Subjection to the Higher Powers
1. How do the clergy make themselves part of this world, and how do they justify themselves in doing so?
THE clergy of Christendom have made themselves a part of this world. They freely meddle in the politics of this world and drag politics into their religious meetinghouses. In 1929, by means of a concordat with the late Fascist dictator Mussolini, the chief religionist re-established himself as a political ruler over a political state and now receives at his court the political ambassadors, ministers and chargés d’affaires from the various nations. Not only do the clergy pray for the political figures of the state and their policies, but in times of mortal combat between nations they let their religious unity be split and pray for the contending sides, each side praying to the same God in the name of the same Christ to bless their side against the other side, while Methodist sets out to destroy Methodist, Baptist Baptist, Catholic Catholic, Presbyterian Presbyterian, etc. The clergy and their religious flocks justify themselves in such actions by affirming that they must render to Caesar what belongs to Caesar.
2. How do they explain Romans 13:1? With what effect on Christians?
2 The clergy also quote the apostle’s writing at Romans 13:1: “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” This scripture, they explain, declares that Caesar and like political authorities are the “higher powers” ordained by God, and Christian souls must be subject to them, rendering full obedience to them. Under such ecclesiastical interpretation of the text it has been easy for so-called Christians to be drawn into political movements and be swung over to Nazi, Fascist, Communist and other dictators who set up a totalitarian state, brutally persecute the true worshipers of Jehovah and the faithful imitators of his Christ and set out on a course of military aggression for dominating the world and subjecting all peoples to their social, political ideologies.
3, 4. What do two newspaper reports show resulting from such clergy construing of the Scriptures?
3 What such clerical construing of the Scriptures has resulted in may be gathered from a couple of news reports. A special dispatch to the New York Times with the date line “Moscow, April 24” stated: “The elaborate celebration of the Russian Orthodox Easter opened last night with the traditional midnight services conducted by Patriarch Alexei at Moscow’s Yelokhovsky Cathedral. The cathedral was jammed to capacity. Just before midnight, Alexei uttered prayers for the Soviet people and for the preservation of peace and a BENEDICTION FOR THE LEADER OF THE SOVIET STATE, JOSEPH STALIN.”—New York Times, April 25, 1949.
4 The other dispatch was published by the South German Gazette (Sueddeutsche Zeitung) on December 7, 1945, and tells of the confession of the well-known Pastor Niemoeller shortly after the end of World War II. Bearing the date line “Frankfort on the Main, 6 December (DANA)”, this article with the heading “Criticism of the Evangelical Church” said: “Pastor Niemoeller preached here on the first Sunday in Advent to an audience of a thousand men and women of all professions and ages. He expressed the wish for peace and warned against those who say that peace is unrealizable and impossible. With sharp words Pastor Niemoeller severely criticized the Evangelical Church, which in former years and for hundreds of years has often SANCTIONED WARS AND BLESSED WEAPONS. He held out in contrast with them the courageous fighters who unflinchingly stood up for their ideas, making special mention of the Bibelforscher [Bible Students, or Jehovah’s witnesses] who to the number of thousands had suffered death in the concentration camps for the sake of their faith. The peace that we aspire to, said Niemoeller, and the work which awaits us, will not be made possible by an influential church, but solely by our return to modesty and love of one’s neighbor, the foundation of Christianity.”
NEED FOR RE-EXAMINING THE SCRIPTURES
5. How have many honest-hearted persons been affected by such things?
5 Not alone in Germany but in all the belligerent countries the clergy of all denominations asked divine blessings upon the carnal weapons of the destroyers of human lives and valuable property. Their religious flocks approved, applauded and supported the advances that were being made against the foe. But many honesthearted persons saw the excesses to which the clergy interpretation of vital scriptures led the professed followers of Christ Jesus, making them the easy pawns of totalitarian dictators who demanded for “Caesar” the abject subjection of the people to the political state. So they were filled with misgivings. They began to see there was need to re-examine the Holy Scriptures, for certainly God’s sacred Word was not to be interpreted in such a way that it led to such un-Christlike acts. In proof of such misgivings in honest hearts was the news received at the same time as the above dispatch from the American Zone of the then occupied Germany.
