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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 06/05/05
What it means to be initiated into the secret of the mystery. Part 16.
How the ruler of the world deceives.

The Lord Jesus Christ, through His own volition, reversed the profile that Satan demonstrated by his willingness to ascend, by His own willingness to descend. As a result TLJC ascended to the highest place of heaven, the right hand of God, and Satan will descend to the lowest depths of Gehenna, called the lake of fire. Many things in human history will become crystal clear to us, as students of the Bible, when we realize that behind every earthly power there is a satanic power lurking. A power seeking to control and dominate the human race for the glory of the rebel angel Satan, who declared war against God. We continue to note the profile of Satan where we see this charming, intelligent, and attractive creature cast out of heaven in ISA 14:13-14, "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.'"

Here is the original sin among creatures that existed before the creation of the human race. Through it we can understand the thinking of the evil one, and it sets up the pattern of all sin, as it demonstrates the element in sin which makes it utterly sinful (Rom 7:13), independence. The sin of independence is choosing of our will over God's will. What makes sin utterly sinful is not the action itself, but the thought of independence from God. This is the very sin that Satan committed when he said in his heart, my will over God's will.

For the same reason our human good has to be judged, because if it is done outside of the will of God it becomes a form of evil. When Satan tempted our Lord in the wilderness he did not attempt to get our Lord to sin, but rather he attempted to get the Lord to choose independently from His Father in MAT 4:3-7, And the tempter came and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread." But He answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God." Then the devil took Him into the holy city; and he had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, "If You are the Son of God throw Yourself down; for it is written, 'He will give His angels charge concerning You'; and ' On {their} hands they will bear You up, Lest You strike Your foot against a stone.'" Jesus said to him, "On the other hand, it is written, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'"

The average Christian does not understand the evil behind an attitude of being independent from God. Our imagination is too weak to picture the crisis which took place in the universe when for the first time ever one of God's creatures said No, to the will of God. At that moment the first repudiation of God took place in the universe. When we think of someone being independent from the plan of God and not really caring about the will of God for their life, we don't see their real evil. In JOH 8:44 our Lord said to the religious leaders of His day, who were overtly very moral, "You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature; for he is a liar, and the father of lies."

All these disclosures are various ways of describing Satan's one sin, that of seeking to rise above the realm for which he was created, and above the purpose and service assigned to him by God.

In ISA 14:13 we have the first I will of Satan, "But you said in your heart [Satan thought this in his frontal lobe], 'I will ascend to heaven;'" This is a reference to the third heaven where God is (2CO 12:2). Satan desired the highest heavenly position, which was not designed for him.

The same sin exists not only in unbelievers but even in believers today. For example, we have been made to love and to obey and to serve God. Yet the majority of believers are much more occupied with their own life and their own will rather than the will of God. 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.
2CO 5:15, and He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.
MAT 5:16 "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."
ROM 6:19, Just as you presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness, resulting in further lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness, resulting in sanctification.
ROM 12:1 says, 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.
To these verses the majority of believers say No!

If we truly desire to glorify God, then we must realize that His grace will not be satisfied until He can take some members of the human race, who by original position are lower than the angels, and lift them up to an eternal citizenship in the highest realm. The writer of Hebrews says in HEB 2:6-8, What is man, that Thou rememberest him? Or the son of man, that Thou art concerned about 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. "For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him.

Our Lord gave us a glimpse of this the night before His death in JOH 17:24, Father, I desire that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am, in order that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me; for Thou didst love Me before the foundation of the world.

Satan has no right either by position or redemption to claim this eternal citizenship and this highest of all heavenly positions, which Church-age believers possess, and this makes him very angry. His self-seeking intention, as revealed in Isa 14, is an outrage against the Creator's plan and purpose for creatures. This is why God describes the reprobate in ROM 1:25 as those who exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. One of the reasons why Satan and the kingdom of darkness promote evolution is that they want us to think that we are closer to the animal kingdom than the angelic kingdom.

Next in ISA 14:13 we have the second I will of Satan, I will raise my throne above the stars or the shining ones of God. The phrase will raise is the Hebrew verb rum, which is in the causative stem, meaning I will cause myself to rule and lift himself above all the angels of God. Stars refers to angels in Job 38:7, Jud 13, and REV 12:3-4.
This is his goal as the ruler of the world. Satan had power and authority as guardian of the throne of God, but he wanted more power and authority. God has allowed him to accomplish part of this goal which is why we read in EPH 2:2 that Satan is the prince of the power of the air, and in 2CO 4:4, he is the god of this world, and in Joh 14:30, he is called the ruler of this world. However, the condition of this world is a terrible reflection of Satan's rulership. Unfortunately many well-meaning but ignorant Christians are working to help him do a better job by cleaning up this world.

