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GOD’S ADMINISTRATION — HIS CHANNEL OF COMMUNICATION

(This is a sequel to the article “An analysis of the evidence used to show that the Governing Body is “the faithful and discreet slave”)

—REVIEW—

From the 1870s, The Watch Tower (The Watchtower) has been used to present the basic doctrines of the Bible. Articles in 1931 and 1943 argued that this magazine has been used by God to spread Bible truths, and the focus was on the organization and community of Jehovah’s Witnesses and not on any particular humans within it.

In 1955 the expression God’s “channel of communication” was coined, and The Watchtower of 15 May 1955 says: “The evidence, therefore, are overwhelming that the anointed Christian remnant among Jehovah’s Witnesses today comprise the collective channel of communication.” The Watchtower of 1 November 1994 said that an understanding of the Bible “can only be achieved “through Jehovah’s channel of communication, the faithful and discreet slave.”

As several articles on my website show, the illustration of “the faithful and discreet slave” is completely misunderstood, but the reference to the “anointed Christian remnant” who are the central part of the organization of JW is fine. I agree that God’s truth can only be learned through the organization of JW.

In The Watchtower of 15 July 2013, “the faithful and discreet slave,” Jehovah’s channel of communication, was identified as the members of the Governing Body. Now the situation was turned on its head. God’s channel of communication was no longer viewed as the Christian community as a whole, but the focus was now turned toward a handful of humans, to the eight members of the GB. This amounts to a power grab that is based on the reasonings of the members of the GB and not on the Bible. This is a quintessential example of circular reasoning on the part of the GB, as follows: ‘The GB is exclusively Jehovah’s channel of communication because the GB, as God’s sole channel of communication, says so’.

The aforementioned 1955 Watchtower summarized Jehovah’s channel of communication as a “method” or “system” of communication in connection with ‘his dealings with’ the anointed Christian congregation as a whole. In harmony with that, God’s real “channel of communication” is expressed with the Greek word oikonomia “household; administration,” and we find this word in Ephesians 1: 9,10 (NWT84):

It is according to his good pleasure that he purposed in himself 10 for an administration (oikonomia) at the full limit of the appointed times, namely, to gather all things together again (anakefalaioō) in the Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth.

The NWT84 has the word “again,” but this is not used by NWT13. I show that the use of “again” has a good linguistic basis. The meaning is that before Adam and Eve sinned, there was unity between God’s family in heaven and on earth. Such unity will again be achieved by the gathering together of persons with a heavenly hope and persons with an earthly hope.

The word oikonomia is abstract, and it refers to “God’s way of administering or managing things, his procedure in handling matters with a view to producing unity.” (The Watchtower 15 October 1974) His administration is also his channel of communication. He started to gather “the things in the heavens” in the first century CE, and he started to gather “the things on the earth” in the time of the end, in the 20th century.

By his way of administering things (his administration) which is his channel of communication, Jehovah communicated three things in the first century:

1) The sacred secret (his administration) was revealed to the apostles and prophets.

2) God’s greatly diversified wisdom was made known for his family in the heavens.

3) The good news of the Christ was declared to the nations.

In the time of the end, Jehovah also communicated three things:

4) The Holy Bible, with God’s purpose, is available for the nations.

5) The good news of the established Kingdom is being preached for all the nations.

6) Parts of the Bible that had been sealed are now understood because of God’s direction.

Jehovah had administered things in such a way that the Bible had become available to all the nations on the earth, and he used the community of his people on earth to preach the good news and to publish their understanding of the Bible to which he directed them.

However, the members of the GB have made what amounts to a power grab and have turned this long-held understanding on its head by claiming that they were appointed by Jehovah as his channel of communication.

The issue I will discuss is how Jehovah God carries out his purpose to the best of his creatures and how he communicates with them.

