Who are the Higher Powers? (superior authorities) Romans 13:1



Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

Romans 13:1 - TMN  

⚪ The Higher Powers are the governments of this world (Up to 1929)
⚫ The Higher Powers are Jehovah God and Jesus Christ (1929 to 1962)
⚪ The Higher Powers are the governments of this world (1962 onwards)

🔴 Is the light of the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses increased ?


⚪ The Higher Powers were the governments of this world

This interregnum, or intervening period of time between the removal of God's scepter and government and the restoration of the same in greater power and glory in Christ, is Scripturally termed "The Times of the Gentiles." And these "times" or years, during which the "kingdoms of this world" are pennitted to rule, are fixed and limited, and the time for the re-establishment of God's Kingdom under Messiah is equally fixed and marked in Scripture.
Evil as these Gentile governments have been, they were permitted or "ordained of God" for a wise purpose. (Rom. 13:1.) Their imperfection and misrule form a part of the general lesson on the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and prove the inability of fallen man to govern himself, even to his own satisfaction.

Source : 🇺🇸 1886 - Millennial dawn, Vol 1, The Plan of the Age (ed. 1902), page 249, page 250 + [download - archive.org]

That man's present effort to exercise dominion is no in successful defiance of Jehovah's will and power, but by his permission, is shown by God's message to Nebuchadnezzar, wherein God gives permission to rule, until the time for the setting up of Christ's kingdom, to the four great empires, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome. (Dan. 2:37-43.) [...] Among those things "written aforetime for our edification," that we, who are commanded to be subject to the powers that be, might through patience and comfort of the Scriptures have hope (Rom. 15:4; 13:1), is the dream of Nebuchadnezzar and its divine interpretation through the prophet.—Dan. 2:31-45. [...] This is the dream, and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king. Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. [ There the Gentile kingdoms, or powers that be, were ordained of God.]

Source : 🇺🇸 1886 - Millennial dawn, Vol 1, The Plan of the Age (ed. 1902), page 251, page 252, page 253 + [download - archive.org]

Knowing this to be the purpose of God, neither Jesus nor the apostles interfered with earthly rulers in any way. On the contrary, they taught the Church to submit to these powers, even though they often suffered under their abuse of power. They taught the Church to obey the laws, and to respect those in authority because of their office, even if they were not personally worthy of esteem; to pay their appointed taxes, and, except where they conflicted with God's laws (Acts 4:19; 5:29), to offer no resistance to any established law. (Rom. 13:1-7; Matt. 22: 21.) The Lord Jesus and the apostles and the early Church were all law-abiding, though they were separate from, and took no share in, the governments of this world. Though the powers that be, the governments of this world, were ordained or arranged for by God, that mankind might gain a needed experience under them, yet the Church, the consecrated ones who aspire to office in the coming Kingdom of God, should neither covet the honors and the emoluments of office in the kingdoms of this world, nor should they oppose these powers. [...] Knowing that the purpose of God is to let the world fully test its own ability to govern itself, the true Church should not, while in it, be of the world.

Source : 🇺🇸 1886 - Millennial dawn, Vol 1, The Plan of the Age (ed. 1902), page 266, page 267 + [download - archive.org]

In viewing this whole subject we are forcibly reminded of the Apostle's counsel to the entire Church in their individual relationship to the powers that be, which are ordained of God : "Render therefore to all their dues; tribute to whom tribute is due, custom to whom custom, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor. Owe no man anything, but to love one another."- Rom. 13:7,8.
Peter's counsel is to the same effect-"Honor all men; love the brotherhood; fear God; honor the king."- 1 Pet. 2:17.
Kings are not always personally worthy of honor; but honor is always due to the office, which is "ordained of God." (Rom. 13:1. "See MILLENNIAL DAWN, Vol. I., chap. xiii., for the sense and purpose of their ordination.) Many of the magistrates ruling Judea in the days of the Lord and the Apostles were personally very unworthy of honor, yet the Lord and the apostles left us, not only their precepts, but also their example of submission to the authority thus represented: they were all respectful and law-abiding.--Matt. 17:27; Acts 25:8,10,11.

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower July 1893, page 216, R1555

"The Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men." - Danlel 4:17.
"Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisfeth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God." - Romans 13:1, 2.
Question. - Should we understand from the above Scriptures that God guides the affairs of nations, and chooses their rulers ?
Answer. - These Scriptures are in harmony with other statements of Scripture. In the case of Nebuchadnezzar, for instance, after he had been seven years insane, lying amongst the beasts of the field, his reason returned to him and he extolled the God of heaven, acknowledging that God setteth up those whom he will and putteth down those whom he will. We understand that God’s dealing with King Nebuchadnezzar was prophetic.
In the case of Israel God had very particular oversight of their affairs, and dealt with their rulers. David was anointed when he was a youth, to be king in due time instead of Saul. So with several others of their kings - the Lord had them anointed in advance. It might be said of Israel, that whoever sat upon the throne was there as the Lord’s representative. We remember also that on one occasion the Prophet of God was sent to anoint one of the kings of Syria and to give him a prophecy respecting himself, that he should take the throne.
Looking back, we see that in the case of Pharaoh, the perverse king of Egypt, God declared, "For this very purpose I raised thee up, that I might show forth my power in thee." God did not approve of Pharaoh, but used him to show forth his own glory. God also used King Cyrus of Persia as a servant to perform his bidding.

