Who Are the Seven Shepherds and Eight Dukes of Mankind?

//Who Are the Seven Shepherds and Eight Dukes of Mankind?

A review of the November 2013, Watchtower study edition

The main body of the Watchtower material presents an informative account of the historical developments leading up to the invasion of Judah by the Assyrians under their king, Sennacherib.  

The article points out that the king of Israel joined forces with Syria and was intent on removing the king of Judah – and most likely, the royal linage of David and the ancestral line of the Messiah. 

No doubt the Israelites were mere pawns of a satanic scheme to derail Jehovah’s purpose to produce a messianic king at some point in the future. After all, the Hebrew word translated as “satan” means resister – opposer. Everything the Devil does is motivated by his opposition to the establishment of the kingdom of God. 

But as is typical of the Watchtower Society their interpretation of prophecy is not so straightforward as their presentation of biblical history. It is, in fact, deceptive. How so? 

Consider the comments the Watchtower article makes as regards the meaning of Micah 5:5 under the subheading – Lessons for Today

“What ‘secret weapon’ does Micah’s prophecy indicate Jehovah would raise up against that implacable foe—“the Assyrian”? A very unlikely one—“seven shepherds, yes, eight dukes”! The shepherds and dukes (or, “princes,” NEB) in this implausible army are the congregation elders. Today, Jehovah certainly has provided an abundance of spiritual men to shepherd his precious sheep, to strengthen his people for the future attack of the modern-day “Assyrian.” Micah’s prophecy states that they will “shepherd the land of Assyria with the sword.” Yes, among ‘the weapons of their warfare,’ you will find “the sword of the spirit,” God’s Word.”

First, it is somewhat odd that the article under consideration uses the word “dukes” even though the new edition of the NWT has replaced “dukes” with “princes.” Despite that fact, the article makes reference to the New English Bible because it uses the word “princes.” Perhaps the article was written some time ago and was not revised to reflect the change in their own translation. 

Whatever the case, it is not that “duke” is an unacceptable English language term. Dukes in the modern peerage system are the highest order of rank and may or may not also be princes. 

But, it is noteworthy that in the NWT the word “princes” is more common than dukes. And more importantly, the word “princes” is used in prophecy to describe the anointed sons of the King. For example, at Daniel 8:25 the NWT uses the expression “Prince of princes.” 

The Watchtower, though, wrongly interprets the “Prince” as being Jehovah, whereas the series of prophecies in Daniel depict Christ conquering the last king in various ways, under varying guises; such as the Son of man, Prince of princes and Michael, the great prince. But, the princes – plural – in that prophecy are obviously the same as the holy ones who are brought to ruin by the king fierce in countenance. 

But the question is, are the princes or dukes referred to in Micah really congregation elders, as the Watchtower claims? And do they merely wield the metaphorical sword of the spirit, or something else? And if the symbolic dukes are actually Christian elders, in what way are they a “secret weapon”? 

It is always a good idea to familiarize oneself with the context of any passage cited. In this instance please read the entire 5th chapter of Micah. 

Briefly, the prophecy spans the period from the time of the Assyrian attack on Judah, through the birth of the Messiah in Bethlehem, alluding to his torturous death (being struck on the cheek), and continuing on to the reign of the heavenly kingdom and the end of the Devil’s entire kingdom, which is what is signified in the last verse of the fifth chapter: “In anger and wrath I will execute vengeance on the nations that have not obeyed.” 

Assyria has relevance to the time of Christ’s return by reason of the fact that the Assyrian kingdom comprises one of the heads of the seven-headed beast of Revelation. Because there is only one political beast that has been in existence for several thousand years, which Satan has used to oppose Jehovah’s purpose on earth, and the eighth king springs from the seven, depending on the context the Assyrian may also typify the last kingdom in its opposition to the incoming kingdom of Christ. To place a finer point on it, Jesus was also put to death by the same beastly apparatus, which was then manifest as the Roman Empire. So, that is why it is appropriate to place the assault on the Messiah in the context of the invasion of the Assyrian, seeing that the conflict is ongoing – spanning centuries, only reaching a culmination during the conclusion. 

