Man’s Rule About to Give Way to God’s Rule
“Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.”—Matt. 6:10.
1. (a) What meaning for the word “rule” are we interested in, and from what Latin words is its derivation? (b) With such understanding, how do right-minded individuals view “rule”?
RULE, as we here consider it, means the exercise of authority or control. The word also carries with it the thought of a period of time during which a special ruler or government exercises control; also, the state of being governed. In languages that are drawn from or built upon the Latin, the word comes from the Latin word regula, which means “straightedge, rule”; and, in turn, this word comes from the Latin verb régere, which means “to lead straight; to guide.” The word “government,” which is associated with the word “rule,” is drawn from the Latin verb gubernáre, which is borrowed from the Greek verb kybernán, which means “to steer,” and then “to guide, to govern,” and “to act as a helmsman, a pilot.” When it is viewed from this understanding, there is nothing wrong in itself with the idea of “rule” by means of a government. And what right-minded person does not want “rule”? Especially when a person is imperfect, as all of us are, who does not want a “rule,” a “straightedge”? If we are anxious to go straight, to do things right, who does not appreciate being steered right, directed and governed right? In such a world as this, many of us still do. Such a straight rule by right government will shortly be given to mankind, with wonderful blessings resulting. But by whom?
2-4. Why can it be said man is well acquainted with rule and government, and what interesting comment on this is made by The Encyclopœdia Britannica?
2 Man today is well acquainted with rule and government, for all his experience therewith. The estimates made by devotees of the evolution theory as to the length of man’s existence upon this terraqueous globe cannot be relied upon; they are mere wild, unfounded, unreasonable guesses. According to the most authoritative source of information, the accurate history of man from his true beginning, man has been upon this earth now close onto six thousand years. During almost all that time he has been subject to man’s rule, in varieties thereof at various times or in various parts of the earth. What form of rulership and government has man not tried for his benefit, from cruel despotisms to modern-day republics and so-called “people’s democracies”? The Encyclopædia Britannica takes note of this. Under the heading of “Government” (in Volume 10, edition of 1946) it says:
3 “Government in the ancient world presents three main types—the great despotic empires of Sumeria, Egypt, Assyria, Persia, Macedon; the city states of Asia Minor, Greece and Italy, and the unique empire in Rome of a city-state gradually becoming the centre of empire, and, in the process, changing its republic system into an autocracy, limited only by the survival of some republican institutions and traditions. . . . the Roman theory of universal domination lasted on throughout the Middle Ages and, through the titular supremacy of the Holy Roman Empire, delayed the emergence of national territorial states with a clear title to independence. This delay was assisted by the equally universal claim of the popes to human obedience, and by the efficient organization of the Church system of Government through the canon law, and the courts which administered it, throughout the Christian world. . . . ”
4 Pointing to the effects of political developments during the sixteenth century upon government, the same Encyclopædia article says: “MODERN TIMES. If the modern nation-state clearly emerges in the 16th century the history of modern government falls equally clearly into two main periods since that time, the period before and the period since the French Revolution [of the eighteenth century]. . . . Modern democracies show great variations in their governmental organization,” and it speaks of the flexible kinds and the rigid kinds.—Pages 560-565.
5. What book far older than the Britannica deals with ancient governments, and what advantage does it have over other books?
5 The same ancient governments mentioned by The Encyclopædia Britannica, namely, those of Sumeria (or Babylonia), Egypt, Assyria, Persia, Macedon, Greece and Rome, are dealt with in a book far older than the Britannica and parts of which, in fact, were written right in Babylonia, Persia, Macedonia, Greece, and Rome in Italy, and thus giving us a direct insight into the rule and government of those places. That accurately informative and authoritative book, although finished in the first century of our Common Era, has today a wider circulation than The Encyclopædia Britannica and is still found to be an authority even regarding modern times. That book is The Holy Bible or The Sacred Scriptures.
6. Outline the many excellent features of this book called the Bible.
6 It is the only book that gives mankind an authentic account of its beginning and of its history for more than four thousand one hundred years. Furthermore, some of its many predictions or prophecies which have not yet been fulfilled carry us right down into this twentieth century of our Common Era and even for a thousand years from today. Rightly, this marvelous Book tells us much about man’s rule and how it would work out. It is the only book that assures us that man’s rule is now about to give way to God’s rule. This is because this book was written under the inspiration of God’s invisible, directive active force or spirit and hence comes to us from the hand of God the Creator, who has preserved it to this day for our salvation.
