Gaining Wealth for Earth’s New King
“The pleasure of a king is in the servant who is acting with insight, but his fury comes to be toward one acting shamefully.”—Prov. 14:35.
1. What kind of man put the words ordering the slaughter of enemies into the mouth of the king in the prophetic parable?
“MOREOVER, these enemies of mine that did not want me to become king over them bring here and slaughter them before me.” Those words of the king ought to strike terror into the hearts of the ones against whom they were directed! But who said those words? It was a man who most people might think would never issue such a harsh order. He put those words into the mouth of the king about whom he was speaking in a parable or prophetic illustration of his. But he was really speaking for himself, inasmuch as he himself was the one pictured by the king in the parabolic illustration.—Luke 19:27.
2. (a) At the time, where was Jesus heading, and with what event in view? (b) On his descent of the Mount of Olives, what prophecy against Jerusalem did Jesus utter?
2 At the time, Jesus Christ was in the city of Jericho, about fourteen miles northeast of Jerusalem, and the spring month of Nisan of the year 33 C.E. was beginning. Jesus had crossed the Jordan River and come into Jericho, where he made an overnight stop. He was on his way to Jerusalem, to make his triumphal ride into the holy city on Sunday, Nisan 9, five days before the Jewish passover. It was on this triumphal ride that he stopped the procession of his disciples on the descent of the Mount of Olives and shed tears over the city of Jerusalem, saying: “If you, even you, had discerned in this day the things having to do with peace—but now they have been hid from your eyes. Because the days will come upon you when your enemies will build around you a fortification with pointed stakes and will encircle you and distress you from every side, and they will dash you and your children within you to the ground, and they will not leave a stone upon a stone in you, because you did not discern the time of your being inspected.”—Luke 19:41-44.
3. When did the slaughter thus predicted by Jesus take place, and to what extent?
3 Was Jesus thus describing how the king of the prophetic parable would have his enemies slaughtered for not wanting him to be their king? As matters turned out, the city of Jerusalem did not welcome Jesus Christ as King on his triumphal ride into her. Five days later, or on Passover Day, the enemies in Jerusalem had Jesus executed like an accursed criminal on a stake outside the city walls. The enemies objected strenuously because the Roman Governor Pontius Pilate had an inscription posted on the stake, announcing in Hebrew, Latin and Greek: “Jesus the Nazarene the King of the Jews.” (John 19:17-22) They did not want the man whom they accused of being a blasphemer against their God and a seditionist against imperial Rome to be called their King. Thirty-three years later when they themselves revolted against Rome, it was not in favor of Jesus as their Messiah and King, but in favor of their own Messianic ambitions. In the fifth year of their revolt against Rome, there came the terrible slaughter predicted by Jesus. During the Roman siege and destruction of Jerusalem, one million one hundred thousand rebellious Jews lost their lives, only 97,000 surviving and being led away captive.
4. (a) Of what was that slaughter at Jerusalem typical or pictorial? (b) By doing what now can we avoid that slaughter?
4 However, after that destruction of Jerusalem and her temple by the Romans in the year 70 C.E., Jesus Christ did not forcibly impose his kingship upon the surviving Jews either in the land of Palestine or throughout the rest of the inhabited earth. The Roman Empire continued to hold the territory of Palestine for centuries thereafter. Evidently, then, the slaughter of the antichristian Jews in Jerusalem by the pagan Romans in 70 C.E. was only pictorial or typical of the slaughter on a grander scale, on a worldwide scale, of all those on earth who did not want Jesus Christ as earth’s new king at his second coming. So the time is yet to come—but it is very near—when, in fulfillment of his parable, the resurrected, glorified Jesus Christ will command his heavenly angels to bring his enemies on earth before him and to slaughter them as irreconcilable enemies of his kingdom. This signifies that we today are living in a dangerous time and we need to find out whether we are foes of his kingdom or not. By taking the right stand now we can be saved from the coming slaughter.
THE PARABOLIC ILLUSTRATION
5, 6. What were his disciples expecting Jesus to do at Jerusalem, and so why did he give them the parable?
5 As an aid to direct us in taking the right stand now, we do well to examine and get the sense of the entire parable given by Jesus Christ there in Jericho in the early spring of 33 C.E. As a result of Jesus’ visit in the home of the chief tax collector in Jericho, this despised man Zacchaeus had become a believer in Jesus as the Jewish Messiah or Christ. (Luke 19:1-10) Because Jesus’ face was set to go up to Jerusalem, his disciples thought that he was going to declare himself as the Messiah at Jerusalem and restore the kingdom to the nation of Israel, taking the control out of the hands of the imperial Romans. To disabuse the minds of his disciples of this wrong idea, Jesus Christ gave the parable to indicate that his kingdom was a long way off.
