The Perfect Ruler for Man’s Government
1. How, without a kingdom today at earthly Jerusalem, does God nevertheless have his promised King, and why was he born where he was?
WHAT, then, about this perfect eternal king that was promised to come in the line of descent from King David of Jerusalem? After these thousands of years of human experiment in government, we see today no kingdom at the city of Jerusalem in the land of Israel. Nevertheless, God has his promised King! Also, he has come through the royal line of King David. In support of this fact we turn from the Hebrew Scriptures to the Christian Greek Scriptures, and the very first words that we find in them read this way: “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” (Matt. 1:1, AS) Ah yes, this line of descent of kings that was to run down from Abraham through King David found its climax in Jesus Christ and goes no farther than him. Not by accident, this Jesus was born in the same city where King David had been born, in the city of Bethlehem. This was in fulfillment of Jehovah’s prophecy.—Mic. 5:2; Matt. 2:1-16.
2. How was this one born there really a “Son of Heaven,” and how was he then identified as the one to become the promised King?
2 True, this Jesus had the patriarch Abraham and King David as his ancestors, but he really had a heavenly Father, and his virgin mother was, of necessity, human. She was the one who was in the line of descent from Abraham and through David. (Luke 3:23-34) So this Jesus who was born in Bethlehem in fulfillment of Bible prophecy was really the “Son of Heaven”; he was really the Son of God, whom his heavenly Father sent down to earth by a miracle in order to provide a perfect ruler for mankind. No perfect king was to be found from among imperfect, sinful, dying mankind itself. Let us recall that when this child Jesus was born in Bethlehem the angel from heaven announced to the shepherds out in the fields: “There was born to you today a Savior, who is Christ the Lord, in David’s city.” That angel who brought “good news of a great joy that all the people will have,” called this child who was there born the Christ. That is to say, he was the Messiah, the Anointed One; he was the one to become king in fulfillment of prophecy.—Luke 2:8-11.
3. Where did this child grow up, and what did he become there?
3 This child escaped being killed by King Herod, who reigned in Jerusalem as representative of the Roman Empire. After Herod’s death Jesus was taken to the city of Nazareth. There he grew up to manhood. He became, not a shepherd as his ancestor King David had been, but a carpenter. He lived and worked in the city of Nazareth, in obscurity, leading, as it were, an underground existence.
4. What got Jesus out of his shop, and how was his next step shown to be not a false one?
4 What, then, was it that called Jesus out of his carpenter shop? What set him on the road to the kingdom over all mankind? Ah, it was the proclamation of God’s kingdom. At that time Jehovah God had raised up the prophet John the son of Zechariah, and in due time John the Baptist came preaching repentance of sins and baptism in symbol of such repentance. He told the Jews to repent because God’s government was at hand. John’s proclamation was: “The kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.” As soon as the news of John’s proclamation reached Jesus there in the carpenter shop at Nazareth, he gave up shopwork. He laid down his tools and went to John the Baptist and was baptized by him. This was no false step by Jesus of Nazareth, for as soon as he came up out of the water following his baptism in the river Jordan, there was an announcement from the heavenly King of eternity, Jehovah God. Picture the scene as the faithful Record says: “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.’”—Matt. 3:1-6, 13-17.
5, 6. (a) How did Jesus’ anointing differ from that of David? (b) What did selfish Jews want to make Jesus, and why did he refuse?
5 Centuries before that, David had been anointed with oil to be king over Israel; but this Jesus was anointed from heaven with the spirit of God to be the king in the promised kingdom, the perfect government for all mankind. The apostle Peter reports: “God anointed him with holy spirit and power, and he went through the land doing good and healing all those oppressed by the Devil, because God was with him.” (Acts 10:38) He was acknowledged by his followers to be the “Son of God,” the “King of Israel.” (John 1:49; Matt. 16:16) He went through great tests. He endured great opposition at the hands of the leaders of Israel.
6 In spite of all this opposition and persecution, he stayed faithful to the true kingdom of God. He refused to let men, even the Jews themselves, make him king over them, even as he had refused to let Satan the Devil make him king over all mankind. (Luke 4:5-8) We remember the time that he freely fed 5,000 men together with women and children, multiplying a little boy’s lunch of five loaves and two fishes to feed the whole crowd. When the Jews saw that Jesus had this miraculous power to feed a nation, they selfishly wanted to make him king. But the Record says that just as soon as Jesus saw that they wanted forcibly to make him king over them, he withdrew from them and went into the mountain all alone. (John 6:1-15) Why? Jesus wanted God to make him king. He waited upon God to crown him king of the perfect government over all mankind in God’s appointed time. Cannot we be glad for this?
