Matthew Chapter 24
Verse 45-46 “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.”
We present another examination of these verses as explained by Brother Frank Shallieu in, “The Gospel of Matthew”
It is our opinion (that is the majority of us Bible Students) that this “faithful and wise servant” was (is) an individual (singular), specifically Pastor Russell.
Now suppose someone should bring up the argument, based on Luke 12:37, that the “servant” of Matt 24:45 refers to a class of individuals (plural). Luke 12:37 is clearly plural:
“Blessed are those servant (s), 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.”
How would we answer the argument?
Especially when we have such texts as those found in the Book of Revelation where in regards to the promises made to each of the seven stages of the church, the matter there is likewise stated in the singular but actually implies a collective plural (viz. the whole Church): “To him (singular) who overcomes ...”
The following are the reasons Matt 24:45 refers to just ONE particular individual:
1. Even in Luke 12, if we continue on to Verses 42–44, the matter is also presented in the singular. The fact that plural is contrasted with singular shows that both are true, but there is nevertheless ONE unique individual chosen.
2. Luke 12:37 says that the servants (plural) will be served; they will be fed. On the other hand, Matt 24:45 says that the servant (singular) will have charge of all the goods and will do the serving of meat in due season.
3. Rev 3:14 shows that there is a seventh messenger. If all of the previous six messengers were individuals, the seventh would also be an individual.
4. A ruler over a household (of others—plural) must be an individual. This ruler (singular) gives them (plural) meat in due season.
5. The mention of servants (plural) in Luke 12:37 occurs in a context dealing with a time later on in the Harvest (following our Lord’s initial return and the resurrection of the sleeping saints) when the advice is to watch for the Lord to come for the rapture (translation) of the feet members.
ONE individual who is selected in the beginning of the Harvest is contrasted with servants (plural) who are studying and being served during the Harvest.
Unfortunately, many have been swayed by the thought of a class of individuals (plural) and thus reject the concept of ONE individual dispensing food uniquely. ONE individual serves others (plural). There is ONE ruler over the household of servants (plural).
The sooner a Christian can recognize that there is ONE individual and then partake of the food being served, the better. It helps to consider conditions at the First Advent. Some made their calling and election sure without knowing Jesus personally. They lived contemporaneously with Jesus but never saw him. It was sufficient to merely recognize him as Messiah.
However, if they had the opportunity of knowing him but deferred further exploration or contact, their chances of making the Little Flock grew more and more minimal as time went on. In other words, the longer a person defers, the greater the chance that mañana (the indefinite future) will become permanent, for “tomorrow never comes.”
Thus it becomes important to recognize that there would be an unusual ministry of an individual at the Second Advent and that others would be blessed by it. Jesus would make an individual a steward over all his goods, and that individual would, in turn, feed the household.
This same lesson is pictured in Zechariah’s “Vision of the Lampstand and the Olive Trees”.
In principle, others during the Harvest period may do something like this [as a servant] but in localized areas. The “faithful and wise servant” was a steward over the “household,” which is a larger ministry. The Lord has used on occasion other remarkable servants besides the seven messengers—for example, Tyndale in Luther’s day. However, the Lord particularly used Luther, and Luther’s ministry had a more widespread effect worldwide while Tyndale’s ministry pertained especially to England. Pastor Russell had a general stewardship, not a localized, one-nation stewardship. Thus individuals other than the seven special ones were used down through the Gospel Age but not as rulers in a stewardship arrangement that was more widespread in influence. In principle, an elder is responsible to the ones he exercises an influence with.
One more important point before we proceed to Verse 47, Note in Verse 46 it states: “Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.”
This verse teaches two important facts 1) that the servant to be chosen would be someone who was ALREADY ENGAGED in the work of feeding the Lord’s prior to His return, and 2) that only after his continuance in giving the meat for some time after our Lord's return was he promoted to “THAT servant”, the ruler over the Lord’s goods and his household.
What this means is that the special servant chosen by the Lord would have to be someone who lived and served in the Lord’s vineyard prior to 1874 A.D., and that they would have gained sufficient notoriety amongst their contemporaries, that they would be recognized as a noted and respected religious teacher. Not necessarily by orthodoxy however.
Continued with next post.
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