Does God Have an Organization?
ORDER is evident everywhere in God’s creation. A “simple” yeast cell, for example, is a marvel of organization. It has roughly the same number of parts as a Boeing 777 jetliner. Yet, all the components have a fixed place and fit into a sphere just five microns* in diameter. Unlike jetliners, yeast cells can reproduce. What a marvel of order and organization!—1 Corinthians 14:33.
Organization is manifest not in physical creation only. The Bible shows that the spirit realm too is highly organized, in accord with the Creator’s purpose. In a vision, the prophet Daniel saw a vast company of angelic creatures in God’s heavenly court: “There were a thousand thousands that kept ministering to him, and ten thousand times ten thousand that kept standing right before him.” (Daniel 7:9, 10) Imagine the organization that must be in place in order for this immense number of angels—one hundred million plus—to respond to and do God’s bidding in behalf of his servants here on earth!—Psalm 91:11.
Though the Creator, Jehovah God, is the Supreme Organizer, he is not cold or rule-oriented. Rather, he is a warm, happy God who is concerned with the well-being of all his creation. (1 Timothy 1:11; 1 Peter 5:7) This is evident from the way he dealt with the ancient nation of Israel and the first-century Christians.
Ancient Israel—A Nation Well-Organized
Jehovah God used Moses to organize the Israelites for true worship. Consider just the encampment arrangements during their sojourn in the wilderness of Sinai. Things surely would have been chaotic had every family been allowed to pitch their tent wherever they wanted. Jehovah gave the nation specific instructions as to where each tribe was to set up camp. (Numbers 2:1-34) The Law of Moses also contained precise health and hygiene regulations—for example, regarding the disposal of human waste.—Deuteronomy 23:12, 13.
When the Israelites entered the Promised Land, they were a nation highly organized in many ways. The nation was divided into 12 tribes, each with a designated allotment of land. The Law that Jehovah gave to the nation through Moses covered every aspect of the people’s life—worship, marriage, family, education, business, diet, farming, animal husbandry, and so on.* Although some laws were specific and detailed, all were an expression of Jehovah’s care for his people and contributed to their happiness. By complying with these loving arrangements, the Israelites enjoyed Jehovah’s special favor.—Psalm 147:19, 20.
While it is true that Moses was a talented leader, success or failure depended, not on his leadership skills, but on his loyalty to God’s organization. For example, how did Moses decide what route to take through the wilderness? Jehovah provided direction by means of a pillar of cloud during the day and a pillar of fire at night. (Exodus 13:21, 22) Although God used humans, it was Jehovah himself who organized and directed his people. The same was true in the first century.
The Early Christians Were Well-Organized
As a result of zealous preaching by the apostles and disciples, Christian congregations were established in many parts of Asia and Europe in the first century. Though these congregations were scattered about, they were not isolated, independent groups. Instead, they were well-organized, and they benefited from loving oversight by the apostles. For example, Titus was assigned by the apostle Paul to Crete “to get everything organised there.” (Titus 1:5, The Jerusalem Bible) And Paul wrote to the Corinthian congregation that some brothers possessed “powers of organization,” or were “organizers.” (1 Corinthians 12:28, The New Testament in Modern Speech; The Bible in Contemporary Language) But who was responsible for such order? Paul said that “God compounded,” or “organized,” the congregation.—1 Corinthians 12:24; The Riverside New Testament.
Appointed overseers in the Christian congregation were not masters over fellow believers. Rather, they were “fellow workers” who followed the direction of God’s spirit, and they were expected to be “examples to the flock.” (2 Corinthians 1:24; 1 Peter 5:2, 3) It is the resurrected Jesus Christ, not a mere human or a group of imperfect men, who serves as the “head of the congregation.”—Ephesians 5:23.
When the congregation in Corinth began to do things in a way that was radically different from the way that other congregations handled matters, Paul wrote: “What? Was it from you that the word of God came forth, or was it only as far as you that it reached?” (1 Corinthians 14:36) Paul used this rhetorical question to correct their thinking and to help them understand that they were not to act independently. Congregations grew and prospered when they followed the direction of the apostles.—Acts 16:4, 5.
An Expression of God’s Love
What about today? Some may be reluctant to attach themselves to a religious organization. Biblical evidence, however, shows that God has always used his organization as he carries out his purpose. He organized his worshippers in ancient Israel, and he organized the early Christians in their worship.
Is it not logical, therefore, to conclude that Jehovah God still directs his people, as he did in the past? Yes, having his worshippers organized and unified is an expression of his loving care for them. Today, Jehovah uses his organization in accomplishing his purpose toward mankind. How can his organization be identified? Consider the following criteria.
▪ True Christians are organized to accomplish a work. (Matthew 24:14; 1 Timothy 2:3, 4) Jesus commanded his followers to preach the Kingdom good news to all nations, a task that would be impossible without an international organization. To illustrate, you can easily feed one person on your own, but if you have to feed many thousands, even millions, you will need a well-organized group of people whose efforts are coordinated. In fulfilling their commission, true Christians serve “shoulder to shoulder,” or “cooperate in [God’s] service.” (Zephaniah 3:9; Byington) Would a multinational, multilingual, multiracial work be possible without a unified, harmonious organization? The answer is obvious.
▪ True Christians are organized to support and encourage one another. A lone mountaineer can decide where he wants to climb, and he does not have to look after less experienced climbers. However, if he has an accident or gets into difficulty, he will be in serious danger, as there will be no one to assist him. Isolating oneself is truly unwise. (Proverbs 18:1) For Christians to carry out Jesus’ command, they must help and support one another. (Matthew 28:19, 20) The Christian congregation provides much-needed Biblical instruction, training, and encouragement for all to keep going and not to give up. Where would one go to be instructed in Jehovah’s ways if there were no organized Christian meetings for instruction and worship?—Hebrews 10:24, 25.
▪ True Christians are organized to serve God in unity. As Jesus’ sheep listen to his voice, they become “one flock” under his leadership. (John 10:16) They are not scattered among independent churches and groups; nor are they divided over doctrinal matters. Rather, they all “speak in agreement.” (1 Corinthians 1:10) To dwell in unity, we need order, and order requires organization. Only a unified brotherhood can have God’s blessing.—Psalm 133:1, 3.
Genuine love for God and love for Bible truth have drawn millions to an organization that meets these and other Biblical criteria. As an organized and unified body of people, Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide endeavor to do God’s will. They are assured of his promise: “I shall reside among them and walk among them, and I shall be their God, and they will be my people.” (2 Corinthians 6:16) This wonderful blessing can be yours too if you worship Jehovah God with his organization.
A micron, or micrometer, is one millionth of a meter.
See Insight on the Scriptures, Volume 2, pages 214-220, published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
[Picture on page 13]
The encampment of the Israelites was well-organized
[Pictures on pages 14, 15]
To carry out the international preaching work requires organization
Construction of places of worship