It's time to derive your worldview from the Bible

Rather than reading the Bible through the eyes of modern secularism, this provocative six-part course teaches you to read the Bible through its own eyes—as a record of God’s dealing with the human race. When you read it at this level, you will discover reasons to worship God in areas of life you probably never before associated with “religion.”

Romans 8:28 by Charles Clough
(Promise - Romans 8:28) Resting in the fact that God has a perfect plan. Old Testament pictures of the ascension and session of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul identified Jesus Christ with YHWH God of the Old Testament. God views the political power structures of history, in a fallen world, as sub-human, animal-like. How the New Testament uses the “Son of Man” imagery. Looking above history. Questions and answers.
Series:Chapter 1 – The Heavenly Origin of the Church
Duration:1 hr 26 mins 51 secs

© Charles A. Clough 2000

Charles A. Clough
Biblical Framework Series 1995–2003

Part 6: New Truths of the Kingdom Aristocracy
Chapter 1: The Heavenly Origin of the Church

Lesson 156 – Ascension and Session of Christ (cont’d)

09 Nov 2000
Fellowship Chapel, Jarrettsville, MD

The promise that we’re looking at is Romans 8:28, we want to again go through the faith-rest drill; repetition is always needed. The faith-rest drill is really those three steps, to claim a biblical verse or fragment that circulates somewhere in your mind, and then start working with that so that you can consciously believe it. That may take seconds it may take hours, it may take a long struggle because it may be easy to apply in this situation, you take the same verse, same fragment of Scripture and it’s a new situation and you’d have a problem there because the situation is variable.

In Romans 8:28, a verse that most Christians have come across one time or another, “And we know that all things work together for good,” or “God causes all things to work together for good,” the text reads a little different there but regardless of which way it reads it means the same, “we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” We want to cycle through and next week I hope to have slides so you can see, looking at this through the eyes of wisdom and looking at this through the eyes of folly and when you look at both wisdom and folly (by folly I mean the non-Christian position), that is what convinces you of the certainty of the truthfulness of this. Not that Christians believe because we can’t think; it’s not that we believe because the evidence isn’t sufficient. We believe because we know it’s true.

But beware of that. This is endemic in our culture today, is that the word “believe” is a synonym for low confidence. If I don’t know something for sure, well I guess I believe it. That’s not what pisteuo means in the Greek, absolutely not. That’s 20th century, that’s reading into the text and the mysticism of our time. That is not what the text means. Pisteuo, the Greek verb to believe, is never used as an antonym to knowing. In John 20:31, “these are written that” why? “that you may believe?” no, “that you may know these things.” The word “believe” and “know” John kind of uses synonymously, “these are written that you may know” the certainty of these kind of things, etc. If you look through John, you see that pisteuo—he uses believe and knowing very synonymously. Another good reference for this idea is Luke: I have prepared these things, Theophilus, that you may know of a certainty of the things which we have believed. [Luke 1:3-4, “It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, [4] That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.”] If belief and knowledge were different why do you get that sentence in there? That’s just pure 20th century garbage; it doesn’t have anything to do with the text.

In Romans 8:28 notice the qualification, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good” to whom? “To those who love God.” So it’s not denying that there’s a divergence in the future here, it’s not saying that everything’s going to be hunky-dory. If that were true you wouldn’t have this split here. Everything does not work together for those who reject Jesus Christ. Everything does not work together the fallen angels. Things work together for only a subset of individuals who are defined as those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. We want to remember the context of Romans 8:28. Romans 8:28 doesn’t work if you hold to this idea that good and evil are somehow all mixed together and everything is going to come out fine in the end. That’s not what this verse is all about. The verse has to be taken in its theological context. So “we know that God causes all things to work together for good.”

The other thing to remember and we got into this last time is that to give content to this we want to remember that a verse of Scripture, if you think in terms of the Creator/creature distinction…, remember that biblically speaking you always have the Creator/creature distinction. You never get away from it, from all eternity we’ll never get away from it. The creature is always the creature; the Creator is always the Creator, and they don’t mix. The only time they come close to mixing is in the person of Jesus Christ and even His two natures don’t mix because the doctrine of the hypostatic union says “undiminished deity and true humanity united,” and remember the little phrase in there, “united in one person” qualified “without confusion.” That means the Creator/ creature distinction is not even erased in the person of Christ.

So we have the Creator and the creature. In this view, this is the biblical view, you have verses like Genesis 18:25 where it says that Abraham, that’s the one where he’s bargaining over Sodom and Gomorrah, and he says “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right [deal justly]?” That’s the essence of what we … Abraham didn’t know all the things about Sodom and Gomorrah, didn’t know all the deal about God judging the place, didn’t know all the facts about the situation, didn’t know God’s larger plan for the Gentiles versus Israel, but he knew one thing, that “the Judge of all the earth shall do right” and that’s the resolution. We don’t know all the details but we know that “the Judge of all the earth shall do right.” It doesn’t say that He’s finished doing, it says that “He shall,” future tense, “He shall do right.” So that’s the confidence.

What does that mean in terms of this diagram? It means that that resolution occurs at the creature level, not at the Creator level. And it may be that we will never know all the details of why He did something and didn’t do something else. We may never know why we’ve lost a child or why there was some horrible accident, or why there was some horrible suffering here, there or elsewhere. We may never know. We may know, but we may never know. The point is that whether we know or we don’t know, there is resolution. It is at the Creator level, not the creature level. Next week when we do another faith-rest drill, same verse, same fragment, I’ll show you what the unbeliever says and why he cannot resolve the problem, why in folly you cannot resolve this problem, and why the only answer to this is walking by faith. This does not mean there isn’t a resolution. The point we’re saying is that God has omniscience and that omniscience means that He has a perfect plan that rationally fits, and He can argue the case with total conviction before any forum. No smart aleck lawyer is going to out maneuver God on this situation. No PhD philosopher, whether he teaches at Princeton or he doesn’t, is going to out maneuver God in this area of suffering.

God has a perfect plan and that is His omniscience. So we trust absolute rationality. It isn’t that He has a weak excuse for what He’s doing and He’s kind of hiding it and keeping it to Himself. That’s the world’s image. As one Princeton philosopher put it not many years ago, Walter Kauffman who was one of the foremost atheists in the United States, Princeton tends to do that, it was only the college that Jonathan Edwards started for people to teach the Word of God, and they specialize in all those intellectual weirdoes in the United States [can’t understand word] to Princeton, probably because of the salary there. At Princeton Kauffman said the Christian position is that God can do anything He wants as long He gives a lollipop at the end of history. It was his sarcastic reference to the fact of resolution in the future. But there’s more than a lollipop involved here, there’s the whole reason for existence that’s involved here. Kauffman’s only replacement or surrogate for it was if you happen to be lying on your death bed rotting of cancer, the only resolution you have is to make up a purpose for it. Kauffman says that you have to make up for the reason for life. Well that really helps, that is a real boost to your immune system when you’re dying, struggling with some sickness or disease to be told well there’s no reason for it, you make it up by yourself. That’s what I’m talking about.

You see, when we go through these drills we have to understand what the other side says, because Satan always wants to tempt us; the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. Well we walk across the fence and see if the grass is greener; no, it isn’t, it’s all burned out. Satan’s firing an unloaded gun here. It’s just an intimidation tool, there are no bullets in the thing, he doesn’t have any bullets, he doesn’t have any resolution to the problem. All he can do is criticize, criticize, criticize, and fill our minds with all kinds of spiritual toxins about God is a meany, God restrains, God’s nasty, God has nothing else to do except make us miserable, etc. That’s the kind of toxin that permeates and we have to get around that by doing the same thing that Abraham had to do, we rest in the fact that God has a perfect plan.

We mentioned some rationales and we said there are two families of rationales that we’re given in Scripture. We have four reasons why suffering occurs because it’s directly caused by creature sin, creature rebellion. We went through those. Then we said there’s also times when suffering appears in the life and there’s no relation to what we have personally done, and there are five reasons for that, at least five. So you can’t come to these situations and think that there’s no reason. There are nine right there, and that’s just a starting list. So when we meditate about what God is doing in our lives, what is this mess I’ve got on my hands, we’ve got at least nine ways to go.

Those don’t exhaust it because we already know something else that the non-Christian can’t understand, and that is the cross of Jesus Christ resolved part of the suffering problem because in the cross of Jesus Christ, when Jesus Christ died, He resolved the tension that you see in the Old Testament between God’s grace and mercy on one hand, and His holy, just wrath on the other. The Old Testament saints had no resolution to this problem. They had a worse problem than we do because on the one hand they knew God had burning holiness, from Mount Sinai, from Isaiah’s vision, from Ezekiel’s vision, they knew this, they knew, and David said in the Psalms, Lord, no man can walk into Your presence and be justified. They knew that they were dealing with a holy righteous God. On the other hand they pled that God would somehow be merciful, but they also knew from the lamb sacrifices there couldn’t be any mercy without some resolution, but they didn’t have the resolution. It wasn’t clear to them.

The cross is the resolution, and that’s why Paul in Romans says “that He may be just” and what? That He may justify. And that’s Paul’s point; the cross resolved a major theological dilemma. So the First Advent of Christ resolved at least half the problem. What do you suppose the Second Advent is going to show? As we get into the doctrines of the session of Christ we’ll see a hint at the way history is going and maybe a little bit more insight about what God is doing and how He resolves these matters.

The third step of the faith-rest drill is that we meditate upon this until it clicks, and it’s up to you and your situation, you have to work it through, but there comes a time when there’s a peace that comes and you can rest in that peace. At that point you’re trusting; at that point you’re walking by faith. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God, that’s the Word of God, you’ve heard it, you’ve digested it and you believe it. It’s that simple. So there’s the faith-rest drill.

We’re going to start with the Old Testament pictures of the ascent and session of Jesus. We started Psalm 68; we were holding the place in Psalm 68 and turning to the New Testament, Eph. 4, trying to show how Paul used Psalm 68 in Ephesians 4. We want to look at how to interpret Psalm 68, then we’ll come forwards to the New Testament and pick up Ephesians 4. Why are we doing this? Again, what am I doing here by going through these Old Testament passages? Here’s the deal.

When the apostles saw Jesus Christ rise from the Mount of Olives, the mount of ascension, they only observed Him, probably for a minute, and then it says He was enveloped in a cloud. Whether He rose 100 feet, 200 feet, 500 feet, 1,000 feet we don’t know, but their physical vision was cut off. So when Jesus Christ was taken up in the cloud, at that point nobody has any empirical observation of what’s going on. Nobody knows. The disciples were not seeing the throne of God then, all they saw was Jesus and then they didn’t see Him, and then there were these two angels standing by telling them that as Jesus Christ has risen, so He will return, and that establishes for all time that the return of Jesus Christ is not some spiritual event, it’s not AD 70, the destruction of Jerusalem. The return of Jesus Christ is exactly the place where He ascended. He’s going to come back in a physical body just like He ascended, in a physical body, resurrection body.

Psalm 68, Psalm 2, Daniel 7, Psalm 110 are passages that the Holy Spirit led the church fathers to so that through these passages they could glimpse the unseen thing going on with the ascent and session of Christ. These are the only pictures that we’ve got in the New Testament. So what we’re doing, we’re going to work our way through some of these Old Testament passages. It’s going to be demanding because you have to pay attention to the details in these Old Testament texts. There’s a massive amount of stuff in here. We’re going to—unfortunately—have to go through it faster than I would like.

Go to Psalm 68:18, that’s the verse that the Apostle Paul picks up and uses when he discusses, of all things, spiritual gifts in the church, and links our spiritually gifted people in the church. He links those spiritually gifted people to whatever is going on here with the ascension and session of Christ. So we’re dealing with the inter-advent period. We cautioned you, the inter-advent period is something that’s opened out in history. In the Old Testament the two advents are together, and when you get in the pages of the New Testament, because Jesus Christ was rejected as the Messiah, now He can’t fulfill the First and Second Advent together, so now we look at it sideways and these two events come apart, and lo and behold, now we have an inter-advent age. There are characteristics in this inter-advent age that the Old Testament knows nothing of … knows nothing of. It knows something of the fact that the two advents are different, but there’s very, very little detail about this age that’s stuck in here that we live in. So it behooves us to pay attention to how the apostles cope with this because all of a sudden all their hopes go up in the sky. Jesus is gone. It’s pretty amazing, He rose from the dead, but then He doesn’t stay around, He disappears, He goes somewhere in His resurrection body.

We said that the New Testament is quite consistent in that He ascended through heavens, plural, until He arrived physically and geometrically at wherever the throne of God is. You know, is it in the Milky Way, is it somewhere else, is it in the nth dimension, we don’t know. We know, however, that the Lord Jesus Christ exists at a point in space because in His humanity His body is in a point in space, because His body is. You know, six-feet-or-less tall, weighs so many pounds, that’s the physical resurrection body of Jesus Christ, and it’s somewhere.

