Divine Principle and Its Application
Young Oon Kim
Chapter X - Prolonged History of Restoration: 2000 Years After Jesus
Until the coming of Jesus, Judaism was the direct instrument of God's dispensation. God chose Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob to lay a foundation for the restoration. Through their descendants, He expanded it from a family to a clan, to a tribe, and then to a nation. To that nation, God sent the Messiah to accomplish His dispensation and to expand it to the global level. However, the crucifixion of Jesus nullified God's dispensation of 2,000 years from Jacob to Jesus. Consequently, restitution for this period had to be made for the fulfillment of God's will. The complete fulfillment of the dispensation was thus delayed for another 2,000 years following the resurrection of Jesus, which may be called a prolongation period.
Yet it was not a static prolongation; there was progress toward the fulfillment of God's will. The 2,000-year period from Jacob to Jesus was the Formation Stage, or the Old Testament Age; the 2,000-year period after Jesus was the Growth Stage, or the New Testament Age. For the dispensation of the New Testament Age, God chose the Christians. Having crucified Jesus, the Jewish nation did not qualify to undertake God's new dispensation.
As a source for the study of God's dispensation in the New Testament Age, the history of the Christian Church should be studied in conjunction with the New Testament. His dispensation in this age followed the pattern of the Old Testament Age. In the Old Testament account of history from Jacob to Jesus there are six major periods. Six parallel periods can be traced in the 2,000 years from Jesus to the present day. Thus, there is a pattern of correlation in the events and chronology of the two Ages.
1. Christians in the Roman Empire (400 years)
Because of Abraham's failure in his offering, his descendants had to suffer in Egypt for 400 years. Similarly, since the Jewish people had failed to recognize and follow the Messiah, the Christians, their successors, had to make restitution by suffering in the Satanic world for nearly four centuries.
When the suffering of Israel in Egypt was over, God sent Moses to deliver his people out of Egypt. They entered the promised Land of Canaan, where they had the freedom to worship their God. Through Moses, the Ten Commandments were given to the Israelites, and a tabernacle was built as their sanctuary.
Similarly, when the persecution of the Christians under the Roman Empire was over, Emperor Constantine issued an edict granting freedom of worship to them. At the end of the fourth century Christianity was declared the imperial state religion. St. Augustine and other leaders came forth, and through the councils of the churches the Apostles' Creed was adopted and the New Testament canonized. Thus in the fourth century the Christian Church became an institution established upon a solid foundation in the Roman Empire.
2. Church Patriarchs (400 years)
After the Israelites entered Canaan, the judges ruled them for a period of 400 years. Similarly, the Church Patriarchs or bishops ruled the churches in the Roman Empire, Asia Minor, and North Africa, for about 400 years.
The Church Patriarchs gradually united the churches in those areas into four sees. Among them the bishop of Rome rapidly gained power and acquired the title of Pope. Monasticism, with its ascetic practices, gained prevalence during this period just as the school of prophets flourished at the time of the judges.
3. United Christian Empire (120 years)
The prophet Samuel anointed Saul as the first king of Israel. Saul was succeeded by David and then by Solomon. Under Solomon, Israel was a strongly united nation whose territory had been expanded by David. The United Kingdom lasted 120 years before being divided into Israel and Judah. Similarly, Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne of the Franks in 800 and named his kingdom the Holy Roman Empire. This was the first time a pope crowned a king. Charlemagne then established a united Christian empire based upon the ideal of Augustine's The City of God. Charlemagne's empire also occupied a vast territory. In this Holy Roman Empire the feudal system developed. This united Christian empire endured for nearly 120 years before it was similarly divided between the East and West Franks.
4. Divided Empires (400 years)
When King Solomon turned away from God by introducing foreign gods and neglecting to fulfill the purpose of the temple, his kingdom was divided into North and South. Similarly the Holy Roman Empire was divided into the East Franks and the West Franks.
The crowning of Charlemagne by Leo III, later disagreements over the use of images and pictures in the Church, and doctrinal disputes between the eastern and western branches of the Church led to a schism and the establishment of the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church. The Roman Catholic Church then became the major object of God's dispensation.
Meanwhile the papacy gained influence, improving its political and financial position. Thus its power became equal to that of some secular sovereigns. The papacy reached an extreme height in spiritual and earthly power during the reign of Pope Gregory VII (10731085) . To him the papacy was a divinely appointed universal sovereignty to which all earthly rulers were to be subject. More powerful even than Gregory VII was Innocent III (1198-1216), who compared the relationship of the pope and emperors to that of sun and moon. The popes excommunicated some of the emperors, and because of this many conflicts developed between them.
When Judah and Israel turned away from God and defiled the temple, God warned them through His prophets and urged them to repent. Nevertheless, they did not fear God. Finally God chastised them through the Assyrians and Babylonians, who invaded and took them away as captives. Similarly, the popes met with God's ill favor since they did not minister as God had ordained.
