A remarkable prophecy given as one of the signs (evidences) of the Lord’s second presence.
MATT. 24:45-47: “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.”
LUKE 12:42-44: “And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.”
“THAT SERVANT” NOT A CLASS BUT AN INDIVIDUAL
MATT. 24:42-51: “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
“In our examination of this text [Matt. 24:42-51] we seem to have treated the term ‘that servant’ as though the Spirit had erred in saying ‘that servant’ when it meant servants (plural), and we applied it to all true servants of God. Since then we have been met from various quarters with objections to so general an application, and the suggestion that it would be wrong to allow modesty or any other consideration, good or bad, to warp our judgment in the exposition of the inspired Word; to which proposition we agree. God evidently has some purpose in all that he caused to be written for our admonition; and faithfulness as servants requires that we deliver to the household the Lord’s word, as he gives it....
“...the Lord’s words clearly...distinguish between his ‘household’ (his faithful people in general), the ‘fellowservants’(plural), and ‘that servant’ specially indicated as the Lord’s agent in dispensing present truth as food to his ‘fellow-servants’ (plural) and the ‘household.’...if neither the ‘household’ nor ‘fellow-servants’ were mentioned, it might be questionable whether the expression ‘that servant’ referred to one or to all faithful servants; but that when ‘that servant’ and ‘his fellow-servants’ and the ‘household’ are all mentioned in one connection, and in contrast, it would be a perversion of the rules of language and interpretation to mix and confound that which the holy spirit has so emphatically marked as distinct....to apply the term ‘his household’ to nominal Christian professors in general could not be correct, because the ‘meat in due season’ is intended only for the Lord’s truth-hungry, ‘watching’ people; and hence among these must be sought the ‘household’ to be fed....” R1946:1,2 [See the entire article]
SERVED BY THE LORD
LUKE 12:35-37: “Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; [FEASTS, Diag.] that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.”
“Those who will hear the knock will be such only as are awake and ready....These will receive a special spiritual feast....on a special occasion and intended as a special reward for their manifestation of interest and devotion....also, because the Master...turned to be its servant, would have all the keys to all the riches of grace and blessing, and...will bring forth...things new and old....” R3355:1
A CHANNEL TO BE USED
“The intimation...seems to be that...during the Lord’s presence...our Lord...will make a choice of one channel for dispensing the meat in due season, though other channels...will be used in bringing the food to the ‘household.’ But the servant is merely a steward, and liable to be removed at any moment, should he fail to...acknowledge in every particular...the great Servant of God and his people... — Christ.” D613
“We would naturally enough endeavor to interpret our Lord’s words as signifying a composite steward...a...class of brethren....” R3355:6
“(1) To suppose such a class...would be to...recognize a clerical or authoritative class as distinct...from the remainder of the church....The church of Christ...is not composed of clergy and laity: but...’one is your Master.’...There would be no violation of principle, however, in supposing that the Lord...would...use one member...as the...instrument through which he would send...spiritual nourishment appropriate at that time; because...in the past the Lord has used individuals in such a manner. For instance, Peter used the ‘keys’ of the kingdom...at Pentecost, and again at the home of Cornelius....
“(2)...the various items stated would not fit to a company of individuals....in the 42nd verse...Greek text...the emphasis is there...in double form — the faithful, the wise steward...since the servant mentioned is to dispense food to the other members of the body, his fellow-servants, the term seems to be limited to some particular individual.” R3356:1
NOT A LORD OVER GOD’S HERITAGE
“...in no sense...would this constitute him a lord, or dictator, or master, or imply his inspiration....it would be one who would be privileged to be a servant, and not many seem anxious to fill such a position in the true sense of the word....
