Outline of The Principle, Level 4
by Rev. C. H. Kwak
The Second Coming
Jesus definitely spoke of a Second Coming (Mt 16:27). Yet, there has been no clear understanding concerning the Second Coming. We need to know how, when and where the Second Coming will take place. Some people believe that the Second Coming takes place when Jesus enters the heart of an individual (Jn 14:20) through the descent of the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:16,19). However, this is not The Principle view. Ever since the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 2:40, many believers have experienced the presence of Jesus within themselves. If this were the Second Coming, then we would have to say that the Second Coming already took place two thousand years ago. However, we know that the Second Coming does not take place in this way because Christians have continued to wait for the Second Coming even after the descent of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.
On the other hand, some people believe that Jesus will return spiritually. Other facts indicate that this will not be so. Ever since the resurrection of Jesus, the appearance of Jesus in spirit has been possible at any moment, and has frequently occurred. Yet, Christians still eagerly wait for the day of the Second Coming. From this, we know that what they have been waiting for was not a second coming in spirit. Jesus often met the apostle John in spirit, yet Jesus told him, "'Surely I am coming soon'" (Rev 22:20).
I. How Will Christ Come Again?
A. Lessons Based on the Second Coming of Elijah
Then how will the Second Coming of Christ take place? In considering this, let us first look at the second coming of Elijah. In fact, the second coming of Elijah is the clearest example that God has given us related to how Christ will come again.
Through the prophet Malachi, God promised to send Elijah again, before the coming of the Messiah (Mal 4:5). So Israelites of that time who were waiting for the Messiah were actually waiting for the second coming of Elijah, because he was to precede the Messiah. Because the second coming of Elijah was to be the return of the Elijah who had ascended into heaven, the people believed that Elijah would surely descend from heaven. Yet, Jesus clearly declared that John the Baptist, who was born on earth, was Elijah (Mt 11:14; 17:13). However, that the second coming of Elijah took place through John the Baptist does not mean that Elijah, himself, was born again as John the Baptist. Elijah was in the spirit world, helping John the Baptist, who was on earth, since John was born with the same mission (Lk 1:17). So, although the mission was the same, the person was different.
Through this lesson learned from the second coming of Elijah, we can understand that the Second Coming might possible take place by the Lord's being born on earth. We can also understand that though at the Second Coming, the Lord, as the Messiah, will have the same mission as Jesus, he may not have the same appearance as Jesus (Jn 14:16,17; 16:12; Rev 19:12; 2:17).
B. Lessons based on the First Coming
In the Old Testament, we find two contradictory prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah. In Daniel 7:13, we find the prophecy that the Lord would come on the clouds: "I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man..." However, the prophet Micah prophesied that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Mic 5:2). Which of these contradictory prophecies did the Israelites believe?
Knowing the influence of the two prophets Daniel and Micah on the Israelites, and knowing that the Israelites had great faith in God, we know that they were waiting for the Messiah to come from heaven.
It was for this reason that even after the crucifixion of Jesus, an anti-Christian movement arose saying that Jesus could not have been the Messiah because he was born in the flesh on earth. This can be understood in the warning by the apostle John: "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 " (2 Jn 7:8).
There are some people who insist that Daniel 7:3 is a prophecy of what is going to happen at the Second Coming. However, from the following passages, we can see that the Old Testament Age was to end with the coming of Jesus: "'For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John...'" (Mt 11:13) and "For Christ is the end of the law, that every one who has faith may be justified" (Rom 10:4). The situation was such that no one ever imagined a second coming of the Messiah until Jesus himself, toward the end of his ministry, said that the Lord would come again. as a result, no Israelite at the time of Jesus would have thought that the prophecy of Daniel 7:13 was concerned with second coming. They would have believed it applied to the coming of the Messiah, and they would have acted as though it did. (In other words, they would have expected the Messiah to arrive on the clouds.)
