Jehovah—A God Who Reveals Secrets
“There exists a God in the heavens who is a Revealer of secrets.”—DANIEL 2:28.
1, 2. (a) How does Jehovah differ from his great Adversary? (b) How do humans mirror this difference?
JEHOVAH, the supreme and loving God of the universe, the one and only Creator, is a God of wisdom and justice. He has no need to hide his identity, his works, or his purposes. At his own time and at his own discretion, he reveals himself. In this way he differs from his Adversary, Satan the Devil, who tries to hide his true identity and intentions.
2 Even as Jehovah and Satan are opposites, so also are their worshipers. Those who follow the lead of Satan are characterized by duplicity and deceit. They try to present themselves in a good light, while doing works belonging to darkness. Corinthian Christians were told not to be surprised at this fact. “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself keeps transforming himself into an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:13, 14) Christians, on the other hand, look to Christ as their Leader. While on earth he perfectly reflected the personality of his Father, Jehovah God. (Hebrews 1:1-3) Thus, by following Christ, Christians are imitating Jehovah, the God of truth, openness, and light. They too have no need to hide their identity, their works, or their purposes.—Ephesians 4:17-19; 5:1, 2.
3. How can we refute the charge that people who become Jehovah’s Witnesses are coerced to join a “secret sect”?
3 At times that he knows to be best, Jehovah discloses details about his purposes and about the future that have previously been unknown to humans. In this sense he is a God who reveals secrets. Thus, people who want to serve him are invited—yes urged—to learn such revealed information. A 1994 survey of over 145,000 Witnesses in one European country revealed that, on an average, each of them personally investigated the teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses for three years before choosing to become a Witness. They made the choice according to their own free will without coercion. And they continued to have freedom of will and action. For example, because some few came to disagree with the high standards of morality for Christians, these later decided that they did not want to continue as Witnesses. It is interesting, though, that during the past five years, a large proportion of these former Witnesses took steps to resume their association and activity as Witnesses.
4. What need not disturb faithful Christians, and why not?
4 Of course, not all former Witnesses return, and among them are some who once held positions of responsibility within the Christian congregation. This should not be surprising, for even one of Jesus’ closest followers, the apostle Judas, turned away. (Matthew 26:14-16, 20-25) But is this a reason to be disturbed about Christianity itself? Does this negate the success with which Jehovah’s Witnesses are carrying on their educational activity? Not at all, no more so than the traitorous action of Judas Iscariot brought God’s purposes to a standstill.
Almighty yet Loving
5. How do we know that Jehovah and Jesus love humans, and how have they demonstrated this love?
5 Jehovah is a God of love. He cares about people. (1 John 4:7-11) Despite his lofty position, he enjoys making humans his friends. Of one of his ancient servants, we read: “‘Abraham put faith in Jehovah, and it was counted to him as righteousness,’ and he came to be called ‘Jehovah’s friend.’” (James 2:23; 2 Chronicles 20:7; Isaiah 41:8) As human friends share confidential matters, or secrets, so also does Jehovah with his friends. In this regard Jesus imitated his Father, for he made friends with his disciples and shared secrets with them. “I no longer call you slaves,” he told them, “because a slave does not know what his master does. But I have called you friends, because all the things I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:15) The private information, or “secrets,” held in common by Jehovah, his Son, and their friends unites them in an unbreakable bond of love and devotion.—Colossians 3:14.
6. Why has Jehovah no need to hide his intentions?
6 The meaning of the name Jehovah, “He Causes to Become,” indicates his ability to become whatever he needs to become in order to accomplish his purpose. Unlike humans, Jehovah has no need to hide his intentions because of fearing that others might be able to hinder him in carrying them out. He simply cannot fail, so he openly reveals in his Word, the Bible, much of what he purposes to do. He promises: “My word . . . will not return to me without results, but it will certainly do that in which I have delighted, and it will have certain success in that for which I have sent it.”—Isaiah 55:11.
7. (a) What did Jehovah foretell in Eden, and how did Satan prove God to be true? (b) How does the principle at 2 Corinthians 13:8 always hold true?
7 Shortly after the rebellion in Eden, Jehovah revealed in outline the final outcome of the ongoing controversy between him and his Adversary, Satan. God’s promised Seed would be painfully, but not lethally, bruised, whereas Satan would ultimately suffer a fatal bruise. (Genesis 3:15) In 33 C.E., the Devil actually did bruise the Seed, Christ Jesus, by causing his death. In this way, Satan fulfilled Scripture and in the process proved Jehovah to be a God of truth, although this was certainly not Satan’s intent. His hatred for truth and righteousness, as well as his proud, unrepentant attitude, led him into doing exactly what God foretold he would do. Yes, to all opposers of truth, even to Satan himself, the principle holds true: “We can do nothing against the truth, but only for the truth.”—2 Corinthians 13:8.