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, May 15, 1914, page 158

The Bible directs the followers of Jesus to be subject to the powers that be. (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-17) But while seeking to be thus law-abiding in every respect, Christians are to recognize that there is still a higher law and a still higher Ruler, and are to be subject to the worldly powers only in the absence of a contrary admonition from the Higher Power - from God.

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, January 15, 1916, page 29


⚫ The Higher Powers are Jehovah God and Jesus Christ

The instruction of the thirteenth chapter of Romans has long been misapplied. The improper application has really been the basis for the false doctrine of the “divine right of kings” or rulers to rule and oppress the people. [...] The apostle is, in substance, telling the members of the church that they should always be obedient to God, and that the motive for such obedience must be love for God and a delight in doing’ his will.

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, June 1, 1929, page 163 + Cover

The thirteenth chapter of Romans and the words of Peter (1 Pet. 2:13, 17) have been repeatedly used lo prove that Christians are compelled lo engage in the deadly combat of war because the law of tile land says so. Such application is entirely wrong. Neither of these scriptures has any reference to the laws of the nations, as the foregoing proof clearly establishes. Both of these scriptures have reference to the government, order and discipline in the organization of the Lord. Applying these words to earthly governments has been misleading and wrongful so far as Christians are concerned.

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, June 15, 1929, page 183 + Cover

The Devil gave the “beast", that is to say, his earthly organization, its throne or seat, and it has occupied it from the beginning.(Rev. 13:2) The place or location of the headquarters of the Devil’s organization on earth has changed from time to time as one world power after another succeeded to preeminence over the others. At all times Satan has deceived the people and induced them to believe that the “beast” constitutes the “higher powers” and that such powers are derived from Jehovah. (Rom. 13:1) No empire on earth has ever so completely induced the people to believe this falsehood as the British Empire. Its lords temporal and lords ecclesiastical have walked side by side speaking with one mouth and being directed by Big Business that holds them together, and all have been acting as the ventriloquist of Satan the Devil.

Source : 🇺🇸 1930 - Light, Vol 1, page 32, page 33 + Cover

Then every soul on earth will be subject to the "higher powers", which higher powers are Jehovah God and Christ Jesus. (Rom. 13:1)

Source : 🇺🇸 1933 - Preparation, page 329 + Cover

🇺🇸 1936 - 🔊 The Higher Powers By Judge Rutherford

Source : https://archive.org/details/TheHigherPowersByJudgeRutherford

[...] but that Jehovah God is the Supreme Power, and that He and Christ Jesus his Son constitute together"the higher Powers". (Romans 13:1)

Source : 🇺🇸 1943 - The Truth Shall Make You Free, page 306 + Cover

[...] because of the religious doctrine which still prevails, namely, that the political officials of Satan's visible organization are the "higher powers" to whom all Christian souls are to be subject, as commanded at Romans 13:1. By such perversion of Scripture the religious Hierarchy in control have been able to act as the "spiritual advisers" of the political powers and to use the arm of the state to take away and suppress freedom of speech, of press, of assembly, and of worship of God. Such religious misapplication of Scripture concerning the "higher powers" has long caused the ignorant bondage of professing Christians to worldly officials at the expense of the interests of God's work and of true freedom. After the Lord's coming to the temple and freeing the faithful remnant of spiritual Israelites from captivity to modern-day Babylon he began to open their eyes gradually to the truth. In 1929 the clear light broke forth. That year The Watchtower published the Scriptural exposition of Romans chapter 13. It showed that Jehovah God and Christ Jesus, rather than worldly rulers and governors, are "The Higher Powers" and that the Christian souls must "obey God rather than men";

Source : 🇺🇸 1943 - The Truth Shall Make You Free, page 311, page 312 + Cover

Jehovah’s King we will pay honor as commanded, for he.said: "The Father... hath given all judgment unto the Son; that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father." (John 5:22, 23, Am. Stan. Ver.) Therefore the authority of only this King originates with God. Hence Jehovah God the Father and Jesus Christ the King are "the higher powers" to whom every Christian soul should be subject in obedience to Romans 13:1: "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God : the powers that be are ordained of God." When Ctlristian souls loyally subject themselves to Jehovah God and Christ Jesus, they pay back to God what belongs to God.

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, April 1, 1949, page 107 + Cover

Prior to their redemption or deliverance in 1919 God’s consecrated people were compelled to mingle with Satan’s organization and they were restrained under the belief that the rulers of this wicked world constituted the "higher powers" to whom every Christian soul should be subject. (Rom. 13:1)

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, September 15, 1949, page 284, page 285 + Cover


But have the restored remnant of Jehovah’s witnesses had the courage to take up the taunt-song against the king of Greater Babylon? Have they recognized their freedom to sing it? Have they braved the persecution this would mean for them amidst the fallen "golden city"? Yes, and by this course they have shown how far already the oppressor and the golden city have ceased for them. They no longer confess themselves captives of the king of Greater Babylon. They boldly act the part of servants of Jehovah’s King on Mount Zion, Christ Jesus. No longer do they act on the Babylonish claim that the "golden city" stands as the "higher powers" ordained of God and to whom every Christian soul must be subject without conscientious objection. No, but now they openly own and acknowledge Jehovah God and his King Christ Jesus as "The Higher Powers" to whom to be subject. So for them the "golden city" has ceased to exist as the "higher powers", and they refuse to bow in fear of her and to carry out her commandsw hich conflict with God’s righteous laws. (Rom. 13:1-4)

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, October 15, 1949, page 310 + Cover

Less than a year later, in the Watchtower issues of June i and 15, 1929, a further declaration of independence from Satan was published in the two-part article "The Higher Powers", denying his visible organization as being such and proving by the Scriptures that Jehovah God and his reigning King Jesus Christ are really such.

