A New Administration of Earth’s Affairs
THE problem that has always troubled reasoning man is, What is the purpose of it all? He looks around at the beauty of the earth, thinks of the fine place it could be in which to live, but sees so much going on that brings distress and sadness. Yet even with that, most persons enjoy what little life they have, but then it comes to an end. What is the purpose in living a short while, only to die? It does not seem reasonable. For example, we see a young man who has a high aim in life. He has the altruistic goal of equipping himself to help his fellowman. He studies hard, attends a university, with plans to be a doctor or surgeon or an engineer. He stores up much information, so that his worth to humankind cannot be calculated in money values. Yet when he has not much more than begun to apply his learning and ability for the benefit of his fellowman he is called to war and a bullet from someone who never saw him before cuts off his life. What a loss!
In view of this, should we throw up our hands despairingly and give up the search for a purpose in life? No, for an answer is available and it is an answer that satisfies to the full the mind and the heart. Although the situation just described has been the case for six thousand years of human history, there are a thousand years yet to come that will be governed by an administration so powerful and wise and so beneficial to humankind that all damages of the past six thousand years will be completely erased. Yes, completely—to the point where the remembrance of even the most saddening of world events will not be able to have the slightest clouding effect upon the subjects living under that administration. Let us look into and consider very carefully and analytically the answer. The analysis to be made is at Revelation, chapter twenty, verses four through six.
Revelation, chapter nineteen, has just given a description of earth’s final war Har–Magedon doing away with all wickedness. The opening verses of Re chapter twenty show the source of the wickedness, Satan and his demons, bound (as discussed in our last two preceding issues). There are now no obstacles to the full and complete blessing of humankind. The thousand-year sabbath day for mankind begins. We shall consider, sentence by sentence, the description of the vision of earth’s new administration.
WHO THEY ARE
“And I saw thrones, and there were those who sat down on them, and power of judging was given them.” The ones sitting on the thrones can be easily identified. Jesus, while on earth, said to his apostles: “In the re-creation, when the Son of man sits down upon his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also yourselves sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” (Matt. 19:28; Luke 22:28-30) The twelve apostles are spoken of as twelve foundations of Jehovah’s spiritual temple, built upon the chief cornerstone, who is Jesus Christ. However, the foundation of a building is not the entire structure. There are others built as a superstructure upon this foundation. This temple constitutes a spiritual palace or sanctuary where God dwells, in which he is shown to be enthroned, accompanied by his Son Jesus Christ.—Rev. 21:14; 1 Pet. 2:4.
There were more than twelve thrones in the vision that John saw. In fact, a few chapters earlier he saw 144,000 standing with Jesus Christ upon Mount Zion, where the temple was located. In the earlier part of the Revelation vision he had seen twenty-four older persons about the throne, representing the same group. It is significant that they are not shown here, for they are another symbolic presentation of the 144,000. In this view, John sees 144,000 on thrones.—Rev. 14:1-3; 3:21.
That this understanding is correct is supported by the apostle Paul. He wrote: “Do you not know that the holy ones will judge the world [of mankind]. . . . Do you not know that we shall judge angels?” (1 Cor. 6:2, 3) These 144,000, then, are royal judges as well as priests sitting on thrones. Whereas in Israel the kingship and priesthood were divided, which prevented undue concentration of power in human kings, these heavenly kings have been tested here on earth and have been proved righteous, trustworthy, qualified. They exercise their powers under their King and High Priest Jesus Christ.
The apostle John himself wrote while on earth with regard to the hope held by the spiritual brothers of Christ: “Beloved ones, now we are children of God, but as yet it has not been made manifest what we shall be. We do know that whenever he is made manifest we shall be like him, because we shall see him just as he is.” (1 John 3:2) No earthly, fleshly person see or visualize just what the immortal, heavenly body is like, because those with the heavenly invitation have to experience change of nature. Therefore John, when he saw 144,000 on thrones, one of which was reserved for him, does not say that he saw himself among them. He says:
WHY THEY QUALIFY
“Yes, I saw the souls of those executed with the ax for the witness they bore to Jesus and for speaking about God, and those who had worshiped neither the wild beast nor its image and who had not received the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand.” John said he saw “souls.” These would be the same souls that John had previously seen “underneath the altar,” who had been “slaughtered because of the word of God and because of the witness work that they used to have.” (Rev. 6:9-11) Men had killed their human bodies but had been unable to kill their souls, that is, their right and title to life in God’s heavenly kingdom. They still were, in effect, “living,” for Jehovah is “the God, not of the dead, but of the living.” These Christian martyrs, or witnesses of God, were dead at the time John saw their souls underneath the altar, yet their life as intelligent creatures was assured to them in God’s due time.—Matt. 22:32.
Some of them were, actually, literally executed with the ax for witnessing to Jesus and God, not all of them. But all of them, in order to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, must die a sacrificial death like his, that is, they must die in integrity. Some of them were martyred in various ways, but not a single one of them had worshiped the symbolic “wild beast.” the world system of politics; and since the formation of the League of Nations and the United Nations, none of them have worshiped the political “image” of the symbolic “wild beast,” They have not been marked in the head as supporters of it in thought or word, neither in the hand as being active in any way for the perpetuation of the “image.” As members of the Bride they have had to keep themselves clean and without blemish or spot from the world. They have taken a course exactly opposite to Babylon the Great and her harlot daughters, the religious institutions of this world. Those “harlots” have committed spiritual fornication by meddling in politics and rendering everything to Caesar and nothing to God. (Matt. 22:21) The faithful members of the 144,000 have waited for God’s kingdom to be established and let it minister earth’s affairs.—Jas. 1:27; 2 Cor. 11:3; Eph. 5:25-27.
