Spared from Slaughter with the King’s Enemies
1. Our rejecting of earth’s new King now can mean what consequences, according to what warning example of long ago?
LIVING as we do in the “time of the end” of the present “system of things,” it can mean the most serious consequences for us if we reject earth’s new King. (Dan. 12:4; Matt. 24:3) Nineteen hundred years ago the consequences were very serious for the Israelites who were living in the end of the Jewish system of things that revolved around Jerusalem and its temple. (Heb. 9:26) That was a warning example for us today. This warning is emphasized for us in Jesus’ parable of the man of noble birth who entrusted ten silver minas to ten of his slaves.
2. When did Jesus as the prospective King depart, and who were his fellow “citizens” who were to send a delegation after him to oppose his kingship?
2 In the parable Jesus goes on to say: “But his citizens hated him and sent out a body of ambassadors after him, to say, ‘We do not want this man to become king over us.’” (Luke 19:14) It was after his resurrection from the dead that Jesus as the one anointed with God’s holy spirit to become the Messianic King ascended from earth to heaven, just ten days before the festival day of Pentecost of 33 C.E. According to Jesus’ fleshly nationality, “his citizens” were the Israelites or Jews. In line with this fact, it is written: “When the full limit of the time arrived, God sent forth his Son, who came to be out of a woman and who came to be under law, that he might release by purchase those under law, that we, in turn, might receive the adoption as sons.” (Gal. 4:4, 5) “He came to his own home, but his own people did not take him in.” (John 1:11) Well, now, after Jesus’ ascension to heaven, how did his Jewish fellow citizens send a delegation or deputation after him to voice their objections to Jesus’ exercising royal power over them?
3. Since his fellow “citizens” were of flesh and blood, how could they send a delegation “after him” to object to his kingship?
3 Being of flesh and blood, no body of Jewish ambassadors could go to heaven and appear in God’s holy presence and tell him not to give the Messianic kingship to his resurrected Son Jesus. But they did not have to do this. They served notice on God just as effectively. How? It was from the festival day of Pentecost forward, for then the Christian disciples who had been keeping “underground” came out into the open. It was then that the apostle Peter, acting as the spokesman for about 120 disciples, said to more than three thousand assembled Jews in Jerusalem: “Let all the house of Israel know for a certainty that God made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you impaled.” (Acts 2:36) But did the religious authorities in Jerusalem agree with that announcement of Jesus as the Messiah? Not so, if their opposition and persecution of Jesus’ disciples thereafter are any indication. So by their official objection to the witness given by the disciples that Jesus was God’s promised Messiah, they were serving notice upon God in heaven that they did not want his resurrected Son as their Messianic King.—Acts 5:34-39.
4. (a) By rejecting Jesus as the Messianic king, to what did the Jewish “citizens” expose themselves? (b) To what outcome did this lead such “citizens” later, but how did the Christianized Jews fare?
4 Jesus’ fellow citizens had their own ideas about who should become their king in the role of Messiah. They thus exposed themselves to being deceived by false Messiahs, false Christs. It was under false Messianic ideals that the nationalistic Jews revolted in the year 66 C.E. against having Caesar any longer as their king. (John 19:15) The few years of independence that they gained from the Roman Empire ended in the reducing of Jerusalem and its temple to ruins in the year 70 C.E. The thousands of Christianized Jews were thankful that they had not been deceived into joining the Jewish Messianic revolt, and they continued on ‘doing business’ with the figurative silver minas given to them by Jesus Christ before he departed to the heavenly “distant land.” They did not lose anything spiritually by the horrible destruction of Jerusalem and by the cruel dispersion of the unbelieving Jews.
DOING BUSINESS WITH THE KING’S VALUABLES
5. When, in the parable, the returned nobleman took account with his slaves, what did the first one to present himself have to say?
