Part II – Chapter 4 | The Parallels between the Two Ages in the Providence of Restoration
Since the ultimate purpose of the providence of restoration is to lay the foundation for the Messiah, if it is prolonged, the dispensations to restore this foundation must be repeated. We know that to establish the foundation for the Messiah, a central figure must make a symbolic offering acceptable to God by employing an object for the condition and passing through a required time period. In addition, he must lay the foundation of substance by making an acceptable substantial offering upon fulfilling the indemnity condition to remove the fallen nature. In the course of the providence, the repetition of dispensations to restore the foundation for the Messiah has meant, in effect, the repetition of dispensations to restore through indemnity the symbolic offering and the substantial offering. The historical record illuminates the parallels between providential periods caused by the repetition of dispensations to restore through indemnity the foundation for the Messiah. The Age of the Prolongation of the Providence of Restoration has been set up to restore the Age of the Providence of Restoration through parallel indemnity conditions of a substantial type. Let us examine the comparable characteristics of each providential period from this standpoint.
First, however, we need to identify what groups of people have had the central responsibility for God’s providence and the historical sources which can shed light on their history. Human history consists of the histories of countless peoples. Nevertheless, God has specially chosen certain people to walk the model course of restoration to lay the foundation for the Messiah. God puts them at the center of His providence and guides them by His Principle. Their history, in turn, steers the course of human history as a whole. A nation or people entrusted with such a mission is called God’s chosen people.
God’s first chosen people consisted of the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who had established the family foundation for the Messiah. Therefore, the nation centrally responsible for God’s providence in the Age of the Providence of Restoration was Israel. The Old Testament, which records the history of Israel, provides the source material with which to study the history of the providence in that age.
However, from the time that they rejected Jesus, the Jewish people lost their qualification to be centrally responsible for God’s providence. Foreseeing this, Jesus uttered the parable of the vineyard, saying:
The kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing the fruits of it. —Matt. 21:43
St. Paul said in anguish over his kinsmen, the Jewish people:
For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his descendants . . . 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
Indeed, the people who became centrally responsible for the providence in the Age of the Prolongation of the Providence of Restoration were not the Jews, but rather the Christians. They assumed the mission to accomplish God’s unfulfilled providence of restoration. Accordingly, the history of Christianity provides the source material for understanding providential history in this age. In this sense, the descendants of Abraham in the Old Testament Age may be referred to as the First Israel, and the Christians in the New Testament Age may be called the Second Israel.1
When we compare the Old Testament to the New Testament, the five books of the Law (Genesis to Deuteronomy), the twelve books of history (Joshua to Esther), the five books of poetry and wisdom (Job to the Song of Solomon) and the seventeen books of prophecy (Isaiah to Malachi) in the Old Testament correspond to the Gospels, Acts, the Letters of the Apostles and Revelation, respectively. However, while the books of history in the Old Testament record most of the two-thousand-year history of Israel, the Book of Acts records only the history of the earliest Christians in the generation after Jesus’ death. To find historical records pertaining to God’s work of restoration in the New Testament Age with a scope comparable to those found in the Old Testament, we must consult in addition the entire history of Christianity from Jesus’ time to the present day. On this basis, we can compare the histories of the First and Second Israels and their impact on the character of each period in the two providential ages. Recognizing a pattern of parallel periods, we come to know more clearly that history has been shaped by the systematic and lawful providence of the living God.
THE PERIOD OF SLAVERY IN EGYPT AND THE PERIOD OF PERSECUTION IN THE ROMAN EMPIRE
After Jacob entered Egypt with his twelve sons and seventy kinsmen, their descendants suffered terrible abuse at the hands of the Egyptians for four hundred years. This was for the restoration of the four-hundred-year period from Noah to Abraham—a period for the separation of Satan—which had been defiled due to Abraham’s mistake in his offering. The corresponding period of persecution in the Roman Empire was to restore this previous period through parallel indemnity conditions. Jesus’ twelve apostles and seventy disciples were the first of many generations of Christians who suffered severe persecution in the Roman Empire over a period of four hundred years. By enduring this suffering, they were restoring through indemnity the four-hundred-year period of preparation for the advent of the Messiah—a period for the separation of Satan—which had been defiled due to the Jewish people’s mistake in not honoring Jesus as a living sacrifice but leading him to the cross.
In the period of slavery in Egypt, the chosen people of the First Israel kept themselves pure by circumcision,2 by making sacrifices3 and, as they left Egypt, by keeping the Sabbath.4 During the period of persecution in the Roman Empire, the Christians as the Second Israel lived a life of purity by performing the sacraments of baptism and holy communion, offering themselves as sacrifices, and keeping the Sabbath. In both periods, the chosen people had to follow this way of pure faith to separate Satan, who was constantly assailing them due to the condition of previous mistakes by Abraham and the Jewish people.
At the end of Israel’s slavery in Egypt, Moses brought the Pharaoh to his knees by the power of the three signs and ten plagues. He then led the Israelites out of Egypt and set out for the land of Canaan. Likewise, toward the end of the period of persecution in the Roman Empire, after Christians had drunk the cup of persecution to the fill, Jesus increased the numbers of believers by moving their hearts with his power and grace. By stirring the heart of Emperor Constantine, Jesus led him to recognize Christianity in 313 A.D. Jesus inspired Theodosius I in 392 A.D. to establish Christianity as the state religion. Christians thus restored Canaan spiritually inside the Roman Empire, the satanic world. In the Old Testament Age, God worked through the external indemnity conditions set by the Mosaic Law; likewise, God had Moses defeat the Pharaoh through the external power of miracles. In the New Testament Age, when God worked through the internal indemnity conditions of faith, He manifested His power internally by moving the hearts of people.
When the period of slavery in Egypt was over, Moses on Mt. Sinai received the Ten Commandments and God’s Word revealed in the Law, which formed the core of the Old Testament Scriptures. By setting up and honoring the tablets of stone, the Ark of the Covenant and the Tabernacle, he paved the way for the Israelites to prepare for the coming of the Messiah. Likewise, at the conclusion of the period of persecution in the Roman Empire, Christians gathered the writings which had been left behind by the apostles and evangelists and established the canon of the New Testament. Based on these writings, they sought to realize God’s ideals spiritually, ideals which had been enshrined in the Ten Commandments and the Tabernacle in the Old Testament Age. They built up churches and expanded their foundation to prepare for the Second Coming of Christ. After Jesus’ ascension, the resurrected Jesus and the Holy Spirit guided Christians directly. Hence, God did not raise up any one person as the central figure responsible for His entire providence, as He had earlier.
THE PERIOD OF THE JUDGES AND THE PERIOD OF REGIONAL CHURCH LEADERSHIP
Upon inheriting the mission of Moses, Joshua led the Israelites into the land of Canaan. For the next four hundred years, fifteen judges governed the Israelite tribes: thirteen judges from Othniel to Samson recorded in the Book of Judges, as well as Eli and Samuel. The judges filled the various responsibilities of prophet, priest and king, which became separate offices in the later periods. Israel in this period was a feudalistic society with no central political authority. In the New Testament Age, the period of regional church leadership was set up to restore the period of the judges through parallel indemnity conditions. In this period, regional church leaders—patriarchs, bishops and abbots—led Christian society. Like the judges of the Old Testament Age, they had duties similar to those of prophet, priest and king. As in the time of the judges, Christian society in this period was a feudalistic society under these local authorities.