Then, why, in sending the one Messiah, Jesus, did God give this prophecy of the Messiah's coming in the flesh? Jesus said, "'No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the Son of man'" (Jn 3:13), indicating that he came from heaven. Yet, as we well know, Jesus was born on earth from his mother, Mary. Why then did he say he came from heaven?
The word 'heaven' is frequently used in the Bible. It is repeatedly used as a metaphor to connote great value, sacredness, or goodness. Thus, we can interpret what Jesus said to mean 'I was born like all of you, but I am very different in the motive and origin of my birth; I am born of God'. With this understanding of the word 'heaven', the prophecy that Jesus is coming on the clouds is not incorrect. However, it is a mistake to interpret it literally.
In a similar way, John the Baptist, who was born in the family of Zachariah according to God's special dispensation, was not merely born of this earth, but had a great mission (Lk 1:15-17, 76). Regardless of the form of his birth, God was the direct cause, and thus John had "come down from heaven" representing Elijah, and had the same mission of Elijah.
C. The Second Coming of Christ Takes Place through his Birth on Earth
From what is shown in the examples of Elijah's second coming and Jesus' coming, both of which were the direct work of God, one cannot help but give serious thought to the prophecies for the Second Coming.
In summary, the New Testament not only contains prophecies that say Christ will come as a judge amidst glory on a cloud from heaven, but also some that say he will come again just as he did the first time, quite contrary to the other type of prophecy of his coming on the clouds.
We read in Luke 17:24,25 that Jesus, anticipating what was going to happen at the Second Coming, said," '...so will the Son of man be in his day. But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.'" If the Lord should come again amidst power and glory, with the trumpet call of the archangel, who would dare deny and persecute him? Would you persecute him?
Today, many faithful Christians and churches are looking up to the sky, waiting for the Lord to come on the clouds. If he were to come on the clouds, there would be no reason for him to be persecuted. However, if he does not come on a literal cloud, and instead comes in the flesh, as at the First Coming, then it becomes apparent why Jesus said he would first suffer before finally being recognized (Lk 17:24,25).
Revelation 12:5 says," ...she brought forth a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne." The man who will rule the world with a rod of iron is the coming Lord. In this verse, it says that he will be born of a woman. When the Pharisees wanted to know the time of the Second Coming, they asked Jesus when the Kingdom of God was coming, and he answered,"...'The Kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed...'" (Lk 17:20). Everyone can gaze up at heaven, but Jesus said that the coming of God's Kingdom, in other words, the Second Coming will not be visible. Why is that so? It is because the Messiah does not come on a literal cloud. In Luke 18:8, Jesus said, " 'I tell you, he will vindicate them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?' "Jesus was prophesying that he would not find faith on earth at his second coming. This means that when he comes, there will be almost no one who will be saved by their complete faith. Why is this so?
Of course, not all believers on earth have perfect faith, but there are people all over the world who are going the way of true faith. Then why did Jesus imply that he would not find faith? Furthermore, who would fail to recognize the Lord coming on a literal cloud? Certainly even non-believers would recognize him and have faith in him. Will people lack faith because someone will prevent them from having it? Certainly not. Difficulties do not necessarily weaken a person's faith. We interpret Jesus' saying that he would not find faith on earth to mean that he is going to come in the same manner as at the first coming.
When Jesus came two thousand years ago, there was great faith - of a sort - among the people. Some prayed day and night in the temple, and they memorized the commandments. They tried hard to keep all of the commandments and laws that God had ordered them to keep. They faithfully offered their tithes, and they fasted. In this sense, they had great faith in God, yet there was no true faith. Why didn't they have a faith that would allow them to believe in Jesus as the Messiah sent by God?
From this viewpoint, Jesus could not find any faith on earth! Similarly, today there are millions of good Christians waiting for the Lord to appear - on the clouds; but if he comes in the same way as he did before, will he find the faith that will enable Christians to recognize him?
