God’s Kingdom—Earth’s New Rulership
“The kingdom . . . will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite.”—DANIEL 2:44.
1. What confidence can we have in the Bible?
THE Bible is God’s revelation to humans. The apostle Paul wrote: “When you received God’s word, which you heard from us, you accepted it, not as the word of men, but, just as it truthfully is, as the word of God.” (1 Thessalonians 2:13) The Bible contains what we need to know about God: information about his personality, his purposes, and his requirements for us. It has the best counsel on family life and daily conduct. It details prophecies that were fulfilled in the past, are being fulfilled now, and will be fulfilled in the future. Yes, “all Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness, that the man of God may be fully competent, completely equipped for every good work.”—2 Timothy 3:16, 17.
2. How did Jesus emphasize the Bible’s theme?
2 Of paramount importance in the Bible is its theme: the vindication of God’s sovereignty (his right to rule) by means of his heavenly Kingdom. Jesus made that the focal point of his ministry. “Jesus commenced preaching and saying: ‘Repent, you people, for the kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.’” (Matthew 4:17) He showed what place it should have in our lives, urging: “Keep on, then, seeking first the kingdom and his righteousness.” (Matthew 6:33) He also showed how important it is by teaching his followers to pray to God: “Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.”—Matthew 6:10.
Earth’s New Rulership
3. Why is God’s Kingdom of immediate importance to us?
3 Why is the Kingdom of God of such great importance to humans? Because it will soon take an action that will forever change the rulership of this earth. The prophecy at Daniel 2:44 states: “In the days of those kings [now ruling on earth] the God of heaven will set up a kingdom [a government in heaven] that will never be brought to ruin. And the kingdom itself will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms [earthly governments], and it itself will stand to times indefinite.” When God’s heavenly Kingdom rules completely, never again will humans control the earth. Divisive and unsatisfactory human rule will forever be a thing of the past.
4, 5. (a) Why is Jesus the one best qualified to be King of the Kingdom? (b) What assignment will Jesus have in the near future?
4 The Chief Ruler in the heavenly Kingdom, under Jehovah’s immediate direction, is the one best qualified—Christ Jesus. Before coming to earth, he existed in heaven as God’s “master worker,” being the first of all God’s creations. (Proverbs 8:22-31) “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; because by means of him all other things were created in the heavens and upon the earth.” (Colossians 1:15, 16) And when Jesus was sent to earth by God, he did God’s will at all times. He endured the most difficult of tests and died faithful to his Father.—John 4:34; 15:10.
5 For his loyalty to God even to death, Jesus was rewarded. God resurrected him to heaven and gave him the right to be King of the heavenly Kingdom. (Acts 2:32-36) As the King of the Kingdom, Christ Jesus will have the awesome assignment from God to lead myriads of powerful spirit creatures in removing human rule from the earth and ridding our globe of all wickedness. (Proverbs 2:21, 22; 2 Thessalonians 1:6-9; Revelation 19:11-21; 20:1-3) Then God’s heavenly Kingdom under Christ will be the new ruling authority, the only government over the entire earth.—Revelation 11:15.
6. What type of rule can we expect from the King of the Kingdom?
6 God’s Word says of earth’s new Ruler: “To him there were given rulership and dignity and kingdom, that the peoples, national groups and languages should all serve even him.” (Daniel 7:14) Because Jesus will imitate God’s love, great will be the peace and happiness under his rule. (Matthew 5:5; John 3:16; 1 John 4:7-10) “Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, . . . to uphold it with justice and with righteousness.” (Isaiah 9:7, Revised Standard Version) What a blessing it will be to have a Ruler who rules with love, justice, and righteousness! Thus, 2 Peter 3:13 foretells: “There are new heavens [God’s heavenly Kingdom] and a new earth [a new earthly society] that we are awaiting according to his promise, and in these righteousness is to dwell.”
7. How is Matthew 24:14 being fulfilled today?
7 Surely God’s Kingdom is the very best news for all who love what is right. That is why, as part of the sign that we now live in “the last days” of this wicked system, Jesus foretold: “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.” (2 Timothy 3:1-5; Matthew 24:14) That prophecy is being fulfilled now, as about six million Jehovah’s Witnesses in 234 lands devote more than a billion hours a year telling others about God’s Kingdom. Appropriately, each of their places of worship for some 90,000 congregations worldwide is called a Kingdom Hall. There, people come to learn of the incoming new government.
