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GRACE BIBLE CHURCH
The Tree of Life is a weekly teaching summary.

The Tree of Life for week ending 05/25/03.
Religion: Satan's Ace Trump. John 4:22

The main passage in our current study is REV 12:4, "And his tail [Satan's power] swept away a third of the angels of heaven."

Satan rejected the divine harness and became a grenade, exploding in numerous directions. We are all products of our own decisions, and you cannot have control of your life without a harness, such as self-discipline and humility; without Bible doctrine, you cannot have a personal sense of destiny. You can only make right decisions inside the harness of Bible doctrine, inside the harness of discipline and authority. Satan and the fallen angels had no harness upon them, and they were coming to planet earth as walking grenades. Therefore, REV 12:12 says, "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 was the first creature to ever throw off the harness, and in doing so, to reject every restriction that he had previously been under. He took one third of God's congregation with him, and as we have seen, when anyone throws off the harness, they can always get others to join them. This is what happens in REV 12:4, "And his tail swept away a third of the stars [angels] of heaven." The Greek verb "suro" is translated "swept away" and it means to drag or to pull. This the pattern set by Satan in the prehistoric angelic conflict, which has continued through human history to this day, and will continue throughout the rest of the Church-age and the Tribulation. In ISA 14:12, God says to Satan, "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!" Satan was the star of the morning before his fall, but he threw off the harness. His organization still has one major problem-it was formed by throwing off the harness, therefore it can never win.

In the Bible, Satan has three falls. The first fall of Satan took place in eternity past, perhaps billions of years before man's creation, EZE 28:15, "You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, until unrighteousness was found in you." In the middle of the Tribulation, Satan has his second fall, and he is cast out of heaven, REV 12:9, "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." Satan still has access to heaven now. At the end of the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ, we have the third fall of Satan, REV 20:1, "And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever."

No one, angel or human, can throw off the harness of life and survive, because doing so is self-destructive. The harness for the Royal Family of God in this dispensation is the predesigned plan of God, and the believer without the harness resides and functions in the cosmic system. The harness protects the believer from the cosmic system and its demonic influence. When the Royal Family of God is in the harness of the predesigned plan of God, they advance to maturity, forming the pivot, which preserves, blesses, and prospers the client nation.

In REV 12:4, Satan and his fallen angels are thrown out of heaven. The result of this is the greatest wave of anti-semitism in all of human history. In desperation, Satan will try to destroy those who have always been a thorn in his side-believers and all Jews, whether they are believers or unbelievers. All anti?Semitism originates with Satan, and this is his last desperate chance. Once Satan is confined to the earth he expresses his frustration and wrath with his genius to form a very aggressive plan. His plan is very simple-to use everything at his means, including the third demon assault army, his fallen angels that had been stationed in heaven until this time. He will also use the ecumenical religion, which will be formed under the dictator of the revived Roman Empire. He deceives the whole world.

A known military expression passed down for many generations in the United States military is "know your enemy."One of the greatest problems today is that we do not know our enemy, whether it is in the kingdom of darkness or the natural world. Most Christians think that they know their enemy, but do not know him at all. As 1JO 5:19 says, "The whole world lies in the power of the evil one." He will use the media and all forms of communication to try to eliminate Israel, the main reason being that God has not yet fulfilled all His promises to Israel. He is waiting until the right time to do so.

God's timing is absolutely perfect, and at the Second Advent, the Abrahamic, Palestinian, Davidic, and New Covenants to Israel will all be fulfilled.

As part of the Abrahamic Covenant, which is being continually fulfilled, God punishes and destroys anyone who becomes anti-Semitic.

The Palestinian Covenant gives the Jews an unconditional promise of a land which they have never possessed. In order for God to keep this covenant, the Jews must still be alive at the Second Advent.

David will have a Son who will reign forever, the Lord Jesus Christ.

The New Covenant to Israel guarantees that the Jewish nation, which is restored at the time of the Second Advent, will be a client nation throughout the Millennial Reign of Christ, and for all eternity.

The faithfulness of God versus the genius of Satan is the great issue in the last 3½ years of the tribulation, the time of the devil's desperation, when Satan does his utmost to destroy the Jews completely. His great weapon will be religion. Satan has always used religion to intensify all forms of evil. Religion is the motivation for the greatest systems of evil the world has ever known. REV 12:4 continues, "And the dragon stood before the woman [the virgin Mary] who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth he might devour her child [destroy the humanity of Christ]." What Satan tried desperately to stop was the virgin birth of Christ. This also refers to the nation of Israel being reborn.

There has never been, and never will be, any system of evil as great as religion. Religion has produced some of the greatest of all criminal organizations. Powerful religions such as Roman Catholicism have suppressed freedom in every way. The Renaissance was a rebirth and revival of classical art, architecture, literature, and learning that originated in Italy in the 14th century and later spread throughout Europe. This period lasted roughly from the 14th through the 16th century, marking the transition from medieval to modern times. The Renaissance was the veneer of Greek culture that opposed the oppression of the Roman Catholic Church; however, with all the false doctrine the Roman Catholic Church practiced at the time, the Renaissance was unsuccessful in stopping it, because the Renaissance was a cultural attack. No cultural attack against false doctrine ever succeeds because it is not strong enough, just as the culture of the U.S.A. will never succeed in reforming the nations of Islam. So the renaissance failed as a harness to control the problem of religion at the time, but the Reformation would become the harness.

The Reformation was a 16th-century movement in western Europe aimed at reforming certain doctrines and practices of the Roman Catholic Church, and it resulted in the establishment of the Protestant churches. The Reformation was the harness that saved both the Renaissance and western European civilization, because it was a doctrinal attack against the false doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church. Up to the 3rd century A.D., the Roman Catholic Church was generally very orthodox in its doctrine. However, it then became very unorthodox.

