“The Kingdom of Our Lord and of His Christ” Takes Over
1. When will the 144,000 spirit-begotten disciples of Christ cease to be subjects on earth of his spiritual kingdom?
WE ARE all interested in the governing factors of our incoming world government. In course of time all 144,000 of Christ’s faithful spirit-begotten disciples will be numbered among those governing factors. Then they will no longer be earthly subjects of a spiritual kingdom of Christ, but they will be kings with him in heaven. This prospect agrees with the words of Revelation 5:9, 10, addressed to Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God: “With your blood you bought persons for God out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and you made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God, and they are to rule as kings over the earth.”
2. The governing factors of the incoming world rulership will therefore have their roots of extraction in what section of mankind?
2 Notice, please! That inspired statement does not say that the sacrificed Lamb of God bought persons for God out of the 12 tribes of the one nation of Israel that spoke the Hebrew tongue. Not just persons who were bought out of that small Jewish nation will make up the ruling factors of our incoming world government. The governing factors of that world rulership will not have their roots in just the fleshly nation of Israel, even though the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, was himself a Hebrew-speaking Jew or Israelite, when a perfect man on earth. As he is now in heaven, he is to be known no more according to the flesh that he sacrificed. (2 Cor. 5:16) In harmony with this he will have associated with him in the world government persons whom he bought “out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation.”
3. The ruling factors will thus have an interest in whom on earth, and why?
3 Thus the ruling factors will have an international extraction. Naturally, for this reason, they will have an interest in all members of the human family regardless of color, race, tribe, nation or language. This is just as it should be, inasmuch as the Lamb of God died for all mankind, not for just one people or nation.
4. The citizenry of all the nations are really the property of whom, and why?
4 Today the political governments consider their citizens to be the property of the State. In this way such governments push God the Creator and his sacrificed Son Jesus Christ out of the realm of property rights. But shortly in the heavenly Court of Divine Justice it will be established that the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, was slaughtered here on earth for those who make up the citizenry of all nations. So by right of purchase they all belong to him, and not to any man or men. They are Christ’s property, yes, also the property of his heavenly Father, Jehovah God. So this purchase does not limit itself to just the 144,000 who will be kings with Christ in the heavenly government. We must have the broad view of the Son of God that John the Baptizer had, when he pointed to the baptized Jesus and said: “See, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world!” Yes, of the world.—John 1:29.
5. How extensive will the incoming royal government be, and whom will the Messianic King have as his subjects?
5 In full harmony with that fact, the incoming royal government will be global, earth wide. With reference to the Messianic Ruler, the prophecy of Zechariah 9:10 says: “He [the Prince of Peace] will actually speak peace to the nations; and his rulership will be from sea to sea and from the [Euphrates] River to the ends of the earth.” In corresponding language the prophecy of Psalm 72:7, 8 declares: “In his days the righteous one will sprout, and the abundance of peace until the moon is no more. And he will have subjects from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.” Christendom is no fulfillment of that prophecy, even though she assumes to be Christ’s kingdom and today claims to have nearly 1,000 million church members, these, however, being of many sects and denominations, all around the earth. The nations professing to be Christian have been the most peace-disturbing political entities of human society. They have not proved themselves to be the united subjects of the Prince of Peace, Christ.—Isa. 9:6.
6. How did the nations of Christendom prove themselves to be no subjects of the Prince of Peace?
6 Were they not the ones that caused world peace to be shattered by global war in the years 1914-1918? Twenty or more participants of the 28 nations and empires that finally got involved in the war claimed to be Christian. Over what issue did they go to war? It was the issue of world domination. No, not world domination for Jesus Christ, but world domination for whoever was to win the global conflict. But World War I did not settle the issue to a finality. Twenty-one years later they started to fight it out on a greater scale. And now, more than 32 years after World War II ended, the issue of world domination is not settled to the satisfaction of worldly nations. The political situation is building up to a third violent resort to arms globally.
7. Worldly nations that put their own sovereignty foremost have pushed aside what announcement made to them by Jehovah’s Christian witnesses?
