Loyalty to “the Kingdom of Our Lord and of His Christ”
“I shall have affection for you, O Jehovah my strength. With someone loyal you will act in loyalty.”—Psalm 18:1, 25.
1. (a) How did David respond to Jehovah’s loyalty? (b) What recognition did David make, right up until old age?
IN LOYALTY Jehovah was the One who raised up David to the throne over all Israel. That was in the year 1070 B.C.E. In appreciation of this divine loving-kindness, the enthroned David constantly acknowledged God as his King, hence the Supreme King over Israel. Particularly with reference to David’s distant descendant the Messiah, God said: “I, even I, have installed my king upon Zion, my holy mountain.” (Psalm 2:6) In recognition of the real heavenly Ruler, David said: “Do pay attention to the sound of my cry for help, O my King and my God, because to you I pray. O Jehovah, in the morning you will hear my voice.” (Psalm 5:1-3) When, in his old age, he turned over the throne to his son Solomon, David prayed to God before all the assembly of Israel and said: “Yours is the kingdom, O Jehovah, the One also lifting yourself up as head over all. The riches and the glory are on account of you, and you are dominating everything.”—1 Chronicles 29:11, 12.
2. (a) What age-old issue should we today acknowledge? (b) What crucial question must we now answer individually?
2 That all-important fact that King David publicly acknowledged so long ago is what we human creatures, who are not kings, should likewise acknowledge without shame. The exercising of the universal domination, or sovereignty, by Jehovah God is the age-old issue taught in the Holy Bible. It is the divine legal case now before all peoples and nations for final determination. It is in these last days that a final settlement of this issue must be made before all heaven and earth. Victory and vindication come to Jehovah, proving beyond doubt his universal sovereignty, his kingship. The crucial question before all of us is, Who will now maintain loyalty to Jehovah’s kingdom? How we now stand on this matter bears upon our gaining everlasting life or suffering eternal destruction!
3. What catastrophe occurred in 607 B.C.E., but why did this not show disloyalty on Jehovah’s part?
3 However, did Jehovah God renounce his kingdom away back in the year 607 B.C.E.? Why such a question? Because in that year he let the Babylonian Empire under Nebuchadnezzar destroy both Jerusalem and its temple and overthrow the kingdom of the Jews down till now. True, and yet God did not in that way renounce his kingship, or domination. Actually, he was the One who decreed the destruction of the royal city Jerusalem. This, though, was not an act of disloyalty to his typical subsidiary kingdom over his chosen people. He just acted according to the terms of the covenant that he had made with Israel and that had been added to the ancient Abrahamic covenant. By that fateful year of 607 B.C.E., Judah and the remnant of Israel had become flagrant covenant breakers. So God dealt with them according to the terms of his Law covenant mediated by Moses at Mount Sinai.
The King with “Legal Right”
4. How do the inspired words of Ezekiel 21:25-27 indicate Jehovah’s loyalty?
4 With regard to the last Judean king at Jerusalem, God inspired his prophet Ezekiel (who had already been deported to Babylon) to say: “And as for you, O deadly wounded, wicked chieftain of Israel, whose day has come in the time of the error of the end, this is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said, ‘Remove the turban, and lift off the crown. This will not be the same. Put on high even what is low, and bring low even the high one. 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.’”—Ezekiel 21:25-27.
5. (a) Why would the ruining of the kingdom be only temporary? (b) How was this confirmed more than 600 years later?
5 According to those words the Lord God Jehovah still held firm control of the Kingdom affairs. The ruining of his subsidiary kingdom on earth was to be merely temporary. In his due time someone would come who had the legal right to the Messianic kingship, and then the Lord God Jehovah would give it to him. Till then the exercising of the legal right to the kingship must wait. Since the covenant right had resided in the royal family of David, the one who was to come and to whom the kingship would be given had to be a descendant of faithful King David. It was because of David’s loyalty to Jehovah’s eternal Kingship that this covenant had been made with him for an everlasting kingdom in his family line. (2 Samuel 7:8-16) More than six centuries later, or in the year 2 B.C.E., an angel from God appeared to a female descendant of King David and told her that she was to be the mother of the promised heir of David. The angel went on to say: “Jehovah God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule as king over the house of Jacob forever, and there will be no end of his kingdom.” His name was to be called Jesus.—Luke 1:32, 33; Matthew 1:18-23.
6. (a) How did Jesus become the rightful heir of David’s kingdom? (b) Why did this become more than an earthly kingdom?
