The Divine Principles
By Young Oon Kim
Chapter III - The Mission of Jesus Christ
Every natural object that is in existence passes through the process of growth in order to be complete and to be perfect: plants pass through the three stages of growth -- seed, tree, and fruit; animals pass through three stages of growth -- gestation, the young, and the adult. The natural life of man reaches to the stage of adult after passing through the periods of gestation and childhood. This is the Divine Order of Creation. The growth of spirit-man is also completed through a given period according to an established order: Formation, Growth, and Perfection.
Adam and Eve, the first, man and woman whom God created, fell during the period of growth before they achieved full perfection in spirit or in body. If they had fallen after their full growth and perfection in spirit and body, the omnipotence of God would have been denied, for fall and ruin could not be the result of a perfect creation of an Almighty God.
A fruit ripens after a given period of time and becomes edible, because it has all the necessary elements for ripening. Man also was created with all the elements required to grow to perfection --therefore he could have become perfect, the flawless substantial object to God, the Subject in responding to His love completely. Nothing could have separated Adam from the love of God if he had become perfect and been united with God in the absolute Divine love. (Romans 8:38, 39)
The fall of Adam and Eve took place while they were still in the stage of growth and imperfection, and then they lost all beauty and power to respond to God's love. Consequently mankind, their descendants, could no longer receive the complete and perfect love of God. Therefore the only hope of fallen man is to regain the status of Adam, prior to his fall, and to grow from that point to the stage of perfection in which he may respond with the original beauty of creation to the eternal and perfect love of God. Thus the purpose of salvation is restoring the original nature of man, and this may be called the Providence of restoration.
You, therefore, must be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect. (Matt … :48)
Jesus has the purpose of salvatior in the living perfection. God is perfect. His object has to be a perfect substantial object to respond to God, and rid himself of his fallen nature. To rescue a drowning man is to bring him back to his original state; to deliver man from the fall is to bring him back to his original sinless state.
God sent Jesus Christ in order to restore the Garden of Eden, the kingdom of heaven, and the perfect man to this earth. Hence his disciples asked of him, "Lord will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?" (Acts 1:6)
In this restored world, a perfect man would be like Adam and Eve would have been in perfection. What would this have been? A healthy man does not need a doctor. Jesus, the Savior, would have been unnecessary to the perfect Adam and Eve, or their children, in being admitted to heaven. Neither prayer nor believing would be necessary to them, because prayers to struggle with sin would be unnecessary in a sinless world. The seeking after God would be unnecessary in the Garden of Eden, where man could have free and direct communication with God. Have the Christians ever attained the perfect salvation? No. Have they attained true liberty from Satan or sin through Christ?
No. Has the Garden of Eden been restored to this earth or even within the Christendom since the coming of Christ? No. Evidence of this is seen in every thought, in every word, and in every deed of the fallen man. The Apostle Paul, the great champion of faith, disclosed his serious inner struggle with sin.
For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do ... 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. (Romans 7:22-25)
This is not merely the Apostle Paul's experience, but is the experience of all sincere believers. Even those who devote their whole lives in monasteries struggle with sin to the end of their lives. Their struggles are seen in their writings: they are not entirely free from jealousy, hatred, and lust of the flesh. In order to rid themselves of fallen natures they adopt methods of fasting, whipping, and other methods of asceticism in addition to prayer. Such inner struggle is also true of any sincere believer. The closer one is to the Lord the more fierce the battle becomes. It is in vain that some people try to explain Paul's experience as only the previous state to his conversion. It cannot be denied that original sin works against the Divine law within even the finest Christians. Because of such struggle we humbly confess that we are sinners before God. Because of the continuation of the struggle with Satan we have to pray and keep our faith forever.
Further, no matter how great the faith one has, man's children cannot be sinless and therefore still need a Savior. Children must believe in Christ in order to be saved. Why? Because even the most devoted Christians are not free from the original sin, and it is always transmitted to their children.
It is now evident that any devoted Christian cannot be rid of original sin merely by belief in the crucified Jesus. If we are free from all sin, we should be, at the very least, like Adam and Eve prior to their fall and even could be as perfect as the heavenly Father. Then the Second Coming of the Lord would be unnecessary, and the will of God would have been done on earth as it is in heaven.