The major deception that started the Roman Catholic Church in the wrong direction was their policy of trying to make the church the state. They taught the unity of church and state and sought to combine them. Therefore, the church became the state and this was the development of the "Holy Roman Empire" (which was "neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire," nevertheless this is what it was called). Once the Roman Catholic Church departed from Bible doctrine as the absolute authority, it became very tyrannical, which resulted in the horrible condition of Europe in medieval times. What our Lord said to the woman at the well in Joh 4:22-23, He could also say to the Catholic church: "You worship that which you do not know; we worship that which we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers."

The Roman Catholic church was anti-Semitic. In the last century, they refused to stand up for the Jews during the Holocaust. Their leaders said the Jews had rejected the Lord, so they were getting what they deserved.

During medieval times there were many organizations of believers who were completely orthodox, because the Lord has His testimony in every generation. However, the Roman Catholic Church was immersed in religion, and it submerged Bible doctrine except in rare cases. The following false doctrines were then developed and taught:
1. Prayers for the dead, about A.D. 300.
2. The sign of the cross, A.D. 300.
3. Wax candles, about A.D. 320.
4. Worship of angels and dead saints, and use of images, A.D. 375.
5. The Mass as a daily celebration, A.D. 394.
6. The exaltation of Mary as the "Mother of God," A.D. 431.
7. Priests dressing differently than laymen, A.D. 500.
8. Extreme Unction, oil, incense, ointment, and balm, A.D. 526.
9. The doctrine of purgatory, A.D. 593.
10. Latin language used in prayer and worship, A.D. 600.
11. Prayers directed to Mary, dead saints, and angels, A.D. 600.
12. The title of pope, A.D. 607.
13. Kissing of the pope's foot, A.D. 709.
14. Temporal power of the popes, A.D. 750.
15. Worship of the cross, images, and relics, A.D. 786.
16. Holy water, A.D. 850.
17. Worship of Saint Joseph, A.D. 890.
18. College of cardinals established, A.D. 927.
19. Baptism of bells, A.D. 965.
20. Canonization of dead saints, A.D. 995.
21. Fasting on Fridays and during Lent, A.D. 998.
22. Celibacy of the priesthood, A.D. 1079.
23. The rosary (mechanical praying with beads), A.D. 1090.
24. The Inquisition, A.D. 1184.
25. Sale of indulgences, A.D. 1190.
26. The doctrine of transubstantiation, A.D. 1215.
27. Confession of sins to a priest instead of God, A.D. 1215.
28. Adoration of the wafer (host), A.D. 1220.
29. The Bible forbidden to laymen, A.D. 1229.
30. The scapular, A.D. 1251.
31. The cup forbidden to the people in Communion, A.D. 1414.
32. Tradition declared of equal authority with the Bible, A.D. 1545.
33. Apocryphal books added to the Bible, A.D. 1546.

In this subtle, progressive attack on the doctrines of the Bible, we can see religion as the devil's ace trump.

The Renaissance was a cultural counterattack against the deception of the Roman Catholic church, and it failed, because religion always has more power than culture. Satan will use warfare but, most of all, religion to attack the people of God and the entire Jewish race. There are some important aspects of religion that we must be aware of:

1. Christianity and religion are antithetical. In Christianity, God saves mankind through personal faith in Jesus Christ. In religion, man seeks to impress God with his works.

2. Religion can be classified as the devil's ace trump. Religion has been invented by Satan to counterfeit God's plan, purpose, and will for your life, and to divert you from the execution of the predesigned plan of God for the Church-age.

3. Religion is a key part of the devil's strategy to become "like the Most High God," as stated in ISA 14:14.

4. Christianity is not a religion but an eternal relationship with God through personal faith in Christ. In religion, mankind seeks the approbation of God through good deeds, human merit, and various categories of works. In Christianity, God seeks for man.

5. Religion reflects the evil genius of Satan. Christianity represents the perfect integrity of God combined with His grace policy.

6. For deceit and error to be carried out effectively, Satan has devised a system of counterfeits of Christianity-the counterfeits of religion. Satan has counterfeit systems for the following:
a. Righteousness, MAT 19:16?28.
b. Way of life, MAT 23:13?36.
c. Communion table, 1CO 10:19?21.
d. Gospel, 2CO 4:3?4, GAL 1:1?9.
e. Ministers, 2CO 11:13?15.
f. Spirituality, GAL 3:1?3.
g. Gods, 2TH 2:3?4.
h. Power (dynamics), 2TH 2:8?10.
i. Doctrine, 1TI 4:1.

For a more detailed study, order tapes IA11-269 to IA11-271.

Memorial Day Tribute
I knew a man, called him Sandy Cane. 
Few folks even knew his name. 
But a hero, yes was he. 
Left a boy, came back a man. 
Still many just don't understand 
About the reasons we are free. 
I can't forget the look in his eyes 
Or the tears he cried, 
As he said these words to me. 

All gave some and some gave all. 
Some stood through for the red, white and blue, 
And some had to fall. 
And if you ever think of me, 
Think of all your liberties, and recall, 
Some gave all. 
Now, Sandy Cane is no longer here. 
But his words are oh so clear 
As they echo throughout our land. 
And all his friends who gave us all, 
Who stood the ground and took the fall 
To help their fellow man. 
Love your country and live with pride 
And don't forget those who died. 
America, can't you see?

All gave some and some gave all. 
Some stood through for the red, white and blue, 
And some had to fall. 
And if you ever think of me, 
Think of all your liberties, and recall, 
Some gave all. 
And if you ever think of me 
Think of all your liberties, and recall, yes recall, 
Some gave all. 
Some gave all. 

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