5 In Jesus’ parable, it is only after the “man of noble birth” got back from his long journey abroad, that we learn what his ten slaves did with the silver minas committed to them. We read: “Eventually when he got back after having secured the kingly power [or, the kingdom], he commanded to be called to him these slaves to whom he had given the silver money, in order to ascertain what they had gained by business activity. Then the first one presented himself, saying, ‘Lord, your mina gained ten minas.’” (Luke 19:15, 16) According to An American Translation this slave said: “Your twenty dollars has made two hundred, sir!” According to Moffatt’s translation, he said: “Your five pounds has made other fifty, sir.” He gained ten times as much as he had been given.
6. (a) What did this first slave picture? (b) How was business down with the Lord’s silver “mina” from Pentecost onward?
6 Since the “ten slaves” of the parable pictured all the spirit-begotten anointed disciples of Jesus Christ from Pentecost of the year 33 C.E. down till now, this first slave pictured a class or group of such Christian disciples. Doubtless, the twelve faithful apostles and the apostle Paul belonged to this class. Being apostles or “sent-forth ones,” they certainly widened out the field under cultivation that their Lord Jesus Christ had left as something valuable and productive with which to start working or doing business. How they did business with the symbolic silver mina the book of Acts of Apostles shows. From the festival day of Pentecost forward we read of “the teaching of the apostles” to which the Christian believers devoted themselves, and that “many portents and signs began to occur through the apostles,” and that “at the same time Jehovah continued to join to them daily those being saved.”—Acts 2:42, 43, 47.
7. Under persecution, what did the apostles do, as, for example, after their experience with the Jerusalem Sanhedrin?
7 The apostles kept up their work of preaching and teaching, in spite of being unjustly punished for doing so. For example, this is what happened after the apostles had had their hearing before the Sanhedrin of Jerusalem: “They summoned the apostles, flogged them, and ordered them to stop speaking upon the basis of Jesus’ name, and let them go. These [the apostles], therefore, went their way from before the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy to be dishonored in behalf of his name. And every day in the temple and from house to house they continued without letup teaching and declaring the good news about the Christ, Jesus [or, Jesus the Messiah].”—Acts 5:40-42, New World Translation; New English Bible; New American Bible; see also Moffatt.
8. Due to the apostles’ strict adherence to preaching and teaching, what happened with reference to the number of believers?
8 In strict adherence to their ministry, the twelve apostles told the Jerusalem congregation: “We shall devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” (Acts 6:4) It is no wonder that thereafter we read: “Consequently the word of God went on growing [by the preaching and teaching], and the number of the disciples kept multiplying in Jerusalem very much; and a great crowd of priests began to be obedient to the faith.” The number of believers must now have risen above five thousand, for some time earlier we read: “Many of those who had listened to the speech believed, and the number of the men became about five thousand.”—Acts 6:7; 4:4.
9, 10. (a) How was the field of cultivation widened out, according to Acts, chapters eight through ten? (b) What explanation does the apostle Paul give of how he did business with the symbolic silver mina?
9 Thereafter, from Jerusalem as a base of operations, the field of operations was extended to the circumcised Samaritans, and to a circumcised Ethiopian proselyte, and then, at God’s appointed time, to all the uncircumcised non-Jews or Gentiles. (Acts chapters 8-10) At the council of the Christian governing body in Jerusalem, the disciple James commented on the widening of the field of cultivation to embrace the Gentile world, saying: “Symeon [Peter] has related thoroughly how God for the first time turned his attention to the nations to take out of them a people for his name. And with this the words of the Prophets agree.” (Acts 15:14, 15) After that the apostle Paul went on his second missionary tour and penetrated into Europe. Concerning himself, Paul said: “Forasmuch as I am, in reality, an apostle to the nations, I glorify my ministry.” (Rom. 11:13) On the return journey of his third missionary tour, Paul explained how he did business with the symbolic silver mina that the Lord Jesus Christ had entrusted to him, saying to the elders of the congregation of Ephesus, Asia Minor:
10 “I did not hold back from telling you any of the things that were profitable nor from teaching you publicly and from house to house [or, in public or at your houses, AT, NE, Rotherham; in public or in private, NA]. But I thoroughly bore witness both to Jews and to Greeks about repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus.”—Acts 20:20, 21.