It is true the crucified Lord brought us salvation. To what extent did he accomplish his mission, and in what degree do we rid ourselves of sin by our faith in him?
First, we have to make clear the purpose of the Messiah's coming. According to the prophecy of Isaiah, God's original dispensation of sending the Messiah was to establish the kingdom of the Messiah, beginning with Israel. In other words, God's purpose was to restore the lost Garden of Eden on earth.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David, and over his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. (Isaiah 9:6, 7)
The Messiah was to come to the throne of David and govern his people with justice and righteousness. He will become mighty God and everlasting father.
In this holy age all the wild animals will become tame and serve men. Isaiah said,
The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall he down with the kid, and the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. (Isaiah 11:6-9)
Then the Israelites, who have suffered so long, will be lifted up and glorified by God with the establishment of the Messiah's Kingdom. It is, therefore, said in Isaiah,
Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you ... Lift up your eyes round about, and see; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from far, and your daughters shall be carried in the arms. Then you shall see and be radiant, your heart shall thrill and rejoice, because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you Foreigners shall minister to you Violence shall nomore be heard in your land, devastation or destruction within your borders; you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise. The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give light to you by night; but the Lord will be your ever lasting light, and your God will be your glory The least one shall become a clan, and the smallest one a mighty nation; I am the Lord; in its time I will hasten it. (Isaiah 60)
The glory and happiness of Israel would be immensely great. Their sorrow and suffering will come to an end, and all nations and peoples will serve them and glorify them.
The angel Gabriel said to Mary:
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there will be no end. (Luke 1:30)
It is clear in these verses that the Messiah was to be the king of the eternal earthly kingdom. For this reason King Herod was going to kill the baby Christ. Pilate asked Jesus, "Are you the King of the Jews?" Jesus answered him, "You have said so." (Mark 15:2) Jesus had come as the King of the heavenly kingdom on earth, an earthly kingdom of the Divine love and wisdom.
The coming of the Messiah had been told by prophets, and the Israelites were anxious to see the Day of the Messiah. After his birth, the wise men from the East, the shepherds in the fields, Simeon, and Anna were given a sign and revelation by God, and they testified t- the universal event: the birth of the Messiah.
In addition, God sent John the Baptist to witness to the Messiah. John had been chosen, even before his birth, and sent to the wilderness where he had special training that he might fulfill the great mission of witnessing.
As the people were in expectation, and all men questioned in their hearts concerning John, whether perhaps he were the Christ, John answered them all, "I baptize you with water; but he who is mightier than I is coming, the thong of whole sandals I am not worthy to untie; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." (Luke 3:15-17)
John impressed upon the people of his time that he was the greatest prophet of all. Priests and scribes wondered and asked if he was the Messiah. (John 1:19-23)
What was God's purpose of sending this witness and of making John to be a great prophet? It was to testify to the Messiah, so that his people might follow him. Jesus said, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent," (John 6:29) It had been their constant prayer to see the great day of the Messiah, when the nation might be liberated from the oppression of the Gentiles.
Nevertheless, how basely they treated the Messiah when he finally came to them. They denied, rejected, and crucified him. This was simply because they did not know that he was the Messiah. Even the Apostle Paul did not know it and approved the stoning of Stephen and was en route to Damascus to persecute the Christians. On the way, Paul was confronted by Jesus, whom he was persecuting. Christ had already been crucified. Paul had missed the great opportunity of meeting and serving Jesus alive, although he lived at the same time and in the same country as Jesus. In addition Paul was persecuting the followers of Christ. How sad and shameful Paul was when he discovered the truth. And the time was late. Jesus was no longer on earth.
Paul expressed his great regret.
None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. (I Cor. 2:8)
Paul discovered the fact that Jesus was the Messiah, the Lord of glory who should not have been killed. Crucifying the Messiah was the gravest mistake that the Israelites had made. It was a universal tragedy.
The suffering of Christ on the cross was not the will of God, nor was it a predestined event by God, but was the consequence of the faithlessness and unbelief of the Jews. We may be reminded here of the prophecy concerning the suffering of the Lord written in Chapter 53 of Isaiah. We must understand that the Divine providence is accomplished by full cooperation of man with God. When man does not whole-heartedly obey and cooperate with God, His will cannot be fulfilled.
