“Great and wonderful are your works, Jehovah God, . . . King of eternity.”
1, 2. What will God’s Kingdom do, and how do we know that the Kingdom will come?
IN THE spring of the year 31 on a mountain close to the town of Capernaum, Jesus Christ taught his followers to pray: “Let your Kingdom come.” (Matthew 6:10) Today, many doubt if the Kingdom will ever come. However, we are confident that Jehovah will answer our prayers for his Kingdom to come.
2 Jehovah will use the Kingdom to unite his family in heaven and on earth. Jehovah’s purpose will be fulfilled. (Isaiah 55:10, 11) The exciting events of the last 100 years prove that Jehovah is already King and that he is doing wonderful things for the millions of his servants. (Zechariah 14:9; Revelation 15:3) However, Jehovah’s becoming King is different from the coming of God’s Kingdom that Jesus taught us to pray for. How are these two events different, and how do they affect us?
Jehovah will use the Kingdom to unite his family in heaven and on earth
JEHOVAH’S APPOINTED KING TAKES ACTION
3. (a) When was Jesus enthroned as King, and where? (b) How would you prove that Jesus began ruling in 1914? (See footnote.)
3 About 20 years before 1900, God’s servants began to understand a prophecy that was written by Daniel over 2,500 years ago: “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed.” (Daniel 2:44) For more than 20 years, the Bible Students preached that 1914 would be a very important year. Many people at that time were very optimistic about the future. One writer says: “The world of 1914 was full of hope and promise.” However, later that year, World War I began, and Bible prophecy came true. The food shortages, earthquakes, diseases, and other Bible prophecies that were fulfilled proved that Jesus Christ began ruling in heaven as King of God’s Kingdom in 1914. * (See footnote.) By enthroning his Son as the Messianic King, Jehovah had become King in a new way.
4. What was the first thing that Jesus did when he became King? What did he do next?
4 The first thing that God’s new King did was to fight a war against his Father’s main enemy, Satan. Jesus and his angels threw the Devil and all his demons out of heaven. This brought great joy in heaven but brought more suffering than ever before on earth. (Read Revelation 12:7-9, 12.) After that, the King began to refine, teach, and organize his servants on earth to do God’s will. Let us see how their obedience to Jesus’ direction sets a good example for us today.
THE MESSIANIC KING REFINES HIS LOYAL SUBJECTS
5. What cleansing happened between 1914 and the beginning of 1919?
5 After Jesus cleansed the heavens of the bad influence of Satan and his demons, Jehovah had Jesus inspect and refine his followers here on earth. The prophet Malachi described this as a cleansing. (Malachi 3:1-3) History shows that this cleansing happened between 1914 and the beginning of 1919. * (See footnote.) If we want to be a part of Jehovah’s universal family, we must be clean, or holy. (1 Peter 1:15, 16) We must keep our worship clean from the contamination of false religion or politics.
6. How is spiritual food provided, and why is this food so important?
6 Jesus then used his authority as King to appoint a “faithful and discreet slave.” This slave would regularly provide good spiritual food to all those who are part of the “one flock” under Jesus’ care. (Matthew 24:45-47; John 10:16) Since 1919, a small group of anointed brothers have loyally handled the important responsibility of feeding the “domestics.” The faithful and discreet slave provides us with an abundance of spiritual food so that we can grow in our faith. It makes us even more determined to keep our worship, our actions, and our thinking, as well as our bodies, clean according to God’s standards. This spiritual food also educates us and prepares us to work hard in the most important assignment on earth, the preaching work. Do you regularly partake of this spiritual food?
THE KING EDUCATES HIS FOLLOWERS 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 said: “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, this ministry was the most important work in Jesus’ life. He taught his disciples: “As you go, preach, saying: ‘The Kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.’” (Matthew 10:7) After his resurrection, Jesus foretold that his followers would take this message “to the most distant part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8) He promised them that he would personally support this vital work until the end of this system.
Jesus promised that he would personally support the preaching work until the end of this system
8. How did the King motivate his followers on earth to preach?
8 By 1919, the “good news of the Kingdom” included a new meaning. (Matthew 24:14) The King was ruling in heaven, and he had gathered a small group of cleansed followers on earth. This group eagerly obeyed Jesus’ clear command to preach in all the earth the good news that God’s Kingdom was ruling in heaven! (Acts 10:42) For example, in September 1922, close to 20,000 supporters of the Kingdom were at the international convention in Cedar Point, Ohio, U.S.A. Imagine how excited they must have been when Brother Rutherford gave the talk “The Kingdom” and declared: “Behold, the King reigns! You are his publicity agents. Therefore advertise, advertise, advertise, the King and his kingdom.” The next day, two thousand of them went out in the field service, and some even traveled as far away as 72 kilometers (45 miles) from the convention site to preach. One brother said: “Never will I forget the call to advertise the Kingdom and the zeal of the assembled throng!” Many others felt the same way.
9, 10. (a) What schools train us for the ministry? (b) How have you personally benefited from this training?