And because Christ sprang from Israel, at least in the flesh, (Israel is also known as Jacob) and the anointed are spiritual brothers of Christ, they are also known as “Jacob” – even though very few of the remaining ones now are actual Jews.   

Now consider the context. 

The opening verses of the 5th chapter make reference to the “daughter under attack.” And the daughter under attack is prophesied to give birth – the 3rd verse saying: “So he will give them up until the time that she who is to give birth has given birth. And the rest of his brothers will return to the people of Israel.” 

The pronoun “he” is referring to the Messiah – “the ruler of Israel,” “whose origin is from ancient times, from the days of long ago.” 

Although verse two is in reference to the earthly birthplace of Jesus, the daughter under siege who is to give birth is not the human mother of Jesus. She is the symbolic woman who gives birth to the seed. That birth relates to the birth of the kingdom outlined in the 12th chapter of Revelation, which also depicts a woman giving birth while under siege by the Devil. 

“The rest of his brothers” who are to return to the people of Israel are the “remaining ones of her offspring” (the woman), as the new NWT words Revelation 12:17. That expression – “the remaining ones of Jacob” occurs twice in the 5th chapter of Micah. Verses 7-8 read: 

“The remaining ones of Jacob will be in the midst of many peoples like dew from Jehovah, like showers of rain on vegetation that do not put hope in man or wait for the sons of men. The remaining ones of Jacob will be among the nations, in the midst of many peoples, like a lion among the beasts of a forest, like a young lion among flocks of sheep, that passes through and pounces and tears in pieces; and there is no one to rescue them.” 

Any sensible reading of this chapter connects the seven dukes of mankind with “the remaining ones.” That being the case, are the elders of Jehovah’s Witnesses comparable to a lion among flocks of sheep that “pounces and tears to pieces” with no savior? Or are Christian elders properly designated as the “brothers” of Christ? 

What, then, is the meaning of this prophecy? Are the gentle sons of the kingdom any more comparable to “a lion among the beasts of a forest”? 

This portion of prophecy is depicting something extraordinary; something of which the Watchtower has no insight into; something which Jehovah has held in reserve, which the new NWT appropriately refers to as “guarded secrets”scheduled to be revealed at the “present time,” which is to say, during the revelation of the Christ, when the sacred mystery of God is brought to a “grand climax” – to borrow a phrase from the Watchtower Society. 

And coinciding with the revealing of Christ is the revealing of the sons of God, about which Paul wrote in the 8th chapter of Romans. What is the revealing of the sons of God? Be assured it is something beyond wonderful. Keep in mind what Paul wrote to the Colossians, saying to those anointed by God: “For you died, and your life has been hidden with he Christ in union with God.  When the Christ, our life, is made manifest, then you also will be made manifest with him in glory.” 

Even with all of their ballyhoo about Jesus having returned invisibly in 1914, not even the Watchtower is so unreasonable as to claim that Jesus has already been made manifest. And we may be certain that the manifestation of the glorious Prince of princes will not be a commonplace event. That being the case, what is involved with the manifestation of those who are in union with Christ – or the revealing of the sons of God, as it is also worded? The manifestation of the sons of the kingdom must likewise be a supernatural phenomenon. It is, then, those who are presently hidden in Christ who are the secret weapons. They will be a blessing to the friends of God and a bane to the enemies of Jehovah. 

Jesus referred to this phenomenon when he said: “At that time the righteous ones will shine as brightly as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. Let the one who has ears listen.” 

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. 

The Society attaches no particular importance to the righteous ones shining as brightly as the sun in the kingdom of God. They surmise that it merely has to do with them going to heaven. Truly, they do not have ears with which to listen. Jesus even alluded to their deaf and blind condition in the 13th chapter of Matthew, where he quoted from Isaiah, thus inferring that it applied to God’s people during the concluding harvest. 

(The matters relating to the manifestation of Christ and the sons of the kingdom have been thoroughly explored on numerous articles, such as The Visible Presence of Christ and The Revelation of Christ and the Two Witnesses, and others similarly titled.) 

In reality, the coming of Christ will be nothing short of earthshaking. It will unleash a torrent of persecution upon the remaining ones and fracture the Watchtower Society. 

