Our Active Leader Today
“He went forth conquering and to complete his conquest.”—REV. 6:2.
CHRIST was enthroned as King of Jehovah’s Messianic Kingdom in 1914. How do we imagine him now in our mind’s eye? As a contemplative king sitting on his throne, glancing down to earth from time to time to see how his congregation is faring? If so, we should revise our opinion. The Psalms and the book of Revelation depict him as an energetic king on horseback, riding forth “conquering and to complete his conquest,” continuing to ultimate “success.”—Rev. 6:2; Ps. 2:6-9; 45:1-4.
2 Christ’s first kingly action after his enthronement was his victory over “the dragon and its angels.” As the archangel Michael in command of his angels, Christ hurled Satan and his demons out of the holy heavens and confined them to the vicinity of the earth. (Rev. 12:7-9) Then, in his role as Jehovah’s “messenger of the covenant,” Jesus came with his Father to carry out an inspection of the spiritual temple. (Mal. 3:1) He judged Christendom, the most reprehensible part of “Babylon the Great,” finding her guilty of bloodshed and of spiritual adultery with the political system of this world.—Rev. 18:2, 3, 24.
Cleansing His Earthly Slave
3 The inspection by Jehovah and his “messenger” also revealed in the earthly courtyard of that spiritual temple the presence of a group of true Christians, who were not part of Christendom’s churches. However, even these anointed Christians, or “sons of Levi,” needed to undergo cleansing. It was as the prophet Malachi had 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, and they will certainly become to Jehovah people presenting a gift offering in righteousness.” (Mal. 3:3) Jehovah used his “messenger of the covenant,” Christ Jesus, to cleanse these spiritual Israelites.
4 Still, Christ found these same faithful anointed Christians doing their utmost to provide timely spiritual food for the household of faith. From 1879 onward, through thick and thin, they had been publishing Biblical truths about God’s Kingdom in the pages of this magazine. Jesus had prophesied that “on arriving” to inspect his domestics during “the conclusion of the system of things,” he would find a slave providing them “food at the proper time.” He would pronounce that slave happy and would “appoint him over all his belongings” on earth. (Matt. 24:3, 45-47) As Head of the Christian congregation, Christ has used this “faithful and discreet slave” to administer His Kingdom interests on earth. He has provided direction for the anointed “domestics” and their “other sheep” companions by means of a Governing Body.—John 10:16.
Harvesting the Earth
5 The apostle John had a vision of something else that the Messianic King would do in “the Lord’s day,” after He was enthroned in 1914. John wrote: “I saw, and, look! a white cloud, and upon the cloud someone seated like a son of man, with a golden crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand.” (Rev. 1:10; 14:14) John heard an angel from Jehovah tell this Harvester to thrust in his sickle because “the harvest of the earth is thoroughly ripe.”—Rev. 14:15, 16.
6 This “harvest of the earth” reminds us of Jesus’ parable of the wheat and the weeds. Jesus likened himself to a man who sowed his field with wheat seed with a view to harvesting a full crop of fine wheat, representing “the sons of the kingdom,” true Christians anointed to be associated with him in his Kingdom. But under the cover of night, an enemy, “the Devil,” oversowed the field with weeds, “the sons of the wicked one.” The sower instructed his workers to let the wheat and the weeds grow together until harvesttime, at “the conclusion of the system of things.” At that time, he would send in his angels to separate the wheat from the weeds.—Matt. 13:24-30, 36-41.
7 In fulfillment of the vision given to John, Jesus has been conducting a worldwide harvest work. “The harvest of the earth” began with the gathering of the remaining ones of the 144,000 “sons of the kingdom,” “the wheat” of Jesus’ parable. The distinction between true and false Christians became ever more apparent after World War I, so much so that it has contributed to the second part of “the harvest of the earth”—the ingathering of the other sheep. These are not “the sons of the kingdom” but, rather, “a great crowd” of willing subjects of that Kingdom. They are harvested from among all “peoples, national groups and languages.” They submit to the Messianic Kingdom, made up of Christ Jesus and the 144,000 “holy ones” who will be associated with him in that heavenly government.—Rev. 7:9, 10; Dan. 7:13, 14, 18.