7 Till now the nations that have put their national sovereignty foremost have brushed aside what Jehovah’s Christian witnesses have been proclaiming to them even in the face of cruel persecution. Proclaiming what? This: that early in the autumn of the war-racked year of 1914 their lease on world rulership without the interference of God’s kingdom expired. Or, to use the language of the prophecy of Jesus Christ, “the times of the Gentiles,” “the appointed times of the nations,” expired. Then the time fixed by the Sovereign of the universe, Jehovah God, arrived for him to set up “the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ.” He brought to birth the kingdom of his Christ, not at Jerusalem over in the Middle East, but up in heaven at his own right hand. (Luke 21:24, Authorized Version; New World Translation) Because this took place up in heaven, it was invisible to us. But the evidences of it are before our eyes in the things that Jesus Christ foretold for a visible “sign” to us.—Matt., chaps. 24 and 25; Mark 13:3-37; Luke 21:5-36.
ENTER “THE KINGDOM OF OUR LORD AND OF HIS CHRIST”
8. Since when was the “sign” readable, and the time for what announcement did it indicate?
8 How many of us have noticed that “sign” and read its meaning as it has unfolded before our eyes since the end of the Gentile Times in 1914? It indicates that then was the due time for loud voices in heaven to proclaim: “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.
9. How does this “kingdom” compare with that mentioned in Colossians 1:13, and who is said to do the ruling as king in it?
9 Let us listen to that proclamation again and notice what it says. Not, ‘and they will rule as kings forever and ever,’ but, “and he will rule as king forever and ever.” Who, then, is the One that is said to do the ruling as king forever and ever? He must be the leading one spoken of in the proclamation, the one who has a Christ or Anointed One. He must be the one spoken of as “our Lord.” The one who is called in heaven “our Lord” is the Principal One, and “his Christ” is the secondary one, the subsidiary one. Hence, the government is termed “the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ,” and is something of greater proportions and bigger dimensions than “the kingdom of the Son of his love,” spoken of in Colossians 1:13, the apostle Paul mentioning such a kingdom about 35 years before John wrote the Revelation. So at the taking over of the “kingdom of the world” it is Jehovah God who really starts reigning. He is “the Lord of the earth.”—Rev. 11:4; Zech. 14:3-9.
10. So this marks the start of what for the “King of eternity”?
10 That the foregoing is the correct application of the expression “our Lord” is supported by what the 24 elders said as they worshiped before the divine throne: “We thank you, Jehovah God, the Almighty, the One who is and who was, because you have taken your great power and begun ruling as king.” (Rev. 11:16, 17) So this marks the start of a special period in the universal rulership of God, “the King of eternity.”—1 Tim. 1:17; Rev. 15:8.
11. The symbolic male child born by God’s “woman” plays what kind of role, but who, basically, exercises the kingship?
11 The kingship of Jehovah God is what is exalted even in what is said in connection with the birth of an offspring by God’s heavenly “woman.” The offspring is pictured as a male child, “who is to shepherd all the nations with an iron rod.” That doubtless means that the symbolic male child is to break all the political nations of the earth to pieces as when smashing clay pottery. So it has a governmental role to fulfill. But who, basically, wields the kingly power? This is spelled out for us in the words: “And her child was caught away to God and to his throne.”—Rev. 12:1-5.
12. Who is it that enthrones the symbolic male child, and accordingly, thereafter, who is said to have the kingdom, and to whom is authority given?
12 God is the One who enthrones this symbolic male child. God is the Source of all rightful rulership. The symbolic child is given a position subsidiary to God’s kingship. As a governmental agency of God it is spoken of as something brand new, as fresh as a newly born baby, not as something that had already been in existence since Pentecost of 33 C.E. Accordingly, when war breaks out in heaven after the birth of this symbolic male child and finally the victory is won, Satan and his demons being ousted, a loud voice in heaven is heard to say: “Now have come to pass the salvation and the power and the kingdom [of whom?] of our God and the authority of his Christ, because the accuser of our brothers has been hurled down.” (Rev. 12:7-10) Thus again the kingdom is said to be that of our God. He is the One who really does the reigning, and his Christ or Anointed One, Jesus, gets “authority” to rule in a secondary way under the Lord God.
