves” of service co-operation to help those of the “great crowd” toward their being healed. Yes, these “trees” are confirmed to be the anointed ones, because later, in this same prophecy, they are referred to as members of the “bride” class, those destined to be of Christ’s bride of 144,000 in heaven. (Eph. 5:23) And so it is as the “bride” that they keep on saying “Come!” to all men of good will to take of the ‘waters of life’ that are being channeled through the “slave’s” Watch Tower Society. When such have become spiritually refreshed and healed, then they, in turn, join the remnant to say “Come!” to others. Hence under divine direction the spiritual educational program “snowballs” along to ever-widening proportions.—Isa. 11:9.
A MODERN MIRACLE
5, 6. (a) Describe what was affected by the flow of truth from 1919 to 1931. (b) What sort of a miracle was in store for some?
5 From 1919 to 1931 the flow of waters of truth largely affected only those of the anointed remnant. More of the anointed were being called to fill the vacancies of those dismissed in 1917 and 1918. They were also being spiritually refreshed and strengthened for greater work ahead. But more particularly by their faithfully declaring Jehovah’s judgments they were preparing the world field for a gigantic harvest ingathering. So, aside from the awake remnant of the “slave” class, all others of mankind were found to be spiritually asleep up to 1931. They were all fatally heading for Armageddon’s destruction. By 1931 the Catholic, Protestant and Jewish clergy were snoring in even deeper spiritual slumber than prior to 1914. Not an awake watchman among them.
6 At Ezekiel, chapter 47, there is prophetically described a modern-day miracle. According to Jehovah’s loving foreknowledge he maneuvered earthly affairs for a “great crowd” to experience a spiritual resurrection. (Rev. 7:9; Col. 2:13) It was God’s will for the awakening of the remnant on earth to follow the 1918 heavenly resurrection of anointed ones who died prior to that time. (Rev. 11:18) Yet multitudes were bound in deathlike circumstances within Satan’s dying old world and doing nothing about their plight. But by this modern miracle that began after 1931 Jehovah gradually opened their eyes to the actual state of things, that Christendom has been found wanting by God and Christ, resulting in her being cast off as guilty of spiritual fornication with the world. (Jas. 4:4) Such ones had their eyes focused to begin to discern the wide-awake “faithful and discreet slave” remnant and the significance of their preaching work. What are the details of this modern miracle?
7. What does Ezekiel 47:1-12 bring to view as applied today?
7 Let us now turn on the television of Bible prophecy to chapter 47 of Ezekiel for a viewing of the video performance there taking place in fulfillment in modern times. There we begin to see an expanded vision of the things we have just considered from Revelation, chapter 22. Again we see a “river” of water of truth being channeled to the earth out from Jehovah’s spiritual temple. The waters begin to flow through the channel of the “slave” class from their restoration in 1919. Note the “river” here is described as going eastward, in the direction of greater light, apparently signifying that the Society’s publications of truth would be progressing in the light of truth as the years advanced after 1919. Ezekiel makes a periodic survey, every thousand cubits, of the increasing depths of this river, which first was ankle deep, then up to the knees, and further up to the loins, and finally the river was so deep that one had to swim if he wished to cross it.—Ezek. 47:1-5.
8. What does the survey of the river’s several stages mean today?
8 So in these latter days of fulfillment a periodic survey of every three years shows a steady increasing in the spiritual depth and clarity of the published waters of truth by the Watch Tower Society. The trickle published in 1919 was “ankle” deep, so to speak, by 1922, then an increased depth of spirituality and vision was had by 1925, followed by the great flood of new light published by 1928, to be capped by 1931 with the overwhelming flow of Biblical enlightenment.a All who have been connected with the Watch Tower Society since 1931 can abundantly testify that since then the waters of truth have been published in such quantity and so fast through the Watchtower magazine and other Watch Tower publications that one has to figuratively “swim” to try to keep abreast. Furthermore, from 1931 to 1945 the Catholic Action-Fascist-Nazi forces found they could not check this strong “river” of truth. Yes, Jehovah’s witnesses had been so fortified with waters of truth that they could not be overcome by persecution or stopped publishing.—Rev. 12:15, 16.
9 Next we see that this “river,” too, has “trees” on both sides of this flowing stream. The “trees” bear new fruit each month, and their leaves are supplied for healing. This is identical with the Revelation scene already examined and applies to the individual treelike remnant who faithfully perform preaching services along with the channel organization to bring spiritual healing to the nations. (Ezek. 47:7, 12) But how is the modern miracle brought about?
