The Kingdom of Salvation Available Today
1. To what culmination have time and the outworking of God’s purpose moved since Jesus Christ was on earth?
TIME has not stood still since Jesus was born. Time has not stood still since he died sacrificially and was resurrected and ascended to God’s right hand in the heavens. Likewise, the outworking of God’s purpose that involves Jesus Christ has not stood still. His purpose is to have Jesus Christ as Lord to take over the absolute control of earth’s inhabitants despite the efforts of human rulers to hold onto that control. The day of death of the perfect man Jesus Christ as a ransom for mankind is now long past. The time has come for him to reign in the office of King to which he was anointed with God’s holy spirit. He has waited for a long while at God’s right hand for this time to come for him to be installed as reigning King. Now his waiting period is over!
2. Concerning the Lord’s waiting at God’s right hand, what did King David prophesy, and what did the apostle Peter say, and finally Hebrews 10:12, 13?
2 Long ago King David had said under inspiration: “The utterance of Jehovah to my Lord [that is, to Christ the Lord] is: ‘Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet.’ The rod of your strength Jehovah will send out of Zion, saying: ‘Go subduing in the midst of your enemies.’” (Ps. 110:1, 2) On the festival day of Pentecost in the year 33 C.E., the Christian apostle Peter said to thousands in Jerusalem: “Let all the house of Israel know for a certainty that God made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you impaled.” (Acts 2:36) Years after, there were written to the Hebrew Christians the inspired words of Hebrews 10:12, 13: “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.” This time of waiting ended years ago.
3. (a) When did Jesus’ time of waiting in heaven end? (b) Why did Jesus not try to restore King David’s throne to Jerusalem?
3 When? In our twentieth century, in the year 1914, at the end of what Jesus Christ called “the times of the Gentiles” or “the appointed times of the nations.” He prophesied that the city of Jerusalem of his day would be destroyed and would continue to be trampled on by the Gentile nations until the end of those Gentile times for the nations to do such trampling. (Luke 21:20-24, Authorized Version; New World Translation) Even in Jesus’ days the Gentile nations as represented in the Roman World Power were trampling on what Jerusalem stood for, the kingdom of Jehovah God in the hands of the royal house of David. Before the Roman Empire, the Babylonian Empire had started the trampling by destroying Jerusalem and its temple back in 607 B.C.E., and after that the Medo-Persian Empire and then the Grecian Empire kept up the trampling until the Roman World Power took over Gentile control of Jerusalem. So Jesus Christ did not try to restore the earthly throne of King David to Jerusalem. Why should he try to do so, when he himself foretold the destruction that came upon Jerusalem by the Romans in the year 70 C.E.?
4. (a) During all those years of waiting, what was Jesus doing in heaven, and why? (b) At the end of the Gentile Times, what could Jesus expect to receive?
4 Jesus Christ knew that he was obliged to wait to become reigning king in the kingdom of God that he was preaching. Since he himself had brought up the subject of the “times of the Gentiles,” he knew that he had to wait at God’s right hand until those “appointed times of the nations” ended 1,844 years after Jerusalem’s second destruction in the year 70 C.E. He could not change God’s timing of world affairs, and he did not desire to do so. During all those years of waiting he would be serving as Jehovah’s High Priest and applying the lifesaving benefits of his ransom sacrifice to his faithful disciples on earth, as these make up his church or congregation. Why? Because these are to be made joint heirs or associate kings with him in God’s heavenly kingdom. (Heb. 3:1; 6:18, 19; 10:10-22; Rom. 8:16, 17) But when the 2,520 years of the Gentile Times ended in 1914, then was the due time for Jesus to expect to receive the Messianic kingdom. Where?
5. (a) Where was Jesus Christ to receive the Messianic kingdom and be enthroned? (b) By whom was he to be installed as King?
