What Is Truth?
Charles Taze Russell, founder of the religious movement known today as Jehovah's Witnesses, who also was believed and said to be that 'Faithful and Wise Servant' of Matthew 24, which office represents to the Witnesses, the discerner and provider of God's truth at the appropriate time and for the 'last days'. Yes, Russell's tendency to set dates for the fulfilment of future events in God's prophetic timetable, such as 'the battle of the great day of God Almighty and the complete overthrow of earth's present rulership in 1914', is well documented, but I want to focus on the bigger picture, as it were.
Russell, in his writings, namely the Watch Tower, sought to provide for all a definitive answer to this self-imposed question. What Is Truth? This is what he wrote:
- "A truth presented by Satan is just as true as a truth stated by God... Accept truth wherever you find it, no matter what it contradicts." (Zion's Watch Tower, July 1879, Vol. 1, No. 1)
Truth from Satan is as true as truth from God? I should accept truth anywhere I find it?
If I may use a popular modern day phrase to express my reaction to this statement, "Don't even go there!"
Not only is it disturbing to think that Russell's readers might accept his assertion as spiritual food, but also that it has no basis in Scripture. Why do I say that?
Well, the Bible is the only absolutely reliable source that Christians use to measure the validity and spiritual helpfulness of the words and ideas of men and women is it not? The Holy Scriptures do give definitive insight into the nature of Satan, in that he has never told the truth.......ever; even when he uses words of truth. (John 8:44 & 2 Corinthians 11:14) Let me give an example to illustrate.
When Jesus was led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit to be tempted by Satan, who came and set Him upon the pinnacle of the temple and began speaking the 'truth' saying,
- "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written: 'He shall give His angels charge over you' and 'In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.'"
Here Satan reminds Jesus of the promise of God's protection and security upon Him, as he quotes the 'Word of God' from Psalm 91 verses 11-12. Now, by Pastor Russell's definition, It would certainly seem that Jesus should have accepted the 'truth' where he found it.......presented by Satan himself. But did He? Absolutely not! Jesus knew that Satan was lying because He knew the nature of Satan. But the devil presented the 'truth' right? Not truly. If we look closely at Psalm 91:11-12 we find that the 'father of lies' failed to include part of verse 11, which changed the context and thus the meaning and consequently would alter the plan of God for Jesus and the direct path He was to follow, all the way to the hill called Golgotha or Calvary.
Now read carefully the truth presented by God, not Satan.
Verse 11 begins,
- 'For He shall give His angels charge over you......' (then comes the part of the verse Satan left out, because it gives the reason for the promise of protection that God gave in the first part of the verse)......It reads...... 'to keep you in all your ways......'
Let's read the whole verse again so that we can see the context.
- 'For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.'
And so then verse 12, still in context, guarantees the protection of God upon Jesus' life to keep Him in all His ways, that is to complete and not be in any way detoured from that which he was sent to Earth to do.......to be the Saviour of the world! Verse 12 concludes,
- 'In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.'
Do you see the utter deceit and craftiness in this fallen angel and author of the lie?
Had Jesus accepted a 'truth' from Satan, sadly there would have been no salvation for us to receive by the means of God's undeserved kindness, because He would have bypassed His impalement, as the Lamb of God, the unblemished sacrifice for our sins. (John 1:29) Likewise, if we accept 'truth' presented by Satan, as Charles Russell was open to do, the gospel that we receive will be false and unable to save us, and consequently the gospel we present to others will also be false and unable to save them. The application of truthful words for one's own selfish gain does not constitute presenting the 'truth' and Satan's motives are always selfish. Scripture describes him as the father of lies, the destroyer of lives, and tragically, humanity has given him access as the 'false' god of this world. (Jn 8:44; Jn 10:10; 2 Cor 4:4)
Who are you going to listen to?