Leadership of the Congregations
8 We saw in the preceding article how closely Christ observed the spiritual condition of individual congregations in the first century C.E. In our day, as reigning King invested with “all authority . . . in heaven and on the earth,” Christ our Leader exercises active headship over the congregations worldwide and their overseers. (Matt. 28:18; Col. 1:18) Jehovah has “made him head over all things to the congregation” of anointed ones. (Eph. 1:22) As such, nothing that occurs within the more than 100,000 individual congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses escapes his notice.
9 To the ancient congregation of Thyatira, Jesus sent this message: “These are the things that the Son of God says, he who has his eyes like a fiery flame, . . . ‘I know your deeds.’” (Rev. 2:18, 19) He rebuked members of that congregation for their immoral, self-indulgent lifestyle, telling them: “I am he who searches the kidneys and hearts, and I will give to you individually according to your deeds.” (Rev. 2:23) That statement indicates that Christ observes not only the collective conduct of each congregation but also the lifestyle of its individual members. Jesus commended Christians in Thyatira “who did not get to know the ‘deep things of Satan.’” (Rev. 2:24) Today, he likewise approves of those, young or old, who refrain from delving into the “deep things of Satan” by means of the Internet or violent video games or by indulging in permissive human reasonings. How happy he is to observe the efforts and the sacrifices of the many Christians today who do their utmost to follow his lead in all aspects of their lives!
10 Christ provides loving oversight of his congregations on earth by means of appointed elders. (Eph. 4:8, 11, 12) In the first century, all the overseers were spirit-begotten. They were depicted in Revelation as stars in Christ’s right hand. (Rev. 1:16, 20) Today, most congregation elders are of the other sheep. They are appointed after prayer and under the guidance of the holy spirit, so they too can be regarded as under Christ’s direction, or guiding hand. (Acts 20:28) They recognize, however, that Christ is using a small group of anointed Christian men as a Governing Body to lead and direct his disciples on earth.—Read Acts 15:6, 28-30.
“Come, Lord Jesus”
11 In the revelation given to the apostle John, several times Jesus said that he was coming quickly. (Rev. 2:16; 3:11; 22:7, 20) Doubtless, he was referring to his coming to execute judgment upon Babylon the Great and the rest of Satan’s wicked system of things. (2 Thess. 1:7, 8) Eager to see the fulfillment of all the wonderful events that were foretold, the aged apostle John exclaimed: “Amen! Come, Lord Jesus.” We who are living at the time of the end of this wicked system of things also long to see our Leader and King come in Kingdom power to sanctify his Father’s name and vindicate His sovereignty.
12 Before Jesus comes against Satan’s visible organization, the last of the 144,000 members of spiritual Israel will receive the final sealing. The Bible states clearly that the winds of destruction upon Satan’s system will not be released before this sealing of the 144,000 is completed.—Rev. 7:1-4.
13 Christ’s “presence” since 1914 has gone unnoticed by most of earth’s inhabitants. (2 Pet. 3:3, 4) Soon, however, he will make his presence manifest by executing Jehovah’s judgments on the various elements of Satan’s system of things. The destruction of “the man of lawlessness,” the clergy of Christendom, will be an unmistakable “manifestation of his presence.” (Read 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 8.) It will furnish concrete proof that Christ has moved into action as Jehovah’s appointed Judge. (Read 2 Timothy 4:1.) The annihilation of the most reprehensible part of Babylon the Great will serve as a prelude to the total destruction of that wicked world empire of false religion. Jehovah will put it into the hearts of political leaders to devastate this spiritual harlot. (Rev. 17:15-18) That will be the first part of the “great tribulation.”—Matt. 24:21.