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, October 15, 1949, page 311 + Cover


WHEN this question is raised and the men involved are the rulers of worldly governments many religionists will counter with the question, Are not all persons commanded to obey the "higher powers"? and are not the rulers in the various nations the "higher powers"? There is no argument that all who have agreed to do the will of God must obey and be subject to the "higher powers"; as it is written at Romans 13:1, 2: "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God : the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the.power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation."
But the "higher powers" herein named are not the kings and dictators and presidents or other political rulers of the nation, nor are the religious leaders of Christendom any part of the "higher powers". Not one of them represents God and Christ Jesus, but, on the contrary, they are under the control of the invisible god of this world, Satan the Devil. (2 Cor. 4:4) Further instructing those who would know the right way, the scripture reads: "For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: for he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil." - Rom. 13:3, 4.
Everyone knows that the rulers of this world are evil and do many evil things and, instead of aiding good works, they persecute those who do good works. This shows that they are not the "higher powers" mentioned in the Scriptures. Who, then, are the "higher powers"? Jehovah God is supreme, and Christ Jesus is his Chief Officer, to whom he has committed full power and authority to carry out His purpose; and therefore the "higher powers" are Jehovah God and Christ Jesus. (Matt. 28:18) The scripture above quoted concerning the "higher powers" is addressed specifically to those who have agreed to do God’s will and whom God has accepted and called into his organization. (Rom. 1:7) God is not dealing with the rulers of this world, not’ authorizing them to represent him.
Concerning the "higher powers", as above mentioned, he is instructing those who are on the side of the Kingdom, and them alone, and shows that Christ is "the minister of God" and "revenger to execute [God’s] wrath upon him that doeth evil". Christ Jesus is the "King as supreme" in the organization of God, and is so named in the following scriptures: "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well" (1 Pet. 2:13, 14) "Governors" in this text means the apostles of Jesus Christ, who were given specific power in the organization of the Lord. God’s organization alone is included in the following text: "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you."-Heb. 13: 17. That text has no reference whatsoever to worldly organizations.

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, December 1, 1949, page 363, page 364 + Cover

[...] - Romans 12:21 to 13:4, NW.
The Superior Authorities are the Most High God Jehovah and his exalted Son Jesus Christ. By Jehovah's own Theocratic arrangement these existing Authorities stand placed in their relative positions, first, God Supreme, and second, Jesus Christ his anointed King.

Source : 🇺🇸 This Means Everlasting Life (1950) p.197 + Cover

More than ever it is now clear that the rulers are not the “higher powers” “ordained of God”, and there is no truth to their claim to rule “by the grace of God”. According to the facts they certainly do not rule “for the glory of God” nor as his administrative servants or ministers. (Rom. 13:1-4)

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, March 1 1950, page 68 + Cover

This great multitude are those delivered from bondage to the present evil world. To them the higher powers of this world are as destroyed already; they recognize only Jehovah God and his Son Christ Jesus as “The Higher Powers”. (Rom. 13:1)

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, April 1 1950, page 106 + Cover

They had been contaminated with some of the religious practices of the modern Baalworshipers around them, and thus blinded did not frame the message in just the straightforward and uncompromising way that it should have been presented. They looked upon the rulers of the world as the “higher powers” mentioned in Romans 13, were afflicted by a degree of creature worship and fear of man, and did not preach as openly and boldly as they should have. Oppressive worldlings exercised harsh control over them, held them in mental restraint, and jailed many. They were not free for godly combat.

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, June 1 1950, page 166 + Cover

The modern-day Midianites and their allies, the visible agents of Satan that rule over and oppress the peoples of earth, and especially seek to crush those who serve Jehovah, claim to be the “higher powers” mentioned at Romans 13:1. But the antitypical three hundred, the anointed remnant of Christ’s body-members under the command of the Greater Gideon Christ Jesus, dispute that claim. [...] The truth that Jehovah God and Christ Jesus, and not worldly politicians, are the Higher Powers of Romans 13:1 was made clearer and given wider publicity from and after 1929, especially by the June 1 and June 15 Watchtowers of that year. The apostles did not view worldly politicians as the “higher powers”, [...] The knowledge that God and Christ are the Higher Powers put to rout and destroyed the power of worldly authorities over Christians relative to the worship of Jehovah [...] The world leaders clash among themselves, quarreling and fighting and killing one another. Their own actions show they could not be the “higher powers” ; their own confused, internal strife helps kill their claim as such.

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, June 15 1950, page 180, page 181 + Cover

The truth concerning the “higher powers” as being God and Christ was made clear in 1928 and 1929, and since then that pointed truth has been repeatedly wielded as an important part of the sword of the spirit. [...] The more the light of truth shone;

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, June 15 1950, page 182 + Cover

This means liberty for the prisoners held in ignorance and superstition in the Devil’s organization and its religious prison-houses, and, by the Lord’s grace, a great multitude of these are finding their way to the free organization of Jehovah, where they can find liberty and peace. No longer do they look to men as the higher powers whom they must serve and obey. (Rom. 13:1) Jehovah God and Christ Jesus are the higher powers that all the consecrated believers look to, and in them they find rest and security.

