Divine Rulership—Are We for It or Against It?
1. (a) After the Flood, how did human rulership begin to be organized? (b) How had Satan’s power for rulership over mankind been reinforced, and what evidence do we have for the existence of demons in history since then?
ALL THE facts today go to prove that mankind does not favor divine rulership. This is because within less than two centuries after the Flood human rulership began to be organized by human leaders in opposition to Jehovah God. Notoriously prominent in this was Nimrod, the builder of Babylon and the Tower of Babel. (Gen. 10:8-12; 11:1-9) By doing this, they were bringing the majority of mankind, not merely under oppressive, imperfect rulership, but also under Satanic rulership. The power of Satan the Devil was now reinforced by those other “sons of God” who had turned against God’s sovereignty and had intermarried with the daughters of men. These, like Satan the Devil, had made demons of themselves. The materialistically minded people of today who smile at Satan the Devil and his demons as being mythical figures and figments of the imagination cannot rub out the record of all ancient history. The ancient records, in writing and in temples and other religious ruins, all testify that the ancient nations worshiped demons and were influenced by them. Demons are! They do exist!
2, 3. (a) Information from which authoritative source is more important than such historical evidence, and how does it speak of the demons? (b) What advice did Paul write to the Ephesians against the demons?
2 More importantly than that, the Book of sacred truth, the inspired Bible, gives us definite information regarding these demons and their leader, Satan the Devil. That Book warns us against the machinations, the crafty schemes and sly designs, of those malicious, invisible spirit persons, who are not of blood and flesh. The people today, even those in Christendom, do not take seriously the advice that the Christian apostle Paul wrote for all Christians in his letter to the congregation of Ephesus, saying:
3 “Put on the complete suit of armor from God that you may be able to stand firm against the machinations of the Devil; because we have a wrestling, not against blood and flesh, but against the governments, against the authorities, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the wicked spirit forces in the heavenly places.”—Eph. 6:11, 12.
4. (a) What do those words mean as to Satan’s organizing activity, and so what do Jesus and Paul call Satan? (b) How do human rulers react on being classed with such company, and yet who put them there?
4 Do we get the sense of this? This means that Satan the Devil has an invisible, superhuman organization. It means that he has organized the wicked spirit forces in the heavenly places into “governments,” into “authorities,” into “world rulers of this darkness.” This unseen organized power is mightier than the communist bloc of nations with its vast military strength; it is mightier than the rich democratic bloc of nations with all their military might. Jesus Christ, who ought to know, called the Devil, Satan, “the ruler of this world.” The Christian apostle Paul called Satan “the god of this system of things.” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; 2 Cor. 4:4) The earthly governments might want to muzzle us for saying this as downgrading to them, but we are merely quoting what Jesus Christ and his apostle Paul say on the pages of the Holy Bible. They do not like to have it pointed out from God’s Word that they are in such company, but we did not put them there. But, if they are not in favor of divine rulership by Jehovah God, where else can they find themselves?
HOW DIVINE RULERSHIP IS NOW REPRESENTED
5. (a) Through whom is divine rulership expressed today? (b) In Jesus’ days on earth, what was the issue that faced the people, and what problem did they have to solve?
5 How is divine rulership expressed today, that we may know whether we are for it or against it? Divine rulership is now exercised through the kingdom of his faithful heavenly Son, Jesus Christ. Like ancient Job of the land of Uz, Jesus Christ as a perfect man of blood and flesh on earth endured the greatest of tests at the hands of Satan the Devil and his human agencies on earth. He thereby proved his absolutely unbreakable integrity to Jehovah God as the Divine Ruler. Job did not die at the hands of Satan the Devil. But Jesus Christ died a cruel death at the hands of Satan’s crowd on earth. This took place outside the walls of Jerusalem. The inhabitants of Jerusalem and of the Roman provinces of Judea and Galilee were involved. For these religiously devout people the issue that then faced them was, Divine rulership through the Messiah of Jehovah God. The big problem that those people who were looking for Jehovah’s Messiah had to solve was this: Is Jesus the descendant of King David the long-promised Messiah or not?
6. (a) How did what Jesus said and did compare with what the people expected the true Messiah to do? (b) To whom did the people look for solving their Messianic problem, and on what charge did they turn Jesus over to a pagan governor?
6 From the time of his baptism in the Jordan River by John the Baptist until his death three and a half years later, the things that Jesus said and the miracles that he did, the people who entertained the Messianic hope never expected the Messiah or Christ to say and do. They expected merely that the Messiah would liberate them from Gentile or non-Jewish rule and make their land a prosperous country and their nation the leading nation on earth to which the Gentile nations would flock. The problem was not merely a governmental one but also largely a religious one. The people looked to their religious leaders to direct them in solving the problem. These leaders made the decision for the vast majority of the people. They considered Jesus a blasphemer against God, a false Christ. Yet, not to be blocked in having him killed, they turned Jesus over to the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate. On what charge? On the charge of being a seditionist, claiming to be a king, not the king of the Roman Empire, but their king, the King of the Jewish nation. So they pretended to be befriending the Roman Empire, to be protecting its interests, even though pagan.
