Building A World Of True Love - An Introduction to the Divine Principle



Building A World Of True Love - An Introduction to the Divine Principle
Part 3 : The Hidden Dimension of History

The Restoration of Humankind

After the fall, God could have chosen to destroy humankind, rather than prolong His suffering of seeing them in such a state of ignorance and sin. He did not do so. Instead, because He is the Parent of love, God took it upon Himself to restore humankind -- His children -- back to His original ideal, a task that would prove to be awesome and seemingly endless.

The mystery of why God did not intervene to prevent the fall is connected with the principle of human freedom. God gave humankind the gift of freedom so that we can respond to Him in love. Freedom brings with it responsibility. God gave human beings a portion of responsibility which is theirs alone to fulfill.

Some people think that God controls human history. But, in fact, progress in human history is dependent upon us fulfilling our portion of responsibility. God's grace is forever beckoning; God's heart longs to save all His children. But as it is we who fell away from God, there is a certain restitution which is ours alone to make.

Why has God's ideal not been realized? Actually, God did not want to wait before sending the Messiah to bring salvation to humankind. However, people have to prepare in order to make the foundation to receive the Messiah. If the Messiah were sent without a prepared environment, there would not have been any foundation for him to be understood and accepted by his contemporaries.

Humankind has never comprehended the serious consequences of the fall. Satan usurped the position of God, and people unconsciously follow the word of Satan and consistently act in self-centered ways on scales large and small, international and local. Self-centered love is so much ingrained into human life that to separate from it requires that one go radically against the way of life of the world. One will meet opposition on every level, not to mention the internal struggle required to practice consistent goodness in a world of evil. Further, Satan insists before God on his rights of ownership over the human race, which God in principle cannot deny. Thus, the way of salvation is a path of self-denial and self-sacrifice.

If any man would come after him, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Matthew 16:24-25

Purpose of the Messiah

The hidden dimension of history, then, is God's providence of restoration or recreation. This is His plan and activity to restore humankind so that He will achieve the ideal world He originally intended. Central to this plan is for God to send the Messiah as soon as people have fulfilled the necessary preparations, and for people to accept and cooperate with the Messiah when he comes.

The Messiah, who is born sinless (as were Adam and Eve), comes as the second Adam to reveal the full and perfect love of God, something the first Adam failed to do. As a result of the fall, man grew ignorant of God's love and became dominated by the selfish, false love of Satan. This is why the Bible says that Satan, who is the originator of man's selfish thinking, is "the ruler of this world." The Messiah comes to end Satan's dominion, to liberate us from false, selfish love and to establish God's kingdom.

The achievement of God's ideal of true love is based on the fulfillment of the three blessings. After the first human ancestors sinned and thus failed to establish a true family, God's desire has been to find a true man and a true woman who would substantiate His ideal and thus achieve what Adam and Eve could not. Coming as a new Adam, the Messiah has the mission to realize for the first time the three blessings (as explained in Part One) by becoming one with God and establishing an ideal family as the basis for an ideal society, nation and world.

As the head of the first ideal family, we call the Messiah and his bride True Parents. The True Parents will establish a new lineage untainted by sin. Through uniting with the True Parents, men and women can separate from Satan and be engrafted into the lineage which has nothing to do with the fall.

The Foundation for the Messiah

It is God's promise and responsibility to send the Messiah, but it is man's responsibility to establish certain conditions in preparation for the Messiah's coming. These conditions, called indemnity, are necessary to reverse the failure of the first human ancestors.

After the fall, God began working immediately in Adam's family to build a foundation whereupon He could send the Messiah. If Adam and Eve had believed God's word and obeyed His commandment, they would have perfected themselves as true children of God. But Adam and Eve lacked fait and separated from God. Therefore, someone else must reverse this failure by demonstrating absolute faith in God's word (the Principle calls it "establishing a foundation of faith"). This foundation is to be set by families, tribes and nations as well as by individuals.