6 With regard to this, we read: “While they were listening to these things he spoke in addition an illustration, 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.’”—Luke 19:11, 12.
7. (a) In the parable, how did Jesus indicate that the securing and applying of the kingly power would require a long time from then? (b) How was Jesus indeed a “man of noble birth”?
7 In this way Jesus hinted that he did not have the kingly power as yet, but that he had to travel a long distance in order to secure it for himself. In view of the relative slowness of travel nineteen hundred years ago, a journey to a distant location and then the return journey would indicate the passing of a long period of time. Jesus was not traveling to as near a place as Jerusalem, fourteen miles from Jericho, to secure the kingly power to which he was entitled because of his noble birth. (Luke 19:12, Jerusalem Bible; New American Bible; New English Bible; New World Translation) Although Jesus had been a lowly carpenter in the city of Nazareth, yet he was indeed a nobleman or “man of noble birth.” He was a natural descendant of King David, whose capital city had been Jerusalem. As such a person, he was entitled to inherit the kingdom of David over all Israel, with Jerusalem as his capital. Jesus had performed so many miracles by the power of God, and now his disciples thought that the Messianic “kingdom of God” would display itself in a miraculous manner by making Jesus the acting King over Israel in spite of the Roman occupation of the land. Thus the Messianic kingdom of God could be established instantly. But Jesus knew that the Kingdom was not as near as the time it would take for him to get to Jerusalem.—Luke 3:23-31; Matt. 1:1-17.
8, 9. (a) Was the time involved the amount of time it took to make the trip to and from Rome, and why not? (b) How, in his words to King Zedekiah of Jerusalem, did Jehovah indicate that he was the One to bestow the kingly power?
8 Neither was the time that was involved the amount of time that it took to journey from Palestine to imperial Rome in Italy and then to return to Jerusalem. Rome was not the location for Jesus Christ to get his kingly power. The source of his kingly power was not Caesar or the Roman Senate. That fact was painfully demonstrated when the Roman soldiers impaled him on Passover Day as a seditious claimant to kingship. The distant place for Jesus to travel to in order to get the kingly power was the location of the One who had established the Messianic kingdom of Jesus’ forefather David. That One was Jehovah God, and his location was in heaven. Jehovah indicated that He was the One to bestow the kingly power upon the rightful descendant of King David, when he said to King Zedekiah of Jerusalem, shortly before his dethronement in the year 607 B.C.E.:
9 “Remove the [royal] turban, and lift off the crown. This will not be the same. Put on high even what is low, and bring low even the high one. A ruin, a ruin, a ruin I shall make it. As for this also, it will certainly become no one’s until he comes who has the legal right, and I must give it to him.”—Ezek. 21:26, 27.
10. Why was Jesus not assuming or presumptuous in imitating the nobleman and going on a long journey to get kingly power?
10 Jesus Christ was not assuming or presumptuous when he determined to imitate the nobleman of the parable and go on what would be a journey consuming a lot of time in order to secure kingship for himself. Just before he was conceived in the womb of his earthly mother Mary of the royal house of David, the angel Gabriel said concerning her son whom she was to call Jesus: “This one will be great and will be called Son of the Most High; and Jehovah God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule as king over the house of Jacob forever, and there will be no end of his kingdom.” (Luke 1:31-33) Now it required a divine miracle for this Son of the Most High to have his life transferred from heaven to earth. So, now, how was Jesus Christ to get back to heaven in order to secure the Davidic kingdom from his heavenly Father?
11, 12. (a) By what miracle was Jesus enabled to make the journey to the location for receiving the kingly power? (b) Why is such a resurrection of Jesus not our theory on the matter?
11 The divine rule is unalterably laid down: “Flesh and blood cannot inherit God’s kingdom.” (1 Cor. 15:50) Evidently, then, it would have to be by another miracle that Jesus Christ would take the journey back to heaven to the Supreme Authority who could bestow the Kingdom upon him. Obviously Jesus would have to lay aside his “flesh and blood.” This would require him to lay down his perfect human life innocently as a human sacrifice. But this sacrificial death would not put him in heaven. God would have to bring his sacrificed Son back to life again, but not as a Son of “flesh and blood” again. It would have to be as a spiritual Son with a spirit body, invisible to human eyes but visible to heavenly eyes. So this would require Almighty God Jehovah not only to perform the miracle of resurrecting his sacrificed Son but also to resurrect him as a spirit being, with the promised reward of immortality and incorruptibility. This is exactly what Jehovah did. This is not our theory, but the apostle Peter writes:
12 “Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit; in which he went and preached to the spirits in prison.”—1 Pet. 3:18, 19, Revised Standard Version of 1952.
