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Grace Bible Church
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries

Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
The Tree of Life from the week ending 03/19/06
The Angelic Conflict. Part 12.

We are on Point 10 in the Doctrine of The Angelic Conflict: The Pseudo Victory of Satan in the Original Fall of Man.

When Satan first rebelled, and sin entered into the universe, there were two courses of action open to God, since His nature would not allow Him to ignore the sin and the rebellion. First, He had the power to strike down Satan and the fallen angels and cast them in a prison without giving them a day in court to state their case. Or, secondly, He could give them an opportunity to prove the claims of Satan to equality with God and superiority in power, and give them a complete trial. God did indeed give Satan a chance to prove himself before the angels, and then members of the human race. God did this so that the issue could be settled once and for all concerning the importance of our relationship with the Creator. God's plan was for the universe to see, once and for all, if it was possible for any creature to live for even a moment independent of God the Creator.

The key word here is independent; this trial, the angelic conflict, the invisible war, brings out the result of a second will: the creature's will over God's will, in time or human history. It is the reason why we have been created! EZE 28:11-15, Again the word of the Lord came to me saying, Son of man, take up a lamentation [funeral song] over the king of Tyre, and say to him, 'Thus says the Lord God, "You had the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God [on planet earth years before the creation of the human race]; Every precious stone was your covering: The ruby, the topaz, and the diamond; The beryl, the onyx, and the jasper; The lapis lazuli, the turquoise, and the emerald; And the gold, the workmanship of your settings and sockets, Was in you. On the day that you were created They were prepared. You were the anointed cherub who covers, And I placed you {there.} You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked in the midst of the stones of fire. You were blameless in your ways From the day you were created, Until unrighteousness was found in you."

The unrighteousness was desire to do his own thing, and be independent from God. When unrighteousness was found in Satan, manifested by his independence toward God, in the first trial among the angels, God did not just stand by, He took action. After they had their say, and God found them guilty, God revealed His hatred toward their sin of rebellion by putting an ice pack around the earth, and confining Satan and all his followers to this prison. We know this from such passages as GEN 1:1-2, 2PE 3:6, JOB 9:5-8, JER 4:23-25, Psa 18:7-15, to name a few. This judgment was fitting for Satan and his followers because it revealed the power of God, and the impotence of His creatures without a relationship with Him. To some this may not seem fair, but remember what the apostle Paul said in ROM 9:13-23, Just as it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated." What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! For He says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion."  So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth." So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires. You will say to me then, "Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?" On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, "Why did you make me like this," will it? Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use, and another for common use? What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so in order that He might make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory. None of us have enough knowledge to call God into question. A potter has a perfect right to shape one lump of clay into one shape, and another into another shape.

So, back in Gen 1, try to picture what it must have been like for Satan and his fallen angels. God had created the earth and the heavens by His Word. Lucifer, or the devil, had announced that he wished to take possession of heaven and earth for himself. However, he failed, and was now in prison or Hades. By the simple Word of God, the heavens and the earth were brought down into judgment and chaos. From the very moment when Lucifer in his pride, cried out his "I will's, he was doomed to everlasting disappointment and damnation. This is true of anyone who thinks that they can get along without God. Satan and the fallen angels were underneath the earth knowing that their previous domain, planet earth, was in waste and desolation, and they could do nothing about it. GEN 1:2, And the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving. Satan must have been stunned by the fact that something new was happening. Satan had lifted himself up toward heaven in a surge of his lustful desire to be like God, and his mouth was now filled with dust. Satan had carried with him a group of angels and demons who had been willing to accept his authority and his ways, and they would learn that all of them with their combined intelligence and power would be unable to put the chaotic world together again. Satan had the appetite and desire to be like God, to act like God, and to possess the universe, but there was nothing but a sense of emptiness, and impotence, because of inability. In the chaotic darkness he was confined to, Satan could call out, Let there be light, and there would be no answer except the empty echo of his voice. Every man and woman who wishes to be independent of God should know that the path of any creature who cuts loose from a surrendered dependence upon God is in the path of Lucifer. Emptiness, inability, and frustration, these are the portions of the man who walks his own way. God has gone to extreme measures to reveal to His creatures that satisfaction is not to be found outside of a personal relationship with God through our Lord Jesus Christ and obedience to His will. There is no other source of joy. This is why we have commands like JER 50:45, Therefore hear the plan of the Lord! However, just like in the days of Jeremiah when believers had developed hardness of the heart, so it is today that believers have that same attitude. JER 18:12, We are going to follow our own plans [independence from the plan of God], and each one will act according to the stubbornness of his evil heart. Many believers are so stubborn that God knows it does no good to warn them or stop them from going in a certain direction. So He allows them to attain what they think will make them happy, to get it over with, so that they hopefully can get on with the things that are important.

