The Divine Principles
By Young Oon Kim
Chapter X The Second Advent of Christ
Elijah and John the Baptist
God had sent four great prophets and twelve minor prophets successively in order to awaken and urge the Israelites to prepare for the Day of the Messiah by separating them. from Satan and drawing them close to the Temple of God. Nevertheless the people disobeyed God and were corrupted and faithless. Hence God sent a most powerful spiritual champion, the prophet Elijah. His mission was to subjugate Satan so thoroughly, that Satan would never again appear to the Israelites and they might be prepared for the Messiah. Therefore Elijah gave orders to kill more than eight hundred false prophets after his great battle with Satan at Mount Carmel. But after Elijah was transported into heaven, the people rebelled against God by worshipping idols, and again united with Satan. Thus the work of Elijah had to be done over again.
In order to separate the people from Satan and have them prepare for the day of the Messiah, another Elijah was needed.
Behold I will send you Elijah, the prophet, before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. (Malachi 4:5)
This was God's promise, and the people waited for Elijah to come prior to the coming of the Messiah. It was their faith that the Messiah could not come before Elijah appeared. According to the testimony of Jesus, John the Baptist was the Elijah to come (Matt. 17:13), that is, the advent of Elijah was fulfilled in John. He came to succeed the mission of Elijah; he and Elijah were one in terms of mission. Their mission was to subjugate Satan, and to make preparation for the Messiah.
When the rumor of Jesus being the Messiah was heard, the Pharisees asked the disciples if their master was the Messiah, then who was Elijah? The disciples brought the question to Jesus, who answered that John was the Elijah. (Matt. 11:14, 17:13)
The Pharisees and Levites came to John to find out by his own testimony whether he was the Elijah or not. (John 1:20 If his answer had been affirmative, the consequences would have been different from what is now recorded history. However John denied that he was the Elijah to return.
"You yourselves bear me witness, that I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him." (John 3:28) Yet he did not know the one before the Messiah was the return of Elijah to whom the prophet Malachi had referred. The purpose of sending John was to accomplish the mission of Elijah. He had been chosen in his mother's womb, and John's birth surprised many. (Luke 1:66) John wore a garment of camel's hair and a leather girdle around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey, and he came neither eating nor drinking in order to do God's will: this unusual way of living made the people regard him as the chosen man for a special mission. John's appearance caused such a commotion that the Jews and priests were unclear if he was the Messiah.
Whatever John uttered was very important and exceedingly influential. His voice, at this time, had more authority than that of Jesus, for Jesus was only a humble carpenter and was not known to many people. No one would have denied Jesus to be the Messiah if John had proclaimed himself as the Elijah and had borne witness to Jesus. Denying himself to be the Elijah, however, John made of Jesus an impostor, therefore the people found it difficult to accept Jesus as the Messiah. John said, "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, " make straight the way of the Lord," as the prophet Isaiah said, "He will baptize with fire and the spirit and the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie. " (John 1:23) Judging from these verses it is plain that John had recognized Jesus as the Messiah, but he did not carry out his mission as the witness.
John's mission of testifying to Jesus could have been finished by baptizing him in the Jordan. He should have followed after Jesus, together with his disciples, and served him as the Lord. But he did not appear to be convinced and took a different position from Jesus, for he said, "He must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3:30) If John _had followed after Jesus, he could have been with Jesus in his rise and fall: However doubts seem to have come to John's mind as he compared the life of Jesus with his own. It seemed as if Jesus was abolishing the Mosaic laws. Jesus' disciples were humble fishermen and his friends were tax collectors, harlots, and sinners. Jesus and his disciples ate and drank whereas John and his disciples were ascetic. In prison, however, John wondered again about Jesus.
When John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, "Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?" Jesus answered them, "Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the poor have good news preached to them." (Luke 7:18-23)
John should have recognized the Messiah even by his works. Pointing out the offense that John took at Jesus, he said, "And blessed is he who takes no offense at me." Jesus magnified John from the point of his mission.
I tell you, among those born of women none is greater than John; yet he who is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he. (Luke 7:28)
John was the greatest prophet of all, in terms of mission, for he was the very prophet to witness to the Messiah directly and immediately. Never the less he was the smallest of all in terms of serving Jesus, because he did not follow nor serve Jesus as the Lord, although he had been chosen for that very purpose. Since John was born for the Messiah, he should have lived and died for the Messiah. He could have been the chief disciple of Jesus if John had followed him immediately after baptizing Jesus. John suffered unnecessarily by interfering with the illicit relations between Herod and his wife, and John left his greatest task unfinished -- he failed in accomplishing the mission of witnessing to Jesus as his forerunner.
