Summary: Many times we don’t realize that the pain and suffering of this world is caused by a curse that God will reverse during the Tribulation. Learn the origins, effects, and ending of this worldwide curse.
Revelation 22:3 "And there shall be no more curse…" KJV
Why do we care about the curse and how God reverses it in Revelation? Because we all feel the effects of the curse each day of our lives. Our bodies decay, the people we love die, there are famines to endure, we have to work for food and shelter - and having babies and raising kids is difficult and often filled with sorrow.
Why study the reversal of the curse here in Revelation? We are about to enter the portion of the book where extreme judgments come upon planet earth. It’s important to see the context and the effect of these judgments - like a spacecraft reentering earth’s atmosphere, there is much fire and heat and smoke as God takes away the curse.
How does God reverse the effects of the curse in the book of Revelation? By making Jesus a curse for us.
Galatians 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us - for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree" ESV
Where did the curse come from? Genesis 3 - and the Garden of Eden.
What happened in the Garden?
1. God created the heavens and the earth - and they were "good."
2. Man was given charge over the garden and given one command - don’t eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
3. The garden was well watered - all sustenance provided
4. Lucifer was let loose in the garden and disguised himself or took the form or inhabited a serpent
5. Lucifer called God’s Word into question and tempted Eve to disobey God
6. Eve and Adam ate from the fruit (effectively giving Satan control over earth - see Luke 4:5-6 "For it has been delivered up to me")
7. The effect was that they knew they were naked and attempted to cover their nakedness (which was more than physical nakedness - but spiritual.)
8. They hid from God
9. God called them to account for their works
10. The actual curse:
a. The serpent was cursed above all animals
b. There would be a battle between Satan and Jesus (enmity)
c. Jesus would be bruised, but Satan would be crushed
a. Pain in childbirth - perhaps child rearing too knowing that sin would continue
b. Inequality and competition between men and women ("desire" = run after, overflow)
a. Held specifically accountable for the sin
b. Ground cursed - efforts will bring forth no fruit - only hard labor - the creation now pits itself against man, not for him (including natural disasters)
c. Death results
11. Barred from the Tree of Life
12. Barred from the Garden
What came with the curse?
A Sin Nature - passed on from parents to children ("suffer in childbirth")
Ephesians 2:3 "we … were by nature children of wrath."
Death - spiritual and physical ("in that day you shall surely die" - "return to the dust"))
Spiritual death - loss of fellowship with God
Physical death - the body dies, the sin nature kills (Cain and Abel)
A Fallen World ("thorns and thistles")
Romans 8:19-22 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. ESV
"Futility" here means "to have no purpose." When God declared that the ground would bring forth only thorns and thistles - He put the creation under judgment - that it would not be able to fulfill its purpose of providing a place for man to live, and enjoy fellowship with God, but would instead be under "bondage to decay."
We see that decay all around us - from the laws of physics (the 2nd law of thermodynamics, for instance) to the natural disasters that hit us to the diseases that plague us to the age that ravages our bodies - even to the mountains that are in a continual state of being washed away and crumbling into dust.
Under God’s Judgment and Wrath
"All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" Romans 3:23
"But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed." Romans 2:5
"The soul who sins shall die." Ezekiel 18:20
Unable to Approach God
"…for man shall not see Me and live." Exodus 33:20