GRACE BIBLE CHURCH
The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
For the week ending 06/08/03
In the Millennial Age, divine righteousness is expressed to mankind as never before. Revelation 12:5
Revelation 12:4 And his tail swept away a third of the angels of heaven, and [God] threw them to the earth. And the dragon [Satan] stood [antagonistically] before the woman [the virgin Mary] who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he [Satan] might devour her child [destroy the humanity of Christ].
The word "devour" is the Greek word "katesthio," which means to devour, to eat completely, and to totally destroy, and refers to intense anti-Semitism. However, Satan will never accomplish this objective, even at the point of his greatest power in the middle of the Tribulation.
Here we see the strategic victory of the First Advent in our Lord's resurrection, ascension, and session. Satan desperately wanted to destroy the humanity of Christ because he knew why the Lord Jesus Christ came. The purpose, the goal, the objectives, and the climax of the life of Jesus Christ was His sacrificial death. He came into the world for the purpose of dying, MAR 10:45, "'For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.'"
The death of Jesus Christ is not the end of the story; it is the theme of the story, beginning to end. He was born to die.
In the Old Testament, we find many things to help us understand the meaning of the death of Christ, which was yet to come.
- In the story of Adam and Eve, we first learn that sacrifice is necessary to cover sin, GEN 3:21, "And the Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them."
-In the sacrifices of Cain and Abel, we learn that it is not only sacrifice, but a certain sacrifice, the sacrifice of death,GEN 4:4-5, "And Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard."
-From the story of Abraham we learn that God Himself will provide that sacrifice, as God provided an animal in place of Isaac, GEN 22:7-8, "And Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, 'My father!' And he said, 'Here I am, my son.' And he said, 'Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?' And Abraham said, 'God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.' So the two of them walked on together."
All these principles are preparing us for Jesus Christ, the ultimate sacrifice, the perfect sacrifice, the substitute, the gift of God, the unblemished Lamb. Everything in the New Testament then focuses on the Cross. In the gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the Cross is the theme. The book of Acts is the record of the world's reaction to the death and resurrection of Christ. The epistles are written to those who believe in the death and resurrection of Christ, to instruct them in the implications of the Cross. In the book of Revelation, we meet the Lamb that was slain before the foundation of the world, who will return as the King of kings and Lord of lords. Everything in the Old Testament leads up to the Cross, the gospels focus on the Cross, and the rest of the New Testament deals with the implications and results of the Cross. The death of the Lord Jesus Christ then is the focal point of all of redemptive history, and is not an accident, but rather the climax of the plan of God.
A main principle in this verse is the efficiency of God's plan, and inordinate competition against God's plan could not succeed then and never will. There are two kinds of competition in life-legitimate competition and inordinate competition. Inordinate competition is always based on false motivation. It results from having no personal sense of destiny, no control of one's life, and bad decisions from a position of weakness, and it always results in feeling threatened (threatened by people whom you consider to be superior, or an attack upon your own form of arrogance). We are given some great advice in 2CO 10:12, "For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves, and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding."
Inordinate competition is formed from the motivation of feeling threatened by other people, resulting in operation"put down." People around you no longer stand on their merits, but on their demerits, which others have assigned to them through gossip, maligning, and other underhanded activities. PRO 25:27 warns us, "It is not good to eat much honey, nor is it glory to search out one's own glory." PRO 26:12 says, "Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him," and PRO 27:2 instructs us to "Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips." In PHI 2:3, the Apostle Paul writes, "Do nothing motivated by contentiousness or ambitious pride, but with humility of mind [by means of grace orientation] let each of you keep on considering one another as more important than himself."
The Bible condemns inordinate (unrestrained, unregulated, undisciplined) competition. While competition in the business or athletic realms is legitimate and even commendable, in the social, sexual, or spiritual realms it is a source of sin and evil. Inordinate competition is a sign of arrogance, pride, and jealousy, and, most of all, insecurity. The inordinate competitor is insecure socially, sexually, and/or spiritually. On the other hand, the one who does not compete behind your back is a relaxed individual; he is reliable with capacity for great friendship.
Falling into social, sexual, or spiritual competition destroys capacity for love in all categories. An inordinate competitor always tries to put you down, and finds a place to brag about taking advantage of you. He always tries to impress you with the wrong things and is never relaxed around others. Inordinate competition comes in many forms and performs many adverse functions in life. It has a facade of sweetness, flattery, and pseudo-spirituality, but behind it is an arrogant, jealous, insecure, hypocritical person, waiting to strike like a viper, PSA 140:1-3, "Rescue me, O Lord, from evil men; preserve me from violent men, who devise evil things in their hearts; they continually stir up wars. They sharpen their tongues as a serpent; poison of a viper is under their lips. Selah." We see our Lord's attitude in MAT 3:7, "But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, 'You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?'"
