Unification News for February 2000

The Last Days

Divine Principle, Volume 4 - Part 3

Divine Principle points out that if history had started from a source of goodness, it would be eternally good as God is eternal good. Therefore, this history would have no end. However, because man fell away from God human history began apart from Him and thus, as it is, has no eternal foundation. In some way, the history we know must eventually end. Such a time is known in the Bible as the Last Days.

Seeing the Last Days only as an end, however, is to miss the point. The Last Days of one era are simultaneously the first days of a new one. It is not a literal end, but a time of transition.

A historical example may illustrate this point. It is commonly said that in 410 A.D. the Roman Empire fell. To state that the vast empire collapsed, however, is not to assert that the land and its people were destroyed but rather to point out that Roman power and governmental authority had come to an end. The nation itself continued under new rule.

By the same token, the destruction of Hitler's National Socialism and the Third Reich in World War II did not mean the elimination of the German state. Germany today, succeeding Nazi totalitarianism has become a leading member of the democratic alliance. In the same way, even though the world will go through a radical transformation in the Last days, when this period ends, it inevitably will be succeeded by a New Era.

As we have indicated, since God has been working to restore humankind back to goodness, humanity's history will progressively be a history of goodness. That this is the case is due both to the fact that God has labored for this ideal and to the fact that we ourselves seek it.

In the Last Days, then, a tremendous change from the satanic domination of humanity to the beginnings of the Kingdom of God on earth will develop. Instead of expecting a string of frightening, cataclysm, physical events, including annihilation of the earth, we can instead anticipate a new age with great joy and hope.

Reflecting this reality in symbolic terms, the Book of Revelation promises the magnificent, ultimate union of heaven and earth, of God and man:

"And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband; and I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, 'Behold, the dwelling of God is with me. He will dwell with them and they shall be his people, and God himself will be with them'" (Rev. 21:2-4)

Last Days Past and Present

The coming transformation of human history will not be the first time that such endeavor, change in all areas is the pattern rather than the exception. Both geological and historical records reveal periods of great transformation. Geologically, the ice age, for example, altered the entire landscape of the earth and affected our global climate. Earthquakes and volcanic eruption have had similar effects.

Because of His heart and love, God has constantly worked for a transformed world. However, to accomplish this goal two things are necessary: God must do His part and His children must do theirs. Unfortunately, each time God has ventured a try to a new history, human beings have failed to complete the effort. Since God's purpose can never be fulfilled by Him alone, history has continued in its tragic ways. To achieve the goal of a just and loving society, God needs our cooperation.

The Bible tells us tow times that divine efforts toward radical alterations of society were frustrated by human foibles. The first involved the massive flood reported in Genesis. Here we are told the Lord "determined to make an end of all flesh" (Gen. 6-13), but spared Noah and his family to "establish [His] covenant" with them and inaugurate a new beginning.

Through Noah, God sought a new world. Obviously, since evil and tragedy still flourished thereafter, something went awry with the plan. God's hopes were disappointed by man's actions.

The second Biblical account of God's struggle for a new beginning lies in the story of Jesus. Approximately, 400 years before Jesus came, the prophet Malachi prophesied of events to take place with the coming of the Messiah:

"For behold, the days comes, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble: the day that come shall burn them up" (Mal. 4:17).

Such was the purification Jesus was to bring. Evil was to be eradicated and a new era was to dawn. Indeed, the "Kingdom of Heaven [was} at hand" (Mt. 4:17).

Jesus was coming to separate good from evil and to inspire a world in which the good might prosper. Yet when he came, he was crucified by the very people whom he hoped to transform. Coming with a revolutionary vision, he was seen as a blaspheming against God, as violating the Mosaic law, and as undercutting traditional Hebrew morality.

Threatened by the power of this young upstart, the established religious powers, the scribes and Pharisees, united against him and had him killed. Again God's efforts were frustrated by the failure of His children.

Since Jesus was unable to bring about the end of history, he promised another "Last Days" when he would return to accomplish his original purpose.

Historically, then those of the Christian faith have awaited another—and final—"end". For Divine Principle, as we shall see, society is now approaching that end which is at the same time a beginning.

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