A New Revelation for Mormons at Christ's Second Advent: Divine Principle, True Parents & the Completed Testament Age
by Bret Aaron Moss
Chapter IV - Overview of the Providence of Restoration
One of the most enlightening and compelling new revelations found in the Divine Principle is the hidden dimension of history known as the "Providence of Restoration." Here the Principle reveals the underlying current of God's dispensation for salvation mysteriously concealed in the pages of the Bible. Issues which have perplexed Biblical scholars and theologians for centuries are elegantly untangled and clearly explained in "Part II" of the Divine Principle. This chapter, "Overview of the Providence of Restoration," serves as a necessary introduction to the following three chapters known as "The Old Testament Age," "The New Testament Age," and "The Completed Testament Age," in which the wisdom of the Principle explanation shall be presented at best as a general overview. Here in this introductory chapter, we will consider four topics which will serve as threads that weave themselves throughout the history of God's providence, including, the historical struggle between good and evil, restoration through indemnity, the foundation for the Messiah, and God's dispensation for restoration.
1) The Historical Struggle Between Good & Evil
From the human fall until the Kingdom of God on earth is established, God has worked to separate good from evil. This is seen on every level of human existence from the individual to the family, tribe, society, nation, world, and cosmos. Thus, throughout human history there have been countless struggles between good and evil, which amount to an invisible struggle between God and Satan. Only by discovering the hidden dimension of God's dispensation of restoration as recorded in the Bible and by the history of civilization can history be properly understood. While God is steadfastly upholding His providence of righteousness centered upon men and women of faith and goodness, Satan is desperately trying to maintain control of his temporal realm of evil sovereignty which delights in rebellion against God's commandments. This reality is echoed in the words of Brigham Young:
Read the history of any kingdom or nation, and trace through all the channels from the history of nations and kingdoms to that of families and individuals who have not known God nor observed his commandments, and you will find that sorrow and disappointment have been intimately mingled in all the gaiety, luxuries, and pretended enjoyments of their mortal lives. They have found a bitter sting in their happiest moments and a deadly poison in their cups.1
The Divine Principle provides an undeniably vivid account of the providential mistakes and successes of the central figures of God's dispensation as never before seen and explained. This explanation begins with the first murder in human history-- when Cain killed Abel-- and culminates with the most potentially destructive conflict in human history-- the Cold War. Before relating this compelling saga, already known to every historian and learned Christian as a collection of historical fact, let's continue our consideration of the principles of restoration with the topic "restoration through indemnity."
2) Restoration through Indemnity
. . .Adam and Eve, who, though with original sin after the fall, had not yet performed anything good or bad, were placed in the mid-position between God and Satan where they could deal with both. Their descendants were placed in the same midway position. Consequently, those of the fallen society who lead conscientious lives cannot be taken into Hell even by Satan, even though they may not have faith in Jesus, since they are in the midway position. On the other hand, however conscientious a life one may lead, God cannot bring him into Paradise, unless he believes in Jesus. Therefore, such spirit men have to remain in the midway spirit world which is neither Paradise nor Hell. How, then, does God separate from Satan those fallen men who are in the midway position?2
The Principle defines the terminology "restoration through indemnity" to mean the establishment of certain conditions in order for the original position or status to be restored. The Principle explains three instances in terms of the extent by which we must set up such conditions in order to indemnify anything which has lost its original position or status.
First, there is the case of setting the condition at the same amount. The Divine Principle gives the example of Exodus 21:23-25:
If any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.
Compensation or repayment of a debt are also examples of setting an indemnity condition at the same amount.
Second is the case of setting the condition of indemnity at a lesser price. This type of indemnity is seen when a parent withholds a child's allowance for negligently damaging property when in fact the replacement cost exceeds the allowance withheld. The salvation grace of our Lord Jesus Christ also follows this principle. By setting up conditions of believing in the redemption through the cross, being baptized, and partaking in communion, we may receive the benefit of salvation through Jesus' vicarious sacrifice, which came to require the penalty of his death.
Third is to set an indemnity condition at a price of greater value than that which was originally lost. Abraham, for example was called to sacrifice his son Isaac after he had failed to properly offer the animal sacrifices. The Principle also cites how when the Israelites failed their mission in the 40 days of spying in the land of Canaan, their condition of indemnity increased to wandering 40 years in the wilderness. (Num. 14:34). The necessity for greater payment is due to the accumulation of failures by previous persons were called by God as representatives of their family, tribe, clan, society, nation, and/or world at a given period of time. Therefore, the new central figure must repay past unfulfilled conditions as well as his own condition of indemnity.
In addition to the three kinds of indemnity, there is a proper way in which conditions of indemnity are to be set. Namely, the course of indemnity must follow the reverse way in which the failure originally occurred. For example, because our first human ancestors rebelled against God's commandment, in order to receive redemption, we must offer ourselves in humble submission and willingly follow the mandates of God's plan for our restoration by following the ordinances of our given religion. In the same way that Adam and Eve came to fall under the dominion of the fallen archangel Lucifer, by receiving Christ's grace we are given status and spiritual authority through exercising our own responsibility to subjugate Satan thereby reversing the spiritual effects of the fall. We are given rebirth. As stated earlier, this principle of restoration through indemnity is one of the essential components in revealing the hidden dimensions of history. Now we turn another such principle, the foundation for the Messiah.
