Expanded Activities During Christ’s Presence
“Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who have been blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world.’”—MATTHEW 25:34.
1. In what way has Christ’s pa·rou·siʹa been just as “the days of Noah”?
CHRIST’S presence—the long-awaited event! The time like “the days of Noah,” which Jesus spoke of in connection with “the conclusion of the system of things,” arrived in the year 1914. (Matthew 24:3, 37) But what would Christ’s presence, or pa·rou·siʹa, mean for the anointed remnant of “the faithful and discreet slave”? (Matthew 24:45) Why, that they would have to become increasingly more active as light bearers! Marvelous things were due to happen! An unprecedented gathering work was about to begin.
2. What cleansing has taken place in fulfillment of Malachi 3:1-5?
2 First, though, these anointed Christians needed cleansing. As Malachi 3:1-5 had foretold, Jehovah God and his “messenger of the covenant,” Jesus Christ, came to inspect the spiritual temple in the spring of 1918. Judgment was to begin with “the house of God.” (1 Peter 4:17) Malachi 3:3 foretold: “He [Jehovah] must sit as a refiner and cleanser of silver and must cleanse the sons of Levi; and he must clarify them like gold and like silver.” It was a period of refining and cleansing.
3. Why was it essential that spiritual cleansing take place?
3 Passing through this judgment, which climaxed in 1918, the remnant of the slave class was cleansed from worldly and religious defilement. Why did Jehovah cleanse them? Because his spiritual temple was involved. This is the templelike arrangement for worshiping Jehovah on the basis of the propitiatory sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Jehovah wanted his temple to be in a clean condition so that when large numbers of worshipers with earthly hopes were brought there, they would find a place where his universal sovereignty is respected, where his divine name is sanctified, and where his righteous laws are obeyed. Thus, they would appreciate Jehovah and join in making known his grand purposes.
4, 5. (a) How does a question by Jesus Christ challenge each of the slave class today? (b) In what ways are the expressions “faithful and discreet slave” and “his domestics” to be understood? (c) What commission did Jesus give to the slave?
4 In 1919 the cleansed slave class could look forward to ever-expanding activities. Back in 1914, Jesus Christ, their Master, had obtained a heavenly Kingdom. When he returned to his household staff to inspect all his “domestics,” he was arrayed in royal dignity, which he had not possessed when he was down here on earth. What did he find? Was the slave class busy caring for the Master’s interests? As recorded at Matthew 24:45-47, Jesus asked a question that challenged each anointed disciple to examine his personal devotion to Jehovah’s Messiah: “Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics, to give them their food at the proper time? Happy is that slave if his master on arriving finds him doing so. Truly I say to you, He will appoint him over all his belongings.”
5 Obviously, Jesus’ description of this faithful slave does not fit any individual human. No, but it does describe Christ’s faithful anointed congregation as a whole, as a group. The domestics are Christ’s anointed followers as individuals. Jesus knew that he was going to purchase these anointed ones with his own blood, so he fittingly referred to them collectively as his slave. First Corinthians 7:23 says of them: “YOU [speaking collectively] were bought with a price; stop becoming slaves of men.” Jesus commissioned his slave class to let their light shine to attract and make other disciples and to feed his domestics progressively by giving them their spiritual food at the proper time.
6. How was the slave rewarded as a result of Jesus’ inspection?
6 From the time Christ’s presence began and down to 1918, the slave class, despite unpopularity, persecution, and even some confusion, had been seeking to give timely food to the domestics. This is what the Master found when his inspection began. The Lord Jesus was pleased, and in 1919 he pronounced that faithful approved slave class happy. What was the slave’s delightful reward for doing what his Master had appointed him to do? A promotion! Yes, larger responsibilities were given in advancing his Master’s interests. Since the Master was now a heavenly King, why, then, his earthly belongings became even more precious.
7, 8. (a) What are ‘all the belongings’ of the Master? (b) What is demanded of the slave in taking oversight of these belongings?
7 So, what are “all his belongings”? These are all the spiritual assets on earth that have become Christ’s property in connection with his authority as heavenly King. This definitely included the commission to make disciples of Christ, with the grand privilege of acting as representatives of God’s established Kingdom to all the nations of the world.
8 Such a promotion to oversight of all the Master’s belongings demanded that the slave class give more time and attention to getting the Kingdom work done and, yes, develop larger facilities for that work. It now had a much greater field of work—the entire inhabited earth.
