For Satan’s World, or God’s New System?
1. What really proves that you are for God’s new system?
ARE YOU FOR God’s righteous new system, and do you want it to come? Are you against Satan, and do you want his world to end? You may say, Yes, to both questions. But is that enough? There is an old saying that actions speak louder than words. If you believe in God’s new system, it is the way you live your life that will really prove it.—Matthew 7:21-23; 15:7, 8.
2. (a) Who are the two masters that we can serve? (b) What shows whose slave, or servant, we are?
2 The fact is, your way of life can be pleasing to only one of two masters. Either you are serving Jehovah God or Satan the Devil. A principle found in the Bible helps us to appreciate this. It says: “Do you not know that if you keep presenting yourselves to anyone as slaves to obey him, you are slaves of him because you obey him?” (Romans 6:16) Whom do you obey? Whose will do you do? Regardless of your answer, if you follow the unrighteous ways of the world you cannot be serving the true God, Jehovah.
SATAN’S WORLD—WHAT IS IT?
3. (a) Who does the Bible show is ruler of the world? (b) In prayer, how did Jesus show a difference between the world and his disciples?
3 Jesus called Satan “the ruler of this world.” And the apostle John said that “the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.” (John 12:31; 1 John 5:19) Note that in prayer to God Jesus did not include his disciples as part of Satan’s world. He said: “I make request concerning them [his disciples]; I make request, not concerning the world . . . They are no part of the world, just as I am no part of the world.” (John 17:9, 16; 15:18, 19) From this it is clear that true Christians are to keep separate from the world.
4. (a) At John 3:16, to whom does the expression “the world” refer? (b) What is “the world” from which Christ’s followers have to separate?
4 But to what was Jesus referring when he said “the world”? In the Bible the expression “the world” sometimes simply means humankind in general. God sent his Son to give his life as a ransom for this world of humankind. (John 3:16) Yet Satan has organized most of humankind in opposition to God. So Satan’s world is this organized human society that exists apart from or outside of God’s visible organization. It is this world from which true Christians must be separate.—James 1:27.
5. What is an important part of the world, and how is it represented in the Bible?
5 Satan’s world—his organized human society—is made up of various closely connected parts. An important part is false religion. In the Bible false religion is represented as a “great harlot,” or prostitute, with the name “Babylon the Great.” She is a world empire, as shown by the fact that she “has a kingdom over the kings of the earth.” (Revelation 17:1, 5, 18) But what proves that Babylon the Great is a religious world empire?
6, 7. (a) What proves that Babylon the Great is a religious empire? (b) What relationship has false religion had with political governments?
6 Since “the kings of the earth” are said to ‘commit fornication’ with her, Babylon the Great could not be a political world empire. And since the “traveling merchants” of the earth stand at a distance and mourn at her destruction, she is not a commercial world empire. (Revelation 17:2; 18:15) However, that she is really a religious empire is shown by the Bible’s statement that by means of her “spiritistic practice all the nations were misled.”—Revelation 18:23.
7 Also proving that Babylon the Great is a religious empire is her relationship to a “wild beast.” In the Bible such beasts represent political governments. (Daniel 8:20, 21) Babylon the Great is described as “sitting upon a scarlet-colored wild beast . . . that had seven heads and ten horns.” She has thus been trying to exercise influence over this “wild beast,” or world government. (Revelation 17:3) And it is a fact that throughout history religion has been mixed up with politics, often telling governments what to do. She has indeed exercised “a kingdom over the kings of the earth.”—Revelation 17:18.
8. What is another important part of Satan’s world, and how are they represented in the Bible?
8 These political governments make up another important part of Satan’s world. As we have already noted, they are represented in the Bible as beasts. (Daniel 7:1-8, 17, 23) That these beastlike governments receive their power from Satan is shown by a vision written down by the apostle John: “I saw a wild beast ascending out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads . . . And the dragon gave to the beast its power.” (Revelation 13:1, 2; 12:9) Further proof that these kingdoms, or governments, are part of Satan’s world is the fact that Satan tempted Jesus by offering these kingdoms to him. Satan could not have done this if he had not been the ruler of them.—Matthew 4:8, 9.
9. (a) How is another part of Satan’s world described at Revelation 18:11? (b) What does it do and promote, proving that Satan is behind it?
9 Yet another prominent part of Satan’s world is the greedy and oppressive commercial system, which is referred to at Revelation 18:11 as “traveling merchants.” This commercial system promotes a selfish desire in people to obtain the things it produces, even though they may not need them and may be even better off without them. At the same time the greedy commercial system hoards food in storehouses but allows millions of people to starve to death because they cannot pay for the food. On the other hand, military weapons capable of destroying the whole human family are produced and sold for profit. Thus Satan’s commercial system, along with false religion and the political governments, promotes selfishness, crime and terrible wars.