WHY MANY TODAY DO NOT WANT GOD’S RULE
7. Why do many millions of people detest the thought of a rule by “theocracy”?
7 The thought of coming under God’s rule is becoming detestable to more and more millions of people today. To their minds it brings the thought of theocracy, which is really what God’s rule means. But to many of those persons who revolt at the idea of God’s rule, theocracy makes them think of corrupt, oppressive rule by immoral, greedy, self-seeking, totalitarian religious priests and clergymen, who demand the absolute, unquestioning obedience of all mankind and who demand also their money under the cloak of false religious pretenses. For many centuries Europe had such a so-called theocracy run by priestcraft. This time of priests openly meddling in worldly politics and trying to hold the political rulers subject to them is referred to in The Encyclopedia Americana (in Volume 13, edition of 1956), in its article on “Government,” in the following words:
8. How does the Encyclopedia Americana define the sources of governmental authority?
8 “SOURCE OF GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORITY. Various ideas have been held by different people in different periods of history as to the source from which government derives its authority. . . . For many years in many countries, kings claimed to rule by divine right. They asserted that their governmental authority came to them directly from God. Many rulers in Europe have acknowledged that the pope was the direct representative of God on earth and had taken their authority from the popes as God’s agent on earth. The divine right of kings was claimed by some rulers later than 1600. James I of Great Britain (reigned 1603-1625) was a staunch advocate of divine right.”—Page 89.
9. What meaning came to be given to the word “theocracy,” and so how do people often feel when such a theocratic rule is recommended for mankind?
9 Not only the earlier kings of Europe during the time of the Holy Roman Empire considered the pope of Rome to be “God’s agent on earth,” but the popes themselves and the religious hierarchy under them as well as the common people thought the same as those kings. Thus such popish rule through his hierarchy was considered a theocracy, and that is one of the meanings given by the dictionary to the word “theocracy.” Thus, too, because of considering themselves to be “the direct representative of God on earth,” the popes claimed to wield universal sovereignty, universal domination. What student of European history does not know of the pope’s claim to the right to crown and uncrown kings, to enthrone and unthrone kings? What student does not remember how Pope Leo III crowned King Charles the Great or Charlemagne at Rome on Christmas Day of the year 800? But it was Napoleon Bonaparte who crowned himself emperor in the presence of the helpless pope, shortly after the French Revolution. What wonder, then, that intelligent persons of today who are informed on the kind of rule that prevailed during the time of the popish “theocracy” cannot stomach the thought of God’s rule being about to come, if God’s rule means the restoration of such a hierarchical rule!
10. What must happen to the religio-political rule by priests and clergy of Christendom and pagandom?
10 Fortunately such priestly theocratic rule has been only a sad part of man’s rule, for religious popes and priests and clergymen are mere imperfect, dying men. Certainly such religio-political rule by the priests and clergy of Christendom has disgracefully misrepresented God’s rule. Hence when man’s rule gives way to God’s rule the politico-religious rule of the priests and clergy of Christendom and also of pagandom must also give way and disappear for all time, to mankind’s eternal relief.
HIGHER RULE THAN MAN’S INEVITABLE
11. Why can we be assured that a rule on earth other than man’s is going to be a reality?
11 Yet when we talk of man’s rule giving way to something else, the question arises, Can there be any other kind of rule over the whole earth than man’s rule? The evolutionist and the materialist will emphatically answer No! But they stubbornly blind themselves to the facts of history. Man is certainly not ruling the rest of the visible, tangible universe, even by means of his rockets and spacecraft. The Creator of the universe, God Almighty, does that. He has the Creator’s right to do so. He rules all the rest of the universe, so why not also the earth? It is impossible to stop him from doing so. Just because man has lived upon the earth now for about six thousand years and more than three thousand million humans today inhabit the earth, this does not give them the legal right to the earth and its rulership. God never gave up his Creator’s ownership of the earth and his right to rule it and its inhabitants. He was ruling the earth when he created man and gave man his start in earthly life. That was almost six thousand years ago. Was there anything wrong or bad about God’s rule then?
12. In what condition or state was the first man created, and how under divine inspiration does Moses show this to be so in Deuteronomy 32:3-6?
12 Consider: God did not create man a grunting, beastlike caveman partway up any scale of natural evolution. The Creator of all the glorious universe in outer space created man as a creative work that would bring credit to his divine creative ability. God himself is perfect and all-good, and he created a perfect work when he made the first man. The Bible writer named Moses, who lived for forty years under ancient Egyptian rule, got God’s spirit of inspiration and wrote concerning God’s creative work: “I shall declare the name of Jehovah. Do you attribute greatness to our God! The Rock, perfect is his activity, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness, with whom there is no injustice; righteous and upright is he. They have acted ruinously on their own part; they are not his children, the defect is their own. A generation crooked and twisted! Is it to Jehovah that you keep doing this way, O people stupid and not wise? Is he not your Father who has produced you, he who made you and proceeded to give you stability?” (Deut. 32:3-6) From these inspired words there is no mistaking that Jehovah God created the first man perfect.
13. (a) Why is the evolutionist theory of man’s existence false and misleading? (b) How did the Creator, Jehovah, purpose to deal with man whom he had created?
