Part 10—“Your Will Be Done on Earth”
The glorious temples to Jehovah God on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem were associated with His kingdom over ancient Israel. Chapter 4 of the book “Your Will Be Done on Earth” discusses the ancient “Foregleams of God’s Kingdom.” In the garden sanctuary of Eden God sentenced the disobedient Adam and Eve to death, but also promised the birth of a Seed from his symbolic woman, his heavenly organization, which Seed was to bruise the head of the symbolic Serpent, Satan the Devil, who induced Eve and Adam into sin against Jehovah God. The flood of Noah’s day wiped out all humankind except Noah and his immediate family. Waiting for God’s promised Seed, Noah did not set himself up as a king over his descendants, all mankind. However, his great-grandson Nimrod became rebellious against Jehovah God and his rainbow covenant concerning the sacredness of animal blood and set himself up as king at Babylon.
6. Thus whose forerunner did Nimrod become, and how did God break up the original Babylonian scheme?
6 Thus by more than sixteen hundred years Nimrod was the original forerunner of the great King Nebuchadnezzar, the emperor of the Babylonian Empire. In Noah’s day, when the rebels against Jehovah planned to make Babel (or Babylon) the world capital and to erect a heaven-high sanctuary to false religion, Jehovah broke up their ungodly scheme. How? By confusing the language of the builders and so forcing them to scatter, each language group to its own self.
7. What movement did Nimrod’s death not frighten away, and what fact shows this?
7 By this miracle Jehovah God showed that he rules supreme and that his will cannot be blocked on earth. Non-Jewish religions report that Nimrod died a violent death. Despite all his hunting and building and conquering he did not prove to be the promised Seed of God’s woman. But his violent death, which is understood to have come as a judgment against Nimrod, did not frighten away the king movement. In the days of Abraham, who was born two years after the death of Noah, there were a number of kings in the Middle East, yes, in the very regions where Nimrod had ruled as first human king. Abraham had now moved from Ur of the Chaldeans. Under God’s guidance he had come into the promised land to the west.
8. Whom did God then have on earth as king to represent him, and what did Abraham give to him?
8 Amid all those kings of this world, did not God have a king to represent him on earth? He did; and Abraham had the privilege of meeting him in the Promised Land. This was Melchizedek “king of Salem” and “priest of the Most High God.” Melchizedek as God’s king and priest was superior to Abraham and blessed him; and Abraham gave Melchizedek a tenth of all the spoils that he had brought back from his God-given victory over four invading kings from the north.
9. With what words did Melchizedek bless Abraham, and why was it first hundreds of years after Melchizedek before a typical kingdom of God was again on earth?
9 Significant were Melchizedek’s words of blessing: “Blessed be Abram of the Most High God, Producer of heaven and earth, and blessed be the Most High God, who has delivered your oppressors into your hand!” (Gen. 14:1-20) The city of Melchizedek’s kingdom was Salem, this being the original part of the later city of Jerusalem. Here, then, was a typical kingdom of God on earth, and Melchizedek ruled as a righteous king in the name and by the appointment of the Most High God, “the King of eternity.” He sat on Jehovah’s throne in a typical way. He had the authority not only to reign but also to offer sacrifice to God and to bless those whom God approved, such as Abraham. What became of his theocratic government the Bible does not say. But Melchizedek had no successor in that kingdom of God at Salem. That was why hundreds of years had to pass before a typical kingdom of God was again on our earth. For this reason Melchizedek was not the promised Seed who must bruise the old Serpent, Satan the Devil, in the head and deliver the dying, oppressed human race. However, Melchizedek was used as a type of the royal Seed of God’s woman, who would be higher than any human king, higher even than King David and King Solomon.
10. Who was to be a king-priest like Melchizedek, and by what oath?
10 God himself swore with an oath that this promised Seed of his woman would be a king-priest like Melchizedek and would sit on God’s throne, not a material throne on earth like Melchizedek’s and David’s and Solomon’s but God’s own heavenly throne. More than a thousand years before the birth of Jesus Christ, Jehovah God inspired King David to sing this melody: “The utterance of Jehovah to my Lord is: ‘Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet.’ Jehovah has sworn (and he will not feel sorry): ‘You are a priest to time indefinite according to the manner of Melchizedek!’ Jehovah himself at your right hand will certainly break kings to pieces on the day of his anger.”—Ps. 110:1, 4, 5.
11. In being without successor, how did Melchizedek well picture Jesus Christ, and with what sanctuary does the latter serve?
11 In being without a successor in office, Melchizedek was a prophetic prefigurement of Jesus Christ, who will be Jehovah’s priest-king perpetually. “For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him and to whom Abraham apportioned a tenth from all things, is first of all, by translation, ‘King of righteousness,’ and is then also king of Salem, that is, ‘King of peace.’ In being fatherless, motherless, without genealogy, having neither a beginning of days nor an end of life, but having been made like the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually.” (Heb. 7:1-3) Jesus Christ the Son of God is the one to serve in connection with Jehovah’s true sanctuary. Being King-Priest for all time by reason of his immortality since his resurrection from the dead, he needs no successor in office. Priesthood and kingship toward the Most High God end up in him. How different King Melchizedek of Salem was from King Nimrod of Babylon!
