Tuesday, June 21
Be obedient to those who are taking the lead among you.
Faithful servants of Jehovah have always been eager to submit to theocratic direction. We may initially lack full understanding of the reasons for carrying out our assigned work in a particular way. Nevertheless, we are fully aware of the benefits of cooperating with Jehovah in any adjustments that he sees fit to make. A strong desire to accomplish Jehovah’s will is seen in the way the elders take the lead in the congregation. They manifest a willingness to work hard and to keep in step with changing circumstances. They eagerly adjust to new ways in which our work of preaching God’s established Kingdom is to be done. Although some may at first have been hesitant about organizing telephone witnessing, harbor witnessing, or public witnessing, they soon saw good results. Are you eager to try new witnessing initiatives?
“Theocratic direction” is a term Jehovah’s Witnesses understand to mean anything that the Watchtower says. And while there is no dispute that every organization has to have leadership, we should not suppose that every dictum and policy emanating from Bethel is from Jehovah God, the Theocrat.
While Christ rules over his congregation that does not mean that he sanctions every action and utterance. Quite the contrary. Consider the letters to the seven symbolic congregations in Revelation in the run-up to the Lord’s day. Jesus had stern words for most of them. For example, to the congregation in Pergamum Jesus wrote: “Nevertheless, I have a few things against you, that you have there those adhering to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols and to commit sexual immorality.”
While the Watchtower does not openly promote sexual immorality and is actually quick to disfellowship teenage offenders, the same cannot be said when it comes to taking action against pedophiles in the congregation. The direction from Bethel is that when any case of child abuse is reported to the elders they are to immediately call the Watchtower’s Legal Department hotline.
While elders may assume there is some sort of divine consultation that goes on behind closed doors, that is not the case. Evidently the primary consideration of the lawyers running Jehovah’s organization is whether or not the local jurisdiction requires clergy to report crimes committed against children. If not, then the “theocratic direction” given to the elders strictly forbids them from reporting the crime to police. Coupled with the strict adherence to the Jewish law that required two witnesses to an offense, the Watchtower has provided safe haven for thousands of pedophiles. Should anyone doubt that child sexual abuse is much more offensive to God then sexual immorality between two consenting “adults”?
Had the Watchtower allowed elders to avail themselves of the crime investigating expertise provided by the superior authorities, whom Paul said are our ministers, their input could serve as a second witness. But the Watchtower is not interested in prosecuting Jehovah’s Witnesses who sexually abuse children in their congregations. Such is the policy palmed off as “theocratic direction” by the cunning modern-day Balaam.
Balaam, the so-called diviner, knew Jehovah. God had spoken to him on more than one occasion. Balaam knew that if Balak were able to lure the Israelites into sinning against God then Jehovah himself would destroy his own people, which is what happened. An angel even opposed the greedy prophet’s headlong course. But Balaam was determined to receive his reward.
As regards the “Balaam” influence in the Pergamum congregation it is noteworthy that Jesus did not override it. He allows it to exist up until the moment he comes like a thief in the night. His advice? “So repent. If you do not, I am coming to you quickly, and I will war against them with the long sword of my mouth.”
While Jehovah’s Witnesses are to be commended for their loyalty to the work assigned to them —realizing that Christ himself has assigned his followers to preach and make disciples —they should also be aware that God is going to judge those who give “theocratic direction” in his name.
Take the matter of the Watchtower’s new headquarters building project in Warwick —now nearing completion, in which 25,000 of Jehovah’s Witnesses are engaged in their construction assignments. According to a news release in the local Warwick paper, the Watchtower’s spokesman touted the new headquarters for its secluded location in pleasant surroundings.
Again, while it is commendable that so many willing hands are made available for a project that is assumed to have God’s blessing, if the decision to move the Watchtower’s headquarters was based upon monetary considerations and the personal desires of the leadership to have a luxurious estate outside the city, then that’s a problem. Are the Governing Body perhaps desirous of retiring with their wives in a secluded, parklike setting? Just because Bethel’s princes can cash out of Brooklyn for a billion dollars and field a small army of volunteers for a massive construction undertaking doesn’t mean it is God’s will that they do so. Remember, Balaam was motivated by material interests.
It is especially interesting that the financial system is nearing the point of implosion just as Bethel is selling off the last properties in Brooklyn Heights. Where is the billion dollar booty going to be stashed? No doubt the keepers of the theocratic treasures will use numerous Wall Street banks and various financial instruments, all of which are vulnerable to instantaneous vaporization when the day and hour arrives.
Their conversion of debt-free, brick-and-mortar assets into so many computer bytes could not be more ill-timed. Just imagine standing before the Theocrat and having to explain how you lost the Master’s entire fortune he had entrusted to you!
“As for my people, their taskmasters are abusive, and women rule over them. My people, your leaders are causing you to wander, and they confuse the direction of your paths. Jehovah is taking his position to accuse; He is standing up to pass sentence on peoples. Jehovah will enter into judgment with the elders and princes of his people.” – Isaiah 3