The “Saving Humanity” articles and the recent ones about the resurrection hope have covered a part of a continuing discussion: will Christians who have endured be going to heaven, or be connected with the earth as we know it now.  I did this research when I realised how much some of my (at the time) fellow Jehovah’s Witnesses appear to be loving the idea of giving directions.  I hope that this will help Christians to gain further perspective of the hope that we have, and the hope there is for mankind as a whole in a future not far away.  All texts/references have been taken from the New World Translation, unless noted otherwise.

 

They Will Rule As Kings: What Is A King?

“They will rule as kings with him for the XNUMX years” (Rev. XNUMX:XNUMX)

What is a king?  A strange question, you might think.  Clearly, a king is someone who sets out the law and tells people what to do.  Many countries have or used to have kings and queens, who represent the state and the nation internationally.  But this is not the sort of king that John was writing about.  To understand the intended role of a king, we will have to go back to the time of ancient Israel.

When Jehovah led the Israelites out of Egypt, he assigned Moses and Aaron as his representatives.  This arrangement would continue through Aaron’s family line (Ex. XNUMX:XNUMX; Ex. XNUMX:XNUMX-XNUMX; Num. XNUMX:XNUMX).  In addition to Aaron’s priesthood, the Levites were assigned to minister under his direction for a variety of tasks such as teaching, as Jehovah’s personal possession (Num. XNUMX:XNUMX-XNUMX).  Moses was judging at that time, and had delegated part of this role to others at the advice of his father-in-law (Ex. XNUMX:XNUMX-XNUMX).  When the Mosaic Law was given, it did not come with any directions or regulations for adding or removing parts of it.  In fact, Jesus made clear that not the tiniest part would be removed from it before being fulfilled (Mat. XNUMX:XNUMX-XNUMX).  So it appears that there was no human government, as Jehovah himself was the King and Lawgiver (James XNUMX:XNUMXa).

After Moses’ death, the high priest and Levites became responsible for judging the nation during their residence in the promised land (Deut. XNUMX:XNUMX-XNUMX).  Samuel was one of the most famous judges and evidently a descendant of Aaron, as he fulfilled duties only priests were authorised to do (XNUMX Sam. XNUMX:XNUMX-XNUMX-XNUMX).  Because Samuel’s sons turned out to be corrupt, the Israelites demanded a king to keep them united and take care of their legal matters. Jehovah had already made an arrangement under the Mosaic Law to grant such a request, although this arrangement seems not his original intention (Deut. XNUMX:XNUMX-XNUMX; XNUMX Sam. XNUMX:XNUMX-XNUMX).

We may conclude that judging on legal matters was the primary role of the king under the Mosaic Law.  Absalom started his revolt against his father, king David, by trying to replace him as a judge (XNUMX Sam. XNUMX:XNUMX-XNUMX).  King Solomon received wisdom from Jehovah to be able to judge the nation and became famous for it (XNUMX Ki. XNUMX:XNUMX-XNUMX).  The kings were acting like a Supreme Court in their days.

When Judea was captured and the people taken to Babylon, the line of kings ended and justice was seen to by authorities of the nations.  This continued after their return, as the occupying kings still had the final say in the way matters were arranged (Ezequiel XNUMX:XNUMX-XNUMX, XNUMX:XNUMX-XNUMX; Haggai. XNUMX:XNUMX).  The Israelites enjoyed a measure of autonomy until the days of Jesus and beyond, even though they were still under secular rule.  We can see that fact at the time of Jesus’ execution.  According to the Mosaic Law, certain wrongs were to be punished by stoning.  However, due to the Roman Law they were subject to, the Israelites could not order or apply such executions themselves.  For that reason, the Jews could not avoid asking approval from governor Pilate when they sought to have Jesus executed.  This execution was also not performed by the Jews, but by the Romans as having the authority to do this (John XNUMX:XNUMX-XNUMX; XNUMX:XNUMX-XNUMX).

Układ nie uległ zmianie, gdy Prawo Mojżeszowe zostało zastąpione Prawem Chrystusowym. Ta nowa ustawa nie zawiera żadnego odniesienia do osądzania kogokolwiek innego (Mateusza 5:44-45; Jana 13:34; Galacjan 6:2; 1 Jana 4:21) i tak dochodzimy do wskazówek apostoła Pawła w jego liście do Rzymian. Poucza nas, abyśmy poddawali się władzom zwierzchnim jako „sługa Boga”, aby nagradzać dobro i karać za zło (Romance 13: 1-4). Jednak podał to wyjaśnienie na poparcie innej instrukcji: musimy to zrobić, aby być posłusznym nakazowi, aby „nie odpłacać złem za zło”, ale „być ze wszystkimi ludźmi w pokoju”, a nawet starać się zaspokoić potrzeby naszych wrogów (Romance 12: 17-21). Pomagamy sobie w tym, pozostawiając zemstę w rękach Jehowy, który po dziś dzień „przekazał” to systemom prawnym władzy świeckiej.

