A Capital for the Universe
YOU have no doubt looked at the starry heavens and have observed their orderly and punctual movements. Then you have turned your eyes downward to the earth, with its amazing ecology. In doing so, have you not wondered if the Creator of these marvels has a center of government from which all these things are directed?
The Bible answers that he does. In fact, the Bible also tells us that, besides material creation, there are invisible “heavens,” inhabited by intelligent persons, and these are higher and more complex than the visible heavens and earth. These heavenly ones, too, are creations of God. There are myriads of angels that carry out God’s will in the universe. (Rev. 5:11; Ps. 91:11; 103:20) Jehovah God is the great Father of them all, and they constitute a family, with God as their Life-Giver. He is the Originator of the family arrangement, being spoken of as “the Father, to whom every family in heaven and on earth owes its name.”—Eph. 3:14, 15.
WHY A NEW “CAPITAL” PURPOSED BY GOD
Jehovah God has always been Head and Sovereign over his universe. But his sovereignty was challenged by a spirit creature who rebelled. This rebellious spirit was able to get supporters for his side of the issue by inducing Adam and Eve, the first human pair and the parents of all mankind, to step out independently against God. This brought about a disruption of the human family soon after its start and an eventual deterioration of the human family as a whole.—Gen. 3:1-6; John 8:44; Rev. 12:9.
For this reason, God determined upon an administration of matters according to which he would “gather all things together again in the Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth.” This administration of God would involve his setting up a kingdom in heaven that will rule over all mankind. (Eph. 1:9, 10) Since the rulers in this kingdom will be exalted to God’s own right hand, they will form a capital organization for all of God’s universe. (Eph. 1:20; Rev. 3:21) What will this capital organization be called?
THE “NEW JERUSALEM”
Logically, that capital organization is to be in heaven, in the invisible realm. It will have authority over all the created universe. But it will be under the sovereignty of the Administrator, the Most High God himself. Even though it is over all other created things, including the angels in heaven, yet it must be subject to God. For God is greater than all his universe, and his sovereignty is over all. (Ps. 29:10; 145:13) This was illustrated in the prophecy of Daniel, where a “stone” was described as being cut out of a great “mountain,” and the explanation was given that God would establish a kingdom that would break in pieces all earthly kingdoms. (Dan. 2:34, 44, 45) Jesus Christ’s kingdom, the “stone,” is here revealed as owing its existence to Jehovah’s own sovereign kingdom.
Zechariah’s prophecy gives a similar picture, showing a mountain as splitting in two, the original mountain being symbolic of Jehovah’s great sovereign kingdom over all, and the second mountain symbolizing the kingdom under Christ ruling over all the earth. In this way “Jehovah must become king over all the earth.”—Zech. 14:4, 9.
The capital organization through which universal rulership will be exercised is called in the Bible the “New Jerusalem.” (Rev. 21:2, 9, 10; 3:12) This is in harmony with the fact that God chose Jerusalem of old as capital, representing his sovereignty in ancient Israel. There kings of the line of David sat on “Jehovah’s throne” and there God’s priesthood functioned. (1 Chron. 29:23) The heavenly “New Jerusalem,” therefore, pictorially stands for God’s “royal priesthood,” the members of which are selected from among mankind to be heavenly kings. It is the Christian congregation of 144,000 sealed persons, after the members thereof have been resurrected into the heavens.—1 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 14:1, 3, 4.
HOW IT COMES TO HAVE UNIVERSAL AUTHORITY
What is there to show that the authority of the “New Jerusalem” will actually be so great as to make it the capital of the universe? Well, these 144,000 associates of Christ, comprising the “New Jerusalem,” are spirit-begotten sons of God who are not only ‘heirs of God,’ but also “joint heirs with Christ.” (Rom. 8:16-18) Christ being King, they as heirs with him will share in his ruling as King. Christ makes them, as those bought with his blood, “a kingdom and priests to our God, and they are to rule as kings over the earth.” (Rev. 5:9, 10) Furthermore, the “New Jerusalem” is the “bride” or “wife” of Jesus Christ and shares with him in the kingship that he exercises. (Rev. 21:2, 9-11; 22:17) For a thousand years they will rule as priests and kings over all mankind, the living and the dead.—Rev. 20:4, 6.
