Theocracy

Norman Hovland


"Theocracy, constitution, or polity, of a country in which God is regarded as the sole sovereign and the laws of the realm are seen as divine commands. By extension a theocracy is a country in which control is in the hands of the clergy."

"Well, what is meant by the term "theocratic"? Webster's New Twentieth Century Dictionary defines "theocracy" as "the rule of a state by God."" (The Watchtower, January 1, 1993, p. 22, §15)

These two definitions of Theocracy are considering a country, but as we all know there is also at least one organization who claim to be a Theocracy, namely the Watchtower Society.

History tells us that the absolute worst despotic and horrible regimes imaginable have been "Theocratic". As the definition above states, a theocracy is a country (organization) in which control is in the hands of the clergy. In other words, those who claim to be in "communication" with God. In the case of the Watchtower Society it is the Governing Body.

The Watchtower magazine informs us of the nature of their "Organization":

"As part of Jehovah's family, we are not only joyful but also secure. This is so because his organization is theocratic. God's Kingdom is a theocracy (from Greek theos', god, and kra'tos, a rule). It is a rule by God, ordained and established by him. Jehovah's anointed "holy nation" is in submission to his rule and therefore is also theocratic." (The Watchtower, July 15, 1996, p. 13, §14)

Like all totalitarian-minded people, the Watchtower Society's leaders are extremely enthusiastic when it comes to the rule of "Theocracy". Just look at this statement in the Watchtower:

"That is why, throughout all human history, only one form of government has been truly successful. Which one? Theocracy under Jehovah God. In Biblical Greek, "theocracy" means a rule [kra'tos] by God [theos']. What better government could there be than that of Jehovah God himself?". (The Watchtower, January 15, 1994, p. 10, §2)

This issue of the Watchtower endeavors to give a historical view of the first national theocracy:

"Theocracy ruled for a short time in Eden, until Adam and Eve rebelled against Jehovah. (Genesis 3:1-6, 23) In Abraham's time, a theocracy appears to have existed in the city of Salem, with Melchizedek as king-priest. (Genesis 14:18-20; Hebrews 7:1-3) However, the first national theocracy under Jehovah God was established in the wilderness of Sinai in the 16th century B.C.E. How did that come about? And how did that theocratic government work?" (The Watchtower, January 15, 1994, p. 10, §3)

Yes, indeed, how did it work? And as we could see the Watchtower said that it is the "only [...] form of government" that "has been truly successful." Why not take a look at what this success consists of. According to the Watchtower, the birth of this "theocratic nation" started with war and carnage:

"A Theocracy Is Born
In 1513 B.C.E., Jehovah rescued the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and destroyed the pursuing armies of Pharaoh in the Red Sea. Then He led the Israelites to Mount Sinai. When they were encamped at the foot of the mountain, God told them through Moses: "You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, that I might carry you on wings of eagles and bring you to myself. And now if you will strictly obey my voice and will indeed keep my covenant, then you will certainly become my special property out of all other peoples." The Israelites responded: "All that Jehovah has spoken we are willing to do." (Exodus 19:4, 5, 8) A covenant was made, and the theocratic nation of Israel was born. -- Deuteronomy 26:18, 19." (The Watchtower, January 15, 1994, p. 10, §4)

Now how did this wonderful new "theocratic nation" behave in the years after its birth? Before we take a look at this we must keep in mind this next quote from the Watchtower:

"As this journal has previously pointed out: "Theocracy is rule by God; God is love; therefore theocracy is rule by love."" (The Watchtower, September 1, 1996, p. 15, §9)

So when we now turn our investigation to the history of this "nation" we should expect to find that it will be brimming with examples of this "rule by love", shouldn't we? Of course!

