A “Slave” Who Is Both Faithful and Discreet
“Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics?”—MATTHEW 24:45.
1, 2. Why is it vital that we receive a regular supply of spiritual food today?
ON Tuesday afternoon, Nisan 11, 33 C.E., Jesus’ disciples raised a question that has profound meaning for us today. They asked him: “What will be the sign of your presence and of the conclusion of the system of things?” In reply, Jesus uttered a remarkable prophecy. He spoke of a tumultuous period of wars, famines, earthquakes, and diseases. And that would only be “a beginning of pangs of distress.” There would be worse to come. What a frightening prospect!—Matthew 24:3, 7, 8, 15-22; Luke 21:10, 11.
2 Since 1914, most aspects of Jesus’ prophecy have been fulfilled. The “pangs of distress” are upon mankind in full measure. Still, true Christians need not be afraid. Jesus promised that he would sustain them with nourishing spiritual food. Since Jesus is now in heaven, how has he arranged for us here on earth to receive our spiritual food supply?
3. What arrangements has Jesus made for us to receive “food at the proper time”?
3 Jesus himself pointed to the answer to that question. In the course of his great prophecy, he asked: “Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics, to give them their food at the proper time?” Then he said: “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.” (Matthew 24:45-47) Yes, there would be a “slave” who had been assigned to provide spiritual food, a “slave” who would be both faithful and discreet. Was that slave a particular individual, a succession of individuals, or something else? Since the faithful slave supplies desperately needed spiritual food, it is in our interests to find the answer.
An Individual or a Class?
4. How do we know that “the faithful and discreet slave” cannot be one person?
4 “The faithful and discreet slave” cannot be one person. Why not? Because the slave began serving spiritual food back in the first century, and according to Jesus, the slave would still be doing so when the Master arrived in 1914. That would represent some 1,900 years of faithful service for one individual. Not even Methuselah lived that long!—Genesis 5:27.
5. Explain why the term “faithful and discreet slave” does not apply to each Christian individually.
5 Well, might the term “faithful and discreet slave” apply in a general sense to each individual Christian? It is true that all Christians must be faithful and discreet; however, Jesus clearly had something more in mind when he spoke of “the faithful and discreet slave.” How do we know that? Because he said that the “master on arriving” would appoint the slave “over all his belongings.” How could each individual Christian be placed over everything—over “all” of the Lord’s belongings? Impossible!
6. How was the nation of Israel intended to function as God’s “servant,” or “slave”?
6 The only reasonable conclusion, then, is that Jesus was referring to a group of Christians as “the faithful and discreet slave.” Can there be such a thing as a composite slave? Yes. Seven hundred years before Christ, Jehovah referred to the entire nation of Israel as “my witnesses” and “my servant whom I have chosen.” (Isaiah 43:10) Every member of the nation of Israel from 1513 B.C.E., when the Mosaic Law was given, down to Pentecost 33 C.E. was part of this servant class. Most Israelites did not have a direct share in administering the nation’s affairs or in coordinating its spiritual feeding program. Jehovah used the kings, judges, prophets, priests, and Levites to carry out those tasks. Still, as a nation, Israel was to represent Jehovah’s sovereignty and tell his praises among the nations. Each Israelite was to be a witness of Jehovah.—Deuteronomy 26:19; Isaiah 43:21; Malachi 2:7; Romans 3:1, 2.
A “Servant” Is Dismissed
7. Why was the ancient nation of Israel disqualified as God’s “servant”?
7 Since Israel was God’s “servant” centuries ago, was it also the slave that Jesus spoke about? No, for ancient Israel sadly turned out to be neither faithful nor discreet. Paul sums up the situation when he quotes Jehovah’s words to the nation: “The name of God is being blasphemed on account of you people among the nations.” (Romans 2:24) Indeed, Israel climaxed a long history of rebellion by rejecting Jesus, at which point Jehovah rejected them.—Matthew 21:42, 43.