14 Jesus stated that the days of that tribulation would be cut short “on account of the chosen ones,” the remnant of anointed Christians still on earth. (Matt. 24:22) Jehovah will not allow this destructive attack on false religion to wipe out anointed Christians and their other sheep companions. Jesus added that “after the tribulation of those days,” there will be signs in sun, moon, and stars, “and then the sign of the Son of man will appear in heaven.” This will cause the nations of the earth to “beat themselves in lamentation.” Not so the anointed, who have a heavenly hope, and their companions, who have an earthly hope. They will ‘raise themselves erect and lift up their heads because their deliverance is getting near.’—Matt. 24:29, 30; Luke 21:25-28.
15 Before completing his conquest, the Son of man comes in yet another way. He prophesied: “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.” (Matt. 25:31-33) This refers to Christ’s coming as Judge to separate people of “all the nations” into two categories: “the sheep,” those who will have actively supported his spiritual brothers (anointed Christians on earth) and “the goats,” those “who do not obey the good news about our Lord Jesus.” (2 Thess. 1:7, 8) The sheep, described as “righteous ones,” will receive “everlasting life” on earth, but the goats “will depart into everlasting cutting-off,” or destruction.—Matt. 25:34, 40, 41, 45, 46.
Jesus Completes His Conquest
16 With the total number of his king-priest associates sealed and the sheep identified and placed on his right hand for salvation, Christ can go on to “complete his conquest.” (Rev. 5:9, 10; 6:2) At the head of an army of powerful angels and, no doubt, his resurrected brothers, he will destroy Satan’s entire political, military, and commercial system on earth. (Rev. 2:26, 27; 19:11-21) Christ’s conquest will be complete when he destroys Satan’s wicked system. Then he will abyss Satan and the demons for a thousand years.—Rev. 20:1-3.
17 Speaking of the “great crowd” of other sheep, who will survive the great tribulation, the apostle John prophesied that “the Lamb, who is in the midst of the throne, will shepherd them, and will guide them to fountains of waters of life.” (Rev. 7:9, 17) Yes, throughout his Thousand Year Reign, Christ will continue to lead the other sheep, who truly listen to his voice, and guide them to everlasting life. (Read John 10:16, 26-28.) May we faithfully follow our royal Leader—now and on into Jehovah’s promised new world!
By Way of Review
• What action did Christ take after being enthroned?
• What visible instruments is Christ using to lead the congregations?
• In what ways is Christ our Leader yet to come?
• How will Christ continue to lead us in the new world?
1, 2. (a) How is Christ’s kingly activity since 1914 depicted in the Bible? (b) What actions has Christ undertaken since his enthronement?
3, 4. (a) What work did Christ accomplish as Jehovah’s “messenger”? (b) The temple inspection revealed what, and as Head of the congregation, what appointment did Jesus make?
5. What kingly activity did the apostle John see in vision?
6. What did Jesus say would develop over time?
7. How is Christ carrying out “the harvest of the earth”?
8, 9. (a) What shows that Christ observes not only the conduct of the entire congregation but also the lifestyle of its individual members? (b) As depicted on page 26, what “deep things of Satan” should we avoid?
10. How is Christ’s direction of congregation elders symbolized, but what arrangement needs to be recognized?
11. Why are we eager to see our Leader come quickly?
12. What work will Christ complete before the winds of destruction are unleashed?
13. How will Christ make his presence manifest during the first phase of the “great tribulation”?
14. (a) Why will the first part of the great tribulation be cut short? (b) What will “the sign of the Son of man” mean for Jehovah’s people?
15. What work will Christ do when he comes?
16. How will Christ our Leader complete his conquest?
17. To what will Christ lead his other sheep during the Thousand Year Reign, and what should be our determination?
[Picture on page 29]
The destruction of Satan’s wicked system will make Christ’s presence manifest