10 Where would the divine will direct the formidable flow of this cleansing water of Kingdom truth with life-giving benefits? On our television screen of Bible prophecy we see that Jehovah God directs this river to flow eastward (from where Jerusalem’s temple area had been in ancient times) right into the Dead Sea. Now no fish have ever lived in the literal Dead Sea. But now note what happens to this antitypical Dead Sea! The Dead Sea here aptly pictures the deathlike circumstances that have prevented multitudes from seeing spiritual daylight during this time of the end. Satan has them securely bound as prisoners. He keeps them in great spiritual darkness through false religion. The Devil keeps them busy with materialism, deluded with propaganda and occupied with the menial things of a rat-race existence. In this way all mankind except the awake “faithful and discreet slave” class were held in deathlike spiritual sleep up to 1931.b
11. Describe the healing that the waters of the “river” bring.
11 Miracle of miracles, Jehovah now directs this flow of waters of truth to release the “great crowd” of men of good will from this Dead-Sea-like captivity. From 1931 onward The Watchtower gradually began to change its trumpetlike call to those not of the anointed group. Over the years prophecy after prophecy, now numbering over forty-two, had their fulfillments made clear, all confirming that Jehovah has opened the door to a vast multitude to come into this fully cleansed and prepared New World society of Jehovah’s witnesses.c The waters of truth provided healing in that circumstances on the world scene and circumstances on the individual scene were changed by Jehovah’s maneuvering. Religious shackles became loose; light on world woes freed those thinking on Kingdom truths from previous traditional restraints. The circumstances became livable. And so, as Ezekiel indicates, “fish” in great numbers became alive. In the almost thirty years from when this modern miracle began there are now over 850,000 of these “fish made alive” ones active with the “slave” class. They have come out from a lifeless element, an old world dead in its sins, out from under the threat of destruction at Armageddon, and become alive to God.—Ezek. 47:8, 9.
12. What arrangement operates to keep the awakened “fish” alive?
12 Now that these “fish” have become alive under Jehovah’s miraculous hand, does he leave them to shift for themselves for food? No. Our video screen next shows that Jehovah establishes a “fishers” organization to administer food. This is directly opposite to general experience, as fish are caught to become food for man. But in this prophecy the fish are fished out to be fed and kept alive. “And it shall come to pass, that fishers shall stand by [the Dead Sea]: from En-gedi even unto En-eglaim shall be a place for the spreading of nets; their fish shall be . . . exceeding many.” (Ezek. 47:10, AS) This immediately reminds one of what Jesus once said to his disciples: “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matt. 4:19) Truly the fishermen with their nets aptly picture today the anointed remnant along with their netlike organization still basically occupied in the same spiritual fishing business as their apostolic predecessors. By this organized means rescues are being effected in all parts of the earth. Prior to 1931 merely those of the heavenly “little flock” were being served, but now since 1931 rescue operations are on a vast global scale to save hundreds of thousands. These made-alive “fish” are the same as the “other sheep” of Christ Jesus. (John 10:16) Dependent upon the “fruit” and “leaves” of the treelike individual members of the remnant, these “other sheep” are being richly fed to be preserved alive through and beyond Armageddon’s storm.
13. Describe one way to keep awake with the “slave” class.
13 The question may next be asked, ‘How can one stay awake with this fast-moving “faithful and discreet slave” class?’ The members of this anointed group are years ahead in maturity, Biblical knowledge, theocratic experience and vision of Jehovah’s purpose and divine will. There are several things one can do to stay awake and abreast. First, one should keep up with the “food at the proper time” supplied through God’s proved channel and published by the Watch Tower Society. One cannot afford to miss one spiritual meal. In addition to one’s private study it is vital to attend the congregation studies each week. By missing study meetings one is spiritually emaciating himself, remaining spiritually thin and weak. If such careless feeding continues, one will not be strong enough to keep up with the rapid march of the New World society. The anointed remnant as leaders have only one determination ahead of them, and that is the prize of life everlasting in the doing of Jehovah’s will in vindication of His sovereignty. Are you of the “other sheep” going to be strong enough to be the traveling companions of the remnant in this determined drive for victory? Feed with eagerness, as if it meant your life. It does.
14, 15. Explain two more ways to remain awake.
14 Another thing is to follow theocratic ways, procedures and policies. It is written in Revelation: “Great and wonderful are your works, Jehovah God, the Almighty. Righteous and true are your ways, King of eternity.” (Rev. 15:3) No more are we governed by democratic ways and procedures. Such ways emphasize the will of men. When we have been brought into the New World society we are determined to do the divine will. The divine will flows to us only theocratically through God’s provided leadership of the “faithful and discreet slave.”
15 Thirdly, we can keep awake by staying in our assigned place in the organization. Those of the “great crowd” are not to dispute or seek to adjust any assignments made through the “faithful and discreet slave.” Nor are they to try to do another’s assigned job. Paul writes: “For just as we have in one body many members, but the members do not all have the same function.” (Rom. 12:4) So let each one perform his own assigned service. If one’s place is that of a congregation publisher, then let him be diligent in performing the preaching service effectively in harmony with the Society’s instructions. If one is a servant in a congregation, then it is his duty to perform properly. Should such a one fail, the angels who are giving invisible oversight will see to it that changes are eventually made. Jesus said: “The Son of man will send forth his angels, and they will collect out from his kingdom all things that cause stumbling and persons who are doing lawlessness.”—Matt. 13:41.
