Jehovah’s Theocratic Organization Today
1, 2. On what occasions did Korah, Miriam, Aaron, the Israelites and the mixed multitude fail to show appreciation for theocratic order?
KORAH did not appreciate it. Miriam and Aaron did not always appreciate it. The Israelites in the wilderness often failed to appreciate it. The mixed multitude of non-Israelites accompanying them did not always appreciate it. Achan lost appreciation for it. So did King Saul. So did King Uzziah. Certainly the scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ day did not appreciate it, no more than do the clergy of our day appreciate it.
2 When Korah and his associates in the wilderness wanted to exalt themselves to the priesthood and charged Moses and Aaron with taking too much on themselves, they proved that they did not appreciate theocratic organization. The earth swallowed them up. (Num. 16:1-33) When Miriam and Aaron spoke against Jehovah’s servant Moses they momentarily failed to appreciate the theocratic organization, suffered severe rebuke from the Lord, but were reinstated in divine favor when they endured the correction. (Num. 12:1-15) When the Israelites from twenty years old and upward refused to enter the Promised Land because the spies reported the presence of giants, they rebelled against theocratic organization and showed a lack of faith in the great Theocrat Jehovah. They died in the wilderness as a result, never entering the Promised Land at all. (Num. 13:25-33; 14:1-38) When the mixed multitude that had accompanied the Israelites out of Egypt craved flesh to eat and complained against Jehovah’s provision of manna and sowed discord, they demonstrated a lack of appreciation for theocratic order, and brought a plague upon themselves and others.—Ex. 12:38; Num. 11:4-34.
3. In what ways did Achan, King Saul, King Uzziah and the scribes and Pharisees show themselves untheocratic, and how do the clergy of Christendom show the same thing today?
3 When Achan covetously took things accursed, when King Saul took over priestly duties, when King Uzziah arrogated to himself the service of the Aaronic priesthood, all of them proved that they did not discern and respect the theocratic organization of Jehovah. (Josh. 6:17-19; 7:1, 19-25; 1 Sam. 13:9-14; 2 Chron. 26:16-21) The scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ day were also untheocratic, for they substituted the traditions of men for the Word of God and rejected Jesus the Messiah. (Matt. 15:1-9; John 19:13-18) In this they prefigured the clergy of Christendom, who reject the Bible and teach man-made doctrines and creeds and ally themselves with the politics of this world in preference to supporting Christ the enthroned King. They refuse to see the sign of his enthronement in heaven, and especially do they clamp shut their eyes to the feature of the sign concerning the visible theocratic organization Jehovah would set up for his use in these last days of this old world, as foretold: “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.
4. What principle do ambitious ones forget, and what visible theocratic arrangements have existed or do exist?
4 Those who lack appreciation of the theocratic order and who press for personal power and exaltation forget the principle recorded at Psalm 75:5-7: “Lift not up your horn on high: speak not with a stiff neck. For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.” The visible headquarters of God’s typical theocratic organization of Israel was spoken of as being in or on “the sides of the north”. (Ps. 48:2; Isa. 14:13) So not from east or west or south but from Jehovah through his channel was proper promotion to come. He worked through that one theocratic organization, not several. In time it was replaced by a new system, and for a new, visible theocratic organization Christ “gave gifts in men”, which men served in various capacities in the one theocratic arrangement. They were promoted to their positions by Jehovah, and all were united in just the one hope, one faith, one baptism. Nothing interfaith about this visible theocratic organization. (Eph. 4:4-13, NW) As foretold, after the death of the apostles and their co-workers wolfish ones scattered and split the flock into divisive sects and disrupted the visible organization. (Acts 20:29, 30; 2 Pet. 2:1) In our present time the visible theocratic organization has been restored by the setting up of “the faithful and discreet slave”.
“THE FAITHFUL AND DISCREET SLAVE”
5. What is the meaning of the terms “slave” and “domestics”, as used at Matthew 24:45?
5 “Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics to give them their food at the proper time?” The slave and the domestics are the same persons, only from different viewpoints. Under the term “slave” Christ’s anointed followers of today are viewed as a class, a composite slave or composite servant. God himself so interprets matters: “Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servant whom I have chosen.” (Isa. 43:10, AS) Note that many witnesses are called one servant. Under the term “domestics” those making up the slave class are viewed as individuals. They are spoken of as “body of attendants” at Luke 12:42 (NW). Murdock’s translation from the Syriac agrees in using “domestics” at Matthew 24:45, and another translation from the Syriac, by A. S. Lewis, renders it “companions”, that is, companion slaves. They are domestic slaves in the household of God and, as a united class or society, are termed “the faithful and discreet slave”. Similarly, when a number of domestics turn wicked and start to beat their fellow slaves these evildoers become the foretold “evil slave” class.—Matt. 24:48-51, NW.
