Questions From Readers
● What are the authorities mentioned at Colossians 1:16? Would these authorities include the “superior authorities” of Romans 13:1?—C. W., United States.
Colossians 1:16, 17 reads: “By means of him all other things were created in the heavens and upon the earth, the things visible and the things invisible, no matter whether they are thrones or lordships or governments or authorities. All other things have been created through him and for him. Also, he is before all other things and by means of him all other things were made to exist.”
To what authorities does the apostle Paul here refer? To the “superior authorities” or rulers of this world, mentioned at Romans 13:1? No, those “superior authorities” are said to be “placed in their relative positions by God,” not created by God. But the authorities of Colossians 1:16 are spoken of as God’s creation through the Son of God. Moreover, the worldly “superior authorities” could not be said to have been created for him, that is, for Jesus Christ, but, rather, for men upon the earth. So there are various authorities. Some are part of Jehovah’s organization and others are part of Satan’s world and organization. The context in Colossians, chapter one, makes this fact very clear, for at Col 1 verse 13 Paul states: “He delivered us from the authority of the darkness and transplanted us into the kingdom,” or authority, “of the Son of his love.” So right here in this very connection we have two distinct authorities referred to.
The authorities of “the Son of his love” belong to him, were created by means of the Son, he being the instrument God used. And these authorities include not only heavenly, spiritual, invisible authorities, but also those appointed to exercise authority in the Christian congregation. Even as Jehovah had a channel to serve as an authority or governing body in the days of the apostles and following Pentecost, A.D. 33, so today Jehovah God has a governing body, a “faithful and discreet slave” class, that oversees the work of the Christian witnesses of Jehovah in the New World society.—Matt. 24:45-47.