In PSA 78:8, stubbornness is identified as people who do not prepare their right lobe with doctrine, A stubborn and rebellious generation does not prepare its heart, And their spirit is not faithful to God. In JER 5:23, a stubborn and rebellious individual is one who turns aside from the plan of God and departs, But this people has a stubborn and rebellious heart; They have turned aside and departed. In JER 7:24, they get into reversionism and go backward instead of forward, Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but walked in their own counsels and in the stubbornness of their evil heart, and went backward and not forward.

Back in Gen 1, at last the Spirit of God began to move upon the face of the earth covered with ice and water. GEN 1:2b, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters. Without this divine activity the world would have remained forever under divine judgment which covered its chaotic state. Satan had no power to alter the chaos which pride had brought down upon his province. God had a tremendous plan: Satan, who had claimed that he would be like the Possessor of heaven and earth, was to be revealed as the bragger who could not fulfill his claims. When God said, "let there be light" in GEN 1:3, and there was, we can only imagine the rage of Satan and those who had followed him.

As day succeeded day, in the six days of God restoring the earth, Satan watched every act with an intense interest. Dry land appeared out of the waste of waters and the seas began to function once again. GEN 1:9-10, Then God said,"Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear;" and it was so. And God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good.

Then, the trees and the flowers and grass appeared in a world which had been shrouded in darkness. GEN 1:11-12,Then God said, "Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit after their kind, with seed in them, on the earth"; and it was so. And the earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit, with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good.

Next the sun, moon and the stars were once more visible on the earth, GEN 1:14-18, Then God said, "Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth "; and it was so. And God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day [sun], and the lesser light to govern the night [the moon]; He made the stars also. And God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth, and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good.

The sea became filled with creatures; the air began to be filled with the chirping of birds! GEN 1:20-22, Then God said, "Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens." And God created the great sea monsters, and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good. And God blessed them, saying, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth." Pride must have stimulated Satan's envy; he did not have this kind of power. However, as of yet, he saw nothing to inflame his jealousy; birds and animals had body and life, but no spirit. Satan knew there was no creature here that could challenge the power and authority which he had possessed in this domain.

But on the sixth day, God created man in His own image. Gen 1:26-28, Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. And God blessed them; and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth." There must have been an instant awareness in Satan that here was his rival in the appeal trial of the angelic conflict. Man awoke to find himself a creature of noble beauty and wisdom, and to be informed that he was to have dominion over all the renewed earth, over all that he could see. We can be sure that Satan wasn't too far away when God said to the man "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth." For the first time Satan heard the authority over the earth was being given over to someone else. Little did man realize that he was about to be entered into this invisible war, and God was choosing man as the arm which would defeat Satan, both in bringing him to total defeat, and in replacing him in the scheme of the government of the universe. It was to be out of man that Christ would come. It would be through certain chosen members of the human race that God would proclaim the defeat of Satan to both the elect and fallen angels. Eph 3:10, in order that the manifold [or the abundance of the] wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places.

