Who Really Have the Truth?
“Make me walk in your truth and teach me, for you are my God of salvation.”—Ps. 25:5.
1. What is the meaning of the word truth, and why can it be said that Jehovah is the foundation of truth?
THE word truth is defined as that which conforms to the facts, to reality. It signifies that which is right and genuine. The source, or foundation, of truth is the Almighty Creator of the universe, Jehovah God. He knows the truth about every aspect of his creation. He knows what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is bad. He knows the truth about what has happened in the past and why, as well as the meaning of present world conditions. He also knows the truth about the future, since he already has determined what it will be.—Isa. 14:24.
2. How does the Bible describe Jehovah’s truthfulness?
2 For such reasons the psalmist describes the Creator as “Jehovah the God of truth.” (Ps. 31:5) So when God speaks, his words are always trustworthy: “Your word is truth.” (John 17:17) When he issues instructions for human behavior, these are always right: “All your commandments are truth.” (Ps. 119:151) When he promises something, we can rely on it: “Not a promise failed out of all the good promise that Jehovah had made . . . it all came true.” (Josh. 21:45) Thus, the Bible declares of God: “Righteous and true are your ways, King of eternity.”—Rev. 15:3.
WALKING IN THE TRUTH
3, 4. (a) How does a person walk in the truth? (b) Why does Jehovah want humans to walk in the truth?
3 It is logical that the God of truth would want his human creation to walk in the truth. How is this to be done? By getting an accurate knowledge of who God is and what his purposes are; then by learning what he wants us to do, and doing it. (John 17:3; 1 John 2:3, 4) This really means that walking in the truth becomes a way of life, “The Way,” as the Bible puts it.—Acts 9:2.
4 One reason why God wants humans to walk in the truth is that it brings glory and joy to the Creator when his human creation reflects his fine qualities. (Compare Genesis 1:26, 27; Proverbs 23:24, 25.) Another is that, since God made humans, he knows what is best for them. Therefore, those who follow his instructions bring the greatest benefits, even eternal benefits, to themselves and to others. (Isa. 48:17) An additional reason is that by walking in the truth, humans can be privileged to be associated with the people that God uses to inform truth seekers about his purposes. It is like the Bible times of which Amos wrote: “The Sovereign Lord Jehovah will not do a thing unless he has revealed his confidential matter to his servants the prophets.”—Amos 3:7.
5. What other vital reason is there for walking in the truth?
5 There is another vital reason for walking in the truth. A person who does so goes on record as upholding the rightfulness of Jehovah’s universal rulership. That has been challenged by the spirit creature who turned rebel, Satan the Devil. (Gen. 3:1-4; Rev. 12:9) Included in his challenge was the taunt that God could not produce persons who would stay loyal to him and his truths. (Job 1:6-12) So standing firm for the truth under any pressure shows that there are people of integrity who will not compromise what is right. (Prov. 27:11) On the other hand, a person who does not walk in the truth does much more than merely walk in error. Intentionally or unintentionally he allows himself to become aligned with Satan, the “father of the lie,” “the god of this system of things” who has “blinded the minds of the unbelievers.”—John 8:44; 2 Cor. 4:4.
6. How will truth become firmly established earth wide? Read Proverbs 12:19.
6 However, the God of truth has set a time limit for the permission of untruth and its resultant wickedness. (Prov. 12:19; Eccl. 3:1) God has purposed that, when the time limit expires, he will crush this Satanic system out of existence, along with those who promote it and prefer it. (Dan. 2:44; Rev. 19:17-21) “Every plant that my heavenly Father did not plant will be uprooted,” Jesus foretold. (Matt. 15:13) This will pave the way for God’s new system ‘in which righteousness is to dwell.’ (2 Pet. 3:13) That will mean an earthly society founded on truth, an earth inhabited only by truth-loving people!
7. If we love the truth, what should our attitude be?
7 Therefore, if we love what is right and want to live in God’s new order, it is imperative that we walk in the truth. We should have the attitude of the psalmist who prayed: “Make me know your own ways, O Jehovah; teach me your own paths. Make me walk in your truth and teach me.” (Ps. 25:4, 5) Similarly, we should heed the prophet Samuel’s counsel to ancient Israel: “You must not turn aside to follow the unrealities that are of no benefit and that do not deliver, . . . Only fear Jehovah, and you must serve him in truth with all your heart.”—1 Sam. 12:21, 24.
‘PATTERNS’ FOR OUR TIME
8, 9. (a) In contrast to surrounding nations, how did Israel benefit by walking in the truth? (b) What happened when Israel failed to continue walking in the truth?
