Proving Yourself a Loyal Subject of Christ the King
Many look to Christ as their Redeemer but forget that he is also King. What does this mean for you?
WHETHER you are one of the 900 million persons on earth who profess to be Christians or not, the matter of loyalty to Christ the King is still a matter worthy of your most serious and urgent consideration. Why?
It is because Christ’s kingdom is a government or, as the apostle Paul called it, “an administration” to bring “all things together again in the Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth.” (Eph. 1:10) Additionally, the fact faces us that this government, from its heavenly capital, has openly declared its purpose to control and exercise regal administration over every square foot of the 196,950,284 square miles of earth’s surface. (Ps. 2:6, 8, 9) This, naturally, includes the country and area where you live.
Do you expect that any of today’s nations, inside or outside the so-called “Atomic Club,” will peaceably accept such Kingdom rule? Does the Bible lead us to believe that the religious organizations of Christendom will convince any nation to do so? No, it shows that they will all “battle with the Lamb, but, because he is Lord of lords and King of kings, the Lamb will conquer them.”—Rev. 17:14; 16:14-16; 19:11-18.
The question is, Can you, apart from the action of the nations, personally and individually submit to the authority of this coming World Ruler? Can you prove yourself his loyal subject worthy of life under his rule? If so, how?
CITIZENS AND SUBJECTS OF THE KINGDOM
In these troubled times thousands of persons surmount formidable barriers, even risking their lives, to gain entry into other nations. As a rule, they seek more prosperous living conditions or greater stability and security in a politically upset world. You probably appreciate the effort involved in transferring to and gaining the right of residence in a new country. However, for you to prove yourself a loyal subject of Christ the King does not require you to move from where you live or to give up the citizenship you presently hold. Still, an even greater change must take place for you to qualify as his subject, a change motivated by far higher interest than mere economic or political security. What is the change?
A loyal subject of Christ’s kingdom must take a course like that of men of pre-Christian times, such as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who, although they did not receive the Kingdom promises during their lives, “saw them afar off and welcomed them and publicly declared that they were strangers and temporary residents in the land.” (Heb. 11:13) They thereby showed that their faith, hopes and trust were all bound up in the coming kingdom and not in the political nations within whose borders they resided.
The Kingdom promises first began to be realized when Christ Jesus was resurrected to heaven. On Pentecost 33 C.E. he poured out holy spirit on those believers present who were in line to be joint heirs with him in his kingdom. He thus began ruling as king toward such ones. That is why the apostle in his day could say that God “delivered us from the authority of the darkness and transplanted us into the kingdom of the Son of his love.” (Col. 1:13) God chose them to be heirs with his Son in the heavenly kingdom. Even though these Christians continued to be respectful and law-abiding citizens in the nations where they resided, the Bible record shows that they transferred their allegiance from worldly government to God’s anointed King.
This does not mean, however, that Christ’s Kingdom rule was established toward all the earth and its nations in the year 33 C.E. Years after the outpouring of the holy spirit at Pentecost the apostle Paul wrote about Christ’s ascension: “This man offered one sacrifice for sins perpetually and sat down at the right hand of God, from then on awaiting until his enemies should be placed as a stool for his feet.” (Heb. 10:12, 13) God would not give to his Son the command, “Go subduing in the midst of your enemies,” until the foretold “time of the end,” in which we now live. This would mark Christ’s entry into full Kingdom power.—Ps. 110:1, 2; Matt. 25:31-33; Rev. 12:7-12.
Today, nationalistic pride is rapidly becoming one of the most divisive forces on earth, causing those possessed of it to feel that they are different from or even superior to other persons who are not part of their worldly nation. As a loyal subject of Christ the King, should you share such an attitude? To do so would show that the needed change in your life had not taken place. You would certainly not be viewing things as does Jesus.—Compare Ephesians 2:11-18.
In a letter to the Christian congregation in Philippi, the apostle Paul emphasized this fact. Though the people of this colony in Macedonia generally prided themselves on their possessing Roman citizenship, Paul wrote his Christian brothers there: “As for us, our citizenship exists in the heavens, from which place also we are eagerly waiting for a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” Also, Paul wrote to those in Ephesus who had turned their allegiance to Christ the King: “Certainly, therefore, you are no longer strangers and alien residents, but you are fellow citizens of the holy ones and are members of the household of God.”—Phil. 3:20; Eph. 2:19.
True, the Scriptures show that this heavenly citizenship is limited to 144,000 persons who have been “bought from the earth.” (Rev. 14:1-4) However, the opportunity is held out to all rightly disposed persons of the earth to gain the position of earthly subjects of that heavenly government. They are properly termed “subjects” since they owe their allegiance to a monarch and receive his protection and blessings, but do not share his kingly power.—Rev. 7:9, 10.
Thousands of persons throughout the earth today are availing themselves of this opportunity as a result of hearing the good news about Christ’s Kingdom rule. They earnestly desire his taking control of all the earth, since the promise is that in “his days the righteous one will sprout, and the abundance of peace until the moon is no more. And he will have subjects from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.”—Ps. 72:7, 8.