Satan had never been dispossessed of the earth; even in his confinement, he had been placed on the earth! However, when God created man, He did not use any of the angelic models as before. Man was not given the power of Lucifer, nor the might of those who are called the principalities and powers and rulers. Man was not given the speed of angels, nor their freedom of movement throughout the air and the heavens. God created man lower than all the angels and limited him to planet earth under the law of gravity, confining him in space, time, intelligence, and power. It was a principle of the divine strategy which will ultimately bring glory to God. Heb 2:7, "Thou hast made him for a little while lower than the angels; Thou hast crowned him with glory and honor, And hast appointed him over the works of Thy hands;" Here is the divine strategy: Out of the lowest, God shall bring the highest. In fact, even out of man's fallen condition, God will reach down below the level man was created and offer mankind salvation and eternal life. Satan hates when a believer discovers grace and faith, because grace reveals the glory of God! Satan hates grace because grace brings glory to the Creator rather than the creature. God's will for your life as a member of the Royal Family of God is to bless you! It is to give you prosperity in the midst of all adverse situations. Therefore, in eternity past God provided a fantastic plan which included His highest and best just for you, and you glorify Him by living in that plan and receiving all the blessings He has designed for you. EPH 1:3 says, Worthy of praise and glorification be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, God has a reason for all He has done for you, and this reason gives purpose to your life. Remember that anything God does results in His glorification. God doesn't depend on us for His pleasure and glory, but instead He expresses His pleasure and glory toward us. Therefore, because God is to be glorified, we are the beneficiaries of His blessings and divine provisions. God is not glorified by our system of human works, but is glorified by meeting our every need (ISA 26:15; ISA 60:21; PSA 50:15).

God's pleasure is to give to His creatures, and Satan and the kingdom of darkness hate that. Satan hates when a believer discovers grace and faith! Satan and the fallen angels have seen TLJC; the believer who lives by faith has not. We have to live by faith, and believe what the Bible has to say about God. Satan hates that, because that means we are trusting in the character and nature of God by believing His word, even when it doesn't seem right. This is why we are told in 2CO 5:7, for we walk by faith, not by sight, and in HEB 11:6, And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. How does faith come? ROM 10:17, So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. Out of the creation of a lower creature called man will come the greatest glory to God, and the full and total victory in the invisible war or the angelic conflict.

So, in eternity past, before the creation of the human race, because of the rebellion of Satan and the fallen angels, God spoke the Word of judgment and the entire world was blasted into chaos. We do not know how long this period of judgment toward Satan and the fallen angels lasted, but we do know that it finally came to an end, and the next act of this universal drama was the creation of man! It was a principle of the divine strategy, PSA 8:1-6, O Lord, our Lord, How majestic is Thy name in all the earth, Who hast displayed Thy splendor above the heavens! From the mouth of infants and nursing babes [humans compared to angels] Thou hast established strength, Because of Thine adversaries [Satan and the fallen angels and demons], To make the enemy and the revengeful cease. When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, The moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained; What is man, that Thou dost take thought of him? And the son of man, that Thou dost care for him? Yet Thou hast made him a little lower than the [elohims] gods, And dost crown him with glory and majesty! Thou dost make him to rule over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under his feet.

The key phrase in this passage is that which places man in the scheme of creation as being made "lower than the gods or the angels." However, when the N. T. quotes this verse, it adds something, Heb 2:7, "Thou hast made him for a little while lower than the angels; Thou hast crowned him with glory and honor, And hast appointed him over the works of Thy hands;" Out of the creation of a lower creature called man will come the greatest glory to God and the full and total victory in the invisible war or the angelic conflict. For the battle of the garden of Eden, though on the surface a victory for Satan, was in reality the beginning of his ultimate defeat. GEN 3:14-15, And the Lord God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly shall you go, And dust shall you eat All the days of your life; And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel."

Within this chapter almost all of the great doctrines in the Bible are found. This is where the angelic conflict, the invisible war, the drama begins on the stage of human history. GEN 3:1, Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, "Indeed, has God said, You shall not eat from any tree of the garden?" Satan's tactics are easy to see in the account of the temptation and fall. He had to begin by a forward attack on the Word and goodness of God. It would have been impossible to reach man apart from the destruction of his confidence in the Creator. Satan attacked the Word of God when he said "Indeed, has God said?" a subtle question of doubt concerning the authenticity and validity of God's word, just as he does today by trying to instill doubt into God's people concerning what the word of God really says. Gen 3 is Act I of the drama of the angelic conflict in human history. God had placed an offensive force in the midst of the enemy-held territory called planet earth. Satan attacked the man, which was to attack the One who had placed him there. Here we see the divine explanation of the present fallen state of man and the ruined condition of our race. Man fell because he chose against the plan of God. Satan lied to the woman when he said in GEN 3:5, "For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." Satan got the woman to doubt the goodness of God, and went one step further and implied, God is jealous and He doesn't want you to be like Him. Satan was making the suggestion that man had rights and should declare his independence from God. There was also the insinuation that God was holding back something good from man, and that man would be far better off if he would only turn away from God's command and ignore that single restraint that had been placed upon him: eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

