Updated: Dec 15, 2020
You will no doubt recognize that question asked by Pilate when he interrogated Jesus. It was an instinctive reply to our Lord when he stated: “For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is on the side of the truth listens to my voice.” (John 18:37) Are you “on the side of the truth”? How important is truth in your worship?
Truth is defined as knowledge that is in accordance with fact or reality. It is the exact opposite of that which is false. There is no cohesive intermingling or mixing of true and false. The two are like oil and water, and by their nature are opposed to, and distinguish themselves from, each other.
Understanding the difference between true and false is fundamental to knowing and having a relationship with the one “true God”. (John 17:3) John 4:24 states “God is a Spirit, and those worshipping him must worship with spirit and truth.” Truth is how we worship God. As the Scripture says we 'must worship God with truth'. It would therefore be unacceptable to our Father if we were to incorporate anything into our worship that is untrue, or not in harmony with the reality presented to us through the Scriptures.
As Jesus disciples we hold as precious the truths we have gleaned through the holy spirit from God's Word. We know who God is. We know who Jesus is and his role in sanctifying our Father's name and vindicating his sovereignty. We recognize the holy spirit and how God uses it to accomplish his purposes. We know why we grow old. We understand why we die, and that a resurrection awaits all those now sleeping in death. All these truths we cherish and thank our Father for as part of our worship.
However, some things in the Scriptures are "hard to understand". (2 Peter 3:16)These things usually are about illustrations or prophecy. Jesus' disciples were often perplexed regarding the significance of illustrations he gave. When they approached him after he finished speaking to the crowds, they were given the truth he was teaching. As disciples we also wish to be granted the privilege “to understand the sacred secrets of the Kingdom of the heavens”. (Matthew 13:10,11) However we need to distinguish the difference between being given an accurate explanation by the holy spirit through the Scriptures of what we are seeking to understand, and pushing ahead presumptuously with an explanation of our own invention.
Christ's pupils are admonished to seek for accurate knowledge. Jesus said “Keep on asking, and it will be given you; keep on seeking, and you will find; keep on knocking, and it will be opened to you; for everyone asking receives, and everyone seeking finds, and to everyone knocking, it will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7) The instruction is clear: humbly and consistently ask our Father, and he will make it known to you.
While it is understandable that we would like God to give us an explanation for everything we inquire about, it is critical that we also recognize there are some things that 'it does not belong to us to know'. (Acts 1:7) Humility helps us to acknowledge that fact so we can avoid pushing ahead presumptuously and stumbling others.
How does our Father view members of the congregation who decide to push ahead and publish inaccurate views and explanations of Bible prophecy? As just admonished we can find the answer to this question by seeking it out in the Scriptures.
Hymenaeus and Philetus are an example we find in the Scriptures of members of the congregation promoting their own ideas as 'truth'. (2 Timothy 2:16-18) What were these men doing? Verses 18 states “these men have deviated from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already occurred.” Were these men teaching that brothers who had died were already being resurrected to heavenly life? Or were they promoting a doctrine that upon being baptized the disciples were in some sense 'resurrected' and that there was no future resurrection, a wrong idea that Paul addressed at 1 Corinthians 15:12-23? The 'truth' is we cannot say definitively. We know what they were teaching was of their own originality and not from our Father, a false doctrine. What was the result of promoting this false doctrine? Paul continued saying, “they are subverting the faith of some.” Indeed false explanations and interpretations are things that can 'subvert our faith', and do not originate with the God of truth. As the apostle John stated “no lie originates with the truth” (1 John 2:21)
Peter warned us that “there will also be false teachers among you.” (2 Peter 2:1) Paul gave a similar warning by way of a prophetic statement to Timothy saying: “they will surround themselves with teachers to have their ears tickled. They will turn away from listening to the truth and give attention to false stories.” (2 Timothy 4:3,4) Jesus likewise warned that Satan would place individuals among us in his illustration of the wheat and the weeds. He said that rather than removing them immediately, to “let both grow together until the harvest.” (Matthew 13:30) The men who assert themselves as teachers over Jesus disciples today state definitively that the harvest Jesus mentioned started in 1914, and that since 1918 all weeds have been removed. So if these men are correct, than there would be no more false teachers alongside Christ's disciples since the year 1918.
Is that true?
In that year of 1918 they said the end would come. In 1920 tgey said the ancient patriarchs and prophets, "the faithful ones of old", would be resurrected to earthly life in 1925 as a prelude to a general physical resurrection. In 1929, the Watch Tower Society procured a Spanish mansion named Beth Sarim a home for these resurrected ones to live in. By the time the Great Depression was ravaging the world, Rutherford had moved in and enjoyed living there in luxury while our brothers were struggling to find their next meal. What about 1975? The generation of 1914? The cry of "peace and security", and on and on?
The point in bringing these things up is not to tear down or criticize. Rather we need to acknowledge mistakes and open our eyes to the truth. Either Peters' admonition warning us about false teachers among us is relevant, or it is not. Christ's illustration bringing our attention to the fact that Satan has plotted to sow false disciples alongside genuine disciples is applicable for us, or it is not. Have some in the congregation embraced turning "away from listening to the truth" to "give attention to false stories", or not? Is it wrong for us to question those who have taken up the mantel as teachers over the congregation of God, claiming to be his 'only approved channel' for understanding the Scriptures? Again we need to seek out an accurate answer from the Bible.
