Elders now are "Glorious Ones"

B J Kotwall

(Investigator No. 60 1998 May)

In the past the Watchtower Society (WTS) claimed that the "glorious ones" in 2 Peter 2:10-12 and Jude 8 are of the "anointed" or "144,000" or "remnant" of such.

Recently this changed and the "glorious ones" are now the Jehovah’s Witness (JW) elders. (Note some Bibles translate the Greek doxa, as "celestial beings" or "dignities" instead of "glorious ones".)

In the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (1984) the two verses say:

…especially, however, those who go on after flesh with the desire to defile [it] and who look down on lordship. Daring, self-willed, they do not tremble at glorious ones but speak abusively, whereas angels, although they are greater in strength and power, do not bring against them an accusation in abusive terms, [not doing so] out of respect for Jehovah. (2 Peter 2:10-11)

In like manner, notwithstanding, these men, too, indulging in dreams, are defiling the flesh and disregarding lordship and speaking abusively of glorious ones. Jude 8

Some quotations showing the previous teaching:
  The apostle Peter speaks of some who show great disrespect for God and his anointed servants, describing them as "daring [from Greek tol·me·tes', "presumptuous," KJ], self-willed, they do not tremble at glorious ones but speak abusively."  Such men, Peter says, "suffer destruction in their own course of destruction." – 2Pe 2:10,12.
Insight on the Scriptures (1988) Vol. 2 p. 681

(Ungodly) men were "disregarding lordship and speaking abusively of glorious ones," evidently maligning such individuals as anointed Christian overseers who had certain glory conferred upon them. (Jude 3, 4, 8)
Watchtower 92 November 15 p. 22

Unlike the archangel Michael, who would not even bring a judgment against the Devil in abusive terms, the ungodly men spoke abusively of "glorious ones," evidently those with certain glory conferred upon them by God and Christ as anointed elders. Let us not show disrespect for God-given authority!
Watchtower 91 April 15 p. 31

Surely, we do not want to be like the "ungodly men" of Jude's day who disregarded lordship and spoke abusively of glorious ones, anointed Christian elders with God-given glory, or honor, conferred upon them. Jude 3, 4, 8.
Watchtower 89 September 15 p.22

The new Light in The Watchtower of September l, 1997 pp. 15, 16 says:
  Peter singles out ones who are especially reserved for God’s judgment, namely, "those who...look down on lordship." We can almost feel Peter's indignation as he says: "Daring self-willed, they do not tremble at glorious ones but speak abusively." Jude writes that "these men...indulging in dreams...are speaking abusively of glorious ones." (2 Peter 2:10; Jude 8)... In what sense, though, do they "look down on lordship" and speak "abusively of glorious ones"? They do so in that they despise divinely constituted authority. Christian elders represent the glorious Jehovah God and his Son and, as a result, have certain glory conferred upon them ... the Scriptures urge members of the congregation to be submissive to such glorious ones. (Hebrews 13:17)

So now all JW elders in the WTS are "divinely constituted authority". They represent "Jehovah and Jesus" on earth; they are the "glorious ones" and other JWs are required to "tremble" at them!

No explanation for the change is provided in The Watchtower of September 1.

Some ex JWs I spoke to think that due to the dwindling ranks (by last WTS’s count 8757 persons) of the "anointed" the WTS is now grooming the elders of the "other sheep" class to take up the mantle of the "anointed".

More glorious information available here:

Dictionary of Jehovah's Witnesses at: