GRACE BIBLE CHURCH
The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.
The Tree of Life for week ending 05/11/03.
The Perfect Justice of God Manifested to Angels and Humans.
This week we continued with our main passage in Rev 12:3-4, "And another sign appeared in heaven: and behold, a great red dragon [Satan] having seven heads and ten horns, [the revived Roman empire of the Tribulation and ecumenical religion], and on his heads were seven diadems. And his tail [Satan's power] swept away a third of the stars of heaven."
Whenever we have a question about the seeming injustices of life, we must fall back on the justice of God and the fact that He can only be fair. Satan and the fallen angels learned this principle the hard way. In the prehistoric revolution in heaven, Satan convinced one third of the angels that God was unjust.
However, God can never be unjust. There are certain things that God cannot do:
· God cannot lie, TIT 1:2.
· God cannot be unjust or unfair, DEU 32:4.
· God cannot change, MAL 3:6.
· God cannot say to any member of the body, "I do not need you," 1CO 14:21.
· God cannot be tempted by evil, JAM 1:13.
· God cannot sin, 1JO 3:9.
God's justice is revealed in the second resurrection. There are two general resurrections: The first is for believers only, the resurrection to eternal life. The resurrection body is eternal and permanent, superior to that of angelic creatures, DAN 12:2; JOH 5:24-29; 1Co 15, REV 20:6,13. This is the "first resurrection."
REV 20:4-6 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given to them. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of the testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark upon their forehead and upon their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.
The second resurrection is for unbelievers only who are cast into the lake of fire forever, MAT 25:41, 1Co 15:24,REV 20:5-15, And I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. And death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
This is called the "second resurrection," the last judgment. The direction for the first resurrection is eternal life; the direction for the second is eternal condemnation and judgment. The difference between the two is one's attitude toward Christ, JOH 3:36, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; He that believeth not the Son shall not see life but the wrath of God abideth on him."
As long as anyone is alive, he has the opportunity of entering into the first resurrection simply by believing in Christ. Since all of the sins of the world were imputed to Christ and judged at the cross, God cannot judge them for their sins. Their sins have already gone to trial in the mind of God and have already been dealt with. Therefore, at the second resurrection they will have their deeds or their works judged.
In the angelic conflict, God has established rules that even He Himself must abide by. One of the rules that God has established is that He will not violate the free will of man. A person can be whatever they choose and God will not make them choose for Him or against Him. We have a lot of issues in our lives where we have to ask God for answers because of the rules He has established.
This is why He says in MAT 7:7-10, "Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened. Or what man is there among you, when his son shall ask him for a loaf, will give him a stone? Or if he shall ask for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!"
James said it like this in JAM 4:2, "You lust and do not have; so you commit murder. And you are envious and cannot obtain; so you fight and quarrel. You do not have because you do not ask."
The angelic conflict is about two kingdoms against each other, with the volition of humans as the issue. Satan has accused God of not being loving, not being just. And yet we have a God who wants to do everything we need in our lives but our free will must line up with His plan, His ways. When it does then ROM 8:28, "Becomes a reality, and we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose."
People tend to blame God for everything, when in reality, we are products of our own decisions. The law of volitional responsibility means we will reap what we sow, GAL 6:7. Satan wants human beings to blame God for every tragedy. However, God cannot do anything that is contrary to His divine nature. He is just, righteous, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, love, immutable, veracity, sovereign, and eternal. God cannot use any of these divine attributes in violation of the other; His justice will not allow it. God is in control; He knows all things and being perfectly righteous, He can only make the right decision in dealing with us, PSA 119:137, "Righteous art Thou, O Lord, and upright are Thy judgments"
REV 19:2, "His judgments are true and righteous"
DEU 32:4, "The Rock! His work is perfect, for all His ways are just; a God of faithfulness and without injustice, Righteous and upright is He."
ECC 3:16-17 Furthermore, I have seen under the sun that in the place of justice there is wickedness, and in the place of righteousness there is wickedness. I said to myself, "God will judge both the righteous man and the wicked man," for a time for every matter and for every deed is there. I said to myself concerning the sons of men, "God has surely tested them in order for them to see that they are but beasts."