Whoever, by a good deed, covers the evil done, such a one illuminates this world like the moon freed from clouds. Dhammapada 173

Had the first human ancestors reached perfection, they would have had dominion over all things and all created beings, including the archangel. However, Adam and Eve succumbed to the archangel, allowing him to take dominion over them. The motivation and process of the fall must be reversed and the proper order of dominion restored as a condition for God to send the Messiah (the Principle refers to this as the "foundation of substance"). To accomplish this foundation, God calls someone in the position of Lucifer (who was elder) and someone in the position of Adam (who was younger). In order to conditionally restore the proper relationship of Adam and the archangel, these two must reverse their positions, with the elder, representing Lucifer, serving the younger, representing Adam.

So the last will be first, and the first will be last. Matthew 20:16

Cain and Abel, Adam's sons, were in these position. Cain, the elder son, was in Lucifer's position and Abel, the younger, in Adam's position. Abel showed faith in God by offering the best of his flock, and God accepted his offering. But when Cain made an offering of vegetables, God rejected it, and Cain felt distraught (Gen. 4:3-5). It was Cain's responsibility to overcome the same feelings Lucifer felt and accept God's love and will through Abel. This would have reversed the positions of elder and younger, as if Adam had risen above the archangel and established the proper order in their relationship. On the basis of this unity of the brothers, God could claim the parents' position and thus have the foundation to send a new Adam, the Messiah.

This pattern of reconciliation of Cain and Abel as the foundation for sending the Messiah has been God's consistent formula throughout the history of restoration.

But in what was the first murder in human history, Cain, rather than loving his younger brother Abel, killed him. Cain envied Abel, just as Lucifer had envied Adam. Cain could not overcome this feeling nor could he see his brother from God's point of view. Instead of reversing the process of the fall, he repeated it. Thus, God could not send the Messiah to Adam's family.

It was many generations before God found a righteousness man whose family could be entrusted with the task of reversing the failure in Adam's family. This man was Noah, who established a foundation of faith by faithfully obeying God's order to build an elaborate boat, the ark, over a long period of time.

Noah's family was to have marked a new beginning of history. Following the flood judgement, Noah's sons should have been united under Noah, thereby establishing the condition for God to send the Messiah. However, Noah's second son, Ham instead of being loyal to his exemplary father, judged him and felt shame towards him, even turning his brothers against him. Noah was angry over Ham's disloyalty (Gen. 9:20-23). Because Noah's family failed to inherit Noah's foundation of faith, God providence to send the Messiah again was postpone and God had to find a new righteous man and family to reverse the past failures and establish a foundation for the Messiah to come.

Four hundred years later, God called Abraham. According to the Bible, he responded by separating from his fallen environment, the city of Ur, and journeyed to a new land of promise. His wife, Sarah, conditionally restore the position of Eve when she resisted the temptation of Pharaoh, representing the archangel. Abraham, however, failed in his offering of birds and animals. His wife again restore the position of Eve by resisting the temptation of King Abimelech. Finally, Abraham demonstrated absolute faith by obeying God's order to sacrifice his son, Isaac. Isaac himself reversed the failure of Ham by completely uniting with his father, even to the point of offering his live as a sacrifice.

The reconciliation of Isaac's sons, Jacob and Esau, was a providential turning point. Jacob, the younger brother, was serious about obtaining the birthright, and bought it from Esau for a bowl of pottage. Later, as his father lay dying, his mother Rebecca guided Jacob to impersonate his brother and trick his father into giving him the blessing due the firstborn son. Rebecca understood God's providence and helped her second son gain the blessing. Esau was furious and swore to kill Jacob, but with Rebecca's help Jacob fled to Haran. After 21 years of servitude, Jacob faced his brother, who was armed with a band of 400 men. By sincerely offering gifts and bowing in respect, Jacob melted Esau's heart and they reunited in tears. Thus Jacob and Esau successfully restored the failure of Cain and Abel. Jacob mastered his brother's hatred, overcoming it with sacrificial love. By bringing an end to the resentment of Esau (who, as the elder, was in the position of Cain, Jacob set the pattern for overcoming Satan and restoring God's dominion of love.