5 Not on earth at the site of earthly Jerusalem, which was then occupied by the Turkish Empire. But up in heaven, where the year 1914 found Jesus Christ as the Permanent Heir of the Messianic kingdom of David. He did not have to come down to earth in materialized form as a man and be enthroned and crowned as king at earthly Jerusalem in order to stop Jerusalem’s being trampled on by the Gentile nations. Why, who would install him as king there? Not the Mohammedan Turks who were then at the brink of World War I, neither the British who took old walled Jerusalem away from the Turks December 9, of 1917. No, Jesus Christ was not to be debased from God’s right hand in heaven down to an earthly material throne, to be installed therein by men. At the end of the Gentile Times around October 4/5 in 1914, Jesus Christ was in what Hebrews 12:22 calls the “city of the living God, heavenly Jerusalem,” on the heavenly Mount Zion. There was the place for the glorified Jesus Christ to be installed as king, and that by the only one who could do so, the Most High God Jehovah.
6. (a) How was the trampling on “Jerusalem” made to cease in 1914 C.E.? (b) What was then due to begin regarding the Gentile nations?
6 At that time the Gentile nations were not disposed to stop trampling on “Jerusalem,” or what Jerusalem represented. Their engaging in World War I at that time for world domination proved that fact. But Almighty God stopped their trampling of the right to rulership that belongs to the royal descendant of King David. He made that Messianic right to rulership active by installing Jesus Christ as king in the “heavenly Jerusalem.” From then on, “Jerusalem,” in its royal Messianic sense, ceased to be trampled on by the Gentile nations. Now the time had come for those Gentile nations to be placed as a stool for the feet of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. It was the time for this Messianic king to ‘go subduing in the midst of his enemies.’—Ps. 2:1-9; 110:1, 2.
7. (a) With whom are the Gentile nations, including those that celebrate Christmas, dealing? (b) What question as to destruction now poses itself, and who must make the choice thereon?
7 The Gentile nations are not now dealing with a newborn babe, whose birthday the nations of Christendom pretend to celebrate at Christmastime. They are dealing with God’s Messianic King, now installed in royal power and authorized to take action against all opposers of his reign over all the earth. This kingdom will operate for the saving of the human race, for this heavenly immortal King can give all mankind a perfect, righteous rule, whereas the Gentile nations have progressively been operating for the ultimate destruction of the human race. So the political nations must be annihilated, for the world situation as now shaping up poses the question, Either the destruction of the political nations or the destruction of the human race, which? Let God make the choice.
8. When God installed his King in the “heavenly Jerusalem” in 1914, it meant the time for what feature of Daniel’s prophecy (chapter 2) to begin to be fulfilled?
8 His installing of his Messianic King Jesus Christ in the “heavenly Jerusalem” in 1914 meant the beginning of the fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy about a “stone” that was cut out of a symbolic “mountain,” in these words: “And as for the stone that struck the image [of world powers], it became a large mountain and filled the whole earth. And in the days of those kings 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; forasmuch as you beheld that out of the mountain a stone was cut not by hands, and that it crushed the iron, the copper, the molded clay, the silver and the gold.”—Dan. 2:35, 44, 45.
9. What is that Messianic Stone near to doing, and what will that mean for this system of things, according to Jesus’ prophecy?
9 It is now fifty-six years since that royal Messianic Stone was cut out of Jehovah’s own governmental mountain at the end of the Gentile Times in 1914 C.E. That Messianic Stone is therefore now very near hitting its target, all the political governments of the entire present system of things on earth. That will mean what Daniel 12:1 calls “a time of distress such as has not been made to occur since there came to be a nation until that time.” And Jesus Christ, in his prophecy on the “conclusion of the system of things,” made it a part of a “great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world’s beginning until now, no, nor will occur again.” And to show the dangerousness of it, he went on to say: “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.
10. (a) Why are those words of Jesus good news for our human race? (b) Whom will God save alive through the coming “great tribulation”?
10 Ah, but are not these latter words of Jesus good news for us today who are facing this “time of distress”? Almighty God will not let this “great tribulation” go so far and continue on so long that “no flesh would be saved.” On account of his “chosen ones,” who are joint heirs with Jesus Christ in the heavenly kingdom, God will shorten the days. This will allow for human flesh to be saved. Thus the human race will be able to keep living upon the earth without interruption, without ever having no members of the human race alive on earth. In Noah’s day the human race was nearly wiped out, when only eight humans survived in the tremendous ark that Noah built to go through the global deluge. (Matt. 24:38, 39; 1 Pet. 3:20) Though the coming “great tribulation” will be the greatest world cataclysm of all times yet, the human race will be saved alive through it by the preserving of God’s “men of goodwill,” comparatively few though they may be.
