Monday, July 27
Oppose the Devil, and he will flee from you. —Jas. 4:7.
Only three books of the Hebrew Scriptures, 1 Chronicles, Job, and Zechariah, mention Satan, which means “Resister.” Why was little said about our enemy prior to the arrival of the Messiah? Apparently, Jehovah did not want to give Satan undue prominence by devoting large portions of the Hebrew Scriptures to discussing him and his activity. Jehovah’s primary purpose for inspiring that section of the Scriptures was to identify the Messiah and lead God’s people to him. (Luke 24:44; Gal. 3:24) When that was accomplished and the Messiah arrived, Jehovah used him and his disciples to reveal much of what we know about Satan and the angels who joined him. That is fitting, since it is Jesus and his anointed corulers whom Jehovah will use to crush Satan and his followers. (Rom. 16:20; Rev. 17:14;20:10) Remember, the Devil’s power is limited. We are backed by Jehovah, Jesus, and the faithful angels. With their help, we can resist our enemy. w18.05 22-23 ¶2-4
The Watchtower article upon which the text was drawn is entitled Know Your Enemy with the theme scripture taken from 2 Corinthians 2:11, which states: “We are not ignorant of [Satan’s] schemes.”
Jehovah’s Witnesses naturally place themselves among the “we” who are not ignorant of the Devil’s cunning designs. Is that necessarily true though? Are Jehovah’s Witnesses fully aware of the Devil’s schemes?
In context, Paul was exhorting the Corinthians to show mercy to a repentant man. As the footnote in the NWT indicates, Satan would have had designs to overreach the brothers to induce them to be merciless in order to crush the faith of the disfellowshipped man. That being the case, were the Corinthians wide awake and cognizant of all of the wicked one’s machinations? Evidently not. In the very same letter, Paul was compelled to express his deep concerns that the Corinthians might be seduced by Satan. In the 11th chapter the apostle wrote: “For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy, for I personally promised you in marriage to one husband that I might present you as a chaste virgin to the Christ. But I am afraid that somehow, as the serpent seduced Eve by its cunning, your minds might be corrupted away from the sincerity and the chastity that are due the Christ.”
What was the situation that posed a grave risk to the spirituality of the Corinthians? If you carefully examine the 11th chapter it is apparent that Paul considered the leading elders of the congregation to be imposters who were merely pretending to be ministers of Christ but who were in reality sons of Satan. Of them, Paul said: “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself keeps disguising himself as an angel of light. It is therefore nothing extraordinary if his ministers also keep disguising themselves as ministers of righteousness. But their end will be according to their works.”
The Greeks were known for public oratory and the art of persuasive logic and philosophy. That is why the men whom Paul sarcastically dubbed the “superfine apostles” criticized Paul for having a weak personal presence and being a contemptible public speaker. As part of their disguise, Satan’s agents were no doubt very impressive public speakers. Evidently, the fake apostles were eloquent and gave dramatic and memorable talks in the congregation. They evidently went out in service too, posing as “ministers of righteousness.”
Because the Corinthians were taken in by the ruse Paul was inspired to expose the phony apostles. Obviously, the Corinthians were ignorant of Satan’s scheme to infiltrate the congregation with his agents and that is why Paul was afraid that some might be corrupted.
What about now? Is Satan no less intent on overreaching, misleading and corrupting Christ’s congregation? Obviously, he is. If the Devil “keeps disguising himself as an angel of light” that means he does so now just as in the first century. That being true, and in light of the fact that Jehovah allowed the Devil to exert his evil influence within the Corinthian congregation through the ministry of the false apostles, why ought Jehovah’s Witnesses suppose that the Watchtower is impenetrable by ministers of the wicked one? And yet, that is precisely what the Governing Body imply.
It is interesting that the original NWT used the expression “Satan keeps transforming himself.” According to the Kingdom Interlinear evidently the original Greek word is better translated as “transforming,” which also is the way it appears in the King James Version. Interestingly too, the Byington says that Satan “reshapes” himself.
There is a child’s toy that is called transformers. It can be fashioned into any number of different things. It can appear as a monster-like creature or be reshaped into a building or some sort of vehicle.
This well pictures what Satan has done. Knowing that God has an earthly organization Satan has cleverly transformed it into the bastion of pure worship —the very Kingdom of God. A brotherhood it is. But the spiritual paradise foretold in prophecy where all evil has been banished? No.
Knowing the inherent weakness of humans to follow human leaders, Satan has elevated the faithful slave to the place of Christ —transforming the Governing Body into apostles. The Organization has become the all-knowing idol and Jehovah has been relegated to the role of Protector. Thus, Satan shines like an angel of light. (See article: Those Who Say They Are Apostles)
Jehovah, of course, foresaw this very development thousands of years ago. God allows it because it suits his purpose. Speaking to his people through Isaiah in the post-tribulation interval, Jehovah will say: “The first things I have told even from that time, and out of my own mouth they went forth, and I kept making them heard. Suddenly I acted, and the things proceeded to come in. Due to my knowing that you are hard and that your neck is an iron sinew and your forehead is copper, I also kept telling you from that time. Before it could come in, I caused you to hear it, that you might not say, ‘My own idol has done them, and my own carved image and my own molten image have commanded them.’ You have heard. Behold it all. As for you people, will you not tell it? I have made you hear new things from the present time, even things kept in reserve, that you have not known. At the present time they must be created, and not from that time, even things that before today you have not heard, that you may not say, ‘Look! I have already known them.’”
An idol can be anything that represents God or takes the place of God. The Israelites prevailed upon Aaron to make a glittering, golden calf to represent Jehovah. But the idol described in Isaiah is no lifeless molten image. This idol knows things! It even gives commands to its keepers. It accomplishes work too! Evidently, the idol channels sacred secrets from God himself. That is why Jehovah keeps things in reserve in order to discredit the organizational idol.
Because Satan has seduced Jehovah’s people into worshiping the Watchtower as the sacred mouthpiece of God, the earthly channel of sacred truth, Jehovah has draped a shroud over the Seer in order to prevent the idolators from actually knowing the things to come.
When Christ comes to the “temple” the idol will be toppled. It has been my role to announce Jehovah’s judgments in advance.