Due to various electronic necessities, insignificant formatting, punctuation, capitalization, etc. and other minor editing has taken place. Spelling has been addressed especially where scanning has caused errors.

Navigation can be found at the bottom of the page.


What Has Religion Done For Mankind?

257

CHAPTER XX

The "Sacred Secret of This Godly Devotion"

CHRIST Jesus established the congregation of his followers to be a firm pillar of witness and a support of the truth of the sacred secret of God. But warning was sounded well in advance that many would leave the true congregation and would form a counterfeit organization to twist the sacred secret, as Nimrod and Semiramis had done at Babylon. The apostle Paul warned the young disciple Timothy of this, in these words: "I am writing . . . that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in God's household, which is the congregation of the living God, a pillar and support of the truth. Indeed, the sacred secret of this godly devotion is admittedly great: 'He was made manifest in flesh, was declared righteous in spirit, appeared to angels, was preached about among nations, was believed upon in the world, was received up in glory.' However, the inspired utterance says definitely that in later periods of time some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to misleading inspired utterances and teachings of demons, by the hypocrisy of men who speak lies, marked in their conscience as with a branding iron." —1 Timothy 3:14 to 4:2, NW; Dy; CB; AS.

1. What features did Paul describe about the "sacred secret of this godly devotion", and what warning did he sound in connection with it?
258

2 Take note of these features about the sacred secret, from which hypocritical men were to apostatize. "He was made manifest in flesh, was declared righteous in spirit." This feature came to be true when Christ Jesus was resurrected from the dead on the third day. In the flesh he was condemned by men as a sinner, blasphemer, co-worker with Beelzebub, and a seditionist against the Roman empire. So at the loud demand of the Jewish chief priests, officials, rulers and scribes Jesus was hanged upon a torture stake until dead, the charge being posted above him "Jesus the Nazarene the King of the Jews". Men, that is, his few followers then, could not vindicate him of the false charges. But God could do so, declaring him to be righteous. How? By raising him from the dead as he had hinted in His promise in the garden of Eden. The Serpent was to bruise the heel of the woman's Seed, but the Seed, in turn, was to crush the Serpent's head. How could this be except God healed him from the bruise at the heel? Jesus had not died for his own sins, meriting his destruction, but had died in place of sinners, taking their place. To this effect it is written: "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.'" (Galatians 3:13, NW) Hence because Jesus was no sinner but was faithful till death God could raise him up.

3 But with what kind of body was Jesus to be raised from the dead? God had prepared a fleshly

2. Why did Jesus need vindication after his death, and who could vindicate him?
3. As a sacrificer only with what kind of body could Jesus be raised in his vindication, and with what body was he raised?
259

scales showing Jesus as equivalent to Adambody for him in coming to earth, and in order to have something acceptable to God to sacrifice he must sacrifice this perfect human body. This he did on the stake. To sacrifice something means to give it up, to suffer the loss of it, to renounce it for something else. Hence Jesus on being restored to life could not have that body back again in order to live in it. To do so would be taking back the sacrifice. God was equal to the situation. After Jesus' baptism when the holy spirit was poured out upon him God begot him by his spirit to be his spiritual Son and said: "This is my Son, the beloved, whom I have approved." It follows that at his resurrection from death he must be brought forth a spirit Son, no longer flesh. Is this mere self-deception, or do we have inspired witness to this effect? We have Peter who saw him a number of times during the forty days after his resurrection. What have you to tell us, Peter? "Christ died once for all time concerning sins, a righteous person for unrighteous ones, that he might lead you to God, he being put to death in the flesh, but being made alive in the spirit." Made alive how, did you say, Peter? "In the spirit." This, too, is how he "was declared righteous in spirit". Hence Jehovah's High Priest did not withdraw his human sacrifice, but it still remained for mankind's eternal benefit.  —1 Peter 3:18, NW.

