Divine Principle Four Hour Lecture
God's Work in the Providence of Restoration
We have previously stated that God, as a being of dual characteristics, created man and all things in the relationship of subject and object, and they are to respond to each other in Give and Take Action, establishing a harmonious union, fulfilling the purpose of goodness.
In addition, we have also shown that man betrayed God and made Satan the false master, thus initiating this sinful world. To save mankind and such a world, God began His providence of restoration in order to restore man and the world to its original sinless state.
Now, let us look at the way God has been working for the purpose of restoration throughout human history.
Does human history consist solely of the roles individual men have played? It is man's experience that he can hardly shape the course of his own life or personal history, much less human history. Therefore, who did what, when and how does not truly tell the whole story behind human history. From God's point of view, man's history is the entire record of His dispensation to save this world. In short, history is the history of restoration, revealing everything God has tried to do to reach this objective.
Because the purpose of God's restoration providence is to restore men and the world to the point where they have fulfilled the purpose of creation, man's history can be defined as the history of God's dispensation to restore the purpose of creation.
The Potentiality for Good or Evil
As was already explained in the section on the fall of man, man fell while growing to perfection to become the substantial ideal of creation. As a result, fallen man, has come to have the potential for both good and evil. In other words, man, who is still imperfect, contains both the original goodness given by God as well as the evil nature that he inherited from the fallen angel. This evil element from the fallen angel is the original sin.
The proportion of these two natures that individuals have is not always the same. In fallen man, the evil nature is so well developed that it easily manifests itself in his actions. On the other hand, man's foundation of goodness is so imperfect that it has to be constantly encouraged and conscious effort has to be made before it can bear results.
If a man has perfected God's original purpose of creation and has become as perfect as his Heavenly Father (Matt. 5:48), his center of thought, action and life automatically comes to rest on God. Such a man is good and his personal history would also be good. Such men will form good families, a good nation and good world establishing the history of goodness. This was God's ideal. However, due to the fall of man, the history of evil and sin began. But as shown in Isaiah 46:11, God will surely restore the world and its history to what He originally planned in the purpose of creation.
The Struggle between Good and Evil
In this world which is fallen and dominated by a false master, God continually separates good from evil in order to realize the original ideal world. Thus it is clear that history has largely consisted of the struggle between good and evil.
Throughout this fallen world which Satan rules as its false master, God's efforts to divide good from evil have continued, and as a result, most of human history is composed of the struggles between good and evil. Fallen man united with Satan with his mind and commits sin through his body, yet man also has his original mind created by God still within him, and it always remains directed toward God. Man is caught in the midway position. On one hand, the evil sovereignty of Satan is trying desperately to hold on to man, while on the other hand, the good sovereignty of God is striving to win man to His side. Thus, there is always a continuing battle to win man over to one side or the other. This is the true picture of human history: good and evil are in conflict in this world.
After man's fall, Cain's murder of his brother, Abel, was the first bloodshed among brothers in human history, and from then on the pattern of conflict persisted throughout history, irrespective of East or West. Although the scope of the struggle varied from that among individuals, families and societies, to nations and groups of nations, ultimately these conflicts have all been between good and evil, God's side and Satan's side, as the chief protagonists behind the scenes of history.
At times the struggle involved property, land and people, at other times, ideals or beliefs. But actually all of these are just reflections of this struggle between God and Satan. God as the being of goodness is trying to restore things of goodness to be used in His ultimate providence of goodness and Satan is trying to maintain his evil position and power. This struggle then appears in the actions of human life and history.
The Condition to Enable Historical Development
Then, what is the real driving force of history? When we say history stems from the dispensation of God, does history advance solely by the plan and working of God? If the goal of history is to fulfill the purpose of creation, do the conflicts between good and evil automatically progress toward realizing the purpose of creation? If this is so, how can we explain the many injustices and tragedies in history, such as the prevalence of evil or the sacrifice of people on the side of goodness?
In the beginning, God gave the first human ancestors a commandment which they were to observe until their perfection. The purpose of creation was to be accomplished not simply by the plan and workings of God, but by man fulfilling his comparatively small portion of responsibility, obeying God's commandment. In order to fulfill the purpose of creation, man's effort is as absolutely essential as God's.
