What Will “God’s Kingdom Come” Mean to You?
“Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”—Matt. 6:9, 10, Authorized Version; Douay Version.
1. To whom do the words “God’s kingdom come” mean nothing at all, but why must this matter be called to their attention now?
TO MORE than two-thirds of the world of mankind the words “God’s kingdom come” mean nothing at all. That is because of their religion. Not all persons are of the same religion, and millions of persons even say they are godless and have no religion at all. Yet regardless of whether they care to know about the coming of God’s kingdom or not, God’s kingdom will come. They will have to face that government when its coming is fully realized in the near future. That is why people over all the earth need to have this vital matter called to their attention now.
2. (a) What others also have a like need for having this notice, and why? (b) For what is now the time to make a decision regarding God’s kingdom come?
2 The ignorant are not the only ones who have such a need. Even most of those people who are acquainted with the words “God’s kingdom come” have a similar need. Why should that be so? Because, although they call themselves Christian and religiously pray the prayer “Thy kingdom come,” they do not talk and act as if they understood what they were praying. They certainly do not talk and act in harmony with such a prayer. Ask them what the coming of God’s kingdom will mean to them and to the rest of mankind, and you will get different sorts of answers, and these without any authoritative proof or backing. God’s kingdom, when come, will certainly have an effect upon all mankind, either for one’s everlasting good or for one’s everlasting destruction. What, therefore, will God’s kingdom come mean to each one of us? Naturally we should like it to mean our endless good. What can we do to make it mean such a thing to us? Now is the time to decide that it shall mean such to us. Now is the time to know what to do to gain that happy future.
3. Of what race and nationality was the teacher of the prayer “Thy kingdom come,” and where was he born?
3 The words “God’s kingdom come” are based on the prayer addressed to God in heaven, namely, “Thy kingdom come.” Many persons do not notice the fact that this prayer was taught by an Asiatic. Among the three branches of the human race, the Japhetic, the Shemitic and the Hamitic, this Asiatic man was of the Shemitic branch. He traces his family line of descent back to Shem, the second of the three sons of Noah, from whom all mankind of today have descended. (Gen. 10:21; Luke 3:23-36) Among the many families of Shemites we find the family of Hebrews, Israelites or Jews. The Asiatic teacher of the prayer for God’s kingdom to come was such a Hebrew, Israelite or Jew. He was born in the town of Bethlehem in the Roman province of Judea almost two thousand years ago, in the same town where his famous ancestor had been born, David son of Jesse, who became king of Jerusalem.
4. How was his name given to him, and what does the meaning of his title “the Son of David” emphasize?
4 Before ever he was born in Bethlehem, his name was decided upon by God, and so at birth he was called Jeshua by the Hebrews or Jesus by the Greeks. Later the title was added to his name, Messiah or Christ, and thus he came to be called Jesus the Messiah or Jesus Christ. He was also called Jesus the Son of David, to emphasize his title or right to the kingdom that was once held by his forefather David over the nation of Israel.—Matt. 1:1, 18-25; Mark 10:47, 48; Luke 1:28-33; 2:4-21; John 7:42.
5, 6. (a) Of what was this prayer “Thy kingdom come” a part? (b) In that connection how was the thing for the coming oil which we pray repeatedly emphasized, and so why do we rightly offer the prayer?
5 In the spring of the year 31 of our Common Era, or when Jesus Christ was thirty-one years old, he taught the famous prayer known generally as the Lord’s Prayer, including the request to God in heaven, “Thy kingdom come.” Few persons seem to realize that this prayer was a part of his famous Sermon on the Mount. This Sermon opens up with the so-called Beatitudes or nine Happinesses, the first one of which says: “Happy are those conscious of their spiritual need, since the kingdom of the heavens belongs to them.” Another statement of this Happiness says: “Happy are you poor, because yours is the kingdom of God.” In that same Sermon on the Mount Jesus Christ taught what has been called the Golden Rule, in these words: “All things, therefore, that you want men to do to you, you also must likewise do to them.”
6 In this Sermon Jesus also said concerning our earthly needs: “Your heavenly Father knows you need all these things. Keep on, then, seeking first the kingdom and his righteousness, and all these other things will be added to you.” (Matt. 5:1-4; Luke 6:20; Matt. 7:12; 6:32, 33) Jesus thus put God’s kingdom ahead of all our earthly needs, as being of the highest importance. He did not say to seek first the kingdom of this country or the kingdom of that country, or the presidency of the United States of America or any other worldly office, but said to seek first God’s kingdom together with God’s righteousness. Very evidently, then, the heavenly kingdom of God must be of the greatest value and importance, and we rightly ought to pray for it to come, as Jesus Christ taught his true followers to do.
7, 8. What questions about its coming arise and to know the accurate answers what must we do?
7 How, though, will God’s heavenly kingdom come? When will His kingdom have come in answer to this prayer that was taught nineteen centuries ago and that has been prayed by seekers of God’s kingdom ever since? Will its coming mean calamity for you or blessing for you, and what must each one do to avoid calamity?
