God’s Government of Peace
1. What have human governments failed to do?
HAVE YOU noted that human governments, even those with good intentions, have failed to satisfy the real needs of people? None have solved the problems of crime and racial hatred or have provided proper food and housing for all their people. They have not freed their citizens completely of disease. Nor has any government been able to stop aging or death or to bring the dead to life again. There is not one that has even brought lasting peace and security to its citizens. Governments of men are simply not able to solve the big problems facing people.
2. What is the main message of the Bible?
2 Our Creator knows how much we need a righteous government that will make it possible for all people to enjoy a full and happy life. So that is why the Bible tells of a government under God’s direction. In fact, this promised government by God is the main message of the Bible.
3. What does Isaiah 9:6, 7 say about God’s government?
3 But you may ask: ‘Where does the Bible speak of God’s government?’ It does so, for example, at Isaiah 9:6, 7. According to the King James Version, these verses say: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end.”
4. Who is the child that becomes the ruler of God’s government?
4 The Bible is here telling about the birth of a child, a prince. In time this ‘son of a king’ was to become a great ruler, “The Prince of Peace.” He would have charge of a truly wonderful government. This government will bring peace to the whole earth, and the peace will last forever. The child, whose birth was foretold in Isaiah 9:6, 7, was Jesus. When announcing his birth to the virgin girl Mary, the angel Gabriel said of Jesus: “He will rule as king . . . and there will be no end of his kingdom.”—Luke 1:30-33.
STRESSING THE KINGDOM’S IMPORTANCE
5. (a) How is the importance of the Kingdom shown in the Bible? (b) What is God’s kingdom, and what will it do?
5 While they were on earth, the main work of Jesus Christ and his supporters was to preach and teach about the coming kingdom of God. (Luke 4:43; 8:1) They make about 140 references to that kingdom in the Bible. Jesus even taught his followers to pray to God: “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10, King James Version) Is this kingdom that Christians pray for really a government? You may not have thought it to be, but it is. God’s Son, Jesus Christ, is the King of the Kingdom. And the whole earth will be the territory over which he rules. How fine it will be when people will not be divided into many opposing nations, but all humans will be united in peace under God’s Kingdom government!
6. When Jesus was on earth, why was the Kingdom said to be “near” and “in your midst”?
6 John the Baptizer started preaching about this government, telling the people: “Repent, for the kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.” (Matthew 3:1, 2) Why could John say this? Because Jesus, the One who would become ruler of God’s heavenly government, was about to be baptized by him and to be anointed with God’s holy spirit. So you can understand why Jesus later told the Pharisees: “Look! the kingdom of God is in your midst.” (Luke 17:21) It was because Jesus, whom God had appointed as king, was there with them. During his three and a half years of preaching and teaching, Jesus, by his faithfulness to God unto death, proved his right to be king.
7. What shows that the Kingdom was an important issue when Jesus was on earth?
7 To show that God’s kingdom was the important issue during Christ’s ministry, let us consider what happened on the last day before his death. The Bible tells us that the people accused Jesus, saying: “This man we found subverting our nation and forbidding the paying of taxes to Caesar and saying he himself is Christ a king.” On hearing these things, the Roman governor Pontius Pilate asked Jesus: “Are you the king of the Jews?”—Luke 23:1-3.
8. (a) How did Jesus answer when he was asked if he was a king? (b) What did Jesus mean when he said that his kingdom was “not from this source”?
8 Jesus did not answer Pilate’s question directly, but said: “My kingdom is no part of this world. If my kingdom were part of this world, my attendants would have fought that I should not be delivered up to the Jews. But, as it is, my kingdom is not from this source.” Jesus answered this way because his kingdom was not to be an earthly one. He was to rule from heaven, not as a man from some throne on earth. Since the issue was whether Jesus had the right to rule as king or not, Pilate again asked Jesus: “Well, then, are you a king?”
9. (a) What wonderful truth did Jesus make known? (b) What are the big questions today?
9 Clearly, Jesus was on trial for his life because he had been preaching and teaching about a new government. So Jesus answered Pilate: “You yourself are saying that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth.” (John 18:36, 37) Yes, Jesus had spent his life on earth telling people the wonderful truth about God’s Kingdom government. It was his main message. And the Kingdom is still the most important issue today. These questions, however, yet remain: Which government is the most important in a person’s life? Is it some government of men, or is it God’s kingdom with Christ as ruler?
ARRANGING FOR EARTH’S NEW GOVERNMENT
10. (a) When did God see the need for a new government? (b) In the Bible, where is the first reference made to this government? (c) Who is represented by the serpent?
10 It was when Satan got Adam and Eve to join him in his rebellion that Jehovah saw the need for a new government over mankind. So right away God told about his purpose to set up such a government. He referred to this government when he pronounced sentence on the serpent, actually telling Satan the Devil: “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 3:14, 15.
