The various writings that have been presented during this Laodicean period have carried copious references and explanations concerning the curse. No doubt this is due to the fact that “the time is at hand” (Rev. 22:10) to make the subject crystal clear. In Genesis 3:17 we find the sentence against Adam: “Cursed is the ground for thy sake”; and in Revelation 22:3 is the statement, “There shall be no more curse.” The Diaglott states it thus, “There will be no more any accursed thing.” The “accursed thing” in this text refers to “death and hell” which would be cast into the lake of fire. Here are the Berean Comments: Death - including aches, pains, mental and moral imperfections of every sort; and Hell - Hades, oblivion, the great prison house of the tomb in which mankind awaits a resurrection.” Thus, Hell is the actual death state of man, with death referring to all the infirmities which have afflicted the human race for the past six thousand years. Therefore, the eradication of the curse includes not only the elimination of the death state, but also those things that have been incidental to producing death - including persons and things.
Pertinent to the foregoing is this quotation from Parousia Volume 5, p. 193: “Thus shall the great Jehovah and His Spirit of Holiness and all who ally themselves thereto finally triumph, and sin and Satan and the spirit of evil shall be forever extinguished and there shall be no more curse. (Isa. 28:17; 1 Cor. 4:5; 6:2; Acts 3:23; 2 Thes. 1:9; Rev. 22:3)”
All the present evils are the gradual result of the disobedience in Eden, Adam bearing the direct responsibility. And in direct contrast, the second Adam (the Lord from Heaven) will be directly responsible for the complete elimination of these evils. This is very clearly related in Heb. 2:14: “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He [Jesus] likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.” Clearly enough, if the devil has the power over death, death itself cannot possibly be forever eliminated until the one responsible for death - that is the devil - is also eliminated.
It is stated that he (an angel from Heaven) “laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, and cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season.” (Rev. 20:1-3) Self-evidently if he who “has the power over death” is not destroyed at the beginning of the “little season,” then death also will not be destroyed at the beginning of the “little season.” This leaves but one logical conclusion - namely, death (the dying process) will not be completely eliminated until “that old serpent” is likewise eliminated - and this will not take place until the full end of the “little season.” “Then cometh the end [the end of the “little season”] when He [Jesus] shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” (1 Cor. 15:24-26) It should be emphasized here that “Hell” (the Adamic death state) will have been cast into “the lake of fire” many years before the Little Season even begins, when the last one of Adam’s race has been awakened, so “Hell” cannot possibly be the “last enemy.” Therefore, the “last enemy” has to be the Adamic death process.
All during the thousand years that Satan is bound the foregoing evils will be gradually destroyed. As each one comes forth from the tomb, Hades (the actual death state) will be instantaneously destroyed for that particular individual; and inasmuch as each person will be allowed at least one hundred years (Isa. 65:20) to make some progress up the “highway of holiness” (Isa. 35:8), it follows that the actual death state that has been inherited by all from Father Adam must be completely eliminated at least one hundred years before the “little season” begins.