8 For us to know accurately, we must examine the matter in the light of Jesus’ teachings and in the light of the whole Bible, of which his teachings are only a part. Hundreds of millions of persons have misunderstood the matter because of words that have wrongly been added to the original prayer taught by Jesus Christ. According to the earliest handwritten copies of the Holy Bible, the prayer reads as follows:
9, 10. How does the prayer read according to the earliest handwritten copies of the Holy Bible?
9 “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”—Matt. 6:9-13, Revised Standard Version.
10 The restatement of the prayer, as found in Luke 11:2-4, reads: “Father, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread; and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive every one who is indebted to us; and lead us not into temptation.”—Revised Standard Version.
11. How was contradiction brought into the way the prayer came to be recited, and in what does that contradiction consist?
11 Contradiction was brought into this prayer when some religious copier of the Holy Scriptures added to the prayer as given in the Sermon on the Mount the following words: “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” (Matt. 6:13, Authorized Version, Martin Luther German Version) As a result hundreds of millions of religious people in Christendom have for centuries recited the prayer with the addition of those unauthorized words as a conclusion or doxology. Seemingly they have never stopped to think of how at the beginning of the prayer they could recite the words “Thy kingdom come” and then in the conclusion of their prayer say: “Thine is the kingdom.” If the kingdom was already God’s, why should they pray in the same prayer: “Thy kingdom come”?
12. What foolishness, warned against in Proverbs 30:5, 6, does such an addition show?
12 This shows the foolishness of adding something to God’s inspired Word with the idea of trying to improve it or fill it out. Well did Proverbs 30:5, 6 warn against this, saying: “Every saying of God is refined. . . . Add nothing to his words, that he may not reprove you, and that you may not have to be proved a liar.” Certainly in Jesus’ day God’s kingdom had not come.
13. From where were the added words evidently drawn?
13 The words wrongly added to Jesus’ correct prayer were evidently drawn from the words of King David addressed to God, as found in 1 Chronicles 29:11, which the American Standard Version Bible translates as follows: “Thine, O Jehovah, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Jehovah, and thou art exalted as head above all.”a
14. When were the words, “Thine is the kingdom, O Jehovah,” true, and why did the speaker say them?
14 Those words were true in the year 1037 before our Common Era, in the closing days of David as king of Jerusalem. David was the king over the nation of the twelve tribes of Israel, but he realized that he was merely the visible human representative of his God, Jehovah, who was the real King, the invisible, heavenly King over the nation of Israel. The material royal throne on which David sat for forty years was really Jehovah’s throne, and King David was now, because of his old age, abdicating this throne to his young but wise son, Solomon. So King David, in this farewell speech to the congregation of Israel at Jerusalem, was confessing that the kingdom over Israel did not really belong to him or to his royal family. It actually belonged to the God whom he and all Israel then worshiped, Jehovah.
15. (a) Why was Israel’s government then really a miniature kingdom of God? (b) What Scripture texts support that fact?
15 It was Jehovah God who had established the human kingdom over the nation of Israel in the year 1117 before our Common Era. Also, it was He who caused David to be anointed as king over all twelve tribes of Israel in 1070 B.C.E. Consequently, the kingdom of the nation of Israel back in David’s days was a miniature or small-scale kingdom of God on earth. In harmony with this we read in verse 23 of the same chapter of 1 Chronicles 29:23 what took place after David abdicated the throne to his beloved son Solomon: “And Solomon began to sit upon Jehovah’s throne as king in place of David his father and to make a success of it, and all the Israelites were obedient to him.” Later, when the queen of Sheba visited King Solomon at Jerusalem and saw his glory, she said: “May Jehovah your God come to be blessed, who has taken delight in you by putting you upon his throne as king for Jehovah your God.” (2 Chron. 9:8) In correspondency with the fact that Jehovah’s visible throne was at Jerusalem the prophecy of Jeremiah 3:17 says: “In that time they will call Jerusalem the throne of Jehovah; and to her all the nations must be brought together to the name of Jehovah at Jerusalem.”
16. In what manner did Jehovah promise that David would have a permanent heir in the kingdom of God?
16 Years before the abdication and death of King David Jehovah his God made a covenant or solemn contract with him that the kingship over this small-scale kingdom of God over Israel would stay in David’s royal family forever. By his prophet Nathan Jehovah God said to King David: “Jehovah has told you that a house is what Jehovah will make for you. When your days come to the full, and you must lie down with your forefathers, then I shall certainly raise up your seed after you, which will come out of your inward parts; and I shall indeed firmly establish his kingdom. . . . And your house and your kingdom will certainly be steadfast to time indefinite before you; your very throne will become one firmly established to time indefinite.” (2 Sam. 7:11-16) In this manner Jehovah promised that King David would have a permanent heir to the throne in the kingdom of God. This heir would be called the Son of David.
17. Did God’s typical kingdom over Israel continue, and what event in Israel’s history proves the answer?
17 In his own day King David could say to God: “Thine is the kingdom, O Jehovah.” But the time came when there was no miniature kingdom of God on earth, no typical kingdom of God over the nation of Israel. When did that come to be? In the year 607 before our Common Era. In that year Almighty God permitted the armies of Babylon to destroy the royal city of Jerusalem where the kings of David’s line sat on Jehovah’s throne. He let his throne be overturned, and he had the survivors of the siege and destruction of Jerusalem deported to the distant land of Babylon. Jerusalem and the land of Judah became desolated without human inhabitant or domestic animal. With that event there ceased to be a kingdom of God on earth.—Ezek. 21:25-27.
