Even though the Fall resulted from human failure, God has felt responsible to save fallen humanity.1 Therefore, God immediately began His providence to restore fallen people by having Adam's family lay the foundation for the Messiah.
Due to Adam's kinship of blood with Satan, he was in the midway position, relating with both God and Satan.2 For a fallen person standing in the midway position to be purified, come to God's side and establish the foundation for the Messiah, he must fulfill a condition of indemnity. Consequently, for the providence of restoration to be accomplished in Adam's family, the members of his family had to make certain conditions of indemnity to restore the foundation of faith and the foundation of substance. On these two foundations, the foundation for the Messiah was to be established, and the Messiah could have come to Adam's family.
To restore through indemnity the foundation of faith, fallen people must set up an object for the condition. Due to his faithlessness, Adam lost the Word of God, which had been given him in order to fulfill the condition necessary to establish the foundation of faith. He fell to the position where he could no longer receive the Word of God directly. Consequently, in restoring the foundation of faith, Adam had to faithfully offer in a manner acceptable to God some object for the condition, substituting for God's Word. For Adam's family, this object was a sacrificial offering.
To restore the foundation of faith, there must also be a central figure. One would expect that the central figure in Adam's family be Adam himself. It would seem that Adam should have offered the sacrifice, and that whether or not he made the offering in an acceptable manner would have determined success or failure in laying the foundation of faith.
Yet nowhere in the biblical record do we find Adam offering a sacrifice. Instead, his sons Cain and Abel offered them. What was the reason for this? According to the Principle of Creation, human beings were created to serve only one master.3 God cannot conduct His providence in accord with the Principle with someone who serves two masters. If God were to accept Adam and his offering, Satan would use his ties of kinship with Adam as a condition through which to make a counter-claim upon him and his offering. In that case, Adam would be placed in the unprincipled situation of having to serve two masters: God and Satan. Since God could not conduct such an unprincipled providence, He took the course of symbolically dividing Adam, who embodied both good and evil, into two entities, one representing good and the other representing evil-an arrangement in line with the Principle. For this reason, God gave Adam two sons, representing good and evil, and set them in positions where each dealt with only one master, God or Satan. After setting up this arrangement, God had the two sons offer sacrifices separately.
Cain and Abel were both sons of Adam. Which one of them was to represent goodness and relate with God, and which was to represent evil and interact with Satan? Both Cain and Abel were the fruits of Eve's fall; hence, their relative positions were determined according to its course. Eve's fall was consummated through two different illicit love relationships. The first was the spiritual fall through her love with the Archangel. The second was the physical fall through her love with Adam. Certainly, the two relationships were both fallen acts. Yet between the two, the second act of love was more in line with the Principle and more forgivable than the first. Eve's first fallen act was motivated by her excessive desire to enjoy what it was not yet time for her to enjoy and have her eyes opened, like God.4 This desire led her to consummate a relationship of unprincipled sexual love with the Archangel. In comparison, Eve's second fallen act was motivated by her heartfelt longing to return to God's bosom after she realized that her first fallen relationship had been illicit. This desire led her to consummate a relationship with Adam, her intended spouse according to the Principle, even though God did not yet permit it.5
Cain and Abel were both fruits of Eve's illicit love. God discriminated between them based on Eve's two illicit acts of love and accordingly placed Cain and Abel in two opposing positions. In other words, since Cain was the first fruit of Eve's love, signifying Eve's first fallen act of love with the Archangel, he was chosen to represent evil. Therefore, he was in a position to relate with Satan. Since Abel was the second fruit of Eve's love, signifying Eve's second fallen act of love with Adam, he was chosen to represent goodness. Therefore, he was in a position to relate with God.
For his part, Satan had seized control of the creation, which God had created by the Principle, and established an unprincipled world having only the outward form of God's intended universe. In the original, principled world, God intended to raise up the eldest son and have him inherit the birthright. Therefore, Satan felt a stronger attachment to the elder son than he did to the younger. Since Satan had already claimed the universe, he vied with God for the elder son, Cain, who was more valuable to him. Because Satan had a strong attachment to Cain, God chose to deal with Abel.
The Bible attests to the discrimination between first- and second-born sons. For example, God said to Cain, "If you do not do well, sin is couching at the door."6 From this we may understand that Cain had a base to relate with Satan. When the Israelites were about to flee Egypt, God struck the firstborn of the Egyptians, even the firstborn of their livestock,7 because the Egyptians, as Satan's vassals, stood in the position of Cain. When the Israelites were returning to the land of Canaan, only the Levites, who were in the position of the younger son Abel, were allowed to carry the Ark of the Covenant.8 It is written that God loved the second son Jacob and hated the first son Esau even while they were still inside their mother's womb.9 They were placed in the positions of Cain or Abel based solely upon the distinction of who was to be the firstborn son. When Jacob was blessing his two grandchildren, Ephraim and Manasseh, he crossed his hands and laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim, the second son in the position of Abel, to give him the first and greater blessing.10 According to this principle, God placed Cain and Abel in a position where each could deal with only one master, and had them offer sacrifices.11
When Cain and Abel offered their sacrifices, "The Lord had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering he had no regard."12 Why did God accept Abel's offering but reject Cain's? God received Abel's sacrifice because he stood in a proper relationship with God and made the offering in a manner acceptable to Him.13 In this way, Abel successfully laid the foundation of faith in Adam's family. He serves as an example that any fallen person can make an offering acceptable to God provided he satisfies the necessary conditions.
God did not reject Cain's sacrifice because He hated him. Rather, because Cain stood in a position to relate with Satan which gave Satan rights over the sacrifice, God could not accept Cain's sacrifice unless he first made some condition justifying its acceptance. The example of Cain shows that in order for a person who has a connection with Satan to return to God's side, he must make a requisite indemnity condition. What indemnity condition should Cain have made? It was the indemnity condition to remove the fallen nature.
Had Cain fulfilled the indemnity condition to remove the fallen nature, God would have gladly accepted his sacrifice. The foundation of substance would then have been laid in Adam's family. How should Cain have made the indemnity condition to remove the fallen nature? The first human ancestors fell by succumbing to the Archangel, from whom they inherited the fallen nature. To remove the fallen nature, a person must make an indemnity condition in accordance with the Principle of Restoration through Indemnity, by taking a course which reverses the process through which human beings initially acquired the fallen nature.
The Archangel fell because he did not love Adam; rather, he envied Adam, who was receiving more love from God than he. This was the cause of the first primary characteristic of the fallen nature: failing to take God's standpoint. To remove this characteristic of the fallen nature, Cain, who stood in the Archangel's position, should have taken God's standpoint by loving Abel, who stood in Adam's position.
