Blessed Hope For Suffering Humanity
know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain
together until now. And not only they but ourselves also, which
have the first-fruits of the Spirit, even we groan within ourselves,
waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our Body."
for a short time will any thoughtful person question the declaration
of the Apostle—that the human family taken as a whole
is a groaning creation. He does not include the Church for reasons
which we shall see shortly, yet he points out that the Church
also groans under present conditions. As we pass along the streets,
and hear the strains of music which occasionally come to us
from public and private performances on instruments of music,
as we hear the laughter and see the throngs going to theaters,
expositions, ball games etc., we might be inclined at first
to say there is a good share of the creation which does not
groan much. But as we look more closely at the facts as they
come to us in daily course we find that much of the laughter
is hysterical and an offset to tears, that much of the music
is paid for on business principles to cheer and enthuse others,
and some of it indulged in with the desire to drown care.
those who attend places of amusement do so, not because they
are happy, but because they are unhappy.
in spirit, they are seeking something to drive dull care away—to
assuage their disappointments and heartaches. We believe that
the experiences in life will generally agree with us that childhood
is life’s happiest hour, and that with the coming of greater
knowledge and responsibility come cares, disappointments, heartaches
and crosses to the world of mankind in general.
us remember, too, that what we know of the world is in many
respects best, most favored and least burdened section—America.
into the Bible we are informed respecting the angels and the
joys of Heaven, and given to understand that no sorrow enters
there, nor any tears, nor any dying. We inquire, Did not the
same God who created man create the angelic hosts? Why then
should there be so wide a distinction, so wide a difference
between the conditions in earth and in Heaven, that our Redeemer
should teach us to pray that ultimately God’s Kingdom
should come to earth and His will be done on earth as it is
done in Heaven? Why does He tell us that the faithful in the
resurrection will be made like unto angels, neither shall they
die any more? Why are we not like the angels now? Why do we
die? Why are we sick? Why are we imperfect in our mental, moral
and physical powers?
are we deficient in our physical strength? The answer to these
questions requires superhuman wisdom.
must be a reason; otherwise the same just, loving, gracious
God would treat His human creatures, His human children, as
kindly, as generously, as His spiritual. Why is it, that all
of our blessings are of hope while all the blessings of the
angels are actual and present?
LOOKED DOWN AND BEHELD"
seeking information we inquire of the Bible respecting man’s
condition, why it is as it is and how it came about. We note
the prophetic declaration that God "looked down from the
height of His sanctuary; from Heaven did the Lord behold the
earth; to hear the groaning of the prisoner; to loose those
who are appointed to death." (Ps 102:19-21.) This is in
full conformity with the Apostle’s statement, and adds
the further explanation that the groaning is because man is
a prisoner and under death sentence. But when did he become
a prisoner? When did the death sentence come upon him?
Scriptures answer that our race was sold under sin—became
the slave of sin—and that the experiences of sorrow, degradation,
imperfection and death are all parts of the wage of this great
taskmaster, Sin. The Apostle declares that "the wages of
sin is death," and personifies Sin and Death, representing
them as the great monarchs that are now ruling the children
of men. He declares that Sin and Death have reigned, and as
a matter of fact we know that the whole race is subject to these
monarchs. (Ro 6:23; 5:14,21.) The tomb, into which both good
and bad go, is the great prisonhouse where all are figuratively
said to sleep, waiting for the Morning of the blessed Millennial
Day when Messiah shall come, shall vanquish Satan, who has the
power of death, and shall deliver the captives from the chains
of sin and from the prisonhouse of death, Sheol, Hades, the
the Redeemer’s words, "I am He that liveth and was
dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore and have the keys
of death and of Hades [the grave]." (Rev 1:18.) Note again
the prophetic statement along the same line, referring to Messiah
and the work of His gracious Kingdom when it should be established.
We read, "I, Jehovah, have called Thee in righteousness
and will hold Thine hand and will keep Thee and will give Thee
for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles—to
open the, blind eyes to bring out the prisoners from the prison;
and them that sit in darkness out of the prison-house."
again, "The Spirit of Jehovah is upon Me, because Jehovah
hath anointed Me to preach the good tidings unto the meek; He
hath sent Me to bind up the broken-hearted; to proclaim liberty
to the captives and the opening of the prison to them that are
bound." Isa 61:1.
Lord personally preached from this text, and declared Himself
to be the One who would fulfil this prophecy—who would
release our race from its slavery to sin and its bondage to
death. The assurance of the
of the Lord is that we have Divine sympathy, and that a Savior
adequate to all the conditions has been supplied by the Heavenly
Father, and that the world merely awaits the proper time for
Him to act, to strike off these shackles, to unlock the prison
door and to let all the prisoners go free from this condemnation.
