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What Has Religion Done For Mankind?

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CHAPTER XVIII

World Religion and the Seed of Mystery

THE first contact that the child Jesus had with world religion was when he was visited by the magi or astrologers from eastern parts, and this quickly led to a murderous attempt on his life by the seed of the Serpent. These magi or astrologers were not sent by the Most High God. He had no dealings with magicians or astrologers. These were associated with Babylonish religion, and Jehovah's law concerning astrologers or stargazers commanded the Jews: "There must be none among you who burns his son or his daughter alive, or who practises divination or soothsaying, no augur, no sorcerer, no one who weaves spells, no medium or magician, no necromancer. Anyone given to these practices is abominable to the Eternal." (Deuteronomy 18:10-12, Mo) "The soul that shall go aside after magicians, and soothsayers, and shall commit fornication with them, I will set my face against that soul, and destroy it out of the midst of its people." (Leviticus 20:6, Dy) But Lady Babylon had dealings with magicians, for God said to her: "Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee." (Isaiah 47:13) Hence God did not notify these star-gazing magicians or as-

1. Why was it not by Jehovah God that the magi or astrologers were sent to the child Jesus?
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trologers that his Son had been born on earth, and thus serve the purpose of the seed of the Serpent. He notified Jews who worshiped him, and that by his angel or by his holy spirit.

2 The original Serpent and his demons have the power to cause luminous orbs or bodies to appear to the vision of those subject to their influence. Jehovah's angel instructed the shepherds to go direct to Bethlehem and gave them a sign for identifying the babe. The eighth day from that the babe was circumcised the same as any Jewish boy. On the fortieth day the days of Mary's purification were up, and so she and Joseph went to the temple at Jerusalem to make the sacrifice for Mary's cleansing, according to Moses' law. (Leviticus 12:1-8) Hence they brought the babe Jesus there. Then by his spirit God identified the babe there to aged Simeon and the prophetess Anna. (Luke 2:21-38) But there is no record that anybody else saw the star which the magi or astrologers claimed they saw from the east. Furthermore, their "star" did not lead them direct to Bethlehem. "Look! astrologers from eastern parts came to Jerusalem, saying: 'Where is the one born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when we were in the east and we have come to do him obeisance.'" At hearing this King Herod was disturbed. So he asked the Jewish priests and scribes where Christ was to be born. They quoted Micah 5:2, saying: "In Bethlehem of Judea; for this is how it has been written through the prophet, 'You, however, O Bethlehem of the land of Judah, are by no means the most insignificant city among the governors of Judah; for out of you will come

2. How did the sending of the astrologers to visit the child differ from that of the shepherds and the notifying of Simeon and Anna?
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forth a leader [or, governor] who will shepherd my people, Israel.'"

3 Then Herod sent the astrologers to Bethlehem, saying with the cunning of the Serpent: "When you have found it report back to me, that I, too, may go and do it obeisance." On the way the star appeared to them again and went ahead and stopped over where the young child now was. They did not go into a stable but went into a house and there found the child and paid respects to it. If the "star" had been from God, why did it not lead them there in the first place? So now, because this star had let murderous Herod in on the matter, God did step in, just as when he warned the Philistine king Abimelech by a dream not to harm Abraham's wife. He did not leave the astrologers to the influence of that star any longer, for, we read, "because they were given divine warning in a dream not to return to Herod, they withdrew to their country by another route." (Genesis 20:2-8) After their leaving, Jehovah's angel warned Joseph to take the child and its mother down to Egypt at once: "for Herod is about to hunt the young child to destroy it."

4 Herod, finding himself outwitted by the astrologers, now arranged a dragnet of destruction to catch the Seed of God's "woman". He had all the boys in and about Bethlehem killed according to the age limits he had calculated from the astrologers. All this proves that the "star" was part of a plot of the Serpent to destroy the Messianic

3. When sending the astrologers to Bethlehem what request did Herod make, and how did God block their complying with it?
4. What did Herod then do, and what does this prove concerning the star, the astrologers, and astrology itself?
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Seed, and that God had not sent the wise men either to Herod or to the child Jesus by means of the star. It proves that astrology or trying to gain information on the lives of people by consulting the stars is Babylonish. It is of the Serpent, Satan the Devil, and is condemned by God's Word. —Matthew 2:1-17, NW.

5 When brought out of Egypt, the child was taken, not back to the danger zone Bethlehem, but up to Nazareth. There he was brought up. He became a carpenter like his foster father Joseph. His cousin John was a priest's son, and it was God's law for a young priest to enter into his full duties at thirty years of age. But, in place of taking up priestly service at the temple in Jerusalem, John began preaching out in the wilderness of Judea, saying: "Repent, for the kingdom of the heavens has drawn near." Those who repented in view of the Kingdom's nearness he baptized in water.

