Remaining Organized for Survival Into the Millennium
“They will become one flock, one shepherd.”—JOHN 10:16.
1. To the ever-living God, a thousand years is like what?
JEHOVAH is the Creator of time for mankind. And to him, the immortal God who is from everlasting to everlasting, a thousand years is like but a swiftly passing day or even a mere watch period during one of our nights.—Psalm 90:4; 2 Peter 3:8.
2. What time period has Jehovah set aside for blessing all mankind?
2 God has set a symbolic day of a thousand years during which he will bless all families of the earth. (Genesis 12:3; 22:17, 18; Acts 17:31) This includes those now dead and those yet alive. How will God do this? Why, by means of His Kingdom by Jesus Christ, the “seed” of His symbolic woman!—Genesis 3:15.
3. (a) How was the heel of the Seed of God’s woman bruised, but how was that wound healed? (b) At the end of Jesus Christ’s Thousand Year Reign, what will he do to the symbolic serpent?
3 The symbolic heel of the Seed of God’s woman (or heavenly organization) was bruised when Jesus Christ suffered a martyr’s death and remained dead for parts of three days in the year 33 of our Common Era. But on the third day, Almighty God, the Great Life-Giver, healed that wound by resurrecting his loyal Son to immortal life in the spirit realm. (1 Peter 3:18) Since Jesus will never die again, he is in position to rule as King over mankind for a thousand years and to “bruise” the head of the symbolic serpent, crushing him out of existence after the end of the Thousand Year Reign. What a blessing that will be for faithful restored mankind!
4. What kind of program has God been carrying out with his people?
4 Much organizing has been in progress among Jehovah’s people earth wide during this “conclusion of the system of things” since the Gentile Times closed in 1914. (Matthew 24:3; Luke 21:24, King James Version) This organizational program preliminary to the Millennium is being carried on in harmony with the will and under the direction of the Great Organizer, Jehovah God. By means of his woman, his wifelike heavenly organization, the birth of his promised Kingdom by Jesus Christ took place in 1914, as verified by the fulfillment of Bible prophecy.
5. The birth of what was foretold at Revelation 12:5, and when was this first explained in The Watch Tower?
5 Thus have been gloriously fulfilled these words of Revelation 12:5: “She gave birth to a son, a male, who is to shepherd all the nations with an iron rod. And her child was caught away to God and to his throne.” The birth of Jehovah’s Kingdom by Christ, as pictured by the newborn child of God’s woman, was first explained in The Watch Tower of March 1, 1925. The birth of this Messianic Kingdom in heaven in 1914 differs from the birth of the “nation” of Zion’s ‘children’ on earth in 1919.—Isaiah 66:7, 8.
6. (a) The Kingdom’s birth called for what work foretold by Jesus? (b) Doing this work called for what on the part of Jehovah’s people, and what kind of front do they now present?
6 The birth of Jehovah’s Kingdom by which he will vindicate his rightful sovereignty over all the universe—ah, here was something that deserved to be advertised throughout all the earth! And here was the time for the fulfillment of these words of Jesus regarding proofs of his invisible “presence”: “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 24:3, 14) United, harmonious preaching on an international, earth-wide scale would indeed call for organizing the visible part of Jehovah’s universal organization. The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, as represented by its then president, J. F. Rutherford, was in favor of this. So, from the postwar year of 1919, the organizing of the Society’s loyal supporters as a restored nation went forward determinedly, with prayer for the guidance and blessing of the Supreme Organizer, Jehovah God. In the face of World War II, despite bitter opposition by the Fascists, the Hitlerite Nazi movement, and Catholic Action, Jehovah’s Witnesses earth wide presented a united front to the enemy world.
7. (a) Only by remaining in what relationship with one another may Jehovah’s people expect to survive the great tribulation? (b) How did the Flood survivors get through the global Deluge, and whom did they prefigure?
7 Only Jehovah’s Witnesses, those of the anointed remnant and the “great crowd,” as a united organization under the protection of the Supreme Organizer, have any Scriptural hope of surviving the impending end of this doomed system dominated by Satan the Devil. (Revelation 7:9-17; 2 Corinthians 4:4) They will make up the “flesh” that Jesus Christ said would be saved through the worst tribulation of all human history. As it was in the days of Noah, said Jesus, so it would be in the day when He would be revealed. Inside the ark that took many years of organized effort to complete, only eight human souls survived the global Deluge. They survived as a united family group. (Matthew 24:22, 37-39; Luke 17:26-30) Noah’s wife corresponds to the bride of Christ, and his sons and daughters-in-law to Jesus’ present-day “other sheep,” who have grown into an increasing great crowd, the final proportions of which we do not now know. (John 10:16) For survival into the Millennium under the Greater Noah, Jesus Christ, they have to remain organized with the anointed remnant, “the chosen ones” on account of whom the days of the “great tribulation” will be cut short.—Matthew 24:21, 22.
