(WDGR Lesson 6: “What Is the Kingdom of God?”)
When did Jesus receive His “authority”? Did Jesus begin ruling as “King of God’s Kingdom” in 1914? What does the Bible teach?
KAREN: Hello Cindy I’ve been reading over our next lesson in the Watchtower brochure What Does God Require of Us? and I’m confused about when Jesus would be “enthroned as King of God’s Kingdom.” In this brochure, the Watchtower Society says “When Jesus was on earth, he proved that he would be a kind, just, and perfect Ruler. When he returned to heaven, he was not enthroned as King of God’s Kingdom right away.” Then the Society said that it wasn’t until 1914, that “Jehovah gave Jesus the authority He had promised him.”1. I don’t understand why the Watchtower teaches that Jesus did not receive his authority right away when he resurrected from the dead. Didn’t Jesus say to his disciples at his resurrection at Matthew 28:18: “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”?2.
CINDY: Yes, he did say that, Karen, but that doesn’t mean that Jesus began his Kingdom rule then. It only means that he was given the authority over the Christian congregation of his followers at that time.
KAREN: So let me get this straight, Cindy. Are you saying that Christ’s rulership and authority that was given to him at his resurrection was limited to the Christian congregation until 1914 when he gained rulership over the earth?
CINDY: That’s right, Karen. The Society says in their book Knowledge That Leads To Everlasting Life: “Jesus knew that his rulership over the earth was reserved for the future, long after his resurrection and ascension to heaven.…The Scriptures had foretold this. How so? Prophetically referring to Jesus as ‘Lord,’ King David said: ‘The utterance of Jehovah to my Lord is: “Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet.” ’ (Psalm 110:1)…This prophecy indicates that Jesus’ rulership would not begin immediately after his ascension to heaven. Rather, he would wait at God’s right hand.” Then they reference Hebrews 10:12, 13 and ask the question. “How long would this waiting go on? When would his rulership begin?”3. Karen, would you like to read Hebrews 10:12-13?
KAREN: Sure. “But He [Christ], having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet.”4.
CINDY: So you see, Karen, Jesus had to “wait” at Jehovah’s right hand, before Jesus could begin his rulership over the earth.
KAREN: But Cindy, what does the Bible say Jesus was waiting for at God’s right hand?
CINDY: Why, Karen, it says Jesus was “awaiting until his enemies should be placed as a stool for his feet.”5.
KAREN: Cindy, what are the enemies Jesus was waiting to be placed under His feet?
CINDY: I’m not sure, Karen, but I suppose those enemies have something to do with worldly governments.
KAREN: Cindy, would you read 1 Corinthians 15:23-24 in your New World Translation Bible?
CINDY: O.K. “But each one of his own rank: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who belong to the Christ during his presence. Next, the end, when he hands over the kingdom to his God and Father, when he has brought to nothing all government and all authority and power.” There you have it Karen! These verses show that Jesus will put an end to all worldly governments and then it says Jesus will hand “over the kingdom” to Jehovah God.
KAREN: O.K. Cindy, now read the next two verses 25 and 26.
CINDY: “For he must rule as king until [God] has put all enemies under his feet. As the last enemy, death is to be brought to nothing.”6.
KAREN: Now, Cindy, according to this passage, what is the last enemy that is going to be put under Jesus’ feet?
CINDY: Well, it says that the last enemy is death.
KAREN: Now, Cindy, we were just reading in Hebrew 10 that Jesus is waiting at the right hand of God until his enemies would be put under his feet. Since 1 Corinthians 15 says that the last enemy is death, doesn’t this mean that Jesus is still waiting at the right hand of God?
CINDY: I never saw that before!
KAREN: Cindy, was death destroyed in 1914? Since all of Jesus’ enemies have not been put under his feet yet, how can Jesus not still be waiting at the right hand of God?
CINDY: Well, I guess your right, Karen. Jesus must be waiting at the right hand of God even today!
KAREN: Now Cindy, if Christ could not start ruling until God had put all his enemies under his feet, how can Jesus’ rule have begun in 1914 “in the midst of his enemies” and why did he have to start his reign with a war against them?
CINDY: I don’t know, Karen.
KAREN: Cindy would you read verse 28 of 1 Corinthians chapter 15 and tell me what Jesus will do after all things have been put under his feet?
CINDY: Sure. It says: “But when all things will have been subjected to him, then the Son himself will also subject himself to the One who subjected all things to him, that God may be all things to everyone.”7. What was your question again, Karen?
KAREN: My question is, what does this verse say Jesus will do after all things are subjected to him and put under his feet?
CINDY: Well, Karen, it says Jesus will turn everything over to God.
KAREN: Now, Cindy, let me get this straight. According to the Watchtower Society, Jesus is waiting at the right hand of God and cannot start ruling until his enemies are put under his feet, right?
CINDY: That’s right, Karen.
KAREN: Now my question is this. If Jesus cannot start ruling until his enemies are put under his feet and the Bible says at 1 Corinthians 15:24 and 28 that Jesus will turn over the kingdom to God the very moment that his enemies are put under him, when will Jesus be able to start ruling? What happened to His Kingdom? Because the very moment that it is time for Jesus to start ruling, after all his enemies have been put under his feet, it will be time for him to hand over the kingdom to God!
CINDY: That’s a good point Karen. I don’t know.
KAREN: Cindy, will you read 1 Corinthians 15:25 again, please?
CINDY: “For he [Christ] must rule as king until [God] has put all enemies under his feet.”8.
KAREN: Cindy, what does this verse say Jesus is doing while He is at the right hand of God and waiting for all his enemies to be put under his feet?
CINDY: Why, Karen, it says “he must rule as king until [God] has put all enemies under his feet.”9.
KAREN: So when did Jesus’ kingship start? When did Jesus start waiting for God to put all enemies under his feet?
CINDY: Well, Karen, He has been waiting since His resurrection. So He must have begun ruling as king at that time.
Friends, at Christ’s resurrection, Jesus said that “All authority” both “in heaven” and “on earth” had been given to Him. If “all authority” had been given to Jesus at His resurrection, what authority could be given to Him in 1914 that He didn’t already have?
1. What Does God Require of Us?, 1996, p. 12:2
2. New American Standard Bible
3. Knowledge That Leads To Everlasting Life, 1995, p. 96
4. New American Standard Bible
5. Hebrews 10:13, New World Translation
6. 1 Corinthians 15:25-26, New World Translation
7. New World Translation
8. New World Translation
9. New World Translation