Fear Jehovah the Superior
“Let all the earth fear Jehovah.”—Ps. 33:8, AS.
1. Why are Jehovah’s witnesses interested in the subject of organization and government?
KEEN attention is focused in this period of world transition upon features and principles of theocratic organization and government. This is especially so in view of the fact that today hundreds of thousands of dedicated Christians are being brought into close association as a nucleus of a new world society. This large multitude of the Lord’s “sheep”, from more than 120 lands, are being voluntarily gathered into the confines of a “one flock” organization with an experienced superior authority as their “shepherd”. In the ruling and guiding of this growing multinational crowd of Christian witnesses of Jehovah there has been for the past many years a gradual restoration toward the early theocratic form of organization enjoyed by true Christians in the first century A.D. The many features employed during that earthly administration of the apostles were in turn patterned on those ordained by the sovereign Superior, Jehovah God, when he inaugurated the typical theocratic government of ancient Israel in 1513 B.C. A consideration of some of these notable principles of government pertaining to the relations of the inferior and the superior is timely. This includes a study of the important principle of proper fear of Jehovah the supreme ruler.—1 Pet. 2:17, NW; John 10:16; Heb. 10:1, NW.
2. What do the following terms mean: “organization,” “government,” “law,” and “fear”?
2 To commence with, it is well to have in mind certain basic matters. Wherever people come together for a special purpose they form an organization. Therefore an organization is an arrangement of creatures brought together to perform certain work and to enjoy common blessings resulting from such close association. The word “organization” has as its root the word “organ”, which comes from the Greek word ergon, which means work. Note the expression used in the Bible by the Pharisee Gamaliel in his description of the organization of the apostles and the early congregation. “Do not meddle with these men, but let them alone; (because, if this scheme and this work [ergon] is from men, it will be overthrown; but if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them;) otherwise, you may perhaps be found fighters actually against God.” (Acts 5:38, 39, NW) Next we know that every organization, good or bad, has some form of government, which is necessary to control and guide it. Therefore, government is said to be the ruling and administration of a body of creatures by law.* Law, in turn, is described as a rule of action or a rule of conduct. Governments, theocratic or man-made, thus make and use laws to govern the actions of their subjects. Furthermore, there must be a proper fear of governmental authority and its power to punish. This fear is more than reverence. It is an apprehension of harm, dread, consciousness of possible danger.*
3. Describe the following forms of government: “democracy,” “communism,” and “theocracy”.
3 All are familiar with how Jesus referred to man-made governments as “Caesar”. (Mark 12:17) Caesar governments existing today are made up of many varying forms of government, two of which forms have been chosen as examples for this study. The one form, democracy, as championed by the United States, is described as a government of the people, by the people and for the people.* The other form, communism, as sponsored by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (Russia), is said to be a system of social organization in which all economic activity is conducted by a totalitarian state dominated by a single and self-perpetuating political party.* In contrast therewith, theocracy, as advocated by Jehovah’s witnesses, is defined as a government under the immediate direction and administration of the Most High God.* Then how do laws come to be used by governments in their control of their peoples?
4. What two parties come into the picture of government? Describe them.
4 Law is necessary to keep order when governing things animate or inanimate. To maintain such orderly operation two parties come into the picture, the one is that of the superior and the other is that of the inferior. The superior is the one who makes the law or rule of action which the inferior is bound to obey. The field of action subjected to rules and laws is as wide as the universe of God’s creation. When the Creator, as superior, formed the universe by creating matter out of nothing, he impressed certain principles upon that matter from which it can never depart and without which it would cease to be. In the creation of matter motion of particles and bodies was involved. Thus laws of motion were established to which all movable bodies must conform.—Ps. 104:30, AS.
SCIENTIFIC AND HUMAN CONDUCT LAWS
5. Give examples of actions subject to laws but performed involuntarily.
5 Whether we gaze into the boundless space of the heavens to observe the majestic movements of the stars, or note the progress of vegetation on the earth from seed to the plant and from the plant to the seed again or consider the many marvelous automatic operations within our own fleshly organisms, such as, for example, the heart’s unceasing pumping of fresh blood night and day throughout our circulatory system to maintain life, all these are not left to chance. These matters are not left to the will of the inferior, but are performed in a wondrous involuntary manner according to unerring rules laid down by the great Superior, Jehovah God, by virtue of his being the Creator. If the inferior should stop conforming to the rules of the Master Designer, the inferior would soon find itself in trouble and reap the fearful consequences.—Ps. 8:3, AS; Gen. 1:29; Ps. 139:14.
6. Wherein does the field of law commonly associated with government differ from the scientific laws referred to in the previous paragraph?