11. As a result of the Christian slaves doing business with the symbolic mina, how much of a witness had been given about ten years before Jerusalem’s destruction?
11 So, then, did the apostles and their anointed fellow disciples back there in the first century increase the symbolic minas that the Lord Jesus Christ had committed to them as his Christian slaves? Yes, they did. We have here the written testimony of the apostle Paul, when he wrote his letter to the Colossians from his prison house in Rome about ten years before the destruction of Jerusalem in the year 70 C.E., speaking about the spread of the good news: “That good news which has presented itself to you, even as it is bearing fruit and increasing in all the world . . . that good news which you heard, and which was preached in all creation that is under heaven.” (Col. 1:5, 6, 23) Thus, years before the end of the Jewish system of things that revolved around Jerusalem, a world witness had been accomplished.
TRADING WITH THE “MINAS” IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY
12. (a) Why is credit not to be given to Christendom for the modern-day “increasing in all the world” on the part of “that good news”? (b) To whom is the credit to be given, and why?
12 Today, after the passing of nineteen hundred years, can it also be said that the good news is “increasing in all the world” and that it has been “preached in all creation that is under heaven”? Yes, far more so than in the first century C.E. The credit for this is not to be assigned to Christendom now over sixteen centuries old. She and her hundreds of millions of church members are not proclaiming that the Lord Jesus Christ secured his “kingly power” at the close of the Gentile Times in 1914, the year of World War I. They are not proclaiming the good news that the Messianic kingdom in the hands of the Lord Jesus was born in the heavens when the Gentile Times ended in 1914 and that his heavenly kingdom has nothing to do with the League of Nations or the United Nations, which Christendom depends upon for maintaining world peace and security. Not to Christendom, but to the anointed remnant of Jehovah’s Christian witnesses is the credit to be given for the preaching creation-wide of the good news of such a Messianic kingdom as now established in the heavens since 1914 for ridding the whole earthly creation of all unrighteousness and for blessing mankind with a perfect, divine government.
13. (a) After the anointed remnant emerged from World War I, how numerous were the adherents to the newborn Kingdom, and why? (b) How did this remnant come into possession of symbolic “minas,” and how did they do business with them?
13 When that anointed remnant emerged from World War I and its persecutions in the year 1918, they were an object of hatred by all the nations and were under ill repute religiously. (Matt. 24:9) The cultivated field that remained to them for the producing of more adherents to the newborn Messianic kingdom of God was very small. They were like the apostles and fellow disciples of Christ between the resurrection of the Lord Jesus from disgraceful death and the festival day of Pentecost. So what occurred was like a new committal of the symbolic silver minas in the year 1919 to the anointed remnant of Jehovah’s Christian witnesses. In that year, 1919, came the first postwar general assembly of the anointed remnant, at Cedar Point, Ohio, and, with a renewal of the spirit of Jehovah God, the anointed remnant set itself anew to doing business or trading with the symbolic silver minas freshly received from the Lord Jesus Christ now clothed with kingly power. In their manner of doing business or trading with those “minas,” they imitated the apostolic example of the first century by preaching and teaching “this good news of the kingdom.”—Matt. 24:14.
14, 15. (a) Who are now being called to account on how they handled the “minas”? (b) In the parable, what were the rewards for the slaves that gained wealth for their Lord?