However, the apostle Peter said of the scope of Christ’s authority: “He is at God’s right hand, for he went his way to heaven; and angels and authorities and powers were made subject to him.” (1 Pet. 3:22) The apostle Paul also writes of the exalted position that God has given to Jesus Christ: “He emptied himself and took a slave’s form and came to be in the likeness of men. More than that, when he found himself in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient as far as death, yes, death on a torture stake. For this very reason also God exalted him to a superior position and kindly gave him the name that is above every other name, so that in the name of Jesus every knee should bend of those in heaven and those on earth and those under the ground, and every tongue should openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father [whose kingdom remains supreme].”—Phil. 2:7-11.
The apostle John was given a vision of the “New Jerusalem” and what its rule will mean for the earth. John wrote: “I saw also the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God and prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. With that I heard a loud voice from the throne say: ‘Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his peoples. And God himself will be with them. And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.’”—Rev. 21:2-4.
Looking further at the vision, we get a view of the city’s glory, its cleanness and beauty. John’s angelic “guide” said: “Come here, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” “So,” says John, “he carried me away in the power of the spirit to a great and lofty mountain, and he showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God and having the glory of God. Its radiance was like a most precious stone, as a jasper stone shining crystal-clear.”
John continues: “And I did not see a temple in it, for Jehovah God the Almighty is its temple, also the Lamb is. And the city has no need of the sun nor of the moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God lighted it up, and its lamp was the Lamb. And the nations will walk by means of its light . . . But anything not sacred and anyone that carries on a disgusting thing and a lie will in no way enter into it; only those written in the Lamb’s scroll of life will.”—Rev. 21:9-14, 22-27.
With Jehovah God and Jesus Christ personally present, the 144,000 who make up that “city” will not need a temple through which to approach God. These heavenly heirs with Christ will have direct access to the face of Jehovah himself. (1 John 3:2; Rev. 22:3, 4) We can be sure that this symbolic “city,” by the light of which the nations will walk, will render justice to all under its rule.—Rev. 21:24.
A thousand years of the rule of this “city” over mankind will accomplish God’s purpose to bring all things together on earth under Christ. (Rev. 20:4, 6) This will include “those under the ground,” that is, those who are dead, who will be resurrected to learn the way of righteousness. (Phil. 2:10) Christ will bring all things into harmony with God.
The apostle Paul, indicating what this thousand-year rule accomplishes, says: “Next, the end, when he hands over the kingdom to his God and Father, when he has brought to nothing all government and all authority and power. For he must rule as king until God has put all enemies under his feet. As the last enemy, death is to be brought to nothing. For God ‘subjected all things under his feet.’ But when he says that ‘all things have been subjected,’ it is evident that it is with the exception of the one who subjected all things to him. But when all things will have been subjected to him, then the Son himself will also subject himself to the One who subjected all things to him, that God may be all things to everyone.”—1 Cor. 15:24-28.
God’s special administering of affairs having accomplished its purpose, ‘all things having been gathered together again,’ the royal Son of God will then turn his authority over to the Almighty God. (Eph. 1:10) Thus the sovereignty will be Jehovah’s alone, just as it was at the beginning, when Adam and Eve were placed on earth and told to “be fruitful and become many and fill the earth and subdue it,” and to have in subjection all the animal creation. (Gen. 1:28) God will be “all things to everyone.”
Satan the Devil, who, during the thousand years was in the abyss of inactivity, will then be released for “a little while,” to provide a final test. He will attempt to turn humankind against God’s sovereignty. (Rev. 20:1-3, 7, 8) Those who faithfully support God’s sovereignty during the thousand years and through the time for the loosing of Satan will receive everlasting life, having their names written indelibly in the “book of life.” Those taking a rebellious course will be destroyed. (Rev. 20:9-15) Having been vindicated, God’s direct sovereignty will then, ever afterward, hold its proper relationship toward mankind and all the universe, to the eternal blessing of his entire family in heaven and earth.