But man may or may not fulfill his responsibility toward God. When men do accomplish their responsibility, God's plan comes to be concretely reflected in history and restoration progresses. But when men fail to fulfill their responsible part, God's plan for that time is frustrated, and Satan's will comes to be reflected in history instead. Thus, man can accomplish or fail his responsibility. The reason human history appears as nothing but a constant reenactment of sinful history with the prospect of an ideal world seemingly so distant is not because God is impotent or not absolute, but because so few men accomplished their portion of responsibility to fulfill God's providence.
God is absolute, eternal and omnipotent; therefore, His purpose of creation or restoration is also absolute. God's will of restoration is surely to be accomplished as is said in Isa. 46:11. Therefore, though one man fails to fulfill his responsibility, God, after a period of time, restores the same foundation and conditions as before, and chooses another man to carry out the same mission. This is precisely the reason why we see very similar incidents and events appearing over the long history of God's dispensation, even over periods of two to four thousand years. We call this reappearance of similar events or periods providential time-identity
In God's providence, He must first restore a true man to accomplish His purpose of creation and through him restore a family, society, nation and world of His ideal creation. God sends the Messiah to the world as a model of a true man. Therefore the Messiah is indeed the most valuable fruit of the providential history. As a result, God cannot just send the Messiah to the world without any preparation. This is because, due to the fall of man, mankind has been serving a false master, and if the Messiah were sent without a prepared environment, the sinful world would surely try to eliminate him. God first chooses a few individuals, from the evil ones, who can honor and obey Him, and through these people, He creates families and nations separated from Satan's side so that they can serve as a foundation of faith upon which the Messiah can arrive.
God chose the families of Abraham and Jacob and raised up the tribe of Israel to prepare this people as a landing site for the Messiah. God likewise worked with Christianity for the last two thousand years to prepare for the Second Coming of Christ. Consequently, the history of the Israelites before the coming of Jesus and the history of the Christians after Jesus compromise the mainstream of human history.
Central History and Auxiliary History
God's will is to restore all the people of the world. But first, God works a model dispensation through this central flow of history while conducting the histories of other nations in supporting roles, later grafting them to the central history to include them in the overall salvation.
From the providential viewpoint, the history of religions also occupies the central part of God's dispensation, because they are to educate man's mind and spirit towards accomplishing the goals of the restoration of mankind. Other fields, such as politics, economics, science and culture are meant to improve man's living environment, and thus their histories can be considered auxiliary ones.
With history viewed in this way, we can begin to understand the meaning and significance of the events of the history of the Jewish people as told in the Old Testament. It is not merely a history of a tribe and nation, but it is the central history through which God operated His providence of salvation.
The history of the Jewish people centering around Judaism together with the history of Western civilization centering around Christianity is the clearest manifestation of God's dispensation, and, astonishingly, we can derive a consistent formula which is applicable to all histories. With this formula, it becomes possible to forecast future historical courses. With this new perspective of restoration history, let's look at history more closely.
The Principle of God's Providence of Restoration
By what principle does God carry out His providence of restoration?
After falling from the top of the growth stage, man has been under satanic dominion. Before being able to restore such a man, God must first separate him from Satan. In order to completely separate man from Satan leaving no condition by which Satan can invade again, a man must rid himself of original sin. However, original sin cannot be removed until man is born again through the Messiah, who comes as the True Parent. Therefore, fallen man must go through the course of separation from Satan, returning to the top of the growth stage before being able to meet the Messiah, where he will be born again, and then must follow him to achieve perfection, thus fulfilling the purpose of creation.
Therefore, for fallen man, there are two paths to follow: the path of restoration one must go through to be born again and then the path of the Principle, following the Messiah, to reach perfection.
After being born again through receiving the Messiah the course of the Principle requires man to be completely obedient to the Messiah, following with all his strength until reaching perfection.