Fortunately we have very good written records of the actions of this "theocratic nation" and it's "rule of love" thanks to the Bible. As mentioned above, the "theocratic nation" was born through the annihilation of the Egyptian army. The Watchtower is of course very careful to point out that "God" is conveniently invisible and that his rule therefore will have to be carried out by proxy. This of course will mean that "God" will bestow his "authority" upon a leader or a group of leaders, who of course won't settle for anything less than blind obedience, having the "authority" of "God" the almighty himself. The first example of a human being with such awesome "authority" was Moses:

"The first to exercise high authority in Israel was Moses. He was a fine example of a theocratic authority figure. True, on one occasion human weakness showed through. However, Moses always relied on Jehovah." (The Watchtower, January 15, 1994, p. 11, §7)

According to the Watchtower, Moses personally said about himself that he was "by far the meekest of all the men who were upon the surface of the ground." And of course we all know that people who say such things about themselves must be exceptionally humble!

"How did Moses resist the temptation to use his high position for his own glory? Well, although he led a nation of millions, he was "by far the meekest of all the men who were upon the surface of the ground." (Numbers 12:3)" (The Watchtower, January 15, 1994, p. 11, §7)

Now it is about time we try to find out what a person who claims to be "by far the meekest of all the men who were upon the surface of the ground" really does when he is carrying out the politics of this "theocratic nation". Meekness, love and consideration should of course manifest itself in the very implementation of the will of God in a "theocratic nation". When reading the story about this "theocratic nation" one would naturally expect these qualities to be present. Let us examine the record:

"And they went waging war against Mid'ian, just as Jehovah had commanded Moses, and they proceeded to kill every male. And they killed the kings of Mid'ian along with the others slain, namely, E'vi and Re'kem and Zur and Hur and Re'ba, the five kings of Mid'ian; and they killed Ba'laam the son of Be'or with the sword. But the sons of Israel carried off the women of Mid'ian and their little ones captive" (Numbers 31:7-9)

Most of us are of course aware of the horrors of ethnic cleansing and genocide as we have seen examples of recently in Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia, and now Kosovo. These recent events have sickened and horrified people all over the world and the international community has been pretty unanimous in condemning such atrocities as unacceptable in a civilized society. What we see described in the quote from the above Bible text is an example of such genocide and ethnic cleansing. Jehovah, who according to the Watchtower is love, commanded Moses, the extraordinary meek man, to slaughter men, women and children, but the subjects of this "theocratic nation" didn't quite follow the orders and took the women and the children captive instead. Was Moses proud because the people did show such a spark of compassion and spared the lives of these women and children? Let us find out:

"And Moses grew indignant at the appointed men of the combat forces, the chiefs of the thousands and the chiefs of the hundreds who were coming in from the military expedition. So Moses said to them: "Have YOU preserved alive every female? Look! They are the ones who, by Ba'laam's word, served to induce the sons of Israel to commit unfaithfulness toward Jehovah over the affair of Pe'or, so that the scourge came upon the assembly of Jehovah. And now kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has had intercourse with man by lying with a male. And preserve alive for yourselves all the little ones among the women who have not known the act of lying with a male."" (Numbers 31:14-18)

According the Bible, the meek man, Jehovah's representative and leader of his new "theocratic nation", became very indignant with them. They had disobeyed Moses (Jehovah's) orders and had failed to kill all the women and children. Again he ordered them to kill the women and children but being practical as well as "meek" he made the small concession that virgins and baby girls could be spared, they could of course be used for breeding purposes. The more Israelites the better.

Can't you all feel the immense love and meekness expressed in these writings? This wonderful "theocratic nation" did, according to the Bible, roam the Sinai desert for 40 years, killing, looting and grabbing all they could possibly get hold of. When they finally embarked upon taking possession of the land area that "God had given them", the ethnic cleansing and the genocide continued with full force for many, many years.

The Watchtower stated:

"That is why, throughout all human history, only one form of government has been truly successful. Which one? Theocracy under Jehovah God." (The Watchtower, January 15, 1994, p. 10, §2)

Very true. Reading the history of this theocracy as recorded in the Bible, one has to admit that as a killing machine and a tool for ethnic cleansing and genocide it was truly successful. No doubt about it. As an example of "rule of love" however the "theocratic nation" leaves a lot to be desired, to say the least. The nation of Israel, born out of such a horrible blood bath and carnage, is the model for the Watchtower Society, their idea of an ideal world. So much so that they today dream of recreating this "theocratic nation" on a "cleansed earth".


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