How Clean Must a Government Be?
CAN a government that has only a few flaws, if not in its constitution, in some of its members, stand? We know that no great power of past history has continued to stand. They have had flaws that caused them to crack and fall in ruins. Britain, which now, along with the United States, is the Seventh World Power, has not yet stood as long as the Sixth World Power Rome, and it is already having grave difficulties. We can find flaws in all of history’s past man-made governments.
Consider how flawless a government would have to be to remain. It governs millions of subjects, each with his own problems and pressures. The government has to do with all aspects of their lives, from home and family to employment, business and other matters of economy, city planning, traffic, rights of individuals as well as organizations, their limitations, and so forth. Now, one slightest wrong directive, one wrong decision or wrong example has the effect of interfering with the intricate interwoven society under it. One injustice or the smallest breakdown in enforcing a law can easily start a chain reaction that will multiply the matter millions of times. We have experienced the far-reaching and devastating results of a little bit of corruption or of wrong examples in government in our times. When disrespect for government is caused by the rulers, it grows until that government can no longer stand.
NO HOPE FROM HUMAN SOURCES
For this reason the government that rules the earth and that is able to remain must be from a perfect source, with perfect rulers in whom no flaw can arise. This definitely rules out all man-made governments. It leaves only one source, a superhuman power that is righteous.
The Creator of the earth has certainly made all things that man needs and has arranged them for the welfare and happiness of man on earth. But man has brought in imperfection and corruption. In our issue of July 15 we discussed how the Bible book of Revelation points out that the chief disturber of all mankind, the one responsible for man’s deviation, will be put out of the way, as well as all those who desire to do wickedness. Then what kind of a government will exist? How can it be without flaws?
JEHOVAH REQUIRES PERFECTION
First of all, the Creator, the Almighty God Jehovah, is a perfectionist. This is not to say that he is a demanding God, having no mercy toward the shortcomings of imperfect men. No, but when he brings about his completed purpose toward the earth, everything has to be perfect, and of necessity the government that rules it will have to be perfect, for he cannot look upon and tolerate forever in his universe that which is bad.—Hab. 1:13.
Turning back now to Revelation, chapter 22:1, 2, we find in the first two verses a description of Jehovah’s provisions for mankind on earth to have life. These Re 22 verses 1, 2 were discussed in the previous issue of this magazine. In Re 22 verse three Jehovah tells us just how right the conditions will be during the thousand-year reign of Christ, which will restore mankind to the liberty of the sons of God: “And no more will there be any curse. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his slaves will render him sacred service.”—Rev. 22:3.
The rule of the “holy city,” New Jerusalem, is here referred to. It is God’s heavenly government of blessing for the peoples of all the nations. ‘No curse’ would mean that all those in the New Jerusalem will have God’s complete favor, for they will be like fruitful ground that comes under no curse. (Heb. 6:7, 8) Thus the New Jerusalem will have God’s unchanging blessing. As this blessed New Jerusalem will govern the earth, all mankind will get the benefit of this blessed condition of New Jerusalem.
How can we be sure that the government of the New Jerusalem will be flawless, not only in its governmental principles, but even in its membership? Well, the heavenly Revelator says that the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city. The location of the throne of God is a sanctuary, which means that it is sacred, set aside for a holy purpose or use. It is clean and no taint of unrighteousness whatever can exist there. The seraphs around Jehovah’s heavenly throne cry out: “Holy, holy, holy is Jehovah of armies.” The triple emphasis on the word “holy” denotes the superlative cleanness and righteousness of Jehovah.—Isa. 6:2, 3.
The Lamb is there too, and even during the sojourn of this One on the earth while surrounded with men having sin and imperfection, it could be truly said that he was like “an unblemished and spotless lamb.” (1 Pet. 1:19) Of him it is written that he was “loyal, guileless, undefiled, separated from the sinners” and that he has become “higher than the heavens.”—Heb. 7:26.
