GRACE BIBLE CHURCH
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
The Tree of Life for week ending 02/01/04.
No matter how great the historical disaster, Bible doctrine is greater.
We are now ready to complete Rev 12 and our series on the Israeli-Arab conflict.
REV 12:15-17 And the serpent projected from his mouth, water like a violent flood [the third demon assault army], after the woman, so that he might cause her to be swept away with the flood. And the land [safety from the "water" for regenerate Israel in the first half of the Tribulation] helped the woman [Israel], and the earth opened its mouth and drank up the river which the dragon poured out of his mouth. [This results in a second attack against the born-again Jews in the following verse.] And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.
The reason anti-Semitism exists which is because Satan and the kingdom of darkness are desperately trying to destroy Israel. The phrase in Rev 12:17, "and the dragon was enraged," is a very simplistic but profound statement. Wherever there is frustration and anger, arrogance intensifies. The verb used here is the aorist passive indicative form of orgizo, and it refers to rage and anger. The most dangerous people in the world are those whose arrogance has been cornered and put down. People who are cowardly, weak, and unstable can be like a wild animal once you get them in a corner, because their arrogance has been frustrated. They are then capable of things they would normally never do.
Frustrated arrogance is the motivation for many of the evils in the world; this not just sin, but sin that culminates in a form of evil. Satan now has intense anger, resentment, animosity, and wrathful indignation, and he is throwing an angelic tantrum. Satan is the greatest creature that ever came from the hand of God, yet he is still a failure. You can have every talent, every ability, and every type of mentality and beauty that is desirable among human creatures and still never succeed, because of arrogance. Satan is infuriated because he was frustrated in his endeavor to destroy Israel, Rev 12:17, "And the dragon was enraged with [epi] the woman [gune]." When the arrogant individual attacks another person and does not succeed in his attack, he then becomes perpetually resentful toward that person.
Frustrated arrogance produces anger and rage, which in turn becomes the motivation for evil and revenge. Revenge is often motivated by frustrated arrogance, when the arrogant person is rejected by another. Satan failed, and now he hates the Jew and he blames the Jew for all of his problems. Having failed in his first attack, he is going to continue to attack as long as he lives, Rev 12:17, "And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her offspring." Satan will not take the responsibility for his own decisions, and once you fall into a state frustrated of arrogance you are in for a lifetime of vengeful activity, a life of self-induced and self-perpetuated misery. When people become petty and vindictive, they become conspiratorial in their animosity toward others. Many believers have spent almost their entire life in the cosmic system under demon influence, totally miserable, never finding the answer or solution to anything. In Rev 12:17, the aorist active infinitive form of poieo (translated "to make"), means to produce or to make, and here Satan "went off to make war," to cause trouble, hostility, and conflict. However, while the demon assault army destroys, a great many Jews, but they will not destroy the remnant, the believers advancing to maturity.
In Rev 12:17, "the rest of her offspring" are the Jews who survived the initial holocaust of the Tribulation. The Greek noun loipos means remnant or survivors, referring to Jewish believers who have followed God's commands. In the baptism of fire, at the end of the Tribulation, Jewish unbelievers will be cast into the lake of fire forever, ISA 1:25-27; EZE 20:34-38; MAL 3:1-6; MAL 4:1-2. The baptism of fire is the judgment of the Tribulational unbelievers at the Second Advent. Both Jews and Gentiles who are Tribulational unbelievers come under this Second Advent judgment. This judgment results in the Millennium beginning with believers only, MAT 3:11-12, LUK 3:16.
We see the baptism of fire taking place at the Second Advent in 2TH 1:7-9 and MAT 3:11-12, "As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. And His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."
The analogy to the baptism of fire is found in MAT 24:36-41, where the one left in the field is the believer, and the one taken is the unbeliever: "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. For the coming of the Son of Man will be just like the days of Noah. For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, they were marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so shall the coming of the Son of Man be. Then there shall be two men in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken, and one will be left." The Second Advent is compared to the days of Noah when people gave no time to Bible doctrine because they were too distracted by the pleasures of life.
Our Lord taught several important parables dealing with he Baptism of Fire:
· The wheat and the tares, MAT 13:24-30,36-40, Then He left the multitudes, and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, "Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field." And He answered and said, "The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, and the field is the world; and as for the good seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; and the tares are the sons of the evil one; and the enemy who sowed them is the devil, and the harvest is the end of the age; and the reapers are angels. Therefore just as the tares are gathered up and burned with fire, so shall it be at the end of the age."
· The good and bad fish, MAT 13:47-50, "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea, and gathering fish of every kind; and when it was filled, they drew it up on the beach; and they sat down, and gathered the good fish into containers, but the bad they threw away. So it will be at the end of the age; the angels shall come forth, and take out the wicked from among the righteous, and will cast them into the furnace of fire; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
· The ten virgins, MAT 25:1-13, "Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps, and went out to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. But at midnight there was a shout, 'Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.' Then all those virgins rose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the prudent, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the prudent answered, saying, 'No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.' And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. And later the other virgins also came, saying, 'Lord, lord, open up for us.' But he answered and said, 'Truly I say to you, I do not know you.' Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour."
· The sheep and the goats, MAT 25:31-46, "But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. And all the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." [The Lord then goes on to describe the works of the sheep compared to the works of the goats.]
