Contrast this with what the Apostle Paul said at Galatians 1:8 which says, “However, even if we or an angel out of heaven were to declare to you as good news something beyond what we declared to you as good news, let him be accursed.”
That aside, what is this unique take of the Kingdom? Notice a few quotes from the August 1, 2004 Watchtower, in the article entitled, “God’s Kingdom Government—A Reality Today”
* God’s Kingdom is a real government that has accomplished wonderful deeds since its inauguration in heaven in 1914
* No less can be expected of Jesus Christ now that the Kingdom government is in operation. Whenever disasters—earthquakes, famines, floods, hurricanes, storms, or volcanic eruptions—strike, the Christian congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses responds quickly to the needs of fellow believers and others in the affected areas.
* Ever since its establishment in 1914, God’s heavenly Kingdom has been gathering and organizing its subjects from peoples around the world.
* This activity has resulted in the most significant movement of modern times—an international brotherhood of over 6,000,000 Christians in more than 230 lands of the earth.
* Would you not agree that for a government to be able to bring hundreds of ethnic groups together in peace and harmony, it must be effective and stable—and real?
* Here, then, is another factor that testifies to the reality of God’s Kingdom—its effective program of education that reaches and transforms not only the mind but also the heart.
* An outstanding aid in achieving this worldwide unity is this magazine, The Watchtower.
Based on the above, the Watchtower clearly teaches that God’s Kingdom has been in operation since 1914. How has that Kingdom manifested itself? Primarily, through the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. Through this Organization, the King Christ Jesus exercises his kingship on the earth. The work of this Organization, the occasional aid given in times of disaster (often accompanied with the ‘suggestion’ that any insurance payouts be given to the Watchtower), the unity in doctrine and practice(enforced by shunning), the preaching the Good News (handing people Watchtower literature after a 60-second pitch) would then be the work of the King himself.
As a Jehovah’s Witness, I believed that Bethel was the manifestation of Kingdom rule. It was the closest one could get to Paradise on this side of Armageddon. I envied those who served there, for in my view, the closer to the center of the Organization, the closer one would get to the King himself. One of the actions that Christ had taken after becoming King in 1914 was to appoint a Faithful and Discreet Slave. Therefore that Watchtower Society which represented this Slave would always behave discreetly, with foresight, with “wisdom from above”. (James 3:17)
The Watchtower teaches many material blessings that the Kingdom would bring about. The Isaiah’s Prophesy book, volume II, says this, “What a joy it will be to build your own home and then to live in it! Under Kingdom rule, there will be no shortage of satisfying work.”
This is what I believed. And then came the Bethel layoffs. As our dear Brother Arp7601 says in his videos, “What was your first clue?” This was mine and it shocked me to the core.
Here, “God’s Organization” was behaving exactly like a worldly business. Thousands of people had given their youth to Jehovah God, putting the Kingdom first as they understood it, and foregone opportunities for educational and career advancement in this world, as well as marriage and having children. Surely, if they put the Kingdom first by serving at the very instrument that Christ was using to manifest his rule on earth, he would provide for them. (Matthew 6:33). But they were being cast off, some after decades at Bethel and with nothing to show on their resumes.
There are reports that there is another round of big layoffs in progress currently–not only longterm Bethelites–but older Circuit and District overseers as well. And they are being replaced by those younger in age. As has been pointed out, those older would more likely to develop expensive health issues.
As many a JW apologist will point out, these longtimers were never guaranteed lifetime employment. They signed up with this knowledge. Everything is perfectly legal. But this is not a question of legality, it is one of loyalty. If this Organization were from God, how would such an Organization treat ones who have loyally served many decades, who having given their Heavenly Father their all? Would such an Organization cast them aside? Is this Kingdom rule?
With all investments that the Watchtower has made, both in a billion dollars in real estate and tens of millions in the stock market and hedge funds, not to mention Circuit Leasing, would they not have the means? 1 John 3:17 says, “But whoever has this world’s means for supporting life and beholds his brother having need and yet shuts the door of his tender compassions upon him, in what way does the love of God remain in him?”
Or is this a problem that donations aren’t what they used to be? When the Watchtower was first published, the magazine said, “Zion’s Watch Tower has, we believe, JEHOVAH for it’s backer, and while this is the case it will never beg nor petition men for support. When He who says: ‘All the gold and silver of the mountains are mine,’ fails to provide necessary funds, we will understand it to be time to suspend the publication.”Is Jehovah backing the Watchtower? Does it truly represent God’s Kingdom? Then why isn’t Kingdom rule being manifested in how the Watchtower treats those who’ve served loyally for decades? Does not the Bible speak of treating older people respectfully? How is it respectful to cast them out after years of loyal service and force them fend for themselves?
James 1:27 (NWT) says, “The form of worship that is clean and undefiled from the standpoint of our God and Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their tribulation, and to keep oneself without spot from the world.” Like many Christian groups today, first century Christianity made organized provisions for older people, like widows, who found it difficult to fend for themselves. This was viewed as the highest form of sacred service. What provisions has the Watchtower Society made for orphans and widows? Do they at least provide job training?
James goes on to say in James 2:14-17, “Of what benefit is it, my brothers, if a certain one says he has faith but he does not have works? That faith cannot save him, can it? If a brother or a sister is in a naked state and lacking the food sufficient for the day, yet a certain one of you says to them: “Go in peace, keep warm and well fed,” but you do not give them the necessities for [their] body, of what benefit is it? Thus, too, faith, if it does not have works, is dead in itself.”
‘Go in peace, keep warm and well fed.’ Is this not what the Watchtower is saying to those longtimers who served them for many decades? James shows the fruitage of true faith would be integral to helping others in a practical, even material way. By their works, does the Watchtower display a living faith? Or a dead faith? For faith without works is dead.
When the Bethel layoffs first happened, the story The Emperor’s New Clothes came to my mind. In the story, swindlers pretend to dress the Emperor in the finest clothes, but in truth, he is naked. Everyone, including the Emperor, pretends he has clothes. Everyone fears to voice the truth about the matter. Everyone praises how fine the Emperor’s clothes are, until, a child voices the obvious truth, “But he hasn’t got anything on!”
I’m not saying that the Kingdom that Christ proclaimed has no clothes. It is that the Watchtower shows by their works that they fail to represent the King and the Kingdom. Truly, it is the kingdom of the Watchtower that has no clothes. To those who have been affected by these layoffs, our hearts and prayers go out to you. We sincerely sympathize with the suffering this has caused.
Yours in Christ,