The Archangel fell because he did not respect Adam as God's mediator and did not receive God's love through him; rather, he attempted to seize Adam's position. This was the cause of the second primary characteristic of the fallen nature: leaving one's proper position. To remove this characteristic of the fallen nature, Cain, who stood in the Archangel's position, should have received God's love through Abel, who stood in Adam's position, respecting him as God's mediator. In this way, Cain should have maintained his proper position.
The Archangel fell when he claimed dominion over Eve and Adam, who were his rightful lords. This was the cause of the third primary characteristic of the fallen nature: reversing dominion. To remove this characteristic of the fallen nature, Cain, who stood in the Archangel's position, should have obediently submitted to Abel, who stood in Adam's position. By accepting Abel's dominion, Cain should have rectified the order of dominion.
God told Adam not to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Adam should have conveyed this Will to Eve, who in turn should have conveyed it to the Archangel, thus multiplying goodness. Instead, the Archangel conveyed to Eve his evil will that it was permissible to eat of the fruit. Eve in turn conveyed this evil will to Adam and led him to fall. This was the cause of the fourth primary characteristic of the fallen nature: multiplying evil. To remove this characteristic of the fallen nature, Cain, who stood in the Archangel's position, should have been receptive to the intentions of Abel, who stood closer to God, and learned God's Will from him. Thus, Cain should have made a foundation to multiply goodness.
There are many instances in human life which correspond to the situation of Cain and Abel. When we look within ourselves, we find that our innermost mind delights in the law of God.14 It is in the position of Abel, while our body, which serves the law of sin,15 is in the position of Cain. We can become good only if our body obediently follows our mind, which directs us toward goodness. All too often, however, our body rebels against the mind's directions, repeating by analogy Cain's murder of Abel. This is how evil grows within us. For this reason, the religious way of life requires that we make our body submit to the commands of our higher mind, just as Cain should have submitted to Abel and followed him.
We can also see this in the practice of making offerings. Since we fell to the position of being "deceitful above all things,"16 the things of creation stand in the position of Abel. Hence, through offering them we can go before God. To give another example, the universal tendency to seek out good leaders and righteous friends stems from our innermost desire to come before God through an Abel figure who is closer to God. By uniting with him, we can come closer to God ourselves. The Christian faith teaches us to be meek and humble. By this way of life, we may meet our Abel figure and thus secure the way to go before God.
In relationships at every level of society-from those between individuals to those at the level of families, communities, societies, nations and the world-we find that one party is in the role of Abel and the other is in the role of Cain. In order to restore society at each level to the state originally envisioned by God, those in the Cain position should respect and obey those in the Abel position. Jesus came to this world as the Abel figure to whom all of humanity should have submitted and followed. For this reason, he said, "no one comes to the Father, but by me."17
If Cain had yielded to Abel and thus fulfilled the indemnity condition to remove the fallen nature in Adam's family, they would have established the foundation of substance. Together with the foundation of faith already laid, Adam's family would have established the foundation for the Messiah. The Messiah would then have come to them and restored the original four position foundation. Instead, Cain killed Abel. In murdering Abel, Cain repeated the sin of the Archangel. That is, he re-enacted the very process which had given rise to the primary characteristics of the fallen nature. Adam's family thus failed to lay the foundation of substance. Consequently, God's providence of restoration through Adam's family could not be fulfilled.
The foundation for the Messiah is established by first restoring through indemnity the foundation of faith and then establishing the foundation of substance. With regard to their requisite sacrifices, the foundation of faith is restored by making an acceptable symbolic offering, and the foundation of substance is established by making an acceptable substantial offering. Let us examine the meaning and purpose of the symbolic offering and the substantial offering.
The three great blessings, which are God's purpose of creation, were to be realized when Adam and Eve, having perfected their individual character, became husband and wife. They were to give birth to good children, raise a good family, and master the natural world. However, due to the Fall, the three great blessings were lost. The way to restore them requires us to take the opposite course. First, we must establish the foundation of faith by making the symbolic offering, which fulfills a condition of indemnity for the restoration of all things and a condition of indemnity for the symbolic restoration of people. Next, we must establish the foundation of substance by making the substantial offering, which fulfills an indemnity condition for the restoration of first the children and then the parents. On this basis, we can establish the foundation for the Messiah.
We can consider the meaning and purpose of the symbolic offering in two ways. First, as discussed above,18 Satan gained dominion over the natural world through his domination of human beings, its rightful rulers. For this reason it is written, "the whole creation has been groaning in travail."19 Thus, one purpose for making the symbolic offering of all things is to enable all things to stand as God's actual object partners in symbol. It fulfills an indemnity condition for the restoration of the natural world to its original relationship with God. Second, since human beings fell to a position lower than the things of creation,20 in order for them to come before God, they must go through all things. This follows from the Principle of Creation, which requires that one approach God through that which is closer to Him. The second purpose for making the symbolic offering is thus to fulfill an indemnity condition for the symbolic restoration of human beings.
The substantial offering, on the other hand, is an internal offering. Following the order of creation, in which God created all things first and human beings afterwards, this internal offering to restore human beings can only be made on the basis of an acceptable symbolic offering. After the symbolic offering fulfills an indemnity condition both for the restoration of all things and for the symbolic restoration of human beings, we must make the substantial offering, which fulfills an indemnity condition for the complete restoration of human beings. The substantial offering means fulfilling the indemnity condition to remove the fallen nature. This is essential for the actual restoration of human beings. The substantial offering is carried out when a person in Cain's position honors the person in Abel's position and sets him above himself as an offering. Through this, they fulfill the indemnity condition to be restored as good children. At the same time, it is also reckoned as the indemnity condition for the restoration of their parents. In this manner, the substantial offering can meet God's expectation.
How can we understand the indemnity condition for the restoration of the parents? To establish the foundation for the Messiah in Adam's family, Adam should have been the one to establish the foundation of faith by making the symbolic offering. However, as explained above, Adam could not make the offering, because if he had tried, his two masters, God and Satan, would have contended over it-an unprincipled situation. In addition, there is another reason from the aspect of feeling and heart. Fallen Adam was the very sinner who caused God the heartache and grief which was to last many thousands of years. He was not worthy to be the beloved of God's Heart, with whom God could work directly to further the providence of restoration.
