Show Respect for Jehovah’s Organization
“My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching. For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life.”—Prov. 6:20, 23, RS.
1. Who are Christendom’s children, and what is their condition?
THE children of Christendom are children of this system of things, for Christendom is a dominant part of it. Christendom’s children have a lamp, the Bible, in hundreds of millions of copies in many languages; but to them it is as an unlighted lamp. Why? Because the father of this system of things and his slovenly offspring “Christendom” have blinded their minds to the light of the lamp. Worse than that, they have deliberately thrust their children out without due appreciation for their lamp and have allowed them to wander about in a bedarkened and almost destitute condition. Even the lamp that they carry, veiled as it is to them, would have been wrested away from them if a more powerful hand had not prevented it. That is the picture of the old world’s children in Christendom.—2 Cor. 3:15; 4:4, 6.
2. In what significant way do the New World society’s children differ from Christendom’s?
2 What a contrast when we look at the children of the New World society of Jehovah’s witnesses! They carry a lamp too, the same lamp in fact, God’s written Word. But as it is written in Psalm 119:105 (AS): “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and light unto my path.” Why is it they have light whereas the children of Christendom do not? Both have the same lamp, God’s Word, the Bible. Where is the difference? The answer is that they looked with unveiled faces at the gleaming Word of the heavenly Father and they also accepted enlightening instruction through his motherly organization. As it is written at Proverbs 6:20, 23 (RS): “My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching. For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life.”
3. What is required of those who would have light from the Bible?
3 Consider that for a moment. Two things are mentioned: the commandment of the father and the teaching or law of the mother. Then the proverb explains that the commandment of the father is a burning lamp but that there is light also from the teaching or law of the mother. The world is full of Bibles, which Book contains the commandments of God. Why, then, do the people not know which way to go? Because they do not also have the teaching or law of the mother, which is light. Jehovah God has provided his holy written Word for all mankind and it contains all the information that is needed for men in taking a course leading to life. But God has not arranged for that Word to speak independently or to shine forth life-giving truths by itself. His Word says: “Light is sown for the righteous.” (Ps. 97:11) It is through his organization that God provides this light that the proverb says is the teaching or law of the mother. If we are to walk in the light of truth we must recognize not only Jehovah God as our Father but his organization as our mother.
4. To what extent were the Israelites required to honor father and mother? and to what extent are Christians today?
4 Some who call themselves Christians and who claim God as their Father boast that they walk with God alone, that he directs their steps personally. Such persons not only forsake the teaching or law of the mother, but they literally throw God’s woman out into the streets. The light of God’s truth is not for them. In the nation of Israel Jehovah made obedience to parents mandatory. “Honor your father and your mother” was the fifth commandment of the Ten. (Ex. 20:2-17; Deut. 5:16, NW) The reward for obedience was long life; for disobedience, death. “In case a man should happen to have a son who is stubborn and rebellious, he not listening to the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and they have corrected him but he will not listen to them, then . . . all the men of his city must stone him with stones and he must die.” (Deut. 21:18-21, NW) Such honor and obedience was required not only as due the immediate parents in the flesh but also as rightfully belonging to the older men of influence in Israel. Failure to render such proper respect to Elisha, the prophet of Jehovah, brought upon a gang of juvenile delinquents the just sentence of speedy execution. (2 Ki. 2:24) Today, also, God requires and exacts from his children obedience, honor and respect. These must be rendered not only to the living God himself, but to his wifely organization as well.
IDENTIFYING THE MOTHER ORGANIZATION
5. How does Paul identify the true mother of Christians?
5 The real mother of Christians is not and can not be an earthly organization. To show this fact Paul contrasts the position of fleshly Jews with that of spiritual Jews, or Christians, and then says: “The Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother.” (Gal. 4:26, NW) Then he quotes part of a prophecy in Isaiah. Turning to this prophecy in the fifty-fourth chapter of Isaiah we learn from the context the identity of this one called “our mother.” Verses five and six (AS) read: “Thy Maker is thy husband; Jehovah of hosts is his name: and the Holy One of Israel is thy Redeemer; . . . For Jehovah hath called thee as a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit.” In this way Paul identifies Jehovah’s wife as His invisible universal organization, the mother of Christ and of his joint heirs.
