“Great and wonderful are your works, Jehovah God, . . . King of eternity.”—REV. 15:3.
1, 2. What will God’s Kingdom accomplish, and why can we be confident that the Kingdom will come?
ON A mountain near Capernaum in the spring of 31 C.E., Jesus Christ taught his followers to pray: “Let your Kingdom come.” (Matt. 6:10) Today, many doubt if the Kingdom will ever come. However, we are confident that our sincere prayers for God’s Kingdom to come will be answered.
2 Jehovah will use the Kingdom to unify his family in heaven and on earth. That divine purpose will be realized. (Isa. 55:10, 11) In fact, Jehovah has already become King in our day! The thrilling events of the past 100 years are proof of this. God is performing great and wonderful works in behalf of millions of loyal subjects. (Zech. 14:9; Rev. 15:3) And yet, Jehovah’s becoming King is not the same as the coming of God’s Kingdom for which Jesus taught us to pray. How do these events differ, and how do they affect us?
JEHOVAH’S ENTHRONED KING GOES INTO ACTION
3. (a) When was Jesus enthroned as King, and where? (b) How would you prove that the Kingdom was established in 1914? (See footnote.)
3 Toward the end of the 19th century, light began to shine on a 2,500-year-old prophecy recorded by Daniel: “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed.” (Dan. 2:44) The Bible Students spent decades pointing out that the year 1914 would be significant. Many people at that time were optimistic. As one writer states: “The world of 1914 was full of hope and promise.” With the outbreak of World War I later that year, however, Bible prophecy came true. The subsequent famines, earthquakes, and pestilences as well as the fulfillment of other Bible prophecies proved conclusively that Jesus Christ had begun to rule in heaven as King of God’s Kingdom in 1914.* By enthroning his Son as the Messianic King, Jehovah had, indeed, become King in a new sense!
4. What immediate action did the newly enthroned King take, and to whom did he next turn his attention?
4 The first mission of God’s newly installed King was to wage war against his Father’s chief Adversary, Satan. Jesus and his angels cast the Devil and his demons out of heaven. This brought great rejoicing in heaven but a time of unprecedented calamity to the earth. (Read Revelation 12:7-9, 12.) Next, the King turned his attention to his earthly subjects to refine, educate, and organize them to do God’s will. Let us consider how their positive response to these three functions of Kingdom rule sets a good example for us today.
THE MESSIANIC KING REFINES HIS LOYAL SUBJECTS
5. What cleansing took place between 1914 and early 1919?
5 After the enthroned King purged the heavens of the corrupting influence of Satan and his demons, Jehovah directed Jesus to inspect and refine the spiritual condition of his followers on earth. The prophet Malachi described this as a spiritual cleansing. (Mal. 3:1-3) History shows that this took place between 1914 and the early part of 1919.* To be part of Jehovah’s universal family, we must be clean, or holy. (1 Pet. 1:15, 16) We must keep free from any contamination by false religion or the politics of this world.
6. How is spiritual food provided, and why is it vital?
6 Jesus then used his kingly authority to appoint a “faithful and discreet slave.” This slave would provide a regular supply of wholesome spiritual food to all who make up the “one flock” under Jesus’ care. (Matt. 24:45-47; John 10:16) Since 1919, a small group of anointed brothers have loyally carried out the weighty responsibility to feed the “domestics.” The abundant spiritual food provided through this channel nourishes us so that we can grow in the faith. It fortifies our resolve to remain spiritually, morally, mentally, and physically clean. This spiritual food also educates us and equips us to have a full share in the most important work being done on earth today. Are you taking full advantage of these provisions?