6 As we have seen above, while the field of law in general is as broad as the universe embracing the control of all kinds of scientific actions, yet the field of law commonly associated with government is limited to rules of human action or human conduct. In contrast with animals, whose actions are largely controlled by instinct, man has been given the gift of free will to conduct himself voluntarily in a pleasing way before his Maker. It is over this area of action where man is allowed to exercise his free will that laws governing human action arise. This is the field of action that governments seek to control.—Luke 22:42; 1 Cor. 7:37, NW.
7. How do the Scriptures speak of the great Superior of the universe?
7 Consider now the exalted and fearful position of the great Superior, Jehovah God. “Then the Eternal answered [Job] out of a storm, saying: ‘When I founded the earth, where were you then? Answer me that, if you have wit to know. Who measured out the earth?—do you know that? Who stretched the builder’s line? Have you ever roused the morning, given directions to the dawn, to catch earth by the corners and shake out the wicked? What path leads to the home of Light, and where does Darkness dwell?’” “Who hath directed the Spirit of Jehovah, or being his counsellor hath taught him? Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are accounted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.” Yes, who is dustlike puny man, the inferior, to be directing or talking back to his great Superior, Jehovah God? “O man, who, then, really are you to be answering back to God? Shall the thing molded say to him that molded it, ‘Why did you make me this way?’ What? Does not the potter have authority over the clay to make from the same lump one vessel for an honorable use, another for a dishonorable use?” Truly man, the inferior, in godly fear wisely submits like clay to be directed by the laws and will of his potter Superior, Jehovah.—Job 38:1, 4, 5, 12, 13, 19, Mo; Isa. 40:13, 15, AS; Rom. 9:20, 21, NW; Jer. 18:2-10.
8. Illustrate how imperfect man acts as a miniature superior over an inferior.
8 Even in the case of imperfect man the power of the superior over the inferior is well illustrated. When man designs and builds a machine to do work for him, as a miniature superior he makes the various parts and assembles them together. Later the parts are set in motion to operate according to established rules in performing the exact movements planned by the human designer. The entire running machine as an inferior operates according to the rules set out by its superior, man. After a time certain parts break down and are unable to conform to the rules of action assigned to them. The entire machine refuses to operate. Finally, after many repairs no longer keep the machine going, the instrument is discarded and a new one is built to do the necessary work.
9. What determines the degree of lawmaking power in the hands of the superior, and how is this?
9 Next it is interesting to learn that the distances between the superior and the inferior determine the degrees of superiority and of inferiority. This directly affects the lawmaking power of the superior over the inferior. By his very position the superior is an independent one and therefore has no rule or law to follow except such as he should bind upon himself. On the other hand, the inferior is a dependent party. Therefore the state of dependence obliges the inferior to take the will of the superior on whom he depends as the rule of his conduct, not as to every action of life but in all those actions comprising his dependence. This means that if an inferior is dependent upon a superior as to five actions, the superior can make laws or rules for the inferior governing his conduct on only those five actions. If there should be a hundred actions comprising the dependency of the inferior, then the superior has a larger field over which he can dictate laws or make rules of conduct. So in direct proportion as the superiority of the one and the dependence of the other is greater or smaller, total or limited, the field of action over which laws can be made is greater or smaller, total or limited.*
TRENDS IN GOVERNMENTS
10. How exalted is Jehovah’s position over the inferior in theocratic government? Why is it desirable to live under such an arrangement?
10 In an organization where Jehovah God is the superior, the distance between the superior and the inferior is extremely great, absolute, in fact. This means that Jehovah God is in position to dictate laws and make rules of conduct governing practically every minute detail of the actions of his servants. This is so because as inferiors his servants are totally dependent upon him for life and all its associated blessings. While it is safe and desirable to dwell under a paternalistic (fatherly) government where Jehovah God is the absolute superior to be feared, yet in the field of Caesar’s governments this is dangerous and leads to great oppression.—Ps. 1:1-6.
11. (a) Contrast communistic governments with democratic governments as to their superiority over the inferior, and what does this mean for the people? (b) What is the general trend as to earthly governments, and why so?
11 In lands where the Russian type of communism exists such totalitarian governments as superiors seek to make the distances between the state and the subject very great or total (this is what is actually indicated by the word totalitarian), so that the dependency of the inferiors, subjects, will be great or total, enabling the state to make rules governing almost every detail in the lives of their peoples. This totalitarian form of rule brings great fear upon the peoples and leads to cruelty in exacting such fear. In countries where the American type of democracy operates such limited governments as superiors are not very far removed from their subjects, the inferiors, so that the dependency upon the state is limited. This means that democracies have limited fields over which they can make laws to govern the actions of their subjects. However, even in democratic lands the present tendency appears to be to give more powers to the state. This trend is so because Satan knows that his time is short before Armageddon and he is making every effort to induce all earthly governments to exalt themselves ever higher to increase their superiority and fear over the peoples. In this way the inferiors can be bound and controlled more rigidly away from God’s incoming new world government.—Rev. 12:12, NW.