We have as an example the Beroeans at Acts 17:10,11. Paul and Silas visited the local synagogue and taught them the truth about Christ. As we well know these brothers were not by any means 'false teachers'. We know to the contrary that Paul was personally commissioned by Jesus himself. Did the Beroeans accept everything they were told because Paul was serving as 'God's approved channel' for disseminating truth? While they did embrace what they were hearing “with the greatest eagerness of mind”, the Scripture goes on to tell us that they carefully examined “the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so”. How did God view these individuals who questioned the Scriptural basis for what these men were teaching? They are acknowledged in his Word as being “noble-minded”. Would we be less “noble-minded” if we were to 'carefully examine the Scriptures' to make sure that the things we are being taught today are true?
Many in the CCJW (Christian Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses) condemn and criticize members of Christendom for putting their faith in whatever they are taught by their religious leaders. Instead of examining the Scriptures for themselves and discerning the truth, Christendom relies on church leaders to interpret the Scriptures for them. Many in the CCJW perceive that they “are a guide of the blind, a light for those in darkness, a corrector of the unreasonable ones, - - - , and having the framework of the knowledge and of the truth” (Romans 2:19,20) If this reflects our thinking Paul’s words in verse 21 should have a profound impact on our hearts when he says “do you, however, the one teaching someone else, not teach yourself.”
Are we free from hypocrisy in this matter? Do we put faith in doctrines because we were told to do so by religious leaders, or have we 'carefully examined the Scriptures' for ourselves to see whether these things are true'? (1 John 4:1)
Can it be reasonably, and logically explained from the Scriptures how the year 1914 is prophesied? Do the Scriptures state this as an essential doctrine that Jesus disciples must believe if they want to be a part of his Kingdom? Or do the Scriptures specifically state that putting faith in this doctrine will lead to our destruction? (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12) Does the Bible explain how a 'generation' can reasonably span more than a century of time? Is there a Scripture explaining how the great tribulation begins with 'Babylon the Great' being destroyed? Did Jesus proclaim that he would appoint a group of men that would perform no powerful works, having no verifiable testimony from the holy spirit as to their God given authority, to rule over his disciples?
Sadly, few in the congregation today are able to explain why they believe these teachings. Many simply accept what they are told, because they have decided to trust those asserting Christ's authority over them today. Is it asking to much of us to discern if these doctrines are supported in the Scriptures?
If we represent Christ Jesus it is critical that we make absolutely sure of what we teach as doctrine. It is simply unacceptable to proclaim something as truth because others have told us it is so. Doing that makes us no better than members of Christendom. We must be sanctified by preaching only what we know for a certainty is truth. Jesus words verify this fact when he said regarding us “sanctify them by means of the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:17)
God's Word is in fact the only source of truth, and it is our responsibility as Jesus disciples to carefully examine it to discern the truth today.
Many of the CCJW's doctrines have been 'adjusted', or 'clarified' multiple times throughout the years since their original inceptions. Christ's presence was originally said to have begun in 1874, and 1914 was the year this system was supposed to end. In the 1930's there was an adjustment made stating that Christ's presence began in 1914 as well as the great tribulation. Half a century later it was decided the tribulation doesn't begin at the same time as Christ's presence, despite all indications in the Scriptures that these two events commence at the same time. In the 1960's publications stated as a matter of fact that when this system ends some individuals who were 15 years old in 1914 would still be alive. This teaching has gone through many metamorphosis's over the years to end up in the extremely perplexing explanation we have by means of David Splane's video today.
Would our Father ever provide us with an inaccurate teaching that would later need to be discarded and replaced with another different understanding, and then approve declaring it as “new light”? One of the best answers to that question is found printed in the February 1881 Watchtower on page 3.
“Undoubtedly one human idea would contradict another and that which was light one or two or six years ago would be regarded as darkness now”. Those words were printed in the Watchtower in 1881, and cannot be disputed. Doctrines that would need to be discarded are undeniably 'human ideas'. Where are the doctrines and prophetic interpretations within the CCJW originating from? Are they from God or men? Indeed who are we following God, or men?
If something is incorrect and needs to be corrected, what it was originally must be distinguished as false. If the organization taught something as doctrine that was untrue, it was by definition, teaching a false doctrine. How many times in the modern history of the CCJW have doctrines once taught as truth been discarded? Is it appropriate to simply say an 'understanding' was 'clarified' rather than to admit they were teaching a false doctrine? Does the Sovereign Lord Jehovah seem to you as someone who would be unconcerned when those claiming they represent him promoted and taught false doctrines in his name?
“‘Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah says: Because you have spoken false words and forecast delusion, look, I am against you, declares the Sovereign Lord Jehovah. My hand will be against the prophets who see delusion and announce lying omens. They will not be included in the council of my people, nor be written in the registry of the house of Israel, nor enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign Lord Jehovah." (Ezekiel 13:8,9)
The purpose in discussing these matters is to establish what is true so we can worship God acceptably. A good thing to do when examining any teaching is trace the doctrine back to it's original inception so as to know it's origin, and understand what is being taught. Having a thorough understanding of the teaching in question we can than prayerfully consider it in the light of God's Word to determine the truth.