Accordingly, God chose Adam's second son Abel in his stead and had Abel make the symbolic offering. Abel fulfilled the indemnity conditions for the restoration of all things and the symbolic restoration of human beings. If Cain and Abel had then fulfilled the indemnity condition for the restoration of the children by making an acceptable substantial offering, their father Adam would have shared in the victory of this foundation of substance. Thus, Adam's family would have established the foundation for the Messiah.
Before the substantial offering can be made, the central figure of the offering, the one who is to be offered, must be chosen. God had Abel make the symbolic offering for two reasons: first, to have him establish the foundation of faith in Adam's place; second, to qualify him to be the central figure of the substantial offering.
Cain was the one to fulfill the indemnity condition to remove the fallen nature, yet his accomplishment would have resulted in the entire family of Adam fulfilling the condition. How was this possible? It may be compared to the situation of the first human ancestors, who could have helped God accomplish His entire Will had they obeyed His Word. It may also be compared to the situation of the Jewish people of Jesus' day, who could have helped Jesus accomplish his will to bring complete salvation to humankind had they believed in him. If Cain had yielded to Abel and fulfilled the indemnity condition to remove the fallen nature, both children would have been regarded as having fulfilled the indemnity condition together. Cain and Abel were the offspring of Adam, the embodiment of both good and evil. Had they unshackled themselves from Satan's chains by fulfilling the indemnity condition to remove the fallen nature, then Adam, their father, also could have separated from Satan and stood upon the foundation of substance. Thus, the foundation for the Messiah would have been established by the family as a whole. In short, had Cain and Abel succeeded in making the symbolic and substantial offerings, the indemnity condition for the restoration of the parents would have been fulfilled.
When Abel made his sacrifice in a manner acceptable to God, he fulfilled the indemnity condition to restore Adam's foundation of faith and firmly secured his position as the central figure of the substantial offering. However, when Cain murdered Abel, they re-enacted the Fall, in which the Archangel murdered Eve spiritually. Needless to say, they did not fulfill the indemnity condition to remove the fallen nature and failed to make the substantial offering. Hence, neither the foundation of substance nor the foundation for the Messiah could be established. God's providence of restoration in Adam's family came to naught.
The failure of God's providence of restoration in Adam's family teaches us something about God's conditional predestination of the accomplishment of His Will and His absolute respect for the human portion of responsibility. From the time of creation, God predestined that His Will be accomplished based on the combined fulfillment of God's portion of responsibility and the human portion of responsibility. God could not instruct Cain and Abel on how to properly make their sacrifices because it was their portion of responsibility that Cain make his sacrifice with Abel's help.
Second, even after Cain killed Abel, God began a new chapter of His providence by raising Seth in Abel's place. This shows us that God has absolutely predestined that His Will shall one day be fulfilled, even though His predestination concerning individual human beings is conditional. God foreordained that Abel succeed as the central figure of the substantial offering contingent upon fulfilling his own portion of responsibility. Therefore, when Abel could not complete his responsibility, God chose Seth in his place and carried on His efforts to accomplish the Will, which is predestined to be fulfilled without fail.
Third, through the offerings of Cain and Abel, God teaches us that fallen people must constantly seek for an Abel-type person. By honoring, obeying and following him, we can accomplish God's Will even without understanding every aspect of it.
The providence which God worked to accomplish through Adam's family has been repeated over and over again due to the faithlessness of human beings. Consequently, this course remains as the indemnity course which we ourselves must walk. The providence of restoration in Adam's family thus provides us with many valuable lessons for our own path of faith.
Cain killed Abel, thereby preventing the providence of restoration in Adam's family from being accomplished. Nevertheless, God had predestined absolutely the fulfillment of the purpose of creation, and His Will remained unchangeable. Hence, upon the foundation of the loyal heart which Abel demonstrated toward Heaven, God chose Seth in his place.21 From among Seth's descendants, God chose Noah's family to substitute for Adam's family and commenced a new chapter in His providence.
It is written that God judged the world by the flood: "And God said to Noah, 'I have determined to make an end of all flesh; for the earth is filled with violence through them; behold, I will destroy them with the earth.'"22 This shows us that Noah's time was the Last Days. God intended to accomplish the purpose of creation after the flood judgment by sending the Messiah upon the foundation laid by Noah's family. For this reason, Noah's family was responsible to fulfill the indemnity condition to restore the foundation of faith, and then the indemnity condition to restore the foundation of substance. They were to restore through indemnity the foundation for the Messiah, which Adam's family had failed to lay.
In the providence of restoration through Noah's family, Noah was the central figure to restore the foundation of faith. God called Noah ten generations or sixteen hundred biblical years after Adam for the purpose of fulfilling the Will which He had intended to realize through Adam. Accordingly, God bestowed His blessings upon Noah, "be fruitful and multiply,"23 much as earlier He had bestowed the three great blessings upon Adam.24 In this sense, Noah was the second ancestor of humanity.
Noah was called when "the earth was filled with violence."25 Enduring all kinds of derision and mockery, he worked for 120 years on a mountain to build the ark in absolute obedience to God's instructions. Upon this condition of faith, God could bring on the flood judgment centered on Noah's family. In this sense, Noah was the first father of faith. Although we commonly regard Abraham as the father of faith, in fact, Noah was to have had that honor. As we shall see, it was due to his son Ham's sinful act that the mission of the father of faith was transferred from Noah to Abraham.
In the case of Adam, it was explained that although he should have been the central figure to restore the foundation of faith, he could not offer the sacrifice himself. Noah's situation was different. He was called by God upon the foundation of Abel's loyal and faithful heart in making an acceptable symbolic offering. In regard to his lineage, Noah was a descendant of Seth, who had been chosen to replace Abel. Further-more, Noah was a righteous man in the sight of God.26 For these reasons, he was qualified to make the symbolic offering to God by building the ark.
The object for the condition by which Noah was to restore the foundation of faith was the ark. The ark was full of symbolic significance. Before Noah could stand in place of Adam as the second human ancestor, he first had to make an indemnity condition for the restoration of the cosmos, which had been lost to Satan due to Adam's fall. Hence, the object for this condition, which Noah had to offer in an acceptable manner, should symbolize the new cosmos. He offered the ark as this object.
The ark was built with three decks, symbolizing the cosmos which had been created through the three stages of the growing period. The eight members of Noah's family who entered the ark represented the eight members of Adam's family who, having been invaded by Satan, had to be restored through indemnity. Thus, the ark symbolized the cosmos; Noah, its master, symbolized God; the members of his family symbolized humanity; and the animals brought into the ark symbolized the entire natural world.