6. In proof of this what was the news from Frankfort on the Main?
6 The news was to this effect: That “in Frankfort a strong movement within the Evangelical Church is under way which is aiming at a reform in the church also in a theological sense. Nothing has been so detrimental to the Evangelical Church in the last 12 years as the theological principles expressed in the words: ‘Be subject to the higher powers, who have authority over you’—therefore also the Hitler dictatorship—and, ‘Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s—and, according to this, also ‘unto the Fuehrer the things which are the Fuehrer’s’. These teachings had made the crossing over into the camp of National Socialism all too easy and facilitated the further step of blessing cannon for the war. Teachings of this kind which were quite understandable from Luther’s standpoint have been outlived. Here a reform must be made”.
7. When did we re-examine Romans 13:1-7 and publish the conclusions? What has holding to those conclusions meant?
7 How far the Evangelical Church of Germany has gone in altering its understanding of the Scripture texts above referred to we are here not prepared to say. But in Pastor Niemoeller’s confession reported above he mentioned the Bibelforscher or Jehovah’s witnesses in Germany and the Christian course of action they took even under stress of dictatorship and World War II. Up till 1928 they, too, had held to the ecclesiastical interpretation of Romans 13:1-7 concerning the “higher powers”. But that year this scripture was taken under re-examination, especially in view of the fact that the “times of the Gentiles” had ended A.D. 1914 and God’s kingdom by Christ had then been established in the heavens to bring in a new world with eternal blessings for obedient men of good will. The conclusions arrived at were published in the June 1 and 15, 1929, issues of The Watchtower in the article, in two parts, entitled “The Higher Powers”. Holding to these conclusions ever since has cost many of Jehovah’s witnesses their personal liberty and even their lives. But persecution, imprisonment, exile, and violent death were also the price which Jesus’ faithful apostles paid for paying back to God God’s things and to Caesar only Caesar’s things and for rendering proper subjection to the true “higher powers”. But such sufferings are not to be compared with the everlasting reward they have received. So, because of the pertinence of the subject, now that totalitarian ideas and practices and the idolatry of the political state and its emblems are spreading, we here take up a discussion of the crucial text, Romans 13:1-7.
8, 9. How have the clergy applied Romans 13:1, and how is this shown in the dedication of the King James Bible Version?
8 The King James or Authorized Version of the Bible reads, at Romans 13:1: “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” The apostle Paul wrote those words to the Christian congregation at Rome when the Caesars were ruling the Roman Empire. The clergy of Christendom have interpreted Paul to mean here by the “higher powers” the political powers of this world. So they have used his words here as inspired instructions on rendering to Caesar the things belonging to Caesar. Understanding that the existing political powers have been ordained by God, the translators of the English Authorized Version were led to say the following in their dedication found in the front of each copy of this version:
9 “To the Most High and Mighty Prince, James, by the Grace of God, King of Great Britain, France, and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, &c. The Translators of the Bible wish Grace, Mercy, and Peace through JESUS CHRIST our Lord. Great and manifold were the blessings, most dread Sovereign, which Almighty God, the Father of all mercies, bestowed upon us the people of England, when first he sent Your Majesty’s Royal Person to rule and reign over us. . . . The Lord of heaven and earth bless Your Majesty with many and happy days, that, as his heavenly hand hath enriched Your Highness with many singular and extraordinary graces, so You may be the wonder of the world in this latter age for happiness and true felicity, to the honour of that great GOD, and the good of his Church, through Jesus Christ our Lord and only Saviour.”