6. (a) What is the relationship existing between “Jerusalem above” and the New World society, as indicated in Isaiah 66:8? (b) Into what further relationship are they to be brought?
6 Then what is the relationship existing between this heavenly woman and the visible theocratic organization of the New World society? And to whom is our respect due? Again we turn to the prophecy of Isaiah for the answer. Isa Chapter sixty-six, verse seven, describes the birth of the man-child Kingdom government with Christ Jesus, the principal one of Zion’s children, as the King in heaven. That occurred in 1914. Then in the eighth verse Isa 66:8 (AS) it says: “Shall a land be born in one day? shall a nation be brought forth at once? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.” This foretells the birth of more children, but this time on earth. This occurred in 1919. The land that is born is the restored condition on earth of Jehovah’s anointed remnant in a New World society, a condition free for Jehovah’s worship and for organized service theocratically. The new nation is the remnant of spiritual Israel delivered from Babylon and now under the established newborn Kingdom. Those of this nation inhabit the theocratic land on earth, the delivered, restored condition of the remnant of Christ’s joint heirs. But since these children of Zion above have a heavenly destiny to reign with Christ, they also become a part of the universal organization that is God’s wife, and will, with Christ, form the capital city of that organization. So God’s woman, Zion or Jerusalem above, is his universal organization, with one hundred forty-four thousand and one of her members or children eventually forming the capital city like a man-child government, yet all these being the principal part of the same universal organization. These children, Christ Jesus and the 144,000, are individuals making up the capital city, the royal organization, Christ’s “bride” being the New Jerusalem. However, the 144,000 spirit-begotten children of God, together with Christ Jesus their Head and all the invisible holy angelic spirit creatures, make up the universal organization of God, his wife. As children were born in ancient Jerusalem and became residents of that city, so Zion’s 144,000 spiritual children are brought forth to become a part of the universal organization and at the same time its capital with Jesus Christ.
7. How can the true daughter organization be identified, and what shows some are false in their claims?
7 Being so closely associated with the mother organization, Christ’s “bride” would certainly resemble her mother in all respects, as would even those Christians still on earth in the flesh who are engaged to be married to Christ. These would serve as her representatives and would therefore be easily recognizable by their conformity to God’s requirements for his visible channel of communication. It becomes very clear that the so-called church organizations of Christendom could not be Zion’s real daughter organization. They hold no resemblance to God’s woman organization in heaven. In their apostasy from true worship their “church” structures are not genuine nor apostolic, but are varied in form, some following the hierarchic structure, others being democratic or congregational and still others adopting the synodical type of church rule. All such forms are unauthorized and foster selfishness and self-centered ambition. Because they are not her children in fact, all of such counterfeit organizations wickedly oppose the “mother” of true Christians and thereby find themselves fighting against God and his King, Jesus Christ, who is the chief one in the universal organization of Jehovah.—Psalm 2.
8. How and by whom is the daughter organization brought forth as the church of God, and how does she become God’s channel?
8 The church of God, the daughter of Zion, is not designed or developed by men. Paul clearly stated: “But now God has set the members in the body, each one of them, just as he pleased. And God has set the respective ones in the congregation, first, apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers”; and so on throughout the entire visible arrangement. (1 Cor. 12:18, 28, NW) Then Paul shows in his letter to the Ephesians that the channel of God is strengthened and built up by those whom Christ gave as “gifts in men,” and Paul adds these words to clarify the matter and to show how it is accomplished: “And he gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as missionaries, some as shepherds and teachers, with a view to the training of the holy ones for ministerial work, for the building up of the body of the Christ.” (Eph. 4:8, 11, 12, NW) It is evident from these words that all in the congregation were to be ministers, and it was to this ministerial body as a “faithful and discreet slave” that Jesus said he would entrust all the interests of his kingdom. Such a structure corresponds to the theocratic organization in heaven; and today, since 1919 and the bringing forth of the remnant of Zion’s children, it realizes a fulfillment of Isaiah’s words: “Behold, a king [Jesus Christ] shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in justice.”—Isa. 32:1, AS.
