Questions From Readers
● I understand that the Kingdom is invisible and made up of Christ and the 144,000 body members, yet sometimes the term is used referring to the earthly, visible part of the new world. Why is this?—O. S., United States.
The ruling Kingdom body composed of Christ and the 144,000 is an invisible, heavenly kingdom, and it is with this kingdom in mind that 1 Corinthians 15:50 (NW) says: “Flesh and blood cannot inherit God’s kingdom.” And Jesus said: “Unless anyone is born from water and spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5, NW) Hence the inhabitants of the earth in Jehovah’s new world do not enter the heavenly kingdom or inherit it or become a part of it. But they do inherit a kingdom, for Jesus said concerning this earthly class of sheep: “Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the world’s foundation.” (Matt. 25:34, NW) Christ is spoken of as “the Lamb who was slaughtered from the world’s foundation,” meaning the new world of visible and invisible parts, or earthly and heavenly parts, and for which world he became the foundation when he died and shed his blood and later presented the merit of his shed blood before Jehovah in heaven. When Jehovah created the earth he meant for it to be inhabited and put Adam and Eve on earth to populate it, and he held out the hope of earthly life to faithful men before Christ; so an earthly class was purposed or predestinated long before Christ’s sacrifice laid the foundation for it. Also those who are to reign with Christ in the heavenly kingdom were predestinated or foreordained as a class “before the world’s foundation.”—Rev. 13:8; Eph. 1:4, NW.
The basis for this new world is Christ and his blood, so the presenting of it is the essential, basic preparation for the founding of the new world of righteousness. So Jesus invited the earthly class of sheep to “inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the world’s foundation.” This kingdom is the earthly realm of the ruling heavenly kingdom. “Kingdom” may refer to the king, as at Luke 17:21 (NW): “The kingdom of God is in your midst.” It often refers to the ruling body, Christ and his joint heirs, reigning invisibly from heaven. But this kingdom rules over the earth. The earth is a part of its domain or realm, and the subjects or the territory of the kingdom are spoken of as a part of the kingdom. At Daniel 2:34, 35, 44 it speaks of God’s kingdom under Christ as a stone that strikes and destroys Satan’s organization and that this stone becomes a great mountain that fills the whole earth. It means his kingdom will embrace the earth as a part of its realm, and hence the earthly part of the new world can be spoken of as a kingdom. Its territory and inhabitants come under it and are subject to it, and in this sense a part of it. Not that there are so-called “two phases of the Kingdom,” an earthly phase and a heavenly phase, but that the earth is the Kingdom’s realm and thus its inhabitants inherit the Kingdom (and not Satan’s organization) as their ruling government. This is the kingdom that is ordained and prepared for the earthly sheep.
● Why is Jesus called the “Son of man” in the Greek Scriptures, when actually he is the “Son of God”?—W. H., United States.
The Greek Scriptures refer to Jesus as the “Son of man” because the Hebrew Scriptures use that phrase relative to the Messiah, at Daniel 7:13, 14: “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”
When before the Sanhedrin or Jewish Supreme Court, on trial for his life, Jesus was addressed by the high priest: “By the living God I put you under oath to tell us whether you are the Christ the Son of God!” Jesus replied: “That was for you to say. Yet I say to you men, From henceforth you will see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Upon this the high priest ripped his garments and cried: “He has blasphemed! What further need do we have of witnesses?” (Matt. 26:63-65, NW) There Jesus applied Daniel’s prophecy to himself, and that was the same as saying he was the Messiah, the Son of man that would in due time receive the kingdom from Jehovah and come with its power. It was this Messianic sign that the Jews wanted to see, but Jesus told them that their wicked and adulterous generation would only be given the sign of Jonah the prophet, that as he was in the fish’s belly three days and three nights, so would the Son of man be in the grave three days. It was not time for the Messianic sign given by Daniel. That coming in Kingdom power was not to be until his second presence, as Jesus himself told his followers.—Matt. 12:38-40; 24:30.
It is appropriate for the prophecy to speak of Jesus as Son of man and for the phrase to be applied to him in the Greek Scriptures, because he was a human creature while on earth. He was born of a virgin woman, and through her had a human descent and a kinship with humanity. The title Son of man is appropriate because it reminds that he is the great Kinsman of man and is the Avenger of blood at Armageddon.—Num. 35:1-29.