How Does Jehovah Direct His Organization?
1. What information about Jehovah’s organization does the Bible reveal, and why is it important to us?
DOES God have an organization? The inspired Scriptures tell us that he does. In his Word, he gives us glimpses of the awesome heavenly part of that organization. (Ezekiel 1:1, 4-14; Daniel 7:9, 10, 13, 14) Although we cannot see this invisible part, it greatly affects true worshipers today. (2 Kings 6:15-17) Jehovah’s organization also has a visible part, on earth. The Bible helps us to understand what it is and how Jehovah directs it.
Identifying the Visible Part
2. What new congregation did God bring into existence?
2 For 1,545 years the nation of Israel was the congregation of God. (Acts 7:38) But Israel failed to keep God’s laws and rejected his own Son. As a result, Jehovah rejected that congregation and cast it off. Jesus told the Jews: “Look! Your house is abandoned to you.” (Matthew 23:38) God then brought into existence a new congregation, with which he made a new covenant. This congregation was to be made up of 144,000 individuals chosen by God to be united with his Son in heaven.
3. What took place at Pentecost 33 C.E. as clear evidence that God was now using a new congregation?
3 The first ones of that new congregation were anointed with Jehovah’s holy spirit at Pentecost 33 C.E. Concerning that remarkable event, we read: “Now while the day of the festival of Pentecost was in progress they were all together at the same place, and suddenly there occurred from heaven a noise just like that of a rushing stiff breeze, and it filled the whole house in which they were sitting. And tongues as if of fire became visible to them and were distributed about, and one sat upon each one of them, and they all became filled with holy spirit.” (Acts 2:1-4) Thus God’s spirit gave clear evidence that this was now the body of people that God would use to accomplish his purpose under the direction of Jesus Christ in heaven.
4. Who today make up Jehovah’s visible organization?
4 Today, only a remnant of the 144,000 are on earth. But in fulfillment of Bible prophecy, “a great crowd” of “other sheep,” millions of them, have been brought into association with the anointed remnant. Jesus, the Fine Shepherd, has merged these other sheep with the remnant so that they form just one flock under him as their one Shepherd. (Revelation 7:9; John 10:11, 16) These all make up one united congregation, Jehovah’s visible organization.
Theocratic in Structure
5. Who directs God’s organization, and how?
5 The Scriptural expression “the congregation of the living God” makes evident who directs it. The organization is theocratic, or God-ruled. Jehovah provides direction for his people through Jesus, the one He appointed to be the invisible Head of the congregation, and by means of His own inspired Word, the Bible.
6. (a) How was heavenly direction of the congregation manifest in the first century? (b) What shows that Jesus is still the Head of the congregation?
6 Such direction was very evident at Pentecost. (Acts 2:14-18, 32, 33) It was manifest when Jehovah’s angel directed the spreading of the good news into Africa, when Jesus’ voice gave directions at the conversion of Saul of Tarsus, and when Peter began the preaching work among the Gentiles. (Acts 8:26, 27; 9:3-7; 10:9-16, 19-22) But, in time, no more voices were heard from heaven, no more angels were seen, no more miraculous gifts of the spirit were bestowed. Yet, Jesus had promised: “Look! I am with you all the days until the conclusion of the system of things.” (Matthew 28:20; 1 Corinthians 13:8) Today, Jehovah’s Witnesses acknowledge Jesus’ direction. Without that, proclaiming the Kingdom message in the face of intense hostility would be impossible.
7. (a) Who make up “the faithful and discreet slave,” and why? (b) What assignment was given to the “slave”?
7 Shortly before his death, Jesus told his disciples about “the faithful and discreet slave” that he as Master would entrust with special responsibility. That “slave” would be on hand when the Lord departed for heaven and would still be working hard at Christ’s invisible return in Kingdom power. Such a description could hardly fit one individual, but it does fit Christ’s anointed congregation. Having purchased it with his blood, Jesus referred to it as his “slave.” He commissioned its members to make disciples and to feed them progressively, giving them “their [spiritual] food at the proper time.”
8. (a) What responsibilities does the slave class now have? (b) Why is our response to instruction through God’s channel important?
8 Since the slave class was loyally doing the Master’s work at his invisible return in 1914, there is evidence that it was entrusted with enlarged responsibilities in 1919. The years since then have been the time for a global witness to the Kingdom, and a great crowd of worshipers of Jehovah is being gathered with a view to their preservation through the great tribulation. (Matthew 24:14, 21, 22; Revelation 7:9, 10) These too need spiritual food, and it is served to them by the slave class. To please Jehovah, we therefore need to accept the instruction he provides through this channel and to act in harmony with it.
