The Divine Principles
By Young Oon Kim
Chapter XI The Prolongation of the Providence of Restoration (2000 Years After Jesus)
Thus far Judaism had been the direct instrument of God's providence. God had chosen Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to lay a foundation of faith, and through their descendants, He had expanded the foundation from a clan to a tribe, from a tribe to a nation. To that nation, God had sent the Messiah to accomplish His providence and to expand it to the whole world through this generation. However by crucifying Jesus, the two thousand year period of God's dispensation from Jacob to Jesus became annulled. Consequently this two thousand years must be made indemnity in order to fulfill God's providence.
In other words, the complete fulfillment of the providence was prolonged for another two thousand years. Hence the two thousand year period since the resurrection of Jesus is called the prolongation period of the dispensation of restoration.
Yet it was not merely a prolongation -- there was development in the accomplishment of the providence. The two thousand years period from Jacob to Jesus was the Formation Stage or the Old Testament Age; the next two thousand years after Jesus is the Growth Stage or the New Testament Age.
For this dispensation of the New Testament Age, God' chose the Christians as the Second Israel and the spiritual descendants of Abraham, for by having crucified Jesus, the Jewish nation eras cursed and therefore did not qualify to undertake God's new dispensation.
Accordingly, for the study of God's dispensation in the New Testament Age, the history of Christianity should be added to the New Testament as the source book.
God's dispensation in this age also followed the developing pattern of the Old Testament Age, There were seven periods in the Old Testament Age.
400 years slavery in Egypt
400 years persecution of the Roman Empire
400 years under the Judges
400 years under the Church Patriarchs
120 years of United Kingdom
118 years of United Christian Empire
400 years of Divided Kingdom of North and South
400 years of Divided Empires of East and West
70 years of Exile to Babylon
70 years of the Exile of Papacy
140 years of Returning from Babylon
140 years of Papal Return and Renaissance
400 years of Preparation for the Messiah
400 years from the Reformation until the Second Advent
1. The Persecution under the Roman Empire (0 AD - 397)
Because of Abraham's failure in his offering, his descendants had to suffer in Egypt for four hundred years. Similarly, since Judaism and the Jewish people failed to fulfill the ideal of the Messiah, the Christians, their spiritual successors had to make indemnity by suffering in a Satanic world for nearly four centuries. Therefore the persecution that the Christians suffered under the Roman Empire corresponds to the suffering of Israel in Egypt during the Old Testament Age,
When the period of indemnity was full, God sent Moses to deliver His people out of Egypt, and they entered the blessed land to worship Jehovah without restraint. Through … God gave Israel the Ten Commandments and the orders to build a tabernacle. Similarly, when the persecution was over, the Emperor Contantine issued an edict granting freedom of worship to Christians; and in 323, he declared Christianity as the imperial state religion. About the same time St. Augustine and several other leaders came forth, and through the councils of the churches, the Apostle's Creed was decided upon and the New Testament was canonized. It was in the 4th century, the Christian Church became an institution established upon a firm foundation in the Roman Empire.
2. The Period of Church Patriarchs (397-800)
After the Israelites entered into Canaan, Judges ruled them for a period of four hundred years. Similarly the Church Patriarchs ruled the churches in the Roman Empire, Asia Minor, and Africa. The patriarchs gradually united the churches, and in the Western Church, the patriarch or the bishop of Rome was called a Pope, and this personage rapidly gained power. During this period, monasticism became popular, aided by ascetic ideals, just as the school of prophets existed at the time of Judge Samuel. The judges of Israel had undertaken a combined ministry of priest, prophet, and ruler. Similarly the patriarchs assumed fairly integrated responsibilities.
3. The Period of the United Christian Empire (800-918)
Prophet Samuel anointed Saul and made him the first king of Israel; similarly, Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne of Frank in 800 and named his kingdom, "The Holy Roman Empire". This was the first time that a pope crowned a king. Henceforth Charlemagne established a united Christian empire based upon the ideal of "The City of God" by St. Augustine. Since the time of the United Kingdom, the ministries of a priest, prophet, and king were divided in Israel. Similarly, in this Christian empire and subsequent periods, the popes undertook the role of the priests, the monasteries undertook the role of the prophets, and kings solely undertook that of a ruler. In the Holy Roman Empire, the feudal system fully developed. Then the united kingdom was divided into North and South in one hundred and twenty years, the Holy Roman Empire divided in a comparable period of one hundred and eighteen years.