13 The hairy, low-browed, vicious-looking caveman imagined by the evolutionists could never be in God’s image and likeness. The creation account written by the inspired prophet Moses says that God purposed to create man in his image and likeness and that he actually did so. For this first man he also created a perfect wife. When he thus finished his creative work respecting our earth, God took an overall view of his work and he pronounced it to be “very good.” God the Creator is the best critic in all existence, and when he pronounced his earthly work “very good,” it was indeed so. (Gen. 1:26-31) In this “very good” state of human perfection man got his start, this indicating that God the Creator purposed to rule over intelligent earthly creatures with whom he could deal on the basis of their perfection, a man and woman who reflected what God was and who could appreciate what God was and who would be able to yield perfect obedience to him, even in the smallest thing, as well as in all other things.
14. What type of living conditions for the perfect man and woman did God purpose, and how is this evident from the Bible account at Genesis 2:8-15?
14 What kind of living conditions did God’s rule mean for that perfect first man and woman? Poor, slummy, crowded living quarters in a polluted atmosphere and general environment? Or in a jungle where he was constantly in danger of being attacked by ferocious wild animals or vipers? To do so would have been inconsiderate, inconsistent, unloving on the perfect God’s part. Only perfect conditions would be suitable for his perfect human creatures. A paradise of Eden, a garden of pleasure! In proof that God’s rule is good for its subjects, Genesis 2:8-15 tells us: “Jehovah God planted a garden in Eden, toward the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. Thus Jehovah God made to grow out of the ground every tree desirable to one’s sight and good for food and also the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and bad. . . . And Jehovah God proceeded to take the man and settle him in the garden of Eden to cultivate it and to take care of it.”
15. What ability did the perfect man in God’s image have, and so why was the limitation of Genesis 2:16, 17 placed on the perfect man?
15 God created this perfect man, who bore God’s “image and likeness,” with the ability to appreciate law and order. In order to keep this perfect intelligent creature aware of the fact that he was responsible to his Creator and was subject to God’s rule, God placed a simple limitation upon him, a small one indeed but one that would therefore prove the perfectness of his obedience. Genesis 2:16, 17 informs us: “And Jehovah God also laid this command upon the man: ‘From every tree of the garden you may eat to satisfaction. But as for the tree of the knowledge of good and bad you must not eat from it, for in the day you eat from it you will positively die.’” God as Creator and Lawgiver was perfectly within his right in laying such a command upon his human creation. It did not imply that the man had criminal tendencies that needed to be legislated against to curb his wicked inclinations. It merely asked for him to restrain himself in one small regard in order to show respect for his Creator and perfect love for his heavenly Father.
16. To what would obedience on the part of the man lead, and of what remind him?
16 The man, being newly created, had yet to prove his obedience to his invisible heavenly Creator, and his keeping of this simple command would lead him to perfect his obedience to God. It would remind him that his enjoying everlasting life in happiness in a paradise earth depended upon perfect obedience to his Creator God and Father. Thereafter the perfect man had to decide whether he desired to continue forever under God’s rule or not.
17. What further law or command did Jehovah place on the first man and woman in the paradise of Eden, and was it a good law or a bad one?
17 It was after this that God created a wife in lovely perfection for the man and married them. In order to inform the man and woman why he had put them on earth and had married them in the paradise of Eden, Jehovah God stated his further law to this perfect couple. It was not a law for them to refrain from doing anything bad, but it was a law for them to do good to the very ends of the earth, and this under God’s blessing. Genesis 1:28 tells us: “Further, God blessed them and God said to them: ‘Be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it, and have in subjection the fish of the sea and the flying creatures of the heavens and every living creature that is moving upon the earth.’”
18. (a) What was not included in man’s authority on this earth? (b) Who, then, was to rule over man, and with what result?
18 Ah yes, “have in subjection” all the lower animal creations, but not have in subjection all other human creatures who as their offspring and descendants would in due time fill the earth that would be subdued to a paradise beauty everywhere. God issued to the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, no commission to set up man’s rule over humankind. God’s rule, that then obtained there in the garden of Eden, was to continue, and all the perfect offspring of Adam and Eve were to be subject to God’s rule. It was to be a pure, ideal theocracy, with no human priests or pope. What would this mean for all mankind under such rule by the invisible God and heavenly Father? Everlasting life in human perfection, in peace and happiness, in an earth-embracing paradise!
START OF MAN’S RULE
19. How, then, did man’s rule get its start on earth, and who was responsible for starting such rule?
19 Under such paradise conditions, with such wondrous divinely ordained goals set before one, who would want to start man’s rule in the earth? In fact, who started man’s rule such as we have today throughout the earth? When was it started? Man himself started it, back there in the paradise of pleasure almost six thousand years ago. Before they started filling the earth with perfect offspring, the woman Eve and the man Adam did so. It took only one small act to do so, and that was to break the law of God’s rule against the eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and bad. Adam and Eve’s doing so was induced, not by God their Creator and Father, but by a newly arisen rebel who opposed God’s rule, not only in the earth but throughout all heaven. In the language of Adam and Eve their word for “Resister” or “Opposer” was Satan, and for this reason this original rebel against God’s rule in heaven and earth is called in God’s written Word “Satan.”
