What the King Does for Us
“His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”—Isa. 9:6.
1, 2. What conflicting feelings do people have when they see the bad situation in the world?
IT IS difficult for imperfect humans to see why God has allowed the same imperfect conditions to go on for more than 1,900 years since Jesus Christ was on earth. They say, ‘Why haven’t things moved faster?’ Then, when they view the tangle that the world is in, they often say, ‘I don’t see how it can ever be straightened out.’ As we examine the program for the King of God’s government we can understand the seeming delay, and may even marvel at what it will accomplish in a relatively short time.
2 In the previous article we have seen that Jesus was transferred from heavenly spirit life to human life, to give that human life as a sacrifice, thus qualifying as mankind’s High Priest. His obedient course on earth also qualified him to be King. How will he fulfill those offices for the benefit of the human race?
3 By his ransom sacrifice paid to Jehovah God, the Owner of all things, Jesus Christ owns the human race, to deal with each one according to God’s righteous purpose, until he eventually rehabilitates all obedient ones, completely reconciling them with God. (John 5:22) It was God’s arrangement, so that the human race might be lifted out of sin and brought back into his righteous family. In this way God maintained his absolute righteousness while helping mankind.—Rom. 3:23-26.
4. (a) What did Christ do after his resurrection, and what does he become to obedient persons? (b) How does the writer of the book of Hebrews show that Jesus’ testing assures us of the tenderest, most considerate help?
4 Christ ascended into the heavens after his resurrection, to present the value of his sacrifice to God, just as Israel’s high priest, every year on the Day of Atonement, had sprinkled a little of the blood of animals in the Most Holy of the temple, where God dwelt representatively. Christ becomes to those who are obedient “the last Adam,” the “Eternal Father” who can regenerate them to life. (1 Cor. 15:45; Isa. 9:6) The testing that he underwent on earth assures us of the tenderest, most considerate and understanding help, as it is written:
“Seeing, therefore, that we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold onto our confessing of him. For we have as high priest, not one who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tested in all respects like ourselves, but without sin. Let us, therefore, approach with freeness of speech to the throne of undeserved kindness, that we may obtain mercy and find undeserved kindness for help at the right time.”—Heb. 4:14-16.
CAN HUMAN PERFECTION BE ATTAINED?
5. (a) Christ’s completely perfect, sin-free life proved what to us? (b) What does his sacrifice and priesthood accomplish for his 144,000 associates?
5 Christ’s righteous life gained for him God’s favorable decree that he had maintained perfect obedience, completely free from sin, free from entertaining even a wrong thought. This provides proof that, with His help, anyone can maintain integrity and gain God’s smile of approval. (Rom. 5:18, 19) On reaching perfection, a man can maintain the same perfect sinless obedience. What a great work Christ’s life, his sacrifice and his priesthood accomplish! He aids 144,000 others to be kings and priests with him, and to bless humankind through their work, under Christ’s direction, of applying to mankind the benefits coming from his propitiatory sacrifice.
6. (a) What is the death that, as the last enemy, is to be brought to nothing? (b) How and when will death be destroyed?
6 The Kingdom with its priesthood finally abolishes the death that has plagued all humankind, a death that they inherited because of their father Adam’s sin. (Rom. 5:12) At the end of the Kingdom’s thousand-year rule, at the time when all obedient ones will have been given the fullness of life in perfection, this death from Adam will be declared to have been destroyed. For the Bible tells us that all other obstacles to man’s happiness—wicked governments, all opposers of God’s righteous sovereignty, all things contrary to man’s welfare—will be destroyed. Then, “as the last enemy, death is to be brought to nothing.”—1 Cor. 15:25, 26.