4. The Division between East and West (918-1305)
When King Solomon turned away from God by introducing foreign gods and neglected to fulfill the ideal of the Temple, his kingdom was divided into Judah and Israel. Similarly the Holy Roman Empire was divided into East Frank and West Frank.
With the crowning of Charlemagne by Leo III, the Church was divided into the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church. Henceforth the Roman Catholic Church becomes the major object of God's dispensation.
Meanwhile in the West, the papacy gained in political and financial position equal to some of the secular sovereigns. The papacy had reached an extreme height in spiritual and earthly power during the reign of Pope Gregory VII (1073-1085), for whom the papacy was a divinely appointed universal sovereignty to which all earthly rulers should be subject. More powerful even than Gregory VII was Innocent III (1193 -1216) who compared the relation of the pope and emperors to that of sun and moon. The popes excommunicated some of the emperors and because of this, many contests developed between popes and emperors. With such power and wealth, the popes did not please God in serving for the spiritual welfare of the people.
When Judah and Israel turned away from God and defiled the Temple, God urged them to repent through his prophets. Never the less they did not fear God. Finally He chastised them by allowing the Assyrians and Babylonians to invade and take them away as captives. Similarly, the popes were not good in God's sight and did not lead the Church in accordance with His will.
Through monastic reforms and particularly through the tremendous influence of St. Francis and St. Dominic, God made appeals to the leaders and laities of the Medieval Church. Both the Dominican and Franciscan Orders had enormous influence in suggesting that the Christian religion transcends all organizations and in serving God with a most humble, devoted, and zealous spirit.
On the other hand, Scholasticism enlightened the minds of the Medieval Christians with the logic of the Faith under the leadership of men like Thomas Aquinas. The school men applied the dialectical method to the great problem of theology: how to reconcile reason and revelation.
During this period, Mysticism was cultivated by Hugo St. Victor, Eckhart, John Tauler, and Thomas a Kempis.
Thus God had manifested His way and gave a great stimulation to awaken the Medieval Church through the intellectual persuasion of the school men, the practical service, of the friars and the spiritual search of the mystics. Never the less the popes and the clergy forgot the duties they owed to the Christian world as Holy Fathers, became morally corrupt, and defiled the Church by collecting undue offerings and papal taxation.
God finally chastened them by handing them, over to a heathen nation. This was the providence behind the war of the Crusades. Since 1071 Jerusalem had been in the hands of the Seljuk Turks, Christian pilgrimages were greatly disturbed and the holy place was desecrated by the Turks. For the purpose of recapturing the holy land, the papal leaders projected the Crusades. Seven great Crusades were organized and sent out over a period of two hundred years; all of them failed to restore the holy land and suffered in a most tragic way.
The failure of the Crusades resulted in the loss of papal prestige and trust and it also resulted in the people's losing their zeal and devotion toward the Church. Many barons and knights died in battle or lost their property; thus the feudal system collapsed.
5. The Exile of the Papacy (1305-1375)
Israel suffered in Babylon as exiles for seventy years and returned in one hundred and forty years. Similarly when the papacy did not correct its evils, despite many warnings and. chastisements, it was removed to Avignon in exile, and remained there for seventy years under the control of Philip the French king. This was a period of humiliation of both the Vatican and the whole Church.
6. Papal Return and Renaissance (1375-1517)
For seventy years, Israel was in Babylon, then Cyrus of Persia conquered Babylon and permitted Israel to return to Palestine; this return was accomplished in three stages over a period of one hundred and forty years. Similarly when the seventy years captivity was over, the papacy was divided in half: Rome and South France; later these halves split into three segments. These parties were finally integrated into one, and the papacy returned to Rome.
During the Crusade and especially after the fall of Constantinople in the 15th century -- an event which brought many scholars fleeing to Italy with the literary masterpieces of the ancient Greeks in the original tongue -- there began that revival of classical learning known as the Renaissance. Poets and tale tellers like Petrarch and Boccaccio were the literary masters who joined with the great Renaissance painters and sculptors in popularizing the "humanist" outlook with its ever-fresh delight in man and nature. The discoveries of Marco Polo and of Columbus expanded and enlarged the Horizon of the people in Europe. Moreover the life of the common people was vastly altered by the size of commercial towns now independent of the nobility. This period saw the highest theological achievement of the Middle Ages -- that of Scholasticism -- and the rise of universities. Furthermore, the common people began to desire learning for themselves and the desire for free study increased rapidly. A new sense of nationalism arose among the different European peoples. These factors both caused and urged the Renaissance.