There is a God in heaven who is just and righteous and has everything under control. We must remember that this is the devil's world, and there will always be injustice and unfairness that we must face. If we react to injustice with bitterness, resentment, hatred, antagonism, or any form of arrogance or emotion, then the Lord Jesus Christ cannot act on our behalf as the Supreme Court Judge and He must act against us. You will only be disciplined for your sins of reaction. However, if we respond to the injustices of life with the problem-solving devices then the Lord Jesus Christ will handle the situation for us, PSA 55:22, "Cast your burdens on the Lord, and he will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to fall apart."
If you leave all personal injustices, all slander, maligning, public lies, and all unfairness in the hands of the Lord, He will always sustain you, JOH 16:33, "These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world."
We must have a soul filled with doctrine to handle unjust treatment in the same manner that we handle fair treatment. We must not allow our conscience to become filled with garbage and bitterness when we observe or encounter the injustices of life. If you have a strong conscience, you will leave it in the Lord's hands and those who treated you unfairly will be put to shame, without you ever trying to defend yourself or answer back, ROM 12:14, "Bless those who persecute you; bless and curse not." The Greek word for persecute is "dioko," which means to habitually pursue. While they pursue you, you are to love them impersonally and honor them. "Curse not" means do not wish evil against them. Paul instructs us in ROM 12:17-20, "Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace or live in harmony with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, 'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,' says the Lord, 'but if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head.'" When we function in grace and do not retaliate, the Supreme Court of Heaven handles the situation. No matter what the situation may be, God's decision is always right.
It was this perfect justice of God that Satan challenged when he fell, and he did so on his own initiative, and then he deceived the other angels. In the same way, as the serpent, he deceived the woman in GEN 3:5.
1TI 2:14 And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being quite deceived, fell into transgression.
Adam fell without deception, and he chose to disobey God willingly and knowingly just as Satan did. At the fall then we have one who disobeyed out of his own initiative and one who was deceived. And this pattern reflects what probably happened in the angelic realm. Satan, disobeyed by his own initiative and the other angels were deceived. At the fall, Satan had offered man a counterfeit salvation prior to God offering man a true salvation. True salvation looked ahead to Christ, GEN 3:21, "And the LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them." However, Satan's counterfeit was "Operation Fig Leaves" and religion, 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." As we know, a counterfeit presupposes understanding of the real. Satan must have had some prior knowledge of salvation in order to offer a counterfeit a plan for covering sinfulness and disobedience.
The only sin that is unpardonable is the sin of rejecting the Gospel in the allotted time, MAT 12:31-32. Angels would not have been exempt from this condition. Whether all or only one third of the angels fell, would not God have offered some salvation to them? And if offered, are we to suppose that not one of the angels who fell accepted it? If God did not offer a plan for reconciliation to the angels, then God would be unfair if He offered reconciliation to man, who also fell. Satan would have had a very strong objection if God was willing to offer a means of salvation to man and had not offered a means of salvation to the angels.
Lets look at some additional arguments:
1. For example, the Ark of the Covenant illustrates that angles benefit from the work of Christ. Two cherubim are over the mercy seat of the Ark (see cover).
These two replaced Lucifer who abandoned his place as the cherub closest to God and God's work, EZE 28:14, "You were the anointed cherub who covers, and I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked in the midst of the stones of fire." These two cherubim are partakers of the work of Christ as prefigured by the Ark. They hover over and look into these things.
2. The Veil of Exodus 26:31-35 in the Temple was a reminder of the humanity of Christ.
Exodus 26:31-35">EXO 26:31-35 "And you shall make a veil of blue and purple and scarlet material and fine twisted linen; it shall be made with cherubim, the work of a skillful workman. And you shall hang it on four pillars of acacia overlaid with gold, their hooks also being of gold, on four sockets of silver. And you shall hang up the veil under the clasps, and shall bring in the ark of the testimony there within the veil; and the veil shall serve for you as a partition between the holy place and the holy of holies. And you shall put the mercy seat on the ark of the testimony in the holy of holies. And you shall set the table outside the veil, and the lampstand opposite the table on the side of the tabernacle toward the south; and you shall put the table on the north side."
Notice that part of it was made of fine white linen, which symbolizes at experiential righteousness. It was under a blue veil which represents Christ being made lower than heaven, even lower than angels. The purple of the veil represents the royalty of Christ, and the scarlet looks ahead to the work of Christ on the Cross. And the images of cherubim were woven into veil. The curtain speaks of Christ and His work and the angels were on the curtain themselves.
3. The linen curtains of Exodus 26:1-6 were also of the same color scheme and looked ahead to the person and work of Christ in salvation, and they too were to have embroidered upon them the figures of angels.
