GRACE BIBLE CHURCH
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
The Tree of Life for week ending 10/12/03.
The Blood of the Lamb
Our main passage is still Rev 12, and we read in verse 10, "And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, 'Now deliverance [the Second Advent], and the power [Jesus Christ in hypostatic union], and the kingdom of our God [the Father's plan for the Millennial reign of our Lord Jesus Christ] and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them before our God day and night."
Satan will no longer be able to accuse believers in heaven, and this is one of the reasons why we will have perfect environment in the future millennial reign of Christ. One's environment is greatly improved when his accusers are removed. We are warned against the sins of the tongue in PSA 12:2; JAM 4:11; JAM 5:9.
In REV 12:10, the word "accuser" is kategor, meaning accuser, betrayer, or prosecuting attorney. Satan is accusing and prosecuting the "brethren," the adelphon, which today refers to the Royal Family of God. This prosecution will continue until Satan is cast out of heaven in the middle of the Tribulation.
The Greek verb for "accuses" is kategoreo, which means to make accusations, charge with offenses, or speak against someone. The progressive present tense indicates an action in a state of persistence, which means that Satan will do this constantly until he is thrown out of heaven. During the entire Church-age, every time court convenes in heaven, Satan is there with a "sin portfolio" on individual believers. The Greek word for "thrown down" is ballo, which means to be hurled like a ball out of heaven. Satan the slanderer will no longer be allowed to accuse believers in the court of heaven, and this begins the eschatology of the devil's desperation; he is forced to live upon the earth during the last half of the Tribulation. While the Devil persecutes believers on earth, he prosecutes believers in heaven. There will be persecution for those who desire to live the spiritual life, 2CO 11:23-28.
After salvation, the believer continues to use his volition to commit sin according to 1JO 1:8-10. We fail and sin as believers, and Satan has his own system of evangelism, whereby he gets us to enter cosmic one (our arrogance, pride, jealousy, bitterness, vindictiveness, implacability, hatred, self?pity, and guilt complex) and cosmic two (judging, legalism, and self-righteousness).
Several cases of satanic prosecution are recorded in the word of God. Satan went to the court of heaven to accuse Job, JOB 1:6-7, "Now there was a day when the sons of God [angels] came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. And the Lord said to Satan, 'From where do you come?' Then Satan answered the Lord and said, 'From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it.'"
At the beginning of the courtroom session, Satan wants to make it clear that while God had put Adam in charge of the world as its ruler, Satan had recovered it. Planet earth was his headquarters long before any human beings existed. When Satan and the fallen angels were sentenced to the lake of fire, God shut down Satan's headquarters, the earth,GEN 1:1-2, JER 4:23-26. Man's residence on earth did not last long before Adam and the woman fell, and Satan became the ruler of the world once again, and it is not surprising to find several accounts of Satan bragging about his presence on the earth, his kingdom. In JOB 1:8, Job is called as a witness for God in the historic appeal trial of Satan and the fallen angels: "And the Lord said to Satan, '[since you have been roaming about on the earth] Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.'" He is not sinless, but he is free from evil.
JOB 1:9-10 continues, "Then Satan answered the Lord, 'Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side?'"
Satan claims that Job trusts God only because God has blessed him and prospered him. In verse 11, we see Satan's contention: "But put forth Thy hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse Thee to Thy face." In verse 12, Satan's motion is granted: "Then the Lord said to Satan, 'Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him.' So Satan departed from the presence of the Lord."
In ZEC 3:1-2, we find Satan prosecuting Joshua the High Priest. God was about to reestablish the priesthood in Israel, and Satan objected because of the sins that were found among the priests. He objected on the basis that they were unworthy of the honor about to be bestowed upon them (as if Satan had been worthy of the honor God had given him). When we go astray in any area, Satan will be sure to aggravate it and make the worst of it. Satan stood to accuse Joshua and oppose his service in the plan of God. Satan stood at his right hand, the hand of action, to discourage him, and raise up obstacles in his way. Whenever we stand before God to serve His interests, we should expect all the resistance that Satan's subtlety and malice can throw at us. JAM 4:7 says, "Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you."