GAINING THE DESIRED STATUS
In many countries a resident alien who wishes to be granted full status as a citizen or as a subject must first make a “Declaration of Intention.” He thus becomes a “declarant,” and usually gains the protection of that nation while residing within its borders. Nevertheless, to attain eventually to full citizenship, he must prove that he is law-abiding. His native country, however, may view his “declaration” as a renunciation of his original citizenship, and, since he does not yet have full status in his new land, he may now be considered a stateless person, a “man without a country.” If he leaves the borders of his new land he cannot claim its protection in time of difficulty.
In a similar way, any who today want to be subjects of Christ Jesus the King must declare their intention. As the King himself stated: “I say, then, to you, Everyone that confesses union with me before men, the Son of man will also confess union with him before the angels of God. But he that disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God.”—Luke 12:8, 9.
Obedience is also required. Could you honestly say that the 900 million persons today who call themselves Christians actually live according to the instructions and principles of Christ’s government as set out in the Bible? No. Their failure to do so belies their claims to be his loyal subjects. Any immigrant who pursued such a course would never be admitted to citizenship or full status as a subject.
Nor is it enough for you to make yourself only a “declarant” for Christ’s kingdom, perhaps by taking up a study of the Bible or even by speaking favorably to others about the Kingdom. You must go all the way if you want to assure yourself of the right to a position of full protection and favor both now and in the new system of things that Christ’s rule will bring to earth. Any return to your former position of placing your trust in the present system of things would remove all promise of his protection for you.—Heb. 10:38, 39.
Usually after a period of years of residing in a new country a declarant may file a “Petition for Naturalization” giving proof as to residence, deportment, and support of the constitution of that particular nation. To prepare for this step the applicant generally pursues a course of study to gain knowledge and understanding of the nation’s history and its principles and form of government. If he is accepted, the applicant then must make an oath of renunciation of his former citizenship and an oath of allegiance to the new government of which he is to become a citizen or a subject.
In a spiritual sense, any person who aspires to life in the new system of things under Kingdom rule ought to show the sincerity of his desire by separating himself from the present system of things and drawing close to Christ’s kingdom as his true hope. He also does this by his association with those who loyally serve that Kingdom. Even though such ones are scattered throughout all nations, they are a united and congregated people who have made a firm stand for Christ’s kingdom. Among them one can prepare himself by a serious study to learn what is required of him as a subject of that kingdom. If this is your aim, you will need to learn the history of that promised government as recorded in the Bible. This includes the Hebrew Scriptures with their account of the typical kingdom of Davidic rulers, which kingdom foreshadowed that of Christ. You will need to learn about the structure of the government and its principles so that you can develop true devotion and loyalty to them. You also need to bring your conduct into harmony with those righteous principles.
Eventually the one seeking full status before the King must make a formal petition for acceptance, and this he can do by making a dedication of himself, not to the Kingdom government, nor even to its King, but to the Kingdom’s very Source and Author, Jehovah God. Such dedication is publicly manifested by water baptism. This is at the King’s own command. (Matt. 28:18-20) By doing this, a person becomes eligible to form part of that “great crowd” described in Revelation 7:9, 10, who are “out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb . . . And they keep on crying with a loud voice, saying: ‘Salvation we owe to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb.’”
Such an oath or vow of dedication to Jehovah God and of allegiance to his King-Son, Christ Jesus, is a serious step, bringing obligations far superior to those of any oaths made to an earthly government. That is why, when the religious Supreme Court of their native land ordered Jesus’ apostles to stop doing work in the interest of the Kingdom, they loyally replied: “We must obey God as ruler rather than men.”—Acts 5:29.
THE REWARD FOR LOYALTY
Those who now loyally advocate God’s kingdom by Christ Jesus are assured his full support. They may expect opposition, but even when haled before kings and governors they have their own King’s promise: “I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your opposers together will not be able to resist or dispute . . . You will be objects of hatred by all people because of my name. And yet not a hair of your heads will by any means perish.”—Luke 21:12-19.
Even as happened with some of the early disciples and apostles, some today may die for their loyalty to Christ the King, not because of any wrongdoing, but because they insist on living in harmony with his right principles and refuse to violate his commands. But even if they temporarily perish they have his assurance that they will receive a resurrection to life in God’s new order.—Luke 9:23, 24.
Those loyal subjects who live to see the time of Christ’s taking action against all opposers of his kingdom will not experience the calamity of others who have put their trust in worldly governments or who have failed to follow through in gaining an approved status before the King. When the present systems of rule disintegrate in the Armageddon fight, those who trusted in worldly governments will suddenly find themselves to be men and women “without a country.” In contrast, at the battle’s end, the obedient subjects of Christ’s kingdom will hear his invitation: “Come, you who have my Father’s blessing, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world.”—Matt. 25:34; Luke 19:26, 27.
In gratitude to the King’s Father, Jehovah God, the prayer of all such loyal ones, then as now, will be: “Grant us, after we have been rescued from the hands of enemies, the privilege of fearlessly rendering sacred service to him with loyalty and righteousness before him all our days.” (Luke 1:74, 75) If that is your prayer, then prove yourself a loyal subject of Christ the King now.