Grace Bible Church
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
GRACE BIBLE CHURCH
The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
For the week ending 07/13/03
The Ascension and Session of the Lord Jesus Christ
Revelation 12:5 And she [the virgin Mary] gave birth to a son [the humanity of Christ], a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron [the harness through which the Lord Jesus Christ will rule in the Millennium]; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne [the ascension and session].
Satan overthrew the harness by saying, "I will be like the most high God." This same principle is being demonstrated every day of human history, just as it was during the time of the prehistoric angelic conflict. Satan tried it twice, in angelic history and human history. However, no creature has or ever will successfully challenge the Creator (the Lord Jesus Christ).
We know the Lord Jesus Christ is the Creator of the universe from passages such as COL 1:16, "For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-all things have been created by Him and for Him." Even born-again believers are constantly challenging this principle. Many doctrinal believers are driven to a less challenging concept of the Christian way of life, when they reject verses like 1CO 6:19-20, "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body."
ROM 6:12-13, "Therefore do not let the sin nature reign in your mortal body that you should obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God."
ROM 12:1 I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
Believers can not afford to forget the lesson of LUK 12:20, "You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have worked for?" Believers seem to fail to realize that the system God has designed, the predesigned plan of God for the Royal Family, is specifically meant to give us the opportunity of receiving fantastic blessing from life, in historical prosperity or historical adversity.
It is important to note the relationship between the two Adams, the first Adam, in the Garden, and the last Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ.
1CO 15:22,45 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive&ldots; So also it is written, "The first man, Adam, became a living soul. The last Adam became a life?giving spirit."
We have noted the correlations between the two Adams and how the creation of man to resolve the angelic conflict had to start on the same high note as the original creation of angels. Therefore, human history began with one man and one woman in the garden under perfect provision and perfect environment, but there had to be a test for man's volition right from the start. Man was not created to be locked into positive volition; he had to have free will. The man and woman had daily conversations with the Lord Jesus Christ, which established the principle of their conscience. They were made in the image of God, GEN 1:27, "And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them."
To be made in the image of God has nothing to do with overt appearance. God does not have two ears, two eyes, one nose, and a mouth. "Image" means three things that relate to the soul. In the essence of God are three factors, which we also have in the essence of man's soul.
GEN 5:1-2 This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day when God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female, and He blessed them and named them Man in the day when they were created.
What does it mean to be made in the image of God? First of all, it means self-consciousness-"I am." I recognize my existence, and that I must make my own decisions. I recognize that I must have personal control of my own life, and I must, if I have any truth at all, understand my own personal sense of destiny.
Secondly, it means moral reasoning power-"I ought."
Thirdly, it means self?determination-"I will."
We have volition, or free will; we have the right of self-determination. The man and woman were told, not once, but many times, "You shall not eat from that one tree," and the tree was named, "the knowledge of good and evil."They did not know thee difference between good and evil. In fact, they did not need to know the difference at that time. Man was the ruler of planet earth, not knowing, of course that Satan had been the previous ruler, and that when God threw Satan off the earth for the courtroom scene, Satan and the fallen angels left so much "trash" behind, that God froze the entire world in an ice pack.
To prepare the earth for man's inhabitation, God removed the ice pack from the earth, cleaned it up for man's habitation, and made man its ruler, which Satan saw as an easy challenge. In his investigation, Satan saw that Adam was not only the ruler of the world, but he was also the authority over Ishshah, the woman. Satan realized that he had to make his attack on Ishshah, and he did. He convinced the woman finally that she had get to the tree and eat while she could, so she could be as smart as God. As for Adam, when the woman held out her hand and extended the fruit, Adam made his choice from the function of his own volition. The choice was between the woman outside the garden, and Jesus Christ in the garden, and he chose the woman. The curse was pronounced on the first Adam and the woman, and the woman was made subordinate to the man.
However, in GEN 3:21, God decided that He would always do something about the curse: "And the Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them." God was demonstrating that He was going to give them and their progeny a great volitional opportunity. The curse of the first Adam was going to be removed by the curse of the last Adam, GAL 3:13, "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us-for it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.'" The killing of an animal always correctly depicts the work of our Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross.
GEN 3:17-19 directly applies to the first Adam and the Last Adam and the doctrine of the ascension and session:"Then to Adam He said, 'Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, "You shall not eat from it"; cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field; by the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.'" In all of these new developments is the curse.
The woman would always have to face a very special volitional problem-would she accept the authority of man or not? The woman said in GEN 3:13b, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." The woman with a perfect soul was subjected to deception. The woman, every day, along with the man, had heard our Lord Jesus Christ make dissertation after dissertation, and yet she failed. As with Satan, arrogance was her first sin. She sinned first, but she did not know what she was doing, therefore the man, who knew what he was doing, is the basis for passing down the old sin nature. In GEN 3:16 God says to the woman, "I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth, in pain you shall bring forth children; yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you." The phrase, "he shall rule over you," is the basis for human history; the man will always rule over the woman. The woman is a responder, and she will bring forth children.
