Unification News for March 2002
Divine Principle - Volume 6 Part 7
As already detailed, the periods of the Hebrew and Christian eras when totaled add up to nineteen hundred and thirty years. Accordingly, one may anticipate that the year 1930 was the year of the Messiah's birth. Is that in fact the case?
Divine Principle explains that the year cannot be pinpointed so exactly. After all, differences of several years were often observed throughout the dispensational history. The period of persecution in the Roman Empire, for instance, was to be four hundred years, but actually lasted only until 392 A.D.
As a matter of fact, another date is also suggested by the timetable we have been describing. The period of Preparation for the Second Coming began with the Reformation in 1517 and was to end four hundred years later. Based on this, we may expect the Second Coming to have occurred in 1917.
Without placing undue emphasis on a specific date, Divine Principle does assert that the historical processes determining the time of the Second Advent have been completed. Therefore, the moment is at hand. As a pinpoint of light within a dark globe, the messianic age now is dawning.
While it is natural, of course, to want to see and meet the new Messiah, such a privilege may not be widespread at first. Two thousand years ago Jesus did not immediately proclaim his messiahship. There was an unseen and unheard, yet steady, preparation period during his private life when very few people knew who he was. After this period, he struggled during his public ministry to prepare the foundation for fulfilling his messianic purpose. During this time also he was very cautious about disclosing his role. Mark tells us in his Gospel, for example, that when Peter identified Jesus as the Christ, the Master instructed him to "tell no one" (Mk 8:30).
At the Second Coming, the new Deliverer must also go through a similar course of preparation during his life. Just as Jesus was initially recognized only by a comparative few--by those who had ears to hear and eyes to see--so the Lord's mission is likely to be perceived at first only by a limited few and to develop gradually thereafter. His role and work thus cannot be immediately made manifest. As was the case with Jesus, his identity will be revealed through time to humanity at large. It is, in a sense, only the chosen few who are likely to recognize him early in the process.
The Messianic Theater
If Christ is to return in our day, let us ask where this is likely to take place.
In the parable of the vineyard, Jesus indicated that he would not come again to Israel:
"When therefore the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants?" They said to him, "He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and let out the vineyard to other tenants who will give him the fruits in their seasons." ... "Therefore I tell you the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing the fruits of it" (Mt 21:41-43).
Some may say that the Jewish race is eternally chosen, and therefore Israel must be the center for the Messiah's activities. As we have indicated, however, Divine Principle takes exception to this position. When Jacob prevailed over the angel, he received a new name: Israel. The name signifies the person or nation which triumphs by faith. It is thus a spiritual designation and does not necessarily mean the physical descendants of Abraham and Jacob. As John the Baptist pointed out, one should not base one's identity overly much on one's physical ancestry. "Do not presume to say to yourselves 'We have Abraham as our father,' for I tell you God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham" (Mt 3:9).
Even the Apostle Paul, himself a Jew, attested to the fact that the true Israel was no longer Jewish:
"For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his descendants; but 'Through Isaac shall your descendants be named.' This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are reckoned as descendants" (Rom 9:6-8).
It is plain, then, that the role of the chosen nation was shifted to the Gentiles. The Christians have become the Second Israel. The problem is identifying which nation of the Christian world is the one to which the Messiah will come.
Coming From The East
For reasons which we will explain, Divine Principle teachers that the new chosen nation of God is the land of Korea. While this assertion is novel, it is, as we shall show, nevertheless reasonable. God's actions are not haphazard; He does not do things without cause. If a nation is to be chosen by Him for His purposes, there must be a rationale behind it. Let us examine possible explanations.
There is, first of all, biblical evidence to support the idea of the chosen nation being from the East. In the Book of Revelation (7:2-4) we read that an angel would ascend from the rising of the sun--in other words, from the East. It is true that all great spiritual movements have started in the East; it is therefore quite logical that the new Messiah would come from the East.
A further reason that the universal God would send the Messiah to an Eastern nation is not far to seek. Even though Christians have played the central role in God's providence, all people are God's children and are eventually to be members of the Kingdom. Buddhists, Jews, Shintoists and members of all other world religions are to participate in the reconstructed world established through the ministry of the Second Advent.
Upon his coming, therefore, the Lord is to unite both Christians and non-Christians into one family, centered on God. As the new Messiah is thus to harmonize and unify the world's religions, he is to fulfill the purpose not only of Christianity, but also of other major religions. It is necessary, therefore, that the Messiah come from a land where both Christianity and Eastern religions are deeply entrenched.
Since there are no Western countries in which Oriental religion is deeply established, but there are Asian nations in which Christianity is widely practiced, it would make sense for the Lord of the Second Advent to come from the East. One reason, therefore, that Korea forms the core of God's new dispensation is that it is a nation bearing the fruits of many religions. Many of the world's great spiritual and ethical traditions, particularly Buddhism and Confucianism, have flourished in this land. Also, Christianity itself is deeply established there. Indeed, before the communist takeover of northern Korea, its capital city, Pyongyang, was known because of its many churches as the "Jerusalem of the East."
Secondly, the new chosen land is to be a cosmic altar representing the entire world. As the human family was divided originally by Cain and Abel, so today it is divided globally by communism and democracy, or Cain and Abel on the worldwide level. Representing the world, the chosen nation itself is to be divided, as Korea is between the communist North and the more democratic South. In this way, Korea symbolizes the world.
In the view of Divine Principle, the face-off at Panmunjom is a microcosm of a spiritual and political macrocosm. For God's providence to be accomplished, however, the murderous outcome of the original split between Cain and Abel must be redeemed. Centering in God, North and South Korea are to unite. Of necessity, the atheistic totalitarianism of the North must give way to an ideology which gives proper recognition to the spiritual dimension of man and the living reality of God.
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