[Watchtower study for the week of July 21, 2014 – w14 5/15 p. 21]
“God is a God not of disorder but of peace.” 1 Cor. 14:33
Par. 1 – The article opens with a teaching which I have come to believe diminishes Christ’s place in God’s purpose. It states: “His first creation was his only-begotten spirit Son, who is called “the Word” because he is God’s principal spokesman.”
We teach that the only reason Jesus is called the Word is because he is God’s spokesman. Since no other being—human or spirit—is called the Word, yet many have served as God’s spokesman, we claim that the degree to which Jesus is used in this role is what merits his being given this singular designation. Hence, we often call him God’s chief Spokesman or in this case, his principal spokesman. The article “What is the Word According to John?” deals with this issue in detail, so I won’t belabor the point here, except to say that being the Word represents a unique role—one only Jesus could fill. It is so much more than simply being God’s mouthpiece, as privileged as that assignment might be.
Par. 2 – “God’s numerous spirit creatures are referred to as the well-organized “armies” of Jehovah.—Ps. 103.21” [Boldface added]
The verse cited does not say nor even imply that God’s armies of angels are “well-organized”. We can safely assume they are, just as we can safely assume they are mighty, loyal, happy, holy, valiant, or any one of a hundred other adjectives. So why insert this one? Obviously, we are trying very hard to make a point. We are trying to show that Jehovah is organized. One would hardly think this necessary as the idea of a disorganized Almighty God of the universe seems at once insulting and ludicrous. So no, that is not the point we are trying to make. What we are saying –what will be evident by next week’s study—is that God only works through an organization of some type. That is why the title of the article isn’t “Jehovah Is an Organized God”, but rather “a God of Organization”. In line with what will be revealed in the next week’s article, a more on-the-nose title would be “Jehovah Always Works through an Organization”.
So the question thinking Christians should be asking themselves at this juncture is: Is that really true?
Par. 3, 4 – “Like the righteous spirit creatures in heaven, the physical heavens are superbly organized. (Isa. 40:26) Therefore, it is logical to conclude that Jehovah would organize his servants on earth.”
This is an odd example to present as proof that Jehovah would organize his earthly servants as he organized the universe. The Hubble telescope has provided many extraordinary pictures since it went operational. Some reveal galaxies in collision, ripping each other into new shapes and tossing random stars loose into the cosmos. There are also many images of supernova remnants—the aftermath of unimaginably massive star explosions irradiating space for light-years in every direction. Comets and meteors smash into moons and planets, reshaping them.[i] This is not to suggest that there isn’t purpose in all this. Jehovah has set strict physical laws in motion which all astronomical bodies obey, but there seems to be a kind of randomness at work here as well; not the clockwork, micro-managing organization the publishers would have us accept. The article doesn’t err in using the universe as an example of how Jehovah manages his intelligent creation. It errs by drawing the wrong conclusion from this example. This is understandable given that there is a strong bias that looks for anything Scriptural to support the existence of our organizational hierarchy.
Setting down strict laws—be they physical or moral—and then setting things in motion and stepping back to see where they lead, while lending a guiding hand here or there, is consistent with what we know of the universe in general and what we’ve learned from God’s dealings with humans.
Par. 5 – “The human family was to grow in an organized way so as to populate the earth and extend Paradise until it covered the entire globe.”
Perhaps this is a good time to revisit our theme text. Paul contrasts “disorder” not with orderliness or organization, but with peace. He wasn’t promoting the idea of organization over chaos. He just wanted the members of the Corinthian congregation to respect one another and conduct their get-togethers in an orderly fashion, avoiding a prideful, chaotic atmosphere.
Let’s have a little fun. Open up your copy of the WT Library and type “organization” into the search field and hit Enter. Here are the results I got.
Number of hits in the Awake: 1833
Number of hits in the Yearbooks: 1606
Number of hits in the Kingdom Ministry: 1203
Number of hits in the Watchtower: 10,982
Number of hits in the Bible: 0
That’s right! Watchtower, 10,982; Bible, 0. Stunning contrast, isn’t it?
It now becomes obvious why we have to reach so deep to try to find scriptural support for the idea of God doing everything by an organization.
Par. 6, 7 – These paragraphs reference the time of Noah, however the real point they are making is found in the caption to the illustration on page 23: “Good organization helped eight people to survive the Flood.” Surely, this is stretching the idea to the point of absurdity. Or perhaps the writer of Hebrews got it wrong. Perhaps a better rendering of Hebrews 11:7 should be:
“By good organization Noah, after being given divine warning of things not yet beheld, showed godly fear and constructed a well-organized ark for the saving of his household; and through this organization he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness that is according to organization.”
Forgive the facetious tone, but I feel it is the best way to show who silly this caption is.