The Second Coming of the Lord
Since the promise written in Matthew Chapter 24, the Second Advent of Jesus has been the greatest hope for Christians. However, with regard to the time, place, and manner of his coming there has been much discussion -- yet no convincing answer has been found. Jesus said, "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, or the Son, but the Father only." (Matt. 24:36) Some Christians feel that even to discuss the time element is utterly useless. However, the Father knows, and He will reveal it when the time comes, because as it is said in Amos 3:7, "Surely the Lord God does nothing without revealing his secret to iris servants the prophets."
God has consistently revealed His will to His children prior to carrying out His works. For example, He revealed to Noah the situation of the flood judgment, and He revealed to Abraham regarding the destruction o f Sodom and Gomorra. Until Jesus was born, no one knew the time of his birth. But when the time was full, God revealed it to the wise men from the East, to the shepherds, and to John the Baptist. It is said that Jesus would come as a thief in the night to those who are in darkness, but it is also said that he would not come as a thief to those who are not in darkness. (I Thes. 5:4) When he comes again God will reveal to His people the time and the place even as He did at the birth of Jesus.
But take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a snare; for it will come upon all who dwell upon the face of the whole earth. But watch at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of man. (Luke 21:34-36)
So the Christians who are awake in the light will be able to know the Day.
Then in what manner will the Lord come again? There are many beliefs current today concerning the Second Coming of Christ. Some people believe that the Second Coming refers to His coming in conversion. This is true. He does come at that time into the heart of the believer. But that is not the coming to which the Divine prophecy written in Matthew Chapter 24 refers. Conversions take place every day, but the Second Coming of the Lord is an event that will take place in one glorious day.
Many people feel that Christ comes in the Baptism of the Holy Spirit into the life of the Christian --however, after the Day of Pentecost the disciples continued to talk of the coming of Jesus as an event still in the future, which indicates that Baptism is not the coming referred to in Matthew's chronicle.
It is also said that His Second Advent was fulfilled in the revealing of the spiritual meaning of the Word of God. According to this school of thought, the prophecies in Matthew Chapter 2 have been fulfilled both symbolically and spiritually, but this sinful world is which we now live will not change of itself but will continue forever as it is. This view is contrary to the Divine ideal of creation and to the purpose of Jesus' advent, for he had intended to establish the kingdom of God on earth. If this sinful world continues unchanged, God's Will shall never be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Another view of the Coming is that Jesus will come from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and God's people shall be caught up in the clouds to meet tine Lord in the air. During the time of Jesus, some people, taking literally the words in Daniel, believed that the Messiah would come in the clouds. "I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the cloud of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the ancient of days and was presented before him. " (7:13) It was the Gnostics who taught "… all flesh is evil and Jesus, the Son of God, could not assume the same flesh as other fallen man." John warned to them and said, "For many deceivers have gone out into the world, men who will not acknowledge the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist. "(II John 7)
Should Jesus come from heaven in a cloud with the archangel's call, and Christians be caught up in the clouds to meet him in the air, how then could the verse in Luke 17:24 be fulfilled?
For as the lightening flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of man be in his day. But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation. If Jesus comes in such a manner, no one would dare to deny him or reject him; but how will he suffer first? "When the Son of man comes will he find faith on earth?" (Luke 18:8) This verse can not be fulfilled, for everyone will be able to see him and glorify him.
The early Christians expected his near return during their life time and looked daily for his coming. Since then, there have been many predictions concerning the date of his return, none of which have proved true. Again there are some people who think it useless to speculate on the time of Second Advent. It is said in the Gospel, "But of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." (Mark 13:32) If the Lord is actually coming again, there must be a specific day for it, and when the time is full, the Father will reveal the Son, His angels and His people on earth.
Some people believe that the manner of his return will be like that of his going. He left on a cloud and he will return on a cloud.(Acts-1:9-11) He went bodily and visibly and he will return bodily and visibly. (I Thess. 4:16) He went from the midst of his own people (Luke 24:51), so he, will return among. his own people and meet them in the air. (I Thess. 4:16-17)
Christians in various denominations hold many divergent beliefs concerning Eschatology and the Second Advent in spite of their reading virtually the same Bible, and yet each feels, there is firm ground in the Word of God for their belief and therefore cannot be wrong.
To these divergent beliefs, I want to add another theory regarding hour he will come again. This theory is also based on the Scriptures and with this view alone can we explain the verses, which cannot be explained otherwise.