7, 8. (a) Why would Jesus not be satisfied with less than a perfect government to come over mankind? (b) To that end, what course did Jesus pursue, and hence where was he given a seat?
7 As for Jesus’ ability to become a faultless ruler, he lived a perfect life on earth amid tremendous temptations. To the Jews who accused him Jesus said: “Who of you convicts me of sin?” (John 8:46) As a perfect man he prayed and taught us to pray for a perfect government from a perfect source, saying: “Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified. Let your kingdom come.” (Matt. 6:9, 10) Always praying for the perfect government, Jesus would never be satisfied with less, and neither should we.
8 To that end, Jesus remained a perfect man to the death, always bearing witness to the true kingdom of God. When he stood trial before Governor Pontius Pilate he corrected the governor’s misunderstanding, saying: “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.” (John 18:36; 1 Tim. 6:13-16) With his human perfection unmarred by sin, Jesus Christ died as a faithful martyr to the kingdom of God. Because of the perfection of his integrity and loyalty toward God, the heavenly Father raised him up from the dead and took him back home to heaven and seated him at his own right hand, far above angels. There God told him to wait till God’s time to make him king, at which time God would give him all the nations, yes, the very ends of the earth, as the realm of his dominion.—Ps. 2:6-9; Dan. 7:13, 14; Ps. 110:1, 2.
9. Whom does God take into the government with Jesus, and what is the prospect of a remnant of these yet remaining on earth?
9 Consequently, Jehovah God, the heavenly Source of perfect government, has his perfect Ruler for the kingdom that he has promised for the blessing of all mankind. However, he takes into the government with Jesus Christ faithful followers of the perfect Ruler. While Jesus was yet on earth as a man he began calling these followers after him. To the faithful ones he said that he was making a covenant for the kingdom with them, even as God his Father had made a covenant for the kingdom with him, in order that they might sit down with him on thrones in his kingdom and eat and drink at his table in his kingdom and judge the twelve tribes of Israel. (Luke 12:32; 22:28-30) Since then the calling and the testing of the full number of 144,000 faithful associates of the perfect Ruler Jesus Christ has been going on. By now the majority of these have proved their faithfulness to God and his perfect Ruler to the very death and have been perfected in the heavenly kingdom by a resurrection in heavenly glory. Only a remnant of these Kingdom associates remain and are seeking to prove their faithfulness to the death, and they look forward to their being perfected in the heavenly kingdom with the perfect King of kings, Jesus Christ.
THE TIME FOR THE PERFECT GOVERNMENT
10. What day had to come in fulfillment of God’s promise to Mary, and what tangible proof do we have as to when it came?
10 Now we are living in a most wonderful time. The day had to come when God must fulfill the words of his angel Gabriel in announcing the coming birth of Jesus to his virgin mother Mary: “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 forever, and there will be no end of his kingdom.” (Luke 1:26-33) The day came in the early fall of the year 1914, when the “appointed times of the nations” to dominate the earth without interference of God’s kingdom ended. True, this is for humanity a time of unparalleled distress. Never has mankind gone through a tribulation as we have gone through since the year 1914. But this great time of tribulation is a tangible proof that the perfect government for all mankind promised by God is at hand.
11. Why should we now have no doubt about the Kingdom’s being here, and what climactic occasion in preaching was reached last year?
11 The kingdom is here, established in the heavens to take over the rulership of all mankind. We should have no doubt about it, for, as a prophet, Jesus foretold the evidences by which we should know the time of the establishment of the promised government. He said that this “time of the end” of the nations of this world would start with world war and be accompanied by famines, pestilences, earthquakes in one place after another, and by the persecution of his followers. He also said that the good news of the established kingdom of God would be preached in all the inhabited earth for the purpose of a witness to all the nations, and first then would the end of the imperfect governments of men come. (Matt. 24:7-14; Mark 13:8-10) The preaching of the good news of God’s kingdom by Jehovah’s witnesses has become more widespread every year. A climactic occasion in the Kingdom preaching that arrested the attention of all the world was when Jehovah’s witnesses held their eight-day international assembly in Yankee Stadium and the Polo Grounds in New York city, where, at the public meeting on Sunday, August 3, 1958, there were 253,922 persons who listened to the hour-long address on the subject “God’s Kingdom Rules—Is the World’s End Near?” The world’s complete end is near, the speaker said, but so, too, is the beginning of the righteous new world under God’s kingdom by Jesus Christ the perfect Ruler.