10, 11. (a) What is another feature of Satan’s world? (b) What Bible warnings are there against getting involved in this feature?
10 The organized human society under Satan the Devil is indeed wicked and corrupt. It is opposed to God’s righteous laws, and it is filled with all kinds of immoral practices. So another feature of Satan’s world can be said to be its loose living, its immoral ways. For this reason both the apostles Paul and Peter warned Christians to avoid the bad practices of people of the nations.—Ephesians 2:1-3; 4:17-19; 1 Peter 4:3, 4.
11 The apostle John, too, stressed the need for Christians to be on guard against the wrong desires and immoral ways of the world. He wrote: “Do not be loving either the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him; because everything in the world—the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the showy display of one’s means of life—does not originate with the Father, but originates with the world.” (1 John 2:15, 16) The disciple James said that ‘if anyone wants to be a friend of the world, he is making himself an enemy of God.’—James 4:4.
HOW TO AVOID BEING PART OF THE WORLD
12, 13. (a) How did Jesus show that Christians must be in the world? (b) How is it possible to be in the world but be no part of it?
12 As long as Satan’s world exists, Christians must live in it. Jesus showed this when he prayed to his Father: “I request you, not to take them out of the world.” But then Jesus added regarding his followers: “They are no part of the world.” (John 17:15, 16) How is it possible to be in Satan’s world but still be no part of it?
13 Well, you live in among the people who make up today’s organized human society. These people include fornicators, greedy persons and others who do wicked things. You may work with them, go to school with them, eat with them, and share in other such activities with them. (1 Corinthians 5:9, 10) You are even to love them, as God does. (John 3:16) But a true Christian does not love the wicked things the people do. He does not adopt their attitudes, actions or goals in life. He takes no part in their corrupt religion and politics. And while he must often work in the commercial world to make a living, he does not engage in dishonest business practices; nor is the gaining of material things his main goal in life. Since he is for God’s new system, he avoids the bad association of those living for Satan’s world. (1 Corinthians 15:33; Psalm 1:1; 26:3-6, 9, 10) As a result, he is in Satan’s world but still is no part of it.
14. If you are for God’s new system, what Bible command will you obey?
14 What about you? Do you want to be part of Satan’s world? Or are you for God’s new system? If you are for God’s new system, you will be separate from the world, including its false religion. You will heed the command: “Get out of her [Babylon the Great], my people.” (Revelation 18:4) However, getting out of Babylon the Great, the world empire of false religion, includes more than simply cutting off connections with false religious organizations. It also means having nothing to do with the religious celebrations of the world.—2 Corinthians 6:14-18.
15. (a) Rather than Jesus’ birth, what were Christians commanded to observe? (b) What shows that Jesus could not have been born in the cold of winter? (c) Why was the date December 25 chosen as the day to celebrate Jesus’ birth?
15 Christmas is a prominent religious holiday today. But history shows that it was not a celebration observed by the very early Christians. Jesus told his followers to observe a memorial of his death, not of his birth. (1 Corinthians 11:24-26) The fact is, December 25 is not the date of Jesus’ birth. It could not have been, since the Bible shows that at the time of his birth shepherds were still in the fields at night. They would not have been there in the cold, rainy season of winter. (Luke 2:8-12) Actually December 25 was chosen as the date to celebrate Jesus’ birth because, as The World Book Encyclopedia explains: “The people of Rome already observed it as the Feast of Saturn, celebrating the birthday of the sun.”
16. (a) What other prominent religious holiday had non-Christian beginnings? (b) For what good reasons do true Christians not celebrate Christmas and Easter?
16 Easter is another prominent religious holiday. The Holy Week in some Latin-American countries is similar. But Easter was not celebrated by early Christians either. It, too, had its beginnings in non-Christian celebrations. The Encyclopædia Britannica says: “There is no indication of the observance of the Easter festival in the New Testament.” Yet does it really matter that Christmas and Easter are not Christian celebrations but actually had their beginnings with worshipers of false gods? The apostle Paul warned against mixing the true and the false, saying that even “a little leaven ferments the whole lump.” (Galatians 5:9) He told some early Christians that it was wrong for them to observe days that had been kept under the law of Moses but that had been canceled by God for Christians. (Galatians 4:10, 11) How much more important it is for true Christians today to keep away from holidays that God never said should be observed and that came from false religion!
17. (a) What is wrong with holidays that honor famous men or nations? (b) How does the Bible show what course Christians should take?