THE KING EDUCATES HIS SUBJECTS TO PREACH WORLDWIDE
7. What important work did Jesus start when he was on the earth, and until when would it continue?
7 When Jesus began his ministry on earth, he announced: “I must also declare the good news of the Kingdom of God to other cities, because for this I was sent.” (Luke 4:43) For three and a half years, Jesus made this work the focal point of his life. He instructed his disciples: “As you go, preach, saying: ‘The Kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.’” (Matt. 10:7) After his resurrection, Jesus foretold that his followers would spread this message “to the most distant part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) He promised them that he would personally be involved in this vital work right down to our day.—Matt. 28:19, 20.
8. How did the King rouse his earthly subjects to action?
8 By 1919, the “good news of the Kingdom” had taken on added meaning. (Matt. 24:14) The King was ruling in heaven, and he had gathered a small group of cleansed earthly subjects. They eagerly responded to Jesus’ rousing instructions: Preach the good news of God’s established Kingdom in all the earth! (Acts 10:42) For example, close to 20,000 Kingdom supporters convened for an international convention in Cedar Point, Ohio, U.S.A., in September 1922. Just imagine their excitement when Brother Rutherford delivered the talk entitled “The Kingdom” and declared: “Behold, the King reigns! You are his publicity agents. Therefore advertise, advertise, advertise, the King and his kingdom.” Two thousand delegates responded by sharing in a special “Service Day,” visiting homes up to 45 miles (72 km) away from the convention site. Stirred to action, one delegate exclaimed: “Never will I forget the call to advertise the Kingdom and the zeal of the assembled throng!” He was not alone.
9, 10. (a) What arrangements have been made to train Kingdom proclaimers? (b) How have you personally benefited from this training?
9 By 1922, more than 17,000 Kingdom proclaimers were active in 58 lands around the world. However, they needed training. In the first century, the King-Designate gave his disciples clear directions on what, where, and how to preach. (Matt. 10:5-7; Luke 9:1-6; 10:1-11) Following this pattern today, Jesus sees to it that all who share in the Kingdom-preaching work receive instructions and have the tools they need to preach effectively. (2 Tim. 3:17) Through the Christian congregation, Jesus is training his subjects for the ministry. One way he trains them is by means of the Theocratic Ministry School, which is conducted in each of the more than 111,000 congregations throughout the earth. By taking advantage of this instruction, more than seven million preachers are now equipped to preach and teach in a way that appeals to “people of all sorts.”—Read 1 Corinthians 9:20-23.
10 In addition to the Theocratic Ministry School, other Bible schools have been established to train congregation elders, pioneers, single brothers, Christian couples, Branch Committee members and their wives, traveling overseers and their wives, and missionaries.* The students of one class of the Bible School for Christian Couples expressed their appreciation for the school in this way: “The specialized training we received has deepened our love for Jehovah and has better equipped us to help others.”
11. How have Kingdom proclaimers been able to endure in spite of opposition?
11 This extensive Kingdom-preaching and teaching effort has not gone unnoticed by the enemy Satan. He uses direct as well as subtle attacks on the Kingdom message and its messengers to try to stop the work. But the enemy’s efforts are to no avail. Jehovah has seated his Son “far above every government and authority and power and lordship.” (Eph. 1:20-22) As King, Jesus uses his authority to protect and guide his disciples to make sure that his Father’s will is done.* The good news is being preached, and millions of honesthearted ones are being taught Jehovah’s ways. What a privilege it is for us to have a share in this grand work!
THE KING ORGANIZES HIS SUBJECTS FOR GREATER ACTIVITY
12. Describe some of the organizational refinements that have been made since the Kingdom was established.
12 Since the establishment of the Kingdom in 1914, the King has refined the way God’s servants are organized to do his Father’s will. (Read Isaiah 60:17.) In 1919, a service director was appointed in each congregation to take the lead in the preaching work. Regular house-to-house work on Sundays was organized in 1927. Supporters of the Kingdom were stimulated for greater activity in 1931 when they adopted the Scriptural name Jehovah’s Witnesses. (Isa. 43:10-12) In 1938, democratic elections of responsible men in the congregations were replaced by theocratic appointments. In 1972, congregation oversight was assigned to a body of elders instead of to one congregation overseer. All qualified men were encouraged to reach out to share in ‘shepherding the flock of God under their care.’ (1 Pet. 5:2) In 1976, the Governing Body was organized into six committees to supervise the Kingdom work around the world. Fittingly, Jehovah’s appointed King has progressively organized subjects of the Kingdom in a theocratic, or God-ruled, way.
