How the Associate Kings Are Put in Office
1. Why could there be no one more suitable to be king over mankind than Jesus Christ?
WHAT king better than Jesus Christ the Son of God could all mankind have over itself? What human king loved his people so much as to leave all his glory and lay down his life innocently in his people’s behalf? And even if he did unselfishly lay down his life for his people, of what lasting benefit would this be to them? But in the case of Jesus Christ the Son of God, he left his heavenly glory with his Father and became a mere man, perfect indeed and yet “a little less than godlike ones,” “a little lower than angels.” (Psalm 8:5; Hebrews 2:9) Then, according to God’s will, he humbled himself still further to be violently killed even by humans after God anointed him to be the Messianic King. Not only was this an incomparable demonstration of love for mankind, but his death provided a perfect human sacrifice acceptable to God for the everlasting benefit of all humankind. Who better than this one could commend himself to mankind as suitable to be their king?
2. (a) How are people today like those of the first century as respects wanting Jesus Christ as king? (b) What is it that really counts as regards whom mankind will get as king?
2 Nineteen centuries ago men who believed in mere human political rulership did not desire him as their king; which was why they cried out to the Roman governor for the executing of him as if he were a false Christ, a false Messiah. Today the vast majority of mankind, even in Christendom, do not want him as a real King but do a lot of politicking for human rulership and belittle, oppose and persecute Christians who really imitate their Leader, Jesus. But what does it matter that the overwhelming majority of mankind today do not want Jesus Christ as their real heavenly King? Does that decide matters for mankind, the living and the dead? What counts is Almighty God’s decision. He approved of his Son Jesus at the time that he was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River. He approved of his Son Jesus at the time that this faithful Son was gloriously transfigured before three witnesses in a very high mountain in northern Palestine. (Matthew 3:17; 17:5) God approved of his sinless Son when, in his dying moments on the execution stake at Calvary, he called out with a loud voice: “Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit.”—Luke 23:46.
3. (a) What all-excelling expression of approval did God give of his martyred Son Jesus Christ? (b) To what level of life did God resurrect him?
3 In an all-excelling expression of his approval of his martyred Son, the God who works what puny men call impossibilities raised Jesus Christ from the dead on the third day. On what level of existence? As a mere human of blood and flesh, “a little lower than angels”? No! but on a level far higher than that of angels, on a heavenly level of life higher than that which he emptied himself of when he submitted to having his life transferred to the womb of the virgin Jewess Mary. (Philippians 2:5-11) Said the apostle Peter, who was one of the first to see him in a materialized body after his resurrection: “That which corresponds to this is also now saving you . . . through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is at God’s right hand, for he went his way to heaven; and angels and authorities and powers were made subject to him.”—1 Peter 3:21, 22; Hebrews 1:1-4; Luke 24:34; 1 Corinthians 15:5.
4, 5. How did Jesus Christ the “son of David” become the “Lord” of David, and who was the first one to point this out?
4 Thus the triumphant Son of God who had been made a “son of David” through a virgin birth in David’s line of descent came to be far higher than King David. The apostle Peter pointed this out in his inspired speech to thousands of Jews on the day of the Festival of Weeks, the fiftieth day from the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Peter, filled with holy spirit, said to them:
5 “This Jesus God resurrected, of which fact we are all witnesses. Therefore because he was exalted to the right hand of God and received the promised holy spirit from the Father, he has poured out this which you see and hear. Actually David did not ascend to the heavens, but he himself says, ‘Jehovah said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet.”’ Therefore let all the house of Israel know for a certainty that God made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you impaled.”—Acts 2:32-36.
6. (a) After his resurrection, what acknowledgment will David have to make regarding Jesus? (b) What kind of genealogical record does Jesus have as a man?
6 In his coming resurrection from the dead under the Messianic kingdom David will have to acknowledge the glorified Jesus Christ as his “Lord.” David will then call him “my Lord.” (Psalm 110:1) He will have to acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ, exalted from earth to heaven, as the most vital one of his descendants, “the root and the offspring of David,” “The Lion that is of the tribe of Judah, the root of David.” (Revelation 22:16; 5:5) This is why the genealogy of David’s descendants in two lines of descent ends with Jesus the son of Mary the virgin Jewess. In fact, the genealogy of Jesus Christ runs back, not just to King David, not just to the patriarch Abraham, but all the way back to the first Adam, who, in the day of his creation in the Garden of Eden, was called the “son of God.” (Matthew 1:1-18; Luke 3:23-38) Jesus Christ is the only one whose ancestry all the way back to the first human “son of God” was preserved without a break or gap in the long line.