The Foundation for the Messiah
What is the path of restoration until the time of meeting the Messiah? By what principle does God conduct the providence of restoration until He sends the Messiah? These questions can be understood by knowing the principle of preparation for the Messiah. It is the same principle by which God prepared the foundation upon which to send the Messiah. The Messiah comes at the top of the growth stage, from which man originally fell. Therefore the essence of God's providence until the coming of the Messiah is to enable people to indemnify and restore the foundation upon which God can send the Messiah. Fallen man cannot reach the top of the perfection stage alone. So God gave fallen man some condition to fulfill to be restored to the top of the growth stage.
So, it is man's responsibility to prepare this foundation to receive the Messiah. What condition is necessary in order to prepare the foundation for the Messiah? Restoration must be achieved through reversing the steps of man's fall. What conditions are necessary to reverse the steps of the fall back to the top of the growth stage, which was lost by Adam and Eve when they fell?
First, Adam and Eve failed to believe in God's words and lost the foundation of faith. Secondly, Adam and Eve could not maintain their original character as the son and daughter of God before the angel, who was created as a servant; therefore they lost the foundation of substance.
Therefore, the foundation for the Messiah which fallen men must restore is to indemnify and restore the original foundation of faith and foundation of substance. Then, what is the condition necessary to indemnify and restore the foundation of faith?
Adam and Eve lost this foundation by failing to believe in God's words and by failing to observe His commandment while going through their growth period. In order to indemnify and restore this, first a central figure of faith is needed in place of Adam and Eve; second, a conditional object must be prepared, and third, a certain period of faith in God must be undergone.
The foundation of faith is the vertical foundation between man and God. Since man fell by not believing in God, it is the purpose of the foundation of faith to indemnify and restore this lost vertical relationship. Throughout the entire history of restoration, so many providential figures offered God a certain condition of faith to indemnify and restore the foundation of faith.
Then, what is the condition to indemnify and restore the foundation of substance?
If Adam and Eve had stood firmly on the foundation of faith, they would have become perfect substantial beings as children to God, and would have established a principled horizontal relationship with the archangel, to form the original relationship of creation.
But in reality, Adam and Eve lost both the foundation of faith and substance, becoming beings with fallen nature, dominated by the archangel, contrary to God's original desire.
Therefore, in order to indemnify and restore the foundation of substance, men must offer a condition to remove the fallen nature, which was inherited from the archangel, and restore the proper horizontal order which was lost.
On the basis of the principles of the restoration providence just explained, let us look into how the history of restoration has been carried out.
The Providence of Restoration Centering on Adam's Family
Because Adam himself failed, it would stand to reason that he be the one to make an offering before God. But instead, God had the next generation make the offering. Why was this so? God's dividing Adam into Cain and Abel, who made the offerings, was His first restoration effort to separate good and evil.
According to the Principle of Creation, man is created to deal with only one master. Adam was in a position to deal with two masters, God and Satan. Therefore, God could not work His providence with such a man. If God could deal directly with fallen Adam, and with his offering, then Satan could also claim he had a basis to deal with Adam and his offering because of their blood relationship. But with Adam still having two masters, God would not be able to work His providence.
Therefore, He had to conduct the providence of dividing Adam, the origin of the two natures of good and evil. For this purpose God gave Adam two sons, representing good and evil respectively. God put them in the respective positions to deal with either God or Satan by making their offerings.
Then, between Cain and Abel, who would represent God's side and who Satan's side? Both Cain and Abel were the fruit of Eve's fall. Consequently, this question was to be decided according to the course of the fall of Eve. As previously explained, Eve's fall consisted of two kinds of illicit love affairs, the first, the spiritual fall through love with the archangel, and the second, the physical fall through love with Adam. Both are the same in that they are fallen actions, however, the latter was more forgivable since it was because Eve wanted to be forgiven and return to God that she committed the second fallen act. Cain symbolized the first fallen act of love with the archangel, and thus was placed in the position to deal with Satan. Abel symbolized the second fallen act of love with Adam, and thus was placed in the position to deal with God. The second fall was the more forgivable act, thus enabling God to deal with man through Abel.