Par. 8, 9 – Continuing the theme that God always uses an organization to get things done, we are now taught that in Israel “good organization was to involve all aspects of their life and especially their worship.” Here we are confusing rules and laws with organizational structure and procedure. Before the time of the kings, we have an idyllic time alluded to in Judges 17:6
“. . .In those days, there was no king in Israel. Each one was doing what was right in his own eyes.” (Jg 17:6)
“Each one…doing what was right in his own eyes” hardly fits with the organization that is being described in these two paragraphs. However, it does fit nicely with the pattern of a God who provides order through laws and principles, then sits back and watches how his servants apply them.
Par. 10 – This is a pivotal paragraph, in the humble opinion of this writer, for it unwittingly disproves the point the article is attempting to make. Up to now they have attempted to show that the success enjoyed by Jehovah’s servants was due to being well-organized. Noah survived the flood due to good organization. Rahab survived the destruction of Jericho, not by putting faith in God as Hebrews 11:31 says, but by allying herself with the organization of the Jews. Now we are in the time of Jesus and Jehovah’s Israelite organization is more highly organized than ever. They have laws governing every aspect of life, down to details like how far up the arm one has to wash to please God. They are also God’s appointed channel of communication. Caiaphas prophesied—evidently under inspiration—because of his role as high priest. (John 11:51) The priesthood could trace its lineage all the way back to Aaron. They had better, more scripturally provable credentials than the leadership of any Christian denomination on earth today.
That their organization was efficient and effective is evident by the fact that they could use it to control all the people, even getting them to turn on the Messiah they had publicly praised just days before. (John 12:13) They accomplished this by coercing the dissenters with a call for unity. Unity with and obedience to those taking the lead overrode common sense and the conscience of the people. (John 7:48, 49) If some disobeyed, they were threatened with disfellowshipping. (John 9:22)
If it is organization that Jehovah values, then why reject them? Why not fix it from within? Because the problem was not inside the organization. The problem was the organization. The Jewish leadership was the organization. God laid down laws to govern a nation ruled by Him. Men turned it into an organization ruled by them. They had prophetic interpretations in place, even as to how the Messiah was to appear and what he would do for them. They were unwilling to change when forced to face the reality of the situation. (John 7:52) Jehovah lovingly sent his son, and they rejected and murdered him. (Mt. 21:38)
Jesus didn’t come bringing a better organization. He came bringing something they lost along the way: faith, love, and mercy. (Mt 17:20; John 13:35; Mt 12:7)
Paragraph 10 unwittingly disproves the study article’s main premise.
Par. 11-13 – This paragraph is an excellent example of the power of repetition. Here we continue to restate “organization” in place of “people” or “congregation”, hoping that by repetition the reader will forget that the word is never—NEVER—used in the Bible. We might just as easily insert “club” or “secret society” for all the probative value it adds to the discussion.
Par. 14-17 – We close our study with a brief review of the events leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem. “The Jews in general [those not joining Jehovah’s organization] did not accept the good news, and calamity was to befall them…faithful Christians [those in Jehovah’s organization] survived because they heeded Jesus’ warning.” (par. 14) “Those associated with the well-organized early congregations benefited greatly… (par. 16) “As Satan’s world nears its end in these last days, the earthly part of Jehovah’s universal organization is moving ahead at an ever-increasing speed. Are you keeping pace with it?”
A newbie reading this subject for the first time may be puzzled by all the emphasis placed on organization. He may wonder how our salvation is tied, not to faith or a personal relationship with God, but to keeping up with an organization. However, any baptized Jehovah’s Witness will know that what the article is promoting is not the quality of being organized—something not required by God for salvation—but the importance of being loyal to the direction of a small group of men who head up the worldwide organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses. If any should doubt this conclusion, they have but to read next week’s study to remove all doubt.
[i] Barringer Meteor Crater in Arizona is only 50,000 years old. Scientists blame the extinction of the dinosaurs on a massive comet/meteor strike.
In the words of Ray Franz … “Christ clearly emphasized the personal nature of that relationship. (Matthew 10:32, 33) His call is, not “come to my organization” or “come to a certain church or denomination,” but rather it is, “Come to me.” (Matthew 11:28) In giving the illustration of the vine and its branches, his words were not “I am the vine and religious organizations are the branches and you are the twigs or the leaves connected to those branches,” but rather “I am the vine and you are the branches,” connected directly to him. (John 15:5)” – (Crisis of… Read more »
Yes! Jesus said: “Come to ME!” 🙂
Hi Meleti and fellow brothers in faith, good afternoon. I could not wait for your insights for the next study article – Are you Moving Ahead with Jehovah’s Organization? Why? I have read it several times, at times causing my head to spin, to have goosebumps. I think you would be shocked to see some very direct assertions there.
