“Lord, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?” (Acts 1:6)
That kingdom ended when the Jews were taken into exile in Babylon. No longer did a descendant from the royal line of King David rule over a free and independent nation of Israel. The apostles were justifiably interested in knowing when that kingdom would be restored. They didn’t have to wait long.
When Jesus returned to heaven, he did so as the anointed king. From 33 C.E. onward, he ruled over the Christian congregation. What proof of that is there?
This is an important point.
Whenever a prophecy that affects Jehovah’s people has been fulfilled there has been obvious physical evidence marking its fulfillment.
According to Colossians 1:13, the Christian congregation was ruled by Jesus. The Christian congregation was the “Israel of God”. (Gal. 6:16) Therefore, the restoration of the Davidic kingship over Israel occurred in 33 C.E. What evidence was there of this invisible event? Peter attests to this evidence when he refers to the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy that foretold the outpouring of God’s spirit. The physical manifestation of that fulfillment was evident for all to see—believer and non-believer alike. (Acts 2:17)
However, there is another fulfillment of the restoration of the Davidic kingship. Jesus went to heaven to wait for Jehovah to place his enemies at his feet. (Luke 20:42,43) The Messianic kingdom would come to take power and rulership over all the earth. It would consist not only of the King, Jesus Christ, but of the resurrected, anointed Christian co-rulers pictured by the symbolic 144,000 of Revelation. What physical evidence will there be for believer and non-believer alike to know that this prophecy is fulfilled? How about signs in the sun, moon and stars? How about the sign of the Son of man appearing in the heavens? How about the arrival of Kingdom power of the Messiah in the clouds where every eye will see him? (Mt. 24:29,30; Rev. 1:7)
That’s physical enough for the most skeptical among us.
So we have two fulfillments of the prophecy relating to the restoration of the Davidic kingship; one minor and the other major. What of 1914? Does that mark a third fulfillment? If so, there would have to be some physical proof for all to see, as there was/will be for the other two fulfillments.
Was the really big war that started in 1914 proof? There is nothing tying the start of some invisible enthronement of the Messianic king to a single, large war. Ah, but there is, some will counter. The invisible start of the kingdom resulted in Satan being cast down. “Woe to the earth…because the Devil has come down…having great anger.” (Rev. 12:12)
The trouble with that interpretation is that it is, well, interpretive. The enthronement in 33 C.E. was marked by indisputable evidence, the physical manifestation of gifts of the spirit. There was also the evidence, witnessed by hundreds, of the resurrected Jesus. There is also the inspired word of God attesting to this fact. Likewise, the manifestation of Christ’s presence at Armageddon will be plainly evident to all on Earth. (2 Thess. 2:8) No interpretation of the evidence necessary.
We point to the First World War as physical proof of an invisible enthronement in 1914. But it isn’t. Why? Because it started before the Devil supposedly got angry. The war started in August, 1914. We claim the enthronement occurred in October of that year and the “casting down” after that.
In fact, the only event with a physical manifestation that we can lay claim to is the Devil’s anger. If the Devil was angry 100 years ago, because his days were short, it follows that he’d be even more angry now. If the first and second world wars are evidence of that anger, then what’s he been doing for the past 60 years? Has he calmed down? Sure things are bad. We’re in the last days after all. But this is nothing compared to living through war. I don’t know about you, but I’ve lived for more than half a century in peace and tranquility; no war, no persecution to speak of. Nothing that differs from any other epoch of history and if truth be told, my life has probably been idyllic when compared with most times in history. In fact, any resident of the Americas or Europe, where the vast majority of Jehovah’s people live and preach, has not seen the manifestation of the Devil’s anger over the last 50 years. Sure things are getting worse, because we’re in the last days. But real “woe to the earth”? Most of us don’t know what that is.
Do we really believe that the only evidence Jehovah would provide for the fulfillment of the start of the Messianic Kingdom would be to rely on the Devil’s anger?
We’ve said this already, but it bears repeating. The fulfillment of the numerous prophecies Jehovah has given his people over the centuries has been evident and incontrovertible and often overwhelming. When it comes to prophetic fulfillment, Jehovah is not given to understatement. Nor is he ever vague. Most important, we have never had to rely on the interpretation of scholars to know that something has been fulfilled. At such times, even the dullest among us has been left with no doubt that God’s word has just come true.
We should have trouble with an alleged fulfillment of Scripture that can only be “proved” based on the human interpretation of events.