The principal ideas of the Renaissance were humanism, individualism, realism, the emphasis on the judgment by reason rather than blind obedience to the authority of the papacy, the emphasis on present earthly life, and the beauty of nature. Rejecting Hebraism, the people were zealous in the study of the Greek classics. The outcome of the Renaissance gave impulse in scientific research, and as a result of this, the compass, gunpowder, and the printing machine were invented. Among other things, the Copernican theory was established. The Renaissance was a reactionary movement against the views of life, the universe based on the asceticism, other-worldliness and collectivism of the Middle Ages. The tendency of realism and epicurism could easily lead the people away from the Church. In addition to that the Renaissance was a heathenistic movement in itself.
However the Renaissance did aid the Christians to rediscover the following: The vital use of reason as well as intuition in the understanding of God and His will. The rediscovery of the value of the individual; the significance of the present earthly life, the ideal of freedom, and the beauty of nature, of which the collective, other worldly, and ascetic Medieval Christianity had lost sight. The objective of the Divine providence is to restore the entire man and the world, and not just the spiritual side of them. The Renaissance helped the people of the Middle Ages realize the value of man's physical life. Lastly, the popularized learning of the Greek language enabled the Christians to more easily read the New Testament in its original language. This fact brought a better understanding of the teaching of Christ.
Such popular reading of the New Testament helped the common man in his criticism of the Roman Catholic Church, which had drifted far from the original Christianity.
7. From the Reformation Until the Second Advent (1517-1919
The four hundred years since the Protestant Reformation was the period of total indemnity for the entire history of mankind. Hence it was the most complicated, confusing, and yet significant period in history.
In addition to the enormous influence of the Renaissance upon the Medieval layman, the spiritual fact was that the Church seemed to him exceedingly corrupt. The Church, in his mind, had become identified with a vast system of financial exactions, rapaciously draining gold from every corner of Europe to Rome, where luxury, materialism, irreverence, and even harlotry seemed to reign unchecked among the clergy. Moreover it seemed also to be left behind in the onward sweep of progress. In a changing world, the Church represented constituted institiutionalism, conservatism, conformity from age to age to one inflexible law, one worship, one order of life for every individual. Worse still, a yawning gulf had opened between religion and life, and the disparity between the Church and man's need increased more and more. Finally, the pious layman, more than a little appalled by the secularizing effects of capitalism and nationalism, began to wish for changes in the Church that would make it serve his needs better. All that was lacking was a leader who could precipitate the needed reforms.
Such a man appeared in Germany; his name was Martin Luther. On October 31, 1517, he posted on the door of the Castle Church the famous Ninety Five Theses, a detailed attack on the selling of indulgences. German people were largely on Luther's side, and entire provinces became Protestant at one stroke. By the time of Luther's death in 1546, his reforms had spread throughout Germany, and beyond into Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and the Baltic states.
A more radical Reformation came in Switzerland, through Ulrich Zwingli. He advocated a return to the New Testament as the basic source of Christian truth and persuaded the people of Zurich to remove all images and crosses and cease the ritual of the Roman Catholic Church.
In southeast Switzerland, Farel and John Calvin won Geneva over to the Reformation. Calvin changed the mood of the citizens of Geneva to a puritanical righteousness and in addition, instituted a church life and education system.
John Knox, sojourning in Geneva, was greatly influenced by Calvin. He returned to Scotland and had the great triumph of having the Scottish parliament ratify the "Confession of Faith Professed and Believed by the Protestants."
In the meantime, the Reformation in England had won a similar firm footing; the personal desire of Henry VIII for a change in his marital status opened the way for the religious revolution which the nation wanted. He quickly won the support of his nobles; England remained Protestant henceforth.
In addition to national Reformation movements, quiet searchers of the Scriptures all over Europe, were finding their own way to a much more radical break with constituted authority. Among them were the Anabaptists, Unitarians, and Nonconformists.
In the 14th century, John Wyclif translated the Bible from the Vulgate into the English tongue. During the reformation, Luther translated the Bible into German. Thus the Bible, which had been in the hands of the priests alone was given to the common people.
The Protestant Reformation changed the whole picture of Europe by renewing the Church with the restoration of the Word of God. The providence behind the Reformation was thus to reestablish the Church and renew the hearts of people that they might be prepared for the Second Advent.