12. (a) To what are the nations marching, and to what experience? (b) This is a compelling reason for Jehovah’s witnesses to do what, and their doing this adds to what evidence?
12 Unquestionably we are living in the “time of the end” of the nations. They are marching to the battle of the great day of God the Almighty, the universal war, which is called Armageddon. (Rev. 16:14-16) There they will be destroyed by the heavenly government of the Son of God, just as Daniel 2:44 (RS) announces: ‘In the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed. And that kingdom shall not be left to another people, but break in pieces and bring to an end all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.’ That is the compelling reason why Jehovah’s witnesses, the wide world over, in 170 or more lands are today proclaiming the good news of the established kingdom. This preaching amid unprecedented world distress adds to the evidence that we are living in the end of this world under the domination of Satan the Devil, the imperfect, sinful “god of this system of things.” (John 12:31; 2 Cor. 4:4) That is why we are on the threshold of a new world that is to be ruled by perfect government for all mankind, the government in the hands of the perfect Ruler Jesus.
13. In the days of the government of God’s perfect Son what will mankind enjoy earth-wide, and what prophecy of Isaiah will be fulfilled?
13 This heavenly government will accomplish for the human race things that no political government by imperfect human creatures on earth has ever accomplished. Divine prophecy tells us that in his days mankind is going to have perfect peace earth-wide, yes, no wars going on in any part of the earth at any time, and no war industries or armies. At last all humankind is going to have full disarmament, with no nation lifting up sword against nation; neither will men learn war any more, for people of all nationalities will be under the rule of the all-powerful, faultless government of a perfect Ruler. In the days of this government of God’s perfect Son Jesus Christ, the righteous people will flourish and peace will abound as long as the moon endures. (Ps. 72:7, 8) There will be a fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah 9:6, 7: “His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Father for eternity, Prince of Peace. To the abundance of the princely rule and to peace there will be no end.”
14. In what way will he fulfill the name “Father for eternity,” and how will his government prove itself a perfect one by what it does to its faithful subjects as regards body, mind and heart?
14 This perfect Ruler will not only be the Prince of Peace greater than peaceful King Solomon, but also be the Father for eternity to all men of good will who bow the knee in subjection and allegiance to him as their God-given Ruler. He will be the eternal Father of them due to the fact that he will give them everlasting life. He can do so in love and justice, for he is the one who died for the inherited sins of all mankind. The prophet John the Baptist pointed to him and said: “See, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) This lamblike King, by virtue of the value of his human sacrifice paid over to God, will be able to take away the sins of all his obedient subjects. Taking away their sins, he will lift from them the condemnation of death that rests so heavily upon mankind today. In a wonderful way, instead of his faithful subjects getting more and more decrepit in their imperfection and weaker and eventually going down into the grave, they will be uplifted gradually out of their weakness, imperfections, infirmities and sicknesses. The uplift will not halt till it reaches human perfection, where obedient men will be in the image and likeness of God as the first man Adam was when put in the garden of Eden. Thus this eternal Father, the Prince of Peace, opens up to his subjects the prospect of everlasting life in perfect peace. Only a perfect government could rule in such a manner as to make its faithful and obedient subjects perfect in body, mind and heart.
15. What are imperfect rulers doing to the earth today but what, in fulfillment of his dying promise, will the perfect Ruler do after Armageddon?
15 Along with that perfect benefit, this perfect Ruler will give his subjects a perfect home here on this earth. Today the imperfect rulers of the nations are ruining the earth in various ways. They are even polluting the atmosphere about the earth with the fallout from their atomic and nuclear explosions. They are threatening to make this earth a place uninhabitable for mankind, particularly by a third world war. But not so the perfect Ruler Jesus Christ in the heavenly throne. After the universal war of Armageddon he will transform this earth into a paradise, from the east to the west, from the North Pole to the South Pole. “You will be with me in Paradise,” he said to the sympathetic evildoer who was dying alongside him on a torture stake at Calvary nineteen hundred years ago. (Luke 23:43) In fulfillment of that dying promise the Lord Jesus, now having come into his kingdom, will restore on earth the paradise that the first man Adam and his wife Eve forfeited for us because of rebelling and sinning against God their Creator.
