SETTING THE CREATION FREE
Copyright © 2012 Robert B. Thompson. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
I can remember that in the early 1950s there was a sudden burst of interest in the “manifestation of the sons of God.” Christian people were to be glorified, to be able to walk through walls, and so forth. I said at the time that the manifestation of the sons of God has to do with the return of Christ. It is not something that takes place now so we all can live in a miraculous state of being.
I have noticed that in the Charismatic movement there is a spirit of exaltation that manifests itself in one way or another. One can see it in the faith and prosperity movements, and similar doctrines. The idea is that God’s people are to be lifted above the ordinary constraints of life. I have never heard righteousness of behavior preached in connection with the promises of exaltation, although righteousness of behavior certainly is one of the prime exhortations of the Bible.
I do not use the term “righteousness” apart from the accompanying “of behavior” lest people should think I am referring to imputed righteousness. God is interested in righteousness of behavior. He always has been. A prolonged imputed righteousness, that is not linked to a new creation of righteous behavior, may prove to be the most destructive idea ever to enter Christian thinking.
The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. (Romans 8:19)
This is an unusual verse, isn’t it. Why would the physical creation be waiting for an unveiling of the sons of God?
For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. (Romans 8:20.21)
Notice the term “creation.” It does not say the “earth,” but specifies the creation of God. Perhaps this includes all of nature as well as mankind.
The creation was subjected to frustration, or vanity. God subjected the creation to vanity with the hope that one day the creation, including our mortal bodies, will be brought into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. (Romans 8:23)
The fact that the Apostle Paul was waiting eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God tells us that it is not something we can expect today. We are going to be released from corruption into the freedom of the Spirit when this event happens for the whole creation of God.
How is it that well intentioned Christians would become enthusiastic about an occurrence taken out of the context of the Scripture? This should be a warning to us. Non-scriptural doctrines, which include the pre-tribulation rapture, lawless grace, the various faith movements, the laughing revival, and other excesses, keep springing up like toadstools.
The actual burden of the Spirit today is that God’s people confess their sins, as shown to them by the Spirit of God, and, with the help of Christ, turn away from them. It appears that the greatest lack in today’s Christian people is righteousness of behavior. The Christians are not noted for righteousness of behavior, as they should be. Therefore, those who see how they speak and act are not moved to glorify God.
When we notice that the creation is awaiting the revealing of the sons of God we can see how far removed from the Gospel we have become. Our emphasis today is on a “rapture” that will carry God’s people to a mansion in Heaven when we die.
How do these hopes fit the release of the creation by the unveiling of the sons of God? The answer is, they don’t fit. They are not scriptural. We are in sore need of a reformation of Christian thinking.
Any doctrine that is of God is found in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. Where in the Bible, in addition to the passage in the Book of Romans, would we find that the sons of God are going to bring earth’s peoples into the freedom of the children of God?
We know the Scriptures promise we will govern the nations along with Christ. It probably is implicit in this fact that the nations will be released from spiritual bondage. No doubt the coming of Christ with His saints will bring spiritual release to the nations of the earth.
To him who overcomes and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations—(Revelation 2:26)
You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and they will reign on the earth. (Revelation 5:10)
There are several passages in the Old Testament, particularly in the Book of Isaiah, that speak of the saints bringing justice to the nations. It seems to me that the bringing of justice would include the releasing of people from the bondage of corruption and bringing them into the freedom of the Spirit of God.
“Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations.” (Isaiah 42:1)
“Justice to the nations”! Is there anything more needed by the nations of the earth today than justice?
It is clear, to me at least, that the Servant of the Lord is Christ—Head and Body. Isaiah has much to say about God’s servant who will bring justice to the nations of the earth.
I do not understand why the destiny of the saints has been obscured for two thousand years. Perhaps other Christian writers have informed us of the role of God’s saints—that they shall appear with Christ, to bring justice and release to the oppressed peoples of the earth. I just have not come across other Christian writers with the same perspective. Have you?