7. (a) How long did the royal dynasty in King David’s family reign in Israel? (b) How long will Jesus Christ reign without any earthly rival, and how so?
7 King David reigned in Israel for only forty years. (1 Kings 2:10, 11; 1 Chronicles 29:26, 27) All together, through a line of twenty male successors to King David, his royal family reigned in Israel for 470 years, or from 1077 to 607 B.C.E. What other dynasty of kings in one family can equal that in any other country? However, Jesus Christ, as David’s heavenly Lord, will reign without an earthly rival king for a thousand years over all mankind. This will be without successors on his heavenly throne, for he is immortal. He has the “power of an indestructible life”; and so, “because of continuing alive forever,” he can have his kingdom “without any successors.” (Hebrews 7:16, 24) As the angel Gabriel said to Mary at Nazareth, “there will be no end of his kingdom.” (Luke 1:33) Consequently, he is King David’s Permanent Heir.
ASSOCIATES, NOT SUCCESSORS
8, 9. (a) Are the 144,000 to be the successors of Jesus Christ, and how did he, after setting up the Lord’s Supper, speak of their privileges in the Kingdom? (b) How did Daniel foretell that same joint participation?
8 The 144,000 joint heirs of Jesus Christ are not his successors in the Kingdom. They are merely associate kings, over whom He is the divinely appointed Head. Accordingly, the way in which Revelation 20:4 states the matter is: “And they came to life and ruled as kings with the Christ [not, after the Christ] for a thousand years.” It is just as Jesus Christ said to his faithful apostles on Passover night, after he had set up a new celebration that came to be called the Lord’s Supper or Evening Meal: “You are the ones that have stuck with me in my trials; and I make a covenant with you, just as my Father has made a covenant with me, for a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones to judge the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Luke 22:28-30) Hundreds of years before Christ, the prophet Daniel pointed forward to that same joint participation, saying:
9 “But the holy ones of the Supreme One will receive the kingdom, and they will take possession of the kingdom for time indefinite, even for time indefinite upon times indefinite.” “The Ancient of Days came and judgment itself was given in favor of the holy ones of the Supreme One, and the definite time arrived that the holy ones took possession of the kingdom itself. And the kingdom and the rulership and the grandeur of the kingdoms under all the heavens were given to the people who are the holy ones of the Supreme One. Their kingdom is an indefinitely lasting kingdom, and all the rulerships will serve and obey even them.”—Daniel 7:18, 22, 27.
10, 11. (a) What must be said as to whether the 144,000 have successors and as to their being “firstfruits to God and to the Lamb”? (b) Because of what mental attitude are the 144,000 not to be feared as kings?
10 From this it follows that the 144,000 holy ones of the Most High God will be kings with Christ for a thousand years without successors. It is said of these: “These are the ones that keep following the Lamb no matter where he goes. These were bought from among mankind as firstfruits to God and to the Lamb.” (Revelation 14:4) Being bought from among mankind, they were once ordinary men and women just like all the rest of mankind, but from this fact earth’s inhabitants over whom these 144,000 will rule as kings have nothing to fear. They have become “holy ones,” just as any “firstfruits to God and to the Lamb” would have to be strictly “holy.” Is there anything to fear from the rulership of Jesus Christ? No! And likewise there is nothing to be uneasy about as to the rulership of the 144,000 “bought from among mankind.” They have obeyed the apostle Paul’s counsel: “Keep this mental attitude in you that was also in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5) Also, the apostle Peter’s counsel in 1 Peter 4:1:
11 “Therefore since Christ suffered in the flesh, you too arm yourselves with the same mental disposition; because the person that has suffered in the flesh has desisted from sins.”
12. (a) What did God foreordain with regard to the associate kings of Christ? (b) When and how did Jehovah God give first recognition to this governmental class?
12 It is evident that the 144,000 need to have developed in them the mental, moral and spiritual image of their Leader and Teacher Jesus Christ. This is one of the requirements that Jehovah God foreordained about them. Although He did not foreordain the individual persons from among mankind who should make up those bearing in themselves this image of Jesus Christ, God did foreordain how many there should be of them—144,000. He did foreordain how he would deal with them and to what glorious heavenly station he would bring them. Because, from the very time of man’s rebellion in the Garden of Eden, Jehovah God was concerned about the government for a new system of things over mankind, he gave first recognition to this governmental class. This recognition He voiced in the divine decision he made known to Satan the Devil, “the original serpent,” saying: “I shall put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed. He will bruise you in the head and you will bruise him in the heel.”—Genesis 3:15.
13, 14. (a) What is Jesus Christ with reference to the promised “seed” of God’s woman? (b) What did the apostle Paul encouragingly write to the Christians striving to make their calling secure?
