The secret of the Lord is for those who fear Him, And He will make them know His covenant. (Psalm 25:14)
Can a person fear God and not know His covenant?
The Apostle Paul made it clear in his letter to the Romans that his kinsmen, the Israelites, had a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge (Romans 10:2). Being zealous for God is not necessarily fearing Him for Paul concluded that they sought to establish their own righteousness rather than subject themselves to the righteousness of God (Romans 10:3).
Jesus Himself warned about those who would call Him “Lord, Lord” and even perform miracles in His name and yet be cast aside by Him declaring “I never knew you; Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:22-23)
So even in enthusiastic service for God, a person’s zeal could be mistaken as faith by others, but certainly not by God. Only God knows who truly fears Him and thus reserves the right to keep a secret hidden from them. So this got me to wondering how Saul, a murderous Pharisee, discovered “the secret of the Lord” (Psa 25:14) and came to know His covenant.
By scholarly knowledge?
By consulting with flesh and blood?
By force and conquest?
By joining an organization?
None of the above.
Saul feared the Lord.
Saul was changed while still on the road to Damascus. A road leading him to persecute more followers of the Way. In his zealous rage toward Christians, Saul was actually fearing the God of his covenant, YHWH. Born of the tribe of Benjamin, circumcised on the eighth day, and faultless in his zeal for the law, Saul sought to defend the God he feared and rid his territory of its defectors (Philippians 3:4-6).
Saul feared the Lord, but had not yet met Him. But when he encountered the risen Jesus, he asked,
“Who are you Lord?” (Acts 9:5)
His humble question reveals this “fear of the Lord” of which Psalm 25:14 spoke. Why else would a man while “breathing out threats and murder against the disciples of Jesus” even pause to ask about lordship? Yet the very one he claimed to hate is the one who posed the question, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” – (Acts 9:4)
In that moment of Saul’s startling and blinding encounter, I wonder how he interpreted the question? Did Saul only come to the realization that he was persecuting Jesus? Why should he care? Saul hated Jesus! He approved of the stoning of Stephen and was on his way to violently drag back bound to Jerusalem more followers of this man Jesus. Who dared to stand in defiance of him? Obviously, at that time Saul was in agreement with the religious Jews who thought that this apostate Jew, they called the Messiah, had been worthy of the charge of blasphemy and was therefore left to die on a Roman cross for his own sin! But at this moment, did Saul really care if Jesus was being persecuted?
Saul feared YHWH, not the son of Joseph and Mary. So who did Saul really encounter that day on the road to Damascus?
As a zealous defender of the Law, Saul’s persecution of Jesus’ followers was evidence of his loyalty to YHWH. At Saul’s regeneration, he had not been humbled by simply hearing Jesus ask him a question, but by encountering the God he feared! It was then, in that moment, this very God, regenerated him by revealing his Son as the Almighty YHWH. As such, Paul described his conversion this way:
“But when God, who set me apart from my mother’s womb and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being.” (Gal. 1:15-16)
To emphasize the sovereign call of God on his life, Paul did not go to any of the other believers to confirm his conversion. Rather, he sought God alone, in silence and blindness for three days, so that God could receive the full glory for his conversion. And herein lies a lesson for us.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are like the apostle Paul. They seek to fear Jehovah, not Jesus. Like Saul, they feel threatened when those outside their organization give more attention to Jesus rather than Jehovah. Their zeal for Jehovah often mimics that of Saul’s! Yet on that fateful day, Saul’s threats turned to a question: “Who are you Lord?” (Acts 9:5) And in a moment, Saul became the Apostle Paul through the sovereign call of God to “reveal his Son” at the appointed time. As Paul spoke of his being set “apart” from his mother’s womb, we can be confident that all those who are “set apart” by God for salvation will seek Him and find Him when they search for Him with all their hearts (Jeremiah 29:13).
Just as Paul was given the task of uncovering the mystery that had been hidden, we know that YHWH is faithful to His promise to reveal His covenant to those who fear Him. The mystery had been in the scrolls all along and yet remained veiled, but once it had been revealed to Paul, he penned these words,
“but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory;” (1 Corinthians 2:7)
While not looking for it, Paul had been given a “revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past.” This mystery, that both Jews and Gentiles would be brought together as “one” family under God’s new covenant (Eph. 2:12-14), was a powerful testimony to God’s grace and His inclusion of everyone who seeks Him.
