Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 3 * BOOK 23
We’re going back to pick up again in Romans Chapter 8 verse 18. Paul has talked about something now that you and I as believers are looking forward to, and expecting it anytime, and that, of course, is the Rapture of the Church, the believers.
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
When Paul says the sufferings of this time, he knew what it was to suffer. He tells us in II Corinthians some of what he had to suffer.
II Corinthians 11:24-27
“Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice (three times) was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice (three times) I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep (sea); In journeying often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.”
He suffered all of those things for the sake of the Gospel. He suffered. You and I here in America know very little of suffering. Now, we may yet someday suffer, we hope not, but it could happen. But even with all the sufferings and hardships that this man went through, he said it’s nothing compared with what’s waiting for us, the glory that’s going to be revealed. Now, verse 19:
“For the earnest expectation (now that word earnest means just what it says. It is just all enveloping) of the creature (creation) waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God,”
What’s he saying? Everything in nature, the mountains, the rivers, the rocks, the birds, the animals, everything is waiting for the day when the children of God will be manifested, which, of course, means to be raptured. We all know according to Paul’s writings that this is what the believer calls, “The Blessed Hope.” And not because it’s a cop-out, but because we are suddenly going to be translated from this life to the eternal with our new bodies to be with The Lord forever in an instant. It may take place today, or tomorrow, and it may be a while yet, we don’t know because we don’t set dates, but it is going to happen, and we feel soon. As we see the things of the world taking place, and the appearance now of globalism, and all of its forms and shapes, with global religion, and global economies, and global government. We know this is the sure sign that we’re getting very close to the appearance of the Anti-christ who will be the world ruler under that global environment. But before that happens we’re going to be snatched away. Paul says in I Thessalonians, we’re going to be caught up and we will meet The Lord in the air.
I Thessalonians 4:13-18
“But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep (have died), that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent (go ahead of) them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
Now, all of creation is looking for that day because all of creation knows that will trigger the final days of the curse. Because the seven years of that tribulation is going to be God’s way of paying off Satan’s mortgage which we studied in the Book of Revelation Chapter 5. But the tribulation will pay off the curse. The world will be delivered from it, and all of nature seemingly, according to Scripture. Again, this takes some faith, and I know it does, but all of nature is looking forward to it. Reading on in Romans 8:
“For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same (creation) in hope,”
Now, what’s Paul talking about here? Well, the moment Adam sinned, what fell? The curse. Who came under the curse? Everything came under the awful effect of the curse. It’s the curse that causes the great areas of desert, such as the Sahara. That’s not the way God created it, and all the other things that have made the planet what it is today is the result of Adam’s rebellion. So as soon as the curse fell God came back with a remedy. Let’s go back to Genesis Chapter 3 and verse 15. Genesis 3 is where Eve partook of the forbidden fruit, then so did Adam. This is the event that all of Scripture points back to as the vortex of the human problem, “The Fall of Adam.” But just as soon as it all happened God came right back and makes a promise in Chapter 3. And here He is speaking to Satan who, of course, precipitated all of this, and He says to Satan:
“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed;…”
In the Book of Galatians it tells us that the Seed of the woman is Jesus Christ. And so what we really have here is a promise then of a running battle between Satan and Jesus Christ, and you see it from this moment on. Just as soon as Satan understands God’s particular program, he comes in and tries to disrupt it. Just as soon as God made the Covenant with Abraham, Satan began a process that has been running now for over 4000 years, and that was what? To destroy the Jew, the Nation of Israel, because God promised that everything would be fulfilled through that little nation. And if Satan could destroy the Jew then he thwarts God’s plan for the ages, and so everything begins right here, this running battle. Skip on over to verse 17 where God speaks to Adam:
“And unto Adam he said, `Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it; cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground;…'”
Now, what is that? That’s the curse, and it didn’t just fall on Adam, and the ground per se, it fell on all of creation, everything came under the curse. Now, just as soon as the curse fell, all of the present day ecology was set up, and that is that one species of an animal or bird feeds and makes it substances on some other species. If you’ve ever watched wild life on public television, we almost cringe when we see how the leopard stalks the deer for example. That isn’t the way God created it, that’s the result of the curse. Consequently, all of creation somehow or other is aware that they were subjected to the curse, but also they are aware that the day is coming when the curse will be lifted. That’s what The Book says, I didn’t dream that up. Paul writes it by inspiration here in Romans 8. Verse 20 again.
“For the creature (creation) was made subject to vanity, not willingly, (it wasn’t creation that sinned, but rather Adam, but they came under the results of it) but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope.”
In Genesis 3:15, as soon as the curse fell, God came back and said, “I have a remedy,” and that would be through the Redeemer, through the Son, through the Seed of the woman. Now, verse 21.
“Because the creature (creation) itself (all of creation) also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption (the curse, and creation is going to be restored as it was before Adam fell. In other words, wildlife will not fear anymore. Remember. before the curse nothing ate meat, everything ate of that which grew naturally. So the creation is going to be delivered from the bondage of corruption, and who is going to gain control of it as we see in the last part of this verse? The children of God) into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”
And remember when you become a believer you become a child of God. So what is all creation waiting for? The day when Christ will rule as King of Kings and we’ll be reigning and ruling with Him, and we’ll be in dominion over this glorious new creation that will be brought out from under the curse. Now, verse 21.
“For we know that the whole creation (everything) groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.”