13. How have the accomplishments of 100 years of Kingdom rule affected your life?
13 Consider what the Messianic King has accomplished during the first 100 years of his reign. He has cleansed a people for Jehovah’s name. He has directed the preaching of the Kingdom good news in 239 lands and has educated millions about Jehovah’s ways. He has united more than seven million loyal subjects, each one offering himself willingly to do his Father’s will. (Ps. 110:3) Truly, Jehovah’s works through the Messianic Kingdom are great and wonderful. Even more thrilling events lie ahead!
FUTURE BLESSINGS OF THE MESSIANIC KINGDOM
14. (a) What are we asking God to do when we pray: “Let your Kingdom come”? (b) What is our yeartext for 2014, and why is this fitting?
14 Even though Jehovah crowned his Son, Jesus Christ, as the Messianic King in 1914, this was not the full answer to our prayer “let your Kingdom come.” (Matt. 6:10) It had been foretold in the Bible that Jesus would “go subduing in the midst of [his] enemies.” (Ps. 110:2) Human governments under Satan’s control still stand in opposition to the Kingdom. When we pray for God’s Kingdom to come, we are asking God that the Messianic King and his associate rulers come to put an end to human rulership and remove the earthly opposers of the Kingdom. This action will fulfill the words of Daniel 2:44 that God’s Kingdom “will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms.” It will eliminate the political enemies of the Kingdom. (Rev. 6:1, 2; 13:1-18; 19:11-21) The time for this to happen is very near. How fitting that our yeartext for 2014, the 100th anniversary of the establishment of God’s Kingdom in heaven, is Matthew 6:10: “Let your Kingdom come”!
Our yeartext for 2014: “Let your Kingdom come.”—Matthew 6:10
15, 16. (a) What thrilling events will take place during the Thousand Year Reign? (b) What will be Jesus’ final act as Messianic King, and what will that mean regarding Jehovah’s purpose for all of his creation?
15 After the Messianic King destroys God’s enemies, he will throw Satan and his demons into an abyss for a thousand years. (Rev. 20:1-3) With that evil influence out of the way, the Kingdom will move ahead to apply the benefits of Jesus’ ransom sacrifice and to eradicate the effects of Adamic sin. The King will resurrect countless millions who are sleeping in the grave and will organize an extensive educational program to teach them about Jehovah. (Rev. 20:12, 13) The entire earth will reflect the paradise conditions of the garden of Eden. All faithful humans will be raised to perfection.
16 By the end of Christ’s Thousand Year Reign, the Messianic Kingdom will have achieved its purpose. Then Jesus will hand the Kingdom over to his Father. (Read 1 Corinthians 15:24-28.) There will no longer be a need for an intermediary between Jehovah and his earthly children. All of God’s sons in heaven and his children on earth will be united with their heavenly Father as part of his universal family.
17. What are you determined to do in regard to the Kingdom?
17 The thrilling events of 100 years of Kingdom rule assure us that Jehovah is in control and that his purpose for the earth will be fulfilled. May we continue to be his loyal subjects and advertise the King and his Kingdom. We do this with full confidence that Jehovah will soon answer our earnest prayer: “Let your Kingdom come”!
See the book What Does the Bible Really Teach? pages 88-92.
See the September 15, 2012, issue of The Watchtower, pages 13-17, “Theocratic Schools—Evidence of Jehovah’s Love.”
See the December 1, 1998, issue of The Watchtower, pages 19-22, for examples of legal victories in various countries.