A faithful witness will not lie. —Prov. 14:5.
Honesty is basic to Christianity. Satan is “the father of the lie.” And Ananias and his wife lost their lives because of lying. We do not want to imitate such ones —we avoid lying. Is that, though, as far as our honesty goes? Actually, our honesty should reflect our deep appreciation for God’s undeserved kindness. To lie is to say something untruthful. However, Jehovah wants his people to go beyond not telling outright lies. He urged the ancient Israelites: “You should be holy, because I, Jehovah your God, am holy.” Then he gave examples of being holy. In part, God said: “You must not steal, you must not deceive, and you must not deal falsely with one another.” Sadly, a person who makes it a point never to tell outright lies might still resort to deceiving others, dealing falsely with them.
In Jesus’ day, the Pharisees were notoriously hypocritical. Toward the end of his ministry, Jesus condemned them as hypocrites and offspring of vipers. Nevertheless, some individuals who were Pharisees actually put faith in Christ. One such was Nicodemus. Another zealous Pharisee was Saul, who experienced a blinding encounter with the resurrected Christ while he was on the road to Damascus intent on persecuting more Christians.
Apparently, there were more than a few Pharisees who became Christians. Unfortunately, because of their fanatical adherence to the Jewish customs, they tried to compel non-Jewish Christians to conform to the Law. It caused a lot of dissension in the congregations.
In many respects, the leadership of the Watchtower has become pharisaic. Jesus condemned the Pharisees for giving undue attention to minor matters and overlooking more important things. For example, Christ said of them: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you give the tenth of the mint and the dill and the cumin, but you have disregarded the weightier matters of the Law, namely, justice and mercy and faithfulness. These things it was necessary to do, yet not to disregard the other things.”
How like the Pharisees the Governing Body and elders have become. Great emphasis is laid upon appearances. Brothers with beards are considered poor examples. Sisters are censored for wearing dress pants. At a recent assembly, a Governing Body member scolded and shamed the brothers for wearing tight-fitting jackets and pants. The Watchtower even published and instructional brochure on how to dress when visiting Bethel. And on and on it goes. “Command after command, command after command, line by line, line by line, a little here, a little there.” —Isaiah 28:10
But as regards the mightier matters having to do with justice and mercy and faithfulness, the leadership of Jehovah’s Witnesses has failed miserably. Under their watch, tens of thousands of children have been sexually abused —many by repeat offenders. Instead of handing the perpetrators over to the authorities the Watchtower’s lawyers have tied the hands of elders, preventing them from cooperating with professional criminal investigators. Worse, the Watchtower has become the legal adversary of all sexually abused children. All the while deceiving Jehovah’s Witnesses about the behind-the-scenes doings of their lawyers.
The Watchtower has reached the point of being shameless, even as it says in Zephaniah: “Jehovah is righteous in her midst; he does no wrong. Morning by morning he makes known his judgments, as unfailing as the daylight. But the unrighteous one knows no shame.”
While preaching to the lowly rank and file on their obligation to be truthful, the Governing Body is responsible for promoting one of the biggest hoaxes ever perpetrated on a trusting people —that, of course, being the 1914 hoax and all that goes with it. Here is what a recent WT publication said of the Pharisees:
Jesus continues: “Woe to you who are versed in the Law, because you took away the key of knowledge. You yourselves did not go in, and you hinder those going in!” These men, who should be unlocking the meaning of God’s Word, are instead taking away the opportunity for people to know and understand it.
Although the Watchtower has undeniably helped many to understand the simple teachings of the Bible, such as the condition of the dead and the nature of the relationship between Jehovah and Jesus, the Governing Body has simultaneously locked up the deep things related to the return of Christ. For example, how many of Jehovah’s Witnesses are even aware that the WT teaches that the climatic Second Coming of Jesus Christ has already occurred? How many of Jehovah’s Witnesses can explain the rationale behind the cockamamie idea that people of the world began receiving the 666 mark of the beast in 1922? Why do Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that the parousia is invisible when the apostle Paul spoke of “the second time he appears”? (Hebrews 9:28)
Sadly, the Watchtower continues to deal falsely with inquiries about the depth and nature of its secret, ten-year partnership with the United Nations. How like the Devil, the father of the lie, to scheme and defraud and lie, lie, lie!
Jehovah’s judgment ultimately caught up with the Pharisees and the entire Jewish system back then. And we may be sure that Christ is going to set matters straight in the future.
However, just as some among the hypocritical Pharisees became anointed Christians in the first century, no doubt some among the Bethel’s elite will accept Christ at his second coming. But their doing so will come at great personal cost. They will become the persecuted —just as the former persecutor —Saul —experienced many hardships at the hands of his fellow Jews after he became a zealous witness for Jesus.
Christ forewarned that during the conclusion his followers would be persecuted and thrown from the synagogues and even killed. Surely, no anointed Christians will be thrown from a literal Jewish synagogue in modern times. Jesus obviously used the synagogue as a type for the Christian congregation —otherwise known as a kingdom hall. All this because “you did not discern the time of your being inspected.”