Survival Into the Millennium
8. In closing his prophecy regarding his presence, what illustration did Jesus give, and how was the date June 1, 1935, significant as to understanding it?
8 According to Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus closed his prophecy on the sign of his presence with an illustration. Commonly styled the parable of the sheep and the goats, it applies now, during the conclusion of this system of things, which began at the end of the Gentile Times in 1914. (Matthew 25:31-46) The date of Saturday, June 1, 1935, was significant as to understanding the identity of the sheep of this parable as being members of the great crowd. On that day, at a convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Washington, D.C., 840 individuals were baptized in symbol of their dedication to Jehovah God through Jesus Christ. The majority of these took this action in prompt response to a discourse on Revelation 7:9-17 given by J. F. Rutherford. It was their desire to become part of the great crowd of the Fine Shepherd’s other sheep, having the opportunity of surviving the oncoming great tribulation and of living right through this system’s end and on into the Millennial Reign of the Shepherd-King, Jesus Christ. Ultimately, they attain to everlasting life on a paradise earth.—Matthew 25:46; Luke 23:43.
9. Why are the sheep invited to inherit “the kingdom prepared for [them],” and how are they in the finest position to do good to the King’s brothers?
9 Why are these sheeplike ones invited to “inherit the kingdom prepared for [them] from the founding of the world”? The King tells them that it is because they did good to his “brothers,” and thereby did it to him. By the expression “brothers,” the King means the remnant of his spiritual brothers still on earth in this conclusion of the system of things. Having become one flock with these brothers of the Shepherd-King, Jesus Christ, they would keep in the closest possible association with the remnant of such and would thus be in the finest position to do good to them. Even in material ways, they would help Jesus’ brothers preach the message of the established Kingdom worldwide before the end would come. In this behalf, the sheep would treasure their privilege of keeping organized with the remnant as the one flock of the one Shepherd.
10. What does it mean for the sheep to “inherit the kingdom prepared for [them] from the founding of the world”?
10 Inheriting “the kingdom prepared for [them]” does not mean that these sheep will reign with Jesus Christ and his brothers in heaven for a thousand years. Rather, right from the Millennium’s start, the sheep will inherit the earthly realm of the Kingdom. Since they are the descendants of Adam and Eve, this earthly realm that the Kingdom of God by Christ will take over was prepared for them “from the founding of the world” of redeemable mankind. Furthermore, since the sheep become the earthly children of the King, who becomes their “Eternal Father,” they inherit an earthly realm, or estate, under God’s Kingdom.—Isaiah 9:6, 7.
11. How do the sheep show that they stand for the Kingdom, and because of this, what blessing is theirs?
11 In contrast with the symbolic goats, the sheeplike ones unmistakably show that they stand for the Kingdom. How? By deeds, not mere words. Because of the King’s invisibility in the heavens, they cannot do good directly to him in support of his Kingdom. So they do good to his spiritual brothers yet on earth. Although this incurs hatred, opposition, and persecution on the part of the goats, for such doing of good, the sheep are told by the King that they are ‘blessed by his Father.’
12. Whom will the surviving sheep be privileged to welcome back, and in this regard, what thought have members of the remnant entertained?
12 The great crowd of sheeplike benefactors of the King’s spiritual brothers will be blessed with the joyous privilege of surviving into the Millennium. In due course, they will share in welcoming back the human dead who are in the memorial tombs. (John 5:28, 29; 11:23-25) These will include the faithful patriarchs and prophets who suffered and endured much for the vindication of Jehovah’s sovereignty in order that they might “attain a better resurrection,” possibly an earlier one. (Hebrews 11:35) Such resurrected men and women of faith, partially listed in Hebrews chapter 11, would include John the Baptizer. (Matthew 11:11) Some of the anointed remnant have thought of surviving and living on to welcome back such resurrected faithful ones who died before Pentecost 33 C.E. Will the anointed be thus privileged?
13. Why would it not be necessary for the remnant to be present to welcome and care for those resurrected on earth?
13 This would not be necessary. The great crowd of tribulation survivors will be on hand in ample numbers to take care of the situation and to acquaint the resurrected ones with the “new earth” under the “new heavens.” (2 Peter 3:13) Even now, the great crowd is being organized for this. Today, when Jesus’ spiritual brothers on earth reportedly number less than 9,000, the survivors from among them would in any case be too few to take care of all the preparatory work leading up to the general resurrection. (Ezekiel 39:8-16) Here, then, is where the great crowd, whose number runs into the millions, will serve excellently. And such a privilege is doubtless reserved for them.
14. (a) Many of the great crowd are being trained for what, and why must a number of them now take on responsibility? (b) What events must shortly take place, and what work awaits the other sheep?