As for the Watchtower organization, after having promoted a fake parousia for the entire time of its existence it will have no credibility when the actual parousia commences. Indeed, after having promoted a hoax for over a century, what lifesaving instructions could Bethel possibly have to impart during the actual revelation of Christ? On the contrary, in whatever form it will exist then in the post-crash world it will serve as an antichrist in opposition to Christ. Is not that what Paul foretold in connection with the man of lawlessness, that he is set in opposition and that he promotes a false parousia in advance of the manifestation of Christ? 

That is the setting in which the words of Christ will be fulfilled regarding ‘Many will be stumbled and will betray one another and hate one another,’ as a result of their not being able to see beyond the deluding influence worked upon them regarding 1914. And just as the apostate Israelite kingdom joined forces with Syria, and as Judas found common cause with Jesus’ enemies when the Shepherd was struck, we may expect the apostate core of the Watchtower Society to disown the owner who bought them and betray the true sons of the kingdom. 

This explains why the Watchtower obviously misinterprets the 5th chapter of Micah and wishes to convince Jehovah’s Witnesses that elders under the authority of Bethel will serve as guides during the great day of Jehovah. It is a trap! 

The article goes on to stress that elders will issue live-saving instructions to the flock in behalf of the Governing Body: 

“When “the Assyrian” attacks, the elders must be absolutely convinced that Jehovah will deliver us. 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.” 

But the truth is, at the coming of Christ all of Jehovah’s Witnesses will be required to accept Jesus outside the authority of the Watchtower, even as Paul noted that Christians had to go outside the camp to commune with Christ. Just as the Jewish system had served as a tutor leading to Christ, but became a snare for those who did not accept him, the Watchtower will then become the prophetic “worthless shepherd,” foretold in Zechariah, whose appearance accompanies the “striking of the shepherd.” 

Not coincidently, Micah 5:1 similarly speaks about the judge of Israel being struck. In what sense is Christ smitten? As Jesus said, whatever is done to his brothers is done to him.  Returning to Micah, verse three states that “he will give them up,” which is speaking about Christ’s brothers being given to the persecution of the last king, the antitypical Assyrian. 

But the question remains: What is symbolized by the seven shepherds and eight princes? 

KING-OF-KINGSJust as the literal Assyrian was vanquished by a heavenly warrior, the seven shepherds symbolize, not earthly creatures, but heavenly ones; namely, the princes of the great Prince – Jesus Christ – after the remaining ones join the “people of Israel” – the 144,000 – in the spirit realm. And the eighth prince represents the Prince of princes himself – the foremost prince – Michael.  Just as Jesus is called the Son of man, even after his ascension, so too, the “princes of mankind” is an appropriate term to describe those whom God has bought from mankind to serve in his heavenly kingdom.

They will not shepherd the “Assyrian” with the sword of the spirit, but with the sword of warfare! Did not Jesus use very similar terminology in Revelation the 2nd chapter, when he spoke of the chosen ones shepherding the nations with an iron rod? Here is what Jesus said: “I will give authority over the nations, and he shall shepherd the people with an iron rod so that they will be broken to pieces like clay vessels, the same as I have received from my Father, and I will give him the morning star. Let the one who has an ear hear what the spirit says to the congregations.”

Furthermore, in the 19th chapter of Revelation the very same phrase is used in connection with Christ destroying the nations. In that scene the armies of heaven are following the Word into battle wielding the sword. So, obviously, the seven symbolic princes who shepherd the nations with a sword are not an earthly army of elders, but an army of immortal, heavenly sons of God – an army of Christs, who will slaughter the beast and kill off the enemies of the kingdom. 

But prior to the remaining ones being martyred and changed in the twinkling of an eye from flesh to spirit, (does not the passage say that God’s weapon is not flesh?) they are like lions among lambs. In what sense? 

After being chastised and refined God will pour out his spirit in full measure, so that the sons and daughters of God will become spiritual Samsons, fearless and indomitable in their giving a final witness to Satan’s world. This phenomenon is what is foretold in Joel and symbolized in Revelation by the two witnesses. It is what is portrayed by the army of Abaddon being unleashed to sting the doomed.

