Christ Enthroned in 1914 or Before -- Which?
Hebrews 1:3 says:
"He is the reflection of [his] glory and the exact representation of his very being, and he sustains all things by the word of his power; and after he had made a purification for our sins he sat down on the right hand of the Majesty in lofty places."
Above we read, Jesus was allowed to sit down at the "right hand" of His father. What does this Bible expression to "sit upon the throne" mean to the Watchtower Society?
Believe or not, it means absolutely nothing to the Watchtower Society as mentors of all of Jehovah's Witnesses worldwide.
Why do we say such?
Well, it seems the Watchtower Society has taught for many years now, that even though Jesus Christ is in heaven, given God's everlasting favor, and granted the great privilege of sitting at the right hand of God Himself, sitting upon God's Heavenly Throne, he is NOT ruling at all. He is just sitting there, "awaiting" upon his time to start his kingdom rule, which of course comes in the year of 1914, the year "discovered" by Charles Russell. They cite Hebrews 10:12, 13 as their proof.
This teaching is promulgated worldwide, even in the face of Matthew 28:18 which shows Jesus describing his great, all-pervasive "authority" shortly after receiving a powerful, spiritual resurrection to glory by saying,
"...ALL AUTHORITY has been given me in heaven and on the earth."
Now, someone unfamiliar with Watchtower Society teachings (for the past 125 years) might at this point say,
"...this doesn't make sense. How does the Watchtower Society explain the above verse?"
Well, after reading this verse above, the Watchtower Society will heartily agree with you that Jesus has been "given all authority" over heaven and earth. They won't disagree with that verse. But they will insist that Jesus Christ is still NOT ruling in the heavens, even though he has been given all of this power. They teach, he doesn't start "ruling" until 1914. The date the first president of the Watchtower Society, Charles Russell, as some believe "discovered" and revealed to the world by way of Russell's early writings, principally "Zion's Watch Tower".
The Watchtower Society agrees that Jesus was allowed to "sit upon Jehovah's throne" after his heavenly resurrection. But they cite Psalms 110:1 in showing the significance of the date of 1914, which says:
"The utterance of Jehovah to my Lord is: "Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies as a stool for your feet."
They point out that Jehovah gave Jesus the invitation to "sit at my right hand" only. That's it. No "rulership" for Jesus is implied in this above critical statement. They also remind you that Paul quotes from this text at Hebrews 10:12, 13, to re-enforce their position on the matter.
So, the Watchtower Society teaches that although Jesus has been allowed to "sit upon Jehovah's throne," since his death in the 1st century, Jesus did not receive the "throne" for rulership until the year of 1914. He was not "enthroned". Simply put, he was just allowed to "sit" upon the throne of God, without being actually "ENTHRONED". They say that came much later. They say, Jesus was "ENTHRONED" in the year of 1914. But he was allowed to "sit" upon God's Throne and has been "sitting" there for close to 2,000 years. But he wasn't "enthroned". That's the critical distinction that must be made.
Keep in mind, this explanation of when Jesus is "enthroned" is no small matter, but an extremely important teaching to all Jehovah's Witnesses worldwide, numbering over 6 million to date. It is a very critical teaching because we know many other doctrines, practices and teachings of the WTS, such as the Authoritarian "Faithful and Discreet Slave" Class Arrangement itself, all hinge upon this particular "understanding" of scripture and its peculiar leanings. So we must not view this as a matter of trivial importance to God's Name People, Jehovah's Witnesses today. (Matt. 24:45-47)
However, Bible research reveals one simple problem with this teaching. Namely this:
It is impossible for an individual to be allowed to sit upon the throne of God, without actually being himself "enthroned". The statement or teaching then, is an impossibility.
Here are a few examples from the Bible to prove this point.
"SITTING UPON THE THRONE" -- WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
The first one that comes to mind, is the one where King David spoke the Davidic promise to his son, Solomon by saying,
"...If your sons will take care of their way by walking before me in truth...there will not be cut off a man of yours from sitting upon the throne of Israel." (1 Kings 2:4)
By saying this, did David mean "enthronement" or official rulership for his offspring, by saying "sitting upon the throne"? What would you say?
