Unofficial Notes from
International Conferences for Clergy Questions And Answers
ICC - Questions And Answers - History
QUESTION: 1. Do you agree or disagree that there was a pre-adamic race before Adam and Eve?
ANSWER: Whether there was or not is entirely a side issue with regard to the expressed purpose of salvation history: the restoration of the descendants of Adam and Eve. Scripture gives casual evidence to the existence of other people. The Divine Principle makes no comment on the issue either way, indicating it's lack of significance.
QUESTION: 2. Was there a pre-Adamic race?
ANSWER: The Divine Principle makes no comment on a pre-Adamic race. Though there are hints of other people dwelling at that time in scripture, it is superfluous, peripheral issue the main theme of the salvation of Adam's descendants.
QUESTION: 3. Are you saying Adam and Eve were 1600 years before Abraham, Christ or some other Biblical person?
ANSWER: The Divine Principle is in basic accord with Usshur's chronology. the 1600 year period mentioned, is a rounded off representation of the years between Adam and Noah. There were several significant dates during Noah's dispensation: Noah was called 1536 years after Adam, God had Noah preach and begin building the ark for 120 years, after that 120 year period of faith, 1656 years after Adam, Noah enters the ark and the flood begins, lasting one year.
QUESTION: 4. How can you justify many of your historical dates. Several of those dates in the Old Testament simply do not correspond to the text, and the A.D. dates are both arbitrary and forced. Please explain and defend these dates.
ANSWER: The presentation should not be misconstrued to be and exhaustive study of the theory of history. It is merely, at this level, indicating that there is a law, pattern and goal of history that finds it's ultimate root in God's purpose for restoration. To articulate that theory would, of course, take some amount of time. Dates are rounded off to emphasize the pattern, and parallel that indicate the hand of God at work. To be able to clearly understand in depth, we must devote more time and study before we jump to conclusions. The parallels displayed (on a single slide, remember) is not considered "proof", it is merely stating that there is a pattern and law and that the awareness of that should be the basis of all in-depth study of history. The Divine Principle view of history is, however, in agreement with Usshur's chronology of the Old Testament. For example, the entire period of the time of Noah would be from 1536 to 1657 after Adam. On the history chart it is rounded off to 1600 years. The Exodus period is rounded off to 400 years (from the 430 years mentioned in Ex. 12:40-41). The period of the Babylonian exile is listed as 210 years. This does not mean that the exile lasted 210 years. This is the period of Exile (70 years) culminating the final prophet, Malachi. Of course, many Biblical historians dispute Usshur's dates also. The ultimate motive of the listed dates in scripture is not exact chronology but rather revealing a trend, law and linking purpose in history pointing to the restoration of God's ideal.
QUESTION: 5. In your lecture, you said that the time from Adam to Jesus is 4000 years and from Jesus until today has been 2000 years. Are you in disagreement with scientific evidence that suggests that Humankind had been in existence for one million years?
ANSWER: It is not an issue of faith for us whether the Bible is actual chronology or not. The key point for us in Biblical chronology is that it is expressing a pattern of restoration. The reason, for example, the time from Adam to Noah is represented as nearly 1600 years, has more to do with the restorational significance of the number 40 (40 X 40 = 1600) then with actual chronology. All in all, we believe that God is the God of all truth and that ultimately the truth of religion and the truth of science can find a harmonious basis for co-existence.
QUESTION: 6. Who do you think was saved in the Old Testament?
ANSWER: No one was "saved" until Jesus came. However, the saints of the OT could make a link to that salvation through credited righteousness (see Hebrews 11, especially 11:39-40).
QUESTION: 7. What do you mean by referring to 4000 years of pre-history? I'm sure you know that the earth is older than that!
ANSWER: Whether it is 4000 years or not, is not an issue of faith for us. We fully expect that the laws of science and the truths of religion are ultimately in harmony, both coming from the same God. The significance of the Biblical years (you'll notice in my presentation I qualified "years" with Biblical) is the pattern of restoration represented in the Bible and not whether this is literally a chronology or not.
QUESTION: 8. Most of us here, already know the Old Testament history leading to Jesus coming to be a human sacrifice and our salvation. Why are we dwelling so much on the Old Testament and the Fall of Man when our salvation is in the single belief that Jesus is Lord whom we are saved through. That's the Gospel!
ANSWER: All of God's word is meaningful. Certainly we should study the Old Testament history again and again. No part of God's word should become routine to us. We should never think that we have reached the limit of understanding of His word. The Old Testament history is the story of how God brought salvation to us. We should be interested in how God worked so diligently and for such a long time. How He had to suffer and be patient and forgiving with His people until finally Christ could appear. Understanding the effort behind the gift is an important part in appreciating the gift fully. The more fully we can appreciate the gift, the more whole-hearted will be our praise!
