THE REDEMPTION OF THE CREATION
Copyright © 1995 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Because of the sin of Adam and Eve the material creation was placed by the Lord under the bondage of corruption. But the Lord has bound the creation in corruption and futility in the hope that one day He may find the physical creation worthy to be released into the glorious liberty of eternal life. The Scripture teaches that all of the material realm, including its inhabitants that God deems worthy of salvation, together with the elect of the spirit realm, will be made one Kingdom in the Lord Jesus Christ.
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope;
because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (Romans 8:20,21)
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. In both the Old Testament and the New Testament the term heaven is used to indicate the material heaven, the firmament, the sky, and also the holy area of the spirit realm—the Throne of God Almighty.
In the Old Testament the same Hebrew word is used for the sky and for the place of the Throne of God. In the New Testament the same Greek term is used for the sky and for the place of the Throne of God.
We understand that the “heavens” that were created “in the beginning” were the physical heavens, the firmament, not the spiritual Heaven. The material heavens, the firmament, are part of the material creation. In the material heavens were placed the sun, the moon, and the stars. All of these are part of the “creation,” of Romans 8:20,21. The creation includes also the waters below and above the heavens, the earth and its vegetation, animals, man, the wind, and all other things. The creation consists of the things described in the first chapter of the Book of Genesis.
The creation is made up of things that can be perceived by the human senses, as distinguished from the spirit realm of God and the angels that cannot be perceived by the human senses.
We are using the term “creation” to refer to the things the eternal God spoke into existence through the Lord Jesus at the time of the beginning of the world. As we are using the term, the creation does not include angels, cherubim, seraphim, or other creatures of the spirit realm. While they are created beings we do not believe they are mentioned in the first chapter of Genesis. Therefore they are not included in the deliverance announced in Romans 8:21, although all created beings that are saved, both in the material realm and the spirit realm, will finally have their center and circumference in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Because of the sin of Adam and Eve the physical creation was placed by the Lord under the bondage of corruption. But the Lord has bound the creation in corruption in the hope that one day He may find it worthy to be released into the liberty of the glory of the children of God.
The Scripture teaches that all of the material realm that God deems worthy of salvation together with the elect of the spirit realm will be made one Kingdom in the Lord Jesus Christ.
that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. (Ephesians 1:10)
“whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. (Acts 3:21)
We are not teaching that every human being, or Satan and his demons, ultimately will be saved. Such is not the case. It is not the restoration of all things that will take place but the restoration of all things which God has spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets. The holy prophets did not state that all people would be saved or that Satan and his angels would be saved.
The program of redemption is directed toward the rule of Christ-filled people over the material creation. Originally the Spirit of Christ filled the creation. Then, because of the rebellion of Adam and Eve, the Spirit of God withdrew from the creation, including the bodies of people. The spirit of futility, corruption, and death invaded the material creation.
Redemption is the restoration to the original owner of what has been taken from him by forfeiture, trickery, or force. The creation was given to man in the beginning. It has been taken from him by the trickery of Satan. Through the grace of God in Christ the material creation will be restored to man. This is the meaning of salvation and is the theme of the Scriptures.
We have stated that originally the Spirit of Christ filled the creation. If this were not the case the creation would have been born dead. For as the physical body without its spirit is dead, so the material creation without the Life of the Spirit of God is dead. In the Lord Jesus Christ is eternal Life; and that Life is the Light, and the only light, that is able to light each individual who is born into the world.
“And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” What was the source of the light? At that time there was no sun, no moon, no stars. What, then, was the source of the light described in Genesis 1:3? How could there have been an evening and a morning for three days before the sun, moon, and stars were created?
The “light” of Genesis 1:3 was Christ, just as He will be the Light of the new Jerusalem (Revelation 21:23).
The garden of Eden was located on the material earth—the earth on which we walk today. From our earth grew the tree of life. To eat of the fruit of the tree of life causes the body of the eater to live forever. Here is another example of the Presence of the Life of Christ in the original creation; for it is only the eating of Christ that can give us eternal life.
It appears that God Himself was accustomed to walking in the garden in the cool of the day.
But when Adam and Eve disobeyed God, all this changed. The Presence of God in Christ withdrew from the creation. The Father and the Son separated Themselves from what They had created. The creation became filled with futility, corruption, and death. Men began to call on the name of a Lord who no longer was willing to dwell with them.