To emphasize once again, based on the Bible passages quoted above and on the lessons learned from God's work in history, the Second Coming will occur as the first coming did, with the Messiah's being born in the flesh on earth. Indeed, he comes as the Son of man.
D. The Principle Point of View
According to "The Principles of the Creation," God's purpose in creating Adam and Even was to be fulfilled through their fulfilling the Three Blessings on earth. In other words, they were to perfect themselves as ideal individuals, become true parents, who are the origin of the ideal family, and establish the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. Then, as God's representatives, they were to rule the Creation in love. However, because they fell, they could not become the True Parents and they created an evil world.
Jesus, who came as the Second Adam (1 Cor 15:45), was to transform this world into the ideal world that had been planned at the time of creation (Mt 4:17). Since God's Three Blessings still remain unfulfilled, even after the dispensation for salvation through Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection, the Messiah, the sinless Third Adam, must come to fulfill god's Purpose for the Creation.
The Messiah must be born on earth as a substantial, physical being since he must be the example of the ideal person, the person who has perfected his character, and thus, who has fulfilled the First Blessing. He can only carry out this responsibility in the flesh. He must also realize the ideal family that God has desired, and thus become the True Parent, one who has realized God's Second Blessing. His parental heart will implant God's Heart and love in the hearts of everyone following him and will help them to perfect themselves by giving rebirth to them and showing each one how he himself can also accomplish the true purpose of life. He will be a perfect person and will become the lord who governs the spirit world and physical world in perfect love, fulfilling God's Third Blessing. People will be grafted to him (Rom 11:17) and become one with him by believing and attending him. Thus, the Lord will lead them to become persons who control things through love, realizing God's Third Blessing. Therefore, he must be born in the flesh, on earth, as at the first coming.
The main mission of Judaism was not only to receive Jesus but also to follow him and help him fulfill his will after he came. Likewise, the mission of Christianity, in addition to establishing the world-wide foundation for the Second Coming, is to help the Lord accomplish his mission when he comes.
The Kingdom of Heaven on earth which Christ is to build is not to be a Kingdom of Heaven in fantasy. The Kingdom of Heaven cannot be realized by supernatural miracles but only by man's fulfilling his responsibility to solve all of the problems in a realistic way, in accordance with God's guidance.
Salvation cannot take place in those who do not respond to God's work. However, it is God's desire for all mankind to be saved because he is the God of righteousness and love. Since God's Ideal for the Creation is not fulfilled with the perfection of an individual's character, God's dispensation for salvation also does not end with the salvation of the individual. Therefore, Christ, who at the Second Coming will completely fulfill God's ideal, will not be bound by any particular denomination of Christianity, but will transcend all denominations. He will work to establish one world under God, transcending tribal, national, and racial boundaries.
E. The Meaning of the Clouds
If the Lord is to appear on earth in the flesh, then what is the meaning of coming on the clouds? What is meant by clouds? Clouds are vaporized water. Regardless of how dirty water might be, when it evaporates into a cloud, it becomes purified. According to Revelation 17:15, water symbolizes fallen or sinful man. Then, clouds signify the people resurrected or reborn as saints from among the fallen people. The metaphor that Christ will come on the clouds means that he will come again among the saints that God prepares.
Then why did Jesus say he would come again on the clouds? First of all, it was to prevent the deceptions of antichrists. Until the actual time of his coming, it was better to let people believe that he would come on the clouds. If it had been clearly explained that Christ would appear in the flesh on earth, the confusion caused by claims of many antichrists could hardly have been prevented. However, when the time is imminent, God will surely tell us how the Messiah is to come (Amos 3:7).
Secondly, it was to encourage the disciples in their religious life, which was to be a difficult course. Actually, Jesus said several things about the Second Coming that do not seem completely understandable. Revelation 22:20 says, " 'Surely I am coming soon.' " Matthew 10:23, Jesus said, " '...for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel, before the Son of man comes.' " In Matthew 16:28, he said, " 'Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.' " In John 21:18-22, he also spoke as though he would come again during John's lifetime. In all of these passages Jesus emphasized that the Second Coming would take place soon (relative to his time). Yet, it did not happen. Then why did Jesus say it would? What was Jesus' reason for speaking that way?