7. (a) Whom did the people before Pontius Pilate pretend to be befriending, to the discredit of Pilate? (b) By thus doing, the people were taking what stand as regards divine rulership, according to James 4:4?
7 When Governor Pilate expressed himself in favor of letting Jesus go free as not deserving of death, the people led by their chief priests pictured themselves as being friends of Tiberius Caesar whereas Governor Pilate was not his friend. The Bible record tells us: “Pilate kept on seeking how to release him. But the Jews shouted, saying: ‘If you release this man, you are not a friend of Caesar. Every man making himself a king speaks against Caesar.”’ Thus the issue was being made a political one, and those people were speaking and acting in favor of being friends—of God or of pagan Caesar? Of a divine Ruler or of a human ruler? They could not be friends of God and of Caesar at the same time, even if they claimed that Jesus was a false Messiah or Christ. We have to abide by the inspired rule, as written at Jerusalem some years later: “Are you not aware that the world’s intimacy means God’s hostility? Whoever, therefore, wants to be a friend of the world renders himself an enemy of God.” (Jas. 4:4, H. J. Schonfield, 1955) So, in trying to befriend pagan Caesar on this issue of the Messiah or Christ, were those religious people showing themselves friends of divine rulership?
8. How did the people then show themselves to be in favor of pagan human rule as against divine rulership?
8 Finally the people brought the issue to a settlement, when they cried out for Jesus to be impaled, and Pilate objected, saying: “Shall I impale your king?” Here they positively rejected Jesus as the Messianic king, for, according to the record, “the chief priests answered: ‘We have no king but Caesar.”’ (John 19:12-15) Nobody can deny that here they made a choice of pagan human rulership. Unavoidably this put them against divine rulership.
9. (a) In proof that Jesus was the Messiah, what did God do on the third day? (b) Now, at the right time, who is being presented to all the world as the Messianic King, and what kind of rulership is his?
9 All the recorded facts show that Jesus fulfilled the Bible prophecies concerning the promised Messiah or Christ. That is why Almighty God resurrected him from the dead on the third day and exalted him to His own right hand in heaven. He is now the heavenly Messiah or Christ. (Acts 1:1 to 2:36; 13:26-39; 1 Pet. 3:18-22) And now, nineteen centuries later, just as Governor Pilate presented the Messiah to the Passover celebrators in Jerusalem in the year 33 C.E., so today the Most High God Jehovah is presenting his Messiah or Christ to the whole world of mankind. It is the time for this. The long time period mentioned as “the times of the Gentiles” or “the appointed times of the nations” ended in the fourteenth year of our twentieth century, the year that was marked by the outbreak of World War I. (Luke 21:24; Dan. 4:16, 23, 25) The kingdom of the royal house of King David that was overturned by the pagan armies of Babylon in 607 B.C.E. has now been reestablished, not on earth as a human rulership, but in the heavens in the hands of the true Messiah, the Christ of the Lord God Almighty Jehovah.
10. (a) Since 1914 C.E., what words do we hear by faith sounding from heaven about the kingdom of the world? (b) How has Christendom by world wars and by membership in the United Nations shown herself to be in favor of human rulership?
10 By faith our ears can hear, since 1914 C.E., the voices in heaven loudly saying the words recorded in the last book of the Bible: “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) That “kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ” does not mean Christendom—absolutely not! It means the heavenly royal government of the Messiah or Christ who has been anointed by the Lord God Jehovah to act for Him in ruling all peoples of the earth. According to her religious name, Christendom should be for that Messianic kingdom of God, but is she? After the end of the Gentile Times in 1914, did Christendom fight for that Messianic kingdom of the heavens, or was it for world domination by human rulership? Look at the League of Nations and the present-day United Nations, both of which Christendom introduced and promoted and keeps going today. Do those organizations stand for divine rulership by means of the Messianic kingdom of the heavens or stand for human rulership? What do the more than half of the members of the United Nations that do not profess to be Christian nations say in answer? They say: ‘No! The United Nations organization does not stand for divine rulership by means of a heavenly Messianic kingdom! It stands for human rulership of all the earth. We humans are going to rule it by our self-chosen forms of government.’ Logically, then, Christendom, by belonging to the United Nations, is for human (not divine) rulership.
WHAT IT MEANS TO BE FOR DIVINE RULERSHIP
11. As regards her course since the end of World War I in 1918, why is Christendom not excusable on the grounds of ignorance, and so may people look to her for right guidance as to choice of rulership?
11 Christendom has belied her name, and there is no excuse for it. Ever since that critical year 1914, and particularly since the end of World War I in 1918, God’s Messianic kingdom as a government established in the heavens has been proclaimed. This has come as a fulfillment of the words of Jesus Christ about the sign by which the “conclusion of the system of things” would be recognized, namely: “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) Christendom’s awareness of this preaching of such “good news” is proved by the fact that she has objected to it, even to the point of persecuting and proscribing the preachers of such “good news.” Consequently, Christendom’s choice of human rulership along with the non-Christian governments of the earth was not made in ignorance and without the possession of the Holy Bible. In view of this, mankind cannot safely look to Christendom to guide them in making the right choice, any more than Jews could look to their priests and rabbis nineteen centuries ago.
