Are You a Supporter of Divine Rulership?
IN THE various nations of the world we find many dissenters, persons dissatisfied with the form of government they are under or objecting to the way government is administered. Many are active in advocating some change, but offer only the ideas of men as a solution. They make no claim to faith in Divine Rulership.
Again, there are persons who say they realize that no man-made ideology or form of rule will succeed in solving the world’s great problems. But do they have any genuine hope? Some of them feel vaguely that God may do something someday. They believe that if they live a good life, not lying, cheating, committing adultery, or like sins, they will be ‘saved.’
Do these persons, then, truly identify themselves as supporters of Divine Rulership? Do they actually believe God’s promises concerning his Messianic Kingdom government and its coming total rulership of the earth?
The apostle Paul said: “With the heart one exercises faith for righteousness, but with the mouth one makes public declaration for salvation.” This public declaration would require an active, open identification of oneself as being a supporter of Divine Rulership.—Rom. 10:10.
Do you believe in your heart in God’s sovereignty and that he will exercise it in righteous rulership over all the earth? Do you have faith that he will actually make the earth a paradise to time indefinite, forever? Do you want to submit to and advocate his rulership?
What is included in being a supporter of Divine Rulership, and how can you thus identify yourself?
The whole picture outlining how one becomes a supporter of divine rule, what it entails, what identifying oneself as such means, and the value of doing so, is given to us in the Bible book of Ezekiel.
WHERE CAN YOU GET ‘MARKED’ AS SUPPORTING DIVINE RULERSHIP?
As mentioned in the foregoing article in this magazine, ‘marking foreheads’ was of a symbolic kind in ancient Jerusalem. The prophet Ezekiel, in vision, saw “six men” with weapons for smashing and one man “clothed with linen, with a secretary’s inkhorn at his hips.” This latter man was to search throughout Jerusalem for those “sighing and groaning” because of the God-defaming things taking place. These were ‘marked’ in their foreheads to be preserved alive when the “six men” went through the city smashing the heads of those not marked.—Ezek. 9:1-7.
No one actually went throughout Jerusalem marking people. It was done only in the vision given to Ezekiel. This indicated that the major fulfillment of the prophetic vision was to come during the time of the end, before the modern-day “Jerusalem,” namely, Christendom, is destroyed. Who, modernly, does the ‘marking’?—Rom. 15:4; 1 Cor. 10:11.
The ‘man clothed with linen’ would today be the appointed representative of the glorified King Jesus Christ. Why? Because the “kingdom of the world” has now become “the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ.” (Rev. 11:15) Christ now directs all things with regard to the Divine Rulership of Jehovah over earth. When on earth, Jesus used another term to describe the same symbolic ‘man in linen,’ calling him the “faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics.” (Matt. 24:45-47) This “slave” who acknowledges Christ as Master is not a single individual, but is a body of people, Christ’s spiritual brothers on earth. They are anointed with God’s spirit to proclaim the good news of the Kingdom. These have the spirit of God acting upon them, motivating them, and they are already ‘sealed in their foreheads’ by God through Jesus Christ. They have this seal, God’s spirit, that gives them a realization of their calling to be joint heirs with Christ. It is a “token” of their heavenly inheritance. Since they constitute the symbolic ‘man clothed with linen,’ they are appointed and sent forth on Jehovah’s authority by Christ.—Rev. 7:3, 4; Eph. 1:13, 14; Rom. 8:16, 17.
This composite body making up the symbolic secretary obviously does not mark itself. The “seal” on its own forehead designates it as God’s servant. Who, then, receives the divine commission?
BECOMING IDENTIFIED AS SUPPORTERS
The ones being marked are scattered throughout the earth in the realm of “Babylon the Great,” the world empire of false religion, particularly those in the realm of the dominant part of that religious empire, namely, in Christendom. (Rev. 17:5) They see with sorrow and disgust the immoral, unjust, unmerciful, ungodly practices taking place, particularly things falsely done under the cloak of Christianity and in the name of God. They see that Christendom’s clergy practice and condone these things. These honest-hearted people are not sorry in the same way as are others who cry out, demonstrate and revolt simply because they are not getting something they selfishly want. No, they are saddened because the things practiced are wrong.—Compare 2 Corinthians 7:10, 11.
To find these scattered ones a house-to-house search must be made. The ‘marking’—is it a getting of knowledge into their heads? It is that, and much more. Head knowledge does not always motivate people so that all can see a change in their lives. This “mark” being placed on the foreheads means it will be seen by all, just as ancient slave owners often marked their slaves in the forehead, if not also in the hand, so that their ownership was clearly recognizable. So, to identify the symbolically ‘marked’ ones, much more than knowledge must be given them. For in Christendom many persons have read and reread the Bible. Some have much knowledge. But they do not live and act as Christians. They do not support the Divine Rulership. They may outwardly have “a form of godly devotion,” but do not, either inwardly or outwardly, prove true to its power. They do not have a true faith accompanied by works in proof thereof.—2 Tim. 3:5; Jas. 2:18-26.
Therefore, if you desire to have the “mark” your heart must be reached so that you can ‘exercise faith for righteousness.’ Your entire life must be governed by Christian principles for all to see and recognize.—Rom. 10:10.
Do you have this “mark”? Or, if not, do you desire it? If so, you must listen to the good news of the Kingdom now being proclaimed. Then, after getting Bible truth into your heart you will follow the apostle’s direction “that you should be made new in the force actuating your mind, and should put on the new personality which was created according to God’s will in true righteousness and loyalty.”—Eph. 4:23, 24.
