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

 
Let God Be True
 
    To win the confidence of intelligent living creatures God must be true. He must be faithful to his promise, reliable regarding his prophecies, and harmonious with proved scientific facts. There is such a God of truth. But not only have those who are his outspoken enemies tried to discredit him, but also most of those who claim to be his servants, priests and ministers. These religious hypocrites have gone so far as to pit their word, their wisdom, philosophies, predictions and plans against God's word, law and purposes. So in this day when all unfounded theories and systems are being shaken from top to bottom, the issue has
now become, Who is to be found true, God or man?

    The vast universe which we see is founded upon truth. Its Creator is the great God of truth. He is the One whom the peoples of Christendom have all claimed to worship in common, but their centuries-old religious differences, quarrels and errors have brought reproach upon both Him and the written Word which he has given mankind. Bewildered seekers for truth have in many cases said in hopelessness: "Oh, the Bible is an old fiddle upon which you can play any old tune." If true, that would mean that the Bible's Author was all mixed up and divided against himself. But this could not be so of the God whose visible creation of the universe is marvelously harmonious and at unity with itself. Reasonably, then, his Book, the Bible, could not be all mixed up and allowing any interpretation to be made of it. The mix-up lies with its would-be interpreters, the religious leaders of this so-called "Christendom", who disagree among themselves, and violently so at times. Hence, as the reader approaches the study of the Bible with this book in hand, he is neither being invited nor being led to study God's Word according to the perplexing, mysterious religious errors of Christendom. He is asked to study according to what God himself has to say in his own Word. "For God is not a God of confusion, but of peace." – 1Corinthians 14:33.

    To arrive at truth we must dismiss religious prejudices from heart and mind. We must let God speak for himself. Any other course would lead only to further confusion. What if men, religious and nonreligious, have discredited and belittled the Bible and have placed men's opinions and traditions above it? What if religious leaders have rejected the Bible's straight testimony? What if the highly esteemed clergy of Christendom have been found false and misleading? Do these shocking and disappointing facts change the Bible itself or its message of truth? Sound thinking assures us that the true and living God must have given searching mankind some inspired written revelation about himself. That being so, then let our stand be that of one of the Bible writers who said: "What, then, is the case? If some did not express faith, will their lack of faith perhaps make the faithfulness of God without effect? Never may that happen! But LET GOD BE FOUND TRUE, though every man be found a liar, even as it is written: `That you might be vindicated in your words and might win when you are being judged.' " – Romans 3:3,4.

    To let God be found true means to let God have the say as to what is the truth that sets men free. It means to accept his Word, the Bible, as the truth. Hence, in this book, our appeal is to the Bible for truth. Our obligation is to back up what is said herein by quotations from the Bible for proof of truthfulness and reliability. That is the course the inspired writers and faithful characters of the Bible took and recommended. Isaiah, a major prophet, asked God's chosen people: When spiritualists advise you to inquire of mediums and wizards who whisper and mutter mysteriously, ought you not as God's people inquire rather of him? Should you try to inquire of the dead in behalf of the living? Then Isaiah gave the safe advice: "(Hold) to the law and to the testimony: if they are not to speak according to this word, in which there is no light." (Isaiah 8:19, 20) "To the law rather, and to the testimony. And if they speak not according to this word, they shall not have the morning light." (Isaias 8:20) There is no light of truth in the teachings of worldly men who are under the influence of superhuman invisible demons, wicked spirits who are primarily responsible for the darkness of this world. Unless we seek direct to the law and testimony of God's written Word, we shall never attain to the light the beams of which show that the morning of a new world of righteousness is at hand.

    None of the Bible writers, from Malachi back to Moses, make any mention of an oral law or traditional law as existing alongside the written Word of God. Nowhere do they declare that the oral traditions of religious men are on an equality with the recorded Word of God or that the written Word is incomplete without such oral traditions. The prophet Moses earnestly declared against adding the oral traditions of uninspired men to God's given law and testimony. Moses said: "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, nor shall ye diminish aught from it; that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you." (Deuteronomy 4:2) God's written Word is pure without such man-made traditions; and those who teach and hold to such traditions and who value them as equal to the written Word or even higher than it make liars of themselves. "Every saying of God is purified: he is a shield unto those that put their trust in him. Do not add aught unto his words: lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar." – Proverbs 30:5, 6.

    God inspired his prophet Isaiah to speak out in strong words against those who claim to be God's people but who practice hypocrisy by following the precepts and traditions of men rather than the inspired Scriptures. "And the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is but the acquired precept of men: therefore, behold, I will do yet farther a marvellous work with this people, doing wonder on wonder; so that the wisdom of their wise men shall be lost, and the understanding of their prudent men
shall be hidden." – Isaiah 29:13,14.