Jesus foresaw the persecution by the Roman Empire, so he had to educate, encourage, and give hope to his disciples in such a way that Christianity would survive the miserable persecution and quickly prepare the world-wide foundation for the Second Coming. The early Christians were able to remain enthusiastic and zealous because they believed that Jesus' second coming was imminent and that he would come from heaven on clouds in the power and glory of God. Because of this belief, they had the strength to withstand the oppression and persecution of the Roman Empire and thus establish the early Christian Church.
II. When Will Christ Come Again?
Then when will Christ come again? In Matthew 24:36, Jesus said, " 'But of that day and hour no one knows ...,' " indicating that it would be fruitless to speculate as to the time of his return.
However, that same verse in Matthew says that the Father knows, and Amos 3:7 says, " 'Surely the Lord God does nothing, without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.' " Thus, we can understand that through prophets God will surely let people know about Christ's Second Coming. Many examples of God's foretelling what he could do can be cited in the course of restoration: God forewarned Noah of the Flood Judgment and Lot of his destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah; and God revealed the time of the Messiah's birth the first time. God revealed the time of Jesus' birth to the family of John the Baptist (Lk 1:41-45); to the wise men of the east (Mt 2:1-12); to Simeon (Lk 2:26-32); to shepherds in the field (Lk 2:8-12,15); to Anna (Lk 2:38); to Joseph (Mt 1:20-22); and to others. In the entire history of God's dispensation, can there be any more important time for God than that of the Messiah's coming? How can God not let the people know when the Son of God, himself, comes to earth to fulfill the lost Purpose of the Creation?
On the other hand, Jesus also said that he will come like a thief (Rev 3:3). But then, he also said that he would not come like a thief to those who are in the light (1 Thess 5:4-6) and to those who remain awake (1 Thess 5:4-6, Rev 3:3). So it is clear that to those believers who always pray and are awake and in the light, God will foretell the advent of the Lord so that they can prepare for him (Lk 21:34,35).
Since God's Dispensation for Restoration is consummated through the Messiah, the Messiah is the most precious fruit of the entire history of God's Dispensation for Restoration. The foundation prepared for this precious Messiah was Judaism and the Israelites, which began with Jacob's family. However, as was already explained, the people of Israel did not believe in Jesus, and thus God developed a multi-racial Second Israel (Christianity) of those who believed in Jesus.
God's dispensational formula which is found in the history of Israel must also be found in the history of Christianity, because God prepared Christianity to be the world-wide Second Israel in place of the lost First Israel. The history of the First Israel, which began with Jacob, and the history of the Second Israel, Christianity, which began at Jesus' time, must both follow the same process for fulfilling the purpose of preparing for the Messiah to be received on earth.
The history of Israel and the history of Christianity differ in terms of their historical eras and events and their geographical settings and cultural backgrounds. However, the role of central history in God's Dispensation for Restoration was passed on from one to the other. Since both of these dispensations were to prepare the Foundation for the Messiah, the purpose underlying them was one and the same.
We have already compared these two histories from the viewpoint of God's Dispensation for Restoration. Let us consider the time of Christ's coming on the basis of that comparison.
The history of Israel from Jacob to Jesus was divided into six major sub-periods: the Period of Slavery in Egypt; the Period of Judges; the Period of the United Kingdom; the Period of the Divided Kingdoms of North and South; the Period of Jewish Captivity and Return; and the Period of Preparation for the Messiah. These six sub-periods actually comprise one dispensational age of nineteen hundred thirty years, during which God desired to consummate the Dispensation for Restoration. But when the First Israel could not fulfill its responsibility to believe in the Messiah, God had no alternative but to prolong the Dispensation for Restoration. The period from Jesus to the Second Coming is also divided into six major sub-periods: the Period of Persecution in Roman Empire; the Period of the Christian Churches under the Patriarchal System (the Period of the Patriarchs); the Period of the Christian Kingdom; the Period of the Divided Kingdoms of East and West; the Period of Papal Captivity and Return; and the Period of Preparation for the Second Coming. These six sub- periods also span a period totaling nineteen hundred thirty years.
