Make Sure of the More Important Things (w13 4/15 p. 22)
Do Not Tire Out (w13 4/15 p. 27)
These two articles seem to be published with the goal of encouraging continued support and obedience to those leading us today. Consider this statement from paragraph 11:
“How do we demonstrate our support for the arrangements made by Jehovah’s organization? One important way is by always putting our confidence in the ones whom Jehovah and Jesus are trusting to lead us in our preaching work.”
Let’s be clear before we get underway. The various members of this forum have no problem supporting those taking the lead whether it be in the preaching work, regular attendance at and participation in meetings, or following their administrative direction so that the work is carried out smoothly and harmoniously. However, it is becoming increasingly evident that more than that is being demanded of us.
Consider the foregoing article excerpt. How does that pair up with what Psalm 146:3 says? “Do not put YOUR trust in nobles, Nor in the son of earthling man, to whom no salvation belongs.” We are talking about our salvation here, are we not? Is there some special exception to this divine command when dealing with the men of the Governing Body? Pause for a moment, open your copy of the Watchtower Library program and do a search on “trust” and “confidence”. Scan every occurrence of these words in the Christian Scriptures and see if you can find any text that contradicts the direction found at Psalm 146:3.
On what basis can any man or group of men claim that Jehovah and Jesus are putting trust in them? You will notice that no Scriptural reference is provided to support this statement, simply because none exists.
What does the Bible actually counsel us to do with regard to those taking the lead? It says that we are to “contemplate how their conduct turns out,” and then based on that, we are to “imitate their faith.” Nothing there about trusting them willy-nilly, is there? They have to prove themselves to us by their conduct, and after observing them and seeing the right fruits, we then, and only then, are to imitate their faith. Not give them unconditional obedience. No. Imitate their faith.
Those at the highest levels of the “organization”, perhaps with the best of intentions, have let us down on numerous occasions. There are just too many prophetic and interpretive failures to list here. But we can overlook all that as the failings of imperfect men. At least, we can if they do not demand of us our unconditional obedience and unflagging trust.
We used to refer to the brotherhood in general and the leadership specifically as “the society”. Elders would say, “Well, the direction of the society is…” meaning the direction from the Governing body or the branch office. Not too long ago that term was deprecated and we were told that the more proper term would be the Christian Congregation. Branch letterhead was changed to read “Christian Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses.” If you still have your Watchtower Library program open, do a search on “Christian” and another on “congregation”. You get a number of hits in the Bible, particularly on “congregation”. Now do a search on “organization”. Not a single hit in the Holy Scriptures. The word is not used anywhere by Bible writers. However, these two articles alone use it 48 times. “Christian congregation” makes a single appearance, but only because the article is referring to the first century congregation.
Okay, you might say, the word is not there, but the concept certainly is. Ah, but we are not referring in these articles—and elsewhere in our publications—to the concept of organization. Any logical person will readily admit that people need to be organized to accomplish anything worthwhile. No, the term is used by us to refer to something else. What we mean is “organized religion”; specifically our organized religion. When we say “Jehovah’s earthly organization”, we mean the religious entity that is Jehovah’s Witnesses with all its administrative structure and leadership hierarchy as depicted graphically in the last article of this issue.
As proof that this is Jehovah’s organization—as distinct from Jehovah’s people or congregation—we have advanced the concept that Ezekiel’s vision depicting God’s Celestial Chariot is actually a representation of his heavenly organization. Then we extrapolate that since there is a heavenly organization, there must also be an earthly one. Then we conclude that Jehovah is directing his earthly organization.
Congregation, people, organization…are we not just talking about the same thing? Not really. The congregation is headed up by Christ. He is the head, not of the Governing Body, but of the man. (1 Cor. 11:3) That is the spiritual arrangement. God, Christ, man, woman. There is no six-part hierarchy depicted anywhere in the Bible such as you will find on page 29 of the April 15, 2013 Watchtower. That works fine if we limit things to an administrative role, but once we cross the line to spiritual leadership, it breaks down because one is our leader, the Christ. (Mt. 23:10)
By focusing on the organization, not the people or congregation, we focus on the ones who do the organizing, the leaders.
But what about Ezekiel’s vision? Doesn’t that depict Jehovah’s heavenly organization? Maybe, maybe not. Certainly, the Governing Body interprets it that way. But there is nothing in the biblical account itself that says so. In addition, Ezekiel doesn’t say anything about Jehovah riding in a chariot. In fact, the whole “Celestial Chariot” idea is more reminiscent of pagan mythology than of anything found in scripture. (For more information see Origins of the Celestial Chariot.) We are free to accept the official interpretation, of course, but that would constitute an admission of belief that the Governing Body has special knowledge to which you and I do not have access. Their rocky record, however, shows this cannot be true. That is not a criticism, it’s a historical reality.
Paragraph 7 of the first article gives yet another example of a alarming tendency of late to get loosey-goosey with the application of Scripture. It says, “Daniel also saw “someone like a son of man,” Jesus, being given oversight of the earthly part of Jehovah’s organization.” Really? That is what Daniel is depicting here? Daniel 7:13, 14 shows Jesus being enthroned over all things, after the fourth and final beast is destroyed. (vs. 11) That hasn’t happened yet, but we claim this shows Jesus heading up the organization. We love truth, do we not? We serve the God of truth. (Ps. 31:5) Any flagrant misapplication of Scripture should disturb us.
Let us conclude with the illustration on page 29 of the magazine. The illustrations in the publications are given much thought and reviewed by all the Governing Body, we are told. This one depicts what we claim is God’s celestial chariot, his heavenly organization over the earthly part of his organization. Notice the detail. If you use a magnifying glass, you can actually identify every member of the current Governing Body. Not since the days of Rutherford have we given such prominence to men. But something is missing. Where is the head of the “organization”? How could they have overlooked Jesus Christ in this illustration?