Also, how about the one where Solomon repeated this promise by saying,
"...There will not be cut off a man of yours from before me to sit upon the throne of Israel..." (1 Kings 8:25; 2 Chron. 6:16)
Also in this case, was Solomon implying "rulership" and "enthronement" by saying they would be allowed to "sit upon the throne"?
And here is an even stronger example. The inspired Psalmist was even more specific about the act of "enthroning" and what it meant by this expression, when speaking of Almighty God and saying of God Himself,
"God will hear and answer them, even He that is sitting ENTHRONED as in the past." (Psalms 55:19)
Now we must ask ourselves, what does that expression mean for Almighty God, this "sitting enthroned"? Does not this very expression "sitting enthroned", actually mean "enthronement", as is clearly shown here?
And yet, the Watchtower Society says that Jesus Christ was only "enthroned" in the heavens in the year of 1914, although he has been "sitting upon God's throne" and "given all authority in heaven and upon earth" ever since the first century. That's what they teach.
However, we can see there is no way that anyone could be allowed to "sit upon God's throne" and himself, not actually be "enthroned." That simply does not make good sense!
Clearly Jesus has been empowered as Jehovah's king from his own words found at Matthew 28:18.
So, on our parts, it would be a shameful "exaltation of foolishness" to say, to preach or to teach, that Jesus was going to "receive authority" over earth's affairs in the year of 1914 when he clearly states for the record that he had already received that particular "authority", Godly "authority" over everything right after his resurrection from the dead in the first century. -- Proverbs 14:29
And we read that Jesus even promised his followers,
"To the one that conquers I will grant to sit down with me on my throne, even as I conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne." -- Revelation 3:21
Here again, Jesus promises his faithful followers that they too, would be permitted to "sit upon his throne," if they would "conquer," the same way he had "conquered" and was permitted to "sit upon his father's throne". Nevertheless, in the same way, before they could be permitted this great privilege, they too would have to prove themselves "sons" of Jehovah.
"Anyone conquering will inherit these things, and I shall be his God and he will be my son." -- Revelation 21:7
Jesus points out the prerequisite for "inheriting all these things" was for one to "conquer" and thus show himself to be a "son," in the complete sense of the word. In this way, one would become a "son" and subsequently be "declared" after a period of testing, just as Jesus was. In this way, he would become a "conqueror" like Jesus. And in this way, Jehovah would become his "father" in the final, definitive sense. Paul spoke of Jesus' "declaration" of "sonship" by saying,
"[Jesus] ... who with power was DECLARED God's Son according to the spirit of holiness by means of resurrection from the dead -- yes Jesus Christ our Lord". -- Romans 1:4
"[GOD] LEFT NOTHING THAT IS NOT SUBJECT TO HIM" -- HEBREWS 2:8
An important scripture that sheds light on the subject of Christ's authority and all that was given him at his resurrection from death is found at Hebrews 2:8 which says:
"All things you subjected under his feet. For in that he subjected all things to him [God] left nothing that is not subject to him. Now, though, we do not yet see all things in subjection to him."
This is a scripture that the Watchtower Society has NOT spent much time examining in their literature. We see this is so because Hebrews 2:8 shows us "all things have been made subject" to Jesus, since his resurrection.
In fact it says, "[God] has left nothing that is not subject" to him. That's right, "nothing," that was left "not subject" to Jesus' Heavenly Kingdom Authority, yes as early as the first century, as Paul shows.
Therefore, according to this verse, Jesus Christ is in complete control of "all things," and "nothing" is exempt from his authority and control. However, Paul adds this enlightening point for us by saying, "...though, we do not see all things in subjection to him."
We, today, do not actually see the full power of Jesus demonstrated in "making all things subject" to him. No, even though in actuality everything is "subject" to Jesus right now. Nevertheless, God's Son simply has not totally exercised that power to fully demonstrate his domination over everything. That comes later.
Let's take this thought one step further by considering Paul's words at Colossians 2:10 which says:
"And so you are possessed of a fullness by means of him, who is the head of ALL GOVERNMENT AND AUTHORITY."
Now above, what exactly did Paul say was Jesus' official position toward "ALL government and authority," as of the first century?
Again, this is another verse found in the Greek text that the Watchtower Society does not spend a lot of time, actually explaining. The reason why is obvious. This verse clearly shows Jesus had already gained Heavenly Authority over "all governments and authority"...universally-speaking...as of the first century. Think about it.
