AMBASSADORS SUBSTITUTING FOR CHRIST
February 18, 2012
LETTER NO. 6 - UNITY UNDER THE ONE KINGDOM OF OUR GOD
Now comes the most challenging aspect of our ambassadorship – understanding, accepting and promoting the unifying message of the Kingdom of God.
From the beginning, understanding the Kingdom of God was a challenge. Even though the kingdom was introduced by the Christ himself, his disciples and even his apostles had trouble accepting its unifying message. Initially, being all Jews, they believed the Messiah would be a savior and deliverer for Israel alone who would end the gentile rule, regenerate the Jewish nation as God’s chosen people and rule over the earth from the throne of David. Jesus spent over three years teaching and instructing them, but their expectations did not change. (Luke 19:11; 24:21). Even after his death, their national hopes were still alive:
“When, now, they had assembled, they went asking him: ‘Lord, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time.’”
– Acts 1:6
These faithful men did not understand that the Kingdom of God is spiritual and does not favor a particular race or people. It simply was not in their world view. But as time passed, we came to understand that it is a divine government, founded on the fact of divine sovereignty, for God is spirit. Since God is spirit, the kingdom must be spiritual – not material or merely intellectual.
Though it is indeed a divine government, it is truly more of a brotherhood, as it is founded on the fatherhood of God, which eventuates into the brotherhood of man. It is the experience of the spiritual relationship between God and man. As a father, God divinely loves his children, all of them. Even those who may be likened to the prodigal son who had squandered his fortune in debauchery. All are invited and all are welcomed.
Today, we have many different sects of Christianity, all claiming themselves in, pursuing or representing the Kingdom of God. Each one bases its teachings and doctrines on the Bible, yet each one has its unique perspectives that set it apart. Does the Father reject those who recognize his spiritual sovereignty and love the Christ simply because of their perspectives? Or does He rather patiently wait for their readjustment – He “whose will it is that all sorts of men should be saved and come to an accurate knowledge of truth.”
(1 Timothy 2:4)
As long as there is breath in our lungs, there is opportunity for readjustment, as the light becomes brighter and brighter. So, we should not prematurely declare that our fellow believers in Christ are unworthy or false Christians, for an honest self-assessment will reveal the truth:
“If errors are what you watch, O Jah, O Jehovah, who could stand?”
– Psalms 130:3
Rather than judge one another, we should seek to find our commonality – namely that there is “one God and Father of all [persons], who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:6) And since there is One Father, then all of us are brothers. When we understand and accept this, we can promote and pursue the unifying message of the Kingdom of God with the entire Christian nation, if not the world.
Abandoning Religious Sovereignty
Religious sovereignty can be defined as the manifestation of unique self-made, self-interpreted and self-enforced doctrines as to personal behavior beyond the two new commandments of Jesus. (Matthew 22:37-40) While there is no real error in establishing religious commands, there is a problem when we teach these commands as doctrines from God. (Matthew 15:9)
The Kingdom of God ruling in the hearts of men will create religious unity, but not necessarily uniformity, because any and all religious groups composed of such religious believers will have abandoned all notions of ecclesiastical authority over other religions. Only when religions recognize the spirit sovereignty of God the Father will all such religions remain at peace. But when one religion assumes that it is in some way superior to all others, and that it possesses exclusive authority over other religions, will such a religion presume to be intolerant of other religions or dare to persecute other religious believers.
Religious peace – brotherhood – can never exist unless all religions are willing to completely divest themselves of all ecclesiastical authority and fully surrender all concept of spiritual sovereignty to God the Father. You cannot have equality among religions (religious liberty) without having religious wars unless all religions consent to the transfer of all religious sovereignty to some superhuman level, to God himself.
Our Father is spirit, and He gives a token of his spirit to dwell in the heart of man. Spiritually, all men are equal. Thus, the Kingdom of God is free from castes, classes, social levels, and economic groups. You are all brothers. But the moment you lose sight of the spirit sovereignty of God the Father, some one religion will begin to assert its superiority over other religions; and then, instead of peace on earth and good will among men, there will start dissensions, recriminations, even religious wars, at least wars among religionists. Haven’t we seen enough of that?
For peace to prevail, all religious groups must freely surrender all their notions of divine favor, chosen people, and religious sovereignty. Only when God the Father becomes supreme will men become religious brothers and live together in religious peace on earth. But, fear not. Truly spiritual people can do this! This is the ministry of ambassadorship – the ministry of reconciliation!
The Challenge to Jehovah’s Witnesses
Freewill beings who regard themselves as equals, unless they mutually acknowledge themselves as subject to some supersovereignty, some authority over and above themselves, sooner or later are tempted to try out their ability to gain power and authority over other persons and groups. As stated above, the concept of equality never brings peace except in the mutual recognition of some overcontrolling influence of supersovereignty.
When we hold the alternative view, religious sovereignty and superiority, the only acceptable outcome is total annihilation of all other religions. If Jehovah’s Witnesses hold that view, that would mean the death of 7 billion people by hand of our Father, leaving a minuscule 7 million remaining on earth – significantly less than the population of the New York City alone, which boasts 18.9 million! Is that reasonable? Is that consistent with a God of love and mercy and patience and forgiveness? Hardly!
Abandoning the ‘chosen people’ mentality is difficult and superbly humbling. Many Christian sects, along with the nations of Israel and Islam, are struggling with this same challenge. But love overcomes everything – love conquers all! And if we serve in our ambassadorship in the way the Christ served, with his never ending patience, tolerance, love, mercy, and humility, we can bring glory to our Great God and honor to His Christ – and honor even to our small religious nation of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Someone has to take the lead in promoting spiritual and religious harmony and unity. Who will take on that weighty responsibility? Who will say “Here I am! Send me?” (Isaiah 6:8) This writer believes the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society is well suited for this task. We have an army of faithful who are already active in preaching and teaching. We have several schools establish for training in this most important work. No other group can meet this challenge as swiftly, as efficiently and as effectively as Jehovah’s Witnesses.
If we are indeed witnesses of this Great God, then let us witness to his true nature and to the true brotherhood and unity of the Kingdom as perfectly revealed and demonstrated by the Chief Agent and Perfecter of our Faith, Jesus Christ. Let us go forth armed with the enlightenment we have been privileged to receive throughout the years and show ourselves disciples of Christ by the ‘love among ourselves.’ (John 13:35)
We pray that, at the very least, this becomes food for thought. But, if Jehovah’s Witnesses will not, we are confident that another religion will, sooner or later, pick up this mantle. The Father’s work must be done. None of us need wait to be “chosen ones.” We can be “choosing ones” by voluntarily offering ourselves for this great service.
Brothers, there is so much more that needs to be said – so many more wondrous truths that must be unveiled in view of the time. But we must take this one step at a time. Though many of us have been associated with the Society for many years, in some ways we are still babes. So we encourage you to ‘form a longing for the unadulterated milk belonging to the word’ (1 Peter 2:2), and have your ‘perceptive powers trained through use’ (Hebrews 5:14) so that you can accept the teaching and leading of the Spirit of Truth who has already arrived in your lives.
Let no man deprive you, or your brothers worldwide, of the prize. And may the Father of ALL bless your courageous efforts. Go forth!