“And there shall be no more curse.” (Rev.22:3)
The literal rendering of the Greek is as follows:- “And every curse shall not be any longer.” That’s important, isn’t it? It tells us that all curses have been removed from the environs of Paradise. We shall now have to examine what curses have been removed, and what it means to those who dwell there.
Our thoughts go back to the Garden of Eden, where the first curses were pronounced. They are as follows:-
- Internal curse upon womankind. Multiplied sorrow in conception and child-bearing.
- External curse upon womankind. Subjection to husband, who would rule over her.
- Internal curse upon mankind. Labouring to bring forth food, by the sweat of his brow.
- Internal curse upon all mankind. Lifespan limited, ending in death.
- External curse upon mankind. The ground cursed, bringing forth noxious plant-forms.
- Curse upon Satan. “Go on your belly”. Figure of speech indicating abasement from his former glorious position.
- Curse upon Satan. “Eat dust.” Figure of speech indicating frustration in all his future actions, in trying to thwart God’s plans.
Paul adds an additional word in Romans 8:20 –
- The whole creation was made subject to vanity (purposelessness), not willingly, but by reason of the One who subjected it in hope.
And then we are brought forward to the time of Noah’s day and the Flood.
- Lifespan shortened to 120 years. (This may not be what the Lord meant by these words. The Hebrew is difficult at this point.) But the average lifespan eventually received a twelve-fold reduction on antediluvial ages.
- Curse upon mankind, making him the enemy of animals, instead of ruling over them. “Fear and dread”.
And at Babel –
- Curse upon human communication. Confusion of languages.
And as a result of the rejection of our Lord’s ministry –
- The Nation of Israel entered an era of judicial blindness. “Their thoughts were hardened. . . The veil remains upon their reading of the Old Covenant.” (2 Cor.3:14) “Hardness in part has happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles comes in.” (Rom.11:25)
Finally, we read that the Prophet Elijah is to be sent back to earth with a ministry, “lest the Lord smite the earth with (another) curse.” (Malachi 4:5-6) My perusal of the Scriptures has produced evidence of these 12 curses. There may be more. I have not included the curse on Canaan, “a servant of servants to his brethren”, simply because it is of a more restricted nature, and not world-wide.
And now for the examination of two of these curses, and how they relate to the passage in Revelation 22. Because our studies focus on the Bride, we are particularly interested in the position of Eve, and what happened at the fall. There were two curses mentioned, and we must now have a look at Genesis 3, to see what these mean, and (of greater importance) what will transpire when these curses will be removed.
“And God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over cattle, and over all the earth, and over all creeping things that creep on the earth.’
“And God created the man in His image, in the image of God created He him, male and female created He them, and God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and rule over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over all living things creeping on the earth.'” (Gen.1:26-27)
We have quoted this passage in full because it contains some very important information. First we learn that it was “over all the earth” that their dominion stretched, nothing excepted. In the second place, we see that no distinction was made between Adam and Eve. They were both, equally, to share this task of subduing the earth, having dominion over it. And the reason why this was possible was because God had made them in His image. Whereas God Himself was ultimately in control of all things, He created man to have delegated responsibility over the earth.
The expression “Let us make” bears some enquiry. If Adam was said to be in the image of God, in whose image was Eve? This is why there is a conference in the Godhead, as to the creation of both Adam and Eve. Adam was created in the image of God, as male, but Eve was created in the image of God, as female. How can this be? Only by recognising that the Holy Spirit is the Mother figure in the Godhead, and Eve was created in Her image. Many have not yet realised this lovely truth, but no doubt the Holy Spirit will gently confide this understanding to those who are ready for the revelation. It is most important in considering what is to follow. So that is why God said, “Let us make”.
To put it in simple words, both Adam and Eve were equally under the direction, influence, and plans of God before they fell. Each could receive word as to what God required of them. Eve was never dominated by Adam. She was as free as Adam to receive, and put into practice all that God imparted to her.
But after they fell, two curses were placed on Eve, and Scripture shows that it was not limited to Eve, but passed through to all womankind. Let us consider the second of these curses. “Your desire shall be towards your husband, and he shall rule over you.” (Gen.3:16) Whereas Eve used to express her desire directly towards God, she was now required to go through her husband, and he had the final say over everything connected with their work.
Let’s stop there for a moment and investigate this word “desire.” Because of modern usage of the word, as between man and woman, the first thought that comes to mind is likely to be in the context of affection, love, and even sexual desire. But this is not the force of the Hebrew. An English concordance will throw up the fact that “desire” occurs some 45 times in the O.T., but a more critical concordance will show that the Hebrew word used in Gen.3:16, T’SHUQAH, appears only three times in the O.T. This may come as a surprise.
It appears again in Gen.4:7, and is helpful. The Lord speaks to Cain, saying, “If you do well, shall you not be accepted? But if you do not well, Sin is crouching at the door, and its desire is towards you, but you should rule over it.” Satan is presented in terms of what he is, and what he does, in other words, sin. He is focusing on Cain, wanting him to fall for his evil thoughts and desires. Cain sadly fell for it, and didn’t overcome. One hears our Lord’s words to Simon Peter, “Simon, Simon, Satan has earnestly desired to have you to sift as wheat.” In each case, there is nothing vaguely resembling any form of affection between a man and a woman.
The only other occurrence of this word T’SHUQAH is in Song 7:11. The Shulamite maiden speaks about her Shepherd lover, saying, “I am my beloved’s, and his desire is for me.” The thought behind this clause is similar to that in Eph.5:25. “Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her.” The young shepherd lad had only one thought, that of saving his beloved from the blandishments of Solomon. He was the type of Christ, who is equally anxious to obtain a pure Bride, and save her from the subtlety of Satan.
Having been through this investigation, we are now in a position to review the verse in Gen.3:16. “Your desire, that is, your focus of attention, will henceforth be turned away from the Throne, and directed towards your husband, who will check out everything you think you receive from God, and will in this respect, rule over, that is, accept or veto, any plans you may have.”
I know that many Christian women today would rise up in protest at this, saying that as we have been made one in Christ, there is no longer “male or female”. But Paul asks his Christian women to be “subject to their husbands.” His words are, “As the Church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands.” (Eph.5:24) There is no let up, no release, from this Edenic curse until we reach the state of resurrection, and receive our new bodies. But then, when the Bride is complete, there will be an enactment of the state of dominion that God spoke about in Genesis before the fall. The corporate Bride will in all matters be able to have dominion in the earth, because she will be able to take her commands directly from the Lord Jesus, her Husband, in the same way that our Lord took all His commands from His Father during the days of His earthly ministry. But until that day dawns, the Lord is continually “sanctifying her, and cleansing her by the washing of the water of His word.” (Eph.5:26)
In Rev.11:15 we read of our Lord, that “He shall reign for ever and ever.” But now we must ask an important question – just how will Christ reign until He has put all things under His feet? The answer is found in various places in the Bible, but we can refer briefly to Rev.3:21. “He who overcomes I will grant to sit with me on my throne, even as I also overcame, and am seated with my Father on His throne.” The Bride will become the instrument in our Lord’s hands to execute judgment in the earth. All the many souls who constitute the Bride will have the power and the authority to “rule all nations with an iron rod.” (A better translation would be, to “shepherd all nations with an iron staff.”) These words are used of the Manchild of Rev.12, who is born to the Bride, and is indeed part of her, from her very womb (figuratively). It is doubtful that the nations will see our Lord Himself during His reign, but all those of the Bride will have the supreme privilege of being in His presence throughout that time.