In the age before Jesus, when God was working with the First Israel to establish a national foundation for the Messiah both spiritually and physically, politics, economy and religion tended to have a national focus. On the other hand, in the age after Jesus, Christians were building a spiritual kingdom under the leadership of Jesus, who stood upon the spiritual foundation for the Messiah. Their loyalty transcended national barriers, for they were serving the resurrected Jesus as the King of Kings. Therefore, the spiritual kingdom of Jesus was not confined to any one nation, but expanded to the far-flung corners of the globe.
The period of the judges began after the Israelites were liberated from slavery in Egypt and the younger generation united solidly under the leadership of Joshua and Caleb to enter the land of Canaan. They parceled out the territory among their clans and tribes. Settling in villages united around the judges, the people consolidated into a chosen nation and established a simple feudalistic society. Likewise, the period of regional church leadership in the Christian era began after the liberation of Christianity from the persecution of the Roman Empire, the satanic world. Christians spread the Gospel to the Germanic peoples, many of whom had migrated to Western Europe in the fourth century to escape the invading Huns. In their new land of Western Europe, God raised up the Germanic tribes as a new chosen people and established an early form of feudal society, which later matured into the feudalism of the Middle Ages.
As we discussed earlier, when the Israelites set out for Canaan, they first built the Tabernacle as the symbol of the Messiah and the object for the condition to decide who would stand in the position of Abel for the foundation of substance.5 In the period of the judges, the Israelites should have exalted the Tabernacle and remained obedient to the direction of the judges. However, instead of destroying the seven Canaanite tribes, the Israelites lived among them and were influenced by their customs. They even took to worshipping their idols, thus bringing great confusion to their faith. Likewise, in the period of regional church leadership, the Christians were supposed to exalt the Church, which was the image of the Messiah, and follow the directions of its bishops and monastic leaders. The Church was the object for the condition to determine who would have the position of Abel. However, they became influenced by the religion and culture of the pagan Germanic tribes, which brought great confusion to the Christian faith.
THE PERIOD OF THE UNITED KINGDOM AND THE PERIOD OF THE CHRISTIAN EMPIRE
When the period of the judges came to a close and the First Israel entered the period of the united kingdom, the functions of the judge were apportioned to the offices of prophet, priest and king. The prophets received instructions directly from God, the priests kept charge over the Tabernacle and later the Temple, and the king governed the nation. Each carried on their distinct missions in guiding Israel to accomplish the goal of the providence of restoration. The purpose of the period of the Christian empire was to restore the period of the united kingdom through parallel indemnity conditions. Thus, when the period of regional church leadership came to a close, the missions of these leaders were apportioned to the offices of monastic leaders corresponding to the prophets, the pope corresponding to the high priest, and the emperor, who ruled the people. They were responsible to guide the Second Israel to accomplish the goal of the providence of restoration. In the previous period, the Christian Church had been divided into the five patriarchates of Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, Constantinople and Rome, with Rome dominant in the West. The pope, as the Roman patriarch was called, supervised all the bishops and abbots in Western Europe.
In the period of the united kingdom, the kings established the kingdom of Israel around the Temple, thereby manifesting the ideal of Moses’ Tabernacle which was first conceived at the time of the Exodus. This was the image course for building the Kingdom of Heaven ruled by Jesus, which he would one day come to establish as the King of Kings.6 Likewise, in the period of the Christian empire, Charlemagne’s empire realized the ideal of the Christian state as set down in The City of God by St. Augustine—who lived when the Christians had just been liberated from the oppression of the Roman Empire, a time parallel to that of Moses. Once again, this was the image course for building the Kingdom of God, which Christ, as the King of Kings, will one day return to establish. Accordingly, in this period, the emperor and the pope were to realize the ideal Christian state by uniting wholeheartedly to follow the Will of God. The spiritual kingdom ruled by the pope, which had been founded upon the spiritual foundation for the Messiah, and the temporal kingdom ruled by the emperor should have united based on Christ’s teachings. Had they done so, religion, politics and economy would have harmonized, and the foundation for the Second Advent of Christ would have been established at that time.
In the period of the united kingdom of Israel, the king was the central figure for restoring the foundation of faith. He was responsible to carry out the Word of God, which was given through the prophets. Before the king was anointed, the prophet and the high priest were to represent and teach the Word of God, and thus they stood in the position of Abel. Their mission, as required by the providence of restoration, was to restore the physical world from the position of the archangel, representing the spirit world. However, after they laid the foundation upon which the king could stand, and anointed and blessed him as the king, they were to take the role of Cain before him. The king was to rule his kingdom according to the guidance of the prophets, and the prophets were to obey the king as his subjects and counselors.
About eight hundred years after Abraham’s descendants entered Egypt, by God’s command the prophet Samuel anointed Saul as the first king of Israel.7 King Saul stood upon the foundation of the four hundred years under the judges. Had he completed the forty years of his reign in accordance with God’s desires, he would have stood in the position of having restored through indemnity the four hundred years of slavery in Egypt and Moses’ forty years in the Pharaoh’s palace. Thereupon, King Saul would have fulfilled the dispensation of forty for the separation of Satan and laid the foundation of faith. If, upon this foundation, King Saul had built and exalted the Temple, the image of the Messiah, he would have then stood in the position Moses should have occupied had he not failed in the first national course to restore Canaan, but had built the Temple in Canaan and glorified it. If the Israelites had then stood upon this foundation of faith and faithfully followed King Saul as he honored the Temple, they would have laid the foundation of substance. The foundation for the Messiah would have been established at that time.
However, because King Saul disobeyed the commands of God given through the prophet Samuel,8 he was in no position to build the Temple. Upon his failure, King Saul found himself in the same position as Moses after he had failed in the first national course to restore Canaan. As was the case with Moses, the providence of restoration through King Saul was extended. Forty years of King David’s reign and forty years of King Solomon’s reign would pass before the foundation of faith was laid and the Temple built. Furthermore, as we discussed earlier, King Saul was also in the position of Abraham. In the same manner that the Will entrusted to Abraham was finally brought to pass through Isaac and Jacob, God’s Will to build the Temple through King Saul had to be continued through the reign of King David and was finally realized during the reign of King Solomon. Nevertheless, King Solomon left the position of Abel for the substantial offering when he fell into lust with his many foreign wives, who turned him away from God.9 Hence, there was no way for Israel to establish the foundation of substance. The foundation for the Messiah, which should have been laid in the period of the united kingdom, was not realized.
In the period of the Christian empire, all the conditions pertaining to the united kingdom had to be restored through parallel conditions of indemnity. Once again, the central figure to restore the foundation of faith was the emperor. He was responsible to actualize the Christian ideals set forth by the leading monastics and the pope. The pope, for his part, stood in a position comparable to the high priest of Israel, who received God’s commands through the prophets. He was responsible to lay the spiritual foundation upon which the emperor could realize the ideal Christian state. After crowning and blessing the emperor, the pope was to obey him as one of his subjects in temporal matters. The emperor, in turn, was to lift up and further the spiritual work of the papacy in his realm.
Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne and blessed him as the first emperor of Christendom in 800 A.D. Charlemagne stood upon the foundation of the four-hundred-year period of regional church leadership, which restored through indemnity, in the form of substantial parallels, the four-hundred-year period of the judges. Therefore, like King Saul, he stood upon the foundation of a dispensation of forty for the separation of Satan. By faithfully living according to the teachings of Jesus in his work to realize the Christian ideal of the state, he was to establish the foundation of faith. Indeed, when Charlemagne was crowned emperor, he achieved this foundation. Had the Second Israel absolutely believed in and followed Charlemagne, the foundation of substance would have been laid, and thereby the foundation for the Messiah would have been established. In other words, the spiritual kingdom led by the pope and the earthly kingdom led by the emperor were to fully unite upon the existing spiritual foundation for the Messiah. Christ would then have returned upon this solid ground and built his Kingdom. However, the emperor did not remain obedient to God’s Will and left the position of Abel for the substantial offering. Neither the foundation of substance nor the foundation for the Second Advent of the Messiah was established.
THE PERIOD OF THE DIVIDED KINGDOMS OF NORTH AND SOUTH AND THE PERIOD OF THE DIVIDED KINGDOMS OF EAST AND WEST
Because King Solomon was led by his wives and concubines to worship idols, the united kingdom of Israel was divided upon his death, having lasted only three generations.10 The kingdom of Israel in the north, which was founded by ten of the twelve tribes, was in the position of Cain, while the kingdom of Judah in the south, which was founded by the two remaining tribes, was in the position of Abel. This was how the period of the divided kingdoms of north and south began.
The Christian empire also began to divide in the third generation. Charlemagne’s grandsons partitioned it into three kingdoms: the East Franks, the West Franks and Italy. The descendants of Charlemagne were in bitter and constant conflict with each other. The remnants of the Christian empire soon coalesced into two kingdoms, with Italy reverting to the rule of the East Franks. The kingdom of the East Franks flourished greatly under Otto I and came to be called the Holy Roman Empire. Claiming to be the heir of the Roman Empire, it ruled parts of Western Europe and sought to secure dominion over both politics and religion. The Holy Roman Empire stood in the position of Abel in relation to France, as the kingdom of the West Franks came to be called.
The northern kingdom of Israel was founded by Jeroboam, who had lived in exile in the days of King Solomon. It was ruled by nineteen kings over some 210 years. Through repeated assassinations, its short-lived royal families changed nine times; not one king was righteous in the sight of God. Nevertheless, God sent the prophet Elijah, who prevailed in the contest with 850 prophets of Baal and Asherah on Mt. Carmel when God sent down fire upon the altar.11 Other prophets, including Elisha, Jonah, Hosea and Amos, spread the Word of God at the risk of their lives. Yet since the northern kingdom continued to worship foreign gods and did not repent, God had the Assyrians destroy them and took away their qualification as the chosen people forever.12
The southern kingdom of Judah was established by Solomon’s son, Rehoboam. Its royal house continued in one dynastic line from David to Zedekiah, producing many righteous kings out of the twenty who ruled the kingdom for its nearly four hundred years of existence. Nevertheless, a succession of evil kings, combined with influence from the northern kingdom, led to much idolatry and corruption. Consequently, the people of the southern kingdom were taken into exile in Babylon.
In the period of the divided kingdoms of north and south, whenever the Israelites violated their covenant with God, straying from the ideal of the Temple, God sent many prophets—such as Elijah, Isaiah and Jeremiah—to admonish them and move them to repentance and internal reform. However, because the kings and the people did not heed the warnings of the prophets and did not repent, God chastised them externally by sending gentile nations such as Syria, Assyria and Babylon to attack them.
During the parallel period of the divided kingdoms of east and west, the papacy was corrupt. God sent prominent monks such as St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Francis of Assisi to admonish the papacy and promote internal reform in the Church. Since the papacy and the Church did not repent, but sank further into corruption and immorality, God chastised them externally by letting their people fight the Muslims. This was the providential reason behind the Crusades. While Jerusalem and the Holy Land were under the protection of the Abbasid Caliphate, Christian pilgrims were received with hospitality. After the Caliphate collapsed and the Holy Land was conquered by the Seljuk Turks, cries of alarm went out that Christian pilgrims were being harassed. Outraged, the popes raised the Crusades to recover the Holy Land. There were eight Crusades, beginning in 1095 and continuing sporadically for about two hundred years. Despite some initial success, the Crusaders were defeated again and again.
The period of the divided kingdoms of north and south came to an end when gentile nations took the people of Israel and Judah into exile. They put an end to the monarchy in Israel. Likewise, at the close of the period of the divided kingdoms of east and west, the papacy had completely lost its prestige and credibility after the repeated defeats of the Crusades. Christianity thus lost its center of spiritual sovereignty. Moreover, since the lords and knights who had maintained feudal society were decimated by the Crusades, feudal society lost its political power and vigor. Since the papacy and the feudal lords had spent enormous funds to pursue these unsuccessful wars, they were left impoverished. Monarchic Christianity began to erode.
THE PERIOD OF ISRAEL’S EXILE AND RETURN AND THE PERIOD OF THE PAPAL EXILE AND RETURN
By falling into faithlessness without repentance, the people of Israel failed to realize the ideal of God’s nation founded upon the Temple. To make another attempt at fulfilling this Will, God had the people suffer hardships as exiles in Babylon. This was similar to when God had the Israelites suffer as slaves in Egypt to restore through indemnity Abraham’s mistake in the symbolic offering.
In the period of the Christian empire, God worked through the pope and the emperor to establish a kingdom prepared for Christ at his Second Coming. God’s intention was that ultimately they would bequeath the empire and the throne to the Messiah when he would come as the King of Kings and build God’s kingdom13 upon that foundation. Yet the emperors and popes became corrupt and did not repent. The popes did not lay the spiritual foundation upon which the emperors could stand as the central figures for the foundation of substance. Therefore, the foundation for the Second Advent of Christ was not established. To begin a new dispensation to restore this foundation, God allowed the popes to be taken into exile and suffer captivity.
In the earlier parallel period, nearly seventy years elapsed from the time King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon took into captivity King Jehoiachin and his royal family, as well as prophets including Daniel and Ezekiel, priests, officials, craftsmen and many other Israelites, until the fall of Babylon and their liberation by the royal decree of King Cyrus.14 It then took another 140 years for the exiles to return to their homeland in three waves, until they fully reformed themselves as a nation united around the Will of God as proclaimed in the messianic prophecies of Malachi. Henceforth, they began to prepare for the coming of the Messiah. In the period of papal exile and return, which was to restore this period through indemnity in the form of substantial parallels, Western Christianity had to walk a similar course.
The popes and priests, sunk in immorality, gradually lost the confidence of the people. The authority of the papacy sank even lower due to the repeated defeats of the Crusades. The end of the Crusades saw the gradual collapse of the feudal system in Europe and the emergence of modern nation-states. As the power of secular monarchies grew, the conflict between the popes and the kings escalated. In one such conflict, King Philip IV, “the Fair,” of France imprisoned Pope Boniface VIII for a time. In 1309, Philip forced Pope Clement V to move the papacy from Rome to Avignon in southern France. For seventy years, successive popes lived there subject to the kings of France, until 1377 when Pope Gregory XI returned the papal residence to Rome.
After Gregory’s death, the cardinals elected an Italian, the Archbishop of Bari, as Pope Urban VI. However, a group of cardinals, mostly Frenchmen, rejected him, elected another pope, Clement VII, and established a rival papacy in Avignon. The Great Schism continued into the next century. To resolve this impasse, the cardinals from both camps held a council in Pisa, Italy, in 1409, which dismissed both the Roman and Avignon popes and appointed Alexander V as the legitimate pope. The two popes, however, refused to resign, creating for a short time the spectacle of three contending popes. Shortly afterwards, cardinals, bishops, theologians, royalty and their envoys gathered for the General Council of Constance (1414-1417). It dismissed all three popes and elected Martin V as the new pope, effectively ending the Great Schism.
