New World Leader

In November 2012, the United States elected its President for the next four years. As leader of the US, the President is one of the world’s most powerful leaders. Together with the leaders of China, Russia and the major countries of Europe, their policies and actions direct both their nations and the world toward an ever-changing, ever-challenging future.

The problems these leaders face are the same ones as before the U.S. Presidential election.  The global economy is sputtering along, most nations have large financial debt, and the political, religious and social-economic conflicts within countries and between countries are growing. There seems to be no way out of man’s ever-increasing problems.

The politics of selfishness makes it impossible to make reasonable decisions for the overall benefit of everyone. Constraints on resources make it impossible to pay for what needs to be done. Unless something drastically changes, the troubles in the world will continue to grow until as Jesus prophesied, there would be “great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now.” Jesus added, “unless those days had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short” (Matt. 24:21-22 NASB).

The leader who will solve all of man’s problems will be selected, not by a vote of the people, but by the Creator of the universe, God. This new leadership, Christ and his church, or “the elect,” have been in preparation for this role since Jesus’ First Advent. They have been called by God and fashioned through God’s Spirit and leading in their lives into the character-likeness of the Father, himself. These qualities were described by Jesus in Matthew 5:3-9 as humility, gentleness, hunger and thirst for righteousness, mercy, purity of heart, and being a peacemaker.  Paul adds the qualities of love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control to this character description in Galatians 5:22-23. In 2 Peter 1:5-8, the Apostle adds moral excellence, knowledge, perseverance, godliness and brotherly kindness to the qualities of this leadership group.

These qualities are all needed for “the elect” to accomplish their assignment from God—bringing man back into harmony with him. This assignment includes (1) raising the dead, (2) healing man from the physical and spiritual effects of sin, (3) teaching the human family God’s principles of truth and righteousness and (4) solving all of man’s problems. As spiritual priests and kings in Christ’s earthly kingdom, they will rule over the human family for a 1,000 years, leading mankind up the way of holiness (Isa. 35:8-10; Acts 17:13; 1 Cor. 6:2; Rev. 20:6).

Their work will result in the willing and obedient of mankind receiving everything that our first parents lost through disobedience—perfection of heart, mind and body, everlasting life on a perfect earth and sonship with God. “The elect” is the seed of promise that God told Abraham would bless all the nations of the earth (Gen. 22:18).

Suffer for Righteousness

“If ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid, … neither be troubled.”—1 Peter 3:14

There are various kinds of suffering which we see in the world, and which, according to the Scriptures, God views and deals with in different ways. First, there is the suffering that comes about because we are all descendants of Adam, and inheritors of the condemnation of sin and death which he received because of disobedience. The remedy for this suffering is only to be found in God’s plan, whereby he sent his Son, Jesus, to be a corresponding price—or ransom—for Adam. This will ultimately release Adam, and hence his progeny, from the penalty of sin and its resulting suffering of sickness and death. The Scriptures testify: “Christ Jesus;   Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (1 Tim. 2:5,6).

Another form of suffering is that which we endure because of our own wrongdoing. Although this suffering may be partially due to our fallen condition inherited from Adam, there is at least a measure of responsibility on our part, to the extent of our knowledge of the principles of right and wrong. The Apostle Peter warns us against falling into this kind of suffering: “Let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer” (1 Pet. 4:15).

Our theme scripture describes “suffering for righteousness.” Peter comments further on this kind of suffering saying, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, … But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; … If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; … If any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf” (1 Pet. 4:12-14,16). Suffering for righteousness is that which occurs as the child of God endeavors to follow the example of Christ, while in the midst of opposition, reproach, ridicule, and even persecution. Those who suffer in this way are counted as “happy,” and can “rejoice,” because their sufferings are developing in them the necessary qualities to be sympathetic “priests” in Christ’s coming kingdom.    

Jesus the King

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.”—Zechariah 9:9

When our Lord Jesus rode into Jerusalem, he fulfilled this prophecy that foretold of him and his coming. Luke confirms this, saying, “When he was come nigh…the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest” (Luke 19:37,38). The disciples rejoiced at the presence of Jesus and pronounced him their king because his arrival had been promised by God and foretold by the prophets. Moses declared, “The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken” (Deut. 18:15).

As the U.S. presidential election approached, Americans were faced with the task of electing their leader. However, there was no divine approval given, nor prophecies or miracles to aid in the decision process. All one had to go on were the past promises, words and deeds of the candidates in order to decide. Oh, how the acts and promises of men pale in comparison to what our Lord Jesus accomplished during the short 3½ years of his ministry.

When we consider the world today, in the hands of men whose words and deeds have caused decades of wars, famine, inequity and fear, shouldn’t we look to our God who has promised a ruler that will end death, sorrow, war and disease, cause the earth to give her increase, and bring mankind back into harmony with the Heavenly Father?

Let us rejoice for we have the sure word of prophecy that God’s earthly kingdom is close at hand and his choice for leader will accomplish what he has promised. “For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet.  The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (1 Cor. 15:25,26).

A Pure River of Water of Life

When we read of this “river of water of life,” we notice that truth will flow as a mighty river, refreshing and blessing the whole earth (Rev. 22:1).  This river comes by means of the prospective members of the bride class that now have God’s spirit in them. The Bride is to become a “partaker of the divine nature.” She is to have within her a “well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14). Eventually, these wellsprings, brought together in glory with the Lord, shall provide “living fountains of waters” to which the rest of mankind will come,  to drink (Rev. 7:17). Christ and the church constitute the source of the great “river of water of life.” A corresponding testimony of the “living waters” is found in Zechariah 14:8.

Water is used in the scriptures as a symbol of life. We continue to pray “Thy Kingdom come” and not until that prayer is answered, can the river of water of life flow. This river of life can only come when the institutions of this world have been replaced by God’s kingdom.

Revelation 22:2 tells us there is in this kingdom, a tree to sustain life, reminding us of the “paradise” where Adam was driven from on account of sin. He could no longer eat of that tree, which would have kept him living. On each side of the river, the tree of life will bear twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month to the changing conditions of men as they are brought upward toward perfection. We can see how the Lord will rid mankind of its sin, sickness and imperfection.

This “river of the water of life” represents the blessed influence that will proceed to humanity from the glorified Christ, head and body, through the kingdom of God’s dear Son. The calling of the world’s attention to the “river of the water of life,” to the leaves of healing, and to developing the fruits of the spirit will be the message that will be promulgated in that kingdom. The result will be that the world shall hear, and all who love righteousness and hate iniquity will return again to life eternal.  Amen