Did not Jesus foretell that his chosen ones will stand before kings and governors and no one will be able to dispute them, because the holy spirit will speak through them? It is this final witness, to be given outside the authority of the Watchtower Society, accompanied by the miracle of the manifestation of the chosen ones, that will be the basis for the “reports” that drive the king of the north, the Assyrian, into his genocidal rage and bring him into direct confrontation with Michael, the great prince and shepherd of mankind. 

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2016-12-08T15:11:58+00:00 January 22nd, 2014|WT Review|17 Comments
  • Beverly kenyon

    I’m not being funny but the elders in my Kingdom Hall alone could not fight their way out of a paper bag never mind shepherding nations with swords! But it’s a bit sad to mislead these men into thinking that they’re classed as ‘Princes’. Reading the above article regarding Micah 5 it’s reasonable to conclude that the Princes are the anointed and not the ridiculous notion that they’re elders.

    • DA

      very true

      • Beverly kenyon

        Hiya DA, get this. After the meeting yesterday I got to talking with a sister who I’ve gotten friendly with…she’s lovely, gentle, humble and quite successful in her ministry and easy to talk to…she doesn’t give off bad vibes.So we’re talking and it comes up about the Thursday meeting and I told her that I’m waiting for them to finish studying the subject matter…1914….and then I will be attending then plus I have to swap my Thursday night shift permanently. She asked why about 1914 and I told her flat out I do not believe it and will not promote or study it and I will not compromise my conscience. Told her Jesus supposedly came in 1874, 1914…which wasn’t accepted officially until 1930 then I think again in 1919 and he’s due to come again which I said is the correct time…shortly…his authentic parousia, so I said, how many times can he come…it’s doesn’t make sense, she said it’s like Obama is still president whilst waiting for one of those two to take the leadership…so Jesus is like a king in waiting but that doesn’t answer why are witnesses taught that Jesus Christ has made multiple appearances, she mentioned Satan has been chucked out of heaven so I got into it about that subject with her which led to me mentioning about the Society and their “life saving instructions’ at the start of GT…I challenged that with her and said they were becoming Christlike by even saying such a thing as its Jesus as King of God’s kingdom that will save God’s people…they’re believing their own hype…so she said it’s like when Moses was leading God’s people out of Egypt and they had the Red Sea in front of them and Pharoah’s army behind them, Moses would’ve given them life saving instructions that they wouldn’t have understood and would’ve sounded strange from a human standpoint. Yeah, but Moses wasn’t under the influence of the Man of lawlessness I wanted to say as well as other points regarding that bible account. I’m really struggling dealing with mislead people and yesterday I was silently screaming, I can’t do this…I can’t!!! Aargh! It really got to me! Also the Elders are circling me like sharks waiting to make their move…who is this woman who keeps turning up for the meeting?? At the moment I’m under the radar. If I’m asked anything regarding their 1914 doctrine or its come out that I’ve said something against their teachings that I don’t believe I will tell them the truth and that I won’t be compromising my conscience also there’s a man who’s studying, he attends all meetings and answers but he will not let go of believing in the Trinity so I will say I’m like him only for me it’s not the Trinity but it’s the 1914 thing. Why is my religion getting stressful? Doesn’t the truth suppose to set you free??!! But this time round it’s different for me as I’m much more educated in God’s word and LW mentioned in a post of his that in the Amplfied Bible, if you leave Jehovah’s House you’re viewed as a deserter and there’s no way I’m doing that again by bolting like I did in the past. Kick me out but I am NOT going of my own accord!! Ha!

        • Burt Reynolds

          Wonderful comment. I do so admire your tenacity. Jehovah resides in your heart. It’s not your religion that’s getting so stressful, it’s the man of lawlessness trying to put your eyes out and crush your thinking. Your faith does you….I was going to say proud! ….better perhaps to say ‘vindicates’ your love of Jehovah’s righteousness !