The Council of Constance insisted that the general councils of the Church had supreme authority, greater than that of the pope and with the power to elect or depose him, and directed that subsequent councils be held at regular intervals. Thus, it sought to reorganize the Roman church as a constitutional monarchy. However, in 1431, when delegates gathered for the next council, held in Basel, Switzerland, the pope tried to adjourn the meeting. The delegates refused to leave and carried on in the pope’s absence, but to no effect; in 1449, they finally disbanded. The plan to institutionalize a constitutional monarchy within the Roman church came to naught, and the papacy recovered the authority it had lost in 1309.
The leaders of the conciliar movement in the fifteenth century had tried to reform the corrupt papacy by setting up a representative council composed of bishops and laymen and giving it supreme authority. Nevertheless, the papacy ended up reasserting its full authority, as it had not enjoyed since before its exile. Furthermore, these councils condemned more fundamental reforms as promoted by John Wycliffe (1330-1384) and Jan Hus (1373-1415), who was personally invited to attend the Council of Constance only to be burned at the stake. At that point, the die was cast for the outbreak of the Protestant Reformation.
This period of approximately 210 years ran from 1309, with the papacy’s seventy years of exile in Avignon, through the Great Schism, the conciliar movement and the restoration of papal authority in the Roman church, to the eve of the Protestant Reformation spearheaded by Martin Luther in 1517. Its purpose was to restore through indemnity, in the form of substantial parallels, the 210-year period of Israel’s exile and return—from Israel’s seventy years of exile in Babylon through the stages of the returning to Israel and the rebuilding of the Temple, until the reform of politics and religion under the leadership of Ezra, Nehemiah and the prophet Malachi.
THE PERIOD OF PREPARATION FOR THE ADVENT OF THE MESSIAH AND THE PERIOD OF PREPARATION FOR THE SECOND ADVENT OF THE MESSIAH
Following the period of Israel’s exile and return, another four hundred years elapsed before Jesus came. This was the period of preparation for the advent of the Messiah. Likewise, Christianity is to meet Christ at his Second Advent only after passing through four hundred years of the period of preparation for the Second Advent of the Messiah, which has followed the period of papal exile and return. It should restore through indemnity in the form of substantial parallels the period of preparation for the advent of the Messiah.
During the four thousand years of God’s providence of restoration from Adam to Jesus, vertical indemnity conditions had accumulated due to Satan’s repeated defilement of dispensations to restore the foundation of faith through periods of forty for the separation of Satan. The period of preparation for the advent of the Messiah was intended to be the final period of providential history in which all these conditions would be horizontally restored through indemnity. Likewise, the period of preparation for the Second Advent of the Messiah is intended to be the final period of providential history, when all the vertical indemnity conditions which have accumulated during the six-thousand-year history of the providence of restoration since Adam’s day are horizontally restored.
Upon returning from the Babylonian exile, the Israelites established the foundation of faith by repenting of their past sin of idolatry, rebuilding the Temple15 which had been destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar, and reforming their faith based on the Mosaic Law under the guidance of Ezra the scribe.16 They then began to prepare for the coming of the Messiah according to the word of the prophet Malachi. Likewise, after the papacy’s return to Rome, medieval Christians established the foundation of faith by seeking to reform the Roman church; these efforts culminated in the Protestant Reformation led by Martin Luther. This movement pierced the gloom of medieval Europe with the light of the Gospel and pioneered new paths of faith.
One purpose of the period of preparation for the advent of the Messiah was to restore through indemnity in the form of image parallels the approximately forty years of Jacob’s preparation to enter Egypt. This was the period in his life from his return to Canaan from Haran until he and his family entered Egypt. The period of preparation for the Second Advent of the Messiah is to restore this period through indemnity in the form of substantial parallels. Accordingly, Christians in this period have had to suffer tribulations and hardships as Jacob’s family did until they met Joseph in Egypt, or as the Jews did before they met Jesus. Specifically, in the Age of the Providence of Restoration, people were justified before God by such external conditions as keeping the Mosaic Law and offering sacrifices. Therefore, during the period of preparation for the advent of the Messiah, the First Israel had to suffer external hardships at the hands of the gentile nations of Persia, Greece, Egypt, Syria and Rome. During the Age of the Prolongation of the Providence of Restoration, Christians have been justified before God by internal conditions of prayer and faith according to the teachings of Jesus. Hence, in the period of preparation for the Second Advent of the Messiah, the Second Israel has had to walk a path of internal tribulations. The ideologies of Renaissance humanism and the Enlightenment, as well as the call for religious freedom which arose from the Reformation, have created a profusion of philosophies and theologies, causing great confusion in the Christian faith and turmoil in people’s spiritual lives.
The period of preparation for the Second Advent of the Messiah has also been restoring, through parallel indemnity conditions of a substantial type, the internal preparations and external environment for the worldwide reception of the Messiah, which had first been set up during the four hundred years of the period of preparation for the advent of the Messiah.
In preparation for the First Coming of Christ, God sent the prophet Malachi to the chosen people 430 years beforehand to arouse in them a strong messianic expectation. At the same time, God encouraged the Jews to reform their religion and deepen their faith to make the internal preparations necessary to receive the Messiah. Meanwhile, among the world’s peoples, God founded religions suited to their regions and cultures by which they could make the necessary internal preparations to receive the Messiah. In India, God established Buddhism through Gautama Buddha (565-485 B.C.) as a new development out of Hinduism. In Greece, God inspired Socrates (470-399 B.C.) and opened the brilliant age of classical Greek civilization. In the Far East, God raised up Confucius (552-479 B.C.), whose teachings of Confucianism established the standard of human ethics. Jesus was to come upon this worldwide foundation of preparation, and through his teachings he was to bring together Judaism, Hellenism, Buddhism and Confucianism. He was to unify all religions and civilizations into one worldwide civilization founded upon the Christian Gospel.
Since the Renaissance, God has been creating the religious, political and economic environment conducive to the work of Christ at his Second Coming. This has been the age to restore through indemnity, in the form of substantial parallels, the earlier period when God had set up the worldwide environment to prepare for the coming of Jesus. Beginning with the Renaissance, progress in virtually every field of human endeavor, including politics, economy, culture and science, has increased at a rapid rate. Today, these fields have reached their zenith and have created a global environment conducive to the work of Christ at his Second Coming. In Jesus’ day, the Roman Empire ruled the vast domains around the Mediterranean Sea, integrated by an advanced and extensive transportation system reaching out in all directions. This was the center of a vast Hellenistic civilization founded on the Greek language. Thus, all the necessary preparations had been made for a swift transmission of the teachings of the Messiah from Israel, where Jesus lived, to Rome and the world. Similarly, in the present era of the Second Advent, the influence of the Western powers has expanded the democratic political sphere throughout the world. The rapid progress of transportation and communication has greatly bridged the gap between East and West, and the extensive contact among languages and cultures has brought the world much closer together. These developments characterize an environment in which the teachings of the returning Christ can freely and swiftly be conveyed to the hearts of all humankind. This will enable his teachings to bring rapid and profound changes all over the globe.