8. When was a “servant” appointed to replace Israel, and under what circumstances?
8 This unfaithfulness on the part of the “servant,” Israel, did not mean that faithful worshipers would be forever cut off from a spiritual food supply. At Pentecost 33 C.E., 50 days after Jesus’ resurrection, holy spirit was poured out upon about 120 of his disciples in an upper room in Jerusalem. At that moment, a new nation was born. Appropriately, its birth was publicized when its members boldly began telling the inhabitants of Jerusalem about “the magnificent things of God.” (Acts 2:11) Thus, that new nation, a spiritual nation, became the “servant” that would declare Jehovah’s glory to the nations and supply food at the proper time. (1 Peter 2:9) Fittingly, it came to be called “the Israel of God.”—Galatians 6:16.
9. (a) Who make up “the faithful and discreet slave”? (b) Who are the “domestics”?
9 Every member of “the Israel of God” is a dedicated, baptized Christian anointed with holy spirit and having a heavenly hope. Hence, the expression “faithful and discreet slave” refers to all members of that anointed spiritual nation as a group on earth at any particular time from 33 C.E. until now, just as every Israelite living at any time from 1513 B.C.E. until Pentecost 33 C.E. was part of the pre-Christian servant class. Who, though, are the “domestics,” who receive spiritual nourishment from the slave? In the first century C.E., every Christian cherished the heavenly hope. Consequently, the domestics were also anointed Christians, viewed, not as a group, but as individuals. All, including those who held responsible positions in the congregation, needed spiritual food from the slave.—1 Corinthians 12:12, 19-27; Hebrews 5:11-13; 2 Peter 3:15, 16.
“To Each One His Work”
10, 11. How do we know that not all members of the slave class have the same assignment of work?
10 While “the Israel of God” is the faithful and discreet slave class with an assignment of work, each member also has personal responsibilities. Jesus’ words recorded at Mark 13:34 make this plain. He said: “It is like a man traveling abroad that left his house and gave the authority to his slaves, to each one his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to keep on the watch.” So each member of the slave class has received an assignment—to increase Christ’s earthly belongings. He carries out this task according to his own ability and opportunities.—Matthew 25:14, 15.
11 Further, the apostle Peter told anointed Christians in his day: “In proportion as each one has received a gift, use it in ministering to one another as fine stewards of God’s undeserved kindness expressed in various ways.” (1 Peter 4:10) Hence, those anointed ones have the responsibility to minister to one another using the gifts God gave them. Further, Peter’s words indicate that not all Christians would have the same abilities, responsibilities, or privileges. However, each member of the slave class could contribute in some way to the growth of the spiritual nation. How?
12. How did each member of the slave class, whether male or female, contribute to the growth of the slave?
12 First, each one was responsible to be a witness of Jehovah, preaching the good news of the Kingdom. (Isaiah 43:10-12; Matthew 24:14) Just before he ascended to heaven, Jesus commanded all of his faithful disciples, both male and female, to be teachers. He said: “Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you. And, look! I am with you all the days until the conclusion of the system of things.”—Matthew 28:19, 20.
13. What privilege did all anointed ones enjoy?
13 When new disciples were found, they were to be carefully taught to observe all the things that Christ had commanded his disciples. In time, responsive ones became qualified to teach others. Nourishing spiritual food was made available to prospective members of the slave class in many nations. All anointed Christians, male and female, shared in carrying out the commission of making disciples. (Acts 2:17, 18) This work was to continue from the time the slave first began its work until the end of this system of things.
14. To whom were teaching privileges in the congregation limited, and how did faithful anointed women feel about that?
14 Newly baptized anointed ones became part of the slave, and regardless of who initially taught them, they went on to receive instruction from members of the congregation who met the Scriptural qualifications to serve as older men. (1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:6-9) These appointed men were thus privileged to contribute to the growth of the nation in a special way. Faithful anointed Christian women did not resent that only Christian men were assigned to teach in the congregation. (1 Corinthians 14:34, 35) Rather, they were happy to benefit from the hard work of male members of the congregation and were grateful for the privileges open to women, including that of bringing glad tidings to others. Zealous anointed sisters today manifest the same humble attitude, whether the appointed elders are of the anointed or not.
15. What was one of the main sources of spiritual food in the first century, and who took the lead in providing it?
15 The fundamental spiritual food given in the first century proceeded directly from the pens of the apostles and other disciples who were taking the lead. The letters they wrote—especially those found among the 27 inspired books that make up the Christian Greek Scriptures—were circulated among the congregations and without doubt provided the basis for teaching by the local elders. In this way, representatives of the slave faithfully distributed rich spiritual food to sincere Christians. The first-century slave class proved faithful to its commission.
