GRACE BIBLE CHURCH
Robert R. McLaughlin Bible Ministries
The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
The Tree of Life from the week ending 05/29/05
What it means to be initiated into the secret of the mystery. Part 15.
The original thinking of the ruler of the world.
The night before our Lord's death, He said to His disciples in Joh 14:23-31, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me. These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. You heard that I said to you, 'I go away, and I will come to you.' If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced, because I go to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it comes to pass, that when it comes to pass, you may believe. I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me; but that the world may know that I love the Father, and as the Father gave Me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go from here."
The phrase the ruler of the world, speaks of Satan, and is one of his titles.
We are noting the profile of Satan and the entrance of his evil policies into the human race, which began with GEN 3:1, Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, "Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden'?"
The serpent was the agent or vehicle that Satan used to deceive the woman. Satan is always looking for an entrance into the lives of those who are rightly related to God. Satan does not attack every member of the human race, but his policy of evil does. Both Adam and the woman were, at this time, rightly related to God and were the objects of Satan's attack. Satan will look for any way he can to take the believer away from the word of God. One of those areas is lust, and there are many lusts that the Bible warns us about. We all have lust problems because all of us possess an old sin nature (O.S.N.). All of us, as humans, have areas of strength and weakness. One person's weakness can be another person's strength, and this is the basis for arrogance, self justification, and rationalization about inferiority and superiority.
The lust pattern of the old sin nature includes at least six categories: 1) Power lust, the worst of all because almost all other lusts are related. Power lust is the most devastating force for evil in human history. It doesn't require leadership ability or a prominent position to have power lust. 2) Approbation lust, one of the extensions of power lust, and it is separate because some people do want recognition without power. 3) Stimulation lust which includes sexual lust, or lasciviousness, drunkenness, drug addiction and mental stimulation or intellectual arrogance. 4) Killer lust which is the problem solving device of the weak. Inferior people trying to prove they are superior often resort to violence, torture or even murder. 5) Anger lust or cruelty. Anger often can bring out a cruel streak. Some people are genetically mean and naturally cruel while others, by nature, are kind. This may start as a genetic factor, but both can also be developed, and both can also be overcome by believers. 6) Money lust, called by the Scripture the "root of all kinds of evil." There is nothing wrong with having and acquiring money; that is not evil or sinful. God does bless some people with money; God blesses other people in other ways. One's attitude towards money very clearly shows one's overall philosophy of life, as well as one's spiritual condition. 1TI 6:10, For you see the love of money keeps on being a root of all sorts of evil through which [love for money] certain ones by intensively desiring it [money] have gone astray from the doctrine and pierced themselves with many types of pain.
Love for money can distract people from Bible doctrine. HEB 13:5, Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,"
Back in Gen 3, both Adam and the woman were rightly related to God, and therefore they would be the objects of Satan's attack. This passage shows us an attack on the mentality of the soul through a conversation with the serpent.
Satan's greatest weapon is conversation, because Satan is the greatest genius that ever came from the hand of God. In GEN 3:1 Satan was getting ready to outsmart two of the most perfect people who ever lived; they were in perfect environment and yet everything is about to collapse. In his first approach with his evil policy, he just wants to introduce some doubt to the woman. His policy of evil is to get people to begin to doubt: doubt the messenger, doubt the message, and then, get them to doubt the Lord. GEN 3:1, "Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not eat from any tree of the garden'?"
Satan is trying to make the woman conscious of that which is forbidden, getting her to focus on the divine prohibition rather than the divine provisions. Satan's first weapon was not terror, intimidation, or threats; instead it was, and still is, conversation. Violence and intimidation would have alarmed Adam and the woman, and driven the woman into the protective custody of her husband. Satan uses conversation to lure the woman away from the human authority of Adam, her husband, and the divine authority of The Lord Jesus Christ, her God.
GEN 3:2, And the woman said to the serpent, "From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat;"
The trees represent the perfect divine provisions. Back in Gen 2:9, there were four categories of trees in the Garden of Eden, Gen 2:9, "And out of the ground the Lord God caused to grow every tree being desirable to the sight, and those good for food, and the tree of life in the middle of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil."
Every tree being desirable to the sight is the category designed for the prosperity of the soul. The category called "good for food." refers to happiness of body. Food was designed to express happiness, as well as to perpetuate health. In fact, the stimulation of the taste buds was a reminder of God's grace before man sinned, just as eating the bread of communion is a reminder of God's grace after man sins. The tree of life was both the capacity for perfect happiness and blessing, plus total appreciation of God's grace. As such, it represented stimulation of the human spirit. Adam was happy in the garden, so Satan tempted the woman. Man was designed for happiness, blessing, capacity, and pleasure unless he went negative to God's plan, and the same thing is true today. This is why the average believer does not have happiness, blessing, capacity and pleasure; he has gone negative toward the PPOG for his life. The tree of good and evil was of course the fourth category.