13, 14. (a) At Jesus’ death as a man of “flesh and blood,” where did he come to be? (b) How do we know whether immediately after his resurrection Jesus started on his journey to the “distant land” of the parable or not?
13 Of course, at Jesus’ death as a man of “flesh and blood,” he did not go to the “distant land” of the parable, that is, to the heavenly presence of his Father. He was really dead, and his body was put in a tomb, so that, for parts of three days, Jesus was in what the Jews called Sheol and the Greeks called Haʹdes. On his resurrection as a spirit person on the third day, Jesus had with him the value or merit of his sacrificed human life, but he did not at once start on his journey to the “distant land.” On that same day he appeared to Mary Magdalene in the garden of the tomb and said to her:
14 “Stop clinging to me. For I have not yet ascended to the Father. But be on your way to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father and to my God and your God.’” (John 20:17) For forty days he continued invisibly in the vicinity of the earth, at times materializing in human form and appearing to his disciples to prove to them that he was again alive, resurrected from the dead.—Acts 1:1-5.
15, 16. (a) When did the resurrected Jesus start on the journey to that “distant land,” and before what witnesses? (b) By when must he have reached that “distant land,” and how does Peter verify this?
15 When the resurrected Jesus Christ did ascend to his heavenly Father would be the time that he started traveling to the “distant land.” This was on the fortieth day from his resurrection from the dead. As a number of disciples on the Mount of Olives saw the materialized body in which Jesus had appeared ascending into the sky and disappearing, two angels stood by them and said: “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus who was received up from you into the sky will come thus in the same manner as you have beheld him going into the sky.” (Acts 1:11) How long it took Jesus Christ in the spirit realm to reach the “distant land” of the parable, we do not know, but it was within ten days, or before the festival day of Pentecost of that year of 33 C.E. On that day the holy spirit was poured out upon Christ’s disciples in Jerusalem, and the apostle Peter spoke under inspiration and said to thousands of listening Jews:
16 “Actually David did not ascend to the heavens, but he himself says, ‘Jehovah said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet.”’ Therefore let all the house of Israel know for a certainty that God made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you impaled.”—Acts 2:34-36.
“DO BUSINESS TILL I COME”
17. How does Jesus’ parable indicate what his disciples were to do on earth during his long absence?
17 So Jesus Christ was to come again—but this time with “kingly power.” The parable that Jesus gave because his disciples “were imagining that the kingdom of God was going to display itself instantly,” indicated that Jesus Christ, like the “man of noble birth,” would be absent a long time. (Luke 19:11, 12) Well, then, what were his disciples to do in the meantime, while waiting for his return with “kingly power”? Jesus did not leave them without instructions specifically as to what they were to do. Jesus’ parable illustrated that he would do this. We read with respect to the departing nobleman: “Calling ten slaves of his he gave them ten minas and told them, ‘Do business till I come.’”—Luke 19:13.
18. (a) What value do various Bible translations and Aid to Bible Understanding attach to the ten silver minas? (b) What were the slaves to do with the silver minas?
18 An American Translation attaches a money value to the ancient mina and translates this verse: “And he called in ten of his slaves and gave them each twenty dollars and told them to trade with it while he was gone.” Moffatt’s Bible translation attaches a British valuation to the mina and reads: “He first called his ten servants, giving them each a five-pound note, and telling them, ‘Trade with this till I come back.’” The New English Bible of the year 1970 values the mina at just a “pound.” The New American Bible is indefinite and says that the man of noble birth gave his servants “sums of ten units.” The 1971 publication entitled “Aid to Bible Understanding” reckons the silver mina of the first century C.E. at $14.094. This was a lot of money in Jesus’ day, it being equivalent to 100 drachmas, although it was worth only one sixtieth of a silver talent amounting to $845.64. Whatever the value of the silver mina would be today, the ten slaves of the man of noble birth were to do business with the silver minas by trading operations and thereby gain wealth for the prospective king.