In sending the Messiah, God's will could have been accomplished or delayed, all depending upon the attitude of belief or unbelief of the people to whom the Messiah was sent. If the people had received the Messiah, God's will could have been fulfilled, and the kingdom of God could have been established on earth. However if the people did not believe, and rejected the Messiah, he could not but suffer. God foresaw what would happen to the Messiah in this instance and gave the prophecy of the Suffering Lord in Chapter 53 of Isaiah.
Who has believed what we have heard and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief. Surely he has borne our griefs, carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
This prophecy would be fulfilled if God's will was not done; it was not God's predestined dispensation.
The Messiah, the King of kings, the Lord of lords was crucified because his people did not believe in him. Thus God's original dispensation with the Messiah could not be fulfilled, and His secondary will was fulfilled.
Jesus could not accomplish his actually intended mission: the restoration of man both in spirit and body and the whole universe. He accomplished only half of his mission, which was only the spiritual salvation. Whoever believes in him is saved spiritually and goes to the Paradise, but his body still remains under Satanic dominion; therefore his spirit belongs to God while his body is under Satan's domination. Jesus said on the cross, "It is finished." This does not mean that Jesus accomplished the entire scope of his original mission. He only meant that the spiritual salvation, which he had been undertaking due to the faithlessness of his people, was finished. Since he left half of his mission undone, he promised to come again. We must notice that Jesus did not preach about his return from the beginning of his public ministry, but mentioned it only after he saw the impossibility of fulfillment of his original mission.
We can now understand why Jesus prayed so desperately at Gethsemane:
"My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me." And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me, nevertheless, not as I will but as thou wilt. "(Matt. 26:36-46)
If the death on the cross were the only means of saving fallen mankind, and if this were God's providence and predetermined will, Jesus would not have hesitated to accept the cross, and would not have prayed that the cup of suffering pass from him. Even Stephen, one of the more unimportant followers of Christ, was stoned, and while dying, prayed for his enemies. Numerous martyrs passed through severe tortures in peace praising God. Could Jesus, the Savior of mankind, be weaker than others in faith when he prayed to have the cup taken from him? No, he could not be weaker in faith. But he knew his death on the cross was against God's original providence.
Since he could not accomplish his mission, the Divine mandate, the realization of the ideal of creation was delayed; he could not face God. Since the fall of man, the heart of the heavenly Father was broken. Jesus came to relieve the Divine grief and sorrow. Having failed to do this he could not lift up his head to God.
Prophets and faithful forefathers had laid the foundation and prepared the way for the Messiah to come. They were anxious to see him accomplish God's dispensation and fulfill their works. Jesus was sorrowful that he had failed them.
Israel had been particularly trained and tested throughout a long suffering, so that it might prepare itself for the day of the Messiah. By rejecting him, its long suffering became fruitless, and it was doomed to be deserted and cursed. Jesus, who had a stronger and deeper love toward his people than anyone, felt heartbroken to see their sad destiny.
He foresaw that his disciples and their successors would need to bear the cross and suffer as he had suffered; because he was their Lord and example to follow. Therefore his followers must bear the cross until he comes again.
If he had fulfilled God's providence, the kingdom of Heaven would have been established on earth in Jesus' lifetime. Then we should not suffer any longer in this sinful world. Since the restoration of God's kingdom was delayed innumerable souls have suffered on this earthly hell and have been cast away into the hell of the spiritual world. Jesus felt responsible for this, and realizing all the consequences of his death on the cross, he suffered even greater agony. So he prayed, "If it be possible, let this cup pass from me." He wished to find a way other than death in order that he might fulfill the Divine mandate.
If Christ's death on the cross was God's predestined will, the role of Judas Iscariot, who betrayed and sold the Lord, was an important one. However this was not the case -- the death of Christ was God's secondary dispensation, which He wished not to occur and therefore the role of Judas is seen to be a rebellious one. Jesus said, "The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but 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! " (Matt. 26:24)
Moreover if the crucifixion were the only purpose of his coming, the people of Israel need not have believed in and followed Jesus. If they had believed and followed, who would have crucified him?