13. At the close of the Gentile Times in 1914, what was at issue with respect to Jehovah, and how had this been expressed much earlier toward our earth?
13 There is a sound Scriptural reason why matters are stated in this way, with emphasis on the kingship of Jehovah God. It is His universal sovereignty that is at issue when there occurs the take-over of the “kingdom of the world” at the close of the Gentile Times in 1914. Two thousand five hundred and twenty years before that Jehovah had had a kingdom in the earth that represented him in the midst of the Gentile nations. That was the kingdom of the royal house of David at Jerusalem. David and his royal successors were said to sit on “Jehovah’s throne” at the capital city of the nation. (1 Chron. 29:23) Shortly before his death David made a generous contribution to the building of a temple to Jehovah and at that time he said: “Yours is the kingdom, O Jehovah, the One also lifting yourself up as head over all.” (1 Chron. 29:11) Thus the kingdom of the royal house of David was an expression of the universal sovereignty of Jehovah God toward the earth.
14. Despite God’s everlasting covenant with David for a kingdom, what interruption occurred in the occupancy of the throne by David’s descendants?
14 In harmony with God’s covenant with King David for an everlasting rulership, the royal house of David continued to occupy “Jehovah’s throne” at Jerusalem until the summer of 607 B.C.E. At that tragic time the Babylonian armies captured Jerusalem and destroyed it, and King Zedekiah was deported to Babylon as an exile. The complete desolation of the land of Judah followed, by the middle of the seventh lunar month, Tishri, of that year. Although the exiled Jewish survivors were restored to Jerusalem and the land of Judah 70 years later, “Jehovah’s throne” was not reestablished at Jerusalem, to be occupied by a descendant of David with the royal right to the crown and the scepter. Why not?
15. How was the interruption of Jehovah’s sovereignty toward our earth pictured in a dream of King Nebuchadnezzar?
15 It was because now, since the desolating of the land of Judah in the year 607 B.C.E., the Gentile Times had set in and were due to run for 2,520 years, or until 1914 C.E. Jehovah’s sovereignty toward this earth was like the lofty tree seen in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. That tree was chopped down, only its rootstock being left in the ground. “Seven times” were ordained to pass over the tree stump before any tree growth could spring up from it. For that reason bands of iron and copper were fastened around the tree stump, to stay there till the “seven times” were finished. (Dan. chap. four) True to this picture, at the end of “seven times” of unimpeded Gentile domination of the earth Jehovah’s universal sovereignty was to express itself again toward our earth.
16, 17. (a) At that marked time, what kingdom would be due to become Jehovah’s possession, and what proclamation would fittingly be made? (b) At the destruction of Babylon the Great, what is to be announced in confirmation of Jehovah’s rulership?
16 At that marked time in God’s schedule of events the occasion would call for ‘the kingdom of the world to become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ.’ (Rev. 11:15) Valid reason that would be for tremendous joy on the part of all those in heaven and on earth who had prayed for God to assert once again his full sovereignty toward our earth, where the Gentile powers had held world domination for so long. Then, and not at the pouring out of holy spirit on Pentecost of 33 C.E., the proclamation of Psalm 97:1, 9 would be due to be made: “Jehovah himself has become king! Let the earth be joyful. Let the many islands rejoice. For you, O Jehovah, are the Most High over all the earth; you are very high in your ascent over all other gods.” (Also, Psalm 99:1.) Later on, the destruction of Babylon the Great (the world empire of false religion) would confirm Jehovah’s kingship. With a Hallelujah the cry will ring out:
17 “Praise Jah, you people, because Jehovah our God, the Almighty, has begun to rule as king.”—Rev. 19:6.
