Divine Principle and Its Application
Young Oon Kim
Chapter IX - History of Restoration Continued: Judges to Jesus
1. Judges (400 years)
Since the 400 years of slavery of the Israelites in Egypt were lost through Moses' failure, 400 years of struggle in Canaan were required before a new dispensation could begin. Joshua began the struggle against the Canaanites by slaying more than 30 kings and dividing their land among the twelve tribes of Israel. Thus, the tribal foundation for the Messiah was established. However, after Joshua's death, the people stopped driving the Canaanites out of the land and allowed many of them to remain. (Num. 33:55) The Israelites intermarried with them and often worshiped their gods, Baal and Ashera. In this way, the Israelites united with Satan and had to struggle against attacks by the Gentiles. During this period God established judges to rule the Israelites. There should have been twelve judges after the pattern of twelve sons of Jacob and twelve tribes of Moses. Samson, the twelfth judge, had been consecrated in his mother's womb, as were Jacob, Moses, Solomon, and Jesus. His mission was to deliver the Israelites from the Philistines (Judges 13:1-5) and bring an end to the judges' period. Having been tempted-by his Philistine wife, however, Samson lost God's power and could not fulfill his mission. Hence, the judges' period was prolonged for a few more generations. It was in the period of judges that Israel's feudal life began. The 400-year period of the judges made restitution for the 400 years of slavery in Egypt.
2. United Kingdom (120 years)
The judge Samuel ruled the people in accordance with God's will. However, the people wanted a king. To abide by the wish of the people, Samuel anointed Saul and made him the first king of Israel. During his 40-year reign, however, Saul provoked God's displeasure. The 40-year reign of King Saul should have made restitution for the 40 years of the Israelites in the wilderness. However, because of Saul's disobedience to God, this was not accomplished, and Saul's mission was extended to King David.
After he had conquered all enemies, David wanted to build a temple to God. (II Sam. 7:1-5) However, since he had shed so much of man's blood, God did not permit him to carry out this wish, although David had faithfully followed Him.
After the 40-year reign of David, his son Solomon succeeded him to the throne and built a temple to God. God gave Solomon wisdom, wealth, and peace for his nation, and his reign was remembered as a golden age in the history of Israel. King Solomon also reigned for 40 years.
When the Israelites entered Canaan, Joshua set up the tabernacle at Shiloh, where it remained throughout the period of the judges. King Saul should have built the temple after the pattern of the tabernacle. However, because of Saul's disobedience,- the erection of the temple was extended to David, and later to Solomon, who, in the fourth year of his reign, began to build a temple to God. (I Kings 6:1) In God's eyes, Saul, David, and Solomon were one, because they had the same mission. The erection of the temple foreshadowed the coming of the Messiah who would fulfill its ideal and be the reality of the temple. He would establish the kingdom of heaven and reign over it as the King of kings.
King Saul represented the first Adam, who was to be the first king, and Saul's failure may be compared to Adam's fall. King David may be compared to Jesus. Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah would come on the throne of David as the Prince of Peace. David became king at the age of 30, and Jesus started his public life at 30. David was not allowed to erect the temple although he had wanted to do so; Jesus could not establish the kingdom of heaven physically, although he had desired to do so. Had the Jews received Jesus with complete faith, he could have accomplished the roles of both David and Solomon, and would have ruled as the King of kings with all wisdom, glory, and power.
The temple of Solomon was modeled after the tabernacle of Moses. Solomon's temple was the symbol of Jesus, who was the reality of the temple. This is why Jesus compared his body to the temple. (John 2:19-21) As one receives Jesus, the Incarnation of the Word, a mercy seat is formed within him, and God is present upon it. Anyone who is united with Jesus becomes in himself a temple of God. To make the people temples of God by drawing them to himself was the purpose of Jesus' coming. Thus, the purpose for erecting the temple was to foreshadow God's dispensation which Jesus was to carry out.
3. Divided Kingdoms (400 years)
By erecting the temple of Solomon, the Israelites entered a new dispensation. It was necessary that they become one with the temple in order for them later to become one with Jesus. In spite of his great wisdom, Solomon's love for his foreign wives caused him to turn his heart toward other gods. He burned incense and offered sacrifices to them. This was evil in the sight of God. God rebuked Solomon:
Since this has been your mind and you have not kept my covenant and my statutes which I have commanded you, I will surely tear the kingdom from you and will give it to your servant. Yet for the sake of David your father I will not do it in your days, but I will tear it out of the hand of your son. (I Kings 11:11-12)
Thus the kingdom of Solomon was divided into Israel, the Northern Kingdom, and Judah, the Southern Kingdom. Jeroboam, a servant of Solomon, reigned over Israel, which was composed of ten tribes. Rehoboam, a son of Solomon, reigned over Judah, which was composed of two tribes. The Northern Kingdom lasted for over 260 years. Nineteen kings reigned during this period and they and their people all worshiped idols and turned away from God. The Southern Kingdom endured for 394 years. During this time 20 kings reigned, and most of them were good in the eyes of God.
