I am sending forth to you prophets and wise men and public instructors.
Jesus was speaking about his disciples, whom he taught to use the Scriptures in their ministry. At Pentecost 33 C.E., one of these “public instructors,” the apostle Peter, gave a talk to a large crowd in Jerusalem in which he quoted several passages from the Hebrew Scriptures. On hearing Peter’s application of these words, many listeners “were stabbed to the heart.” They repented over their past sins. About three thousand of them sought God’s forgiveness and became Christians. The apostle Paul spoke to those worshipping in a synagogue in Thessalonica. For three Sabbaths, Paul “reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving by references that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead.” The result? “Some of them [Jews] became believers,” as did “a great multitude of the Greeks.”
Paul wrote similarly regarding the Christian organization, when he wrote to the Ephesians: “And he gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelizers, some as shepherds and teachers, with a view to the readjustment of the holy ones, for ministerial work, to build up the body of the Christ, until we all attain to the oneness of the faith and of the accurate knowledge of the Son of God, to being a full-grown man, attaining the measure of stature that belongs to the fullness of the Christ.”
However, it also suits God’s purpose to conceal matters from those who are sent forth as prophets and teachers. A pre-Christian prophet by the name of Isaiah wrote concerning this phenomenon: “For Jehovah has poured a spirit of deep sleep on you; he has closed your eyes, the prophets, and he has covered your heads, the visionaries…And the wisdom of their wise men will perish, and the understanding of their discreet men will be hidden.”
The Watchtower claims to be the voice of a prophet class — a group of anointed individuals who supposedly understand the prophecies and speak in unison. It is these upon whom Jehovah has poured the spirit of a deep sleep. The very wisdom of their faithful and discreet men will not be on display at the return of Christ. That is because they are cocksure that Christ has already come in 1914.
Christ’s coming to initiate the judgment of the house of God will be an event which is completely unexpected by them. That is why Jesus said he was coming as a thief in the night at a time his disciples thought not to be likely.