CONSUMMATION OF HUMAN HISTORY Man has lived through all the centuries without knowing in what manner human history started and where its goal lies. We remain ignorant of the problems concerning the consummation of human history.
Many Christians believe literally what is written in the Bible, in which it is stated that in the Last Days the heavens will be kindled and dissolved and the elements will melt with fire (II Peter 3:12); that the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light and the stars will fall from heaven (Matt. 24:29); and that with the archangel's call and with the sound of the trumpet of God, the dead in Christ will rise first, and those who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air (I Thess. 4:16-17).
It is one of the most important problems for Christians to decide whether everything will be realized literally, as the Bible says, or whether it has been stated in symbolic terms, as has proven to be the case in many parts of the Bible. In order to solve this problem, we should first answer certain questions about God's purpose for creating all things, the significance of the human fall, and the purpose of the providence of salvation.
SECTION I - THE FULFILLMENT OF GOD'S PURPOSE OF CREATION AND THE FALL OF MAN
1. THE FULFILLMENT OF GOD'S PURPOSE OF CREATION
As has been discussed in the "Principle of Creation", God's purpose in creating man was to feel joy upon seeing His goal realized. Therefore, the purpose of man's life is to return joy to God. In what manner, then, can man return joy to God and manifest perfectly the original value of his existence?
All creation was created to be the object of God's joy. However, man, as has been clarified in the "Principle of Creation", was created to be the substantial object to God, returning joy to Him through the action of his own free will. Therefore, man cannot become the object of God's joy unless he knows God's will and lives according to it by his own effort. Consequently, man was created in such a way that he could know God's will and live by it forever, experiencing God's heart-and-zeal as his own. We may call this status of man the "perfection of individuality". Adam, Eve, and many prophets and saints have been able to communicate with God directly because man was created to enjoy such capabilities.
The relationship between God and a man of perfected individuality can be compared to that between our mind and body. Our body, as the temple of our mind, obeys the command of our mind and acts upon it. Since God abides in the mind of a man of perfected individuality, such a man will become God's temple and live according to God's will. A man of perfected individuality becomes one body in unity with God, just as our mind does with our body. Therefore, I Corinthians 3:16 says, "Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's spirit dwells in you?" and John 14:20 says, "In that day you will know that I am in my Father and you in me, and I in you.". The man who has attained one body with God, having His spirit dwell in him by perfecting his individuality and thus forming a temple of God, comes to have deity and can by no means commit sin; naturally, he cannot fall. A man of perfected individuality is a man of perfect goodness.
If a man of perfect goodness should fall, this would mean that goodness itself has the potentiality of ruin. This is impossible. Moreover, if a man created by the omnipotent God should fall after his perfection, we would have to deny God's omnipotence. Therefore, a man of perfected individuality could never fall, because, being the object of joy to God, who is the eternal subject of absoluteness, man should likewise possess absoluteness and perpetuity.
If Adam and Eve of perfected individuality, incapable of sin, had established a home and society without sin by multiplying children of goodness according to God's blessing (Gen. 1:28), this would have been the Kingdom of Heaven, which would have been realized as a huge family centered on the same parents. The Kingdom of Heaven is in the form of a man of perfected individuality. Just as the members of a man's body work in a horizontal relationship with one another according to the vertical command of the brain, so society should be organized so that men may live in a horizontal relationship with one another according to the vertical command of God. In such a society, people could not perform any act which would hurt their neighbors, because the whole society would experience the same feeling toward those in trouble as God would feel in His grief over them.
Regardless of how pure and sinless the men of this society might be, if they had to live in an undeveloped civilization similar to that of primitive people, this would not be the kind of Kingdom of Heaven both God and man have long awaited. Since God blessed man to be the dominator of all things (Gen. 1:28), men of perfected individuality should have subdued the natural world through highly developed science, and established an extremely pleasant social environment on earth. This would be the place where the ideal of creation would be realized. It would be nothing other than the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.
When perfected man, after having lived in the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, goes to the spirit world, the Kingdom of Heaven will be realized in the spirit world. Therefore, God's purpose of creation is to establish the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.
2. THE FALL OF MAN
As stated in the "Principle of Creation", man fell while he was in his immaturity and still in the period of growth. Questions as to why the growth period was necessary for man and why the first human ancestors fell during their immaturity were answered in that chapter.
Man, due to his fall, could not become the temple of God; instead, he became the dwelling place of Satan and became one body with him. Naturally, man came to have an evil nature in place of deity. So it has come about that men of evil nature have established evil homes, societies, and an evil world, by multiplying children of evil. This is the Hell on earth in which fallen men have been living. Men in Hell have not been able to establish good horizontal relationships with each other because their vertical relationship with God was cut off. Accordingly, they came to indulge themselves in acts which injure their neighbors, because they could not experience the pains and troubles of their neighbors as their own.
Men who live in Hell on earth transmigrate into Hell in the spirit world after they leave their physical bodies. In this manner, man established the world of Satan's sovereignty instead of the world of God's sovereignty. Thus we call Satan the "ruler of this world" (John 12:31) or the "god of this world" (II Cor. 4:4).
SECTION II - THE PROVIDENCE OF SALVATION
1. THE PROVIDENCE OF SALVATION IS THE PROVIDENCE OF RESTORATION
This sinful world brings man sorrow and causes God to grieve (Gen 6:6). Would God, then, leave this world of grief as it is? If the world of goodness, which God created for the utmost joy, is to continue forever as a world of sin full of grief due to the human fall, God should be called a God of failure and inability. Therefore, God will save this world of sin by all means.
To what extent should God save this world? First, God must save it to such an extent that man can be restored to the position he had reached before the fall of the first human ancestors. God must do this by completely driving out the evil power of Satan from this world of sin (Acts 26:18). Then, God must develop His providence to such an extent that He can dominate the world directly through the fulfillment of the good purpose of creation (Acts 3:21).
To save a sick man is to restore him to the status he had before the sickness occurred. To save a drowning man is to restore him to the state he was in before he began to drown. Likewise, to save a man fallen in sin means to restore him to the original sinless position which he enjoyed in the beginning. Therefore, God's "providence of salvation" is the "providence of restoration" (Acts 1:6, Matt. 17:11).