14 Many of the great crowd are already being trained in congregational responsibilities and through building programs that God’s organization is conducting throughout the earth. And it is encouraging to see additional spiritually mature men of the great crowd being assigned to take on greater responsibility in the organization that Jehovah now has functioning on the earth. Remaining ones of the anointed are getting along in years and are less able to carry the load. These brothers of the King welcome the loving organizational assistance that spiritually qualified elders and ministerial servants of the other sheep are able to give. Very shortly, Babylon the Great will be removed from the earthly scene. Then, as Revelation 19:1-8 indicates, the Lamb’s marriage with his bride of the entire 144,000 will be consummated in the heavens, and the other sheep, serving as a new earth under the new heavens, will represent the King in carrying on the grand work of restoration until all earth becomes a populated paradise to Jehovah’s praise.—Isaiah 65:17; compare Isaiah 61:4-6.
15. What prospects do the great crowd anticipate for the Millennium?
15 During Christ’s Millennial Reign, when the ransomed dead of mankind are resurrected, the surviving great crowd will enjoy tremendous and most honorable privileges. They will then become sons and daughters of the King. It will be possible for such sons among them to hold the rank of princes, even as King David’s sons were princes with various responsibilities.* This reminds us of Psalm 45, composed with reference to Jehovah’s anointed “king.”
16. To whom is Psalm 45 really addressed, and how can this be proved?
16 To what king is Psalm 45 really addressed? Why, to Jesus Christ! Hebrews 1:9 makes that application in quoting Psalm 45:7, which reads: “You have loved righteousness and you hate wickedness. That is why God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of exultation more than your partners.” So it is really to the glorified Jesus Christ that Psalm 45:16 says: “In place of your forefathers there will come to be your sons, whom you will appoint as princes in all the earth.”
17. In what and in whom is the King, Jesus Christ, especially interested?
17 Rightly, Jesus is more interested in his future as reigning King than in his earthly past. Of course, he does not forget that past and especially his human ancestors involved in Jehovah’s promise to bless all families by means of the Abrahamic Seed. But now his main interest is in the immediate future as purposed by the Kingmaker, Jehovah God. So Jesus’ earthly children, particularly the sons among them qualified to serve under him in princely offices, will take the place of interest—more so than his earthly forefathers.
18. How do certain renderings of Psalm 45:16 emphasize Jesus’ greater interest in princely sons than in his earthly forefathers?
18 Jesus’ greater interest in princely sons than in forefathers is emphasized by various Bible translations. Here is how some of them render Psalm 45:16: “Your sons shall step into your fathers’ place, and rise to be princes over all the land.” (Moffatt) “The place of your fathers your sons shall have; you shall make them princes through all the land.” (Verse 17, The New American Bible) “Instead of thy fathers children are born to thee: thou shalt make them princes over all the earth.”—The Septuagint Version, published by Samuel Bagster and Sons.
19. Certain men of the great crowd now have what congregation responsibility, and to what position may the King, Jesus Christ, appoint them during his Thousand Year Reign?
19 To our great delight, prospective princes are in our very midst. They are found among the other sheep who listen to the voice of the Fine Shepherd, Jesus Christ. Especially have they been listening to it since 1935, when Revelation 7:9-17 was explained at the convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Washington, D.C. Today, thousands of this great crowd of other sheep are serving as elders, or overseers, in the more than 57,670 congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses in 212 lands around the world. By remaining organized with the remnant of Jesus’ spiritual brothers yet on earth, these men stand in line to be fully adopted as earthly sons of the King, Jesus Christ, during his Thousand Year Reign over the promised new earth. (2 Peter 3:13) As such, they may be appointed as princes to serve in the new earth.
20. (a) The King will have what attitude toward his appointees on earth? (b) The great crowd will welcome back whom, and what opportunity is set before those returning?
20 The King, Jesus Christ, will be pleased to recognize these newly appointed princes, just as he now recognizes the overseership of faithful other sheep in the present-day congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses. All members of the great crowd of other sheep—the women as well as the men—will have the thrilling privilege of welcoming back from the dead all of those who will hear Jesus’ voice and arise to the opportunity of gaining everlasting life in human perfection on a cleansed earth that will be transformed into a global paradise. (John 5:28, 29) Those highly favored resurrected ones will include Jesus Christ’s redeemed forefathers, men of faith who were willing to prove their devotion to Jehovah God even to death in the hope of attaining “a better resurrection.” (Hebrews 11:35) But being uplifted to perfect human life during the Millennial Reign of their Redeemer-King, Jesus Christ, is only a start. By remaining unbreakably organized under Jehovah God during the final test upon restored mankind at the close of the Millennium, they will prove themselves worthy of being justified to endless life in Paradise as the earthly part of Jehovah’s universal organization.—Matthew 25:31-46; Revelation 20:1–21:1.
Compare 2 Samuel 8:18, New World Translation Reference Bible, footnote.
How Would You Answer?
□ Jehovah has set aside what time period for blessing all mankind?
□ Only by remaining in what relationship with one another can we survive the great tribulation?
□ What does it mean for the sheep to ‘inherit the kingdom prepared for them from the founding of the world’?
□ During the Millennium, in what privileges may the great crowd share?