The “Slave” 19 Centuries Later
16, 17. How did the slave class prove itself faithful in carrying out its assignment in the years up to 1914?
16 What about today? When Jesus’ presence began in 1914, did he find a group of anointed Christians who were faithfully dispensing food at the proper time? He certainly did. This group could be clearly identified because of the fine fruitage that it was producing. (Matthew 7:20) History since then has proved this identification to be correct.
17 At the time of Jesus’ arrival, some 5,000 domestics were busy spreading Bible truth. The workers were few, but the slave used a number of ingenious methods to spread the good news. (Matthew 9:38) For example, arrangements were made for sermons on Bible topics to be published in up to 2,000 newspapers. In this way, the truth of God’s Word reached tens of thousands of readers at once. In addition, an eight-hour program combining color slides and motion pictures was prepared. Thanks to this innovative presentation, the Bible’s message, from the beginning of Creation to the end of the Thousand Year Reign of Christ, was conveyed to audiences totaling over nine million on three continents. Printed literature was another avenue that was used. In 1914, for example, some 50,000 copies of this journal were published.
18. When did Jesus appoint the slave over all his belongings, and why?
18 Yes, when the Master arrived, he found his faithful slave conscientiously feeding the domestics as well as preaching the good news. Greater responsibilities now awaited that slave. Jesus said: “Truly I say to you, He will appoint him over all his belongings.” (Matthew 24:47) Jesus did this in 1919, after the slave had passed through a period of testing. Why, though, did “the faithful and discreet slave” receive greater responsibilities? Because the Master had received an increase in his belongings. Jesus was given the kingship in 1914.
19. Explain how the spiritual needs of the “great crowd” have been cared for.
19 What are the belongings over which the newly crowned Master appointed his faithful slave? All the spiritual things that belong to Him here on earth. For example, two decades after Christ’s enthronement in 1914, “a great crowd” of “other sheep” was identified. (Revelation 7:9; John 10:16) These were, not anointed members of “the Israel of God,” but sincere men and women with an earthly hope, who loved Jehovah and who wanted to serve him just as the anointed did. In effect, they said to “the faithful and discreet slave”: “We will go with you people, for we have heard that God is with you people.” (Zechariah 8:23) These newly baptized Christians partook of the same rich spiritual food as the anointed domestics, and the two classes have shared this spiritual table ever since. What a blessing this has been for members of the “great crowd”!
20. What role has the “great crowd” played in increasing the Lord’s belongings?
20 The members of the “great crowd” gladly joined the anointed slave class as preachers of the good news. As they preached, the Master’s earthly belongings increased, adding to the responsibilities of “the faithful and discreet slave.” With the number of truth seekers swelling, expanded printing facilities became necessary to keep up with the demand for Bible literature. Branch offices of Jehovah’s Witnesses were established in one land after another. Missionaries were sent out “to the most distant part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) From approximately five thousand anointed ones in 1914, the ranks of God’s praisers have increased to more than six million today, the majority of whom are of the “great crowd.” Yes, indeed, the King’s belongings have increased manyfold since his coronation in 1914!
21. What two parables will we consider in our next study?
21 All of this shows that the slave has been both “faithful and discreet.” Just after he spoke of “the faithful and discreet slave,” Jesus gave two parables that highlighted those qualities: the parable of the discreet and foolish virgins and the parable of the talents. (Matthew 25:1-30) We are intrigued! What meaning do those parables have for us today? We will take up this question in the following article.
‘The Faithful Slave’ Passes the Test!
“It is the appointed time for the judgment to start with the house of God.”—1 Peter 4:17.
1. What did Jesus encounter when he inspected the “slave”?
AT Pentecost 33 C.E., Jesus appointed a “slave” to provide food at the proper time for his “domestics.” In 1914, Jesus was enthroned as King, and soon it was time to inspect that “slave.” For the most part, he found that the “slave” had proved itself “faithful and discreet.” Hence, he appointed it “over all his belongings.” (Matthew 24:45-47) However, there was also an evil slave, who was neither faithful nor discreet.
“That Evil Slave”
2, 3. Where did “that evil slave” come from, and how did it develop?