The human fall, is of course, the result of man's own error. However, God, too, is responsible for the results, as the Creator. If God had not created man, the fall would not have occurred. Therefore, God has felt compelled to restore the result of man's error to its original status before the fall. God is the everlasting subject. Therefore, the life of man, who was created as His eternal object of joy, should also have eternity. According to the principle of creation, God created man for eternity. Even though man fell, God cannot annihilate him, because this would nullify the principle of creation. Therefore, God must save man and restore him to his original position in creation. God promised to realize His three great blessings after the creation of man (Gen. 1:28). He says in Isaiah 46:11, "I have spoken and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it.". According to His own words, God has been working to fulfill His promise by developing the providence of restoring these blessings, long lost due to Satan. When Jesus said to his disciples in Matthew 5:48, "You, therefore, must be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect", he meant that they should be restored to the position of the original man of creation. Seen from the principle of creation, the original man of creation should be as perfect as God, having eternal deity because of his oneness with God.
2. THE PURPOSE OF THE PROVIDENCE OF RESTORATION What is the purpose of the providence of restoration? It is to realize the Heavenly Kingdom, God's eternal object of goodness, which was His original purpose of creation. In the beginning, God created men on earth and intended to realize the Kingdom of heaven on earth centering on them. However, He could not fulfill His will because of the human fall. Therefore, the primary purpose of the providence of restoration can only be to restore the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. Jesus, who came in order to fulfill the purpose of the providence of restoration, told his disciples to pray that God's will be done on earth as it is in Heaven (Matt. 6:10), and warned his people to repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand (Matt. 4:17), because the purpose of the providence of restoration is to restore the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.
3. HUMAN HISTORY IS THE HISTORY OF THE PROVIDENCE OF RESTORATION
We have previously clarified that God's providence of salvation is the providence of restoration. Therefore, human history is the period of the providence through which God intends to save fallen men and have them restore the original world of goodness. Let us now study, from various standpoints, the fact that human history is the history of the providence of restoration.
Firstly, we will consider human history from the standpoint of the history of the development of cultural spheres. In all ages and countries, even evil men have had in common the original mind's desire to follow goodness by repelling evil. Therefore, all entertain the identical fundamental purpose of pursuing and realizing goodness, though it is true that they have created a history of struggle through constant conflicts which arise from differences, according to time and place, in their respective standards of goodness and its attainment.
Why, then, does the original mind of man direct itself irresistibly toward goodness? This is because God, the subject of goodness, created man as His substantial object in order to realize the purpose of goodness. Therefore, man's original mind seeks goodness, even though fallen men have been unable to lead good lives, due to Satan's work. The goal of the history which is woven by such men should be to attain the world of goodness. However hard the original mind of man may struggle to attain goodness, man fails to find real goodness in this world under the rule of Satan. Therefore, man has come to find his subject of goodness in the world transcendent of time and space. What has been born out of this inevitable demand of man is religion. Man, who fell into ignorance of God due to the fall, has always tried to meet God by constantly pursuing goodness through religion. Even though individuals, races or nations of a certain religion may have perished, religion itself has survived up to the present. Let us now study these historical facts, centering on the history of the rise and fall of nations.
When we examine the history of China, we find that each age of Ch'un Ch'iu was followed by a unified age of Ch'in; while the age of Ch'ien Han, Shin, Hou Han, San Kuo, Si Tsin, Tung Tsin and Nan Pei Ch'ao were followed by the unified age of Sui and T'ang; and the ages of the Five Dynasties (Pei Sung, Nan Sung, Yuan, Ming and Ch'ing) were following by today's Republic of China. Through all these ages China has seen the rise and fall of many nations and with this many changes in political power, but the three Far Eastern religions of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Sun-Kyo are still in full force.
When we study the history of India, we see that the Mauryas empire was followed by that of Andhra, which was followed in turn by those of Gupta, Barudanah, Sahman, Razuni, Maghal, and today's India. Though the nation suffered many changes through all these ages, Hinduism survived. Again, when we observe the history of the Middle East, we see that the Empire of Saracen was followed by East and West Karif, which in turn was followed by Seljuk Turkey and Osman Turkey, with their political powers ever changing. Nevertheless, the religion of Islam has continued to exist.
Further, let us examine the main current of Western history. The leadership of the Western world was held in turn by Greece, Rome, Gaul, Spain and Portugal. Then, temporarily held by France and the Netherlands, it was taken by Britain, and is currently divided between the United States and the Soviet Union. Nevertheless, Christianity has continued to flourish. Even in the Soviet Union, under the tyranny established on the foundation of materialism, Christianity has survived.
By examining the rise and fall of nations from this standpoint, we can also see that those powers which persecuted religion all perished while those that protected and fostered religion prospered. We have witnessed in history that the central role has moved from one nation to another, in each case shifting to a country that elevated religion more than did the previous one. Thus, the history of religion teaches us that the day will come, without fail, when the world of communism, which persecutes religion, will perish.
Many religions have existed in human history. Among them, the religions with the greatest influence inevitably formed cultural spheres, 21 to 26 in number. However, with the flow of history, the inferior has either been absorbed into the superior, or has united with it by degrees. In recent years, there have emerged from the rise and fall of nations four great cultural spheres--East Asia (Confucianism, Buddhism), Hinduism, Islam (Mohammedanism), and Christianity. They are now being formed into a worldwide cultural sphere, centering on Christianity. Therefore, we may perceive from this historical trend that Christianity has, as its ultimate mission, the accomplishment of the purpose of all religions that have directed their course toward the goal of goodness. The history of the development of cultural spheres shows us a trend toward forming a worldwide cultural sphere, centering on one religion, through the unification of numerous religions. This is proof that human history is leading toward the restoration of one unified world.
The second way we can understand that human history is the history of the providence of restoration is by examining the common trend of religion and science. It was already stated in the "General Introduction" that religion and science, working respectively to overcome the two aspects of human ignorance since the fall, should be unified today. Religion and science, which have developed individually without mutual connection, are now forced to meet at one place after having progressed respectively toward the same goal. This tells us clearly that human history has followed the providential course of restoring the original world of creation. Had it not been for the fall, the intellectual capacity of man would have developed to the utmost degree in spirit (internal truth), thus naturally encouraging a corresponding degree of external development through science. Science then would have advanced very quickly, bringing about today's level of scientific development in the days of our early human ancestors.
