“There Shall Be No More Curse”

FROM time to time a very fascinating discovery is made of a phenomenon in nature that performs an important service. Such was the discovery made by a Cornell scientist concerning the Argus Tortoise beetle, a tiny creature brought forth by God’s great power, but one which has been unnoticed by the world. It is commonly known as the “goldbug.” For most people the discovery may have little interest. For the farmer, the knowledge concerning this little creature could be far-reaching. For those who believe in God’s plan of the ages, it is another evidence of the many ways whereby God could control the problems now besetting the world of mankind.

An article on this discovery recently appeared in a prominent major newspaper. It read as follows:

“A farmer’s dream—an insect that eats only weeds—has been found in an abandoned cornfield on Long Island by a Cornell University scientist.

“The insect, which bears the imposing name of Argus tortoise beetle, has an insatiable appetite for field and hedge bindweed, which are growing menaces to major crops like corn and potatoes and are difficult to control with herbicides.

“A finicky eater, the beetle—which is commonly called the goldbug because of its sheen—ignores foods outside the bindweed family, one of the most prevalent weeds in North America and Northern Europe. Bindweed is difficult to control in [the production of] cereals, fruits and ornamental crops and almost impossible to keep down in potato fields.

“There is a real potential for using the beetle as a means of controlling bindweed,” according to the man who found the beetle in a Long Island cornfield, Prof. G. Wilbur Selleck, a specialist in plant ecology and weed control at the State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell. He is superintendent of the college’s Long Island Horticultural Research Laboratory in Riverhead.

“‘The problem today is that too many insecticides are being used to control infestation,’ he said. ‘But in fact, the beetles do a better job than a chemical weed killer recently cleared for use in vineyards and orchards.’

“Professor Selleck first found the insect while experimenting with chemical herbicides two years ago. In his observations and experiments in early 1978, he found a population explosion of beetles—‘billions of them per acre,’ he said. Beetle larvae and beetles were feasting on bindweed throughout a six-acre cornfield that he had under observation.

“‘By mid-July,’ he said, ‘not a single bindweed plant could be found in the entire area of infestation. There was no escape for the bindweed.’

“Moreover, he added, the corn plants were intact and there was no evidence of insect feeding on about 100 other plant species in the area. When the bindweed ran out, most of the adult beetles obligingly died.

“In his experiments, Professor Selleck introduced some of the beetles to other locations, where corn, rye, zucchini, grapes, ornamental shrubs and pine trees were growing. As expected, the beetles devoured the bindweed in those areas but ignored the other plants.

“Meanwhile, in another experiment, Professor Selleck raised some beetles in the laboratory. The larvae and the adults thrived on bindweed leaves that they were fed, but shunned Irish potato leaves and other delicacies, and died rather than eat them.”

The article ended on a note of caution, saying:

“In the past a number of attempts to aid agriculture by tampering with nature have gone awry. A classic case is the gypsy moth, which was brought to the United States from France in 1869 to improve silk worm production but ultimately caused the destruction of millions of acres of woodlands.”

In the beginning, we are told, the sentence passed upon Father Adam because of disobedience was not only the penalty of death but additionally a curse which was placed upon his environment. Both aspects of this sentence are recorded in Genesis: “And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Gen. 2:15-17) “And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”—Gen. 3:17-19

Thus, for about 6,000 years mankind has had to struggle against all kinds of adversity. Some of these adversities have caused early loss of life, when they have taken the form of pestilence, plagues, and disease. Some of these catastrophes were caused by carriers of various types, such as insects, rodents, and bacteria from pollution. Other misfortunes, such as droughts, freezing cold, flooding, and infestation by insects and weeds, have seriously affected the food supply. The struggle against these has been endless.

As the earth’s population has grown, these experiences have become more difficult. Food supply is becoming more and more critical. Man has been forced in desperation to seek solutions to these problems. Pesticides have been invented and used widely to save crops from all types of insect pests. New herbicides, which prevent undesirable weeds from growing without harming crops, are also being invented every year. Yet, in spite of the influx of such new chemicals, mankind has not been able to bring these pests under control, and the struggle against them continues. The curse has not been lifted.

The effect that chemicals have upon our environment has divided many of our scientists into two camps. Some have accepted chemical control of pests as the lesser of two evils. Others have not. Dr. Norman E. Borlaug several years ago won the Nobel Peace prize for his work in developing a more productive strain of wheat, which could double the food production per acre anywhere in the world that it is grown. He was opposed to the banning of DDT and said, “If DDT is banned by the United States, I have wasted my life’s work. I have dedicated myself to finding better methods of feeding the world’s starving population. Without DDT and other important agricultural chemicals, our goals are simply unattainable.”

Some scientists who oppose the use of all forms of agricultural chemicals, considering them as the greater of the two evils, have called attention to certain natural forms of control. The praying mantis (a member of the Mantidae insect family) preys on many types of insects. Another species of small beetle, the Coccinellidae, popularly known as the ladybird or ladybug, lives on mites and aphids, the scourge of fruit trees. Here, too, however, there are species in this family that are injurious, such as the Mexican bean beetle and the squash beetle.) Then there are the many bird species that are helpful in controlling the insect population, and without them the earth might have been overrun by insects long ago. And now we know about the special virtue of the Argus Tortoise beetle. By providing these natural deterrents God has controlled the curse so that it did not become utterly devastating. This natural control of pests is by God’s power, and man has never been able to invent any type of control that can equal it. Unfortunately, man’s knowledge about these natural forms of control is not adequate. He does not know how to use them as a complete replacement for the synthetic types of control. God will permit this condition to continue until he provides the solution in the kingdom.