Would later generations need “new light” from an organization to unveil more of the mystery for us? Not according to God’s chosen Apostle who wrote in his own time, “but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith;” (Romans 16:25-26) According to Paul, God has predestined a time for this hidden mystery to be revealed to all who are called to be His people out of the nations.
This man who once sought to kill followers of Christ, now understood he’d been given a stewardship from the God to “carry out the preaching of the word of God, that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints” (Colossians 1:25-27). There was nothing self exalting about this stewardship. The first century saints were warned not to become wise in their own estimation, but rather devote themselves to prayer asking God to open a door to speak forth the mystery with boldness and make it clear (Romans 11:25; Colossians 4:2-4; Ephesians 6:19-20)
Someone seeking to establish their own righteousness can not be trusted with a stewardship from God. What they can be trusted with is carrying out orders from men to be approved by men to validate their own sense of righteousness.
In the case of Saul, he once proved his fear of God by his obedience within the confines of his religion. Did Paul lose his fear of Jehovah? Not at all. On the road, Paul proved his fear of Jehovah by his obedience to Jesus even at great personal risk and loss! He had no approval from his “organization.” So who was he fearing? The fear of losing their approval did not stop Saul from following Jesus because he feared God more than religion. And by this, God’s covenant was revealed to him. It was not revealed to those who turned away from Jesus (2 Corinthians 3:15-16). Had Saul not turned to Jesus humbly asking “who are you, Lord?” a veil would have remained over his eyes as it did for those he later described as having “a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.” (Romans 10:2)
Saul had met the One he feared all along.
Today zealous Jehovah’s Witnesses deride the faith of Christians with a goal to defend Jehovah, the God they fear. But are they seeking to establish their own righteousness or do they truly subject themselves to the God they claim to fear? What if they encountered Jesus? What motives would be revealed? Would their fear of the organization hold them back from calling Him Lord?
In reverent fear of YHWH, Saul asked “who are you Lord?” And YHWH revealed to this humbled man how He had raised up Jesus and given Him the name above every other name to glorify Himself. Yes, it glorifies Jehovah when we bow to Jesus proclaiming Him as Lord (Philippians 2:9-11)!
In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul said, “by revelation there was made known to me the mystery.”
And what mystery is that?
“to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel” (Ephesians 3:1-13 )
The eternal purpose God carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord has always been to BLESS ALL NATIONS (Genesis 12:3; Galatians 3:8) Gentiles and Jews would BOTH come into the New Covenant through faith. This new covenant was revealed to Paul, the man who truly feared God.
Though Jehovah’s Witnesses may talk about Jesus and proclaim their work of distributing literature laden with Scriptures and tally up the hours spent declaring their message, God has not revealed His covenant to them because it remains a hidden mystery to those who do not fear Him! Instead of being fellow partakers and heirs in one body, the Watchtower has come up with their own “new covenant” arrangement of a two party system.
According to their own publications, only the 144,000 are Jehovah’s covenant people.
From the March 1, 2012 Watchtower magazine, page 17 — Through the new covenant, Jehovah makes blessings available to many by means of a few. Those in the covenant are few, a mere 144,000. Through them, millions from all nations will be blessed with everlasting life in an earthly paradise. Some who are in the new covenant serve Jehovah on earth today. They alone properly partake of the bread and the wine because the cup “means the new covenant.” –Read Luke 12:32; Rev 14:1, 3.
By living in fear of these men who claim to be a remnant of the 144,000 (the few), Jehovah’s Witnesses (the many) accept that they are NOT members of the new covenant established by Jesus Christ. They’re missing the blessing because their fear has been misplaced. But imagine if they met Jesus on the road and were moved to ask, “who are you Lord?” I did. And He welcomed me into an eternal covenant relationship enabling me to cry out “Abba Father!” (Romans 8:15)
Pray for Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Keep yourself in God’s love,