The Lord defends Joshua in ZEC 3:2, "And the Lord said to Satan, 'The Lord rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?'" The One to whom Satan brings his accusations is our advocate and protector. God foresaw all His people's failures, yet He still chose them, and He will not reject them now. At one time or another all believers have been burnt by the fires of the cosmic system, but they are to be excused, not accused.
This is God's attitude toward the believer who understands Luk 18:13 "God, be merciful to me, the sinner!" Once God forgives our sins, they can never condemn us, COL 1:22; EPH 1:4, 5:27. The Lord addresses Joshua in ZEC 3:4, "See, I have taken your iniquity away from you and will clothe you with festal robes." He not only has the shame of his filthiness removed, but the shame of his nakedness covered.
When Satan makes accusations against the people of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, their Defense Attorney, is standing by. Whether you know it or not, the moment you accepted Christ as Savior, you retained the services of the greatest lawyer on retainer of all time, our Lord Jesus Christ, and He represents you personally in the court of heaven, 1JO 2:1, "My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."
The basis for our defense is given in the next verse, 1JO 2:2, "And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world."
The basis for our Lord's defense is a very simple one. All our personal sins were never imputed to us for judgment; only Adam's sin was. Our personal sins were reserved for the Cross and imputed to Christ. Our sins were all judged on the Cross, and therefore when we simply believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, we have eternal salvation at that moment. Why? Because our Lord said one word, tetelestai, translated "It is finished!" Salvation was finished on the Cross, therefore faith is non?meritorious and no system of deeds will ever attain salvation for anyone, TIT 3:5.
When believers simply name and confess their sins, God is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness, restoring us to fellowship with Him, because all those sins were already taken to court at the Cross and judged, 2Co 5:21. Under the law of double jeopardy, our sins cannot be retried in heaven, ROM 6:10. Therefore, when Satan accuses us, God the Father, as the Judge, says, "Case dismissed." Satan is thrown out of court, and your sins and failures become a family matter for discipline, rather than a legal matter.
The Doctrine of Advocacy
Point 1: The believer continues to sin after salvation, 1JO 1:8,10.
Point 2: Satan builds a sin file (with information gathered by his demons) on every believer and periodically accuses the believer in heaven, JOB 1:6?11, ZEC 3:1?2, REV 12:9?10.
Point 3: Jesus Christ is retained as the believer's Defense Attorney in the court of heaven, and He defends every case. In certain cases, an apostate believer is turned over to Satan for the administration of the sin unto death.
Point 4: The basis for our Lord's defense is the fact that all our sins were judged at the Cross in Him by God the Father, 2Co 5:21, 1PE 2:24.
Point 5: Under the law of double jeopardy, sins cannot be judged again, ROM 6:10.
Point 6: Every case presented by Satan is thrown out of court by God the Father, ZEC 3:1?2.
Point 7: The sins of the believer then become, not a court matter, but a family matter for the imputation of divine discipline, HEB 12:6.
Point 8: An advocate is one who undertakes the cause of another. In its Biblical meaning, advocacy represents divine enablement and assistance. The New Testament word for advocate is parakletos, JOH 14:16,26, 15:26, 16:17.
Point 9: Two persons of the Trinity are recognized as advocates-the Son and the Spirit. Christ in His earthly ministry was an advocate for His people in the world, and before He left, He promised another "Helper" would come. By the use of the word "another," Christ implied that His own ministry on earth had been that of an advocate, JOH 14:16.
Point 10: As a legal representative in the court of heaven, Christ now functions as the believer's advocate, 1JO 2:1. The advocacy of Christ in heaven regarding the believer's sin is so complete and perfect that He holds the title "Jesus Christ the Righteous."