Been to the study today. When I read the article on my own, I could digest it and formulate my comments. But looking at the article in KH with the study leader made it far harder to digest. His comments were biased, unnatural and to me annoying. I came to the conclusion during the study that in fact any christian group that is organized belongs to God based on the examples, arguments and info provided in the article. I even thought that the company I work couls be as we are organized, operate globally and apply high standards and in… Read more »
Greetings Matthew. I hope my response does not come off as unkind, but it is my feeling that you have not read too many articles on this site. If you had, you would see the entire tone of this site is not to bash or fault-find but rather to come to a better understanding of “what is truth?” For example, you said: “if you do not think Jehovah and His Son are using/blessing the imperfect men or women that make up JWs today, what perfect people can you point to who WOULD stand up to your scrutiny?” I think most… Read more »
Matthew ele-Vens, Welcome to this site and thank you for your comment!
May I ask you one question? In this article and in all of the comments, is there anything said that you believe to be a lie?
I would venture to guess that, were we to take many of the traits expressed in the comments above or below me (including Mr. Vivlon), many of them probably would not match the pattern of a true christian (organization or no organization). Why do I say that? Incessant fault-finding and continuously remaining disgruntled hardly match the Bible’s description of a christian. Jesus even alluded to this un-christian personality when he spoke at Matthew 11: 16-19: ”But what comparison may I make of this generation? It is like children seated in the market-places, crying out to one another, ‘We made music… Read more »
Hi Matthew ele-Ven, I don’t think of it as fault-finding and remaining disgruntled to expose disturbing and even dangerous things as the following: “At that time, the life-saving direction that we receive from Jehovah’s organization may not appear practical from a human standpoint. All of us must be ready to obey any instructions we may receive, whether these appear sound from a strategic or human standpoint or not.” – (w13 11/15, Pg. 20, Seven Shepherds, Eight Dukes—What They Mean for Us Today) Requiring un-questioning obedience to 7 imperfect men whether these instructions appear sound from a strategic or human standpoint… Read more »
Hi Matthew ele-Ven,
Welcome. I assume by the way you write and by the fact that your name links to jw.org that you are a witness. You know that I am one as well. Therefore, I wonder at the implied insult of referring to me as Mr. Vivlon. Even if you feel I’m erring, 2 Th 3:15 still requires you to admonish me as a brother.
Truly as I say to you, when I wrote that, I consciously meant no such insult. But on that note…I will now try addressing you with a question I would ask any of my Brothers when I visit other halls, attend assemblies and conventions. “What is your name, Brother, and where are you from?”
No offense taken, Matthew. As to your question, I really wish I could answer that openly. I wish that we would enjoy the freedom of speech which is our due. However, following the example of our brothers who have carried on the preaching work in countries were Christian activities are banned, I shall have to continue to work underground.
Now to address your main point, Matthew ele-Ven: You seem to feel that it is wrong for us to find fault with what we feel are false teachings and unchristian conduct on the part of those presuming to take the lead among us. Would you accuse Elijah of finding fault with the priests of Baal? If you think that is an unfair comparison, then how about Jesus with the Jewish religious leaders? When he preached, those leaders still had the official status of God’s chosen priesthood. The nation was still under the covenant. Was it wrong for Jesus to point… Read more »
Examination is one thing. If one examines a house as a house inspector,they are not in the business of damaging it, are they? They are there to examine it. But if one goes to the house for the purpose of burning it, what do we call that person and their actions?
An excellent analogy, Matthew. Would you pay a house inspector if he found flaws in the house and didn’t point out them out to you?
Excellent analysis. My wife loves yr writing. Glad we are out. If not I will be rolling my eyes, making faces during meeting or give comments that’s tangent to what article trying to drive at.
Thanks meleti for another fine insight on the article .Its articles like this that made me not want to go anymore .The theme scripture is clearly being twisted .anybody reading the context would realise its all about controlling the gifts of the spirit to bring some orderliness to the meetings they used to have How can anyone be a faithful slave when they are not faithful to his word kev .
From time to time, when talking with the friends, I purposely use the word “instituton” instead of “organization”. It basically means the same thing but it does away with the reverence. It also helps me not to get nauseated. LOL.
Famous words of Morgan Freeman in The Shawshank Redemption, “These walls are funny. First you hate ’em, then you get used to ’em. Enough time passes, you get so you depend on them. That’s institutionalized.”
Just glad to see, when one removes the influence of the organization . How the real TRUTH of his word, is revealed!
I think Meletti mentioned it already. Par 10 talks about the loss of faith and loyalty of the Jewish people (Gods people !) that ended up in killing Jesus. Par 11 tries to “prove” Jehovah setup a new (dynamic…yeah) organisation (of course without any proof). In fact, without paying notice of course but the reference to the Jewish (God’s) people actually shows that an approved organisation can become an enemy of Jehovah over time. And let’s not forget that this first organisation was setup by Jehovah himself but still ended up as His enemy. In contrast, our/WT organisation is a… Read more »
“Thank you for a voice of reason that reassures me that I’m not alone. Greetings and thanks also to the others here who add to that reassurance.”