18. (a) After the restoration of the Jewish exiles to their homeland, why could not the governors in Jerusalem say: “Thine is the kingdom, O Jehovah”? (b) In view of that, what was the question?
18 Seventy years later, after the exiled Israelites were restored to their homeland, there was no throne of Jehovah in Jerusalem for governors to sit upon. The typical kingdom of God was not reestablished at Jerusalem with a descendant of King David reigning in representation of God on Jehovah’s throne, “The times of the Gentiles,” or, “the appointed times of the nations,” had set in. (Luke 21:24, AV; NW) Hence the Jewish governors at Jerusalem, who were subject to the Gentile conquerors, could not say, as King David had said, to Jehovah God: “Thine is the kingdom.” According to God’s covenant with David for an everlasting kingdom, a permanent heir to the kingdom of God over Israel was yet to come. This meant that God’s kingdom would be revived with this permanent heir in the throne as Jehovah’s representative. No wonder the faithful Jews looked for God’s kingdom to come. The question, therefore, was, How long would this interruption to the operation of God’s kingdom continue? When would God’s kingdom come according to His promise?
19. Why did Jesus’ calling Jerusalem “the city of the great King” not disprove the continuance of that situation with Israel?
19 This situation with ancient Israel continued on for centuries. Near the beginning of our Common Era Jesus the Son of David was born in Bethlehem of the land of Judea. True, when he gave his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus did say: “Do not swear at all, neither by heaven, because it is God’s throne; nor by earth, because it is the footstool of his feet; nor by Jerusalem, because it is the city of the great King.” (Matt. 5:34, 35) However, those words did not mean that God’s kingdom was ruling at Jerusalem. Jesus said that God’s throne was heaven, not a material throne for human rulers in Jerusalem. All the earth was like a mere footstool for God’s feet. (Matt. 23:22) When Jesus said those words, Jerusalem and the land of Judea were part of the Roman province of Judea. The man who then sat ruling as governor was, not a Jew, not a descendant of King David, but a Roman named Pontius Pilate.—Luke 3:1.
20. When Jesus rode into Jerusalem, what were enthusiastic Jews expecting, and how did their outcries show this?
20 In the final week of his life on earth Jesus Christ rode as in a triumphal procession into Jerusalem. Enthusiastic Jews who were expecting God’s kingdom to be established in Jesus accompanied him joyfully and cried out: “Save, we pray, the Son of David! Blessed is he that comes in Jehovah’s name! Save him, we pray, in the heights above!” “Save, we pray you! Blessed is he that comes in Jehovah’s name, even the king of Israel!” “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!”—Matt. 21:9; John 12:13; Mark 11:10.
21. How did the situation with Israel continue so that no one at Jerusalem could correctly say: “Thine is the kingdom”?
21 Inside Jerusalem, Jesus went to the temple, but he was not anointed by the Jewish high priest to be king. He did not sit down on a throne of Jehovah in Jerusalem and reign as the visible, earthly representative of God. Five days later, or on Passover day, he stood before Governor Pontius Pilate on trial for his life. There he 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.” (John 18:36) So, even in Jesus’ days on earth David’s words at 1 Chronicles 29:11 could not correctly be said to God by anyone at Jerusalem, namely, “Thine is the kingdom.”
22. So in the Lord’s Prayer, for what did Jesus teach his disciples to pray, and what do they not join Christendom in reciting?
22 For that reason, when Jesus taught his disciples to pray what is known as the Lord’s Prayer, he did not add those words to the end of his prayer. Jesus knew that those words were not true. So he taught his disciples to pray for God’s kingdom yet to come, which kingdom had been typically overturned in 607 B.C.E. Today Jesus’ correctly taught followers do not join in with the religionists of Christendom in saying the spurious words: “Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” They do not contradict the prayer, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” They know God’s kingdom must yet come.
IN WHAT WAY?
23. How do some religionists of Christendom say God’s kingdom is to come?
23 Now just what will God’s kingdom, when come, mean to earth’s people? In what way will God’s kingdom come? Ask some religionist of Christendom and he will say: ‘God’s kingdom is fifty thousand years away, for it is to come by the conversion of the world of mankind to Christ.’ But is such an answer true?
24. What does The World Almanac by population figures show regarding the converting of the world to Christ?
24 According to page 719 of The World Almanac of 1963 (New York edition) the so-called Christian population on earth numbers 904,332,500. However, the United Nations Statistical Yearbook released in May of 1962 showed that the world population had passed three thousand million already in 1961 and stood at three thousand one hundred and four million, and was increasing each year by fifty-four million. An examination of the figures over the years also shows that the non-Christian population is increasing faster than the so-called Christian population. Evidently the world is not being converted to Christ, but Christendom is shrinking in comparison with the world population. It is now less than a third of all mankind.