13 Jesus Christ is, of course, the principal one of that promised “seed” of God’s woman. But it also includes those faithful disciples who are to be associated with Christ in the bruising of the Serpent’s head. (Romans 16:20) So, addressing himself to a congregation of those who had been called and who were striving to make this calling of them sure and irrevocable, the apostle Paul wrote encouragingly, in Romans 8:28-32:
14 “Now we know that God makes all his works cooperate together for the good of those who love God, those who are the ones called according to his purpose; because those whom he gave his first recognition he also foreordained to be patterned after the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. Moreover, those whom he foreordained are the ones he also called; and those whom he called are the ones he also declared to be righteous. Finally those whom he declared righteous are the ones he also glorified. What, then, shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who will be against us? He who did not even spare his own Son but delivered him up for us all, why will he not also with him kindly give us all other things?”
15. (a) How, according to God’s foreordination, will the government of His new order be harmonious in itself? (b) How, by God’s action, will those in this government be “righteous”?
15 Note that those called are, regardless of whoever they might individually prove to be, “foreordained to be patterned after the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” This requires and ensures that they will all be Christlike as sons of God. Thus God foreordained that the government of His coming new order should be a harmonious government, not divided in itself, not at disagreement within itself. Everyone in that government has to be “righteous.” That is why God has to make special provision, yet just provision, in order to declare these called ones “righteous,” and this He does through the blood of the Lamb Jesus Christ. When resurrecting them from the dead, He will make them righteous as perfect spirit creatures in harmony with their righteous personality. (Romans 5:1, 9; 8:1) Such ones whom God declares righteous now by reason of their faith in the blood of Jesus Christ, God dignifies, honors, glorifies with blessed privileges in His service now on earth. He sets before them future glory in the Kingdom.
16. How did Jesus show his disciples whether the politicians of this world are the ones for them to imitate?
16 All mankind can be sure that those whom God approves and resurrects to Kingdom glory will not conduct themselves in office like the politicians of the present worldly governments. Jesus did not set the politicians of this world before his disciples as an example to imitate. There will be no political rivalry between his 144,000 associates in the heavenly kingdom. Not according to what we read in Luke 22:24-27: “There also arose a heated dispute among them over which one of them seemed to be greatest. But he said to them: ‘The kings of the nations lord it over them, and those having authority over them are called Benefactors. You, though, are not to be that way. But let him that is the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the one acting as chief as the one ministering. For which one is greater, the one reclining at the table or the one ministering? Is it not the one reclining at the table? But I am in your midst as the one ministering.’”
17. Why, when sent to this world, was Jesus rightly God’s Ambassador to mankind?
17 About two thousand years ago the Son of God was sent into this world, but not to become a politician campaigning for votes or fighting against political rivals, even in the nation of Israel. He came to do what no earthly politician can do, namely, to reconcile the people of all races, nations and tribes to God, with whom they were at enmity. He came in order to bring mankind back to peaceful, friendly relations with the great Life-Giver, Jehovah God. This meant self-sacrifice for the Son of God. He is rightly said to be the Ambassador from God, who was sent to a hostile race of people in order to plead with them to become reconciled to God and thereby escape being destroyed by Him.
18. Those who became disciples of Christ reacted in what way to God’s Ambassador? With what effects?
18 The Christian disciples were the ones who accepted that Ambassador from God and his ambassadorial work in their behalf. The apostle Paul wrote to such disciples in Rome and said: “God recommends his own love to us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more, therefore, since we have been declared righteous now by his blood, shall we be saved through him from wrath. For if, when we were enemies, we became reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, now that we have become reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only that, but we are also exulting in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.”—Romans 5:8-11.
“AMBASSADORS SUBSTITUTING FOR CHRIST”
19. (a) Since Christ’s ascension to heaven, how is the ambassadorial work carried on toward mankind? (b) How do the world’s political rulers look upon the ambassadors from Christ, and why so?
19 Since his ascension to heaven in the spring of the year 33 C.E., Jesus Christ has been no longer on earth to carry on personally this work of ambassadorship. Therefore his reconciled disciples must carry on the ambassadorial work as substitutes for him. The political rulers and governments of this world do not recognize these disciples as ambassadors from the Highest Government of the universe. Neither do these Christian ambassadors treat or negotiate with the political ambassadors of the nations to bring about at one negotiation the reconciliation of a whole nation by one single treaty through those diplomatic ambassadors. The political rulers and governments look upon commissioned disciples according to the flesh, from the old standpoint, and do not send diplomatic representatives to them as they have done for centuries with the Vatican of the Roman Catholic Church. They view these untitled disciples, without diplomatic dress and credentials, as being just ordinary humans. They do not discern these to be new creatures spiritually, with something new to offer.
