The Herald of Jehovah's Kingdom
The Herald of Jehovah's Kingdom
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth.
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The International Association Jehovah's Witnesses

Themes Archive

 
Value of the Truth
 
    It is nineteen centuries since the great Teacher of truth gave this parting instruction to his little band of disciples: "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy [spirit] : teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you ahvay, even unto the end of the world. Amen." (Matt. 28:18-20) It is likewise nineteen centuries since the Roman governor asked that same Teacher, "What is truth?" and yet hundreds of millions in so-called "Christendom", of all nationalities, continue to ask the question, "What is truth?" Religion is responsible for the lack of the knowledge of the truth by the common people. The hundreds of religious systems have taken away the "key of knowledge" by teaching religion in place of truth, and as a consequence the people have been prevented from knowing either the sound of the truth or its life-saving value. Hence the urgency of Jesus' command to go forth and teach all nations whatsoever he has commanded becomes more pressing upon those now truly his followers.
    One who has a clear perception of the truth possesses knowledge. To know means to perceive, grasp and clearly understand what is truth. Without the truth no one can properly be informed. Jesus, who spoke with complete authority, says concerning Jehovah's Word, the Bible, "Thy word is truth"; meaning that Jehovah's purpose, as recorded in his Book the Bible, is the truth. (John 17:17) It is by receiving a knowledge of the truth and by a full obedience to it that men may be qualified to be used in the service of the Most High God and to receive at his hands the great riches that come from his boundless treasure house.
    Men have formed religious organizations and have caused such organizations to promulgate dogmatic statements, teachings or creeds, which are held up as a guide to the people, but by which millions of persons have been deceived.
    There is, for instance, the Roman Catholic Hierarchy, which is made up of a few men comparatively that assume authority to rule and govern; and such Hierarchy rules and controls millions of persons who are submissive to the Hierarchy in blind fear. Such persons are not counted as members of the Roman Catholic Hierarchy or as of "the church", but are designated by that organization as "the Catholic population", meaning that they are the ones who bear up, support and furnish the money for such organization. The Roman Catholic Hierarchy has put before the people certain dogmatic statements and traditions and told the people that they must follow the same. Millions of good persons have been induced to follow and obey the Hierarchy, and by its doctrines they have been greatly deceived. They are deceived because such dogmatic statements and traditions put forth by the Hierarchy are not in harmony with Jehovah God's truth.
    The Hierarchy has been diligent to keep from the people the Bible in order that the people might be kept in subjection to the Hierarchy. Being in subjection to the Hierarchy, those millions of honest persons are not free, but are in bondage to a man-made organization. They can never be free until they break away and cease following the doctrines of men, and receive and follow the truth as set forth in the written Word of God. To such persons in bondage and who are honest the words of Jesus apply: "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. . . . If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." (John 8:31-36) True knowledge, therefore, means to know the truth as spoken by Jesus and as set forth in the Holy Scriptures.
    The value of the truth to man cannot be overstated. The Scripture texts which follow should be carefully considered by all who desire to share in the enduring riches which God has provided for obedient man. "The fear of the LORD [Jehovah] is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction." (Prov. 1:7) "Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; if thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD [Jehovah], and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly. He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints. Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path. When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul; discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee: to deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things."—Prov. 2:3-12.
    Further, through his Word of inspiration, Jehovah God says: "Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold. For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it." (Prov. 8:10,11) "Wise men lay up knowledge." (Prov. 10:14) "And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches. A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength." (Prov. 24:4, 5) It is only the wise that will ever receive and enjoy the true riches that God has provided for obedient men.
    Within the meaning of the Scriptures the "wise man" is he that gains a knowledge of God's truth and then diligently follows and obeys the same. He is the man that gets wisdom. "Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her."—Prov. 3:13-15.
    Material riches honestly obtained and possessed and used in a proper way result in good; but such riches are not to be compared with a knowledge of the truth. "How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!" (Prov. 16:16) "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding."—Prov. 9:10.
    The fear of the Lord, as above mentioned, does not mean a morbid dread that gnaws at the mind, but means to fear to do what is contrary to the Word of God and thereby to displease Jehovah. "The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate."—Prov. 8:13.