OF MAN’S SLAVERY TO SIN
which is so general as to include every member of the race in
this slavery to sin-and-death conditions is very noteworthy,
and it is profitable that we hearken carefully to the Word of
God for all explanation for it.
Apostle gives the explanation, saying, "By one man’s
disobedience sin entered into the world and death as the result
of sin, and thus death passed upon all men because all are sinners."
back to Genesis we find the Apostle’s words abundantly
supported by the history of Adam and his deflection from obedience
to God and his rejection from Divine fellowship, including his
expulsion from Eden, that he might be thus subjected to dying
conditions because of his disobedience, his sin. There the slavery
began; there the groaning and dying of our race had its start.
The Creator’s words were, "Thorns and thistles shall
the earth bring forth to thee; in the sweat of thy face shalt
thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of
it wast thou taken; for dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou
could be plainer, simpler, more easy of comprehension to those
who had no human philosophy and smoke of the Dark Ages to becloud
their vision. It is most evident that the groaning began with
Father Adam, and that it has continued ever since, as his posterity
has lost more and more the perfection of the image and likeness
of God in which Adam was created, and has become more and more
depraved mentally, morally and physically, until now "there
is none righteous, no, not one"; none perfect either in
word or deed. (Ro 3:10.) To will aright may be present with
us, as the Apostle suggests, but how to perform all that we
will is another matter. As he again declared, "Ye can not
do the things that ye would." (Ga 5:17.) The difficulty
is that the dying conditions have left us imbeciles as respects
absolute good, and weakened as respects resistance of the temptations
of the Adversary. The explanation is sufficient, as no human
speculation on the subject is. Thank God that with the explanation
the Bible holds out before us the hope referred to—the
hope of the deliverance of our race from this bondage of the
context notes these facts, saying, "The creature [humanity]
was subject to vanity [frailty, imperfection, weakness], not
of its own will but by reason of him that subjected it [by reason
of Adam’s transgression]."
we read that this subjection to frailty was not without hope,
a good hope, a great hope, a blessed hope, and this in the Bible
HOPE SET BEFORE US IN THE GOSPEL"
note the context which declares that although the creature,
mankind, was subjected to sorrow, imperfection, dying, through
another, through Father Adam, he is not without hope; for "the
creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of
corruption [death] into the glorious liberty of the sons of
God." (V. 21.) This is a remarkable declaration, for be
it noted that it is not referring to the Church, the Elect,
the Little Flock, but to the creation, the world in general.
Do other Scriptures support this declaration that God proposes
ultimately to deliver the human family from bondage to sin and
death—from bondage to corruption? Yes, we reply. This
was the very statement of the angels promulgated at the time
of the announcement of our Savior’s birth, "We bring
you good tidings of great joy, which shall be unto all people."Lu
the Scriptures give us a philosophical explanation not only
of why the reign of Sin and Death has been permitted, but of
how and where their reign shall be annulled and humanity be
delivered. The declaration is that the Lord Jesus paid the penalty
for Adam, and that this works not only a release of Adam himself
from Divine condemnation to death, but works also the release
of all those who came under Divine condemnation through Adam’s
sin—the entire groaning creation. All the Scriptures,
in speaking of the deliverance of the groaning creation, point
to Messiah as the Divine Agency in effecting this deliverance.
We have already quoted the declaration of Jesus and the prophets
to the effect that He shall open the prison doors and set the
prisoners at liberty. We remember also the words of the angels
on the subject of good tidings of great joy which shall be unto
all people, that it was because a Savior had been born—the
anointed Lord, Messiah. Thus all through the Scriptures every
hope of the race as respects deliverance from sin and degradation
to eternal life is based upon Messiah and His work—His
sacrificial work finished at Calvary and His work of glory during
the Millennial Age, which will be begun at His Second Advent.
LIBERTY OF THE SONS OF GOD"
context which I have quoted the Apostle declares that the groaning
creation shall yet be delivered from its bondage to corruption
into the liberty of the sons of God. The meaning of this is
clear. The corruption came upon all through Adam, the deliverance
from that corruption is to come to all through the second Adam.