18. Who then takes to himself his power to rule as king, and what gift does he make to his Son?
18 These proclamations put in bold relief the fact that it is the Sovereign Lord Jehovah who takes up reigning again toward our earth at the close of the “seven times” of Gentile domination. It is He who takes his great power to himself and takes over “the kingdom of the world.” (Rev. 11:15-17) Then he gives to his Son, Jesus Christ, a share in “the kingdom of the world.” Thus “his Christ” shares in something that he never had before, as a gift from the Sovereign Lord Jehovah. This is just the gift that He promised to make. It was about the time that he was going to overthrow and bring to ruin the kingdom of David’s royal line at Jerusalem. To the last reigning descendant of King David, he then said: “Remove the turban, and lift off the crown. This will not be the same. . . . A ruin, a ruin, a ruin I shall make it. As for this also, it will certainly become no one’s until he comes who has the legal right, and I must give it to him.”—Ezek. 21:25-27.
19. According to Jesus’ own prophecy at Luke 21:24, why could he not be given that to which he gained the “legal right” even at Pentecost of 33 C.E.?
19 Jesus Christ proved to be the one “who has the legal right,” by his faithfulness in the flesh to the death. He is David’s Permanent Heir. But the thing to which he has the “legal right” was not given to him in 33 C.E., after he ascended to heaven. Forty-four days before his ascension he gave his prophecy as recorded in Luke 21:5-36. In this he foretold the destruction that was to come to the then existing Jerusalem, which did come at the hands of the Roman legions in 70 C.E., and with regard to that he said: “They [the Jews] will fall by the edge of the sword and be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations, until the appointed times of the nations are fulfilled.” (Luke 21:24) So in 33 C.E. he could not be given that to which he had gained the “legal right,” not even at Pentecost of that year.
20. According to Ezekiel 21:25-27, to what did Jesus gain the “legal right,” and what only could David bequeath to Jesus as his Permanent Heir?
20 That to which Jesus Christ gained the “legal right” was the Davidic kingdom, an earthly kingdom, the “turban” and “crown” of which had been worn by David and his royal successors. (Ezek. 21:25-27) As a perfect human, Jesus was born into the royal family of David, which naturally put him in line for the Davidic kingdom. (Rom. 1:3, 4; Luke 1:32, 33) Since David was an earthly king, he could not bequeath to Jesus Christ anything more than he himself had had, an earthly kingdom. The angel Gabriel told Jesus’ earthly mother, the virgin Jewess Mary, that God would give him “the throne of David his father.” Was this kingdom given to Jesus in 33 C.E., when he ascended back to heaven and sat down at God’s right hand? David’s kingdom had been overthrown in 607 B.C.E., to continue inoperative for the “seven times” of Gentile world domination, or, for 2,520 years from 607 B.C.E.—Acts 1:6.
21. So, before Jesus could exercise his right to David’s kingdom, he had to wait for God to take what action?
21 So, before the glorified Jesus Christ could exercise the rights of David’s earthly kingdom, he had to wait at God’s right hand until the Gentile Times ended in 1914 C.E. (Heb. 10:12, 13) He had to wait until Jehovah God took to himself his “great power” as Universal Sovereign and brought to an end the Gentile Times and assumed “the kingdom of the world.” Then God could invite Jesus, as the Permanent Heir of King David, to share with Him in the “kingdom of the world,” a kingdom over all mankind on earth.—Rev. 11:15.
22. Thus when was the new kingdom brought forth, and how was this pictured in Bible prophecies?
22 Thus in 1914, not in 33 C.E., the symbolic “stone” seen in King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream was cut out of the great mountain that pictured Jehovah’s universal sovereignty. (Dan. 2:34, 35, 44, 45) It was at that time also that Jehovah God planted his “feet” upon the symbolic “mountain of the olive trees” and it split in the middle to form two mountains, one toward the north and the other to the south. (Zech. 14:4, 9) This corresponds with the birth of the male child by God’s heavenly “woman,” as pictured in Revelation 12:1-5. In this way a new “kingdom” was brought forth, a new expression of God’s sovereignty toward our earth. God then put his King-Designate on the throne to exercise his “legal right.” The symbolic bands of copper and iron were removed from around the “rootstock” of God’s interrupted sovereignty toward our earth. The prescribed “seven times” had now passed over the rootstock.—Dan. 4:23, 26.
[Picture on page 22]
As the 144,000 joint heirs are selected from among “every tribe,” they will naturally have an interest in all members of the human family