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What Has Religion Done For Mankind?



Prophetic Patterns

THE theocratic laws which Jehovah gave the Israelites together with the fundamental Ten Commandments were not only righteous in themselves but were also small-scale patterns of larger, grander righteous things to come. We have already (on page 129) pointed out that the sabbath law was prophetic, a foreshadowing of mankind's rest from the domination of sin and Devil through the liberating power of God's kingdom. Other features of God's law to Israel were also prophetic patterns. So on Mount Sinai when God by his angel gave Moses a vision of how he was to make the tent of worship and other matters, he was also showing Moses a miniature pattern of more important things to come. That is what we read at Hebrews 8:4, 5 (NW): "There being men who offer the gifts according to the Law, but which men are rendering sacred service in a typical representation and a shadow of the heavenly things; just as Moses, when about to make the complete tent, was given the divine command: For says he, 'See that you make all things according to the pattern [or, type] that was shown you in the mountain.'" Also: "The Law has a shadow of

1. Why does God's Law covenant with Israel hold a twofold interest for us?

the good things to come." (Hebrews 10:1, NW) It is therefore with twofold interest that we look into the things of the Law covenant of God with Israel, an interest in the working out of that covenant in the past and an interest in the future things it foreshadowed, things which have to do with us today.

2 The Israelites agreed to God's terms stated in the Law covenant. So now the covenant was inaugurated toward them at Mount Sinai. "And Moses wrote all the words of Jehovah, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the mount, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. And he sent young men of the children of Israel, who offered burnt-offerings, and sacrificed peace-offerings of oxen unto Jehovah. And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basins; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that Jehovah hath spoken will we do, and be obedient. And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which Jehovah hath made with you concerning all these words." (Exodus 24:4-8, AS) The apostle Paul tells us that Moses also sprinkled the blood on the written book of the Law, to represent God's acceptance of the sacrifice over which the Law covenant was put into force. Paul also tells us that the inaugurating of that old Law covenant was a foreshadowing of

2. Where and how was the Law covenant inaugurated, and what did this foreshadow?

how a new and better covenant would be inaugurated over a better sacrifice, the sacrifice of the Seed of God's woman. —Hebrews 9:15-28.

3 From all this it is evident that the Law covenant with the Israelites was meant to last only till its shadows reached the solid realities which they foreshadowed. In this respect it is correctly said as a proverb: "Coming events cast their shadows before them." Or, more definitely said, the Law covenant was to last till the coming of the Promised Seed who was to inaugurate the new covenant. So the Law covenant did not do away with the promise which Jehovah made to Abraham concerning the Seed for blessing all the nations and families of the earth with life. The Law covenant was therefore not inaugurated as a means for the Israelites to gain everlasting life. For them to prove worthy of the gift of everlasting life under the Law covenant they would have to develop their own righteousness by the works of the Law and that Law would have to pronounce them righteous in God's sight by virtue of their own works. But instead of pronouncing them righteous in themselves and self-deserving of eternal life, that Law was meant to make them conscious of sin and to condemn them as sinners needing help from the Seed covenanted to Abraham years previous.

4 We read: "As to the covenant previously vali-

3. How long was that Law covenant meant to last, and was it meant to justify them or pronounce them sinners?
4, 5. How does Paul corroborate this at Galatians 3:17-19, and how did the Law make sin a living reality and condemn all the world?

dated by God, the Law that has come into being four hundred and thirty years later does not invalidate it, so as to abolish the promise. For if the inheritance is due to law, it is no longer due to promise; whereas God has kindly given it to Abraham through a promise. Why, then, the Law? It was added to make transgressions manifest, until the seed should arrive to whom the promise had been made, and it was transmitted through angels by the hand of a mediator." (Galatians 3:17-19, NW) Illustrating how the Law covenant and its Ten Commandments made him painfully aware of being a sinner needing salvation, the apostle Paul wrote further: "What, then, shall we say? Is the Law sin? Never may that become so! Really I would not have come to know sin if it had not been for the Law, and, for example, I would not have known covetousness if the Law had not said, 'You must not covet.' [The Tenth commandment] But sin, receiving an inducement through the commandment, worked out in me covetousness of every kind, for apart from law sin was dead." —Romans 7:7, 8, NW.