During this period there emerged monastic reforms by some great monks and particularly by great friars, such as St. Francis of Assisi and St. Dominic. The Franciscan and Dominican orders emphasized service to one's fellow man, a humble life, and devotion to Christ. The sincere lives of the friars appealed directly to every man's reason and conscience, transcended all organizational barriers, and reached into every area of life.
On the other hand, Scholasticism enlightened the minds of the Medieval Christians, for the Scholastics were concerned with setting forth the logic of their faith. The Scholastics applied the dialectical method to the great problem of theology: how to reconcile reason and revelation. Thomas Aquinas was the greatest of the Scholastics. His synthesis of faith and philosophy which reconciled both without discrediting either proved to be the most influential Scholastic achievement, and his works still remain the standard theological guide of the Roman Catholic Church.
During this period, Mysticism was cultivated by Hugo St. Victor, Meister Eckhart, John Tauler, and Thomas a Kempis. Through meditation and rigorous self-discipline, the mystics sought to transcend the formal and external limits of human experience, meet God face to face, and bring themselves into direct union with Him. They felt deep and even passionate love for those in spirit world and often expressed their feelings in the form of poetry and prose.
God stimulated and inspired the Medieval Christians through the intellectual persuasion of the Scholastics, the practical service of the friars, and the spiritual search of the mystics. Thus, God manifested His way. Nevertheless, the popes and clergy neglected their duties as holy fathers to the Christian world, became morally corrupt, and defiled the Church by collecting undue offerings and inflicting unwarranted papal taxation.
God finally chastened them by means of 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. The popes projected the Crusades to recapture the Holy Land. Seven great Crusades were organized and sent out over a period of 200 years; all of them were defeated and failed to restore the Holy Land, and the Crusaders suffered in a most tragic way.
The failure of the Crusades resulted in the loss of papal prestige, and the people's ecclesiastic trust, zeal, and devotion were seriously impaired. Many barons and knights died in battle or lost their property. This contributed to the collapse of feudalism.
5. Papal Exile and Renaissance
Because the Israelites worshiped idols and allowed many other practices which were evil in God's eyes, He sent prophets to awaken the people to His will. However, since the Israelites failed to heed the entreaties of those who were sent, Israel was invaded and the people taken to Babylon as captives, where they remained for 70 years. Similarly, the papacy and clergy persisted in their corruption and distortion of Christianity. Despite the genuine example of the dedicated monks and friars, the Church refused to redirect itself. Even the defeat of the Crusaders could not bring the Church to purify its practice. Thus, when the papacy did not correct its evils despite many warnings and chastisements, it was exiled to Avignon and remained there for 70 years under the control of the French monarchy. It was a period of humiliation for the Vatican and the Church. The struggle among various wings of the Church power structure and the Church's secular ambition became distressingly apparent in this period of schism and destroyed much of the peoples' respect for the Church. This, together with the grossly materialistic practice of the papacy, particularly its taxation, caused people to lose all trust in the papacy.
At the end of 70 years of exile in Babylon, Cyrus of Persia conquered Babylonia and permitted the Israelites to return to Palestine. This return was accomplished in three stages over a period of 140 years. Thus, from the beginning of their exile to the end of their return, 210 years elapsed. When the 70 years of papal captivity were over, the papacy was divided between Rome and Southern France; later a further subdivision was made. These parties were finally integrated, and the papacy was revived in Rome.
During the Crusades, and especially after the fall of Constantinople in the 15th century, many scholars fled to Italy with the literary masterpieces of the ancient Greeks in the original tongue. In this way that revival of classical learning known as the Renaissance began. Such poets and tale-tellers as 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 Columbus expanded the horizon of the people in Europe. Moreover, the life of the common people was vastly altered by the rise 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 inspired and contributed to the Renaissance.
Primarily the Renaissance constituted the rise of humanism, individualism, and realism. Emphasis on judgment by reason rather than blind obedience to the authority of the papacy, as well as emphasis on the present earthly life and the beauty of nature, also characterized the Renaissance. Rejecting Hebraism, the people were zealous in the study of the Greek classics. The outcome of the Renaissance gave impetus to scientific research, and, as a result of this, the compass, gunpowder, and the printing machine were invented. Among other things, the Copernican theory was propounded. The Renaissance was a reaction against the views of life and the universe based on the asceticism, other-worldliness, and collectivism of Medieval Christianity. The tendency toward realism and epicurianism could easily lead the people away from the Church. The Renaissance was a hedonistic movement in itself.
Though the Jews had acquired a broadened view of life through their exile, they also became more worldly. To reestablish their covenant with God they instituted religious reforms upon their return to Palestine. Similarly, after the Crusades, the Medieval Christians, under the influence of the Renaissance, broadened their outlook and became worldly. The widened outlook of the Church was only, however, an external revival. Unless it were followed by spiritual awakening, the result would be only secularization and superficial humanism.