“RULER OVER ALL HIS GOODS”
“The expression...should...be understood to apply...merely to a more general charge or stewardship as respects the dispensing of the Lord’s ‘goods’ or truths due to be protected or disbursed during the remainder of this ‘harvest’ time....” R3356:1,2,4
USE OF A “SERVANT” THE LORD’S METHOD
“...it is with the Lord...to determine who and when and what shall be provided for the ‘household...;’ and...to decide whether he will send that spiritual food through one channel or...many...” R4483:3
“Peter also reminds us that the trial of our faith is much more precious than that of gold that perisheth, and that the end sought through such trial is that we may be ‘found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.’ (1 Pet. 1:7) It would be idle for any of the Lord’s consecrated people to hope to be made meet for the glorious inheritance of the saints without the refining processes of fiery trial; for Paul tells us that ‘the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.’ ‘If ye receive not chastisement [discipline, fiery trial], whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.’ (1 Cor.3:13; Heb. 12:6-8) And through the Prophet Isaiah the Lord tells his spiritual Israel, as well as his typical fleshly Israel, ‘I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross and take away all thy sin.’ (Isa. 1:25) The Prophet Malachi, making special reference to the last days of this age, the days of the Lord’s presence, and the great refining work to be accomplished then, says: ‘Who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers soap. And he shall sit as a refiner and purifer of silver; and he shall purify the sons of Levi and purge them as gold and silver’ — Mal. 3:2,3.
“Fiery trials are therefore to be expected by all of the Lord’s people, especially in this day of the Lord. As surely as we are sons of God we shall have them; and when they come we should promptly recognize their mission to us and see that we are exercised by them unto godliness, sobriety and deep and fervent piety. ‘Now no chastening [discipline] for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless, afterward, it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.’ — Heb. 12:11.
“It is in the school of experience that we learn our most valuable lessons; and the ripest saints, in whom we find the deepest sympathy, the most patient forbearance, and the most tender helpfulness and consideration, are those who have been through the fire of affliction, and who have been rightly exercised thereby. It was when the cross grew heaviest and the clouds were darkest, and when the tempest was highest, that the Master’s presence was most sensibly realized, and the blessed lessons of faith and trust and of the Lord’s tender, personal love were sealed upon the hearts of the disciples. It is under such discipline that the soul is mellowed to a loving submission that calmly says, I can do all things, bear all things, through Christ who strengtheneth me. As gradually the dross of the old nature is consumed, and the gold becomes more and more manifest, these precious souls become ever dearer to their loving Lord. So dear are they to him that in every affliction he is near with his grace to sustain and his presence to cheer; and the deepest shades of sorrow become memory’s most hallowed resting places, where the Day Star shines the brightest.
“Whenever a new trial is presented to the Christian, if he will but call to mind this precept of the Lord, ‘I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire,’ it will stimulate courage, nerve to patient endurance and quicken to self-sacrifice.
‘Gold tried in the fire!’ How can it be tried without the crucible and the flame? How otherwise can the dross be eliminated? There is no other way. ‘Wherefore, think it not strange:’ let the fire burn; let the dross be consumed, and see to it, beloved, that in the heat of the flame you remove not the ‘living sacrifice’ from the altar. Remember that the eye of the great Refiner is upon you; and as the refiner of gold watches the metal in the crucible to see his image reflected in it, so the Lord, the great Refiner, has his eye upon you. He is watching to see how the precious metal of your character reflects his image. Or, in plain language, in every trial he watches to see what influences control our actions, whether they be influences of present advantage or worldly policy, or personal friendship, or earthly loves—of husband or wife, or children, or houses, or lands, or whether they be honor among men, or love of ease, or love of peace at any cost; or whether, on the other hand, we are controlled by the naked principles of truth and righteousness; and whether we will defend these principles with zeal and energy at any cost of labor or suffering, or both, and so fight the good fight of faith to the bitter end— even unto death.” R1944:3,4,5
TO BE REMOVED IF UNFAITHFUL
MATT. 24:48-50: Diag.: “But if that Servant should WICKEDLY say in his HEART, My MASTER delays; and should begin to beat his FELLOW-SERVANTS, and should eat and drink with the INTEMPERATE; the MASTER of that SERVANT will come [arrive] i.e., be present — Strong] in a Day when he does not expect him and at an Hour of which he is not aware, and will cut him off, and will appoint his PORTION with the HYPOCRITES; there will be the WEEPING and the GNASHING of TEETH.”
