Wednesday, July 29
You are from your father the Devil, . . . a liar and the father of the lie. —John 8:44.
Whether called pastors, priests, rabbis, swamis, or by some other title, religious leaders abound in the world today. Like their first-century counterparts, they are “suppressing the truth” from God’s Word and have “exchanged the truth of God for the lie.” (Rom. 1:18, 25) They promote such false teachings as “once saved, always saved,” the immortality of the human soul, reincarnation, and the foolish idea that God would condone homosexual lifestyles and same-sex marriages. Politicians have used lies to mislead mankind. One of the biggest lies is yet to be heard when men proclaim that they have achieved “peace and security!” But “then sudden destruction is to be instantly on them.” May we not be taken in by their attempt to minimize how precarious this system of things really is! In truth, we “know very well that Jehovah’s day is coming exactly as a thief in the night.” —1 Thess. 5:1-4. w18.10 7-8 ¶6-8
Those whom Jesus said were from their father the Devil were the children of Abraham —at least genetically. They were under the law of Moses and were zealots for it. They regularly read the Scriptures in their synagogues, the forerunner of the modern-day kingdom hall.
Interestingly, the Jews at that time were not practicing idolatry, as had their forefathers in the days before they were deported to Babylon. Nor is there any evidence the Jews were practicing gross immorality like homosexuality, like in the days of Gibeah.
Sometime after the Jews returned to Palestine the sects of the Pharisees and Saducees developed and came to dominate all aspects of Jewish life. The Jews were ensnared by their religion —a religion which originated with Jehovah. For example, the law regarding the Sabbath was chiseled into the two stone tablets that Moses brought down from the mountain. Pure worship required that the Jews observe a weekly sabbath. The Pharisees were fanatics about the Sabbath. They were constantly accusing Jesus of violating the Sabbath according to their tradition.
Because the Pharisees and rulers refused to accept Jesus as the Messiah foretold in their law the people did not openly accept Jesus either. In fact, doing so would bring the harshest punishment short of death. Any Jew who confessed faith in Jesus would be expelled from the synagogue, which would mean total ostracism from Jewish society. Even so, Jesus ordered his followers to obey the Pharisees. However, once the followers of Jesus were anointed and fired up with holy spirit they could no longer submit themselves to the Jewish elders who ordered them not to preach in the name of Jesus.
The father of the lie is more intent than ever to mislead those who would follow Jesus. Over the centuries he has developed the monstrosity known as the Catholic Church and thousands of denominational spinoffs. Satan’s myriad of lies have been institutionalized. Still, though, he cannot stop Jesus from drawing people to himself.
We are assured that Jesus will have a congregation on earth prior to his return. We know that to be the case because Jesus is coming to judge his house —those whom he recognizes as his followers. The seven letters of Revelation are addressed to the seven symbolic congregations that exist prior to the advent of the Lord’s day.
The Devil is most intent on deceiving the chosen ones regarding Christ’s return. That is why Jesus forewarned us, informing us that there will be many false prophets and false Christs claiming Jesus is here and there. To that end, Satan is allowed to conjure a man of God, otherwise known as the man of lawlessness, who is destined to sit enthroned in the spiritual temple of God. In other words, the man of lawlessness is within Christ’s congregation prior to the Second Coming. The man of lawlessness is not some pastor, priest, rabbis or whatever. He is regarded as a true Christian leader.
The man of lawlessness is also called the son of destruction, which is the moniker Jesus attached to Judas after he was destroyed. Judas was, of course, one of the 12 hand-picked apostles of Christ who was with Jesus during the evening meal, up to the moment Satan entered into him.
Through this man of lawlessness, Satan puts an elaborate scheme into operation that pretends to verify the parousia of Christ. Paul described it this way: “But the lawless one’s presence is by the operation of Satan with every powerful work and lying signs and wonders and every unrighteous deception for those who are perishing, as a retribution because they did not accept the love of the truth in order that they might be saved. That is why God lets a deluding influence mislead them so that they may come to believe the lie, in order that they all may be judged because they did not believe the truth but took pleasure in unrighteousness.”
The context of Paul’s prophecy makes it clear that Satan’s powerful works and lying signs are in connection with those who claim that the presence has begun and the day of the Lord is here. The Devil is enabled to make it appear as if Bible prophecy is being fulfilled.
Indeed, what an impressive thing to be able to decipher obscure chronology and divine the exact year that Christ will return. What an amazing feat! What spiritual prowess and discernment! The Bible Students expected something to happen in 1914 and BOOM! the First World War erupted. And then BAM! The Spanish Flu swept the globe and killed more people than four years of war. What a wonder! The men who govern the Watchtower have such extraordinary insight and are capable of discerning all the secrets of God. Except, none of it is true. Jesus did not return in 1914. The parousia is not invisible. The Watchtower is the source of the deluding influence and the lie is embedded in the truth.
When Jesus returns the Watchtower will become a snare. No doubt Satan will enter into his Judas then and pretend to be the Christ.