12. (a) By whom must the true Seed of God’s woman be sworn into office? (b) How did Abraham set the proper pattern for his great-grandchildren, the Israelites and when and how did Moses sing forth the relationship of God to his people?
12 The fact stands out unmistakably: The one who is the true Seed of God’s woman must be sworn into his kingship and priesthood by the Most High God, Jehovah. In view of the presence of King Melchizedek in the Promised Land, Abraham had no reason for wanting to make himself king over his household or over the land. Abraham set the proper pattern for his great-grandchildren, the sons of Jacob or Israel, the Israelites. Jehovah delivered his people of ancient Israel from slave-driving Egypt. He brought them miraculously through the Red Sea to safety and destroyed the pursuing Egyptians behind them, burying them beneath the collapsing walls of water. Then Moses jubilantly sang out the true relationship of Jehovah toward his people, saying: “Jehovah will rule as king forever and ever.” (Ex. 15:18) He was Israel’s heavenly King!
13, 14. (a) How, then, did Israel come to have a human king, and how did the first one end up? (b) Whom did Jehovah find to be a man agreeable to his heart for king, and to whom did Jehovah liken him?
13 On being brought into the Promised Land of Canaan the Israelites were ruled over by judges, without family successors. Judge Gideon, although Israel’s visible deliverer, refused to set up a ruling dynasty or line of kings in his family. He said: “I myself shall not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. Jehovah is the one who will rule over you.” (Judg. 8:23) Only at the faithless people’s demand did Jehovah God proceed to give the twelve tribes of Israel a visible human king. When aged Judge Samuel prayed to God in grief, Jehovah comforted Samuel, saying: “It is not you whom they have rejected but it is I whom they have rejected from being king over them.” (1 Sam. 8:7) The first king given to them, Saul of the tribe of Benjamin, ended up disastrously under God’s disapproval. Concerning Saul, Jehovah said to Israel: “I have given thee a king in mine anger, and have taken him away in my wrath.” (Hos. 13:11, AS) During King Saul’s reign Jehovah found in the tribe of Judah a man who was agreeable to His heart. He had the prophet Samuel anoint this shepherd lad, David of Bethlehem, to become king after Saul. In this way David was the anointed one of Jehovah, or the christ of Jehovah. (1 Sam. 13:13, 14; 16:3-13) However, David was not Jesus Christ, or Jesus the Anointed One. He was, like Melchizedek, only a prophetic prefiguration of Jesus Christ the Son of God. In prophecy Jesus Christ was even spoken of as David, which means “Beloved,” in words like the following:
14 “I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And I, Jehovah, will be their God, and my servant David prince among them; I, Jehovah, have spoken it.”—Ezek. 34:23, 24, AS.
15. Whom did Israel then anoint to be king, and what was to happen to the kingdom after this one died?
15 King Saul died in battle. The Israelites came to appreciate that Jehovah had anointed David to be Saul’s successor, and they anointed him as Jehovah’s anointed. Firmly established in his kingdom at Jerusalem, David desired to build a sanctuary to Jehovah to take the place of the tent or tabernacle that Moses had built in the wilderness. Jehovah denied the warrior David this privilege. But in appreciation of David’s godly desire Jehovah of his own accord made a covenant with David for a kingdom that was never to be removed from David’s family. At David’s death, then, what was to happen? Jehovah’s kingdom covenant with David said: “I shall certainly raise up your seed after you that will come to be one of your sons and I shall indeed firmly establish his kingship. He is the one that will build me a house and I shall certainly establish his throne firmly forever. I myself shall become his father and he himself will become my son, and my loving-kindness I shall not remove from him the way I removed it from the one [Saul] that happened to be prior to you. And I will cause him to stand in my house and in my kingship to everlastingness and his throne will itself become one lasting forever.”—1 Chron. 17:11-14.
16. Why nave no kings of Christendom come under that Kingdom covenant?
16 No king, from King Constantine of Rome down to any kings or political rulers in Christendom today, has come under this Kingdom covenant of Jehovah with David. Hundreds of years before Christendom came into existence and had kings, that Kingdom covenant began applying and operating toward Jesus Christ the Son of God.
