Divine Principle Six Hour Lecture
If we are to accept as literal all the prophecies contained in the Bible, we must be convinced of the possibility that, at the Second Advent of the physical bodies of all the saints, which were buried and decomposed, will be restored to their original state of life in the flesh (I Thess. 4:16, Matt. 27:52). But can we continue to believe this?
In order to answer this question, let us first examine the true meaning of resurrection.
The Meaning of Resurrection
The word "resurrection" means to come back to life. Therefore, let us consider the meaning of being "dead" and being "alive."
In Luke 9:60 read that Jesus told a disciple who wanted first to go and bury his father to "leave the dead to bury their own dead." In these words of Jesus, we find two different concepts of life and death. The first concept of life and death concerns the physiological functions of man. The second concept of life and death applied to those physically alive persons who were gathered together for the burial of the father. Why then did Jesus indicate that these men who were actually alive were "dead"? It was because although they were physically alive, they were in a state of death in not knowing God, the source of life, and they had lost the purpose of life, being under the dominion of Satan.
Rev. 3:1 says, " . . . you have the name of being alive, and you are dead," which clearly expresses that all men under satanic dominion are really dead. In this sense of being dead, being alive would then mean the state where man has achieved the purpose of life which God had given, within the scope of God's dominion. Therefore we read in John 11:25, " . . . he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live." The person who believes in Jesus and lives in God's dominion is alive, whether it be on earth or in the spiritual world, regardless of whether he has physically died or not.
Of the two kinds of death just spoken of, let us examine which of the two would be the death brought about by the fall of the first human ancestors, because resurrection has become necessary only because the fall led to death. As is evident from the chapter on the Principle of Creation, there is not one physical organism that is designed to live for eternity, including man's physical body, which when it grows old, is meant to return to the earth. If men were to live eternally on the earth, there would have been no need to create the invisible spiritual world. It certainly was not created after the human fall so that the spirits of fallen men might go there to live.
Also, Gen. 2:17 says that God, after creating Adam and Eve, told them not to eat the fruit, because on the day they ate of it, they would surely die. The death referred to here does not mean physical death, because even after eating the fruit, Adam lived to be 930 years old according to the Bible. But the first human ancestors died instantly the moment they broke God's commandment. Leaving the Master of life and the realm of His love and falling under satanic dominion, means death. In the Bible, it is said that, "He who does not love remains in death," (I John 3:14) and also, "The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life." (Rom. 6:23) Thus we can understand that the death that resulted from the fall was the state of being cut off from God and being in sin.
Let us draw our conclusion as to the meaning of resurrection. If death did not result from the fall, causing the body to return to the earth, resurrection, then, certainly cannot be realized through the restoration of men's decomposed bodies to their original state. Resurrection must mean the process by which men in the satanic realm, due to the fall, are restored to the realm of the direct dominion of God. Thus, it is recorded in John 5:24, " . . . He who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life." This signifies that passing from death to life is resurrection and that it begins from the point of believing in God and receiving Jesus' words. Understanding resurrection in this light, we should expect no drastic external change. Even though the difference in states between Adam and Eve before and after the fall was one of life and death, actually no noticeable physical change occurred in them. Similarly, there is no noticeable external difference between a man who has gained eternal life through the help of the Holy Spirit and a thief who is still under the dominion of death.
The basis of belief in the physical resurrection of the dead comes from verses like Matt. 27:52-53, which says: "The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his [Jesus'] resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many." But if this event had literally occurred, surely the persecutions experienced by the early Christians would never have happened. Even though the people of Israel rejected and crucified Jesus, if they could have seen multitudes of bodies rise up from the grave and hear of their testimony that Jesus was the Messiah, how could they have failed to believe in him? Moreover, how could they have persecuted the followers of Jesus?
Furthermore, because resurrection is said to mean everlasting life, shouldn't we be able to see many great men of God alive even today, such as the four major and twelve minor prophets of the Old Testament? Again, if this were possible, surely these men would have preached throughout the world and their deeds would have been recorded in the New Testament. But yet, the only mention of the dead rising from their tombs after Jesus' resurrection is this one passage in the Gospel of Matthew.
An understanding of the true meaning of resurrection will easily solve this question. Since resurrection is not of the physical body, none of those saints recorded in Matthew could have physically risen from the grave. Instead, it was their spirit men who by the grace of God were being resurrected in order to come closer to perfection. Therefore, they were visible only to those touched by the Holy Spirit by means of spiritual sight. Other people, with only physical sight, could not see these spirit men.
The Providence of Resurrection
Since resurrection means the phenomena occurring in the course of fallen men's restoration to their original nature, the providence of resurrection means the providence of restoration. And since the providence of restoration is the providence of re-creation, therefore the providence of resurrection is also the providence of re-creation. Consequently, the providence of resurrection is worked out in the following way, according to the Principle of Creation.