9. What promised restoration of God’s channel further rules out the false claims of Christendom to be God’s children?
9 Having been founded in righteousness this visible channel of God must be maintained according to the same high principles. A healing and restoration of this organization from the degrading apostasy into which professed Christians had sunk after the death of the apostles was foretold. “Instead of bronze will I bring gold, and instead of iron will I bring silver; and instead of wood, bronze, and instead of stones, iron; and Peace will I make your government, and Righteousness your ruler.” (Isa. 60:17, AT) This is the theocratic order that Jesus began among his disciples and that he demonstrated must be maintained regardless of individuals. His determination to keep the organization clean and devoted to right principles was manifested in the action he took in disfellowshiping one of the original twelve apostles. It is very clear, then, that one’s position in God’s organization is no safeguard, and this fact positively rules out the many false claims made by the spiritually adulterous and wicked leaders of the illegitimate “daughter” organizations of Christendom. They are outside God’s organization and there is no light in them at all.
APPRECIATING THE LIGHT
10. What is the source of true light on the Scriptures, and how are we shown to whom our respect is due?
10 The teaching or law of our mother, then, is not light from an earthly organization that comes forth as “infallible interpretation” like that claimed by the Roman Catholic Hierarchy. The source of that light must be the throne of the true God and the light is sent forth through his Son, the first-born of Zion’s children, the King of the capital city. And the true channel on earth would be the nation of his joint heirs, who today occupy the restored theocratic condition as the nucleus or core of that organizational land. This makes clear the import of Jesus’ statement regarding the “sheep” and the “goats” in his illustration at Matthew 25:31-46. Since these heaven-bound children of Zion are Christ’s brothers on earth, Jesus could well say to the sheep showing them favor: “Truly I say to you, To the extent that you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” (NW) With what deep respect, then, must we view not only God’s woman in heaven, but her children on earth as well, who represent her! Our fate is in our own hands. Whether we shall become “sheep” or “goats” is determined by our own course of action toward Jehovah’s organization.
11. What is demonstrated by ignoring some in the congregation who seem to lack certain qualities, but what is the proper attitude toward such ones?
11 There are associated with God’s people today some who have little of the world’s material goods. There are some, too, who may lack fluency of speech or who may seem to be lacking in what this world often speaks of as the “social graces.” Ignoring such ones in the congregation or, worse, looking down on them is an evidence of disrespect for the entire organization. Paul asks: “Do you despise the congregation of God and make those who have nothing ashamed?” (1 Cor. 11:22, NW) How much more of a demonstration of the unity and love of the brothers in the New World society it would be if those who seem to have a surplus of these things would cultivate the friendship of those who seem to have a lack! This should not be done in a spirit of condescension, as though the giving would be all one way, because often those seemingly poor in material goods are wealthy in spiritual works of faith. Many of these have survived trials and testings that have really endeared them to the heart of Jehovah. Such ones indeed might be like the faithful Philippian of whom Paul wrote: “Give him the customary welcome in the Lord with all joy and keep holding men of such kind dear, because on account of the Lord’s work he came quite near to death, exposing his soul to danger.” (Phil. 2:29, 30, NW) Even if they have not had such experiences as this, all in Jehovah’s organization are dear to him and to slight one of these is to slight Jehovah himself or to question his wisdom in calling this servant to share in the blessings he pours out on all those whom he loves.
12. How is dissatisfaction with God’s channel shown by some who disrespect the organization?
12 Some few who are associated with God’s visible organization are not satisfied with the light on God’s Word through his channel. These few lean toward private interpretation or even attempt to “read” into The Watchtower things never intended and then propagate these things as truth. Or they assume some conviction as based on the Scriptures, such as diet, ideas on chronology and the like, and then seek converts among Zion’s faithful children. Their course is like saying that Jehovah’s way is not right or sufficient and that The Watchtower is not complete for our time.
13. (a) How do some few attempt to “direct” the organization? (b) What should be the proper view toward servants, regardless of their age in years or in the truth?