6. What different views of Christ’s anointed followers are taken at Matthew 24:45-51 and Matthew 25:14-30, and what is indicated by “the faithful and discreet slave” being only one?
6 Matthew 24:45-51 shows the service privileges granted to the faithful ones as a class and the punishment meted out to the unfaithful ones as a class. Matthew 25:14-30 shows the Lord’s dealing with faithful and unfaithful slaves as individuals. As individuals each one must strive to measure up to the Master’s requirements. United as a faithful company of slaves they comprise a visible theocratic organization and in Jesus’ illustration here under discussion are pictured as a “faithful and discreet slave”, and this composite slave class must see to it that it provides properly for all its individual members, the domestics. Prior to the coming of the Master, Christ Jesus, it must be providing for all its members “their food at the proper time”. It must also be noted that God does not have several discreet-slave classes, several theocratic organizations among which the work is divided. “Does Christ exist divided?” No! It is “one body”.—1 Cor. 1:13; 12:12, 13, NW.
7. Whom do the facts identify as “the faithful and discreet slave”?
7 But again we ask, “Who really is the faithful and discreet slave whom his master appointed over his domestics to give them their food at the proper time?” In 1878, forty years before the Lord’s coming to the temple for judgment, there was a class of sincere consecrated Christians that had broken away from the hierarchic and clergy organizations and who sought to get back to true Christianity, as practiced by early Christians before the grievous wolves ravished the flock after the death of the apostles. They launched a campaign to restore the fundamental truths for the spiritually hungry to feed upon, to replace the pagan doctrines that had been adopted by apostate Christendom. It was the proper time for such spiritual food, to prepare the way before Christ’s coming for judgment at the temple. (Mal. 3:1; 4:5, 6) This group of faithful students began publication of The Watchtower, then called “Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence”, and in the first issue, July 1879, its announced purpose was to provide “meat in due season” to the “little flock”. The facts show that it did this from 1879 on. In 1884 they formed a legal corporation to represent in a business or legal way the society of witnesses or ministers. Down to this day the legal corporation, the Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, has been used as an agency to publish for and direct and unify the preaching activities of the society of witnesses overspreading the earth. When Christ came for judgment in 1918 he found some associated with this group that thought the Lord had delayed his coming and they were oppressing their fellow slaves in Christ. These were cast off as the “evil slave” class. Those faithfully serving God were identified as the “faithful and discreet slave” class.
8. What promotion comes to this faithful-slave class?
8 What is the Master’s decision regarding the discreet slave? “Truly I say to you that he will appoint him over all his belongings.” Before this promotion the slave is over only the Lord’s domestics or body of attendants, to give them their spiritual food at the proper time. Now, because of faithfulness in this one service, the slave is given much more to do. Just as the individual slaves in the illustration of the talents are shown being rewarded with more privileges if faithful and the removal of all privileges if unfaithful, so in this illustration dealing with the classes the faithful, discreet-slave class is appointed over all the master’s belongings whereas the evil-slave class is cast off completely. Where once the discreet slave was responsible for feeding only the anointed body members of Christ, now it must take on the commission: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for the purpose of a witness to all the nations, and then the accomplished end will come.”—Matt. 24:14, NW.
9. Who are included in “all his belongings”, what added responsibility does this mean for the slave, and how is it met?
9 To it are committed all the Kingdom interests on earth, a primary one of which is the flood of new truths that come into existence because of the fulfillment of many prophecies. The message is becoming more full and complete, more vital for the critical times in which we live, more effective in dividing the peoples of the nations into either the sheep or the goat class. These sheep now being gathered are the Lord’s “other sheep”, belonging to him, and since all of the Master’s belongings are to be cared for by the discreet slave this faithful anointed class must expand its feeding program to supply not only the domestics but also these “other sheep” with “their food at the proper time”. (John 10:16) This the discreet slave faithfully does. Through its legal agency, the Watchtower Society, it provides the spiritual food in printed form, arranges for meetings, organizes service activities, sends out special traveling representatives and missionaries, arranges for large assemblies, and in many other ways provides the means for the domestics and other sheep to be fed and strengthened and efficiently directed in united action for Jehovah’s praise.