          • Beverly kenyon

            Thanks Burt for your kind words. I’m from a large family so know how to fight my corner. Lol. I will do anything to keep the peace and find it difficult to be two faced and fake especially if I think you’re my friend…I will have your back 100% can’t abide fake ‘friends’! I let Jehovah down by being a deserter a while back but I never stopped loving him and my behaviour haunted me but now I’ve made my way back knowing what I know now it’s not an option for me to leave willingly again…it won’t be happening because I want it to! I wrote my “novel” to DA as I feel comfortable talking with him…he’s very laid back and he’s funny and so loves Jehovah God but I bet he’s thinking, I don’t know what to say to that and he doesn’t have to! Lol.
            Anyhoo Burt, there’s many witnesses around the world going through tremendous trials and tribulations so I’m just being soft but I still can’t believe that my religion that prides itself on unity and love is so high maintenance, unloving and stressful to the max! Unbelievable!

          • Francis Bencharles

            nice comment Burt, I agree!

            • Francis Bencharles

              Not sure why more did not comment on this wonderful essay! Bravo!

            • Daisy

              Oh! Sorry! I must have read that title as the Seven Dwarfs and the Eight Ducks of mankind…

            • Burt Reynolds

              Strange you should say that. My grandfather was a duck, and belonged to the Order of Grouse in Rutland. Parliament said he would have to give up his title if he wanted to join the Order. They gave him a choice of duck or grouse. He chose to grouse and became known as Frya Duck.

    • e.v.g

      Someone told me that the elders were more presumptuous in the past, imagine that!

      • Beverly kenyon

        Hiya e.v.g, yeah, it’s horrible to imagine that but I can! As with everything, there’s good and bad but yes, I’m sure many were and probably still are swanning around believing they’re Princes because that’s what they’ve been led to believe and I’m sure quite a few won’t challenge that thought because they’ve been elevated way up high.

      • Burt Reynolds

        Depends when you mean the past. When religion was required of people to be socially acceptable during the time of Russel, then yes they were. Those with any status above the prolitariat commanded due respect, even women! (As we also see with EWGs (( elders wives and girlfriends)) or with those women that held office in the early days. Statistically, the social standing of elders increases pro-rata with each predicted ‘end’. Ruthford was one such example and he had his writings underway when he hoisted his control over the corporation to make him even moreso a leader. During the early years the colportures had due respect and again, those that sold everything during each fake ‘end’, these were also quickly made up to elders in many cases. The Great War and Second World War raised the importance and leverage of elders. During the latter half of the sixties when the last ‘end’ came into vogue, their standing became disproportionately high as by then, the corruption of the society was becoming much more evident and the emotional blackmail and threats, the blood issue, and control over family life, even into the bedroom, were such that any denunciation from an elder carried great weight. This increased up until 1975 when they struggled nullify and cover over their boasting about leadership through armagheddon. Then again socially and statistically, since the mid eighties, as the biblical power of the elders, in biblical understanding…such as there was…..reduced even more and was replaced by organisational control and rhetoric, haughty boasting, lies and ever more threats…the disfellowshipping and sanctions have increased along with shunning as ever more desperate measures are applied to maintain control…as we see now.

        This trait leads rather obliquly (I am no prophet) into the scriptures where they talk about family members giving up each other to death and persecution and the treatment of brothers and sisters by each other as the watchtower crumbles along with society. When you look at the other side of the coin for comparison, you see that amongst those striving to be faithful, no organisationally manufactured controls are required, no donations, no pressures, no shepherding to maintain aliegence to what others may say is true under penalty, no threats, no guilt except that which we apply to ourselves, and so on. Yet there is a common bond of love with out all these things. Now I wonder where that might be found…..erm….umm….

  • Huldah

    2 Peter 2:10

    English Standard Version
    and
    especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and
    despise authority. Bold and willful, they do not tremble as they
    blaspheme the glorious ones,

    Berean Study Bible
    Such
    punishment is specially reserved for those who indulge the corrupt
    desires of the flesh and despise authority. Bold and self-willed, these
    men are unafraid to slander angelic majesties.

    Jude 1:8

    NET Bible
    Yet these men, as a result of their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and insult the glorious ones.

    A few of us had a good discussion about this and the proper understanding of who are the “princes in all the earth”.

