Men of Loving-Kindness and the Kingdom
1. What questions become proper today regarding the kingdom covenant, and how is our own life involved?
HOW can we today be loyal to Jehovah’s everlasting covenant with David for the kingdom? With whom today has Jehovah concluded an “indefinitely lasting covenant respecting the loving-kindnesses to David that are faithful”? (Isa. 55:3) Look! the old city of Jerusalem is held by Mohammedan Arabs. The mountaintop once occupied by Jehovah’s temple is now crowned with the mosque known as the Dome of the Rock. The Republic of Israel has no king of the royal house of David in the covenant for the kingdom. What has happened to that everlasting covenant? Our gaining everlasting life in God’s approaching new world of righteousness hangs on our getting the right answer and acting in loyal harmony with it.
2. How did the active kingship of David’s successors at Jerusalem cease, and how was it that Zerubbabel did not revive the kingship?
2 In 618 B.C. King Jehoiachin, the nineteenth ruler in the direct line from King David, became king but reigned only three months and ten days in Jerusalem. He surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and was deported to Babylon, where his children grew up. His uncle, Zedekiah, was put on the throne of Jerusalem and reigned eleven years. In 607 B.C. he was captured and taken to Babylon to die, childless; and Jerusalem and her gorgeous temple built by Solomon were destroyed. Seventy years later Zerubbabel, the grandson of Jehoiachin, led a remnant of loyal Jews back from Babylon to Jerusalem to rebuild Jehovah’s temple. As a subject to the new world power, the Persian Empire, Zerubbabel served as civil governor of the land of Judah, but sat on no throne in Jerusalem as king according to Jehovah’s kingdom covenant with David. Since the overthrow of unfaithful King Zedekiah, no royal heir of the house of David has sat on the “throne of Jehovah” in Jerusalem.
3. What did Jehovah thus permit the house of David to undergo, and how did the royal line of David end nineteen centuries ago without failure of the covenant promise?
3 Had Jehovah’s covenant for the kingdom failed? Had it been dropped? No! Jehovah’s loving-kindness, his loyal love, did not permit such a thing. True, he overturned his throne in Jerusalem and ousted the last earthly king to occupy it, Zedekiah; but He did not nullify his everlasting kingdom covenant. In fulfillment of the terms of the covenant he merely permitted the house of David to take its punishment for the badness of the many kings who misrepresented Jehovah on the “throne of Jehovah” at Jerusalem. During all this time of punishment there did not fail a man in the royal line of descent of King David. That royal line ended nineteen hundred years ago. What? Did God’s covenant promise fail and has a man failed King David for serving as the heir of the royal covenant? Not at all! Why not? Because David’s line of descent ended back there with a descendant who died childless, but who lives forever. He lives today in this twentieth century and he needs no successor in the kingdom covenant. In accord with that, the only available records of the royal line of descent from King David end with Jesus Christ. No Jew living today can trace his line of descent from King David.
4. Why is Jesus called David’s Son in a royal sense, and why did his human mother consent to her bearing him?
4 Jesus was born in David’s birthplace, Bethlehem-Judah. By two family lines he traces his descent from David, so that he is called the Son of David in a royal sense. (Matt. 1:1 to 2:11; Luke 3:23-31) His human birth was miraculous, for he was in reality the Son of God come down from heaven. His life force was transferred from there to the womb of a Jewish virgin of the house of David, named Mary. To secure her consent to become the mother of the Son of God, Jehovah sent his angel Gabriel to tell her that she had been chosen to be the human mother of the promised seed of the patriarch Abraham and the promised heir of the everlasting kingdom covenant. After greeting her, the angel Gabriel said: “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 be king over the house of Jacob [Israel] forever, and there will be no end of his kingdom.” (Luke 1:26-33) Loyal to Jehovah’s kingdom covenant, Mary lovingly consented to this miraculous act.
5. In fulfillment of what prophecy was this virgin birth brought about, and how was the birth announced?
5 In fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14 the birth of Jesus from this young woman took place as a great sign, the importance of which has never lessened to this day. Jehovah’s angel from heaven told shepherds of Bethlehem that this miraculous Son of David was to be Jehovah’s Anointed One, the Christ: “I am declaring to you good news of a great joy that all the people will have, because there was born to you today a Savior, who is Christ the Lord, in David’s city.”—Luke 2:1-12; Matt. 1:18-25.
6. What is there to say as to whether Jesus’ becoming permanent Heir of the kingdom covenant tied him down to this earth, and so by whom was Jesus anointed?