QUESTION: 9. If historical events are controlled by a positive group response by Israel, is it then a logical result to conclude that the Holocaust of WW2 was part of the punishment for the chosen people, the curse, and the withholding of God's Blessing?
ANSWER: The curse fell upon all mankind, not just the Jews. In that respect we could say that all human suffering in the last 2000 years is linked to what happened in Israel long ago. This is not punishment from God, this is the result of man not fulfilling his ultimate destiny for the Kingdom. To say that God is punishing the Jews because of their failure would not be correct. The Holocaust is not the work of God, it is a human tragedy of staggering proportions. Human suffering continues because man refuses to recognize those significant moments in history when, if man responds correctly, a destiny of peace can be accomplished. When Christ returns it will likewise be such a time.
QUESTION: 10. You make reference to Jesus' genealogy, which I presume is based on the accounts given in Matthew and Luke. There is, of course, a discrepancy between the two accounts, which in turn calls into question the deduction to draw.
Raymond Brown, an internationally renowned Bible scholar points out that these genealogies are not designed to be taken as literal history.
Your hermeneutic seems to shift between a fundamentalist methodology, as when you use Genesis and the genealogy, and an extreme modernist methodology. Please explain.
ANSWER: I agree that the lineage of Jesus represented in Matthew and Luke could not be literal history. The purpose of the recorded history of the lineage of Christ is to show the pattern of restoration represented in His lineage. Another interesting theory which attempts to resolve the discrepancies in the two lineages is that Matthew is rendering Joseph's lineage, while Luke is actually rendering the lineage of Mary. The most notable difference is at David and the Father of Joseph. Matthew's lineage goes from David and runs through Solomon, Luke's lineage goes from David and runs through Nathan. Likewise, in Matthew, Joseph's father is Jacob, and in Luke Joseph's father is Heli. These are hardly minor discrepancies and it is almost inconceivable that such could just be an oversight. The theory is supported by the Hebrew custom of listing the wife's lineage by concluding with her husbands name, as there also was no Hebrew term for "in-law." An interesting theory, which would then make Mary an actual descendant of Tamar. However, the Divine Principle does not enter into this controversy, simply stating that it was the condition of Mary's heart, and that she was placed in a similar position as Tamar, that is the qualification for Mary to inherit the condition accomplished by Tamar.
QUESTION: 11. Herod the Great was a descendant of who? Scripture please.
ANSWER: Herod the Great was the son on Antipar who was Idumean. The Idumeans were from Edom (or Edomites) and they were the descendants of Esau. (From the works of the ancient Jewish scholar Josephus).
QUESTION: 12. In your presentation on the last 400 years, you place Hellenism, which is clearly democratic, on the side of communism, while you place Hebraism, clearly autocratic, on the side of democracy. Explain.
ANSWER: There are two forms of "democracy", one more Cain-like (man centered, as exemplified in the French revolution) and the other more Abel-like (God centered, as exemplified by the American revolution). Communist ideology finds it's root in the thought that fueled the French revolution. Hellenism is most evidently a man-centered, potentially anti-spirit tradition and such is at the heart of the incredible suffering the Jews endured under the Greeks before the coming of Christ. The ideal government will be monarchic in form and thus Christ sits on the throne of His Kingdom. Truth is not ascertained by vote, or necessarily reflected in the majority opinion.
QUESTION: 13. As history teaches us, communism is a Jewish creation. Karl Marx and Lenin were influenced very much by the rabbis and were members of the German-Jewish society. Comment?
ANSWER: Your "history", I'm afraid, finds it's source in anti-semitic interests and is thoroughly bogus.
QUESTION: 14. Christ came in the fullness of time. Does this mean that Jesus Christ came when God planned for Him to come? At the time Jesus Christ came the conditions of the world were at an all time low.
ANSWER: Jesus came in accordance with God's timetable, however, God would not send Jesus to Israel until a minimum foundation to receive Him had been established. To make this foundation is the responsibility of the Chosen People. There were many opportune moments in history when Christ could have come, had the necessary conditions been established by the Chosen People. Scripture implicitly affirms that Israel stands on the ground of responsibility and autonomy at the behest of God. In this posture, Israel's faithful response or lack thereof, will greatly effect the timetable with regard to the unfolding of the providential events and ultimate dispensational consummation (the Coming of Christ). In brief, a faithful Israel will hasten Christ's coming, a faithless Israel will prolong that coming. In Isaiah 5, God's frustration with Israel elucidates this point..."what more could I do for my vineyard (Israel) that I did not already do and yet when I looked for good fruit, why did I find only bad?" God is urgently attempting to fulfill His will, but man's failure with his portion of responsibility promotes delay and prolongation, hence, God's dismay and sorrow (Gen. 6:6). Of course, this particular period (the Divided Kingdom period) could have been avoided had King Solomon, who ruled just prior to this period, had remained true to the dictates of God expressed in 1Kings 9:4-6. In fact, contingent on Solomon's obedience, Christ could have come at that time on the foundation of and unbroken line of Israel Kings to and Israeli empire that was central in the world community. Likewise, later in history we see that the need for the Babylonian exile was necessitated only because of the lack of faith and repentance of the Chosen People (see Jeremiah 25:4-7). So we can conclude: A faithful Israel shortens the dispensational time table, as a faithless and unrepentant Israel lengthens the time table. Israel plays an important role in the unfolding of it's destiny and what the ultimate outcome will be (see Deut. 28). finally with the repatriation of the exiled Jews from Babylon and the rebuilding of the temple, centering on Zerubbabel and Joshua, God sends the final prophet of the Old Testament, Malachi, to point the hearts and minds of the Chosen People to the long awaited event: The Coming of the Anointed One who would be preceded by the returning Elijah.
