The TREE OF LIFE is a weekly teaching summary. The Tree of Life for the week ending 12-17-00
The Doctrine of the Enemies of the Cross Part 1.
An expression that has long been a part of military vocabulary is "know your enemy." Sadly, the majority of Christians do not. 1JO 5:19 tells us "We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one." REV 12:9 teaches us what Satan and the kingdom of darkness specialize in: "And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him."
Whether we are talking about our spiritual enemy, or our natural enemy, it is always wise to know who your enemies are. After all, the Bible says, "Love your enemies"; therefore, how do you do know what enemies to love unless you know who they really are? It is rather shocking to actually see, but our Lord warned us that some of our worst enemies would be members of our own family in Mat 10:34-36. You may not look upon the members of your family as your enemies, yet if they are antagonistic toward doctrine, or apathetic and not interested, that's about what it amounts to. If someone we love is taking us away from the Word of God, then according to the Bible, they are our enemies whether we realize it or not. The problem many believers have is that Satan succeeds in wearing down and deceiving the saints, DAN 7:25, "And he will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One." The verb translated "wear down" is the Aramaic word "bela," indicating that this is a very slow process. It does not happen all at once; rather, Satan does it gradually and invisibly, but all the while continually. Little by little the saints are worn down. Maybe he'll use someone of the opposite sex as he did against Samson inJDG 16:16, when he used Delilah. It is done by wearing down their physical body, their emotions, and their hearts. If we could see in the invisible realm, we would be shocked at the satanic plot designed to distract Christians from "the things above." In fact, as we begin to study PHI 3:19 we will see that "their end is destruction, whose god is their appetite [emotions], and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things."
One of the definitions of the word "diaboloi," translated "devil," is to "rip apart." This is what Satan psychologically tries to do as he tries to tear apart the mind. Satan does this in three ways - (1) create discord, (2) break up unity, and (3) destroy patterns. He brings in false concepts as "truths," convincing people to live by his lies and supposedly "be free." However, this is how we actually begin to lose our freedom. Many believers come under bondage to their freedom, GAL 5:1,13-14.
Anything that causes confusion and division, and splits our thinking, is what we call "cosmos diabolicus," or "of the devil's world system." This wearing down of the saints, little by little, is often difficult to detect. It may appear to us as something very insignif-icant. Nevertheless, Satan knows the value of subtlety and the small things. In LUK 16:10, "He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much." Satan wears on the bodies of the saints through mental and emotional pressure, and therefore we are warned in 1PE 5:7-9, "Casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world." For many believers, this pressure causes restlessness, unhappiness, and depression, and wears out their spiritual life. In fact, the cosmic system teaches us to trust God less and less, and ourselves more and more.
It is necessary to define an enemy on the basis of biblical concepts. In dealing with this subject, the Bible specifies certain hostilities and alienations. Both are irrational acts. Alienation means to be well acquainted with someone and to not like them at all; hostility means to not know someone well and to not like them at all.
Hostility is based upon ignorance. As absurd as it sounds, many people who dislike us know nothing about us. They have no information about us at all, except through hearsay. Perhaps they don't like the way you look, or they regard you as a challenge in some way, or they are jealous of you. Sadly, many people dedicate their entire lives to being enemies of others, trying to build their happiness on the basis of someone else's unhappiness.
Alienation applies to those we do know, sometimes all too well. More than likely we liked each other in past. For example, alienation can occur in marriage. It is very possible for two people to get married and become lifetime enemies. Marriage cannot be held together by the physical relationship. When the physical relationship runs out of gas at some point, and there is no virtue in the relationship, two enemies will now spend the rest of their lives hating, fighting, and despising each other. This is the reason for Pauls's commands to both the man and the woman in EPH 5:22,25,33, COL 3:19.
Even though you may have enemies in your life, leave them alone. The wise believer will learn from his enemies. In fact, one of the greatest things to learn is to keep your mouth shut! When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.