8, 9. (a) What does Satan know, but does this knowledge jeopardize the carrying out of Jehovah’s purposes? (b) What plain warning do opposers of Jehovah ignore, and why?
8 Since God’s Kingdom was invisibly established in 1914, Revelation 12:12 has applied: “On this account be glad, you heavens and you who reside in them! Woe for the earth and for the sea, because the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing he has a short period of time.” Yet, does the knowledge that his time is short cause Satan to change his course? That would be an admission on Satan’s part that Jehovah is a God of truth and that as the Supreme Ruler, he alone is worthy of worship. However, the Devil is not willing to admit defeat, not even in the face of knowledge.
9 Jehovah openly reveals what will happen when Christ comes to render judgment on Satan’s world system. (Matthew 24:29-31; 25:31-46) In this regard, his Word announces concerning world rulers: “Whenever it is that they are saying: ‘Peace and security!’ then sudden destruction is to be instantly upon them just as the pang of distress upon a pregnant woman.” (1 Thessalonians 5:3) Those who follow Satan’s lead ignore this clear warning. They are blinded because of their wicked hearts, and this prevents them from repenting of their wicked course and from changing their plans and strategy that attempt to thwart Jehovah’s purposes.
10. (a) To what extent may 1 Thessalonians 5:3 have had fulfillment, but how should Jehovah’s people react? (b) Why may people without faith grow more bold in the future in opposing God’s people?
10 Particularly since 1986, when an International Year of Peace was declared by the United Nations, the world has been full of talk about peace and security. Definite steps have been taken in an effort to secure world peace, apparently with a measure of success. Is this the entire fulfillment of this prophecy, or can we expect a future startling announcement of some sort? Jehovah will clarify that matter in his due time. Meanwhile, let us stay spiritually awake, “awaiting and keeping close in mind the presence of the day of Jehovah.” (2 Peter 3:12) As time continues to pass with still more talk of peace and security, some individuals who know of this warning, but who choose to ignore it, may become more defiant in assuming that Jehovah will not, or cannot, fulfill his word. (Compare Ecclesiastes 8:11-13; 2 Peter 3:3, 4.) But true Christians know that Jehovah will carry out his purpose!
Proper Respect for the Agencies Jehovah Uses
11. What did Daniel and Joseph learn about Jehovah?
11 When King Nebuchadnezzar, ruler of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, had a troubling dream that he could not recall, he asked for help. His priests, conjurers, and sorcerers could neither tell him what his dream was nor explain what it meant. God’s servant Daniel, however, was able to do so, although he readily admitted that the revealing of the dream and its meaning was not a result of his own wisdom. Daniel said: “There exists a God in the heavens who is a Revealer of secrets, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what is to occur in the final part of the days.” (Daniel 2:1-30) Several centuries earlier, Joseph, another prophet of God, had similarly experienced that Jehovah is a Revealer of secrets.—Genesis 40:8-22; Amos 3:7, 8.
12, 13. (a) Who was God’s greatest prophet, and why do you so answer? (b) Who today serve as “stewards of sacred secrets of God,” and how should we view them?
12 Jehovah’s greatest prophet to serve on earth was Jesus. (Acts 3:19-24) Paul explained: “God, who long ago spoke on many occasions and in many ways to our forefathers by means of the prophets, has at the end of these days spoken to us by means of a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the systems of things.”—Hebrews 1:1, 2.
13 Jehovah spoke to early Christians by means of his Son, Jesus, who made known divine secrets to them. Jesus told them: “To you it is granted to understand the sacred secrets of the kingdom of God.” (Luke 8:10) Paul later spoke of anointed Christians as being “subordinates of Christ and stewards of sacred secrets of God.” (1 Corinthians 4:1) Today, anointed Christians continue to serve as such, making up a faithful and discreet slave class that through its Governing Body provides spiritual food at the proper time. (Matthew 24:45-47) If we highly respect God’s inspired prophets of bygone days, and particularly God’s Son, should we not also respect the human agency that Jehovah is using today in revealing Biblical information so necessary for his people in these critical times?—2 Timothy 3:1-5, 13.
Openness or Secrecy?