In Gen 3, we also learn of the subtle devices of our enemy, the devil who possessed the serpent and deceived the woman as he out-rightly denied the word of God in GEN 3:4, And the serpent said to the woman, "You surely shall not die!" We see the universal tendency of human nature to cover its own moral shame by a device of its own handiwork. GEN 3:7, Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings. We also discover the spiritual effects of sin, man seeking to flee from God, GEN 3:8, And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.
In Gen 3, we see God searching for fallen man while fallen man hides from God. GEN 3:9-10, Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, "Where are you?" And he said, "I heard the sound of Thee in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself." Here we witness the utter powerlessness of man to walk in the path of righteousness when divine grace is withheld from him, GEN 3:11-12, And He said, "Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?" And the man said, "The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me from the tree, and I ate." Here we are taught of the gracious provision which God has made to meet our great need through His seed, TLJC! GEN 3:15, "And I will put enmity Between you[Satan] and the woman, And between your seed [children of the devil] and her seed [children of God]; He [Jesus Christ] shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel [the sufferings of Christ laid upon Him by Satan]." We also see the attitude of God toward the guilty sinner. GEN 3:21, And the Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them. This was all a manifestation of the grace of God.

There must have been many interested observers when God created man. All of heaven must have known that God was finally on the move against the rebellion of Satan. With the creation of man, the combat is renewed, and now Satan tries to deceive the new creature called man into following him and rejecting God. Satan's resentment toward man was reflected in his actions. Remember that Adam, who was perfect, was still no match for the beauty and wisdom of Satan. So, the invisible war, which had remained in a quiet phase throughout an unknown period when the earth had been in ruin, was now renewed with great intensity. Satan attacked, and when we remember his objective, we can understand his deceptions. Satan had a dual purpose; he began to move through seductive temptation to get man away from God, but more than this, he was seeking to get man to give allegiance to himself. It's important to understand that everything that has ever come out of mankind for good since the origin of the human race was contained in Adam and his bride. They were perfect in beauty, perfect in wisdom, perfect genius, but still no match for Satan.

So, God placed Adam and the woman in the garden of Eden and gave them a command, GEN 2:16-17, And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, "From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die." They both violated this command and ate of the fruit in GEN 3:6. Satan came to the woman on the good side of her nature. Satan seemed to have won a complete victory, having detached the woman from the Word of God, and by deception, from the belief in the goodness of God. As if God would not provide and was holding something back. Believers do that today when they doubt that God is going to provide, so they listen to the lies from the devil's world and fall into transgression themselves. It was man's will that made it possible for him to depart from the plan of God, and it was against this will that Satan launched his attack. Satan's primary strategy was dictated by his hatred of God. Satan would seek to detach man from the will of God, and increase the number of his own worshipers by attaching man to himself, and in part, Satan was successful: man did fall. The original sin in the garden of Eden resulted in the spiritual death of Adam which was passed down to the entire human race (ROM 5:12-21). This gave Satan the false impression that he had defeated God, and that the human race had made a decision to follow him, through the serpent, rather than to follow TLJC.

The human race did make a decision to follow Satan, and to reject God, even though there were only two members, Adam and the woman. Rom 5:12 says Therefore, just as through one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned [and the Greek says all sinned when Adam sinned because Adam reproduced after His own kind]. Through one man, Adam, the sin nature was passed down,ROM 5:18 says, so then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. Just as one person did it wrong and got us in all this trouble with sin and death, another did it right and got us out of it. But more than just getting us out of trouble, He got us into life. Satan became the ruler of the world, superseding Adam in that role (many verses describe Satan as the ruler of the world, Joh 12:31; 2CO 4:4; EPH 2:2). Once Satan convinced Adam and the woman to rebel against God's command and eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he thought he had defeated God. At this time, there were still only two wills in the universe, God's will and Satan's; man's will was in harmony with the will of the Creator until the fall. The plan of Satan was to get man to change sides in the conflict. Satan wanted to increase the number of his followers against God, so that he could secure his hold as possessor of the earth by having on his side those who were to replace him, mankind. The enemy's objective in the battle of the garden of Eden was twofold. Satan wished to detach man from God, but he also wished to attach man to himself. Man is dependent upon God, and if that dependence is destroyed something must take its place; the devil hoped that it would be a dependence upon him. The devil was to succeed in detaching man from God, but he also led himself into a trap. It's important that we understand the nature of Satan's objective in the fall of man; he grabbed at one thing and missed it, the fact that man sinned was not a victory for Satan. It seemed like it at the time but it was not, and missing that which he had reached for in the first place contributed to his own destruction. Satan gained control of the world through the fall of man; he did not necessarily gain control over the volition of mankind, even the unbeliever. By saying there are only two wills to follow, God's will and Satan's will, that does not mean that to follow Satan's will means to do what he wants us to do; rather, it means that, like Satan, we choose to be independent from God. However, that independence from God does not mean dependence on Satan. Many times it means no recognition of Satan's will or desire whatsoever. In the world today, men seek not the will of Satan but their own will.