2 Jesus spoke of the evil slave immediately after discussing “the faithful and discreet slave.” He said: “If ever that evil slave should say in his heart, ‘My master is delaying,’ and should start to beat his fellow slaves and should eat and drink with the confirmed drunkards, the master of that slave will come on a day that he does not expect and in an hour that he does not know, and will punish him with the greatest severity and will assign him his part with the hypocrites. There is where his weeping and the gnashing of his teeth will be.” (Matthew 24:48-51) The expression “that evil slave” draws our attention to Jesus’ preceding words about the faithful and discreet slave. Yes, the “evil slave” came from the ranks of the faithful slave.* How?
3 Before 1914, many members of the faithful slave class had high hopes of meeting with the Bridegroom in heaven that year, but their hopes were not fulfilled. As a result of this and other developments, many were disappointed and a few became embittered. Some of these turned to ‘beating’ their former brothers verbally and consorting with “confirmed drunkards,” religious groups of Christendom.—Isaiah 28:1-3; 32:6.
4. How did Jesus deal with the “evil slave” and with all who have shown the same spirit?
4 These former Christians came to be identified as the “evil slave,” and Jesus punished them with “the greatest severity.” How? He rejected them, and they lost out on their heavenly hope. They were not, however, immediately destroyed. They first had to endure a period of weeping and gnashing of teeth in “the darkness outside” the Christian congregation. (Matthew 8:12) Since those early days, a few other anointed individuals have shown a similar bad spirit, identifying themselves with the “evil slave.” Some of the “other sheep” have imitated their unfaithfulness. (John 10:16) All such enemies of the Christ end up in the same spiritual “darkness outside.”
5. How did the faithful and discreet slave react, in contrast with the “evil slave”?
5 Nonetheless, the faithful and discreet slave went through the same tests as “that evil slave.” Rather than becoming embittered, however, they were readjusted. (2 Corinthians 13:11) Their love for Jehovah and their brothers was strengthened. As a result, they have been “a pillar and support of the truth” during these tumultuous “last days.”—1 Timothy 3:15; 2 Timothy 3:1.
Discreet and Foolish Virgins
6. (a) How did Jesus illustrate the discretion of his faithful slave class? (b) Before 1914, what message did anointed Christians proclaim?
6 After speaking of “that evil slave,” Jesus gave two parables to show why some anointed Christians would prove to be faithful and discreet while others would not.* To illustrate discretion, he said: “The kingdom of the heavens will become like ten virgins that took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were discreet. For the foolish took their lamps but took no oil with them, whereas the discreet took oil in their receptacles with their lamps.” (Matthew 25:1-4) The ten virgins remind us of anointed Christians before 1914. They had calculated that the bridegroom, Jesus Christ, was about to make an appearance. Hence, they “went out” to meet him, boldly preaching that “the appointed times of the nations” would end in 1914.—Luke 21:24.
7. When and why did anointed Christians ‘go to sleep,’ as it were?
7 They were correct. The appointed times of the nations did end in 1914, and God’s Kingdom under Christ Jesus went into operation. But that was in the invisible heavens. On earth, mankind began to suffer foretold “woe.” (Revelation 12:10, 12) A time of testing ensued. Not understanding things clearly, anointed Christians thought that “the bridegroom was delaying.” Confused and facing hostility from the world, generally they slowed down and virtually stopped the organized public preaching work. Like the virgins in the parable, spiritually speaking they “nodded and went to sleep,” even as unfaithful professed Christians did after Jesus’ apostles died.—Matthew 25:5; Revelation 11:7, 8; 12:17.
8. What led to the cry: “Here is the bridegroom!” and what was it time for anointed Christians to do?
8 Then in 1919 something unexpected happened. We read: “Right in the middle of the night there arose a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Be on your way out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and put their lamps in order.” (Matthew 25:6, 7) Just when things seemed darkest, there was a call to get active! In 1918, Jesus, “the messenger of the covenant,” had come to Jehovah’s spiritual temple to inspect and cleanse God’s congregation. (Malachi 3:1) Now, anointed Christians needed to go out and meet him in the earthly courtyards of that temple. It was time for them to “shed forth light.”—Isaiah 60:1; Philippians 2:14, 15.