The year 1930 is not a time which we have to wait for with hope and expectation--it has already occurred. Then why haven't we on earth witnessed the Final Judgment and the glory of the Second Coming? If the Second Coming is supposed to take place in the air, then the Lord's glory already would have been brightly spread all over the world. However, as explained earlier, the Lord will not come on literal clouds; the Second Coming will take place by the Messiah's being born in the flesh on earth. Then, is 1930 the precise year the Messiah was born? The year cannot be pinpointed so exactly because a difference of up to ten years was often observed throughout the dispensational history. For instance, the Period of Persecution in the Roman Empire was to be four hundred years, but actually lasted only until 392 A.D. The Period of Preparation for the Second Coming began with the Reformation in 1517 and ended four hundred years later. Based on this, the Second Coming should have occurred in 1917. Thus the birth of Christ should have taken place somewhere between 1917 and 1930.
When Jesus came two thousand years ago, he did not immediately proclaim his messiahship and thereupon promptly begin the Judgment. There was an unseen and unheard, yet steady preparation period of private life, and then a period of public ministry to prepare the foundation for fulfilling the Messiah's purpose. At the Second Coming, the Lord must also go through a similar course of preparation after his birth. By understanding what took place during the Dispensation for Restoration, we can understand that this present period is the time of preparation for the Lord's appearance. We call the time of Christ's second coming the Last Days. It has already been explained in "Consummation of Human History" that the present days are the Last Days. Consequently, it can be said that the present days are the time when Christ will appear.
III. Where Will Christ Come Again?
Then, if Christ is again to be born as a man in the flesh, he must be coming to a particular place in a particular nation. Which nation is it?
Two thousand years ago in Judea, Jesus said that he would come again, but will he come again among the people of Israel? In Matthew 21:33- 43, in the parable of the vineyard, Jesus clearly indicated that he would not come to the land of Israel again. In this parable, God is the owner of the vineyard, the vineyard represents the work of God to accomplish the Ideal for the Creation, the tenants are the chosen nation of Israel, the servants are the prophets, the owner's son is Jesus, and the nation producing the fruits means the nation that will receive the Lord at the Second Coming. Jesus said that he would not come again to the people who had killed him. Moreover, he said he would take their right to be the chosen nation and give it to a nation and people who would be fruitful for the Second Coming.
Then, how should we take the Bible passage which speaks of the coming of the sons of Israel? Revelation 7:4 says that at the time of the Second Coming, one hundred forty-four thousand would be drawn from the tribes of Israel and sealed. What does this mean?
The name 'Israel' was originally received by Jacob after he prevailed over the angel at the ford of the Jabbok (Gen 32:28) and means 'he who has strived with God'. In other words, 'Israel' means the people of God who have triumphed in faith and does not necessarily mean the lineal descendants of Jacob. This is borne out in the words of John the Baptist in Matthew 3:9 " '...do not presume to say to yourselves, "We have Abraham as our father"; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham.' " It is again borne out by St. Paul when he said in Romans 9:6, "For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel..."
Then who would be the chosen people of "Israel" after Jesus' death on the cross? They are the devout Christians who believe in the Lord. Romans 11:11 says, "...through their [the Israelites'] trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous." This indicates that the center of God's Dispensation for Restoration has shifted from the Israelites. Then God will work his central dispensation not among the lineal descendants of Abraham, but among the devout Christians who have taken up the faith of Abraham. But to precisely which country will the Lord come?