8, 9. (a) From where do Christ’s corulers come? (b) What confidence can we have in the rule of the King and his corulers?
8 There will be associate rulers with Christ Jesus in God’s heavenly Kingdom. Revelation 14:1-4 foretold that 144,000 persons were to be “bought from among mankind” and resurrected to heavenly life. These include men and women who, instead of being served, humbly served God and fellow humans. “They will be priests of God and of the Christ, and will rule as kings with him for the thousand years.” (Revelation 20:6) Their number is much smaller than the “great crowd, which no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues” who will survive this system’s end. These too render God “sacred service day and night,” but they do not have a heavenly calling. (Revelation 7:9, 15) They form the nucleus of the new earth as subjects of God’s heavenly Kingdom.—Psalm 37:29; John 10:16.
9 In choosing those who would rule with Christ in heaven, Jehovah selected faithful humans who had experienced life with all its problems. There is virtually nothing that people have been through that these king-priests have not also experienced. So their life on earth will enhance their ability to rule over humans. Even Jesus himself “learned obedience from the things he suffered.” (Hebrews 5:8) The apostle Paul said about him: “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.” (Hebrews 4:15) How comforting to know that in God’s righteous new world, people will be ruled by loving, sympathetic kings and priests!
Was the Kingdom in God’s Purpose?
10. Why was the Kingdom of heaven not part of God’s original purpose?
10 Was the heavenly Kingdom part of God’s original purpose when he created Adam and Eve? In the Genesis creation account, there is no mention of a Kingdom that would rule mankind. Jehovah himself was their Ruler, and as long as they obeyed him, there was no need for any other rulership. Genesis chapter 1 shows that Jehovah, likely through his firstborn heavenly Son, dealt with Adam and Eve. The account uses such expressions as “God said to them” and “God went on to say” to them.—Genesis 1:28, 29; John 1:1.
11. What perfect start did mankind get?
11 The Bible says: “God saw everything he had made and, look! it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31) Everything in the garden of Eden was absolutely perfect. Adam and Eve lived in a paradise. They had perfect minds and perfect bodies. They could communicate with their Maker and he with them. And by remaining faithful, they would bear perfect children. There would have been no need for a new heavenly government.
12, 13. As perfect mankind multiplied, why would God still have been able to communicate with them?
12 As the human family multiplied, how would God communicate with all of them? Consider the stars of heaven. They are grouped together in island universes called galaxies. Some galaxies contain a billion stars. Others contain about a trillion. And scientists estimate that there are about 100 billion galaxies in the observable universe! Yet, the Creator says: “Raise your eyes high up and see. Who has created these things? It is the One who is bringing forth the army of them even by number, all of whom he calls even by name. Due to the abundance of dynamic energy, he also being vigorous in power, not one of them is missing.”—Isaiah 40:26.
13 Since God can keep track of all these heavenly bodies, surely it would be no problem for him to keep track of a far smaller number of humans. Even now, millions of his servants pray to him daily. Those prayers reach God instantly. So communicating with all perfect humans would have presented no problem for him. He would not have needed a heavenly Kingdom to keep track of them. What a marvelous arrangement—to have Jehovah as Ruler, to have direct access to him, and to have the prospect of never dying, living forever on a paradise earth!
“It Does Not Belong to Man”
14. Why will humans forever need Jehovah’s rule?
14 However, humans—even perfect ones—would forever need Jehovah’s rule. Why? Because Jehovah did not create them with the capacity for being successfully independent of his rule. That is a law of humankind, as the prophet Jeremiah acknowledged: “I well know, O Jehovah, that to earthling man his way does not belong. It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step. Correct me, O Jehovah.” (Jeremiah 10:23, 24) It would be folly for humans to think that they could successfully regulate society without Jehovah ruling them. It would be contrary to the way they were made. Independence from Jehovah’s rule would, without fail, result in selfishness, hate, cruelty, violence, wars, and death. ‘Man would dominate man to his injury.’—Ecclesiastes 8:9.