Back in ISA 14:13 we see the third I will of Satan, And I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north. This refers to rulership over the governments of the earth. The original sin was a thought and some will never get this straight. They think that any sin of immorality is a sign of a horrible believer or a non-believer by assuming that morality is spirituality. This is untrue; morality is a result of spirituality but never the means. The worst sins are those that have to do with what you think and say. Satan was so taken with himself, that he literally thought that he could become superior to God. Since man wasn't in the picture as of yet, this means that Satan wanted to rule over the angels on the earth as well as those in heaven. Satan convinced many in God's congregation how unfair and unjust God really was, and all for self-promotion.

In ISA 14:14 we see the fourth I will of Satan, I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
Clouds are used for divine presence; in fact, Christ is to come, as He went, upon the clouds of heaven (MAT 24:30;REV 1:7). The fourth I will refers to Satan's ambition to take over the functions of God, but Satan has neither the character nor the personality to pull it off. Satan wants the glory, but he doesn't have the ability, and that same spirit is manifested every where in the human race. People always want the glory, but they have neither the ability nor the sense of responsibility, nor do they want to pay the price of discipline, devotion, and faithfulness. Only God has the ability to operate in divine principles. God's principle in dealing with the human race is grace, which means that man can neither earn or deserve anything, and this is why the fourth I will is so evil. Man cannot, of his own ability or his own talent, do anything that glorifies God. This is why Satan promotes legalism and the works program for salvation or after salvation. Satan wants to set up principles that promote creatures getting credit. If he can do that, then he's the greatest creature in the universe and therefore he'll be able to ultimately promote himself.

The fifth I will of Satan in ISA 14:14, I will make myself like the Most High.
Satan's ambition is to be like God, having the attributes of God and the essence of God, but the very nature of his sin frustrated any possibility of him reproducing any part of the character of God. Since he could not reproduce any part of the character of God, the only thing he could do was to imitate or to counterfeit God. Satan is not only the original conspirator but he is also the original counterfeiter. What makes Satan so mad today is that any believer with the filling of the Holy Spirit and doctrine in the frontal lobe can do what Satan always wanted to do and never could, imitate God (EPH 5:1; GAL 4:19; GAL 5:16; EPH 5:18). Therefore, Satan works tirelessly to obscure the gospel and the doctrine of spirituality. Unfortunately, he has had some success.

In spite of the universal impressions that Satan is unlike God he is much like God outwardly. Satan chose this title, the Most High, among all the titles of God, not to imitate God's character and nature, but because it refers to God as the possessor of heaven and earth, GEN 14:18-19,22. However, God will not share His glory with anyone (ISA 42:8;ISA 43:10; ISA 44:6). Everything we receive is courtesy of the grace of God. There will never be any believer who deserves anything from God. 1CO 4:7, For who regards you as superior? And what do you have that you did not receive? But if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?
God will bless whom He desires to bless, and that is the bottom line (ROM 9:14-20). Whenever the creature tries to take any credit for anything, he runs into a divine brick wall. He only ends up getting in God's way by helping God, forcing God to stop working. God is a perfect gentleman. As soon as you start working, He just steps aside and says, "Alright do it yourself!" He will not work with you; it must be His work or nothing.

Satan promotes morality as spirituality because even he can be moral. This is why he promotes rejection of the doctrine of dispensations because he wants Christians to live in the principles of the Spirit found in the Old Testament and not the New. Then they'll end up saying things like David did in PSA 51:11, Do not cast me away from Thy presence, And do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me. Rather than what the apostle Paul said in EPH 4:30, And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed until the day of redemption.

Satan's ambition is not to be like Jehovah, the self-existent One, which no created being could ever be, but to be like the Most High, a title that signifies the possessor of heaven and earth. Satan's goal is to gain authority over heaven and earth. The essential evil character of sin here, as everywhere, is an unwillingness on the part of the creature to abide in the precise position in which he has been placed by the Creator. This is why, in pursuing this goal to be like God, Satan recommended to Adam and Eve that they could be as gods. 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." This simply reflected Satan's own supreme ambition. In the future, during the Tribulation period, Satan's ideal man, the man of sin, will declare himself to be God, sitting in the temple of God in 2Th 2:1-2, Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together to Him, that you may not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.

The five I wills of Satan reveal his ambition to take over the functions of God, to displace God's sovereignty in the universe and to rule it himself. Satan can't even run the world, much less the universe. Satan doesn't possess God's character, nor His consistency. Satan is not immutable; therefore he can never be faithful, loyal, or love those he rules, and yet the God that he is trying to imitate is all of that. Satan wants glory, but glory comes through grace and he doesn't possess any grace. Satan is a deceiver and a liar and he never gave anyone something gratuitously. He only gives with strings attached. Satan offered TLJC the kingdoms of the world, and Jesus Christ turned him down flat. When you start learning something about grace, you not only have a wall of fire around you from the grace of God but you also have a wall of fire around your soul, Bible doctrine.