On the foundation of Jacob's victory, God could claim the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who came to constitute a lineage embodying, to a relative degree, the heavenly tradition of self-sacrifice and life for the sake of others. Through Moses, God began His dispensation to establish the national foundation for the Messiah. God raised up the Israelites and led them through many trials to create a nation on His side. He revealed to them that one day He would send the Messiah, who would inaugurate a history of peace and justice. Israel began to long for the Messiah to come.

Jesus Did Not Come to Be Persecuted

Jesus Christ came 2,000 years ago as the second Adam, to complete the providence of restoration and establish the Kingdom of heaven on earth. The main focus of God's preparation was to build a national foundation of faith and substance in Israel. After the Israelites returned from captivity in Babylon, God prepared the chosen people by reforming and renewing Judaism through the ministries of Ezra and Nehemiah. During a 400-year period, the Israelites, centering on the law and the temple, demonstrated their faith and eagerly awaited the Messiah.

Although God focused His efforts on the nation of Israel, He also prepared the rest of the world for the Messiah's coming. Prior to Jesus, the great empire of Rome had been established, with extensive trade routes. The Roman Empire expanded far and wide, touching most of the other advanced civilizations. With this external foundation, the Messiah's ideology could have spread quickly from Israel to Rome and from Rome to the whole world.

Furthermore, around four centuries before Christ, God prepared the world internally for the coming of the Messiah. In India, prince Gautama Buddha rejected worldly comfort and sought the true way of life. From his example and teaching developed Buddhism, which became one of the most influential religions in the Orient. In China, Confucius appeared, teaching a highly developed ethical humanism. In Greece, the great classical philosophers Socrates, Plato and Aristotle strove to establish a standard of human ethics and knowledge.

In these and other ways, God set the stage for the establishment of His kingdom, about which Jesus so often spoke. Christ was to become the lord of glory as described in Isaiah. God prepared many people to recognize and follow Jesus. However, God also gave warning that without the Israelite people's faith in His son, Jesus would be forced to endure suffering and misery.

As a final means to prevent this outcome, God sent John the Baptist to prepare the way. John lived an ascetic, exemplary lifestyle and devoted himself completely to God, thereby establishing the foundation of faith. He told the people, "Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand." The Israelites knew that John was a special prophet. They had heard of the spiritual phenomena and miracles surrounding his birth. Some people thought that he might even be the Messiah himself, or Elijah, the prophet expected to return in the Last Days. Because he was so widely respected, John was the ideal person to serve as a bridge between the people and Jesus.

But did John the Baptist fulfill this providential responsibility? John initially testified that Jesus was the Messiah, saying of him: "Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world." However, there is no record in the Bible that John ever became a disciple of Jesus or worked for Jesus. Instead, Matthew 11 reveals that John came to doubt who Jesus was: at one point he dispatched two of his own disciples to ask Jesus, "Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?"

Furthermore, many Israelites believed in Malachi's prophecy that Elijah would return to herald the Messiah. When they asked Jesus where was Elijah, he replied, "If you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come." John, however, denied that he was Elijah, thus putting the Israelites in the position of having to believe either John or Jesus.

John was a well-respected religious figure, while Jesus was the illegitimate son of a poor carpenter. Without John's support, it was very difficult for Jewish people to believe in and follow Jesus. Thus, Jesus' reaction to John's query was unequivocal: "Among those born of women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he is."

Jesus' request from the beginning of his ministry was for people to "believe in him whom God had sent." Jesus did everything he could to convince the people that he was the son of God. Nevertheless, they refused to believe in him. If the people had known Jesus was the Messiah, would they have persecuted and rejected him?

And when he saw the city he wept over it, saying, "Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace! But they are hid from your eyes." Luke 19:41-42

Salvation Through the Cross

When it became clear that there was no way to convince the people of who he really was, Jesus determined to become the sacrificial offering to atone for the sins of the world. Jesus not only allowed himself to be crucified, but prayed for forgiveness of those crucifying him. In this extraordinary act, Jesus put into practice God's own forgiving and sacrificial heart, creating a realm free of Satan's false, selfish love.