Psalm 68 is one of those Old Testament passages. It says that “Thou hast ascended on high,” and since the addressee of the Psalm is Jehovah, what it means is that Yahweh has ascended on high, Yahweh or the Lord has “led captive captives; Thou has received gifts” or booty “among men, even among the rebellious,” so God has ascended. Verse 24, you can see it’s a procession that David has in view, “They have seen Thy procession, O God, the procession of my God, my King, into the sanctuary. [25] The singers went on, the musicians after them,” etc. So you turn back to Psalm 68:1 and you realize it’s a Davidic Psalm. It wasn’t written in the exilic period so we have to go back and here’s where Old Testament history counts. Those who have followed the frame­work know where you can place that Psalm. You know that it’s happening during the period of the rise and reign of David. That’s significant because what does the rise and reign of David represent when you collect all these events together that were going on here?

What started happening with the Exodus? At Exodus the pagan world power, Egypt, was destroyed and the Jews came out through Mount Sinai, the conquest and settlement, onto the rise and reign of David. David’s reign is sort of the completion of this conquest period. The question is, what is David doing here? In Psalm 68:1 he makes a certain phrase that’s hortatory, he asks the choir director for the temple worship that he was writing this for, they sing out, “Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered.” One thing we need to do here is avoid a common problem and that is thinking of this in purely poetic terms divorced from history. There is a historical thing that David has on his mind here; this is not just flinging words out to make up a song to sell for next week. This is a reference to something.

We want to go back in the Old Testament to find analogues to verse 1 because that verse occurs elsewhere, that same kind of “Let God arise.” Turn to Numbers 10; we’ll do a little detective work. We want to understand the thrust of why Paul quotes Psalm 68 when he had the whole rest of the Old Testament to quote, why quote this place. Numbers 10:35; Numbers is one of those books nobody reads. The last two verses, “Then it came about when the ark set out that Moses said, ‘Rise up, O LORD! And let Thine enemies be scattered,” so what’s the context of this kind of language? What was going on in Numbers 10:35? It was when the Israelites broke camp on their conquest and they take the tabernacle down, you can imagine, that whole thing comes down, and there’s the ark, so the priests get the ark, and what’s on the ark but the cherubim, and what’s that? That’s the throne of God; it’s a model of the throne of God. So here they are, they pick this thing up and they being to move with it and the whole camp moves them, it’s a vanguard here going on.

That’s the picture of what is meant when it says “Rise up, O Lord, and let your enemies be scattered.” And what were they doing? They were marching in conquest for the land. So we understand a little bit more about what Psalm 68 is talking about.

Turn to 2 Samuel 6. In 2 Samuel 6:12, here we are with the ark again, except this time it’s not in Moses day, it’s four centuries later, in David’s time. “Now it was told King David, saying, ‘The LORD has blessed the house of Obed-edom and all that belongs to him, on account of the ark of God.’ And David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-edom into the city of David with gladness. [13] And so it was, that when the bearers of the ark of the LORD had gone six paces, he sacrificed an ox and a fatling. [14] And David was dancing before the LORD with all his might, and David was wearing a linen ephod. [15] So David and all the house of Israel were bringing up the ark of the LORD with shouting and the sound of the trumpet.”

This is one of those amazing places in the Old Testament texts where we have one of the most solemn, serious pieces of literature mixed with one of the funniest, almost street humor. And it shows you how the Holy Spirit records history, people and their warts and all. So here we have this ark, very sacred, this is the most sacred, solemn procession going on, David is leaping in his excitement over seeing the end of the conquest; finally the ark is going to have a place to rest and David knows by divine inspiration that this is the final resting place. Once the ark is in Jerusalem a certain part of the history is finished, we’re at a milestone. So he’s “dancing before the Lord with all his might, and David was wearing a linen ephod. [15] So David and all the house of Israel were bringing up the ark of the LORD with shouting and the sound of the trumpet.”

David had a lot of sense of culture which he passed on to his son, Solomon, apparently in a very thorough way because it was Solomon who then developed a lot of the temple worship, but he patterned it and got most of the ideas from his dad. His dad wrote the hymn book basically for the temple, and his father got a lot of musicians together that Solomon later used. So David had a sense of music. Remember the two qualifications prior to his becoming king, he could fight and he could play the harp, he could lead in worship, music; he was a musician and a warrior, the two were together in David’s career, this is two gifts. So, David and all the house were doing this.

Verse 16, “Then it happened as the ark of the LORD came into the city of David that Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart. [17] So they brought in the ark of the LORD and set it in its place inside the tent which David hat pitched for it; and David offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD. [18] And when David had finished offering the burnt offering and the peace offering, he blessed the people in the name of the LORD of hosts. [19] Further, he distributed to all the people, to all the multitude of Israel, both to men and women, a cake of bread and one of dates and one of raisins,” now watch that because that’s reflected in Psalm 68, “to each one. Then all the people departed each to his house.”

Verse 20, “But when David returned to bless his household, Michal the daughter of Saul, came out to meet David and said, ‘How the king of Israel distinguished himself today! He uncovered him­self today in the eyes of his servants’ maids as one of the foolish ones shamelessly uncovers himself!’” The ephod was a little loose at the bottom, and he probably did expose himself during the worship service. So his wife, being the prim and proper daughter of Saul, couldn’t stand this so she let him have it when he got home. So he turns around and he lets her have it. [21] “So David said to Michal, ‘It was before the LORD, who chose me above your father,” so there’s a quick putdown, He “chose me above your father and above all his house,” I am the Davidic dynasty and I’ve replaced your father’s dynasty, “and to appoint me ruler over the people of the LORD, over Israel; therefore I will celebrate before the LORD. [22] And I will be more lightly esteemed than this and will be humble in my own eyes, but with the maids of whom you have spoken, with them I will be distinguished.’” And the text concludes with Michal never had a child. [23, “And Michal the daughter of Saul had no child to the day of her death.”] Obviously the Lord defended David’s behavior in this situation, and it goes to show you something kind of interesting, that there’s a certain radical-ness to the Lord in these situations, and that people can often have good feelings of what’s proper, and it may not fit what the Holy Spirit has in mind. We’re not going to justify all the language in the text, etc. I’m just saying it’s kind of interesting humor, a side note to this very sacred ceremony that’s going on here.

So the ark comes up and it’s obviously coming up to Jerusalem, so it’s ascending, it’s coming up. Psalm 68 is David’s visionary commemoration of this event. In other words, it’s just like Psalm 22, we don’t know what the trigger was for Psalm 22 but obviously under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit he prefigured the crucifixion of Jesus Christ there. In Psalm 68 again you have this visionary empowerment in David in his musical and in his poetic field, and the Lord lets him see something greater is going on. Just as that physical ark came up to the physical Mount Zion, God will one day reign on earth, and David always has that vision; at this point it’s not just David, it’s not just his little kingdom that’s going on here, but his little kingdom is a step toward that ultimate kingdom that God will one day bring on the earth. So that’s Psalm 68 and that’s the context.