The devil has a low tolerance for pain, and it cost something to be like God. It cost TLJC the pain of the Cross. He was willing to go through pain for us so that we could enjoy heaven, a greater place than we could ever imagine. That is the character of God. Contrary, Satan's character is perfectly illustrated in eternity. The lake of fire was prepared for the devil and his angels, MAT 25:41. It is interesting that there's something very unstable about fire. It's over here, then it's over there; the only consistent thing about fire is that when you get in it, it hurts, and that's typical of the devil. Satan will dangle whatever appeals to you first, and then show you the price tag when you're in the middle of it.

Again, Satan is not only the original conspirator but he is also the original counterfeiter in 2CO 11:13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.
And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their deeds. The purpose of this deception is to imitate the real ministers of Christ and to blind the people from true righteousness which is imputed as a gift from God's grace. However, these false ministers cannot appear as ministers of Christ unless they gather into their message every available form of godliness as a means of covering their deception with the most subtle hypocrisy. Evil will not appear on the outside of these systems but it will appear on the inside.

These false teachers are promoters of good works and righteousness and they will be very attractive since they are controlled by Satan. They will be very well respected in society, and their lives will be undoubtedly free from the great scrutiny and temptations which come from the kingdom of darkness. Satan loves to scrutinize God's true worshipers. These false ministers do not necessarily know the real mission they have. They are usually sincere, preaching and teaching the best things the angel of light (Satan), their energizing power, is pleased to reveal unto them. Their gospel and teaching is based on human viewpoint and appeals to human resources. There can be no appreciation of divine revelation in them because they are not filled with the Spirit. They are ministers of a false righteousness whose message should never be confused with the doctrine of grace.

Any counterfeit system of doctrine which omits the power and grace of God as well as the knowledge which accompanies that power, is used by the strategy of Satan to force secondary truths designed to blind one from the real truth. The secondary truths are not false, but they are not being taught properly. In trying to be like God and control God's people, Satan will allow and even promote some of the great scriptural subjects, but he will distort them. For example, doctrines like  tongues, physical health, life after death, morality, unfulfilled prophecy, and the baptism of the Spirit, are all found in their proper setting and importance, but Satan's scheme is to use them as a covering over his false doctrines. As a result many are easily led to fix their attention upon secondary things while neglecting the primary things. Our Lord showed this influence over the Pharisees in MAT 23:24, "You blind guides who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!"

False systems of doctrine are formed which include every truth of the scriptures except one: exalting the real person and work of TLJC. Satan will allow Christ to be worshiped providing that believers remain ignorant toward the power of God and the resultant glorification of God. Therefore, throughout Christianity, secondary truths are elevated and the power of God is ignored, as Paul said in 2TI 3:5, they hold to a form or system of godliness, although they have denied its power. And because this system appeals to the natural man, both naturally minded believers and unbelievers alike are drawn to it.

Satan's major purpose behind these five I wills is to be like the Most High, not as the popular opinion presumes, one of attempting to be unlike God. As a part of his strategy to become like the Most High, those under the influence of his false doctrine teach others how to improve human nature while ignoring the new creature created by God. The presence of gross evil in the world is not due to Satan's intention to have it so; rather it indicates Satan's inability to be like the Most High. Hence, Satan is for any program, including Christian programs which are designed to make this world a better place to live. Satan is after  worship from man. So much so that during the Tribulation period he will demand the worship of the people of the earth or they will pay the penalty of death.  In his desire to be like the Most High Satan watches what God does and then tries to counterfeit that as best as he can. This is why his religion has a counterfeit gospel (2CO 11:3 4), counterfeit ministers (2CO 11:13 15), counterfeit doctrine (1TI 4:1), counterfeit communion table (1CO 10:19 21), counterfeit spirituality (GAL 3:2 3), counterfeit righteousness (MAT 19:16 28), counterfeit righteousness-self-righteousness (MAT 23:13 36), counterfeit power and dynamics, i.e. miracles, healing, tongues (2TH 2:8 10), counterfeit system of gods (2TH 2:3 4).

ISA 14:15, Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol, To the recesses of the pit. This is the third fall of Satan which will be fulfilled at the end of the Millennium (REV 20:10). The phrase You will be thrust down is the hophalimperfect of the Hebrew word jaradh, which is a passive stem meaning he doesn't go from his own volition into the lake of fire, he is thrown in there.

ISA 14:16-17 "Those who see you will gaze at you, They will ponder over you,  saying, 'Is this the one who made the earth tremble, Who shook kingdoms, Who made the world like a wilderness And overthrew its cities, Who did not allow his prisoners to {go} home?'" His prisoners are his fallen angels and he couldn't even release them from Tartarus. Before his fall, he was the prime minister for God here on this earth; after his fall, earth now becomes the theater of the invisible war. It is true that Satan is still the god of this world and he still rules as a prince; however, we shall see this office taken from him when the Lord comes back to reign as the king of this earth.

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