10. Romans 13:1-7 are instructions to make payments back to whom? Why?
10 But rather than being instructions by the apostle to render to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, Romans 13:1-7 has since 1929 been taken by Jehovah’s witnesses to be instructions on rendering to God what belongs to God. Why? Because the expression “the higher powers” is now understood to mean primarily the Most High God and his reigning Son Jesus Christ. Surely there are no powers or authorities higher than these. As rendered by the recently issued New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures Romans 13:1 reads: “Let every soul be in subjection to the superior authorities, for there is no authority except by God; the existing authorities stand placed in their relative positions by God.” Jehovah God is the Supreme and Original Authority. He being the Creator of all things, it follows that he is the source of all authority for doing what is right. Because he is supreme and all creation is dependent upon him, no one has the right to question the Most High God on how he uses his authority, even though for a time we may not understand it. He does what he pleases, but what he does is always for good, since there can never be any unrighteousness or untruthfulness in him. “The Almighty is beyond our minds. Supreme in power and rich in justice, he violates no right.” “There is one thing God has said; ay, twice have I heard him say it: that power belongs to God.” (Job 37:23 and Ps. 62:11, Mo) The fact stands unassailable that Jehovah God is the Chief of the Superior Authorities. Every soul should be subject to him.
11. Why is Jesus’ authority also meant in that text?
11 In saying “there is no authority except by God”, the apostle Paul also meant the authority possessed by God’s only-begotten Son Jesus Christ. Jesus admitted that his authority came from Jehovah God when he said: “Father, the hour has come; glorify your son, that your son may glorify you, according as you have given him authority over all flesh, that, as regards the whole number which you have given him, he may give them everlasting life.” “For just as the Father has in himself the gift of life, so he has granted to the Son to have also in himself the gift of life. And he has given him authority to do judging, because Son of man he is. I cannot do a single thing of my own initiative; just as I hear, I judge, and the judgment that I render is righteous, because I seek not my own will but the will of him that sent me.” (John 17:1, 2 and Joh 5:26, 27, 30, NW) After Jesus had proved his complete subjection to his heavenly Father as the Supreme Authority of the universe even to dying on the torture stake, God raised him from the dead to immortal life in the heavens. Then the resurrected Jesus said to his disciples: “All authority has been given me in heaven and on the earth.” (Matt. 28:18, NW) Such full authority was God’s gift to him for his perfect faithfulness.
12. From what government do man-made governments till now stem? How is it shown whether this has been with divine authority?
12 On the clergy interpretation of Romans 13:1 has been based the Roman Catholic doctrine of the “divine right of kings”. Man-made governments since the flood of Noah’s day stem from Nimrod’s government at Babel or Babylon. “Cush [Noah’s grandson] was the father of Nimrod, who was the first person on the earth to be a despot. . . . The nucleus of his kingdom was Babylon.” (Gen. 10:8-10, AT; Mo) A public accusation was recently made in Quebec against Jehovah’s witnesses in these words: “Finally, the witnesses are anarchists, for they consider that all the governments of the world, from Nimrod to our days, have been under Satan’s inspiration.”a But can anybody say that Nimrod had the “divine right of kings” and that his despotic kingdom at Babylon was set up under the inspiration and by the authority of Jehovah God? His own Word, at Genesis 10:8-10, describes Nimrod as setting himself up in opposition to Jehovah, as being mightier than Jehovah. None of the man-made political governments since Nimrod’s day can prove from God’s Word that they draw authority from God for their existence.
13, 14. How does Revelation 13:1-12 show the source of their authority?
13 The Bible describes political governments under the form of wild beasts. (Dan. 7:1-24) Revelation symbolizes the worldly political system which has dominated the earth since Nimrod’s day down to the twentieth century as a beast from the sea. It symbolizes the empire that has dominated the world since the seventeenth century as a beast out of the earth. It symbolizes Satan the Devil as the dragon. Showing symbolically the source of worldly political authority it says:
14 “And the dragon [not God] gave the beast its power and its throne and great authority. And they worshiped the dragon because he gave the authority to the wild beast, and they worshiped the wild beast . . . And I saw another wild beast ascending out of the earth, and it had two horns like a lamb, but it began speaking as a dragon. And it exercises all the authority of the first wild beast in its sight.”—Rev. 13:2, 4, 11, 12, NW.