Enemyship can be seen on the personal or historical level. Personal enemyship existed between Esau and Jacob; historical enemyship exists between the Arabs and the Jews. Isaac had twin sons; one is an Arab (Esau), the other a Jew (Jacob). The ongoing battle between the Arabs and the Jews is dramatized and illustrated by Esau and Jacob. Both were Semitic, with the same father and mother, and they were twins, yet they are different as two people can be, Gen 27:41. We should never hate our enemies, because it affects our judgment. Esau hated his brother Jacob for taking his birthright, but he had willfully sold his birthright; his mental attitude sins blinded his judgment, and he became bitter, HEB 12:15-17.
The historical enemyship between the Jews and Arabs is amanifestation of anti-Senitism. Anti-Semitism is hostility toward thew Jews on the part of a person, group, organization, or nation. The term is defined as intolerance, hatred, prejudice, opposition, persecution, and the exercise of terrorism and military activity against the Jewish race. Since the church is already victorious over Satan in its identification with the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross (COL 2:14-15, Heb 1-2), the Jews are now the center of the angelic conflict. A great satanic motivation and opposition against the Jews, can be seen, not only in the Middle East, but also scattered throughout the entire world. Anti-Semitism, then, is one of the greatest forms of evil in the world today.
Satan's persecution and hostility against the Jews will reach its peak in the Tribulation. Satan is the sponsor of all anti-Semitism, and is constantly seeking to gain his objectives through hatred and prejudice. In REV 12:1, "A great sign appeared in heaven [the beginning of the Jewish race through circumcision, as well as the fulfillment of the Cross], a woman [Israel] clothed with the sun [Jacob] and the moon [Jacob's wives and mistresses (who reflect him as the moon reflects the sun), from whom the twelve patriarchs came] under her feet and on her head a crown of twelve stars [the twelve patriarchs]. Since the day that Satan discovered that Israel was to be the source of the incarnate Christ, Israel has been the target of his hatred and antagonism. There is a historical and eternal relationship between the uniqueness of Christ and the uniqueness of Israel. In the following verses, REV 12:2-5, "And she [Israel] was with child [the virgin pregnancy, as well as the coming
holocausts], and she cried out [the greatest holocaust of all, which will take place at the end of the Tribulation, with the third demon assault army of Rev 9] being in labor and in pain to give birth [she desires to be delivered from this anti-Semitism]. And another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon [Satan] having [control of] seven heads and ten horns [the revived Roman empire of the Tribulation and the ecumenical religion], and on his heads were seven diadems [crowns]. And his tail [Satan's power] swept away a third of the stars of heaven [the prehistoric revolution in Heaven, in which one third of the angels followed Satan] and He [God] threw them to the earth [in the middle of the Tribulation]. And the dragon stood before the woman [the virgin Mary] who was about to give birth [Satan, anticipating the virgin birth, was desperate to stop the humanity of Christ], so that when she gave birth he might devour [destroy] her child [the humanity of Christ]. And she [Mary] gave birth to a son, a male child [our Lord Jesus Christ in hypostatic union], Who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron [capital punishment during the Millennium]; and her child was caught up to God [the ascension] and to His throne [the session].
Here is the basis for the calling out of the Royal Family, of which we are members today. The Greek word "ekklesia," translated "church," literally means "called out ones."
REV 12:6 continues, "And the woman [true Israel, Jews who become saved during the Tribulation] fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God [for refuge], so that there she might be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days." "One thousand two hundred and sixty days" is the last half of the Tribulation and the time of "Satan's desperation." Satan has always and will always hate the Jews. Satan has two major objectives in the unfolding of anti-Semitism.
1. The historical objective, in which Satan sought to keep our Lord from being born, and then, to kill His humanity before He reached the Cross.
2. The prophetical objective, in which Satan still seeks to destroy Israel before the Second Advent, so that the four unconditional covenants to Israel cannot be fulfilled.
God promised that Israel will have certain blessings in the future, and these blessings, or "covenants," are unconditional; God must fulfill them, because He has so promised. Therefore, Satan is doing everything he can to undermine these covenants.