4 By this resurrection as a spirit person Jesus

4. So when was Jesus brought forth in a complete sense as the woman's seed, and how does Paul show this?
260

was brought forth in a complete sense as the Seed of God's "woman" or heavenly organization. The virgin Mary, being human and able only to produce a body of flesh and blood from her womb, could never bring forth Jesus as a spirit creature. So she could never be the woman of the Edenic promise. But God's "woman" in heaven, his spiritual organization above from which Jesus came forth to become a man for thirty-three and a half years on earth, was the mother that produced him for God's loving purpose, "the Jerusalem above." Of his full spirit birth at his resurrection we read: "We are declaring to you the good news about the promise made to the forefathers, that God has entirely fulfilled it to us their children in that he resurrected Jesus; even as it is written in the second psalm, 'You are my son, I have become your Father this day.' " —Acts 13:32, 33, NW.

5 Almighty God raised his Son Jesus Christ from the dead an immortal spirit person, never able to return to corruption. So to make himself visible and appear to his disciples for the forty days after his resurrection that they might be his witnesses, Jesus materialized different bodies on various occasions to show he was alive but no longer a human creature. (See Mark 16:11,12, Dy; CB; Kx.) Because of being now a spirit, he could ascend to heaven and appear in God's presence up there.

6 As his disciples watched Jesus ascend heavenward on the fortieth day, his materialized body disappeared within a cloud and the two materialized angels standing by said: "This Jesus who

5. By what means did Jesus manifest himself to his disciples after his resurrection?
6. With what did Jesus ascend and enter into God's presence, and for whom did he first apply it?
261

was received up from you into heaven will come thus in the same manner as you have beheld him going into heaven." They did not say he would come back in the same form or body as the disciples had seen ascend. "Flesh and blood cannot inherit God's kingdom, neither does corruption inherit incorruption." (Acts 1:1-11, NW; 1 Corinthians 15:50, NW) As Israel's high priest entered into the Most Holy of the temple, not with the fleshly bodies of the bull and goat but only with their blood which represented their life,hand holding cup of wine so the High Priest Christ Jesus ascended not with the fleshly body he had sacrificed but with the value of the perfect human life he had sacrificed. This he presented to God in his heavenly residence for all those who were to believe on him afterward. In this way, too, he "appeared to angels" in heaven. This human life value he applied so as to put the new covenant into force for his followers on earth who were to become members of the seed of Abraham, spiritual children of Jehovah God. —Hebrews 13:11,12; 9:11,12, 24-26, NW.

7 On the passover night just before his death Jesus arranged for a yearly memorial of his death. He passed the cup of wine to his eleven faithful apostles, the traitor Judas having left, and he said: "Drink out of it, all of you; for this means my 'blood of the covenant' which is to be poured out in behalf of many for forgiveness of sins." "This cup means the new covenant by virtue of my blood, which is to be poured out in your be-

7. When did Jesus inaugurate the new covenant, and begin to be "preached about among nations"?
262

half." (Matthew 26:27,28 and Luke 22:20, NW) Ten days after his ascension into the presence of God to hand over the value of his human sacrifice, namely, on the feast day of Pentecost, Jesus Christ the Mediator inaugurated that new covenant toward his disciples on earth. He applied to them the benefits of this paid-over sacrifice. He evidenced this by pouring out the holy spirit upon them, anointing them as he had been anointed from heaven. Under the power of that spirit Peter said that day: "This Jesus God resurrected, of which fact we are all witnesses. Therefore because he was exalted to the right hand of God and received the promised holy spirit from the Father, he has poured out this which you see and hear. Actually David did not ascend to the heavens, but he himself says, 'Jehovah said to my Lord, "Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies a stool for your feet."'" (Acts 2:1-4, 32-35, NW; Psalm 110:1, AS) Thus Jesus glorified began to be "preached about among nations".

8 From that Pentecostal day forward God's woman, "the Jerusalem above," began to bring forth other members of Abraham's seed, and thus the Lazarus class was received more fully into Abraham's bosom to be associated with Jesus Christ the principal one of the seed. "Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. It says, not, 'And to seeds,' as in the case of many such, but as in the case of one, 'And to your seed,' who is Christ. Moreover, if you belong to Christ, you are really Abraham's seed, heirs with reference to a promise." (Galatians 3:16,29, NW) So Abraham's seed began to become like the

8. When did God's woman begin to bring forth other members of Abraham's seed, and how many of them did the Jewish nation furnish?
263

stars of heaven for multitude. It was first sixty years after this, when the apostle John was given the vision to write the Bible's last book, The Revelation, that the till then unknown number of that multitudinous seed of Abraham was revealed to be 144,000 to be associated with the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ. (Revelation 7:1-8; 14:1,3) But not that many of the Jewish nation believed on Jesus as the Christ, the Son of David and Seed of Abraham, and were brought into the new covenant. Only a remnant of the natural Jews did, some thousands of them, and these became spiritual sons of God, children of his "woman". —John 1:11,12.

