Chapter XIV: Dispensation Time Identity

Introduction

I. INDEMNITY CONDITIONS AND DISPENSATIONAL TIME-IDENTITY

The purpose of the Dispensation for Restoration, which is to fulfil the Purpose of the Creation, will be fulfilled through the Messiah. Fallen man's responsibility is therefore to prepare the foundation necessary for the coming of the Messiah; that is, the Foundation for the Messiah. This responsibility consists of meeting the indemnity conditions necessary to restore the Foundation of Faith and the Foundation of Substance.

What happens if the central person of the Dispensation fails to fulfill his responsibility to meet the indemnity conditions? The goal of the Dispensation for Restoration was conceived in the mind of God, who is absolute, and therefore the goal of the Dispensation is also absolute and must be fulfilled (Is 48:11). Therefore, should a central person fail, God chooses another person to carry out His Will, even though this prolongs the dispensational history. At the time God chooses the new central person, the circumstances, events, and people surrounding the new central person will be similar to those under which God chose his predecessor.

Even if there is a two thousand or four thousand year hiatus in the history of restoration, similar circumstances, events, and person will appear. This reappearance of past circumstances, events, and people is called Dispensational Time- Identity. This phenomenon of Dispensational Time-Identity appears in accordance with God's Dispensation for Restoration through indemnity.

What factors create time-identity in dispensation history? The answer to this lies in the efforts by God and man to restore the Foundation for The Messiah through the indemnity process. In other words, the contents of a time-identity period consist of a central person, the time period, the required offering, the actions by which the central person establishes the Foundation of Faith, and the course through which the central person meets the Indemnity Condition to Remove the Fallen Nature and establishes the Foundation of Substance.

The levels and contents of the Foundation for the Messiah have expanded from those of the family level to those of the national and world-wide levels. Although the Dispensation for Restoration may be prolonged due to man's failure in carrying out his responsibility, God restores all that is lost by expanding his level of activity. For example, when the chosen people who were responsible for the national Foundation for the Messiah failed, God did not choose another nation for another national dispensation. If the world-wide dispensation is successfully completed, through it the national dispensation will be simultaneously recovered.

II. DIVISION OF THE DISPENSATIONAL AGES, BASED ON TIME-IDENTITY

A. Division of the Ages

Abraham's family established the family Foundation for the Messiah. For the first time in human history a victorious foundation on which God could work was established on earth. Thus, with Abraham's family, God could begin the Dispensation for Restoration. Then, what is the meaning of the history prior to the time of Abraham?

Since Abraham failed in his first sacrificial offering, history up to Abraham's later foundation of victory was taken by Satan. Therefore, that period of history became only the foundation for the Dispensation for Restoration, with Abraham's descendants becoming the people chosen to carry out God's Will. Viewed in retrospect, the period from Adam to Abraham is the period in which God established the foundation for the Dispensation for Restoration, and thus it can be called the Dispensational Age of the Foundation for Restoration through Indemnity. Seen from the viewpoint of Dispensation Time-Identity it was the Age of Symbolic Time-Identity. In that age, God intended to establish the family Foundation for the Messiah.

The time from Abraham's family to Jesus was the age of God's dispensation to restore through indemnity the lost Dispensational Age of the Foundation for Restoration. This period is called the Dispensational Age of Restoration. From the view- point of Dispensational Time-Identity, it was the Age of Image Time-Identity. In this age, God's dispensation was to establish the national Foundation for the Messiah.

Jesus came to complete the Dispensation for Restoration. If the secular and religious Israelite leaders of Jesus' day had followed him, God's Dispensation for Restoration would have been completely accomplished at that time. Sinful history would have ended, and a new history, centered on God, would have begun, fulfilling the Ideal for the Creation. The new heaven and earth that the Bible speaks of would have been established at that time. However, because of the chosen people's faithlessness toward Jesus, he was crucified and God's Dispensation could not be concluded. Jesus could do nothing other than promise that he would come again, and Christians have had to wait in hope for the time of the Second Coming.

Consequently, the time from Jesus' crucifixion to the Second Coming has been the age of God's dispensation to restore the uncompleted Dispensational Age of Restoration by means of its prolongation. Thus, this age is called the Dispensational Age of Prolongation of Restoration. From the viewpoint of Dispensational Time-Identity, it is the Age of Substantial Time-Identity. In this age, God intended to establish the world-wide Foundation for the Messiah.