11. (a) Under what will these saved ones then come? (b) What transformation is bound to follow upon earth?
11 What will they then come under? The kingdoms of this world, including Christendom, will have been destroyed, crushed by the Stone of God’s Messianic kingdom. In fulfillment of Daniel’s prophecy, that Royal Stone, growing to the proportions of a great mountain, will fill the whole earth. Satan the Devil, “the god of this system of things,” will have no control or place in this “mountain.” He and his demons will be both chained and confined in an abyss during the thousand-year reign of Christ. (Rev. 20:1-3, 7) Consequently, the surviving “men of goodwill” can do nothing but come under a new heavenly government, the Messianic kingdom of the Permanent Heir of King David, Jesus Christ, together with those who are joint heirs with him in the heavenly kingdom. A transformation of earthly conditions is bound to follow. A new righteous human society will be planted in it, just as after the Deluge of Noah’s day he and his family gave the human race a righteous new start. This is what the apostle Peter pointed ahead to, saying: “There are new heavens and a new earth that we are awaiting according to his promise, and in these righteousness is to dwell.”—2 Pet. 3:13.
SALVATION FOR ETERNITY
12, 13. (a) The earth will then feel the full effect of what proclamation made since 1914? (b) Those putting themselves on the side of God’s Messianic kingdom take up what thankful words of those in heaven?
12 Thus the earth will feel the full effect of the heavenly proclamation that has been made since the end of the Gentile Times in 1914, namely: “The kingdom of the world did become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will rule as king forever and ever.” (Rev. 11:15) Not in vain will people of this present generation have taken that proclamation seriously and put themselves on the side of God’s Messianic kingdom, to gain the goodwill of that incoming government. Deeply grateful for their being saved clear through the war of God’s wrath against earthly nations, they will take up the historic words of those in heaven and say:
13 “We thank you, Jehovah God, the Almighty, the one who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and begun ruling as king. But the nations became wrathful, and your own wrath came, and the appointed time for the dead to be judged, and to give their reward to your slaves the prophets and to the holy ones and to those fearing your name, the small and the great, and to bring to ruin those ruining the earth.”—Rev. 11:15-18.
14. (a) Those survivors of the great tribulation will feel already amply rewarded in what way? (b) In what condition will they not want to leave the earth, and so what will be their aim?
14 How glad God’s “men of goodwill” are going to be then that those ruiners of the earth will themselves have been brought to ruin in destruction during the “war of the great day of God the Almighty” at Har–Magedon! (Rev. 16:14-16) How glad they will be that they are among those fearing God’s name and so have served as Christian witnesses of Jehovah! They will already feel largely rewarded for fearing his name by being saved alive in the flesh through the “great tribulation,” that could never have been survived in the flesh without Jehovah’s protection! They will not be satisfied to see this earth left in any state of ruin as a result of the ruinous course of the nations. They will desire to be repairers of the earth. Paradise on earth will be their aim, for they know that that is God’s unchanged purpose as long ago stated to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. (Gen. 1:26-28) Such a paradise earth wide they will be eager to share with others, yes, with many others. With whom, then?
15. (a) With whom will the “tribulation” survivors be eager to share the Paradise earth? (b) God’s saving the human race will therefore include more than what approaching act of salvation?
15 Those who are suggested in the words of thanksgiving to Jehovah God: “Your own wrath came, and the appointed time for the dead to be judged.” Ah, “the dead”! The dead “holy ones” are, of course, raised to heavenly life to share with Jesus Christ in his kingdom over mankind. But aside from these, there are the countless human dead, including many who were fearers of God’s name, “the small and the great.” For all the human dead to be judged by a perfect, righteous heavenly Kingdom they need to be resurrected from earthly graves of the ground or water graves of the sea. Ah, yes, Jesus Christ died as a human ransom sacrifice for them all. (1 Tim. 2:5, 6) So, then, God’s purpose is to save the human race by more than saving some human flesh alive clear through the world’s “great tribulation” and into his Kingdom system of things. It is by having a resurrection of all the human dead for whom his Son Jesus Christ died as a perfect human sacrifice. Possessing all the ransom merit or value of that sacrifice, he can serve in heaven as God’s High Priest and extend to resurrected mankind the benefits of his sacrifice.