Why does the Lord say, "Yet your desire shall be for your husband"? The answer is for the simplest of all reasons-the woman, like the man, will have her own harness to struggle with, and this desire is placed there as her harness. The woman will resent it, fight it, and reject it, and she has a choice to accept or reject; the key to everything in the angelic conflict is volition. Without that desire, civilization could not exist. If the woman does not desire the man who is going to rule over her, she has no basis or motivation for accepting the harness. The key to civilization is the woman-when the woman is out of harness, there is no civilization, but only barbarianism, i.e., the human race in a state of self-destruction.
In GEN 3:17 the entire surface of planet earth was changed, and even the ground received a curse. And from now on, physical life would terminate in death; of course, there had been no death in the human race until this time. Everything that is stated in Gen 3, by way of judgment, dealt with physical life in time, unlike the great trial of Satan and the fallen angels, where Satan would say, "We can't do it, we're not going to it, it's unfair."
God gave the man and the woman the same deal that He gave Satan. Satan said, "How can a loving God cast his creatures, fallen angels, into the lake of fire?" This is the great issue. However, when God condemned man, everything that He mentioned had to do with temporal life, not eternal life (the woman's desire for her husband, child-bearing, the man's work, the curse on the ground, and physical death). Everything in Satan's trial had to do with eternal condemnation because they had had their chance over and over again. In GEN 3:21, "The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them." The issue was going to be a new "tree of life," the Cross. The tree of life is a very serious issue, both in time and in eternity.
· In GEN 2:9, the tree of life was created by God to sustain man's body, soul, and spirit.
· In GEN 3:22, the tree of life is related to that which is eternal.
· In GEN 3:24, the tree of life had to be guarder by cherubim angels because of its power.
· In PRO 3:18, doctrine is said to be a tree of life to those who take hold of her.
· In PRO 11:30, the fruit of the righteous (those who live for God) is said to be a tree of life.
· In PRO 13:12, desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
· In PRO 15:4, a soothing tongue is a tree of life.
· In REV 2:7, the winner believer has the privilege of eating of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God.
· In REV 22:2, eternity has the tree of life.
· In REV 22:14, the tree of life is related to those who rebounded in time and went forward with their personal sense of destiny.
Throughout the Old Testament, that Cross would be depicted by an altar, and an animal would be put on the altar. The blood of the animal would depict eternal salvation, and the coat of skin would be the righteousness imputed. Human history would exactly parallel the history of the angelic conflict. The angels could now watch the volition of man, and while the first Adam failed, the last Adam did not. The proof of the victory of the last Adam is His resurrection, ascension and session.
The creation of the first Adam then resolves the angelic conflict and answers the appeal of Satan. To resolve the angelic conflict, an inferior creature, Adam, is placed on planet earth, possessing one thing in common with the angels as rational creatures-the image of God, the bona fide function of volition.
PSA 8:3-6 When I consider Thy heavens, the work of Thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which Thou hast ordained; what is man, that Thou dost take thought of him? And the son of man, that Thou dost care for him? Yet Thou hast made him a little lower than God, and dost crown him with glory and majesty! Thou dost make him to rule over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under his feet.
Human volition is therefore tested in exactly the same pattern as angelic volition. Angels began in a status-quo of innocence, as did mankind. Angels sinned, Isa 14, REV 12:4, in the negative volition of Satan and those who followed him. Mankind sinned, in the negative volition of Adam and the woman. God provided a way of salvation for the angels, unknown to us in its nature, and God provided salvation for mankind. As a result, angels are divided into two categories, REV 12:7, as is mankind, JOH 3:36.
Two tests have been instituted then for man's volition. Under the perfect environment, mankind is prohibited the use of one tree, as a volitional test. Man could only fail through negative volition. There was no sin in the perfect environment of the Garden, until it was brought in by man's volition. The first sin was disobedience to God's prohibition. In the status of innocence, man could only sin in one way, negative volition toward a divine prohibition, and the motivation that led to it. In the case of the woman, it was arrogance. In the case of the man, it was a desire for the woman; now, however, the woman will desire the man.
Then, after the fall of man, in a state of sinfulness, salvation is promised and offered to the human race, Gen 3:15, by the last Adam.
Gen 3:15 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."
This salvation required the Lord Jesus Christ dying on the Cross. The issue now changes as man leaves perfect environment and enters imperfect environment. In the Garden, the issue was a prohibition-"No" to the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. After the fall of man, the issue is positive volition toward the new tree, the Cross-"Yes" to the Tree of Life.