Let’s come back to the New Testament and see if we can understand what that hints at. We’ll come back to this theme a lot before we’re finished with the ascension and session. Ephesians 4:8; one of the things that’s obvious right from the start is what? Look at verse 8, think of what we’ve just said, think of what that ark represented, think of what Psalm 68 is talking about, and what stunning thing, without getting into all the details, what do you notice immediately by way of implication? If Paul in verse 8 is citing Psalm 68:18 what does that imply about how he viewed Jesus Christ? Here’s one for your Jehovah’s Witness friend, the New Testament never says Jesus is God. What do you think this says? This is a Psalm that speaks of God ascending Mount Zion in the cherubs on the top of the ark, and who takes God’s place when the Apostle Paul quotes Psalm 68? Who does he replace Jehovah with? Jesus Christ.

This is an example of the radical nature of the New Testament that blind people can’t see and it’s sad. In their unregenerate mentality they just can’t bring themselves to believe that this man, this human Jewish carpenter could possibly, by monotheistic Jews, be placed into a position that God Himself is in. This replacement … it’s either blasphemy or it’s truth and this is why in the Gospels they picked up rocks. The Jewish skeptics in the New Testament times knew enough of their Bible to know exactly what’s going on here. That’s why Paul got beat up. You don’t walk into a Jewish group of people, monotheists, and take a human being and stick in the hand of God without getting your hair parted with a few rocks. That happened, because to them this is an act of blasphemy, unless Jesus really is God incarnate, and then it’s not blasphemy, it’s revelation. You can’t have it both ways, either this is a blasphemous statement or it’s a very blessed revelation. But it can’t be neglected, it can’t be ho-hum, that’s interesting and move on. You can’t do that, not if you understand the verse and can read. Of course we have people who can’t read ballots so I guess we have people who can’t read Bibles either.

In verse 9 he expounds this and he begins to interpret the application of what’s going on at Christ’s session. So look at the analogy; the analogy that Paul is making is a powerful one. It’s an analogy between…, in the Old Testament God comes down at Sinai, He’s with Israel during the conquest, and at the bringing of the ark up on Mount Zion it typifies the finished and completion conquest. Now it wasn’t really finished in the Old Testament but David prophetically sees it as finished when Yahweh, in the form of this ark, is physically placed in His temple on Mount Zion. That is said to be, Psalm 68, analogous to the Son of Man comes from where? “I will ascend up into heaven where I was before,” remember His statement. So there’s an analogy here with Jesus Christ ascending and seated back on the Father’s right hand. So there’s an identity going on between Jehovah God of the Old Testament and the Lord Jesus Christ of the New Testament. It is inescapable. Apart from all the little arguments over what the verse says, this is basic.

Paul goes on and he’s trying to apply it to a problem in the congregation. This is one of those neat eloquent things Paul surprises us with again and again in the pages of the New Testament. Here he is dealing with what we would call an organization problem in the local congregation and he brings up heavy theology like this to cope with it. He doesn’t go to some franchise on how to grow a purpose driven church or something, sort of an analogy to a McDonald’s franchise, you buy one of the books and it tells you everything you need to know about how to grow a church. There’s none of that in the New Testament. He’s going back to basic theology to deal with these things. So we now have on the one side, Yahweh or Jehovah God, and the other, the Lord Jesus Christ, and they, by this analogy, are considered to be identical. So there’s a forthright declaration.

Now he’s going to deal with details. In verses 9-10 is another little rare instance; this tells us how Paul would have taught the Bible, because he’s quoted an Old Testament passage and now he shows you actually what he was doing. Here’s how he would comment. He would read an Old Testament passage, which he did, now in verses 9-10 he expounds that passage and he tells the interpretation of that passage. It’s not an introduction, three points, and a poem; it is an exposition of details of the text. He says in verse 9, “Now this expression,” or, this phrase, “He ascended” -see what he’s doing; he’s commenting word by word from the text of Scripture. And if people fell asleep in the congregation or fell down, you’d try to get first aid to them, as they did in the book of Acts, people did go to sleep because Paul spoke more than twenty minutes, how amazing, it would shock American Christians, you actually had a sermon that lasted longer than twenty minutes here, sometimes it lasted three hours, and people did fall asleep but Paul would just crank on.

In verse 9 he goes through the details and he says “‘He ascended”—what does it mean except that He also descended into the lower parts of the earth?” We won’t have to go into whether that’s talking about subterranean or whether this is the earth itself, etc. that’s a whole other story, but I just want you to see the drift. It’s the Lord Jesus Christ who descended, and verse 10, “He who descended is Himself also the same one who ascended far above all the heavens,” see that same phrase, we studied it in 1 Peter 3:22, in Hebrews 4 and Ephesians 1. Now it says He “ascended far above all the heavens, that He might control, “fill all things” means He is in authority over all things, which means before He ascended He wasn’t in authority. How do we know the Lord Jesus Christ wasn’t in authority before He ascended? Can you think of one instance in particular in His ministry, when He was walking the face of this earth before He went to the cross that shows He wasn’t in control of all things? What happened when Satan came to Him? What was Satan’s offer? I will give you the kingdoms of the world. Did Jesus say they aren’t yours? No, they are his. That’s why we as Christians have to be careful, we look at the political structure and we see corruption and we see this going wrong and that going wrong, well of course, who’s in charge?

The point here is that Jesus Christ had to earn by His obedience He earned His position. That’s when He attained the right similar to David, when He was accepted at the Father’s right hand, and here is where all power is given to Him, not during His earthly ministry when He had to deal with Satan. So something significant goes on here at the session of Christ. That something significant opens the whole door to the meaning of the Church Age and what is going on.

We’re going to go to another Old Testament passage, Daniel 7. We went through Daniel 7 when we were going through the latter part of the Old Testament, Part IV of this series, and we talked about premillennialism, amillennialism, and postmillennialism. In Daniel 7 is one of those great passages where the Lord Jesus Christ is seen in the Old Testament, and He is seen in the context of the four kingdoms. Remember the four kingdoms in the Old Testament that Daniel saw, the first one was the Babylonian kingdom, then the Medo-Persia kingdom, then the Greeks and then the Romans. Those are the four kingdoms in Daniel. And who was Daniel? He isn’t listed in the Hebrew Old Testament as a prophet; he is listed in the wisdom literature because Daniel was a man involved in fulltime political career. He was an advisor to the monarchs of both Babylon and later Medo-Persia. So he was sort of a person, probably that would correspond to like Henry Kissinger or somebody like that, more like a Secretary of State kind of person.