17 Other holidays of the world honor famous men. Still others honor and exalt nations or worldly organizations. But the Bible warns against giving worshipful honors to humans, or trusting in human organizations to accomplish what only God can do. (Acts 10:25, 26; 12:21-23; Revelation 19:10; Jeremiah 17:5-7) So holidays that tend to exalt a man or a human organization are not in harmony with God’s will, and true Christians will not share in them.—Romans 12:2.
18. (a) What objects have men made to honor or worship? (b) What does God’s law say about giving worshipful honor to an object?
18 Many objects have been made by men that people are told to honor or worship. Some of these are made of metal or wood. Others are made of cloth and may have sewed or painted on them a picture of something in heaven or on earth. A nation may pass a law that says everyone should give worshipful honor to such an object. But God’s law says that his servants should not. (Exodus 20:4, 5; Matthew 4:10) What have God’s people done in such a situation?
19. (a) What did the king of Babylon command everyone to do? (b) Whose example do Christians do well to follow?
19 In ancient Babylon King Nebuchadnezzar built a huge image of gold and commanded that everyone bow down to it. ‘Whoever does not,’ he said, ‘will be thrown into the burning fiery furnace.’ The Bible tells us that three young Hebrews, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, refused to do what the king commanded. Why? Because it involved worship, and their worship belonged only to Jehovah. God approved of what they did, and he saved them from the anger of the king. In fact, Nebuchadnezzar came to see that these servants of Jehovah were no danger to the State, so he passed a law to protect their freedom. (Daniel 3:1-30) Do you not admire the faithfulness of these young men? Will you show that you really are for God’s new system by obeying all of God’s laws?—Acts 5:29.
20. What are various means that Satan uses to try to get us to break God’s laws on sexual morality?
20 Satan, of course, does not want us to serve Jehovah. He wants us to serve him. So he tries to get us to do what he wants, since he knows that we become the slaves, or servants, of whomever we obey. (Romans 6:16) Through various means, including television, movies, certain forms of dancing and immoral literature, Satan encourages sexual relations between unmarried persons, as well as adultery. Such conduct is made to seem acceptable, even proper. However, this is against God’s laws. (Hebrews 13:4; Ephesians 5:3-5) And a person who engages in such conduct is actually showing that he is for Satan’s world.
21. What are other practices that, if a person engages in them, will show that he is for Satan’s world?
21 There are other practices that Satan’s world has made popular but that are against God’s laws. Getting drunk on alcoholic beverages is one of them. (1 Corinthians 6:9, 10) Another is the use of such drugs as marijuana and heroin for pleasure, as well as the use of tobacco. These things are harmful to the body and are unclean. Their use is clearly in violation of God’s instruction to “cleanse ourselves of every defilement of flesh and spirit.” (2 Corinthians 7:1) The smoking of tobacco also harms the health of those nearby who must breathe the smoke, so the smoker is violating God’s law that states that a Christian should love his neighbor.—Matthew 22:39.
22. (a) What does the Bible say about blood? (b) Why is taking a blood transfusion not actually different from “eating” blood? (c) What shows that ‘abstaining from blood’ means not to take it into your body at all?
22 Another common practice in various parts of the world is the eating of blood. Thus animals not properly bled are eaten or the blood may be drained out and used as food in a meal. Yet God’s Word forbids the eating of blood. (Genesis 9:3, 4; Leviticus 17:10) What, then, about taking a blood transfusion? Some persons may reason that getting a blood transfusion is not actually “eating.” But is it not true that when a patient is unable to take food through his mouth, the doctor often recommends feeding him by the same method in which a blood transfusion is given? The Bible tells us to “abstain from . . . blood.” (Acts 15:20, 29) What does this mean? If a doctor were to tell you to abstain from alcohol, would that simply mean that you should not take it through your mouth but that you could transfuse it directly into your veins? Of course not! So, too, ‘abstaining from blood’ means not taking it into your body at all.
23. (a) What decision do you need to make? (b) What will show the decision that you have made?
23 You need to show Jehovah God that you are for his new system and are no part of this world. This requires a decision. The decision that you need to make is to serve Jehovah, to do his will. You cannot be undecided, as some Israelites in ancient times were. (1 Kings 18:21) For remember, if you are not serving Jehovah, then you are serving Satan. You may say you are for God’s new system, but what is your conduct saying? Being for God’s new system involves avoiding all practices that God condemns and that will not be in his righteous new system.
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What is the world that Jesus would not pray for and that his disciples are no part of?
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In the Bible, false religion is represented as a drunken prostitute, and the world government she rides as a wild beast
Loose living is a feature of Satan’s world. The greedy commercial system is also a prominent part
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Since at Jesus’ birth shepherds were still in the fields with their flocks at night, he could not have been born on December 25
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God’s servants refused to worship an image set up by a king. What would you do in a similar situation?