15. Why, then, cannot Jehovah’s witnesses or Jesus himself be rightly accused of being anarchistic?
15 The Bible is not anarchistic for revealing that fact; and neither are Jehovah’s witnesses for teaching the Bible. They are the most law-abiding, order-keeping people on the earth. Jesus was not anarchistic because he refused to deviate from God’s law to please men and devils. Because he recognized that man-made governments did not derive their authority from God but were under the inspiration of Satan, he refused to meddle in them or take the headship over them. It was Satan the Devil, and not God, who offered him all the authority and glory of the kingdoms of this world if Jesus would do an act of worship to Satan. But Jesus was anointed with God’s spirit to the kingdom of the heavens, and he refused to try to form a fusion government with Satan in order to gain the authority over the kingdoms of this world. Jesus even refused to be elected king by the popular vote of the Jewish people, because he recognized that his appointment and his authority to be king came from God. He did not derive his power to govern from the consent of the governed, that is to say, from the people. (Luke 4:5-8; John 6:14, 15) So he kept subject to the Supreme Authority, God.
16. How do the clergy refer to Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus to bolster their argument?
16 Clergymen who insist that political powers of this world are the higher authorities to which we are to be subject bring forward certain scriptures to bolster their argument. They quote Daniel’s words in interpreting the dream to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon: “Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all.” And on the night that Babylon fell to the Persian conqueror Cyrus, Daniel said to King Belshazzar: “O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honour: and for the majesty that he gave him, all people, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before him.” (Dan. 2:37, 38; 5:18, 19) In harmony with this Jehovah God told the Israelites by the prophet Jeremiah: “And now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon”; and he told the Israelites to go out and yield themselves in subjection to the king of Babylon. (Jer. 27:5-13, 17) Then, too, there are the words of Cyrus the conqueror of Babylon: “Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth hath Jehovah, the God of heaven, given me; and he hath charged me to build him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah.” (2 Chron. 36:22, 23, AS; Ezra 1:1, 2) Do not these scriptures prove that the political powers of this world of today draw their authority from Jehovah God and are ordained by him?
17. How do we answer their argument in harmony with Revelation 13:1-12?
17 The foregoing scriptures must be harmonized with Revelation, chapter 13, and other texts which show the political powers of this world are by and are under the “ruler of this world”, “the god of this system of things.” “The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.” (John 12:31 and; 2 Cor. 4:4 and; 1 John 5:19, NW) So it must be remembered that both Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus were used as types. In destroying Jerusalem in 607 B.C. and taking the Jews captive to Babylon Nebuchadnezzar was being used as Jehovah’s executioner against the unfaithful Jewish nation. For this reason Jehovah spoke of him as “my servant” and gave him the domination over other nations of this world. In this capacity Nebuchadnezzar was a type of Jesus Christ. God uses Christ as his executioner of vengeance against Jerusalem’s modern counterpart, Christendom, and God also gives him the domination over all the nations of this world before destroying them at the battle of Armageddon. In conquering Babylon and restoring the exiled Jews to Palestine to rebuild the temple at Jerusalem Cyrus king of Persia was also used as a type. For this reason Jehovah God gave the kingdoms of this world into the hand of Cyrus. This prefigured that God would use Jesus Christ to destroy the Devil’s organization, mystic Babylon, and would use him to restore Jehovah’s witnesses to the pure and free worship of God in this “time of the end” of the world and would make him ruler over all the earth.
18, 19. How, therefore, does this prove political governments are not the “superior authorities”, and how far do we obey them?
18 It cannot be said of the other political powers and authorities of this world that they were types of Christ as God’s Chief Servant and that therefore God gave such political powers their authority. Certainly Caesar’s government in killing the Son of God and thereafter persecuting his faithful followers was not a type of Christ’s government authorized by God. Jesus told the Roman government: “You would have no authority at all against me unless it had been granted to you from above. This is why the man that handed me over to you has greater sin.” (John 19:11, NW) But God did not approve of the Roman government for executing Jesus at Calvary. Neither did he hold it without sin for doing so. Likewise he does not authorize and give approval to political governments of today in persecuting the Christian witnesses of Jehovah.