Beware of the hypocrite who always talks about "doctrine." The inordinate competitor likes to play games like"spiritual king of the mountain," asking questions and telling you the answers, not listening when you're speaking, motivated by pride and jealousy. He is emotional, therefore often self-righteous, legalistic, anti-authority, and sometimes conspiratorial. He seeks to put down the authority around him. The believer must learn to spot him and his games, and separate from him. Only in isolation does the competitor wake up to his need of doctrine.
The reversionistic competitor does not adjust to the justice of God, and he never functions on the grace principle that justice demands justice. He becomes a distraction to the doctrinal perception of himself and others, because he concentrates more on being superior to his contemporaries than he does on humbling himself.
Legitimate competition is never based on being threatened or insecure. It is based on using whatever abilities and motivations you have to succeed. Legitimate competition is related to success and being a winner in a certain field. In the spiritual life, it is realizing one's personal sense of destiny, having control of one's own life, and making good decisions from a position of strength.
Satan uses arrogance, and one of the first, worst forms of arrogance is to feel threatened. We live in a time when many are whiners and complainers, and the reason they lose out is because they have felt threatened. They have made bad decisions and have lost control of their lives, and therefore have no personal sense of destiny. People with no personal sense of destiny blame everyone else for their own failures in life. People who feel threatened feel that way in a state of arrogance that exists in the cosmic system (specifically cosmic one).
One principle we should all have learned by now is that in the greatest period of historical disaster we can face, God's plan still goes on. This includes God's plan for your blessing and prosperity. His plan never changes or adjusts itself to personal, economic, social, or military disaster. When we change, it is because we have left the plan of God and we have gone into the cosmic system. You can have the same blessing that God intended for you in time of great disaster as you could have in time of historical prosperity. Whether we experience historical prosperity or historical disaster, God's plan for our life goes on, but it takes the power of the predesigned plan of God and the function of the faith-rest drill to give us a personal sense of destiny in time of historical disaster.
In Revelation 12:5">REV 12:5, "She gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations&ldots;" The phrase "rule all the nations" refers to the Millennial reign, a period of 1,000 years when the Lord Jesus Christ will rule this earth as King. It is important to understand that this age will see the fulfillment of all the covenants that God made with Israel. Without the Millennium, those covenants would not be fulfilled.
1. Abrahamic Covenant. The promises of the Abrahamic covenant concern the land and sea, MIC 7:18-20, Eze 34:24-31. In this covenant, Israel's continuation and possession of the land and their inheritance of blessings is fulfilled.
2. Davidic Covenant. The promises in the Davidic Covenant concern the king, the throne, and the royal house, Jer 23:5-8,20-26, 34:23-25, 37:23-24. The promise of Israel having a kingdom over which David's Son reigns as king is fulfilled.
4. New Covenant. The promises of the New Covenant are for a new heart, the forgiveness of sin, and the filling of the Spirit, and all find their fulfillment to Israel in the Millennium, JER 31:31-34; JER 32:35-39; EZE 11:18-20; ROM 11:26-29.
All of this takes place immediately after Satan is bound. He is imprisoned for 1,000 during the Millennial reign, Rev 20:1-3, "And I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he should not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time."
In Revelation 12:5">REV 12:5, the Lord Jesus Christ will "rule all the nations with a rod of iron" in the Millennium, an age when divine righteousness is expressed to mankind as never before. This will be God's final test for fallen humanity under the most ideal circumstances and perfect environment. All outward sources of temptation are removed and man is apart from satanic influence, but he will demonstrate that he is totally corrupt, regardless of environment. Conditions of the Millennium are described in Dan 7:24-27, "'As for the ten horns, out of this kingdom ten kings will arise; and another will arise after them, and he will be different from the previous ones and will subdue three kings. And he will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. But the court will sit for judgment, and his dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever. Then the sovereignty, the dominion, and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be given to the people of the saints of the Highest One; His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all the dominions will serve and obey Him.'"
The "greatness of all the kingdoms" is what will characterize the Millennium.
10. Sickness will be removed. The ministry of the King as the healer will be seen throughout the Millennium so that sickness and even death will be removed, the exception being capital punishment in dealing with criminal sin, ISA 33:24, JER 30:17, EZE 34:16.
14. There be no tragedies of mental illness or infant deaths, ISA 65:20.
15. The earth's population will soar, and sexual relationships in the human race will continue. Children will be born to the believers who began the Millennium, and will still have a sin nature and therefore need salvation, JER 30:20;JER 31:29; EZE 47:22; ZEC 10:8.
18. There will be a unified language; the language barriers will be removed so that there can be free social intercourse, ZEP 3:9.
All the world will unite in the worship of God, and God's presence will be experienced as never before.
The Millennium will be 1,000 years of perfect environment and prosperity, and it will demonstrate two things:
1. Mankind cannot be satisfied without a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
2. Believers can use Bible doctrine and remain faithful in prosperity.
Very few believers ever survive their first prosperity test; they usually lose their concentration on Bible doctrine. As a result, there will be many unbelievers during the Millennial age who will despise positive believers and join Satan at the end of the 1,000 years.
For a more detailed study, order tapes IA11-275 to IA11-277.