After the ark was completed, God judged the world with the flood for forty days. What was the purpose of the flood? According to the Principle of Creation, human beings were created to serve only one master. Since humankind was under bondage to Satan, full of corruption and debauchery, for God to relate with them He would have to assume the position of a second master. That would be unprincipled. Therefore, God brought about the flood judgment, eliminating sinful humanity in order to raise up a family who would relate only with Him.
Why did God choose a forty-day period for the flood? The significance of the forty-day period should be understood in terms of the meaning of the numbers four and ten. The number ten signifies unity.27 It was ten generations after Adam when God called upon Noah to restore through indemnity the Will which He could not fulfill through Adam. By fulfilling a period of indemnity containing the number ten, God meant to bring the dispensation back into unity with His Will. Furthermore, since the goal of restoration is to complete the four position foundation, God worked to raise up each of these ten generations by setting up an indemnity period to restore the number four. In total, the period from Adam to Noah was an indemnity period to restore the number forty. Due to the lustfulness of the people of those days, however, this indemnity period of the number forty was defiled by Satan. The dispensation of Noah's ark was God's new attempt to complete the four position foundation. Therefore, God set the period of the flood judgment at forty days as the indemnity period to restore the number forty, which had been defiled when the earlier period was lost to Satan. By fulfilling this numerical period of indemnity, God intended to restore the foundation of faith.
The number forty thus became characteristic of dispensations for the separation of Satan, which are necessary for restoring the foundation of faith. There are many examples of this: Noah's forty-day flood; the four hundred years from Noah to Abraham; the Israelites' four hundred years of slavery in Egypt; Moses' two forty-day fasts; the forty days of spying in Canaan; the Israelites' forty years of wandering in the wilderness; the forty-year reigns of King Saul, King David and King Solomon; Elijah's forty-day fast; Jonah's prophecy that Nineveh would be destroyed in forty days; Jesus' forty-day fast and prayer in the wilderness; and the forty-day period from Jesus' resurrection to his ascension.
In the Bible we read that at the end of forty days of rain, Noah sent forth from the ark a raven and a dove.28 Let us examine what future providential situations this foreshadowed, as it is written, "Surely the Lord God does nothing, without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets."29 By building the ark and passing through the forty-day flood judgment, Noah fulfilled an indemnity condition for the restoration of the cosmos. The flood corresponds to the period of chaos before the creation of the universe when "the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters."30 Accordingly, the works which God performed around the ark at the end of the forty-day flood symbolized the entire course of history following God's creation of heaven and earth.
What was foreshadowed when Noah sent forth the raven, which circled about looking for a place to land until the waters subsided? It signified that Satan would be looking for a condition through which he could invade Noah's family, just as the Archangel vied for Eve's love soon after the creation of human beings, and just as Satan couched at the door looking for an opportunity to invade the offerings of Cain and Abel.31
What was foreshadowed when Noah sent forth the dove three times? Although it is written in the Bible that Noah sent out the dove to see if the water had subsided, that was not its only purpose. Certainly Noah could have looked out the opening from which he set forth the dove to examine the situation for himself. The sending forth of the dove had a deeper significance connected with the mysterious Will of God. Seven days after God proclaimed the flood judgment through Noah, the flood began.32 Forty days later, the dove was first sent out. It flew about but then returned to the ark because it found no place to land, and Noah took it back inside.33 The dove, when it was sent out the first time, represented the first Adam. God created Adam with the hope that His ideal of creation, which He had cherished from before time, would be realized in Adam as the perfect incarnation of the divine ideal on earth. Due to Adam's fall, however, God could not realize the divine ideal on earth through him. God thus had to withdraw His ideal from the earth for a time and postpone its fulfillment to a later date.
Seven days later, Noah sent forth the dove a second time. Still the water had not yet dried, and again the dove returned. This time it carried in its mouth an olive leaf, indicating that there would be a place for it to land the next time.34 The dove, when it was sent out the second time, symbolized Jesus, the second Adam, whose coming would be God's second attempt to realize the perfect incarnation of the divine ideal on the earth. These verses foreshadowed that if the chosen people were to disbelieve in Jesus at his coming, then he would have "nowhere to lay his head"35 and thus would not be able to realize God's complete Will on the earth. In that situation, Jesus would have to go to the cross and return to God's bosom, leaving behind the promise of the Second Advent. The dove returned to the ark because the water had not yet dried up. By analogy, had more of the Jewish people faithfully attended Jesus, he would have found a secure place to stand among them. He would not have been crucified and would have gone on to build the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.
After another seven days had passed, Noah sent out the dove for the third time. This time the dove did not return to the ark, for the ground was dry.36 The dove, when it was sent out the third time, symbolized Christ at the Second Advent, who is to come as the third Adam. This foreshadowed that when Christ comes again, he will surely be able to realize God's ideal of creation, which will never again be withdrawn from the earth. When the dove did not return, Noah finally disembarked from the ark and walked upon the earth, which had been purged of sin and made new. This foreshadowed that when the ideal of creation is realized on the earth through the work of the third Adam, the new Jerusalem will descend from Heaven and the dwelling of God will be with men.37
The foreshadowing in this story should be interpreted in light of the principle explained earlier: God's providence of restoration may be prolonged if the person entrusted with the providence fails in his responsibility.38 Due to Adam's faithlessness and failure to complete his responsibility, Jesus had to come as the second Adam. Furthermore, if the Jewish people were to disbelieve in Jesus and thus fail to complete their responsibility, Christ would certainly have to come again as the third Adam. Just as the creation of heaven and earth took a seven-day period, the seven-day intervals for sending forth the dove indicate to us that the restoration of heaven and earth requires certain providential periods of time.
Noah successfully restored through indemnity the foundation of faith by fulfilling the dispensation of the ark and thereby making a symbolic offering acceptable to God. In doing so, Noah fulfilled both the indemnity condition for the restoration of all things and the indemnity condition for the symbolic restoration of human beings. Upon this foundation, Noah's sons, Shem and Ham, were then to have stood in the position of Cain and Abel, respectively. Had they then succeeded in the substantial offering by fulfilling the indemnity condition to remove the fallen nature, they would have laid the foundation of substance.
For Noah's family to make an acceptable substantial offering, Ham, Noah's second son, was to restore the position of Abel, Adam's second son. He was supposed to become the central figure of the substantial offering, just as Abel was the central figure of his family's substantial offering. In Adam's family, Abel had successfully made the symbolic offering in Adam's place to restore through indemnity the foundation of faith and to be qualified as the central figure of the substantial offering. In the case of Noah's family, it was Noah, not Ham, who made the symbolic offering. Therefore, for Ham to stand in the position of Abel, as one who has succeeded in making the symbolic offering, he had to become inseparably one in heart with his father, Noah. Let us examine how God worked to help Ham become one in heart with Noah.