12. What is the all-important issue today, and why is the choice so urgent today for us to make?
12 The all-important issue today is, not Communism or capitalistic democracy—which shall rule? for these are both merely forms of human rulership. Rather, it is: Human rulership by men who are imperfect, sinful, dying and out of harmony with Jehovah God, or divine rulership by the Messianic kingdom of the resurrected Jesus, the Lamb of God who died sacrificially for all mankind? Today the choice is more urgent to make than it was nineteen hundred years ago when Jesus Christ was presented by Governor Pilate to the crowd of Passover celebrators in Jerusalem. We today stand very near the end of the “conclusion of the system of things.” Human rulership by imperfect, sinful, dying humans is about to be removed from the face of the earth in mankind’s greatest “tribulation” foretold in the prophetic Bible.
13. Why does it do one no good to further oppose divine rulership, and what now makes the matter all the more serious for opposers?
13 It does us no good, and it will result in no success, for us to oppose and be against divine rulership. The rulership by the Almighty Controller of the tremendous “establishment” of which our earth is a tiny particle will come in anyhow and take over the entire earth. What makes the matter so serious is that those today who continue to be, not for, but against divine rulership, will be destroyed as enemies in the tribulation with which this system of things ends.—Matt. 24:21, 22; Dan. 2:44.
14. (a) Choice of human rulership means choice of what other rulership also, and what will happen to this latter rulership? (b) Choice of eternal divine rulership does not mean what as to our attitude toward present human governments and institutions?
14 Let us not overlook this distasteful fact: The choice for human rulership means at one and the same time a choice for Satanic rulership, the continued rule of mankind by the “god of this system of things.” After the destruction of this human system of things, Jehovah God by his Messiah will put Satan the Devil and his legions of demons out of their invisible domination of mankind on earth. (Rev. 20:1-3) So, are we going to choose what is to be destroyed after just a little while longer? How much wiser it is in this crucial hour to choose that which will be eternal—divine rulership! Being for divine rulership now before the coming “great tribulation” does not mean that we are going to be violent revolutionists and try to overturn present political governments and other human institutions forcibly. No, for Jehovah God strictly forbids his Christian witnesses on earth to do so. (Rom. 12:17 to 13:7) Rather than choose to lift a violent hand against the human governments that God has permitted to exist till now, they will meekly continue to suffer vicious persecution at the hands of human political rulers.
15. (a) By enduring such unjust suffering without resentment, what will they maintain, just as Job and Jesus did? (b) What do they seek first, and what do they have to preach, for how long?
15 By enduring such unjust suffering without feeling resentment against Almighty God who permits it, they keep their integrity toward Him, just as patient Job and the Lord Jesus Christ did, always enjoying a clean conscience toward God and toward man. (Acts 23:1; 1 Pet. 2:19, 20) To show where they stand and the choice that they have made, they seek first the kingdom of their heavenly Father and His righteousness rather than meddling in human politics and taking sides therein. The Divine Ruler has given them the “good news of the kingdom” to preach everywhere. This is what they obediently do until God himself by Jesus the Messiah puts that divine government in full, undisputed power and control over all the earth.—Matt. 6:33; 24:14.
16, 17. (a) What will Jehovah God do for those who take that loyal course? (b) What is Jehovah examining all human hearts now to determine, and to what words of David will those respond who choose life in His Messianic order?
16 Those who take this course are the ones whom the Universal Sovereign Lord Jehovah will preserve through the approaching “great tribulation” and into His righteous new order with its Paradise earth. As he now examines human hearts, he looks to us to show by word of mouth and unhypocritical action what choice we have made as to rulership. Are we for divine rulership over all the earth as well as in heaven, or are we against it? The Divine Ruler chooses for life in his Messianic new order those who respond to the inspired words of King David, who sat on “Jehovah’s throne” in Jerusalem:
17 “Jehovah himself has firmly established his throne in the very heavens; and over everything his own kingship has held domination. Bless Jehovah, O you angels of his, mighty in power, carrying out his word, by listening to the voice of his word. Bless Jehovah, all you armies of his, you ministers of his, doing his will. Bless Jehovah, all you his works, in all places of his domination. Bless Jehovah, O my soul.”—Ps. 103:19-22.
18. In the light of those words of the psalmist, how do we answer the question on the issue of rulership?
18 Divine rulership by Jehovah God through Jesus Christ—Are we for it or against it? With all of Jehovah’s angels, mighty in power, with all his heavenly armies, with all his ministers, doing his will, we firmly answer, We are for Divine Rulership both now and forevermore!
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When the Jews rejected Jesus as their king in favor of Caesar, they chose human rulership. Today Jehovah presents his Messiah to all mankind; which choice will you make?