After Satan occupied the principled world which God had created, Satan began to bring about the non-principled world against God's will. Therefore, God separated Cain from Abel before He began to work His providence. Cain, as the first-born son, was to represent Satan's side, and Abel, the second-born, was to represent God's side. Each was now in the position to deal with only one master. In Gen. 4:7, God said to Cain, "Why are you angry and why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is couching at the door; it's desire is for you but you must master it." This shows that Cain was placed in a position to deal with Satan. When the Israelites fled out of Egypt, God smote not only all the first-born of the Egyptians but also of their cattle (Ex. 12:29). Also, God loved the second son Jacob and hated the first son Esau while they were still in their mother's womb (Gen. 25:23). And in the case of Jacob's blessing of his grandsons, Ephraim and Manasseh, he blessed them by crossing his hands to lay the right hand on the head of Ephraim, the second son (Gen. 48:14). These are all examples of how God placed every second-born child in the favored position.
Based on this principle, God placed Cain and Abel in their respective positions to make their offerings. God could accept Abel's offering (Gen. 4:4) because he was in a position representing God and made the offering acceptably (Heb. 11:4). Thus, God received Abel but rejected Cain. However, it certainly was not God's permanent will to accept Abel but reject Cain. Cain had to set up a condition of indemnity in order to separate from evil and move towards the side of goodness.
Then what was this condition of indemnity? Is it the condition to restore the foundation of substance? Because Cain had the fallen nature, he could not be the object of God, who is the subject of goodness. He had to establish some condition to remove this evilness within him so that he could become a person to whom God could respond.
Since the first human ancestors fell due to the archangel, inheriting and passing on his fallen nature, the only acceptable condition was to reverse this process. The archangel, who separated himself from God, must love Adam from the same position as God, and through obeying and humbling himself before Adam, go through him as a mediator to come back to God, thus coming to perfection; but he failed to do that. After their offerings, Cain was in the position of the archangel and Abel in that of Adam; therefore, Cain was to love Abel and through him come closer to God by continuing to obey and humble himself before Abel to establish the condition of indemnity. However, in actuality, Cain killed Abel and repeated the process of the fall of the archangel. This act was not simply the crime of an elder brother murdering his younger brother, but it meant that the satanic side had struck God's side, frustrating God's effort to separate good from evil in Adam's family, and losing the side of goodness.
What Cain failed to achieve was the necessary basic condition of indemnity for any individual separated from God to come nearer to God; thus, that condition remained to be fulfilled. Observing this principle within ourselves, our mind, which directs us toward goodness (Rom. 7:22) is in the position of Abel, while our body, tending to serve the law of sin (Rom. 7:25), is in the position of Cain. Consequently, only when our body obeys and is subjugated by our mind will our individual body be made pure (sinless). However, in reality, because of the dominance of our fallen nature, our body always rebels against the command of our mind, repeating the same actions as when Cain killed Abel. Therefore, we continue to do evil.
Since all fallen men stand in the position of Cain, by humbling themselves, and by serving, obeying and loving the Messiah as Abel, men can attain salvation.
Man had become deceitful above all things (Jer. 17:9), so in order to come to God, God made man go through the created things, which are now in Abel's position. God carried out His providence by having man make offerings according to this principle.
As was explained earlier, the foundation upon which the Messiah can come is the restored foundation of faith and foundation of substance. In Adam's family, a successful foundation of faith was laid by Abel's making an offering which God could accept. With the same successful sacrifice Abel also qualified himself to become the central figure to establish the foundation of substance. However, as a result of Cain's killing Abel, they failed to establish the condition of indemnity to remove the fallen nature, thus collapsing the foundation of substance, and in turn, failing to form the foundation for the Messiah. Thus God's providence could not be fulfilled in m , s family.
God's will to accomplish salvation by sending the Messiah is constant and unchanging. But when man fails to accomplish his responsibility, God's providence does not yield success and God must later find another person from among their descendants to continue the providence.
The Providence of Restoration Centering on Noah's Family
For example, utilizing the foundation of heart and loyalty established by Abel, God chose Seth, Adam's third son, to take the place of Abel (Gen. 4:25). And from among Seth's descendants God chose Noah's family to substitute for Adam's family and recommence His providence. Noah's family first had to establish the foundation of faith and then had to restore the foundation of substance. Then the foundation to receive the Messiah would be indemnified and restored.
