Did we hypocritically ‘ride the wild beast’?

Some have argued that simply using the DPI’s facilities meant Jehovah’s Witnesses were “riding on the back of the wild beast”, in other words, going along with the United Nations just like many other religions. To support this argument apostates and other opposers make the following assertions:

1. The WT publications have always told JWs have nothing to do with the UN.

2. By becoming an NGO registered with the DPI the WTS hypocritically disobeyed their own directive and rode the Beast.

Is point number one really true? What stance has the Society actually taken as regards the UN? Does it coincide with the claims of opposers? Have Watchtower publications condemned having any dealings whatsoever with the UN? What should be the Christian view of the UN according to Jehovah’s Witnesses own publications? Would you like to see what has really been written on the subject in the publications?

A Christian view of the United Nations

The Watchtower of October 1st, 1995 provides a clear description of how we should view the United Nations:

“In Bible prophecy, human governments are often symbolized by wild beasts. (Daniel 7:6, 12, 23; 8:20-22) Hence, for many decades the Watchtower magazine has identified the wild beasts of Revelation chapters 13 and 17 with today’s worldly governments. This includes the United Nations, which is depicted in Revelation chapter 17 as a scarlet-colored beast with seven heads and ten horns.

“However, this Scriptural position does not condone any form of disrespect toward governments or their officials. The Bible clearly states: “Let every soul be in subjection to the superior authorities, for there is no authority except by God; the existing authorities stand placed in their relative positions by God. Therefore he who opposes the authority has taken a stand against the arrangement of God; those who have taken a stand against it will receive judgment to themselves.”—Romans 13:1, 2.

“Accordingly, Jehovah’s Witnesses, who are maintaining strict political neutrality, do not interfere with human governments. They never foment revolution or participate in acts of civil disobedience. Rather, they recognize that some form of government is necessary to maintain law and order in human society.—Romans 13:1-7; Titus 3:1.

Jehovah’s Witnesses view the United Nations organization as they do other governmental bodies of the world. They acknowledge that the United Nations continues to exist by God’s permission. In harmony with the Bible, Jehovah’s Witnesses render due respect to all governments and obey them as long as such obedience does not require that they sin against God.—Acts 5:29.”

It is clear that Jehovah’s Witnesses view the UN as they do the other superior authorities. Respect and submission to these superior authorities is essential if we are to gain God's approval. However some make the extraordinary argument that the Watchtower Society only printed this information because they were a DPI-associated NGO at the time, and wanted to minimize that involvement “in case they were caught”.

This is entirely false. Jehovah’s Witnesses position on the United Nations has not changed. Even way back in 1962 the November 15th Watchtower declared that the United Nations was indeed one of the superior authorities:

“Under startling symbols the last book of the Bible has foretold the national groups or associations that are to exist during this “time of the end” from 1914 onward; for example, the Devil’s visible earthly organization, also the British-American dual world power, and the League of Nations and the United Nations. (Rev. 13:1 to 19:20) Jehovah God also foretold the destruction of these “superior authorities” ... The apostle Paul wrote his letter regarding these “superior authorities” ... “

So when some critics argue that the UN should not be regarded as one of the superior authorities that we are submit to, their argument is irrelevant. It is what Jehovah’s Witnesses teach on the subject that is in dispute.

If an apostate or other opposer doesn’t want to regard the United Nations as a government which comes under the “superior authorities”, then that is their businesses and their business alone. Jehovah’s Witnesses are not to be judged on the basis of someone else’s mistaken beliefs. If a person is going to toss out the belief by Jehovah’s Witnesses that the UN is one of the superior authorities, then they might just as well throw out the belief of Jehovah’s Witnesses that the UN is the scarlet colored wild beast also.

Even so, there is indeed valid proof that the UN is one of the superior authorities. All one merely has to do is take a look at various sanctions imposed by it to see what can happen when a country defies the resolutions of the UN. If UN peace-keeping forces are in your country, try defying curfew or entering off-limit areas. You will quickly find out that the UN is indeed a superior authority. It is also a fact that the International Bill of Rights proposed and ratified by the UN is legally binding in almost all nations of the world. The United Nations is most definitely one of the superior authorities. That is exactly what Watchtower publications say and what Jehovah’s Witnesses believe.

Have Nothing to Do with the UN?