14 Now the members of the anointed remnant are being called to account as to how they have handled the symbolic minas. They know that increase is expected of them by their Lord. What is the reward for increasing the number of symbolic minas? Jesus’ parable, after telling of the accounting rendered by the slave that gained ten minas more, goes on to answer this question:
15 “So he [the returned Lord] said to him, ‘Well done, good slave! Because in a very small matter you have proved yourself faithful, hold authority over ten cities.’ Now the second [slave] came, saying, ‘Your mina, Lord, made five minas.’ He said to this one also, ‘You, too, be in charge of five cities.’”—Luke 19:17-19.
16. (a) The fact that the “man of noble birth” was able to give rulership over fifteen cities to but two slaves of the ten, indicates what? (b) As for the members of the remnant who now gain wealth for the returned Lord Jesus Christ, what about their getting rulership now on earth over cities?
16 The fact that the returned “man of noble birth” could appoint the good and faithful slaves who brought increase to rule over cities, the one slave over ten cities and the other over five, proves that he had secured the kingly power and was now exercising it. The nobleman’s being able to appoint slaves over fifteen cities, in the case of the first two, shows that his kingly power was quite extensive. Because they had proved faithful with a relatively small sum like a silver mina, they could be entrusted with larger responsibility, rulership over cities. In the present-day fulfillment of the parable, those of the anointed remnant who are increasing the valuables of the now-reigning Lord Jesus Christ have his approval and favor at present. They retain their hope of rulership with him in the heavenly kingdom. But at present, during their active service on earth, they are given no literal rulership over a number of earthly cities. Their Lord’s approval still does not authorize them to dabble in world politics and gain political rulership on earth. They must remain no part of this world down till death in order to reign with Christ above.
THE “WICKED SLAVE”
17. What question arises about one’s resenting being required to bring increase to the Lord, and what case of resentment does Jesus’ parable show?
17 Does any one of us resent and take offense at the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ, now vested with royal power, requires an increase on what he commits to his slaves? Whether we are excusable for feeling that way about it is shown in the case of the slave who differed from those who got busy with their minas. We read: “But a different one came, saying, ‘Lord, here is your mina, that I kept laid away in a cloth. You see, I was in fear of you, because you are a harsh man; you take up what you did not deposit and you reap what you did not sow.’”—Luke 19:20, 21.
18. Why was this profitless slave not to be excused on the basis of conscience?
18 Was this different slave to be excused on the basis of conscience? No; for he was not asked to do a wrong thing, namely, put his Lord’s mina to use in making dishonest profit. Regardless of his view of his master, he was a mere slave and should have done the honest thing that his master asked him to do. If he was too lazy to work, he should have put the mina in the bank and let the bankers do the work for him. So he had a lame excuse.
19. According to what did the master answer this slave, and how?
19 His master answered and judged him according to his own excuse, for we read: “He said to him, ‘Out of your own mouth I judge you, wicked slave. You knew, did you, that I am a harsh man, taking up what I did not deposit and reaping what I did not sow? Hence, why is it you did not put my silver money in a bank? Then on my arrival I would have collected it with interest.’”—Luke 19:22, 23.
20, 21. (a) Was the master’s calling the slave “wicked” an improper, harsh, inconsiderate thing? (b) What does the parable show as to whether the “wicked slave” deserved another opportunity?
20 Calling this worthless slave “wicked” was not an improper, harsh, inconsiderate thing, for this slave who was afraid to work with his master’s valuable mina had deliberately caused his master a loss. Valuable time and money were involved, and the slave had not made use of them in loyalty to his master or with the desire for the prosperity and increase of his master’s belongings. The slave’s handing back merely what he had received a long time ago was no fit way for a slave to welcome home a king! How cheap! How disrespectful! How undignifying! How lacking in joy and enthusiasm over the newly established kingdom of his master! Here was an absolute failure to render any service whatsoever to his master when he had the time and means with which to do so. At the time of settling accounts, did he deserve further opportunity? Notice:
21 “With that he [the master] said to those standing by, ‘Take the mina from him and give it to him that has the ten minas.’ But they said to him, ‘Lord, he has ten minas!’—‘I say to you, To everyone that has, more will be given; but from the one that does not have, even what he has will be taken away. Moreover, these enemies of mine that did not want me to become king over them bring here and slaughter them before me.’”—Luke 19:24-27.