20. Although he was not recognized by Rome as an ambassador, how did Paul speak of himself when writing to the Ephesians?
20 Because the apostle Paul, who did not represent the Jewish government at Jerusalem, was not recognized as a Christian ambassador by the Roman Empire, did that make him any less a real ambassador from the Government of the Most High God? Yet, even while not being honorably recognized by the Roman government, Paul spoke of himself as such while under arrest in Rome, saying to the congregation in Ephesus, Asia Minor: “Keep awake with all constancy and with supplication in behalf of all the holy ones, also for me, that ability to speak may be given me with the opening of my mouth, with freeness of speech to make known the sacred secret of the good news, for which I am acting as an ambassador in chains; that I may speak in connection with it with boldness as I ought to speak.”—Ephesians 6:18-20.
21. In discharging their responsibilities, to whom do the Christian ambassadors go?
21 A commissioned Christian should not adopt the viewpoint of the political governments of this world that are at enmity with Jehovah God. The Christian has received his ambassadorship from God through Christ, and he must recognize the responsibilities that this new honor conferred upon him places upon him. Because he is not a worldly ambassador, he does not go to the political governments in his new capacity. In this matter of reconciliation with God, the governments cannot act for the whole nation and alter the relationship of their subjects to God. It is an individual matter; each person must decide and act for himself. That is why the spiritual Christian ambassadors go directly to the people, not through their political governments. Discounting the old standing and giving full value to the new responsibility, the apostle Paul put the matter squarely, saying:
22. What ministry do the Christian ambassadors fulfill, for whom do they substitute, and what do they entreat reconciled ones not to do?
22 “Consequently if anyone is in union with Christ, he is a new creation [or, creature]; the old things passed away, look! new things have come into existence. But all things are from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of the reconciliation, namely, that God was by means of Christ reconciling a world to himself, not reckoning to them their trespasses, and he committed the word of the reconciliation to us. We are therefore ambassadors substituting for Christ, as though God were making entreaty through us. As substitutes for Christ we beg: ‘Become reconciled to God.’ The one who did not know sin he made to be sin for us, that we might become God’s righteousness by means of him. Working together with him, we also entreat you not to accept the undeserved kindness of God and miss its purpose.”—2 Corinthians 5:17 through 6:1, margin.
23. Being “ambassadors substituting for Christ” places what serious restrictions upon God’s representatives?
23 Being “ambassadors substituting for Christ” places serious restrictions upon God’s representatives who are new creatures in union with Christ. What restrictions? Those similar to the restrictions that rest upon ambassadors of the political nations. Not only today, but also in Bible times, ambassadors had no right to meddle in the politics of foreign nations to which they were sent. (Luke 19:12-15, 27) They might make an appeal to those foreign governments, or even a protest, but they must strictly keep out of the politics of such alien nations. They must be loyal to their own home government and jealously take care of its interests when they are dealing with foreign governments. If they do not do this, they can be refused recognition or their credentials be turned down and their presence in the land can be denied.
24. Where is the citizenship of these spiritual ambassadors, what government do they represent, and from what worldly activities do they refrain and thus keep clean?
24 The 144,000 who are joint heirs with Christ recognize that they are, while on earth, “ambassadors substituting for Christ.” In the light of the Holy Scriptures they see clearly what their being such ambassadors really means with regard to their relationship to this world that is at enmity with God. (Romans 5:10) With the apostle Paul, they confess: “Our citizenship exists in the heavens, from which place also we are eagerly waiting for a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 3:20) In this hostile world they must faithfully represent the heavenly kingdom that the Lord Jesus Christ commanded them to preach world wide. (Matthew 24:14) Their being spiritual ambassadors to an enemy world does not allow them to meddle and take an active part in the politics of any nation whatsoever of this world. They cannot engage in political electioneering or hold public office in a worldly government any more than a worldly ambassador can divide his loyalty and assume political office in a land foreign to his own. In this way they keep clean from any community responsibility for the misconduct and bloodshed committed by any nation on earth.
25. How do the 144,000 Kingdom joint heirs keep from worshiping the “wild beast” and its “image” and from having its mark on forehead and hand?