THE PROVIDENCE OF RESTORATION AND THE PROGRESS OF HISTORY
The Kingdom of Heaven on earth is a society whose structure is formed in the image of a perfect person.17 Likewise, fallen society may be regarded as formed in the likeness of a fallen person. We can better understand the history of societies built by sinful humanity by examining the inner life of a fallen person.
A fallen person possesses both an original mind, which prompts him to pursue goodness, and an evil mind, which fills him with evil desires and rebels against the promptings of the original mind. Undeniably, the two minds are constantly at war with each other, inclining us toward shifting and conflicting behaviors. Since human society is composed of individuals who are constantly at war within themselves, interactions among them cannot help but be full of discord and conflict. Human history has consisted of people’s conflict-ridden social relationships constantly changing with the course of time. Hence, it has necessarily unfolded in strife and warfare.
Nevertheless, in the midst of the persistent fight between the original mind and the evil mind, people are ever striving to repel evil and follow the way of goodness. As they gain ground in their striving, their efforts bear fruit in righteous deeds. Because of the activity of the original mind within himself, even a fallen person can respond to God’s providence of restoration and join in furthering the goal of goodness. Progress in history thus originates with individuals who, even amidst the vortex of good and evil, make determined efforts to reject evil and promote goodness. Therefore, the world toward which history is progressing is the Kingdom of Heaven, where the goal of goodness will be realized.
We must understand that conflicts and wars are interim phenomena to separate good from evil in the pursuit of this ultimate goal. Even though evil may triumph at times, God will use it to steer history toward the fulfillment of a greater good. In this respect, we can recognize that the progress of history toward goodness is driven by a process of constantly dividing good from evil according to God’s providence of restoration.
Meanwhile, on the basis of his relationship of blood ties with the first human beings, Satan has worked through fallen people to realize, in advance of God, a perverted form of the ideal society which God intends to realize. As a result, in human history we witness the rise of unprincipled societies which are built upon twisted versions of the Principle. At the end of human history, before God can restore the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, Satan will have built an unprincipled world in a distorted image of the Kingdom: this is none other than the communist world. This is an instance of how Satan, who had a head-start in the course of history, has always mimicked God’s plans in advance of God. In the course of the providence of restoration, a false likeness precedes the appearance of the true.18 Jesus’ prophecy that false Christs will appear before the Second Advent of Christ19 can be elucidated by this aspect of the Principle.
7.1 THE PROGRESS OF HISTORY IN THE AGE OF THE PROVIDENCE OF RESTORATION
Some historians have held that the first society built by fallen people was a primitive collective society. From the viewpoint of God’s providence, the primitive societies which fallen people built were centered on Satan. Though Satan may have tried to build a collective society where people shared their possessions with each other, it would still have been only a defective imitation of the society which God intends to build through people of perfect character: a society characterized by interdependence, mutual prosperity and universally shared values. Regardless of the form, this satanic primitive society could not have been free of struggle and division. If it had been, it would have perpetuated its existence forever without change, and God’s providence of restoration could never have been fulfilled.
In reality, the two minds at war within a fallen person give rise to internal conflicts which manifest themselves through his actions and cause him to be in conflict with others. Therefore, it would have been impossible for a satanic primitive society pursuing the goal of collective living ever to maintain peace. As primitive societies evolved into larger-scale societies with different economic and social relations, these conflicts inevitably evolved in a corresponding manner. Due to the activity of the original mind calling people to respond to God’s providence of restoration, divisions between relative good and evil surely arose in primitive societies under satanic sovereignty.
When we examine the course of social development guided by Satan, we find that clan societies arose out of the divisions between individuals in primitive societies. These societies have tended to expand in scope, with clan societies developing into feudalistic societies and then into monarchic societies by increasing their territory and power. Satan preempted this pattern ahead of God, because he understood God’s plan to call good individuals out of the sinful world and have them build a good clan society, then expand to a good feudalistic society, and finally reach the stage of a good kingdom with territory and sovereignty sufficient for the Messiah to come and accomplish his work.
God called Abraham out of the sinful world to be the standard-bearer of goodness and blessed him with descendants who would uphold the Will of God. God raised up Abraham’s descendants into the first Israelite clan society. They entered Egypt as a clan society, but by the time they left Egypt for Canaan, they had grown into a tribal society. Israelite society in the period of the judges was a feudalistic society. (A feudalistic society in this discussion refers to a society with a political system characterized by master-servant relationships of service and obedience and an economic system composed of self-sufficient units in small, isolated territories.) In the period of the judges, Israelite society had such characteristics. When the Israelites entered Canaan, a portion of land was allocated to each tribe. The judges who ruled these territories played a role similar to that of bishops and feudal lords in early medieval Europe.
It is the nature of a feudalistic society that its people espouse the beliefs of their lord and obey his commands. As long as the lord remains faithful to the Will of God, his people will follow him and stand on God’s side. Living in a political system built on master-servant relationships and having a self-sufficient economy largely isolated from the outside world, they have considerable capacity to withstand Satan’s invasion from outside. The main reason that a clan society develops into a feudalistic society is to bring property and people, which had belonged to Satan, back to God’s side. By expanding the territory under God’s sovereignty, they are better placed to ward off Satan’s invasion. Understanding this divine providence, Satan tried to preserve his rule by preempting it and forming his own feudalistic societies many centuries earlier.
The providential purpose of the feudalistic society of early Israel was to lay a foundation for the establishment of a monarchic society with greater territory and more powerful sovereignty. The monarchic society amalgamated the smaller units of political and economic sovereignty secured by the earlier feudalistic society into a single territory with a large population, a strong economy and a well-defended sovereignty. This was done with the establishment of the united kingdom of Israel founded by King Saul.
Jesus was to come as the King of Kings.20 God built the monarchic society in Israel to prepare a strong enough foundation for him to come as the Messiah and rule as King of Kings.
Long before this, Satan understood the providence to receive the Messiah behind the construction of the monarchy and had formed his own monarchic societies to block God’s providence. Many centuries before the founding of the united kingdom of Israel, the first dynasty of Egypt had been founded, and pharaonic Egypt continued through some thirty dynasties. The ancient kingdom of Babylon had ruled all of Mesopotamia during the reign of King Hammurabi in the eighteenth century B.C., and the Hittites ruled supreme over the Near East in the region of Syria during the fourteenth century B.C. Even within the satanic world, there was constant warfare between relatively good kingdoms and relatively evil kingdoms, resulting in the separation of good from evil. This drive toward goodness is rooted in the original mind, which responds to the call of God’s providence of restoration.
Had King Solomon served God’s Will until the end, he could have exercised his God-given political skills to unify the nations of the Near East. He could have assimilated the Egyptian, Minoan and Mesopotamian civilizations, which were weak at that time. He thus would have built a worldwide dominion to which the Messiah could come and realize God’s sovereignty on earth. Unfortunately, Solomon fell into idolatry. Consequently, God had to begin a dispensation to dismantle this monarchic society which He had so painfully built up.
Since the kings of the united kingdom of Israel did not lay the foundation for the Messiah, nor complete the groundwork upon which God could restore His sovereignty, God eventually divided the kingdom into two: Israel in the north and Judah in the south. When they continued to transgress against God’s Will, God let the northern kingdom of Israel be destroyed at the hands of the gentile nation of Assyria. The Assyrians in the eighth century B.C. had conquered the entire ancient Near East, including Egypt, to build the first world empire. The kingdom of Judah upheld God’s Will for a time, but then rebelled against Him. Hence, God allowed it to fall into the hands of the neo-Babylonian Empire, which had supplanted Assyria as the second world empire.