This arrangement will continue until Jesus returns.  He will call the secular authorities to account for their shortcomings and the perversion of justice that many have come to know about personally, followed by a new arrangement.  Paul noted that the Law has a shadow of the things to come, but is not the substance (or: image) of those things (Hebrews XNUMX:XNUMX).  We find similar wording in Colossians XNUMX:XNUMX.  It may mean that under this new arrangement, Christians will receive a share in setting things straight among many nations and peoples (Micah XNUMX:XNUMX).  Thus they are appointed over “all his belongings”: the whole of mankind, which he has bought with his own blood (Matthew XNUMX:XNUMX-XNUMX; Romans XNUMX:XNUMX; Revelation XNUMX:XNUMX-XNUMX).  To which extent this includes angels as well, we may have to wait to find out (XNUMX Cor XNUMX:XNUMX-XNUMX).  Jesus gave a relevant detail in the parable of the Minas in Luke XNUMX:XNUMX-XNUMX.  Note that the reward for faithfulness over relatively small matters is “authority over…cities“. W Księdze Objawienia 20:6 widzimy, że ci, którzy mają udział w pierwszym zmartwychwstaniu, są kapłanami i rządzą, ale czym jest kapłan bez reprezentowanych ludzi? Czymże jest król bez ludu do rządzenia? Mówiąc dalej o świętym mieście Jeruzalem, Objawienie 21:23 i dalej w rozdziale 22 mówi, że narody odniosą korzyść z tych nowych ustaleń.

Who are the ones qualified for such rulership?  Those are the ones who were “purchased” from among mankind as “firstfruits” and “follow the Lamb wherever he goes” (Revelation XNUMX:XNUMX-XNUMX).  The judgement over certain matters may be delegated to them, just as Moses delegated minor matters to various chiefs, as we saw in Exodus XNUMX:XNUMX-XNUMX.  There is likewise similarity with the appointment of the Levites in Numbers XNUMX: this tribe represented Jehovah’s taking of the all firstborn (living human firstfruits) of the House of Jacob (Numbers XNUMX:XNUMX-XNUMX; Malachi XNUMX:XNUMX-XNUMX).  Having been bought as sons, faithful Christians become a new creation just like Jesus.  They will be fully equipped for their own share in the healing of the nations and the teaching of the new Law, so that all the precious ones of the nations might also attain to a righteous standing with the true God in due time (XNUMX Corinthians XNUMX:XNUMX-XNUMX; Galatians XNUMX:XNUMX-XNUMX).

Język reklamy

I was born and raised in a Dutch reformed church, that was established in XNUMX. Due to some of the hypocrisy, I left around my XNUMXth, vowing not to be a Christian any longer. When JWs first spoke to me in August XNUMX, it took some months before I accepted even owning a Bible, and then another XNUMX years of study and being critical, after which I got baptised. While having a feeling that something wasn't quite right for years, I kept my focus on the big picture. It turned out that I had been excessively positive in some areas. At several points, the matter of child sexual abuse came to my attention, and in early XNUMX, I ended up reading a news article about research ordered by the Dutch government. It was somewhat shocking to me, and I decided to dig deeper. The matter involved a court case in the Netherlands, where the Witnesses had gone to court to block the report, about the handling of child sexual abuse among Jehovah's Witnesses, ordered by the minister of Legal Protection that the Dutch parliament had unanimously requested. The brothers had lost the case, and I downloaded and read the full report. As a Witness, I couldn't imagine why one would consider this document an expression of persecution. I got in touch with Reclaimed Voices, a Dutch charity especially for JWs who have experienced sexual abuse in the organisation. I sent the Dutch branch office a XNUMX-page letter, carefully explaining what the Bible says about these things. An English translation went to the Governing Body in the US. I received a respone from the Britain branch office, commending me on including Jehovah in my decisions. My letter was not greatly appreciated, but there weren't any noticable consequences. I ended up being informally shunned when I pointed out, during a congregation meeting, how John XNUMX:XNUMX relates to our ministry. If we spend more time in the public ministry than with each other, then we are misdirecting our love. I found out that the hosting elder tried to mute my microphone, never got the chance to comment again, and was isolated from the rest of the congregation. Being direct and passionate, I continued being critical until I had my JC meeting in XNUMX and was disfellowshipped, never to return again. I had been speaking about that decision coming with a number of brothers, and am glad to see that quite a number still do greet me, and would even chat (briefly), despite the anxiety of being seen. I quite happily keep waving to and greeting them in the street, hoping that the discomfort all being on their side might help them to rethink what they are doing.
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