POINTS TO APPRECIATE
10. How does God deal with his earthly servants, as shown in David’s case?
10 Jehovah God deals with his people as a servant class. He does not feed each one individually nor does he appoint an individual over them. No individual student of God’s Word reveals God’s will or interprets His Word. (2 Pet. 1:20, 21) God interprets and teaches, through Christ the Chief Servant, who in turn uses the discreet slave as the visible channel, the visible theocratic organization. David approached God through the priestly organization represented by Abiathar, who had the ephod; and a servant of today must likewise look to God’s visible organization for spiritual food that is timely and for directions in Kingdom service. (1 Sam. 23:6, 9-11; 30:7, 8) Just as is shown in the illustration of the talents where different amounts were committed to different individual slaves on the basis of their abilities, so the domestics are assigned service privileges on the basis of their abilities and devotion and readiness to submit and conform to the leadings of the holy spirit. Jehovah through Christ sets the domestics in their service positions in the discreet-slave body.—1 Cor. 12:18.
11. How do we show appreciation of our relationship to the visible theocratic organization, especially as regards spiritual food?
11 We must show our understanding in these matters, appreciating our relationship to the visible theocratic organization, remembering the fate of those like Korah and Achan and Saul and Uzziah and others who forgot the theocratic order. Are we assigned as individuals to bring forth the food for the spiritual table? No? Then let us not try to take over the slave’s duties. We should eat and digest and assimilate what is set before us, without shying away from parts of the food because it may not suit the fancy of our mental taste. The truths we are to publish are the ones provided through the discreet-slave organization, not some personal opinions contrary to what the slave has provided as timely food. Jehovah and Christ direct and correct the slave as needed, not we as individuals. If we do not see a point at first we should keep trying to grasp it, rather than opposing and rejecting it and presumptuously taking the position that we are more likely to be right than the discreet slave. We should meekly go along with the Lord’s theocratic organization and wait for further clarification, rather than balk at the first mention of a thought unpalatable to us and proceed to quibble and mouth our criticisms and opinions as though they were worth more than the slave’s provision of spiritual food. Theocratic ones will appreciate the Lord’s visible organization and not be so foolish as to pit against Jehovah’s channel their own human reasoning and sentiment and personal feelings.
12. In view of our past experience, in what attitude can we receive the slave’s provisions?
12 Now some may ask, Should we accept as from the Lord and true the food provided through the discreet slave, or should we withhold acceptance until we have proved it for ourselves? If we have gained our present understanding of the Bible by feeding at the table set by the slave, if we have been thereby freed from false doctrines and built up in the clean and undefiled worship of God and given a new world hope, we should have some confidence in the slave’s provisions. After being nourished to our present spiritual strength and maturity, do we suddenly become smarter than our former provider and forsake the enlightening guidance of the organization that mothered us? “Forsake not the law of thy mother.” (Prov. 6:20-23) And if the heavenly Father would not give a stone or serpent or scorpion to a child who asked for bread or fish or an egg from him, are we to take the spiritual food he provides through the slave into our hands as if we were going to be bruised by a stone or bitten by a serpent or stung by a scorpion? (Matt. 7:7-11; Luke 11:9-13, NW) Are we to be doubtful and suspicious about each new provision? “He who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven by the wind and blown about. In fact, let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from Jehovah.” (Jas. 1:6, 7, NW) Even the Beroeans first received Paul’s preaching “with the greatest readiness of mind”, and then went to “carefully examining the Scriptures daily as to whether these things were so”. (Acts 17:11, NW) This was the first real contact the Beroeans had with Paul’s preaching, yet they received it readily and then studied the Scriptural support for themselves. How much more readily we can receive the slave’s provisions with confidence, since, unlike the Beroeans, we have much past experience with the precious provisions from the slave. After receiving these food supplies we prove their Scripturalness for ourselves to make the message our own, in a spirit of meekness and trustfulness and not combativeness.
