GRACE BIBLE CHURCH
The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
For the week ending 07/06/03
The Ascension and Session of the Lord Jesus Christ
1 Corinthians 15:45-49
In our study of the resurrection, ascension, and session of our Lord Jesus Christ, we have seen that when the Lord Jesus Christ sat down at the right hand of God, He revealed that He was now greater than the angels in His humanity. He is the heir of all things and the creator of the universe (HEB 1:1-2), has a better name and nature than angels (HEB 1:4), is worshipped by angels (Heb 1:6), is the creator and master of angels (HEB 1:7), has an eternal throne and is anointed with the Holy Spirit (HEB 1:8-9), is unchangeable (HEB 1:10), and is seated at God's right hand (Heb 1:13). Because of our union with Him elect angels serve us right now (HEB 1:14).
HEB 2:1-8 For this reason [because of the angelic conflict and the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ is seated at the right hand of God and exalted above all angelic creatures] we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it [let this doctrine drift past or flow by us]. For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience [in the angelic realm] received a just recompense, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will. For He did not subject to angels the world to come, concerning which we are speaking. But one has testified somewhere [David in PSA 8:4-6], "What is man, that Thou rememberest him? 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; Thou hast put all things in subjection under His feet [the Lord Jesus Christ]." For in subjecting all things to him, he left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him.
In verse 7 we see the first Adam who failed, and in verse 8 we see the last Adam who succeeded. This is a reference to the resurrection of Jesus Christ whereby all angelic creatures, elect and fallen, are subordinated to Him in His humanity. In His deity, Jesus Christ is the creator of angels but, in His humanity, He was made lower than angels,HEB 2:7. Now, in His resurrection, He is higher than angels even in His humanity. One day, in our resurrection body, we will share that same privilege experientially.
1CO 15:45-49 describes the only two members of the human race who came into the world under conditions of perfection without an old sin nature-the first Adam, who fell and lost it all, and the last Adam, who regained everything and provided our salvation: "So also it is written, 'The first man, Adam, became a living soul.' The last Adam [the Lord Jesus Christ in His humanity] became a life?giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural [Adam came before the Lord Jesus Christ]; then the spiritual. The first man [Adam] is from the earth, earthy; the second man [the Lord Jesus Christ] is from heaven. As is the earthy [Adam was dead in sin], so also are those who are earthy [those in Adam die], and as is the heavenly [Christ is alive], so also are those who are heavenly [those in Christ will be made alive], and just as we have borne the image of the earthy [the nature of Adam, the old sin nature], we shall also bear the image of the heavenly [the new nature given to those who are born again].
In HEB 2:7, we have a description of the first Adam: "Thou hast made him [man] for a little while lower than the angels."
The first Adam was made inferior to angels, both elect and fallen. The only way man becomes superior to angels is through union with the Lord Jesus Christ, who is seated at the right hand of God the Father. This is one of the principles behind EPH 2:6, "And He [God the Father] raised us up with Him [Jesus Christ], and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus."
Only through regeneration and positional truth can man become superior to angels. This is why Satan has blinded the church from the real meaning of the baptism of the Spirit. He is the most brilliant angel and hates anyone who is greater than him. Phi 3:21 and 1CO 15:53 teach that our resurrected body is greater than the angels', which is why the Church is the first to go up in the rapture to receive their resurrected bodies at the Bema Seat Judgment!
In DEU 32:4 Moses writes, "The rock! His work is perfect, for all his ways are just; a God of faithfulness and without injustice, righteous and upright is He."
Originally, God created man perfect, without sin; HEB 2:7 says, "Thou hast crowned him with glory and honor."The Greek word for "crowned" is estephanosas, meaning to adorn with an honorary crown, to bestow the approval of God. In the aorist tense it speaks of the point of time when God created the first Adam. The active voice indicates that God the Father produced the action of the verb; He crowned the original man with glory and honor. The indicative mood leaves no doubt about the reality of the fact that God did this. Man was originally created perfect, but through his free will, he fell.
In GEN 1:28-30, God gave the first Adam dominion over creation. He instructed him to "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."
The first Adam, who was created to resolve the angelic conflict, possessed glory and honor, but he lost it all when he fell. In HEB 2:7-9, "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; Thou hast put all things in subjection under His feet. For in subjecting all things to Him, He left nothing that is not subject to Him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to Him. But we do see Him who has been made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. This next phrase, "crowned with glory and honor," refers to the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, which was just like the creation of the first Adam, in that both came into the world sinless. The difference is that the first Adam lost his glory and honor; the last Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ, built upon His glory and honor.