Then too, let's consider Paul's words at Ephesians 1:20-23 which says:
"with which he has operated in the case of the Christ when he raised him up from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above every government and authority and power and lordship and every name named, not only in this system of things, but also in that to come. He also subjected all things under his feet, and made him head over all things to the congregation, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills up all things in all."
In the above verses, Paul used several verbs that are in the past tense, showing Jesus was already enthroned as king, or placed "over all things" in the first century. For instance, in Verses 20 & 21, Paul said Jehovah had already "SEATED" [or enthroned] him at his right hand far above EVERY GOVERNMENT and authority and power. Thus, Jesus was placed far above "every government" or earthly "authority" immediately upon his resurrection to heaven. Also in Verse 22, Paul said God had already "SUBJECTED [past tense] all things under his feet and MADE [past tense] him HEAD OVER ALL THINGS to the congregation." Moreover, Paul tells us exactly when this occurred when he specifically says "IN THIS system of things," or during Paul's day. Clearly, all of this had taken place during the time Paul and the Ephesians were living, and not later. Therefore, we must conclude inescapably, the heavenly enthronement and exaltation of Jesus, had been completed before this letter was written, and yes, CENTURIES BEFORE the date of 1914.
Now, where is the mystery of any LACK of "authority" given to Jesus, after his resurrection to heavenly life in the first century? Actually, there is none. Does not the above verses show the plain fact that Jesus Christ has been given complete "authority" over "every government," every "authority and power," and every "lordship?" Isn't that true?
Indeed, at Matthew 28:18 Jesus himself speaks of his complete "authority" by saying plainly:
"...ALL AUTHORITY has been given me in heaven and on the earth."
So if God's Word says Jesus was given "all authority" by Jehovah, after his resurrection from the dead, then all Jehovah's Witnesses must ask themselves the all-important question, what possible "authority" over any human "governments" could be given to Jesus Christ in the year of 1914?
Think about it.
Therefore we as teachers of God's Word, must humbly accept the plain fact Jesus was already, yes already the "head" of every "government," "authority," "power," and "lordship" already, as of the first century at his resurrection...pure and simple.
And if this is the case, then there is simply nothing, no nothing, by way of kingdom "authority" that can be given Jesus Christ, at this late stage of the game, as of the year of 1914. No, nothing!
Therefore, anyone who would teach otherwise in the face of the scriptures cited above, would have to be considered grossly incompetent teachers of God's Word, and completely ignorant of the fact first century Christians publicly taught Jesus was ALREADY, yes already the appointed "Ruler of the kings of the earth." -- See Revelation 1:5.
Think about it.
THE FUTURE EARTHLY RESURRECTION -- WHEN?
We recall Paul wrote the following about the conclusion of Jesus' heavenly reign:
"Next, the end, when he hands over the kingdom to his God and Father, when he has BROUGHT TO NOTHING [or destroyed] all government and all authority and power. For he [Jesus] must rule as king UNTIL God has put all enemies under his feet [or destroyed them]. As the last enemy, death is to be BROUGHT TO NOTHING [or destroyed]." -- 1 Corinthians 15:24-26
As mentioned above, Jesus fully demonstrates his full control and domination over all, AT THE VERY END OF HIS REIGN. This is when Jesus removes all inherited "sin" "sickness" and Adamic "death" from earth's scene. Yes, when Jesus empties the grave, sheol/Hades completely. But when is that?
Well, the bible shows it will be AT THE SAME TIME Jesus also REMOVES ALL HUMAN "government, authority and power." These things all happen at the same time, actually in consecutive order. First, the destruction of all "government, authority and power" at Armageddon. And next, the resurrection and emptying of the graves of mankind. Yes, these two events are connected and need not be separated at all, contrary to what the Watchtower Society teaches on this matter.
How can we prove this?
Well, let's consider Daniel 12:1, 2 which says:
"And during that time Michael will stand up, the great prince who is standing in behalf of the sons of your people. And there will certainly occur a time of distress such as has not been made to occur since there came to be a nation until that time. And during that time your people will escape, everyone who is found written down in the book. And there will be many of those asleep in the ground of dust who will wake up, these to indefinitely lasting life and those to reproaches [and] to indefinitely lasting abhorrence."