Some time later, in the history of a dead mankind attempting to survive in a dead creation, a person named Abraham obeyed God under extremely difficult conditions. As a result, the promise of redemption was given: “And in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 22:18).
Abraham’s descendants, the Hebrew Prophets, being anointed by the Spirit of God, proclaimed the redemption of the material creation:
“but truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the LORD— (Numbers 14:21)
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:9)
For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. (Habakkuk 2:14)
The Prophets speak clearly and repeatedly that the Lord God of Heaven shall redeem the material creation: He shall cast out the spirit of futility, corruption, and death and shall fill all things with the eternal Life that is in the Lord Jesus Christ.
But the price of such redemption must be paid. It was necessary that the blood of Christ be offered on the cross as the payment for the redemption of the creation. From God’s point of view the blood of Jesus is payment in full. Satan has lost all his authority over the creation. Christ now owns the material creation and He can do with it as He will.
“as you have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as you have given Him. (John 17:2)
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. (Matthew 28:18)
We understand, therefore, that the Lord Jesus now owns the entire material creation including all persons therein. Also, He is supreme Lord in the spirit realm.
As the Father directs Him, Jesus issues eternal life to human beings. This is the regeneration, the redemption of the material creation.
The inheritance of the Lord Jesus Christ is the material creation. Jesus created all things and then had to die to redeem His lawful inheritance.
Ask of Me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for your possession. (Psalms 2:8)
The nations and the farthest reaches of the earth are “things.” They can be perceived by the senses of human beings. They are the creation that is to be redeemed, to be brought into the liberty of the glory of the children of God.
The Lord Jesus, because He is the Son of Man (for to man has been given dominion over all the works of God’s hands—Hebrews 2:6-8), has received as an inheritance the entire material creation. The saints, the members of His Body, are coheirs with Him of the material creation.
and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. (Romans 8:17)
The above verse is in context with Paul’s statement that at the revealing of the sons of God the creation will be delivered from the bondage of corruption and brought into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
Many bodies of the sleeping saints arose because of the overflow of power that raised the Lord Jesus from the dead (Matthew 27:52,53). When the Lord released Paul and Silas He released the other prisoners along with them: “immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed” (Acts 16:26). In like manner, when the Life that Christ will place in His saints is brought to the full the glory will flow to the entire creation. Then will the creation be released from its chains and once again sing and dance for joy.
Whoever will choose to come is invited to the marriage of the Lamb, to drink of the water of life without charge. It is a time of the greatest rejoicing.
“And it shall be that every living thing that moves, wherever the rivers go, will live. There will be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters go there; for they will be healed, and everything will live wherever the river goes. (Ezekiel 47:9)
The Son of God and His brothers will inherit the material creation. They will inherit all things—all that God created in the beginning and has made new in Christ.
As we have stated, Jesus has inherited all things and has all authority to execute judgment, not because He is the Son of God (which indeed He is) but because He is the Son of Man. The physical creation has by the unchanging Scriptures been assigned to man.
Speaking of man:
You have put all things in subjection under his feet.” For in that He put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him. But now we do not yet see all things put under him.
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone. (Hebrews 2:8,9)
Christ and His coheirs will govern the material creation. Being man, God has given it to them as their inheritance.
Christ, the Lord, has overcome every temptation placed in His path. Now the coheirs through the enabling virtue of His Presence also must overcome the love of the world, the lusts of Satan, and self-willed rebellion against God’s will.
“He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. (Revelation 21:7)
Through Christ the saints are the owners of the creation of God.
whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas, or the world or life or death, or things present or things to come—all are yours.
And you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. (I Corinthians 3:22,23)
The glorified, Spirit-filled saints will bring eternal life into the creation of God. This is the coming of the Kingdom of God, the rule of God, into the earth.
The Kingdom of God is the “new creation” brought into being when the Life of Christ is introduced into the things that had been dead.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, (II Corinthians 5:17,18)
The Kingdom of God is the making of all things new, not the making of different things. The form of the material creation is the form that is to be for eternity. People still will be people. Animals still will be animals. Trees still will be trees. The old things will pass away and the new things will be brought into being; but the new things will be the old made new, although the forms will be marvelously glorified.
When God created the sky and the earth, and people and nature on the earth, they are what God envisioned for eternity. Although the earth and the sky that now are will pass away, God once again will make a sky and an earth. There will be nations of saved people on the earth and they will be ruled for eternity by the kings and priests whom God is forming now. The rulers of the world to come are God’s elect from every nation—those whom God has predestined to be changed into the image of His beloved Son.