25. According to the figures given, how do the religions of the world line up according to strength of numbers?
25 Of all the religious organizations on earth the Roman Catholic is the strongest organization. The World Almanac shows it has 550,350,000 members, which number includes newly baptized babies. The next strongest religious organization is the Mohammedan, with 433,740,000 Muslims, a non-Christian group. Next comes Hinduism of India with 335,802,500 members. After Hinduism comes Confucianism with 300,240,500. After that, in order, as far as numbers are concerned, come the Protestants, next the Buddhists, then the Eastern Orthodox Churches, then the Primitive religionists like the natives of Africa and Australia, then the Shintoists, the Taoists, the Jews or Hebrews, and the Zoroastrians. Finally, The World Almanac gives a general group of religious persons or persons having no religion as of 552,771,700, which is more than the given number of Roman Catholics.b
26. (a) How is Roman Catholicism faring in the face of international communism? (b) How did one clergyman recently point up this fact in regard to South America?
26 Strong as it is numerically, and although its pope at Vatican City claims to be the Vicar of Christ ruling as King, Roman Catholicism is losing out before international communism. On December 14, 1963, at the meeting in Mexico City of about 200 Protestant and Orthodox church leaders from 48 countries, the executive secretary of the Committee on Presbyterian Cooperation in Latin Americac said:
“No one holds any longer to the naive idea” of South America as a “Catholic continent.” . . . “Many Christians whose consciences have been sensitized by the preaching of the Gospel,” he said, “have chosen to abandon the church and become Communist leaders.”—New York Times, Dec. 15, 1963.d
27. What kind of country religiously is the United States of North America today?
27 As for the United States of North America, whereas it can no longer be called a Protestant country, it is far from being a Roman Catholic country. Roman Catholic prelates offer gloomy facts and figures regarding the Church’s outlook in the United States.e
28. Despite the shattered hopes of Christendom, when will God’s kingdom come, and why so?
28 If they depend upon world conversion to Christianity, the religious people of Christendom can never expect to see God’s kingdom come in their day or in this generation, or, in fact, at all. Yet, though their hopes have been shattered because of being based on a wrong interpretation of the Holy Bible, this does not mean that God’s kingdom will not come in our day, within this generation. In the light of Bible prophecies and time measurements, all the evidences are that His kingdom will come within our generation, because it will not come by world conversion to Christianity and was never meant to come that way. (1 Tim. 4:1-3; 2 Tim. 3:1-7; 2 Pet. 3:3, 4, 7) If not coming by peaceful world conversion, how will God’s kingdom come and take full control?
29, 30. (a) In the vision described in Daniel, chapter seven, what series of world powers is shown to the prophet? (b) In the vision, how is the coming of God’s kingdom pictured?
29 If you have a copy of the Holy Bible, it will answer the question for you, for the Bible is God’s inspired Book. Turn to the prophecy of Daniel, chapter seven. There we find a description of the coming of God’s kingdom in the hands of one who is called the Son of man. He is Jesus Christ the Son of David, yes, the permanent heir of the everlasting kingdom promised to David’s royal family. First the prophet Daniel is shown a symbolic picture of the world powers from the Babylonian World Power on down to the political system that includes the Anglo-American World Power of today.f In the vision Daniel sees, not the peaceful conversion of those world powers to the Son of man, but their violent destruction. After seeing this, the prophet Daniel goes on to say:
30 “I kept on beholding in the visions of the night, and, see there! with the clouds of the heavens someone like a son of man happened to be coming; and to the Ancient of Days he gained access, and they brought him up close even before that One. And to him there were given rulership and dignity and kingdom, that the peoples, national groups and languages should all serve even him. His rulership is an indefinitely lasting rulership that will not pass away, and his kingdom one that will not be brought to ruin.”—Dan. 7:13, 14.
31. In the vision, which kingdom is it that is given to Jesus the Son of David?
31 Since Jesus the Son of David is there pictured as the “son of man,” the kingdom given to this son of man by God, “the Ancient of Days,” is the one for which Jesus taught his followers to pray.
32. (a) How is the end of the last political system that God the Judge permits pictured? (b) How were the rulerships of the other symbolic beasts taken away, and a lengthening in life given to them?
32 What, then, does the coming of his government into power mean for the political systems of this world? In the vision God’s angel explains to Daniel the symbol of the fourth beast and its horns as the last of the political systems that God the Judge permits on earth; after which the angel describes the violent end of this worldly political system, saying: “And the Court itself proceeded to sit, and his own rulership they finally took away, in order to annihilate him and to destroy him totally.” (Dan. 7:26) This explains the picture of this final beastly political system as given in Da 7 verses eleven and twelve, which read: “I kept on beholding until the beast was killed and its body was destroyed and it was given to the burning fire. But as for the rest of the beasts, their rulerships were taken away, and there was a lengthening in life given to them for a time and a season.” The rulerships of those other beastly political systems were taken away one after the other in times past; and the “lengthening in life given to them” is only till the fourth and final political system is violently destroyed by killing and burning, at which time they are destroyed also.
