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The Adoption of Sons

by David Weber

I feel the need to express a few things today; some things that are foundational to our understanding of "sonship," as many Christians are not very familiar with the true meaning of "sonship" or "the adoption of sons" or "the placement of sons" as those things are revealed to us in scripture.

It is no wonder that a dark veil has been pulled over the understanding of most Christians regarding "sonship," for the revelation of sonship is something that the devil ferociously withstands, and that because the Christian progression from spiritual children to spiritual sons means the enemy's very undoing.

"For the anxious longing of the creature waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subject to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons..." (Romans 8:19-23)

Beloved, even a brief glimpse into this passage of scripture from Romans should reveal to us that the "adoption of sons" or the unveiling of the Son in fullness in a company of sons is something which yet lies ahead for the body of Christ. We, who have received a measure of the Spirit now wait ...GROANINGLY WAIT! for our adoption as sons. We were foreordained unto adoption as sons, but the actual adoption is something for which we are now waiting. Thus, this "adoption" is not simply the matter of our coming into the family of God through regeneration of our spirit, but rather, it is something which is the end result of God's fiery dealings with us unto the full and complete surrender of our souls!

There have been vast amounts of erroneous teaching about "adoption" and "sonship" in the body of Christ, and that mostly because men have looked at biblical adoption through the eyes of modern western culture. But beloved, the traditional Hebrew view of "the adoption of a son" has absolutely nothing to do with the placement of an orphan into a foster home, rather, it has to do with a young man coming into a place of maturity whereby the full authority and resources of his father are bestowed upon him.

With this in mind, can you not see why the devil would do everything in his power to blind the children of God to the message of their full inheritance and adoption as sons? When MATURE sons of God are made manifest beloved (the man-child of Revelation 12), the enemy will lose his place, he will lose his kingdom, he will lose his title, he will even lose his evil grip on creation! He loses everything!

"Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ has come, for the accuser of the brethren has been thrown down..." (Revelation 12:10)

Dear ones, the catching up of the manchild of Revelation 12 to the throne of God is none other than the sons of God coming into their place of full authority and power in the kingdom; that which the devil has feared the most, and that for which all of creation has been groaning like a woman in the travail of childbirth. The devil has fought hard to keep the light of the inheritance in Christ from Christian believers ... but beloved ... it is now time for us to rise and shine for our light has come! It is time for us to know by the spirit of wisdom and revelation the hope of our calling; which is the full riches and power and authority of our Father bestowed upon us, and that for the purpose of setting all of His creation free from its slavery to corruption and death so that even it (creation itself) might come into the freedom of the glory of the children of God come into their inheritance as sons! Oh glory!

With these things in mind and heart, let me share with you something about the true scriptural meaning of "adoption" and "sonship" as it applies to the above quoted verse from Romans 8 (our inheritance), and as it can be seen in the life and development of the average Hebrew boy ... and even Jesus Himself!

The original Greek word translated as "revealing" in Romans 8:19 is the word "apokalupsis," which simply means "disclosure." In other places throughout the New Testament, it is also translated as "appearing," "coming," "enlighten," and "revelation." The definition assigned to its root word is, "to take off the cover." Therefore, when we come across this word "apokalupsis" in Scripture, it has to do with the exposing of something that has been hidden from view, or bringing into light that which has been kept in obscurity. In this passage of scripture it should be pretty clear that what has been hidden and held in obscurity is ... the sons of God! Certainly even the understanding of sonship has been hidden from many Christians up until now, but thank God, we are coming into a day of a great unveiling of God's inheritance in the saints.

As the above passage of scripture about the sons of God appears to us in English, "sons" could be taken in several different ways, but in the original language, Paul was very careful in his choice of words. For the word "sons" Paul very carefully chose the word "huios" rather than the word "teknion" (which means infant) or "teknon" (which speaks of a child or a youth) because he was not referring to mere children. "Huios" specifically speaks of matured, fully developed sons, or those who have come of age into full maturity. Of the three words, "huios" is the only word that the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to use when he spoke of those to be manifested as sons of God in Romans 8, and it is also the only word that the Holy Spirit inspired the beloved John to use when he referred to the manchild in Revelation chapter 12. Is that possibly because those are one and the same? I think so.

With this understanding somewhat established, we should be able to see that the manifestation of the sons of God is not merely the unveiling or revelation of God's children, since that manifestation has been occurring for the past two thousand years, but it is a revelation of those children coming into their full maturity in Christ, when they will come of full age (spiritually speaking) and be presented by the Father as full grown "sons" (huios) of the Kingdom.