· The talent test (where the man with one talent represents the unbeliever), MAT 25:14-30, "For to everyone who has shall more be given, and he shall have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. And cast out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
The baptism of fire is necessary for the beginning of a new civilization in the Millennium. In each civilization throughout the Word of God man has a different life span, and each has its own climate and variation in species. All civilizations begin with believers only. Civilization is part of the divine protection of the human race during the angelic conflict. The four distinct civilizations in human history are (1) antediluvian, (2) postdiluvian, (3) the Millennium, and (4) eternity.
REV 12:15-17 And the serpent projected from his mouth, water like a violent flood [the third demon assault army], after the woman, so that he might cause her to be swept away with the flood. And the land [safety from the "water" for regenerate Israel in the first half of the Tribulation] helped the woman [the nation of Israel], and the earth opened its mouth and drank up the river which the dragon poured out of his mouth. And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.
The target of the Satanic holocaust in the last 3½ years is described by the phrase, "who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus." They survive, not just because they were in some safe place, but rather because they had doctrine resident in their souls and they were flexible whenever necessary. You can be in the right place at the right time, with the right people, and still freak out under pressure because you do not have doctrine in your own soul; this is why you must be spiritually self-sustained.
These faithful Jewish believers "keep the commandments of God." The present active participle form of the verb tereo ("keep") means to guard, protect, and observe. The accusative plural direct object from the noun entole is translated "commandments," and refers to the mandates of doctrine, the precepts of God, or the divine prescriptions. These commandments are not the Mosaic Law; they are divine commands that include the whole realm of doctrine, which require the application of doctrine that has already been learned. Rev 12:17 goes on to say that they "hold to the testimony of Jesus." The word for "testimony" is the accusative singular direct object of marturia, which has to do with the testimony of their life, as well as their lips.
Rev 12 is a great example of the dynamics of doctrine in historical disaster:
1. Bible doctrine in the right lobe of the mentality of the soul is the greatest power in life. This is why doctrine itself is speaking in PRO 8:14, "Counsel is mine and sound wisdom; I am understanding, power is mine;" and PRO 24:5-6,"A wise man is strong, and a man of knowledge increases power. For by wise guidance you will wage war, and in abundance of counselors [doctrines counseling the believer] there is victory." No matter how great the historical disaster, Bible doctrine is greater. This means that your mind must be controlled by Bible doctrine to make significant decisions for freedom, glorification of the Lord, and advance to maturity.
2. So it is with these Jewish believers who are delivered in the last half of the Tribulation; through perception and application of doctrine they obey the mandates of God. They are the ones who are attracting persecution from Satan, because of their active testimony for the Lord.
3. Through perception and application of doctrine they keep on having a witness, or testimony, for our Lord Jesus Christ before man, but most of all before God.
4. While Satan is a genius and the ruler of this world, he cannot contend with the active power of Bible doctrine perceived and applied in his own domain, the world.
5. Doctrine is useless unless it is loaded into the right lobe of the soul; it is only this epignosis doctrine that can be applied. Man is inferior to angels by creation, but through a regeneration and perception of doctrine man is able to contend with the fallen angels and their attacks on the human race. Believers in the Tribulation will face both angelic attacks and demonic attacks; one is visible, the other is invisible.
Rev 12:17 And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.
REV 13:1 And he stood on the sand of the seashore. And I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads, and on his horns were ten diadems, and on his heads were blasphemous names.
This paragraph describing Satan and his actions in Rev 12:17 is continued in the next verse, REV 13:1, with the phrase, "And he stood on the sand of the seashore." (There are no chapter breaks in the original language, and this phrase should actually be in Rev 12:17.) We must be careful to keep these things in their proper context, and to get the complete picture of how Satan is functioning, we must look at the entire paragraph, Revelation 12:17-13">REV 12:17-13:1a, "And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and went off to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. And he stood on the sand of the seashore." The verb for "stood" is the aorist passive indicative form of histemi, which means to take a stand or to oppose.
· The sand of the sea refers to the two dictators in chapter 13 who serve Satan during the last half of the Tribulation, the time of the devil's desperation.
· The sea refers to the sea of nations during the last half of the Tribulation.
· The seashore refers to Satan's confinement to the earth during the period of his desperation. This verse is the transition into the eschatology of the devil's desperation, which continues through chapter 20, where we read in verses 1-3, "And I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he should not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed."
This is the story of the last half of the Tribulation. Satan takes a stand on the earth, because he has no place else to go. He is thrown out of heaven, and he will eventually end up in Hades, but at this time he is stuck on the earth for the first time since the creation of the human race. Satan has lived in heaven during the entire prehistoric angelic conflict and human history. In this present day, Satan still lives in heaven, and he only "commutes" to earth, of which he is the ruler.
Satan's bad decisions have limited his options, and the same is true about all of us. Bad decisions resulted in his being thrown out of heaven forever in the middle of the Tribulation. It is inevitable, in our time on earth that all our bad decisions will have painful repercussions apart from the overruling grace of God, which does occur under certain conditions of rebound and continued residence in the predesigned plan of God.
How can this happen to creatures who once had the knowledge of truth, believed it and even lived in it? It all begins with one sin that we all have in common, in some measure-arrogance. So many believers reach a point where, for whatever reason, they think that they have "arrived" and that they have all the answers. Therefore, they make stupid decisions from a position of weakness, which is arrogance. Bad decisions from a position of weakness result in the demotion of Satan as the ruler of this world and his incarceration for 1,000 years in the abyss. These same bad decisions cause Satan, on his release from prison, to return to the earth to instigate a final conspiracy, which terminates in the Gog Revolution and Satan spending eternity in the lake of fire.
For a more detailed study, order tapes IA11-376 to IA11-379.