The Bible tells us in Revelation 22:3, that a time will come when there will be “no more curse.” Death, that great enemy of mankind, will be destroyed. That day will be a wonderful time. All will rejoice in God’s wonderful kingdom. Adding to the joy of all will be the fact that the curse of the earth will also be removed. There are so many ways in which God can bring an end to the curse that it would be foolish for us to speculate about the exact manner in which this would be done. We see evidences of his great power in this way every day, whether it be in a small creature like the Argus Tortoise beetle or a new herbicide which performs its function in preventing a weed from growing and then breaks its substance down into basic harmless components. But we know that his promise to end the curse is sure, and it will come to pass.

Note the contrast between the “curse” and the “promise.” The curse was: “Cursed is the ground for thy sake. … Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee.” (Gen. 3:17,18) This came to pass with stark realism. There were no thorns or thistles to interfere with the growth of the marvelous trees in the Garden of Eden. On the other hand, the promise is: “The desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly.” (Isa. 35:1,2) The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. We, today, have difficulty in imagining a time when there shall be no more curse. Even the most pleasant land we have seen has, upon close scrutiny, its thorns and thistles and desert. Isaiah’s promise is clear: “No more desert.” Another one of the many such promises is found in Psalm 65:9-13, where, speaking of God, the psalmist says: “Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: thou greatly en richest it with the river of God, which is full of water: thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so provided for it. Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly: thou settlest the furrows thereof: thou makest it soft with showers: thou blessest the springing thereof. Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; and thy paths drop fatness. They drop upon the pastures of the wilderness: and the little hills rejoice on every side. The pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered over with corn; they shout for joy, they also sing.”

God can employ his great power to bring either a curse or a blessing. This was clearly demonstrated in reality when the nation of Israel was in bondage in Egypt. It was necessary to send ten plagues upon Pharaoh and the Egyptians in order to induce Pharaoh to release the children of Israel. The plagues took on concentrated forms of all aspects of the curse. They began with the rivers being turned to blood, probably like the “red tide” of today, a poisonous form of red algae. Next, frogs inundated the land. This plague was followed by lice. Starting with the fourth plague, God did not let any of these plagues come upon Israel, in the land of Goshen. Swarms of flies came upon the Egyptians next, but none upon Israel. The herds of the Egyptians, such as cattle, horses, camels, etc., were afflicted with disease and all died; the herds of Israel were not afflicted and not one died. Next, boils came upon man and beast in Egypt. This plague was followed by hail, which ruined the crops; but again, in Goshen, upon Israel there was no hail. Then came the locusts, which ate every “green thing” that had survived the hail storm. The ninth plague was a heavy darkness upon all Egypt for three days (except again in Goshen, where Israel dwelled). The climax came with the smiting of the firstborn of man and beast, except again in Goshen, where Israel’s firstborn were spared because of the blood of the Passover Lamb.

The major lesson from these events which involved Israel in Egypt portrays the bondage of mankind to Satan and his minions (pictured by Pharaoh and his taskmasters). The release of Israel from bondage (because of the Passover Lamb) pictures the release of mankind from the curse of death and all the other attendant curses.

It is noteworthy, as we review the plagues preceding Israel’s deliverance, that all the plagues were under God’s control. It was God who brought forth the “red tide,” the frogs, the lice, the flies, the disease of murrain, the boils, the hail with frightening storms, the locusts, the darkness, and death. Although Pharaoh’s magicians also caused a “red tide” in the water, and frogs, they could not duplicate any of the plagues that followed. As the Scriptures tell us concerning the third plague: “And the magicians did so with their enchantments to bring forth lice, but they could not: so there were lice upon man, and upon beast. Then the magicians said unto Pharaoh, This is the finger of God: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, and he hearkened not unto them; as the Lord had said.” (Exod. 8:18,19) In every case, he that brought forth the plague, was the only one who could stop or remove the plague. So also with the curse on man’s environment. God, who imposed the curse, is the only one who can remove that curse.

The power of God used to spare Israel during the plagues was also used to bless Israel when they kept his law, even as promised: “If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them; then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit. And your threshing shall reach unto the vintage, and the vintage shall reach unto the sowing time; and ye shall eat your bread to the full, and dwell in your land safely. And I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid; and I will rid evil beasts out of the land, neither shall the sword go through your land. And ye shall chase your enemies, and they shall fall before you by the sword. And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword. For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you. And ye shall eat old store, and bring forth the old because of the new. And I will set my tabernacle among you; and my soul shall not abhor you. And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people. I am the Lord your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that ye should not be their bondmen; and I have broken the bands of your yoke, and made you go upright.”—Lev. 26:3-13

While the rest of the world was afflicted, Israel, if obedient, was blessed. If God could do this for Israel in a stricken and sin-sick world, how much more can he do for all the world by lifting the curse! As the psalmist has prophesied: “O sing unto the Lord a new song: sing unto the Lord, all the earth. Sing unto the Lord, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day. Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people. For the Lord is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared [reverenced] above all gods. For all the gods of the nations are idols; but the Lord made the heavens. Honor and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. Give unto the Lord, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the Lord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts. O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth. Say among the heathen [the nations] that the Lord reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously. Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fullness thereof. Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice before the Lord: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.” (Ps. 96) And, echoed in the 98th Psalm: “O sing unto the Lord a new song; for he hath done marvelous things; his right Hand, and his holy Arm, hath gotten him the victory. The Lord hath made known his salvation: his righteousness hath he openly shewed in the sight of the heathen. He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. Sing unto the Lord with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm. With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the Lord, the King. Let the sea roar, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together before the Lord; for he cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity.”

In the New Testament the lifting of the curse is described as a fitting climax to the Bible’s wonderful message of joy and hope. “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him.”—Rev. 22:1-3

Dawn Bible Students Association
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