5 That is to say, the Law made sin a living reality by naming what sin was. Since the Law proved the Israelites also to be sinners, it condemned all mankind to be sinners. "Now we know," says Paul, "that all the things the Law says it addresses to those under the Law, so that every mouth may be stopped and all the world may become liable to God for punishment. Therefore by works of law no flesh will be declared righteous before him, for


by law is the accurate knowledge of sin." —Romans 3:19,20,NW.

6 To emphasize still more that the Israelites as well as all the rest of mankind were sinners and needed saving from the deadly effects of sin Jehovah established a priesthood for the Israelites. That was why he had Moses build that sacred tent for which he gave him the pattern in Mount Sinai. Moses belonged to the tribe of Levi, and Jehovah made the tribe of Levi the official servants of the sacred tent or tabernacle. Out of this tribe Jehovah made Moses' brother Aaron the high priest and Aaron's sons his underpriests. The priesthood was to remain in the family of Aaron the Levite as long as the Law covenant lasted. On the first day of the second year after the Israelites had been rescued from Egypt the sacred tent was completed and was set up in the midst of its court. "Then," as Moses tells us, "the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of Jehovah filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of meeting, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of Jehovah filled the tabernacle." (Exodus 40:17, 34, 35, AS) That stamped the tent as divinely approved.

7 It was after this divine acceptance of the tent that Aaron was installed as high priest and his sons as underpriests with the proper sacrifices and ceremonies. Remember that Hebrews 8:5 (NW)

6. With whom did Jehovah establish a priesthood in Israel, and why?
7. When was the priesthood installed, and whom did they picture?

has told us those men were "rendering sacred service in a typical representation and a shadow of the heavenly things". So Aaron foreshadowed Jehovah's great High Priest who would offer the real sacrifice that actually takes away the world's sin, namely, the Promised Seed of God's woman. Aaron's sons as his priestly assistants pictured those people who would be the first to be liberated by that Seed and who would be associated with him in blessing all the families of the earth with liberation from sin and Devil. All together, this priestly class make up the seed of Abraham which God back there had left unnumbered like the stars of heaven and the sands of the seashore.  —Genesis 22:17,18.

8 The entire nation of Israel was taken into the Law covenant through the mediator Moses. All the Israelites proving to be sinners, the entire nation became guilty of violating God's holy law. Foreknowing this, God arranged in the Law covenant for the nation to have a day of atonement each year. This national atonement day was fixed on the tenth day of their seventh month, or Tizri 10. (Leviticus 23:27,28) It was a day of propitiation or day of sin-covering. The Hebrew word for making atonement (käphár) simply means "to cover". Our English word "atonement" is derived from the expression "at one" and has the Bible meaning. It does not mean the state where man is "at one" with God, a so-called "at-

8. When was their day of atonement to be held, and what does the word "atonement" Scripturally mean and show?


one-ment" with God, but it means a covering of sins. The thing which makes satisfaction for something that is lost or forfeited is what must be "at one" with that other thing. It must cover, coincide with and be exactly equivalent to it. Hence this shows what is required in the offering for sin: it must correspond perfectly, without overlapping or without coming short, with the thing for which it atones or makes a just satisfaction. Only by atonement through such a sin-offering could God's favor be restored to men who are under a natural disability before Him. That is why the animals which Israel's high priest offered for sin could not really take away human sins, because animals or beasts are so far below mankind.

9 There must be a perfect human sacrifice to cover human sins. The perfect one who serves as the victim is the propitiatory sacrifice. That is to say, he is the sacrifice which makes God favorable again toward mankind who have been under

9. What must the real atonement sacrifice be, and in what way is it propitiary?

disability and under God's wrath and condemnation due to their birth from sinner Adam.