Jesus had done everything possible with the desire that they might recognize and believe in him. He preached on the kingdom of heaven which he was about to establish. Then he performed mighty works, by which they might see who he was. The stubborn and faithless people still would not believe in him and denied his words and works. Finally he rebuked them for their unbelief and said,
Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida; for if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. (Matt. 11:20-24)
As he drew near Jerusalem, he wept over the city, saying, "Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace! But now they are hid from your eyes Because you did not know the time of your visitation." (Luke 19:41)
He had endeavored to make them believe in him by his words, his works, and his prayers, but it was all in vain.
Then Jesus began to speak of his Second Coming. He saw that there was no possibility of establishing the kingdom of God on earth and of saving fallen mankind physically as well as spiritually at this time. He saw the inevitable abandonment of physical salvation. Here by the prophecies concerning the Lord of glory written in the Book of Isaiah, Chapter 9, 11, 60, could not be fulfilled. However due to the unbelief of the Israelites, the prophecy concerning the suffering servant was fulfilled.
He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. (Isaiah 53:3-8)
It is evident that Jesus had shown to his close disciples that he was the One who would establish the kingdom of God on earth, and he would become the King of kings and the Lord of lords and rule the world in his life time. Therefore, James and John said to Jesus, "Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your glory." (Mark 10: 3 5) If Jesus had preached on the establishment of a spiritual kingdom of heaven and spiritual salvation alone, would they have dared to have such a desire? Apparently Jesus had already hinted that he was going to establish his kingdom on earth and that message had attracted the disciples to follow him rather than the moral and spiritual teachings concerning the heavenly kingdom.
Then he began to tell his disciples that he had to go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders, chief priest, and scribes, and that he would be killed. And Peter took him and began to rebuke him, saying, "God forbid, Lord; This shall never happen to you." (Matt.. 16:23) Peter, the chief disciple was surprised and even shocked to hear of his suffering. Why was Peter the chief disciple surprised to hear about the suffering of his master, if Jesus had been teaching his mission as the suffering servant? The talk of his suffering was quite a different idea from what Jesus had been telling to his disciples; but this was after he had made up his mind and saw no other way than taking up the cross.
His decision to suffer on the cross was made on the mountain where Jesus went up to pray. On this occasion Moses and Elijah appeared to Jesus and the inevitable suffering was determined in their presence. "And behold two men talked with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was to accomplish at Jerusalem. But Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep and did not know what was determined. Peter was only excited to see Moses and Elijah in spirit, and said "Master, it is well that we are here; let us make three booths, one for you and one for Moses and one Elijah. " (Luke 9:28-36)
Again Jesus said to his disciples, " I have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes he will guide you into all the truth." (John 16:12) Under the circumstances, he could not tell them everything and could not openly announce the purpose of his coming at this time. If Israel had believed in him and united completely with him, he could have fulfilled his original intention. But now his people were all against him; and he was left alone. It was now useless and dangerous to say anything of his primary mission.
Christianity was introduced into the Roman Empire as a pure evangelical movement, and yet met the most terrible persecution there. How much more dangerous would it have been if Jesus had announced the establishment of a kingdom on earth. The kingdom of Jesus was of the Divine Love, Wisdom, and Power and not of any political, military, or human element. However the Roman Empire would never have allowed and tolerated it. Therefore Jesus avoided speaking of it. This was the reason why he spoke in parables and symbols about the kingdom of God and avoided disclosing his kingdom in pure discourse.
I have now made clear the purpose of the coming of Jesus, which indeed has been a mystery kept in the bosom of God until the present time Thus far the Word was understood from the viewpoint that the crucifixion of Jesus was God's primary providence and the Scriptures were interpreted in that light. Furthermore even the disciples did not know the intention and heart of Jesus nor the whole picture of God's providence. Yet the life and teachings of Jesus were conveyed by those who had not understood fully. How could the readers of the Bible grasp the true picture with regard to the will of God and the true intention of Jesus?
Now the hidden meaning of God's will has been revealed and the significance of the coming of the Messiah become clear.
Jesus must come again in order to fulfill his unaccomplished mission. He promised to come again.
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