Jesus' life and his death are a testimony to the power of true, unconditional love. Until Jesus came, the popular belief was that injustice should be punished or avenged in kind -- "eye for eye, tooth for tooth." Jesus showed, however, that God is not a God of vengeance, but that He is a parental and forgiving God, who loves His children despite their sins.

Jesus death on the cross was the tragic result of the failure of his contemporaries to do the will of God. However, Jesus himself was totally faithful. As a result, all people, through faith, can inherit Jesus' spiritual victory and receive spiritual salvation, enabling them to grow to a higher spiritual level. Yet humankind must still await the Lord of the Second Advent, who comes to eliminate sin altogether and finally establish God's kingdom on the earth.

Jesus should have been the lord of glory but he died as the lord of suffering. To understand that the crucifixion of Jesus was not an indispensable element in God's plan for salvation, we need only ask what would have been the result if every person at that time had obeyed Jesus' direction to believe in him. If the people at the time had believed and followed Jesus, does that mean that God's plan would have been frustrated? Of course not. The will of God would have been fulfilled in its entirely. Jesus' prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane -- "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me..." -- reveals that his death on the cross was not the most desirable course. Jesus understood that his rejection by the people would prevent him from establishing the kingdom of Heaven on earth. It is not surprising, therefore, that he spoke so harshly of Judas Iscariot, his betrayer. "Woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born."

Had Jesus been accepted, there would have been no need for the Messiah to come a second time, an event never anticipated in the Old Testament. But before his crucifixion, Jesus said, "I have many things to tell you, but you cannot bear them now." He said he wanted to speak "of heavenly things, but you cannot even understand the earthly things of which I speak." He added, "I speak to you now in parables and symbols, but the day will come when I will speak to you plainly of the Father." Although the lack of faith in Jesus' time made this impossible then, the clear truth which he desired to reveal will be made known at the time of the second coming.

Preparation For Christ's Return

God's Principle does not change; nor does His purpose: to bring about a world of true love, the kingdom of Heaven on earth.

Following Jesus' death and resurrection, God began to work through the followers of Jesus, the Christians, to prepare for the second coming of the Messiah. Christianity began with the twelve apostles and seventy disciples of Jesus. For the next four centuries, Christians suffered as had the Jews in Egypt. Despite severe persecution, their faith deepened and they became dedicated believers committed to spreading Jesus' teachings.

The result of their perseverance was that in 392 A.D., the Emperor Theodosius declared Christianity the state religion of Rome. Following its acceptance by the Roman Empire, the Christian church gradually expanded its influence. But as was the case during the Old Testament period, there were many failures on the part of key figures, causing further delays in God's providence. Due to the inadequacy of Christian love, cultural and racial barriers divided Christians into different churches, aligned according to nation.

Christianity went through an historical course parallel to that of the nation of Israel. The period of persecution under Rome parallels the period of Hebrew slavery in Egypt. The period between the fall of Rome and the crowning of Charlemagne parallels the period of judges in Israel. The Carolingian Empire resembles Israel united under Saul, David and Solomon, and these were followed by years of division and conflict in both Israel led to corruption and finally a seventy-year exile in Babylon; a corrupted papacy suffered exile for seventy years at the French court in Avignon.

During the Middle Ages the Catholic Church gained tremendous power and wealth but, unfortunately, it also became stagnant and constrictive. The corruption of the Renaissance church ran counter to God's will, and the developing spirit and intellect of the Christian people brought forth calls for drastic reform. This result in the sixteenth century Reformation, which parallels the renewal of Judaism 400 years prior to the birth of Christ.

The cycle is now complete. Christian history has recapitulated on a world wide level, the periods of the history of biblical Israel. The Principle teaches that history has been unfolded according to a divine providence of restoration to correct the mistakes of the past and establish a foundation for the second coming. This new foundation was completed in the twentieth century.

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