GRACE BIBLE CHURCH
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
From the week ending 01/30/05
Recap of The Arizona Bible Conference
The Church at Thyatira Rev 2.
At our conferences we have been noting the seven different types of churches or different types of believers in Rev 2 and 3. So far we have covered REV 2:2-3; the church or certain individual believers at Ephesus who had good deeds, produced divine good works, persevered and had not grown weary. But REV 2:4 tells us that they had left their first love, “But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.”
In REV 2:9, we saw that the church or individual believers of Smyrna went through tremendous tribulation and poverty; in verse 10 they were told about suffering for blessing and that they were going to be tested ten days (the number of completion). They were challenged to be faithful even if it meant death so that they would receive the crown of life.
The church or individual believers at Pergamum in REV 2:14, were warned about Balaam, who was teaching Balak to put a stumbling block before the sons of Israel and committed acts of immorality, REV 2:16, “Repent therefore; or else I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth.”
In REV 2:18-20, as a church or individual believers, Thyatira had deeds, love, faith, service and perseverance but they tolerated false teaching and false doctrine, especially from a female called Jezebel. In REV 2:25, they were told to hold fast until the Lord comes. This church has been our subject during this conference.
We continue in REV 2:18, one of the longest dissertations of the letters to the seven churches and one of the most rewarding. The corrected translation of REV 2:18-19, “And to the messenger [or the future pastor-teachers] of the church in Thyatira [or to the future pastor-teachers of the Thyatira type believers in the Church-age] write [or communicate] The Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet are like burnished bronze, says this; I know your deeds [your accomplishments, Christian production, your works] namely the virtue-love [the functional virtue of impersonal love], and the faith, [the operation of the three stages of the faith-rest drill] and service and perseverance, and that your deeds of late are greater than at first.”
Although these believers were growing spiritually and made positive decisions consistently, TLJC still warns them about falling away through idol worship. REV 2:20-23, “But I have this against you, namely, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel who calls herself a prophetess, she both teaches and seduces, and leads astray my servants to fornicate and to eat food sacrificed to idols. And so I gave her time in order that she might change her mind but she does not want to repent of her immorality. Now hear this, I will cast her into a bed of punishment, also those who commit adultery with her into great disaster [pressure and affliction,] unless they shall change their minds, [the priestly function of the rebound technique] about her actions, Furthermore, I will execute her followers [the sin unto death], by means of death, and so all the churches will know that I am He who investigates the emotions, and the hearts, and I will administer punishment to each one of you, according to your activities.”
God will not stand by while members of the Royal Family sink into degeneracy. He takes stern measures to alert and encourage them to rebound and reenter the PPOG. In His perfect wisdom, God knows when and how to warn each believer. The principle of divine discipline upon the believers in Thyatira is revealed by casting Jezebel upon a bed of sickness, and those who commit adultery with her, into great tribulation unless they repent of her deeds.
REV 2:24 “But I say to you, the rest who are in Thyatira who do not hold this teaching, who have not known the deep things of Satan, as they call them, I place no other burden on you.”
The phrase “But I say to you” is the Greek verb lego, meaning to say, to lay forth a truth or to describe. People ask whether it is more advantageous to have face-to-face or non face-to-face teaching. The answer is whatever is available, but the key is that it has to be doctrinal. The whole purpose for assembling in the local church is for the Royal Family to learn doctrine whether it’s through worship, production, or any factor related to the Christian way of life, there is no momentum without doctrine. For those in Thyatira there was no pastor teaching doctrine and therefore they received doctrinal teaching through the apostle John who would send his doctrinal message through letters. The word you in this phrase is the Greek pronoun humin, which indicates the ones in whose interest the communication of doctrine is given. This means that it doesn’t matter if your doctrine comes face to face or not, it is to your advantage to find a pastor who is teaching Bible doctrine line upon line, and precept upon precept. In REV 2:24 we have believers who live in the PPOG and are advancing and those who have already arrived at maturity.
The advance to spiritual maturity despite areas of special pressure and distraction is done through the grace provision of the PPOG and believers who respond to God’s plan. This is why the apostle Paul taught that God never gives the believer more than what he can bear (1CO 10:13). This means:
1) God provides the means of dealing with any situation before He applies the pressure or allows the pressure to be provided by others; God never overloads any believer.
2) Only by his own bad decisions can the believer create more suffering for himself than he can bear.
