The word “messiah” in Hebrew means the “anointed one”, especially signifying the king. The Israelites believed the Word of God that He would send a king or Messiah to save them; this was the Messianic expectation of the Israelites. In this sense, Jesus Christ came as the Messiah, “Christ” meaning “Messiah” in the Hellenic language.
The Messiah must come in order that the purpose of God’s providence of salvation be fulfilled. Man needs salvation because of the human fall. Therefore, we must understand the questions concerning the human fall in order to solve the problems of salvation. “Fall” implies that God’s purpose of creation was left unfulfilled, so we must first elucidate the purpose of creation before we discuss the questions concerning the human fall.
God’s purpose of creation was to be fulfilled with the establishment of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. Due to the fall of man, an earthly hell was brought about instead of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. Ever since, God has continued His providence to restore the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. Consequently, the purpose of human endeavor is to restore the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. These questions have already been discussed in detail (cf. Part I, Ch. 3, Sec. I-II–100).
The purpose of Jesus’ coming as the Messiah was to fulfill the providence of restoration; his coming was primarily to save fallen men. Consequently, the Kingdom of Heaven on earth should have been established by Jesus. We may see this even from what Jesus said to his disciples, “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matt. 5:48). According to the principle of creation, a man who has fulfilled the purpose of creation becomes one body with God, possesses deity, and cannot commit sins. This kind of man, seen from the purpose of creation, is one who is perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect. Therefore, Jesus’ words to his disciples meant that they should become citizens of the Heavenly Kingdom, after having been restored as men who have fulfilled the purpose of creation.
Thus, Jesus came in order to establish the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, having restored fallen men as citizens of the Heavenly Kingdom. For this reason he told his disciples to pray that God’s will be done on earth as it is in Heaven (Matt. 6:10). He also urged the people to repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand (Matt. 4:17). For the same reason, John the Baptist, who had come to prepare the way of the Lord, also announced the nearness of the Kingdom of Heaven (Matt. 3:2).
What would the man be like, then, who became perfect as the heavenly Father is perfect, having restored himself as the man in whom the purpose of creation is fulfilled? Such a man would become one body with God, inseparable from Him, living in accordance with God’s will. Feeling exactly what God feels, he would possess deity. This man is not in need of redemption or of a savior, nor does he need the life of prayer and faith required by fallen men, because he is without original sin. Such a man, being himself without original sin, comes to multiply children of goodness without original sin; in consequence, his children are not in need of a savior for the redemption of their sins.
Since human history began, there has not been a single man, however devout a saint he may have been, who has lived a life in complete oneness with God. Not a single man has experienced God’s own heart and feeling, or possessed the same deity. Consequently, there has not yet been a saint who did not need redemption from sin and a life of prayer and faith. Even a man as devout as Paul was compelled to lead a life of faith and tearful prayers (Rom. 7:18-25). All parents, however devout, cannot give birth to a child without sin who may go to the Kingdom of Heaven without redemption by the savior. From this, we perceive that parents are still transmitting original sin to their children.
What does the reality of the life in faith of the Christian teach us? It tells us straightforwardly that redemption through the cross cannot completely liquidate our original sin, and that it leaves man’s original nature not yet perfectly restored. Jesus promised the Lord would come, because Jesus knew he could not fulfill the purpose of his advent as the Messiah through redemption by the cross. Christ had to come again to fulfill perfectly the will of God, because God’s predestination to restore the Kingdom of Heaven on earth was absolute and unchangeable.
Did his sacrifice on the cross then come to naught? Not at all (John 3:16). If it had, Christian history could not have existed. We can never deny the magnitude of the grace of redemption by the cross. Therefore, it is true that our faith in the cross can bring about redemption. It is equally true that redemption by the cross has been unable to remove our original sin and restore us as men of the original nature who cannot commit sin; thus, it has been unable to establish the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.
Then, the question arises as to the extent of redemption by the cross. The faith of modern men of intellect cannot be directed unless we can solve this problem.
Let us first examine Jesus’ crucifixion from the viewpoint of the words and actions of the disciples that were recorded in the Bible. There was one evident feeling common among the disciples concerning Jesus’ death. They were grieved and mortified by Jesus’ death. They were indignant at the ignorance and disbelief of the people who caused the crucifixion of Jesus (Acts 7:51-53). Christians since have commonly entertained the same feeling as did the disciples of Jesus’ days. If Jesus’ death had been a natural result of God’s predestination, there would have been no reason for the disciples to decry it, though it may have been inevitable for them to grieve over his death. From this, we can ascertain that Jesus’ having to take the path of death was unjust and undue.