However, due to the fall, man fell into ignorance without being able to attain a highly developed society. Since then, he has striven to restore the ideal world of scientific development which was purposed in the beginning, by overcoming his ignorance by means of science. Today's highly developed scientific world is being restored externally to the stage directly prior to the transition into the ideal world.
The third way we can perceive that human history is the history of the providence of restoration is from the trend of the history of struggles. Battles over wealth, land and people have accompanied the development of human society throughout history, up to the present moment. This struggle has widened its scope, expanding from the family to the tribe, and on to the societal, national, and finally to the worldwide level. The two worlds of democracy and communism are now confronted with a final ideological war. At the close of the sinful history of mankind, nations will have passed through the historical stage in which people thought they could derive happiness from the wealth, land and people they had plundered. After World War I we saw the defeated nations forced to release their colonies, but after World War II the victorious nations voluntarily released their colonies and set them free. The great powers of today have allowed minor powers, often even smaller and weaker than a city within the great powers, to become member states of the United Nations. The great powers have made them brother nations not only by supplying them with food, but also by giving them rights and duties equal to those of the great powers. What, then, will the final struggle be like? It will be a struggle between ideologies. However, the struggle between the two worlds of democracy and communism will never cease unless the ultimate truth appears, which can overcome completely the materialistic view of history that threatens the world today. When this ultimate truth that can solve the problems of religion and science as one unified theme appears, the communist ideology, which has hitherto attempted to develop by science alone, denying religion, will be overcome. Thus, the two worlds will finally be unified completely under one ideology. Thus, seen from the trend of the history of human struggles, we cannot deny the fact that human history is the providential history of restoring the original world of creation.
The fourth way we can look into this question centers on the Bible. The purpose of human history is to restore the Garden of Eden with the Tree of Life in the center (Gen. 2:9; cf. Part I, Ch. 2, Sec. I, 1--66). The "Garden of Eden" does not mean the limited area in which Adam and Eve were created, but the whole earth. If the Garden of Eden were the limited region where the first human ancestors were created, how would it be possible for the countless numbers of mankind to live in such a small place? An extremely large number of people would be necessary in order to fill the earth according to God's blessing to man (Gen. 1:28).
Due to the fall of the first human ancestors, this earthly Garden of Eden, which God intended to establish with the Tree of Life in the center, fell into the hands of Satan (Gen. 3:24). Therefore, when the sinful history of mankind that began in Alpha concludes in Omega, the hope and glory of fallen men will be for them to wash their robes and enter the restored Garden of Eden, and thus restore their right to the Tree of Life (Rev. 22:13-14). What, then, do these Bible verses signify?
As was clarified in the "Fall of Man", the Tree of Life signifies the perfected Adam, who was intended to be the True Father of mankind. Due to the fall of the first human parents, their descendants were born with original sin; therefore, in order that these children of sin may be restored as original men of creation, all men must be reborn, as Jesus said (cf. Part I, Ch. 7, Sec. IV, 1--214). Therefore, history is man's search for the True Father who is to give new life to mankind; namely, Christ. The Tree of Life mentioned in Revelation as the one which the saints of the Last Days are to find means none other than Christ, the Savior. From these biblical records, we know that the purpose of human history is to restore the Garden of Eden in its original form, centered on Christ, who is to come as the Tree of Life.
In Revelation 21:1 we also read that at the close of the age a new heaven and a new earth will appear, signifying that the old heaven and earth which have been under Satanic dominion are to be restored as the new heaven and earth under the dominion of Christ, centered on God. Also, Romans 8:19-22 says that the whole creation groaning under Satanic dominion waits in travail for the revealing of the sons of God with the original nature of creation. They will be well qualified to dominate all creation, in order that it be made new (Rev. 21:5) by being restored to the original position of creation, rather than perishing by fire in the Last Days.
Considered from these standpoints, we can perceive quite clearly that human history is the history of God's providence to restore the original world of creation.
SECTION III - THE LAST DAYS
1. MEANING OF THE LAST DAYS
We have already stated that the three great blessings God granted our human ancestors were not realized centering on God, due to the fall of man. Instead they were realized centering on Satan in the non-principled realm. Human history, though it started in evil, is in fact the providential history of restoration through which God has been working. So the sinful world under Satanic dominion will be transformed into the world of good sovereignty, once the three great blessings centered on God are fulfilled.
The age in which the sinful world under Satanic sovereignty is transformed into the ideal world of creation under God's sovereignty is called the "Last Days". In other words, the "Last Days" means the age in which Hell on earth is transformed into the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. Therefore, this will not be a day of fear in which many natural calamities will take place, as Christians up to the present have believed, but a day of joy when the unique hope of mankind, held firmly throughout the long course of history since the creation of the world, will be realized. Since the human fall, God has continued His providence to liquidate the world of sin and restore the world of goodness having the original nature of creation. (Details will be discussed in Part II, Ch. 1.) Nevertheless, in each case, man failed to carry out his portion of responsibility, thus frustrating the realization of God's will. As a consequence, the Bible apparently indicates that there have been many Last Days.
(1) Noah's Day Was the Last Days
Genesis 6:13 states, "I have determined to make an end of all flesh; for the earth is filled with violence through them; behold, I will destroy them with the earth.", thus indicating that Noah's day was the Last Days.
Why can Noah's day be called the Last Days? God was going to destroy the corrupt world centered on Satan with the flood judgment after the sinful history of 1,600 years, leaving only Noah's family, who believed in God. On the basis of Noah's faith, God intended to restore the ideal world of His sovereignty. Therefore, Noah's day can be called the Last Days (cf. Part II, Ch. 1, Sec. II--251). Due to the corrupt act of Ham (Gen. 9:22), Noah's second son, God's will was nullified, because Noah's family failed to carry out its portion of responsibility on behalf of all mankind.
(2) Jesus' Day was the Last Days
God's predestination for His will to attain the purpose of the providence of restoration is an absolute one, which cannot be changed (cf. Part I, Ch. 6--193). Therefore, even though His providence of restoration centering on Noah was not accomplished, God called other prophets to lay the foundation of faith. He sent Jesus to destroy the sinful world centered on Satan and restore the ideal world centered on God. So, Jesus' day was also the Last Days. That is why Jesus said that he came as the master of judgment (John 5:22). This is also why Malachi prophesied:
Behold, the day comes, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble; the day that comes shall burn them up...so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. (Mal. 4:1)
Jesus came to restore the ideal world in the form intended at the creation. However, due to the disbelief of the faithless people, man's portion of responsibility was left unaccomplished, prolonging the fulfillment of God's will until the time of the Lord's Second Advent.