17. On whose throne did King David sit, and whom did he acknowledge as Israel’s real king?
17 In his position as Jehovah’s anointed, King David sat on Jehovah’s throne. He did not sit on Jehovah’s throne in the way that David’s Lord, Jesus Christ, now sits at God’s right hand. David sat merely as Jehovah’s representative on a visible throne on Mount Zion in Jerusalem. He acknowledged Jehovah as Israel’s real King. In Psalm 59:13 he wrote under inspiration: “God is ruling in Jacob [Israel] to the ends of the earth.” Near the end of his life, when David was rejoicing over the generous contributions that the leading men of Israel had made toward the building of Jehovah’s sanctuary by his son Solomon, David blessed God and said: “Yours, O Jehovah, are the greatness and the mightiness and the beauty and the eminence and the dignity, for everything in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Jehovah, even the One lifting yourself up as head over all.” (1 Chron. 29:10, 11) But David also said: “Jehovah . . . went on to choose Solomon my son to sit upon the throne of the kingship of Jehovah over Israel.”—1 Chron. 28:5; 2 Chron. 9:8.
18. On whose throne did David’s successors sit, and so what did Israel’s kingdom typify?
18 So David’s successor was said to represent Jehovah on the throne of Israel: “Solomon began to sit upon Jehovah’s throne as king in place of David his father and to make a success of it.” (1 Chron. 29:23) Likewise all the other descendants of David who succeeded him according to Jehovah’s kingdom covenant sat on the “throne of Jehovah.” The kingdom was His. It was a typical kingdom of God on earth. The house of David provided the visible kings.
19, 20. (a) What happened, then, to the kingdom covenant after King Zedekiah was dethroned and his sons were slaughtered? (b) What did Ezekiel tell King Zedekiah concerning the kingdom?
19 What, then, happened to that everlasting covenant of the kingdom when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon destroyed the capital city of Jerusalem and its sanctuary and overthrew the throne of King Zedekiah and carried him into exile in Babylon, to die there? Did the kingdom covenant then cease to exist? No; that kingdom covenant was to continue until the Seed of God’s woman would come, concerning whom Jehovah said: “I will cause him to stand in my house and in my kingship to everlastingness and his throne will itself become one lasting forever.” It was just that the typical kingdom of God on earth was reduced to a ruin and ceased to exist. Zedekiah’s royal sons were slaughtered by the king of Babylon; but there were other descendants of King David through whom the legal and the natural heir to David’s throne might come. Jehovah made sure of this when he condemned King Zedekiah and said:
20 “And you, O unhallowed wicked one, prince of Israel, whose day has come, the time of your final punishment, thus says the Lord GOD: Remove the turban, and take off the crown; things shall not remain as they are; exalt that which is low, and abase that which is high. A ruin, ruin, ruin I will make it; there shall not be even a trace of it until he comes whose right it is; and to him I will give it.”—Ezek. 21:25-27, RS.
21. After 607 B.C. what could those in David’s line of descent do concerning the kingdom covenant?
21 Those in David’s line of descent did not sit on an earthly throne at Jerusalem after its first destruction in 607 B.C. However, they could pass along the claim according to the kingdom covenant until the final one came who had the right to the throne and crown. Then God would enthrone and crown that rightful heir. Then that one, as the foretold Seed of God’s woman, would be authorized to bruise the “original serpent,” Satan the Devil, in the head.
22. On the return of the remnant from Babylon to Jerusalem, why was God’s typical kingdom not reestablished, and why was the kingdom established by the Maccabean Judas Hyrcanus Aristobulus not the kingdom?
22 How long, then, would it be until the ruined kingdom would be restored and God’s kingdom would be given to the Seed of God’s woman, who has the right to it? When the remnant of repentant Jews were restored to their homeland after it had lain desolate of man and domestic beast for seventy years, the typical kingdom of God in the line of David was not reestablished. They were subject to a non-Jewish ruler, King Cyrus of Persia. They merely had a local governor who was from the royal house of David to direct their affairs. In 167 B.C. the Maccabean revolt against the Syrian king, Antíochus IV Ephíanes, took place and the Maccabees established their own government. In 104 B.C. Judas Hyrcanus Aristobulus took the title “King of the Jews.” But that was a kingdom of a Levite priest. It was not a restoration of God’s kingdom in the line of King David of the royal tribe of Judah.—Gen. 49:8-10.
23. Was the kingdom of God established after Jesus rode triumphally into Jerusalem, or after his being resurrected, or on the day of Pentecost?
23 In the spring of 33 (A.D.), when Jesus rode triumphally on an ass into Jerusalem, as Solomon had done to his coronation many centuries before, the kingdom of God by the rightful heir of King David failed to be established anew. After Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and just before he ascended to heaven to sit down at his Father’s right hand, Jesus’ disciples plainly asked him: “Master, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?” Jesus, in effect, answered them No! He said: “It does not belong to you to get knowledge of the times or seasons which the Father has placed in his own jurisdiction; but you will receive power when the holy spirit arrives upon you, and you will be witnesses of me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the most distant part of the earth.” (Acts 1:6-8) Ten days afterward, on the festival day of Pentecost, the holy spirit of God was poured out upon them and they did receive power. But the kingdom of Israel was not set up again there at Jerusalem, the capital of Israel.
(To be continued)