Does the word adoption in the Bible carry the same meaning as our word for today about adoption? Is there another experience besides the new birth and the resurrection that is coming to the Bride at the end time?

The term “adoption” is used five times in the Bible. It is in Romans 8:15, 23, 9:4, Galatians 4:5 and Ephesians 1:5. In Ephesians 1:5 and 9:4 there is very little context given as to the meaning of this term. In the Greek language, the term is huiothesia. It’s meaning is the placing of sons. The term “adoption” in English obviously means the act of adopting. Adopting means “to take by choice into a relationship; especially: to take voluntarily (a child of other parents) as one’s own child.” It is granted that this word huiothesia is used for the actual act of adopting someone into your family in Greek history and literature. Many theologians have written extensively about this subject in this manner. God takes us, who were not his children and makes us his children. However, does the context of the Scriptures gives us the same picture. I want you to view the context of Galatians chapter 4 to illuminate my point more clearly.

23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. 26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:23-29

1 Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; 2 But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father. 3 Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: 4 But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, 5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” Galatians 4:1-5

Paul is writing that before we came to faith in Christ, we were kept under the law, our schoolmaster. The word is pedagogue in the Greek. A pedagogue is what we consider a nursemaid in the English tradition. They were the servants that the father hired to watch over the children, to teach them and guide them early in life and to care for them. The law acted as a servant that protected and cared for us. Then in verse 26, he says that we are all huios “sons” of God by faith in Jesus Christ. If we belong to Christ, then we are heirs of the promise. In chapter four and verse one we see that Paul continues his illustration. He writes that the heir, which means the person that will inherit leadership, as long as he is a child. The word child is nepios in the Greek, and it means a “minor.” In other words, someone that hasn’t reached the age of maturity yet. The word nepior even suggests “not speaking” or “silent.” In other words, he has no say and no official position, though he is master of all the servants. He continues to be under guardians and agents until the time that has been fixed for him to enter into his position as an adult son with authority in his home. The law here is called “the elements of the world,” that is the ABC’s, the alphabet. We were in bondage to the very basic principles of things. Christ came to put us into a position where we could become adult sons.

It is clear that adoption is being spoken of in the sense of the ceremony wherein a child becomes a man with the right of an adult son. Paul speaks of the heir being a minor and the time appointed. Let’s review what Brother Branham spoke about the subject.

“Then the father taken him out into the public street, and then he put a special clothes on him. And then the father had a ceremony and adopted this his son into his family. Paul saying here, “Having predestinated us unto the adoption (See?), unto the adoption.” Moses a prefigure of it… And then this son after he came out there, was given no longer—no longer was he just like the servant under a tutor. He was the boss. Amen. I hope this soaks real deep. Going to leave you in a minute.

  1. Let’s get way down deep. This son was no more under a tutor but he was like his father. And his father give him certain things to do. The father might’ve told him, “You take care of this field over here, or you do this over here. You take care of the slaves; you take care of whatever it was.” He was in full possession (Amen.), for he was adopted into that family. And his name on a check was just as good as his daddy’s.” [1]

“And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” Galatians 4:6

This further bolsters our understanding regarding this subject. Because you are huios God has sent forth the Spirit of his Huios into your hearts whereby ye cry Abba, Father. We do not become sons; we are always children of God by election. God chose us before the foundation of the world. Therefore we are always his children, but then when we come to the age of maturity, we receive the Holy Spirit and now we are in a position of being sons (and daughters) of God.

Now, let’s review the two instances in Romans 8 to see what else we can glean from this idea of the placing of an adult son.

“For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.” Romans 8:15

We haven’t received the spirit of slavery, we’ve received the Spirit of placing of sons. Here the receiving of the Spirit of his Huios (as in Galatians 4:6) is referred to as the Spirit of huiothesia. Before I comment anymore on this verse, I want to refer you to the second instance of adoption in Romans 8.

“And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” Romans 8:23

We have already received the Spirit of huiothesia, but in verse 23 we are waiting for huiothesia. This huiothesia speaks of the redemption of our bodies. This shows us that huiothesia is ultimately future. What is the redemption of our body? It is when this body is changed to be like unto Christ’s glorified body when this mortal shall put on immortality. At our new birth we receive the Spirit of huiothesia and when we receive our immortal body, we are huiothesia. We have the down payment given to us of our huiothesia. We are in the process of sonship. We are always heirs because of God’s sovereign plan for us since we were in the mind of God before the foundation of the world and therefore a part of his life. We weren’t in the position of sonship. At our new birth we enter into the position of sonship, yet, this is still not the final act. We enter into full sonship when we get our body change.

There is another sense wherein we are now being trained and taught by the Holy Spirit in preparation for entering into our position as kings and priests in the millennium. He has made us kings and priests now, but we enter that position as kings and priests in the millennium where we will rule over the nations with the rod of iron. (Revelation 2:27)

“Unless we suffer with Him we cannot reign with Him. You have to suffer to reign. The reason for this is that character simply is never made without suffering. Character is a VICTORY, not a gift. A man without character can’t reign because power apart from character is Satanic. But power with character is fit to rule. And since He wants us to share even His throne on the same basis that He overcame and is set down in His Father’s throne, then we have to overcome to sit with Him. And the little temporary suffering we go through now is not worthy to be compared to the tremendous glory that will be revealed in us when He comes.” [2]

Is there a third experience distinct from the new birth and the transformation of our body called adoption in the New Testament?

There are times when we read Brother Branham’s messages when that seems to be the case, as though the manifestation of the sons of God comes sometime at the end time before the rapture. However, I want to show the obvious references that the prophet gives showing this is not the case. He did not teach the latter rain manifested sons doctrine.

“Now, the trees does not have it, nature does not have it, but yet we are still groaning with them because as yet we haven’t received the fullness of our adoption. But we have the earnest of it, that we were picked up from the things of the world and now become sons and daughters of God. What kind of people should we be? Oh, my, when we think of that! Think of it! Now we have the earnest, our spirit’s groaning for the full adoption, but now we have the earnest of it. As we receive the Holy Spirit, it is the earnest of our complete adoption or complete salvation. Oh, how beautiful! I just love that. All right. 108 We are waiting for the fullness of adoption. This will take place when? At the first resurrection. That’s when our bodies will be changed from these vile creatures that we are and we’ll have a body like His Own glorious body, “For we shall see Him as He is, and we will be like Him.” When He appears, we appear in His likeness. We will have a body like His, a glorious glorified body, and all the trials and struggles of life will fade off into a little mist and blow away to never be no more.” [3]

“And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. 77 Oh, my, oh, my. Don’t that make us old folks feel good? It ought make us all feel good, waiting for this hour. We understand this will take place at the first resurrection. See, nature is groaning; we are groaning; everything is groaning, because we realize there’s something not right. And the only way you can groan and wait for it, is because there has been new life come in here that speaks of a new world.” [4]

In coming issues of PTM Contender I will go into the manifested sons of God doctrine that some people are going into. For now, we will close this section on adoption.

[1] 55-0116A, The Believer’s Position In Christ,  Rev. William Marrion Branham

[2] An Exposition Of The Seven Church Ages – Chapter Four – The Smyrnaean Church Age, Rev. William Marrion Branham

[3] 61-0611, Revelation, Chapter Five #1, Rev. William Marrion Branham

[4] 63-0317E, The Breach Between The Seven Church Ages And The Seven Seals, Rev. William Marrion Branham