THE USE OF THE EXPRESSION “GOD’S CHANNEL OF COMMUNICATION”

In the 1870s, C.T. Russell and his friends made a systematic study of the Bible, and they were able to ascertain the basic doctrines of the Bible. They told others about what they had found, and the basic tool they used in their preaching was Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence. After the death of Russell, this magazine continued to be published, and  The Watch Tower of 1 July 1931, page 198, said:

God has graciously provided, however, a means of communication among the remnant. For years he has used The Watch Tower as such a means of communication, and its columns are constantly used in an effort to give forth the truth to the remnant. It is not man’s truth, but it is God’s truth; and therefore the channel of instrument is God’s, and not man’s.

We note that the means of communication was said to be The Watch Tower magazine, and so the focus was not on any particular humans but on God. The Watchtower of 1 June 1943, page 166:

The food that the Lord’s “sheep” feed upon and that their feeders must serve to them is the spiritual food provided by the Life-giver, Jehovah. He gives it through his Good Shepherd, Christ Jesus. Jehovah himself is the great “Shepherd and Bishop of our souls”. He sees to it that it is the right food, in due season, and that it is served through his approved visible organization. The spiritual food served up during the past sixty years and published in many languages in hundreds of millions of pieces of literature proves that the Society of Jehovah’s consecrated people, as represented by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, is God’s approved visible organization. While there are many so-called “Bible societies”, yet the Watchtower Society is the only one that has faithfully devoted itself, not to publish religious traditions and errors, but to printing and distributing the true-to-fact and harmonious explanations of the Bible as God’s infallible Word.

Again, we see that the focus is on the organization and the magazine it publishes and not on any particular humans. In 1955, a new expression was coined, namely, God’s “channel of communication.” The background for this expression is that drinking water for the people flows through a channel, and therefore, figuratively, truths from God flows through his “channel of communication.” The Watchtower of 15 May 1955, page 316, says:

The evidence, therefore, is overwhelming that the anointed Christian remnant among Jehovah’s Witnesses today comprise the collective channel of communication.

I agree with the three last quotations that the organization that publishes The Watchtower has been, and is being used by God to spread his truths. The Watchtower of 1 October 1994 says:

All who want to understand the Bible should appreciate that the “greatly diversified wisdom of God” can become known only through Jehovah’s channel of communication, the faithful and discreet slave.”

I also agree with the quotation above, except for the words about “the faithful and discreet slave” (which actually refer to all Christians who endure to the end so as to be pronounced “faithful and discreet” by Jesus when he comes at the future Great Tribulation). The apostle Paul says in Romans 10:13-15:

13  For “everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved.” 14  However, how will they call on him if they have not put faith in him? How, in turn, will they put faith in him about whom they have not heard? How, in turn, will they hear without someone to preach? 15  How, in turn, will they preach unless they have been sent out? Just as it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who declare good news of good things!”

The only organization that sends out preachers of the good news of the Kingdom all over the world is Jehovah’s Witnesses through The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society. Therefore, the truth about God can only be learned through this organization. In all the quotations above the focus has been on the anointed remnant and on their organization. But in 2013 the focus was changed and redirected onto a particular set of human beings. The Watchtower of 15 July 2013, page 23 says:

10 Who, then, is the faithful and discreet slave? In keeping with Jesus’ pattern of feeding many through the hands of a few, that slave is made up of a small group of anointed brothers who are directly involved in preparing and dispensing spiritual food during Christ’s presence. Throughout the last days, the anointed brothers who make up the faithful slave have served together at headquarters. In recent decades, that slave has been closely identified with the Governing Body of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Note, however, that the word “slave” in Jesus’ illustration is singular, indicating that this is a composite slave. The decisions of the Governing Body are thus made collectively. (the author’s italics)

Today the Governing Body consists of eight men, and they claim that they, exclusively, have been appointed by God to be his “channel of communication.” Thus, the focus has been moved from the organization, and from the unnamed persons who are used by this organization to a small group of men whose names are not only known but who have literally become the face of the organization today. This amounts to a power grab that is based on the reasonings of the members of the GB and not on the Bible.

In what follows, I will discuss God’s administration, and 0n this background, we will clarify what can rightly be called God’s “channel of communication.”