19 The political powers of this world are, therefore, not the “superior authorities” to whom Christian souls are to be subject in every demand they make. Every law and statute that is in harmony with righteousness the true Christians will obey in an exemplary fashion. But any law and demand made in conflict with the superior laws and commandments of God they will not obey, for that would mean to render to “Caesar” what belongs to God.
20. How did Jesus’ apostles take this same position, and why?
20 Jesus’ apostles took this position. In their day the Jewish Sánhedrin at Jerusalem was charged with certain judicial and legal functions by Caesar’s government. But it was not for this reason part of the “superior authorities” among Jesus’ followers. Jesus had separated his disciples from the natural Israelites and had formed them into a spiritual Israel, “the Israel of God.” (Gal. 6:16) So the Jewish Sánhedrin was no longer a governing body among God’s true people, but was an alien governmental body now. Its being a religious body of priests and clergymen added nothing to its power over Jewish Christians. So when it demanded of the apostles that they stop preaching Jesus Christ to the people at Jerusalem, Peter and John answered the Sánhedrin: “Whether it is righteous in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, make your decision. But as for us, we cannot stop speaking about the things we have seen and heard.” A second time before the Sánhedrin for refusing to obey their court order, Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God as ruler rather than men. The God of our forefathers raised up Jesus, . . . And we are witnesses of these matters, and so is the holy spirit which God has given to those obeying him as ruler.” (Acts 4:19, 20 and Ac 5:29-32, NW) But for this refusal to obey the anti-God order of the Jewish Supreme Court Peter and the other apostles could not be accused of being anarchists or subversive. God gave them and not the Sánhedrin his holy spirit, thus showing whom he approved and authorized.
21. Hence from what have Christians refrained, from the first century on?
21 In view of not recognizing worldly political powers as the “superior authorities” ordained by God, but recognizing only God and Jesus Christ to be such now, the Christian witnesses conscientiously refrain from taking part in the politics of this world, yes, even from voting. This has been true of them from the first century on. Testifying to this fact, Ancient Times—A History of the Early World, by Jas. H. Breasted, Ph.D., LL.D., says, under the heading, “1070. Rome persecutes the early Christians,” the following: “The officers of government often found these early converts not only refusing to sacrifice to the emperor as a god but also openly prophesying the downfall of the Roman State. The early Christians were therefore more than once called upon to endure cruel persecution. Their religion seemed incompatible with good citizenship, since it forbade them to show the usual respect for the emperor and the government.”—Page 663, edition of 1916.
22. How are they to proceed where voting is made compulsory by law?
22 In some countries today the legislature wants to make all the adult citizens responsible for the government. To enforce the democratic way upon them they are required by law to vote in the national elections. Under such circumstances what are Christians to do, since they are under divine command to keep themselves unspotted from this world? By dedicating themselves wholly to God through Christ they have vowed their unswerving allegiance to the kingdom of God, and they cannot divide their allegiance. So how are they now to proceed? Can they register as qualified voters? Yes. The apostle Paul held onto his Roman citizenship and fought for its rights, even appealing to Caesar in defending his right to preach the gospel. In lands where military conscription is in force Jehovah’s witnesses register the same as all others within the age limits, and they write down their relationship to the matter. They remember how Joseph and Mary complied with Caesar’s decree and traveled to Bethlehem-Judah in order to be registered at their home town. (Luke 2:1-5, NW) But it is when these ministers of Jehovah’s Word are called up for induction into the army that then they present themselves and take their stand according to God’s Word and pay to him what belongs to him. Likewise where Caesar makes it compulsory for citizens to vote. After they have registered and when election day comes, they can go to the polls and enter the voting booths. It is here that they are called upon to mark the ballot or write in what they stand for. The voters do what they will with their ballots. So here in the presence of God is where his witnesses must act in harmony with his commandments and in accordance with their faith.
23, 24. What do they do where voting is not compulsory, and why?
