Divine Principle Two Hour Lecture
The Second Advent
In What Manner Will Christ Come Again?
Then, how will the Second Coming of the Lord take place? In considering this, first, let us look at the second coming of Elijah. In fact, the second coming of Elijah is the clearest example that God has revealed to us of how Christ will come again.
God had promised through the prophet Malachi to send Elijah again before He sent Christ to earth (Mal. 4:5). However, the Jewish people believed that the same Elijah who had ascended to heaven in a chariot of fire 900 years before, would now come down from heaven. But in reality, Elijah's second coming was realized through a man born on the earth, John the Baptist, quite contrary to their expectations (Matt. 11:14, Matt. 17:13).
Two kinds of prophecies are to be found in the Old Testament concerning the Messiah. For example, the prophet Daniel predicted the Lord will come to earth from heaven on a cloud (Dan. 7:13), whereas the prophet Micah prophesied that he would be born on earth (Micah 5:2). Which of these two contradictory prophecies did the Jewish people believe? Among these two prophets, Daniel was the more popular and also the trend of Jewish thought was towards the Lord descending directly from heaven. Therefore even after Jesus, the Son of God, ascended into heaven after the crucifixion, there were those who insisted that Jesus, who was born on earth in the flesh, could not have been the Messiah (11 John 1:7-8).
Then why did God give this contrary prophecy of coming on the clouds in addition to the one that he would come in the flesh? Jesus indicated that, "No one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man" (John 3:13), pointing out that he came from heaven. As we well know, Jesus was born on earth from his mother Mary; but why, then, did he say he came from heaven?
The word "heaven" is frequently used in the Bible. It is consistently used as a metaphor to evoke a sense of great sacredness, goodness and value. 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, it becomes unmistakably clear what the prophecy really means concerning Jesus' coming down to earth on a cloud as described in Dan. 7. The true interpretation is quite matter of fact, yet by sticking to the literal meaning, the people were wrong. Similarly, John the Baptist, who was born in the family of Zechariah, was not merely born of this earth, but had a great mission (Luke 1:15-17, Luke 1:76). Regardless of the form of his birth, God was behind it and gave him the same mission as Elijah, and he "came down" to earth representing God Himself.
From what is shown in these examples of Elijah's second coming and Jesus' coming, one cannot help but give serious thought toward the prophecies for the Second Coming of the Messiah.
In summary, the New Testament not only contains prophecies that Christ will come as a judge amidst the glory on a cloud from heaven, but it also says he will come again just as he did at Jesus' time, which is quite contrary to the first prophecy of 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 does come on the clouds, there could be no reason for the Lord to be persecuted. But when he does not come on a cloud literally, and instead comes in the flesh, as in the First Coming, then he must first suffer before he will finally be recognized.
In Rev. 12:5 it says a woman gave birth to a child who will govern all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and His throne. The man who will rule the world with a rod of iron is the Lord to come. Thus it is recorded clearly that he will be born of a woman. When the Pharisees asked Jesus when the Kingdom of God was coming, he answered, "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed" (Luke 17:20). Everyone can gaze up at heaven, but Jesus said that he will not be recognized so readily. Why?
It is because he does not come on a literal cloud. In Luke 18:8 Jesus says, "I tell you, he will vindicate them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?" Why did Jesus say this? There are many people around the world who are doing their utmost to prepare for his coming, although their faith may not be perfect. Who would fail to recognize the Lord coming on a literal cloud? Even non-believers would recognize him and come to him. Is it because someone will prevent them from doing so? Certainly not. Difficulties do not necessarily weaken a man's faith. Then would it be because he will come in exactly the same way as Jesus did the first time?
Two thousand years ago, when Jesus came, there was much faith among the people. Day and night they prayed in the temple and memorized their commandments. They tried hard to keep all the commandments and laws that God ordered them to keep. They faithfully offered their tithes and they fasted. In this sense, they had much faith in believing in God, yet they did not understand the true meaning of faith. They were being prepared to recognize the Son of God who was to be sent to them. From this viewpoint, Jesus could not find any faith on earth! Similarly, today there are millions of good Christians waiting for the arrival of the Lord of the Second Advent, but if the Lord 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, from the lessons we have previously learned from the experience of God's working in history, and judging from the scriptural passages quoted before, the Second Advent will occur as at the First Coming, by the Messiah's birth in the flesh, born of a woman. Indeed, he comes as the Son of Man.
God created Adam to be the origin of the ideal man and the ideal family on earth. But because Adam fell and began this sinful world, Jesus came to restore the original ideal world in the capacity of the Second Adam (I Cor. 15:45).
Therefore, the Lord of the Second Advent, comes to complete the overall task of restoration and purpose of creation as the Third Adam. Therefore, he must come in the flesh, and become the origin of the ideal individual and the ideal family, and realize the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, which has been God's eternal ideal.
If the Lord is to come on the earth in the flesh, then what is the meaning of the coming on the clouds?
According to Rev. 17:15, water symbolizes fallen or sinful man. Then, what does a cloud mean? Clouds are vaporized water. Regardless of how dirty water may be, when it evaporates into a cloud, it becomes purified. Likewise, clouds signify the men resurrected or reborn from fallen men, or in other words, the resurrected believers reborn from the sinful world. The metaphor that he will come on the clouds means he will come again among the saints that God has prepared.
We have just covered the main topics of the Divine Principle, which was revealed by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon. The full content of the Divine Principle requires approximately a week to cover in lectures. The condensing of such broad and profound content in proper proportion into a mere two hours is an exceedingly difficult task. Sudden conclusions and abridged explanations were unavoidable.
However additional lecture tapes of greater length and depth have been prepared to give a more comprehensive understanding of what is by far the most complete truth ever discovered and revealed to man.
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