GOD’S REAL “CHANNEL OF COMMUNICATION”

God’s dealings with his people on earth are connected to the Greek word oikonomia.

Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains, by J.P. Louw and E. Nida says about this word:

To manage and provide for a household… In biblical times a household would consist of more than the nuclear family, that is to say, more than simply husband, wife, and children, for servants, slaves, and permanent hired workers living with the family would be regarded as a part of the total household.

The word oikonomia occurs three times in the letter to the Ephesians, and the contexts of these occurrences are the focus of this study. But first, I will show how the word is used the other six times it occurs in the Christian Greek Scriptures. In Luke 16:2, 3, oikonomia occurs three times:

 1 Then he also said to the disciples: “A rich man had a steward (oikonomos) who was accused of handling his goods wastefully.  So he called him and said, ‘What is this I hear about you? Hand in the account of your stewardship (oikonomia), for you can no longer manage the house.’  Then the steward (oikonomia) said to himself, ‘What am I to do, seeing that my master is taking the stewardship (oikonomia) away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg.  Ah! I know what I will do, so that when I am removed from the stewardship (oikonomia), people will welcome me into their homes.’

The Greek word oikos means “house,” the word oikonomos means “householder/administrator,” the person who was in charge of the household, which often was a slave. And the word oikonomia refers to the household itself. It can be concrete if the persons and items of the household is focused upon. And it can be abstract if the stewardship, i.e., the way the household is managed, is the focus. A word has a basic or core meaning, as well as several references, which are other things the word could denote.

In the situation with the rich man and the steward (householder), the renderings “stewardship” and “management” (NIV) are good. The focus is on how the man handles the household, and therefore, the core meaning “your household” would, in this case, be misleading.

Below are the NWT13 renderings of three other passages with oikonomia.

1 Corinthian 9:17

17  If I do this willingly, I have a reward; but even if I do it against my will, I still have a stewardship (oikonomia) entrusted to me.

Colossians 1:25

25 I became a minister of this congregation in accord with the stewardship (oikonomia) from God that was given to me in your behalf to preach the word of God fully.

1 Timothy 1:4

nor to pay attention to false stories and to genealogies. Such things end up in nothing useful but merely give rise to speculations rather than providing anything (oikonomia) from God in connection with faith.[1]

In 1 Corinthians 9:17 and  Colossians 1:25, the focus is on the work of Paul that is akin to the work of a householder who manages a household. The verb “dispense,” rendered in NWT13 as “providing anything” means “to give out things,” and the point in 1 Timothy 1:4 is that false stories and genealogies give rise to speculation rather than ‘giving out anything’ from God’s “household.”

“To gather all things together” vs “to gather all things together again”?

In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul discusses the sacred secret (mystērion), and in 1:8-10 (NWT13) we read:

 This undeserved kindness he caused to abound toward us in all wisdom and understanding  by making known to us the sacred secret (mystērion) of his will. It is according to his good pleasure that he himself purposed 10  for an administration (oikonomia) at the full limit of the appointed times, to gather all things together (anakefalaioō) in the Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth.

There is an important difference between the NWT13 and the NWT84 in verse 10. The NWT84 rendering is “to gather all things together again.” (italics mine) The footnote says:

‘To gather…together again.’ According to G.H. Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, fourth ed. (1901)p. 39 ‘to bring together again for himself.’

The difference is that NWT84 has the adverbial “again,” while this is lacking in NWT13. The NWT84 shows that the unity that will occur between the things in the heavens and the things on the earth had existed earlier. But this idea is lacking in the NWT13.

Applying the principles of lexical semantics, we find that the use of “again” has a good basis.  I present three quotations to show that. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, vol. III, page 682, has the following comments on the verb anakefalaioō:

Iren. [Irenaeus, c. 130 — c. 200 CE, Church father] used anakafalaioō in the sense of gathering together, summation. Since every summation implies a kind of repetition, the word may sometimes have the direct sense of “to repeat.” The ana- thus assumes an iterative sense which it does not have elsewhere…Apsines [a Greek philosopher in the 3rd century CE] used anakafalaioō with reference to the repetition of an event. The recapitulare in Iren. [Irenaeus] is also to be understood in the first instance as repetition, though it is to be noted that it sums up the original and is thus qualitative…In this summation, however, the prominent element may be, not that of repetition, but that of the affirmation and confirmation implied in repetition.