So, the first sin involved neither morality nor immorality, but simply rejection of the perfect happiness provided by God. GEN 3:2-3, And the woman said to the serpent, "From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, you shall not eat from it or touch it, lest you die"
For the first time she calls TLJC "God" instead of the "Lord God." She has taken her eyes off the second person of the Trinity, TLJC, and then she adds to the word of God which is forbidden in REV 22:18. She was so occupied with the sin of disobedience, and not eating the fruit, that evil crept in. Satan's plan is to get the believer so occupied with sin that he can sneak evil in. Sin was not the issue in the garden; it was the result of evil thinking. Evil came first, then sin.
GEN 3:4, And the serpent said to the woman, "You surely shall not die!" Notice some of Satan's evil devices and remember our subject, the ruler of the world. 1) Satan contradicts the word of God when he says, "Has God said?"and then, "you surely shall not die." 2) As a part of his policy of evil he distorts and misquotes the word of God. 3) Satan adds to, and subtracts from, the word of God. 4) Satan ridicules and attacks those into doctrine.
GEN 3:5, "For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." In other words, God is jealous, afraid that you're going to be like Him, knowing good and evil.
GEN 3:6, When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. Notice, the tree now looks inviting, because she now has evil thinking as her frame of reference. She is now occupied with the natural and not the spiritual. She thought it could make her intelligent, prosperous, and successful. Her desires are now negative toward God's plan and positive toward evil. What she wanted was something that God had already provided: Intelligence. However, instead of knowledge of doctrine, she wanted knowledge of good and evil.
GEN 3:7, 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.
The O.S.N. resulted, not from sin, but from thinking evil, and now that they think evil, knowing evil leads to performing good as they try to improve and correct their own condition (operation fig-leaves). It was the woman who began to think that God prohibited eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil because He was afraid that she would be as smart as Him. Satan used evil to lie to her and arrogance motivated her to rebel against God.
The one thing that makes people function in the cosmic system is arrogance, and that's where most of Christianity is. While arrogance is a temporary stabilizer, it cannot keep the person from coming to a maximum function of evil which we call degeneracy. Too often degeneracy is associated with the gutter, instead of where true degeneracy is sponsored: in churches, college campuses, media, and by liberals and socialists in the government.
Satan, being the genius that he is, and now as the ruler of the world, has an overall plan which includes trying to bring in his counterfeit Millennium. Satan would love to bring in a perfect environment which would exclude the true Millennium. But, the more the genius of Satan works toward producing a perfect world, the more the world goes into degeneracy by following his plan. This proves that the greatest plan that a creature can devise cannot solve the problems of the world. Wherever there is freedom, like human volition, there will be both success and failure. Ideals like socialism, communism, or the welfare state will destroy true success. To the extent that any nation permits socialism or communism into the country, to that extent you have degeneracy developing.
There are some very subtle forms of evil that distort the Christian way of life: 1) The evil in the believer who rejects the doctrine of eternal security and God's method of protecting us. He rejects such passages as 1PE 1:3-5, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. It is evil thinking when a believer thinks that he can do something to lose his salvation. He rejects the doctrine of eternal security and assumes that his sins and his failures are greater than God's power. However, the doctrinal principle: the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross and the forty things you received at salvation from God are much greater than anything you could ever do.
2) Another form of evil thinking that has saturated Christianity is found in the believer who assumes that his works are spirituality. If you assume that your works are spirituality, you assume that human energy and human ability is greater than the omnipotence of God the Holy Spirit and His power. You will reject such passages as Rom 4:4-5,Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness,
Satan can quote JAM 2:20, But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? But the Bible also says in 2PE 3:16, some things are hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction. MAT 22:29 says, "You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures, nor the power of God." 3) There is also the evil thinking of the believer who succumbs to the pressures of suffering, adversity, and injustice. One of the great tests in your life is when you are unjustly treated. There will come a time in your life when you are absolutely right and unjustly treated, and that is a dangerous spot to be in. This is when either arrogance and subjectivity or humility and objectivity surface. Here, Satan can quote EXO 21:24, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot?" But 1PE 2:19 says, For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a man bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. 4) There is the believer under the influence of evil who depends on emotional activity such as rededication services, tongues, inspirational speakers, personal attention, etc. This believer erroneously assumes that his personal feelings and his personal experiences are greater than Bible doctrine. 5) The greatest area of being under the influence of evil for the believer is negative volition toward doctrine.