33. According to Daniel 7:27, 28, to whom is the rulership under all the heavens given, and for how long?
33 That is what the coming of God’s kingdom, as given to the Son of man and his faithful disciples, will mean to the political systems of this world. Hence Daniel 7:27, 28 finishes up the explanation, saying: “‘And the kingdom and the rulership and the grandeur of the kingdoms under all the heavens were given to the people who are the holy ones of the Supreme One. Their kingdom is an indefinitely lasting kingdom, and all the rulerships will serve and obey even them.’ Up to this point is the end of the matter.”
34. (a) Who are the ones spoken of as the “holy ones of the Supreme One,” and how many of them are there? (b) Will the violent removal of the political systems of earth be accomplished with or without the aid of the spiritual remnant?
34 In this prophecy those who are spoken of as the “holy ones of the Supreme One” are the Lord Jesus Christ and all his faithful followers who inherit the heavenly kingdom with him. According to the last book of the Bible, Revelation, which makes many quotations from the book of Daniel, these followers who inherit the heavenly kingdom with the glorified Jesus Christ number only 144,000. (Rev. 7:4-8; 14:1-3) Today there are on earth only a remnant of these spiritual heirs of God’s heavenly kingdom, less than 13,000, according to statistics. But these will engage in no violence against the political systems of this world. Jehovah God the Judge will see to the removal of the political systems on earth by means of his heavenly Son, Jesus Christ the Son of David.
35. Christendom’s failure at world conversion emphasizes what fact about God’s kingdom?
35 To so-called Christians who have entertained the sweet idea of peacefully converting the world to Christianity and setting up God’s kingdom by themselves in that way, the violent destruction of earth’s political institutions by violence from the God of heaven may come as a horrifying thought. Yet they should also be horrified at the failure of their world conversion program. Their failure only emphasizes the fact that, in order for God’s kingdom by Christ to rule all the earth, the way must be cleared by violent means from heaven. Other Bible prophecies bear out that fact.
36. In Daniel, chapter two, whose march does the vision trace?
36 Turn back to Daniel’s prophecy, Da chapter two. In that chapter Daniel sets forth the vision of the march of the world powers, all the way from the ancient Babylonian World Power, through the Roman World Power, and down to an outgrowth of that Roman World Power, the Anglo-American World Power of today, the political alliance of the British Empire and the United States of North America.g
37. How will what is left of that succession of political world powers be destroyed, and how does the vision picture this?
37 This succession of world powers has been idolized, like an idolatrous image. According to God’s decree set out in Daniel’s prophecy, what is left today of this succession of political world powers will be destroyed by a violent act of God. It will be like when, in the vision, the stone cut out of God’s mountain strikes the idolatrous image and crushes it, grinding it to powder for the violent winds to carry away beyond recovery.—Dan. 2:1-43.
38. What does the coming of the symbolic stone against the symbolic image mean in fact?
38 Referring to that stone as symbolic of God’s kingdom by Jesus the Messiah, the prophet Daniel explains: “And in the days of those kings [the present political rulers of this world] the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin. And the kingdom itself will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite.” (Dan. 2:44) The coming of God’s Messianic kingdom here symbolized by the stone means nothing less than the fighting of the final war foretold in the last book of the Bible, “the war of the great day of God the Almighty,” commonly called the Battle of Armageddon.—Rev. 16:14-16.
39. How has the stone’s striking the image been interpreted by Christendom’s commentators, and when was the great blow understood to be given?
39 Bible commentators of Christendom, like Dr. Adam Clarke of Britain in the nineteenth century, have interpreted Daniel 2:44 to mean that the stone cut out of the mountain was the Christian Gospel and that when it struck the nations it would convert them, and the rulers as well as the ruled people would become Christians until, in time, all the world of mankind would be Christian. It was thought that the great blow was given to the pagan Roman Empire when, in the year 312 C.E., Emperor Constantine the Great was converted and the Roman Catholic Church with its fusion religion came to be established.h
40. But what can be said about the striking force of Christendom’s religions today, and how is Christendom faring at the hands of international communism?
40 But here we are, more than sixty years into the twentieth century, and the striking power of the religions of Christendom is more and more losing its force. Political rulers are no more becoming Roman or Greek Catholics or Protestants and forcing their subjects to become such with them. As reported in the Morning News (and also the Times Herald) of Dallas, Texas, of June 22, 1963, a Presbyterian clergymani said that, not only is the religion of Christendom on trial, but “the world is laughing at us. Here in the United States is the choicest mission field for the other religions of the world.” He blamed this partly on the religious ignorance of the churchgoers of Christendom, and added: “We have relinquished many of our responsibilities to a pagan world.” However, not only does the world laugh at the so-called Christians in their ignorance, but Christendom is staggering under the blows delivered upon it by international communism. Christendom does not want to be buried by Communism one of these days.
A WARNING ILLUSTRATION
41. Is peaceful world conversion Scriptural, and, in his parable of the minas, what does Jesus Christ show about the enemies of God’s kingdom?
41 Not only is the religious hope of peacefully converting the world to Christendom’s religions unscriptural, but it is unrealistic today. Even in his parable or illustration of the minas (or, pounds), recorded in Luke’s Gospel, Lu chapter nineteen, the Lord Jesus Christ warned that the enemies of God’s Messianic kingdom would be violently destroyed by action of the Messiah himself.
