Grace Bible Church
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The TREE OF LIFE is a weekly teaching summary.
The Tree of Life for week ending 06/19/02.
A Sign Appeared in Heaven. Rev 12.
As the turmoil in the Middle East continues to escalate, we need to remember that Satan has been the ruler of this world since the fall of Adam. Satan has greater power than any human and rules the world through his cosmic systems, LUK 4:5-7; JOH 12:31, 14:30, 16:11; 2CO 4:4; EPH 2:2.
LUK 4:5-6 And he [the devil] led Him [the Lord Jesus Christ] up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, "I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish."
The devil rules all fallen angels, all unbelievers, and even many believers through demon influence and cosmic involvement.
As the great power demonstration of the Hypostatic Union overflows into the Church-age, the Body of Christ is freely given the same power and the same spiritual life fulfilled by our Lord when He walked this earth. The Body of Christ is ruled by the Head, the Lord Jesus Christ, and has received the delegated divine power to resist the devil,1JO 4:4, "Greater is He who is in you [the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit in the predesigned plan of God] than He who is in the world [the power of Satan as ruler of the world and cosmic system]."
Satan is the enemy of Israel, and all anti-Semitism is satanic, REV 12:4,13,15. In every generation, Satan uses all his power in his attempt to destroy Israel, but he will never succeed. As the ruler of this world, Satan sees an issue that very few people understand today-the reason why the Jew is here, what the Jew represents, and God's unconditional promises to the Jew. The entire structure of Biblical eschatology (the study of future dispensations) depends upon the future of Israel in the Millennium. God has promised Israel a great future, and to understand this, we must understand the Jewish race, and the pre-millennial return of our Lord at His Second Advent. The unconditional promises made to Israel will be fulfilled in the future, at our Lord's Second Coming. To ignore or reject these truths is to be deceived by the kingdom of darkness.
This is a great invisible conflict, and the Jew is at its center. Therefore, it is Satan's primary goal to destroy Israel so that God cannot keep His Word. Satan has sponsored anti-Semitism since the beginning of the Jewish race. Neither the United States nor any other nation can afford to fall into anti-Semitism because the Scriptures state dogmatically that God curses those who curse Israel, GEN 12:1-3, and this divine promise to Israel remains the same to this very day. God alone reserves the sovereign right to punish the Jews for their disobedience, Lev 26:14-39, DEU 28:15-68, and throughout their history, God has preserved them because of His promise, GEN 12:1-3 cf. LEV 26:44.
Israel is guaranteed a national future that no human or satanic plans can destroy. Therefore, no one, especially the believer in Jesus Christ, should ever support anti-Semitism. Believers must understand God's historical and future plan for Israel. Regardless of how long the Church-age continues, we can expect further outbreaks of hostilities in the Middle East and across the world. The Lord gave warnings of wars and rumors of wars leading up to His return,MAT 24:3-8, "And as He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, 'Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?' And Jesus answered and said to them, 'See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, "I am the Christ," and will mislead many. And you will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and in various places there will be famines and earthquakes. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.'"
In spite of these persistent conflicts in the world, God's immutable promise of a future return assures that human history will continue. Satan has instigated antagonism toward the Jews throughout history, and he will initiate a period of unparalleled anti-Semitism in the Tribulation, REV 12:17, "And the dragon was enraged with the woman [Israel], and went off to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments [doctrines] of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus."
Satan's all-out effort will culminate in that future day when four major powers will converge on Israel in an attempt to annihilate the Jews. The "King of the North" and the "King of the South" (Dan 11) will be the Soviet Union and the united Arab states, respectively. The King of the West would be a federation of European states, and the King of the East would be the Chinese communists and their allies.
Mentioned prophetically in Scripture, each empire of the Tribulation is intensely concentrated on the Middle East in general and on Israel in particular. Each will be driven by anti-Semitism. Satan reasons that if no Jews survive, God's character will be impugned because His covenant Word to Israel would be proven false. To fully understand this, we must know the content of prophecy concerning the course of events in the final seven years of the Jewish age.
The removal of all believers from the earth at the Rapture of the Church, 1TH 4:13-18, will announce the beginning of the Tribulation and accelerate Satan's offensive against the Jews. The unconditional covenants are an everlasting promise given in grace to Abraham and his born-again progeny, GEN 17:7. This treaty consists of four separate paragraphs and guarantees the Jews a future, a purpose, and a "title deed" to a land of their own, and it depends solely upon the character of God for fulfillment. The seven-year Tribulation period begins after the Rapture and terminates with the Second Advent of Christ, and the historical trends of this period are given in Rev 6-19. This dispensation is also known as Daniel's 70th Week, the time of Satan's Desperation, and Jacob's Trouble; it is the dispensation of the greatest power struggle in all human history, directly involving not only the human race, but angelic creatures as well. It is Satan's last attempt at total dominance of the world. The Tribulation is prophesied in many passages in the Old Testament, such as JER 30:4-8; ZEC 14:1-9; Dan 9:26-27; ISA 34:1-6; ISA 63:1-6; DAN 11:40-46; Eze 38-39; and ZEC 12:1-3, and it is prophesied by our Lord in Mat 24-25. It is not a time that you would want any of your family members, friends, neighbors, or even enemies to experience, if you truly understand it. It is a great period of wrath on this earth from God and from Satan, ZEP 1:14-18. It is a time of great judgment on the earth as never before, Rev 6:12-17, indignation, ISA 26:20-21, trial, REV 3:10, destruction, Joe 1:15, darkness, JOE 2:2, and desolation, DAN 9:27. According to the Word of God, it could begin on this earth tomorrow because of the immanency of the Rapture.
