Grace Bible Church
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
The Tree of Life from the week ending 01/27/08
The new racial species and the new spiritual species in the angelic conflict.
We have been looking at the roles of the new racial species and the new spiritual species in the angelic conflict. This conflict began when Satan, who was created perfect as the highest of all angels and the guardian of God’s throne, became absorbed with himself. So, from this perfection came unrighteousness by choosing to be independent from God. EZE 28:14-16, “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. By the abundance of your trade you were internally filled with violence, and you sinned; Therefore I have cast you as profane From the mountain of God. I have destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.”
The cherub’s name was changed to Satan, which means accuser, and he was sentenced to the lake of fire to be forever separated from God (MAT 25:41). Since the lake of fire was prepared for the devil and the fallen angels, and the fact that they will not be put there until the end of human history, we conclude that a trial is taking place in which God has allowed Satan, to appeal his case.
We know that God has allowed this so that His Righteousness, Justice, Love, and Grace could be revealed to all His creatures to the fullest. This trial is not unlike the system of jurisprudence that God gave to Israel, and the same one that our nation attempts to follow today. Unfortunately, our system has been corrupted by evil men with power.
A trial, under God’s system of jurisprudence has three phases, and can only be concluded on the basis of two or three witnesses. There is the formal presentation of the case where the prosecution presents its case, followed by the defense presenting its case. We have seen that the formal presentation of Satan’s appeal trial corresponds to Old Testament history with the Jews as a race and Israel as a nation as the center of the conflict. Next is the rebuttal phase where the rebuttal arguments of the prosecution [God] is followed by those of the defense [Satan]. Evidence and arguments are offered by both sides. The rebuttal phase of the prosecution is coterminous with the two Christocentric dispensations, the Hypostatic-union, and the Church-age. Dispensations are Divine categories of human history. Dispensations are the vehicle by which believers living at a specific time in history can orient to God’s will, plan, and purpose for their lives. God’s plan is not the same, in fact quite different for every dispensation. Again, there are only two dispensations or periods of time in human history where Christ lives inside of man, the dispensation of the Hypostatic-union and the Church-age. These two dispensations are when God presents His case and reveals His Justice and Righteousness and Love to the fullest. His Justice is revealed by His fairness in dealing with the fall of mankind and by judging sin and continuing to forgive sin after the use of 1Jn 1:9.
His Righteousness is revealed by the fact that He was willing to forsake His own Son while judging sin and continuing to impute His perfect Righteousness to anyone who will believe in Christ as their Savior. His Love is revealed by the fact that He offered salvation to anyone who would believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ and that He continues to deal with His creatures in amazing grace. This also means that there are two categories of main witnesses for the prosecution. Our Lord, and the invisible heroes of the Church-age. Although only two witnesses are needed, a third is added by God, Christian marriage. This is not to mean that Old Testament heroes were not witnesses, they were as we have seen in HEB 12:1, but they are not the main witnesses. Remember that the laws of evidence found in the Bible demand investigation of each accusation. Legitimate evidence is based on two or three witnesses being interrogated independently and agreeing to their testimony. Finally comes the closing argument and summary, first by the prosecution [God] and then by the defense [Satan].
Let’s look at each phase of the trial and the role of the new racial species and the new spiritual species in more detail. Phase 1: The trial phase. This begins with the fall of man in the garden and continues until the beginning of the dispensation of the Hypostatic-union. During this period of time, God has called upon the new racial species, the Jew to bring glory to Him. This is why in Heb 11, God’s hall of fame for the Old Testament believers we have such a list of witnesses. These ones by means of doctrine resident in their soul, who conquered kingdoms. Because of their spiritual preparation, they performed acts of righteousness or justice, they gained what was promised; they shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire with the Word of God, they successfully evaded the destructive power of the sword, from weakness they were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, in order that they might obtain a better resurrection; and others experienced mockings and scourgings, chains and imprisonment.
These Old Testament heroes understood why God created them, and why they were here. They were promoted or approved by God, but they must wait for their promised rewards until the Church receives hers. HEB 11:39 And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, None of these who obtained Divine commendation because of the doctrine in their souls has yet obtained the ultimate promise, the blessings that follow resurrection life. Yet in the second phase of the trial, the rebuttal phase, God will create a creature, a new spiritual species that will have the opportunity to enjoy the resurrection life in time.
After the formal trial, God turns up the heat for the rebuttal phase, and brings in His star witness, the Lord Jesus Christ, and millions of His true witnesses, whose lives will attest to His Righteousness, Justice, Love, and Grace. It’s not just hearing the word of God, although that is a most important and necessary step, but its application of the mystery doctrine that we have that will exalt us to the high calling of true witnesses. God has a plan so gracious that He will not begin His closing arguments in the angelic conflict until the true worshippers of God are called to the witness stand to prove to elect and fallen angels, that His Righteousness, Justice, Love, and Grace are not only pure and true, but go beyond what anyone ever thought possible. So, in our main passage in Rom 9 Paul is pleading with his countrymen, the Jews, to understand that the formal trial is over, that the star witness, their Messiah, the One they have been waiting for, has come and defeated all enemies That the Jews who live in the Church-age should stop living in the Mosaic Law, believe on Jesus Christ as their Messiah, and move into the rebuttal phase with the mystery doctrine of the Church, and become the greater witnesses.
Phase two of the trial was hidden from the Old Testament saints. They missed the fact that was presented to them over and over again that the Messiah must die first. The Cross must come before the crown and that salvation would come to the Gentiles. They should have known this, it was shown to them, but they were too earthly minded. They wanted deliverance into the Millennial kingdom rather than the most important deliverance which is from the bondage of the slave market of sin.