20. In what way did Satan suggest that breaking God’s law would lead to desirable results for Eve, and what promise was he falsely holding out for the first human couple?
20 Satan was not visible to Adam and Eve, for he is a superhuman, invisible spirit creature. By tricky use of a serpent or snake in the garden of Eden and making human speech appear to come forth from it, he first suggested to the unsuspecting Eve the desirability of breaking the law of God’s rule and the setting up of man’s rule on earth. With regard to God’s warning of the punishment of death for eating disobediently from the tree of the knowledge of good and bad, Satan said through the serpent: “You positively will not die. For God knows that in the very day of your eating from it your eyes are bound to be opened and you are bound to be like God, knowing good and bad.” (Gen. 3:1-5) In other words, Eve and Adam did not need God’s rule in order to know what was good and what was bad. By breaking his law and eating the forbidden fruit, they would become like God their Creator in ability to know good and bad and they could set up their own standards of good and bad and of right and wrong. Thus they would enjoy man’s rule and this would give them independence and freedom. Did ever any politician use any argument slicker than that?
21, 22. (a) Because first Eve and then Adam decided for human rule, what did Jehovah now do, and how was this really a merciful action on his part? (b) What words of condemnation did he have for Satan the Devil?
21 First Eve decided for human rule of mankind, and then she prevailed upon her husband Adam to decide for man’s rule of man. (Gen. 3:6, 7) The garden of Eden was God’s earthly realm, where God’s rule or theocracy should hold sway; it was no place for man’s rule. So God the Creator drove them out of the garden of Eden, under condemnation of death. He could have executed them in death on that very same twenty-four-hour day, but mercifully did not do so. He had purposed that Adam and Eve should have offspring, and he stuck to this purpose. Why? In order that he might have mercy upon their offspring and might reestablish divine rule or theocracy over them in the earth. Thus he would vindicate his own universal sovereignty as the Great Theocrat and also vindicate his purpose in placing man upon this earth. His self-respecting purpose to do this was really behind the belligerent declaration that he now made to the serpent who pictures Satan the Devil:
22 “I shall put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed. He will bruise you in the head and you will bruise him in the heel.”—Gen. 3:15.
23. What Biblical guarantees do we have that Jehovah continues to hold to his original purpose to rule this earth himself?
23 That vindicative purpose Jehovah God has stuck to for all these millenniums of time till now. In the first century of our Common Era he inspired the Christian apostle Paul to write to the faithful Christians in Rome: “I want you to be wise as to what is good, but innocent as to what is evil. For his part, the God who gives peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.” (Rom. 16:19, 20) Furthermore, the last book of the Bible, called Revelation or Apocalypse, is undergoing fulfillment in our very day, and it describes in symbolic vision how Satan the Devil and his wicked seed will be crushed and bruised in the head. (Rev. 19:11 to 20:10) This is all a guarantee that Jehovah God still holds to his original purpose to destroy Satan, who wickedly instigated man’s rule in the earth, and will reestablish God’s rule, theocracy, here. It is positively certain, therefore, that Almighty God has purposed to let man’s rule continue in the earth for only a limited time. That time is now very near its end. For this we should be glad!
MAN’S RULE DISASTROUS—GOD’S RULE THE REMEDY
24. Cite examples to show that man’s rule from the start has not had the blessing of the Creator.
24 Yielding to Satan the Devil, the first man and woman chose man’s rule. So God let them have it, not inside the theocratic garden of Eden, but outside it. There God let Adam and Eve and their offspring have man’s rule till now. In view of the way in which it got started on the earth, could it have the blessing of the only living and true God, the Creator of man? The answer to that question is found in the answer to the question, Is there any evidence to show that man’s rule has had the blessing of the God whose rule man has rejected? The true-to-fact answer is No! The first man born to Adam and Eve committed murder upon his own godly brother and afterward started the building of cities, with all the problems of city government and life. (Gen. 4:1-17) Fifteen centuries after that the inhabited earth became so filled with violence of corrupt-minded people that God wiped out that human society and its cities in a world-engulfing flood.—Gen. 6:1 to 7:24.
25. (a) What happened to man’s rule at the time of the Flood? (b) What command given to Adam and Eve did Jehovah now repeat to the Flood survivors, resulting in what today?