23 It is not our responsibility to instruct them what to do with the ballot. They must act in accord with their conscience as enlightened by the study of God’s Word. In lands where voting is not compulsory, the ministers of Jehovah’s Word remember that his people are theocratically organized. According to the divine law under which they are organized the popular vote of the majority does not put servants in office, but all appointments in the theocratic organization are from God and through those whom he puts in authority in his organization. Even in his visible organization the individual members of the congregation do not vote democratically and put qualified men into positions of overseers and ministerial servants by majority vote. No, but the appointments to all official positions of service are made by the spirit of God and through the governing body according to the Scriptural requirements. Even the governing body which make the appointments are under instructions from the “superior authorities”, God and his Christ. To them it is written: “Never lay your hands hastily upon any man; neither be a sharer in the sins of others; preserve yourself pure.” (1 Tim. 3:1-13 and 1Ti 5:22, NW) So the ministers of Jehovah’s Word do not possess the vote within his organization. As for the governing body, it does not lay its hands hastily upon a consecrated person, lest it should become responsible for his sins in office due to a hasty appointment of an undependable, unqualified person.
24 Since they do not exercise the popular vote to put even consecrated servants into office even within the theocratic organization, they consider it improper to exercise the democratic vote by which unconsecrated persons are put into worldly political offices. They do not choose to share in the responsibility for the sins of such worldlings in governmental offices. They want to preserve themselves pure from this world. They abide by God’s appointments through his theocratic organization, and they accept his appointment of Jesus Christ to the kingship of the righteous new world.
THE AUTHORITIES ORDAINED BY GOD
25, 26. Where are the existing authorities placed in position by God?
25 Paul was a member of the governing body of the congregation of the first century. He gives the reason for being in subjection to the superior authorities, saying: “The existing authorities stand placed in their relative positions by God.” (Rom. 13:1, NW) How could this be true of worldly political governments? There those in official positions are put in by popular vote, by machine party-politics, by dictatorial seizure of power, by executive appointment, by hereditary law of a dynasty, by legislative action or parliamentary appointment. God is not manipulating worldly politics like a political boss. It is only within his theocratic organization that the existing authorities stand placed in various positions with relationship to one another by God. In the preceding chapter Paul writes: “Just as we have in one body many members, but the members do not all have the same function, so we, although many, are one body in union with Christ, but members belonging individually to one another.”—Rom. 12:4, 5, NW.
26 In an earlier letter to the congregation at Corinth Paul writes concerning the same theocratic body and says: “But now God has set the members in the body, each one of them, just as he pleased. . . . God compounded the body, giving honor more abundant to the part which had a lack, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its members should have the same care for one another. Now you are Christ’s body, and members individually. And God has set the respective ones in the congregation, first, apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers; then powerful works; then gifts of healings; helpful services, abilities to direct, different tongues.”—1 Cor. 12:12, 13, 18, 24, 25, 27, 28, NW.
27, 28. So who is highest, and who has been placed next highest?
27 Rightfully Jehovah God has reserved for himself the position of Supreme One of the “superior authorities”. He shares that position with no one else, trinitarians to the contrary. Whom, then, has he placed next highest with relation to himself? Jesus Christ, who proved his loyalty to his heavenly Father to a violent death in the midst of Satan’s hostile world. “Keep this mental attitude in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although he was existing in God’s form, gave no consideration to a seizure, namely, that he should be equal to God. No, but he emptied himself and took a slave’s form and came to be in the likeness of men. More than that, when he found himself in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient as far as death, yes, death on a torture stake. For this very reason also God exalted him 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 confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”—Phil. 2:5-11, NW.
28 Further testifying that the Most High God has made Jesus Christ one of the “superior authorities”, Paul writes: “It is according to the operation of the mightiness of his strength, 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, 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. He also subjected all things under his feet, and made him head over all things to the congregation, which is his body.” (Eph. 1:19-23, NW) “He is at God’s right hand, for he went his way to heaven, and angels and authorities and powers were made subject to him.”—1 Pet. 3:22, NW.