14. When do Christians carry on activities in secret, thereby following whose example?
14 Does Jehovah’s openness in revealing things mean that Christians should always and under all circumstances reveal everything they know? Well, Christians follow Jesus’ advice to his apostles to be “cautious as serpents and yet innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16) If told they cannot worship God as their consciences demand, Christians continue to “obey God,” for they realize that no human agency has a right to restrict Jehovah’s worship. (Acts 5:29) Jesus himself demonstrated the propriety of this. We read: “Now after these things Jesus continued walking about in Galilee, for he did not want to walk about in Judea, because the Jews were seeking to kill him. However, the festival of the Jews, the festival of tabernacles, was near. Therefore Jesus said to them [his unbelieving fleshly brothers]: . . . ‘You go up to the festival; I am not yet going up to this festival, because my due time has not yet fully come.’ So after he told them these things, he remained in Galilee. But when his brothers had gone up to the festival, then he also went up himself, not openly but as in secret.”—John 7:1, 2, 6, 8-10.
To Tell or Not to Tell?
15. How did Joseph indicate that keeping a secret is sometimes the loving thing to do?
15 In some instances, keeping a matter private is not only wise but also loving. For example, how did Joseph, the adoptive father of Jesus, react when he learned that his betrothed bride, Mary, was pregnant? We read: “However, Joseph her husband, because he was righteous and did not want to make her a public spectacle, intended to divorce her secretly.” (Matthew 1:18, 19) How unkind it would have been to make her a public spectacle!
16. What responsibility do elders, as well as all other members of the congregation, have as regards confidential matters?
16 Confidential matters that could cause embarrassment or pain should not be revealed to unauthorized people. Christian elders keep this in mind when they must offer personal counsel or comfort to fellow Christians or possibly even discipline them for seriously sinning against Jehovah. Handling these matters in a Scriptural way is necessary; revealing confidential details to those not involved is unnecessary and unloving. Certainly, members of the Christian congregation will not try to pry confidential information out of elders but will respect the elders’ responsibility to keep confidential things secret. Proverbs 25:9 notes: “Plead your own cause with your fellowman, and do not reveal the confidential talk of another.”
17. Why do Christians in most cases keep confidential matters secret, but why can they not always do so?
17 This principle also holds true within the family circle or among close friends. Keeping some matters confidential is vital to avoid misunderstandings and strained relationships. “The wind from the north brings forth as with labor pains a downpour; and a tongue giving away a secret, a denounced face.” (Proverbs 25:23) Of course, loyalty to Jehovah and his righteous principles, as well as love for erring individuals, may occasionally necessitate telling parents, Christian elders, or other authorized ones even confidential matters.* But in most cases, Christians hold the personal secrets of others in confidence, guarding them as they guard their own.
18. What three Christian qualities can help us determine what we should tell and what we should not?
18 In summary, a Christian imitates Jehovah by keeping certain matters confidential when necessary, revealing them only when appropriate. In deciding what he should and should not tell, he is guided by humility, faith, and love. Humility prevents him from exaggerating his own importance, trying to impress others either by telling them everything he knows or by tantalizing them with secrets he cannot tell. Faith in Jehovah’s Word and the Christian congregation motivates him to preach divinely provided Biblical information while being careful to avoid saying things that might offend others at the outset. Yes, love motivates him openly to tell things that glorify God and that people need to know in order to gain life. Confidential personal matters, on the other hand, he guards, realizing that in most cases revealing them would amount to showing a lack of love.
19. What course of action helps to identify true Christians, and in what does it result?
19 This balanced approach helps to identify true Christians. They do not hide God’s identity behind a mask of namelessness or behind a mysterious, unexplainable Trinity doctrine. Unknown gods are characteristic of false religion, not of the true. (See Acts 17:22, 23.) Jehovah’s anointed Witnesses truly appreciate the privilege of being “stewards of sacred secrets of God.” By openly revealing these secrets to others, they help draw honesthearted ones to seek Jehovah’s friendship.—1 Corinthians 4:1; 14:22-25; Zechariah 8:23; Malachi 3:18.
See “Do Not Share in the Sins of Others” in The Watchtower, November 15, 1985.
How Would You Answer?
□ Why does Jehovah not need to hide his intentions?
□ To whom does Jehovah reveal his secrets?
□ What responsibility do Christians have as regards confidential matters?
□ What three qualities will help Christians know what to tell and what not to tell?
[Pictures on page 8, 9]
Jehovah reveals secrets through his Word