How does Jehovah's spirit help the "faithful and discreet slave" arrive at the truth of a matter? The Society does not claim infallibility or inspiration. How much is dependent upon the written Word? How can we be sure that this is the organization Jehovah is using when some things are published and later changed?—C. P., United States.
In regard to how the truth is brought forth through Jehovah's organization, please note that if the Watch Tower Society were infallible there would be no need for future CORRECTION of viewpoints held; but because it is not infallible and has never claimed to be, from time to time CORRECTIONS ARE NECESSARY. If Jehovah's spirit operated in the way it did upon Bible writers, inspiring them to write according to Jehovah's thoughts, then no FUTURE CORRECTIONS in matters would ever be necessary. But because the spirit does not operate in this way today some CORRECTIONS ARE MADE from time to time.
Jehovah God, in fact, foretold or indicated that such would be the case. At Proverbs 4:18 (AS) it states: "The path of the righteous is as the dawning light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day." While the light is still dim the broad outline of an object may be visible but the details of it are not always distinct, and as the light increases these details may be seen with more clarity and a CORRECTED VIEW is obtained. Full dependence is placed upon Jehovah's Word in the formulation of truth and it is from his Word that proof should be forthcoming. However, with greater clarity and understanding, NEW TRUTHS are discerned and something that previously appeared very logical may require REVISION.
Jehovah did not say that the entire matter would be seen in crystal clarity instantaneously. With these last days in mind, Jesus spoke of the "faithful and discreet slave" that would be appointed to bring forth "food at the proper time." (Matt. 24:45, NW) This is a progressive process, food being continually provided, and as we advance in the stream of time and observe further fulfillment of prophecy new truths are discerned and brought forth and constitute fresh and nourishing food for our day. Some truths were not essential for us prior to the time of their discernment, otherwise JEHOVAH WOULD HAVE CAUSED THEM TO BECOME KNOWN earlier.
Even the ERRONEOUS VIEWPOINTS HELD BY JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES DURING THE FIRST WORLD WAR served their purpose in contributing to the fulfillment of prophecy, for Jehovah had long ago foretold a condition of SPIRITUAL UNCLEANNESS UPON HIS PEOPLE AT THAT PARTICULAR TIME and the cleansing work that would be done. Hence such things are to be expected according to prophecy and their occurrence is a CONFIRMATION THAT THIS IS JEHOVAH'S ORGANIZATION, rather than a cause for raising question concerning Jehovah's use of the organization.
JEHOVAH USES THIS ORGANIZATION BECAUSE IT IS MEEK AND TEACHABLE AND IS NOT SET AND BOUND in its viewpoints. It is an organization that looks to Jehovah for guidance and direction and watches his maneuvering of matters on the world scene and the outworking of events that fulfill prophecy and it lines up its views in accord with these things. It is WILLING TO CHANGE and keep up with the developing conditions, to keep up with the light as the light is revealed brighter and brighter. THAT IS WHY JEHOVAH CAN USE THIS ORGANIZATION, and certainly the facts show that he has been using it and is continuing to use it. He is bringing the increase. He is using this organization to preach the good news of the established Kingdom in all the inhabited earth. Prophecies are being fulfilled upon this group. We are counseled to REMAIN CLOSE TO THE ORGANIZATION, FOR EVEN IF THE ORGANIZATION DOES HAVE VIEWS THAT ARE LATER CHANGED, OUR SAFETY LIES IN REMAINING WITHIN THE ORGANIZATION AND CHANGING WITH IT WHEN THE LIGHT INCREASES AND NEW TRUTHS ARE DISCERNED.
NO OTHER ORGANIZATION HAS SHOWN THIS FLEXIBILITY TO ALTER ITS VIEWS, to keep up with the changing times, to be alert to the increased light that conies from Jehovah from the temple, for other groups are bound by their centuries-old creeds. Rather than a stumbling stone, THE SOCIETY'S READINESS TO ALTER ITS VIEWS WHEN NECESSARY SHOULD BE A SOURCE OF COMFORT AND ENCOURAGEMENT, an assurance that THERE WILL BE CONTINUAL ADVANCEMENT AND INCREASE in learning, an ever-brightening light as we approach closer to the perfect day with its noon-day brightness. A false religion may have some truth in it, but it never gets rid of its many falsehoods and the truth it does have continues to be contaminated. With Jehovah's organization the beliefs can be established from the Bible, and when some erroneous view does creep in it is soon ferreted out and discarded.
An analogy might be drawn between the first and the second presence of Christ Jesus. At his first advent certainly the apostles at first thought he would be an entirely earthly King and that the kingdom would be earthly. Only after Pentecost did they learn that it was to be a heavenly kingdom. Prior to that time they could not discern this truth, and they entertained a false idea, as shown by Acts 1:6-8 (NW): "When, now, they had assembled, they went to asking him: 'Master, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this tune?' He said to them: 'It does not belong to you to get knowledge of the times or seasons which the Father has placed in his own Jurisdiction; but you will receive power when the holy spirit arrives upon you.'" Likewise it was some time until they saw clearly that they were no longer under the Mosaic law as such, as shown by Acts chapter 15. But that did not mean that they were not Jehovah's servants and his channel for bringing the truth to the people. So we should not stumble because the same is true today.
In fact, this ability to discard the erroneous as the light increases marks the difference between Jehovah's true worshipers and the false religions of Christendom. When it can be clearly shown from the Bible that an idea once held does not have sufficient Scriptural support and that a different viewpoint has the weight of Bible testimony behind it, then the new viewpoint is adopted and the former understanding is set aside. To be too proud to do this is to have a pride that would presage a fall.
(Prov. 16:18) Increased understanding of the Bible itself and growing proof from the Bible itself are the basis for altering the viewpoint. This organization is always probing and studying to find solid foundations in the Scriptures for its beliefs and as the light increases the foundations of our beliefs become stronger and stronger. We have ears to hear a clarified truth, not ears that refuse to hear. We have eyes to see the increased light, not eyes that refuse to see. We are anxious for new light and for new "food at the proper time."
This Jehovah supplies, not through individuals, but through his organization. (Prov. 3:5, 6) He has so operated with this group in the past and he is still doing so, as the physical facts abundantly confirm. Past history of the organization has shown that those who split off, thinking themselves smarter than the Society, are soon swallowed up in the seas of humanity. The new ideas they entertain are soon forgotten. They are not preached world-wide to all the inhabited earth, as Jesus said would be done with the truth. These separating, disgruntled ones are not fulfilling the prophecies that Jesus said would be fulfilled by his true people. It is this organization that is enjoying that fulfillment and it is through this organization that Jehovah sends further light and spiritual food that rectifies any erroneous conceptions previously entertained, as well as adding to the rich storehouse of spiritual food available for those devoted to him and willing to exert themselves in his service by telling it to others.
Jesus said: "All the same, wisdom is vindicated by its works." So this organization is vindicated as the one Jehovah is using by its activity in doing the preaching work Jesus foretold and in being used to fulfill many other prophecies.—Matt. 11:19, NW.
(The Watchtower, October 15, 1954, pages 638-639, emphases added)