Nevertheless, the Renaissance did aid the Christians in rediscovering the vital use of reason as well as intuition in the understanding of God and His will. The value of the individual, the significance of man's earthly life, the ideal of freedom, and the beauty of nature-of which collective, other-worldly, and ascetic Medieval Christianity had lost sight-were brought to light. The objective of the divine providence is to restore man and the world in totality. If man's earthly life is neglected, man's restoration will be incomplete.
Furthermore, the popularized learning of Greek enabled more Christians to read the New Testament in the original language. This brought about a deeper understanding of the life of Jesus. Such popular reading of the New Testament helped the common people to see that the Roman Catholic Church had drifted far from Christian principles.
The people of the newly established and fast-growing middle class found that, as self-supporting individuals, they could now free themselves from the grasp of their feudal lords. As a result, they rapidly gained self-confidence and ability to meet life's problems through their own initiative. They began to question the manners and morals of the clergy and to criticize the practices of the Church.
6. Preparation for the Second Advent (400 years)
A. Protestant Reformation
The 400 years from the Protestant Reformation to the time of World War I is the period of preparation for the Second Advent.
From the time of their exile on, the Jews met with many foreign beliefs, and they incorporated some of the ideas into their theology. This syncretic tendency broadened the scope but violated the purity of the Mosaic tradition. In the 400 years following the papal exile the Christian Church also encountered new modes of thought, such as those introduced through the Enlightenment: Darwinism, Marxism, and Liberalism. These have had both beneficial and adverse effects on the interpretation of the Bible and the relationship of the Church to the secular world.
In addition to the dynamic influence of the Renaissance upon the Medieval layman, there was the fact 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 prevail unchecked among the clergy. Moreover, the Church seemed to be left far behind in the onward sweep of progress. In a changing world, the Church represented cramping institutionalism, conservatism, conformity, from age to age, to one inflexible law, one form of worship, and 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 alarmingly. Finally, the pious laymen, more than a little appalled by the secularizing effects of capitalism and nationalism, began to demand changes in the Church that would make its benefits more realistic. Earlier, in the 14th and 15th centuries, John Wycliffe in northern Europe and John Huss in Bohemia had led local movements for reform, but they had met with little success.
On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther (1483-1546) posted on a church door in Wittenberg the famous Ninety-five Theses, a detailed attack on the selling of papal indulgences. The German people were largely on Luther's side, and entire provinces became Protestant at one stroke. By the time of Luther's death, his reforms had spread throughout Germany and beyond, into Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and the Baltic states.
A more radical Reformation came to 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.
William Farel, an intense young preacher, won Geneva to the Reformation. Farel enlisted the help of John Calvin in carrying out his reform. Calvin changed the mood of the citizens of Geneva to one of Puritanical righteousness. He instituted the method of church administration practiced in the early Christian Church and introduced an educational system for the training of Protestant leaders.
John Knox, sojourning- in Geneva, was directly influenced by Calvin. He returned to Scotland and gained the great triumph of having the Scottish Parliament ratify the "Confession of Faith Professed and Believed by the Protestant."
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 thereafter.
In addition to national Reformation movements, students 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 Wycliffe 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 accessible only to the clergy of the Roman Catholic Church, was made available to common people in their languages.
The Protestant Reformation changed the whole religious picture of Europe and renewed the Church. The Word of God was restored to the people. The providence behind the Reformation was thus to reestablish the Church and revitalize the hearts of people in preparation for God's new dispensation of the Second Advent.
The two great movements of the period were the Renaissance and the Reformation, or the revivals, respectively, of Hellenism and Hebraism. The Hellenistic revival was humanistic, secular, and outward, while the Hebraic revival was biblical, spiritual, and inward. This was another expression of Cain (in the Renaissance) and Abel (in the Reformation).
B. Two Currents in Modern History
The 18th century was characterized by the Enlightenment, which represents the rationalistic, liberal, humanitarian, and scientific trend of thought. This movement penetrated every aspect of life: religion, literature, the arts, philosophy, the sciences, and political establishments. It found expression in a variety of forms in various parts of Europe. Enlightened religion, in the form of Deism, emerged in England. The Deists rejected formal religion and supernatural revelation. Before the iron laws of a mechanical universe, the Deists rejected all miracles and divine intervention.
Sometime later, Darwin's evolutionary concept was introduced, which contradicted the theory of creation. Ludwig Buchner and Ernst Haeckel championed a mechanistic materialism which left no room for God. Furthermore, the dialectic materialism of Marx and Engels exerted a great influence on the minds of the people.