3) Foundation for the Messiah
Good actions always result in blessings. The history of the people of God in all ages testifies that whenever they have listened to the counsel of heaven they have always been blessed. All this people are satisfied that they will be more blessed to hearken to good than not to do so.3
As we will see demonstrated time and again in the next two chapters, in order for God to send Christ to the earth there must be a prepared foundation to receive him. In particular, this foundation for the Messiah is made through a two-stage process of indemnity to reverse the mistakes made by Adam. This process is known in the Principle as the establishing the "foundation of faith" and the "foundation of substance." The foundation of faith represents the condition Adam should have made through obedience to God's Commandment. If Adam had fulfilled his own condition of faith to the Word of God, he could have laid the foundation of substance, which would have meant incarnating the Word within himself, having become a man of perfected individuality. Brigham Young speaks to the difficulties involved in establishing the foundation of substance:
Reason as to why it is that you can remember an injury better than a kindness; why you can retain hatred longer than love. Is it through your fallen nature? Is it because you were begotten and born in sin? Or is it rather because the power of the tempter has control over you, and because the world is full of evil principles, and you have adhered to them? Yes, this is the cause, and you must acknowledge it. The whole world is contaminated with the spirit to remember evil and forget the good.4
Examples of the establishing the foundation of substance will be presented in the next two chapters. So then, in order to make a foundation for God to send the Messiah, fallen man must first restore the foundation of faith through direct obedience to the Heart of God and then fulfill the foundation of substance by setting up indemnity conditions to remove the fallen nature. In addition, we must know the necessary conditions for establishing the foundation of faith.
The foundation of faith which is achieved through obedience to the Heart of God must consist of three components. First, there must be a "central figure" entrusted by God who can carry out the necessary indemnity condition in obedience to His will. Examples of such persons in the Bible include Cain and Abel in Adam's family, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and John the Baptist. Second, there must be "conditional objects" which are offerings in place of the failure to honor the Word of God with utmost reverence and obedience. In the Old Testament Age, conditional objects included animal sacrifices, the ark of the covenant, the words of the law, the temple, or central figures substituting for the Word. In the New Testament Age, the Gospel and Jesus himself who embodied the "Word in substance," acted as the "conditional objects." From God's viewpoint, the conditional objects were necessary in order for ownership to be established in front of God and Satan. As taught by Brigham Young:
Every blessing the Lord proffers to his people is on conditions. These conditions are: "Obey my law, keep my commandments, walk in my ordinances, observe my statutes, love mercy, preserve the law that I have given to you inviolate, keep yourselves pure in the law, and then you are entitled to these blessings, and not until then."5
Third, in order to lay the foundation of faith, humankind must have a "mathematical period of indemnity." This, according to the Principle, is in order to symbolize the world of creation which itself exists and develops through mathematical principles as a manifestation of the form of God. As we are soon to discover, the foundation for the Messiah (including the foundations of faith and substance) is a universal formula operating since the fall of humankind. It is the accomplishment of our responsiblity to restore our faith through obedience and to liquidate our fallen nature that we may go beyond the realm of Satan's accusation, truly worthy to be reclaimed by the Messiah as God's children. God's dispensation for restoration has been carried out according to the successful establishment of the foundation for the Messiah throughout distinct ages in human history.
4) God's Dispensation for Restoration
. . .There is no evidence to be found in the Bible that the Gospel should be one thing in the days of the Israelites, another in the days of Christ and his Apostles, and another in the 19th century, but on the contrary, we are instructed that God is the same in every age, and that his plan of saving his children is the same. The plan of salvation is one, from the beginning of the world to the end thereof.6
Before we embark on the journey of uncovering the hidden dimension of God's dispensation for salvation in the Old and New Testament Ages, it is necessary to briefly present a general overview of the ages in all of human history from the time of Adam to our present time. God's dispensation for restoration began with His desire to see the foundation for the Messiah established in Adam's family. Unfortunately, the murder of Abel by his elder brother Cain caused God to postpone this desire to the time of Noah after ten generations. Centering on Noah as the "father of faith," God endeavored to make a new start for human history by sending the flood judgement. However, as we read in Genesis, Noah's son Ham spoiled the efforts of his father, allowing Satan to invade. This resulted in the postponement of the providence to establish the foundation for the Messiah for another ten generations up to the age of Abraham. The age from Adam until Abraham lasted 2,000 years.
Abraham, together with the assistance of his son Isaac and his grandson Jacob, successfully became the new "father of faith" even after having failed to properly make his necessary offering to God. As we will examine in the next chapter, if Abraham had not defiled his symbolic offering to God by neglecting to cut the doves, the Messiah could have come on the national foundation established by Abraham's descendants at that time. Even though Abraham stood as the father of faith, his mistake allowed Satan to invade the 2,000 year period from Adam to Abraham. God's desire to send Jesus as the Messiah had to be postponed in order to indemnify Abraham's failure to properly make his offering. Only after 2,000 years, could Abraham's descendants establish a national foundation to receive Christ.
Due to the ignorance and stubbornness of humankind, the 2,000 year period from Abraham to Jesus was invaded by Satan, resulting in the crucifixion of the Prince of Peace. Knowing that his foundation had been lost, Jesus promised to come again. Therefore, it has been necessary for another 2,000 years of restoration through indemnity to take place until today. That is why Christians must lay the foundation on the worldwide level for the Second Advent of Christ. With this brief overview of history in mind, let's begin our investigation of God's effort to establish the foundation for the Messiah in the Old Testament Age.
1Young, Brigham. The Journal of Discourses. Vol. 6 p. 39.
2Divine Principle. New York: The Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity. 1973. pp. 222-223.
3Young, Op. Cit., vol. 12 p. 122.
4Young, Ibid., vol. 3 p. 356.
5Young, Ibid. vol. 16 p. 162.
6Young, Ibid., vol. 10 p. 324.
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