When asked by a disciple where he would come again, Jesus replied metaphorically in Luke 17:37, " 'Where the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together.' " Jesus did not specify which country he would come to. But Revelation 7:2-4 says that an angel would ascend from the rising of the sun, in other words, from the east, and would seal one hundred forty-four thousand chosen servants of God on their foreheads. Then what country does this refer to?
That nation of the East is Korea. When a farmer transplants a tree, he carefully digs up the soil and waters it to prepare for the tree. How could God, who is expecting the fruit of human history, send the Messiah without preparation? From this perspective of the foundation prepared by God, let us further consider the idea that Korea is the land which is to receive the Lord.
First of all, the nation to which the Messiah comes must be the object of God's Heart. Based on this view, Korea is the land God has prepared. From the Fall of the first man and woman until today, God has lived in deep despair and has felt unfulfilled. Often we refer to God as a being of utmost glory who is so far above us. But this is because we do not know God's Heart. Because of the Fall of Adam and Eve, who were God's only children, God has been grieving with the heart of a parent who has lost his children, and he has wandered through the sinful world of Hell in search of them, longing to save his rebellious children. Therefore, the individual, family, or nation which fights against Satan in God's place can hardly avoid the path of tears and suffering. How could filial and faithful children, who would share the agony of their parent's heart, lead an easy life? Since the Messiah is the one who bears the grieving heart of God, and is to relieve God's sorrow, he cannot come to a people who are satisfied by their material abundance. Since the nation that is to receive the Messiah must be the object of God's Heart, that is, since its people must be sons and daughters who have the same Heart as God's, that nation cannot avoid the way of suffering.
The First and Second Israel both had to walk the path of suffering and hardship. As the nation which is to receive the Messiah, Korea also had to walk that same path. Thus, in its recent history Korea has had to undergo a course of the most extreme suffering. Even while undergoing suffering and misery, Korea has faithfully developed the good traditions of filial piety and loyalty. Even at the height of its national power, it never provoked or first invaded another nation. God's strategy has been to win victory after being attacked, quite different from Satan's strategy of invasion. The Korean people's maintaining their homogeneous lineage, unique language and traditional national spirit, and the integrity of their own distinct culture despite numerous invasions over nearly five thousand years is a record that may well be unparalleled in world history. Even in the midst of its persistently sorrowful history, the Korean nation has cherished righteousness and peace and was being educated to be God's object.
Secondly, it is significant that Korea is a nation bearing the fruits of many religions. Koreans have a strong inclination toward religious life; they revere God and a spiritual way of life. Thus, many of the world's great spiritual and ethical teachings, such as Buddhism and Confucianism, have flourished in this land, and it is centered on these spiritual traditions that the Korean national culture became fruitful. Within the last few centuries, Christianity arrived and achieved the highest pinnacle of Christianity. Religion has blended deeply with daily life in exquisite harmony. A nation matching this description is hard to find anywhere in the world.
The Lord does not come to save Christians alone. While Christians are the central nation in God's dispensation, all people are to be God's children, and God, himself, has created and guided all of the major religions toward the restoration of the people of their particular region, time period, and circumstances. Therefore, the Messiah, who is to accomplish the ultimate purpose of God's dispensation, must simultaneously fulfill the purpose of all other religions. In this light, the nation suitably prepared to receive the Lord would be a nation bearing the fruits of all the major religions.
Thirdly, the nation to which our Lord comes must be the front line of both God and Satan. God told Adam and Eve, " '...do not eat of the fruit...for in that day you will die.' " From these words, we can understand that the point where they fell became the dividing line between heaven and earth, between life and death, and between good and evil. Thus, the Lord must come to the same type of point, where life and death and good and evil again confront one another. He must then go on to actually solve the problems of the world and conclude the dispensational history.