6 Born human in order to be really Abraham’s Seed for blessing all nations and to be actually David’s everlasting Heir to the kingdom, yet Jesus was not to be tied down to this earth by having to sit on a material throne on Mount Zion in Jerusalem. When Jehovah God made the kingdom covenant with David three thousand years ago, he had in mind finally an everlasting heavenly kingdom for David’s permanent Heir. No Levite high priest could anoint Jesus to such a celestial government. Jehovah anointed him after his baptism in water, pouring down holy spirit upon Jesus and sanctifying him as the Christ.
7. Most fittingly, therefore, what did Jesus preach, and in loyalty to the kingdom covenant to whom did he extend a welcome?
7 Jesus was there begotten by God’s spirit to become a spiritual Son of God, due for a future life in heaven. Most fittingly, Jesus preached the kingdom of God, “the kingdom of the heavens.” He called disciples to follow him and seek first the Kingdom. When calling them, he was really extending to them God’s invitation through the prophet Isaiah: “Incline your ear and come to me. Listen, and your soul will keep alive, and I shall readily conclude with you people an indefinitely lasting covenant respecting the loving-kindnesses to David that are faithful.” (Isa. 55:3) This meant that Jehovah God had purposed to give Jesus Christ some joint heirs in the heavenly kingdom. In loyalty to the kingdom covenant Jesus welcomed such joint heirs of God’s kingdom. After his last passover with his loyal apostles, he said to them: “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) What loving-kindness this was from Jehovah God!
8. How did the situation appear when Jesus lay dead in Sheol, and what did Jehovah now have to do in keeping with his promise?
8 O so much depended on that sole kingdom Heir, Jesus Christ! When he died and was buried, it looked as if at last a man of the house of David was to fail to sit upon his throne, which was the “throne of Jehovah.” The angel’s prophecy to Daniel long ago said that the “prince of the covenant” would be broken by a “contemptible person,” Emperor Tiberius Caesar of Rome. (Dan. 11:21, 22, AS) Jesus lay broken in death, in Sheol or Haʹdes, which is the grave common to sinful mankind. Seemingly it was an impossibility now to revive the kingdom covenant with David. Yet the real impossibility was for God Almighty to let his covenant fail. His loving-kindness, his loyal love, which was promised in the covenant and which was righteously due to this loyal Son of God, Jesus Christ, could never let the covenant fail. Jehovah God had to get him out of Sheol or Haʹdes or “hell,” the common grave of mankind. In Psalm 16:10 Jehovah had promised in advance to do this miraculous thing. He inspired David to say: “You will not leave my soul in Sheol. You will not allow your man of loving-kindness to see the pit.” That prophecy assured the resurrection of Jesus, the Greater David, from the grave.
9. Of what was Jehovah’s resurrecting Jesus an expression, and how did Paul make this fact plain to us?
9 God’s resurrecting Jesus was an expression of divine loving-kindness in support of the kingdom covenant with David. The apostle Paul makes this plain to us, saying: “That fact that he resurrected him from the dead destined no more to return to corruption, he has stated in this way: ‘I will give you people the loving-kindnesses of David which are dependable.’ Hence he also says in another psalm, ‘You will not grant your man of loving-kindness to see corruption.’ For David, on the one hand, served the express will of God in his own generation and fell asleep in death and was laid with his forefathers and did see corruption. On the other hand, he whom God raised up did not see corruption.”—Acts 13:34-37.
OTHERS TAKEN INTO THE COVENANT
10. Who, therefore, was Jehovah’s “man of loving-kindness,” and by resurrecting him to heaven what did Jehovah open the way for doing?
10 Jesus Christ is Jehovah’s “man of loving-kindness” or man of loyal love, whom He did not leave in Sheol. By raising him out of death to life immortal in heaven Jehovah opened the way for extending the dependable loving-kindnesses of his covenant with David to other “men of loving-kindness” or loyal men, the faithful apostles and all other dedicated Christians whom God begets and makes joint heirs with his Son Jesus Christ in the heavenly kingdom.
11. In Psalm 145 what did David sing about Jehovah’s men of loving-kindness?
11 In a prophetic way David sang: “All your works will laud you, O Jehovah, and your men of loving-kindness will bless you. About the glory of your kingship they will talk, and about your mightiness they will speak, to make known to the sons of men his mighty acts and the glory of the splendor of his kingship. Your kingship is a kingship of all times indefinite, and your dominion is throughout all successive generations.”—Ps. 145:10-13.
12. How many of such spiritual men are there left in this time of the end, and why were they not cast off for shortcomings during World War I?