So the holy city, the heavenly government, will be so fruitful, so productive of good works and good results in God’s service, that it will never come under his curse like ground that has been blessed with rain from heaven and yet brings forth thorns and thistles. (Heb. 6:7, 8) God’s throne and the throne of the Lamb could be only where righteousness and judgment are found. (Ps. 89:14) Jehovah will be there, literally present, and this ensures the everlasting righteousness of God’s government. In Bible times Jerusalem was called the city of “Jehovah’s throne,” and the law of the nation was God’s perfect law. But imperfect men sat on the throne and the law was imperfectly administered. Even that government endured for hundreds of years. However, that earthly throne was only typical and pictorial of the actual, far greater throne of Jehovah in the heavens.—1 Chron. 29:23; Matt. 5:34, 35; Rom. 7:12.
Who are the “slaves” spoken of in Re 22 verse three who will ‘render God sacred service’? These are also members of this government. Well, one might say, with the membership of the government expanded, might not that bring in a flaw? No, for the Bible says they will be God’s slaves, not slaves of the Devil, and they will render sacred service to God. The heavenly Revelator tells us: “And they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.” (Rev. 22:4) (In the days of the apostle John, earthly slaves were marked, commonly on the forehead, so that all could plainly see to whom they belonged.) Their righteous actions show they serve God, not unrighteousness. And when God puts his name on one’s forehead, this certainly indicates his approval. They are God’s special purchased property, his devoted slaves.—1 Pet. 2:9.
But slaves of God can have flaws, can they not? Yes, but not these slaves. Giving special assurance of the righteousness of the governmental members, numbering 144,000, standing with Jesus Christ the Lamb on the heavenly Mount Zion, is the fact that “no falsehood was found in their mouths; they are without blemish.” (Rev. 14:1-5) Moreover, the strongest of recommendations for them is given here, in that “they will see [God’s] face,” for this proves, on the basis of Jesus’ own words, that they have to be pure in heart. (Matt. 5:8) Therefore, as his slaves they will carry out in pureness of heart all of his will with complete righteousness and justice.
Since New Jerusalem is a heavenly government, it will not be dependent on the sun for light, nor on the moon or any lamplight, because no night will be there. This is by reason of the fact that Jehovah God will shed light upon them, and he is all light, with no darkness. He is always at the zenith of his ability and willingness to shower down his loving-kindness and blessings. No “political science” will be consulted as to running this government. The heavenly government will be always full of truth and light, constantly awake and able to enlighten mankind.—Rev. 22:5; 1 John 1:5-7; Jas. 1:17.
There is no need for such governmental authorities to have successors and there will be no such, for ‘they will rule as kings forever and ever.’ While they exercise special rule and attention toward this earth during the thousand-year reign of Christ, the end of the thousand years will not end their reign, for, with God’s Son Jesus Christ, they will continue as the capital organization of God’s universe forever.—Rev. 20:6.
Encountering imperfection every day and everywhere we turn, some might say that this is too good to be true. For this reason Jehovah God patiently and empathetically strengthens our faith by what he caused the apostle John, who beheld this marvelous vision, to write next: “And he said to me: ‘These words are faithful and true; yes, Jehovah the God of the inspired expressions of the prophets sent his angel forth to show his slaves the things that must shortly take place.’”—Rev. 22:6.
NOT AN IDEA OF MEN
The truthfulness of the Revelation is not lessened or weakened just because an angel was used to deliver the vision and a mere man, John, wrote it down. Jehovah God can use angels and men as his instruments just as a man can use pen and ink. Just as Jehovah caused the faithful Hebrew and Christian prophets to write down things in the Bible, so also he inspired this Revelation to John. None of the things written by inspiration have ever been disproved. Rather, there is a wealth of evidence of Bible accuracy and fulfilled prophecy that stamps the Bible as the enduring Word of the true and Almighty God.*—1 Pet. 1:24, 25.
Those who are serving God as his slaves on earth should and must be wholeheartedly interested, because it is for these that the Revelation was given so that they might be informed in advance. No excuse exists for any of them not to know what they should be doing or what to expect in the future.