THE FOLLY OF SPECULATING
13. Why do some habitually speculate and theorize?
13 There are some who seem to dote on speculations. They love to be the talking center of little groups, voicing their theories on how or when this or that is going to happen. They may not be deliberately rebellious about what the slave provides, but if they can offer only what the slave has already supplied they do not stand out. How can they shine personally if they merely reflect what all others of Jehovah’s witnesses are reflecting? So they seek for something more sensational, for some “new light” to dazzle unwary listeners. As they feed the open-mouthed listeners their line of new theories, the listeners by their rapt attention feed the ego of the speculators. When someone else begins to do the talking and occupies the spotlight, the speculator loses interest in the conversing group and drifts on. These speculating ones may acknowledge that some of their past theories were wrong, but they do not show they have learned the lesson from these mistakes by refraining from bringing forth new theories. Their longing to be viewed as an independent and deep thinker is stronger than their desire to be theocratic.
14. How do some speculating ones argue, but to what does their conceit blind them?
14 Some of the speculating ones are more rebellious than others, disagreeing dogmatically with the discreet slave’s provisions, exalting themselves above the Lord’s established channel. They argue that the theocratic organization has not always been right, and that they once had ideas the organization rejected but now teaches, and thus imply that their present theories will likewise be accepted in time. They never mention the numerous speculations they have advanced in the past that were never adopted. That would spoil their campaign to get their present ideas gobbled up. What their conceit blinds them to is that the visible theocratic organization has never claimed infallibility, that it knows the message will be continually purified by the elimination of erroneous ideas, that it expects new truths to become manifest as more prophecies are fulfilled, that gradually the light will shine more and more until the perfect day, and that the clarifications will come through the discreet slave and not self-exalting speculators. (Prov. 4:18; Isa. 6:5-7; Mal. 3:1-3) It is a continuous process, for the slave is “to keep giving them their measure of food supplies at the proper time”. (Luke 12:42, NW) Doubtless some do have ideas that are not published until later; to do so earlier may have been premature, may not have been “at the proper time”. Wait upon the Lord.
15. What harm can come from unfounded speculations, and how will theocratic persons react toward such?
15 But whether they speculate rebelliously or only thoughtlessly, they can do harm. They place themselves within the danger of becoming puffed up with a feeling of importance, or they may stumble weak ones in the faith. They can hinder oneness of mind and prevent everyone’s seeing in harmony. They draw attention to the creature rather than to the Creator and his visible organization. Their unfounded speculations may spread, raise questions and doubts, and jeopardize unity of action. Theocratic persons will shun speculations and speculators. They will drink deeply of the truth waters, not muddying them with inflated personal opinions and speculations. By all drinking the same water of truth, all will see in harmony, work shoulder to shoulder, and march into the new world side by side, all keeping in step with the “faithful and discreet slave”. Those who speculate and concoct their own pet theories and set a little spiritual table of their own, or who sit at the Lord’s table but supply little side dishes of their own, and try to get others to taste of them, they are the ones out of step with the theocratic organization, though in their blind conceit they think the slave and the domestics and the other sheep are out of step.
16. What Scripture counsel do speculators overlook that we should heed?
16 The slave and the domestics and the other sheep are in step with one another and with God and Christ. They are not out of step and they should not even consider changing to get in step with a sprinkling of self-exalted ones who overlook the Scriptural counsel on these matters. “If any man teaches other doctrine and does not assent to healthful words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, nor to the teaching that accords with godly devotion, he is puffed up with pride, not understanding anything, but being mentally diseased over questionings and debates about words. From these things spring envy, strife, abusive speeches, wicked suspicions, violent disputes about trifles on the part of men corrupted in mind and despoiled of the truth.” “Guard what is laid up in trust with you, turning away from the empty speeches that violate what is holy and from the contradictions of the falsely called ‘knowledge’. For making a show of such knowledge some have deviated from the faith.” “Keep holding the pattern of healthful words which you heard from me with the faith and love that are in connection with Christ Jesus.” “Keep reminding them of these things, charging them before God as witness, not to fight about words, a thing of no usefulness at all because it overturns those listening. But shun empty speeches that violate what is holy; for they will advance to more and more ungodliness, and their word will spread like gangrene.” “They are subverting the faith of some.” “Turn down foolish and speculative questionings, knowing they produce fights.” “Keep your eye on those who create divisions and causes for stumbling contrary to the teaching which you have learned, and avoid them.”—Rom. 16:17; 1 Tim. 1:4, 7; 6:3-5, 20, 21; 2 Tim. 1:13; 2:14, 16-19, 23-26; Titus 3:9-11, NW.