God's dispensation to restore to his side the world begun by Satan is based on, and may be summarized as, the separation of Cain and Abel. The separation of the Cain and Abel worlds before the coming of the Messiah is manifested in the Communist and democratic worlds. This is a horizontal development of the vertical dispensation which God has worked throughout history. Therefore, the Lord will appear where the two powers of democracy and Communism confront one another, that is, at the focal point of both God's love and Satan's hate. That line of confrontation is the 38th parallel in the Korean peninsula. The 38th parallel in Korea has this dispensational meaning to it. It is not only the front line of democracy and Communism; it is also the front line of God and Satan.
When God works to accomplish his Will, Satan works to oppose and prevent God's work. Thus, God's front line becomes Satan's front line. Of all the efforts of God, Satan would most oppose the preparation of the nation which is to receive the Messiah. Since the core element in the process of restoration is religion, in the world- wide Dispensation for Restoration, God works to prepare for the Messiah based on the fruits of the world's religions, and Satan works to crush all religion. In preparing Korea for the Messiah, God sought to foster religion throughout Korea--Satan wanted to totally eradicate it. Thus, the Korean War which broke out along the 38th parallel, and the resulting division of Korea, were not merely the results of a nation's civil conflict due to territorial separation. It was the confrontation between the democratic and Communist blocs, and furthermore, between God and Satan. The fact that many nations (16) not immediately concerned with the conflict nonetheless participated and helped the Dispensation for Restoration has divine significance.
Fourthly, the nation to which the Lord comes must establish a national foundation for the Dispensation for Restoration. In order for Korea to be the nation to receive the Messiah, it had to establish the national foundation of separation from Satan, just as Israel and the Early Christians did. The Israelites had to meet the condition of separating from Satan by suffering for four hundred years in Egypt, which represented the satanic world. The Second Israel established the condition of separation from Satan by enduring persecution for nearly four centuries under the Roman Empire, which also represented the satanic world. Thus, at the time of the Second Coming, in order to separate from Satan, Korean must also endure suffering at the hands of a nation on the satanic side. In this case, the nation on the satanic side was Japan, and for forty years it brought unimaginable torment upon Korea. In the name of the Eulsa Protection Treaty, Japan forcibly deprived Korea of its diplomatic rights and national sovereignty from 1905 until 1945, when Japan was defeated in World War II. During this period, the Korean people were completely deprived of their freedom by Japan, and countless numbers were imprisoned and slaughtered and underwent all sorts of extreme persecution. Beginning in 1910, when Japan annexed Korea, the persecution of Christianity, which was the foundation of Korea's independence movement, was unparalleled in its cruelty. While under God's dispensation, Christianity was enjoying its freedom around the globe, the Korean nation, with its Christians at the forefront, suffered greatly and thus paid the national indemnity that qualified it as the nation which would receive the Messiah.
Fifthly, this nation must have a history of relevant prophecy. When God sends his beloved Son, how can he do it quietly? Certainly he would reveal it to all those on earth who are spiritually prepared; certainly he would hand them the good news and have them prepare to receive the Messiah. Just as the Israelites knew through the prophets that the Messiah would come as a king and save them, the Korean people have waited for a king of righteousness. For five hundred years, Korea has also had a strong messianic expectation as a result of the Chung-Gam-Nok, a book of prophecy. It is quite characteristic of the Korean people to have had this type of unique messianic thought even before they were actually able to receive the benefits of God's dispensation for salvation through Jesus. Many spiritually gifted clergymen and laymen have received specific revelations regarding the Second Coming of the Lord in Korea; and many deeply religious people have had the common revelation that Korea will be the center of world salvation.
The fulfillment of God's Dispensation for Restoration is focused primarily on restoring man and secondarily on restoring the environment of the Kingdom of Heaven. God has worked through religion to restore man; God has developed civilizations in order to restore the environment of the Kingdom of Heaven. He has worked to create the most ideal culture and civilization for the Second Coming. The Second Coming will bring harmony between religion and science, between the spiritual aspects and the material aspects of civilization, and between East and West. All will be blended in harmony, giving birth to the new culture of Godism. The Korean peninsula was a hidden area of the Orient for a long time; however, western culture came to the East and finally reached Korea.