    WRITTEN WORD VERSUS TRADITION

    Because of this very controversy over the traditions and precepts of religious leaders the great Teacher from Nazareth came into conflict with the rabbis of the first century of the Christian era. About this we read the following record: "Then Scribes and Pharisees from Jerusalem came to him, saying, `Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the ancients? For they do not wash their hands when they take food.' But he answered and said to them, `Why do you too transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? For God said, "Honor thy father and thy mother"; and, "Let him who curses father or mother be put to death." But you say, "Whoever shall say to his father or mother, `Any support thou mightest have had from me is dedicated to God,' does not have to honor his father or his mother." So you have made void the commandment of God by your tradition. Hypocrites, well did Isaias prophesy of you, saying, "This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; but in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines precepts of men."'" (Matthew 15:1-9) Thus the religious traditionalists were proved to be liars and breakers of God's written law; whereas the honest Teacher from Nazareth was letting God be found true because he appealed to God's written Word and followed it.

    This is certain: The old Hebrew Scriptures do not teach us to put faith in the oral traditions of religionists. Such traditions men have since recorded and published as being equal to the inspired Scriptures or even superior to the Scriptures where there is a conflict between the two. During our first century the inspired Christian Scriptures were written in Greek, but neither do these teach us to accept and rely upon the traditions and moral precepts of men who claim to be Christian clergy. Hundreds of times those Christian Greek Scriptures quote and refer to God's written Word contained in the Hebrew Scriptures. Those Scriptures were the only ones Jesus of Nazareth had in those days, and referring to them in prayer to God for his disciples he said: "Sanctify them by means of the truth; your word is truth." – John 17:17.

    In declaring his mission on earth Jesus, while at the synagogue in Nazareth, called for the Scripture roll of the prophecy of Isaiah and read from its sixty-first chapter, verses one and two. (Luke 4:16-21) He later said: "Do not think I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I came, not to destroy, but to fulfill; for truly I say to you that sooner would heaven and earth pass away than for the smallest letter or one particle of a letter to pass away from the Law by any means and not all things take place." To the religionists who did not believe in him he gave the advice to believe God's written Word: "You are searching the Scriptures, because you think that by means of them you will have everlasting life; and these are the very ones that bear witness about me. In fact, if you believed Moses you would believe me, for that one wrote about me. But if you do not believe the writings of that one, how will you believe my sayings?" – Matthew 5:17, 18 and John 5:39, 46, 47.

    In no case did he appeal to the rabbinic schools of teaching with their traditions and precepts of men. He faithfully referred his disciples to God's Word, thereby to glorify God as true, though at the same time it proved the publicly respected religious leaders liars.
The case of Jesus of Nazareth is an example. It makes certain that men who follow the interpretations of religionists and who put human traditions before the sacred written Word will surely oppose and persecute his faithful followers who proclaim God's pure Word. One of Jesus' own followers uses himself as an illustration to show how a blind adherence to religious traditions and systems leads a person into opposition to those who hold to God's Word as true. Paul, a follower of Jesus, makes this confession: "You, of course, heard about my conduct formerly in Judaism, that to the point of excess I kept on persecuting the congregation of God and devastating it, and I was making greater progress in Judaism than many of my own age in my race, as I was far more zealous for the traditions of my fathers." – Galatians 1:13,14.

    Paul knew how the religious traditions had for a time blinded him to the truth in the writings of Moses and of the other prophets and the Psalms. He also foreknew that men pretending to be Christian clergymen would develop a system of religious traditions and precepts and would thereby hide the truth from the members of the religious organizations. So he wrote: "Beware lest any man cheat you by philosophy and vain deceit; according to the tradition of men, according to the elements of the world and not according to Christ." (Colossians 2:8) Paul knew that such traditions would be lies and would offer a way of salvation different from what is contained in the inspired written Word of God. The people of today whom religious traditions have misled away from the good news as recorded in the sacred Bible do well to consider Paul's counsel, namely: "There are some who trouble you, and wish to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel to you other than that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema! As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone preach a gospel to you other than that which you have received, let him be anathema!" – Galatians 1:7-9.

    Therefore Paul stuck close to God's written Word when he taught and preached. He also allowed his hearers to check up on him with their copies of the Scriptures. In fact, Paul's personal physician, Luke, pronounced those persons noble who did so, rather than denouncing them for reading the Bible to test the truthfulness of an apostle. Luke writes: "The brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea. Who, when they were come thither, went into the synagogue of the Jews. Now these were more noble than those in Thessalonica, who received the word with all eagerness, daily searching the scriptures, whether these things were so." (Acts 17:10,11) Hence, when a religious organization forbids its members to read the Bible and requires its members to accept what its clergymen teach without comparing their teachings with the Holy Scriptures, such religious organization belies its claim that it is apostolic.

    Paul's fellow apostle, Peter, was of the same mind on the matter of giving first place to the Holy Scriptures. Peter quoted again and again from the Hebrew Scriptures and wrote: "But the word o f the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel hath been preached unto you." – 1 Peter 1:25.

    Nowhere in Peter's writings or in his recorded utterances does he claim infallibility or assume any high-sounding religious titles or ask for worshipful honors to be rendered him. Always he turns his hearers or readers to the changeless Word of God as their shining guide until the day of God's kingdom dawns.

    Therefore in this book in the hands of the reader we choose to follow the apostolic course. We shall let God be found true by turning any sincerelly people to his imperishable written Word. Knowing that God by his holy spirit inspired the Holy Scriptures, thus making them reliable, we choose to let him do the interpreting. How? By his records of fulfilled prophecy and by the things he has caused to occur in modern history to fulfill prophecies due to come to pass in our day.