|Lecture 12 : [Eschatology 2] The Significance of the Last Days and our Attitude|
|Date created : 2014-11-19/ Views : 1068|
Chapter 12 The Significance of the Last Days and our Attitude
Welcome back to our series of presentations on the Unification Principle.
There are several stories and many prophecies of the destruction of the world in the Bible. The last days came in Noah’s time as well as in Jesus’ lifetime. Chapter 6:13 in Genesis records the end of the world during Noah’s lifetime. God annihilated the human race after 1600 years of sinful history which was rooted in Satan, through the flood. God wanted to create a family centered on Noah who had undying faith in God and create a world centered on God. But due to the mistake of Ham, the second son of Noah, the goal was not fully realized.
The restoration plan centered on Noah did not succeed, but God’s desire for complete restoration is absolute and unchanging. Therefore He selected the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and prepared a foundation of faith whereupon Jesus could be sent in order to destroy the world centered on Satan and restore an ideal world centered on God. So the last days took place during Jesus’s time as well. But due to the lack of faith in Jesus, it again could not be fulfilled. Jesus said that he came to light a fire on the earth, and would that it were already kindled. But the plan was postponed for the second coming.
Jesus who died on the cross bearing the pain of crucifixion was able to accomplish spiritual restoration. Thus God planned a second coming in order to accomplish the restoration of the flesh. Thus, Matthew 24, II Peter and Revelation prophesy natural catastrophes at the second coming. .(please move position)
Based on this record, what does the last days mean? Human history is God’s history of restoration. Therefore the last days is when this world that is centered on Satan will make a transition into a God centered world where the three blessings are fulfilled. So the last days can be defined as the transition period where the world centered on Satan transitions into the original ideal world centered on God. Or in other words, it is a period where the hell on earth changes to heaven on earth.
In the East, it is called ‘the dawn of civilization.’ During this time, the old era of inequality, restriction, disharmony, conflict, sadness and grief transitions into the new era of equality, freedom, harmony, unity and happiness. Thus it is not a time to fear natural catastrophes, as believed by Christian followers based on the literal interpretation of some scriptures, but a time where days of joy and happiness long desired by God and humankind since creation will arrive.
Let us study the records in Bible that teach about the last days from a historical perspective.
Some verses in the Bible prophesy the destruction of heaven and earth (II Pet. 3:12, Gen. 6:13) (Rev. 21:1, II Pet 3:13, Judges 66:22). 2 Peter 3.12-13 states that “You expect and eagerly desire the coming of the Day of God, in which the Heavens, being tested by fire, shall be dissolved, and the elements, when set on fire, shall melt.”
Will the world really burn up in the Last Days? Genesis 6:13 stated that the earth would be destroyed and annihilated during Noah’s life, but it was not destroyed. Ecclesiastes 1:4 states ‘Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever.’ and similarly Psalm 69:35-36 states
“For God will save Zion and rebuild the cities of Judah; and his servants shall live there and possess it; the children of his servants shall inherit it, and those who love his name shall live in it.”
We can infer from these statements that the earth is eternal. Thus we can conclude that the earth will not be destroyed in the last days.
That the heaven and earth will be destroyed and a new earth will be created is metaphorical. When a country is destroyed, it implies that the central power of the country will be overthrown and a new nation is built. It implies a new sovereignty will rule. Likewise, the destruction of heaven and earth means the central power controlling the earth, Satan, will be destroyed and a new heaven and earth will be established, meaning a God-centered sovereignty centered on Jesus will be restored. .(please move position)
Also, as stated in 2 Peter 3:12 “the Heavens and Earth shall be judged by fire.” Will there really be a judgment by fire on the last days? In Malachi 4:1, the Lord said he will return and judge with fire, and in the Gospel of Luke 12:49, Jesus said he came to cast a fire on the earth.
But in reality, there is no evidence or even legends of Jesus judging by literal fire. It cannot be denied that the words are metaphorical. The meaning is easy to understand. The Epistle of James 3:6 states, ’the tongue is a fire’. And in the Book of Jeremiah 23:29, says, ”Is not my word like fire, says the Lord, and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?” Therefore, the judgment by fire is ‘judgment by words, spoken by the tongue.” We are judged by God’s word. As Jesus said in John 12:48,
“The one who rejects me and does not receive my word has a judge; on the last day the word that I have spoken will serve as judge.”