15. What consequences came from the bad choice our first parents made?
15 Sadly, our first parents decided that they did not need God as their Ruler, and they chose to live independently from him. As a result, God no longer sustained them in perfection. They were now like an electric appliance cut off from its source of power. So in time, they would slow down and stop—in death. They became like a defective pattern, and that condition was all they could pass on to their offspring. (Romans 5:12) “The Rock [Jehovah], perfect is his activity, for all his ways are justice. . . . They have acted ruinously on their own part; they are not his children, the defect is their own.” (Deuteronomy 32:4, 5) True, Adam and Eve were influenced by the rebel spirit creature who became Satan, but they had perfect minds and could have rejected his wrong suggestions.—Genesis 3:1-19; James 4:7.
16. How does history testify to the result of independence from God?
16 History testifies abundantly to the result of independence from God. For thousands of years, people have tried every form of human government, every economic and social system. Yet, wickedness continues to “advance from bad to worse.” (2 Timothy 3:13) The 20th century proved that. It was filled with vicious hatreds and the most violence, warfare, hunger, poverty, and suffering of any time in history. And no matter what medical advances have been made, sooner or later everyone dies. (Ecclesiastes 9:5, 10) By trying to direct their own steps, humans have allowed themselves to become prey to Satan and his demons, so much so that the Bible calls Satan “the god of this system of things.”—2 Corinthians 4:4.
The Gift of Free Will
17. How was God’s gift of free will to be used?
17 Why would Jehovah let humans go their own way? Because he created them with the marvelous gift of free will, the faculty of freedom of choice. “Where the spirit of Jehovah is, there is freedom,” said the apostle Paul. (2 Corinthians 3:17) No one wants to be a robot, having someone else decide every second of the day what he will say and do. But Jehovah required humans to use that gift of free will responsibly, to see the wisdom of doing his will and remaining subject to him. (Galatians 5:13) So freedom was not to be absolute, as that would result in anarchy. There was to be a regulating of it within the boundaries of God’s benevolent laws.
18. What has God demonstrated by letting man exercise free choice?
18 By letting the human family go its own way, God has, once and for all time, demonstrated that we need his rulership. His way of ruling, his sovereignty, is the only right way. It results in the greatest happiness, satisfaction, and prosperity. This is because our minds and bodies were designed by Jehovah to work best when in harmony with his laws. “I, Jehovah, am your God, the One teaching you to benefit yourself, the One causing you to tread in the way in which you should walk.” (Isaiah 48:17) Free choice within the boundaries of God’s laws would not be burdensome but would result in a delightful variety of food, homes, art, and music. Properly exercised, free will would have resulted in a wonderful, ever-fascinating life on a paradise earth.
19. What agency does God use to reconcile humans to himself?
19 But because of their bad choice, humans alienated themselves from Jehovah, becoming imperfect, degenerating, and dying. So they would need to be redeemed from that sad condition and brought back into a proper relationship with God as his sons and daughters. The agency God chose to accomplish this is the Kingdom, and the Redeemer is Jesus Christ. (John 3:16) Through this arrangement, truly repentant ones—like the prodigal son of Jesus’ illustration—will be reconciled to God and accepted back by him as his children.—Luke 15:11-24; Romans 8:21; 2 Corinthians 6:18.
20. How is God’s purpose to be fulfilled by the Kingdom?
20 Without fail, Jehovah’s will is going to be accomplished on earth. (Isaiah 14:24, 27; 55:11) By means of his Kingdom under Christ, God will fully vindicate (justify or prove) his right to be our Sovereign. The Kingdom will bring an end to human and demon rule over this earth, and it alone will rule from heaven for a thousand years. (Romans 16:20; Revelation 20:1-6) But during that time, how will the superiority of Jehovah’s way of ruling be demonstrated? And after the thousand years, what role will the Kingdom have? The following article will consider these questions.
Points for Review
• What is the theme of the Bible?
• Who make up earth’s new rulership?
• Why can human rule independent of God never be successful?
• How must free will be exercised?
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Jesus’ teaching stressed God’s rulership by means of the Kingdom
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In every land Jehovah’s Witnesses make the Kingdom their main teaching
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History testifies to the bad results of independence from God
WWI soldiers: U.S. National Archives photo; concentration camp: Oświęcim Museum; child: UN PHOTO 186156/J. Isaac