After the fall of Judah, God kept the throne of Israel vacant and put the Jewish people under the control of successive gentile empires for most of the period leading up to the coming of the Messiah. Most notably, God placed them in the Hellenistic cultural sphere, which laid the ideological framework for democracy. God fashioned Israel’s society in the form of democracy in order that when the Messiah came, he could be hailed as their king by the will of the people, who should have welcomed him wholeheartedly. However, the Jewish public did not so elevate Jesus. Without public support, he was crucified. Consequently, at the consummation of the providence which had begun two thousand years earlier with the calling of Abraham and his descendants out of the sinful world, its purpose was attained only spiritually.
7.2 THE PROGRESS OF HISTORY IN THE AGE OF THE PROLONGATION OF THE PROVIDENCE OF RESTORATION
7.2.1 THE PROVIDENCE OF RESTORATION AND THE HISTORY OF THE WEST
The Roman Empire, which had persecuted Christianity, finally knelt before the crucified Jesus in the fourth century and adopted Christianity as the state religion. Nevertheless, the original providential role of the Roman Empire, which had unified the ancient world around the Mediterranean Sea, was to lay the foundation for Christ’s kingdom on earth. Had the Jewish people believed in Jesus as the Messiah and united with him, the Roman Empire would have been won over by Jesus during his lifetime. Jesus would have been honored throughout the empire as the King of Kings. He would have established a worldwide dominion with Jerusalem as its capital. However, because the Jewish people disbelieved, Judea was destroyed and the Roman Empire was fated to decline. After a century of barbarian invasions, the Western Roman Empire came to an end in 476 A.D.
In this manner, the center of God’s providence of restoration shifted from Judea, the land of God’s bitter grief, to Western Europe, formerly the territory of the Western Roman Empire now occupied by the Germanic tribes. Accordingly, the spiritual providence of restoration based on Christianity has been conducted primarily in Western Europe. Only in Western Europe has the history of this era progressed strictly according to the pattern set by the providence of restoration.21 The history of Christianity in Western Europe provides us with information about the events which shaped the Age of the Prolongation of the Providence of Restoration.
7.2.2 THE MUTUAL RELATIONS BETWEEN RELIGIOUS HISTORY, ECONOMIC HISTORY AND POLITICAL HISTORY
To enable human beings to rule both the spirit world and the physical world, God created them as the dual entities of spirit self and physical self.22 Had human beings not fallen, their spirit self and physical self would have reached perfection together. Their spiritual intellect and physical intellect would have joined in complete harmony during earthly life. After human beings fell and became ignorant of both the spiritual and physical worlds, God worked to overcome spiritual ignorance through religion and physical ignorance through science.23
Religions have helped fallen people gradually overcome their spiritual ignorance by stimulating their latent original mind to activity. They have been teaching people to focus their lives on the invisible, causal world of God. Since not everyone feels an immediate need for religion, only a few exceptional people attain spiritual knowledge rapidly. For the vast majority, spiritual growth remains a slow process. We see this from the fact that even today, with religions widespread throughout the world, people’s spiritual level is often no better than that of people in ancient times.
On the other hand, everyone is familiar with the findings of science, which have greatly enhanced our knowledge of the physical world. Since science deals with practical matters, everyone feels a strong need for it. Thus, the increase in humankind’s knowledge of the physical world has generally been widespread and rapid. Furthermore, while the objects of religious study are in the intangible, transcendent world of cause, scientific research examines tangible, material objects in the world of result. Hence, to this day religion and science remain theoretically irreconcilable. Moreover, because Satan, who holds sovereignty over the universe, attacks and corrupts people through their life in the world, religions teach one to deny the world. As such, religions cannot easily harmonize with science, which seeks to improve life in the world. We know that in the beginning, God created the outward physical body of human beings before imbuing them with their inner spirit.24 The providence of restoration, which is a work of re-creation, follows the same pattern, from the external to the internal. From this providential perspective, it is evident that during their course of development, religion and science are often at variance, even in conflict.25
The same discord is found in the relationship between people’s religious and economic life. Like science, economic activities deal with the practical world. Indeed, economic progress bears a close relationship to the development of science. Accordingly, religious history, based on the internal development of God’s providence, and economic history, based on the external development of His providence, have taken divergent directions and have progressed at different rates. Therefore, to grasp the progress of the history of the West, which has followed the pattern set by God’s providence of restoration, we must examine the history of Christianity and Western economic history separately.
As with the relationship between religion and science, religion and economy are related in that they are responsible for restoring the internal and external aspects of fallen people’s lives. Although religion and economy, like religion and science, seem to develop at variance with each other, they are related in the life of society. Thus, there has been some mutual influence between the history of Christianity and economic history.
Religion and economy are integrated with our life in society through politics. Especially in Western Europe, politics has sought to connect economic development, which has closely followed the progress of science, with the path of Christianity, which has often lacked a clear sense of its providential direction. Western political history has pioneered a path through which to harmonize religion and economy. Therefore, to accurately grasp the progress of history as it moves toward the goal of the providence of restoration, we must also investigate separately the history of politics.
As an illustration of how the courses of religious, political and economic development have progressed separately, let us sketch the historical situation of Western Europe toward the end of the seventeenth century. With respect to the history of religion, democratic values had already taken root in the Christianity of this period. Christianity of a monarchic polity under the rule of the papacy had fragmented with the Protestant Reformation in 1517. The people of Europe, whose life of devotion in medieval times had been subject to the papal hierarchy, were gradually liberated to lead a Christian life based on their own reading of the Bible. With regard to the politics of this period, absolute monarchy was at its height. Economically, feudal society based on the manor system persisted in many parts of Europe. Thus, the same European society was becoming democratic with respect to religious life while remaining monarchic with respect to political life and feudal with respect to economic life.
We also should clarify why the development of history through most of the Old Testament Age was not characterized by this pattern of separate development. In ancient Israel, the progress of science was extremely slow. Hence, its economic life did not develop, and its society had little specialization. The people led a simple life under a social system in which religion was an integral part of their daily life. Bound by master-servant relationships and the strict code of the Mosaic Law, they had to obey their rulers in matters both political and religious. In that age, religion, politics and economy did not progress separately.
7.2.3 CLAN SOCIETY
Let us examine the progress of history in terms of religion, politics and economy during the New Testament Age. The inclination of the original mind to respond to God’s providence of restoration generally brings about divisions in a society centered on Satan. Those who follow God’s Will are singled out in this process and may gather to form a clan society on God’s side. The birth of the Christian clan society followed this pattern. With the crucifixion of Jesus, the Jewish nation had fallen to Satan’s side and God could not continue with His providence of restoration in that society under such circumstances. Consequently, God broke up that society, calling devout believers out of it to establish a Christian clan society.
In the Old Testament Age, Jacob’s twelve sons led his seventy kinsmen to form the Israelite clan society and set out on the course of the providence. Similarly, in the New Testament Age, Jesus’ twelve disciples led his seventy followers to form the Christian clan society and commence God’s new providence. Christian clan society was composed of rudimentary communities with little or no structured political or economic system. In this period, religion, politics and economics did not progress independently.
Despite severe persecution, Christian clan society gradually prospered in the Roman Empire around the Mediterranean Sea and developed into a Christian tribal society. Battered by the mass migrations of peoples which began in the latter half of the fourth century, the Western Roman Empire fell by 476 A.D. Christian society expanded greatly as Christianity was brought to the Germanic peoples who migrated into this territory.