The Abrahamic Covenant defines the race for client nation Israel. Abraham became a Jew at age 99, and circumcision was the sign, Gen 12:1-3, 13:15-16, 15:18, 22:15-18, 26:3-4; EXO 6:2-8. This is a grace covenant in which God made a favorable disposition to Abraham and to his seed, as the party of the second part. This Covenant defines the Jewish race as the citizens of the first and last client nation in history. Like all covenants related to client nation Israel, Abraham and his spiritual seed are the beneficiaries of blessing and logistical support from the justice of God. Abraham's spiritual seed is patterned after Abraham's own salvation in Gen 15:6, "Then he believed in the Lord; and He [the Lord] reckoned [credited] it to him as righteousness." Abraham believed that what God had promised (that he and Sarah would have a son), God was able also to perform. The demonstration of his faith was submission to the ritual of circumcision. Abraham became the father of a new race which would become the client nation Israel. GEN 12:3 warns us against anti-Semitism: "And I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." The "real estate" promise is also given for the first time in the Abrahamic Covenant, GEN 13:14-16; GEN 15:18-21. This covenant was confirmed to Jacob, as opposed to his twin brother Esau, in GEN 28:13-14; GEN 35:12.
The Palestinian Covenant defines the land for client nation Israel, GEN 15:18, NUM 34:1-12, DEU 30:1-9, JOS 1:3-4. This establishes the territory of the client nation. God, as the party of the first part, made a favorable land grant to Israel as His client nation forever. (Israel will again be a client nation in the Millennium.) This covenant lays down the following modern geographical boundaries: The northwestern border is the Mediterranean Sea (this territory includes all of present-day Turkey). The southern border is the Nile River (the Red Sea will dry up); it encompasses northeastern Africa (Egypt, Kenya, and Ethiopia) and all of Saudi Arabia. The eastern border is Transjordania and Iraq (the Euphrates River is the north-eastern boundary).
The Davidic Covenant defines the dynasty for client nation Israel, 2SA 7:8-16, PSA 89:20-37. 2SA 7:16 reads, "And your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever." As the party of the first part, God made a gracious disposition to the party of the second part, David. This is the divine promise to David that he would have a Son [the Lord Jesus Christ] Who would rule Israel forever. It is the promise of the
perpetuation of the Davidic dynasty. While the Davidic line continued for about 72 years in the Northern Kingdom from 998-926 B.C., and for over 400 years in the Southern Kingdom from 1000-586 B.C., this was not the fulfillment of the covenant. The fulfillment of this covenant occurs in two increments.
1. The virgin birth of the humanity of Christ, classified as the First Advent, called the Hypostatic Union.
2. The Millennial reign of Christ. The final fulfillment of this covenant transpires at the Second Advent of Jesus Christ in His Millennial and eternal reign. The Son of David will rule, not only for the last 1,000 years of human history, but forever and ever.
The Davidic Covenant defines the ruling family, the eternal authority of the client nation Israel under the rule of Christ.
The New Covenant defines the restoration of the client nation Israel at the Second Advent and its millennial "modus operandi," JER 31:31-34. This, again, is an unconditional covenant, unlike the Mosaic Law. This covenant confirms and guarantees the fulfillment of all the unconditional promises of God. Being "a husband to Israel" is an analogy to the faithfulness of the Lord to the Exodus generation. The Lord was always faithful to them, even when they went apostate. The fulfillment of thos covenant will seen during the Millennium and the eternal state, ISA 61:2-11; ISA 59:20-21 (quoted in ROM 11:26-27). The New Covenant to Israel is an eternal covenant, EZE 16:60.
The New Covenant to Israel applies to two categories of Jewish people - first, to the historical Jews of the Old Testament who believed in Christ as He was revealed to them, and second, to the eschatological Jews of the Tribulation and Millennium who believe in Him. The New Covenant cannot be fulfilled to any Jew unless his salvation requirement has been fulfilled the Cross, and he has eternal life. As the book of Romans teaches, all Israel is not true Israel, for to be true Israel, you must be born again.
These covenants to Israel are defined as God's gracious promises and provision for the new racial species, called the Jew. The key to the covenants to Israel is based on the Jews as a new racial species and Israel as a client nation to God. Every Jew, however, must believe in Jesus Christ in order to qualify for the blessings of these covenants.
The subject of God's covenants with Israel, and the resultant anti-Semitism from the kingdom of darkness, is a perfect example of enemyship, and should serve as a warning to us, to never fall into something so evil.