We note the comment on the preposition ana (“up, upon, on”), which often is used distributively (= referring to each individual of a group rather than collectively to all individuals). The use of this preposition with a distributive meaning at the beginning of the verb anakefalaioō could signal the connotative meaning of repetition or do again. Adding a preposition to a word may change its meaning. For example, the Greek word gnosis means “knowledge,” but adding the preposition epi (“over, upon”) as a prefix, as in epignosis, changes the meaning to what may be rendered “accurate knowledge.”

Several commentators of Ephesians also argue about the meaning of 1:10 as connoting repetition. Galatians and Ephesians in Meyer’s Commentary on the New Testament (1883, 1979), page 322, says in comments on Ephesians 1:10:

Consequently anakefalaioō, summatim recolligere, “recapitulate summarily,” which is said in Rom xiii 9 of that which has been previously expressed singulatim, “individually,” in separate parts, but now is again gathered up in one main point, so that at Rom. l.e en touto to logo denotes that main point in which the gathering up is contained. And here this main point of gathering up again, unifying all the parts, lies in Christ.

The important point is that the commandments listed in Romans 13:9 have been expressed before, and are now being ‘gathered together again’ or summarized (anakefalaioō) in the saying, “You must love your neighbor as yourself.”

The commentator A.S. Wood in Ephesians in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary (1978) Vol. 11, page 26, also stress the repetitive nature of the verb:

The verb anakefalaioō (“to bring together”) means to sum up together again (Rom 13:9). It is derived not from kefalē (“a head”) but from kephalaion (a summary, or sum total”). When a column of figures was added up, the total was placed at the top.

The three quotations above show that the use of the adverbial “again” in NWT84 has a solid linguistic basis. I do not know why the GB deleted this important word from NWT13. But a characteristic of this translation is that subtleties and nuances in the original text are often ignored and are not rendered in English.

But what is the meaning of the words “to gather all things together again in the Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth”? Before Adam and Eve sinned, a unity existed between God’s family in heaven and God’s family on the earth, and this unity will be reestablished through Jesus Christ, thus, again. This reunification is a part of the sacred secret of God.

The sacred secret of God

We have seen that the basic meaning of the Greek word oikonomia is “household.” But using the rendering “household” in Ephesians 1:10 could create wrong connotations. Many translations do not translate the word oikonomia in this verse,” but they use some kind of circumlocution.  NRSV and NAB translate the word as “plan” and NKJV translates the word as “dispensation.” I think that the word “administration” of NWT84 and NWT13 is a fine rendering of oikonomia. This English word is abstract, as a related meaning of the Greek word can also be abstract, while retaining its basic meaning of something that is administered, just as a household is administered. The Watchtower of 15 October 1974, page 636, has a fine explanation of the meaning of oikonomia:

“The term ‘administration’ does not mean the Messianic kingdom of His Son Jesus Christ,” the speaker emphasized. No, rather, it refers to God’s way of administering or managing things, his procedure in handling matters with a view to producing unity. The instrument God uses in his “administration” or management of things, it was shown, is the Kingdom of his Son Jesus Christ.” (the author’s italics)

The distinction made in the Watchtower quote between God’s “administration” and his Kingdom government was intended to head off the potential misconception that the two terms were synonymous. For example, if we compare the definition of ‘God’s administration’ with the words “Biden’s administration” we see a difference. The words “Biden’s administration” include the power basis of Joe Biden as president of the USA and the policies of his presidency. But it also includes the government itself, i.e., all the ministers and persons who are employed for the purpose of following the instructions of the president.

