The ‘Faithful Slave’ Gives “Food at the Proper Time”
FOLLOWING the first world war (of 1914 to 1918), the churches of Christendom gave their support to the League of Nations and urged nominal Christians to support it. In contrast, the Bible Students never failed to direct attention to the Kingdom as mankind’s only hope and to expose the League of Nations as a human makeshift doomed to failure.
Down to the present time, the churches of Christendom have been infected by the spirit of this world, and by its materialism, evolutionary thinking, higher criticism and philosophies that deny Bible truth. Most have accepted the world’s immorality, fornication, adultery and homosexuality, resulting in the breakdown of marriage and family life, juvenile and adult delinquency, the spread of venereal disease and the increase of violence. The churches are involved in this world, upholding dictatorships in certain countries and actively supporting terrorism and lawless activities in some others.
EVIDENCE OF FEEDING ON TRUE SPIRITUAL FOOD
In contrast, the worldwide congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses has continued faithful to Bible teaching. They are adhering to clean, chaste moral standards that are in harmony with the wisdom from above. The Witnesses are showing high regard for marriage and family life, are cultivating the fruits of the spirit and are maintaining a close relationship with God. (Gal. 5:22-26; Jas. 3:17, 18) With the aid of this journal and similar Bible study material they continue to build up their faith and accurate knowledge through personal Bible study and participation in congregation meetings. Because of putting full confidence in the kingdom of God, they maintain strict neutrality in the conflicts of this world and are in proper submission to governmental “superior authorities,” paying back “Caesar’s things to Caesar, but God’s things to God.”—Matt. 22:21; Acts 5:29; Rom. 13:1-10.
WHY ADJUSTMENTS IN UNDERSTANDING?
Some may ask: ‘If Jehovah’s Witnesses are getting “food at the proper time,” why have their views on certain teachings changed from time to time?’ The Bible answers: “The path of the righteous ones is like the bright light that is getting lighter and lighter until the day is firmly established.” (Prov. 4:18) Even as the congregation in the first century had only partial knowledge, so it is with the “faithful and discreet slave” today. Knowledge of many spiritual matters will become complete only as God’s purposes are worked out in completion. (1 Cor. 13:9-12) The “slave” is not divinely inspired but continues to search the Scriptures and carefully scrutinize world events, as well as the situation of God’s people, so as to understand the ongoing fulfillment of Bible prophecy. Because of human limitations, at times there may be an incomplete or incorrect understanding of some matter that may require correction later.
But this does not mean that the “slave” should avoid publishing a possible explanation until the final, complete understanding is available. Originally, Christ’s disciples were not aware that the Kingdom would be heavenly, but Jesus realized that they would grow in knowledge under the influence of the holy spirit and therefore did not hesitate to give them a commission to be his witnesses. (Acts 1:6-8; John 14:25, 26) Actually, one of the identifying characteristics of the ‘faithful slave’ class is its spiritual wakefulness, coupled with great respect for God’s Word. (Matt. 24:43, 44) If an adjustment needs to be made, this class is humble and teachable enough to admit it and make such change as an evidence of its faithfulness to Jehovah and his Word.
“OVER ALL HIS BELONGINGS”
Jesus said that if he found the “slave” giving the “domestics” their “food at the proper time,” he would “appoint him over all his belongings.” (Matt. 24:45-47) Such an additional responsibility, more extensive than providing spiritual food for the anointed disciples, would include preaching God’s judgments to the nations and also serving as God’s instrument to gather the “great crowd” of men and women from all nations into association with the congregation. Bringing in these “other sheep” and providing spiritual food for them would build up their hope of gaining everlasting life on earth.—Isa. 2:1-4; Zech. 8:23; Matt. 25:31-46; John 10:16; Rev. 7:9-17.
AN “EVIL SLAVE”
At Matthew 24:48-51 an “evil slave” is mentioned. This does not indicate that the ‘faithful slave’ becomes unfaithful, so that the “domestics” are without care. But there is the possibility that some individuals of that “slave” class would lose faith in the return of the Master. By saying in their hearts, “My master is delaying,” they cease to be watchful and thereby open the way for abandoning the whole body of Christian truth. These individuals may even go so far as to attack their former “fellow slaves.” Though not working together as one organized body, such individuals who fall away make up a class of unfaithful ones.*
REJOICE WITH JEHOVAH’S WELL-FED SERVANTS
While the various church groups of Christendom continue to experience spiritual hunger, the worldwide congregation of Jehovah’s anointed witnesses and their companions, the “other sheep,” remain spiritually well fed and joyful. (Isa. 65:13-16) The “slave” class continues to be identifiable both by its activity of providing spiritual food and by the existence of a spiritually well-fed worldwide congregation. Furthermore, the “slave” is identified by reason of having the same views and attitudes as those of Jehovah’s faithful servants in pre-Christian and early Christian times.
Such views and attitudes include: Complete confidence in Jehovah and dependence on him. (Prov. 3:5-7) Full acceptance of the entire Bible as truth, as God’s inspired guide for man. (Ps. 119:160; Rom. 15:4; 1 Thess. 2:13; 2 Tim. 3:16, 17; 2 Pet. 1:20, 21) Humbly following in the steps of Jesus Christ, even to denying self and joyfully enduring persecutions. (1 Pet. 2:21; Matt. 16:24) Awareness that God’s servants must be teachable, not independent, and that they must keep on seeking. (Ps. 25:9; Matt. 7:7) Recognition that Jehovah’s people must exert themselves vigorously in his service, preaching and making disciples. (Luke 13:24; Matt. 24:14; 28:19, 20) Seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.—Matt. 6:33, 34.
These are only some of the Scriptural views identifying the one, true congregation of Jehovah’s people today. But they furnish a basis for urging all our readers to associate actively with a congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses. You are encouraged also to keep studying the Bible with this magazine and companion publications in hand, carefully comparing what you learn with the Holy Scriptures. (Acts 17:11) In this way, you may continue to be spiritually well fed with “food at the proper time” and may share the happiness of the “faithful and discreet slave” in rendering Jehovah acceptable sacred service.