16. Those then resurrected from the dead will include what individual, because of Jesus’ promise to that one?
16 Among the dead who are to be resurrected will be the sympathetic evildoer who died on a stake alongside Jesus Christ. Remember how he said to Jesus who had a sign posted over his head, “This is the king of the Jews,” these words of hope: “Jesus, remember me when you get into your kingdom.” And, despite the contrary indications of that day, Jesus said to him: “Truly I tell you today, You will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:38-43) Then when Jesus will have come into his kingdom and begun restoring Paradise on earth, he must make good those words to that evildoer.
EARTHLY REPRESENTATIVES OF THE HEAVENLY KINGDOM
17, 18. (a) How will the appointment of human visible representatives of the Messianic kingdom differ from the coming to power of human rulers now? (b) Jesus’ authorization to appoint visible representatives of his kingdom then is stated in Psalm 45 in what words?
17 Former kings, emperors, presidents, governors and dictators on being resurrected may not expect to take over automatically and resume ruling over their onetime subjects or fellow citizens. The old system of things under the Satanic “god of this system of things” is no longer in operation. God’s new system of things under his Messianic kingdom of the heavens is fully established over all the earth. Of necessity, it will have organization of all those on earth, not, however, according to national, tribal or racial divisions of today. All earthly subjects of the Kingdom will be treated and organized as one human race, one human family, all of one flesh, and all equally ransomed by the one sacrifice of the Ransomer Jesus Christ. His invisible heavenly Kingdom will have visible, human representatives on earth, not of the people’s choice, but of his choice and appointment. His obligation and authorization to do so are set out in prophetic Psalm 45:6, 7, 16, in these words:
18 “The scepter of your kingship is a scepter of uprightness. You have loved righteousness and you hate wickedness. That is why God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of exultation more than your partners. In place of your forefathers there will come to be your sons, whom you will appoint as princes in all the earth.”—Heb. 1:7-9.
19. (a) What type of rule will then hold sway? (b) to whom will visible representatives be answerable for conduct in office?
19 Nationalistic and democratic rule will be a thing of the disappointing, disillusioning past. Theocratic rule will hold sway. This will result in a unified, harmonious, just and peaceful rule. Those appointed representatives will answer for their conduct in office, not to the people, but to God’s anointed King, Jesus Christ. This One will rule in faithful expression of his foretold titles, “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace,” sustaining his peaceful government “by means of justice and by means of righteousness, from now on and to time indefinite.”—Isa. 9:6, 7.
20. How will the meaning of his title “Eternal Father” be carried out?
20 How meaningful his title is, “Eternal Father”! This is a divine guarantee that his godly government will be one imparting life—eternal life—to its subjects. His is a fatherly government, and his ransomed subjects become his children to feed, cure and heal them and to lift them up to human perfection so as to prove worthy to live eternally in earth’s paradise. Thus he can be their Eternal Father and they can be his eternal children.
21. (a) Thus, to what extent does God save the human race? (b) With what will God crown his course of saving of the human race in the Kingdom way?
21 How all this magnifies the fact that God’s saving of the human race in the Kingdom way is not a saving of our race to a renewal of life on earth temporarily. It is a saving of the human race to a never-ceasing eternity of happy godly living in a paradise home on earth. Never again will Jehovah God permit the human race to be threatened, apparently, with violent destruction. Man is here on earth to stay, and not to make an exit from this earth at any time. Never will the human race, then raised to perfection in an earthly Paradise, be lost to this terrestrial planet. Almighty God Jehovah will crown his Kingdom way of saving the human race with never-fading success, with imperishable good results. All this is good news indeed from the most reliable source. Tell out this good news far and wide. Let all those who hear you and believe lay hold of this true hope and live henceforth as God’s “men of goodwill.”