A Government That Will Conquer Man’s Enemy Death
GOD’S original purpose for man was that he might live and enjoy life on a paradise earth. We can have confidence that this purpose will be realized. It is backed by God’s dependable promise that man’s enemy death will be conquered, destroyed.—1 Corinthians 15:26.
A life-span of but seventy or eighty years is not all there is. If that were the full extent of what even lovers of God could hope for, their situation would differ little from that of those who have no regard for God or his Word. But this is not the case. The Bible says: “God is not unrighteous so as to forget your work and the love you showed for his name.”—Hebrews 6:10; 11:6.
What is the reward for those who are serving Jehovah God because of their deep love for him and his righteous ways? There is both a present and a future reward. The apostle Paul wrote: “Godly devotion is beneficial for all things, as it holds promise of the life now and that which is to come.” (1 Timothy 4:8) Even now obedience to God’s law leads to enjoying a contented, happy life. As to the life “which is to come,” Romans 6:23 says: “The gift God gives is everlasting life.”
Under present conditions, of course, everlasting life may appear undesirable. But it is eternal life under a righteous administration that God has promised. For that promise to become reality, humans must first be freed from the cause of death. What is that cause? The inspired apostle Paul answers: “The sting producing death is sin.”—1 Corinthians 15:56.
Already at the time of pronouncing judgment on the rebellious human pair, Adam and Eve, and upon the instigator of rebellion, Jehovah God pointed to the means by which humans would be freed from sin and death. Not to the unreasoning snake used in the deception, but to Satan himself as the “original serpent” God’s words were directed: “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.” This judgment, recorded at Genesis 3:15, provided the basis for hope for the future offspring of Adam and Eve. It indicated that man’s enemy would be conquered.—Revelation 12:9.
Of course, the mere killing of the “original serpent,” Satan the Devil, would not be enough to undo all the injury that he caused by influencing the first humans to rebel against God. But just how the undoing would come about remained a secret until such time as God chose to reveal it.—1 John 3:8.
With the aid of the complete Bible, we today can unravel this sacred secret. The “woman” referred to at Genesis 3:15 could not have been Eve. Eve, by her course of rebellion, aligned herself with the “original serpent,” thus making herself a part of his “seed.” Then, too, no female descendant of Adam and Eve could be that woman. Why not? Because the ‘seed of the woman’ had to possess power far greater than that of a mere man in order to crush the “original serpent,” the invisible spirit person Satan the Devil. To produce such a mighty “seed,” the “woman” would have to be, not human, but spiritual.
At Galatians 4:26 this “woman” is identified as “Jerusalem above.” This is very significant. How so?
The ancient city of Jerusalem was the capital of the kingdom of Judah. Because the first Judean king, David, established his seat of government there, Jerusalem from his time onward produced the kings for the nation. Therefore it would only be natural to expect that the “Jerusalem above” would produce a king. This factor pointed to a heavenly government, with a heavenly king, as the agency for putting an end to sin and death.
The “Jerusalem above” is no literal woman or city. It is a symbolic, spiritual city. Being heavenly, it is composed of mighty spirit persons, angels. So, then, for one from among these spirit persons to be designated as king would mean that the “Jerusalem above” had produced an heir to a kingdom. Did such a thing happen?
THE KING IS BROUGHT FORTH
That is exactly what happened in the year 29 C.E. At that time the man Jesus was anointed by God’s holy spirit to become King-Designate. This occurred at the time he presented himself to John the Baptist for immersion in water. As to what took place, the Bible reports: “After being baptized Jesus immediately came up from the water; and, look! the heavens were opened up, and he saw descending like a dove God’s spirit coming upon him. Look! Also, there was a voice from the heavens that said: ‘This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved.’”—Matthew 3:16, 17.
Some months later Jesus began proclaiming: “Repent, you people, for the kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.” (Matthew 4:17) Yes, the kingdom had drawn near in the person of the King-Designate.
Though born as a man on earth, Jesus had had a prehuman existence. He himself said: “No man has ascended into heaven but he that descended from heaven, the Son of man.” (John 3:13) In calling attention to Jesus’ outstanding example of humility, the inspired apostle Paul wrote: “He emptied himself and took a slave’s form and came to be in the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2:5-7) As to how this transferal from heavenly to earthly life came about, we have the recorded conversation of the angel Gabriel with the virgin Mary:
“The angel said to her: ‘Have no fear, Mary, for you have found favor with God; and, look! you will conceive in your womb and give birth to a son, and you are to call his name Jesus. This one will be great and will be called Son of the Most High; and Jehovah God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule as king over the house of Jacob forever, and there will be no end of his kingdom.’
“But Mary said to the angel: ‘How is this to be, since I am having no intercourse with a man?’ In answer the angel said to her: ‘Holy spirit will come upon you, and power of the Most High will overshadow you. For that reason also what is born will be called holy, God’s Son.’”—Luke 1:30-35.
Thus, as one of the sons of God making up the “Jerusalem above,” Jesus had his life transferred from heaven to the womb of the virgin Mary and was born a perfect human baby. Such a miracle may sound unbelievable to some, yet that casts no valid doubt on the actuality of the event. Surely the One who made it possible for a complete person to develop from an egg cell that is smaller than the period at the end of this sentence could, by means of his spirit or active force, transfer life from the heavens to the earth. And since Jesus’ life had been transferred in this way in order for him to become the permanent heir of King David, he actually came forth from the “Jerusalem above.”