The theology of Dispensationalism appears to cut off us Christians from the Old Testament. This indeed is a grievous error. It is in the Old Testament, in its doctrines and events, that we understand what is taking place today.
One of the basic prophetic announcements of the Old Testament is that of the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. The Jews were well aware of this prophecy, as we read:
So when they met together, they asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6)
The reply of Jesus to Nicodemus seems to imply that the question of the Kingdom always was in the back of the mind of the Jews.
In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” (John 3:3)
And, of course, the prime message of both John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus had to do with the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth.
It appears that we of today have the Gospel turned backwards. Salvation to us is our going to Heaven. Salvation according to the Bible is the coming of Heaven to us, that is, the descent of the Heavenly Jerusalem, which is Heaven, to be installed on a high mountain of the new earth.
Incidentally, the new earth which God will create after the final resurrection and judgment, is an “earth.” It is not part of the spirit world.
So many passages of the Bible seem to be opening up to us at this time that it must be we are in a Heaven-sent reformation of Christian understanding.
Following is one of several passages from the Book of Isaiah that points toward the revealing of the sons of God and their work of freeing earth’s people from the bondage of corruption:
The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:6-9)
Christ, Head and Body, will bring about on the earth the above Paradise.
He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. (Isaiah 2:4)
The reason Jesus Christ did not fulfill these promises at His first coming is that we are to share the inheritance with Him.
Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. (Romans 8:17)
Compare the above passages having to do with the release of mankind from the vanity and bondages of corruption with the current vision of our going to Heaven to do nothing of significance for eternity. You can see how far off from the Scriptures we have gotten.
It is my point of view that the weird, unscriptural doctrines I mentioned previously spring from our incorrect view of the Gospel of the Kingdom. We are picturing a fantasy land in which we hope to live forever. But the Bible speaks of the redemption of mankind and mankind’s environment. It really is a superior vision.
Before the physical realm was created there was a serious rebellion in Heaven around the Throne of God. In response to this terrible rebellion of the angels, led by Satan, God created man. God made mankind subject to vanity in the hope that there would be believers who would live a victorious life in Christ, even while the remainder of the Church slumbered on.
Then God would empower these victorious sons of God to return with their Head, Jesus Christ, and liberate mankind, physical Israel, and the remainder of the Church. These are God’s Firstfruits. It is for these victorious saints that the creation is waiting.
We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. (Romans 8:22)
A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. (Revelation 12:1,2)
The whole creation of mankind, and the Christian Church as well, are travailing as in the pains of childbirth. It is the sons of God that are to be born, the rulers who will bring justice to the nations. Christ and His saints will govern with an iron scepter because of the self-will and rebellion of the people of the nations. They will release the nations from the bondage of futility.
It is the birth of the Kingdom of God.
Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. (Matthew 24:7,8)
It appears to me, from the Scriptures, that the situation in the earth is going to grow worse. Scholars and political leaders of various kinds will assure us that if we follow their plans, the problems in the world will be solved.
But the issue is not one that can be solved by Satan-filled human beings. People are trying to lead their lives without God’s Presence and wisdom. As long as this is true, there shall be no remedy.
The sons of God who are to be revealed are being “born” now, some in the spirit world and some on the earth. The Lord will deal with them until they live by the Life of Jesus. God will accept nothing less than this. The day of the rule of man is drawing to an end. Only that which is founded in Christ will endure the shaking that is coming.
The Lord alone shall be exalted in that Day!
These who live by the Life of Jesus are a firstfruits of mankind. They point the way toward the kind of life that all saved mankind must embrace. When the sons of God appear it will be as an army from Heaven. The warrior angels will enforce the decisions of God’s sons.
Satan will be confined in the Bottomless Pit for the thousand years of the Kingdom Age. Antichrist and the False Prophet will be thrown into the Lake of Fire. Then the sons of God will go through the earth, removing every vestige of the influence of Satan. They compose Joel’s army.
Then there shall be peace throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age, enforced by the iron scepter wielded by Christ and the members of His Body.
Such is the unveiling of the sons of God, and the bringing of the creation into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
(“Setting the Creation Free”, 3898-1)