6 The religion of the Jews had been corrupted by the leaders, for these followed the philosophies and traditions of men instead of God's plain Word. Because they were natural offspring of Abraham, they thought they were sure of a place in the kingdom of heaven. But when John saw the religious Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he showed they came from among the seed of the Serpent: "You offspring of vipers, who has shown you how to flee from the coming wrath? So then produce fruit that befits repentance; and do not presume to say to yourselves, 'As a father we have Abraham.' For I say to you that God is

5. Where was Jesus brought up, and why there, and into what activities did John enter at the proper time?
6. Why did John greet the Pharisees and Sadducees as he did, and of what did he warn them?
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able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones." Then he warned them the Promised Seed was coming and he would make a separation between the wheat and chaff, those who accepted God's revelations on the true Seed of Abraham and those who clung to traditions. —Matthew 3:1-12, NW.

7 How different when Jesus came from Nazareth to be baptized by John in the Jordan river! For Jesus John did not have the greetings for a sinner. He did not wish to give Jesus the appearance of a sinner by baptizing him. He tried to prevent Jesus, saying: "I am the one needing to be baptized by you, and are you coming to me?" Jesus had no sins to confess to John and so he was not being baptized in repentance over sins. Why, then, did he submit to baptism? In order to symbolize his complete devoting of himself to God to do God's will in behalf of the kingdom of the heavens which John was preaching. He told John: "Let it be, this time, for in that way it is suitable for us to carry out all that is righteous."

8 So John submerged Jesus beneath the Jordan stream to symbolize Jesus' immersion into the will of God. He raised Jesus out of the water to symbolize how Jesus was raised up out of death to his own will and was now made alive to God's will as this would be further revealed to him. It was here that God's "woman" or spiritual organization brought Jesus forth as a spiritual Son of God, the heavenly Seed, for we read: "After being baptized Jesus immediately came up from the

7. Why did John at first object to baptizing Jesus, and what was the reason why Jesus got baptized?
8. How was the water baptism an appropriate symbol for Jesus, and how was it that as Christ he began his work?
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water; and, look! the heavens were opened up, and he saw descending like a dove God's spirit coming upon him. Look! also, there was a voice from the heavens that said: This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved.'" There Jehovah God acknowledged Jesus as the Seed of his "woman", begotten by his spirit to a heavenly destiny. Luke's account adds: "Furthermore, Jesus himself, when he commenced his work, was about thirty years old, being the son, as the opinion was, of Joseph." (Matthew 3:13-17 and Luke 3:21-23, NW) Thus Jesus began his work as the Christ or Messiah. Christ means "Anointed One", and immediately after his water baptism Jesus had been anointed with God's holy spirit.

9 John the Baptist did not offer one sacrifice on God's altar at Jerusalem as the son of the Levite priest Zechariah. Instead, he baptized the body of the Christ who was offering himself as a sacrifice of far greater value than that of bulls, goats and sheep. It was a perfect human sacrifice that could atone for the sin of the world, the sin inherited from Adam. As we have seen, much had been written about the Promised Seed, indicating God's will for him. Now he had come and been baptized to symbolize his dedication to do God's will in this world. What this meant for him we read:

10 "Hence when he comes into the world he says [quoting Psalm 40:6-8, LXX]: '"You did not desire sacrifice and offering, but you prepared a body for me. You did not approve of whole burnt-offerings and sin offering." Then I said, "Look! I am come (in the roll of the book it is written about me) to do your will, O God."' After first

9, 10. As what was Jesus' body which John baptized to serve, and how was Jesus' coming to serve this purpose foretold in the Psalms?
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saying, 'You did not desire nor did you approve of sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt-offerings and sin offering'—sacrifices which are offered according to the Law—then he actually says, 'Look! I am come to do your will.' He does away with what is first that he may establish what is second. By the said 'will' we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all time." —Hebrews 10:5-10, NW.

11 This meant that the old Law covenant which was first and which had merely animal sacrifices was being done away with in order for a new covenant to be established on a better sacrifice, a sacrifice of Jesus' perfect humanity. The Law covenant had been added to God's great covenant with Abraham concerning the Seed for the blessing of all the families of the earth. It had been added for only a time, till the Seed arrived concerning whom the promise had been made. Now that Seed had arrived. God's "woman", his heavenly organization of loyal spirit creatures, had brought forth this Seed. So it was time for God to dismiss the woman servant with whom he had been married by means of the Law covenant, namely, the national organization of natural Jews or Israelites. This dismissal had been foreshadowed when Abraham dismissed his servant girl Hagar and her son Ishmael whom she had borne to him in hope that he might prove to be the promised seed of Abraham. But Abraham kept his real and original wife, Sarah, who now at last in her old age bore him Isaac, who was a picture of the real Seed of Abraham.