The great hope of Israel was the coming of the Messiah, but of even greater import was the coming of Elijah, the forerunner. According to Jesus, Elijah was John the Baptist.
Elijah does come, and he is to restore all things; but I tell you that Elijah has already come and they did not know him, but did to him whatever they pleased, So also the Son of man will suffer at their hands. Then the disciples understood that he was speaking of John the Baptist. (Matt. 17:10-13)
And if you are willing to accept it, he is to come. He who has ears to hear, let him hear. (Matt. 11:14
The return of Elijah was thus fulfilled in the appearance of John.
Here is the possibility that the return of the Lord may be fulfilled in the same way as was the case of Elijah and John the Baptist. Jesus regarded Elijah and John as one in terms of mission, for John came to succeed and complete the work of Elijah. By the same token, in order to accomplish the unfinished task of Jesus, God will send another person to succeed his work. So Jesus and the Lord of the Second Advent are one in accomplishing one mission..
When God chose Moses, He promised to lead him and his people into the land of Canaan flowing with milk and honey. This was a definite predetermined blessing and was the promise of God. But the Israelites complained and rebelled against God in the wilderness. Moses also struck the rock twice contrary to God's will, when he gave water out of the rock. Because of this mistake of Moses and the unbelief of his people, God did not allow them to enter into the promised land, and they died in the wilderness. When Moses failed to accomplish his mission, God chose Joshua and Caleb to succeed and complete Moses' mission. Having studied the history of the Hebrews, we find that God never uses the same person a second time who once failed to do God's will. Instead, He chooses another person to carry out His will. Therefore God will not send Jesus of Nazareth again, but will choose some one else to succeed and accomplish his work.
The sole purpose of God's providence is to restore man and the world, i.e., the Garden of Eden on earth. Jesus was to restore Adam, through whom God had intended to accomplish the providence of restoration. It was possible for Jesus to fulfill this Divine mandate, because he alone came to earth as the incarnation of the Word of God. Hence he was called God's only begotten son who completely manifested God. The first Adam brought death into the world, and the second Adam, Jesus, came to restore man and that world to life. Having been crucified by the Israelites, however, Jesus could not accomplish the restoration of the universe and the complete salvation of man both in spirit and body. Through the victory on the cross, Christ brought about man's spiritual salvation. Only and the physical redemption was left unaccomplished. In order to complete this work the Second Advent must be fulfilled.
According to the law of indemnity and restoration, life can be indemnified and restored only by another life. (Exodus 21:23-25) The loss of man can be indemnified and restored by man alone. For this reason, God repeated the dispensation of restoration by selecting men like Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, and Jesus. God must do the work of restoration through men. This was the reason why Jesus was born as a man, lived as a man, subjugated Satan as a man and triumphed on the cross of Calvary as a man. That was his victory. However, Jesus could only restore spiritually that which was lost by the fall; he left, the physical restoration unfulfilled.
In order to accomplish this task, another man must be born as a man, live as a man, subjugate Satan completely, and restore the entire universe as a man. This will bring victory and glory to God. For example, when Job passed all tests and triumphed over them as a man, Satan surrendered him, and God blessed Job twice as much as He had before,
When the Lord comes again in the flesh, those who are now looking into heaven to see him in the clouds will deny him and reject and persecute him in many ways. Since he comes in such an unexpected manner, the Christians who stick to the traditional faith will condemn him as a heretic.. Jesus said, "When the Son of man conies will he find faith on earth?" Regard the many years the Jews served God and how great the miracles they performed, Jesus rejected those who had denied him. Again at the time of the Second Advent, the Lord will reject those who deny him. But when the time is full and the Lord appears with justice and glory of the Father, he will judge them.
Not every one who says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, Lord, Lora, did w not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name? And then will I declare to them, I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers. (Matt. 7:21)
If the Lord were to come in the clouds from heaven every one would see the kingdom of God. Bait Jesus said,
The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; now will they say, "Lo, here it is! or there! For behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you." (Luke 17:20)
The kingdom of God was in the midst of those who received Jesus first. Again at the time of the Second Advent, those who receive the Lord and follow him first will the most blessed, and they shall receive the kingdom of God first.
Then will appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory; and he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call and they will father his elect from the four winds from one end of heaven to the other. (Matt.24:30)
Will there be a … him, if he comes in the clouds, with his angels, and with a loud trumpet call? These words will be fulfilled symbolically -- not literally. Those with spiritual eyes will be able to see these things take place.