12 In this time of the world’s end there is merely a remnant left on earth of these spiritual “men of loving-kindness” or men of loyal love, that is to say, men who are pious or dutiful in performing their obligations to Jehovah God. During World War I they fell short as regards their responsibilities toward God. So he got incensed at them. In his anger he let them come into a captivity like that of the Jews in Babylon. (Isa. 12:1, 2; 54:7-10) Why did Jehovah not cast this remnant off during World War I because of their shortcomings under the trials and persecutions that accompanied the war? It was because of his loyalty to his covenant.
13, 14. (a) By his covenant what had Jehovah obligated himself to express toward this remnant class? (b) So what did the remnant have to undergo during World War I, and at what financial cost to them were their souls kept alive till this day?
13 Through Jesus Christ he had taken the members of this remnant into the kingdom covenant. Hence he obligated himself to express the loving-kindnesses to David that were promised in the covenant. When making the covenant with David, Jehovah said: “When he [the kingdom successor] does wrong, then I shall certainly reprove him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of Adam. As for my loving-kindness [my loyal love], it will not depart from him the way I removed it from Saul, whom I removed from before you [David]. And your house [your joint heirs in the kingdom] and your kingdom will certainly be steadfast forever before you; your very throne will become one firmly established forever.”—2 Sam. 7:14-16.
14 So the remnant of “men of loving-kindness” had to take their punishment at the hands of the nations at war. This was a reproof with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of Adam. Just so, too, the royal house of David long ago had to take its punishment from 607 B.C., at the destruction of Jerusalem, down till A.D. 29, when the promised Messiah the Prince, the permanent Heir of King David, appeared. In 1919 Jehovah delivered the remnant who at heart wanted to he loyal to him. Then he set them to work as his witnesses to an extent never before known. In the words of Lamentations 3:22, 23 they could say: “It is the acts of loving-kindness of Jehovah that we have not come to our finish, because his mercies will certainly not come to an end. They are new each morning. Your faithfulness is abundant.” All this deliverance and restoration was given to them “even without money and without price,” and so their souls have kept alive down to this day.—Isa. 55:1-3.
15. How can we prove our loyalty to the kingdom covenant today, and how did Jehovah show that he had not forgotten this covenant but still felt bound by it?
15 The appropriate question now is: How can we witnesses of Jehovah, like the Israelites of old and like Jesus and the apostles, prove our loyalty to the kingdom covenant today? We can do so by being loyal to the reigning kingdom of the everlasting Heir of the. kingdom covenant. Jehovah God has never once forgotten his covenant since the last king of David’s house sat on the throne of Jerusalem. It is true that the active kingdom of David was out of operation for over six centuries. But the miraculous coming of Jesus Christ the “prince of the covenant” displayed Jehovah’s loyalty to the covenant to which he had sworn. Jehovah never forswears himself. When one takes an oath and then does not do the thing sworn to, it signifies not only that one forswears oneself but also that one brings a curse upon oneself. Jehovah never brings a curse upon himself. He is forever the Blessed One. When he swears by his own name or by himself, he never swears to a lie; but his solemn oath adds still more certainty to the accomplishment of the thing that he swore to. Thus away back there the coming of Jesus the Messiah and his resurrection from the dead proved that Jehovah’s sworn covenant had not fallen into decay. It was still binding upon Jehovah God even though the kingdom had not been operating at Jerusalem for 635 years, or from 607 B.C. to A.D. 29.
16. (a) Why did Jesus’ long wait and his nonuse of Kingdom power not bring a legal death to the kingdom covenant? (b) Why does this not include Christendom, and, despite that, how has Jehovah proved loyal to the covenant?
16 But how does all this connect up with our own time? Well, the kingdom of the permanent Heir of the royal covenant did not go into operation when the resurrected Jesus ascended to heaven in the year 33. From the spring of that year to the autumn of 1914, or for 1881 years, he has sat at God’s right hand, not reigning but waiting for God’s time to come to make the enemies of the kingdom the footstool of Jesus the kingdom Heir. Did that long waiting period bring a legal death to the covenant? No; it did not lay upon Jesus in heaven a forfeiture of his right to the Kingdom power because of nonuse. No; for during all those centuries of patient waiting, the kingdom covenant has been active. How so? In that Jehovah has been selecting 144,000 joint heirs, those Christians who respond to his invitation and with whom he concludes the “indefinitely lasting covenant respecting the loving-kindnesses to David that are faithful.” This does not include Christendom. Christendom, with her millions of population, has been unfaithful to the covenant ever since the fourth century. She has not waited for the kingdom of Jehovah’s Heir to be set up at His appointed time. She has despised the covenant. How? By entering into a union of her church with the political state or kingdoms of this world under Satan the Devil. But just the same, Jehovah proved loyal to his sworn covenant by continuing to take out of this world, out of all nations, true Christians and bringing them into the covenant.