And have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.” (Revelation 5:10)
Those in Heaven now are looking forward to the day when they will “reign on the earth.” Our stay in Heaven will be a waiting period while God is preparing the creation for its redemption.
The new creation, the making of all things new, is being developed in the elect in the present hour. The saints (holy ones) are a firstfruits of the new creation, and they have the firstfruits of the Holy Spirit—the Spirit that one day will fill the creation, as it apparently did in the beginning.
The making of all things new is taking place now in our inner man. The old adamic nature is passing away and the new Christ Nature is taking its place. The new inner man in us is of God, although it still is we ourselves. The old passes away, yet somehow the old is contained—although now of God and filled with God—in the new.
But what about our mortal body. Will it too be redeemed?
Paul reveals that the redemption of the material creation, having begun in our inner man, soon will be extended into our body.
But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. (Romans 8:11)
The making alive of the mortal bodies of the saints, which is the resurrection from the dead, the resurrection to eternal life, is the destruction of the last enemy—physical death. The redemption of the bodies of the saints will signal the beginning of the redemption of the material creation.
Still speaking in the context of the redemption of the creation, Paul states:
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. (Romans 8:23)
The Spirit of God whom we have now will, at the coming of Christ from Heaven, flow into our mortal bodies and then on and out to the remainder of the creation. We possess the “firstfruits” (after the Lord Jesus) indicating that what we have is the representative beginning, the “guarantee” of the Glory of God destined to cover the whole earth.
So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” (I Corinthians 15:54)
For we who are in this tent [body] groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. (II Corinthians 5:4)
The preceding passages are announcing our physical redemption. They are speaking of what will take place in us at the coming of the Lord from Heaven. “We shall be changed” at the last trumpet (I Corinthians 15:51).
Notice carefully that it is not the inner man but the outer man that is changed at the resurrection from the dead. One of the errors of current Christian thinking is that our corrupt moral nature will be changed when we die or at the appearing of the Lord. There is no basis in the Scriptures for this. It is our mortality, our material form, the physical creation, that will be made new at the coming of the Lord from Heaven. The inner man is to be transformed now as we obey the Holy Spirit in the work of sanctification.
Unnumbered multitudes of believers are passing into eternity under the mistaken impression that Jesus will wave a wand and they will be transformed from lukewarm, careless, spiritually lazy worldlings into majestic patriarchs who will govern the nations with a rod of iron. This is incorrect.
The coming change is not in our inner moral nature but in the physical creation, which is our body. Our flesh-and-bones body will be redeemed.
“Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.” (Luke 24:39)
If God has given to the saints the entire material creation, beginning with their own bodies, and if the price of such redemption was paid in its entirety by the shedding of the blood of the Lord Jesus on the cross of Calvary, why, then, are we not able to go forth and drive Satan and his demons out of every person in every nation on the face of the earth? Why should we permit the peoples of the earth to suffer in the chains of demonic oppression?
The price of earth’s redemption indeed has been paid in full but Satan is retaining his possession of the material creation by lies. He is not willing to leave even though the price of redemption has been paid.
How can we go about redeeming the creation today? We understand that when Jesus returns, the creation will be released into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. But the Scriptures teach also that today is the day of salvation, of deliverance, of redemption.
Christ is waiting at the right hand of the Father until His enemies have been made His footstool. How do we put His enemies under His feet and bring into the present world the redeeming power and glory of the age to come? How do we become Joshuas and Calebs?
Our main purpose today is to bear witness of the glory to come. The fullness of redemption, the Kingdom of God, cannot come until the Lord appears from Heaven. Yet, we can bring to people the redeeming power of Jesus if we are willing to pay the price for their deliverance. Paul teaches us concerning the price that must be paid if we would bring the glory of the age to come into the world of today.
We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—
always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. (II Corinthians 4:8-10)
It is as we are willing to share in the sufferings of Christ, the suffering of the cross, that we can receive on behalf of others the redeeming glory that always follows the suffering of the cross.
It is not permitted to us to go forth in our own wisdom and strength to redeem the material creation. God will not give His Glory to another person. In order for us to receive the redeeming glory we must become one with God, and that oneness can be accomplished only as we are willing to share in the sufferings of Christ.
A movement has arisen in Christian circles that would force Christian moral standards on the civil governments of the world. There is a spirit of rage in the proponents of the “Reconstruction Movement.” It is not of the Lord Jesus.