Noah was a righteous man in the sight of God (Gen. 6:9). Thus he became the central figure of the providence and for 120 years built the ark as a conditional object, laying the foundation of faith acceptable to God.
Because of the vertical relationship with God which Noah established through his absolute faith, a history of judgment could begin. God exercised the flood judgment to destroy the rest of mankind because they would not change their evil ways and stand on God's side along with Noah (Gen. 6:13). Noah's family, having stood on the successfully laid foundation of faith, then had to set up the foundation of substance. Just as with the first son Cain and second son Abel in Adam's family, Noah's first son Shem and second son Ham had to indemnify and restore the foundation of substance by making an acceptable offering with utmost loyalty to God.
To do this, the second son Ham had to become inseparable in heart with his father, Noah, who established the foundation of faith and became the central figure of God's providence.
However, Ham failed to be completely one in heart with Noah, and showed a lack of faith in his father (Gen. 9:20-26), who was in the position to be completely separated from Satan. Thus Ham came into the position where Satan could invade and claim him. This is why Noah cursed Ham's son, Canaan, to be a slave to his brothers (Gen. 9:25).
Because of Ham's failure, the foundation of substance was not established. As a result, God could not fulfill His providence with Noah's family, which he had restored after 1,600 years of waiting and forty days of judgment through the flood.
The Providence of Restoration Centering on Abraham's Family
God had to continue His dispensation to fulfill the purpose of creation and He called Abraham on Noah's foundation of heart-and-zeal. Abraham was to become the central figure to restore the foundation of faith in the providence of restoration centering on his own family.
Abraham offered the sacrifice of the doves, ram and heifer as the conditional objects to restore the foundation of faith (Gen. 15:9). According to Gen. 15:10-13, Abraham cut the offerings in two and laid each half over against the other, but he did not cut the doves in two. Birds of prey, symbolizing Satan, came down upon the carcasses and Abraham drove them away. Then God appeared to Abraham and said to him: "Know of a surety that your descendants will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs, and will be slaves there, and they will be oppressed for 400 years. . ." (Gen. 15:13). Thus, because Abraham did not cut the doves in two, the Israelites had to suffer 400 years of slavery in Egypt.
Why was it such a sin, deserving of such punishment, not to cut the doves in two? The entire purpose of the providence of salvation is to separate good from evil in men and in the world, so as to destroy the evil and preserve the good, and eventually restore the purpose of creation. Therefore, that which is not divided in two remains belonging to Satan and leaves no part which God can claim. Accordingly, Abraham's offering was given to God externally, but internally it was given to Satan, and thus it became sinful. Therefore, after Abraham's failure in the offering, God ordered him to offer his only son Isaac as a burnt offering (Gen. 22:2). To offer his own son in that way was even more difficult for Abraham than offering his own life. But Abraham displayed absolute obedience and loyalty by making a successful offering of denying himself to indemnify his sin. Thus he established the condition to qualify his son Isaac to be resurrected in Abraham's position and succeed in his mission.
The Providence of Restoration Centering on Isaac's Family
Therefore, after the successful offering of Isaac, the central figure for the foundation of faith in Abraham's family became Isaac. Because of Isaac's absolute obedience to Abraham, God resurrected him from death and he could inherit his father's mission. Then Isaac helped Abraham offer a ram in his place as God commanded (Gen. 22:13), and indemnified and restored the foundation of faith along with Abraham.
The condition which Isaac's family had to establish was the foundation of substance, and this remained for his own two sons, Esau and Jacob to establish successfully.
God's activities with Jacob's family, from external appearance according to Scripture, raise many questions. Why did the twins Esau and Jacob fight even while in their mother's womb? (Gen. 25:22-23). Why was Jacob born with one hand grasping Esau's ankles? (Gen. 25:26). Why did Jacob take the birthright from his brother? (Gen. 25:32-34). Why did Jacob cleverly deceive his blind father to gain his blessing? (Gen. 27:18-19). And why did God so love and protect Jacob throughout his life?