The Bible reports that when Ham saw his father lying naked in his tent, he felt ashamed of Noah and took offense. Ham stirred up the same feelings in his brothers, Shem and Japheth. Swayed by Ham to feel ashamed of their father's nakedness and turning their faces so as not to behold the sight, they walked backwards and covered their father's body with a garment. This act constituted a sin, so much so that Noah rebuked Ham, cursing his son to be a slave to his brothers.39
Why did God conduct this dispensation? Why was it such a sin to feel ashamed of nakedness? To understand these matters, let us first recall what constitutes sin.40 Satan cannot manifest his powers-including the power to exist and act-unless he first secures an object partner with whom he can make a common base and engage in a reciprocal relationship of give and take. Whenever a person makes a condition for Satan to invade, it means that he has allowed himself to become Satan's object partner, thereby empowering Satan to act. This constitutes sin.
Next, let us examine why God tested Ham by having him behold Noah's nakedness. We saw that the ark symbolized the cosmos, and that the events occurring immediately after the dispensation of the ark represented the events which took place immediately after the creation of the cosmos. Hence, Noah's position right after the flood was much like that of Adam after the creation of heaven and earth.
Adam and Eve before the Fall were close in heart and innocently open with each other and with God; as it is written, they were not ashamed of their nakedness.41 Yet after they fell, they felt ashamed of their nakedness. They covered their lower parts with fig leaves and hid among the trees of the garden, fearing that God would see them.42 This shame was an indication of their inner reality, for they had formed a bond of blood ties with Satan by committing sin with their sexual parts. By covering their lower parts and hiding, they expressed their guilty consciences, which made them feel ashamed to come before God.
Noah, who had severed his ties to Satan through the forty-day flood judgment, was supposed to secure the position of Adam right after the creation of the universe. God expected that the members of Noah's family would react to Noah's nakedness without any feelings of shame and without any thought to conceal his body. God wanted to recover the joyful heart which He had felt when looking at Adam and Eve in their innocence before the Fall by taking delight in the innocence of Noah's family. To fulfill such a profound wish, God had Noah lie naked. Had Ham been one in heart with Noah, regarding him with the same heart and from the same standpoint as God, he would have looked upon his father's nakedness without any sense of shame. He thus would have fulfilled the indemnity condition to restore in Noah's family the state of Adam and Eve's innocence before the Fall.
We can thus understand that when Noah's sons felt ashamed of their father's nakedness and covered his body, it was tantamount to acknowledging that they, like Adam's family after the Fall, had formed a shameful bond of kinship with Satan and were thus unworthy to come before God. Satan, like the raven hovering over the water, was looking for a condition to invade Noah's family. He attacked the family by taking Noah's sons as his object partners when they in effect acknowledged that they were of his lineage.
When Ham felt ashamed of his father's nakedness and acted to cover it up, he made a condition for Satan to enter; hence his feeling and act constituted a sin. Consequently, Ham could not restore through indemnity the position of Abel from which to make the substantial offering. Since he could not establish the foundation of substance, the providence of restoration in Noah's family ended in failure.
Is it always sinful to regard nakedness with a sense of shame? No. Noah's was a special case. In the position of Adam, Noah had the mission to remove all of Adam's conditions which had left him vulnerable to Satan's attack. By demonstrating that they neither felt ashamed of Noah's nakedness nor would attempt to cover it, Noah's family would have fulfilled the indemnity condition to restore the position of Adam's family in its original innocence before it had joined with Satan in a kinship of blood. Therefore, this was an indemnity condition which only Noah's family was required to fulfill.
It is difficult for anyone to understand how Noah persisted in building the ark on the mountain over 120 long years, all the while enduring harsh criticism and ridicule. Ham knew well that his family had been saved by his father's labors. Considering these things, Ham should have had such respect for his father that he would overcome his personal offense at Noah's nakedness and have some understanding of it. Yet instead of trusting Noah, who had been justified by Heaven, Ham criticized him from a self-centered perspective and showed his displeasure by his actions. His disrespect had the effect of frustrating God's long labors to work His providence through Noah's family. We, too, need humility, obedience and patience to walk the path toward Heaven.
Next, the providence in Noah's family teaches us about God's conditional predestination of the fulfillment of His Will and His respect for the human portion of responsibility. God found Noah's family after sixteen hundred years of preparation. He guided Noah for 120 years while he constructed the ark and raised up his family at the cost of sacrificing the rest of humanity in the flood. However, even though they had been His beloved in the providence of restoration, when Ham made his seemingly small mistake, allowing Satan to taint them, the entire Will centering on Noah's family came to naught.
Finally, the providence through Noah's family teaches us about God's conditional predestination of human beings. Despite the fact that God had striven arduously for a long time to find Noah and raise him up as the father of faith, when his family could not fulfill its responsibility, God, though regretful, did not hesitate to abandon him and choose Abraham in his place.
Due to Ham's fallen act, the providence of restoration in Noah's family was not fulfilled. Nevertheless, God had absolutely predestined that the purpose of creation would one day be realized. Therefore, upon the foundation of Noah's heart of loyalty toward Heaven, God called Abraham and commenced a new chapter in the providence of restoration with his family.
Abraham's family was to restore the foundation for the Messiah, which Noah's family had left incomplete, and receive the Messiah upon that foundation. Thus, as Noah before him, Abraham had to restore through indemnity the foundation of faith, and his sons had to restore through indemnity the foundation of substance.
In the providence of restoration in Abraham's family, the central figure to restore the foundation of faith was Abraham. God chose Abraham to inherit the mission of fulfilling the Will which He had tried to fulfill with Noah. However, Abraham could not inherit this mission unless he first restored through indemnity all the conditions which had been given to Noah to fulfill, but which were lost to Satan due to Ham's sin.
The first conditions which Noah's family lost to Satan were the ten generations from Adam to Noah and the forty-day period of judgment. Therefore, Abraham had to restore through indemnity another ten generations. Each of these ten generations was to restore the number forty, which represented the flood judgment. Once the forty-day flood ended in failure, the restoration of each generation had to span its entire length; this could not be accomplished in only forty days. The providence to restore the flood in each of those ten generations had to take a longer period of time: forty years. This is similar to the situation in Moses' time, when restoration of the failed forty-day spying mission required the people to wander in the wilderness for forty years.43 Therefore, after an indemnity period of ten generations and four hundred years had passed since Noah,44 God chose Abraham to inherit Noah's mission.