WHY GOD HAS PERMITTED WICKEDNESS
7. What do the Kingdom promises guarantee, and what question in connection with this needs answering?
7 The promises, then, concerning the Kingdom’s accomplishments in man’s behalf, are a guarantee that God does not condone sin, wickedness, imperfection and their deadly results, and that he will completely do away with them forever. This question about God’s permission of wickedness for a long period of time has perplexed many honest, inquiring persons. And, indeed, this is a major issue before all creation. To understand God’s purposes and the work of the Kingdom, it is essential to understand this issue.
8. What is the great issue that is before the universe?
8 The issue is one of sovereignty—-God’s sovereignty or rulership—not as to whether God is sovereign. This is a fact. (Ps. 90:2; Acts 4:24) But a challenge has been made with regard to the rightness, deservedness and righteousness of Jehovah’s sovereignty. It is because of this issue that God has allowed wickedness to exist for a limited time.
9. With what quality did God create the first human creatures, and does this quality make them imperfect?
9 God’s permission of wickedness all revolves around the fact that God made the first human creatures in his image and likeness. (Gen. 1:26, 27) Men are free moral agents. They can make a choice to do good or bad. They are not robots “programmed” to do only good. Adam and Eve, as such intelligent persons, were perfect in this regard. To create them unable to make moral choices and decisions would leave them incomplete, with something lacking. God would not withhold the freedom of decision as to choice of right and wrong from a rational creature made in his image. For this very reason he gave them a conscience.—Rom. 2:15.
10. How did the course of Adam and Eve challenge God’s sovereignty?
10 Adam and Eve’s decision to disobey God’s command was a challenge to his sovereignty. Eve wanted to ‘know,’ that is, to judge or determine all matters for herself, “to be like God.” Adam joined her in this act of proudly asserting complete self-sufficiency and independence. (Gen. 3:5, 6, 22) Both, in effect, refused to recognize their status as created persons. They showed no love or appreciation for what God had done for them and assumed prerogatives that belonged only to God as Creator and Owner of the earth, Sustainer of life and Universal Sovereign.
11. Who really was behind Adam and Eve in challenging God’s sovereignty, and how is this shown to us in the book of Job?
11 In this haughty move Adam and Eve were prompted and abetted by a spirit son of God, an angel who rebelled. (Gen. 3:1-5; John 8:44) He challenged Jehovah’s rule, claiming that the basis for His rulership and the obedience of His creatures was selfishness or fear, not love. Later, in the case of a faithful servant of God named Job, the challenge was plainly stated. The inspired writer (Moses) draws back the curtain of invisibility to reveal a heavenly scene for our enlightenment:
“Afterward it came to be the day when the sons of the true God entered to take their station before Jehovah, and Satan also proceeded to enter right among them to take his station before Jehovah. . . . And Jehovah went on to say to Satan: ‘Have you set your heart upon my servant Job . . . ? . . .’ But Satan answered Jehovah and said: ‘Skin in behalf of skin, and everything that a man has he will give in behalf of his soul. For a change, thrust out your hand, please, and touch as far as his bone and his flesh and see whether he will not curse you to your very face.’”—Job 2:1-5.
12. (a) How did man’s integrity become a subsidiary issue, and why did God permit Satan to continue to operate for a time? (b) What does the writer of Hebrews show that Christ accomplished toward Satan and his works?
12 So Satan (meaning “adversary,” “resister”) challenged the deservedness of God’s sovereignty and also raised as a subsidiary issue man’s integrity to God. God’s rule is not an arbitrary dictatorship. For man’s sake, by allowing men to show their faithfulness, and also for the sake of his hosts of angels, so that such an issue might be forever settled in their minds, God permitted Satan to continue for a limited time as an “outlaw.” Adam’s offspring, being sinful, could be influenced by this wicked one, so that Satan became “the god of this system of things.” (2 Cor. 4:4) But God has sentenced him to death and he is soon to be destroyed, all his works being brought to nothing. (Gen. 3:15) Of his Destroyer Jesus Christ, we read:
“Therefore, since the ‘young children’ [Christ’s disciples] are sharers of blood and flesh, he also similarly partook of the same things, that through his death he might bring to nothing the one having the means to cause death, that is, the Devil [meaning “slanderer”]; and that he might emancipate all those who for fear of death were subject to slavery all through their lives.”—Heb. 2:14, 15.