God trained the Korean people for five thousand years to have deep faith and love, and on that basis Christianity was received. When God sent Christianity to the Korean people, he made his final preparation for them to receive the Lord of the Second Coming, and made Korea the world representative of Christianity. Although Korea is a small nation, it has consistently played a significant role in modern history, as if it were the nucleus of the leading international political trends.
Jesus' Age and the Present Age from the Standpoint of Time-Identity
Jesus' age and the time of the Second Coming are periods of dispensational time-identity. Thus, God's dispensation for the Second Coming, which is centered on Christianity, is similar to that for Jesus' time.
First, let's look at these two ages from the viewpoint of the central nation for the dispensation. God's plan was to have his dispensation expand from Jesus to the nation of Israel, from Israel to Rome, and from Rome to the rest of the world. Assuming that the central religion at the time of the Second Coming is Christianity, and that the Israel is Korea, then which nation would be in the position of the Roman Empire? The present day Rome is the nation which God developed as the leading nation of the world, based on Christianity. For over two hundred years, America has been prepared by God to fulfill the purpose of the Second Coming. Consequently, the relationship between Korea and America in our time is similar to the relationship between Rome and Israel at the time of Jesus.
Second, let us compare today's Christianity with the Judaism of Jesus' time. At Jesus' time, Judaism in Israel was attached to the authority of the priests and to the rites of the temple; their spiritual life was corrupted. The Jewish religious leaders had forgotten the traditional piety which had passed from Abraham to Jacob and Moses and the prophets. Instead, their relationship to God had become only a formality, and as a result Jesus criticized their substanceless faith many times (Mt 23:1-39).
Today, Christianity must repent that it too has lost its content and has become mere formality. When we think of the passion and faith of the early Church, we can say that today's Church has become too formal hand has departed greatly from the original purpose of the faith. Many people consider themselves Christian, but in reality are living a life far distant from the teachings of Jesus.
Just as Jesus poured out all of his effort to reform the corrupted Judaism of his time, at the Second Coming, he will also fundamentally reform Christianity to make it a true church which reveres God and will also inspire Christians to be those who practice God's Will and Jesus' teaching.
At Jesus' time, Judaism did not recognize the true value of Jesus' the Jewish leaders turned their backs on God's Will and the reformation which Jesus was teaching and persecuted him. Likewise, at the Second Coming, the new teachings and reformation activities of Christ will be opposed by believers who refuse to make the effort to reform Christianity, and by the Church, which is attached to its traditional authority and rites.
At Jesus' time, the words of the Messiah were not received by the leaders of Judaism. Rather, they were received by simple lower class Jews and Gentiles who were thirsty for spiritual life, or who were troubled by their guilty consciences. Similarly, at the time of the Second Coming, laymen who are trying hard to live God's Word, or even non-Christians, may be the first to accept the teachings of Christ, rather than the leaders of Christianity. This is why Jesus, in sorrow, said that those who would enjoy the marriage feast which he would prepare might not be those invited, but those called in at random from the street (Mt.22:8-10).
The people of Jesus' time were born to lead lives of dispensational significance, for they were to attend the Messiah and help him to realize his will. They were not ordinary individuals, but had the historic responsibility of living at the most important time in dispensational history. Similarly, all people today, and especially Christians, have the responsibility to attend the Lord and establish the world that realizes the Ideal for the Creation. We are living at a point in time unlike any since the beginning of history.
At the Second Coming, Christ will proclaim God's Will, which must be realized on the earth, and he will educate people to carry it out. True people of faith should search for and attend him; and follow God's Will, which is revealed through him. In Matthew 2:3, the Bible says that upon hearing of the Messiah's birth, the whole of Jerusalem was in an uproar. However, was there any one who cared for Jesus as a baby, or publicly supported him after he began his mission? Let us humbly listen to the voice of our original mind and search for the announcement of the Messiah. Let us calm our mind and pay attention to the hope-giving news that announces the New Age.
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