WHY WE BLUNTLY REJECT INTERFAITH
17. Into what two big divisions do Christendom’s churches fall, and does either of them provide “food at the proper time”?
17 Many in Christendom will angrily say Jehovah’s witnesses take too much on themselves. That is what Korah protested to Moses. (Num. 16:3) Yet the facts show Jehovah’s witnesses are the ones preaching of the Kingdom’s establishment, and warning all nations of Armageddon’s approach. Their organization is run theocratically, and it brings forth the spiritual food that is timely. What orthodox religious organization in Christendom provides new spiritual food for these critical times? Are not the fundamentalists still offering the same dry husks, still prattling the same centuries-old creeds, and monotonously repeating again and again their few basic doctrines borrowed from paganism? Truly, “their religion is a mockery, a mere tradition learned by rote.” (Isa. 29:13, Mo) The modernist churches have brought forth new teachings to fit the times, but their new offerings are not fit for gospel-preaching. Instead, they scuttle the Bible, dismissing it as myth and legend, at best only good literature, and offer science and evolution, psychology and psychiatry, in an endeavor to be popular with a materialistic civilization. God bluntly says Christendom’s “tables are full of vomit”. Among them spiritual famine reigns supreme. What a contrast between the condition of their followers and that of Jehovah’s witnesses!—Isa. 28:8; 65:13-15; Jer. 2:13; Amos 8:11, 12.
18. What should those remember who condemn plain speech as intolerant?
18 In substituting ancient paganisms or modern philosophies for the truths contained in the Bible, Christendom’s religions match backsliding Israel who professed to be Jehovah’s people: “The ox knows its owner, and the ass its master’s crib; but Israel does not know, my people shows no understanding.” (Isa. 1:3, AT) They put themselves in position for stinging condemnation, which they cry out against as intolerant. But does not God himself here say they have less sense than the ox and the ass? His Word calls them “dumb dogs” and “greedy dogs”. Christ Jesus called them fools and liars and sons of the Devil. Sarcasm and mockery and derision are used against the false religionists. Note Job’s words to some of such: “How you have helped him that was powerless, and saved the arm that was not strong! How you have counselled him that was without wisdom, and abundantly made known sound wisdom!” For another example of mocking irony, consider Elijah’s words to false worshipers when their god failed to respond after hours of coaxing: “Cry aloud; for he is a god: either he is musing, or he is gone aside, or he is on a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth and must be awaked.” (1 Ki. 18:21-28, AS; Job 12:2, 7, 8; 26:2, 3, AT; Isa. 56:10, 11; Matt. 23:17; John 8:44) This should give pause to those who heatedly rail against Jehovah’s witnesses because they speak plainly about false religions. To condemn such plain speech they must also condemn the Bible and God himself!
19. So why cannot a Christian join an interfaith movement, and what would he have to unprotestingly tolerate if he did?
19 All of the foregoing clearly proves that Christians cannot join interfaith movements. No more so than Abel could with Cain, or Israel could with Egypt or with the Canaanites, or Jesus could with the scribes and Pharisees and Sadducees, or early Christians could with Constantine’s fusion of paganism and apostate Christianity. For a Christian to enter the interfaith fold would mean he must tolerate pagan teachings under a Christian label, tolerate the tenet of a three-in-one God, tolerate claims that God fiendishly tortures souls in fiery lakes, tolerate the blasphemy that for money God will release suffering souls from a flaming purgatory, tolerate bingo gambling, tolerate the view that Jesus was not Messiah but an impostor, tolerate the devilish doctrine of evolution, tolerate clerical hypocrisy and political meddling, tolerate religious warmongering and chaplain-blessing of Christian killing Christian—and so on and on would flow an endless stream of blasphemies that the Christian would have to tolerate in silence. He would have to wink at sin, shut eyes to wrong, plug ears to blasphemy, make his tongue dumb to silently tolerate evil. Fearing to offend men by word or deed, he would offend God by tolerating in the name of tolerance every satanic snare that came his way. He would be too unfit and dirty for Jehovah’s service, the proverb becoming true of him: “The dog has turned back to its own vomit, and the sow that was bathed to rolling in the mire.” To return to the filth of this world after being separated and cleansed from it would make us unfit subjects for any further mercy from Jehovah. (Heb. 10:26; 2 Pet. 2:20-22; Rev. 18:4, NW) So by Jehovah’s undeserved kindness let us appreciate and stick with the visible theocratic organization he has set up in our day.