LUKE 12:45,46: “But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.”
“...if unfaithful he will be deposed entirely and put into outer darkness, while presumably another would take the place, subject to the same conditions.” B163 [See all of B163, 164]
NOT INSPIRED NOR INFALLIBLE
“To our understanding this would not imply that ‘that servant’ or steward, used as a channel for the circulation of the ‘meat in due season,’ would be the originator of that meat, nor inspired, nor infallible. Quite to the contrary, we may be sure that whoever the Lord will so use, as a truth distributing agent, will be very humble and unassuming, as well as very zealous for the Master’s glory; so that he would not think of claiming authorship or ownership of the truth, but would merely dispense it zealously, as his Master’s gift, to his Master’s ‘servants’ and ‘household.’” D613
MAN ON THE WATCH TOWER
HAB. 2:1-3: Leeser: “Upon my watch will I stand, and place myself upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will speak with me, and what I shall answer to my reproof. And the Lord answered me, and said, Write down the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that every one may read it fluently. For there is yet a vision for the appointed time, and it speaketh of the end, and it will not deceive: though it tarry, wait for it, because it will surely come, it will not be delayed.”
MAN WITH THE WRITER’S INKHORN
EZEK. 9:2,4: “...and one man among them was clothed with linen, with a writer’s inkhorn by his side....And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst...of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.”
EZEK. 9:1-11; 10:1-7: “He cried also in mine ears with a loud voice, saying, Cause them that have charge over the city to draw near, even every man with his destroying weapon in his hand. And, behold, six men came from the way of the higher gate, which lieth toward the north, and every man a slaughter weapon in his hand; and one man among them was clothed with linen, with a writer’s inkhorn by his side: and they went in, and stood beside the brazen altar. And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house. And he called to the man clothed with linen, which had the writer’s inkhorn by his side; And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary. Then they began at the ancient men which were before the house. And he said unto them, Defile the house, and fill the courts with the slain: go ye forth.
And they went forth, and slew in the city. And it came to pass, while they were slaying them, and I was left, that I fell upon my face, and cried, and said, Ah Lord GOD! Wilt thou destroy all the residue of Israel in thy pouring out of thy fury upon Jerusalem? Then said he unto me, The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceeding great, and the land is full of blood, and the city full of perverseness: for they say, The LORD hath forsaken the earth, and the LORD seeth not. And as for me also, mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity, but I will recompense their way upon their head. And, behold, the man clothed with linen, which had the inkhorn by his side, reported the matter, saying, I have done as thou hast commanded me....Then I looked, and, behold, in the firmament that was above the head of the cherubims there appeared over them as it were a sapphire stone, as the appearance of the likeness of a throne. And he spake unto the man clothed with linen, and said, Go in between the wheels, even under the cherub, and fill thine hand with coals of fire from between the cherubims, and scatter them over the city. And he went in my sight. Now the cherubims stood on the right side of the house, when the man went in; and the cloud filled the inner court. Then the glory of the LORD went up from the cherub, and stood over the threshold of the house; and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the LORD’S glory. And the sound of the cherubims’ wings was heard even to the outer court, as the voice of the Almighty God when he speaketh. And it came to pass, that when he had commanded the man clothed with linen, saying, Take fire from between the wheels, from between the cherubims; then he went in, and stood beside the wheels. And one cherub stretched forth his hand from between the cherubims unto the fire that was between the cherubims, and took thereof, and put it into the hands of him that was clothed with linen: who took it, and went out.”
THE ANGEL OF THE CHURCH OF THE LAODICEANS
REV. 3:14: Diag.: “And by the MESSENGER of the CONGREGATION in Laodicea write....”
REV. 3:14-22: “And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”
ANGEL SHOWING JOHN [Class Tarrying Till Christ’s Return] THESE THINGS
REV. 22:8, Diag.: “...I fell down to worship before the FEET of...[the] ANGEL who SHOWED me these things [the one showing to me these things].” (See Diag.)
REV. 22:8: “...I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things [the one showing to me these things].” Cf. Diag. interlineary.