On the other hand, Pietism in Germany, led by Philipp Spener and Herman Francke, and the Moravian Brethren, led by Count Zinzendorf, revived the study of the Bible and emphasized living by the words of God. George Whitefield and John Wesley preached their fiery revival message across Britain, and it was under their impassioned leadership that the Great Awakening swept the country. They stressed transforming, regenerative change-conversion-and founded the Methodist church. In America, fervent preachers like Jonathan Edwards also led revivals, and the Great Awakening electrified the people in many parts of the nation. The mystical enlightenment of George Fox led him to form the Society of Friends, or Quakers, in which deep and simple faith was practiced. Emanuel Swedenborg, another spiritual genius, explored the mysteries and wonders of the spirit world. Through his monumental writings, he revealed the unseen reality and helped people to experience the immediacy of God's presence.
The philosophical systems of Kant, Fichte, Hegel, Schelling, and Schleiermacher helped to mold a spiritually constructive view of life, in contrast to the contemporary mechanistic and materialistic theories. These conflicting life views were representations of Cain and Abel. Through the philosophical and spiritual leadership of the Abel representatives, the basis of belief was strengthened and clarified, and a fuller understanding of God was made possible. While Satan influenced many thinkers to bring confusion and doubt and to destroy God's work, God found others to inspire and awaken and to enrich the spiritual life of the period.
C. Industrial Revolution
Meanwhile, the Industrial Revolution began in England. Striking changes in economic structure were produced by the transition from a stable agricultural and commercial society to modern industrialism. Machines had been made of wood and driven by water and wind power. In the 18th century, the change to steam power was made by James Watt (1736-1819) . There were such inventions as the spinning frame and power loom, and England became the world textile center. Coal mining and steel production gained paramount importance. The effect of industrialism has been worldwide; whole nations have been transformed by this revolution. The purpose behind the Industrial Revolution was to better economic conditions and to improve the physical environment in preparation for the New Age.
D. Emergence of Democracy and Imperialism
By the French Revolution, which started in 1789, the monarchy was ousted and the First Republic established. The French Revolution dispensed with the former political structure of Europe and cleared the way for 19th century liberalism. The Revolution was inspired by atheistic philosophers whose motive was to destroy absolute monarchy and replace it with government in which power would be channeled through three branches. The American Revolution, which preceded the French Revolution by 13 years, established the first national democratic government. The motivation of the American revolution, however, was entirely different from that of the French. In America, as well as in Britain, the religious influence was largely responsible for the changes in government. Thus we see the emergence of modern democracy, in which the French Revolution may be considered Cain-like and its American counterpart, Abel-like.
Imperialism emerged in the West with the rise of the modern national states and the age of exploration and discovery. As the Industrial Revolution progressed, it became necessary for those states to find new markets and sources of raw materials. Through colonies, European hegemony was introduced by force, with an assumed superiority over the natives. The Spanish, Portugese, British, and French, motivated by mercantilism, built vast empires.
E. Missionary Movement
The 19th century was a great Protestant era. In addition to this century's sweeping changes in the outward conduct of life, there were two outstanding religious developments: 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 Jesuit movement. When the Dutch established trading stations in the East Indies in the 17th century, they encouraged missionaries to follow 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. European empires sent Christian missionaries to colonies; thus even imperialism helped to evangelize the remote parts of the world. The Quakers sent missionaries to the West Indies, Palestine, and various parts of Europe. The Moravians 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 the vigor of British efforts at expansion of the Christian world, the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions was formed. Similar organizations were subsequently formed in other American churches. Denmark, Germany, France, and Switzerland also founded such societies.
Robert Raikes organized the first Sunday School in England in 1780. Following this, the Sunday School 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 churches all over the world, and the entire climate of Christian life was changed. They brought the awareness of Christ and his prophecies to the world in order to prepare the people for the Second Coming. With the dawn of the 20th century, incalculable benefits to Christendom as a whole were realized from the development of world-wide fellowship among Christians of every culture and color.
The 20th century movements toward unity are a clear expression of God's will that mankind be united at this time. The establishment of the League of Nations and then of the United Nations, the formation of the Common Market, the desire for integration, and the recent ecumenical councils and church mergers are unusually vivid signs of the current transition from division and separation to union and unity. Mass communication media and faster means of travel have drawn men together from opposite parts of the globe.
In this advancing world situation, we see the pattern of divine preparation. Both the hearts of people and their physical environments have been constantly developed so that men may be ready for the Cosmic Event, the Second Advent of the Lord.
Chart 1 - Course of Restoration
Chart 2 - Correlation of Historical Periods
Lord of the Second Advent
Preparation for Messiah
Preparation for Second Advent
Exile in Babylon
Papal Exile and Renaissance
-- Divided Kingdoms --
-- Divided Empires --
United Christian Empire
Period of Judges
Period of Church Patriarchs
Slavery in Egypt
Persecution Under Roman Empire
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