We have often times asked opposers to show us a single Watchtower publication telling Christians that they should have absolutely nothing to do with the UN. Surely they must be plentiful and such articles should easily be found. Such an article would, no doubt, go something like this:

“Since the UN is the disgusting thing or scarlet wild beast of Bible prophecy, Christians should have nothing to do with the UN. They should not tour its large complex. They should not be found perusing through its libraries. They should not be found accepting aid from the UN. They should not use the UN court system. They should not be employed by the UN in any possible way even if it is merely processing food rations or cutting the grass. Doing these things would constitute touching the disgusting thing and committing spiritual adultery.”

Yet, no one has ever managed to provide one single article similar to this, telling Jehovah’s Witnesses to have no dealings whatsoever with the UN. The reason being that no such article exists. Of course, once opposers realize that they cannot show proof of their claims they attempt to use other tactics.

Some claim that the Watchtower publications teach that the UN is ‘the unclean thing’ and that the scripture which says, “quit touching the unclean thing” at 2 Corinthians 6:17 has been applied to the UN by the publications. This is completely false. No publication has ever taught that the UN is “the unclean thing” as discussed at 2 Corinthians 6:17. —See the Miscellaneous Questions page

After that tactic is foiled, some critics try pointing to Watchtower articles that call the UN the “wild beast” and “the disgusting thing” in Bible prophecy. They point to articles which say the UN is an enemy of God's Kingdom because it fails to recognize God's sovereignty. Thus, they attempt to reason that since this is the case, Jehovah’s Witnesses should have nothing to do with such an organization that is disgusting in Jehovah’s sight. Of course, they deliberately don’t mention that all governments are likened to beasts in opposition to Jehovah’s Kingdom. The Anglo-American world power, for example, is represented by a two horned beast that speaks like a dragon, gives life to the UN beast, has blasphemous names, and unclean expressions coming out of its mouth.

So, would it be improper to mail letters since the postal system is run by the federal government? Would it be improper use the educational or judicial systems or even to become a teacher or lawyer since both the educational system and the judicial system are agents of the federal government? How about getting passes for the governmental libraries, getting financial or medical aid from the welfare system of the national government? Should a Christian work for the Internal Revenue Service collecting taxes, or as part of disaster relief efforts conducted by the national government? Who would make such ridiculous and foolish arguments that Christians should not avail themselves of the programs, facilities, and avenues made available by these governmental authorities? The Watchtower Society certainly has never done so.

So what about the United Nations? Would the same reasoning apply? Should Christians use the UN programs offered for our benefit? Would this constitute spiritual adultery to do so? What have the Watchtower publications said on the subject?

So What About Using UN Programs?

Keeping in mind that we have already established that Jehovah’s Witnesses view the UN as they do other governments — as one of the superior authorities — take note of the following quotes from the Watchtower.

February 1, 1966 Watchtower: “Is it proper for a Christian to avail himself of government provisions of welfare or of relief supplies sent to disaster areas?... Yes;”

March 15, 1998 Watchtower: “the Witnesses show due respect for the role of governmental “superior authorities” and make proper use of legal means and provisions. (Romans 13:1; James 1:25) For instance, the Witnesses use the Watch Tower Society as a legal instrument—one of many in various lands—to enable them to accomplish their work of helping fellow humans, especially in spiritual ways.”

July 15, 1983 Watchtower: “In line with Romans 13:1, 4, the worldly “superior authorities” may set up certain peace-keeping agencies, such as police that are armed officially to protect citizens and property. Since such arrangements permitted by God are described as “God’s minister, an avenger to express wrath upon the one practicing what is bad,” it would be in order for the Christian to request and receive protection from such an agency.”

As we can see, it is proper for Christians to avail themselves of the programs offered by the governments or the superior authorities. This would include the United Nations as one of those superior authorities. Please also take note of this quote from the April 8, 1995 Awake, which specifically mentions using the UN and its agencies and programs for our benefit:

“To improve such ailing health care for the masses, WHO [the World Health Organization] has gradually shifted its work from disease control to health promotion ... Do these programs benefit you? One of them may have. Which one? EPI (Expanded Program on Immunization).”

The WHO and the EPI are both connected to the UN and benefitting from the programs offered by them is in no way condemned by the Watchtower Society.