8 God’s dealings with people in the past provide ‘patterns,’ or examples, for us. From these we learn how God actually deals with those who walk in the truth and those who do not. (1 Cor. 10:11; Rom. 15:4) One pattern that we can learn from is that of ancient Israel. That nation was favored by being given God’s laws. As long as the Israelites walked in his truths, they were richly blessed. For example, they did not fall prey to enemy nations. (Deut. 28:7) Their crops and flocks were abundant. (Deut. 11:8-15) Their social system was so orderly and highly developed that there was no need for prisons. (Ex. 22:1-15) Disease epidemics that struck ungodly nations did not come on them. (Deut. 7:15) And if they continued to walk in the truth—“the most blessed of all the peoples you will become,” Jehovah promised them. (Deut. 7:14) In contrast, note the debased condition of the surrounding Canaanite nations, as the Bible Handbook by Henry H. Halley observes:
“Canaanites worshipped, by immoral indulgence, as a religious rite, in the presence of their gods; and then, by murdering their first-born children, as a sacrifice to these same gods.
“It seems that, in large measure, the land of Canaan had become a sort of Sodom and Gomorrah on a national scale . . . Did a civilization of such abominable filth and brutality have any right longer to exist? . . .
“Archaeologists who dig in the ruins of Canaanite cities wonder that God did not destroy them sooner than he did.”
9 However, Israel failed to keep walking in the truth. As a result, God withdrew his backing from the nation. That is why Jesus at the temple said to Israel: “Look! Your house is abandoned to you.” (Matt. 23:38) He also declared: “The kingdom of God will be taken from you and be given to a nation producing its fruits.” (Matt. 21:43) No longer would they be God’s favored nation, his witnesses.
10. How did a new spiritual nation manifest itself in the first century?
10 In the first century of our Common Era, God developed a new spiritual nation. This was the Christian congregation, an organization made up of people of many different nationalities. (Acts 10:34, 35; 13:46) God’s appointed spokesman, Jesus, laid the foundation for it, saying: “I am the way and the truth and the life.” (John 14:6) By what he taught and accomplished, he proved that he really had the truth, and had God’s backing. (Matt. 3:16, 17; 15:30, 31; Acts 2:22) The first-century Christians proved the same, being identified clearly as God’s Christian witnesses. (Acts 1:8; 2:1-4, 43) Of the truths that now flowed through those Christians, the apostle Paul said: “It is to us God has revealed them through his spirit.” In contrast, he noted: “This wisdom not one of the rulers of this system of things came to know.” (1 Cor. 2:8, 10) It had come to pass just as Jesus said: “You [God] have hidden these things from the wise and intellectual ones and have revealed them to babes.”—Matt. 11:25.
11, 12. (a) How did the Bible foretell the restoration of true worship in our time? (b) For what purposes was this restoration?
11 By the end of that first century, God had accomplished something else. He had finished the inspired written record that would later be used as the basis for determining the truth. (2 Tim. 3:16, 17) Included in the completed Scriptures were many prophecies, history written in advance. (2 Pet. 1:21) Those prophecies showed that after the death of the apostles a period of falling away from the truth would set in. (Acts 20:29) But they also showed that later, during the “final part of the days” just before this system’s end, there would be a restoration of true worship. (Isa. 2:1-4; Mic. 3:12 through 4:5) Jesus noted that people would be gathered into two groups: those who do good to Christ’s brothers who walk in the truth would be rewarded with “everlasting life”; those not doing so would go into “everlasting cutting-off.”—Matt. 25:31-46; 2 John 4; 3 John 3, 4.
12 The gathering and reorganizing of the Christian congregation in modern times would be for several purposes. This congregation would, for one thing, receive unified instruction from God: “He will instruct us about his ways, and we will walk in his paths,” says the prophecy of Isaiah 2:3 (also, Mic. 4:2). By walking in the truth, these servants of God would uphold the rightfulness of his universal rule, bringing glory and pleasure to him, and many benefits to themselves. (Prov. 12:22) In turn, God would use them as his modern-day witnesses, equipping them to deliver his message to this present generation.
13. Has Jehovah ever used more than one organization on earth at any one time?
13 Would God use more than one organization to dispense his truths in these “last days”? Well, has God ever used more than one during any other period of judgment? In Noah’s day, did any other boats with people in them, aside from Noah’s ark, have God’s protection and survive the flood? No, only the ark and its occupants did. (1 Pet. 3:20) Were there two Christian organizations in the first century? No, God dealt with just the one. So, too, in our day, there is still “one Lord, one faith, one baptism.” (Eph. 4:5) That there could be only one united congregation is made clear from Paul’s words that “you should all speak in agreement, and . . . there should not be divisions among you.”—1 Cor. 1:10.