According to John's Gospel, those who receive the Christ are given the power to become the children (teknon) of God, and that through the regeneration of their spirit. But what Paul then reveals in Romans is that from these children will come forth "mature sons;" the manifestation of which all of creation has been anxiously awaiting. Take a look again at verse 21 from Romans, but this time from the J.B.Phillips translation;

"And the hope is that in the end the whole of created life will be rescued from the tyranny of change and decay, and have its share in that magnificent liberty WHICH CAN ONLY BELONG TO THE CHILDREN OF GOD!"

Beloved, this means that the "sons of God" can only come forth from the "children of God," or in other words, the "manchild" can only come forth from the "woman" (she who is made up of "sun clad" believers, but is yet to come to full maturity in Christ for she is still in a sense, a spiritual "child," not having put the self-life fully to death). The manifestation of the sons of God will not be the disclosure of God's offspring in the infant stage (teknion) or the adolescent stage (teknon)... No, it shall be a manifestation of those who have come to the full stature of Christ; nothing less than Christ's own perfection (that's maturity)! Oh, may the spirit of wisdom and revelation open the eyes of your understanding to this wonderful truth!

This article is getting a little bit long, and I want to try to wrap it up, but I would like to take a quick look at the life of Jesus as it is revealed to us in the Gospels because in His life we can see a pattern which reveals the three stages of spiritual growth in a believer ... from infancy (teknion) ... to puberty (teknon) ... to maturity (huios). This is revealed in Jesus' manger birth and circumcision on the eighth day, to His appearing in the temple at age 12, to His adoption ceremony and His Father's proclamation of His Sonship at the Jordan at age 30 ("30" is the biblical number for "maturity").

The pattern shown to us in the life of Jesus, is also revealed to us in the life of the average Israelite male (which I mentioned earlier). Jesus then spiritually amplifies for us that pattern with His life.

In the life of the average Hebrew boy there were three major events which drew broad public attention to him. The first of these events was his "Circumcision," which occurred when he was an infant, at eight days old. This was the moment that he was marked as a "covenant man" in Israel, and was celebrated throughout the community.

The second major event was his "Bar-Mitzvah," which took place as he was about to enter into puberty. The word Bar-Mitzvah actually means "a son accountable," and this signified the time, not only when he was held accountable for keeping the Commandments of God, but also when he was to become an apprentice under his father in the family business. This, too, was celebrated as a very special event in the life of the child, just as it is today.

The third event was what was known as the "Huiothesia," or the (young man's) "adoption ceremony." The word "Huiothesia" means "Son Placement," and indicates the time when a male child reached what was considered to be the age of maturity (somewhere around 30). At this time, the father of the young man would place his hand on the head of his son and openly proclaim, "This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased! I bestow upon him now all of my riches and power and authority (through power of attorney) so that he might act on my behalf in all of my affairs."

Beloved friends, can you see that the three experiences that are described in the life of an Israelite male, and the three stages shown to us in the life of Jesus, are to be spiritually discerned so that we may understand God's enduring process for our own spiritual growth into sons? Can you now understand why Jesus would say to Mary and Joseph at age 12, "Know ye not that I must be about My Father's business?" Can you see that He was proclaiming His just then entered apprenticeship under the Father? At that point Jesus was just entering an 18 year stage of "learning the family business" so to speak. His Sonship ceremony at the Jordan which would "fulfill all righteousness" and launch His glorious Sonship ministry would not be performed until He reached the full stage of "maturity." The Holy Spirit's descent like a dove upon Jesus was in essence the hand of the Father coming upon the Son to proclaim His Sonship ministry! The Father said, "This is My Beloved Son in Whom I AM well pleased!" Many of us have not understood the full ramifications of those words, or that ceremony, until now. But there is now a great light of revelation being shed upon such things in this day.

Why?

Because the time for our adoption as "sons" is drawing nigh beloved. Our Father is preparing to bestow the riches and the power and the glory of His Kingdom upon a people, and that without measure! But He won't give that power to spiritual infants! No, He won't. Nor will He give it to spiritual children... But the Father is waiting (as is all of creation) to bring forth sons. This is the precious fruit of the earth for which the Husbandman has been patiently waiting.

Oh yeah ... one last thing.

Growth from spiritual childhood to that of a son comes only one way beloved... lots and lots of chastening, suffering, trials, and tribulation. Hardly the escape "rapture" folks ... sorry.

May the Lord give us the grace to endure the trials and the chastening that we must suffer unto sonship, and that, so that He may have that company of sons upon whom He can place the great authority and power that is needed to rule and reign with Him in the Kingdom of God.

Zion's Sons chapter Table of Contents
Endnotes