11. Between whom was there to be hatred?
11 But you may ask: ‘Where is anything said here about a government?’ Let us look carefully at this statement and we will see. The scripture says that there was to be enmity, or hatred, between Satan and “the woman.” Additionally, there was to be hatred between Satan’s “seed,” or children, and the woman’s “seed,” or children. First of all, we need to find out who “the woman” is.
12. What is said about “the woman” in Revelation chapter 12?
12 She is not an earthly woman. Satan has not had any special hatred toward any human female. Rather, this is a symbolic woman. That is, she stands for something else. This is shown in the Bible’s last book, Revelation, where more information is given about her. There “the woman” is described as being “adorned with the sun, standing on the moon, and with the twelve stars on her head.” To help us to find out who this “woman” represents, note what Revelation goes on to say about her child: “The woman brought a male child into the world, the son who was to rule all the nations with an iron sceptre, and the child was taken straight up to God and to his throne.”—Revelation 12:1-5, The Jerusalem Bible.
13. Whom or what do the “male child” and “the woman” represent?
13 Learning who or what the “male child” is will help us to find out whom or what “the woman” represents. The child is not a literal person, just as the woman is not a real human female. The scripture shows that this “male child” is “to rule all the nations.” So the “child” represents God’s government with Jesus Christ ruling as King. “The woman,” therefore, represents God’s organization of faithful heavenly creatures. Just as the “male child” came forth from “the woman,” so the King, Jesus Christ, came forth from the heavenly organization, the body of loyal spirit creatures in heaven that work together to carry out God’s purpose. Galatians 4:26 calls this organization “the Jerusalem above.” So, then, when Adam and Eve first rebelled against God’s rulership, Jehovah made arrangements for a Kingdom government that would serve as a hope for lovers of righteousness.
JEHOVAH REMEMBERS HIS PROMISE
14. (a) How did Jehovah show that he remembered his promise about a “seed” that would bruise Satan? (b) Who is the promised “seed”?
14 Jehovah did not forget his promise to send a “seed” who would be the ruler of God’s government. This ruler would destroy Satan by crushing his head. (Romans 16:20; Hebrews 2:14) Later, Jehovah said that the promised seed would come through the faithful man Abraham. Jehovah told Abraham: “By means of your seed all nations of the earth will certainly bless themselves.” (Genesis 22:18) Who is this “seed” that was promised to come through the line of Abraham? The Bible gives the answer later, saying: “Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. It says, not: ‘And to seeds,’ as in the case of many such, but as in the case of one: ‘And to your seed,’ who is Christ.” (Galatians 3:16) Jehovah also told Abraham’s son Isaac and his grandson Jacob that the “seed” of God’s “woman” would come through their line of descent.—Genesis 26:1-5; 28:10-14.
15, 16. What proves that the “seed” was to be a ruling king?
15 Making clear that this “seed” would be a ruling king, Jacob made this statement to his son Judah: “The scepter [or, ruling authority] will not turn aside from Judah, neither the commander’s staff from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to him the obedience of the peoples will belong.” (Genesis 49:10) Jesus Christ came from the tribe of Judah. He proved to be this “Shiloh” to whom “the obedience of the peoples will belong.”—Hebrews 7:14.
16 Nearly 700 years after the statement to Judah, Jehovah said regarding David of the tribe of Judah: “I have found David my servant . . . And I shall certainly set up his seed forever and his throne as the days of heaven.” (Psalm 89:20, 29) When God says the “seed” of David will be set up “forever” and that “his throne” will exist as long “as the days of heaven,” what does he mean? Jehovah God is referring to the fact that the Kingdom government in the hands of his appointed ruler, Jesus Christ, will last forever. How do we know?
17. How do we know that the promised ruler is Jesus Christ?
17 Well, recall what Jehovah’s angel Gabriel told Mary about the child that was to be born to her. He said: “You are to call his name Jesus.” But Jesus was not to remain only a child, or even a man, on earth. Gabriel went on to say: “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.” (Luke 1:31-33) Is it not truly marvelous that Jehovah has made arrangements to set up a righteous government for the everlasting benefit of those who love and trust him?
18. (a) How does the Bible describe the end of earthly governments? (b) What will God’s government do for people?
18 The time is now near when God’s Kingdom government will take action to destroy all governments of the world. Jesus Christ will then go into action as a victorious King. Describing this battle, the Bible says: “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin. . . . It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite.” (Daniel 2:44; Revelation 19:11-16) With all other governments out of the way, God’s government will satisfy the real needs of the people. The Ruler, Jesus Christ, will see to it that no faithful subject of his gets sick, grows old or dies. Crime, poor housing, hunger and all other such problems will be solved. There will come to be true peace and security earth wide. (2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:3-5) However, we need to learn more about those who will be rulers in this Kingdom government of God.
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Jesus sent out his followers to do the important work of preaching about God’s kingdom
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When on trial for his life, Jesus continued to preach God’s kingdom
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How do you view Jesus—as a victorious king or as a helpless baby?