    Such proper fear means to "hate", and hence to refrain from doing, anything that works injury to another; to avoid pride and arrogancy, because such are displeasing to God; and to hate and hence to avoid the way of any who substitute for God's Word of truth the theories of men and thereby mislead others. Fear means to refrain from and to hate anything that is fraudulent. The one that will please God must pursue the course as instructed by the Lord, to wit: "As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith," and then let the Lord do the judging. (Gal. 6:10; Rom. 14:4) As you gain a knowledge of the truth be diligent to pursue the truth and to present the truth to others as you have an opportunity and to do good to them thereby and show an appreciation of God's goodness toward you. A knowledge of God's truth must be had before anyone could possibly receive the riches of God's gift. It therefore follows that any man or organiza-tion that has kept you in ignorance of the Bible and has induced you to refrain from reading books and magazines that explain the Bible, such man or organization has been instrumental in keeping you in ignorance of God's means of bestowing his blessings upon you. The Holy Scriptures were written that man might have an opportunity to know the truth. No man or company of men has the right to make merchandise of the people by assuming to teach them religious errors in the name of the Lord God.
    Because Jehovah God is love, and is therefore entirely unselfish, he has made provision for the salvation and blessing of man. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16) Moved by unselfishness, Jehovah God has at great cost to himself by the giving of his beloved Son opened the way for human creatures to live, to become the receivers of the riches of his blessing, and to demonstrate thereafter their integrity toward Him. The material riches which men of the world gain are always accompanied sooner or later with much sorrow. The blessings which Jehovah God bestows bring exactly the opposite result. "The blessing of the LORD, it raaketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it." (Prov. 10: 22) Without exception, God's blessing bestowed upon man is accompanied with peace and joy.
    For the assurance and benefit of those who are diligently seeking truth and the knowledge and understanding of God's Word of truth, it is written: "The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward." —Ps. 19:7-11.
    The man who follows the law of God will never be brought to sorrow. It is only when he departs from the law of God that sorrow comes upon him. Knowledge and understanding of God's law, and obedience thereto, are to be desired above everything else.
    True riches proceed from Jehovah God and are administered by Christ Jesus to the faithful obedient creature. To the man who gains knowledge, and walks in the way of the Lord God, these precious promises are given, namely: "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper." (Ps. 1:1-3) The apostle and faithful servant of Jesus Christ, having shared in some of the riches of Jehovah's great treasure house, says to his fellow creatures who seek to walk in the right way: "[I] cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power."—Eph. 1:16-19.
    Instructing his disciples Jesus said: "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Matt. 6:19-21) These words apply to those called to be followers and body-members of Christ Jesus, to be sure; but they also apply to all who will do the will of God and who will live forever in health and happiness.
    Does a person have to go to heaven in order to lay up treasures in heaven ? No. A person may lay up treasures in heaven even though he has no hope of going to heaven. All riches of enduring treasures proceed from heaven. Riches from God's treasure house result to those who receive a knowledge of God's purposes, as stated in his Word of truth, and who then are diligent in their endeavors to do the will of God. Jehovah God in heaven is the Source of riches, and Christ Jesus is the Dispenser thereof as Jehovah's servant. Men who devote themselves to acquiring material riches on earth and ignore the instruction of the Lord are acquiring that which perishes and disappears Those who devote themselves to know and to do the will of God are laying up riches that endure forever. The riches that obedient men shall receive on earth come from heaven. Jehovah God is the giver of every good and perfect gift. —Jas. 1:17.
    The treasure which many have been laying up on this earth will avail them nothing in the end. Selfishness has moved men to build up great material wealth, and this they have done at the cost of much suffering to others. Therefore their treasure is of no lasting value to them. Concerning such it is written, in James 5:2, 3: "Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days." Those days are here.
    The words of Jesus in the sermon on the mount show that riches thus acquired are not availing or helpful in time of world distress or of great need such as now immediately before the world's destruction in the battle of Armageddon. The man of good-will who desires to know and to do what is pleasing to the Almighty God diligently searches God's Word in order to gain a knowledge of God and Christ and to learn the right way. Thus he finds how he may lay up treasures in heaven that shall be available to him and bringing everlasting joy and comfort throughout the endless New World of light and truth. Those who set their hearts to do the will of God will find such treasures of riches. These riches proceed from God and are his blessing upon obedient man, and with such blessing God adds no sorrow, but, on the contrary, adds lasting peace and happiness.