God’s Agents for Uniting All Things Are Succeeding
1, 2. (a) Why is there need for a unification work within the congregational “body” of the Christ? (b) For that purpose, what has God through Christ bestowed upon the congregation?
THE 144,000 who will form the cooperative body under the “head,” Jesus Christ, are taken “out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation” of mankind. (Rev. 5:9, 10) So, since the members of the congregational “body” on earth are drawn from such widely differing sources, there ought to be a great need for a unification work among them, to have them all hold to the one “head,” the glorified Jesus Christ. To carry on this unification work God provided “gifts in the form of men.” (Ps. 68:18) The apostle Paul points to the glorified Jesus Christ as the one whom God used to bestow these human “gifts” upon the congregation on earth for the purpose of unification, saying:
2 “The very one [namely, Jesus Christ] that descended is also the one that ascended far above all the heavens, that he might give fullness to all things. And he gave some [gifts] as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelizers, some as shepherds and teachers, with a view to the readjustment of the holy ones, for ministerial work, for the building up of the body of the Christ, until we all attain to the oneness in the faith and in the accurate knowledge of the Son of God, . . . speaking the truth, let us by love grow up in all things into him who is the head, Christ.”—Eph. 4:8-15.
3, 4. (a) Why could Christendom not be that “body of the Christ”? (b) Because of the fruitage she has borne, what will happen to her?
3 Christendom makes the claim that she is this “body of the Christ.” But how could such a thing ever be? For after more than sixteen centuries of operation she has ingloriously failed to attain to such Christian unity. She is split a thousand ways, by religious sects, all teaching different conflicting doctrines. She is not one religious “body,” not one church. Her separate religious sects are not the separate or individual branches in the Christ’s “vine.” (John 15:1-8) This is true in spite of Christendom’s World Council of Churches. Christendom’s religion has proved to be one of the most divisive forces in human experience. On this account her record has been a gory one, stinking with human blood.
4 This is not the fruitage of true Christianity. Jesus Christ said: “A good tree cannot bear worthless fruit, neither can a rotten tree produce fine fruit. Every tree not producing fine fruit gets cut down and thrown into the fire. Really, then, by their fruits you will recognize those men.” (Matt. 7:18-20) As a rotten tree, Christendom is bound to get cut down shortly and destroyed as if consumed by fire. She will not fare any better than the other members of religious Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion.—Rev. 17:1 through 18:8.
5. What must we say as to whether, because of Christendom’s state, God’s purpose to have a unified congregation has failed?
5 What, then? Has God’s purpose to have a unified congregation that is gathered together in one under the Head Jesus Christ failed? No! Christendom’s unbiblical plans for the future are failing, but not so God’s purpose. He is not depending upon Christendom to furnish the members of the heavenly kingdom, which God will use in administering earthly affairs for the unity of mankind. All of those who want to be God’s people He tells to get out of Christendom and out of all the rest of Babylon the Great. (Rev. 18:4) Christendom is not the way into the privileges of the Messianic kingdom of God. The things that she practices debar her from any part in the uniting work by that heavenly government. The apostle Paul goes on to say to members of God’s true Christian congregation: “You know this, recognizing it for yourselves, that no fornicator or unclean person or greedy person—which means being an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of the Christ and of God.”—Eph. 5:5.
6. In spite of opposition by Babylon the Great, what does God now have in unity on earth, and theirs is a gathering of what kind of things?
6 In spite of all the opposition of Christendom and other members of Babylon the Great, yes, in spite of Satan the Devil and his demons with whom God’s true people have a struggle, God has now on earth his remnant, the final ones who are in line to have a part in God’s administering of human affairs through Jesus Christ, their Head. In spite of coming from various races and nations, they are a united congregation, all of them holding unitedly to the one invisible heavenly Head, Jesus Christ. Thus, in their case, God has ‘gathered together again in the Christ’ the “things in the heavens,” inasmuch as even now God has “seated [them] together in the heavenly places in union with Christ Jesus” and they are also heirs of the heavenly Kingdom.—Eph. 1:10; 2:6.
7. What prophetic command of Christ is the remnant carrying out, and who are now associating with the remnant?
7 Since the end of the Gentile Times in the year 1914 they have unitedly been acting upon Jesus’ prophetic command: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; [after which] the end will come.” (Matt. 24:14) Associated with this remnant of Christ’s congregational body are hundreds of thousands of dedicated worshipers of Jehovah God who have obeyed His command to come out of Babylon the Great. (Rev. 7:9-17) All together they are known world wide as Jehovah’s Christian witnesses.
“ADMINISTRATION AT THE FULL LIMIT OF THE APPOINTED TIMES”
8, 9. (a) The time has neared for action by what against what? (b) According to Galatians 4:4, when did God send to earth the one who was to be his Chief Servant in the administration?
8 By all indications from the world’s conditions and from the fulfillment of Bible prophecies, the foretold “end” of this system of things should be near. For sixty years now the prospective members of the Messianic kingdom, together with a “great crowd” of loyal helpers, have been preaching “this good news of the kingdom.” God will not have this preaching of his established Messianic kingdom go on indefinitely. He has his marked time for this heavenly kingdom to go into destructive action against this doomed system of things. The new government that God purposed to attend to the affairs of all mankind must shortly take over. Almost two thousand years ago God sent the one appointed to be his Chief Servant in the administration to the earth to prove his worthiness. He was born into the world as the rightful heir of King David. On this we read:
9 “When the full limit of the time arrived, God sent forth his Son, who came to be out of a woman and who came to be under law, that he might release by purchase those [Jews] under law, that we, in turn, might receive the adoption as sons. Now because you are sons, God has sent forth the spirit of his Son into our hearts and it cries out: ‘Abba, Father!’”—Gal. 4:4-6.
10. At what time did the gathering work begin in its first stage, and why?
10 When God’s Son Jesus Christ was glorified in heaven and founded the Christian congregation at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost of 33 C.E., the “administration at the full limit of the appointed times” started operation in its first stage, the most essential stage. The congregation of those who were to be associates in the unifying work with Jesus Christ in the heavens had to be gathered and unified under its Head, God’s Chief Servant. In this way “the things in the heavens,” the things destined for the heavens, would be ‘gathered together again in the Christ,’ so that the “body” used by God in his administration might be complete.—Eph. 1:9-11.
11, 12. (a) When did the due time arrive for the second feature of God’s “administration,” namely, the gathering together in the Christ of “the things on the earth”? (b) From then onward the second stage of the gathering work went into operation under whose “administration”?
11 However, according to God’s purpose, the due time must come for the second feature of his “administration,” namely, to ‘gather together again in the Christ’ “the things on the earth.” This time arrived when the Gentile Times came to their fulfillment in autumn of the year 1914 C.E. There the time came for the Messianic Kingdom rule as formerly exercised by King David over in the Middle East to be reinstated, not in earthly Jerusalem, but in the heavens.
12 In heaven, at God’s right hand, was where the permanent Heir of King David was now located, namely, the Lord Jesus Christ. Then it was that Jehovah installed this heavenly Heir of King David on the throne, with royal power not just over the territory of ancient Israel but over all the earth, over all mankind for whom Jesus Christ had died as a perfect human sacrifice. Thereby the Kingdom of the Messiah went into operation. At that time, in a culminating way, the “full limit of the appointed times” had been reached when the “administration” that God was conducting ‘should gather together again in the Christ’ the estranged “things on the earth.” This would be the second stage of the gathering or uniting work according to God’s purpose.
13. In view of unification failures on a large scale since 1914, what must go in its entirety?
13 In 1914 World War I broke out, dividing the world into two opposing economic, political camps. The postwar League of Nations failed to unify mankind. Now the United Nations continues to fail in unifying mankind. It was Christendom, the most powerful religious organization on earth, that failed to prevent two world wars, and, till now, she has failed to unify mankind in true peace and security. Not just these political and religious organizations will have to go, but the whole man-made system of things. It will go completely in the coming “great tribulation” such as mankind has never before experienced.—Matt. 24:21, 22.