Since King Solomon had united with Satan, God had his kingdom divided into two. The Northern Kingdom was in Cain's position, and the Southern Kingdom was in Abel's position. Therefore, the Northern Kingdom should have come under the dominion of the Southern Kingdom as Esau came under Jacob.
God sent prophets from the South to the North. Elijah, Hosea, and Amos went to the Northern Kingdom to preach of the love and justice of God and bring the people to repentance. But the entire nation, from the ruler to the common people; forgot the commandments of God. They made molten calves and worshiped Baal and indeed all the host of heaven. They also gave their sons and daughters as burnt offerings, used divination and sorcery, and committed themselves to do evil. (II Kings 17:17-23) God became angry with Israel and banished the people from His sight. Israel should have heeded the warnings of the prophets from Judah and returned to God by uniting with the Southern Kingdom.
The prophet Elijah proved to the spectators the power of God with fire from heaven, which consumed both the burnt offerings and the altar. He also ordered the people to seize 450 false prophets of Baal and bring them to the Brook Kishon where they were slain. (I Kings 18) Even in the face of this demonstration of the great power of God, King Ahab and his wife Jezebel sought to have Elijah killed.
Finally, Judah also repudiated God by adopting the evil practices of the North. Thus both kingdoms united with Satan and failed to fulfill that which God wished to accomplish with the dispensation of the temple. The Southern. Kingdom should have taken the position of Jacob, who had subjugated Esau. Instead it took the position of Abel, who was slain by Cain.
Adam and his three sons could have formed four positions, as Noah and his three sons could have. The foundation of faith was laid through the work of four men: Noah, then Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The temple was finally erected through four persons: Moses, Saul, David, and Solomon. To fulfill the purpose of the temple, four great prophets arose. Following this pattern, Jesus had three major disciples. After the pattern of the 12 sons of Jacob and the 12 tribes of Moses, 12 minor prophets were sent. They were to separate the people from idol worship and bring them back to the temple.
4. Exile In Babylon (210 years)
The Northern Kingdom was invaded by the Assyrians and destroyed in 721 BC The Southern Kingdom was invaded by the Babylonians in 597 BC, and King Jehoiachin, all the nobles, warriors, craftsmen, and smiths, plus 10,000 citizens were captured and taken to Babylon. The temple was looted. In 586 BC King Zedekiah was forced to witness the execution of his sons, following which his eyes were put out. The Babylonians systematically looted, burned, and destroyed all the buildings in the city, including the temple, where the ark of the covenant was located. The ark was not heard of again. All the inhabitants of Jerusalem, except Jeremiah and a handful of the most poor and lowly citizens, were taken away. Thus God's dispensation with Solomon's temple remained unfulfilled, and Satan claimed the 400 years of divided kingdoms. The two kingdoms failed to unite around the temple.
The Jews in Babylon were allowed comparative freedom. They lived together and followed their old ways of life without disturbance. The active economic life of the region induced many Jews to become merchants and traders. Others, freed from farming, entered government service as soldiers and officials. Those who farmed the fertile soil found themselves harvesting rich crops.
During this period, the religious viewpoint of the Jews was enriched with Zoroastrian beliefs. The concepts of Satan as an enemy to God, of an angelic hierarchy, and of a final judgment were accepted by many Jews as being compatible with their tradition. Influenced by Persian thought, the Jews now expected the Messiah to come from the clouds of heaven rather than as a man of Davidic lineage.
In spite of the rich land, the opportunities for cultural development, and their broadened outlook on life, the faithful in Babylonia longed for one place in the world where they could offer sacrifices to God, the altar in the temple at Jerusalem. Gathering in small groups on the Sabbath day, they would read and interpret to each other the Torah and the Prophets, recall their history as a people of God, and pray earnestly for deliverance from exile.
By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion. On the willows there we hung up our lyres. For there our captors required of us songs, and our tormentors, mirth, saying, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion!" How shall we sing the Lord's song in a foreign land? If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither! Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you, if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy! (Psalms 137:1-6)
In 538 BC, Cyrus the Great of Persia captured Babylon and made it the capital of his new empire. Cyrus permitted the Jews to return to Jerusalem, and thus the prophecy of Jeremiah (Jer. 50:1-20) was fulfilled. Cyrus issued a decree giving the Jews privileged status. He not only restored the temple vessels, which had been removed by Nebuchadnezzar, but also made funds available for the return expedition. Three times the Jews had been expelled, and they returned in three stages over a period of 140 years.