    I wanted to add 2Peter 2:10 into the mix. (See also Jude 1:8)

    The more I read of the scriptures the more convinced I am that the “man of lawlessness” is the collective body of the elders. Not each individual, but collectively as a group, the majority being distorted in their thinking.

    The Watchtower, in it’s established pattern of elevating and
    absolving elders,defines them as the ” glorious ones” and leads us to believe that the ones the whole chapter in
    2Peter2 is referring to is anyone who doesn’t “tremble” at the “glory”
    of the elders.

    It’s clear from the context that Peter is referring to those who
    claim to be teachers or prophets. vs 1 “But there were also false
    prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among
    you.” Not puny publishers but respected leaders with the power to
    influence others.

    As you find more and more of these obvious attempts to use the scriptures as a basis for elevating themselves to a supernatural status of authority, a pattern becomes evident..

    2 Peter2 seems fairly clear as to it’s discussion of the apostate leaders that arise inside the true christian congregation. These ones are the same ones Paul termed “superfine apostles” and Jude 1:12 described as dangerous coral reefs ready to shipwreck our faith. All of 2Peter 2 is gratifying to read until you get to vs 10, as is the case with Jude 1:8.

    Just as the elders claim to be “dukes” and “princes”, they also claim to be “glorious ones”. No one dares to criticize anything that they do lest they challenge the authority of “glorious ones”. Personally, I think this may be the worst of the aforementioned as they are claiming supernatural authority over the brothers that must be obeyed under the penalty of eternal death. Jude 1:13 “They are wild waves of the sea, foaming up their shame; wandering stars, for whom blackest darkness has been reserved forever.” Funny how it is that it was the pharisees that Jesus said had this future not the “am ha a rets” (people of the earth) or even the tax collectors whom they lorded over.

    Ellicott’s Commentary made this interesting point

    Speak evil of dignities.—The exact meaning of “dignities,” or “glories,” is not clear, either here or in Jude 1:8.
    The context in both places seems to show that spiritual powers alone
    are intended, and that earthly powers, whether civil or ecclesiastical,
    are not included, much less exclusively indicated. The construction here
    resembles that in 2Peter 1:19 : “Do not tremble in (or, while)
    speaking evil of dignities,” like “ye do well in taking heed.” These
    men deny the existence of, or irreverently speak slightingly of, those
    spiritual agencies by means of which God conducts the government of the
    world.

    Another case of earthly men claiming the glory gven heavenly beings.

    Interesting Jude calls them “wandering stars”
    I do believe as the WT says that the elders are the 7 stars in Jesus’ right hand of power. I just don’t believe he’s holding them to direct them. I believe he’s holdng them to judge them. He has a sword coming out of his mouth and has take the position to judge the congregations/lampstands. He will have to give attention to what is in his right hand before he can do anything else. First order of business….It will not come…..until …..the MOL is revealed.

  • The Raven

    Excerpt:
    “This explains why the Watchtower obviously misinterprets the 5th chapter of Micah and wishes to convince Jehovah’s Witnesses that elders under the authority of Bethel will serve as guides during the great day of Jehovah. It is a trap! ”

    TBH this worries me. I guess we will all find out how many will rely on Jehovah and how many will perish clinging to every last utterance of the org. My hope is that a good number of them will be able to stand with Jehovah alone once they see how badly they’ve been lied to. Those here are a good example of folks who have a genuine love for God and their brothers. Who knows how many others also watch and wait for the opportunity to offer some true guidance to their friends in their day of confusion as has Robert all these years. There is a reason some of us were drawn to these teachings. I never saw the Spirit at the KHs as I have seen here. Take it for what it’s worth coming from an outsider who has joined you. It’s a very strange but comforting thought that there ARE like minded and honest hearted friends in real truth to be found even at the ends of the earth but scarce in our own towns. Now that’s just too cool!

    • Marisa Gomez

      There is a blog called ” julius corvus” by a Jehova witnes. …Are you this man? The Corvus?

      • The Raven

        Hello Marisa. No. I am not. I’ve never heard of him.

        • Marisa Gomez

          Ok, thanks for your answer…now…do you speak spanish? Is a little difficult for the comunication because I do not speak english so good.

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