He was involved in the intimacies of daily political structure, and it caused him, as a Jew, to wonder where Israel fits in the context of international relations and God the Holy Spirit opened up this vision to him, several times. In Daniel 7:15, after he sees the vision, and we’re going to revisit this passage, we’re going to point out something, I just mention this in passing but watch in verse 15, “As for me, Daniel, my spirit was distressed within m and the visions in my mind kept upsetting me,” or kept on my mind, I couldn’t get them out of my mind.

Verse 16, “I approached one of those who were standing by and began asking him the exact meaning of all this.” That’s an interesting statement. Just in passing make a note that apocalyptic passages of Scripture, such as Zechariah, Daniel and Revelation, will inevitably have an interpreting angel somewhere in the text, either singular or plural, there will be interpreting angels. And that tells you something else, when Daniel, Zechariah, Ezekiel, John, when they are treated to these wonderful visions of heaven, they themselves do not understand what it is they’re seeing. They see a vision, and they reach around and the angels are standing there and the angels teach them the meaning. The meaning does not come directly to these guys that look at the vision. The meaning is given to them. So this is very typical; don’t interpret verse 16 as this is something odd that’s happening to Daniel. This is typical for an apocalyptic vision.

“I approached one of those who were standing by and began asking him the exact meaning of all this. So he told me and made known to me the interpretation of these things.” So these are the interpreting angels, the hermeneutical angels. Verse 17, “These great beasts, which are four in number, are four kings who will arise from the earth. [18] But the saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come.” That references that end time when good and evil are separated and God’s kingdom comes. So there’s a fifth kingdom here, a fifth kingdom! By the way, that’s why, those of you who are history buffs, if you read the history of 17th century England and you read about the Puritan era and when Cromwell took over England and ruled as a lord-protector, one of the groups that formed his political base was a group called the Fifth Monarchy Men. Now you know where that title came from. The Fifth Monarchy Men were a group of believers inside the Puritan community that looked to this kingdom. There’s a debate whether they were postmil or premil, but the point was that’s what that title means, The Fifth Monarchy Men.

Verse 19, “Then I desired to know the exact meaning of the fourth beast,” and we went through that. Verse 21, “I kept looking, and that horn” the fourth beast “was waging war with the saints and overpowering them.” So it’s a case when this empire, the tail end of this Roman Empire [blank spot] possession of the kingdom. That’s the return of Christ, though it’s not clear here because you remember here at this point in history the First and Second Advents are all mixed. Visualize prophecy as an accordion and it’s all compressed when it’s given. Then as history goes on, boom, boom, boom, this kind of thing happens, oh, more detail, oh gee, wow, the First and Second Advent are spread apart and you begin to see all these details, and then all of a sudden you realize oops, we’re going to see this later this year, the end of the Church Age all of a sudden that Second Advent of Christ starts getting a spin. Now we’ve got the Rapture and we’ve got the Second Advent and they’re separate. That’s typical, that’s what happens as prophecy unfolds.

So here everything is compressed, but the big idea is undeniably there, and that is the kingdoms of this world, these are not just spiritual kingdoms, these are physical, historical, political kingdoms. And they are going to be defeated, which means that in verse 22 that refers to a historical political and physical kingdom ruled by the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s what we mean when we say the millennium and the eternal state.

Verse 23, “Thus he said: ‘The fourth beast will be a fourth kingdom on the earth, which will be different from all the other kingdoms, and it will devour the whole earth and tread it down and crush it. [24] 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. [25] 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,” two and a half years. [26] “But the court will sit for judgment, and his dominion will be taken away, annihilated and destroyed forever. [27] Then the sovereignty, the dominion, and the greatness of all the kingdoms under the whole heaven” shall come upon the earth.” [“…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 dominions will serve and obey Him.”]

Earlier in the passage there’s an expansion of verse 22. We want to look at this part of the text just to get the running flow of this. In verse 22 it says “until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was passed in favor of” now watch it, “of the saints” plural, so everybody agrees verse 22 is talking about a group of people. [“… of the saints of the Highest One, and the time arrived when the saints took possession of the kingdom.”] Go back up to verse 8, this is a repeat vision. This is something else about apocalyptic literature that you want to remember and write down sometime, that is, that by the mouth of two or three witnesses it is established and in the Scriptures you will often see God repeat Himself two times. This is why in Joseph’s story, every part of that Joseph story, if you look at it carefully, has dualism in it. There are two dreams he has when he’s a teenager; there are the two interpretations while he’s in jail. There are two encounters with his brothers; the two is always in there because by the mouth of two or three witnesses it is established. So in Daniel 7 there’s two times that this vision occurs.

Verse 8, “While I was contemplating the horns, behold, another horn, a little one, came up among them, and three of the first horns were pulled out by the roots before it,” this is all taking about the end times and the political structures that exist, “this horn possessed eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth uttering great boasts,” or blasphemies. Verse 9, “I kept looking until thrones were set up,” now here’s a detailed version of what later happened in verse 22, “until thrones were set up and the Ancient of Days took His seat.” I told you when you looked at verse 22 to be careful, who were the two things? People; you saw in verse 22, “Ancient of Days” and “people,” a plural set, not an individual, a set of people.

Now look at verse 9, “And the Ancient of Days,” so there’s the correspondence in verse 22, “the Ancient of Days took His seat; His vesture was like white snow, and the hair of His head like pure wool. His throne was ablaze with flames, its wheels were a burning fire. [10] A river of fire was flowing and coming out from before Him; Thousands upon thousands were attending Him, and myriads upon myriads were standing before Him; the court sat, and the books were opened. [11] Then I kept looking because of the sound of the boastful words which the horn was speaking; I kept looking until the beast was slain, and its body was destroyed and given to the burning fire. [12] As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but an extension of life was granted to them for an appointed period of time.”

The idea here is the Babylonian kingdom ended but its influence lasted for a time. The Medo-Persian Empire ended but its influence lasted forever. The Greeks Empire was ended but the influence continued. What was the influence of Babylon? Primarily economic, they were vicious in their inflation of currency, they were currency debauchers. The Medo-Persians contributed multi pluralism; they were the guys that tried to unite the whole world into one culture, because Persia bridged between India, the subcontinent of India, and the Middle East. Then you have the Greeks who contributed rationalism and logic. And the Romans contributed law and political power. So all these influences remained, but the fourth kingdom, of course, when the Roman Empire is revived again and continues on to the last days, then when this is shut down, then all the influences are eradicated. That’s what the whole idea is here. But here’s the passage that refers and sets up this idea of the ascension and session of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Verse 13, “I kept looking in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. [14] And to Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and men of every language might serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.” The word “destroyed” is the same word in verse 11, referred to of the four kingdoms. In other words, this will historically continue, it will never ever be destroyed.