Upon reaching Jerusalem, the returning exiles immediately erected an altar on the site of the ruined temple and began regular morning and evening sacrifices. However, the rebuilding of the temple itself was not begun for 15 years. Then, at the urging of the prophets Haggai and Zechariah, rebuilding began. For more than a century the city of Jerusalem remained in ruin, until finally Nehemiah and Ezra returned and urged the repair work to its completion. Ezra commanded all the men who had married foreign women to separate from their families, that they might live in accordance with the Law.
With Nehemiah's help, Ezra the scribe summoned the Jews before the Water Gate. Here the assembly heard a book of the Law read to them, and solemnly bound themselves by oath to observe its provisions. A new theocratic state was inaugurated with power vested in the priests. Emphasis was placed upon offering of the first fruits, tithing, sacrifices, and fixed festivals. Thus, the practice of Judaism in Ezra's time centered around the temple.
Because of Solomon's corruption, the fulfillment of the dispensation of the temple had been delayed 610 years: 400 years of divided kingdoms, 70 years of exile in Babylon, and 140 years of returning from exile.
5. Preparation for the Messiah (400 years)
The Jews had come to the final period of trial preceding the glorious coming of the Messiah. In order to see this great day, they had to make restitution for their entire history by separating themselves from Satan for the next 400 years. This 400 years of trial was similar in significance to the 400 years of slavery in Egypt which preceded the arrival of Moses, the tribal deliverer. The people should have cut themselves off from Satan during this period of trial.
During these years, the Jewish theocracy came under several regimes. The Jews were successively controlled by Persia, Greece, Egypt, and Syria. The conquest of Palestine by Alexander the Great brought with it an influx of Greek thought and culture. Although the common people and the scribes and rabbis resisted Hellenism, the cultured classes, and especially the Jerusalem priests, welcomed the external features of Hellenistic civilization. This influence developed in many Jews the rationalistic attitude of submitting every belief to the test of reason.
In 167 BC, the Jews revolted against the Syrians under the leadership of the Maccabees. In 142 BC they gained independence. Their independence lasted until 63 BC when they came under the control of the Roman Empire. Throughout this period the Jews suffered from numerous foreign influences.
Following the coming of the Romans, the Messianic expectation was intensified among the thousands of suffering Jews. Deep in their hearts was the feeling that, if God cared at all for His chosen people, He would act soon. The ardent hope for a supernatural deliverance from their suffering grew with an increasing flood of apocalyptic literature. Most of it followed the pattern of the Book of Daniel.
The central belief was that divine intervention would bring about a radical change in the world order. Through a Messiah, God would gather together His own, both living and dead, and live with them in blessedness forever. This necessitated, first, the end of the age, as some held, or the end of the world, as others believed. The "end" would be foretokened by certain final evils -- wars and rumors of wars, distress, fear, famine, plagues, and the rise to power of even more wicked rulers on the earth. The discerning would recognize in them the signs of the end. At the last moment, with the sounding of the last trumpet, the Messiah would appear in the clouds, with all the heavenly angels around him. He would be a supernatural personage, someone "like a man." He would be called the Son of man, but would bear other titles as well, such as: the Christ, the Elect One, the Son of David, the Lord's Anointed, the Righteous Judge, Prince of Peace, and other like titles of distinction. At his appearing, the righteous on earth would be caught up to him in the air and the dead rise from their graves.
The older view was shat only the justified Jews would join the Messiah, but later expectations offered hope to the righteous Gentiles that they also would be among the redeemed; all human souls, good and bad, would be summoned to a Last Judgment. Before the Messiah's seat, they would be separated into the redeemed and the lost. The evil would be doomed to everlasting hell-fire, and the good would enter a state of blessedness with their Lord and King.
This state of blessedness was variously conceived. Some writers thought it would be enjoyed on earth in a restored Garden of Eden, as an earthly paradise; others placed it in one of the lower heavens. Still others combined the divergent conceptions, picturing an earthly paradise centered in a New Jerusalem to be inhabited by the Messiah and his chosen ones for a millennial period before the Last judgment, and a heavenly paradise to be occupied by the redeemed after the Last judgment.
So great was the distress of devout Jews in the period here described, and yet so high their faith, that the immediate fulfillment of these dreams seemed completely reasonable. In fact, the world would not have seemed rational otherwise.
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