22. (a) Thus what royal opportunity did that profitless slave lose? (b) On whose side did that slave really put himself, and how did his master’s words make it look bad for that slave?
22 The taking of the mina away from the profitless slave meant that he lost his opportunity to prove himself worthy to “hold authority over ten cities” or to “be in charge of five cities” and thus to share in the kingdom of his now royal master. (Luke 19:17, 19) He could not be trusted with any Kingdom responsibilities. Although he had a negative attitude toward his master’s kingdom, he put himself on the side of those of a positive attitude against having this man rule as king over them. Whether he was slaughtered with the master’s enemies who did not want him to become king over them, the parable does not state or show. But the parable does show that right after the master says that a slave who has no zeal and interest toward his master’s kingdom will have what opportunity he has taken away from him, the master tells his royal subjects to slaughter his enemies before him.
23. (a) For what misdeeds was that slave not branded as “wicked”? (b) In the light of that slave’s failure, what are the baptized, anointed “slaves” of Christ under obligation to do since the end of the Gentile Times in 1914?
23 It is to be noted that this profitless slave was not branded as being “wicked” for abusing his fellow slaves or for having committed immorality such as fornication, adultery or homosexuality. No, but he was judged as being wicked for his lack of support of his master’s Kingdom prospects, his not working for the increase of the wealth of his master’s kingdom. In not being for his master as king, he was against him. (Matt. 12:30; Luke 11:23) So, too, since the end of the Gentile Times in 1914, it is a serious thing for the baptized, anointed “slaves” of the now-reigning King Jesus Christ to neglect their duty to increase the public knowledge, support and loyal adherence with respect to his kingdom. They are held accountable to “do business” with the symbolic minas that have been entrusted to them for use till he holds account with them.
24. (a) What privilege do these Christian “slaves” not want to be transferred to someone else? (b) For them to lose the royal reward would mean to lose what?
24 They should not want their privileges with regard to Christ’s kingdom to be removed from them and given to a zealous Kingdom preacher and teacher like the slave who gained ten minas. For them to have the symbolic mina taken away from them would mean for them to miss out on gaining a place in the heavenly Kingdom, to rule, as it were, over “ten cities” or “five cities.” For them to lose that would mean to lose all. It would mean their destruction with the direct enemies of God’s Messianic government who do not want Jesus Christ to exercise kingly power over them for a thousand years. (Rev. 20:4, 6) The time for the holy angels that accompany Jesus Christ at his coming to execute divine vengeance upon all opposers and nonsupporters of the Messianic kingdom is getting closer. It will begin before the battle of Har–Magedon.
25. (a) Why will the execution of divine vengeance begin before the battle of Har–Mageddon? (b) What will it then mean for us if, as professed Christians, we are found like that “wicked slave”?
25 It will begin with the destruction of religious Babylon the Great at the outbreak of the “great tribulation” pictured by the siege and destruction of Jerusalem back there in 70 C.E. (Rev. 17:1-16; Matt. 24:15-22) Woe betide us then if we belong to that class of professed Christians pictured by the “wicked slave” who saved his mina in a cloth only to lose it eventually! It will signify everlasting destruction for us in the “great tribulation” along with the King’s “enemies.”
26. What two classes will be spared from slaughter with the King’s enemies? And why?
26 The anointed Christian “slaves” who bring spiritual gain to their heavenly Master, the King Jesus Christ, will be spared from slaughter with the King’s enemies. So also will be the “great crowd” who respond to the business activities of the faithful, profitable “slaves” and who loyally take their stand before the throne of Jehovah God and of his Lamb Jesus Christ and who enthusiastically cry out for all to hear: “Victory to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”—Rev. 7:9, 10, 14, 15, NE.