The next set of conditions which Noah's family lost to Satan was the position of the father of faith and the position of Ham, who was to take up the role of Abel. Therefore, Abraham could not stand in Noah's position without first restoring through indemnity the roles of the father of faith and of Ham. To assume the role of the father of faith in place of Noah, Abraham had to make a symbolic offering in faith with a loyal heart, just as Noah did when he built the ark. Next, how could Abraham restore the position of Ham? Ham was to have represented Abel, the most beloved of God: both were second sons and chosen to be the central figures of the substantial offering. Since Satan claimed Ham, according to the principle of restoration through indemnity, God needed to claim someone whom Satan loved most. This is the reason God called Abraham, who was the firstborn son of Terah, an idolator.45
Abraham was to inherit the mission of Noah and thus the mission of Adam. In this capacity, he represented restored Adam. As God had blessed Adam and Noah, God also blessed Abraham:
I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who curses you I will curse; and by you all the families of the earth shall bless themselves. -Gen. 12:2-3
After receiving this blessing, in obedience to God's command, Abraham left his father's house in Haran and entered Canaan with his wife Sarah, his nephew Lot, and all his belongings and servants.46 In this sense, God set Abraham's course as the model course for restoring Canaan, which Jacob and Moses would walk in their days. Jacob and Moses would take their family members and all their belongings out of Haran and Egypt, respectively, and bring them back to Canaan while suffering many hardships along the way. Abraham's course also foreshadowed the course which Jesus would one day walk: to take humanity and all things out of Satan's world and bring them back to God's world.47
God commanded Abraham to offer a dove and a pigeon, a ram and a goat, and a heifer.48 These were the objects for the condition which he offered to restore the foundation of faith. But before he could make the symbolic offering, Abraham had to demonstrate right faith, just as Noah before him was accounted righteous prior to building the ark as his symbolic offering. The Bible does not explain clearly how Noah demonstrated his faith. But from the verse, "Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation; Noah walked with God,"49 we can deduce that Noah demonstrated faith before he was deemed worthy to receive God's commandment to build the ark. In truth, those who walk the providence of restoration must continually strengthen their faith.50 Let us investigate how Abraham strengthened his faith in preparation for making the symbolic offering.
Since Noah was the second human ancestor, for Abraham to restore the position of Noah, he also had to assume Adam's position. For this reason, he was required to make a symbolic indemnity condition to restore the position of Adam's family before he could make the actual symbolic offering.
In this regard, the Bible gives an account of a trip Abraham made to Egypt because of a famine.51 When they entered Egypt, Abraham instructed his wife Sarah to pose as his sister because he was afraid that the Pharaoh might desire her. Abraham feared that the Pharaoh would have him killed if he found out that he was Sarah's husband. Indeed, at the Pharaoh's command, Abraham handed Sarah over to him while she posed as his sister. Thereupon, God chastised the Pharaoh, Abraham took back his wife along with his nephew Lot and the abundant wealth which the Pharaoh had given him, and they left Egypt.
Without knowing it, Abraham walked this providential course to make a symbolic indemnity condition to restore the position of Adam's family. When the Archangel took Eve-capturing under his dominion all of Eve's descendants and the natural world-Adam and Eve were still brother and sister. For Abraham to make the indemnity condition to restore this, he was deprived of Sarah, who was playing the role of his sister, by the Pharaoh, who represented Satan. He then had to take her back from the Pharaoh as his wife, together with Lot as the representative of all humanity, and wealth symbolizing the natural world. This course which Abraham walked was the model course for Jesus to walk in his day. Once he had fulfilled this indemnity condition, Abraham was deemed ready to make the symbolic offering.
What was the significance of Abraham's symbolic offering? For Abraham to become the father of faith, he had to restore through indemnity the position of Noah, whom God had intended to raise up as the father of faith, as well as Noah's family. Furthermore, he had to restore the position of Adam and his family. Abraham was thus required to offer in an acceptable manner objects for the condition to restore all that Cain and Abel were supposed to accomplish through their sacrifices, and all that Noah's family was trying to accomplish through the dispensation of the ark. Abraham's symbolic offering consisted of objects with such symbolic meanings.
Abraham offered three types of objects as the condition for his symbolic offering: first, a dove and a pigeon; second, a ram and a goat; and third, a heifer. These three sacrifices symbolized the cosmos, which was completed through the three stages of the growing period. The dove represented the formation stage. When Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist at the Jordan River, the Spirit of God descended and alighted upon him in the form of a dove.52 This is because Jesus came to bring completion to the Old Testament Age, which, as the formation stage of the providence, was symbolized by the dove. Moreover, there was a second reason for the vision of the dove alighting on Jesus. Jesus was to restore Abraham's mistake in offering this dove, which, as we shall see, Satan snatched away.
The ram represented the growth stage. Once Jesus had brought fulfillment to the Old Testament Age, thus restoring everything represented by the dove, he commenced the New Testament Age at the growth stage of the providence, when everything represented by the ram was to be restored. After John the Baptist testified that he had seen the Spirit descend on Jesus as a dove-meaning that Jesus was the one to complete the formation stage of the providence-he testified that Jesus would begin the growth stage mission, saying, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!"53
The heifer represented the completion stage. It is written that once, when Samson put forth a riddle to the Philistines, they obtained the answer by having Samson's wife press him to reveal it. Samson said to them, "If you had not plowed with my heifer, you would not have found out my riddle,"54 here metaphorically calling his wife a heifer. Jesus came as the bridegroom to all humanity. All devout believers should become his brides, awaiting the time of his return. After these brides celebrate the marriage of the Lamb with Jesus, their bridegroom, they are to live in the Kingdom of Heaven in oneness with him as his wives (in a metaphorical sense). Therefore, the Completed Testament Age following the Second Advent of Jesus is the age of the heifer, or the age of the wife. The reason why some spiritual mediums have received the revelation that the present era is the age of a cow or heifer is because we are entering the completion stage.
What were the three sacrifices to indemnify? Abraham was to restore by this offering all that God could not restore through the symbolic offerings made by the families of Adam and Noah-offerings that were made properly but then forfeited to Satan due to subsequent failures. Abraham's offering was also to make a symbolic indemnity condition as restitution for their failures in making the substantial offering. In other words, the purpose of Abraham's symbolic offering of the three types of objects for the condition was to restore in his generation (horizontally) all the indemnity conditions which had accumulated in the course of the providence (vertically) through the three generations of Adam, Noah and Abraham.