All are to be delivered from such bondage, however they may
use the deliverance, or the privileges of liberty.
who use it rightly will come into harmony with the Redeemer
and with the Heavenly Kingdom, and will be blessed eventually
with eternal life. Those who reject it after they come to understand
fully, and comprehend its lengths and breadths, will thus be
choosing for themselves the Second Death. The liberty of the
sons of God, their freedom from corruption, death, is here distinctly
angels are not subject to, not bound by, such corruption, such
dying conditions. They as sons of God are free from corruption,
from death. Adam, in his original perfection, was a son of God,
as the Scriptures declare (Lu 3:38), but he lost his sonship
for himself and for all of his race and received instead degradation
and bondage to corruption. The hope for Adam and for his race,
then, in Christ is deliverance from the power of sin and death
into the liberty proper to them as sons of God. The entire Millennial
Age, as the Scriptures show us, will be devoted to this work
of setting free the human family from the various bondages of
ignorance, superstition, weakness, heredity, and of bringing
back all who will by restitution processes to the original image
and likeness of God, and making them again human sons of God
like unto Father Adam before he sinned, plus a large and valuable
experience gained during the six thousand years of the fall
and also through the one thousand years of the raising up—the
Millennial Age, the Resurrection Age.
the Apostle’s argument on this subject in a preceding
chapter leading up to our text. After telling that sin entered
by one man’s disobedience and that it was communicated
to all of the race, he declares, "For as by the transgression
of one many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift
by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abound unto many.
For if by the transgression of one, death reigned through the
one, much more shall they that receive the abundance of grace
and of the gift of righteousness, reign in life through the
one, even Jesus Christ. So then as through one transgression
the sentence came upon all men to condemnation, even so through
the one act of righteousness the free gift came unto all men
to justification of life. For as by the disobedience of one
man many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall
many be made righteous." Ro 5:12,15,17-19, R.V.
beautifully clear is this statement by the Apostle!
wonder how it was that we so long overlooked the true import
of these words. We perceive that our eyes were holden and blinded
by the unscriptural theory that when the Church, the "little
flock," the saints, should be selected, all the remainder
of mankind would be condemned to an eternity of torture! Since
we have gotten rid of that delusion, our eyes are opening more
and more to behold the lengths and breadths and heights and
depths of God’s great plan of salvation, which first deals
with the Church during this Gospel Age and subsequently will
deal with all of the redeemed—all of the children of Adam
condemned for Adam’s disobedience and bought with the
precious blood of Christ, and to be justified for their condemnation
and set at liberty by the great Redeemer when he shall in due
time take unto Himself His great power and reign. Rev 11:15-19.
SO LONG DELAY
question is frequently asked, Why should God so long delay to
bring these blessings to the world? If God’s Plan indeed
be higher and nobler than any of the plans and theories of men,
why has it not yet been demonstrated?
are there not yet evidences? Why has He permitted the world
to remain so long in its slavery to sin and death—4,000
years and more before He sent the Redeemer—nearly 2,000
years since that Redeemer has purchased the world, and yet only
a mere handful of the race has as yet even heard of the only
name given under Heaven and amongst men whereby we must be saved?
the delay? Does it not contradict God’s claims of love
and sympathy and power? If He has the love which longs to help
the world, does He lack the power? Is He unable to accomplish
His good purposes? Or if He has the power, does He lack the
love, the will?
Scriptures assure us that the love of God is boundless, and
that He has already accomplished for mankind a redemptive work
at the cost of the life of our Lord Jesus. They assure us, too,
that God’s Love is the same today that it was eighteen
centuries ago, that Divine Power is almighty, and that it only
waits for the proper time to come to exercise itself for the
full accomplishment of the Divine will and for the full blessing
of all the families of the earth, through the Messiah, the Redeemer.
explanation of the delay is fully given in the Scriptures, which
assure us that before the Divine Plan shall extend to the world
for its blessing and uplift, another work must first be accomplished;
that God’s purpose to bless Adam and his race is a restitution
promise, and that the Millennial Age will be "times"
or years of restitution, uplifting mankind from the mental,
moral and physical degradation into which it was plunged during
the six thousand years of the reign of Sin and Death.
also be a time for blessing the physical earth, and making it
the proper home for the perfect race, the footstool of God,
filled with the glory of God.
before doing this God purposed a work, if possible still more
wonderful, namely, the selecting of the Little Flock, the elect
Church, who, instead of being restored to human perfection,
will prove her loyalty to the Lord by her self-sacrifice, even
unto death, and be granted a share with Christ in the First
Resurrection—a change from earthly nature to Heavenly
nature—far above angels, principalities and powers, like
unto her glorified Redeemer and Head. This work of selecting
the Church has been an important one, and has occupied a long
period; and those who now have the privilege of becoming members
of this elect Church and joint-heirs with the Redeemer cannot
esteem the privilege too highly, but should with the Apostle
count that any loss or sacrifice would be as dross in comparison
with the excellency of the blessings promised.
