By Doug Bell
18¶ “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.
20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope;
21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.
23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.”
In our Sunday School Class yesterday, we studied the last three chapters of the book of Revelation. In them we saw the different versions of the Millennial, and how they can influence your view of it, so you see the book with a different interpretation.
But, when you look at the last chapter that talks about the New Heaven and the New Earth, there should be agreement. And one of the most comforting things we find is that the Bible comes to “full circle.” God is dwelling on the Earth with the greatest of His creation, Man. But not man like the first i.e. Adam (and Eve). But man who is “recreated” in the likeness of the second Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ (cf 1 Corinthians 15:45).
And here is the interesting part, the New Earth isn’t an entirely ‘New’ Earth. But, the ‘Old Earth’ that, like man, has undergone a regeneration process! Peter gives us that knowledge. 2 Peter 3:3 ”knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” 5 For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, 6 by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. 7 But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men…10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.”
NOTE: Peter is contacting the first destruction of the earth by water, with the second destruction that will be with fire. As the first earth “perished” so will this present earth be regenerated again!
And in our verses the Apostle Paul anthropomorphizes all of Creation and gives it a voice. It was ”subjected to futility, not willingly;” Paul is speaking of the “curse” that God pronounced upon the ground Genesis 3:17 “Then to Adam He said, “Because you have heeded the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree of which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat of it’:
“Cursed is the ground for your sake;
In toil you shall eat of it
All the days of your life.
18 Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you,
And you shall eat the herb of the field.
19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread
Till you return to the ground,
For out of it you were taken;
For dust you are,
And to dust you shall return.”
But, notice the last part of vs. 20 above; “but because of Him who subjected it in hope” That hope, that Paul is voicing for creation was that it would be released from the ‘curse!’ That is why Paul says;
21 “because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.”
What is creation waiting for? For the complete regeneration of God’s Children, which theologically is called “glorification.”
23 “Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.”
And in that day, we have the promise of God; Revelation 21:3 ”And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.
4 ”And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away...”
9 “Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.
10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,”
22:20 He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.”Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
21 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.”