First, according to the Principle of Creation, in order to realize the purpose of creation man must observe the commandment which God gave him as his own portion of responsibility. Therefore, God gave to man the words of the Old Testament and the New Testament, and He will give additional new words, as He promised, when the Lord comes again. Thus, the providence of resurrection is accomplished by God's giving words of truth to man together with man's fulfilling his responsibility to have faith in them.
Second, in light of the Principle of Creation, the spirit man was made to grow and become perfect only through the physical body. Thus, the restoration of spirit men is also to be -accomplished only through physical life on earth. Until today, resurrection was thought to be limited to spirit men in the spiritual world. However, this is incorrect. Historically God gave men His words, sent His prophets, and worked His providence of resurrection on the earth.
Third, according to the Principle of Creation, man was created to be perfected by going through three orderly stages of growth.
Fourth, while God has been working His providence on earth, all the standards of faith and loyalty set by the past central figures God chose have accumulated as a condition on earth. Therefore, the people of succeeding generations inherit these and can benefit by sharing in these accumulated past achievements. In short, they can gain benefit according to their age or times. Thus, the providence of resurrection is carried out according to the benefits of the age.
The Providence of Resurrection for Earthly Men
When viewed by ordinary men, history seems merely the replacing of one generation by another. However, history as seen by God reflects one consistent endeavor through the providence of resurrection to resurrect the dead Adam to life, without regard to earthly generations.
If the first ancestor, Adam had not fallen and had matured properly through the period of growth, he would have attained perfection by his spirit developing through the three stages of form spirit, life spirit and divine spirit. Since man fell from the top of the growth stage, his spirit deteriorated, and receiving the evil elements from the archangel, fell far below the beginning of t the formation stage. Therefore, after the fall God built a foundation upon which He could give men words and begin the providence of resurrection, to be completed in the ages that followed. This period of building the foundation of resurrection was extended from Adam to Abraham.
Upon this foundation God began the formation stage of the providence of resurrection centered on the Law of the Old Testament. The age of the formation stage of the providence of restoration extended from Abraham to Jesus. The people of that age could attain the level of form spirit by believing in and practicing God's words of the Old Testament.
Due to the crucifixion of Jesus, the providence of resurrection has been left unaccomplished and has been prolonged until the time of the Second Advent. The period from Jesus until the Lord of the Second Advent is the period of the growth stage of the providence of resurrection. During this period, if men believed in God's words of the growth stage of resurrection, the words of the New Testament, they would be able to attain the level of a life spirit.
After the Second Advent of the Lord, the time of resurrection of both spirit and body will be realized. This is the perfection stage of the providence of resurrection. The Lord of the Second Advent is the one coming with new words for the fulfillment of both the Old and New Testament. These new words are called the Completed Testament. Through these words, the spirits of the people on earth can be resurrected into perfection, becoming divine spirits.
The Providence of Resurrection for Spirit Men
Then, how will resurrection be achieved for those individuals now in the spiritual world who could not reach perfection while on earth? Spirit men can neither grow nor resurrect apart from their physical body. Therefore, they must come again to earth and fulfill the responsibility they left unaccomplished in their physical lives through cooperating with men on earth to help them fulfill the same mission. This is why Jude 1:14 says that in the Last Days the Lord will come "with his holy myriads."
In what manner do spirit men cooperate with earthly men to accomplish God's will? When a man becomes an object to a certain spirit man, the spirit man will work through him, pouring upon him spiritual fire, giving him the power to heal diseases, receive revelations, or help others gain a deep experience of truth and other works.
Taking an example from the Bible, Matt. 17:3 tells us that Elijah appeared as a spirit before Jesus and his disciples. However, Elijah lived long before Jesus; thus, it is clear he was in the spiritual world at that time. But Matt. 17:12 tells us that Jesus called john the Baptist, who was then living on earth, Elijah. This means that Elijah descended to John the Baptist and cooperated with him to achieve the mission he left unaccomplished on earth. From the standpoint of his mission, John the Baptist was Elijah. At the same time, John the Baptist's physical body substituted for that of Elijah.
In Heb. 11:39-40, we read, "All these [saints in the Old Testament Age], though well attested by their faith, did not receive what was promised [permission to enter the Kingdom of Heaven] since God had foreseen something better [the Kingdom of Heaven] for us [earthly men], that apart from us [earthly men] they [spirit men] should not be made perfect [citizens of the kingdom of Heaven]."
This passage demonstrates the principle that, apart from the cooperation of earthly men, the spirit men of the spiritual world cannot perfect themselves.
Thus, spirit men can be resurrected only by descending to earth and cooperating with men in the flesh, achieving perfection through them.
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