13 Then there are some few who assume authority or endeavor to “direct” the organization. Some are very subtle in their schemes, seeking to influence the congregation’s service committee by working up a sort of “congregation opinion.” This they do by private little campaigns, advancing personal opinion until others become infected, and occasionally much difficulty is raised over trivial matters. Attempting to pressure those in responsible positions or attempting to advance personal interests or opinions is a political form of “lobbying,” which has no place among New-World-thinking servants of God. (Rom. 16:17, 18) A child who attempts to run a household is considered “unmanageable” and must be disciplined. So those who are inclined to prefer their own ideas to those advanced by the servants in the congregation, even though the complaining ones may be older in age and in years in God’s service, should humbly ask themselves: “How does the age of any of us compare with that of our ‘mother’ or to the eternalness of our Father?” Servants of the congregation, regardless of age, are there by theocratic appointment of Jehovah’s organization and in the discharge of their duties they are backed up by the experience and authority of the governing body and hence of Jehovah’s entire organization. While this should make the servant aware of the seriousness of his responsibility, at the same time it should make the complainer realize that it is this office representative of the “mother” organization that he is opposing. For this reason Peter admonishes us: “You younger men, be in subjection to the older men. But all of you gird yourselves with humility of mind toward one another.”—1 Pet. 5:5, NW.
14. Why is it not proper for each one in the congregation to be concerned with its problems of management?
14 Refusing to do so is the same as saying to the servants of the congregation: “That is enough of you, because the whole assembly are all of them holy and Jehovah is in their midst. Why, then, should you lift yourselves up above the congregation of Jehovah?” (Num. 16:3, NW) This was the course followed by Korah, Dathan and Abiram in opposition to Moses and Aaron, which led to disastrous results for them. True, Jehovah is in the midst of his people and pours out a rich blessing upon all for their faithful performance of their God-given commission. At the same time he has built up his theocratic organization and enthroned his King, who directs its affairs in an orderly way so that those assigned as “princes” to make decisions for the congregation will be able to shoulder that responsibility. Will Jehovah or his King be pressured into blessing a different arrangement? The congregation will not be left as it was in Israel when “every man did that which was right in his own eyes” and the nation floundered into many fateful deflections. How thankful we can be that Jehovah has so protected us! Let each one of us, then, continue assuming his God-given commission to preach “this good news of the kingdom” and leave the management of congregational affairs to those assigned to that responsibility.
15. What example in respect for Jehovah’s organization is set by the branches throughout the world?
15 If the unity of the organization is to be maintained it is essential that the governing body be recognized and respected for the position that it occupies among God’s people today. This is the course followed by the branch organizations scattered throughout the world. Instead of maintaining independent little organizations of their own, they take important matters of policy to the governing body for decision, as did the apostle Paul in the important issue on circumcision and as did the various faithful assistants of Moses in the congregation of Israel.—Acts 15:2; Ex. 18:26.
16. In what way is proper respect for Jehovah’s organization not a matter of blindly following men?
16 This is not the blind following of men that Jesus warned about. When he said: “If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch,” he was referring to the unfaithful course of false religionists. (Matt. 15:14) He was referring to those gullible ones of Israel who accepted their leaders with no further recommendation than these blind guides’ own self-praise. At the same time he condemned the blind followers of those to come in Christendom who would not discern from God’s Word the requirements for men who lead and would not follow such for their works’ sake. This should emphasize the fact that all in Jehovah’s organization must be educated in theocratic activity and trained for positions of responsibility. That is because his organization is a theocratic society of ministers and not a hierarchy. When a vacancy occurs in one of the servant positions it is not filled by one brought in from outside the congregation, as one specially trained, but by one who has developed the necessary qualifications while serving as a regular part of the congregation and who has already demonstrated a faithfulness in discharging responsibility. For this reason each one in the organization learns theocratic procedure and seeks the position of an overseer, not by ambitiously endeavoring to secure the position of a brother faithfully performing that service, but by endeavoring to acquire through spiritual application those qualifications that would enable him to fulfill such a responsibility successfully if it fell to his lot.—Jas. 3:1; 1 Tim. 3:1-13.
17. Why is proper subjection so important to the theocratic minister?
17 One of the outstanding requirements of true overseers is humility. So it is for our individual and combined theocratic advancement that Peter wrote: “For the Lord’s sake subject yourselves to every human creation: whether to a king [that is, Christ Jesus] as being superior or to governors [that is, his visible representatives, the “princes”] as being sent by him to inflict punishment on evildoers but to praise doers of good.”—1 Pet. 2:13, 14, NW.