Then what does "coming with the clouds" mean symbolically? Clouds are vaporized water; according to the book of Revelation, "waters" symbolize the people of the world. "The waters that you saw, where the harlot is seated, are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues." (Rev. 17:15) Hence the clouds signify regenerated believers. According to the letter to the Hebrews, clouds signify the multitude. "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witness let us also lay aside every weight." (Heb. 12:1) In the Old Testament, clouds often symbolize the presence of God -- accordingly, His glory. Therefore "coming with the clouds" means to appear in glory among the multitudes of regenerated believers.
Replying to a question concerning the place of his coming, Jesus answered the disciples. "Where so ever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together." (Luke 17:37) This suggests that as the great spiritual movement arises, and as regenerated believers gather together, his Second Coming will be known to everyone. When the time is full, God will let His people know it by signs and revelations. But only those who have ears to hear and eyes to see will perceive and know them.
Then why did Jesus say he would come in the clouds? Jesus had many things to say to his disciples, which he could not tell because he knew that they could not fully understand him at that time. (John 16:12-13) Jesus promised to send the spirit of truth which would reveal all these things in due course of time. Jesus spoke to the disciples mostly in symbols. It. is quite true that our Lord will come from heaven in the clouds, but symbolically -- not literally. Jesus could riot reveal such important matters plainly, two thousand years ago, when the time was not appropriate.
If the Second Coming in a man had been literally revealed the precious meaning of the life and crucifixion of Jesus would have had little meaning; the people would have anticipated only the Second Advent ignoring Jesus, and would not have worshipped him as the Savior and the Lord. This would have destroyed the entire providence with Jesus. Moreover if the Second Coining in another person had been clearly revealed, there would have been many antichrists, and caused great confusion in the Christian Church. It was the providence that Christians should be hungry and thirsty for the righteousness and kingdom of God without being confused nor distracted and just wait until the time is full.
The Scriptures predict that many people in the last days will say: "I am Christ", and therefore shall deceive many. (Matt. 24:5) This prediction is being fulfilled in the present time there are some who claim to be the Lord of the Second Advent in North America, in the Middle East, Far East, and other parts of the world as well as in Korea.
Ever since Satan seized the initiative in the beginning of history, evil always comes first and good follows later. Before truth appears, falsehood stalks ahead. The antichrists must appear before the true Christ comes.
We should not laugh at those people who claim to be the Lord of the Advent, but we must watch the signs of the time by their appearings and then see how God's providence will develop. Some people would say that these claims are utterly baseless. It is explained in detail in the chapter of Resurrection how an average person could receive a revelation that he is the lord. This does not mean that this person is the Lord of the Second Advent, but means only that he his restored to the promise of lordship over all creation. Not knowing the entire providence of God, one could be confused and make the mistake of regarding himself as the Lord to come, and thus inadvertently turn to antichrist. Therefore those who receive such a revelation must wait humbly for additional revelation from God. In these years, God is revealing His hidden words to His people all over the world and diving messages concerning the Second Advent. At this time God is fulfilling His promise.
And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; yea, and on my men servants and my maidservants in those days I will pour out my spirit; and they shall prophesy. I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth beneath, flood and fire, and vapor of smoke; the sun shall be turned into darkness arid the moon into blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and manifest day. (Acts 2:17-20)
Christ was denied, and crucified by God's chosen people and their leaders who had fasted, prayed, offered tithes, prophesied, and served God faithfully, anticipating the Messiah throughout their long suffering periods. We cannot blame the Jewish people of olden times. If we had lived then and seen Jesus with our eyes, we probably would not have believed in him.
Jesus appeared when Elijah was not seen Jesus appeared to abolish the Mosaic laws and prophets. Who could believe the fact that he was born of a virgin. … If she had told of her conception by the Holy Spirit, the people would simply have regarded Jesus as an illegitimate child. None of his brothers recognized him, neither did his neighbors approve of him. His friends were harlots, tax collectors, and sinners, and his disciples were uneducated fishermen. He himself had been a humble carpenter in Nazareth. He did not appear as great as John the Baptist. If would have been very difficult to believe in a figure like him as being the Messiah -- if any one had believed the Old Testament literally. It is no wonder that the whole nation rejected him -- even his disciples did not follow him to Calvary -- only a few women and John stood afar to see him die.
The Jews were very loyal and obedient to the Word of the Old Testament, that blinded them and led them to deny the Messiah. Who can say, that the words of the New Testament will not blind Christians of today and that they will not deny the Lord at his Second Advent by the words of the New Testament. The Lord predicted that when the Son of man comes, no faith will be found.
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