Point 11: The advocacy of the Spirit is one of intercession and direct aid, ROM 8:26?27.
Point 12: There are three general uses of the word advocate, (1) a legal advocate, which Christ is now in heaven, (2) an intercession agent, which Christ and the Spirit are now, and (3) a helper, which Christ was on earth and which the Spirit is throughout the Church-age.
This study now brings us to the triumph of the Tribulational believer who will be under double persecution, since Satan is cast out of heaven and knows he has only a short time left. We read in Rev 12:12, "For this reason [because the devil is cast out of heaven], rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time." He will never return to heaven again. At the Second Advent, he will be thrown into the abyss, and then after 1,000 years he will return to the surface of the earth for the Gog Revolution and then be cast into the lake of fire forever, REV 20:10.
No matter how intense the persecution for the Tribulational believer, there will be many winners against Satan, demonstrating once again that even in the worst of historical disasters, people can make decisions from a position of strength, and find great happiness. The basis for victory over Satan during the time of his desperation is presented by three principles in Revelation 12:11">REV 12:11.
1. The decision to believe in Christ for eternal salvation: "And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb..."
2. The decisions from a position of strength after salvation through perception and application of doctrine: "Because of the word of their testimony...
3. The personal sense of destiny, which makes doctrine more important than life itself: "And they did not love their life even to death."
1. The blood, which dealt with their sin (Phase 1, salvation).
2. The Word of God (Phase 2, executing the plan of God).
3. The fact that they "did not love their life" (persecution and pressure, which jeopardizes their life, and brings them face-to-face with the reality of death).
1. The first has to do with eternal salvation and the doctrines related to Soteriology, indicated by the phrase "the blood of the lamb."
2. Secondly, there is the application of Bible doctrine to experience.
3. Thirdly, they had absolutely no fear of death and lived therefore in light of eternal values rather than temporal.
So many are afraid of death, yet, apart from the Rapture of the Church, death is inevitable. Life and death are dealt with in exactly the same way-the application of doctrine to the situations of life, as well as the situations of death. InREV 21:4, once death occurs, "He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away." The two go together; living and dying are a part of the same package in REV 12:11. The blessings for mature believers are given in time of historical adversity as well as in prosperity. We do not have to live in a prosperous period in order to have these blessings, and the greatness of the positive believer in historical disaster is the subject of verse 11. This is a fulfillment of the promises of God in ISA 43:1.
First of all, we see the tremendous victory of regeneration. The first great decision we make in this life with regard to anything spiritual is the decision to personally believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. The opening phrase in Revelation 12:11">REV 12:11should be translated, "Furthermore, they overcame him..."
The verb for "overcame" is the Greek verb enikesan and means to overcome and win a victory. The decision that begins our relationship with God in time, and continues that relationship forever, is the moment of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Perhaps even millions of people are personally going to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ at this time. Our verse continues, "Furthermore, they [believers in the Lord Jesus Christ] overcame him through the blood of the lamb&ldots;" Here we have the preposition dia ("through") plus the noun haima ("blood") plus the noun arniou, translated "lamb," one of the titles for our Lord Jesus Christ in His saving work. There are two concepts of the blood of our Lord on the Cross-His physical death and spiritual death. There are figurative and literal uses of the "blood of Christ" on the Cross. It must be determined whether we have the literal or spiritual blood of Christ here, since haima is used both ways.
The Blood of Christ
EPH 1:7 tells us what our Lord's blood accomplished: "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace." The literal blood of Christ was pure because His blood was without an old sin nature as a result of the virgin birth. However, what gives His blood value is not something mystical or magical about it, but the fact that from His own volition He chose not to sin, and remained impeccable. This is why ISA 53:10 says, "He offered up His soul an offering for sin."