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, July 1 1950, page 200, page 201 + Cover

The "appointed times of the Gentiles" expired in 1914, but the Gentile governments still continue as going concerns, wrathful against God's established kingdom. "Caesar" still holds the reins of earthly government, and totalitarian governments are more powerful than ever. We need to know from the Bible that the "superior authorities" to whom Christian souls must be subject are Jehovah God and Christ Jesus, if we want to escape divine wrath. We need to be taught how our first duties are to God, obeying Him as Ruler in preference to men, and then giving to Caesar only what belongs to Caesar. - Rom. 13:1-4 and Matt. 22:21, NW.

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, September 1, 1950 page 283 + Cover

The clergy also quote the apostle's writing at Romans 13:1: "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God." This scripture, they explain, declares that Caesar and like political authorities are the "higher powers" ordained by God, and Christian souls must be subject to them, rendering full obedience to them. Under such ecclesiastical interpretation of the text it has been easy for so-called Christians to be drawn into political movements and be swung over to Nazi, Fascist, Communist state, brutally persecute the true worshipers of Jehovah and the faithful imitators of military aggression for dominating the world and subjecting all peoples to their social, political ideologies.

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, November 15, 1950, page 439 + Cover

But rather than being instructions by the apostle to render to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, Romans 13:1-7 has since 1929 been taken by Jehovah's witnesses to be instructions on rendering to God what belongs to God. Why? Because the expression "the higher powers" is now understood to mean primarily the Most High God and his reigning Son Jesus Christ. Surely there are no powers or authorities higher than these. As rendered by the recently issued New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures Romans 13:1 reads: "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." Jehovah God is the Supreme and Original Authority. [...] Every soul should be subject to him.
In saying "there is no authority except by God", the apostle Paul also meant the authority possessed by God's only begotten Son Jesus Christ. Jesus admitted that his authority came from Jehovah God [...] On the clergy interpretation of Romans 13:1 has been based the Roman Catholic doctrine of the "divine right of kings". Man-made governments since the flood of Noah's day stem from Nimrod's government at Babel or Babylon. [...] The Bible describes political governments under the form of wild beasts. (Dan. 7:1-24) Revelation symbolizes the worldly political system which has dominated the earth since Nimrod's day down to the twentieth century as a beast from the sea. It symbolizes the empire that has dominated the world since the seventeenth century as a beast out of the earth. It symbolizes Satan the Devil as the dragon. Showing symbolically the source of worldly political authority it says: "And the dragon [not God] gave the beast its power and its throne and great authority. And they worshiped the dragon because he gave the authority to the wild beast, and they worshiped the wild beast... Jesus was not anarchistic because he refused to deviate from God's law to please men and devils. Because he recognized that man-made governments did not derive their authority from God but were under the inspiration of Satan, he refused to meddle in them or take the headship over them. It was Satan the Devil, and not God, who offered him all the authority and glory of the kingdoms of this world if Jesus would do an act of worship to Satan. [...]

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, November 15, 1950, page 441, page 442, page 443 + Cover


Clergymen who insist that political powers of this world are the higher authorities to which we are to be subject bring forward certain scriptures to bolster their argument. They quote Daniel's words in interpreting the dream to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon [...] Do not these scriptures prove that the political powers of this world of today draw their authority from Jehovah God and are ordained by him?
The foregoing scriptures must be harmonized with Revelation, chapter 13, and other texts which show the political powers of this world are by and are under the "ruler of this world", "the god of this systern of things." "The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one." [...] The political powers of this world are, therefore, not the "superior authorities" to whom Christian souls are to be subject in every demand they make.

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, November 15, 1950, page 443, page 444 + Cover

In view of not recognizing worldly poIitical powers as the "superior authorities" ordained by God, but recognizing only God and Jesus Christ to be such now, the Christian witnesses conscientiously refrain from taking part in the politics of this world, yes, even from voting. This has been true of them from the first century on.

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, November 15, 1950, page 445 + Cover


Paul was a member of the governing body of the congregation of the first century. He gives the reason for being in subjection to the superior authorities, saying: "The existing authorities stand placed in their relative positions by God." (Rom. 13:1, NW) How could this be true of worldly political governments? There those in official positions are put in by popular vote, by machine party-politics, by dictatorial seizure of power, by executive appointment, by hereditary law of a dynasty, by legislative action or parliamentary appointment. God is not manipulating worldly politics like a political boss. It is only within his theocratic organization that the existing authorities stand placed in various positions with relationship to one another by God.

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, November 15, 1950, page 446 + Cover


Rightfully Jehovah God has reserved for himself the position of Supreme One of the "superior authorities". He shares that position with no one else, trinitarians to the contrary. Whom, then, has he placed next highest with relation to himself? Jesus Christ, who proved his loyalty to his heavenly Father to a violent death in the midst of Satan's hostile world. [...] Further testifying that the Most High God has made Jesus Christ one of the "superior authorities", [...]

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, November 15, 1950, page 447 + Cover

Hence in the theocratic organization the apostles, that is, the "twelve apostles of the Lamb", were next to Jesus Christ the Head. (Rev. 21:14) Hence they formed part of the "superior authorities" to which every Christian soul was to be subject. This is indicated to us by various scriptures. [...] Paul was one of that governing body, and in a number of places he speaks of his authority, which God gave him in the congregation in order to build it up and not tear it down. [...] However, the twentieth-century governing body are not a part of the "superior authorities" as the twelve apostles were. They are subject to the invisible "superior authorities" and merely represent them on earth.
Christ Jesus now is invisibly present in his second par.ou.sia' and is the acting Head Governor over his congregation. [...] In the capacity of Governor with superior authority Jesus in this his second par-ou-sia appoints his anointed slave class to a more responsible service [...]