7.2.4 FEUDALISTIC SOCIETY
With the progress of history, clan society developed into feudalistic society. A feudalistic society was born in Europe when, around the fall of the Roman Empire, imperial authority waned and the empire sank into chaos. In this society, religion, politics and economy would eventually divide and take separate paths.
In the early days of this feudalistic society, particularly among the newly-Christianized Germanic tribes, free peasants and warriors were ruled by local princes. Political power was diffused among many lords, each ruling over his territory in the absence of any national authority. Feudalistic society in Europe then gradually developed into a political system based on master-servant relationships at every level, as between lords of different ranks and their knights, and the self-sufficient economy of the manor system. After the fall of the Carolingian Empire, mature feudalism would spread everywhere in Europe. Land was divided into many manors, each ruled by a feudal lord. These lords were responsible for all aspects of life in their manors and had supreme judicial authority. Farmers traded their private land to the feudal lords or monasteries in exchange for military protection, and their land was returned to them as a fief. Vassal knights received manors from their feudal lords in return for service as their private soldiers. While a lower ranking knight might own only a single manor, each king or great lord possessed hundreds or thousands of such manors, which he distributed as fiefs to his vassals. The kings had limited power and were no more than great feudal lords.
Religious life in Europe during the period of regional church leadership developed along the same lines as the early feudalism of its political and economic life; hence it may be termed feudalistic Christianity. Patriarchs, archbishops and bishops assumed positions corresponding to major, medium and minor feudal lords. As a king was only one of the great feudal lords, the pope was only one of the five patriarchs. The political structure within the Roman Catholic church was founded upon strict hierarchical relationships between master and servant. A bishop or abbot had a social rank and power comparable to a secular feudal lord. Acting as the lord of his church estates, he could, if necessary, raise an army from the ranks of his vassals.
With respect to economic life, this period began with a time of transition from the slave society of ancient Rome to the manor system. Some of the land in this period began to be owned by a free peasantry. In terms of land tenure, people’s status in this period could be classified into four grades: nobility, free peasantry, serfs and slaves.
In this way, out of the ashes of the Western Roman Empire, God raised a feudalistic society among the newly-Christianized Germanic peoples whom He had chosen to lead the providence. By strengthening small units under godly sovereignty in the spheres of religious, political and economic life, God laid the groundwork to establish a godly kingdom.
7.2.5 MONARCHIC SOCIETY AND IMPERIALISM
With the progress of history, feudalistic society developed into monarchic society. Politically, how did European monarchic society arise? The kingdoms built by the Germanic peoples in Western Europe were all short-lived, except for the Kingdom of the Franks. The Frankish kings of the Merovingian dynasty received Christianity and absorbed the heritage of Roman civilization to form a Germanic-Roman world in Western Europe. After the Merovingian kings lost power, Charles Martel became the effective ruler of the Franks. He expanded the kingdom by defeating the Moors, who had invaded from the southwest. His son, Pepin the Short, became the first Carolingian king and was the father of Charlemagne. Charlemagne thought highly of St. Augustine’s vision of a Christian kingdom and made it the guiding principle of the realm. Charlemagne’s empire unified western and central Europe, bringing stability to lands which had formerly been in turmoil due to massive migrations.
In the sphere of religion, monarchic Christianity, which followed feudalistic Christianity, was a spiritual kingdom which transcended national borders. It was established under the rule of the papacy and upon the spiritual foundation for the Messiah. In 800 A.D., Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne emperor and gave him the Church’s blessing. By this act, the pope passed on to him the central responsibility for the providence. The spiritual kingdom under the papacy and the Kingdom of the Franks under Charlemagne united and formed the Christian empire.
The period of the Christian empire was parallel to the period of the united kingdom of Israel in the Old Testament Age. In both cases, a monarchic society followed a feudalistic society for the purpose of consolidating a greater sovereignty, population and territory on God’s side. It was explained earlier that the pope had been leading the Church from the position of archangel in order to pave the way for an earthly kingdom. But after crowning the emperor and giving him God’s blessing, the pope was then to serve him from the position of Cain.26 The emperor, in turn, was to uphold the teachings of the papacy and carry on political work to realize a kingdom fit to receive the Messiah. Had they thus built the Christian empire in full accordance with the Will of God, this period would have been the Last Days of human history, when the Messiah could have come. The new truth would have then appeared to resolve the problems of religion and science as an integrated human endeavor, guiding religion, politics and economy to progress in one unified direction based on God’s ideal. On this basis, the foundation for the Second Advent of the Messiah was to have been established. Moreover, with the dawning of the period of the Christian empire, feudalism should have come to a complete end.
However, the popes and the emperors deviated from the Will of God. This made it impossible for them to realize Charlemagne’s founding ideal. As a result, feudalistic society was not dismantled; on the contrary, it grew stronger over the next several centuries. Religion, politics and economy remained divided, with the spiritual kingdom ruled by the papacy coming into frequent conflict with earthly kingdoms ruled by kings.
The Christian empire failed to build a unified kingdom to which the Messiah could come. Charlemagne built his empire when the foundation of early feudal society was ripe for consolidation into a strong monarchy. However, he never fully subjugated the vested powers of the feudal lords. Instead, the feudal system strengthened, with the Holy Roman Emperor reduced to just one of the great feudal lords.
The feudal system would dominate Europe until the rise of absolute monarchy in the seventeenth century. With the decline of feudalism at that time, the previously decentralized powers of the feudal lords came to be concentrated in the hands of kings of large nation-states. The kings came to command absolute power and justified it by the doctrine of the divine right of kings. Absolute monarchies flourished until the French Revolution in 1789.
In the sphere of religious history, what were some of the trends during the period when Christianity led by the papacy had a monarchic structure? The popes fell away from God’s Will and became secularized; they were on the path of spiritual decline. Due to repeated defeats in the Crusades, the papacy lost its authority, and during its exile in Avignon, it was deprived of power and dignity. With the Protestant Reformation in 1517, Western Christianity ceased to be a unitary spiritual monarchy.
When we examine the progress of economic life, we find that feudal economic arrangements persisted even when political feudalism was being replaced by absolute monarchy. Capitalism was growing in the cities and towns, where manufacturers and merchants joined forces with the kings and fought against the constraining feudal system. New agricultural arrangements arose in the countryside, where independent farmers sought the aid of the king to resist the rule of the feudal lords. Still, neither of these economic developments could entirely displace feudalism, which continued until the French Revolution.
In the progress of economic history, feudalism was followed by capitalism, which was accompanied by the age of colonial expansion. As the consolidation of political sovereignty was the goal of absolute monarchy, monopolization of finances and capital was the goal of powerful capitalists. Capitalism arose concurrently with the rise of absolute monarchy in the seventeenth century and flourished during and after the Industrial Revolution. Capitalism’s purpose in the providence was to promote the accumulation of capital and the centralization of economic activity to an extent impossible under feudalism; this was even more the case with imperialism.
The imperialist drive for colonial expansion which began in this period had, as its providential purpose, the establishment of a worldwide economic, political and religious foundation. This discussion focuses on European imperialism alone, because the course of God’s providence of restoration was centered on Western Europe. Competition among the nations of Western Europe led to their scramble for colonies all over the globe before World War I. This enabled the entire world to progress into Western Christian civilization.
