Questions From Readers
● Is it proper for a dedicated Christian witness of Jehovah to work in the employ of one of the religious organizations of Christendom or any other part of Babylon the Great?
In determining the answer to this, it is good to keep in mind the clear-cut command that Jehovah issues to his people concerning the entire world empire of false religion. That religious empire is called Babylon the Great because it is far greater in scope than ancient Babylon but it bears all the earmarks of that ancient seat of worship in opposition to Jehovah. Concerning it, Revelation 18:4, 5 urges: “Get out of her, my people, if you do not want to share with her in her sins, and if you do not want to receive part of her plagues. For her sins have massed together clear up to heaven, and God has called her acts of injustice to mind.”
Now, how could a dedicated Christian witness of Jehovah conscientiously work for an organization, the whole operation of which is in opposition to Jehovah God? Jehovah God says that, from his standpoint, these false religious systems have a record of sin that has massed together clear up to heaven. They have lied about God, turned the people away from his loving provisions for life and, instead, blessed the nations in their slaughter of the inhabitants of the earth. Who wants the work of his hands to contribute to the operation of such a God-dishonoring empire?
If a person who professes to be a dedicated Christian witness of Jehovah were to accept a job in the direct employ of such a religious organization, he would, in actuality, become a part of that organization. If the one who did that knew what such a thing meant and did it anyway, what could we conclude but that he was an apostate and should be disfellowshiped from the Christian congregation? However, it might occur that one works for a worldly commercial employer, and that employer may regularly handle work on church properties. Now, it is true that one doing such work is actually in the employ of a commercial firm, but in accepting work of that type as a regular thing he shows that he is not a mature Christian, and so, while he might be permitted to report as a publisher of the Kingdom, he could not be a servant who is looked to by the rest of the congregation as an example to imitate. If the commercial firm only occasionally handles a job for a church, which is true in many lines of work, one would not be disqualified as a servant in the congregation for accepting such employment, unless it became a cause of stumbling to others in the congregation. Even here, however, he may be able to arrange with his employer to assign him to other jobs, or he may, for reasons of conscience, prefer to look for employment that has no business contacts at all with false religious organizations.—1 Pet. 3:16.
Certainly, though, no Christian witness of Jehovah, knowing what the Bible says about the record of Babylon the Great, would himself personally contract for work, either as a regular thing or as an incidental job, with a false religious organization. And if there is anyone who has done so, without realizing the seriousness of the situation, to maintain a clean conscience before God and a right standing with his organization, he should correct the situation just as soon as possible.—2 Cor. 6:16, 17.
Though it is true that at times it is difficult to find employment in this old system of things, and one may feel pressed from an economic standpoint, if we are faithful to Jehovah God we can be assured that he will continue to answer our prayers and bless our efforts to obtain “our bread for the day according to the day’s requirement.”—Luke 11:3; Matt. 6:25-34; Ps. 37:25.
● The Watchtower of January 15, 1964, on page 42, states: “Never in the Christian Greek Scriptures do we read of the end, conclusion or consummation of the kósmos.” How are we to understand this statement in view of the fact that 2 Peter 3:6 says that a kósmos suffered destruction in Noah’s day?
The words “end,” “conclusion” and “consummation” were here used together because of the original Greek words that they translate. In the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures “end” translates telʹos, and “conclusion” or “consummation” (1st Ed.) the related Greek word syntelʹeia. These words invariably relate either to time or to completion, or to objective or to the finale, rather than to the destruction of a thing.
Thus we read that Jesus loved his disciples to the telʹos or end; that at the telʹos or end of his thousand-year reign he will turn the kingdom back to his Father; that Christians will receive the telʹos or end of their faith, the salvation of their souls. Especially noteworthy is the expression that Jehovah is the beginning and the telʹos or end. In none of these instances could we substitute “suffered destruction” for “end,” could we?—John 13:1; 1 Cor. 15:24; 1 Pet. 1:9; Rev. 21:6.
As for syntelʹeia, it also does not have any connotation of a destruction. Rather, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words tells us that this word “signifies a bringing to completion together . . . marking the completion or consummation of the various parts of a scheme.” Thus we read at Matthew 13:39 that “the harvest is a conclusion [or syntelʹeia] of a system of things.” Jesus’ disciples asked him about the same “conclusion” or syntelʹeia, and when he finally left them he promised that he would be with them “all the days until the conclusion [or syntelʹeia] of the system of things.”—Matt. 24:3; 28:20.
A related Greek word is the verb synteléo, the rendering of which in the New World Translation may be said to make the same point. Luke used it in saying that the days of Jesus’ fasting had been concluded, and that with Satan’s third temptation he concluded his tempting of Jesus.—Luke 4:2, 13.
Since nowhere do we find these Greek words used in connection with the kósmos, the New World Translation does not use their English equivalents in speaking of the “world,” or kósmos. True, 2 Peter 3:6 does speak of a world, a human society, a kósmos, as suffering destruction, and in that sense it might be said to have come to an end, but only by violence. But Peter here did not mean that the human race at that time had reached its conclusion, its close, its termination or objective.
So we see that in the Scriptures the Greek words telʹos, syntelʹeia and synteléo and their English equivalents do properly apply to a discourse, a reign, a period of service, a system of things or an age, but not to the human race or kósmos, for the human race will not draw to a close; Jehovah God purposed it to last forever, even as will the earth on which it lives. That is why there will be no new kósmos. While a kósmos did suffer destruction at the Flood, it was only the kósmos as it applies to mankind opposed to God. Those that survived could not properly be said to constitute a new kósmos or world, for they had previously existed as part of the pre-Flood kósmos or world for which Christ died.