(3) The Day of the Lord's Second Advent is also the Last Days
Jesus was ultimately crucified, thus accomplishing only spiritual salvation. He is to attain the purpose of the providence of salvation both in spirit and body after the Second Advent (cf. Part I, Ch. 4, Sec. I, 4--147), fulfilling the restoration of the Kingdom of God on earth. Naturally, the day of the Lord's Second Advent would also be the Last Days. This is why Jesus said, that, "As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of man." (Luke 17:26), and also that there would be many natural calamities at the time of the Second Advent (Matt. 24:29).
2. BIBLICAL VERSES CONCERNING THE SIGNS OF THE LAST DAYS
Many Christians believe that in the Last Days various natural calamities and radical changes beyond the imagination of modern men will occur in human society, as the biblical verses literally say. However, if we understand that human history is the providential history to restore the world to the original form intended by God at the creation, then we know that the signs of the Last Days will not literally take place. Let us examine what is symbolized by the biblical records which concern the Last Days.
(1) Heaven and Earth Destroyed (II Peter 3:12, Gen. 6:13) and a New Heaven and a New Earth Created (Rev. 21:1, II Peter 3:13, Is. 66:22)
Genesis 6:13 says that God wanted to destroy the earth because it was filled with violence and corruption in the Last Days. However, He did not actually destroy the world. We know that the earth is eternal from Biblical verses such as Ecclesiastes 1:4, which says, "A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever.", and Psalms 78:69, which says, "He built His sanctuary like the high heavens, like the earth, which He has founded forever.". God, the subject, is eternal; therefore, His objects should also be eternal. Naturally, the earth, which was created as the object of God, should be eternal.
God, omnipotent and omniscient, could not have felt joy over His creation if He had made it with the possibility of its being destroyed by Satan. To what can we compare this? To erect a new nation (Rev. 21:1) is to establish a nation of new sovereignty. Consequently, to destroy heaven and earth means to overthrow the sovereignty of Satan, who is dominating them; and to found a new heaven and a new earth means to restore the new heaven and earth under the sovereignty of God (Rev. 21:1).
(2) Heaven and Earth Judged by Fire (II Peter 3:12)
II Peter 3:12 says that in the Last Days "the heavens will be kindled and dissolved and the elements will melt with fire!". In Malachi 4:1 it is prophesied that, in Jesus' day, he will come as the master of judgment (John 5:22, 9:39) and will judge with fire. In Luke 12:49, Jesus said he came to cast fire upon the earth. Nevertheless, we cannot find any signs of his judgment with literal fire at that time. This, then, must be figurative speech. James 3:6 says, "the tongue is a fire". Accordingly, we understand that judgment by fire is judgment by the tongue, which naturally means judgment by the Word. Thus judgment by fire is judgment by the Word.
Let us then look up the biblical verses concerning judgment by the Word. John 12:48 says that he who rejects Jesus and does not receive his sayings has a judge, and the Word that Jesus has spoken will be his judge on the Last Day. II Thessalonians 2:8 says that the lawless one will be revealed, and the Lord Jesus will slay him with the "breath of his mouth"; that is, his Word. Further, Isaiah 11:4 reads, "...and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth [tongue], and with the breath of his lips [words] he shall slay the wicked."; while John 5:24 says, "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.". Thus, judgment by fire signifies judgment by the Word.
What must be the reason, then, for judgment by the Word? John 1:3 states that man was created by the Word. Consequently, God's purpose of creation was that the first man should have accomplished the purpose of the Word by becoming the incarnation of the Word; but he fell without keeping the Word of God, thus leaving the purpose of the Word unaccomplished.
Therefore, God attempted again to fulfill the purpose of the Word by re-creating fallen men according to the Word; this is the providence of restoration by the Word of truth (Bible). John 1:14 says, "The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.". Thus, Christ will come again as the incarnation of the Word. By becoming the standard of judgment by the Word, he will judge to what extent mankind has fulfilled the purpose of the Word. The purpose of the providence of restoration will be accomplished with the fulfillment of the purpose of the Word, so judgment should be done with the Word as the standard and measure. In Luke 12:49 Jesus said, "I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled!". He had come as the incarnation of the Word (John 1:14), proclaiming the Word of life.
(3) The Dead Rise from Their Tombs (Matt. 27:52, I Thess. 4:16)
In Matthew 27:52-53, it says that when Jesus died:
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 resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.
This does not mean that their flesh literally rose from corruption (cf. Part I, Ch. 5, Sec. II, 3--181). If the saints of the Old Testament Age living in the spirit world had literally risen and, coming out of the tombs, had gone into the city and appeared to many people, they would surely have testified to the Jewish people about Jesus, because they knew that Jesus was the Messiah. If this had happened, even though Jesus had already been crucified, then no one could have failed to believe in Jesus. If the saints of the Old Testament Age had thus been raised from the tombs, again assuming their flesh, their deeds should have been recorded in the Bible. However, there are no such records in the Bible.
Then, what is the meaning of "rising from the tombs"? This is a record of spirit men of the Old Testament Age being resurrected and appearing on earth in spirit (cf. Part I, Ch. 5, Sec. II, 3--181), just as the spirits of Moses and Elijah appeared to Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matt. 17:3).
Then what does "tomb" signify? The realm of form spirits, which was the dwelling of the Old Testament Age saints, was a darker place than Paradise, which was opened by Jesus. This form-spirit realm was called a "tomb". The spirit men of the Old Testament Age staying in this region of the spirit world appeared to the earthly saints.
(4) Earthly Men Caught Up to Meet the Lord in the Air (I Thess. 4:17)
The "air" mentioned here does not mean the sky. In the Bible, "earth" generally means the fallen world of evil sovereignty, while "heaven" means the sinless world of good sovereignty. Our understanding is increased when we read the Biblical verse which says, "Our Father who art in heaven" (Matt. 6:9), though God is omnipresent. Also, we find, "...but he who descended from heaven, the Son of man" (John 3:13), even though Jesus was born on earth.
Thus, "to meet the Lord in the air" signifies that the saints will receive the Lord in the world of good sovereignty when Christ comes again and restores the Kingdom of Heaven on earth by overthrowing the Satanic sovereignty.