7.2.6 DEMOCRACY AND SOCIALISM
The age of monarchy gave way to the age of democracy. We recall that the purpose of monarchic society was to construct a kingdom which could support the Messiah and his reign. When this dispensation was not accomplished during the Christian empire, however, God began a process that would eventually tear down monarchic societies and raise up democracies in their place in order to commence a new providence for rebuilding a sovereign nation fit to receive the Messiah.
Democracy is based on the sovereignty of the people; it is government of, by and for the people. Its purpose is to destroy the political monopoly of monarchy, which had deviated from God’s Will, and to establish a new political system capable of accomplishing the goal of the providence of restoration, namely, to receive and support the Messiah as the King of Kings.
How can democracy accomplish its purpose? With the flow of history, humankind’s spirituality has become enlightened due to the merit of the age in the providence of restoration. People’s original minds respond to the providence and seek religion, often without their knowing why. Eventually, people will come to receive Christianity, which God is raising to be the highest religion. In this way, the world today is converging to form a single civilization based on Christian ideals.
As history nears its consummation, the will of the people inclines toward Christian values. Democratic governments which abide by the will of the people also gradually become more Christian. Thus, when the Messiah returns to societies under the rule of democratic governments well-matured by the Christian spirit, he will be able to establish God’s sovereignty upon the earth with the wholehearted support of the people. This will be the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. We need to understand that democracy was born to undermine satanic monopolies of power for the purpose of God’s final providence to restore, by the will of the people, a heavenly sovereignty under the leadership of the returning Christ.
The democratic movements which rose against the absolute monarchies of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries gave rise to revolutions in England, America and France. These revolutions destroyed monarchic societies and gave birth to today’s democratic societies. The different forms taken by democracy according to the providential trends of Hebraism and Hellenism will be discussed in the next chapter.27
The progress of history in the religious sphere moved to the stage of democratic Christianity after monarchic Christianity was shattered by the Protestant Reformation of 1517. Through the Reformation, democratic forces within Christianity dismantled the spiritual kingdom over which the papacy had commanded sole authority. God’s original desire was that the Christian empire unite with monarchic papal Christianity to build the kingdom to which the Messiah would come. However, when the popes failed in their responsibilities, the monarchic Christianity over which they had all authority had to be dismantled. This has been the mission of democratic Christianity, just as the mission of political democracy has been to destroy the absolutist sovereignty of secular monarchy. Accordingly, after the Protestant Reformation, the way was open for people to freely seek God through their own reading of the Bible, without the mediation of the priesthood. People were no longer subjected to the authority of others in their religious life, but could freely seek their own path of faith. Democratic Christianity has thus created a social environment which allows all people to seek freely for Christ at his return, regardless of the manner in which he may come.
Similarly, with the progress of economic history, socialist ideals arose which undermined imperialism and fostered a democratic form of economy. Although some historians have regarded World War I as a war fought by imperialist nations over colonies, in fact, soon after its conclusion the democratic spirit rose to prominence and began to undermine colonialist policy. At the end of World War II, the great powers began to divest themselves of their colonies and liberate the nations under their control. Upon the fall of imperialism, capitalism began to evolve into a form of economy which would foster equal and common prosperity.
It is only natural for the satanic realm, which reached its apogee in communism, to promote socialism. This is because Satan always attempts to realize, in advance of God, a defective imitation of the divine plan. God’s plan is to develop a socialistic economy, although with a form and content utterly different from the state socialism that communism actually established.
According to God’s ideal of creation, God confers upon each individual the same original value. Just as parents love all their children equally, God desires to provide pleasant environments and living conditions equally to all His children. Moreover, in an ideal society, production, distribution and consumption should have the same organic relationship as exists between the functions of digestion, circulation and metabolism in the human body. Thus, there should not be destructive competition due to over-production, nor unfair distribution leading to excessive accumulation and consumption, which are contrary to the purpose of the public good. There should be sufficient production of necessary and useful goods, fair and efficient distribution of these goods, and reasonable consumption which is in harmony with the purpose of the whole. Just as the liver provides a reserve of nutrients for the human body, adequate reserves of capital should be maintained to ensure smooth operation of the entire economy.
Because human beings are created to live in an ideal society, they will inevitably pursue a socialistic ideal as they strive for freedom and democracy and further search into their original nature. This is particularly true at the consummation of providential history, when this ideal can actually be realized. As this natural desire springs forth from within, politics in democracy, which is shaped by the will of the people, will also move in that direction. Eventually, a socialistic society embodying God’s ideal will be established. Early Christians lived according to this ideal in some respects by sharing all their goods in common.28 Thomas More’s Utopia, written in sixteenth-century England, and Robert Owen’s humanistic socialism during the Industrial Revolution in England each expressed a vision of the socialist ideal. Catholic and Protestant socialist movements have also shared this vision, one example being Charles Kingsley’s advocacy of Christian Socialism in England of the mid-nineteenth century. Their inclination toward socialism originated from the natural impulse of the original mind as it pursues the ideal of creation.
7.2.7 THE IDEALS OF INTERDEPENDENCE, MUTUAL PROSPERITY AND UNIVERSALLY SHARED VALUES VERSUS COMMUNISM
The merit of the age in God’s providence of restoration has furthered the development of man’s original nature, which had not been manifested due to Satan’s grip on human life. Responding to the promptings of their inmost hearts, people everywhere have ardently aspired to the world of God’s ideal where the purpose of creation is fulfilled. In seeking for a socialistic society on Heaven’s side, their original mind has drawn them to the ideals of interdependence, mutual prosperity and universally shared values. The world in which these ideals will finally be realized is none other than the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, under the leadership of the returning Christ.
Since Satan mimics God’s providence in advance, the satanic side has advocated “scientific socialism” based on the theories of dialectical and historical materialism and has built the communist world. The theory of historical materialism asserts that human history began as a primitive collective society and will be consummated with the creation of an ideal communist society. The evident errors of this theory are due to the fact that it does not take into account the fundamental cause of historical progress. After creating human beings, God promised to realize the Kingdom of Heaven. However, because Satan had formed kinship relations with people before God did, God had to permit him to construct an unprincipled world through fallen people in a distorted imitation of the ideal society which God intends to accomplish on the earth. The communist world is this unprincipled world built by Satan.
Democracies of two types arose with the purpose of dismantling absolute monarchy and transferring sovereignty to the people. Likewise, movements to further the ideals of interdependence, mutual prosperity and universally shared values arose on God’s side, while communism was born on Satan’s side, in order to demolish economic systems which concentrated a society’s wealth in the hands of a privileged few. Each of these movements has sought to establish a system which would distribute wealth more equally among people. The aspirations to socialism on both sides have arisen in their providential striving to realize a society based on a truly democratic economic system.
It was explained earlier that in the history of Western Europe as steered by the providence of restoration, the three aspects of religion, politics and economy have progressed separately through their own paths of development. How can they come together at one point at the consummation of providential history to lay the foundation for the Second Advent of Christ? A fundamental cause of this separate development was the divergence of religion and science, which are endeavors to overcome humanity’s spiritual and physical ignorance. For the paths of religion, politics and economy to converge and realize God’s ideal, a new expression of truth must emerge which can completely integrate religion and science. The religion founded upon this truth will lead all of humanity to become one with God in heart. Such people will build an economy in accordance with the divine ideal. These will be the foundations for a new political order which can realize the ideal of creation. This will be the messianic kingdom built on the principles of interdependence, mutual prosperity and universally shared values.