1517-1917 PREPARATION FOR THE MESSIAH
When Adam and Eve fell, they became ignorant spiritually of God and ignorant of the workings of the physical world. Mankind is basically good and has throughout history been led by his basic good nature to overcome his ignorance. There is a gyroscope that is like a compass which constantly leads man to return to a close relationship with God by restoring his spiritual senses.
Likewise there is a deep urge to find the scientific laws that govern this universe to restore the third blessing of dominion over creation. We are to live in harmony with nature and also in luxury, free of disease, hunger and suffering that has been unleashed by Satan since the Fall.
We are going to look at the dramatic advance by mankind to overcome ignorance in the last 400 years. God is the main force behind this because he wants the world prepared spiritually and physically for the new Messiah. God wants him to be accepted and heard the world over. We must not repeat the mistake the Israelites and Romans made 2000 years ago.
Jesus was only able to tell a few parables and was not given the time to speak in depth:"I have said to you in figures, the hour is coming when I shall no longer speak to you in figures but tell you plainly of the father (John 16:25).
The third Adam will speak in clear language because God will have through education and in spirit raised mankind. God was devastated that the Israelites were not advanced enough to understand Jesus and were so low spiritually that they nailed him to a cross. God was not going to have this happen again. So the last 2000 years God has been working with Jesus and good spirit men and women to raise mankind to a higher level spiritually and intellectually.
Jesus said that day will come when the Messiah will give all the truth:"I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the spirit of truth comes. He will guide you into all truth (John 16:120). The Divine Principle is"all the truth that speaks"plainly of the Father.
Satan has also been hard at work these 400 years to thwart God's efforts. There has been such an advancement of knowledge, goodness, charity and spiritual values and yet at the same time there has been incredible brutality and suffering of so many millions and even billions of people, especially in the twentieth century. The 20th century is the final showdown in the battle between God and Satan.
The last 400 years can be divided into three periodsBeach roughly lasting 130 years. In each period we will look at the development of the satanic side which we will call the Cain side and we will follow the Abel or God's side.
To overcome mankind's ignorance of the external world man's original nature has driven him to the study of science. This is why we see the advent of the Renaissance.
RENAISSANCE AND REFORMATION
The first period is divided into the Cain development of the Renaissance and the Abel development of the Reformation. The new burst of exploration and learning in the Renaissance had its roots in Hellenism. There was renewed interest in the ancient Greeks or Hellenic culture. The Greeks were not particularly religious, and men of the Renaissance, although they usually believed in God, were so preoccupied with their new discoveries and the world around them that they concentrated more on the pleasures of this world unlike the Medievals who went too far in concentrating on the future heaven. A major influence that also stirred more interest in the physical world was the effect of the many who went on the crusades. Many found in the Near East fabulous cities with exotic foods and dress that diminished the impact of the Church which said this world was a vale of tears and not to be enjoyed.
God supported the Renaissance. God wanted man to be the Lord of Creation and to enjoy this earth, but he wanted a balance of an understanding of the spirit too. God wanted man to be free of the chains of Satan. He created man with reason and a unique individuality. Unfortunately some people came to emphasize man's reason and individuality too much. They began to emphasize humanism over religion. This rise in humanism emphasizing the five physical senses and looked more to man's reason than to the value of visions, dreams, revelations and mysticism. These developments began to separate men from God. Satan was guiding this. Satan corrupted the legitimate use of material things in life. He promoted hedonism, greed and the view that man is the center of the universe and not dependent on God.
God was successful in the Renaissance by giving man a better view of his body and the world. He inspired naturalness in the art of Michelangelo and others. God desired that man restore his self-esteem which Satan took away.
Man became excited about the world around him. Copernicus and Leonardo da Vinci made great discoveries. Descartes invented analytic geometry. Galileo advanced astronomy. The telescope and microscope were invented. Columbus discovered America.
Another invention God inspired was the printing press. Satan's tactic is ignorance and the suppression of truth and knowledge. God wanted the world educated unlike the Israelites who killed Jesus. To help reach the world God helped Martin Luther translate the Bible into German. Dante wrote in Italian, Chaucer and Wycliffe in English rather than the Latin that only a few could read.
God was working, not only 400 years to prepare the world for the Messiah, but also He was preparing for the modern world 600 years. The Bible says God created man on the sixth day. God prepared an environment for six periods of time and then Adam was born. The number six is the number for man and in God's providence of re-creation He starts a preparation period of six centuries before the Messiah is born. Six centuries before Jesus, God sent intellectual and spiritual leaders to elevate people to a higher spiritual level so they could more easily accept the Messiah when he came. It is not a coincidence that around 600 B.C. Confucius and Buddha came. The Greek civilization emerged about the sixth century B.C. God influenced it to raise man's understanding of the world through the arts and sciences.
Likewise, six centuries before the Third Adam was to be born, God raised mankind and prepared an environment for him to be accepted by starting the Renaissance in Italy around the fourteenth century.
The Renaissance had its roots in ancient Greek Hellenic thought. This was basically a horizontal view of the world. The truer view is to see the world from a vertical viewpoint. The religious life is an Abel-view of life and the secular life is a Cain-view of life. The roots of Western civilizations's religion is the ancient Hebrew culture called Hebraism.
While Satan was active corrupting the Renaissance, God was working to bring a better religious way of life by turning from Catholicism and siding with the Protestant revolution -- a revival and improvement of Judeo-Christianity. The Messiah would come on the Protestant foundation.
Just as Malachi chastised the priesthood for its corruption, Martin Luther chastised the Roman Catholic church for its corruption. To raise money to build St. Peter's in Rome, Pope Leo X gave traveling monks the right to sell indulgences or letters of pardon for sins committed. Luther was angry at this and other things so he wrote his complaints. In 1517 he posted his 95 theses on the door of the Wittenburg Church. He was excommunicated. Luther said everyone should have a direct relationship with God and tore the excommunication papers up in public and burned them.
Other leaders in the Protestant Revolution were Hus, Wycliffe, Calvin, and Zwingli. The Protestant Reformation led to actual war that lasted over 100 years ending with the Thirty Years' War which ended in 1648 with the Treaty of Westphalia in which Protestantism won in northern Europe.
ENLIGHTENMENT AND SPIRITUAL AWAKENING
The next period is divided into the Cain development of the Enlightenment and the Abel development of spiritual awakening.
In this period God inspired such scientists as Isaac Newton, Ben Franklin and Lavoisier, the father of chemistry. God was preparing for the coming Industrial Revolution that would raise mankind out of drudgery, so we could pursue spiritual growth. Philosphers discovered the joy of reason and logic. God influenced some to advance learning. Satan worked to twist it to making people become agnostic and atheistic.
The Abel view of life, the Great Spiritual Awakening countered the Enlightenment. God inspired John and Charles Wesley, the founders of the Methodist Church; George Fox, the founder of Quakers; Emmanuel Swedenborg, who revealed much about the spirit world; and Philip Spener, the leader of the Pietist movement.
The fiery evangelism of George Whitehead, Jonathan Edwards and others started the Great Awakening, a movement of revivals throughout America.
God also worked through the humanities with some writers such as Wordsworth and Coleridge. These and other romantic poets heightened man's sensitivity.