6 By his birth in the natal city of David, Bethlehem, Jesus the Son of God from heaven became the natural heir of the Kingdom covenant promise that God had made with his ancestor David. The right to the Kingdom became his legally and naturally. But when Jesus was baptized and anointed with the holy spirit of God, his heavenly Father, that kingdom became more than an earthly government over the house of Jacob, or Israel. On that occasion he was begotten by the spirit of his celestial Father and thus became a spiritual Son of God with heavenly life in reserve for him. As such he was anointed with God’s spirit and thus became the Messiah, the title that means Anointed One.—Acts 4:27; 10:38; Isaiah 61:1-3.
7. (a) Why did Jesus not receive the Messianic kingdom immediately? (b) In the meantime, what kingship would his anointed followers acknowledge?
7 As the kingdom was now a heavenly one, God did not give it to him while he was on earth, and not directly after he ascended back to heaven. Though he was acknowledged as King over his spiritual congregation of anointed disciples on earth, the giving of the Messianic kingdom to him had to wait till the end of what Jesus himself called “the times of the Gentiles,” or, “the appointed times of the nations.”—Colossians 1:13; Luke 21:24; compare Authorized Version.
8. (a) What period is covered by “the appointed times of the nations,” and what meaningful events marked their end? (b) How has the “sign” become impressive, and what has been an outstanding feature?
8 Those “appointed times” had already begun in the year 607 B.C.E. by the first destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, followed by the complete desolation of the land of Judea. According to Daniel’s prophetic book, chapter 4, those “times” were to be seven in number, amounting to a total of 2,520 years. So, since they began at the utter desolation of Jerusalem and the land of Judah and Benjamin early in the autumn of 607 B.C.E., they were due to end in the autumn of 1914 C.E. Meaningfully, World War I broke out in the latter half of 1914. In that way the prophecy that Jesus gave about the “sign” marking the “conclusion of the system of things” began to be fulfilled. (Matthew chapters 24, 25; Mark chapter 13; Luke chapter 21) Ever since then the foretold “sign” has become clearer and more impressive. Indicating what would be an outstanding feature of that “sign,” Jesus said: “And this good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come.”—Matthew 24:14.
9, 10. (a) With regard to the issue of loyalty, what time had now arrived? (b) How were disloyal heavenly ones then disposed of, and with what result to our earth?
9 Ah, yes, then the time had arrived at long last to give the Davidic kingdom to the glorified Son of God in heaven, because he was the only one who had the “legal right” to it according to God’s supreme law. This called for war in heaven. Why so?
10 Well, because the Messianic King then began to reign, the time had come for him to oust from heaven all opposers of the new government, namely, Satan the Devil and his legions of demons. These were hurled down to the earth, where the demon-controlled system of things still stood. Such wicked angelic forces are forever barred from the heavens of God where his loyal angels reside. Those cast-out rebel angels will continue restrained to the vicinity of the earth until they are bound in an abyss of total restraint for a thousand years. The ‘war in heaven’ and its outcome are prophetically described in chapter 12 of Revelation. After they were ousted from heaven, the angelic victory chorus rang out: “Now have come to pass the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ [Messiah], because the accuser of our brothers has been hurled down, who accuses them day and night before our God!” (Revelation 12:10) What did this mean for the inhabitants on this earthly globe? Intensified woes for all mankind on earth!
Time of Judgment for the Loyal Ones
11, 12. (a) What testing as to loyalty now takes place? (b) How is the preaching of the Kingdom involved? (c) How is this a harvesttime, and how, likely, are the angels used?
11 During this time of “woe for the earth and for the sea, because the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing he has a short period of time,” it has been a period of testing loyalties—loyalty to the Devil’s doomed system of things or loyalty to the kingdom of God now established in the heavens in the hands of Jesus Christ. (Revelation 12:12) It is a time when all professed disciples of Christ must be put on judgment to determine the extent of their loyalty to that established kingdom. Will they be ardent preachers of that kingdom good news “in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations”? This transition period is also likened to a harvesttime for the separating of true Christians from the false ones. Just as Jesus prophesied in his parable of the wheat and the weeds (or, tares): “The harvest is a conclusion of a system of things, and the reapers are angels.” (Matthew 13:39) Such angels are likely the ones used by the Sovereign Lord Jehovah to carry out his command as set out in Psalm 50:5: “Gather to me my loyal ones, those concluding my covenant over sacrifice [Hebrew: those cutting my covenant].”
12 To professed Christians who fail to pass the test of loyalty to the Kingdom, God says: “What right do you have to enumerate my regulations, and that you may bear my covenant in your mouth?”—Psalm 50:16.
13, 14. (a) How would you identify the “covenant” of Psalm 50:5, 16? (b) To what two covenants must anointed Christians be “loyal”?
