TEEN TREE OF LIFE
You’re A Mean One,
December 18, 2016
BEFORE we begin, if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, take a moment to name your sins to God the Father. This will allow you to be filled with the power of The Holy Spirit as you read this booklet (EPH 5:18 & 1JO 1:9). IF YOU HAVE never believed in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you have that opportunity right now. Simply tell God the Father that you are believing on His Son Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. If you make that decision, you are now a believer and will always be a child of God! When you die, you will spend eternity with Him forever in heaven! (JOH 3:16 & ACT 16:31).
In last week’s Tree, we learned about the Morning Star. It is a Title for Jesus Christ. But the Morning Star also refers to a special decoration which will be given to mature believers at the Second Advent or the second real Christmas. However, just like many rejected the Morning Star at the First Advent, many of God’s people will reject the Morning Star decoration at the Second Advent. This Morning Star at the Second Advent is a decoration awarded the ultimate in Christian service and the maintenance of spiritual maturity. This is taught in REV 2:26: “Furthermore, the winner, even he who keeps my assignments [fulfilling the Pre-Designed Plan of God] until the end [of his life], to him I will give authority over the nations.” And it’s taught further in REV 2:28, “Furthermore I will give to him the order of the Morning Star.” This means that the mature believer will be a king over a Gentile nation during the Millennium. Receiving this reward is the highest manifestation of glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ in the Church-Age.
The order of the Morning Star authorizes the recipient to reign with Christ in the Millennium and hold the highest privileges for all eternity. Such a believer can eat from the Tree of Life in the Paradise of God, located in the New Jerusalem.
There are seven privileges or Christmas gifts that mature believers will share with the Second King, the Lord Jesus Christ, as part of the order of the Morning Star:
- The first privilege is the Uniform of Honor which is invisible and worn in the soul. It is exchanged at the Judgment Seat of Christ for the Uniform of Glory: But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments; and they will walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels. (REV 3:4-5) The Uniform of Glory is a monument to right decisions. The Uniform of Glory is given as a translucent light which covers the resurrection body.
- The second privilege is that the decoration includes presentation in the court of heaven during the Tribulation as is revealed in REV 1:5: He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and a new name written on the stone which no one knows but he who receives it.’ Those on the honors list are taken to heaven first and presented to God the Father by the Lord Jesus Christ. The honors list is made up of those believers who make Bible doctrine their highest priority daily.
- A new knighthood and eternal order of chivalry belongs to the believer winning The Morning Star. That is the third privilege. A new order of chivalry includes a new title after your name in the lamb’s book of life. The new knighthood is given to the winner.
- The fourth privilege is that the winner will rule with Christ during the Millennium as is taught in 2TI 2:12: If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us… It is important to remember that God the Father has already given you the order of the Morning Star but it is up to you if you’ll be able to keep it. REV 3:21 states: “He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” However, just like the Morning Star was rejected at the First Advent, as per the Doctrine of the Unlimited Atonement, the decoration at the Second Advent is also rejected by the majority of believers who have become losers instead of winners.
- The fifth privilege is that your name is recorded in the permanent historical record section because of your invisible impact on history during the Church-age: He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he will not go out from it anymore; and I will write on him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God, and My new name. (REV 3:12) The impact of the winner is anonymous as far as the record of history is concerned, but not as far as God is concerned. The mature believer’s historical record will be recorded forever in the heavenly temple!
- The sixth privilege is that you are the recipient of a coat of arms of glory which will give you special privileges from your special rank. See REV 3:12 above.
- The seventh privilege is special privileges related to the Tree of Life and the Gazebo of the Garden, called the Paradise of God. You are a member of a special club with special parties to which only you are invited; you’re a member of the paradise club forever. Here are two verses which teach us this. “To the winner, I will give to him the privilege of eating from the tree of life which is in the paradise of God.”(REV 2:7) “…blessed are they [winners] who have washed their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city [New Jerusalem].” (REV 2:14) The tree of life is the ultimate in eternal reward and blessing.
So, as you can see, Our Gift from God is much more complex. Christ’s Birth brought us Salvation but it also brought us so much more!
Now, let’s get back to Herod. Herod will always stand as one of the most deplorable characters of New Testament literature. He was a vicious ruler who neither respected God, nor regarded his fellow men. He went so far as to try to set up the Magi to lead him to Baby Jesus so he could get at him. In order to ensure he would not be replaced as King of the Jews, he issued a bloody order that all male babies, two years old and under, in the environs of Bethlehem be slaughtered. But the Magi outsmarted him: And having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, the magi left for their own country by another way. Now when they had gone, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him.” So Joseph got up and took the Child and His mother while it was still night, and left for Egypt. He remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called My Son.” Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi. (MATT 2:12-16). This was his attempt to eliminate the Christ child — a plan which was destined to fail, of course, for “God was with Him” (ACT 10:38).
The final thing we learn about Herod is that he died. Matthew records the following interesting words regarding Herod’s death: But when Herod was dead, behold an angel of the Lord appears in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, “Arise and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead that sought the young child’s life.” (MAT 2:19-20) You’ll notice that the verse very simply says: “But when Herod was dead …” The inspired apostle gives absolutely no details regarding the manner of the king’s demise. This is a very curious fact, and for two reasons.
First, Herod had died in a most dramatic fashion. Josephus states that a loathsome disease descended upon the ruler as a judgment from God on account of his sins. He describes the horrible details —burning fever, ulcerated entrails, foul discharges, convulsions, stench, etc. Second, this man was the first, bitter enemy of the Messiah. Surely one would expect, from a purely human vantage point, that the followers of Christ might enjoy some sense of victory in his death; hence, a delineation of details regarding that matter would have been of particular interest.
But no! The New Testament simply has it: “And when Herod was dead.” The restraint of the biblical writers, contrary to urges of human inclination, is one of the subtle but amazing evidences of the Scripture’s inspiration. Surely Matthew, left to his own literary devices, would have expanded his account of Herod’s death. Obviously, a Superior Force was at work!
So Herod dies and loses. And ultimately, as any student of God’s Word knows, it is Satan who was the influence behind Herod’s actions. Look at REV 12:4: And his tail swept away a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child. The dragon is Satan, that old serpent called the devil. This Child whom Satan wanted to devour as soon as He was born was Jesus. And who did Satan use to try and kill Jesus when He was born? Well, he didn’t try to use the Jews because under Roman law they couldn’t use capital punishment, even if they wanted to. So, who did Satan try and use? He tried and used the king of Rome – Herod who, of course failed.
And that’s why we see Herod as worse than the Grinch or Scrooge, because, unlike each of them, he never had a change of heart. He died under Satan’s influence, his last act an attempt to kill Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.