From the providential viewpoint, Jacob and Esau were the repeated pattern of separating Abel and Cain and therefore they represented the sides of good and evil, respectively. Jacob, through his 21-year experience of drudgery in Haran, prepared himself so that ultimately his elder brother Esau was able to receive him with love and humility. Outwardly this seems merely the case of an elder brother being able to love his younger brother, but from the providential viewpoint, the deeper meaning is that for the first time in human history the satanic side was subjugated by the heavenly side. Thus God blessed Jacob, giving him the name "Israel," and \r gave His blessing to the three generations of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as their God. We can 1~4), see, then, that God first locates a victorious individual and a victorious family that have fulfilled the condition of indemnity, and centering around them, raises a chosen people. Thus, the fact that the Israelites became God's chosen people is due to Jacob's individual victory in subjugating the satanic side.
Jacob's course set the pattern for the subjugation of Satan and this pattern was to be followed by Moses and all other prophets. And because a nation must also follow this pattern, the history of the Israelite nation shows the model course which a nation must go through in the national level providence; for this reason, the history of the Israelites until the coming of Jesus is the central focus of the providential history.
Although it does not seem to have any personal consequence to us today, the Bible greatly emphasizes the details of the history of the Israelites for the reason just mentioned.
In Rom. 9:11 we read that God "hated" Esau even while in the womb. The fact that God hated him simply means that God was merely working according to the Principle to fulfill His providence of restoration through indemnity by placing Esau in Cain's position.
After Esau's completing his own responsibility by loving and receiving Jacob, he could then stand on the position of restored Cain and finally receive the equal love and blessing of God (Gen. 36:7).
When Esau and Jacob successfully established the foundation of faith and the foundation of substance, the foundation to receive the Messiah, long sought since Adam's time, was laid for the first time. However, because Abraham had already failed in his first offering, his descendants still had to go through the indemnity of 400 years of slavery. Therefore, God internally expanded His providence to the national level upon the base of the family foundation for the Messiah established by Isaac's family. Externally, however, Isaac's descendants still had to undergo the 400 years of slavery as indemnity for Abraham's failure in the first offering.
Thus, Jacob's 12 sons and 70 family members went into Egypt, which represented the satanic world, and remained there in captivity for 400 years. These events had the purpose of raising a chosen people, whom God could later separate from Satan so that He could receive them with love. God could then bring the chosen people back to Canaan to establish the national level foundation for the Messiah and upon that foundation, the Messiah could come, consummating the restoration providence.
God sent so many prophets to the Jewish people and protected them with much love, solely so that on that foundation after subjugating Satan, He could send them the Messiah, who is the fruit of the providence and the personification of the temple.
The tradition established by Jacob's subjugating Esau was to enable the people of Israel to fulfill Cain's position. Representing and taking responsibility on behalf of all mankind, they were to love, obey and serve the Messiah who was to come as the Abel for all the people.
The Providence of Restoration Centering on Moses
When the Israelites had completed their 400 years of slavery in Egypt, God chose Moses to lead the people back to Canaan. Moses was chosen as a representative of God (Ex. 4:16, Ex. 7:1) and as a model for Jesus Christ (Deut. 18:18-19, John 5:19).
Therefore, his leading the Israelites out of Egypt with miracles, crossing the Red Sea and wandering in the wilderness to reach the promised land of Canaan was the model course foreshadowing that which Jesus was later to undertake. It symbolized Jesus crossing the troubled sea and desert of this sinful world, bringing mankind with him to the lost Garden of Eden, which God had promised in the beginning of creation.
Thus, Moses was the central figure to restore the foundation for the Messiah on the national level. Although Moses was adopted and raised to be the son of Pharaoh's daughter and lived in the palace for 40 years, his natural mother disguised as a nurse, educated him, encouraging his strong consciousness of Israel as God's elect. As time went on, he chose to suffer together with his own people rather than enjoy the comforts of Pharaoh's palace, abandoning his years of palace life (Heb. 11:24-25).
Because Moses was chosen as the Abel of all the Israelites, all the people, in the position of Cain, were supposed to believe in him, absolutely obey him and learn the will of God from him, thereby restoring the foundation of substance on the national level.