42. Why did Jesus give the parable, and how did the parable measure the time for the coming of God’s kingdom?
42 Luke 19:11 tells why Jesus gave this parable, saying: “While they were listening to these things he spoke in addition an illustration, because he was near Jerusalem and they were imagining that the kingdom of God was going to display itself instantly.” To the contrary, Jesus pictured that God’s kingdom was then a long way off. How? In that Jesus likened himself to a nobleman with wealth, who had to travel to a distant land in order to “secure kingly power for himself” and to return as king. Measured by the speed of the means of travel in Jesus’ day, the journey to the distant land followed by the return journey with kingly power would take a long time. Hence Jesus was to be gone a long time.
43. What did the citizens who hated the nobleman do, and how was such hatred expressed in the fulfillment of the parable?
43 However, there were opposers to the nobleman’s getting such royal power. Luke 19:14 states: “But his citizens hated him and sent out a body of ambassadors after him, to say, ‘We do not want this man to become king over us.’” The parable does not go into detail on how fully those citizens expressed their hatred or on how the nobleman got to the distant land to receive the kingly power. But in the parable’s fulfillment most of the Jews said: ‘We will not have this man Jesus Christ to rule as king over us.’ In an attempt to prevent his becoming king over them, the Jews condemned him to death and handed him over to the Roman authorities of Jerusalem to be killed by slow death on a torture stake.
44. How did Jesus get to the symbolic “distant land,” and how did his own people continue showing hatred for him?
44 How, then, did Jesus get to the “distant land,” that is, to heaven, which Jesus said was God’s throne? On the third day after his cruel death Almighty God Jehovah raised up his noble Son from the dead and called him up to heaven on the fortieth day after that and seated the resurrected Jesus Christ at his own right hand in heaven. (Acts 2:22-36; 3:13-21) Even after Jesus Christ ascended to the “distant land” of God’s heavenly presence, his own earthly people, the Jews, continued to show their hatred of him by persecuting his faithful followers. Thus they further let God know that they did not want his noble Son to become king over them.
45. Where, also, are other haters of God’s kingdom found, and how do they show hatred?
45 Nevertheless, there are not only Jewish enemies to God’s kingdom under his Messiah, but also enemies in all other nations of the world of mankind. These also refuse the Kingdom message of Christ’s followers and persecute them. They prefer the political rulerships by men of this world, including the United Nations organization of 113 member nations. What, then, will the coming of God’s Messianic kingdom mean to such earthly enemies?
46. In the parable, how did Jesus show how the kingdom’s coming will affect its enemies, and what typical fulfillment of this was there?
46 Jesus gave the answer in the conclusion of this parable of the minas. There he has the nobleman who secured the kingly power and came back to rule say: “Moreover, these enemies of mine that did not want me to become king over them bring here and slaughter them before me.” (Luke 19:27) Certainly that does not spell any peaceful conversion of them to true Christianity. It means a violent destruction. There was a typical fulfillment of this in the year 70 C.E., when the unconverted Jews who had rebelled against the Roman Caesar were besieged in their capital city of Jerusalem and finally, after a horrible siege, the city was destroyed. It is reported that 1,100,000 rebellious Jews were made to perish, and 97,000 of the survivors were carried away to become slaves in various parts of the Roman Empire.—Luke 19:41-44; 21:20-24.
47. Despite that event of 70 C.E., for what do Christians still pray, and what will fulfillment of the prayer mean in comparison with what happened in 70 C.E.?
47 However, God’s Messianic kingdom did not come in that year 70. Today true Christians are still praying the words of the Lord’s Prayer to God: “Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.” The Bible time schedule and the fulfillment of Bible prophecy in world conditions and events since 1914 give proof that the coming of God’s kingdom as described in the above prophecies is near. The violent destruction that its coming will mean to its enemies on earth will be vaster and more terrible than the destruction of Jerusalem and the slaughter of the unconverted Jews by the Romans nineteen hundred years ago.
48. What do the people of Christendom not appreciate as to the meaning of what they are praying for in the Lord’s Prayer?
48 How little, therefore, the people of Christendom realize what they are praying for when they recite in their churches: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”! Little do they appreciate that they are praying for something violent at God’s hands, for the destruction of the present world system of things, yes, for the destruction even of Christendom, the chief backer of the United Nations organization and the possessor of vast stockpiles of atomic and hydrogen bombs and other weapons of mass slaughter. This is what the coming of God’s Messianic kingdom will signify to its enemies both inside and outside of Christendom.
49. In his prophecy on the end of this worldly system, with whose days did he compare the days of the Son of man, and in what respects?
49 It was not without meaning that Jesus, in his prophecy on the end of this worldly system of things on earth, said: “Just as the days of Noah were, so the presence of the Son of man will be. For as they were in those days before the flood, eating and drinking, men marrying and women being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark; and they took no note until the flood came and swept them all away, so the presence of the Son of man will be. Keep on the watch, therefore, because you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.”—Matt. 24:37-39, 42.