B. The Parallels among the Dispensational Ages

As explained at the beginning of this chapter, the three dispensational ages are all directed toward the purpose of establishing the Foundation for the Messiah. As a result, similar conditions, events, and persons recur in the course of human history, and the three dispensational ages show direct parallels or time- identity among each other.

The parallels between the Ages of Image Time-Identity (Abraham to Jesus) and Substantial Time-Identity (Jesus to the Second Coming) will be dealt with here, while their parallels with the Age of Symbol Time- Identity (Adam to Abraham) will be explained in the more advanced Exposition of the Divine Principle.

In the Dispensational Age of Restoration, the central nation responsible for God's dispensation was the Chosen nation of Israel. The central history, of course, was the history of the nation of Israel, centered on Judaism. The detailed record of that history is found in the Old Testament.

In the Dispensational Age of the Prolongation of Restoration, the central people in charge of God's dispensation was not the nation of Israel, but rather those who believed in and followed Jesus, the Christians. Since the Christians inherited the mission of Israel, they became the Second Israel. As a result, the history of Christianity provides the central historical data for the Dispensational Age of the Prolongation of Restoration.

The Dispensational Age of Restoration is divided into six sub-periods, titled: Slavery in Egypt; Judges; United Kingdom; Divided Kingdoms of North and South; Jewish Captivity and Return; and Preparation for the Messiah.

The Dispensational Age of the Prolongation of Restoration is also divided in a similar manner, producing six sub-periods, titled: Persecution in the Roman Empire; Christian Churches under the Patriarchal system; Christian Kingdom; Divided Kingdoms of East and West; Papal Captivity and Return; and Preparation for the Second Coming of the Messiah.

The difference of almost two thousand years is not the only difference between the histories of the Dispensation Age of Restoration and the Dispensational Age of the Prolongation of Restoration -- differences in national, environmental, and cultural background are also involved. Nevertheless, each of the six sub-periods in the Age of Restoration is a period of time-identity with its corresponding sub-period in the Age of the Prolongation of Restoration. Each time-identity is described below. The remarkable similarities show that human history has been moving in accordance with the living God's consistent Dispensation for Restoration.

I. The Period of Slavery in Egypt and the Period of Persecution in the Roman Empire

The Period of Slavery in Egypt began as a result of Abraham's failure in the offering. It is the period in which Jacob's twelve sons and seventy kinsmen entered Egypt, which represented the satanic world, and in which their descendants were miserably persecuted by the Egyptians. The Period of Persecution in the Roman Empire began as a result of the Israelites' failure to believe in Jesus. This is the period in which Jesus' twelve apostles, seventy disciples, and the early Christians underwent miserable persecution in the Roman Empire, which represented the satanic world.

During the four-hundred-year period of oppression in Egypt, the chosen people of Israel maintained their position as God's faithful amidst their suffering by performing the rite of circumcision, offering sacrifices, and keeping the Sabbath. Similarly, for approximately four hundred years during the period of persecution in the Roman Empire, the Christians maintained their position as God's faithful by keeping the Sabbath, living a life of sacrifice, and performing the sacraments of holy communion and baptism.

After the four-hundred-year Period of Slavery in Egypt, God chose Moses to subjugate Pharaoh and lead the Israelites to a new environment, the land of Canaan. Likewise, Christianity, which had been persecuted, gained legal recognition 313 A.D. and was declared the state religion of the Roman Empire in 392 A.D. In this way, Christians came to be restored out of the satanic world into a spiritual Canaan.

After the Period of Slavery in Egypt, Moses received the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, setting up the core of the Old Testament. By revering the tablets of stone, the tabernacle, and the ark of the covenant, the chosen people of the First Israel prepared themselves to receive the Messiah. Likewise, toward the end of the Period of Persecution in the Roman Empire, the chosen people of the Second Israel collected Jesus' words and the writings of the apostles and established the New Testament and churches centered on the Word, thus laying a foundation necessary for the Second Coming.

2. The Period of the Judges and the Period of the Christian Churches Under the Patriarchal System

During the four-hundred-year period after Joshua and Caleb led the Israelites into Canaan, the nation of Israel was led by judges. These judges each carried out the multiple functions of prophet, chief priest, and king. During the Period of the Christian Churches under the Patriarchal System, the Christians were led by the patriarchs, whose duties, from the standpoint of the Dispensation for Restoration, corresponded to those of the judges.

During the Period of the Judges, a feudal system arose in Israel, centered on the judges and based on the new land allotted to each tribe. Likewise, after Christianity's liberation from persecution in the Roman Empire, the Gospel was spread to the Germanic tribes that had moved to western Europe because of the fourth century invasion by the Huns from Mongolia. There, in the new land of western Europe, a feudal system arose.