DEVELOPMENT OF GOVERNMENTS
12, 13. Describe in general the development of the “Caesar” governments down through the centuries. What is the situation today?
12 In looking back over the long four thousand some years’ history of “Caesar” governments we see that they developed and generated through war and strife. How so? From Nimrod’s time onward there was struggle for mastery to become superiors in order to dictate law and policy to the vanquished and thus make them subjugated inferiors. The prowess of the superior kept the inferior in fear and at his mercy. About 150 years after the Flood there first developed a struggle of family over family, then clan over clan, tribe over tribe, city-state over city-state and finally nation over nation. And so it has gone on until today with the struggle still waging, but now it is between coalition of nations against coalition.—Gen. 10:8, 9.
13 It is still the same old method of trial and error through strife. At present the Eastern bloc of nations and the Western bloc struggle for world domination in order to dictate world policies and rules to their advantage as superiors. Time will tell whether there is yet to be another round of war of the nations for one bloc to survive as the superior to keep the rest of the world subjugated to its rules of action. In striking contrast with the legal development of the violent Caesar governments, we observe that the laws and rules of theocratic government come peacefully through divine revelations directly from the sovereign superior Jehovah God.—Isa. 33:22, AS.
14, 15. (a) What are sanctions? (b) By referring to Biblical laws identify the sanctions connected therewith.
14 Governments, whether of God or of “Caesar”, employ devices to encourage their inferiors to obey the laws made for their control. These devices are either (1) punishments causing fear thereof for lawbreaking or (2) rewards out of love for lawkeeping; or a combination of both. In the legal world these punishments and rewards are known as sanctions, being devices employed by governments to induce obedience to the law. In the garden of Eden, God gave Adam a law forbidding his eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. To this definite rule of action the Superior, Jehovah God, added the sanction of punishment by death if this law was broken. We all know what eventually happened. Adam, the inferior, broke this law. God at once held court, judged him guilty and applied the sanction of punishment in which he died within that thousand-year day.—Gen. 2:17; 3:19.
15 After the Flood God made a law forbidding murder and added the death penalty as the sanction for anyone who broke this law. As another example of the many Bible laws which carried sanctions to encourage obedience to the law note the Fifth Commandment, which says, ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ To this rule of action was added the sanction of reward for obedience, namely, ‘that your days may be long in the land.’ For those who disobeyed this law there was also a sanction of capital punishment authorizing death by stoning. Thus man as an inferior under government cannot afford to ignore the wrath (punishment) of the law or shut his eyes to its blessings (rewards).—Gen. 9:6; Ex. 20:12; Deut. 21:18-21; Rom. 13:5.
16, 17. (a) Why is the fear of Jehovah proper? (b) How should the Christian inferior walk before his God?
16 All the foregoing clearly demonstrates that godly fear of Jehovah, the great sovereign Superior, is right, desirable and proper. His superiority is so high as to make him supreme over all. It is so absolute that man the inferior is completely at his mercy. Jehovah of hosts is in a class all by himself. For this reason true Christians properly sanctify him as completely set apart in their relationships with persons. Jehovah in his exalted position is holy and a consuming fire. “For I am Jehovah your God: sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy; for I am holy.” “For Jehovah thy God is a devouring fire, a jealous God.”—Lev. 11:44 and Deut. 4:24, AS.
17 No man can afford to trifle with Jehovah. Nor can man be careless as to God’s requirements. Do not treat his law lightly, for his powers to apply sanctions of punishment are infinite and lead to utter extinction in death. “The earth also is polluted under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth, and they that dwell therein are found guilty: therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left.” (Isa. 24:5, 6, AS) There must at all times be that dread of displeasing his sovereign majesty. Well has Isaiah put this matter. “Jehovah of hosts, him shall ye sanctify; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.”—Isa. 8:13, AS.
18. How does David extol the greatness of Jehovah the Superior?
18 The wise inferior is at all times mindful of his relationship to his great Superior, Jehovah God. He ever seeks to ascertain God’s will and then diligently sets out to conform himself to this wise course. Such a faithful servant of God joins King David in his exclamation as to the greatness of Jehovah God and as to the desirableness of rendering him fear in following his law. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. The law of Jehovah is perfect, restoring the soul: the testimony of Jehovah is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of Jehovah are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of Jehovah is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of Jehovah is clean, enduring for ever: the ordinances of Jehovah are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the droppings of the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: in keeping them there is great reward.” “Let all the earth fear Jehovah.”—Ps. 19:1, 2, 7-11; 33:8, AS.
Webster’s New international Dictionary, Second Edition, 1934.
Black’s Law Dictionary, Third Edition, 1933.
From the Gettysburg Address of 1863 by Abraham Lincoln, president of the United States at that time.
The American College Dictionary, 1949.
Webster’s New international Dictionary, Second Edition, 1934.
Commentaries on the Laws of England, by Sir William Blackstone, Vol. I, Sec. 2, p. 26.