(5) Sun and Moon Darkened, Stars fall from Heaven (Matt. 24:29)
Genesis 37:9 describes the dream of Joseph, the eleventh of the twelve sons of Jacob:
Then he dreamed another dream, and told it to his brothers, and said, 'Behold, I have dreamed another dream; and behold, the sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.'. But when he told it to his father and to his brothers, his father rebuked him, and said to him, 'What is this dream that you have dreamed? Shall I and your mother and your brothers indeed come to bow ourselves to the ground before you?'.
Joseph grew to be a man and became the prime minister of Egypt. Then it actually happened, as in the dream, that his parents and brothers indeed came to bow before him. According to these Biblical verses, the sun and the moon symbolize parents, and the stars symbolize children. As stated in "Christology" (cf. Part I, Ch. 7--205), Jesus and the Holy spirit came as the True Parents in place of Adam and Eve to give rebirth to mankind. Therefore, the sun and the moon symbolize Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and the stars symbolize the saints as their children.
In the Bible, Jesus is likened to the "true light" (John 1:9) because he came as the Word made into flesh (John 1:14), as the light of truth. Naturally, the sunlight here means the light of the words of Jesus, and the moonlight means the light of the Holy Spirit, who came as the Spirit of truth (John 16:13). Therefore, for the sun and the moon to lose their light means that the New Testament Words of Jesus and the Holy Spirit will lose their light.
How could the New Testament Words come to lose their light? Just as the Old Testament Words lost their light when Jesus and the Holy Spirit came with new Words in order to fulfill the Old Testament Words, so the New Testament Words Jesus gave to the people at the First Advent will also lose their light when Christ comes again with the new Word, in order to fulfill the New Testament Words, thus making a new heaven and a new earth (Rev. 21:1; cf. Part I, Ch. 3, Sec. V, 1--129). Here, for the Words to lose their light means that the period of their mission has elapsed with the coming of the new age.
Stars falling from heaven signifies that the saints in the Last Days will offend the Lord and fail. Just as the leaders of the Jewish religion who had an eager longing for the coming of the Messiah all fell by offending Jesus, the Messiah, it was prophesied that, in their ignorance, many Christians who anxiously await the Second Advent of the Lord will likewise offend and fail him in that day, thus falling in the same manner (cf. Part II, Ch. 6, Sec. II, 2--502).
In Luke 18:8 Jesus asked, "...when the son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?". On another occasion (Matt. 7:23) he said that he would declare to the devout Christians, "I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.". All this he said to warn the Christians of the Last Days against their possible offense, because he foresaw their disbelief.
SECTION IV - THE LAST DAYS AND THE PRESENT DAYS
When Jesus talked about the coming death of Peter, Peter asked him what would become of John. Jesus answered him saying, "If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?" (John 21:18-22). The disciples, hearing this, thought that Jesus might return within John's lifetime. Besides, Jesus said to his disciples, "...you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of man comes." (Matt. 10:23), and again he said, "Truly I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom." (Matt. 16:28). Because of such words, not only the disciples of Jesus, but also numerous Christians have since believed that the Lord might come in their lifetime, and always were haunted by a feeling of tension about their days being the Last Days. This is because they did not know the fundamental meaning of the Last Days.
By examining the present fulfillment of the three great blessings to man, which God set up as the purpose of His providence of restoration, we can prove that today is the Last Days. This is reason Jesus said:
From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. (Matt. 24:32-33)
1. THE PHENOMENON OF THE RESTORATION OF THE FIRST BLESSING
As already discussed in the "Principle of Creation", God's first blessing to Adam and Eve was for them to perfect their individuality. We can tell from the following phenomena that God's providence of restoring fallen man to their original state of creation with perfected individuality has reached its final stage.
The first way we can see this is from the fact that the spiritual standard of fallen men is being restored. As stated above, a man of perfection becomes one body with God in heart-and-zeal, so that man and God become able to communicate with each other fully and freely. Adam and Eve, though not quite perfect, were in the stage of communicating directly with God when they fell and caused their offspring to fall into ignorance of God.
As fallen men come to receive the benefit of the age in the providence of restoration, their spiritual standard is restored by degrees. Therefore, in the Last Days many saints reach the point where they can communicate with God, as Acts 2:17 says:
In the last days...I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.
In these days, there are many believers coming forth with abilities of spiritual communication. From this we can tell that we are entering a new age in which we may restore God's first blessing after having perfected our individuality, because this is the Last Days.
Second, the historical trend of fallen men's restoration of the freedom of the original mind is further proof. Man was deprived of the freedom of coming before God because, due to the fall, he came under the dominion of Satan, and has ever since had restricted freedom. But today man's heart-and-zeal has reached the highest level, where people are in search of the original mind's freedom even at the risk of their lives. This is evidence that with the coming of the Last Days, fallen men are now entering the new age, in which they can come freely before God. They will enter the new age by perfecting their individuality, thus restoring God's first blessing to them, which has been long deprived by Satan.
Third, the original value of fallen men, which was endowed at the creation, is being restored. This is another clear proof. The original value of men, horizontally observed, is that of equality between people, and this may not appear so precious. But when vertically observed, centered on God, each and every individual bears the most august, macrocosmic value (cf. Part I, Ch. 7, Sec. I--206). Men lost their original value because of the fall. In the present age, however, the democratic ideology has reached its culmination, and men have come to pursue the original value of individuality endowed at the creation. This may be seen in the liberation of slaves, liberation of minority groups and liberation of the minor powers, together with the demand for human dignity, equality between the sexes and equality among all people. This is proof that the Last Days have come and that fallen men are now entering the new age, in which they will restore God's first blessing to men.
Fourth, the original love endowed at the creation is being restored. The world in which God's ideal of creation is fulfilled will have the form of a perfected man. People of this world, all having formed one body vertically with God, will naturally form one body horizontally with one another. Consequently, people of this world cannot but become like one body, interrelated vertically and horizontally by God's absolute love. Due to the fall, man's vertical love with God was cut off, thus causing the severance of the horizontal love among people; and so human history has been woven with struggles. Today, however, since humanitarianism is reaching its culmination, men are increasingly in pursuit of the original love.
Thus, we recognize that the present day is the veritable Last Days, in which men can perfect their individualities centered on God by restoring God's first blessing to men.