3. The Period of the United Kingdom and the Period of the Christian Kingdom

With the beginning of the United Kingdom of Israel, the period during which the judges led the First Israel ended, and the mission of the judges was divided among the prophets, the chief priest, and the king. Likewise, with the beginning of the Period of the Christian kingdom, the period of patriarchal leadership over the Second Israel ended, and the mission of the patriarchs was divided among the monks, the pope, and the king. As the United Kingdom of Israel had begun when the prophet Samuel anointed Saul as the first king, in accordance with God's command, what in God's dispensation was to have become a united Christian empire began when Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne emperor of the Franks and Romans.

4. The Period of the Divided Kingdoms of North and South and the Period of the Divided Kingdoms of East and West

The United Kingdom of Israel, which had begun with King Saul, continued under King David and King Solomon; then it was divided into the northern kingdom of Israel, consisting of ten tribes in the Cain position, and the southern kingdom of Judah, consisting of two tribes, in the Abel position.

The Christian Kingdom, which had begun with Charlemagne, was also divided, but into three parts -- the East Frank kingdom (the kingdom of Louis the German), the West Frank kingdom (the kingdom of Charles the Bald), and the middle kingdom (the kingdom of Lothair) -- because of quarrels among Charlemagne's three grandsons. However, soon after the Period of the Divided Kingdoms began under Henry I in 919, Italy came under the control of the East Frank kingdom, and so the division became one between the kingdoms of the East Franks, or the Holy Roman Empire, and the West Franks, or the Kingdom of France, with the eastern kingdom in the Abel position and the western kingdom in the Cain position.

5. The Period of Jewish Captivity and Return and the Period of Papal Captivity and Return

The northern kingdom of Israel began its faithless ways soon after the United Kingdom was divided, and it perished as a result of its disbelief (ca. 722 B.C.). The southern kingdom of Judah also became faithless. Thus, these kingdoms failed to unite centered on God's ideal of the temple, and therefore they failed to establish the Foundation for the Messiah. Therefore, God allowed them to be taken captive and suffer at the hands of the Assyrians and the Babylonians, respectively, that is, at the hands of the satanic world.

In the south, Babylon gained control in 608 B.C., and beginning with Daniel and a few members of the nobility (605 B.C.), began a series of deportations of the Hebrews to Babylon, where they had to remain for almost seventy years (Dan 1:1-6; Jer 25:11,12; 29:10; 39:1-10; II Kings 24,25). In 539 B.C., Persia conquered Babylon, and King Cyrus issued a decree freeing the Jews, who returned to their native land in three groups over a ninety-four-year period (culminating in 444 B.C.). However, until the reformation centered on Malachi, they did not establish themselves as a nation based on the Law and did not establish traditions acceptable to God. From the dispensational viewpoint, only when they actually reformed their practices according to the Law could they be considered as having returned (to their position as God's people). The conclusion of the returning period initiated the Period of Preparation for the Messiah.

From the end of the Period of the Christian Kingdom, which was to prepare the world-wide foundation for the Second Coming, until the time when the papacy fell into complete corruption, God sent many signs -- such as the defeats in the Crusades -- to make the popes and priests repent. But they did not repent, and instead, with the gradual expansion of royal power, conflict developed between popes and kings.

Pope Boniface VIII came into conflict with the French King, Philip IV, and was even imprisoned by him for a time. In 1309, Clement V, whose election as the first French pope was arranged by Philip IV, moved the papacy from Rome to Avignon in southern France. There the succeeding popes lived for almost seventy years under the influence of the French kings. In 1377, Pope Gregory XI returned the papacy to Rome, initiating the period of return from exile. For the next one hundred forty years there was much confusion, with even three popes reigning simultaneously for a time. By the end of this period the pope in Rome had regained absolute control in the church.

6. The Period of Preparation for the Messiah and the Period of Preparation for the Second Coming

After returning from captivity in Babylon, the Israelites rebuilt the temple which had been destroyed, and at the urging of the prophet Malachi repented of their past sins of having worshipped foreign gods. They centered on the Law, inspiring a reformation movement and the beginning of the four-hundred-year Period of Preparation for the Messiah. After the pope returned to Rome, reformation movements inspired by God began, and the Christian church established a world-wide base of faith for the Second Coming. Through the Reformation, the dark clouds of the Middle Ages were penetrated, and, inspired by a new and passionate faith, a movement to spread the Gospel throughout the world arose. The four-hundred-year period that began with the Reformation is called the Period of Preparation for the Second Coming.