The first point of the enemy's strategy was easily obtained: man fell. However, Satan wanted man to believe that he succeeded in the second also, that man is now a dependent on Satan as his master, but that is not the case. Satan did not become master of the human race at the fall. Spiritual death does not hinder the power of positive decision toward God, aided by the ministry of God the Holy Spirit in common and efficacious grace. Even though we are spiritually dead, God, in His grace, had a plan to reach out to all of us, ROM 5:6-8, For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. In the sin of Adam, where Satan seemed to win a decisive victory, there was, as a matter of Scriptural fact, a profound defeat for Satan. What appeared to be a victory was in reality a defeat. Satan succeeded in detaching man from obedience to the Word of God, that's true. Satan also succeeded in detaching man from a belief in the goodness of God, that's true. Satan won man away from confidence in God and dependence upon God, that's true. Satan won all of these victories, but he lost the battle in that he did not succeed in attaching man to himself. In the beginning there had been one will, the will of God, the Creator. After the rebellion of Lucifer there had been two wills, that of God and the rebel. But today, there are billions of wills, look at ISA 53:6, All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. We have all at times left the will of God, but in the turning away from God, we did not all turn to Satan. We may have made the type of decisions Satan made, but we were not sold out to Satan.

Before the creation of the human race, God put a curse upon the earth when Lucifer rebelled, and it became a ruin, a waste and desolate earth, and darkness covered the face of the deep or the seas. Then God withdrew into the majestic silence of His infinite heaven, and the angelic hosts were spectators. Satan was utterly powerless to conquer the chaos which had come from a simple word of judgment from the Almighty God. Then there came a flash of light from the Word of God, and God began to move once again on planet earth. The devastation was revealed in all its chaos to Satan and all the fallen angels who had followed him. All of this seemed strangely like a preview of the spectacle which was to follow in the history of man. Once more there was a rebellion, this time from the lower creation called man. Therefore, two separate battles are now being carried on: Satan against God in the invisible warfare, and man against God in human history. There is no satisfying the restless craving of the man without God. Man cannot know, cannot please, cannot understand God, 1CO 2:14, But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. ROM 8:7-8, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. Rom 3:10-12, as it is written, "There is none righteous, not even one; There is none who understands, There is none who seeks for God; All have turned aside, together they have become useless; There is none who does good, There is not even one." JER 17:9, The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it? ISA 1:5-6, The whole head is sick, And the whole heart is faint. From the sole of the foot even to the head There is nothing sound in it.

We are going to see that God's plan for both angels and humans is to show them how helpless they are without Him and His Word. However, Bible doctrine is the least publicized of priorities in this world because it is the devil's world. The only time that you will hear about Bible doctrine being the number one priority in life is from the pulpits of pastor-teachers who are representing the word of God. That's why we are told in 2CO 4:4, that Satan the god of this world has blinded the minds of the [apistos - those without doctrine], that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ. To blind the minds of both believers and unbelievers from the glory of Christ is the single most deceptive device of Satan. To blind the minds of both believers and unbelievers concerning the reason why they were created and put on planet earth is the great deception of Satan, remember REV 12:9, "Satan deceives the whole world;"  Because Satan is the god of this world, Bible doctrine is the least publicized of priorities. If you are a born again believer and doctrine is not your number one priority, you have a serious problem, one that only you can solve through your own personal volition.

Point 11. How God is Glorified in the Angelic Conflict.