After choosing Moses, God had him strike the Egyptians by giving him the power to perform three miracles and ten calamities. Later when the Egyptians pursued the Israelites, God led the Egyptians to their death in the Red Sea while He enabled the Israelites to cross safely. Afterwards, they made their way into the wilderness.
Seen from God's viewpoint, it was imperative that the Israelites enter the land of Canaan; they should never have desired to return to Egypt, no matter how much they suffered in the wilderness. But so many times the Israelites were faithless, disbelieving God and Moses in the course of the Exodus. Ultimately, God was concerned that even Moses might err in his mission. Therefore God had to raise up a symbol of firm faith that would never change even though man might change. That is to say, if any man among the Israelites would devote himself to this symbol of faith, God would give him the power to represent the nation and carry on the providence. This symbol of faith was the two tablets of the Ten Commandments which Moses had received on Mt. Sinai as well as the tabernacle and the ark in which they were placed. The two tablets, in which God's words were carved, represented Jesus and the Holy Spirit, who were to come in the flesh as the incarnation of the Word. This is why Jesus was symbolized in the Bible by the white stone (Rev. 2:17) and the rock (I Cor. 10:14).
Therefore, if the people of Israel, centering upon Moses, had devoted themselves with all their strength to these symbols as if they were the actual Messiah, they would have established the national level foundation of substance.
However, the Israelites continued to remain faithless while wandering in the wilderness and God said to Moses: "How long will this people despise me? And how long will they not believe in me, in spite of all the signs which I have wrought among them?" (Num. 14:11). Then God said, "But your little ones, who you said would become a prey, I will bring in, and they shall know the land which you have despised. But as for you, your dead bodies shall fall in the wilderness. And your children shall be shepherds in the wilderness forty years and shall suffer for your faithlessness, until the last of your dead bodies lie in the wilderness" (Num. 14:31-34).
Eventually, those of the first generation of Israelites, born in Egypt, who had fallen into faithlessness, died in the wilderness; then, Joshua and Caleb led the next generation into Canaan.
John the Baptist
God truly loved the chosen people, who were to later serve as the basis for the Messiah's coming. So many times He let them know of the Messiah's coming and warned them to be alert and expect him. Especially for a period of 400 years before his coming, God brought about a reformation of the religious attitudes of the people by sending the prophet Malachi, who greatly added to the expectation of the Messiah's coming.
And before the Messiah's coming God provided John the Baptist, the greatest born of women, (Matt. 17:11) to be the central figure to restore the national level foundation of faith and the forerunner to directly testify to the Messiah. He was the greatest of all prophets to "make straight the way of the Lord" (John 1:23), and was the second coming of Elijah (Matt. 11:14, Matt. 17:13). He was chosen to go before the Lord (Luke 1:15) preparing his way. John was to prepare the Lord's people to have knowledge of salvation in the forgiveness of their sins (Luke 1:77).
John lived in the wilderness on locusts and honey, and with utmost dedication to God established an excellent foundation of faith.
By the people of Israel's believing in John and becoming one with him, together they would have established the foundation of substance on the national level. Everyone knew that John was the greatest of prophets, for they had heard of the angel's prophecy of his birth, the miracle of his father's becoming mute in the temple, and the miracles and signs that occurred at the time of his birth (Luke 1). In Luke 1:65-66, it says, "And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea; and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts saying 'What then will this child be? For the hand of the Lord was with him." (Luke 3:15, John 1:19)
Moreover, John's faith was so astonishing that many of the chief priests and people of Israel thought that he might even be the Messiah. The people of Israel loved John the Baptist and obeyed him, establishing the indemnity condition for the foundation of substance on the national level. Thus, the people believed in John so much, based upon the foundation of faith he had built, that the foundation to receive the Messiah was restored.
John the Baptist had testified that Jesus was the Messiah. However, in reality John later came to doubt this (Matt. 11:3). And although he had come in the mission of Elijah, he did not realize this and denied it (John 1:21). As a result, John not only blocked the way for the people to come to Jesus, but ultimately turned them against Jesus.