With this proclamation, the dispensational clock begins the final 400 year count down to the Coming of Christ. During this period, God heightened His preparation on the worlds level. When Christ appears, there is, for the first time in history, a world language system: Greek. Also, with the massive influence of the Roman Empire, there was, for the first time, an international highway and trade system, a climate of international harmony and common law under the , so called, Pax Romana. And in the East an entirely different sort of development was taking place with the rise of the Eastern Religions and their effect on Eastern Culture. It is not a coincidence that representatives from the Eastern Cultural Sphere (the wise men) were present to attend the Christ child. God had raised up both the Western and Eastern Religious Cultural Spheres to be consummated in the culture that would emerge from Israel centering on it's Anointed King.
QUESTION: 15. If Elijah was the preparatory spirit, what then or who was Elisha?
ANSWER: Elisha followed Elijah as God's prophet in the dispensation of the Divided Kingdom period. Elisha took up Elijah's mission.
QUESTION: 16. Isn't it true that although Ninevah prolonged their existence by repentance that ultimately they were destroyed because of their inability to continue in the pathway of repentance? In this way it seems that all that was changed in God's prophesy was the time period of 40 days.
ANSWER: The point in regard to Jeremiah 18:7 is that man can alter his destiny by a right heart or wrong heart to God. Ninevah altered it's destiny to be destroyed in 40 days because of the right heart to God, as they altered their destiny by having the wrong heart to God later.
Another example would be 2Kings 20:1-6, Isaiah prophesies that Hezekiah will not recover and will die, but after Hezekiah's heartfelt prayer God relents and adds 15 more years to his life. Prophesy, therefore, does not override man's area of responsibility.
QUESTION: 17. Hezekiah was granted 15 extra years because of his request and based on his good life. He did not "repent with tears" (quote from you). If I'm wrong, please give scripture.
ANSWER: God relenting and adding 15 years to Hezekiah's life was not because God had forgotten the good things he had done and needed to be reminded by Hezekiah, see Isa. 38:17. It was Hezekiah's tears and humble attitude that caused God to "put Hezekiah's sin behind His back." If Hezekiah wasn't repenting, certainly what he did, served the purpose of repentance...but back to the point, that is that a prophesy from God does not override man's area of responsibility, as expressed in Jeremiah 18:7-10?
QUESTION: 18. The Babylonian captivity was 70 years according to Jeremiah 25, not 210 years according to your historical chart.
ANSWER: That is correct, 70 years of exile, but 140 years more for the completion of the return and the building of the temple. The Divine Principle does not state that the exile itself was 210 years. With the coming of Malachi, the last prophet in the Old Testament, the 210 year period comes to a close and the 400 year period of preparation for Christ begins.
QUESTION: 19. What happened after 4000 biblical years that made the foundation for Jesus to appear?
ANSWER: The core foundation was made in Abraham's family centering on Jacob's victory. Moses mission was to expand that to a national foundation. Centering on King Solomon, the temple was defiled by idolatry and judgement befell the nation which was then divided into North and South representing Cain and Abel. The next 600 years is one of apostasy, prophesy, exile and return. After the Babylonian exile, there was a great reformation and repentance movement centering on Ezra, Nehemiah and Malachi. The covenant was renewed, the temple rebuilt, under the guidance of Zerubbabel and Joshua, and the people pledged their faith in the hope for the coming of the anointed one (messiah). This signified the beginning of the time table that culminates 400 years later with the arrival of Christ.
QUESTION: 20. Why did Moses throw down the tablets of stone, was this the reason why he was not permitted to enter the Promised Land?
ANSWER: Throwing down the tablets and the striking of the rock are very similar in their meaning and implication with regard to the Coming of Christ and the declaration of 1Cor, 10:4. It seems that, in God's estimation in Deuteronomy 32:51, that striking the rock was a more heinous act (the waters of Meribah Kadesh in the desert of Zin is where Moses struck the rock [see Numbers 20:1-13]).
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