25 Had that global flood not occurred, the world population would have been greater today, the world’s population explosion would have come sooner with all its problems of jobs for everybody, food for everybody, housing adequate for everybody, tax burdens and increasing costs of governments. The human family started off anew with only eight survivors of the Flood, or with four married couples. For a time man’s rule was wiped out by this “act of God,” the Flood. The prophet Noah, who was instructed by Jehovah God to build the great ark for the preserving alive of himself and his immediate family, was a believer in God’s rule. After the Flood he continued walking with God, just as he had done before the Flood. (Gen. 6:8, 9; 8:18-22) Jehovah God gave Noah and the three sons His laws for living in the post-Flood earth and, as he had said to Adam and Eve, so he said to Noah and his sons to multiply their offspring and make the earth swarm with their descendants. (Gen. 9:1-7) Do we have a swarm of people on earth today, more than forty-three centuries after the Flood? Yes, according to the opinion of some, but not too great a swarm, only badly distributed.
26. (a) How did man’s rule again get started on a notable scale? (b) How was Nimrod like Cain, and was this a good thing for the people?
26 The earliest effort to set up man’s rule again on a notable scale came in the days of Noah’s great-grandson named Nimrod the son of Cush. Note how the Bible, in Genesis 10:8-12, describes it: “And Cush became father to Nimrod. He made the start in becoming a mighty one in the earth. He displayed himself a mighty hunter in opposition to Jehovah. That is why there is a saying: ‘Just like Nimrod a mighty hunter in opposition to Jehovah.’ And the beginning of his kingdom came to be Babel [or, Babylon] and Erech and Accad and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. Out of that land he went forth into Assyria and set himself to building Nineveh and Rehoboth-Ir and Calah and Resen between Nineveh and Calah: this is the great city.” The beginning of Nimrod’s kingdom at Babel or Babylon was not the beginning of the kingdom of God, a theocracy. It was the outstanding beginning of man’s rule under Nimrod, the “mighty hunter in opposition to Jehovah.” Like the murderer Cain, Nimrod began herding people into cities under his control. Was that a good thing? For the correct answer we have only to look at the mounting problems to which that small beginning has led today!
27. (a) Has there been any rule by God since Nimrod’s day, and, if so, when and where? (b) Who was the king, and what type of government was it called by Josephus?
27 Ever since Nimrod’s day we have had man’s rule in the earth. During all these thousands of years have we had any rule of God, a kingdom of God, a theocracy? Yes, but only on a small scale, only a miniature foreview of the coming theocracy, the coming kingdom of God. When was this? In the year 1513 before our Common Era, in the days of the prophet Moses, and for nine centuries after that, or down till 607 B.C.E. After delivering Moses and his people from the then dominant world power, Egypt, God assembled them at Mount Sinai in the Arabian Peninsula. There he organized them as a nation and gave them the basic Ten Commandments and hundreds of related laws and also a system of religious worship that was pure and acceptable to him. He gave them strict rules and laws for a clean, helpful priesthood. He gave them no visible king. He himself was their invisible heavenly King, their Lawgiver, their Judge as well as their God. (Ex. 15:18-21; 19:1 to 20:26; Isa. 33:22) That was, as the historian Flavius Josephus of our first century calls it, a “theocracy” over one nation of earth.
28. Was there anything wrong with such theocracy, and, if not, why did the people lose out on the Creator’s blessing and protection?
28 As in the case of the theocracy in the garden of Eden, we ask, What was wrong with this post-Flood theocracy? Nothing! And as long as that nation lived in harmony with that theocracy or expression of God’s rule they had his protection and blessing and prospered in their God-given land, over there in the Middle East. Only when the people forgot Jehovah God their King and Ruler and departed from his worship and broke his laws and followed the customs and worship of the surrounding pagan nations, they got into trouble. For their disciplining, Jehovah God let them come under man’s rule as exercised by pagan nations nearby. Only when the afflicted people sorrowed over their wrong, unfaithful course and pleaded to come under God’s rule again, He delivered them from their oppressors and gave them theocratic freedom and favor again.—Judg. 1:1 to 16:31; 21:25; Acts 13:16-20.
29. Why do the descendants of that people ruled by God not have a theocracy today?
29 The descendants of that people who were then under God’s rule or theocracy have survived for thousands of years down to this day and even have nationhood. Why do they have a democratic republic today, and not a theocracy? It was because of a faithless desire that they expressed long ago for man’s rule like that of the pagan nations right around them. Lacking faith in their invisible heavenly King, Jehovah God, they asked the prophet Samuel to set a visible human king over the nation.
30. What did God instruct his prophet Samuel to do when His people asked for a visible, human king?
30 Samuel believed in theocracy or God’s rule, and he was very much upset over their request. But Jehovah God said to Samuel: “Listen to the voice of the people as respects all that they say to you; for it is not you whom they have rejected, but it is I whom they have rejected from being king over them.” Under God’s direction, Samuel told the people about all the problems and burdens that having a visible human king over them would bring, but the people persisted in demanding such a human king. (1 Sam. 8:1-22) So God instructed Samuel to anoint such a human king over the nation. How did this form of man’s rule work out?
