Friday, February 6, 2009

Did Jesus Teach "The Truth?"

Did Jesus Teach "the Truth"?

This question might seem odd to some. Of course Jesus taught the Truth! However, what I am referring to is a term commonly used by Jehovah's Witnesses. In reference to their belief system, Jehovah's Witnesses commonly say "the Truth" as in "He found the Truth", "We accepted the Truth", "She was raised around the Truth" or "They left the Truth." The "Truth" to one of Jehovah's Witnesses is the Truth found in the Bible, or exactly what their religion teaches. To them, the Truth in the Bible and the Truth that they teach are one and the same.

Many times, though, people will attack Jehovah's Witnesses and say that they do not have the Truth. They will even say that Jesus Christ did not teach the "Truth" as Jehovah's Witnesses teach it. Is this actually the case? We will look at a belief of Jehovah's Witnesses and then statements that Jesus made concerning that belief to see if Jesus Christ taught it.

A Complete Record?
First we must find if everything that Jesus spoke concerning the Truth (because whatever Jesus spoke is the Truth) is actually contained in the Bible. What does the Bible record say? "There are, in fact, many other things also which Jesus did, which, if ever they were written in full detail, I suppose, the world itself could not contain the scrolls written." (John 21:25) Obviously, Jesus' day-to-day affairs are not contained in the Scriptures. Did he have a favorite place to eat? We don't know. How many people followed him from the time he first began his ministry to the end? The Bible record is silent. Is everything he taught contained in the Scriptures? Probably not.

One man who wrote about Jesus that lived in the time of the Apostles was a man named Papias (Born before 70 C.E.-Died 155 C.E. in Smyrna) who claims to have talked to some Bible writers and other eyewitnesses of Jesus Christ. This is certainly possible. Mark wrote his Gospel about 65 C.E., perhaps around the time Papias was born, and, therefore, may have lived on for Papias to grow into adulthood and John died about 100 C.E. Again, it makes it possible that Papias indeed knew Mark and John.

This should be taken into consideration because of something that Papias claims. He says someone who knew Jesus remembered a conversation between the Lord and Judas Iscariot about the coming paradise Earth. After Jesus supposedly gives an illustration about the abundance of food to be found in the coming new world Papias wrote, "But these things are credible to them that believe. And when Judas the traitor did not believe, [he] asked, 'How shall such growths be accomplished by the Lord?' he relates that the Lord said, 'They shall see, who shall come to these [times].'" [1]

The very fact that Papias says that Christ was teaching a paradise earth is noteworthy. Further, it adds some credibility to his claim. It does not, however, verify its authenticity. You see, supposedly, Papias wrote things that contradicted Holy Scripture and added his own interpretation to things Christ and the Apostles taught. But those claims even are not known for sure. None of the writings that we have from Papias today are preserved. We only have the writings of other men that quoted Papias--some of whom did not even like him! Obviously, these people could have misquoted Papias or even added things to his writings to discredit him. Unfortunately, because of this, we can not be certain that the things Papias wrote are correct, even what is quoted above. His writings are obviously of interest, though.

All of this reinforces the fact that all Jesus' words and actions are not quoted in the Bible so this list is not exhaustive. It does give us a basis for determining if the beliefs of Jehovah's Witnesses are compliant with the words of Jesus because, if they are not, then Jehovah's Witnesses do not have the Truth.

What Do Jehovah's Witnesses Believe? What Did Jesus Believe?

God's Name and Glory is of Highest Importance
"Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified."-Matthew 6:9
"Father, the hour has come; glorify your son, that your son may glorify you."-John 17:1
(See also: Matthew 5:16; Luke 10:21; John 12:28; John 17:26)

God created humans, we did not evolve
"“Did you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female?"-Matthew 19:4

Christ is God's Son and is inferior to Him
"If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going my way to the Father, because the Father is greater than I am."-John 14:28
(See also: John 8:42; John 20:17)

Christ was first of God's creations
"These are the things that the Amen says, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation by God."-Revelation 3:14

Christ's human life was paid as a ransom for obedient humans
"Just as the Son of man came, not to be ministered to, but to minister and to give his soul a ransom in exchange for many.”-Matthew 20:28

Bible is God's Word and is truth
"Sanctify them by means of the truth; your word is truth."-John 17:17

Bible is more reliable than tradition
"In reply he said to them: 'Why is it you also overstep the commandment of God because of your tradition?'"-Matthew 15:3

The dead cease to exist, soul not immortal
"He said these things, and after this he said to them: 'Lazarus our friend has gone to rest, but I am journeying there to awaken him from sleep.' Therefore the disciples said to him: 'Lord, if he has gone to rest, he will get well.' Jesus had spoken, however, about his death. But they imagined he was speaking about taking rest in sleep. At that time, therefore, Jesus said to them outspokenly: 'Lazarus has died.'"-John 11:11-14

Hope for dead is resurrection
"The hour is coming, and it is now, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who have given heed will live. For just as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted also to the Son to have life in himself. And he has given him authority to do judging, because Son of man he is. Do not marvel at this, because the hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice and come out, those who did good things to a resurrection of life, those who practiced vile things to a resurrection of judgment."-John 5:25-29

Only a "little flock" go to heaven
“Have no fear, little flock, because your Father has approved of giving you the kingdom."-Luke 12:32
(See also: Matthew 5:3)

Only those receiving the kingdom, the little flock, are born again
“Most truly I say to you, Unless anyone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”-John 3:3

All others not of "little flock" will live on earth forever
“Happy are the mild-tempered ones, since they will inherit the earth."-Matthew 5:5
( See also: John 10:16)

It is the duty of all Christians to preach about the kingdom of God
"As you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.’"-Matthew 10:7
(See also: Matthew 24:14; Matthew 28:19-20; John 14:12)

Satan is the ruler of the world
"Now there is a judging of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out."-John 12:31
(See also: John 14:30, John 16:11)

Christians are no part of the world
"If you were part of the world, the world would be fond of what is its own. Now because you are no part of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, on this account the world hates you."-John 15:19
(See also John 17:16)

Christians are not under or bound by the Mosaic Law
"“The Law and the Prophets were until John [the Baptist]. From then on the kingdom of God is being declared as good news, and every sort of person is pressing forward toward it."-Luke 16:16

Prayers are to be directed only to Jehovah through Christ
"No matter what you ask the Father in my name he might give it to you."-John 15:16
(See also John 16:23)

Special titles are improper
"But you, do not you be called Rabbi, for one is your teacher, whereas all you are brothers. Moreover, do not call anyone your father on earth, for one is your Father, the heavenly One. Neither be called ‘leaders,’ for your Leader is one, the Christ."-Matthew 23:8-10

There is only one road to life
"Go in through the narrow gate; because broad and spacious is the road leading off into destruction, and many are the ones going in through it; whereas narrow is the gate and cramped the road leading off into life, and few are the ones finding it."-Matthew 7:13-14

Sound Support from Jesus
Jesus did teach "the Truth" as Jehovah's Witnesses refer to it. It is not made up of a Scripture here and a Scripture there all throughout the Bible. No, indeed Jesus believed what we believe. He taught what we teach. If you would like to learn more about what Christ taught and what Jehovah's Witnesses currently teach, you can write to the appropriate address or by electronic correspondence and Jehovah's Witnesses would gladly, indeed, feel privileged, to help you learn "the Truth"!-Matthew 10:7-8


[1] Preserved in Irenaeus’ Against All Heresies, 5:33:3-4