Next, let us further investigate from the viewpoint of God’s providence whether Jesus’ crucifixion was a natural result of God’s predestination. God called the chosen people of Israel, the descendants of Abraham; He raised and protected them, and at times led them through the discipline of trials and hardships. He comforted them by sending prophets who promised that in the future He would send them a Messiah. He had the people erect tabernacles and temples in preparation for the Messiah. He sent the wise men from the East as well as Simon, Anna, John the Baptist and others to testify widely to the birth and the appearance of the Messiah.
Especially concerning the birth of John the Baptist, all the Jews knew that the angel appeared to testify to his conception (Luke 1:13); and the signs which occurred at the time of his birth stirred all Judea in expectation (Luke 1:63-66). Besides, his ascetic practices in the wilderness were so impressive that the Jewish people questioned in their hearts whether perhaps he were the Christ (Luke 3:15). Needless to say, God sent such a great man as John the Baptist to bear witness to Jesus as the Messiah so that the Jewish people would believe in Jesus. Since God’s will was thus to have the Israelites believe that Jesus was the Messiah, the Israelites, who were supposed to live according to God’s will, should have believed in him as the Messiah. If they had believed in Jesus as the Messiah according to God’s will, how could they have crucified him, after having waited for him for such a long time? It was because, against God’s will, they did not believe that Jesus was the Messiah, that the Israelites crucified him. We, therefore, must realize that Jesus did not come to die on the cross.
Next, let us further investigate, according to Jesus’ own words and deeds, whether his crucifixion was truly the means to fulfill the whole purpose of his coming as the Messiah. As the Bible clearly states, Jesus expressed in both word and deed his wish to have the people believe he was the Messiah. When the people asked him what they must do to be doing the works of God, Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom He has sent.” (John 6:29).
Jesus grieved over the treachery of the Jewish people; and finding none to appeal to, he wept over the city of Jerusalem and even cursed the city to be destroyed so utterly that not one stone would be left upon another, not to mention the Israelites, the chosen people, whom God had led in love and care for 2000 years. Jesus clearly pointed out their ignorance, saying, “…you did not know the time of your visitation.” (Luke 19:44).
Jesus lamented over the disbelief and stubbornness of the people, saying:
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! (Matt. 23:37)
Jesus reproached them for their ignorance which kept them from believing in him even though they read the Scriptures, which testified to him, and he said in great sorrow:
You search the scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness to me; yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. (John 5:39-40)
Again, he said sorrowfully, “I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me”, and he went on to say, “If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote of me.” (John 5:43-46).
Jesus performed many miracles and signs in the hope that he might restore the people’s belief. However, they condemned him as being possessed by Beelzebub when they saw the amazing works which Jesus did. Seeing the painful situation, Jesus said, “…even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” (John 10:38). On another occasion, he even cursed them in great indignation, prophesying that they would suffer (Matt. 23:13-36). Jesus himself, through his words and deeds, tried to make them believe in him, because it was God’s will for them to do so. If the Jewish people believed that he was the Messiah, as both God and Jesus wanted, could they have crucified him?
From the above, we can see that Jesus’ crucifixion was the result of the ignorance and disbelief of the Jewish people and was not God’s predestination to fulfill the whole purpose of Jesus’ coming as the Messiah. I Corinthians 2:8 says, “None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”. This should be sufficient proof.
If Jesus’ crucifixion had originally been God’s predestination, how could he have prayed even three times that the cup of death might pass from him? (Matt. 26:39). In fact, he thus prayed desperately because he knew too well that the history of affliction would be prolonged until the time of the Second Advent if the disbelief of the people should forbid the realization of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, which God had endeavored to establish.
In John 3:14 we read, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up.”. When the Israelites were on their way from Egypt into the land of Canaan, they failed to believe in Moses, and at that time fiery serpents appeared and began to kill the people; then God had a bronze serpent lifted up on a pole, and those who looked at it survived. Similarly, due to the Jewish people’s disbelief in Jesus, all were destined to hell; and Jesus, foreseeing that after his crucifixion as the “bronze serpent” only those who looked at him and believed in him would be saved, said this with a deeply sorrowful heart.
Another way we may know that Jesus was crucified due to the disbelief of the people is from the fact, as Jesus foretold, that the chosen nation of Israel declined after his death (Luke 19:44).
