Rulers for the People’s Interests
DO YOU feel that the rulers of earth have cared for the interests of the people they serve? Undoubtedly, some have tried. But those who do try usually find that corruption in their own government nullifies their efforts, so that the people’s interests are neglected. This has been true ever since the days of Nimrod, some four thousand years ago.
Can an improvement be made? Can rulers be found who can and will serve the interests of all their subjects? Where would you look?
There is one authoritative place to look. That is the Bible. Do you have faith in what it says? Do you believe in God? Do you believe his promise to provide a government that will rule for the good of the people, and do you believe that he can select rulers that will really serve the people’s interests?
IDENTIFYING THE CHIEF RULER
If you have read the Bible, you know it says that God will provide a righteous Ruler, a Messiah or anointed King, as Chief Ruler, along with associate rulers. If you believe this, then, whether you are Jew or Gentile, you cannot escape the conclusion that the Chief Ruler has already been made manifest and can unmistakably be identified as Jesus Christ. How so? Because it is impossible for anyone else to fulfill the requirements. How can this be said with such certainty?
Well, consider the facts. The Bible, in the Hebrew Scriptures, set forth certain rigid qualifications for the one to be the Messiah, the anointed King that would rule the earth in righteousness for a thousand years. Among these requirements, he was to sit on the “throne of David.” (Isa. 9:6, 7; Jer. 33:20, 21; Acts 2:29, 30) He had to be a natural heir of King David of the tribe of Judah. And he had to be of the kingly line, inheriting the kingly right, which was in the hands of David’s posterity through his son and successor King Solomon.
Does Jesus Christ have proof of this from genealogical records? Yes, he does. He was of the tribe of Judah and the lineage of David by natural birth through his mother, who descended through David’s son Nathan. (Luke 3:23-38) And he had the legal right transferred to him through his foster-father Joseph, who was from David through King Solomon. (Matt. 1:1-17) Details of this genealogy are a matter of public record in the Bible. Only the Bible record of this lineage remains. There are absolutely no other records of David’s descendants extant, because these were destroyed when the Roman army desolated Jerusalem and burned its temple in 70 C.E. All public records, all archives, were wiped out. No one since then can possibly trace his own ancestry back to David. Since God’s purpose cannot fail, this means that Jesus Christ is undeniably the Messiah, the King chosen by God.
How do we know that the record of Jesus’ line of descent is accurate? Because those records that appear in Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38 agreed with (and were likely taken from) the official public registers of that day, which were open to all to examine. This explains why the learned men of the Jews, the scribes and Pharisees and the Sadducees, who bitterly opposed Jesus, never uttered one breath of challenge of this genealogy. It is of interest, too, that no Gentile enemy of Christianity, among which were astute men, made any criticism of Jesus’ genealogy until after 70 C.E. Of course, they could make lying assertions then because no one could check the public registers for himself to detect their false claims.
There is therefore no reason to question that Jesus Christ is the One designated by God to rule this earth as King for a thousand years. We have to accept this if we profess to believe the Bible. And his life course proves he will be a Ruler, not seeking his own interests, but looking after the people’s interests in harmony with the will of God. But what about his associate rulers, his entire governmental organization? For the Bible does speak of kingly associates of Christ “bought from among mankind.” It numbers them as 144,000, who “will be priests of God and of the Christ, and will rule as kings with him for the thousand years.”—Rev. 14:1, 4; 20:6.
These kings will not be successors of Jesus Christ, either in priesthood or in kingship. He is the King. The 144,000 are associate kings under his direction. Christ is immortal; he lives forever. (1 Tim. 6:16; Heb. 7:24) There is certainly nothing to fear from the rulership of Jesus Christ, who gave his life in behalf of mankind. And likewise there is nothing about which to be uneasy as to the rulership of the 144,000 who were once ordinary men and women. God himself long ago arranged for this government because of his own love for mankind. How do we know?
Well, the apostle Paul wrote to fellow Kingdom heirs: “Now we know that God makes all his works cooperate together for the good of those who love God, those who are the ones called according to his purpose; because those whom he gave his first recognition he also foreordained to be patterned after the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. Moreover, those whom he foreordained are the ones he also called; and those whom he called are the ones he also declared to be righteous.”—Rom. 8:28-30.
When man rebelled against God in the Garden of Eden, God was concerned about the government for a new system of things over mankind. Therefore he gave “first recognition” to this governmental class and expressed it when he pronounced sentence against “the original serpent,” Satan the Devil, saying: “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; Rev. 12:9.
Jesus Christ is the principal one mentioned in this prophecy, but his 144,000 associates are also associated with him in the bruising of the Serpent’s head, as the apostle Paul indicated when he wrote to fellow Christians: “The God who gives peace will crush Satan under your feet shortly.”—Rom. 16:20.
ARE THE ASSOCIATE RULERS TRUSTWORTHY?