As foretold in God’s prophecy of Genesis 3:15, Jesus experienced a ‘heel wound’ from the “original serpent” when he was nailed to an executional stake on Nisan 14 of the year 33 C.E. Unlike a crushing in the head from which there is no recovery, that ‘heel wound’ was but temporary. On the third day God raised Jesus up from the dead, granting him the “power of an indestructible life.” (Acts 10:40; Hebrews 7:16) As an immortal spirit person, the King Jesus Christ is in position to crush the “original serpent” in the head and undo all the damage that that one has caused.
Jesus Christ is the main one of that composite “seed.” By means of him Almighty God will crush Satan the Devil under the feet of Jesus’ associates in the heavenly kingdom. (Revelation 20:1-3) Writing to those in line for rulership, the Christian apostle Paul stated: “The God who gives peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.” (Romans 16:20) Who are these associate rulers?
In the last book of the Bible, Revelation, the number is given as 144,000. Describing what he saw in vision, the writer of Revelation, the apostle John, says: “Look! the Lamb [Jesus Christ, who died a death like a sacrificial lamb] standing upon the Mount Zion, and with him a hundred and forty-four thousand having his name and the name of his Father written on their foreheads. . . . These are the ones that keep following the Lamb no matter where he goes. These were bought from among mankind [not just one nation of people like the Israelites] as firstfruits to God and to the Lamb.”—Revelation 14:1-4.
It is indeed appropriate that the 144,000 are depicted as being with the Lamb on Mount Zion. Mount Zion of the ancient city of Jerusalem was the place from which the kings of Judah ruled, the site of the royal palace. It was also at Mount Zion that David pitched a tent for the sacred ark (chest) of the covenant in which were placed the two tablets of stone inscribed with the Ten Commandments. Later that ark was transferred to the innermost compartment of the temple built by David’s son Solomon a short distance away on Mount Moriah. The term Zion, in time, came to include Moriah. Thus Zion had prominent association with kingship as well as priesthood.—2 Samuel 6:12, 17; 1 Kings 8:1; Isaiah 8:18.
This agrees with the fact that Jesus is both King and Priest, combining both offices as did Melchizedek of ancient Salem. Therefore Hebrews 6:20 speaks of Jesus as having “become a high priest according to the manner of Melchizedek forever.” In the capacity of King-Priest, Jesus rules from heavenly Mount Zion.
His fellow rulers are also priests. As a body they are called a “royal priesthood.” (1 Peter 2:9) Of their function, Revelation 5:10 tells us: “You [Christ] made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God, and they are to rule as kings over the earth.”
PURPOSE OF THE ADMINISTRATION
A principal concern of the King-Priest Jesus Christ and his associate priestly rulers is to bring all humankind into unity with Jehovah God. This means the removal of all traces of sin and imperfection, for only those who reflect God’s image perfectly can stand on their own merit before him. That the administrative Kingdom is part of God’s administration of affairs for bringing this about is indicated at Ephesians 1:9-12:
“[God] made known to us the sacred secret of his will. It is according to his good pleasure which he purposed in himself for an administration at the full limit of the appointed times, namely, to gather all things together again in the Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth. Yes, in him, in union with whom we were also assigned as heirs, in that we were foreordained according to the purpose of him who operates all things according to the way his will counsels, that we should serve for the praise of his glory.”
Since Jesus Christ is sinless and in perfect harmony with Jehovah God, the bringing of all things into unity with him results in mankind’s being brought into unity with Jehovah God. This is clear from the fact that after this aspect of the Kingdom’s work is completed, the Bible says that Jesus Christ “hands over the kingdom to his God and Father.”—1 Corinthians 15:24.
To accomplish the tremendous task of perfecting humankind, the heavenly rulers will also be using earthly representatives, men of outstanding devotion to righteousness. (Psalm 45:16; Isaiah 32:1, 2) These men will have to meet the qualifications the King Jesus Christ looks for in those whom he entrusts with responsibility. Two basic qualifications are humility and self-sacrificing love. Said Jesus: “You know that the rulers of the nations lord it over them and the great men wield authority over them. This is not the way among you; but whoever wants to become great among you must be your minister, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave.” (Matthew 20:25-27) He also said: “This is my commandment, that you love one another just as I have loved you. No one has love greater than this, that someone should surrender his soul in behalf of his friends.”—John 15:12, 13.
Would you not feel secure under Kingdom representatives who reflect such love and humility, who would genuinely care for you?
There will be no problems in communication between the heavenly government and the earthly representatives of the King Jesus Christ. In times past Jehovah God transmitted messages to his servants on earth by means of angels and his invisible active force. (Daniel 10:12-14; 2 Peter 1:21) Why, even men have been able to transmit and receive messages to and from capsules and space stations circling far above the earth. If imperfect men can do such things, why should anyone think that this would be too difficult for perfect heavenly rulers?
However, before the Kingdom administration of Jesus Christ and his fellow rulers can proceed with the work of bringing mankind into unity with God, all opposing forces must be removed. There is not the slightest indication that those governing mankind today are willing to hand over their sovereignty to Jesus Christ and his associate rulers. They scoff at the idea that a heavenly government will take full control over earth’s affairs. That is why they will have to be forced to recognize the authority of God’s kingdom by his Christ. This will be at the cost of their ruling positions as well as their lives. As the Bible tells us: “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin. And the kingdom itself will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite.”—Daniel 2:44.
After clearing out all opposition, the Kingdom administration will set itself to the task of liberating humans from sickness and death. How will this be accomplished?