Therefore, the phrase the "blood of Christ" actually speaks of three aspects of Christ's saving work on the Cross- (1) propitiation (He satisfied God the Father, ROM 3:25), (2) redemption (God the Father imputed our sins to Him, and He solved the sin problem, EPH 1:7, COL 1:14), and (3) reconciliation (the barrier between God and man is removed-the door of the slave market is now open, COL 1:20). When our Lord's body was nailed to the Cross, He did lose some of His blood, as He bled from His hands and feet, Psa 22:16, "They pierced my hands and my feet." He did not, however, "bleed to death"! When His blood is mentioned in scripture, it refers to the saving work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In order to understand what is meant by the blood, we must go back to the Old Testament and look at the blood of animals in passages such as LEV 17:10, "'And any man from the house of Israel, or from the aliens who sojourn among them, who eats any blood, I will set My face against that person who eats blood, and will cut him off from among his people.'" The eating or drinking of blood is strictly paganistic and forbidden. LEV 17:11 goes on to say, "'For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.'" This is a reference to animal flesh; the context is the prohibition of eating the animal sacrifices and their blood. We are a higher order of creature than animals; we have a human soul, and human life was imputed to that soul, not to our blood. When the soul leaves the body, physical death takes place; the blood remains in the body. It does not disappear or vanish into heaven. Why? Because it is the human soul and human spirit (the real person) that depart; of course, this is not true of animals. The animal's life is said to be "in the blood." In the Old Testament, they did not put an animal on the altar and for three hours leave it in darkness so it could go through spiritual death, like the Lord on the Cross. The sacrificial lamb simply portrayed the future Cross.
The life of the flesh, which God gave to Israel on the altar, was to represent the work of our Lord Jesus Christ. Through the shedding of blood, the Gospel was presented before Christ came. This is the theme throughout the Bible.
1. In Gen 4, there is the account of Abel and his lamb, and emphasis is placed upon the necessity of the Lamb.
2. In Gen 22, there is the incident in which Abraham offers the lamb in place of Isaac.
3. In Exo 12, there is the Passover lamb, which was slain on the night before the Exodus, which is the Jewish "Fourth of July," when they were freed from Egypt.
4. Lev 16 is the fourth passage concerning the lamb. The book of Leviticus is filled with instructions for the sacrifices. The emphasis is always upon the character of the lamb.
5. In ISA 53:6-8, we see a major step forward in the developing revelation of the lamb. It is now written that the lamb God would send would be a Person!
6. In JOH 1:29, the lamb is not only a person, but He is now identified as the Lord Jesus Christ! The emphasis in this passage is upon the Lamb completely removing our sins from us.
7. In Acts 8, Philip explained to the Ethiopian that the Lamb of God is the Lord Jesus Christ, the promised Christ, the Son of God.
8. 1PE 1:18-21 describes the resurrection of the slain lamb, which was never disclosed in Old Testament times. That the lamb should die was foretold again and again, but nowhere was His resurrection predicted! Therefore, the emphasis is placed upon redemption through the lamb.
9. In Rev 5, the lamb is now on the throne of heaven, the very throne of the universe. The lamb now sits in sovereign control over history as "the lamb in the midst of the throne."
10. Finally, in REV 21:22, what a climax of never-ending glory is portrayed! In the last two chapters of the New Testament, the final picture of the Lamb is that of His everlasting kingship. The Lamb sits in the very throne of God which is called "the throne of God and of the Lamb."
Abel reveals the necessity of the lamb, Abraham reveals the provision of the lamb, Leviticus reveals the character of the lamb, the Exodus reveals the slaying of the lamb, and Isa 53 reveals the lamb would be a Person. In Joh 1 we have the identification of the lamb, Acts 8 gives us the Christ-hood of the lamb, 1Pe 1 reveals the resurrection of the lamb, Rev 5 reveals the enthronement of the lamb, and Rev 21 reveals the endless kingship of the lamb.
For a more detailed study, order tapes IA11-318 to IA11-321.