“BY THEIR FRUITS”
14. How can a person determine who really has the truth today?
14 How can we determine who really has the truth today, thus qualifying to be used by God as his witnesses in the earth? A basic principle in determining the true from the false was laid down by Jesus when he said: “By their fruits you will recognize them. . . . Every good tree produces fine fruit, but every rotten tree produces worthless fruit.” (Matt. 7:16, 17) Yes, there would have to be “fruitage,” or evidence that God’s powerful holy spirit was indeed backing this people. And what kind of fruitage would that power of God produce in his servants? His Word answers: “The fruitage of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control.”—Gal. 5:22, 23.
15. Love for God is connected with his name in what way?
15 Note, especially, the “fruit” listed first, that of love. One way that God’s true servants must manifest this is as Jesus stated: “You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind.” (Matt. 22:37) Love for God is shown in a number of ways. One of these ways is in loving the name of God. (Heb. 6:10; Ps. 69:36; 119:132) Indeed, those Christians taken out from this world must become “a people for his name.” (Acts 15:14-18) Who are they today who uphold God’s name (Jehovah, in English) and make it known through the earth?—Isa. 43:10-12.
16. How is love for God displayed in connection with Kingdom interests?
16 Love for God would also mean believing in, and talking about, his incoming government for all the earth, his heavenly Kingdom. Jesus taught us to pray: “Let your kingdom come. Let your will take place, as in heaven, also upon earth.” (Matt. 6:9, 10) Who among mankind today make God’s kingdom the central doctrine of their teaching and preaching as did Jesus? Who call on people in their homes to tell them what God’s kingdom will accomplish on earth? Who fulfill the commission Jesus mentioned when he foretold: “This good news of the kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations; and then the end will come”?—Matt. 24:14.
17. In what other way does love for God manifest itself?
17 Love for God is manifest in still another way—by obeying all of his laws. (1 John 5:3) When there is a conflict between God’s laws and the laws of men, the Bible rule for those who really have the truth is: “We must obey God as ruler rather than men.” (Acts 5:29) Only those who do this get the backing of “the holy spirit, which God has given to those obeying him as ruler.” (Acts 5:32) For example, in obeying God’s laws, Christians today are “no part of the world,” being neutral in this world’s political affairs, as Jesus and the first-century Christians were. (Luke 4:5-8; John 6:15; 15:19; 17:14-16) Who are the ones who in our day maintain this separateness from the world, with its political corruption, its violence and its immorality, being willing even to suffer imprisonment or death because of following in Jesus’ footsteps?—1 Pet. 2:21; see also Hebrews chapter 13.
18. Give another clear identifying mark of those who really have the truth.
18 There is another aspect of this “fruit” of the spirit, love. Jesus said: “By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love among yourselves.” (John 13:35) Many other scriptures show also that such love would be a clear identifying mark of God’s true servants. For example:
“The children of God and the children of the Devil are evident by this fact: Everyone who does not carry on righteousness does not originate with God, neither does he who does not love his brother. . . . we should have love for one another; not like Cain, who originated with the wicked one and slaughtered his brother.”—1 John 3:10-12.
“If anyone makes the statement: ‘I love God,’ and yet is hating his brother, he is a liar. For he who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot be loving God, whom he has not seen.”—1 John 4:20, 21.
What international group of people demonstrates this type of love for one another, not just by words, but by deeds? Over the past century, what group has refrained, in time of war, from slaughtering fellow believers of other nations, and from allowing racial, nationalistic, cultural or economic prejudices to come between them?
WHO REALLY HAVE THE TRUTH TODAY?
19. Who really have the truth today, and why would you say so?
19 What does the evidence show regarding this vital fruit of God’s spirit, love? Who measure up? Where do we see a great crowd of people of all different nationalities and races united together in Jehovah’s name to serve him loyally and to tell others about his kingdom? Yes, where do we find a genuine worldwide brotherhood bonded by love? (Rev. 7:9, 10; Col. 3:14) The religious publication Interpretation, in a chapter entitled “The Bible and Modern Religions, Jehovah’s Witnesses,” observes the following:
“In their organization and witnessing work, they [Jehovah’s Witnesses] come as close as any group to approximating the primitive Christian community.
“Their aloofness from the world, urgency in witnessing, and imperviousness to the attacks of the world are such as come to those who firmly believe that they are among the elect and who have given their allegiance without reservation to God.
“Few other groups make as extensive a use of Scripture in their messages, both oral and written, as they do. Few other groups get from what we call the laity as much service in carrying forward the work of the organization as they do.”
20. What should all persons do who have a love for the truth?
20 An impartial investigation of God’s Word, comparing it to the teachings and practices of Jehovah’s Witnesses, will provide the evidence that God’s spirit is indeed backing them, and that he is using them as his instrument for proclaiming truth today. However, all persons who have a love for the truth are invited to examine this claim that Jehovah’s Witnesses really do have the truth. In doing so, they should imitate what those persons in the first century did who listened to the preaching of the apostles: “They received the word with the greatest eagerness of mind, carefully examining the Scriptures daily as to whether these things were so.”—Acts 17:11.