2. THE PHENOMENON OF THE RESTORATION OF THE SECOND BLESSING
God's second blessing was for Adam and Eve to attain their true parenthood by multiplying children of goodness, and then to establish homes, societies and a world of good sovereignty. But due to the fall, Adam and Eve became evil parents multiplying evil children and thus formed a world under the bondage of the evil sovereignty. God has conducted the providence of restoring men's spiritual standard by separating men from Satan on an internal basis through religion, while on the other hand He has separated men from Satan on an external basis through various struggles and wars. Thus He has conducted His providence of restoring the sovereignty of goodness on both an internal and an external basis.
Human history, then, has been the restoration of God's second blessing to men, accomplished by the separation of men from Satan on both an internal and an external basis and by finding those children of God who will be able to attend the returning Lord, our True Parent. Therefore, we perceive from the phenomenon of the restoration of God's sovereignty on both an internal and an external basis that today is the veritable Last Days. (This restoration has appeared through the history of the development of cultural spheres centering on religion, and through the history of the rise and fall of nations.)
Let us now study how the history of the development of cultural spheres has progressed causing the present age to be the Last Days. As repeatedly discussed in the history of the development of cultural spheres, God established cultural spheres centered on religion by sending prophets and saints to fallen men. These saints established various religions in accordance with man's original mind, which was directed toward ultimate goodness. Consequently, there have emerged many kinds of cultural spheres in the history of mankind. As time has gone by, these have either united, or been absorbed by one another. In the present day there is a clear trend of one worldwide cultural sphere being established centered on Christianity. This kind of historical trend shows us that God's second blessing to men is being restored, with all the races standing side by side as brothers centered on Christ, who is the nucleus of Christianity.
What makes Christianity different from other religions is that its purpose is to restore the one great world family which God had intended at the creation. This is to be accomplished by finding the True Parents of mankind through whom all men can become children of goodness through rebirth. This signifies that Christianity is the central religion that will accomplish the purpose of God's providence of restoration.
Thus, the restoration of God's second blessing to men can be seen in the formation of one final worldwide cultural sphere centered on Christianity, in which all men will be elevated to the position of children of goodness centered on Christ and the Holy Spirit, who are the True Parents of mankind (cf. Part I, Ch. 7--205). Thus we cannot deny that we are entering the Last Days today.
Next, we shall investigate how the history of the rise and fall of nations, having progressed toward the purpose of restoring the sovereignty of goodness, is leading the present age into the Last Days. It is an error, brought about by ignorance of the fundamental providence of God, to regard the cause of struggles and wars as merely the conflict of interests among different ideologies.
Mankind has had a sinful history that began with the evil sovereignty centered on Satan, which was caused by the fall of the first human ancestors. Since God's purpose of creation is unchanging, the final goal of human history is the restoration of God's sovereignty of goodness, which is to be achieved through the separation of men from Satan. If the world of evil sovereignty were to go on without struggles and wars, this evil world would continue forever, leaving the sovereignty of goodness eternally unrestored. Therefore, God has worked His providence of restoring the heavenly sovereignty by degrees, sending His prophets and saints. Evil sovereignties have been destroyed by better ones, through the religions of goodness which God has founded.
Thus, struggles and wars have become the inevitable course through which man has had to go in order to fulfill the providence of restoration. A more detailed discussion of this question will be made in Part II. Since human history is following the providential course of restoration through indemnity, evil may sometimes seem to prevail when seen within a limited time span; but in the end it will surely be destroyed, or absorbed and assimilated into the realm of a better standard. The rise and fall of nations by wars is thus the inevitable result brought about by the providential course for the restoration of the sovereignty of goodness.
This is why God ordered the Israelites to destroy the seven tribes of Canaan. When Saul disobeyed Him, leaving some of the Amalekites alive with their cattle, God severely punished him (I Sam. 15:18-23). Thus, God not only directly ordered the Israelites to destroy the Gentiles, but even destroyed the Israelites of the northern dynasty when they turned to evil, by delivering them into the hands of the Assyrians (II Kings 17:23). We must understand that God did so in order to destroy the sovereignty of evil and restore the sovereignty of goodness. Therefore, struggles and fights between individuals of God's side are evil, because they result in the destruction of the good sovereignty itself; but for the good sovereignty to destroy the evil sovereignty is an act of goodness because it is to fulfill the purpose of God's providence of restoration.
In this manner the history of the struggle for separating sovereignty from Satan by gradually gaining lands and wealth all over the world has practically come to restore the Heavenly sovereignty. As for men, they are being restored to the Heavenly side on a worldwide basis, by going through the individual level, family level, societal level and national level. Thus the providence for the separation of men from Satan, starting from the age of clan society and going through the ages of feudalism and monarchism, has now come into the age of democracy. In present human society, we see the division into the two worlds of democracy and communism, the former being the ideology to establish the Heavenly sovereignty and the latter being that to establish the Satanic one.
In this way, human history, which started under the evil sovereignty centered on Satan, has now come to form two opposing sovereignties on a worldwide basis. As the original human nature, heading for ultimate goodness, is awakened through religion, philosophy and ethics, it produces the separation of the power of the good sovereignty from that of the evil one. These two sovereignties, with opposing purposes, can never coexist. Upon the consummation of human history, they will surely arrive at the point of intersection, causing a conflict of an internal nature centering on ideology, which may very possibly cause an external war centered on military power. Then, finally, the sovereignty of Satan will perish forever, leaving the sovereignty of God restored as the everlasting single sovereignty of Heaven.
Today is the Last Days because it is the time of intersection when the world of good sovereignty under God and the world of evil sovereignty under Satan are confronting each other in the final battle.
In human history, which has hitherto separated the good sovereignty from the evil one, the evil sovereignty sinks down to destruction while the good sovereignty rises toward prosperity, just as in muddy water the mud sinks down, while the clear water rises upward. Thus, in the Last Days, these two sovereignties of good and evil will for a period meet at the point of intersection, the former will remain forever as God's, while the latter will perish in eternal darkness.
Thus, when these two sovereignties of good and evil are at the point of intersection, it is called the Last Days. Since this is the time when the perfection of the growth stage, from which Adam and Eve fell, should be restored by indemnity, all mankind wanders about in ideological chaos, just as the first human ancestors in the Garden of Eden were confused without knowing what to do after the fall.