WHEN THE ADMINISTRATION BEGINS
“And they came to life and ruled as kings with the Christ for a thousand years.” The thousand-year reign of Christ begins immediately after the binding of Satan and his demons and the hurling of them into the abyss. We can appreciate that not every member of the 144,000 will be in the heavens at the start of the thousand-year reign, for there will be a small remnant on the earth who survive Armageddon and who remain on earth for an unstated time. So the statement does not mean that every last one has to be in the heavens with Christ for the entire thousand-year reign. Those who died prior to the establishment of the Kingdom were resurrected at the time of Jehovah’s coming to the temple with his messenger of the covenant in 1918. Revelation 14:13 indicates that a number of the remnant die after the birth of God’s Messianic kingdom in 1914. These do not have to sleep in death until Satan the Devil is bound. They join him by a resurrection without delay.—1 Thess. 4:15, 16; 1 Cor. 15:51-54.
Therefore, when Christ’s thousand-year reign begins, the “remnant” left on earth will not glorify themselves as kings, but they will be here serving the Kingdom interests until their death occurs and they are resurrected. (2 Pet. 3:11-14; Mal. 3:17 to 4:3) They will share in Christ’s thousand-year reign. But Christ is the King and it is his thousand-year rule. It is not necessary for all to be with him the full thousand years. He has been given full Kingdom power. (Rev. 12:5, 10; Ps. 2:8) His reign is a thousand years long from the time of the abyssing of Satan, and most of the 144,000 are with him from the beginning of this period. The parenthetical statement, “The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended,” is here inserted because the 144,000 who share with Jesus Christ as his new administrators get the reward of life first. John writes of the 144,000: “This is the first resurrection.” It is first in time, importance and quality, for the first resurrection is the same kind of resurrection that Jesus Christ experienced.—1 Pet. 3:18; Rom. 6:3-9; Phil. 3:9-11; 2 Tim. 2:11, 12.
“Happy and holy is anyone having part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no authority.” Jesus looked forward to sharing in a marvelous resurrection, and his followers happily anticipate this. They are raised up from their earthly bodies, which are mortal and corruptible, and changed, in that they are given incorruptible, immortal bodies. They are able to enter into the very presence of God, who is immortal. The “second death” symbolized by the “fiery lake that burns with sulphur” into which the “wild beast” and the “false prophet” were hurled has “no authority” over the 144,000, for immortality means deathlessness. Jesus Christ was given “indestructible life” and these are sharers with him.—1 Cor. 15:53, 54; Heb. 7:16.
SUBJECTS OF THE ADMINISTRATION
While the parenthetical sentence, “The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended,” does not appear in the fourth-century Sinaitic Manuscript, it may have been on a missing page of the fourth-century Greek Vatican Manuscript No. 1209, and it is found in the Greek Alexandrine Manuscript of the fifth century and in the Latin Vulgate, in Revelation 20:5.
The ones here mentioned are the ones who will live on the earth. The “great crowd” is a class of persons who stand alongside Christ’s spiritual brothers and who survive the battle of Har–Magedon and the binding and abyssing of Satan the Devil. There are also others of the ones Jesus called “other sheep” who must be resurrected. They will join with the “great crowd” in serving God during the thousand-year judgment day, and all of these together will have to be obedient, standing loyally through the test of the “little while” that Satan and his demons are loosed from the abyss.—Rev. 7:9; John 10:16; Rev. 20:3.
God is the Judge who personally decides who will live forever in his universe. “God is the One who declares them righteous.” After the test he will declare these faithful ones unswervingly and unchangeably devoted to righteousness. He is able to judge in perfection and he knows that these will never, in the ages to come, turn against his sovereignty. Therefore he rewards them with the title to eternal life on earth in a paradise state. It is then that they will really “come to life” from God’s viewpoint.—Rom. 8:33.
WORK OF THE ADMINISTRATORS
As to the 144,000 immortal ones, John further states: “They will be priests of God and of the Christ, and will rule as kings with him for the thousand years.” On earth will be the “great crowd” and those who are resurrected, the faithful servants of God of ancient times and many, perhaps billions, of others who have died. It will be the tremendous but enjoyable task of earth’s new administrators, Jesus Christ and his 144,000 associate kings and priests, to apply the merits of the ransom sacrifice of Jesus Christ to those who prove obedient. They will administer the government in righteousness to bring about God’s purpose to have humankind living on the earth in perfection with everlasting life. The earth will be a beautified, paradise garden, with the animals in subjection to mankind. There false religion has no place; politics is gone forever; only the will of the Creator who made mankind in his own image and who has loving purposes for them will be carried out.—Gen. 1:27; Matt. 6:10.
Then the reverse of what we now see will be true. It will be very easy to discern that there is a purpose in life. The wicked system of false religion and political corruption that has a stranglehold upon mankind will be a thing of the past, never more to ruin the earth or those living upon it. The chief disturber of mankind, Satan the Devil, will be out of the way. The new administrator is immortal and, being at Jehovah’s right hand, will be permanent, so that corruption and evil cannot rise up again. Earth will then stand out as a jewel in the starry heavens of Jehovah God, being an eternal praise to his name.—Psalm 150.