10 On this very point we read: "For since the Law has a shadow of the good things to come, but not the very substance of the things, men can never with the same sacrifices from year to year which they offer continually make those who approach perfect. Otherwise, would the sacrifices not have stopped being offered, because those rendering sacred service who had been cleansed once for all time would have no consciousness of sins any more? To the contrary, by these sacrifices there is a reminding of sins from year to year, for it is not possible for the blood of bulls and of goats to take sins away." —Hebrews 10:1-4, NW.

11 On the yearly day of atonement (or sin-covering) Israel's high priest offered up first a young bullock for the sins of the tribe of Levi, which included the priestly family. Before going into the sacred tent with the bullock's blood, he went into its inner compartment or Most Holy and there burned fragrant incense before the sacred ark of the covenant. This gilded ark had two cherubim of gold mounted on its golden lid, and between these Jehovah's presence was symbolized as dwelling by the appearance there of a miraculous light called the Shekinah light. This lid was called "the mercy seat". (Exodus 25:17-22) Into this Most Holy now fragrant with the incense the high priest then brought the blood of the bullock.

10. So why was it necessary for the animal sacrifices of Israel to be offered from year to year?
11. For which tribe did Israel's high priest make atonement first, and what did this typify?

Some of it he sprinkled with his finger on the east side of the mercy seat and then seven times in front of it. This foreshadowed how the Seed of God's woman would be bruised and would be raised from the dead and would enter as High Priest into God's presence in heaven itself. There he would offer the value of his sacrifice first in behalf of his faithful followers, his fellow members of the "seed of Abraham" through whom all the families of the earth are to be blessed. —Leviticus 16:1-14.

12 After sprinkling the bullock's blood in the Most Holy Israel's high priest then sacrificed a goat selected to be the goat for Jehovah. Its blood he sprinkled in the incense-filled Most Holy for the benefit of all the rest of the tribes of Israel. This did not picture another sacrifice by the Seed of God's woman. It merely showed how, after he had applied the merit of his sacrifice in heaven for the benefit of his spiritual followers, he would apply the merit of that same sacrifice of his for the benefit of mankind in general, to as many as believe and obey him when he reigns in God's kingdom for blessing all mankind. —Leviticus 16:15-19.

13 To install Aaron the high priest in office Aaron's brother, God's prophet Moses, anointed him with specially prepared holy anointing oil. By (his anointing the high priest was sanctified for his sacrificial service. He was therefore called

12. How did the high priest then make atonement for the rest of the nation, and what did this typify?
13. By being anointed what did Moses' brother Aaron income, and so what did his sin-atoning work picture?

"the anointed of Jehovah" or the "Messiah of Jehovah". Messiah means "Anointed", or one sanctified by anointing. When the Hebrew Scriptures were translated into Greek during the first three centuries before Christ, the Greek word that was used for Messiah was "Christ", as it, too, means "Anointed One". (Exodus 30:30; Leviticus 4:3,5,16; 6:22, LXX; Numbers 35:25) This pictures that the Seed of God's woman who becomes Jehovah's High Priest to offer sacrifice for the sins of mankind must also be anointed; he, too, must be Jehovah's Anointed One or Christ. Concerning his sin-covering work for us the apostle Paul writes: "For Christ entered, not into a holy place made with hands which is a copy of the reality, but into heaven itself, now to appear before the person of God for us. Neither is it in order that he should offer himself often, as indeed the [Jewish] high priest enters into the holy place from year to year with blood not his own. Otherwise, he would have to suffer often from the world's foundation. But now he has manifested himself once for all time at the consummation of the systems of things to put sin away through the sacrifice of himself." (Hebrews 9:24-26, NW) So the Seed of God's woman must be the Messiah, the Christ.