Why did Abraham place the three sacrifices-the dove and pigeon, the ram and goat, and the heifer, symbolizing the formation, growth and completion stages-on one altar? Before the Fall, Adam was responsible to grow through all three stages in his one lifetime. Similarly, Abraham, now in the position of Adam, was supposed to restore, all at once, the long providence which God had conducted through the three providential generations of Adam (formation), Noah (growth) and Abraham (completion). Through one offering, he could restore all the defiled conditions containing the number three. The symbolism of Abraham's sacrifice reveals God's Will to fulfill the entire providence of restoration once and for all.
Now let us study how Abraham made the symbolic offering:
He said to him, "Bring me a heifer three years old, a she-goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon." And he brought him all these, cut them in two, and laid each half over against the other; but he did not cut the birds in two. And when the birds of prey came down upon the carcasses, Abram drove them away. As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram; and lo, a dread and great darkness fell upon him. Then the Lord said to Abram, "Know of a surety that your descendants will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs, and will be slaves there, and they will be oppressed for four hundred years."
Because Abraham did not cut the dove and pigeon in two as he should have, birds of prey came down and defiled the sacrifices. As a result of his mistake, the Israelites were destined to enter Egypt and suffer hardships for four hundred years. Why was it a sin not to cut the birds in half? This question can be understood only with the help of the Principle.
Let us first investigate the reason why Abraham was instructed to cut the sacrifices in half. God's work of salvation aims to restore the sovereignty of goodness by first dividing good from evil and then destroying evil and uplifting the good. This is the reason Adam had to be divided into Cain and Abel before the sacrifice could be made. This is the reason why in Noah's day, God struck down evil through the flood judgment and winnowed out Noah's family as the good. God had Abraham cut the sacrifices in two before offering them, with the intention of doing the symbolic work of dividing good from evil, which was left unaccomplished by Adam and Noah.
The sacrifices were to be divided, first, to restore the situation in Adam's family in which Abel and Cain were divided into a representative of good and a representative of evil. Second, it was to restore the situation of having divided good from evil during the forty days of Noah's flood. Third, it was to make the symbolic condition to separate a realm of good sovereignty out of the universe ruled by Satan. Fourth, it was to make the condition to sanctify the offering by draining out the blood of death, which had entered fallen humanity when they were bound in blood-ties to Satan.
Why was it a sin not to divide the offering? First, not dividing the offering has the significance of not dividing Abel from Cain. Without being divided, the offering could not be acceptable to God because it did not provide Him with an Abel-type object partner which He could take. Consequently, the mistakes Cain and Abel had made in their sacrifices were not restored. Second, not dividing the offering was tantamount to repeating the failure of the providence in Noah's time, when good and evil remained undivided despite the flood. Like the failure of Noah's family, Abraham's failure to divide the offering also deprived God of His good object partner. Thus, it repeated the mistake which made the dispensation of the flood a failure. Third, not dividing the offering meant there was no symbolic condition to separate a realm of God's good sovereignty out of the universe under Satan's dominion. Fourth, because the blood of death was not drained out of it, not dividing the offering meant it could not be a sanctified offering acceptable to God. In other words, when Abraham offered the birds without first dividing them, it meant that he offered what had not been wrested from Satan's possession. His mistake had the effect of acknowledging Satan's claim of possession over them.
The dove, symbolizing the formation stage, remained in Satan's possession. Consequently, Satan also claimed the ram, symbolizing the growth stage, and the heifer, symbolizing the completion stage, both of which were to be fulfilled based upon the formation stage. Since it had the effect of handing over the entire symbolic offering to Satan, not dividing the birds constituted a sin.
Next, let us examine what is meant by the verse that birds of prey descended upon the carcasses. Since the Fall of the first human ancestors, Satan has always been stalking those with whom God worked to fulfill His Will. When Cain and Abel were making their sacrifices, Satan was couching at the door.55 In the story of Noah, the raven circling about signifies how Satan was looking for an opportunity to invade Noah's family right after the flood.56 Similarly, when Abraham was making his symbolic offering, Satan was on the lookout for an opportunity to seize the sacrifice. He profaned it as soon as he saw that the birds were not divided. The Bible describes this by the image of birds of prey descending upon the sacrifice.
Abraham's mistake in making the symbolic offering caused the offering to be defiled. All the conditions God intended to restore through it were lost. As a consequence, Abraham's descendants had to suffer oppression and slavery for four hundred years in the land of Egypt. Let us investigate the reason for this.
God called upon Abraham and commanded him to make the symbolic offering at the completion of a four-hundred-year period for the separation of Satan. This period had been set up to restore through indemnity the ten generations from Adam to Noah and the forty-day period of the flood judgment, lost to Satan due to Ham's sin. It was also the indemnity period necessary to establish Abraham as the father of faith when he completed the symbolic offering. When Abraham's mistake in the symbolic offering allowed Satan to claim the offering as his, that four-hundred-year period was also lost to Satan. To re-create on the national level the situation before Abraham's failure in the symbolic offering, which was itself parallel to when Noah was called upon to build the ark, God set up another four-hundred-year period for the separation of Satan. During this period, the Israelites were slaves in Egypt. By enduring through this period, the Israelites were to restore-this time on the national level-the situations of Noah and Abraham at the outset of their missions as the fathers of faith, thereupon also laying the foundation for Moses to begin his mission. Hence, this period of slavery was both the time when the Israelites were being punished for Abraham's mistake and the time when they were laying the foundation to cut off ties to Satan and commence God's new providence.
As explained earlier, God had hoped to fulfill, all at once, the dispensations in the formation, growth and completion stages by having Abraham successfully make the symbolic offering of three types of sacrifices on one altar. Contrary to this plan, Abraham failed, repeating the mistakes of the past. Consequently, the providence centered on him was prolonged through the three generations of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
After Abraham failed in the symbolic offering, God commanded him to sacrifice his only son Isaac as a burnt offering.57 In this way, God began a new dispensation for the purpose of restoring through indemnity Abraham's failure. According to the principle of predestination, when someone whom God has foreordained to accomplish a certain portion of His Will fails to complete his responsibility, God does not use him a second time. Why, then, did God work with Abraham again when he had him offer Isaac?
We can advance three reasons. First, the number three represents completion.58 God's Principle requires that when the providence to lay the foundation for the Messiah takes place for the third time, it must be brought to completion. Therefore, God's providence to lay the foundation for the Messiah, which began in Adam's family as the first dispensation and continued in Noah's family as the second dispensation, had to conclude in Abraham's family, which was the third dispensation. For this reason, Abraham was given the opportunity to fulfill a condition of indemnity, albeit at a greater price, and thereby make symbolic restoration of all he had lost when he failed in the earlier symbolic offering. This greater indemnity condition was the offering of his son Isaac as a sacrifice.