50. What kind of happening was the flood of Noah’s day, and what does this portend for earth’s population of today?
50 That flood of Noah’s day was a violent operation of natural forces under God’s control. It swept over the whole earth, destroying all the multitudes of people and animals outside the ark in which Noah and his family and many animal specimens survived. The human population of the earth today is over three thousand million, and so what a slaughter, what a destruction there will be when, in our day when God’s kingdom comes, it will be as it was in Noah’s day at the coming of the flood!
51. What will the coming of God’s kingdom mean for its lovers, and what does the likeness of the days of the Son of man to the days of Noah mean for them?
51 But does the coming of God’s kingdom as the rightful government of all the earth mean only destruction? For the enemies of God’s Messianic kingdom, yes! On the other hand, for the lovers of God’s kingdom, who seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness, there will be happiness, blessing, deliverance, salvation. At the flood in Noah’s day there was the preservation of him and his sons Japheth, Shem and Ham and the four wives, eight human souls in all. After a full solar year inside the ark they came out onto a purified earth and started anew their worship of Jehovah God. Their survival under God’s care resulted in life for all of us today on earth. (Gen. 7:1 to 9:19) Since Jesus predicted that, as it was in Noah’s days, so it will be in the days of the Messianic Son of man, there will be survivors of the violent destruction of this system of things, which system is the enemy of God’s kingdom.
52. How did Jesus indicate this survival in his prophecy concerning the final tribulation?
52 In his prophecy on the end of this system of things Jesus said that the tribulation would reach a grand climax of trouble surpassing anything that mankind had before experienced. He said: “Then there will be great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world’s beginning until now, no, nor will occur again. In fact, unless those days were cut short, no flesh would be saved; but on account of the chosen ones those days will be cut short.” (Matt. 24:21, 22) Hence there will be survivors of the worldly system’s end to correspond with Noah and his family.
53. (a) How were the “chosen ones” who survive pictured in the parable of the minas? (b) What questions arise as to the one slave who did not do business with his lord’s mina?
53 Such survivors will include the ones whom Jesus called “the chosen ones,” those who are pictured in his parable of the minas by the faithful slaves to whom the nobleman gave minas before leaving for the distant land to secure kingly power. One of the ten slaves mentioned did not obey the nobleman’s orders: “Do business till I come.” The nine other slaves did profitable business with their mina apiece; the one lazy, unfaithful slave did not. He kept his one mina laid away in a cloth. He earned no increase for his noble master. What would his master’s return as king mean to this unprofitable slave, especially when he handed back just the sum of money that he had received—nothing lost, but nothing gained? Would it mean a blessing or a curse? His own course decided!
54. In the parable, what did the king’s coming mean for this unprofitable slave?
54 His noble master, now king, called him wicked. He ordered the mina to be taken away from him, for he had not worked for his master’s kingdom. He was not for the king and so was classed with the citizens who hated and were against the king. He was punished along with those enemy citizens who were slaughtered at the king’s command. (Luke 19:13, 20-27) In one of Jesus’ other parables similar to this one, the good-for-nothing slave was thrown out of the master’s house “into the darkness outside,” there to weep and gnash his teeth along with all others out there. (Matt. 25:24-30) The king’s coming meant no joy for him!
55. For the slaves who did business with their mina apiece, what did the king’s coming mean?
55 In the parable, the nine other slaves made a profit for the kingdom by doing business with their mina apiece. Their kingly master pronounced them good slaves and put them in charge of cities throughout his realm. They did not deserve to be slaughtered with the citizen enemies of the king. For them the king’s coming meant blessing and life. (Luke 19:15-19, 24-26) Will the coming of God’s Messianic kingdom mean something similar for us?
56. Whom do the slaves with whom the Lord left the minas picture?
56 When Jesus Christ, as pictured by the man of noble birth, left this earth for the heavenly realm, he left behind him valuables in the hands of his followers pictured by the slaves who got a mina apiece with which to do business. These slaves pictured not just the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ nor just all his disciples of that time, but also his faithful followers of today, dedicated, baptized believers whom God has called to be joint heirs with the Messianic King in the heavenly kingdom.—Rom. 8:14-17.
57. (a) How many of those Kingdom joint heirs are still on earth, and what are they doing with the symbolic mina? (b) By whom have they been joined, and what will the coming of God’s kingdom mean for these?
57 A remnant of these joint heirs are still alive on earth, actively increasing the valuable things of God’s Messianic kingdom by doing as Jesus said, at Matthew 24:14: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.” They have now been joined by hundreds of thousands of persons who have heard this good news of God’s kingdom and who have forsaken the haters of God’s kingdom. They have made proof of their love of God’s kingdom by also taking up the preaching of it and the gathering of still other lovers of righteous government onto its side. As in the case of the remnant of Kingdom heirs, they will receive the king’s approval. They will be ushered, not into the heavenly kingdom as joint heirs with Jesus the Messiah, but into a “new earth,” an earth purified by the slaughter of all the enemies of God’s kingdom. That is what the coming of God’s kingdom will mean for them.—Rev. 14:1-5; 7:4-17; 21:1-5.
58. As regards the coming of God’s kingdom, why is this a dangerous time in which to be living, but what opportunity does it also present us?