Gathering the Sheep
9. What has resulted from the expansion of the slave’s activities?
9 Obediently, then, Christ’s faithful and discreet slave class expanded its activities. The result? The final ones of the anointed 144,000 were gathered in. Then John’s vision as recorded at Revelation 7:9-17 became a thrilling, heartwarming reality. Particularly since 1935 has the slave class enjoyed witnessing the steady unfolding of this vision’s fulfillment. From all over the earth, “a great crowd” of millions now throng the precincts of Jehovah’s spiritual temple as his worshipers. Jehovah’s angel told John that no man was able to number this great crowd. That means that there is no limit placed on the number of people whom the slave class is to bring to Jehovah’s spiritual temple. As long as the way is open, the work of gathering them will continue.
10. In what loving activity is the slave involved today?
10 The faithful slave class has a heavy responsibility in caring for the continually increasing number of “other sheep,” knowing that these sheeplike ones out of all nations are very dear to the Master, Jesus. They are actually his flock. (John 10:16; Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:2-4) So with love for the Master and for the sheep, the slave class happily cares for the spiritual needs of the great crowd.
11-13. What appropriate comment did the then president of the Watch Tower Society make concerning the slave’s activity?
11 Yes, the greater part of the slave’s light-bearing commission involves the gathering of these earthly subjects of God’s Kingdom. Discussing the ever-growing activities of the faithful slave, F. W. Franz, then president of the Watch Tower Society, said just before his death in December 1992:
12 “Jesus Christ has used the organization more and more wonderfully all the time, according to my 99 years of life’s experience. It is not a mere man that is directing the organization, but it must be the Lord Jesus Christ. For it has worked out far more grandly and wonderfully than we ever thought. Today we have an organization that has expanded worldwide. It is working in the Northern Hemisphere and in the Southern Hemisphere, in the East and in the West. Only one person could be responsible for this noteworthy expansion—the Son of God, who is in charge of the faithful and discreet slave class. He has been measuring up to his responsibilities, and that is what accounts for this grand expansion that we have witnessed.
13 “The matter does not rest with one man. We have an organization that is theocratic, and it operates in a theocratic manner, in a God-directed style. No man, not even the founder of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, can claim or be attributed with responsibility for what has been accomplished in a globe-embracing way. It is simply marvelous.” Are not all of those who are of the great crowd in wholehearted agreement with those sentiments of the late Brother Franz? Yes, indeed, they are most grateful for the expanded activities of the faithful slave.
Subjects of the Kingdom
14 In Matthew chapter 25, Jesus’ illustration of the sheep and the goats describes this great work of gathering the earthly subjects of God’s Kingdom. In the parable that precedes it, that of the talents, Jesus illustrates that the anointed disciples who hope to reign with him in his heavenly Kingdom must work to increase his earthly belongings. Quite appropriately, then, in the following parable, Jesus depicts what is required of those who want to become subjects of his heavenly Kingdom.
15 Notice his remarks at Matthew 25:31-33: “When the Son of man arrives in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit down on his glorious throne. And all the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another, just as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will put the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left.”
16. How are the nations gathered and the people separated?
16 Jesus arrived in his glory in 1914. Going on the offensive, he, with all his angels, attacked and evicted his demonic enemies from heaven. What follows next in his parable helps us appreciate that Jesus’ sitting down on a glorious throne represents a posture of judgment during his presence. The gathering of all the nations before him means that Jesus acts toward the nations as his prospective flock, figuratively speaking. It is a flock made up of sheep and goats. While it may take part of a day to separate the sheep from the goats in a literal flock, the earth-wide separating of people who are free moral agents takes much longer. This is because the separation is based on each individual’s course of action.
17. Why is the situation today serious for all people?
17 In the parable, the Shepherd-King puts the sheeplike ones on his right hand and the goatlike ones on his left. The right-hand side turns out to be a judgment with a favorable outcome—everlasting life. The left-hand side represents an unfavorable judgment—that of everlasting destruction. The King’s determination of the matter has serious consequences.
18. Why does the King’s invisibility not excuse anyone?
18 The invisibility of the reigning Son of man during his presence, or pa·rou·siʹa, does not excuse anyone. More and more sheeplike ones today are joining the slave class in preaching the good news of God’s Kingdom worldwide, letting their light shine. Truly, their witnessing has reached the far corners of the globe.—Matthew 24:14.