As to being able to trust the associate rulers of Christ, note this comforting statement: “Those whom he gave his first recognition he also foreordained to be patterned after the image of his Son.” (Rom. 8:29) This assures that they will be righteous, trustworthy rulers, even as the Son is. While on earth they make over their personalities by the help of God’s holy spirit. (Eph. 4:22-24) As brothers of Christ, they are not divided among themselves when on earth, and when he resurrects them to the heavens Jehovah will make them righteous as perfect spirit persons in harmony with their righteous personality.—1 Cor. 1:10.
Jesus revealed the principle by which his associate rulers will operate when he corrected a wrong spirit in his apostles, saying: “The kings of the nations lord it over them, and those having authority over them are called Benefactors. You, though, are not to be that way. But let him that is the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the one acting as chief as the one ministering. For which one is greater, the one reclining at the table or the one ministering? Is it not the one reclining at the table? But I am in your midst as the one ministering.”—Luke 22:24-27.
These associates, while on earth, have received their training for rulership by serving as ambassadors for God’s kingdom to the people. They follow their Leader, Christ, who served as direct Ambassador from God to the people. He came to earth, not with a political mission, but to do what no political ruler can do or has done, namely, to reconcile people of all nations to God, to bring them back into peaceful, friendly relations with the great Life-Giver, Jehovah.—Rom. 5:8-11.
Doing the same work as Christ did, these associate rulers can say: “We are therefore ambassadors substituting for Christ, as though God were making entreaty through us. As substitutes for Christ we beg: ‘Become reconciled to God.’”—2 Cor. 5:20.
A NONPOLITICAL WORK TODAY
As such ambassadors they do not go to the political nations, trying to bring about the reconciliation of a whole nation at once, neither do they meddle in political affairs. Rather, they go directly to the people—to individuals. But they do not try to turn individuals toward any earthly ruler, or seek to win them over to any political ideology. They confess: “Our citizenship exists in the heavens, from which place also we are eagerly waiting for a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 3:20) They appeal to people to look to the kingdom of God for relief. Accordingly, if they should get involved in the affairs of this world, taking part in political activities, holding office or voting, they would lose their status as ambassadors and brothers of Christ, and would never attain to heavenly rulership with him.
Today we see nationalism growing in all countries. More and more is pressure exerted upon people to render worship to the “wild beast,” this world’s human political organization under the influence and control of Satan the Devil. (Rev. 13:1, 2, 11, 12) But the Kingdom ambassadors and prospective rulers with Christ do not worship this “wild beast,” knowing that it will soon be destroyed, cleared out of the way, so that the Kingdom can have full sway over earth for a thousand years. (Rev. 19:19-21; Dan. 2:44) Still, they respect the governments of earth as long as God allows these governments to remain. This is because they respect the responsible positions the rulers hold and the power and opportunity they have to do good toward their subjects.
These “ambassadors” therefore follow God’s command at Romans 13:1-7 to show “subjection to the superior authorities” of this world, paying their taxes and obeying the laws of the nations. Only when the rulers go so far as to make or execute laws that clash with the laws and rulings of the Most High God do these Christians refuse obedience. This they do on the principle and after the pattern set by the apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ when before the Supreme Court in Jerusalem. When told to stop preaching the good news of the Kingdom, thereby forsaking their God-ordained ambassadorship, they replied: “We must obey God as ruler rather than men.”—Acts 5:29.
The 144,000 faithful ones will therefore carry none of the political uncleanness of this self-seeking world into the heavenly kingdom of the Christ. They have undergone severe trials and testings on earth and have stood firm for God’s sovereignty and for his kingdom, preaching its coming blessings to the people. Of them, it is stated: “These are the ones that did not defile themselves with women; in fact, they are virgins.” (Rev. 14:4) Yes, they are faithful to Christ, not adulteresses, as some were warned by the disciple James: “Adulteresses, do you not know that the friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever, therefore, wants to be a friend of the world is constituting himself an enemy of God.”—Jas. 4:4.
Also of these associate rulers, it is stated: “No falsehood was found in their mouths; they are without blemish.” (Rev. 14:5) Today falsehood is almost considered “stock in trade” for political rulers. This has brought about much corruption and has ruined their credibility among the people. But Christ’s associate rulers cannot follow this pattern and be approved by Christ. They are proved truthtellers. All these statements about them, inspired by God himself, give absolute assurance that they are not interested in their own aggrandizement and glory (in fact, as heavenly rulers they could desire no material thing from their subjects), but are concerned with the people’s interests and everlasting welfare.
Individuals who want life as subjects of that righteous kingdom, on hearing what these “ambassadors” of God say, must do more than give mere mental assent, merely waiting for the Kingdom to crush this world’s system of things. Action motivated by the heart is required. All who believe that God will provide mankind with rulers for the people’s interests must support the work of these “ambassadors” by sharing with others the good news of the Kingdom. It is a lifesaving activity that no sincere believer in God can shun.
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THE HEAVENLY GOVERNMENT
JESUS CHRIST King over all the earth for a thousand years. He proved his love for mankind by laying down his life for them.
144,000 ASSOCIATE RULERS Their integrity to God is fully tested on earth. In heaven, God patterns them after the image of his own Son.