MINIATURE KINGDOM OF GOD BY HIS ANOINTED ONE
31. What kind of kings did Saul, David and Solomon prove to be in Israel?
31 The first king anointed was Saul the son of Kish of the tribe of Benjamin. Because of later on disobeying God’s commands and at last going over to demonistic spiritism King Saul proved to be a failure. (1 Chron. 10:1-14; Acts 13:20, 21) Then God set up as king over the nation of his people the former shepherd boy of Bethlehem, David the son of Jesse of the tribe of Judah. Because of David’s devotion to the worship of Jehovah God, there was given to him God’s promise or covenant to set up a dynasty of kings in David’s royal family forever. (Acts 13:22; 2 Sam. 2:1 to 7:17) Accordingly David’s beloved son Solomon became his successor to the throne, to rule at Jerusalem as the visible representative of God. About this we read, in 1 Chronicles 29:23: “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.” It was in the days of wise King Solomon that this form of theocracy with a visible human king sitting “upon Jehovah’s throne” at Jerusalem reached its peak of prosperity and glory.
32. Describe conditions for the people under the rule of theocratic King Solomon. Of what was this a prophetic picture?
32 Contrast the condition of all the man-ruled nations of our twentieth century with the historical account of the reign of theocratic King Solomon, as found in 1 Kings 4:24, 25: “And peace itself became his in every region of his, all around. And Judah and Israel continued to dwell in security, everyone under his own vine and under his own fig tree, from Dan to Beer-sheba, all the days of Solomon.” There was an abundance of people in the nation, but there was no food problem, no starvation creeping up upon the nation. Rather, 1 Kings 4:20 reports: “Judah and Israel were many, like the grains of sand that are by the sea for multitude, eating and drinking and rejoicing.” This was, not only an example of the blessings of the people under God’s rule or theocracy, but also something more important: it was a prophetic picture of the coming blessings for all mankind under God’s kingdom in the hands of his heavenly Son, Jesus Christ, who has proved to be wiser and greater than ancient Solomon.—Matt. 12:42.
33. (a) What led to a loss of blessings and protection that Israel had under Solomon’s theocratic rule? (b) What does history show happened first to the separated kingdom of Israel and then to Judah under the dynasty of King David’s family?
33 Since the blessings of that ancient miniature, limited theocracy were so great, why do not the natural descendants of Solomon’s people enjoy the blessings of theocracy today, enjoying God’s rule? The answer of God’s written Word is plain: the worship of false gods, the gods of the ancient pagan nations, worked its way into the nation of Jehovah’s favored, chosen people. This took them away from God’s rule and put them under the rule of demons exercised through the demon-worshiping pagan nations. After King Solomon’s death the nation was broken into two parts, in the year 997 B.C.E. The larger part lasted as a separate kingdom for 257 years and was finally swallowed up by the Assyrian World Power in 740 B.C.E. The smaller part continued as a kingdom, with capital at Jerusalem, under the dynasty of King David’s family, more than a century longer, until 607 B.C.E. Then the Almighty God, in fulfillment of his own prophecies, permitted the kingdom of Jerusalem to be overturned by the world power of Babylon. (2 Ki. 25:1-26; 2 Chron. 36:11-21; Ezek. 21:18-27) With that disastrous event the typical theocracy of Jehovah God in the earth went out of existence.
34. (a) Under whose rule did the restored people of God come after seventy years in Babylon? (b) When God’s Son Jesus came to earth, how was he received by the religious leaders of the Jews?
34 From that year 607 B.C.E. onward man’s rule has dominated all the earth till now. True, Jehovah God mercifully brought back his repentant remnant from exile in Babylon after seventy years of desolation of the land of Judah and Jerusalem, but he did not reestablish the typical theocracy among his restored people. They were then in subjection to the Persian World Power, until the Macedonian or Grecian World Power overthrew Persia. Finally, in the first century B.C.E., the Roman World Power took control over them, and in the days of Emperor Caesar Augustus, Jesus Christ was born in David’s town of Bethlehem and as a royal descendant of King David. (Luke 2:1-20) By his teachings, his miraculous cures even to raising the dead, and by his fulfillment of prophecies, this Jesus proved that he was the promised Messiah or Christ, and yet religious leaders of Jerusalem did not want this true Heir of King David to be their King to rule in the name of Jehovah God. They falsely accused him before the Roman governor as being a seditionist who claimed to be a king. So whose rule did they want?
35. (a) How did such religious leaders show they preferred man’s rule to God’s rule? (b) To what did man’s rule lead in the year 70 C.E.?