9 So we see that the servant woman to whom Jehovah God had been married by the Mosaic Law covenant did not produce the seed of Abraham. God dismissed her as Abraham did Hagar and her son Ishmael. The Law covenant by which God had been married to her he canceled by nailing it to the stake on which his Son Jesus died. (Colossians 2:13,14) Thirty-seven years later, in the year 70 (A.D.), earthly Jerusalem which symbolized this dismissed servant woman was destroyed again, this time by Imperial Roman legions, in further proof of God's judgment of dismissal against her. (Luke 19:41-44; 21:20-24) But he retained his true "woman", his theocratic organization above, whom he now made fruitful with many children, as he had promised.

10 How, then, was Jehovah God going to complete the foreordained number of the Seed of Abraham, if the natural Jews did not supply the

9. What did God do with the "woman" who failed to produce the seed, and how was this action manifested?
10. When did Jesus begin to be "believed upon in the world", and why and how?
264

required number of believers? This was a feature of the sacred secret that God kept hid for many generations. It was this: the remaining needed members were to be taken from among the non-Jewish nations, the nations of the world. To this end Jesus Christ the woman's Seed was not only to be "preached about among nations" but also to be "believed upon in the world". According to Daniel 9:27, after a full week of years from when Jesus was baptized and was anointed with God's spirit and became Christ, this feature of the mystery was to be made manifest. Seven years from A.D. 29 brings us to A.D. 36. In that year it was that the apostle Peter, not the rich man class, was sent to preach to the Gentile nations, that Jesus might be believed upon in the world. Under divine direction he went to Caesarea, entered a Gentile home, and preached to the Italian centurion Cornelius and all the uncircumcised Gentiles he had gathered in his house. They believed what Peter preached about Jesus. Then, just as at Pentecost, "the holy spirit fell upon all those hearing the word." In evidence they, too, began speaking with foreign languages and glorifying God. Then Peter commanded them to be baptized in water to symbolize their dedication of themselves to God by belief in Jesus Christ. —Acts 10:9-48, NW.

11 So now these uncircumcised Gentile believers, whom the Jewish rich man class looked upon as Gentile dogs, began to be received into Abraham's bosom. Jehovah, the Greater Abraham, begot them to be his spiritual children, sons of his "free woman". They, too, were taken into the new covenant. Here, then, the congregational "body of

11, 12. (a) So whom now did the congregational "body of Christ" begin to include? (b) What did Paul say about the sacred secret so long hidden?
265

Christ", of which Jesus is the Head, began to include uncircumcised Gentile believers. Thus believing Jews and believing Gentiles were united in the one "body of Christ". So this long-hidden feature of the sacred secret was solved. After the apostle Paul had worked hard and suffered much to bring many uncircumcised Gentiles to a knowledge of this secret he said:

12 "I in my turn am filling up what is lacking of the tribulations of the Christ in my flesh on behalf of his body, which is the congregation. I became a minister of this congregation in accordance with the stewardship from God which was given me in your interest to preach the word of God thoroughly, the sacred secret which was concealed from the past systems of things and from the past generations. But now it has been made manifest to his holy ones, to whom God has been pleased to make known what are the glorious riches of this sacred secret among the nations. It is Christ in union with you, the hope of his glory. He is the one we are publicizing, admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man complete in union with Christ." —Colossians 1:24-28, NW; see also Ephesians 3:4-9.

13 By its union with Jesus Christ its Head the congregation was joined to the Seed of God's woman and was therefore a secondary part of that Seed. In great enmity the Serpent and his seed were determined to destroy the true Christian congregation which possessed the clean and undefiled religion, the worship of Jehovah God revealed through Jesus Christ.

13. In what way was the congregation a secondary part of the woman's seed, and so whose enmity did it incur?



Valid CSS! Valid XHTML 1.0!