3) Only the believer himself can decide to live outside of the PPOG and refuse to learn Bible doctrine so that he has no spiritual resources to draw upon.
4) When pressure crushes a believer, the cause of defeat is always his own volition, never the sovereignty of God. Suffering for blessing is always bearable.
5) The promise that “no temptation has overtaken you beyond what you are able to bear” in 1CO 10:13a, describes testing, not divine discipline.
6) Testing is designed to exercise and strengthen the believer’s spiritual muscles, but discipline must be severe enough to shock the believer.
7) The believer under testing is using the assets of the PPOG, which constitute the way of escape that he may be able to endure it, 1CO 10:13b. Bible doctrine must be the number one priority and involvement in the cosmic system destroys the importance of Bible doctrine.
REV 2:24 “But I say to you, the rest who are in Thyatira, who do not hold this teaching [false doctrine], who have not known the deep things of Satan, as they call them I place no other burden on you.” These believers continued learning doctrine on daily basis and did not succumb to false teaching.
The phrase “the deep things of Satan” refers to the alleged deep secrets of Satan, simply a part of the mysteries in the phallic cult. Believers who remain positive toward doctrine, despite all the distractions from Satan, have the ability to cope with and understand the solution, even though they are unknown to history.
The people who make the greatest impact on history, either pro or con, are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. So, no additional burden or mandate is given to them because they are mature through their function inside the PPOG. Believers who are positive toward doctrine do not need a lot of negative mandates.
Verse 25 then gives us the mandate; REV 2:25 “Nevertheless what you have, hold fast until I come.”
These believers have passed the major momentum tests:
The old sin nature test;
Cosmic #1 test;
Cosmic #2 test;
The phrase hold fast is the Greek verb kratesate meaning to hold fast or to hang on. They have passed the momentum tests, moved along and now simply need to stand fast. The phrase until I come, refers to the rapture of the Church and this is saying that no one knows when the rapture is going to occur.
In Rev 26-28 we see the reward for spiritual momentum and spiritual maturity and the dynamics of historical impact.“And he who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I also have received authority from My Father; and I will give him the morning star. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
This is a encouragement, not an order. We start out with encouragement and rewards come at the Judgment Seat of Christ which is after the rapture of the Church. Here, the mature believer receives the highest decoration: the order of the morning star and the uniform of glory: the translucent, transcendent uniform of light that goes over the resurrection body. Seven years later, before the Second Advent, is the coronation, the wedding supper of the Lamb, and then, the Millennial reign of Christ will occur. As a mature believer, you’re going to be among the most famous in history. We can go down through the pages of history and see great people, but they are nothing compared to the mature believers, who are going to be the ruler of many peoples.
REV 2:26 “And he who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations;”
Here we have the Greek word nikao translated overcomes. It is a participle used as a noun and means to subdue, conquer, overcome, or to get the victory. We know that it refers to only winner believers because it has to do with privileges.
These privileges include: The ability to eat of the Tree of Life in the middle of the Paradise of God, REV 2:7 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God.”
The Greek word paradeisos is transliterated into the Greek from a Persian word meaning Paradise. The paradise of God refers to a paradise belonging to God Himself. Access to the garden is open to all believers in their resurrection bodies, but to go and eat from the tree is a reward for only winners; those who had PVTD in time, who have received the order of the morning star. They are the ones who did not give up on doctrine and fulfilling their very own personal sense of destiny. The Lord says in effect, you ate from the finest food I had to offer on the earth, Bible doctrine, you will eat from the finest food I have in eternity, the tree of life.
The winner is a member of the paradise club forever, a special place of celebration for the mature believer, a part of your reward for receiving the morning star! So, for the winner believer of the Church-age, the order of the morning star includes three special privileges: Eating from the Tree of Life, access to the Gazebo in the Garden and access to the Paradise of God. Also in REV 2:11, the winner believers shall not be hurt by the second death because of blessing by association.
In REV 2:17, they eat of the hidden manna and receive a new name on a white stone; this new knighthood is given to the winner to give him a credit card, as it were, for all of eternity.
In our passage in REV 2:26, those who win the order of the morning star are given power and authority to rule nations, REV 2:26 “And he who overcomes, the winner, even he who keeps My assignments [the fulfillment of the PPOG to spiritual self-esteem and spiritual maturity] until the end [of his life], to him I will give authority over the nations.”
