The Watchtower has long argued that Jesus’ kingship began in 1914, almost two thousand years after he had ascended into heaven.
*** w08 2/15 p. 21 par. 3 Christ’s Presence—What Does It Mean to You? ***
What of the “presence” that the apostles asked about? This is the translation of the Greek word pa·rou·si′a. Christ’s pa·rou·si′a, or presence, started with Jesus’ installation as King in heaven in 1914
But the text of Scripture has some interesting things to say with regard to the time-frame of Jesus’ exaltation as heavenly king:
(Ephesians 1:20) 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,
When did Ephesians 1:20 occur? The Watchtower explains.
*** w64 8/1 p. 478 Why Two Covenants for Kingdom Power? ***
So after Jesus had faithfully finished his earthly ministry, God “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.” (Eph. 1:20, 21) At that time, in the year 33 C.E., Psalm 110:1 applied, 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.’”
If verse 20 occurred in 33, then it would naturally follow that the rest of the passage occurred then as well,
(Ephesians 1:21-23) 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. 22 He also subjected all things under his feet, and made him head over all things to the congregation, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills up all things in all.
If the Watchtower is correct that Jesus’ exaltation as King didn’t occur until 1914, then they would have to, by implication, deny that this passage in Ephesians is not referring to Jesus’ exaltation as king since they have already established that it is in reference to 33 C.E. The following quote should provide some interesting insights into this dilemma:
*** w73 2/15 p. 103 Why Does “Faith in the Name” of Jesus Christ Bring Life? ***
This helps us to understand why it is that, at Ephesians 1:21, the apostle Paul links ‘names’ with ‘governments, authorities, powers and lordships.’ We can also see that it is because God has put his Son at the head of the Kingdom government and given him all authority to carry out the divine will that Philippians 2:9-11 says that God exalted Jesus to “a superior position and kindly gave him the name that is above every other name, so that in the name of Jesus every knee should bend of those in heaven and those on earth and those under the ground, and every tongue should openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”
Other than being described as “King of the Jews,” nowhere in the Christian Scriptures is Jesus explicitly identified as “King.” So, when we declare that “Jesus was exalted as King,” whether it be in 33 C.E. or 1914, it is by implication. And what does the Watchtower quote above declare? “God has put his Son at the head of the Kingdom government and given him all authority to carry out the divine will.” This sounds a lot like one who is exalted as king. But how can this be when the Watchtower has declared that his exaltation as king didn’t happen until 1914? Here is the stated dilemma:
1. According to the Watchtower, Jesus was exalted as King in 1914 (w08 2/15 p. 21 par. 3)
2. ” ” Ephesians 1:20-22 took place in 33 C.E. (w64 8/1 p. 478)
3. ” ” Ephesians 1:20-22 refers to Christ’s exaltation as King (w73 2/15 p. 103)
4. Therefore, either the Watchtower is wrong in that Jesus was exalted as king in 1914, or the Bible is wrong in Ephesians 1:20-22.
This may, in fact, not be the case as there are several arguable places where Jesus is identified as King. But my question is, in what sense? When “King” is explicitly used in reference to Jesus, is it in the sense that he is the sovereign ruler of the Universe? Yes, Jesus is the King as the sovereign ruler of the Universe, but this is more based on the clear reading of Scripture more than it is from an explicit reading of Scripture. For instance, “Jesus is our Savior” is an explicit statement in Scripture (Titus 2:13) and not merely something that is implied from a text. “Jesus is King of the Universe” is something that is clearly implied from texts like Ephesians 1:20-22 but not necessarily an explicit word-for-word derivation.