We live in the most intensified stage of the angelic conflict, the Church-age, because it is a time of invisible warfare. We cannot see our real enemies; they are invisible. During this period of time, the pastor who stands behind the pulpit is to teach the mystery of why we are really here. The pastor-teacher must be gifted, prepared, qualified, and filled with the Spirit, and then God the Holy Spirit is able to take the information taught and teach the prepared believer, who is filled with the Spirit through rebound. In Eph 3:1-2, the apostle Paul writes For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of God's grace which was given to me for you;  The Greek word for stewardship is oikonomia meaning dispensation, a period of time, namely the Church-age. Remember that in the angelic conflict, Satan tries to convince people that God is unfair, unjust, and a God who is not merciful or gracious. In this dispensation of grace, God demonstrates the fallacy of the satanic lie through people who are totally graced out. This dispensation is the ultimate power experiment from God. At no other time in human history has this much power ever been released toward meritless objects for the fulfillment of the plan of God.

There's an infinite gap between divine perfection and human imperfection and grace is the infinite filler that fills the gap. This means that there's nothing you can do in human effort or human merit, or human energy or power, in the spiritual life. You have more opportunity, power, capacity, and assets from God to glorify God than Abraham, Moses, David, or any of the heroes listed in Heb 11 in God's hall of fame. All of us are ordinary believers, but we have the grace and power offered to us to become extraordinary invisible heroes. Invisible heroes are found in 2CO 6:9 where the apostle Paul, speaking of invisible heroes said, we are unknown yet well known. Invisible heroes, like Bible doctrine, are the least publicized of heroes. Invisible heroes are born again believers who execute the plan of God, recognize that they are a vital part of the angelic conflict in human history, and avoid all the distractions of legalism. They are unknown in terms of human history but are well known in terms of the angelic community who are watching them.

So Paul writes in EPH 3:2-11, if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of God's grace which was given to me for you; that by revelation [not by O. T. scriptures but by revelation] there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief. And by referring to this [mystery doctrine], when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which [mystery] in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets by means of the Spirit; to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body [we are in union with Christ], and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel, of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God's grace which was given to me according to the working of His power. To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles [all of you] the unfathomable [incomprehensible, mysterious, baffling] riches of Christ, and to bring to light what is the administration [oikonomia means dispensation] of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God, who created all things; in order that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places [the elect and fallen angels]. This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord,

Verses 10-11 deal directly with the pre-historic angelic conflict and its resolution, and like Bible doctrine and invisible heroes, the trial of the angelic conflict is the least publicized of all trials. That's why you should always be in prayer for communicators of Bible doctrine in EPH 6:19, that they may make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, and speak boldly, as they ought to speak. They are charged with the communication of the very message that  billions of angelic beings in the atmosphere are charged to squelch and smash and hide. In 2TI 4:2, the pastor-teacher is charged to Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. Today, the kingdom of darkness is succeeding in blinding arrogant young men behind pulpits who are more interested in getting huge crowds with their dog and pony show than teaching Bible doctrine. The kingdom of darkness is succeeding in the lives of believers who become distracted by the details of life. It is God's intention that every single believer recognizes and masters this mystery of why they are here: to glorify God in the angelic conflict. This is why the apostle Paul said in PHI 4:11-12, "Not that I speak from want for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the mystery of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need."

Paul had mastered the mystery doctrine of the Church-age. There's something very practical about the mastery of mystery doctrine, because the pulpit is to give it so that we can recognize it, but in life God brings tests so we can utilize it. Paul is saying that he literally mastered the mystery, and then in PHI 4:13, "I can do all things [bear all tests] through Him who keeps on pouring His power into me. Your mastery of the mystery doctrine of the Church-age makes you competent and more than equal to any adversities or tests in this life, and that includes the most severe testing, evidence testing as a witness for the prosecution in the angelic conflict. As you stick with your commitment to God in spite of whatever you are going through, you become one of the individual witnesses for the prosecution of Satan by God! You demonstrate this before elect and fallen angels through your faithfulness to God, that God is just in everything He does.

The angelic conflict is so profound that it must be revealed in increments until we can get the total picture. That's why daily doctrine is so vital, As ISA 28:10 says, For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, there a little. The angelic conflict is not a doctrine about Satan; it is a doctrine about the true purpose of your life and the true reason you were created by God!

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