14 That the Seed would be bruised at the heel by the Serpent Satan the Devil and would die in outward disgrace was illustrated on the atone-

14. On atonement day how was it shown that the Seed of God's woman would die as a sin bearer in outward disgrace?

ment day. How? By the treatment of the scapegoat or "goat for Azázel". The high priest confessed all the sins of the nation of Israel over its head. bronze serpent foreshadows ChristIt was then sent outside their camp and into the wilderness never to return. (Leviticus 16:8-10, 20-22, AS) But there was another dramatic picture that was enacted in Israel which prefigured how the Anointed Seed would die outwardly in disgrace, but actually as a sin bearer who suffers a curse for others that they may be relieved of their sins and the penalty.

15 Toward the end of forty years of traveling about in the wilderness the Israelites were passing by the land of Edom toward the southeast of the Salt Sea, now called the Dead Sea. Quite some dissatisfaction arose over the miraculous manna they had been eating all those years, and, besides, here there were no natural water supplies. So disloyal talk broke out against God and his prophet Moses. Such conduct certainly merits death. "Then Jehovah sent fiery serpents [or, stinging serpents] among the people, which bit the people; and much people of Israel died. And the people came to Moses and said,

15. How was this same thing pictured in the wilderness when murmuring over water supplies broke out?

We have sinned, in that we have spoken against Jehovah, and against thee: pray to Jehovah that he take away the serpents from us. Arid Moses prayed for the people." How, now, was the salvation of the people from the deadly serpents effected? "And Jehovah said to Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole; and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, and looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole; and it came to pass, if a serpent had bitten any man, and he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived." —Numbers 21:4-9, Da.

16 The inspired apostle Paul plainly states that this event in Israel's journey to the Promised Land was typical and for a warning to us today. His words are: "Now these things became our examples, for us not to be persons desiring injurious things, even as they desired them. Neither let us put Jehovah to the test, as some of them put him to the test, only to perish by the serpents. Now these things went on befalling them as examples and they were written for a warning to us upon whom the accomplished ends of the systems of things have arrived." (1 Corinthians 10:6, 9,11, NW) For the accurate interpretation of the prophetic meaning of this event we have none other than Jesus Christ himself. To the Jewish ruler Nicodemus he said: "No man has ascended into heaven but he that descended from heaven, the Son of man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so the Son of

16. What did Paul say this event was, and how did Jesus interpret its meaning for us?

man must be lifted up, that everyone believing in him may have everlasting life. For God loved the world so much that he gave his only-begotten Son, in order that everyone exercising faith in him might not be destroyed but have everlasting life."  —John 3:13-16, NW.

17 That serpent of bronze which Moses suspended upon the pole pictured the only-begotten Son of God, who descended and was known on earth as "the Son of man". This meant that he, too, was to be impaled or fastened on a stake, to all outward appearance an evildoer, a low, groveling sinner, like a snake. He would die like one who is in league with the Devil, Satan the Serpent, whom Jehovah God cursed in the garden of Eden. That his hanging on a stake symbolized his being in the position of one cursed, God's own law stated in this way: "If any man has committed a sin deserving death, and if he is put to death by being impaled upon a stake, his corpse must not remain all night upon the stake; you must be sure to bury him the same day, for an impaled man is under God's curse, and you must not pollute the land which the Eternal your God gives you for your own." —Deuteronomy 21:22, 23, Mo; AT.

18 But how could the Seed of God's woman die impaled on a stake like a cursed sinner and yet die as a perfect sacrifice for mankind? Inspired writers of Scripture answer: "He himself by im-

17. What experience did the suspending of the snake foretell for Jesus?
18. How could Jesus die thus and yet be a perfect sacrifice for mankind, and whom does he therefore draw to him?

putation bore our sins in his own body upon the stake, in order that we might be done with sins and live to righteousness. And 'by his stripes you were healed'." "Christ by purchase released us from the curse of the Law by becoming a curse instead of us, because it is written: 'Accursed is every man hanged upon a stake.'" (1 Peter 2:24 and Galatians 3:13, NW) It was only by having the Anointed Seed die in this manner that the Jews could be relieved of the curse for having violated Jehovah's Law covenant with them, even to rejecting the Son of God whom that Law identified as the Promised Seed, the Christ. The curse means death as by a serpent's sting. Relief from it can come only by our looking up to him who was impaled on the stake and acknowledging him as dying, not for any sins of his own, but for the curse on the Jews and the condemnation of sin on all mankind. We must be drawn to him as our Sin Bearer. As he himself said a few days before his death on the stake: "And yet I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw men of all kinds to me." John who heard him say this says: "This he was really saying to signify what sort of death he was about to die." (John 12:32,33, NW) Though he died a reproachful death, Jehovah vindicated him by resurrecting him from death to heavenly life.