35 When the Roman governor asked these accusers: “Shall I impale your king?” the chief priests, who should have been theocratic, led the crowd in shouting back: “We have no king but Caesar.” (John 19:1-15) Thus they cried out for man’s rule instead of for God’s rule by his Messiah of the royal family line of David. They got it. But thirty-three years after Jesus Christ was impaled, buried and resurrected from the dead to heavenly life, they rebelled against Caesar as king. God did not help them, but man’s rule by Caesar prevailed, and in the year 70 C.E. over a million of the rebels were killed, 97,000 were carried away into slavery, and Jerusalem and her magnificent temple of worship were destroyed. All this fulfilled the prophecy of Jesus Christ, who said: “They will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations, until the appointed times of the nations are fulfilled.”—Luke 21:20-24.
MAN’S RULE UNDER SATAN’S RULE
36. For how long has man’s rule continued, and in reality whose rule has it been, and who says so?
36 Man’s rule over all the earth has continued on down to the end of those appointed times of the nations in the year 1914 C.E. Those “appointed times of the nations,” the Gentile Times, began back in 607 B.C.E. at the first destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonian World Power, which meant the overturning of the typical theocracy, the typical kingdom of Jehovah God in the hands of a royal descendant of King David. Those Gentile Times continued on after the second destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman World Power. It can be proved from God’s written Word the Bible that those Gentile Times were due to run for 2,520 years from Jerusalem’s first destruction, or until the year 1914 of our twentieth century. During all those years the world of mankind has suffered under man’s rule. It has really been Satan’s rule, for Jesus Christ pointed to Satan the Devil as “the ruler of this world,” and the Christian apostle Paul called him “the god of this system of things.” (John 12:31; 14:30; 2 Cor. 4:4) Not even the establishment of religious Christendom in the fourth century brought in the kingdom of God or God’s rule. It has been Satanic!
37. What is the state of earth’s affairs now after more than 2,520 years of man’s rule?
37 After now more than the 2,520 years of the Gentile Times, what promise does man’s rule give of peace and stability and security, prosperity and plenty, to the world of mankind? What promise has man’s rule given of fulfilling the commission given to the perfect Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden to subdue all the earth and convert it into a global paradise for mankind’s everlasting happy home? Well, after the end of the Gentile Times in 1914 man’s rule brought on two world wars and an era of violence surpassing even that of Noah’s days before the flood. Since the end of World War II in 1945 man’s rule has made this earth an arsenal for the stockpiling of atomic and nuclear bombs of frightful killing power. The problem of poverty has become tougher than ever, while at the same time the ruining of the earth rapidly proceeds.
38. What proof have we that mankind in general today has no desire for the earth to be ruled by God?
38 Does mankind in general today want God’s rule because of the difficulties and mortal dangers into which they have come? Hardly. Mankind in general fights, not only against the laws of God as set out in the Holy Bible, but also against the laws of God’s creation, which scientific men call “Nature.” In demonstration of this note what was discussed and brought out at the sessions of the American Association for the Advancement of Science as held in New York city during the last week of the year 1967. It showed the damage that man in this scientific, nuclear, space age is doing to his natural environment. The so-called “balance of nature” is being destroyed. The amount of oxygen for mankind to be breathed is being reduced. The earth’s soil and waters are being befouled for the commercial profits of modern industry. The intricate network of natural processes for the maintenance of animal and human life is being disrupted.
39. What warning was contained in a New York Times editorial entitled “Man versus Nature”?
39 One university professor said that man’s environment is being put under a stress “to the point of collapse” and that our planet earth is getting close to “a crisis which may destroy its suitability as a place for human society.” In the closing paragraph of its editorial on the subject “Man versus Nature,” the New York Times, under date of January 1, 1968, said: “Earth’s capacity to support human life is finite. If that limit is exceeded vast disasters could result—and some of those disasters may not be far off. What is implied in these discussions is a direct challenge to popular ideas about ‘progress.’ Humans can survive only if the natural environment that has produced and supported it is protected against the powerful threats that now impinge as man uses godlike powers with much less than godlike wisdom.”
40. How is it undeniably plain that man is unable to rule himself?
40 Viewed from the standpoint of the world situation today, it is becoming undeniably plain that man is unable to rule himself. He is unable to survive by his own human efforts and without the help, guidance and blessing of the God who created man and all the laws that govern man’s environment. From sheer necessity of man’s present extremity, the time has come when God simply has to take over the rule of this earth for the saving of the human race.
GOD’S TIME AT HAND!
41. (a) Besides man’s urgent necessity for God’s rulership, what else of even greater importance needs consideration? (b) Will man give up his rule of earth peacefully, and, if not, what will be necessary?
41 However, man’s urgent necessity is not alone the thing that dictates that the Almighty God and Creator must take over the rulership of all the earth by his Messianic kingdom. God’s own self-appointed time dictates that he now reestablish his rule on earth. In spite of human rulers and their political supporters who feel that man’s rule absolutely has to be carried forward in order to avoid world disaster, God as a precise Timekeeper will follow his own time clock and at the exact time he will restore theocracy, God’s rule, to this planet, over all the earth. His time is near, which is why man’s rule is about to give way to God’s rule. Man’s rule will not give way peacefully, but human rulers will continue to fight against God’s kingdom to maintain their domination of all the earth. Man’s rule will therefore have to give way under defeat and destruction brought upon it in the “war of the great day of God the Almighty” at what is called Armageddon. (Rev. 16:14, 16) God’s rule will triumph and prevail on earth forevermore.