The Old Testament Age was the age in which faith in God was demonstrated through the external response of offerings and compliance with the Law. Therefore, in order to indemnify the entire history since Abraham in the Period of Preparation for the Messiah, the First Israel had to suffer external tribulations under the rule of Persia, Greece, Egypt, Syria, and Rome.

The New Testament Age is the age in which man was to demonstrate faith in God through the internal response of prayer and faith based on Jesus' words. Therefore, in the Period of Preparation for the Second Coming, the Second Israel had to endure internal tribulations. With the rise of humanism (the leading philosophy of the Renaissance), Enlightenment philosophies, and superficially applied freedom of faith after the Reformation, Christianity (the Second Israel) had to endure great chaos and confusion. Christians in that period had to indemnify the entire course of history since Jesus' time by overcoming severe internal trials in their religious lives.

During the Period of Preparation for the Messiah, God prepared the First Israel to receive the Messiah by reforming and renewing Judaism and by having the prophet Malachi prophesy concerning the Messiah's coming. However, although God focused his efforts to prepare for the Messiah on the nation of Israel, he also prepared the rest of the world for the Messiah's coming. Among the Gentiles, God had Gautama Buddha of India (565 - 485 B.C.) pioneer the base for Buddhism by improving Hinduism, and he had Socrates (470 - 399 B.C.) pioneer the period of the great philosophers in Greece.

In the Orient, God had Confucius (552 - 479 B.C.) set up a standard of human ethics and morality through Confucianism. God thus had each establish the culture and religion suitable for his particular place and people so that they might make the necessary spiritual preparation to receive the Messiah. Jesus, coming on the foundation of this preparation, intended to unify all of the regions and various religions and cultures into one sphere of God-centered culture by absorbing Judaism, Hellenism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and all the religions and cultures that God had prepared.

God also prepared the world for the Messiah's coming by uniting the Mediterranean world and developing the Roman Empire, with its ease of communication in all directions and its vast cultural sphere based on a common language (Greek). With this external foundation already made through God's dispensation, when the Messiah came, his ideology would have been able to quickly expand from Israel to Rome, and from Rome to the whole world.

Similarly, God worked in the Period of Preparation for the Second Coming to prepare the world in addition to Christianity. Prior to the Messiah's birth (two thousand years ago), God had to prepare the different peoples to receive what the Messiah would teach. That preparation was made in Judaism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and the other religions and ethical developments that God stimulated and developed. The ethical, spiritual, and Heart foundation for the Second Coming is made through Christianity. Therefore, God prepared the world for the Second Coming by the spread of Christianity throughout the world.

In the Period of Preparation for the Second Coming, the external circumstances were also greatly developed as a foundation for the Messiah's second coming. God has worked to develop the external conditions to the point where the Messiah will be able to use them to establish the Kingdom of Heaven. The separation of cultures is being overcome by modern developments in communication and transportation that make possible the rapid and frequent interchange of languages, traditions, and cultures.

One of the developments which will greatly help the Messiah teach the ideals and ways of heaven is the development of global communications systems. Beginning with the Industrial Revolution, the great developments in almost every area of human concern have prepared nearly everything necessary to produce an ideal environment (e.g., production of food, clothing, medicines, environmental control, and electricity).

We have reviewed the histories of the First and Second Israel as they occurred in different eras and different places and with the key roles played by different people. Yet, we can see an astonishing time- identity when we look at these two histories from the dispensational viewpoint. This time-identity appears because both histories are histories of the central dispensation to prepare for the Messiah and thus both dispensations have been inspired and led by God.


The Principle of Creation
How can we know the nature of God, who is invisible? We can know it through observing the Creation. Just as the work of an artist is a visible manifestation of its maker's invisible nature, every being in the Creation is a substantial manifestation of the invisible nature of God, its Creator.

The Fall of Man
Every person has an original mind whose nature is to pursue goodness and repel evil. But fallen people are unconsciously driven by an evil force to commit evil acts, contrary to the desires of their original mind. In Christianity, the one who controls this evil force is known as Satan. This chapter, "The Fall," makes clear the identity of Satan and the origin of evil.

Mission of the Messiah
What is salvation? Salvation in restoration: to save a drowning person is to rescue him and restore him to the state he was in before he began to drown. God's salvation of man means God's restoration of fallen and sinful man to his original state of goodness -- to the position where he can fulfill the Purpose of the Creation.
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