Anti-Semitism is hostility toward the Jews on the part of a person, group, organization, or nation. It is intolerance, hatred, prejudice, opposition, persecution, and the exercise of terrorism and military action against the Jewish race. As we have noted before, since the church has already defeated Satan in its identification with the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross, COL 2:14-15, Heb 1-2, the Jews are now the center of the angelic conflict. This is the cause of the great satanic opposition against the Jews, concentrated in the Middle East, and spread throughout the world. This persecution and hostility against the Jews will reach its peak in the Tribulation period as Satan plans the genocide of the Jewish race.
In REV 12:1 we read, "And a great sign appeared in heaven [Abraham and Sarah and the beginning of the Jewish race through circumcision, as well as the fulfillment of the Cross], a woman [Israel] clothed with the sun [a reference to Jacob], and the moon [Jacob's wives, who reflect him as the moon reflects the sun-the twelve patriarchs would come from Jacob's two wives and two mistresses, GEN 37:9.]."
Since the day Satan discovered that Israel was to be the source of the incarnate Christ, Israel has been the target of his hatred and antagonism. There is a historical and eternal relationship between the uniqueness of Christ and the uniqueness of Israel.
REV 12:2 And she [Israel, with reference to the virgin pregnancy as well as the many Jewish holocausts] was with child; and she cried out [the greatest holocaust of all, which will take place at the end of the Tribulation with the third demon assault army of Rev 9], being in labor and in pain to give birth [wishing for deliverance from this severe anti-Semitism].
REV 12:3-6 And another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon [Satan] having seven heads and ten horns [control of seven heads and ten horns, referring to the revived Roman empire of the Tribulation and the ecumenical religion], and on his heads were seven diadems [crowns]. And his tail [his power] swept away a third of the stars of heaven [the prehistoric revolution in heaven in which one third of the angels followed Satan in the prehistoric angelic conflict], and He [God] threw them to the earth [this will take place in the middle of the Tribulation]. And the dragon [Satan] stood before the woman [the virgin Mary] who was about to give birth [the virgin birth of Christ, which Satan wanted desperately to prevent], so that when she gave birth he might devour her child [destroy the humanity of Christ and the hypostatic union, and therefore win the angelic conflict]. And she gave birth to a son, a male child [our Lord Jesus Christ in hypostatic union], who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron [capital punishment during the Millennium]; and her child was caught up to God [the ascension] and to His throne [the session]. And the woman [true Israel, Jews saved during the Tribulation period] fled into the wilderness where she had a place prepared by God [for refuge], so that there she might be nourished for one thousand two hundred and sixty days [the last half of the Tribulation, the time of Satan's desperation].
REV 12:7-12 And there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon. And the dragon and his angels waged war, and they were not strong enough, and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God 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. And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even to death. For this reason, 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."
Satan always has and will hate the Jews. We still see the overflowing of his anger in historical anti-Semitism at the present time. Satan has two major objectives in the unfolding of his plan of anti-Semitism:
1. The historical objective, in which Satan sought to keep our Lord from being born, and then to kill His humanity before He reached the Cross.
2. The prophetical objective, in which Satan seeks to destroy Israel before the Second Advent, so that the four unconditional covenants to Israel cannot be fulfilled.
The New Covenant defines the restoration of client nation Israel at the Second Advent and its Millennial modus operandi, JER 31:31-34.
The New Covenant cannot be fulfilled to any Jew unless he has eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ. This covenant will be fulfilled during the Millennium and the eternal state, ISA 61:2-11; ISA 59:20-21; ROM 11:26-27. It is an eternal covenant, EZE 16:60, therefore, the Jewish recipients of this covenant must have eternal life to be its beneficiaries.
In REV 12:1 we see the "sign" for the first time pointing to the Jewish race. The Hebrew noun translated "sign" is "semeion," which means something ceremonial or supernatural, a miracle, a sign, a wonder, or that by which a person or thing is distinguished from others and known. This supernatural sign refers to the origin of the Jewish race.
In ISA 7:14 we read about the most important sign that God gave: "Therefore the Lord [Jehovah] Himself will give you a sign: behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel ["God with us"].
ISA 7:14 gives the second sign-the Messiah coming through the virgin birth. The Lord Jesus Christ had to be born from a woman, without an old sin nature being passed down by a human father. While both man and woman are carriers of the old sin nature, it is the man who passes on the old sin nature through the fertilization of the female ovum. It is only the male's 23 chromosomes that carry the old sin nature and not the female's; therefore, if a woman were to have a virgin pregnancy (i.e., if her ovum were fertilized apart from male copulation), her offspring would be born into the world without an old sin nature, and Adam's original sin could not be imputed. This was the case in the birth of the humanity of Christ, when our Lord was born as the last Adam. The first Adam was created perfect; the last Adam, Jesus Christ, was born perfect. Jesus Christ was born in the same state as Adam before the fall, and He would succeed where the first Adam failed. The virgin birth is the basis for our redemption, because it provided the world with a perfect human being, the only One qualified to be judged for the sins of the world. Instead of a sin nature, our Lord was born with a human spirit, born as Adam was created. In His humanity, Jesus was born filled with the Spirit, and He was born trichotomous with a body, soul, and spirit.
The Jewish prophecy of the virgin birth is given in ISA 7:14, Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.
The historical fulfillment of the virgin birth is found in MAT 1:19-25, But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins."
JOH 1:14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
For a more detailed study, order last week's tapes, IA11-170 to IA11-174.