Thus, although John the Baptist actually laid the foundation for the Messiah, he was ignorant of how to make it correctly serve God's purpose; rather, he caused it to work against Jesus, isolating him. God had tried desperately to prepare John the Baptist for Jesus, but the outcome was a great betrayal to God.
Jesus Succeeds the Mission of John the Baptist
Jesus, already on earth, could wait no longer for a foundation to be prepared. Instead of acting in the capacity of Messiah, Jesus set out to restore the foundation of faith himself, standing in John's place as the central figure. To do so, he went through 40 days of fasting and prayer and Satan's three temptations. Then, Jesus attempted to establish the foundation of substance (or the condition to remove the fallen nature) on the national level by having the Israelites obey and believe in him.
So he had to create miracles in order to urge the people to believe in him. If and when the nation of Israel had believed in and served Jesus, who was in Abel's position, then the indemnity condition to remove the fallen nature would have been established, restoring the foundation of substance and forming the foundation for the Messiah.
Upon that foundation, Jesus could then be elevated from the position of John the Baptist to the position of Messiah, and by giving rebirth to mankind would have realized God's purpose of creation.
However, Satan who had left Jesus after he had overcome the three temptations, had invaded the chief priests and scribes and the whole of the people, so that they came to oppose Jesus. Even among Jesus' twelve disciples there was one who ultimately betrayed him, and not even Jesus' three main disciples could attain the oneness of heart with Jesus to support him (Matt. 26:40), failing to accomplish the foundation of substance.
Thus, the entire nation of Israel could not believe and receive Jesus, and even his own disciples fell into faithlessness so that God had to ransom Jesus as the price of their sin by sending him to the cross. And only by Jesus' resurrection could God begin a new providence.
God's providence in sending the Messiah was to bring salvation to the chosen people as well as the rest of mankind; thus, even at the cost of giving Jesus away to Satan, God had to save mankind. Conversely, Satan would rather have given up all mankind to God in order to prevent Jesus from succeeding in his work.
Therefore, God had to give Jesus' body away to Satan as the condition of indemnity to save all mankind, who had fallen onto Satan's side.
Satan used all his power to bring about Jesus' crucifixion; at that point God resurrected Jesus' spirit, which Satan could not invade, opening a new realm completely free of Satan's invasion.
The Providence of the Resurrection
After his resurrection, Jesus remained on earth for 40 days, gathering together his scattered disciples, teaching them to follow him even at the cost of their lives, thus spiritually restoring the foundation for the Messiah.
Upon this foundation, Jesus elevated himself from the position of spiritual John the Baptist and established the position of the spiritual Messiah. Then he began the providential task of re-birth. The realm into which Jesus resurrected is free from Satan's accusation, so it has become a spiritual sanctuary against satanic invasion.
In spite of this, however much fallen men may believe in Jesus and unite with him, they are still subject to satanic invasion through their physical bodies, because Jesus' body was given to Satan. Thus the physical salvation of man still remains to be achieved.
This caused Paul to lament in Rom. 7:22, "For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin which dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?"
And in I John 1:18, John confesses: "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. . . . If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us .
Those of us who receive salvation by the cross of Jesus Christ still cannot escape from being sinners, for sins are still committed by our physical bodies.
Nevertheless by believing in the resurrected Lord, we can remain with him in the realm free from satanic invasion and attain spiritual salvation.
However, to liquidate original sin and be free from it, in both our spirit and physical body, the Lord must come again to fulfill God's purpose of creation on this earth.
The Second Israel
When the people of Israel did not accomplish their mission as the central nation of the dispensation, unable to achieve unity with the Son of God, God began to form the Second Israel: the multi-racial Christianity. Therefore Christianity is what God set up worldwide to replace the nation of Israel and, of course, to be the prepared foundation for the Messiah to come. Thus God's central providence shifted from the Israelites and Judaism to Christianity.
For 400 years the early Christians in Rome paid the price through persecution and martyrdom to establish Christianity as the state religion of the Roman Empire and to build a strong foundation. Later, nations such as England and America were established by God as central nations to form the Second Israel of Christianity, which is to be responsible to bring the whole world into unity around God and is the foundation of God's blessing prepared for the Lord of the Second Advent.
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