However, because Jehovah is almighty, he is not dependent on angels or humans to effectuate his purpose.  In keeping with this, the connotation of the Greek word oikonomia in the context of Ephesians 1:8-12 relates to God’s “stewardship”. Therefore, his administration is solely connected with himself, and if we coined a new word, his position would be that of “supremeship” and not “stewardship.” I will now analyze some of the expressions in Ephesians 1:8-12 (NWT13).

 This undeserved kindness he caused to abound toward us in all wisdom and understanding  by making known to us the sacred secret of his will. It is according to his good pleasure that he himself purposed 10  for an administration at the full limit of the appointed times, to gather all things together in the Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth. Yes, in him 11  with whom we are in union and were assigned as heirs, having been foreordained according to the purpose of the one who accomplishes all things as he decides according to his will, 12  so that we who have been first to hope* in the Christ should serve for the praise of his glory. 13  But you also hoped in him after you heard the word of truth, the good news about your salvation. After you believed, you were sealed by means of him with the promised holy spirit, 14  which is a token in advance of our inheritance, for the purpose of releasing God’s own possession by a ransom, to his glorious praise.

The quoted scripture shows that the administration is God’s sacred secret, and the following excellent definition of the sacred secret is found in the online study edition of NWT13:

The sacred secret of his will: The term “sacred secret” is mentioned several times in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Generally speaking, Jehovah’s “sacred secret”  centers on Jesus Christ (Col 2:2; 4:3) However, the sacred secret has many facets. These include: Jesus’ identity as the promised offspring, or Messiah, and his role in God’s purpose (Ge 3:15); a heavenly government, God’s Messianic Kingdom (Matt 3:11; Mr 4:11); the congregation of spirit-anointed Christians, of which Christ is head (Eph 5:32; Col 1.18; Re 1:20); the role of these anointed ones who share the Kingdom with Jesus (Lu 22:29, 30); and the selection of the anointed from among both Jews and Gentiles (Ro 11:25; Eph 3:3-6: col 1:26, 27).

The basis for the word mysterion (“sacred secret”) is the prophecy in Genesis 3:15 about the “seed of the woman.” This prophecy shows that God would do something to restore the order of the earth that Satan partially destroyed. But the role the “seed” would play in effecting this was a sacred secret until it was revealed in the first century CE.

The construction of the clauses in verses 9 and 10 shows that “sacred secret” is “the administration,” which is God’s way of administering or managing things. That oikonomia (“administration”) refers to the way God is managing things accords with the words “the sacred secret of his will” and “that he himself purposed,” The sacred secret is also put in a time frame because it is said to begin “at the full limit of the appointed times.” The Watchtower of 15 October 1974, page 622, connects these words with the words “the full limit of the time” (Galatians 4:4) when Jesus was born by a woman, and we read:

10 When God’s Son Jesus Christ was glorified in heaven and founded the Christian congregation at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost of 33 C.E., the “administration at the full limit of the appointed times” started operation in its first stage, the most essential stage. The congregation of those who were to be associates in the unifying work with Jesus Christ in the heavens had to be gathered and unified under its Head, God’s Chief Servant. In this way “the things in the heavens,” the things destined for the heavens, would be ‘gathered together again in the Christ,’ so that the “body” used by God in his administration might be complete.​—Eph. 1:9-11.

11 However, according to God’s purpose, the due time must come for the second feature of his “administration,” namely, to ‘gather together again in the Christ’ “the things on the earth.” This time arrived when the Gentile Times came to their fulfillment in autumn of the year 1914 C.E. There the time came for the Messianic Kingdom rule as formerly exercised by King David over in the Middle East to be reinstated, not in earthly Jerusalem, but in the heavens.

12 In heaven, at God’s right hand, was where the permanent Heir of King David was now located, namely, the Lord Jesus Christ. Then it was that Jehovah installed this heavenly Heir of King David on the throne, with royal power not just over the territory of ancient Israel but over all the earth, over all mankind for whom Jesus Christ had died as a perfect human sacrifice. Thereby the Kingdom of the Messiah went into operation. At that time, in a culminating way, the “full limit of the appointed times” had been reached when the “administration” that God was conducting ‘should gather together again in the Christ’ the estranged “things on the earth.” This would be the second stage of the gathering or uniting work according to God’s purpose.