The result of the actions of these modern-day Zealots will be fiery persecution of all Christians, for the Reconstructionists will not be able to fulfill their objectives. God is not leading them. The “man with the sword in his hand,” the commander of the warrior angels, is not marching with them.
When God is looking for a vessel to bear His Glory He seeks out an individual who is spiritually alive, who is serving the Lord with diligence. God starts with a “living” saint.
Then the Lord slashes and prunes and pares until the love of the world, the love of sin, and (especially) the love of self are driven from His chosen. Such purging and refining includes instruction, experience, patience, and pain. The saints always enter the Kingdom of God through many tribulations.
For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. (II Corinthians 4:11)
If we are willing to accept in our personality the sufferings of Christ, the redeeming Life of Christ will flow from us to the peoples of the earth, beginning with the weaker members of the Body of Christ.
God will not work in any other manner. If redeeming Life is to come, some individuals must through suffering become one with Christ in God.
So then death is working in us, but life in you. (II Corinthians 4:12)
The land of Canaan, the land of promise of the Jews, typifies the goal of the Divine redemption. The goal of the Divine redemption is the casting out of Satan and his hordes from the material creation, from the things God has created, and the entrance of the eternal rule and Life of Christ into those things.
Redemption includes both the casting out of Satan and the entrance of the rule and Life of Christ. Both the casting out and the entrance of the rule and the Life are aspects of the Divine redemption, one being the negative aspect and the other being the positive aspect. They must go together.
It is not God’s will merely to set the creation free but to fill it with the government and Life of Christ. The “rest” of God (Hebrews 4:1) comes into being when the material realm is filled with the government and Life of Christ.
How will the redemption of the creation be carried out? The redemption of the creation will be carried out as God gives His authority and power through the Lord Jesus to an army of perfected saints.
A day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, like the morning clouds spread over the mountains. A people come, great and strong, the like of whom has never been; nor will there ever be any such after them, even for many successive generations. (Joel 2:2)
A large and powerful army of holy people shall march through the earth at the appearing of the Lord.
When I heard, my body trembled; my lips quivered at the voice; rottenness entered my bones; and I trembled in myself, that I might rest in the day of trouble. When he comes up to the people, he will invade them with his troops. (Habakkuk 3:16)
The saints have not been perfected in the Lord as yet, and so the current efforts to impose Christian standards on secular society are premature and will result in chaos for all concerned.
The saints, the sons of God, must endure the perfecting processes of the Lord Jesus. They must overcome the accuser by the blood of the Lamb, by maintaining through the Holy Spirit their testimony to the Person, ways, will, and eternal purpose of God, and by loving not their lives to the death.
They must “come out of Egypt,” which is to say they must not be part of the spirit and works of the present age. They must cooperate with the Spirit in the cleansing of their personalities. Finally they must pass through “Jordan,” that is, they must die to their own self-will and self-seeking. Until these three deaths occur in their personalities the saints cannot be used of God to redeem the creation. It is only as the disciples conquer in the three areas that they become “a great people and a strong.”
The occupying of Canaan, the land of promise, represents resurrection—the entrance of incorruptible resurrection life into the formerly dead material creation.
The members of Joel’s army, those who will restore “what the palmerworm and the locust have destroyed,” are dead-living saints. They have been crucified to the world, to sin, and to their own life as well. But the Life of Christ is in them so “when they fall on the sword (the Word of God in judgment), they shall not be wounded” (Joel 2:8).
The Apostle Paul is a member of Joel’s army.
that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, (Philippians 3:10)
“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
The material creation is not evil, it is “very good” according to the Lord’s own Word. The sky, the earth, the waters, the air, the vegetation, the animals, the people, and all other things are very good. They are all the human heart could desire.
An army of unclean, wicked spirits has invaded our (man’s) world. Because of the covetousness, lusts, and rebellion of their corrupt, inflamed personalities the wicked spirits have perverted and destroyed the beautiful world God has given to us.
We humans are the original and rightful rulers and occupants of the creation. Not a stick or stone of nature belongs to Satan or to any of his followers.
The almighty God has given to Christ and to those who meekly follow Him the creation as an eternal inheritance. They shall inherit “all things.”
Let each of us who is spiritually alive lay down his life, deferring his own pleasures, until the redeeming Life in Christ flows through us and restores the Life of Christ to the entire creation of God.
(“The Redemption of the Creation”, 3971-1)