They are no part of the world, just as I am no part of the world. John 17:16
Jesus spoke these words with regard to his followers. What does that mean, to be “no part of the world?”
To Jehovah’s Witnesses, it means strict political neutrality, among other things.
Some look askance at that. Is that not hiding one’s head in the sand? Is it not irresponsible? We must change the world for the better: that message comes through loud and clear from most of the world‘s decent people. And how can we do that if we’re apolitical?
But here is an analogy that will perhaps help one to see the JW point of view.
You must pretend that you are an ambassador from a foreign country…..say Krukordistan. As such, you live in Washington DC or London, or Ottawa, or Paris. You learn to adapt to all laws and customs locally. You come to love the land in which you live, and its people. But...when it comes to the politics of your host country, you don't really take a position...nor does anyone expect you to. It is not your business...your business is to represent Krukordistan. Even if heavy issues develop and positions evolve for which, since you live here, you may have some feelings, still, it is not your job to take sides. Your lack of involvement is not because of callousness, or apathy, or lack of interest in fellowman...but it is simply not your place, representing Krukordistan, to take sides in the disputes of your host country.
The Bible uses that exact analogy with respect to Christians representing God’s Kingdom.
We are therefore ambassadors substituting for Christ, as though God were making entreaty through us. As substitutes for Christ we beg: “Become reconciled to God. 2 Cor 5:20
In fact, it is not unlike a verse describing Abraham:
By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed in going out into a place he was destined to receive as an inheritance; and he went out, although not knowing where he was going. By faith he resided as an alien in the land of the promise as in a foreign land, and dwelt in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the very same promise. For he was awaiting the city having real foundations, the builder and maker of which [city] is God. Heb 11:8-10
Now, God’s Kingdom is something very real to Jehovah‘s Witnesses. It is the government with which God will bring an end to human rule, unite all peoples, restore earth to it’s original paradise state, and extend everlasting life to all those under it’s rule. We view it as the only hope for mankind. No amount of tweaking of human governments will ever approach what God brings through his own rule.
We believe that it rules from heaven now, and will shortly extend its rule earth wide. Those who believe in it are charged to represent it, to announce it….in effect, to act as ambassadors of that government.
And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin. And the kingdom itself will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite… Dan 2:44
It’s not that Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t care about current events. That’s not what makes them apolitical. Instead, we are convinced that we can best serve humanity by announcing this incoming government. We don’t bring about this government. God does. We only try to represent it. As you might imagine, this stance keeps us united. You might consider our faith to be of a more fundamental variety. (Not to be confused with fundamentalists. We disagree with them in almost every respect, other than the existence of God, and they with us.) Our faith is not a tool for reforming the hopelessly corrupt and selfish ruling systems of today. It is a tool for announcing a superior arrangement of God. We do not think that Adam and Eve were repentant. (the Muslim viewpoint) Rather, their rebellious spirit continues to this day, and is manifested in today’s governments.
There is something in the air today….a belligerence, an unreasonableness, a spirit of vengeance. All are in it’s grip. Do you sense it?
But know this, that in the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here. For men will be ….blasphemers…. unthankful, disloyal….not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness….betrayers, headstrong….having a form of godly devotion but proving false to its power…. 2 Tim 3:1-5
Will nations, peoples, tongues ever come together of their own accord? Is there the slightest evidence of that happening now or any reasonable expectation that it will?
Or will peace come only when God extends his Kingdom rule earth wide?
Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done
On earth, as it is in heaven. Matt 6: 10