Welcome to the site MarthaMartha! (Your name is even fun to type)
Thank you 🙂
Mailman asked “why not publish articles more about Christ?”
The thing is that just publishing more articles about Christ Jesus, does not change what the GB is all about……which is THEMSELVES.
It seems they are capable of spinning anything to THEMSELVES.
Hello imacountrygirl2. Oh, you nailed that: GB capable of spinning anything to themselves. All articles, not one I guess, do not fail to link the message to the organization or its leadership. Isn’t this tantamount to subtle idolatry? Having goosebumps here.
Jesus is a potentially problematic figure, the way he’s always correcting those who are most concerned about position. Best not to dwell too much on him.
The WT has presented and organized the paragraphs in such a way that it conditions the mind of typical JWs By power of repetition or repetitive emphasis on the word organization, one would not avoid subconsciously associating it with God’s organization today. In court, it’s laying the basis to advance one’s argument. WT has successfully done this time and again. Instead of having these kind of articles that are organization-centered, why not publish articles more about Christ?
It is also interesting to note that the word “religion” does not appear in the Bible.Jesus said that we could identify his disciples and not his “religion”. The org. however, has changed that to an identifying of the “true religion and of course it is the “organization”. Pretty clever
“Jesus said that we could identify his disciples and not his “religion”.
Very well said! 🙂
Oh, here we go again! Next two Wt articles demanding loyalty to the Org.
One of the main reasons I love reading your comments, Meleti, is that I feel so relieved to find a kindred mind who thinks the same way I do when reading the WT articles such as this one. I am heartily sick of the word ‘organization’. I feel as if I have been force fed it for so long that I actually feel slightly queasy, reading this week and next’s study articles. Thank you for a voice of reason that reassures me that I’m not alone. Greetings and thanks also to the others here who add to that reassurance.
You’re welcome and by the way, love your username.
Thanks! It seems apt…. I am ‘anxious and disturbed about many things’ these days and it isn’t food! 😉
Hi Meleti, I had a quick look at your article before heading off to work. The WTS/GB are really reaching hard on this subject, yet on the face of it any ‘reasonable’ witness would agree with their arguments yet I fear if these same ones would have looked to the Temple as a source of God’s approval if they were Jews. And we all know what happened there 🙂 I watched a documentary a while back about Chaos Theory. While the term ‘chaos’ is a misnomer as it implies random haphazard action it does seem to demonstrate again that our… Read more »
Good analogy with the dollar bill. Thanks,
I like that analogy too. Having God’s name printed on the organization does not mean He supports everything that it does, much less instruct everybody to just follow what its leaders told them to do. That’s stripping us off the free will that the Father has given us all.
Funny …. where was Jehovah’s “earthly” organization before the WTBS?
Could it be that Jehovah has an household instead of an ” organization”?
As a matter of fact, I think having God’s name printed on the organization and referring to the direction coming from the organization as coming from Jehovah, places the organization in the dangerous position of being guilty of doing what Deuteronomy 18:20 condemns – presumptuously speaking it’s own instructions as coming from Jehovah.
Not to mention having God’s name associated with corporations, bank accounts, commercial correspondence and, worst of all, lawsuits. Seems to me that if we’re so concerned about the sanctification of the divine name, we should be restricting our use of it to our worship.
I hadn’t noticed that line of reasoning before, GodsWordIsTruth. Thanks. Looking at it from this point of view–which is the POV of the WTBS–Jehovah replaced his Israelite organization with the first century Christian organization, which continued down to our day, but now as an apostate organization, so Jehovah made yet another organization under Russell, who wasn’t the FDS, so he had to make yet another organization under Rutherford who was the FDS. That’s a whole lot of organizations. Given the track record, can we be assured that the current organization is not going to follow in the footsteps of the… Read more »
You are absolutely right !!!! It is evident that this WT is full of human reasoning . I Your comment has me thinking: If Jesus wanted to establish a direct “channel of communication” ,where the light would get brighter concerning the understanding of the Scriptures , why wouldn’t the apostles been first in line? I was reading Luke 24:13-35 the other day . The same day Jesus, was resurrected he appeared to two of his disciples on the road to Emmaeus, a man named Cleopus and someone else ( the bible doesn’t say ) . “Beginning with Moses and all… Read more »
And if the apostles were the first century governing body, why would Jesus appear to these two disciples first and not to his apostles.
Exactly! … when you take a closer look at their arguments … they fall apart.
Thanks Meleti for your analysis of this WT. If you hear God has one organization over and over again without examination…. you begin to believe that he really has one or needs one.
Like you said before … God does not need an organization … Humans do .