14. What is the only means for the salvation of the human race, and what kind of prospects now lie ahead of mankind?
14 The only means of salvation for us humans is the heavenly Messianic kingdom, which God purposed ever since our first parents, Adam and Eve, sinned in the Garden of Eden and disunited themselves from God their Creator. (Gen. 3:15; Rom. 16:20) Now that the “full limit of the appointed times” has been reached in a complete sense, we find ourselves in a day with the finest of prospects ahead!
FINAL UNIFICATION UNDER GOD’S ADMINISTRATION
15. Who on earth today are hailing the Kingdom, and how are they showing where they stand as to rulership?
15 Shortly there will be completed the full membership of the heavenly Kingdom, the 144,000 Kingdom heirs under their Head, Jesus Christ. God’s unchanged purpose with regard to this Messianic kingdom will succeed, with glory, honor and vindication for Himself. Already a crowd of people from everywhere on earth discern that God has put the Kingdom in heavenly power, and they hail it joyfully and with loyal devotion. This crowd is already great, but it is still increasing as “this good news of the kingdom” continues to be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations. (Matt. 24:14) To prove where they now stand, they wholeheartedly join the still surviving remnant of Kingdom heirs in this preaching and in giving this worldwide witness.
16. So why may it be said that the work of gathering together the things on the earth under Christ has begun?
16 The last book of the Bible envisions this “great crowd” as giving their first attention to the heavenly throne of Jehovah God and to his Chief Servant used in his administration and crying out gratefully: “Salvation we owe to our God, who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb.” (Rev. 7:9, 10) Although this “great crowd” is made up of people from all nations, tribes, peoples and tongues, they seek to be unified under God’s Chief Servant, Jesus Christ. They are at unity with the Kingdom remnant and are at unity among themselves. Unitedly they worship God at his spiritual temple and render to him sacred service day and night. So it may be said that, already, in this unified “great crowd,” the work of ‘gathering all the things on earth’ together in Christ has begun, in accord with God’s “administration.” What a reassuring token of things soon to come!—Rev. 7:14-17.
17. What will this “great crowd” survive, and why will Satan and his demons be unable to interfere with their restoring of Paradise?
17 The last book of the Bible also gives assurance that this “great crowd” of worshipers of the one living and true God will come out of the “great tribulation” as survivors of this world calamity with which the whole earthly man-made system of things will be brought to an end as a complete failure. The thrilling task of transforming all the earth into a Paradise garden will stretch out before them. Satan the Devil and his spirit demons will be unable to interfere with this peaceful beautification work, for they will be bound and isolated in an abyss from which they cannot interfere with what goes on here on earth. Protectively over the “great crowd” on earth there will be the heavenly Messianic kingdom with authority to regulate earth’s affairs for a thousand years.—Rev. 20:1-6.
18. (a) For the gathering together again of all the “things on the earth” into unity under Christ, what will be required? (b) How will the resisters of the unification be dealt with?
18 Thus God’s new order on earth will start off with a unified human society. But the unification work of the heavenly Messianic kingdom will not then be over. Throughout the millennium of its reign over the earth there must take place the miraculous resurrection of the human dead for whom Jesus Christ died as a ransom sacrifice. (1 Tim. 2:5, 6; John 1:29, 36) These billions of resurrected humans will all have to be brought together into a unity under Jesus Christ, the Chief Servant in God’s “administration.” The ultimate purpose of this is to bring about at length their unification with the Universal Sovereign, Jehovah God. This will require the uplifting of all the obedient ones of mankind to the human perfection such as Adam and Eve had at their creation in the Garden of Eden. All the disobedient resisters of such unification, yes, too, Satan and his demons, will be destroyed everlastingly, never again to be disturbers of the peace.—Rev. 20:7-15; Acts 24:15.
19. With what are we comforted today, and to the success of what do we look forward, with blessings in store?
19 All honor to the Supreme Administrator, Jehovah God! He not only purposes but also faithfully fulfills his purpose. Let us all take courage, then! Although we see all human plans for earth’s administration disastrously failing today, we are comforted with the blessed knowledge of God’s all-excellent purpose. Confidently we look forward to seeing and experiencing the success of God’s purpose. Forever we expect to enjoy the endless blessings therefrom!