19. What qualities of the sheep class are illustrated in the parable of the sheep and the goats?
19 Why does the Shepherd-King reward those of the sheep class with a blessed future? Because of their wholehearted support of the Kingdom-preaching work and the kindness they show toward his anointed brothers, which Jesus regards as done to himself. Therefore, the royal Son of man says to them: “Come, you who have been blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world.”—Matthew 25:34; 28:19, 20.
Helping the King
20, 21. What evidence do the sheep give that they stand on the side of the Kingdom?
20 Notice that when the King invites these sheep to inherit the earthly realm of God’s Kingdom, they express surprise. They ask him: ‘Lord, when did we do all these things for you?’ He replies: “Truly I say to you, To the extent that you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” (Matthew 25:40) When Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene on his resurrection day, he spoke of his spiritual brothers when he said to her: “Be on your way to my brothers.” (John 20:17) During the time of his invisible presence, Jesus has only a small remnant of his 144,000 spiritual brothers still in the flesh on the earth.
21 Since Jesus is invisible in the heavens, it is only indirectly that sheeplike people do these loving things to him. They see him on his throne only with their eyes of faith. Jesus appreciates all the efforts they make to assist his spiritual brothers, who will become his heavenly joint heirs. What is done to his brothers he counts as being done to him personally. The sheeplike ones deliberately do good to Christ’s brothers because they recognize them to be such. They appreciate that Jesus’ spiritual brothers are the ambassadors of Jehovah’s Kingdom, and they want to give concrete evidence that they are taking their stand with them on the side of that Kingdom.
22. How is the sheep class rewarded? (Compare Revelation 7:14-17.)
22 Jehovah foresaw that this sheeplike class would appear during this time of his Son’s presence, and he has a wondrous reward in store for them! The great crowd will inherit the blessings of peace here on earth during the happy Millennial Reign by Jehovah’s King, Jesus Christ.
23. In what ways do the sheep knowingly help the King’s brothers?
23 When we take into consideration Bible prophecies that apply at the time of Christ’s presence, along with Jesus’ parable of the sheep and the goats, what do we see? This: It is not a case of unknowingly and by chance doing good to one of the King’s spiritual brothers that makes a person a sheep with a righteous standing before God and his King. Those of the sheep class know what they are doing, even though they do not see the reigning King with their literal eyes. They endeavor to help the King’s brothers not only in a material way but also in a spiritual way. How? By assisting them in the preaching of the good news of God’s Kingdom and in conducting Bible studies in order to make disciples for Christ. Thus, today there are over four million light-bearing proclaimers of God’s Kingdom.
24. What loving labors have made the slave class the happiest people on earth today?
24 Let us enumerate some of the many fine works of the faithful slave class. First, the slave class has been appointed over all the Master’s belongings—his Kingdom interests on earth—and these belongings keep on increasing. Second, that class is feeding not only the anointed domestics but an ever-expanding great crowd of other sheep with spiritual food. Third, the slave class is taking the lead in spreading the Kingdom light. Fourth, its greatest expansion of activities is in the gathering of the great crowd of other sheep, bringing them to Jehovah’s spiritual temple. Fifth, the slave class, with the wholehearted support of sheeplike ones, is providing enlarged facilities for branch organizations around the globe, as well as at the headquarters in the United States. Such loving labors have made the slave class the happiest people on earth today, and they have made millions of other people happy too. All of these give thanks to Jehovah God and to Jesus Christ, who have directed the expanded activities of the discreet slave!
25. How may the sheep continue to support the slave class, with what prospect in view?
25 The slave class is now working harder than ever at its God-assigned duties. The time left before the outbreak of the “great tribulation” is almost gone! (Matthew 24:21) How vital it is that these who are God’s sheep stay on the right side of favor of his Shepherd-King! So, then, let all continue zealously to support the faithful and discreet slave. It is only by doing this that someday very soon all sheeplike ones will be able to hear those happy words: “Come, you who have been blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world.”
Can You Answer?
□ What initial judging followed the King’s enthronement?
□ How has Matthew 24:45-47 had a modern-day fulfillment?
□ As to expanded activities, for what are the slave class and the great crowd most grateful?
□ How is Matthew 25:34-40 fulfilled during the pa·rou·siʹa?
[Picture on page 16]
The master entrusts all of his belongings to the faithful slave
[Picture on page 18]
Jesus has taken his glorious throne to judge mankind