In addition, the expression, the dead shall rise from the grave (Ma 27:52) is a statement of the Last Days that is misinterpreted. Will the corpses really rise from the grave? In the Gospel of Matthew 27:52, it was reported that at the time of the crucifixion, “The tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. After his resurrection they came out of the tombs and entered the holy city and appeared to many.”
Paul, in 1 Thess 4:17, prophesied, “Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever.”
But it does not mean the decomposed bodies of the believers will rise up. If the saints of the Old Testament rose out of their graves and entered the temple and people witnessed it, it would have been proof for many Jews since they were already familiar with Jesus’ claim to be the messiah. Christianity in the beginning would have spread immediately. But as we already know, there is no such evidence on record. The risen saints were seen only spiritually, by believers, and for a brief period. We will discuss later what was going on with these appearances, and the prophecy of rising into the air to meet the Lord. .(please move position)
There is another verse, “the sun and moon will turn dark and stars shall fall from the sky” (Matt 24:29), in the last days. Now, if the sun and moon go out and the stars fell to the earth—which makes no sense anyway—the existence of life one earth would become impossible. The verse, Genesis 37:9, tells us the meaning of this prophecy. It presents the dream of Joseph, the 11th among 12 sons of Jacob.
In it, it records, “Joseph dreams again and tells his brothers, that the sun and moon and eleven stars asked them all to bow down to him. When he told his dream to his father and brothers, the father rebuked him, what is this dream ! Will I and your mother and your brothers really lay flat on the ground and bow to you?” Later Joseph took the position of Prime Minister in Egypt, and his dream came true when his parents and brothers bowed to him.
From this verse, Jacob states that the sun and moon symbolize father and mother and the stars symbolize the children. This symbolizes Moses, the Law and the 12 tribes, and Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Christian believers. The Gospel was a brighter light than that of Moses and the Law, and so Moses and the Law “lost their light.” The children of Israel “fell from heaven” because they did not receive the new light. The Bible indicates that when Jesus returns back again gives his new truth, the words he delivered at his first coming will in the exact same way “lose their light.” By mentioning the falling stars he was warning Christians that they will fall from heaven if they fail to come to the new light.
As illustrated earlier, Bible signifies the last days in metaphors and symbols, and there will be no literal destruction. The last days are the last days of evil, the last days of the satanic control and the dawn of an era of hope, era of joy. It is the end of the old era and the beginning of a new era. Human beings who are embedded in this era will suffer from anxiety, uncertainty and fear, due to lack of guiding truth, and will live in fear due to conflicts and tyranny.
At this historical point of transition, one has to start looking for the central point of God’s new history. The providence of the new era does not grow from the total dissolution of the old era, but takes root in the circumstances in the last days of the old era and grows slowly. This brings it into conflict with the old era. .(please move position)
It is akin to the last days of the Old Testament era, when Jesus, who arrived as the central figure of the new providence, was seen as a heretic by the guardians of the old era. The people finally sent him to the cross. Therefore Jesus said ‘No one pours new wine into old wineskins’. (Luke 5:38)
Now is the last days of the New Testament Era. It means its time for the arrival of Jesus. After his advent, he will provide us with the new truth, a blue print to build a new heaven and new earth and restore the God’s purpose of creation. At such a transitional point in history, the ones who are embedded in the old era will go through judgment, as did the people of the Old Testament era.
Hence, for the ones who are facing the last days, more than anything, it is the time to realize the divinity deep inside through prayer with a humble heart. Do not cling to conventional notions, but prepare to respond to God.
When Jesus came, he was the Son of God and Messiah who ministered and taught, but no one truly recognized him. In the last days, the Messiah comes, but will you recognize him?
It is imperative to find new truth that will guide the new era. I hope all of you can find the new truth of this happy era and walk hand in hand on the path of true resurrection. Thank you for your kind attention, and may you consider these ideas thoughtfully as you continue in your studies.