16. What transformation will take place in various respects regarding this earth, and in what way will living conditions for obedient man be ideally perfect?
16 With a perfect eye for beauty and in a wholesome respect for God’s creation, the King Jesus Christ will repair and cultivate the earth and bring it to a state of paradisaic perfection. There will then be no storms or hurricanes or floods to destroy the dwelling places of mankind and to wreak havoc with the products of their work that are growing in the fields. Then half of mankind will no more be on the brink of starvation. Food shortages and famines and droughts will be no more to afflict mankind. Earth’s weather will be regulated to perfection, and the earth will produce plenty and variety, and prosperity will abound for all obedient humankind. The perfect government will make peace, happiness and human well-being surpass that of the days of King Solomon, and the living conditions for obedient mankind will be ideally perfect, with no disturbers around, not even Satan the Devil and his demons in the invisible spirit realm. At the supreme moment of the battle of Armageddon those wicked spirit forces will have been bound and put into an abyss of complete restraint.—Rev. 19:11 to 20:3.
17, 18. (a) How will the reign of that government be not only for the living but also for the dead? (b) In what words did a divine voice from the heavenly throne foretell this?
17 God’s sure Word guarantees that a great multitude of people of good will of today will survive the battle of Armageddon and live right on into that new world with its perfect government for all mankind. However, the reign of that government will be not only for the living, the survivors of Armageddon, but also for the dead members of the human family, including Abraham, Moses, King David and John the Baptist. The King Jesus Christ, who when on earth raised people from the dead, will again exercise that life-restoring power from heaven as the Redeemer who died for all mankind. As the King to whom has been given the authority to judge, he will bring to pass his promise: “The hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who did good things to a resurrection of life, those who practiced vile things to a resurrection of judgment.” (John 5:27-29) Under the perfect government all those who have survived Armageddon and all those who have been brought back from the memorial tombs will be taught righteousness and truth in a perfect manner. Finally, by a course of unswerving obedience toward the perfect Governor Jesus Christ and toward Jehovah God, the Source of this perfect government, the obedient ones will receive the gift of everlasting life in God’s image and likeness on the paradise earth.
18 Foretelling this, the divine voice from the throne of God said, as recorded in the last book of the Bible: “Look! the tent of God is with humankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his peoples. . . . And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be any more. The former things have passed away.” “And the one seated on the throne said: ‘Look! I am making all things new.’”—Rev. 21:3-5.
19. By doing all such things for the human family, what will God’s promised government display?
19 What government set up by man under Satan’s rule has ever been able to do such things or even promise to do such things for mankind? No man-made government! But the government that has Jehovah God as its Source and that he has bound himself by prophecies pronounced over his own name to set up will display its perfections toward mankind by doing all such wonderful things in behalf of the human family, so that they may live on a perfect earth forever, enjoying their Creator and God and glorifying him.
20. If we should like to see that government come in, what is it now the time for us to do?
20 In view of such oncoming things, now is the time for preparing ourselves for this perfect government for all mankind. We should like to see it come in, when the battle of Armageddon rids the earth of the Devil’s invisible rule and of the imperfect governments of selfish politicians, should we not? Indeed, we should like to see that God-given government come in. If we want to see it come in and to enjoy its blessings without dying, we have to prepare ourselves now before Armageddon to live under it. So now, before Armageddon strikes suddenly, is the time for us to study God’s holy Word, the Bible, and see what his requirements are to survive into the new world under the reign of Jesus Christ the perfect Ruler.
21. Why are Jehovah’s witnesses eager to help each one to study the Bible, and how should we harmonize our activities with Jesus’ prayer for the perfect government?
21 Jehovah’s witnesses are eager to help each one to study this life-giving Book, to understand it and to know what God’s requirements are in order that each one may have His protection and blessing during the great tribulation that is yet to come, reaching its terrific climax in the universal war of Armageddon. As we study God’s Word, let us pray for his kingdom. The perfect man, Jesus Christ, taught us to pray for that perfect government, saying: “Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified. Let your kingdom come. Let your will come to pass, as in heaven, also upon earth.” (Matt. 6:9, 10) Furthermore, as we study and pray for that kingdom, let us unselfishly proclaim it to others for their salvation. Thus let us have a part with Jehovah’s witnesses in fulfilling Jesus’ prophecy: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for the purpose of a witness to all the nations, and then the accomplished end will come.” (Matt. 24:14) To God’s glory, let us prove ourselves honored representatives of his perfect government for all mankind.