16. What are one’s resources, and what can be done with them?
16 Again we can stay awake by our service and financial contributions to the Watch Tower Society. Jehovah has done so much for us through this agency. The least we can do to show our responding love and appreciation is to contribute our finances and time toward expanding the global preaching work. The remnant in their small numbers contributed millions of dollars to the Society’s work prior to 1931. Surely now the “great crowd” are willing to do their share in making the Society’s educational work today the most important business in the world. From our resources of time and money let us give generously. Jehovah blessed the contributions of his anointed ones in the early stages of the work; so we can be assured that the contributions of the “other sheep” today will result in a still greater blessing for righteous mankind.—Isa. 60:5; 61:5, 6.
17, 18. (a) Why are love and loyalty necessary to wakefulness? (b) How do respect and obedience show that one is awake?
17 We can stay awake by showing our love to all and acting loyally. Jehovah’s organization in heaven is characterized by love. Likewise love is the outstanding characteristic of the New World society on earth. This is what distinguishes it so markedly from the old world. This too is the great characteristic of the progressive “faithful and discreet slave.” An early member of that slave group, the apostle Paul, wrote: I “entreat you to walk worthily of the calling with which you were called, with complete lowliness of mind and mildness, with longsuffering, putting up with one another in love, earnestly endeavoring to observe the oneness of the spirit in the uniting bond of peace.”—Eph. 4:1-3.
18 Lastly, we can stay awake by being respectful and obedient. We know that Jehovah is using the Watch Tower Society of the “faithful and discreet slave” as a governing agency on earth today. It deserves our respect and fullest support. It is written: “Remember those who are governing you, who have spoken the word of God to you, and as you contemplate how their conduct turns out imitate their faith.” (Heb. 13:7) At times there are heard from immature ones slighting remarks, careless talk or outright criticism of the Society’s operations. Such is outright lack of respect for the means Jehovah is remarkably using to perform his will in this pre-Armageddon time. Truly the Society as directed by God’s holy spirit merits our deepest respect and wholehearted obedience.
19. How has the “faithful and discreet slave” proved to be ahead of its times?
19 Yes, the “faithful and discreet slave” was awake to the coming of 1914. In 1942 the “faithful and discreet slave” guided by Jehovah’s unerring spirit made known that the democracies would win World War II and that there would be a United Nations organization set up.d Such wakefulness was concerning events that unerringly took place three years later. At the 1958 Divine Will International Assembly amazing advance information in connection with Daniel’s prophecy was given about events to occur in the immediate future. Such evidence of spiritual foresight is recorded for us in the book “Your Will Be Done on Earth.” Once again the “faithful and discreet slave” has been tipped off ahead of time for the guidance of all lovers of God. Surely one’s present security depends on his staying awake with the “faithful and discreet slave.”
20, 21. (a) How can one live an inspiring life of purpose now? (b) How does Matthew 25:21 apply, and of what encouragement is it?
20 Stay awake to live a happy life of inspiring purpose now. Doing God’s will is all-absorbing, fascinating, furnishing the greatest of incentives. Do not drift back to one’s former “Dead Sea” circumstances. Do not become a dead, stinking fish. But remain alive, spiritually healthy, an antitypical fish with ‘sweet odor of the knowledge of Christ,’ as Paul writes. (2 Cor. 2:15) Let those who refuse to hear you preach remain in the blind world to follow the blind clergy, whose lamp has gone out. Even blind bats have greater perceptive powers than the spiritually sleepy clergy. But you of the “great crowd” and any others who desire to be enlightened, follow the awake “faithful and discreet slave” class, who keep their lamp burning day and night. Your happiness now and in the future new world depend upon your working with the remnant. Jesus said of his spiritual brothers, the remnant: “Truly I say to you [of the ‘great crowd’], To the extent that you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”—Matt. 25:40.
21 Stay awake with the remnant who are now in a time of joy and ascendancy. Jesus has this commendation for the “faithful and discreet slave”: “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.” (Matt. 25:21) Stay with the remnant in their royal Kingdom service. Share with them their Kingdom joys, which bring towering strength. Stay awake with the “faithful and discreet slave” under Christ to live forever.
a See the chapter “Publishing Freedom for the People Through Expanded Facilities” in Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Divine Purpose, pp. 112-119.
b See You May Survive Armageddon into God’s New World, pp. 306 to 310.
c See You May Survive Armageddon into God’s New World, pp. 367, 368.
d The booklet Peace—Can It Last?, 1942, pp. 21, 22.