CLEAN GOVERNMENT NEAR
The things in Revelation are to take place in a short period of time from 1914 forward, and now in this fifty-fourth year of that time period the things to happen are very shortly ahead indeed. The highly important thing to expect is revealed next: “And, look! I am coming quickly.” (Rev. 22:7) This coming is not Jesus’ coming into Kingdom power, which took place in 1914 C.E. and which was described earlier in Revelation (chapter 12), but it is the last previously mentioned coming, namely, his “coming as a thief” in connection with the war of the great day of God the Almighty, with which Har–Magedon is connected. (Rev. 16:14-16) This will be the day that Jesus said will come as a snare “upon all those dwelling upon the face of all the earth.” He warned: “Keep awake, then, all the time making supplication that you may succeed in escaping all these things that are destined to occur, and in standing before the Son of man.”—Luke 21:35, 36.
Revelation tells us that there is no need to live in dread of that day: “Happy is anyone observing the words of the prophecy of this scroll.” (Rev. 22:7) The scroll tells us just what to do and what to expect, and our happiness is ensured by reading and acting now on the words in this scroll. This will be a sure and safe guide, and all things will turn out happily for him who follows it.—Compare Revelation 1:3.
EXAMPLE OF GOVERNMENTAL INCORRUPTNESS
John, in exile on the Isle of Patmos, was greatly strengthened by having the vision and being able to write it down for us to read so as to understand the things happening in our day. He says: “Well, I John was the one hearing and seeing these things. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel that had been showing me these things. But he tells me: ‘Be careful! Do not do that! All I am is a fellow slave of you and of your brothers who are prophets and of those who are observing the words of this scroll. Worship God.’”—Rev. 22:8, 9.
Here is an example of the incorruptness that we can be sure of in God’s heavenly government. Even the angel messenger, who was sent as a slave of God through Jesus to bring this revelation, would not let any homage be paid to him. Even though he had this great privilege and the superior power and glory that an angel has with relationship to a man on earth, he would not take any of the praise of a man or even let John worship God relatively through him. John, one of the apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ, will be one of the 144,000 members of God’s government. This was a fine example set before him by the angel, repeating a caution already given earlier, in Revelation 19:10. It makes us happy to know this; it makes us happier still to read the words of this scroll and get ourselves in harmony with it without delay.
The Bible points out that those who will be with Christ in the heavens as members of God’s heavenly universal government will reign as kings and priests with him. They will be immortal, incorruptible. (Rev. 20:6; 1 Cor. 15:53, 54) Then there will be no flaw, for God has placed them there because of their proved loyalty and has made them in the image of his Son Jesus Christ. (1 Cor. 15:49; Phil. 3:21) Furthermore, even the angels, who will be slaves of God and of Christ, serving under this government, are also of unquestionable moral integrity and will carry out the orders of the government in completeness and perfection. They will see that the righteous earthly princes serving under the heavenly Kingdom carry out pure righteousness on earth.—Ps. 45:16; Isa. 32:1.
A HAPPY OUTLOOK
Then the directives given by the government will be right, the judgments pure and holy in every way, through and through, spiritually, morally and physically. (Ps. 19:7-9) There will be no wrong directive; no flaw will be taken up by any of the earthly subjects and multiplied among them. There will be no injustice, no failure to enforce God’s clean, righteous laws, no cause for disrespect of his government. That is how clean God’s everlasting government will be and how clean it must be to endure. Perfect confidence in the government will pervade mankind. How the eyes of the people under it will shine! How happy are those now who have this faith, and how happy all mankind will be to sing: “Happy is the one who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in Jehovah his God, the Maker of heaven and earth, of the sea, and of all that is in them, the One keeping trueness to time indefinite. Jehovah will be king to time indefinite, your God, O Zion, for generation after generation. Praise Jah, you people!”—Ps. 146:5, 6, 10.
See “All Scripture Is Inspired of God and Beneficial,” published by Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1963, pages 337-349.