Because the last Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ, kept His glory and honor, mankind now has the privilege to share in the Lord's victory through union with Him! We have positional truth in the first Adam; we also have positional truth in the last Adam, 1Co 15:22, "In Adam all die, in Christ shall all be made alive."
The victory of the last Adam is revealed in Heb 2:8, "Thou hast put all things in subjection under His feet. For in subjecting all things to Him, He left nothing that is not subject to Him." This is a reference to the Millennium, when Christ, the last Adam, will rule. At the Second Coming, when the Millennial reign of Christ begins, there will be believers on earth with no demons and unbelievers (because of the baptism of fire, Mat 24:40-41). We are being prepared to rule with the Lord during His Millennial reign. Some will rule ten cities, some five, and some will "run errands" and be glad to do so. During the Millennial reign, the saints will rule in resurrection bodies just as the unseen forces who run the world now. We will take the place of fallen angels as the rulers of the world.
"Subjecting all things to Him" refers to the human race, the angelic race, weather, animal life, plant life, and all nature. The phrase "He left nothing that is not subject to Him" refers to the baptism of fire where all that is against Christ will be removed from the earth. In HEB 2:7, we went back to the first Adam in the garden of Eden; in Heb 2:8, we went forward to the last Adam in the Millennial reign; now, in HEB 2:9, we go back to the Church-age.
HEB 2:9 But we do see Him who has been made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.
Acts 5:31 "He is the one whom God has exalted at His right hand as Prince and Savior."
PHI 2:9 "Therefore also, God has highly exalted Him and given Him a title which is above every title, that at the title of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue should confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of the Father."
The ascension and session are not only related to the Hypostatic union, but also to the angelic conflict. The fact that the resurrection, ascension, and session are based on our Lord's strategic victory is the subject of Heb 1-2. This strategic victory of the angelic conflict, which the Lord Jesus Christ won in the great power demonstration of the Hypostatic Union, is related to the award of His third royal patent. His title is "King of kings, Lord of lords, bright morning star." His Royal Family, which is all Church-age believers, is in the process of being completed. You are more than a child of God; you are a royal child of God.
The earth was Satan's kingdom; God had set him in authority over it in EZE 28:14. Moreover, Satan had never been dispossessed of the earth even in his confinement; he had been placed on the earth. This motivated Satan's first attack on man, which was an attack on God Himself. God had placed an offensive force in the midst of the enemy-held territory of planet earth, and to attack man was to attack the One who had placed him there. However, the attack would end, as all other satanic attacks, with dust in the mouth for Satan. 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, because it contained the seed from which would develop the most shameful phases of his ultimate defeat, the seed of Christ.
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 are found almost all the great doctrines which appear in the rest of the Bible. This is where the drama of the invisible war begins on the stage of human history.
Satan's tactics are easy to see in the account of the temptation and fall. He had to begin with a forward attack on the Word of God and the goodness of God. It would have been impossible to reach man apart from the destruction of his confidence in the mind and heart of the Creator. Satan first attacked the Word of God when he said, "Indeed, has God said?" This was a subtle question of doubt concerning the authenticity and validity of God's Word, and he uses this same tactic today. He instills doubt in God's people concerning what the Word of God really says, as seen in the parable of the sower. As soon as the seed (the Word of God) is sown, the enemy comes to snatch away the seed that has been sown, LUK 8:12, "And those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they may not believe and be delivered." It is the Garden of Eden all over again, and in this phase of the battle Satan's deceptions have found success. Beginning with Eve, Satan has been successful to the extent that the majority of believers have been detached from the only source of spiritual life, the Word of God. When their only defense is destroyed, they are open to all attacks and are sure to be defeated. Doubt comes from lack of doctrine or failing to believe the doctrine you have, as in MAT 14:31, "O you of little faith [doctrine], why did you doubt?" Paul says in ROM 14:23, "Whatever is not from faith is sin."
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 denies the Word of God outright in GEN 3:4, "And the serpent said to the woman, 'You surely shall not die!'" In GEN 3:7 we also see the universal tendency of human nature to cover its own moral shame by a device of man's own handiwork: "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."
In GEN 3:8 we discover the spiritual effects of sin-man trying to flee from God: "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 3:9, we see God searching for fallen man while fallen man hides from God: "Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, 'Where are you?'"
God has never ceased to seek for fallen man, even though we hide from Him.
For a more detailed study, order tapes IA11-285 to IA11-286.