In Act 13 Paul and Barnabus present the Gospel to the Jews and the Gentiles at Antioch, and interestingly it was at Antioch not long before this that the term Christian was first coined for believers in the Church-age. As the Church begins, and is growing like wildfire; the rebuttal trial of the angelic conflict begins. ACT 13:44-52, And the next Sabbath nearly the whole city assembled to hear the word of God. But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy, and began contradicting the things spoken by Paul, and were blaspheming. And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; since you repudiate it, and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. For thus the Lord has commanded us [ISA 49:6], ‘I have placed You as a light for the Gentiles, That You should bring salvation to the end of the earth.’” And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord was being spread through the whole region. But the Jews aroused the devout women of prominence and the leading men of the city, and instigated a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. But they shook off the dust of their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium. And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. It was not as though the Jews were losing anything. They were invited into the Church-age first, even before the Gentiles, but they were arrogant as God’s people. Yet the Gentiles rejoiced at the good news.
So in our passage in Heb 11, the Old Testament believers will not receive their resurrection bodies before us! Though they preceded us chronologically in history, the Church-age believer will precede them in resurrection. This is the plan and the grace of God!
Again HEB 11:40 because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they should not be made perfect. There’s no chapter break in the original language so HEB 12:1 says Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, The Greek word for witnesses is martus which means a witness in a legal sense to testify as eyewitnesses or a character reference for one being questioned. This does not mean that they can see us now, or are watching us, but that they, the visible heroes of the Old Testament were successful witnesses in the formal trial of the angelic conflict. It also refers to those, who after our Lord’s example, have proved the strength and genuineness of their faith in Christ by undergoing suffering or even death. They are not mere witnesses, but testifiers who prove by their own life and experience the impeccable character and nature of God.
So in HEB 12:1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses [Old Testament winners from the new racial species, the Jew] surrounding us, let us [New Testament spiritual species, the church] also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
Isn’t it interesting that the writer of the book of Hebrews, a book written to the Jews of the Church-age, now identifies a transition of witnesses from the Old Testament racial species to the New Testament spiritual species. The Greek word for endurance ishupomone meaning to dwell under, a patient steadfast waiting for. The believer must keep on running with endurance. The plan of God is a marathon, not a sprint. The beginning of the race [salvation] is exciting, and the end of the race, if we experience dying grace, is exciting as we break the tape and fall into our Savior’s arms. However, the middle of the race is long and often grueling. Will you keep running or are you going to quit? Every one of us faces different obstacles. There will always be times when we are tempted to quit. Especially after we fail, it is so much easier to quit than to get back up on our feet and start running again. But don’t quit, abide under the pressure; do not try to escape it.
HEB 12:2-3, be concentrating on Jesus [your Shepherd and Husband], the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him [your forerunner] who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you may not grow weary and lose heart.
When you are tempted to quit, consider Him who has endured all temptations and realize you have the same power and assets as He did, and remember that it is for His glory that you are alive. You need to turn the eyes of your soul away from earthly things when you need endurance in the angelic conflict (COL 3:2-3). Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Compare the way that Christ endured hostility and suffering to the way you might normally attempt to endure it in your human power. The defense mechanisms of the flesh only end up in the arrogant and emotional complex of sins. Christ’s way was the way of the Father. He submitted Himself in His humanity to the plan of the Father. In that way He was strong, courageous, and victorious. Christ was able to fulfill the prototype plan of God because He learned endurance through dependence upon His own spiritual life in submission to the Father’s will. Many of us rejoice because we see that we are in the end times of our dispensation. It seems, from the signs of the times that the rebuttal phase of the conflict is almost at a close. However the reason for your existence is to bring glory to God by becoming a witness for the prosecution in the rebuttal phase of the angelic conflict. There will be much opposition at the hands of the Satan and the kingdom of darkness and their cosmic system to prevent you from getting there. Don’t stop your daily intake of the Word of God and don’t stop rebounding when you sin. Put on the full armor of God that you may be able to hold your ground with endurance (EPH 6:11-13).
At the conclusion of the rebuttal phase, which is the intensified stage of the angelic conflict the final two dispensations will become the closing arguments. The third and final phase of the angelic conflict involves the closing arguments by the prosecution and then the defense, where the Jew again is the center of the conflict in the Tribulation and the Millennial reign of Christ.
This is the relationship between the new racial species, the Jew, and the new spiritual species, the Church, and how they both integrate in the historical phase of the angelic conflict. Each new species, the racial Jew and the new spiritual species, the Church, originates from a category of Biblical death. The new racial species began with Abraham (GEN 17:1-4), and the sign of this covenant would be circumcision. The Church originates from the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the union with the substitutionary spiritual death of Christ on the Cross. This is why GAL 2:20 says “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.”
It’s also interesting to note that each new species was formed from a significant event in history connected with circumcision. The new racial species is related to the circumcision of Abraham at age 99. The new spiritual species is created through circumcision as well, but it is the baptism of the Holy Spirit at Salvation which began on the day of Pentecost. The baptism of the Spirit at salvation and the resultant positional sanctification is the only circumcision of the Church-age (COL 2:11-14). The day that you believed in the Lord Jesus Christ you were identified with Him in His death, burial, and resurrection. The spiritual circumcision of being entered into union with Christ is the sign of the new spiritual species, a circumcision made or performed without human hands, as COL 2:11 says. This “circumcision made without hands” means that it is a spiritual reality and not a physical ceremony. Physical circumcision was cutting off of a part of the flesh as a symbol of a covenant relationship with God and His people. In COL 2:11, spiritual circumcision is removal of, not a part of the body, but, the entire body of the flesh or the old sin nature.