OURSELVES ALSO GROAN"
again to our text and context. Note again how the Apostle differentiates
between the Church and the world and the groanings of each.
Of the Church he says, "We ourselves also groan within
ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the deliverance
of our Body." The world, without God and without hope,
groans in doubt and despair, but the Church—having a good
hope as an anchor to the soul, sure and steadfast, entering
into that which is within the veil—cannot groan after
the same manner as the world.
notwithstanding all our hopes, all our joys in the Lord, all
our fellowship one with the other, we that are in this Tabernacle
do groan, being burdened. All of our joyful anticipations of
the future, and our realization of the present that all evil
things even are working together for our good and preparing
us for the glory to come—all these do not hinder us at
times from feeling a measure of the trouble, sadness and discouragement
of our earthly environment. Our physical, mental and moral weaknesses
at times assert themselves so strongly that we cannot as New
Creatures do as we would; we cannot exult in tribulation even
though in our hearts we may rejoice.
the Apostle suggests, we are at times "in heaviness through
manifold temptations." (1Pe 1:6.) But ours is not an outward
groaning, or should not be. As our text suggests, we "groan
within ourselves." It is a subdued groan, a modified one,
because of the offset of our glorious hopes.
again that the Apostle shows that while both the world and the
Church groan, they are waiting for different things. We are
waiting for the deliverance of our Body (not bodies, in the
plural); we are waiting for the deliverance of the Church as
a whole. Some of the members have gone before, but finally the
entire Body of Christ, which is the Church, will be completed.
Then we shall see our Lord and will be with Him and share His
glory, a united Church, a united Body of Christ, beyond the
veil. For this we wait, we hope, we pray.
the world, the groaning creation, knows not of the Divine Plan.
Its groaning is of a hopeless character; but we may know what
God has provided for mankind even though the world be blind
and in ignorance of this.
that through The Christ, during the Millennial reign, all the
families of the earth will be blessed with recovery from death,
and with enlightenment and restitution assistances to righteousness
and eternal life, and that only the incorrigible will die the
so the Apostle says that the groaning creation is "waiting
for the manifestation of the sons of God." We are the sons
of God. As the Apostle says, "Now are we the sons of God,
and it doth not yet appear what we shall be [how glorious];
but we know that when Christ shall be revealed, we shall be
like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." (1Jo 3:2.) We
see then that the world’s hope is in the glorified Church,
whose glorious Head is the Redeemer Himself. When this Church
shall be exalted in Millennial glory the world’s time
of blessing will begin. Then all the groaning creation shall
be liberated and have the opportunity of coming out of the corruption
of death, mental, moral and physical, and into liberty and perfection
of life as the sons of God, all of which privileges have been
secured for them through the merit of the precious blood.
glad we are that in this dawning time of the New Dispensation
the true light is shining from the Divine Word, as well as throughout
the realm of nature! How glad we are that we no longer must
think of the Church alone as the subjects of salvation and the
world as a whole the subjects of condemnation and eternal torture!
just, how reasonable, how loving, are the Divine arrangements!
these things should draw our hearts near to the Lord in appreciative
love, and we should worship with the greatest devotion One whom
we thus see worthy of praise and adoration.
not, however, to expect the world to be able to realize these
things. It is not the Divine purpose that they should grasp
the Plan. As the Master said to the faithful disciples of old
and still says to us, "To you it is given to know the mysteries
of the Kingdom of God, but to outsiders all these things are
spoken in parables and dark sayings, that hearing they might
hear and not understand."
will both hear and understand in due time, but now is the time
for the calling out of the Elect, the perfecting of the saints,
us whose ears and eyes have been blessed of the Lord respond
with all gratitude and humility, not merely with outward praise
of our lips, but also with our hearts let us confess His loving
kindness and tender mercy; and let this appreciation more and
more sanctify our hearts and separate us from the world, its
aims, its selfishness.
us fight a good fight against sin, especially in our own mortal
bodies; for even though the imperfections of the flesh be not
counted against this New Creation, begotten of the Spirit, nevertheless
the fact that we possess the Spirit of the Lord should lead
us more and more to desire that perfection which is most pleasing
and acceptable to Him, and to strive, therefore, to the extent
of our ability; not trusting to the attainment of that perfection,
but relying upon the merit of that great Atonement Sacrifice,
offered once for all and sufficient for the sins of the whole
our great High Priest, Hath full atonement made; Ye weary spirits
rest; Ye mournful souls be glad: The year of Jubilee is come,
Returning ransomed sinners home.
the Lamb of God, The all-atoning Lamb; Redemption through His
blood, To all the world proclaim: The year of Jubilee is come,
Returning ransomed sinners home.