25 In the face of this we can appreciate more what the apostle John says of the faithful 144,000 who become Kingdom associates of Christ: “I saw the souls of those executed with the ax for the witness they bore to Jesus and for speaking about God, and those who had worshiped neither the wild beast nor its image and who had not received the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand. And they came to life and ruled as kings with the Christ for a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:4) Under the enlightening power of God’s spirit they see the “wild beast,” the number of which is 666, to be the Devil’s worldwide political system by means of which he is the “ruler of this world.” They see that, today, the “image” of that political wild beast is another political organization, namely, the United Nations, the man-made organization for the peace and security of this world that is at enmity with God. It is only by keeping clean and unentangled from the politics and conflicts of this symbolic “wild beast” that they keep from having the mark of the wild beast on forehead or hand.
26. Although keeping free from the worship of the “wild beast” and its “mark,” what do the 144,000 render to the “superior authorities” of the world, but to what extent?
26 The 144,000 are neither slaves nor worshipers of the “wild beast” and its political “image.” They do not display themselves openly as by a mark on the uncovered forehead as being slaves of this “wild beast” of human rulership under Satan the Devil. They do not show its political “mark” on their hand as by slavishly and worshipfully giving the “wild beast” their active support and “right hand of fellowship.” They do obey the apostle Paul’s counsel in Romans 13:1-7 and conscientiously show “subjection to the superior authorities” of this world, paying taxes and such due things. But this subjection is not total; it is only relative, for a serious reason. What? This: when the laws and rulings of these earthly superior authorities clash with the laws and rulings of the Most High God, then they must conscientiously follow the course set by Christ’s apostles before the Supreme Court in Jerusalem: “We must obey God as ruler rather than men.” (Acts 5:29) Only by doing this can they keep free of the “mark” of the “wild beast” and prove themselves worthy to reign with Christ above.
27. According to Revelation 22:4, what identification do the 144,000 display on their foreheads?
27 The 144,000 faithful ones will therefore carry none of the political uncleanness of this self-seeking world into the heavenly kingdom of the Christ. As for any identification being displayed upon their foreheads, Revelation 22:3-5 says concerning these loyal servants of God: “His slaves will render him sacred service; and they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. . . . Jehovah God will shed light upon them, and they will rule as kings forever and ever.”
BENEFIT OF BEING A THOUSAND YEARS IN OFFICE
28. (a) For the 144,000, what will be the benefit of reigning for a thousand years without successors? (b) What will Satan and his demons do, when let loose, regarding divine rulership, and what will happen to the misled ones?
28 What a grand privilege and opportunity it will be for them to rule as kings with the Christ for the thousand years after the binding and abyssing of Satan the Devil and his demons! This will allow them ample time to carry out to completion and success the work that Jehovah God has assigned to be done during this first thousand years of His new order. Neither they nor Jesus Christ will have any successors, who might come along into office and try to reverse the things that they have accomplished or insist on carrying on things in another way. According to Revelation 20:7-10, Satan the Devil and his demons will, after being let loose at the end of the thousand years, try to reverse matters. They will try to undo everything that was accomplished by the millennial government for God’s glory and man’s blessing, but they will not succeed. Any humans that Satan then succeeds in misleading will then find their rebellion against divine rulership to be ineffective and short-lived. With Satan and his demons these earthly rebels will be obliterated from the realm of the living.
29. (a) How, at the end of the thousand years, will things show that not in vain did God send his Son or His Son die? (b) In what way will Christ and the 144,000 have reason to rejoice that they did not reign for a thousand years in vain?
29 The millennial reign of Jesus Christ and his 144,000 Kingdom joint heirs will not prove to be in vain. The restoration of mankind to human perfection in an earth-wide paradise will stand as an accomplished fact. Yes, Jesus Christ the Son of God will not have died in vain, and the purpose for which God lovingly sent him into this world will not have failed. In the faithful upholders of Jehovah’s universal sovereignty who loyally pass the test at the loosing of Satan for a little while, it will be overwhelmingly demonstrated that Almighty God the Creator can put men and women on this earth who will unbreakably maintain their integrity to Him. They will for this deserve to be declared righteous by the Supreme Judge Jehovah God and to be favored with the inviolable right to serve Him in peace and happiness in the earthly Paradise forever. (Revelation 20:5) At this outcome of the divine judgment of mankind Jesus Christ and his 144,000 associate kings will rejoice and know that their reign of a thousand years brought successful results.
30. What other office besides that of kings must the 144,000 carry out with Christ for a thousand years, and what questions does this raise?
30 However, the glorious vision seen by the apostle John reveals to us that the 144,000 Kingdom joint heirs do more than rule as kings with Christ for a thousand years. Revelation 20:6 says of these 144,000 partakers of the “first resurrection” that “they will be priests of God and of the Christ.” Why must they also be “priests” for a thousand years? What will this bring about that mere kingship does not accomplish? We shall not be satisfied about the coming thousand years until we find out.