During the long course of the providence of restoration, there have been several occurrences of the Last Days in which the two sovereignties of good and evil came to the point of intersection. Both the time of Noah and that of Jesus were called the Last Days, with the two sovereignties at the point of intersection. But each time men failed to accomplish their portion of responsibility and were unable to destroy the sovereignty of evil; and God again had to start His providence for the separation of the good from the evil sovereignty. Consequently, we will see another intersection of the two sovereignties at the time of the Second Advent of the Lord. The course of the providence of restoration has thus repeated periodically the spiral movement of affairs going through the circular course toward the purpose of creation. This is why there have been many periods of similar nature in human history (cf. Part II, Ch. 3, Sec. I--373).
3. THE PHENOMENON OF THE RESTORATION OF THE THIRD BLESSING
God's third blessing to men signifies Adam and Eve's dominion over the world of creation after they attained perfection. Man's dominion over the world of creation has two aspects--internal and external. We can see that in the present age the two aspects of man's dominion, lost with the human fall, are being restored.
Internal dominion means the dominion of heart-and-zeal. When a man has perfected his individuality he becomes one in heart-and-zeal with God; thus he is able to experience God's own heart-and-zeal. On the day when man, after having perfected himself, comes to love the world of creation with heart-and-zeal identical to God's, and when he receives the beauty returned by the creation, he becomes the dominator in heart-and-zeal over the world of creation. However, due to the fall, man failed to experience God's heart-and-zeal and has not been able to regard the creation with God's heart-and-zeal. Nonetheless, God has been working His providence of restoration by means of religion, philosophy and ethics, constantly elevating by degrees the spiritual standard of fallen men toward God. Thus, man in the present age is restoring his qualification as the dominator in heart-and-zeal over the world of creation.
External dominion means domination through science. If man, having perfected himself, had been able to dominate the world of creation internally with heart-and-zeal identical to that which God had over the world of creation at the time of its creation, man's scientific achievement could have reached its culmination in an extremely short time, because man's spiritual sensibility would have been developed to the highest dimension. Thus, men could have dominated externally all the things of creation. In consequence, man not only could have subdued the world of nature, including the heavenly bodies, at the earliest possible date, but he also could have brought about an extremely comfortable living environment due to the economic development that would have accompanied scientific achievement.
However, man, by losing his spiritual light due to the fall and by thus being deprived of his internal domination over the things of creation, fell to the status of a barbarian with a spiritual sensibility as dull as that of the animals. Thus, he lost the external domination over creation. Man, according to God's providence of restoration, now has restored his spiritual light. Consequently, both his internal and external dominations have, by degrees, been restored. Therefore, scientific development in the present day has also reached its highest degree. So it has come about that modern men have created an extremely comfortable living environment, due to economic developments which followed brilliant scientific achievements.
We see then that God's third blessing to men is being restored, and from this we cannot deny that today we have reached the Last Days.
As we have observed repeatedly, the development of the cultural spheres also shows that a worldwide cultural sphere is now being formed centered on one religion. Nations, too, are moving toward one worldwide structure of sovereignty, starting from the League of Nations, through the United Nations and reaching today for world government. Regarding economic development, the world is now on the threshold of forming one common market. Extremely well-developed transportation and communication facilities have reduced the limitations of time and space. Men are able to communicate with one another on the earth as easily as if the earth were the garden of a house in which people of all the different races of the East and the West lived as one family. All mankind is crying out for brotherly love.
However, a home is formed around the parents; there alone can true brotherly love occur. Therefore, upon the Second Advent of the Lord as the True Parent of mankind, all men will come to live harmoniously in the garden as one family.
From this too we may know that today is surely the Last Days. There must be one final gift which history, having thus progressed, is about to present to mankind. Thus must be the ideology of the macrocosmic nature that can bind all the strangers who now live in turmoil within one world without any true purpose, into one family centered on the same parents.
SECTION V - THE LAST DAYS, THE NEW TRUTH, AND OUR ATTITUDE
1. THE LAST DAYS AND THE NEW TRUTH
Fallen men overcome their internal ignorance by raising their spiritual and intellectual standard through "spirit and truth" (John 4:23), according to their religion. Regarding truth, there are two kinds: internal truth (religion), which will overcome internal ignorance, and external truth (science), which will overcome external ignorance.
Accordingly, man has two kinds of intellect: internal intellect, which is awakened by internal truth, and external intellect, which is awakened by external truth. Therefore, internal intellect in its pursuit of internal truth has set up religion, while external intellect in its pursuit of external truth has set up science. Spiritual matters pertaining to the invisible world first come into spiritual cognition through our spirit men by means of the five spiritual senses; then they are physiologically recognized through the resonance of the five physical senses. The truth from the visible world, however, comes directly into our cognition by means of the five physical senses. Thus, the process of cognition takes place through both the spiritual and physical courses.
Since man was made so that he could be perfect only when his spirit man and physical man are united, spirit and truth must be in perfect harmony, awakening man's spiritual and intellectual standard, before the two-sided cognition through both the spiritual and physical courses can completely coincide. Then, for the first time, man will come to have perfect cognition of the world of creation.
In this manner, God is conducting His providence of restoring men to the original nature intended at the creation by raising through both spirit and truth, the spiritual and intellectual standard of men, who fell into utter ignorance due to the fall. Man, sharing the benefit of the age in God's providence of restoration, is gradually being elevated in his spiritual and intellectual standard as history progresses. Therefore, both spirit and truth, which are the means for raising the spiritual and intellectual standard, must also be elevated to higher levels by degrees. Although spirit and truth must be unique, eternal and unchanging, the extent, degree and method of teaching and expressing them to men, who are in the process of restoration from the status of ignorance, should vary according to the age.
For example, in the age before the Old Testament (from Adam to Moses), God did not provide the people with words of truth, but merely commanded them to offer sacrifices. Men in that age, being ignorant, could not receive the truth directly from Him. When the spiritual and intellectual standard of the people was elevated, He gave the Law to the people of Moses' day, and the Gospel to those of Jesus' day. Jesus did not say that his word was the truth, but that he himself was the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). This is because his words were only a means of expressing himself as the truth; and the extent, degree and method of expressing the truth should vary according to those who receive the words.
From this, we must realize that Biblical words are a means of expressing the truth and are not the truth itself. Seeing matters from this point of view, we can understand that the new Testament was given as a textbook for the teaching of truth to the people of 2,000 years ago, people whose spiritual and intellectual standard was very low compared to that of today. It is thus impossible to satisfy completely man's desire for truth, in this modern scientific civilization, by using the same method of expressing the truth, in parables and symbols, which was used to awaken the people of an earlier age. In consequence, today the truth must appear with a higher standard and with a scientific method of expression in order to enable intelligent modern man to understand it.