The struggle between the Roman Catholics and the Protestants lasted for many years. Finally the Protestants prevailed in Northern Europe where the Tuetons dwelt, and the Catholics triumphed in Southern Europe among the Latin nations. The direct object of God's dispensation, henceforth, becomes the Protestant Church which now is in Abel's position, whereas the Catholic Church is in Cain's position.
The 18th century was characterized by the Enlightenment movement. It represents the rationalist, liberal, humanitarian, and scientific trend of thought. This movement penetrated every domain of life: religion, literature, the arts, philosophy, the sciences and political establishments, it found expression in a variety of forms in the various parts of Europe. Enlightened religion, in the form of Deism arose in England, and the Deists rejected formal religion and supernatural revelation. Before the iron laws of a mechanical universe, the deists ruled out all miracles and special Divine providence.
In the meantime, Darwin's evolutionary theory ruled out the theory of creation. Ludwig Bucher and Ernst Haeckel sprang forward as champions of a mechanistic materialism which left no room for God. Furthermore Marx and Engels' Historical Materialism exerted a great influence on the minds of people.
On the other hand there was Pietism led by Philipp Spener and Hermann Francke, and the Moravian Brethren in Germany, there was a great revival movement in England and America led by Wesley, Whitefield, and Jonathan Edwards, the mystic experience of George Fox , and the great spiritual exploration and revelation of Emmanuel Swedenborg; these people awakened people and cultivated the sense of the immediacy of God's presence in human life.
In the field of philosophy, Kant, Fichte, Hegel, Schelling, and Schleiermacher testified to the supremacy of Christian religion in developing their philosophical thoughts. While Satan recruited all his servants to destroy God's dispensation, God awakened the minds of people through His servants and elevated the spiritual life of this period.
Meanwhile there was the Industrial Revolution. Striking changes in economic structure were produced by transition from stable agricultural and commercial society to modern industrialism. Capitalism appeared in the 17th century. Machines were made of wood and driven by water and wind power. In the 18th century the change to steam power was made by James Watt. England became the world textile center and there were such inventions as the spinning frame and power loom. Coal mines and the use of steel became of paramount importance. The effect of industrialism has been world wide; whole nations have been transformed by this Revolution.
The French Revolution began in France in 1789 and abolished the monarchy and set up the First Republic. The French Revolution threw down the ancient structure of Europe and opened the path for 19th century liberalism. Thus democracy emerged again in the new world and was greatly advanced by the Puritan American.
Imperialism emerged in the West with the rise of the modern national states and the age of exploration and discovery. Through colonies, European hegemony was introduced by force; with an assumed superiority, over native people. Spanish, Portuguese, British and French all built huge empires motivated by mercantilism.
The 19th was a great Protestant century. In addition to other changes, the two most significant developments of the century were the organization of worldwide Protestant missions and the rapid expansion of the Sunday School movement. In missionary activity the Catholics had long shown the way through the movement of the Jesuit Order. When the Dutch established trading stations in the East Indies in the 17th century, they encouraged missionaries to follow behind them. The Church of England felt a responsibility for the American Indians, and organized the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in New England. The Quakers sent missionaries to the West Indies, Palestine, and various parts of Europe. The Maravians vigorously fostered missions during the 18th century.
The Baptist Society for Propagating the Gospel among the Heathen sent William Carey to India. In 1795 an interdenominational group formed the London missionary Society. There followed the formation of several other denominational missionary societies.
To match these British efforts with like devotion to the expansion of the Christian world, there was formed the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. Subsequently, similar organizations were formed in other American churches. Moreover, continental Europe was not idle and similar societies appeared in Denmark, Germany, France, and Switzerland.
Since Robert Raikes organized the first Sunday School in 1780, its movement became a significant feature of the religious life of the 19th century. It spread rapidly through the British Isles, the European continent, and the North American continent. In 1907 the World Sunday School Association was organized.
These missionary movements had a pronounced quickening effect on the life of the churches all over the world and the entire tone of Christian life was raised. With the dawn of the 20th century, incalculable benefits to Christendom as a whole were seen to have sprung from the development of world wide fellowship between Christians of every culture and color.
Thus after the Protestant Reformation, tremendous changes were made in every field of life: economically, politically, philosophically, and spiritually. In this advancing world situation, we see that the Divine efforts for the preparation of the hearts of people as well as their environment has been made constantly so that they may be ready for the Cosmic Event, i.e., the Second Advent.
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