9, 10. In 1919, why were some Christians “discreet” and some “foolish”?
9 But wait! In the parable, some of the young women had a problem. Jesus continued: “The foolish said to the discreet, ‘Give us some of your oil, because our lamps are about to go out.’” (Matthew 25:8) Without oil, the lamps would not give light. Lamp oil thus reminds us of God’s Word of truth and his holy spirit, which empower true worshipers to be light bearers. (Psalm 119:130; Daniel 5:14) Before 1919, discreet anointed Christians had diligently sought to discern God’s will for them, despite their temporary weakened state. Hence, when the call came to give forth light, they were ready.—2 Timothy 4:2; Hebrews 10:24, 25.
10 Certain anointed ones, however, were unprepared to make sacrifices or expend personal effort—although they earnestly desired to be with the Bridegroom. So when it was time to get active in preaching the good news, they were not ready. (Matthew 24:14) They even tried to slow down their zealous companions, asking, in effect, for some of their oil supply. In Jesus’ parable, how did the discreet virgins respond? They said: “Perhaps there may not be quite enough for us and you. Be on your way, instead, to those who sell it and buy for yourselves.” (Matthew 25:9) Similarly, loyal anointed Christians in 1919 refused to do anything that would diminish their own capacity to bear light. Thus, they passed inspection.
11. What happened to the foolish virgins?
11 Jesus concludes: “While [the foolish virgins] were going off to buy, the bridegroom arrived, and the virgins that were ready went in with him to the marriage feast; and the door was shut. Afterwards the rest of the virgins also came, saying, ‘Sir, sir, open to us!’ In answer he said, ‘I tell you the truth, I do not know you.’” (Matthew 25:10-12) Yes, some were unprepared for the Bridegroom’s arrival. Thus, they failed inspection and lost the opportunity to attend the heavenly marriage feast. How tragic!
The Parable of the Talents
12. (a) What did Jesus use to illustrate faithfulness? (b) Who was the man who “went abroad”?
12 After illustrating discretion, Jesus went on to illustrate faithfulness. He said: “It is just as when a man, about to travel abroad, summoned slaves of his and committed to them his belongings. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, to still another one, to each one according to his own ability, and he went abroad.” (Matthew 25:14, 15) The man in the parable is Jesus himself, who “went abroad” when he ascended to heaven in the year 33 C.E. But before his ascension, Jesus committed “his belongings” to his faithful disciples. How?
13. How did Jesus prepare a large field of activity and authorize his “slaves” to do business?
13 During his earthly ministry, Jesus began to prepare a large field of activity by preaching the good news of the Kingdom throughout the land of Israel. (Matthew 9:35-38) Before he “went abroad,” he entrusted that field to his faithful disciples, saying: “Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:18-20) With these words, Jesus authorized his “slaves” to do business until his return, “each one according to his own ability.”
14. Why were not all expected to do the same amount of business?
14 That expression indicates that not all first-century Christians had equal circumstances or possibilities. Some, like Paul and Timothy, were free to have the fullest possible share in the preaching and teaching work. The circumstances of others may have severely limited their freedom of action. For example, some Christians were slaves, and others were sickly, advanced in age, or had family responsibilities. Of course, certain congregation privileges were not open to all disciples. Anointed women and some anointed men did not teach in the congregation. (1 Corinthians 14:34; 1 Timothy 3:1; James 3:1) Still, whatever their personal situation, all of Christ’s anointed disciples—men and women—were assigned to engage in business, making good use of their opportunities and circumstances in the Christian ministry. Their modern-day counterparts do the same.
Inspection Time Begins!
15, 16. (a) When was it time to settle accounts? (b) What new opportunities to ‘do business’ were granted to faithful ones?
15 The parable continues: “After a long time the master of those slaves came and settled accounts with them.” (Matthew 25:19) In 1914—certainly a long time after 33 C.E.—Christ Jesus began his royal presence. Three and a half years later, in 1918, he came to God’s spiritual temple and fulfilled Peter’s words: “It is the appointed time for the judgment to start with the house of God.” (1 Peter 4:17; Malachi 3:1) It was time to settle accounts.
