QUESTIONS & RESPONSES
♦ What is the Kingdom of the Heavens? And over whom do the ‘kings-priests’ rule?
On April 11, 2014, we received the following comment and inquiry:
“So am I correct in understanding that the kingdom of the heavens is the spiritual realm where God resides and where a family of humans united in Christ have begun to live after Jesus ascended to heaven? And am I also correct in saying that some of them will sit on thrones and rule with Christ as kings-priests? Over what or whom do they rule? The rest of this family will be priests for what reason? For whom do they officiate?”
To the author, thank you for your email and your patience in receiving a response.
The Kingdom of the Heavens is the entire heavenly realm where the Father, Christ Jesus, and an unnumerable host of celestial beings reside. It includes the stars, planets, galaxies, etc. In fact, Earth itself, as one of the planets, is also a part of the Kingdom of the Heavens.
However, on Earth, there is also the kingdom or realm of mankind that does not recognize that we are a part of the heavenly kingdom or under the authority of the Father and Christ Jesus. They are either under the belief that earth and life on it is an isolated accident, or they are under the authority of the confused and uninformed religious leaders. So, although Earth is a part of the heavenly kingdom, most of mankind is under the authority of darkness and do not see themselves as citizens of the Kingdom of the Heavens. (Colossians 1:13)
They look at this earthly life as all there is and do whatever they can to preserve their lives on it. It is not until they individually reach the realization of their true relationship to God and submit to the governance of the heavenly kingdom that they have the opportunity to leave this planet and travel through the heavenly universe where they will ultimately reach the actual presence of the Father. That is the purposed and intended destiny of mankind ‘since the founding of the world.’ (Ephesians 1:3-5) We wrote about this in The Kingdom of the Heavens and Foreordained From the Founding of the World.
However, regarding the king-priest issue, we believe this is an appropriate time to emphasize that we do not hold ourselves out as authorities on the Bible. We are learning and being guided by the Spirit of Truth, along with the rest of our brothers worldwide. Like our brothers among Jehovah’s Witnesses, we, too, are coming out from under the influence of the Governing Body and have been gradually shaking off their erroneous teachings.
When we first began this ministry in January 2012, we wrote about the king-priest issue in the series, The Royal Priesthood and the Holy Nation. At that time, we held the Watchtower belief that there are two covenants and that there would be 144,000 kings and priests. We have since learned, by our own due diligence and looking at the contexts of the scriptures with our own eyes with the help of the Spirit of Truth, that it is not true. There is only one covenant and the 144,000 are not said to be kings and priests. We corrected ourselves in the article The Great Crowd of Partakers.
By our own actions, we unwittingly demonstrated the error of trying to explain the good news by means of prophesy. However, we have not removed the Royal Priesthood series from the website because it serves as a record of our own journey to the ‘plain and open teachings’ and, aside from these misunderstandings, the material is overall very effective in helping wean Jehovah’s Witnesses off of the old wine and into the fresh new wine Jesus brought. We might say it is a ‘tutor’ of sorts that leads our brothers to the Christ (as it led us), at which time, the ‘tutor’ can be set aside. So a reading of that series might provide you with some answers or directions to answers. We suggest you take what is helpful and what bears witness with your own spirit, and feel free to disregard the rest.