Yes, as Daniel indicates above, there is no great separation in time between God's destructive day, the time of "great distress" and the awakening of those who are "asleep in the ground of the dust", is there? No, the prophet Daniel does not indicate such an occurrence. No, but Daniel shows these things happen, together, in consecutive order, one after the other. This verse also shows that the earthly resurrection will bring all the dead up together, instantly, and not over a long 1,000 year period, as taught by the Watchtower Society.
So when Jesus rule comes to an end, when it has been finished, and all "government, authority and power" will have been removed from the earth's scene. And then, immediately following this event, "those who are asleep in the ground of dust" will wake up, by way of an earthly resurrection. A resurrection of the "righteous and the unrighteous" as Paul said. -- Acts 24:15
In this way, God's "last enemy", Adamic death will be done away with completely at the beginning of the 1,000 year reign of peace. -- 1 Corinthians 15:26
So these two events work together and need not be separated over a great period of time. Namely when Jesus brings "to nothing all government, authority and power" in complete and utter destruction before God, and lastly empties the common grave of mankind as he promised. -- John 5:28, 29
When Jesus does these two primary things, when he has accomplished these two things, then Jesus' reign will "end". At this time, in all humility, Jesus will "hand over the kingdom" to his God and father, Jehovah, and "subject" himself to this One, God Almighty, the Supreme Ruler in the Universe. This is how Jesus' reign in heaven, will end. -- 1 Corinthians 15:24-28
So, in harmony with Jehovah's will, the "enthroned" and reigning heavenly king, Jesus Christ is reigning now and has been doing so for close to 2,000 years. Ever since the first century. However, he simply has not as of yet, fully demonstrated his superiority over "all things" upon earth and their total "subjection" to his power. That comes later when Jesus removes "all government, authority and power" and performs the earthly resurrection from the grave.
Paul spoke of the enthroned Jesus' situation this way by saying,
"As for us, our citizenship exists in the heavens, from which place also we are eagerly waiting for a savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will refashion our humiliated body to be conformed to his glorious body according to the operation of the power that he has, even to subject all things to himself. -- Philippians 3:20, 21
Yes, all things will be shown to be "subject" to Jesus, when he destroys all human "governments," "powers," and "authorities." This is when Jesus will DEMONSTRATE such "subjection" to himself. Yes, when he destroys them. Therefore based upon this understanding of matter, is it any wonder Paul wrote,
"But this [man] offered one sacrifice for sins perpetually and sat down at the right hand of God, from then on awaiting until his enemies should be placed as a stool for his feet." -- Hebrews 10:12, 13
Now, the Watchtower Society says this scripture proves Jesus is "awaiting" rulership. He is "sitting" at God's right hand, "awaiting" the year of 1914, so that he can become "enthroned" and BEGIN His rule.
But is that what Paul said? We just read what Paul said of the matter.
Paul said, sure, Jesus is "awaiting" something. But it is not kingdom rule. No, he is not "awaiting" this at all. No, but Paul said that Jesus is "awaiting" or expecting the Word from God to fully demonstrate his "authority" over his "enemies", by placing them "as a stool for his feet." Which means, as Paul states, to "bring them to nothing," or complete and utter destruction. That's what Paul is saying.
"Next, the end, when he hands over the kingdom to his God and Father, when he has BROUGHT TO NOTHING [or destroyed] all government and all authority and power. For he [Jesus] must rule as king UNTIL God has put all enemies under his feet [or destroyed them]. As the last enemy, death is to be BROUGHT TO NOTHING [or destroyed]." (1 Corinthians 15:24-26)
As we have just read, Paul shows that at the end of Jesus' reign, he is allowed to bring his enemies, as "to nothing" or total destruction. Jesus' kingdom or rulership will extend itself until the actual time he is told by God to "put all enemies under his feet", in destruction. He is to "bring them to nothing". All "government and authority and power" upon earth, also inherited "sin" and "death", are all "brought to nothing" at the same time, by Jesus Christ's heavenly rulership. As the scripture says above, "For he must rule as king until..." he accomplishes this for God. And when he accomplishes this, then Jesus' rule ends.
(Please note: More detail information on the future millennial reign of peace upon earth will be considered in the 90-Day Online Bible Study Course at LivingWatersForum.com)
***This article was contributed by YORWW Bible