Isaiah 9:6-7 says:
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called ‘Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.’. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and for evermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
This is the prediction that Jesus would come upon the throne of David and establish a kingdom that would never perish throughout eternity. Therefore, an angel appeared to Mary at the time she conceived Jesus and said:
And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the son of the Most high; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end. (Luke 1:31-33)
From these passages, we can see plainly that God called the Israelites, the chosen people, and had led them through afflictions and hardships for 2000 years, in order to establish an everlasting Kingdom of God on earth by sending Jesus as the Messiah. Jesus came as the Messiah; but, due to the disbelief of and persecution by the people, he was crucified. Since then, the Jews have lost their qualification as the chosen people and have been scattered, suffering persecution through the present day.
If Jesus had not been crucified, what would have happened? He would have accomplished the providence of salvation both spiritually and physically. He would have established the Kingdom of Heaven on earth which would last forever, as expressed in the prophecy of Isaiah (Is. 9:6-7), in the instruction of the angel appearing to Mary (Luke 1:31-33), and in Jesus’ own words announcing the imminence of the Kingdom of Heaven (Matt. 4:17).
God first created man’s flesh with the earth, and then He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and made him into a living soul (Gen. 2:7). Man was created to have both spirit and body; his fall also came about both spiritually and physically. Naturally, salvation must include both spirit and body.
Since the purpose of Jesus’ advent as the Messiah was to accomplish the providence of restoration, he should have fulfilled the salvation of both spirit and body. To believe in Jesus means to become one body with him; therefore, Jesus likened himself to the true vine, and his followers to its branches (John 15:5). He said, “…you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.” (John 14:20). Jesus said this because coming in the flesh, he wanted to save fallen men both spiritually and physically. If they had become one with him in both spirit and body by believing in him, fallen men could have been saved both spiritually and physically. Because the Jewish people disbelieved Jesus and delivered him up for crucifixion, his body was invaded by Satan, and he was killed. Therefore, even when Christians believe in and become one body with Jesus, whose body was invaded by Satan, their bodies still remain subject to Satan’s invasion.
In this manner, however devout a man of faith may be, he cannot fulfill physical salvation by redemption through Jesus’ crucifixion alone. Since the original sin lineally transmitted from Adam has not been liquidated, any saint, however devout he may be, still has original sin and cannot help giving birth to the children of original sin. To prevent the condition of Satanic invasion which constantly comes through the flesh due to the original sin, we have to torment and deny our flesh, in order to live a religious life. We must pray constantly (I Thess. 5:17) in order to prevent the condition of Satanic invasion that comes because of original sin, which has not been annihilated, even through redemption by the cross.
Jesus could not accomplish the purpose of the providence of physical salvation because his body was invaded by Satan. However, he could establish the basis for spiritual salvation by forming a triumphant foundation for resurrection through the redemption by the blood of the cross. Therefore, all the saints since the resurrection of Jesus through the present day have enjoyed the benefit of the providence of spiritual salvation only. Salvation through redemption by the cross is spiritual only. Even in devout men of faith, the original sin remains in the flesh and is transmitted continuously from generation to generation. The more devout a saint becomes in his faith, therefore, the more severe becomes his fight against sin. Thus, Christ must come again on the earth to accomplish the purpose of the providence of the physical, as well as the spiritual salvation, by redeeming the original sin which has not been liquidated even through the cross.
As mentioned before, even the saints redeemed by the cross have had to continue to fight against original sin. That is why even Paul, who was the center of faith among the disciples, lamented over his inability to prevent sin from invading his flesh, saying, “…So then, I of myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.” (Rom. 7:22-25). He said this to express the joy of the fulfillment of spiritual salvation as well as to deplore the failure to accomplish physical salvation. Again, in I John 1:8-10 John confessed, saying:
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us…If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
Thus, we who can gain salvation through the crucifixion of Jesus cannot escape from being sinners because the original sin still works in us.
What must be the reason, then, that in Isaiah 53 Jesus’ suffering on the cross is prophesied, if his crucifixion was not the result of God’s predestination? Until now, many people have thought that the prophecies in the Bible about Jesus foretold only his suffering. When we read the Bible anew with a knowledge of the Principle, we can understand that, just as the prophet Isaiah foretold in the Old Testament Age (Is. 9, 11, 60), and as the angel of God prophesied to Mary, Jesus was expected to become king of the Jews in his lifetime and establish on ea