We call this the new truth. This new truth, as discussed in the "General Introduction", should be able to resolve completely the problems of religion and science according to one unified theme and thus overcome man's internal and external ignorance.
Let us investigate other reasons that the new truth must appear.
As noted, the Bible is not the truth itself but a textbook teaching us the truth. In this textbook, most of the important parts of the truth are revealed in parables and symbols. Consequently, the method of interpretation can differ according to the reader. Differences in interpretation have produced many denominations. Since the source of denominational divisions is not in man but in the expressions used in the Bible, the divisions and quarrels cannot but increase. Therefore, we cannot expect the divisions and quarrels between denominations to come to an end. This will hinder the fulfillment of the providence of restoration under the unification of Christianity, unless there appears a new truth that can elucidate the fundamental contents of the Bible so clearly that everyone can recognize and agree with it. Therefore, Jesus promised to give us new words of truth in the Last Days, saying:
I have said this to you in figures; the hour is coming when I shall no longer speak to you in figures but tell you plainly of the Father. (John 16:25)
Jesus died on the cross without being able to say all that he wanted to say because of the disbelief of the people. As he said, "If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?" (John 3:12). Jesus also said to his disciples, "I have yet many things to say to you but you cannot bear them now." (John 16:12). This disclosed how sorrowful he was, because he could not tell even his own disciples what he had deep in his heart.
The words Jesus left unuttered will not forever remain a secret, but are to be revealed some day as a new truth through the Holy Spirit, as Jesus told us:
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. (John 16:13)
Again we read:
I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. (Rev. 5:1)
On this very scroll were the words the Lord is to give us in the Last Days. When John wept because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it, since there was no such person in heaven, on earth, or under the earth, one of the elders said:
...the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals. (Rev. 5:3-5)
The Lion born of the Root of David signifies Christ. Thus, the day must come when Christ will open the sealed scroll, which has long remained a secret to mankind, and reveal the new truth to all the saints. Therefore, it is said, "You must again prophesy about many peoples and nations and tongues and kings." (Rev. 10:11). Again, it is said:
And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour our my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; yea, and on my menservants and my maidservants in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. (Acts. 2:17-18)
Thus, from many standpoints the new truth must come in the Last Days.
2. THE ATTITUDE WE SHOULD TAKE IN THE LAST DAYS
If we observe the progression of the history of the providence of restoration, we see that the new always begins when the old is about to expire. Consequently, the period when the old ends is the very period when the new begins. The close of the old history is the starting period for the new history.
Mankind is now at the point of intersection where the two sovereignties of good and evil are confronting each other. These two sovereignties, which started at the same point, have headed in opposite directions ever since, and have borne their own worldwide fruits respectively. People of this age fall into internal insecurity, terror and chaos due to the shallowness of their ideals and ideologies. Externally, they are afraid, as they face the threat of conflicts and struggles with terrifying weapons. In the Last Days many devastating phenomena will occur. As the Bible says:
For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. (Matt. 24:7)
It is inevitable that such misery should take place, in order that the dominion of evil be annihilated, and that of good be exalted. God, without fail, will set up the center of the sovereignty of goodness in order to establish a new age out of this misery. Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus were the central figures of their respective new ages. Therefore, we must find the central figure of the new history, whom God has designated, in order that we might be participants in the new age as God wants us to be.
The providence of the new age does not start after the complete liquidation of the old age, but is born and grows in the circumstances of the period of consummation of the old age, always appearing to be in conflict with that age. Accordingly, this providence is not easily understood by those who are accustomed to the conventions of the old age. This is why the sages of history who came in charge of the providence of a new age all became victims of the old age. We can give the example of Jesus, who, coming at the close of the Old Testament Age as the center of the new providence of the New Testament Age, appeared to the believers of the Mosaic Law to be a heretic whom they could not understand. Finally he was rejected because of their disbelief of him and was crucified. This is why Jesus said, "New wine must be put into fresh wine skins." (Luke 5:38).
Christ will come again at the close of the New Testament Age as the center of the new providence to establish the new heaven and earth, and will give us new words for the building of the new age (Rev. 21:1-7). Therefore, he is apt to be rejected and persecuted by Christians at the time of the Second Advent just as Jesus was persecuted and derided at his coming by the Jews who said he was possessed by Beelzebub, the Prince of Demons (Matt. 12:24). Therefore, Jesus predicted that first the Lord must suffer many things and be rejected by the generation at the time of the Second Advent (Luke 17:25). Therefore, those who, in the transitional period of history, are tenaciously attached to the environment of the old age and comfortable entrenched in it will be judged along with the old age.
Fallen men, being very dull in their sensitivity toward spiritual things, will generally emphasize the old truth in following the course of the providence of restoration. In other words, these people will not respond to and follow the providence of the new age even though the providence of restoration is bringing about the new age, because in most cases they are still attached to the view of truth of the old age. Those who can perceive spiritual things, however, will understand the providence of the new age spiritually, and come to respond to it, even though they may face discrepancies between the new view of truth and that of the old age.
The disciples of Jesus, therefore, were not overly attached to the Old Testament. Rather, they followed what they felt spiritually in their hearts. The reason men of prayer and conscience feel a sense of extreme spiritual anxiety and urgency in the Last Days is that, while they vaguely feel spiritual things and are willing to follow the providence of the new age in their hearts, they have not met the new truth that can lead their external selves in the right direction.
Therefore, if these men would only listen to the new truth leading them to the providence of the new age, they would be awakened in heart and intellect by spirit and truth simultaneously. They would be able to recognize perfectly the demand of God's providence for the new age. Naturally, then they will come to respond to it with untold happiness. Thus, modern men of the Last Days must try to perceive spiritual things through humble prayer.
Thus, we should not be attached to conventional ideas but should at all costs find the new truth leading them to the providence of the new age. We can do this by directing our external self toward a spiritual purpose. Then we must ascertain whether the truth thus found becomes one with our spirit, producing a true heavenly joy deep within our heart. By doing this, the saints of the Last Days can find the way to true salvation.
Chart: The World of Creation and the Providence of Restoration Through the Substantial Development of the Word.