17. Before finishing his use of the remnant, what did Jehovah do regarding the Kingdom, in fulfillment of Isaiah 16:5?
17 Even before Jehovah finished his work with the remnant of the 144,000 joint heirs or finished his use of them as his witnesses on earth, Jehovah established the Kingdom, for which loyal men and women have thirsted and hungered. In support of his everlasting covenant with David he had promised: “In loving-kindness a throne will certainly be firmly established, and one must sit down upon it in trueness in the tent of David, judging and seeking justice and being prompt in righteousness.” (Isa. 16:5) In the momentous year of 1914 the time came for Jehovah to seat the Kingdom Heir in the throne as reigning king, “in the tent of David,” as David’s Son and yet as David’s heavenly Lord.—Ps. 110:1, 2; Matt. 22:41-45.
18. (a) Like what heavenly bodies was the permanent Heir of the kingdom covenant to endure? (b) What is therefore the clear duty of the remnant, and of what do they partake as a reward for loyalty?
18 Has the sun ever ceased to rise and usher in the day? Or has the moon ever ceased to shine by night? Not once till this day. Even so, Jehovah, who keeps covenant and loving-kindness, has not forgotten or neglected this most important covenant for the Kingdom that will vindicate him as the rightful Sovereign of the universe. He swore in his holiness, and it was no lie when he told King David that his royal house would endure and that his throne would be permanent. Jesus Christ, the permanent Heir of the covenant of loving-kindness to David, endures, just like the sun and the moon, and today Jesus Christ reigns from the heavenly “throne of Jehovah.” (Ps. 89:28-37) Our duty is therefore clear. Jehovah’s “men of loving-kindness” owe it to God to be loyal to his enthroned reigning King, David’s Son and Lord. In reward for their loyal love they eat the milk of the fatness of God’s spiritual table, and they drink the wine of the joys of the Kingdom ministry as Kingdom ambassadors.
LOYAL EARTHLY SUBJECTS
19. Who besides natural Israelites were loyal to David and who even of King Saul’s own house?
19 Back there in King David’s day even alien residents in Israel were loyal to him because he was Jehovah’s anointed ruler, the one with whom the covenant had been made for an everlasting dynasty and a firmly established throne. Among such loyal aliens were the Gittites (men of Gath of Philistia) and the Pelethites and the Cherethites. (2 Sam. 15:18-22) Even Jonathan the son of the rejected king Saul displayed unbreakable loving-kindness to David because he was Jehovah’s chosen one. Yes, the very brothers of King Saul, the members of his tribe of Benjamin, put Jehovah’s choice above personalities and took their stand with His chosen anointed one, David.—1 Sam. 18:1-4; 20:8, 14, 15; 1 Chron. 12:1, 2, 19, 29.
20, 21. (a) Whom do we find today to be imitators of such ancient backers and upholders of David? (b) How do they give practical expression of their loyal love, and how do they now share with the remnant?
20 Today we find faithful imitators of those ancient backers and upholders of David, Jehovah’s anointed one. A great crowd of men and women who come to a knowledge of Jehovah’s kingdom covenant with Jesus Christ and his joint heirs now loyally give their support to the permanent Heir of the everlasting covenant. What if they are of so many diversified nations, tribes, peoples and languages? This does not influence them against giving their allegiance to God’s government in the heavens. They address themselves to Him on his throne and to his Lamblike Son Jesus Christ and hail them. With a loud voice they unitedly cry out in public confession: “Salvation we owe to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb.” Day and night they render sacred service to Jehovah, and they let his Lamblike Son guide them as their Shepherd-King.—Rev. 7:9-17.
21 In order to give a practical expression of this loyal love to their Shepherd-King, they keep loyal to the remnant of his Kingdom joint heirs, his brothers, those “men of loving-kindness,” whom God has taken into the Kingdom covenant and whom He has gathered as approved ones to himself. (Ps. 50:5) This is the reason why the Shepherd-King approves of those “other sheep” and gathers them to his right hand and says: “Come, you who have my Father’s blessing, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the world’s foundation. . . . Truly I say to you, To the extent that you did [all such good] to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” (Matt. 25:31-40) This explains why these “other sheep” now also share in the delicious “wine and milk” that today overflow from the remnant of Christ’s royal brothers, without money and price.
THE TEST IS ON!
22. In view of the fulfillment of what prophecy of Daniel concerning the covenant is the test of loyal love toward it now on?