But with the dying process (all the evils - aches, pains, mental, moral and religious imperfections) it will be considerably different. The release from the tomb for each one is brought about without any assistance or foreknowledge from such persons; it is a gift from God through Jesus. This is well described in Psalms 103:2,3: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; Who healeth all thy diseases.” Jesus made His soul an offering for sin, which guarantees to every man release from that iniquity that was inherited through Father Adam. “He will destroy in this mountain [the Kingdom of God, the New Jerusalem] the face of the covering cast over all people [Hades, the death state], and the vail [of superstition and ignorance] that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of His people [sin and error] shall He take away from off all the earth.” (Isa. 25:7,8) The forgiveness of iniquities and the healing of diseases will be a free gift from God to every one as he emerges from the tomb; but the elimination of the various defects now inherent in man will only be eliminated by the cooperation of each individual himself - and those who do not wish to cooperate will, after one hundred years, die the second death - will be cast into the figurative “lake of fire, which is the second death.” (Rev. 20:14 - also see Acts 3:23)
As the “little season” arrives, all who reach that time will have been freed from all physical imperfection - their physical diseases will all have been healed. But with some their mental and moral diseases will yet be present (the Adamic Death Process will yet be present with them in their unholy hearts’ condition); and thus will come the division of the sheep and the goats of Matthew 25:31-46: “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand [the sheep], Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” (Matt. 25:34) “Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire [the second death], prepared for the devil and his angels.” (v. 41) This clear separation, rewarding and sentencing to the “lake of fire” can occur only at the full end of the “little season”; the sheep could not receive a free, clear and unencumbered title to the Kingdom until all evil persons and things have been fully obliterated. Then will be fulfilled the promise, “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain [the microbes of disease and pestilence will be fully restrained]; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” (Isa. 11:9) “There shall be no night [error] there… for the Lord God giveth them light [the pure truth].” (Rev. 22:5) “They shall all know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jer. 31:34)
Following is a statement from E-12-260: “In the Millennium He will actually heal all the physical, mental, artistic, moral and religious faculties and their contents of the unbelief class as from the heart they accept His medicines and other healing helps. The following Scriptures prove this: Jer. 3:22; 30:17; 33:6; Hosea 6:1; 14:4; Psa. 107:20; 67:2; Ezek. 47 1,8,9,12; Rev. 22:1-3; Mal. 4:2. Thus our Lord as the Good Physician heals the faith class now, and will heal the unbelief class in the Millennium from the physical, mental, artistic, moral and religious diseases that sin and the curse [the Adamic death process] have brought upon them.”
And continuing from E-12-310: “The ransom price guarantees that there will be gradually given to the whole world what it lost in Adam, if and as it obeys in the next Age (Luke 19:10; 1 Cor. 15:21-26; 1 John 3:8; Heb. 1:8; 10:12,13; Rev. 20:4-9; Heb. 9:23). And through the ransom-price Jesus and the Church as the tree of life will actually give to the obedient world all that Adam lost for it - perfect humanity and life, the right to life and its life-rights (Rev. 21:3-5; 22:1-3; Acts 3:19-21).”
Follows now Hosea 13:14: “I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.” In the sense of rescuing from the power of the grave, the Elect Church will also have part in the restitution process; and, just as various plagues, injuries, violence in various forms now send men to that great abode “where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary be at rest,” so just the reverse is promised under the Kingdom. Then, instead of the people being plagued with diseases, it is the diseases that will be “plagued” out of the people. Also, the Adamic death process (the evils inherited and acquired under the curse) will be “plagued” out of the people - the willing and obedient.
Complementing the above is this from E-17-428: “We have now studied Millennial testimonies all the way from Genesis up to and including the last chapter of Revelation: from the time, after the curse of sin and death came upon the human family through Adam’s sin, that God promised Abraham that through him and his seed all the families of the earth would be blessed, until the time that the great Seed of Abraham, the Christ, Head and Body, developed during the Gospel Age, will have reigned over the earth as kings and priests for a thousand years and blessed all the families of the earth, living and dead, with the opportunity of obtaining everlasting life on a perfected earth; until the Adamic death state and the Adamic dying process (1 Cor. 15:26) will have been destroyed, and there will be no more curse; until Satan (Ezek. 28:19; Heb. 2:14), the unrepentant fallen angels (Matt. 25:41) and the ‘goat’ class - all the wicked (Psa. 145:20) - will have been utterly, completely and eternally annihilated in the Second Death, symbolized by the lake of fire [and by the Red Sea destruction of Pharaoh and his hosts] - ‘they shall be as though they had not been’ (Obad. 16). Then ‘the righteous shall see it and rejoice: and all iniquity shall stop her mouth.’ (Psa. 107:42) Sin shall never rise again. God will be glorified forever and ever by perfect creatures, both in heaven and on earth. ‘And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that setteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever.’”
GRADUAL WORKINGS OF THE CURSE
The question would seem in order here: Did Adam immediately realize the workings of the curse in him after the disobedience? We would say he felt no physical discomfort. Genesis 3:22,23 would seem to confirm this: “Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil; and now, least he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever: Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden.” Here is a clear statement that the man could have continued living forever - even after the transgression - had he been allowed to remain in his ideal home.