11. What did this mean for the Law covenant and the organization under it, and how was this foreshadowed with Abraham's women?
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12 To make this Seed of Abraham like the stars of heaven for multitude, Jehovah God made Jesus' faithful followers to be his spiritual brothers. For the purpose of making these the spiritual brothers of Jesus a new covenant had to be established over Jesus' sacrifice of his perfect human body, according to God's will. By this means they became God's spiritual sons, children of his "woman", his heavenly, spiritual organization. For this reason the apostle Paul, who was one of these children, could exultantly exclaim: "The Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. Now we, brothers, are children belonging to the promise the same as Isaac was. Wherefore, brothers, we are children, not of a servant girl, but of the free woman. For such freedom Christ set us free. Therefore stand fast, and do not let yourselves be confined again in a yoke of slavery." —Galatians 4:26,28,31; 5:1, NW.

13 By offering up in sacrifice the human body which God had prepared for him when he was born as a man, Jesus Christ proved himself to be the High Priest of Jehovah God. No, not a priest of Aaron's family of the tribe of Levi, for Jesus was the Son of David and hence of the royal tribe of Judah. But he was a High Priest like Melchizedek, the ancient king of Salem. Jesus was made such, not by birth into the priestly tribe of Israel, but by God's own oath, when Jehovah said, at Psalm 110:4: "Jehovah hath sworn, and will not repent: Thou art a priest for ever after the manner of Melchizedek." (AS, margin) The apostle

12. By means of the new covenant how was the seed of Abraham to be made like the stars, and whom does Paul show the seed's mother to be?
13. How, despite his tribal extraction, did Jesus become a High Priest as well as Heir of the Kingdom?
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Paul proves this vital point and adds: "Also, to the extent that it was not without a sworn oath, (for there are indeed men that have become priests without a sworn oath, but there is one with an oath sworn by the one that said respecting him, 'Jehovah has sworn, and he will not feel regret: "You are a priest forever,"') to that extent also Jesus has become the one given in pledge of a better covenant." (Hebrews 7:20-22, NW) By being born as the Son of David Jesus became the permanent Heir of the covenant God made with David for the everlasting kingdom. By being sworn into God's priesthood and offering up a perfect human sacrifice Jesus was made a High Priest like Melchizedek, king of Salem, hence a Royal Priest. His followers, his spiritual brothers, are made royal priests with him. They are what the new covenant over Jesus' sacrifice results in.

14 Hence when Jesus was baptized by John to symbolize he had quit the carpenter work at Nazareth and was dedicating himself to do God's will as written for him in the sacred Scriptures, Jesus had a most important assignment of service set out for him by God. To carry it out faithfully would be real worship of God, true religion according to God's revealed will. To test his resoluteness to do this he was at once led by God's spirit into the wilderness. There the Serpent, Satan the Devil, tried to swerve him from his course by an appeal to fleshly appetite and love of self-display. But the Tempter failed to stir up such things in Jesus.

14. So from then on what would be real worship of God for Jesus, and how was his devotion to it tested at the start?
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15 Finally, from an unusually high mountain, the Devil showed him all the kingdoms of the earth, those of India, those of China, the Roman empire, and suchlike. "And the Devil said to him: 'I will give you all this authority and the glory of them, because it has been delivered to me and to whomever I wish I give it. You, therefore, if you do an act of worship before me, it will all be yours.'" But Jesus was not interested in the politics of this world. He was not accepting from the Serpent control over any worldly governments with the idea of reforming them. How could he do so, when this required him to be a worshiper of Satan the Devil?

16 Jesus was interested in the everlasting kingdom for which God had made the covenant with King David. Of this kingdom covenant God had now anointed Jesus to be the permanent Heir. Never would Jesus abandon Jehovah's universal sovereignty and go over to devil religion, thus forfeiting his soul in order to gain worldly kingdoms doomed to destruction. So in rebuff of the Devil's contemptible offer Jesus said: "It is written, 'It is Jehovah your God you must worship, and it is to him alone you must render sacred service.'" Beaten, the great Serpent slunk away, failing to induce Jesus into any bargain and compromise with him. Never did Jesus let the Serpent get his coils about him. Near the end of Jesus' earthly life, when the Serpent was about to bruise his heel, Jesus said to his apostles: "The ruler of the world is coming. And yet he has no hold on me." —Luke 4:1-13 and John 14:30, NW.

15, 16. (a) What offer of world control did Satan then lay before Jesus and on what terms? (b) Why and how did Jesus turn it down?



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