9, 10. (a) In the first century, what arrangement was there for resolving questions about doctrine and giving direction to preaching the good news? (b) What arrangement for coordinating the activities of Jehovah’s people exists today?
9 At times, questions arise regarding doctrine and procedure. What then? Acts chapter 15 tells us how an issue regarding Gentile converts was resolved. The matter was referred to the apostles and older men at Jerusalem, who served as a central governing body. Those men were not infallible, but God used them. They considered the scriptures on the subject and also the evidence of the operation of God’s spirit in opening the Gentile field. Then they rendered a decision. God blessed that arrangement. (Acts 15:1-29; 16:4, 5) From that central body, individuals were sent out to further the Kingdom preaching.
10 In our day the Governing Body of Jehovah’s visible organization is made up of spirit-anointed brothers from various lands and is located at the world headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Under the headship of Jesus Christ, the Governing Body furthers pure worship in every land, coordinating the preaching activities of Jehovah’s Witnesses in their tens of thousands of congregations. Those on the Governing Body share the viewpoint of the apostle Paul, who wrote to fellow Christians: “Not that we are the masters over your faith, but we are fellow workers for your joy, for it is by your faith that you are standing.”
11. (a) How are elders and ministerial servants appointed? (b) Why should we cooperate closely with the appointed ones?
11 Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide look to the Governing Body to select qualified brothers who, in turn, are authorized to appoint elders and ministerial servants to care for the congregations. The requirements for those appointed are stated in the Bible and take into account that those men are not perfect and make mistakes. The elders who make recommendations and those who do the appointing bear a serious responsibility before God. (1 Timothy 3:1-10, 12, 13; Titus 1:5-9) Hence, they offer prayer for the aid of God’s spirit and seek guidance from his inspired Word. (Acts 6:2-4, 6; 14:23) Let us show our appreciation for these “gifts in men,” who help us all attain to “the oneness in the faith.”
12. How does Jehovah use women in the theocratic arrangement?
12 The Scriptures direct that oversight in the congregation be cared for by men. This does not downgrade women, for some of them are heirs of the heavenly Kingdom, and they do much of the preaching work. (Psalm 68:11) Too, by faithfully caring for their family responsibilities, women contribute to the fine reputation of the congregation. (Titus 2:3-5) But teaching within the congregation is cared for by men who are appointed to do that.
13. (a) What view does the Bible urge elders to take regarding their position? (b) In what privilege may all of us share?
13 In the world, an individual who holds a prominent position is considered to be important, but within God’s organization the rule is: “He that conducts himself as a lesser one among all of you is the one that is great.” (Luke 9:46-48; 22:24-26) The Scriptures counsel elders to be careful not to lord it over those who are God’s inheritance but, rather, to become examples to the flock. (1 Peter 5:2, 3) Not just a select few, but all of Jehovah’s Witnesses, male and female, have the privilege of representing the Sovereign of the universe, humbly speaking in his name and telling people everywhere about his Kingdom.
14. Using the scriptures cited, discuss the questions listed at the end of the paragraph.
14 We do well to ask ourselves: ‘Do I truly appreciate how Jehovah is directing his visible organization? Do my attitudes, speech, and actions reflect that?’ Reasoning on the following points can help each of us to make such an analysis.
When I appreciatively accept the spiritual provisions that come through the slave class and its Governing Body, for whom am I showing respect? (Luke 10:16)
How should everyone in the congregation, especially the elders, deal with one another? (Romans 12:10)
15. (a) By our attitude toward Jehovah’s visible organization, what do we demonstrate? (b) What opportunities are there for us to prove the Devil a liar and to bring joy to Jehovah’s heart?
15 Jehovah is guiding us today by means of his visible organization under Christ. Our attitude toward this arrangement demonstrates how we feel about the issue of sovereignty. (Hebrews 13:17) Satan contends that our chief concern is self. But if we serve in any way needed and avoid things that draw undue attention to self, we prove the Devil a liar. If we love and respect those who take the lead among us but refuse to ‘admire personalities for our own benefit,’ we bring joy to Jehovah. (Jude 16; Hebrews 13:7) By being loyal to Jehovah’s organization, we show that Jehovah is our God and that we are united in worship of him.
• What is Jehovah’s visible organization today? What is its purpose?
• Who is the appointed Head of the congregation, and through what visible arrangements does he provide loving direction for us?
• What wholesome attitudes should we cultivate toward those in Jehovah’s organization?
[Pictures on page 133]
Jehovah guides us by means of his visible organization under Christ