For those who endure, He will say, LUK 19:17 “Well done, good servant, because you have been faithful in a very little thing, be in authority over ten cities.”
In REV 3:5, the winner believer is said to be clothed with the uniform of glory.
In REV 3:12, their names are written in the historical record section of heaven and they also have a coat of arms which allows them to enter the new Jerusalem.
In REV 3:21, winners are granted to sit with Christ on His throne. In REV 21:7, winners inherit fantastic blessings in the eternal state, “He who overcomes shall inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son.”
Back in REV 2:26 “Furthermore, the winner and he who keeps My deeds” the word deeds is the Greek plural noun erga, meaning assignments, deeds, business or what one is occupied with, we translate it, fulfillment of the plan of God inside the PPOG. This is a reference to the end of the believer’s life on this earth, either death or the rapture. Great comfort comes to the believer in time who advances to spiritual maturity. He’s going to be at the resurrection of the Royal Family of God which includes every believer in this dispensation. At the rapture there will be winners and losers, both with resurrection bodies. Losers are going to glorify God whether they wanted to or not, however, the winner is going to be decorated for doing so. The winner is described as good in 2CO 5:10 because he fulfilled the plan of God while the loser is described as ashamed at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
Back in REV 2:26-27 “And he who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I also have received authority from My Father and I will give him the morning star.”
The order of the morning star is the highest decoration for being a winner believer in time and reaching spiritual maturity in the Church-age. It is the name for the highest decoration given to the mature believer with maximum impact and is derived from the title of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
There are two victories in the angelic conflict, the strategic victory and the tactical victory. On the cross TLJC became a winner for us and this is the strategic victory of our Lord Jesus Christ. The tactical victory refers to sharing in part of the strategic victory of our Lord. We have the privilege of winning the tactical victory by advancing to spiritual maturity. If we don’t grow up spiritually we never really share in the victory that our Lord won for us in time. If reality is Bible doctrine, then you’re in for a wonderful time and this reality is found in the doctrine of the word of God.
So, Christ is the morning star and the uniform of glory is the translucent robe, a robe of light, which He wears over His resurrection body. This uniform of glory was shown to Peter, James and John on the Mount of Transfiguration (MAT 17:1-2). His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became white as light; this introduces to us what accompanies this decoration, the order of the morning star. It is the uniform of glory, displayed on the Mount of Transfiguration, now constantly worn by the humanity of Christ.
All Church-age believers return with Christ at the Second Advent (1TH 3:13). However, those who are winners come wearing their decoration, the order of the morning star, and having a uniform of glory (see also REV 19:7-16). COL 3:4 says, On the occasion when Christ, our life, shall become a manifest, you also [winners of the morning star, believers who advance to maturity and also wear in the future the uniform of glory] shall become manifest with Him.
Winners will also be involved in operation footstool, and our Lord’s triumphal procession. PSA 110:1 The Lord, [God the Father] has said to my Lord, [God the Son] “sit down at my right hand [a prophecy in the Psalms of the ascension and session of our Lord] until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet,”
Operation footstool begins at the Second Advent, includes the termination of all war and the baptism of fire which separates believer from unbeliever. Here, Satan loses his rulership of planet earth and along with all fallen angels are incarcerated for 1000 years making room for the perfect environment in the Millennium.
Our Lord’s triumphal procession relates to His victory over His enemies, angelic and human. COL 2:14-15, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.
After our Lord’s triumphal procession comes the end of the tribulation when He, Christ, delivers up the Kingdom, even to God the Father. Christ takes the rulership of the world from Satan, gives it to God the Father, who in turn gives it back to Christ, through a coronation.
For morning star winners, the uniform of honor in time is exchanged at the Judgment Seat of Christ for the uniform of glory and they will rule nations for a thousand years. This decoration is a part of escrow blessings for eternity in REV 2:26-28 “Furthermore, the winner, even he who keeps my assignments [execution of the predesigned plan of God]until the end [perpetuation of spiritual maturity through evidence testing], to him I will give authority over the nations. Furthermore I will give to him the order of the morning star.”
This is just a tiny glimpse of what you have been elected to receive. At the end of your life on earth you will be evaluated and rewarded according to how you handled what God entrusted to you. Everything you do, even simple daily chores, has eternal implications. At the end of your life on earth you will stand before God, and He is going to evaluate whether or not your life glorified Him in the midst of the angelic conflict and how well you served others with it.