This is a very good explanation. The gathering of “the things in the heavens” (those who will reign with Jesus in the heavens) started at “the full limit of the time” (Galatians 4:4) in the first century CE. And the gathering of “the things on the earth” (those who will live in the earthly paradise) started at “the full limit of the appointed times of the nations” (Luke 21:24) in 1914.

The administration as God’s channel of communication

The sacred secret is again mentioned in Ephesians chapter 3, verses 4-10. Verse 9 has the expression “oikonomia (nominative) tou mysteriou (genitive).” The genitive case in Greek can have several different meanings. The NWT13 and many other translations take the construction as subjective genitive. This means that the  genitive “the sacred secret” is the subject and it owns “the administration.”

I find this problematic because this understanding seems to contradict 1:9, 10, where it is said that the sacred secret (mysterion) is the administration (oikonomia). In other words, the sacred secret is how God would administer everything to solve the problems Satan had created. If we accept that the sacred secret is the administration, then the rendering “the administration of the sacred secret” would mean “the administration of the administration,” which is a tautology.

An alternative understanding of the genitive that accords with 1:9, 10, is that this is an appositive genitive, which means that the words in genitive stand in apposition to the word in nominative. If this is correct, the translation would be “the administration which is the sacred secret.”

The works of God’s channel of communication in the first century CE

As we have seen, God’s administration is the way he administers or manages things. How God would arrange things in order to fulfill the prophecy of Genesis 3:15, that the seed of the woman would crush the head of the snake, was a sacred secret. But in the first century CE, this sacred secret was revealed, as Ephesians 3:4-10 shows:

4 So when you read this you can realize my comprehension of the sacred secret of the Christ. 5 In other generations this secret was not made known to the sons of men as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by spirit 6 namely, that people of the nations should, in union with Christ Jesus and through the good news, be joint heirs and fellow members of the body and partakers with us of the promise. 7 I became a minister of this according to the free gift of God’s undeserved kindness that was given me through the operation of his power. To me, a man less than the least of all holy ones, this undeserved kindness was given, so that I should declare to the nations the good news about the unfathomable riches of the Christ  and should make everyone see the administration of the sacred secret that has been hidden through the ages in God, who created all things. 10  This was so that now, through the congregation, there might be made known to the governments and the authorities in the heavenly places the greatly diversified wisdom of God.

Verse 5 says that this sacred secret was revealed by the spirit to Christ’s holy apostles and prophets. A revelation is an act of communication, and the mentioned revelation shows that God’s administration is his “channel of communication.” This is also shown in verse 10, where we read that “through the congregation” the “greatly diversified wisdom of God” might “be made known” to God’s family in the heavens.

The Watchtower of 15 September 1971, page 569, has an interesting comment on the issue of communication that is mentioned in verse 10:

It is not that the congregation on earth teaches wisdom to the heavenly authorities. Rather, it is that God, by his dealings and the working out of his purposes in connection with the Christian congregation, reveals surpassing wisdom, even to the angels.​—1 Pet. 1:10-12. (the author’s italics)

This comment is confirmed by the words of 1 Peter 1:10-12:

10  Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the undeserved kindness meant for you made a diligent inquiry and a careful search. 11  They kept on investigating what particular time or what season the spirit within them was indicating concerning Christ as it testified beforehand about the sufferings meant for Christ and about the glory that would follow.12  It was revealed to them that they were ministering, not to themselves, but to you, regarding what has now been announced to you by those who declared the good news to you with holy spirit sent from heaven. Into these very things, angels are desiring to peer.

The sacred secret was revealed to the apostles and the prophets, and God’s wisdom was made known to his family in the heavens. But verse 9 shows that there is a third way God’s channel of communication works, and that is expressed by the word “see.” Who should see? The answer is “everyone.” And how should everyone see? By “declaring…the good news about the unfathomable riches of the Christ.” This is elucidated in Ephesians, chapter 3. In verses 1-3 we read:

For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus in behalf of you, the people of the nations— if, really, you have heard about the stewardship of God’s undeserved kindness that was given to me for your sakes,  that by way of a revelation the sacred secret was made known to me, just as I wrote previously in brief.