But in verses 13-14 we don’t read of a people per se, we read of a new one that’s called in verse 13 the “Son of Man.” That’s the title, the cognomen that the Lord Jesus Christ used of Himself. Remember that incident when He was talking to the high priest at one of His trials and He said you’ll see the Son of Man coming, and they said He shouted blasphemy, blasphemy! Why? Because they knew Daniel 7, and Daniel 7, the Son of Man comes to God in His holiness in the presence of God and receives the Kingdom. Now previously, in Daniel 7:2-6 each one of those kingdoms had an animal associated with it. So watch the progression. The Son of Man is the fifth kingdom, fourth kingdom, third kingdom, second kingdom, first kingdom; animal, fourth kingdom, animal third kingdom, animal second kingdom, animal first kingdom. The fifth kingdom - man.

Think about what that implies. If these emblems of political structures are animals, what do animals not have that man has, right from Genesis 1? Image of God. What the Holy Spirit is indicating about the political power structures of history is that they are sub-human, they are not what men should be like, they are low class. That’s why as Christians we are never totally victims of a political process because we don’t look to a political process because political processes as they exist in the fallen world are animal-like, they lack conscience, they lack the higher qualities of life. It is only this fifth kingdom, led by the Lord Jesus Christ. And the interesting thing about all these animals is that they reference two things. Each animal equals two things, equals the leader plus the people; leader plus the people; leader plus the people; leader plus the people. And the Son of Man, therefore, and that’s why I said you’ve got to interpret in light of verse 22, the Son of Man figure is both the leader and the people. The Son of Man includes the people and the kingdom. So in the New Testament when Jesus Christ identifies Himself…, if you turn to page 10 in the notes, we want to tie this together.

“How is the imagery of Daniel 7:9-14 used in the New Testament to interpret Christ’s session? One way the New Testament uses this imagery is in teaching that Christ received full authority over the earth when He came to the Father on the throne. Just as the Son of Man figure in Daniel ‘was given … dominion, and glory, and a nation’ (Daniel 7:14), Christ was given glory and honor at His session.” If we had time, you should do this anyway on your own; I give gospel references when Christ says “all power is given unto Me.” Learn that is not a random statement. When Jesus Christ said “all power is given unto Me” He was consciously and deliberately utilizing the Daniel 7 imagery. He was placing Himself in the role of the Son of Man and He said you read it in Daniel 7 and now I am the Son of Man and I receive all the power and dominion and glory.

Do you see how arrogant Christ must have been if He wasn’t God? He’s not a good moral teacher. C. S. Lewis was right, He’s on the level of a person that says he’s a poached egg, a lunatic; He’s on the level of a lunatic or He’s the Son of God. Remember that when you get into conversations about Jesus Christ. Anybody that says that Jesus Christ isn’t God is essentially calling Him an idiot and a lunatic. Nobody likes to admit that … no, I don’t really believe that, I think Jesus was a good teacher. No He isn’t, He’s a ludicrous lunatic, that’s what you’re saying. Oh no-no, that’s not what I’m saying. Yes it is what you’re saying. Then you have to challenge them to read the text, if they are a literate type person.

“Christ at the session is thus recognized by the Father as the king of the final kingdom. He is set to gain what Satan tried to offer Him during the temptations (cf. Matthew 4:8-9).” Do you see the full circle? Satan comes to Him at the temptation, remember the impeccability issue we discussed, there was the great temptation, is Christ going to get the kingdoms from the hand of Satan or is He going to get the kingdoms from the hand of who? The Ancient of Days. But He can’t get the kingdom from the Ancient of Days unless He dies and does the Father’s will and pays for the sins of the world, and ascends into Heaven. Then He gets the … and that’s a model He gives to us as obedient servants, that the reward comes by obedience.

“A second way the New Testament uses Daniel 7 imagery is in showing that the kingdom which ultimately is given to Christ will be made up of ‘all people, nations, and languages’ (7:14).” That means it’s not just Jews. So when Jesus takes the cognomen Son of Man He has reference to a ministry to Gentiles outside of Israel.

Finally on page 11 of the notes, note this next thing, very important about Daniel 7 and its application. “Finally, a third way the New Testament uses the Son of Man imagery” and I want you to note very carefully this point, “is to reveal by its negative usage” it’s non-use “of Daniel 7 details the postponement of the full exercise of Christ’s session authority. In Daniel 7 the Son of Man image represents the people of the kingdom as well as the king.” Remember, animals equal leader plus people. So if the Son of Man equals leader plus people, where are the people? The people aren’t there yet in history. “If Christ is the king, He must have a people in order to bring the fifth kingdom into existence. Until that people exist there can’t be a kingdom. Moreover, Daniel 7 imagery also shows that the nations must be judged, the Satanic beast slain, and all remnants of the previous four kingdoms set aside prior to the actual reign of the Son of Man. By omitting specific references to these details the New Testament shows that the session did not fulfill all of this Old Testament imagery.”

So watch that, you’ll see this pattern again and again. The New Testament picks up these images but it takes only part of them, it does not take all of them. You can easily see why amillennial­­ism gets started, because what the amil does is he comes in here and he says oh, Daniel 7, that must mean the beast is already judged; if Christ has received dominion and power the beast is already judged, the Kingdom is here. If this is the Kingdom we’ve got a problem. But it’s because of careless interpreting details of the text. The apostles never said, they never say that the kingdoms of this world have been judged yet, they look forward to that. See, it’s the inter-advent period of prying apart the details; some of the details occur with the First Advent, some of the details occur with the Second Advent. And that’s the idea you have to see.

Just because Daniel 7 imagery is used it doesn’t mean it’s completely fulfilled yet; it’s beginning to be fulfilled. So Christ is identified, front end, He is the Son of Man; He is the One who will do this. Has He completed it yet? No He hasn’t. What’s He doing in the Church Age? He’s doing something. That’s the intriguing thing we want to answer as we move into this chapter. What is Jesus Christ doing today at the Father’s right hand? He’s not resting, He’s doing something and that’s the secret of what the Christian life is all about; what is He doing to get to that final kingdom?