However, there is no doubt that he had great mental disturbance because of what he had done. “I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid.” (Gen. 3:10) Here then appears the first human weakness to afflict man, which became greatly magnified in the human race as the years ticked on; and it is probably true that today it is present in varying degrees in every member of the human family. Shakespeare disputes this conclusion: “Cowards die many times before their deaths; the valiant only taste of death but once. Of all the things I yet have heard it seems to me most strange that men should fear, seeing that death, a necessary end, will come when it will come.” Of course this statement is the contention of the fatalist; and it finds no support whatever in the Bible. Nevertheless, some are much less oppressed by fear than others. We find some people afraid of the dark; others imagine that some one is always chasing them. Of the Jews it is written that if they would “despise my statutes, or if your soul abhor my judgments, so that ye will not do all my commandments, but break my covenant, then ye shall flee when none pursueth you.” (Lev. 26:15-17) About like the boy that ran from his own shadow.
A second defect - now universally common among men - immediately showed itself in Adam - that of blaming some one else for his mistakes. “The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.” (Gen. 3:12) The impudence of this remark is readily apparent: It was God’s fault that Adam disobeyed; had He not given Adam the woman, none of this would have happened. This second failing also has been greatly expanded during the years that have followed.
Even so, these two things would not have been sufficient to inflict the death penalty upon the disobedient man; he could have continued to live forever had he been allowed to remain in Eden. Therefore, “He drove the man out, and placed… a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” (Gen. 3:24) And it was only after he was faced with the trialsome task of keeping alive under very unfavorable circumstances (“cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee… till thou return unto the ground” - Gen. 3:17-19), that the aches, pains, mental and moral imperfections of every sort made their appearance, and have pyramided over the years. Such things are now accepted as a way of our life even by the finest minds, because none are able to escape the ravages of decay to be seen on every hand. And, while some eat their bread with a minimum of “sweat of the brow,” yet all do eat it with plenty of sorrow. All are now resigned to the fact that “The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.” (Jer. 31:29) As Adam had to learn by experience what he could not learn by instruction, so all his descendants are being similarly educated. “Cursed is the ground for thy sake.” (Gen. 3:17)
Outside of Eden the earth was not prepared to perpetuate life in keeping with the ideal conditions that had prevailed in the Garden. This condition of the earth outside of Eden was not the result of the transgression; it had been that way all along - and was simply then used as a convenience to exact the sentence “in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Gen. 2:17) This would be better expressed “dying thou shalt die”; the execution of the sentence was a gradual one - eroding process, which was fully completed when Adam entered the tomb. “Adam lived 930 years: and he died.” (Gen. 5:5) After the great deluge the dying process was greatly accelerated, the evidence of which is clearly apparent to this day.
However, for more than one hundred years now we have been “In the day of His preparation” (Nahum 2:3) - the preparation for the new order which will “wipe the tears from off all faces.” This has been easing many of the backbreaking burdens of the past; but the span of life has not been greatly increased thereby. While it is true that the “average” age of life has been raised considerably, this is mostly due to fewer dying in infancy; there is yet no comparison to Moses, for instance: “Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died; his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.” (Duet. 34:7) Also, much of the earth itself has been improved, although none of it is yet perfect and is very untamed, very imperfect.
THE WRATH - THE CURSE
These two expressions are often used interchangeably, as can be seen from the following in Parousia Volume 5, p, 439: “The ‘wrath,’ the ‘curse’ will be lifted from all who come into harmony with God through Jesus the Savior, and all who do not avail themselves of this grace will be swallowed up of the Second Death - for ‘the wrath of God abideth on them’ (Acts 3:23; John 3:36; Rev. 22:3).”
However, though the “curse” has but one application, applying to both man and the earth, yet the “wrath” has a broad and a specific definition. When Job exclaimed, “O that thou wouldst hide me in the grave till thy wrath be past” (Job 14:13), he was using its general meaning. But other Scriptures speak of a specific time - a “day of wrath.” “The Lord shall strike through kings in the day of His wrath.” (Psa. 110:5) And Zeph. 1:14,15: “The great day of the Lord is near… That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress,” of which we see plenty all about us now. Also Revelation 6:17: “The great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” This “day of wrath” began in its broad sense in 1874; but in its narrow sense it began in 1914, when the violent features of the Time of Trouble broke forth. Since that date we have been living in that period of time known as the Epiphany, and which will continue for some years yet - until the end of Jacob’s Trouble - after Anarchy has leveled all existing institutions.