Verse 2 says that Paul was given a stewardship (oikonomia). To receive a stewardship means to receive the responsibility of directing a household. And what was this “household”? It was God’s undeserved kindness. This oikonomia (“administration”) is different from the oikonomia mentioned in 1:10 and 3:9, of which God is the administrator or has the “supremeship”. The nature of Paul’s stewardship is seen in 3:8:

This undeserved kindness was given so that I should declare to the nations the good news about the unfathomable riches of the Christ.

The two quotations above show that Paul should fulfill his stewardship by preaching about the undeserved kindness of God that is seen in the life and actions of Jesus Christ.

God’s administration, his way of administering and managing things, was used as his channel of communication in three ways in the first century CE:

  • The sacred secret was revealed to the apostles and prophets.
  • God’s greatly diversified wisdom was made known to his family in the heavens.
  • The good news about the Christ was declared to the nations.

In order to place these three ways of communication in the right setting, we must connect them with Paul’s words in Ephesians 1:10, “to gather all things together again in the Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth.” The gathering of persons with a heavenly hope, the things in the heavens, started “at the full limit of the appointed times,” in 29 CE at the beginning of the 70th week, according to Daniel 9:25. The things on the earth would be gathered in the next important phase of God’s administration, the time of the end.

The works of God’s channel of communication in the time of the end

God’s sacred secret, his administration, was revealed in the first century CE, and the apostle Paul wrote about it in the letter to the Ephesians. This letter was inspired by God, and he also inspired the other books in the Christian Greek Scriptures. God managed the situation, so the Bible became complete with 66 books. This assemblage of inspired books that is today called the Holy Bible was a part of God’s method or channel of communication that would be used in the time of the end in order to gather “the things on the earth.”

After 1914, when Christ’s presence began, the Holy Bible was the focus of the sincere Christians who wanted to serve God. They viewed this book as a message from God, as his channel of communication. But God’s administration, his way of managing things, also used another facet of this channel. Paul says in 1 Timothy 3:15:

14  I am writing you these things, though I am hoping to come to you shortly, 15  but in case I am delayed, so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in God’s household, which is the congregation of the living God, a pillar and support of the truth.

The word “household” in the verse is translated from the Greek word oikos, and a better translation than “household” would be “house.” We learn from the verse that God’s “house” is “the congregation of the living God,” and that this congregation is “the pillar and support of the truth.”

How the congregation is a firm support of the truth is implied in the next verse, in 1 Timothy 3:16. We learn about Jesus Christ that “he was preached among the nations.” In 2 Timothy 4:2, Paul writes to Timothy: “Preach the word,” and this preaching should be in contrast with those “who turn away from listening to the truth” (4:4). All JW today are preaching the word of God, and this occurs all over the world. By doing this, the preachers are part of the congregation that is supporting the truth.

This worldwide preaching is also one aspect of God’s “channel of communication.” There is also a third aspect of this channel. Paul received the understanding of the sacred secret by a revelation. But in the time of the end, inspiration does not occur any longer. However, Daniel 12:9, 10 says that a part of the book of Daniel should be sealed until the time of the end. At that time, the people of God would be able to understand the whole book of Daniel (11:33).

Here again, God’s administration is at work. By maneuvering different events on the earth in a particular direction, God’s spiritually-minded servants will see this and draw the right conclusions. By this kind of direction, God lets his servants gradually understand what has been sealed. This process is described in the “Excursus on the difference between inspiration and direction” in the web article “Analysis of the evidence used to show that the Governing Body is “the faithful and discreet slave” in the category “The Governing Body.”

God’s administration, his way of administering and managing things, has also been used as his channel of communication in three ways in the time of the end:

  • The Holy Bible, with God’s purpose, is available for the nations.
  • Parts of the Bible that had been sealed are now understood because of God’s direction.
  • The good news of the established Kingdom is being preached for all nations.