29. To whom, therefore, does God rightly command us to be subject? How is our subjectlon to him pictured?
29 Since Jesus has thus been exalted next to God far above every other government in this world or in that which is to come, then God rightly commands us who adhere to his organization to be subject to Christ Jesus as the Head of the congregation which is his body. To picture this theocratic subjection of the congregation to its Head Christ Jesus, the Christian wives maintain themselves subject to their husbands. To show they are subject to the “superior authorities”, they do not usurp authority over the men in the congregation and set themselves up as teachers. (1 Cor. 14:33-35; 1 Tim. 2:11-13) When they receive an appointment through the theocratic organization and temporarily occupy the position of service that a man should carry out within the congregation, they subject themselves to the rule at 1 Corinthians 11:10 (NW): “That is why the woman ought to have a sign of authority upon her head because of the angels.” They are safeguarded through such. subjection.
30. Who else were superior authorities in the first century? Why?
30 The entire body of Christ is to be associated with Jesus in the heavenly kingdom in the world to come. This Kingdom body with Jesus Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords will be Jehovah’s capital organization over the universe. It was during the first century that “God has set the respective ones in the congregation, first, apostles”. (1 Cor. 12:28, NW) Hence in the theocratic organization the apostles, that is, the “twelve apostles of the Lamb”, were next to Jesus Christ the Head. (Rev. 21:14) Hence they formed part of the “superior authorities” to which every Christian soul was to be subject. This is indicated to us by various scriptures.
31. How does Paul further indicate that fact, even in his own case?
31 For example, Paul speaks of those then governing within the entire congregation, saying: “Remember those who are governing you, who have spoken the word of God to you, and as you contemplate how their conduct turns out imitate their faith. Be obedient to those who are governing you and be submissive, for they are keeping watch over your souls as those who will render an account, that they may do this with joy and not with sighing, for this would be damaging to you. Give my greetings to all those who are governing you and to all the holy ones.” (Heb. 13:7, 17, 24, NW) In no way could this refer to political governors appointed by Caesar or by the Roman Senate. Paul says that these holy governors spoke God’s Word to the Christians and their conduct showed faith that is worthy of Christian imitation and they were keeping watch over the souls of the congregation most conscientiously because they had to give an accounting to God. Paul was one of that governing body, and in a number of places he speaks of his authority, which God gave him in the congregation in order to build it up and not tear it down.—1 Cor. 9:12, 18; 2 Cor. 10:8; 13:10; 2 Thess. 3:9.
32. How about the governing body on earth today?
32 According to the theocratic arrangement today there must be a governing body for the congregation of Jehovah’s witnesses throughout the earth. The facts show these to be associated with the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society. However, the twentieth-century governing body are not a part of the “superior authorities” as the twelve apostles were. They are subject to the invisible “superior authorities” and merely represent them on earth.
33. Who is the Head Governor? What class has he now promoted in service, and does this make it part of the superior authorities?
33 Christ Jesus now is invisibly present in his second par·ou·siʹa and is the acting Head Governor over his congregation. He is the one whose birth on earth was foretold at Micah 5:2, the prophecy which is quoted at Matthew 2:6: “You, however, O Bethlehem of the land of Judah, are by no means the most insignificant city among the governors of Judah; for out of you will come forth a leader who will shepherd my people, Israel.” (NW) In the capacity of Governor with superior authority Jesus in this his second par·ou·siʹa appoints his anointed slave class to a more responsible service and so fulfills his own prophecy: “Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics to give them their food at the proper time? Happy is that slave if his master on arriving finds him doing so. Truly I say to you that he will appoint him over all his belongings.” (Matt. 24:45-47, NW) But that does not mean making this “faithful and discreet slave” class a part of the “superior authorities” to wield the sword of execution. Since the appointment of this faithful class is theocratic, they should be respected and their services should be gladly received as from the “superior authorities”.
a Les Témoins de Jehovah, par Damien Jasmin, Collection de L’Institut Pie XI, Editions Lumen, Montréal 1947. Also the Montréal-Matin, Canada, January 12, 1948.