19. Whom did the “ten slaves” picture, and what did the “ten minas” picture?
19 The ten slaves of Jesus’ parable pictured the disciples of the Lord Jesus. After his resurrection from the dead, what did he leave in trust with his disciples before he ascended into heaven ten days before the festival day of Pentecost of 33 C.E.? At his death on the stake at Calvary, Jesus had been stripped of absolutely every material thing on earth of any value. At his resurrection from the dead on the third day, even the burial bandages and headcloth were left behind in the tomb. (John 20:6, 7) What, then, did Jesus possess to entrust to his disciples before ascending to the heavenly “distant land”? It was something that, like the ten silver minas, had a value that could serve as a base or asset for making a valuable increase for the prospective King, the Messiah. As it was not something material, it was something intangible and yet it was there, it existed. What? The field of interest that Jesus had cultivated respecting God’s Messianic kingdom by his public ministry of about three and a half years in Israel.
20. (a) So what valuable quality had been imparted to the field of activity that Jesus’ disciples could turn to profit as if doing business with ten minas? (b) How did one slave and Jesus himself indicate such a useful valuableness imparted to a field of activity?
20 Yes, those ten symbolic “minas” of silver represented the effects that Jesus’ intensive teaching and preaching had produced in the Jewish or Israelite world so that Jehovah’s chosen people were inclined toward accepting Jesus as the promised Messiah. Thus there was the prepared field for Jesus’ disciples where they could operate, to build up and encourage along to maturity in Jews the readiness to believe or to be persuaded that Jesus was Jehovah’s Anointed One because of what Jesus taught and did in fulfillment of Bible prophecy. It was a field that Jesus’ disciples could make very productive by occupying themselves with what Jesus told them to do. In the parable one of the ten slaves likened it to a field or farmland when this slave said to the returned king: “You reap what you did not sow.” (Luke 19:21) Jesus also illustrated it earlier when he said to his disciples while in Samaria: “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 4:37, 38.
21. (a) What was it that Jesus wanted more of? (b) If the Jewish field would not prove productive enough, what were the disciples to do?
21 Thus Jesus’ disciples had something useful, something valuable, something adaptable, effective, with which to begin working or ‘doing business’ and gain increase. It was not more silver or gold that Jesus desired to gain through his disciple-slaves. What he wanted more of was disciples who followed in his footsteps and were in favor of him as the Messianic King. And if the already cultivated Jewish field would not produce them all, especially the 144,000 heirs of the Kingdom with Jesus, then the disciples could enlarge the field of their activities into the Gentile or non-Jewish realm. In this manner they would increase the cultivated field that would produce five or ten times more the area under cultivation to produce adherents to Christ’s kingdom.
22. The “slaves” in being ten in number picture whom, in the complete fulfillment of the parable?
22 The “ten slaves of his” in Jesus’ parable did not find their complete fulfillment in the apostles and disciples of the first century of our Common Era. Appropriately, the number of “slaves” was set at “ten,” inasmuch as ten is used in Bible illustrations to stand for allness or completeness, particularly with respect to earthly things. Thus, the “ten slaves” of the parable would nicely picture all the spirit-begotten, anointed slaves of Jesus Christ who are prospective heirs with him in the heavenly kingdom and who have been produced all down through these past nineteen centuries until Christ’s coming into kingly power at the close of the Gentile Times in the year 1914 C.E. and till now. This must be the case, because the apostles and other disciples of the first century C.E. have not survived in the flesh down till Christ’s invisible return with Kingdom power in this twentieth century.
23. (a) The parable’s culminating features find their counterparts with Christ’s disciples of what period? (b) In view of the impending slaughter of the King’s enemies, what is it in our interest to do as regards the parable?
23 Consequently, the final culminating features of Jesus’ parable of the “ten slaves” with ten minas must find their counterparts with the baptized, spirit-begotten, anointed disciples of Jesus Christ alive on earth during this twentieth century. Investigation reveals that there is a remnant of around ten thousand yet on earth, who are ‘doing business’ with the ten symbolic minas for increasing the wealth of earth’s new King. These ten thousand are indeed but a small remaining number when we compare them with the full number of 144,000 disciples who are to be united with Jesus Christ in reigning with him for a thousand years to God’s glory and the everlasting blessing of all mankind. How all these figurative ten slaves have done business or traded with the “ten minas” of the prospective King provides an interesting story. In view of the impending slaughter of all the enemies of earth’s rightful Messianic King, it will be to our interest to follow the story through to the finish and see what proper part we can play in the modern fulfillment of Jesus’ parable.
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In Jesus’ parable the departing nobleman gave each of ten slaves a mina, telling them: “Do business till I come.” The ten slaves pictured Jesus’ disciples
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After Jesus’ resurrection he gave out the symbolic minas, as noted at Matthew 28:18-20