When Jesus was on the earth he instructed his disciples to go through the entire length and breath of Israel declaring the exciting message that the kingdom of God had drawn near.
Originally the apostles and other disciples were under the impression that the kingdom of God they were preaching would be a restoration of the kingdom of Israel. Likely they wrongly assumed that Jesus would throw off the Roman yoke and sit upon a throne in Jerusalem. Even after Jesus was resurrected and opened up their minds to the prophecies pertaining to the Christ the apostles were still in the dark as regards the true nature of the kingdom, reflected in the fact that even at the very moment immediately before Jesus ascended to heaven, his apostles put the question to him: “Lord, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?”
When Christ ascended into the invisible realm from where he had come and poured out the promised holy spirit upon them ten days later, only then did their minds began to grasp the awesome reality that the kingdom of the heavens really is a heavenly institution.
The reason the apostles asked if Christ was going to restore the kingdom to Israel is because Jehovah had originally seated David on the throne of Israel and made a covenant with him, declaring that a son of his would sit upon the throne to time indefinite.
In the case of David’s dynasty, though, time indefinite proved to be less than 500 years, ending when Nebuchadnezzar sacked Jerusalem, capturing and blinding the wicked Judean king, Zedekiah, slaying his sons, princes and nobles. Not only that, but the kings from David’s royal line did not even rule over all of Israel, for the reason that God ripped away ten tribes due to Solomon’s apostasy – leaving David’s kingly sons only Judah and Benjamin to rule over – not exactly the kingdom of Israel.
But, again, when Jesus was on the earth he told the Jews: “the kingdom of God will be taken from you and be given to a nation producing its fruits.” In other words, because of their rejecting Jesus, the restored nation of Israel was no longer God’s nation and the Jews were no longer God’s people. The kingdom was going to be given to those who follow Christ. And the true followers of Christ would become the new “Israel of God.”
On Pentecost, 33 C.E., the holy spirit began to be used to anoint Christ’s followers. The anointing constituted a calling, an invitation, to share with Christ in his kingdom. As called ones they were under the command to preach Jesus impaled and to serve as earthly ambassadors of the heavenly kingdom.
Through his message to the seven congregations of Revelation, Jesus assured his anointed followers who would be living during the conclusion of the system of things that if they are faithful to their deaths they would be blessed with the privilege of smashing the warring nations with an iron rod and sit upon thrones with Christ himself and rule as kings over the world for 1,000 years – ultimately undoing all the evil that the Devil has wrought these past 6,000 years. Revelation also reveals that a total of 144,000 persons will ultimately be chosen to become immortal kings in the kingdom. Obviously, God’s kingdom will be the most powerful institution ever conceived.
When being interrogated by the Roman ruler, Pontius Pilate, Jesus explained that his kingdom was not part of the political world. Jesus said: “My kingdom is no part of this world. If my kingdom were part of this world, my attendants would have fought that I should not be delivered up to the Jews. But, as it is, my kingdom is not from this source.”
Jesus impressed upon his disciples that if they were to be true to their calling they too must be no part of this world. But just as Satan infiltrated and corrupted the original Israel, the Devil also corrupted Christ’s congregation on earth. After the apostles died off wicked agents of Satan crept into the congregations and assumed leadership positions. In the span of three hundred years Christians went from being hounded and persecuted by the Roman Empire to being the official state religion, with the emperor as the ruling head.
But instead of being a pillar and support of the truth, as the original organization Jesus had founded had been, the Roman church became the new Babylon – a pagan system of worship. The bloody and sordid history of Christendom proves without a doubt that the Catholic Church and her Orthodox, Protestant, Lutheran and Anglican offshoots are not Christian at all. Nevertheless, Jesus assured his followers that his congregation and kingdom will prevail.
Although Jesus is the King of kings, the Lord of lords and the Prince of princes, he is not at this present moment exercising his authority to the full extent. That is because it is God’s will that he sit at his Father’s side until the pre-appointed day and hour that Jehovah has chosen.
Of course, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jesus began ruling with full authority in 1914. Just as the apostles and original disciples of Christ were blind to the spiritual nature of Christ and the kingdom, so too, God has allowed an operation of error to go to believers in the immediate prelude to the actual manifestation of Jesus Christ. The genuine presence of Christ will result in a sifting, what Jesus referred to as the harvest – the conclusion of a system.
Once the kingdom comes to power war will erupt in heaven. The 12th chapter of Revelation sheds light upon this event.
“And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels battled with the dragon, and the dragon and its angels battled but it did not prevail, neither was a place found for them any longer in heaven. So down the great dragon was hurled, the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth; he was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven say: ‘Now have come to pass the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ, because the accuser of our brothers has been hurled down, who accuses them day and night before our God! And they conquered him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their witnessing, and they did not love their souls even in the face of death. On this account be glad, you heavens and you who reside in them! Woe for the earth and for the sea, because the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing he has a short period of time.’”
As the above passage indicates the hurling down of the Devil and his demon angels will signal that the Christ has begun to rule as king with full power and authority. (Michael the archangel is in fact, Jesus Christ.)
Although Jesus long ago exhorted his followers to pray for God’s kingdom to come, as the above passage also indicated, the coming of the kingdom does not immediately result in blessing for mankind. Just the opposite – “woe for the earth and sea.”
Understandably, the murderous god of this world is not going to go quietly into the abyss. If there was a war fought in heaven among powerful spirit entities to force the demons from that realm, there will surely be a war upon this earth between Satan’s minions and Jehovah’s chosen ones. But how will mere humans conquer powerful wicked spirits? Revelation provides the answer: By the blood of the Lamb and the word of their witnessing and by sacrificing their souls in death.
Just as Jesus himself was killed in the flesh and many apostles and first century chosen ones were killed by the Devil, the remaining ones of the kingdom who are on earth when the Devil is cast down will face certain death. But just as Jesus conquered by being faithful unto death, so too, the sealed chosen ones will follow the Lamb’s faithful course clear to the end. Ultimately, the killing of the sons of the kingdom during Satan’s “short period of time” will serve as the trigger for the final battle called Armageddon.
But how long is the “short period of time” Satan is allowed to bring untold calamity and woe upon the earth.
Again, Revelation and the prophecy of Daniel provide the answer: The “short period of time” is three and a half years, expressed variously as times, time and half a time, 42 months and 1,260 days.
As an immediate knock-on effect of Satan being hurled down from heaven, the entire global political and economic system will suddenly collapse and world war will ensue. This is presented in prophecy in various ways, most dramatically in the 13th chapter of Revelation, where the ruling head of the seven-headed wild beast (itself a mere reflection of the angry seven-headed heavenly dragon that is hurled down from heaven) is slaughtered, but miraculously revives – only to persecute and ultimately kill all of the sons of the kingdom.
The now-imminent collapse of the Anglo-American dominated system will signal that the kingdom has at last begun to reign, that the demonic hordes have been evicted from Jehovah’s heavens, and that the short period of “woe” for this planet has begun.