Question asked: Clough replies: The question is about the David passage and the ephod, what she says is true that part of the Michal response was that David was acting in a priestly fashion. The ephod was a priestly garment. In the Old Testament the king, the office of king, was segregated away from the priest. It’s sort of like our division of powers, you know, we have executive, legislative and judicial. My wife and I were talking about separation of powers the other day and I was pointing out that Switzerland actually has a better separation of powers than we do. You know what the Swiss did to make sure that the powers are separated? They actually put the legislature in a different city so they had the judicial over here, the legislature over here and the executive over here to make sure everybody understood that these are three separate and distinct elements of government.

The wearing of the ephod … Michal, as a matter of pride, she was a very prideful woman and she got a lot of it from her dad because Saul was a very proud person, a very respectable person by the way, a very dignified person. The man was a dignified man and his daughter was a dignified princess. Remember, Michal was a princess, she was raised in royalty, and for her to see her husband acting like a common person out in the street was probably very deeply offensive to her. But there was more to it than that. The garment, the ephod garment, is a priestly garment, and the fact, if you remember in that verse, one of the first verses when the ark was coming up, what does it say? It took so many paces and what did David do? He sacrificed an ox. Does that strike you as unusual for a king? He’s not from the tribe of Aaron; he’s from the tribe of Judah. He hasn’t got any right to sacrifice, not in a priestly way, for his personal sin, yes. But he has no right as an Aaronic Levitical priest to sacrifice on the part of the people, which he did.

And that is a tip off that something else is going on here that we are going to get into in Psalm 110 when it talks about this business of the priesthood after Melchizedek because David is assuming the prerogatives of a non-Jewish priesthood when he’s doing all this. That’s all embedded in this. There’s a lot that goes on here. That’s why so many Psalms root back to 2 Samuel 6. That is an extremely difficult passage to work through. But the uncovering is an uncovering, we can’t write it off. Look at the concordance you’ll see what we’re talking about. So it’s one of those passages, there are other passages in Samuel, you have to get used to it because it shocks people that these things are recorded in the Old Testament, because we’re afraid, oh gosh, what a role model that would be. And that’s true; it’s not being put forward as a role model. The Holy Spirit is reporting things that happened. The style of literature of Samuel is written after the same style as the heroic literature of the Greeks, who I believe borrowed the style from the Jew. But they’re adventure stories and they record all kind of things. One of the other things in 2 Samuel when David kills all those enemies, he goes and circumcises them all and brings back the foreskins and counts them in front of everybody. And he does so right in front of Saul and Michal. That’s one of the dowries. This is not quite a good image; I don’t think you’d find it in a Christian movie.

The point is that this is the sort of tough stuff that appears here in the Hebrew Old Testament. I just mention that because I think we need to, as Christians, appreciate the fact that God is not a prissy God. If we think that some sin or something is going to shock Him, He’s already talked about it before. And that’s not to excuse sin, that’s not for us to be crude, it’s rather to show that God works with that and as Professor Hendricks at seminary always used to say when God paints a picture of man, He paints him warts and all to show that in fact God knows all of our idiosyn­crasies, stuff that we don’t even want to admit about ourselves and He goes on working with us. If we’re shocked by some things we read in the Scriptures, I think the problem is ours, because it sort of betrays the fact that we think that there’s a certain good work that … minimum good work here in order to get qualified before God, and that’s works.

Again, we’re not excusing this, we’re not excusing some of the rough conversation that goes on. One of my shocks when I started learning Hebrew was some of the language that’s used in the Old Testament. It’s pretty descriptive language, not in the Psalms, although in the Psalms there’s that passage about, come on God, get your hands out of your pockets and move it. Can you imagine somebody in a prayer meeting getting up and accusing God of having His hands in His pocket, I’d be kind of shocked if somebody said that. But it’s in the Psalms. And that’s the way these guys talked. So it’s just reality, it’s just the grubby reality of the fallen human race and here we are in all of our crud, and you know what’s amazing? God in His grace works with it. So that’s the way you want to look at it. Not that it condones it. God works with us as sinners, He doesn’t condone the sin, but He graciously works with sinners. We must always remember that.

The sad thing is that because so few pastors, when they leave seminary most of them throw out their Greek text if they ever learned it in the first place, and most of them never learned their Hebrew, so they don’t bother with that either. Thankfully in our day of computers you can get some good Bible study aids and if you haven’t been trained in the language pick up some of it, that’s good, that’s a good tool. I’m so glad our pastor is doing some research and using some of the tools of language. It’s not as good as knowing the language, but it’s good.

Getting back to ascension and session, maybe you’ve got the impression, I hope you sort of got the impression from the notes and from what we said tonight that we’re moving into an area that I think is going to be very interesting about what is going on in the spiritual realm of the cosmos that is related to us as Christians. We are doing something that is moving history forward, even though we don’t see it directly in the political area, we don’t see it in the sociological relationships necessarily, we don’t see a millennium dawning on the planet, but nevertheless something is going on, and it starts … that’s why I labeled this first chapter The Heavenly Origin of the Church. The church did not start because of a sociological problem in Palestine. The church directly was created from on high. And the first step, therefore, in understanding this is to understand who created the church. It’s the Lord Jesus from His Father’s right hand. It is not the Lord Jesus from the planet earth. It is not the Lord Jesus prior to Pentecost. It is not the Lord Jesus prior to the cross. It is the Lord Jesus Christ in His resurrection body sitting at the Father’s right hand who has started the church. The church didn’t exist until it started at a certain point in time, on the day of Pentecost.

All of this is kind of leading up to what is going on; why did He start the church? I think you can get a hint of it by looking at Daniel 7. The Son of Man is doing something, He’s being given dominion, and you know what eventually is going to happen. So whatever is going on with us, it’s a step to get over there and to get to that goal in which He will bring in the Kingdom. So it makes our lives meaningful and I want us to appreciate that the trials and the tribulations we go through every day have a cosmic dimension to them. I find that kind of comforting to realize that we’re not walking in trivia, that the little prayer requests, or the struggle to trust in a promise in the faith-rest drill, the triumph of seeing wow, look what the Lord just did, sometimes we think those are just little… just in our lives, but they are like dropping pebbles in a lake and the ripples ripple out.

Question asked: Clough replies: You perceived that when the Holy Spirit comes He comes in a way He never did before. The Holy Spirit did work on earth prior, but He worked in a different way. You know that passage where Christ says the Holy Spirit was with you, but He will be in you, there’s a shift in prepositions. The Holy Spirit is doing something different now than He was before and it’s tied up with empowering the church on some sort of mission that the church does.