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, November 15, 1950, page 448 + Cover

The nations of this world, intent on keeping up their own domination of the earth, opposed this theocratic appointment of Christ, and they have since raged and imagined vain things in opposition. Jehovah 's witnesses continue to warn them that they have thus taken a stand against the invincible arrangement of God and will receive adverse judgment from him for it. His fiery judgment will be executed upon them in their utter destruction at the battle of Armageddon. For this special reason the worldly political rulers could not be the "superior authorities" to whom Christian souls are to be subject in everything. Were we to subject ourselves to them in their ideas for perpetuating their political domination of the earth, we would be ranging ourselves with them against Jehovah's kingdom and his Christ. We would then receive judgment to ourselves with them and would suffer annihilation with them at Armageddon.
It is for our good that we subject ourselves to the "superior authorities" and to God's arrangement of them. "For those ruling are an object of fear, not to the good deed, but to the evil. Do you, then, want to have no fear of the authority? Keep doing good, and you will have praise from it; for it is God's minister to you for your good" (Rom. 13:3,4, NW) This cannot be said of worldly rulers, who connive at evildoers and praise and eulogize those who practice wickedness in this system of things. The greatest good deed that a person could perform is to serve God [...]

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, November 15, 1950, page 449, page 450 + Cover

So in the strictest sense the Ruler Jesus Christ is God's minister or servant for our highest good. He assures us of his approval despite the scorn, condemnation and persecution by the rulers of this world. And those in the theocratic organization who represent the "superior authorities" in an official capacity will likewise praise those who do good and will encourage them.
"But if you are doing evil, be in fear: for it is not without purpose that it [the authority] bears the sword; for it is God's minister, an avenger to express wrath upon the one practicing evil." (Rom. 13:4, NW) How true this is in this "time of the end" since 1914! The judgment of the nations is moving ahead. It is a time to fear to do evil. Rather, seek righteousness, meekness and godliness, because Jehovah's authorized Ruler of the new world, Jesus Christ, is on the throne and ruling in the midst of his foes. He is God's avenger and the vindicator of His universal sovereignty.

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, November 15, 1950, page 450 + Cover

In the first century of the Christian congregation the apostles as part of the "superior authorities" exercised considerable power. As inspired spokesmen for God they expressed his judgments against evildoers in the congregation, this in cases being immediately followed by their punishment.

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, November 15, 1950, page 451 + Cover

Then with reference again to Jehovah's theocratic organization Paul adds: "For they are God's public servants constantly serving this very purpose." (Rom. 13:6, NW) Christ and his apostles, clothed with authority from God and thus given superiority within his organization, are and must be his public servants. God keeps a close supervision of them and holds them responsible for the way they use their delegated authority. To him they must in due time render account on how they used their authority in his name. So it behooves these superior authorities under the Most High to serve his purpose constantly for the eternal good of those who subject themselves according to God's will. Christ Jesus and his associates in heaven will do so.

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, November 15, 1950, page 452 + Cover

Paul thus made his charger and appeal to Timothy as strong as possible, before God and Christ, the "higher powers". (Acts 10:38-42; 1 Ki. 22:14; Dan: 3:17, 18; Acts 4:18-20; 5:29,32; Rom. 13:1)

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, December 1, 1950, page 498 + Cover

When God’s witnesses perceived that Jehovah and Christ were the true “higher powers” to whom Christians must be subject, another heavy and grievous weight was lifted from the shoulders of his peopie. (Rom. 13:1)

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, January 1, 1951, page 21 + Cover

‘Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s,’ the clergy chirp parrotlike, and ‘let everyone be subject to the higher powers’. (Matt. 22:21; Rom. 13:1) But, lacking understanding, these modern-day Pharisees have misapplied the Scriptures. [...] No, Christ and the apostles declared that Jehovah God has nothing to do with thiswicked world, that the Devil is “the ruler of this world”, “the god of this system of things,” and “the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one”. [...] Make no mistake about this, the true “higher powers” or “superior authorities” to whom Christians are commanded to subject themselves in worship are Jehovah God and Christ Jesus! Jehovah is the Source of all authority, and to his glorified Son, Christ Jesus, the reigning King of the new world, God has given a name and power and authority second only to himself.

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, May 1, 1951, page 275 + Cover

Christians obey God not only out of a fear of his wrath, but also and primarily out of a good conscience, a conscience trained in its sense of right and wrong by God’s Word. Paul made that point when he was admonishing Christians to be subject to the Higher Powers, Jehovah and Christ: “There is therefore compelling reason for you to be in subjection, not only on account of that wrath but also on account of your conscience.” (Rom. 13:5, NW)

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, February 15, 1952 page 99 + Cover

Jehovah as the great Interpreter makes known the meaning of his revelations in his due time, and speculation by men cannot bring to light the true meaning of prophecy before time. Jehovah has provided a channel, the “faithful and discreet slave” class, [...] (Matt. 24:45, NW) Jehovah’s witnesses themselves are not nor can they be interpreters of prophecies. But as fast as the “superior authorities” Jehovah and Christ Jesus reveal the interpretations through their provided channel that fast do God’s people publish them the world over to strengthen the faith of all lovers of righteousness.