It is just as stated by a letter written by Bethel to a brother:

“All these human governments, including the United Nations, provide human services for which taxes are paid, directly or indirectly, including such things as disease control, agricultural assistance, disaster and famine relief, and many others. Our brothers, especially in economically impoverished lands, benefit from many of these services. Some of our brothers are government employees, even of the United Nations, who provide such human benefits to others without violating their Christian neutrality.” —See Appendix D, Letter to Brant Jones

What It Really Means to “Ride the Wild Beast”

Opposers often point to articles that condemn other religions for praising the UN as man’s only hope for peace. They claim that Jehovah’s Witnesses have done the exact same thing by simply registering with the DPI to use their library facilities.

They claim that the Watchtower Society thus “climbed on the back of the beast” along with all the other religions of the world. However, what exactly constitutes riding the wild beast according to Jehovah’s Witnesses teachings? Is merely recognizing that the UN has commendable goals and has achieved some good constitute committing spiritual adultery? The December 1, 1976 Watchtower gives a thorough description of what it means to ride the wild beast.

“What about the world’s religious systems as a whole? Do they act like the harlot “Babylon the Great”? Have they looked to the United Nations as man’s only hope for peace and security and, hence, as needed for their own preservation? Do these religious systems, then, not depend upon the United Nations as does a rider upon his horse? The facts speak for themselves.

The Roman Catholic Church and the World Council of Churches, with a membership of over 250 churches, have repeatedly declared the United Nations to be “the chief temporal hope for world peace.” The New Catholic Encyclopedia states: “Recent pontiffs have stressed the necessity of international organization and the principles that should guide it, and have praised the UN for its purposes and various programs and accomplishments. The Holy See maintains a permanent observer at the UN and contributes financial as well as moral support to many of its economic, social, scientific, cultural, and humanitarian programs. It participates as a full member or observer in a number of Specialized Agencies and participates in diplomatic and other conferences called by the UN. Sixteen Catholic international organizations contribute formally to the work of ECOSOC and various Specialized Agencies through the medium of consultative status with these bodies, and Catholic groups and individuals in various countries contribute to the formation of national policy and action with regard to the UN.”—Vol. 14, p. 423.”

So what does it mean to ride the wild beast? Really it is pretty simple to reasoning persons. A rider of a horse, for example, tries to control the horse and direct it where he wants to go. The rider sees the horse as his only way to arrive at the desired destination. This person is riding on the back of the horse.

On the other hand, a person standing on the sideline reporting where the horse is going and what it is doing is not riding the horse. To do an honest and informative report, the reporter may need a pass to go to the stables to observe the condition of the horse. He may go out on the trail to witness the horses gallop to report the speed of the horse, the obstacles in the way of the horses path, etc. But he does not ride the horse.

Riding the UN means that religions extoll it as the last hope for man. Jehovah’s Witnesses have never done that. Riding the beast means influencing and directing it in accord with their political aims and goals. Jehovah’s Witnesses do not do that. Riding the beast means becoming NGOs associated with the ECOSOC so that they can have consultative status with the UN. The Watchtower Society was never an NGO associated with the ECOSOC.

The Watchtower Society reports what the UN is doing and shows that it will not reach its desired goal of world peace — only God’s Kingdom can accomplish that. There is a huge difference in riding and in observing and reporting. In view of this, did Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Watchtower Society “ride the wild beast”? No, not at all.

Let’s look again...

In view of the foregoing, let’s look at the claims by the critics once again:

1. The WT publications have always told JWs have nothing to do with the UN.

Completely false. The Watchtower Society has never taught such a thing. On the contrary, Jehovah’s Witnesses have been specifically taught for decades that the UN is one of the “superior authorities”. This puts the UN in the same category as the United States or the United Kingdom, and Christians can utilize such governments in their personal lives and to advance true worship.

2. By becoming an NGO registered with the DPI the WTS hypocritically disobeyed their own directive and rode the Beast.

Since the first point has been proven to be untrue and inaccurate then this second point is thus made invalid. The Watchtower Society did not disobey their own directives and hypocritically ride the wild beast because no such directives exist.

Apostates simply pretend that the Society has a stance against the UN that they never really had. They then turn around, point at their made-up stance, and call hypocrisy, pretending the Society violated rules which they never, in fact, have ever had.

The truth is that because apostates have no evidence for their crackpot conspiracy theory, they are forced to lie and pretend the Watchtower Society taught things they never did, and hope that you, the reader, will not notice.

However, when the Society was a DPI-associated NGO, did the Society deliberately put forth extra effort to maintain their DPI-associated status? Did they deliberately write articles “praising” the UN and it’s accomplishments, as critics claim?

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