42. (a) When did man’s uninterrupted Gentile rule of earth cease, and how can we be assured that this is so? (b) What was established in 1914 to replant God’s rule in the earth?
42 It is not mere imagination for us to say that the Gentile Times of man’s rule under Satan’s rule ended in the year 1914 C.E. This bold fact is proved by the world war beginning that year and followed by famines, pestilences, earthquakes, religious persecution and international distress and perplexity, just as foretold by Jesus Christ in his prophecy on the “conclusion of the system of things.” (Matt. 24:3-12; Luke 21:10-19) The ending of the Gentile Times in that unforgettable year meant that God’s kingdom in the hands of descendants of the royal line of King David that was overturned at Jerusalem in 607 B.C.E. was reestablished, not at earthly Jerusalem over in the Middle East, but in the heavens. Its authority was put into the hands of God’s resurrected Son, Jesus Christ, who as a man on earth was the rightful and permanent heir to the throne of King David. (Luke 1:26-37) That kingdom now rules at the “heavenly Jerusalem” far beyond any power of the Gentile nations to trample upon it. That heavenly kingdom of the Christ will be the divine means to replant God’s rule in the earth.
43. Through whom will Jehovah displace man’s rule, and what is to happen to the symbolic serpent who promoted man’s rule originally?
43 All honest persons who have lost faith in man’s rule have solid reason now to rejoice that man’s rule is about to give way to God’s rule. For over sixteen centuries Christendom has hypocritically prayed the “Lord’s prayer” but at the same time individual genuine Christians have also prayed the prayer, “Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified. Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.” (Matt. 6:9, 10) The heavenly Father will without fail answer this prayer that was taught by his own faithful Son, Jesus Christ. The taking place of God’s will here on earth as also in the heavens means that God’s rule will displace man’s rule and will be enforced over all the earth by his kingdom in which his heavenly Son Jesus Christ reigns. He primarily is the Seed of God’s woman that was promised in the garden of Eden about six thousand years ago. He, then, is the particular One that will bruise the symbolic serpent, Satan the Devil, in the head. (Gen. 3:15; Rom. 16:20) That symbolic Serpent was the One that promoted and maneuvered man’s rule in the earth ever since man rebelled in Eden.
44. (a) What parallel of survival forty-three centuries ago does a “great crowd” of earthly lovers of God’s rule look forward to today? (b) What will be their attitude under God’s rule in the new order on earth?
44 Forty-three centuries ago Noah and his family in the ark survived the end of the “world of ungodly people” through the flood. (2 Pet. 2:5; 3:5, 6) In a parallel fashion, in this generation a relatively “great crowd” of earthly lovers of God’s rule, who pray for his kingdom to come, will survive the violent end of man’s rule in the earth. Under God’s protection they will realize their hope of being preserved through the “war of the great day of God the Almighty” at Armageddon and of entering into God’s new order on earth. There they will wholeheartedly submit to God’s rule. They will not be like the faithless people of the prophet Samuel’s day and demand to have a visible, earthly, human king over them. They will rejoice in the invisible heavenly King whom Jehovah God has installed in royal power and will lovingly and faithfully obey him. Their blessings under God’s rule through this heavenly King, Jesus Christ, will be far greater than those enjoyed by the people under the reign of wise King Solomon.
45. In addition to preserving a “great crowd” through Armageddon, what else will God’s rule through his Messianic kingdom do?
45 Man’s rule today, reinforced by stockpiles of nuclear bombs, threatens to annihilate the whole human race. God’s rule through his Messianic kingdom will do more than preserve the lives of those who survive the war of Armageddon. It will restore to life on earth the unnumbered thousands of millions who died during the thousands of years of man’s rule. When a man on earth, Jesus Christ promised that there would be a resurrection of the dead for whom he laid down his perfect human life as a sacrifice. (John 5:25, 28, 29; 11:25, 26) As heavenly King he will see to it that such resurrection takes place. The wonderfulness of it all is beyond our powers to comprehend.
46. What opportunity will be offered mankind in God’s Messianic kingdom, and so in what should we now rejoice?
46 To all those granted the gracious favor of living in the paradise earth under God’s rule as enforced by his Messianic kingdom the opportunity will be offered of gaining endless life in human perfection and godliness, with perfect peace and security. Man’s rule could never bring this about. God’s rule will do so. How glad, then, we can be that man’s rule is now about to give way to God’s rule forevermore!
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ACCURATE HISTORY—HOLY BIBLE
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Solomon’s reign was accompanied by peace, security and plenty