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, April 15, 1952 page 253 + Cover

Among the false stories that the false shepherds tell their flocks, the financiers, the politicians and the common people, are the following: that the political rulers are the “higher powers” of Romans 13:1-4;

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, May 15, 1952 page 294 + Cover


The apostle Paul, a lawyer by profession prior to his becoming a zealous Christian mi nister, with great force points out the preeminent position of true superior authorities in God’s government over his servants. Paul writes, “Let every soul be in subjection to the superior authorities, for there is no authority except by God.”
(Rom. 13:1, NW) These last words, “for there is no authority except by God,” are proof conclusive that the “superior authorities” Paul is speaking of could not refer to the political powers of the Caesar governments. In the Scripture at Revelation 13:2, NW, the Bible specifically states that Satan is the one who has empowered and authorized the old world Caesars. Hence the “superior authorities” in Romans chapter 13 which God commissions includes only the theocratic ruling authorities and excludes Caesar’s authorities.
The Bible clearly identifies these truly superior authorities. First of all, Jehovah God himself, [...] The second in command and the remaining “superior authority” is the consort King Christ Jesus, [...]

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, June 15, 1952 page 375 + Cover

Christians in this twentieth century readily bend the knee in acknowledgment as inferiors that Jehovah and Christ Jesus are the ones to whom they render primary subjection and which divine authorities have the right to lay duties and obligations upon them. Paul continues to say, “The existing authorities stand placed in their relative positions by God.” (Rom. 13:1, NW) Here again is proof that these are the “theocratic superior authorities”, because it is written that “God has set the members in the body, each one of them, just as he pleased”.

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, June 15, 1952 page 376 + Cover

Paul proceeds to strengthen his legal counsel by discussing the primary motive for a Christian’s being in subjection to theocratic superior authorities. [...] “There is therefore compelling reason for you to be in subjection, not only on account of that wrath [sanctions of punishment] but also on account of your conscience.” (Rom. 13:5, NW) The Christian’s conscience having long been trained from the Word of God knows fully what God’s will is and what is the right thing to do to please his heavenly Master. Thus out of our warm love for God which our consciences are constantly bathed with, the Christian unhesitatingly keeps himself in total subjection to Jehovah and his theocratic governing authorities.

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, June 15, 1952 page 377 + Cover

The second, like it, is this: ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” (Matt. 22:37-39, NW) These and the many other rules laid down for Christians in the Christian Greek Scriptures from the true superior authorities, Jehovah God and Christ Jesus, are part of the boundaries of a Christian’s relative freedom.

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, July 1, 1952 page 409 + Cover

However, coming from apostate religious systems these brought with them many beliefs and practices which were, in fact, just so much wood material, hay and stubble. Among such were the beliefs that it was necessary to develop a beautiful character to get to heaven and that that was a Christian’s chief duty; the notion that Christians must appear sanctimonious and pious, evincing more concern over what men thought than over what God thought; false teachings such as that the political powers of this wicked world were the “higher powers” of Romans 13:1 who must be obeyed even though they contradicted God’s expressed commandments;

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, July 15, 1952, page 426 + Cover

It is an old trick of selfish political chieftains to delude their peoples into believing that God and Christ are sectarian or political divinities standing by ready to bless their various schemes. Their followers, through clergy influence, treat these leaders as the “higher powers” or “superior authorities”. (Rom. 13:1, NW) But the Bible clearly brands this as a fraud and shows the people have thus been made “ slaves to those who by nature are not gods” and thus restrained from obtaining God’s true provision for everlasting life, “ the salvation that is in union with Christ Jesus.”—Gal. 4:8; 2 Tim. 2:10, NW.

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, November 15, 1952, page 676 + Cover

“Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of Jehovah is risen upon thee. And nations shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.” (Isa. 60:1, 3, AS) Ah! Zion, glorious city of light, the only city of its kind, built on the pattern of love! What an unspeakable privilege to be in union with Zion’s “superior authorities” , who themselves are the source of its light! What a joy to be in union with its King Christ Jesus, who has the victor’s title, “King of kings and Lord of lords” ! (Rom. 13:1; Rev. 21:23; 19:16, NW)

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, November 15, 1952 page 700 + Cover

And where today is such an upright and fruitful organization to be found? Where is there a theocratic organization headed by the Superior Authorities, Jehovah God and Christ Jesus? Where today is that body of true footstep followers of Christ that is doing the work approved by God, expanding pure worship of Jehovah to the ends of the earth?

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, April 1, 1953 page 212 + Cover

For all diligent, happy talkers of the happy God’s New World society, his protection, preservation and final deliverance into his everlasting new world depend upon our gratefully abiding in and being obedient to his established kingdom under his unconquerable King, Christ Jesus. Unitedly let us therefore continue to subject ourselves to this divine Authority, for the growing praise of Jehovah’s name. — Rom. 13:1, NW.