1TI 6:3-5, If anyone advocates a different doctrine, and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, He is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived or withdrawn from the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.
These individuals ignore the fruit of a ministry, and worse, they hurt the ministry by not fulfilling their responsibilities. They may not be evil people, but they have been deceived by Satan, the ruler of the world, and they are now under the influence of evil. 2Ti 4:3-4 describes what happens to them.
2TI 4:3, For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves, teachers in accordance to their own desires;
Endure is the fut-mid-ind of anechomai meaning to put up with, to bear with, to endure, to suffer. In the N.T., this word is always in the middle voice, which means that they participate in the action of the verb, and then something acts upon them, namely the evil thinking of the ruler of the world. This verb, anechomai, says they listen to the evil of Satan, the ruler of the world, not sound doctrine, and they do it from their own free will.
The word tickled is the pres-mid-part of kneethoo, meaning they want to hear something pleasant, especially about themselves. Notice what happens to them because they have been deceived by the ruler of the world. 2TI 4:4, and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths. The Greek verb for will turn away is the fut-ACT-ind of apostrepho meaning to turn away from allegiance to anyone. The Greek verb for will turn aside is the fut-PAS-ind of ektrepo, meaning to receive the evil thinking of deflection, interference, to be led astray; to turn away from one in order to follow another. The believer decides (active voice) to reject doctrine, and is led away (passive voice) by evil thinking.
Chapter 14 of Isaiah also gives us some insight into the mind of the ruler of the world. ISA 14:12-14, "How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations! But you said in your heart, 'I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.'"
The fall here refers to the second fall of Satan; it is a reference to Satan being cast out of heaven. The time of this fall is the middle of the Tribulation. The first fall of Satan took place in eternity past, perhaps even billions of years before man existed, Eze 28:15. This was Satan's sin or fall in Eden, the garden of God. Then in the middle of the Tribulation, Satan has his second fall; he is cast out of heaven, REV 12:9. Satan, the ruler of the world, has access to heaven right now. He spends part of his time in heaven and part of his time on earth. In the middle of the Tribulation, the Lord is going to throw Satan out, drop him to the earth, and Satan will never be allowed back in heaven. Then at the end of the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ we have the third fall of Satan, REV 20:10.From the middle of the Tribulation period, and for the rest of his existence, Satan has to stay on the earth.
So, back in ISA 14:12, "How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, The word star is actually the word heylel, which is sometimes translated Lucifer. Lucifer is from the Latin Vulgate, not the original Hebrew, and it means light bearer. It means the shining one, the translucent one, the simulating one. Satan has ministers and evangelists among the members of the human race, and they don't teach about the occult. They teach about Jesus, but it's another Jesus, not the Jesus of the Bible (2CO 11:4). They teach about the Spirit, but it's another spirit, not the Holy Spirit from God (2CO 11:4). They talk about the gospel, but it's a different gospel, not the gospel of the Bible (GAL 1:6).
ISA 14:12, "How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations! How does Satan weaken the nations and why does he do so? Well, he has the greatest mind that any creature has ever had. Only one mind is more intelligent than his, and that is made available to creatures: it is the mind of Christ (1CO 2:16, PHI 2:5). God offers us the mind of Christ, which is much greater than Satan's, and the average believer says NO THANK YOU!
Is it any wonder why REV 12:9 says: He deceives the whole world! In REV 13:14, he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform. In REV 18:23, he deceives the world by using a very popular church in Rome. In REV 19:20, he deceives those who had received the mark of the beast. And that's why we read that, just before the Millennial reign begins, a seraph angel is said to throw Satan into the abyss in REV 20:3.
Why is the greatest creature cast out of heaven? Here is the thinking of Satan, the ruler of the world, ISA 14:13"But you said in your heart. The Hebrew verb 'amar doesn't mean to say; it means to boast within yourself about yourself, to challenge, to charge, to speak against, to suppose. Here is the original sin among creatures, perhaps billions of years before man sinned. Satan boasted within himself about himself. In other words, he is like a lot of believers today, who think more highly of themselves than what they ought. He started thinking how great he was and how much better he was than God. And, as the ruler of the world, he promotes this type of thinking even among believers.
Look at JAM 3:13 Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. Notice the gentleness of wisdom not the divisiveness of wisdom. All life demands struggle. Those who have everything given to them become lazy, selfish, and insensitive. The very striving and hard work that we constantly try to avoid is the major building block in the person we are today. If you are normal, then you love to be loved. However, a person who thinks like the ruler of the world will never truly experience true love. True love is what is left in a relationship after all the selfishness is taken out. The thinking of Satan, the ruler of the world, is one of selfish ambition.