This “day of wrath” in its limited sense has been designed for the world in general, and for a specific class in particular - “the great multitude, which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” (Rev. 7:14) But this day is decidedly not for God’s faithful people: “We are not of the night, nor of darkness… For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thes. 5:5-9) However, some sections of the earth, and some people in particular, may experience much less of the “overflowing scourge,” the day of wrath (Isa. 28:18) - than will others. Thus Zephaniah 2:3 offers the counsel, “Seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord’s wrath.”
Complementing the foregoing is the following from Parousia Volume 5, p. 410: “Hence, this Day of Vengeance and of special wrath, additional to what has prevailed previously, it is declared, will be ‘A time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation.’ God’s saints are assured that they shall be accounted worthy to escape all those things coming upon the world, and to stand before the Son of Man. They shall escape this special wrath, but they do not escape the general wrath which is revealed from heaven against all unrighteousness. They share this with the world, in many respects, and yet there is this finely drawn distinction, which the Scriptures clearly point out:
“Those who accept Christ during this Age and who make a full consecration of themselves to him, are reckoned as having passed from death unto life; as having escaped the wrath, the curse, ‘escaped the corruption that is on the world.’ (2 Peter 1:4; 2:18,20) True, they are still in the world, still subject to death, and may still share with the world the sickness, pain, sorrow and trouble incidental to the curse, and from the worldly standpoint there is no difference; but from God’s standpoint, which is to be the believer’s standpoint, there is a wide difference. Such are not reckoned any longer as dying because of Divine ‘curse’ or wrath, but in view of their justification and subsequent presentation as living sacrifices their death is reckoned as part of Christ’s sacrifice… ‘If we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.’ (Rom. 6:8)”
A GLARING ERROR
In recent years the Jehovah’s Witnesses have been loud in their claim that they are now separating the sheep and the goats of the great parable spoken by our Lord in Matthew 25:31-46. Concerning that time, when the true separation will be proceeding, there is this prophetic statement: “Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet.” (Isa. 28:17) Properly interpreted, this text can mean only that earth’s affairs in that day will be squared and plumbed with righteousness and brought into strict conformity thereto. Manifestly, this could be accomplished only through perfection of administration. We doubt that even the Witnesses would claim perfection for themselves; thus, their present attempt to do something perfectly through imperfect agents can be described only as glaring error - a spiritual mirage. Since they have taken over there has been no relief whatever from the curse; rather, just the reverse has occurred - “the evil day” is becoming daily more apparent and distressing.
In previous papers we have detailed the striking similarity of the Witnesses to the Roman Catholic Church; and on this particular aberration concerning the sheep and the goats they offer almost identical deception. When the Roman Church was in its hey-day, they also were separating the sheep and the goats, except that they consigned their goats (the heretics) to eternal torment, as they promised their sheep eternal bliss in heaven. Today the Witnesses predict eternal extinction in Armageddon to the goats (all outside their organization), as they promise their sheep eternal life here on earth. Very few people want to die; thus, the promise of eternal life with unbroken bliss - either in heaven or on earth - is a very appealing enticement. They are telling them something they want to hear.
But the facts of the case belie their claims. During the thousand-year counterfeit of the Roman Church from 799 to 1799 the curse probably exceeded all previous exhibition - a time known as The Dark Ages. And now, since the counterfeit reign of the Witnesses - from 1914 up to the present - the curse once more is exceeding all previous experiences - “iniquity shall abound” (Matt. 24:12) - “a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation, even to that same time” (Dan. 12:1) - a clear statement that the curse would be worse than at any previous time. Instead of “no more curse,” there is curse more abundant; instead of “no more death,” death is everywhere rampant, and it is taking its toll with the Witnesses along with others of the human race. Even though we are living in the Epiphany - the bright shining - insofar as the curse is concerned we are living in the “little Dark Ages,” which will continue through Anarchy until the Kingdom is established. But to the errorists, “God will send to them an energy of delusion, to their believing the falsehood.” (2 Thes. 2:11, Dia.) Instead of “every man knowing the Lord,” many of those living today know little or nothing of the real God.
But when the real Kingdom is established, the truth will be clear and convincing - there will be no error there - physical, mental and moral diseases will be gradually healed, as the individual cooperates with the Kingdom rules. A far cry from these two counterfeit reigns! Real Bible students have been taught what to expect in that glorious Kingdom. Isaiah Chapter 35 gives a beautiful picture of the Kingdom - and we have seen none of this in the two counterfeit kingdoms.