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, June 1,1954 page 347 + Cover

The term minister (Greek: diakonos) as used in the Greek Scriptures means, literally, a servant. (1 Tim. 4:6, NW) It here refers to one who is a public servant of Jehovah, and is ordained by him, after having first taken the step of dedicating himself by a solemn agreement to do the will of God. Such a minister, in order to prove worthy of the name and retain divine favor, will faithfully strive to carry out whatever commands and commissions are laid upon him by the “superior authorities.” Such a minister will also, of necessity, prove to be a close footstep follower of Jesus Christ, the foremost minister of God, and, like him, will recognize the prior obligation to be a preacher of the good news of Jehovah’s established kingdom by Christ. Thus, like Jesus, he willprove to be one of Jehovah’s witnesses, witnessing to the truth.Rom. 13:1; John 18:37, NW; Isa. 43:10, AS.

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, February 1, 1955 page 86 + Cover

Though Jehovah’s people from the 1870’s to 1918 had gradually changed over much of their basic religious thinking from the corrupt teachings of the Babylonish religion of apostate nominal churches, yet to a great degree they still were held in restraint by tainted bonds of false conceptions and practices inherited from the pagan traditions adopted by Christendom. For example, up to and including their 1918 troubles these witnesses of the Most High God still trusted excessively in so-called “character development,” indulged in considerable creature worship, accepted earthly political governments as the “superior authorities” ordained of God (Rom. 13:1, NW), and thus were held in fear of man, particularly civil rulers. Also they celebrated some pagan holidays, such as Christmas, they used the symbol of the cross as a sign of Christian devotion.

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, May 1, 1955 page 266 + Cover

Timely was the new light of truth on the subject of the “higher powers” published in The Watch Tower for June 1 and June 15, 1929, showing clearly that Jehovah God and Christ Jesus are the true “superior authorities” that must be obeyed. (Rom. 13:1, NW)

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, June 15, 1955, page 367 + page 368 + Cover

Besides that, in verse 1, chapter 13, of Romans we read: “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God.” Yes, “power belongs to God.” (Ps. 62:11, So one future day all the universe must be unified under the all-powerful Ruler of all creation, Jehovah God the Creator. He creates the one government that all creatures in heaven and in earth must bow to, acknowledge and obey. He has already appointed the ruler for that government. It is his once sacrificed Son Jesus Christ, who has now been glorified in heaven, with full power and authority to rule.

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, April 1, 1956 page 203 + Cover

And wicked Goliath, who fought against God's nation Israel, had a brother giant with six digits on each hand and on each foot, and pictured Satan’s visible dictatorial organization that claims to be the “higher powers" instead of acknowledging Jehovah and Christ as such. So six represents a completeness only in man’s sight and falls short of the completeness or perfection that God designates by the number seven. — 1 Ki. 10:14; Dan. 3:1 ; 1 Chron. 20:6; Rom. 13:1.

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, August 1, 1956, page 479, page 480 + Cover

You should cultivate such a keen desire for God’s new world that nothing will be able to pull you away from the theocratic organization and its Higher Powers, Jehovah God and his Son.

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, July 1, 1957 page 410 + Cover

If spiritual Israel, represented today by the remnant, together with their good-will companions are to avoid the disaster that overtook ancient Israel, then they must be obedient to the “superior authorities,” Jehovah God and Christ Jesus.

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, July 15, 1958 page 441 + Cover

Subservient service to the “superior authorities,” Jehovah God and Christ his King, is also demanded of all those keeping their places. “Be slaves to Jehovah,” the Scriptures say.

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, July 15, 1958 page 445 + Cover

But Christendom’s politicians, instructed and supported by the clergy, Catholic and Protestant, have decided that that is the way God’s kingdom should come and rule. So they have proceeded to govern on the theory of the divine right of kings or on the theory that, as the “higher powers” “ordained by God,” they represent God to every soul subject to them. Yet they sit on no “throne of Jehovah.” — Rom. 13:1.

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, October 15, 1958 page 629 + Cover

When the Society began to be freed for further preaching work following World War I, they soon realized they had been held in spiritual bondage too in many ways. There were many false doctrines and practices that had not yet been cleaned out of the organization . Not all of them were recognized at once, but gradually over the years that followed it became evident to what extent the brothers had been in Babylonish captivity at that time. With considerable misunderstanding they had accepted earthly political governments as the "superior authorities" that God had ordained according to Romans 13:1; and as a result the Witnesses had been held in fear of man, particularly the civil rulers.

Source : 🇺🇸 1959 - Jehovahs Witnesses in the Divine Purpose, page 91 + Cover


⚪ The Higher Powers are the governments of this world

But the true believers in God’s kingdom have taken no part in those political movements. They have acted in harmony with the rule of action that God’s inspired writer laid down for the Christians in the Rome of the Caesars of nineteen centuries ago, saying: “Everyone must obey the authorities that are over him, for no authority can exist without the permission of God.” (Rom. 13:1, An American translation) The true Christians have obeyed this rule of action, because they have believed in God’s kingdom and have prayed and waited for it to take worldwide control of the earth, for the glory of God and the endless blessing of the people.
God has let the people and their rulers have their own way on earth long enough. After all the experience that mankind have had till now, they should by now have had enough of human rule without the true God. But today, largely because of refusing to know anything better or because of having faith in nothing better, the people choose to be ruled by so-called Higher Powers or “superior authorities” of the human kind, including democracies or republics of the Western style or of the Eastern style.

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, October 15, 1962 page 614 + Cover

By God’s permission during his time allowance for it we have had the so-called Higher Powers or “superior authorities” in political control of the earth till today. These have been established by God’s permission according to his arrangement of man’s affairs. Hence any religious group that tried to transform these worldly Higher Powers into God’s kingdom by Christ was bound to fail with such a religious counterfeit. The world conditions today prove that Christendom has failed. She is proved to be no instrument in God’s hands, no part of God’s kingdom. — Rom. 13:1, 2.