16 What had the slaves, Jesus’ anointed brothers, done with the King’s “talents”? From 33 C.E. onward, including the years leading up to 1914, many had been working hard at Jesus’ “business.” (Matthew 25:16) Even during the first world war, they had shown a strong desire to serve the Master. Now it was fitting to give faithful ones new opportunities to ‘do business.’ The time of the end of this system of things had arrived. The good news had to be preached worldwide. “The harvest of the earth” had to be reaped. (Revelation 14:6, 7, 14-16) The final members of the wheat class had to be located and “a great crowd” of other sheep gathered in.—Revelation 7:9; Matthew 13:24-30.
17. How did faithful anointed Christians ‘enter into the joy of their master’?
17 Harvesttime is a joyful time. (Psalm 126:6) It is fitting, then, that when in 1919, Jesus entrusted his faithful anointed brothers with increased responsibility, he said: “You were faithful over a few things. I will appoint you over many things. Enter into the joy of your master.” (Matthew 25:21, 23) Moreover, the joy of the Master as newly enthroned King of God’s Kingdom surpasses our imagination. (Psalm 45:1, 2, 6, 7) The faithful slave class share that joy by representing the King and increasing his interests on earth. (2 Corinthians 5:20) Their delight is seen in the prophetic words of Isaiah 61:10: “Without fail I shall exult in Jehovah. My soul will be joyful in my God. For he has clothed me with the garments of salvation.”
18. Why did some not pass inspection, and with what result?
18 Sadly, some did not pass inspection. We read: “The one that had received the one talent came forward and said, ‘Master, I knew you to be an exacting man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you did not winnow. So I grew afraid and went off and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’” (Matthew 25:24, 25) Similarly, some anointed Christians had not engaged in “business.” Before 1914 they had not enthusiastically shared their hope with others, and they did not want to start in 1919. How did Jesus respond to their insolence? He took away all their privileges. They were ‘thrown out into the darkness outside, where their weeping and the gnashing of their teeth would be.’—Matthew 25:28, 30.
The Inspection Continues
19. In what way does the inspection process continue, and what are all anointed Christians determined to do?
19 Of course, the majority of those who were to become Christ’s anointed slaves during the time of the end were not yet serving Jehovah when Jesus began his inspection in 1918. Did they miss out on the inspection? Not at all. The inspection process only began in 1918/19 when the faithful and discreet slave as a class passed the test. Individual anointed Christians continue under inspection until their sealing is made permanent. (Revelation 7:1-3) Realizing this, Christ’s anointed brothers are determined to keep on faithfully ‘doing business.’ They are determined to be discreet, keeping an abundant oil supply so that the light will shine brightly. They know that when each one reaches the end of his life course in faithfulness, Jesus will receive him into the heavenly dwelling place.—Matthew 24:13; John 14:2-4; 1 Corinthians 15:50, 51.
20. (a) What are the other sheep today determined to do? (b) Of what are anointed Christians aware?
20 The great crowd of other sheep have imitated their anointed brothers. They are aware that their knowledge of God’s purposes brings great responsibility. (Ezekiel 3:17-21) Hence, with the help of Jehovah’s Word and holy spirit, they too keep their oil supply abundant through study and association. And they let their light shine, sharing in the work of preaching and teaching and thus ‘doing business’ along with their anointed brothers. However, anointed Christians are keenly aware that the talents were placed in their hands. They must render an account for the way the Lord’s belongings on earth are administered. Even though they are few in number, they cannot abdicate their responsibility to the great crowd. With this in mind, the faithful and discreet slave continues to take the lead in caring for the King’s business, grateful for the support of devoted members of the great crowd. These recognize the responsibility of their anointed brothers and feel privileged to work under their oversight.
21. What exhortation applies to all Christians from before 1919 down to our day?
21 Thus, although these two parables shed light on events in 1919 or thereabouts, they apply in principle to all true Christians throughout the last days. In this way, while the exhortation that Jesus gave at the end of the parable of the ten virgins applies in the first place to anointed Christians before 1919, in principle it still applies to every Christian. May all of us, then, take to heart Jesus’ words: “Keep on the watch, therefore, because you know neither the day nor the hour.”—Matthew 25:13.
In a comparable way, after the death of the apostles, “oppressive wolves” came from the ranks of anointed Christian elders.—Acts 20:29, 30.