THE DOUBLE CURSE
While the curse has been passed on from generation to generation, including all nations, there has been a double curse upon a small segment of the human family; namely, upon the Jews. A hint of this is given by St. Paul in Rom. 7:9: “I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.” Here the Apostle is speaking not only for himself, but for the whole Jewish race. Just what is he trying to tell us? Simply this - all men, including the Jews, were promised relief from the curse through the promise given to Abraham: “In thy seed shall all nations of the earth be blessed” (Gen. 22:18); but, when they agreed to keep the Law given to them through Moses at Sinai, they promised more than they could perform, which placed a double liability upon them - one inherited from Father Adam, and one from their broken agreement to keep the law. That perfect law was far beyond the reach of the imperfect Jews. St. Paul confirms this conclusion in Rom. 7:10,11: “And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me.”
Then the words of Jesus in John 3:14: “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up.” Referring to this same situation, St. Paul says in Gal. 3:13: “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us [which relieved the Jews of the double curse resting on them through their inability to keep the law]: for it is written [Duet. 21:22,23], Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.”
However, although the Jews have been under a double curse, they will also be the recipients of a double blessing when that double curse is lifted from them. This is well stated by That Servant as follows: “At the inauguration of the new Age of blessing, natural Israel will be granted a special place and privilege; ‘for the gifts and calling of God are not things to be repented of.’ We see how in another way, also, this special privilege will come to them; namely, in that the law has been more or less of restraint upon them in their daily lives as a people. They have had more or less of loyalty to God, which had kept them separate from other nations. This special privilege of pre-eminence in the Messianic Kingdom, however, will not be granted to all who are Jews by blood; but only to those who prove loyal to the law and the prophets - those who are Jews at heart, and not merely outwardly. All others are merely Gentiles. (Rom. 2:28,29)
“The earthly phase of the Kingdom will be composed of the Ancient Worthies of the Ages preceding the First Advent of our Lord. Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Job, and the Hebrew prophets and other faithful ones will be in power as ‘princes in all the earth.’ (Psa. 45:16 - also see Hebrews Chapter 11) The orthodox Jews will be more ready to receive the blessing of the new dispensation promptly than will any other people. Therefore, they will have the first blessing [a double blessing for their double curse] - not by reason of partiality on God’s part in showing favor to these people, but by virtue of the fact that He made a covenant with them as the posterity of faithful Abraham.” (Reprint 5964, col. 1, October 1, 1916)
Commenting further on this same thing, there is this on pp. 204, 205 of the Book of Covenants: “Since the Mediatorial work of the Millennial Kingdom is to be accomplished through Natural Israel, and since all the families of the earth are to be blessed through them, it follows that nothing can be done until Israel shall have been recovered from their present outcast condition. Then the blessing of the Lord will go forth… will be accomplished through Natural Israel…
“Then, as the people of the various nations shall gather themselves to the Lord and seek to come into harmony with Him, the way of approach will be by coming into accord with the Holy Nation - God’s representative Kingdom in the world… The New Covenant is not to be made with any others than the Jews, for no others were in Covenant relationship with God. The words ‘New Covenant’ seem, therefore, to indicate the repetition of God’s favor to Israel under the better Mediator, who will bring the glorious blessings that they had expected under Moses, but failed to obtain because of the inability of Moses to make satisfaction for their sins; for the blood of bulls and goats could never actually take away their sins. The antitypes of these, the sacrifice of the Lord and members of His Body, must first be accomplished before this New Covenant with Israel could supersede the old or Law Covenant, which it then will do.”
While the New Covenant will have its initial working at the beginning of the Mediatorial reign, the full effects of the promise “There shall be no more curse” will not be realized until the full end of the Little Season - when the curse (all the evils which now afflict the human race), and all those afflicted with it in any manner, will be forever obliterated. Then will come “the end” of 1 Corinthians15:24 - “when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power” - when He shall have destroyed him that has power over death, that is to say the Devil. Let us not forget, “Wherefore the Law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” (Gal. 3:24)
“Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.” (Prov. 3:13,14)
(By John J. Hoefle, Reprint 347, May 1984)