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, October 15, 1962 page 615 + Cover

Religious organizations in Christendom have been guilty of opposing God’s arrangement. How? By opposing the permitted authorities rather than being in subjection to them. By opposing God's arrangement. How? By opposing the permitted authorities rather than being in subjection to them. How? By meddling in politics and trying to get on top of the State and to dominate it. Every reader of history knows how the Roman Catholics, from the pope on down, have tried to be higher on earth than the “superior authorities” or “higher powers.” (Dy; AV) They have tried to boss the political “higher powers” instead of being subject to them like true Christians. [...] And yet the Roman Catholic Church claims to be the Bride of Christ and to be subject to his orders, such as Christ’s orders given through Paul in Romans 13:1, 2, [...]

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, November 15, 1962 page 692 + Cover

Then there is the relative subjection of all Christians to the superior authorities, the political rulers that have been set in their relative positions by God. Christians cannot escape this subjection so long as both are upon this earth.

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, August 1, 1963 page 471 + Cover

What are the authorities mentioned at Colossians 1:16? Would these authorities include the “superior authorities” of Romans 13:1?—C. W., United States. [...] To what authorities does the apostle Paul here refer? To the “superior authorities” or rulers of this world, mentioned at Romans 13:1? No, those “superior authorities” are said to be placed in their relative positions by God,” not created by God. But the authorities of Colossians 1:16 are spoken of as God’s creation through the Son of God. Moreover, the worldly “superior authorities” could not be said to have been created for him, that is, for Jesus Christ, but, rather, for men upon the earth.

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, September 15, 1963, page 575 + Cover

In Romans 13:1-7 these neutral followers of Jesus Christ are commanded to be subject to the “higher powers” or “superior authorities” of this present earthly system of things. Yet they must be like their Leader Jesus Christ. They must be “no part of the world,” taking no part in the world’s political system and no part in its bloodshed, to which the third plague calls attention.

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, December 15, 1963 page 756 + Cover

When the Gentile Times ended in the early autumn of the year 1914, God’s “woman,” the heavenly Zion or Jerusalem above, gave birth to the Messianic kingdom by means of which Jehovah God would express his own royalty and his sovereignty over the earth. But on earth the spiritual “remnant of her seed” had to pass through the first world war. Because of not then properly understanding a Christian’s strict neutrality toward political conflicts of earth and not understanding the matter of relative subjection to the earthly “higher powers,” the remnant was brought into bondage to Great Babylon.

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, February 1, 1964 page 80 + Cover

As long as we are in the old system of things, we, as Christians, must abide by Caesar’s laws, doing as the Bible instructs: “Be in subjection to the superior authorities.” (Rom. 13:1)

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, March 1, 1965 page 157 + Cover

Wherever they live, Jehovah’s witnesses follow the Bible’s teachings about being in subjection to the rulers of whatever society they live in. The Bible command to Christians is: “Let every soul be in subjection to the superior authorities.” (Rom. 13:1) The Holy Scriptures urge them “to be in subjection and be obedient to governments and authorities as rulers.”

Source : 🇺🇸 The Watchtower, July 15, 1965 page 422 + Cover

The expression "superior authorities" means the political governments or authorities. For this reason the Revised Standard Version Bible uses the expression "governing authorities"; the New Translation of the Bible by James Moffatt uses the expression "government authorities"; J. B. Rotherham's The Emphasised Bible, "protecting authorities."But The Complete Bible: An American Translation uses the simple expression "authorities that are over him." According to what the apostle Paul writes before these verses (Romans 13:1, 2) and after, it is plain that he means "authorities," not inside the "congregation of God," but outside the congregation and hence the political governmental authorities.

Source : 🇺🇸 1966 - Life everlasting in Freedom of the Sons of God, page 189 + Cover

This last interpretation is still taught today (2017)


🔴 Is the light of the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses increased ?

But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

Proverbs 4:18 - King James Version (KJV)  

1) ⚪ The first belief of JW : The Higher Powers are the governments of this world (Up to 1929)
2) ⚫ The new light of 1929 : The Higher powers are not the governments of this world (1929 to 1962)
3) ⚪ The new light of 1962 : The Higher Powers were the governments of this world (1962 onwards)

Can two lights that contradict each other for decades come from Jehovah?

Is the Watchtower Society really bringing forth "New Light" ?


This new light was in fact already the belief of Christians : Clergymen who insist that political powers of this world are the higher authorities to which we are to be subject bring forward certain scriptures to bolster their argument. (The Watchtower, November 15, 1950, p.443)

What is the meaning of a new light ?

A new light always comes to supplement a preceding one, and not to contradict it. This is the analogy with the light of day. (Proverbs 4:18)

Let's take an example, by night I see the silhouette of an elephant, I am frightened.


Then the brightness of the light increases, I see the green leaves that make up the sculpted elephant. Here I am reassured


This example teaches us that the initial form of the elephant has not changed with the brightness of light. What I saw first always exists. The role of light has therefore been to provide additional details to what already existed..

Now, contrary to this, we have just read above, that the first interpretation gave place to a second one that came to contradict it (and not to supplement it). Then, a few years later, a third interpretation came to contradict the second (and not to complete it).


A fountain does not cause the sweet and the bitter to bubble out of the same opening, does it?

NWT - James 3:11