In that passage in Psalm 68, we didn’t cover this part tonight, we did last week, remember after Jehovah ascends to the mountain, what does He do? He receives booty. Booty from whom? Booty from the people He’s defeated. Prisoners of war and booty, and those were typical of the ancient Near Eastern view of a God. The picture of Psalm 68 permeated the whole ancient Near East, and you can read the non-biblical literature and see they tried to mimic this, they tried to counterfeit it. Satan always tries to counterfeit things. They have these stories about, when Thutmose, for example, finishes his campaigns and conquests, he comes back with booty and the prisoners, and he offers them up to the temples of Egypt, to the gods who gave him victory. In reality what it was was paying off the priesthood. They had to have money to keep the boys employed, but it was given in a religious motif of grandeur and he was bringing back all this booty and all this wealth and all the prisoners and giving them, sacrificing them to the gods.

David is using a very similar thing in Psalm 68. He has conquered, peace has come, and now Jehovah gets the booty and He leads captivity captive. That’s understandable in the Old Testament context in a physical war. The question is, how do we understand that in light of Ephesians 4? When did Jesus conquer anybody? And where is He getting His booty from. And who are the prisoners of war? What does Paul see there, because remember Paul takes that verb, “he receives the gifts,” to “he gives the gifts.” There’s a switch. Paul knows enough about the text, he didn’t make a mistake, he’s doing something [can’t understand word] there. He’s adding revelation that the Lord Jesus Christ, according to Paul, at the Father’s right hand, is receiving prisoners of whom? His prisoners that He’s captured in a battle.

Now what’s the battle that’s going on if the prisoners are the people who He gives back to the church that are gifted? Because in the context, who is He giving the gifts to? He’s giving … the gifts are gifted people, apostles, prophets, evangelists, etc. So the picture is the Lord Jesus Christ at the Father’s right hand, who has got in a battle, and that’s the key, we want to get a feel of what this battle is, He’s in battle, He gets prisoners, He brings them to Himself, and then He gives them to the church. But we know in Ephesians who they are, they’re the gifted people. Well where did they come from? Where did Paul come from? Think of him, he was an apostle. What was he before he became an apostle? He was a persecutor of the church. Whose program was he carrying out? Satan’s program. So he lost. In this particular tactic, in this particular engagement, the battle occurred on the Damascus road. And the Lord Jesus Christ said to Paul, “why are you persecuting Me?” And Paul became a Christian.

See this theme? This sets up a theme here that we’re going to see again and again. What’s going on is that when someone trusts in the Lord Jesus Christ and passes from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light, what has just happened as far as Satan’s dominion goes? You’ve got, we won one, Satan’s lost; Satan minus one, Lord Jesus Christ plus one. So now when a person trusts in Jesus Christ it’s not just an evangelistic conversion, there’s more to this than that. There’s an entire defeat of the kingdom of darkness that’s occurred because someone trusted in Jesus Christ. He has been brought to Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ refurbishes that prisoner of war and hands him off to the church as a gifted person. Paul’s the epitome of that, and that’s why Paul, I’m sure picked Psalm 68. He sensed that about himself. And that was the vehicle the Holy Spirit used to wake Paul up to this wonderful truth of what’s going on here.

What we’re getting into when we get into this ascension and session business, we’re trying to get the imagery straight in our heads so that when we do come to Pentecost we understand why Pentecost is happening. It’s happening to execute something that’s being managed from heaven, from the Father’s right hand. There’s a war going on that’s being managed by the Lord Jesus Christ because God says in Psalm 110 “Sit at My right hand until I’ve made your enemies My footstool.” Who is it that worships the Father in heaven? Remember in the book of Revelation: I looked and beheld and there were people from all nations on earth gathered around the throne, saying Lord, Thou art worthy. Where’d they all come from? They were all prisoners, prisoners from the kingdom of darkness and they are at His footstool, they are worshipping Him.

So we have a marvelous introduction to what we’re going to … in the notes I mention this, we are now being introduced to what we call the angelic conflict. That is the theme of the Church Age. There is a conflict in the invisible realm that’s going on all around us, and we’re fools if we think the conflict is just culture. It’s more than culture. There is a demonic and a pro-king battle that’s raging all around us, and that’s why when …, in the infantry they shout “incoming” when a round is coming in, and that’s why all of a sudden you’re sitting there and boom, something happens, well you’ve got to have the smarts to realize you can’t explain what just happened by somebody’s psychology, somebody’s sociology or something else, you’ve got to put it in a larger context.

There’s a battle going on here and we take casualties too. We’ve got to understand where we’re taking casualties and why we’re taking casualties. But so many Christians just go on obliviously like, you know, this perfect peace kingdom. No it’s not; we’re in the middle of a war here. So Christ is ascended to the right hand and we want to do Psalm 110 next week, and we’re going to do Psalm 2 and then we’re going to move in and we’re going to deal with this whole thing of judgment/salvation. That’s going to be the doctrinal picture, the doctrinal truth to attach to the ascension and session. And part of the judgment/salvation…

What are the other two events in history that mirror judgment/salvation? Noah’s flood and the Exodus. So the flood and the Exodus prepare us to understand the Church Age and what’s happening in the Church Age. And in both of those previous events God judged nature as well as men didn’t He. It wasn’t just psychological; religion is not just psychological. In Egypt what did God do? He physically did things. What did He do in the flood? He sure did physically. What’s He doing now? Well I don’t see Him doing anything physical. But He’s doing something, even behind the scenes. Right now there’s this traumatic and dramatic as Noah’s flood and as the Exodus and that’s the whole story of what we’re trying to open the door here, why I’m hitting ascension and session.

That’s why I’m going over the faith-rest drill. I said that was going to tie in to what we’re doing. That’s where we’re moving, so you can see that when you claim a promise, just a simple act of claiming a promise, remember I said that when you claim a promise you want to see the folly, you see the folly of not claiming it and that adds to your confidence because every time we claim a promise in the middle of a conflict, we’ve won another victory, because we have pulled down and cast down the high thoughts and the things that blaspheme against God. And again, every time we throw down a thought we’re throwing down a transmission that’s being targeted to us. That’s why it’s so important to walk by faith. Claim the promises and get used to cycling through and resting in these promises because as you do day after day, day after day, you may not realize it but you are doing vast damage in the kingdom of darkness, because the powers and principalities want to hold on to you, they want to immobilize us because if they can immobilize us what can they stave off? The final kingdom. We are involved in how fast that kingdom comes, because when we fail the Lord, when we fall apart, when we do these things, we stave off the ultimate victory. We’re not advancing, we’re not moving, we’re not taking ground back. So there’s a little preview of where we’re going.

Our time is up. Look at Psalm 110 and Psalm 2 and think about what we did tonight with Daniel 7 and Psalm 68.