In order to ascertain the three ways of communication that God administered in the first century CE and the three ways he has administered communication in the time of the end after 1914, we need to understand the place of human beings in God’s channel and the stewardships some of them have received.

The role of human beings in God’s channel of communication

We must always keep in mind that Jehovah God is the supreme part of his administration. He is its ‘steward,’ the one who is administering or managing everything in accordance with his purpose. He has the “supremeship,” so to speak.

But what about the human stewardships, that humans were appointed as leaders of a household? The only individual who was directly appointed a stewardship by God in the first century was the apostle Paul. He was not appointed to understand God’s sacred secret, nor was he appointed to make known God’s wisdom to the heavenly family. But he was appointed as a steward of God’s undeserved kindness to preach the good news to the people of the nations. (Colossians 1:25)

In the Christian Greek Scriptures, we do not find any passage, with reference to the time of the end, saying that one or more servants of God would be appointed to a stewardship in this period, either to understand the deep truths of the Bible or to preach the good news of the Kingdom. But God’s servants are indirectly admonished to preach the good news of the Kingdom because Jesus said in Matthew 24:14 that this should be done.

This means that the leaders of the Bible Students and Jehovah’s Witnesses over the years, C.T Russel, J.F. Rutherford, and N.H. Knorr were not appointed by God, and neither did they claim to be. But all of them were sincere persons who wholeheartedly served Jehovah. However, Jehovah’s administration is also his channel of communication with his creatures. He has administered the situation, so the organization of JW has played a significant role as part of Jehovah’s channel of communication—not the leaders of the organization but the organization itself. I explained this distinction at the beginning of this study.

However, in the 21st century, the members of the Governing Body have given themselves more and more power. And today, the eight members of the GB have absolute power over the doctrines, the assets, and the money. They claim to have been directly appointed by God to this position and that their little group, and not the Christian congregation as a whole, constitutes God’s channel of communication.

In the 21st century, the members of the GB have formed the community of JW into their own image. They have made a great number of changes, and have also introduced a number of false teachings. Most of the 107 changes in previous viewpoints (“new light”) that the GB has introduced between 1990 and 2020 are either wrong or questionable. So, the facts on the ground corroborate that the present eight members of the GB simply cannot be God’s channel of communication.

The articles they have communicated through The Watchtower and other literature are based on a different view and understanding of the Bible than the previous leaders of the Bible Students and JW held for 120 years. Their viewpoints are, to a great extent, based on human reasonings and not on Jehovah’s thoughts. I can boldly say this because of the GB’s own admission of how they approach the Scriptures today. They ask what the scriptures remind them of. By definition, such a question can only elicit a reply from their own minds, and not from the Scriptures themselves. This new approach to the Bible also accounts for the many wrong conclusions and false teachings they have been churning out in recent years.

[1]. The NWT84 has the rendering “a dispensing of anything by God,” and the footnote says: “Lit., “house-administration.”

CONCLUSION

Since the 1870s, The Bible Students and Jehovah’s Witnesses have been used by God’s administration, his channel of communication, as a significant part of this channel. Understanding the Bible can only be achieved with the help of representatives from this Christian community.

God’s administration refers to God’s way of administering or managing things, his procedure in handling matters with a view to producing unity. According to Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, the mentioned unity would be the result of God’s gathering of persons with a heavenly hope in the first century CE, and his gathering of persons with an earthly hope in the time of the end.

There was unity between God’s family in heaven and on the earth before Adam and Eve sinned. And a similar unity will again be realized by God’s administration, by his way of administering and managing things.

Jehovah’s people on earth functioned smoothly as a significant part of God’s channel of communication since the 1870s with no focus on humans. However, in the 21st century, a power grab occurred by the members of the Governing Body. They elevated themselves and claimed that they were exclusively God’s channel of communication, instead of the Christian congregation as a whole. Now the focus was changed to a particular group of humans, to the eight men who constitute the GB. This is a situation that violates several Bible principles.

Rolf Furuli

Author Rolf Furuli

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