Exodus 26:1-6">EXO 26:1-6 "Moreover you shall make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twisted linen and blue and purple and scarlet material; you shall make them with cherubim, the work of a skillful workman. The length of each curtain shall be twenty?eight cubits, and the width of each curtain four cubits; all the curtains shall have the same measurements. Five curtains shall be joined to one another; and the other five curtains shall be joined to one another. And you shall make loops of blue on the edge of the outermost curtain in the first set, and likewise you shall make them on the edge of the curtain that is outermost in the second set. You shall make fifty loops in the one curtain, and you shall make fifty loops on the edge of the curtain that is in the second set; the loops shall be opposite each other. And you shall make fifty clasps of gold, and join the curtains to one another with the clasps, that the tabernacle may be a unit."
The angels partake of Christ's place of origin, heaven, and of His royalty, in the presence of God, and of His work in salvation, the scarlet color of the curtains.
4. Angels are also often pictured as wearing white garments.
In Mark 16:5 the two angles at the tomb are said to be in white garments (stolen leuken in the Greek): "And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe; and they were amazed." The verb is a perfect passive participle form of periballo, indicating they were clothed in these garments by God at a point in past and continue to wear them in the present.
Luke uses the word esthes for these garments as he also does in ACT 1:10 with the angels at Christ's final ascension into heaven: "And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was departing, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them." At the transfiguration the humanity of Christ was seen in His glorified state and He was in a white, brilliant, dazzling garment that looked ahead to His glorification following the Cross.
In Revelation 19:8 the church, the bride of Christ, is also clothed in white linen garments: And it was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Angels then are now clothed with white garments, passive voice, clothed by God as we will be so clothed in the future and as Christ is clothed right now. This white garment looks at God having made us perfect righteousness in Christ and would be the same for the angles who accepted angelic salvation.
5. COL 1:19-20 is another passage that teaches this principle: "For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven." Jesus Christ, on the Cross, reconciled all things to Himself, whether things on earth (man) or things in heaven, such as angels. This why Paul taught in PHI 2:9-11, "Therefore also the God has highly exalted Him to the maximum, and bestowed on Him the name [rank] which is above every name, in order that at the title of Jesus every knee of the heavens should bow, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, resulting in the glory of God the Father.
6. Now, HEB 2:16 is often suggested as a major objection to angelic salvation: "For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendant of Abraham." The word help is epilambanomai and it is a word that is not used for salvation but for the giving of help in a time of distress. The distress here is found in the prior verse, Hebrews 2:15-a fear of death! The Jews had a grave fear of death in the first century. Furthermore, if this verse excludes angels from salvation it would also have to exclude most of the Arab race, most oriental, all black, Indians, even most Europeans because they are not descendants from Abraham.
HEB 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please Him&ldots;
When was the offer of salvation to angels ended? There is an allotted time for the opportunity to exercise faith for salvation, HEB 9:27. The offer of salvation for mankind ends at death and in a total finality at the Great White Throne judgment when all unbelievers stand before the Savior. In the same way, there was an allotted time for angelic salvation; but their time to be saved has ended. Both mankind and angles have a limited time to be saved.
1. Satan counterfeited salvation to Adam and the Woman prior to God's offer of salvation to them which would indicate a prior knowledge of salvation.
2. Any position regarding what happened in the fall of angels, their salvation, etc is an argument from silent and with that, the only value of one over the other is its consistency with the character of God and the parallel to other known events.
3. God is a God of mercy and the greatest expression of mercy is to offer peace or reconciliation to one's enemies.
4. God is absolutely just and fair and could not have offered salvation to man and not offered it to another creation, angels, who had fallen.
5. Only Christ is forever holy and pure and blameless. For another creature to have these characteristics inherent in them and maintained in them by freewill, would have meant that they could have died for the sins of creation. An angel could have gone to the Cross.
6. Angels are very much a part of the tabernacle, the ark, the veil, the curtains which all look ahead to Christ salvation work.
7. HEB 2:9-10 indicate that Christ would taste death for all creation. "But we do see Him who has been made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone [pas=all] For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings."
8. The garments of Angels are the same garments given to saved mankind in eternity.
9. In I Timothy 5:21 angles are called chosen or elect which would indicate that there was a time when they were not chosen and not elect.
10. Colossians 1:20 indicates that Christ reconciled all things to Himself, thing on earth and things in heaven.
For a more detailed study, order tapes IA11-262 to IA11-265