58 Now is the time for us to make a decision as we all unavoidably face the question, What will “God’s kingdom come” mean to you? It has to mean one of two things, either slaughter with the enemies and ignorers of that righteous divine government or life, peace, happiness and increased privileges with that kingdom. The long time between when the Kingdom Heir Jesus Christ went away to the “distant land” nineteen centuries ago and the coming of God’s kingdom with the Messiah on the throne is now far gone. Jesus foretold that the Kingdom would come suddenly for the executing of divine judgment toward friends and enemies of that heavenly government. So it is a dangerous time for us in which to be living! But if we sincerely desire God’s kingdom come to mean blessing to us, now is also an opportune time of uncertain length for us to get out from among the foes of God’s kingdom, so as not to perish with them.
59. Why is the present a time of great privilege, and how can the Kingdom news be made good news for one?
59 The present is a time also of great privilege. On a scale grander than ever before Jesus’ prophecy is being fulfilled, inasmuch as this good news of God’s kingdom is now being preached all over the earth in at least 194 lands in 162 languages, to the inhabitants of the earth without regard for their race, color or present religion. (Matt. 24:14) Let us make the news of God’s kingdom good news for ourselves by accepting the news as true and putting ourselves on the side of God’s kingdom and then preaching the news to still others, that they may likewise make it good news for themselves. Let us thus help them also to survive the “day of vengeance on the part of our God.” (Isa. 61:1, 2) God’s kingdom in the hands of the Permanent Heir of King David is forever, and we can enjoy that princely rule of the Son of David forever by how we decide now.
60. How does Isaiah 9:6, 7 indicate that we can enjoy the princely rule of the Son of David forever?
60 “For,” says the prophecy of Isaiah 9:6, 7 to the people of Jehovah God, “there has been a child born to us, there has been a son given to us; and the princely rule will come to be upon his shoulder. And his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. To the abundance of the princely rule and to peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and upon his kingdom in order to establish it firmly and to sustain it by means of justice and by means of righteousness, from now on and to time indefinite. The very zeal of Jehovah of armies will do this.”
61. How about the peace and the durability of his government?
61 Think of living on earth under the princely rule of this Son who was born nineteen centuries ago in Bethlehem of Judea. Glorified now in heaven, he will live up to the titles that Jehovah God confers upon him, namely, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. His princely rule will have no end. His peace for his subjects will have no end. In fact, his government will be firmly established and sustained perpetually by justice and righteousness. Under his rule what a place this earth will be!
62. By doing what can we feel and experience the grand meaning of the angelic chant of Luke 2:13, 14?
62 The coming of the kingdom that Jehovah God establishes with his Prince of Peace on the heavenly throne can mean eternal peace for you. The thing to do is to take the course now that gains for us the goodwill of Jehovah God. Then we can indeed feel and experience for ourselves the grand meaning of the chant of the host of angels at the human birth of the Son of God, “Glory in the heights above to God, and upon earth peace among men of good will.” (Luke 2:13, 14; Isa. 61:1, 2) May you, our readers, make the coming of God’s kingdom by Christ mean peace to you.
a On the conclusion added to the Lord’s Prayer The Goodspeed Parallel New Testament, by Dr. Edgar J. Goodspeed (1943), makes the following comment, on page 76, paragraph 4:
“Mt 6:13 The doxology at the end of the Lord’s Prayer does not appear in the best ancient Greek manuscripts (Aleph, B, D, Z), the Old Latin version, and the Latin Vulgate, but it was added to the Prayer very early, when it was used in public worship. A form of it was well known by the time of Chrysostom, at the end of the fourth century. It is a liturgical addition, evidently based on 1 Chron. 29:11.”
Said Zion’s Watch Tower as of January 15, 1898, page 31, paragraph 2: “‘For thine is the kingdom, and the power and the glory, forever, Amen.’ These words altho found in our Common Version and in some of the Greek manuscripts, are not found in the oldest Greek MSS., the Sinaitic and the Vatican. These would therefore seem to have been human words added to the words of our Lord. So far as this earth is concerned, these words have not been true throughout the Gospel age; the dominion of the earth has not been the Lord’s; the power of earth has not been the Lord’s; and the glory of the earth has not been the Lord’s. . . . ”
b The 1963 National Catholic Almanac, page 375, New York edition, gives the world total of Roman Catholics at 558,220,654.
c Dr. Gonzalo Castillo-Cardenas of Bogotá, Colombia, South America, speaking to the first conference of the Commission on World Mission and Evangelism, which Commission is a unit of the World Council of Churches.
d See also the news item on page 242 of this magazine.
e See Awake! as of October 22, 1963, page 30, column 1.
f See the book “Your Will Be Done on Earth,” pages 166-187, English edition of 1958.
g See the book “Your Will Be Done on Earth,” chapter 5, entitled “The March of World Powers,” pages 104-127 of the English edition of 1958.
h See Clarke’s Commentary, Volume 4, edition of 1836, page 3210.
i Dr. William A. Benfield, Jr., pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Charleston, West Virginia speaking at the four-day Southern Presbyterian Men’s Convention in Dallas.