22 The test of loyal love to the Kingdom covenant and to the reigning Heir of that covenant is now on! The dictatorial power that is now bent on world domination is opposed not just to democratic Christendom but primarily to the Kingdom Heir who came to power in 1914. The prophecy of Jehovah’s angel makes this clear by saying of this ambitious dictatorial power: “[He] shall turn back and be enraged and take action against the holy covenant. He shall turn back and give heed to those who forsake the holy covenant. He shall seduce with flattery those who violate the covenant; but the people who know their God shall stand firm.”—Dan. 11:30, 32, RS.
23. What professed Christians have violated the covenant, and how is Hosea 4:1 now true of such ones?
23 Large sections of Christendom have been seized by ungodly dictatorial power, and the clergy of Christendom have come to a working understanding with the dictatorial power. They have yielded to flattery from it and have chosen to serve men rather than God. Even the clergy in the nominally “free” part of Christendom have violated the covenant or acted wickedly against it. They have proved disloyal to “Christ the King,” whom they profess to follow and to whom they hold feasts each year. They have not followed the faithful course of the King’s “other sheep” but have persecuted his brothers, the remnant of Jehovah’s “men of loving-kindness.” In effect they say: “We have no king but Caesar.” (John 19:15) It is now as true of Christendom as it was true of ancient Israel in the days of the prophet Hosea: “A controversy hath Yahweh with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no faithfulness nor loving-kindness nor knowledge of God in the land.” (Hos. 4:1, Ro) Yet today Jehovah does have sheep who prove faithful to him.
24. How do we differ from Christendom, and why should our highest allegiance forever be to the government of Jehovah’s First-born?
24 We are no part of ignorant Christendom. We know our God. We show our loyalty to his covenant with his Greater David by preaching the good news of God’s kingdom set up in 1914. Everywhere we preach, in Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, the Americas and the innumerable islands of the sea, for a witness under our heavenly Leader, whom Jehovah has given as his chief “witness to the national groups.” (Isa. 55:3, 4) By him Jehovah has decreed that to the end of this world this good news of that kingdom, long ago covenanted for, must be preached. How, then, to the end of this world could God ever forget the covenant for his everlasting kingdom? Without one exception, that kingdom tops all the political governments of this world. Jehovah says of his King: “I myself shall place him as firstborn, the most high of the kings of the earth.” (Ps. 89:27) To that theocratic government of Jehovah’s First-born let our highest, fullest, undying allegiance, devotion and loyalty be forever!
25. Regardless of how the enemy powers may fight against it, what things remain true of God’s kingdom by his Heir, and why?
25 Regardless of how the powers of communism and Christendom and heathendom may fight against it; regardless of how fanatically they may try to hold onto their national sovereignties and their earthly domains, God’s kingdom by his covenant Heir is the irremovable actuality of today. It is the one sure thing of the eternal future. In answer to Jesus’ model prayer (Matt. 6:9, 10), the heavenly Father’s kingdom will come to the battlefield of Armageddon and settle the burning government issue, and all the political rulerships of this old world must go down into Gehenna.
26. Why will we not drop the good news of God’s kingdom as something now stale, and till when will our Kingdom preaching increase?
26 The good news that we preach about God’s kingdom is sensational indeed. But it is not overdrawn. It is no joke. For forty years now we have preached it, but it is no news that grows stale and that loses its appeal and tastiness and that needs to be dropped. It is ever new, ever fresh, growing ever grander. God has not dropped it. We will not drop it. Our God-ordained Kingdom preaching must go on. It will increase till the Gentile kingdoms and rulerships end and till the millennial reign of Jesus Christ wins the glorious peace that follows Armageddon, when all devil-inspired human propagandas will have been silenced and the propaganda warfare between communism and its opponents and against God’s kingdom will have died out.
27. What qualities must we exercise toward those favoring the covenant and the Kingdom, and what, in turn, will Jehovah exercise toward us?
27 So to the Kingdom covenant made with Jehovah’s Greater David may we always be true and loyal. To all men who respect that covenant and who uphold the Kingdom promised by it may we show loving-kindness and trueness. Says Proverbs 3:3, 4: “May loving-kindness and trueness themselves not leave you. Tie them about your throat. Write them upon the tablet of your heart, and so find favor and good insight in the eyes of God and of earthling man.” For doing so, we shall find Jehovah God himself exercising these same precious qualities toward us through his King Jesus Christ, and our souls will keep alive forever. “All the paths of Jehovah are loving-kindness and trueness for those observing his covenant and his reminders.”—Ps. 25:10.