13 The “covenant” referred to in the above verses (Ps 50:5, 16) is not a personal one made by loyal ones over a personal sacrifice by an individual. Rather, it is a national covenant. The Mosaic Law covenant made with the nation of Israel at Mount Sinai in Arabia was prophetically used to represent the new covenant made with the “holy nation” of spiritual Israel by means of the Greater Moses, Jesus Christ, as mediator. (Jeremiah 31:31-34) On Passover night of 33 C.E. Jesus set up the Lord’s Supper, or Evening Meal, and said: “This cup means the new covenant by virtue of my blood, which is to be poured out in your behalf.” (Luke 22:20) So the new covenant was validated by the sacrificial blood as shed at the death of Jesus Christ. The “loyal ones” whom Jesus brings into the new covenant he brings into the “covenant . . . for a kingdom.” (Luke 22:28-30; Matthew 26:29; Mark 14:25; Psalm 116:15) What, then?
14 Christians who are brought into the new covenant, which is a “covenant over sacrifice,” must not only be loyal to it but also be loyal to the “covenant . . . for a kingdom.” These are spiritual Israelites, “the Israel of God.”—Galatians 6:16.
15. In what ways must spiritual Israelites prove to be “loyal ones”?
15 At this “conclusion of the system of things” there is a remnant of such spiritual Israelites yet on earth. Upon them in particular it is incumbent to act in conformity with Jesus’ prophecy: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations.” (Matthew 24:14) They cannot sidestep this obligation, if they want to be loyal to “the kingdom of our Lord Jehovah and of his Christ.” (Revelation 11:15) They cannot be a part of this doomed system of things with its politics, its selfish commercialism and its false religion. Anointed Christians earnestly pray the prayer that their Master taught them: “Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified. Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.” (Matthew 6:9, 10) Instead of engaging in the politics of this split-up system of things, they must undeviatingly do what their Master, the “King of kings and Lord of lords,” said: “Keep on, then, seeking first the kingdom and his righteousness, and all these other things will be added to you.” (Revelation 19:16; Matthew 6:33) In this way alone can they prove themselves to be the “loyal ones” belonging to the spiritual Israel that has ‘made a covenant with Jehovah God over sacrifice,’ the sacrifice of Jesus, who had mediated the new covenant.
Loyal “Other Sheep”
16. How do the Scripture passages cited here point to another loyal class of great number?
16 No less a degree of loyalty must be proved today by that class of dedicated, baptized persons who were prefigured by the “vast mixed company” who left Egypt with the Israelites and who were present at the making of the Law covenant at Mount Sinai. (Exodus 12:38; Numbers 11:4) These correspond with the “great crowd” that the apostle John describes in Revelation 7:9-17. In Jesus’ parable of the sheep and the goats they are also pictured as the “sheep” who do good to the spiritual brothers of the King Jesus Christ, since he began to reign in 1914.—Matthew 24:3; 25:31-46.
17. (a) Of what is this “great crowd” a part, and with whom do they become “one flock”? (b) How may they “certainly bless themselves”? (Genesis 22:15-18)
17 Such loyal ones belong to the “other sheep” who Jesus said were not of “this [Abrahamic] fold” in which the “little flock” of 144,000 finds itself. Yet this “great crowd” of loyal ones becomes “one flock” with those in that “fold” by being brought into close company with those heirs of the kingdom of their heavenly Father. (John 10:16; Luke 12:32) To remain in that “one flock” with those “loyal ones” who are in the new covenant with Jehovah God over Christ’s sacrifice, they also must demonstrate their loyalty to the kingdom of our Lord God Jehovah and of his Christ.
18. (a) What is the present reward of those proving loyal? (b) How may we show appreciation of Jehovah’s loyalty toward us?
18 Great is the present reward of all those proving loyal. Out of his appreciation for Jehovah God the heavenly King, the ancient King David said to him: “With someone loyal you will act in loyalty.” (Psalm 18:25; 2 Samuel 22:26) Again David said: “Jehovah is a lover of justice, and he will not leave his loyal ones.” (Psalm 37:28) Proverbs 2:8 assures us: “He will guard the very way of his loyal ones.” Ah, yes, Jehovah is the very acme of loyalty, and his Christ imitates him perfectly in this quality. In our appreciation of God’s loyalty to us through Christ, may we, in this day of judgment, prove our unwavering loyalty to Jehovah and to his established kingdom by Jesus Christ, his most loyal Son!
SUMMARIZING, HOW IS LOYALTY DEMONSTRATED IN—
□ David’s acknowledgment of Jehovah as King?
□ Jehovah’s executing judgment on faithless Jerusalem?
□ God’s giving the Davidic kingdom to his Son in 1914?
□ The Messianic King’s fighting the war in heaven?
□ The activity of the anointed remnant today?
□ The support given to the remnant by the “great crowd”?
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All angelic forces not loyal to God’s kingdom were ousted from heaven when God’s loyal Son began to reign
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Loyalty to the Kingdom requires that a person be an ardent preacher of it to others