So it means that, not only is the preaching from house to house to be done and Bibles and Bible literature to be placed in the hands of those desiring to know God. Additionally, those doing the ‘marking’ must spend much time in Bible study with those they are helping to receive the “mark.” They must build ‘fire-resistant’ Christian qualities in these honest-hearted learners.—1 Cor. 3:10-15.
If you desire the “mark” you, as one being ‘marked,’ will want to associate regularly with those bearing the news of God’s rulership through his Messianic kingdom. You will also find yourself anxious to tell others about the things you have learned. They will probably be amazed at your boldness, sincerity and enthusiasm as well as the change in attitude and actions that Bible knowledge has brought about in you.
You will come to appreciate the need to follow the righteous course of full dedication of yourself to God and to be baptized in symbol of that dedication. As you carry out your dedication in devoted service to God, people will be able clearly to see the “mark,” the evidence of the Christian personality that identifies you as a slave of God and Christ.
If you are one who receives the “mark” in your forehead, of what benefit is it to you? Primarily, it identifies you as being in the Sovereign God’s service, a supporter of his Divine Rulership. You have his favor and protection. “Jehovah knows those who belong to him,” and he will deliver them. (2 Tim. 2:19; Ps. 145:20) You have prospects of living through the destruction of this present system of things into God’s new order, to live forever under Divine Rulership. The “mark” actually spares those having it from destruction, from being smashed by God’s angelic executioners during the “great tribulation.” (Matt. 24:21) This was pictured in Ezekiel’s vision by the sparing of the ‘marked’ ones in Jerusalem.
You must then keep that symbolic mark in your forehead as you share in the ‘marking’ work under the direction of God’s anointed ones. The work to be done is so great that the few anointed ones left on earth cannot personally do all the marking. To refuse to join in the ‘marking’ work would be failing to support Divine Rulership. Hundreds of thousands are grasping the opportunity to be taught, made disciples of Jesus Christ, marked themselves, and are, in turn, helping others to be marked for protection through the “great tribulation” that wipes out this system of things.—Matt. 28:19, 20.
WHEN THE ‘MARKING’ BEGAN
When did the modern-day ‘marking’ work as foreshadowed by the work of the ‘man clothed with linen’ begin? At the earliest, it began when, in its issue of August 15, 1934, The Watchtower published the article entitled “His Kindness.” Prior to this, in 1931, through the Biblical book Vindication, published by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, it had been shown to the dedicated, anointed followers of Jesus that they had the ‘marking’ work to do. In that same year they had embraced the Scriptural name “Jehovah’s witnesses,” suggested in the Bible at Isaiah 43:10-12. It was as if Jehovah were commanding them: “Pass through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem [as foreshadowing Christendom], and you must put a mark on the foreheads of the men that are sighing and groaning over all the detestable things that are being done in the midst of it.”—Ezek. 9:4.
In 1934, in the above-mentioned article “His Kindness,” Jesus’ words at John 10:16 were considered: “I have other sheep, which are not of this fold [the “little flock” of heavenly heirs]; those also I must bring, and they will listen to my voice, and they will become one flock, one shepherd.” It was first seen that the “other sheep” of the present time must be those who have dedicated themselves to God through Christ and who have symbolized that unconditional dedication by being immersed in water, like Jesus.
Why, during the three years from 1931 to 1934, was the ‘marking’ work not done? Because, prior to 1934, the work toward these persons consisted merely of imparting Bible knowledge to them. Only from 1934 on was it clearly understood that the “mark” entailed much more.
In the spring of the next year, 1935, the ‘marking’ work really began on an organized basis. At a general convention of Jehovah’s witnesses in Washington, D.C., the understanding of the “great crowd” as pictured in Revelation chapter seven was clarified. In an address on “The Great Multitude” the then president of the Watch Tower Society explained that these were not a heavenly class, as described in the first eight verses of this chapter Re 7:1-8, but, rather, were persons to whom God extends the hope of everlasting life on a paradise earth. Hundreds were powerfully moved that day to present themselves for water baptism.—Rev. 7:9-17.
THE WORK TO BE SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED
In Ezekiel’s vision the marking of foreheads came to its end. Just as surely, the modern-day ‘marking’ will successfully be completed, preparing all who exercise faith for righteousness and who make public declaration with the mouth for salvation. Ezekiel tells us: “And, look! the man clothed with the linen, at whose hips there was the inkhorn, was bringing back word, saying: ‘I have done just as you have commanded me.”’—Ezek. 9:11.
What if the man in the vision, that is, the modern-day composite “man,” should fail to carry out his commission? He would be accountable for the blood of those executed in the “great tribulation.” Jehovah made this plain to Ezekiel, who was appointed as a watchman to warn of execution of God’s judgment. The anointed ones on earth have carried out their assigned job, however. They have persisted in calling on the people, helping them to get the lifesaving Bible knowledge. This has not been easy to do, because the fiercest of opposition and persecution have been directed against them. But they take as a command Jesus’ prophetic words: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.”—Matt. 24:14.
Accordingly, when that “end” does come the ‘marking’ work will be completed. The anointed spiritual brothers of Jesus Christ yet on earth look forward to the time when they can bring back word to their heavenly Commissioner Jehovah God: “I have done just as you have commanded me.”
If you are one of the unnumbered “great crowd” you will cooperate side by side with the anointed ones. You will be a full advocate and supporter of Divine Rulership. You will see that you maintain the “mark,” which is the evidence that you are a dedicated, baptized disciple of Jesus Christ and that you have a Christlike personality that differentiates you from all hypocritical “Christians.” You will aid others to get and retain the “mark.” This will make you an integrity-keeping slave of the Almighty God, with sure prospects of entering into Jehovah’s further service in His new system of things under the Lamb Jesus Christ.