9 By 1922, there were more than 17,000 publishers preaching in 58 lands around the world. However, they needed training. In the first century, the chosen King gave his disciples clear instructions about what, where, and how to preach. (Matthew 10:5-7; Luke 9:1-6; 10:1-11) In a similar way today, Jesus makes sure that all who preach get instructions and have the tools they need to be good teachers. (2 Timothy 3:17) Jesus is using the Christian congregation to train his followers for the ministry. One way he trains them is by using the Theocratic Ministry School in the more than 111,000 congregations worldwide. This school is instructing more than seven million publishers how to preach and teach in a way that will help “people of all sorts.”
10 There are also additional Bible schools to train congregation elders, pioneers, single brothers, Christian couples, Branch Committee members and their wives, traveling overseers and their wives, and missionaries. * (See footnote.) The students of one class of the Bible School for Christian Couples said with appreciation: “The specialized training we received has deepened our love for Jehovah and has better equipped us to help others.”
11. How has it been possible for Jesus’ followers to continue preaching despite Satan’s attacks?
11 The enemy Satan sees all these great efforts to preach and teach the good news. He wants to stop the preaching work and will use any way he can to attack the Kingdom message and those who preach it. But Satan’s attacks will not succeed. Jehovah has put his Son “far above every government and authority and power and lordship.” (Ephesians 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. * (See footnote.) The good news continues to be preached, and millions of honest people are being taught to worship Jehovah. It is truly an honor for us to be a part of this wonderful work!
Jesus uses his authority to protect and guide his disciples to make sure that his Father’s will is done
THE KING ORGANIZES HIS FOLLOWERS TO DO MORE
12. Since 1914, how have God’s servants been better organized?
12 Ever since Jesus began ruling in 1914, he 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. In 1927, the congregations began preaching regularly on Sundays. In 1931, Jehovah’s servants began using the name Jehovah’s Witnesses, which motivated them to do even more in the Kingdom work. (Isaiah 43:10-12) Starting in 1938, those taking the lead in the congregation were no longer elected by vote. Instead, they were appointed. In 1972, the responsibility of overseeing the congregation was given to a group of elders instead of to only one brother. All who qualified to be elders and ministerial servants were encouraged to be willing to help shepherd the congregation. (1 Peter 5:2) In 1976, the Governing Body was organized into six committees to supervise the Kingdom work worldwide. Since then, Jesus has continued to organize his followers progressively to do things God’s way.
13. How have you been affected by what the Messianic King has accomplished during his rule?
13 Think of how much the Messianic King has accomplished during the first 100 years of his rule. He has cleansed a group of people to represent Jehovah. He has directed the preaching of the good news in 239 lands and has taught millions to worship Jehovah. He has united more than seven million loyal followers who are willing to give of themselves to do his Father’s will. (Psalm 110:3) Jehovah has used the Messianic Kingdom to do truly amazing things. But even more exciting events will happen in the future!
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 it appropriate?
14 Although Jehovah crowned his Son, Jesus Christ, as the Messianic King in 1914, this was not the complete answer to our prayer “let your Kingdom come.” (Matthew 6:10) The Bible foretold that Jesus would “go subduing in the midst of” his enemies. (Psalm 110:2) Human governments under Satan’s control still oppose the Kingdom. When we pray for God’s Kingdom to come, we are asking God that the Messianic King and the other 144,000 kings in heaven remove human rule and those on earth who oppose the Kingdom. When this happens, the prophecy at Daniel 2:44 will be fulfilled. There it says that God’s Kingdom “will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms.” It will destroy governments that are enemies of the Kingdom. (Revelation 6:1, 2; 13:1-18; 19:11-21) Since this will happen very soon, it is appropriate that our yeartext for 2014 is Matthew 6:10: “Let your Kingdom come.” It has now been 100 years since Jesus started to rule in heaven!
Our yeartext for 2014 is Matthew 6:10: “Let your Kingdom come.”
15, 16. (a) What exciting events will happen during the thousand years of Christ’s rule? (b) What will be the last thing Jesus does as Messianic King? What will that mean for Jehovah’s purpose?
15 After Jesus destroys God’s enemies, he will throw Satan and his demons into an abyss for a thousand years. (Revelation 20:1-3) Without that evil influence, the Kingdom will move quickly to help people benefit from Jesus’ ransom sacrifice, and it will completely erase the effects of Adam’s sin. The King will resurrect millions of people and will organize a program of worldwide education to teach them about Jehovah. (Revelation 20:12, 13) The whole earth will become a paradise just like the garden of Eden, and all faithful humans will become perfect.
16 After the thousand years of Christ’s rule, Jehovah’s purpose for the earth will be fulfilled. Then Jesus will give the Kingdom back to his Father. (Read 1 Corinthians 15:24-28.) We will no longer need anyone to represent us before Jehovah. 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 for the Kingdom?
17 The exciting events during these 100 years of Kingdom rule show us that Jehovah is in control and that his purpose for the earth will come true. Let us continue to serve him loyally and advertise the King and his Kingdom. We are confident that Jehovah will soon answer our prayer: “Let your Kingdom come”!
^ par. 10 See the September 15, 2012, issue of The Watchtower, pages 13-17, “Theocratic Schools
^ par. 11 See the December 1, 1998, issue of The Watchtower, pages 19-22, for examples of legal victories in different countries.