19 All this meant that there would be need of a new covenant. If the Israelites had followed the leadings of the Law covenant, they might have

19. For what covenant did all this show the need, and how did Jehovah foretell it through Jeremiah?

become, as God stated at Mount Sinai, "a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation." Himself a natural Jew once under the Law, the apostle Paul said: "Consequently, the Law has become our tutor leading to Christ, that we might be declared righteous due to faith." (Galatians 3:24, NW) With Christ the High Priest they could have become a kingdom of priests. But because of inborn sin and for lack of faith they broke the covenant and came under the curse it pronounced upon covenant breakers. Foreseeing their failure, Jehovah God over six hundred years in advance foretold the making of a new covenant that would really produce a people for his name. "Behold, the days come, saith Jehovah, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was a husband unto them, saith Jehovah."  —Jeremiah 31:31, 32, AS.

20 Men long wondered who the woman would be who would produce the Seed promised in Jehovah's Edenic covenant. His words here regarding the new covenant help us toward solving this secret. God likened his relationship with the nation of Israel to that of a man with a wife. Jehovah was the husband to the theocratic organization of Israel. This visible organization was as a wife to him. In an appeal to her to be faithful

20. To what did Jehovah liken the Israelite organization, and so as what did he finally reject it?

to him he said: "Return, O backsliding children, saith Jehovah; for I am a husband unto you: . . . Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith Jehovah." (Jeremiah 3:14, 20, AS) But the natural house of Israel did not do so, and Jehovah points out that that was what false religion, with which she compromised, did for the house of Israel. So he rejected her as his woman for her unfaithfulness.

21 But how does this help us identify God's woman who produces the Seed that is to crush the Serpent's head? In this way. Jehovah spoke of the once theocratic organization of Israel as a woman to whom he was a husband. Just so, too, the real "woman" who brings forth the Promised Seed is also a theocratic organization. The earthly organization of natural Israel is not the one that brings forth the Seed of the sacred secret. The Seed is the only-begotten Son of God who comes down from heaven. He comes from the heavenly organization, and it is this which produces him. This heavenly organization is made up of God's spirit sons who have stayed loyal and obedient to him with theocratic submissiveness. Because this holy spiritual organization is unbreakably attached to him in spite of the rebellion of the "covering cherub", and because it remains subject to God as its theocratic Head and furnishes him servants for his different purposes, it is likened to a wife and he is its husband. Jehovah owns her,

21. So how does this help us identify the woman who produces the Promised Seed, and who therefore is she?

for she is his creation, and so he is her Lord and Master.

22 This is the organization which, after the sacred secret had lain unsolved for millenniums, finally brought forth the only-begotten Son to be the Seed, this causing great joy. As it is written: "Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: . . . For thy Maker is thy husband; Jehovah of hosts is his name." (Isaiah 54:1-5, AS) The apostle Paul quotes this prophecy, but, before doing so, he shows that the earthly organization of Israel was not the "woman", and then says: "The Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. . . . Now we, brothers, are children belonging to the promise the same as Isaac was." (Galatians 4:26-28, NW) So Sarah the mother of Isaac was a prophetic picture of God's theocratic heavenly organization which produces the Anointed Seed. This is the "woman" of God's Edenic covenant. It is between her and the original Serpent that God puts enmity as well as between her seed and the Serpent's seed. There can be no compromise between the two sides.

22. What name do the Scriptures give her, and between her and what does Jehovah place enmity?

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