When I say that all of creation is aware of His coming, and of His restoring everything, as it was in the beginning, people will say, “Now, wait a minute, you’re getting out in left field. You mean to tell me that the rocks and the mountains are aware of God’s coming and reigning?” Yes they are, and the verses I always like to refer to are in Luke Chapter 19. Let’s go back there for a moment because I want you to see it with your own eyes, or otherwise you might think that I pulled it out of the woodwork. Let’s start at verse 39, and this is at the triumphant entry in the last week of Jesus’ ministry. The people have been shouting “Hosanna,” and laying the palm branches in His way, and the religious leaders of Israel got all shook up:
“And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, `Master, rebuke thy disciples.’ And he answered and said unto them, `I tell you that, if these (the multitude who are shouting “Hosanna”) should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.'”
Jesus said that, and He’s the Creator – He knows what the stones are capable of doing. Let’s go to Psalms Chapter 148. And if this doesn’t say it plain enough to open your eyes, then I’m helpless, because this says it all. When all of creation sees the Rapture of the believers, they know it’s only a little while until the curse is lifted, and they will enter into that glorious dominion under Christ’s rule and reign, and with Whom we, the believers, will be joint heirs.
“Praise ye the LORD. Praise ye the LORD from the heavens: praise him in the heights. Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts. (now watch it) Praise ye him, sun and moon: praise him, all ye stars of light (the whole creation). Praise ye him, ye heavens, and ye waters that be above the heavens. Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created. He hath also stablished them forever and ever: he hath made a decree which shall not pass. Praise the LORD from the earth, ye dragons, and all deeps: Fire, and hail; snow, and vapours; stormy wind fulfilling his word: Mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars: Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl: Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth (now do you see they’re all put into the same basket? Everything is thrown into this same account of responding to the Creator. It’s unreal isn’t it? I couldn’t believe it if it was any place but here in God’s Word, but that’s what it says and I believe it. They are all subject to the power of their Creator God): Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children (all of these we have read about since verse one are included in): Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven.”
It’s going to happen when the curse is lifted, and Christ returns. Now, turn with me for a moment to the Book of Isaiah, Chapter 11. I always think of an example that I trust will drive the point home, and that is the animal and bird kingdom under the curse have to live in constant fear of being somebody else’s lunch. So to bring it down to almost every household wherever they may live in this United States, I always like to use the little cottontail rabbit. They’re everywhere, almost everyone has seen one someplace. But the point I always like to make is this: does that little cotton tail ever relax? Never! The neighbor’s dog will have him if he would, an owl or hawk will swoop down and grab it, the foxes and coyotes catch them. All of these kind of creatures would love to eat that little cottontail, and he knows it. This is nature today, this is the ecology that everything is laboring under, it’s the curse. But someday that little cottontail will be able to relax. Let’s look now at when the curse will be lifted, and the Scripture defines it so clearly. This is when the Branch in verse one is going to rule and reign:
“And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins (and now we come into the animal kingdom, and how things will be after the curse has been lifted, and what the animals are looking forward to in Romans Chapter 8). The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid (all these animals will eat of the green things, and berries rather than meat) and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them (Mama’s won’t have to worry about their children in these situations). And the cow and the bear shall feed (together in the same place); their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. And the sucking child (baby) shall play on the hole of the asp (poisonous snake), and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice’s den. (another venomous thing to be feared. Look at the next verse) They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain (and a mountain in Scripture is a Kingdom): for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.”
Now, back to our study in Romans Chapter 8: So this is what everything in creation, as well as we believers, are looking for, and that is for this day when the curse will be lifted Now, verse 22:
“For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.” As I explained with the little cottontail rabbit, most of creation is under constant duress. Now, verse 23:
“And not only they (the things of nature), but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit,…”
The believer is the only one who is anxiously looking forward to The Lord’s coming. The unbeliever shrinks from it, he’s not ready for it, he’d like to think it all away, but he’s not going to succeed, because our Lord is coming! And oh, I wish people would wake up, and realize how evident it is that He’s coming. The whole world is moving faster, and faster to that final moment when Christ is going to intervene once again in human history, and He’s going to set things straight. The curse is going to be lifted, He’s going to rule King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. Now reading verse 23 again:
“And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”
When I was growing up all I heard about was the redemption of the soul, I never heard much about the body, but God has never used the human being as just a soul and spirit, it has to be the complete entity of body, soul, and spirit. In other words, our loved ones, as they’ve gone on to be in glory, are not walking around on the streets of gold, and singing, “Hallelujah.” They can’t because they don’t have their body yet. Remember, when we go from time to eternity it’s a whole different set of circumstances. I honestly believe that since eternity is out of time, and time is not reality, and although Adam has been dead nearly 6000 years he won’t realize that that much time has elapsed. So when I say they’re up there, and they’re not walking the streets of gold, don’t ask me what they have been doing all these years. There hasn’t been that many years, as far as they’re concerned but that’s another whole half hour.
The last part of verse 23 talks about the redemption of our body. The body hasn’t experienced redemption because it’s still under the curse. We all get sick and, if The Lord doesn’t come, we’re all going to die. But the day is coming when we will have a new body, and it’s part of the complete redemption. Go to Ephesians 1:14. The sealing of the Holy Spirit in verse 13 is the down payment.
“Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”
We know He’s already redeemed our soul, our spirit, but what’s waiting? The redemption of the body. Paul tells us in Romans 8:23 everything is moving to the day when we will have that final redemption of the body; we’ll be complete; ready to enter eternity.