Again, it is stated: “For this purpose the Son of God was made manifest, namely, to break up the works of the Devil.”—1 John 3:8.
13. How did Jesus show that he had settled the issue of integrity by his life course? (John 12:31)
13 Jesus’ perfect obedience to God proved and settled the issue of integrity forever, with no help needed from other humans. Jesus, before his death, said: “The ruler of the world is coming. And he has no hold on me.” (John 14:30) Jesus “conquered the world” under its god Satan. Other faithful persons before and since have shared in serving for this issue, with help from God and his Son. These will be used by Christ to help others during his 1,000-year rule over earth.—John 16:33.
14, 15. How do the apostle Peter’s words at 2 Peter 3:9 show that God is not slow or uncaring?
14 Some may count God “permissive” or slow and uncaring. But the apostle Peter refutes this thought, saying: “Jehovah is not slow respecting his promise, as some people consider slowness, but he is patient with you because he does not desire any to be destroyed but desires all to attain to repentance.”—2 Pet. 3:9.
15 From Peter’s words we see that God cares. His allowing time gives all of us opportunity to hear the truth. But, of course, millions are being born each month, and many have died. So Peter’s words point out that God knows what is best, not just for the generation now alive, but for all, the living and those to be resurrected. And he knows the exact time to intervene as to human affairs and to bring the present system of things to a conclusion to make way for the thousand-year reign of Christ, during which the entire world will be judged “in righteousness.” (Acts 17:31; Rev. 20:11-15) Thus the greatest number of people—actually all who want to do right—can be saved to everlasting life.—Rev. 20:7-10, 15.
WHAT COMES AT THE END OF THE 1,000-YEAR KINGDOM RULE?
16. To what status does the Kingdom bring mankind? (Rev. 21:3)
16 The thousand-year rule of the Kingdom over all earth’s affairs will be a most happy time for the human race. Then, at the end of the thousand years, the Kingdom will come to its conclusion, having accomplished God’s will “as in heaven, also upon earth.” (Matt. 6:10) With Adamic sin and its consequent death erased, all humans will then stand in perfection, no longer needing the priestly services of the Kingdom. God then can fully accept them into his clean, perfect family as “children of God.”—Rom. 8:21.
17. What does Jesus Christ do at the end of the thousand years, and for what reason?
17 At the end of the thousand years Christ, who in love and loyalty toward his Father Jehovah is “the same yesterday and today, and forever,” acknowledges before all creation the everlasting sovereignty of Jehovah God, as the Bible reveals: “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. . . . 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.” God’s sovereignty stands alone, supreme, vindicated, now being directly exercised over all his creation.—Heb. 13:8; 1 Cor. 15:24-28.
18. Does Jehovah have further marvelous things in store for Christ and his 144,000 associates after the thousand-year reign is finished?
18 Of course, Christ will always be acknowledged and honored for his great work and will be Honorary High Priest and King. As the great Rewarder, Jehovah’s further relationships to Christ and his 144,000 heavenly associates and his assignments to them will be expressions of his great love for them. (Heb. 6:10) The Bible does not reveal the things that he has in store for them, but what he has already done has been grand.
“God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love with which he loved us, made us alive together with the Christ . . . and he raised us up together and seated us together in the heavenly places in union with Christ Jesus, that in the coming systems of things there might be demonstrated the surpassing riches of his undeserved kindness in his graciousness toward us in union with Christ Jesus.”—Eph. 2:4-7.
19. Why does a person need to understand the things that we have just studied?
19 All these things are involved in the good news, and an understanding and appreciation of them is essential to one who wants to serve God acceptably, and to proclaim the good news to others.