Second, as was explained earlier, when Abraham was making his sacrifice, he was in the position of Adam. Satan had attacked both Adam and his son Cain, defiling the family over the course of two generations. Hence, according to the principle of restoration through indemnity, God could work to take back Abraham and his son Isaac over the course of two generations.
Third, we learned that Noah could make the symbolic offering of the ark himself, even though he was in the same position as Adam who could not make the sacrifice directly. This is because he stood upon the merit of Abel, who had demonstrated a faithful heart when he succeeded in the symbolic offering. When Abraham was called by God, he stood on the merit of both Abel, who succeeded in the symbolic offering at the formation stage, and Noah, who succeeded in the symbolic offering at the growth stage. Upon this double foundation, Abraham was to make the symbolic offering at the completion stage. Accordingly, even though Abraham failed, God could raise him up and give him another chance to make an offering based on the accumulated merit of Abel's and Noah's faithful hearts.
Before he could offer Isaac as a sacrifice, Abraham once again had to demonstrate right faith by repeating the symbolic indemnity condition for the restoration of Adam's family, as he had when he was about to make the symbolic offering. This is the reason Abraham once again put Sarah in the position of his sister and let her be taken by a king, this time Abimelech of Gerar. After she became the king's wife, Abraham took her back. This time Abraham also took back with him slaves, who symbolized humanity, and riches, which symbolized the natural world.59
How did Abraham offer Isaac?
When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar, upon the wood. Then Abraham put forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, "Abraham, Abraham!" And he said, "Here am I." He said, "Do not lay your hand on the lad or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me." -Gen. 22:9-12
Abraham's faith was absolute. In obedience to God's command, he was about to kill Isaac, his only son, intending to offer him as a burnt offering. God intervened at that moment and told Abraham not to kill the boy.
Abraham's zeal to do God's Will and his resolute actions, carried out with absolute faith, obedience and loyalty, lifted him up to the position of already having killed Isaac. Therefore, he completely separated Satan from Isaac. God commanded Abraham not to kill Isaac because Isaac, now severed of all ties to Satan, stood on God's side. We must also understand that when God said, "now I know . . ." He revealed both His reproach to Abraham for his earlier failure in the symbolic offering and His joy over the successful offering of Isaac. Because Abraham succeeded in his offering of Isaac, the providence of restoration in Abraham's family could be carried on by Isaac.
Abraham took three days to reach the place on Mt. Moriah where he was to offer his son Isaac as a burnt offering. This three-day period for purifying Isaac was to begin a new course in the providence. Thence-forth, a three-day period has been required for the separation of Satan at the start of new dispensations. We find many instances of such periods in the history of the providence. When Jacob was setting out from Haran with his family to begin the family course to restore Canaan, there was a three-day period for the separation of Satan.60 Moses, too, led the Israelites through a three-day period for the separation of Satan as they left Egypt to begin the national course to restore Canaan.61 When Jesus began the worldwide spiritual course to restore Canaan, he spent three days in the tomb to accomplish the separation of Satan.
It was explained earlier that although Abraham's symbolic offering ended in failure, there remained some grounds in the Principle for the foundation for the Messiah to be established centered on him. Yet since he had failed to fulfill his responsibility, Abraham was not qualified to repeat the symbolic offering himself.62 Somehow, God had to find a way to regard Abraham as though he had not failed in the symbolic offering or caused the prolongation of the providence. To achieve this, God commanded Abraham to offer Isaac as a burnt offering.
God had previously promised Abraham that He would raise up a chosen people from the lineage of Isaac, saying:
Behold, the word of the Lord came to him, ". . . your own son shall be your heir." And he brought him outside and said, "Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them." Then he said to him, "So shall your descendants be." -Gen. 15:4-5
When Abraham was prepared to slay his son, even the son of the promise, he demonstrated utmost loyalty to Heaven. This act of faith was tantamount to Abraham killing himself-a self which had been defiled by Satan due to his earlier failure in the symbolic offering. Accordingly, when God saved Isaac from death, Abraham was also resurrected to life, now loosed from all the ties with which Satan had bound him when his symbolic offering was defiled. Furthermore, Abraham and Isaac attained inseparable oneness in their fidelity to God's Will.
Though Isaac and Abraham were two different individuals, when God brought them back to life, they became as one person in the sight of God. Even though the dispensation through Abraham had failed and was prolonged through Isaac, as long as Isaac succeeded, Isaac's victory would become Abraham's own victory. Therefore, God would be able to regard Abraham as not having failed and the dispensation as not having been prolonged.
It is not clear how old Isaac was when Abraham offered the boy as a sacrifice. He was old enough to carry the wood for the sacrifice,63 and when he saw there was no lamb to be offered, he inquired of his father about it.64 Isaac was apparently old enough to understand his father's intentions. We can infer that he helped his father, even though he knew that his father was preparing to offer him as the sacrifice.
If Isaac had resisted his father's attempt to offer him as a sacrifice, God definitely would not have accepted the offering. In fact, Isaac demonstrated a faith as great as that of Abraham. Together, their faith made the offering successful, and there was no way for Satan to retain his hold on them. In making the offering, Isaac and Abraham underwent a process of death and resurrection. As a result, two things were accomplished. First, Abraham succeeded in the separation of Satan, who had invaded him because of his mistake in the symbolic offering. He restored through indemnity the position he had occupied before he had made the mistake and transferred his providential mission to Isaac from this restored position. Second, by faithfully obeying God's Will, Isaac inherited the divine mission from Abraham and demonstrated the faith which qualified him to make the symbolic offering.
After the divine mission had passed from Abraham to Isaac, Abraham offered the ram provided by God as the substitute for Isaac:
Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. -Gen. 22:13
In fact, this was the symbolic offering by which Isaac restored the foundation of faith. Since Isaac had carried the wood for the sacrifice, we can infer that he participated in the offering of the ram. Thus, even though it is written that Abraham made the symbolic offering, Isaac, who had united with Abraham and inherited his mission, was given providential credit for the offering. In this way, Isaac, having inherited Abraham's mission, made the symbolic offering and restored through indemnity the foundation of faith.
Isaac thus became the central figure to restore the foundation of faith in place of Abraham. He established the foundation of faith by making the symbolic offering of the ram in a manner acceptable to God. To establish the foundation for the Messiah in Isaac's family, the foundation of substance had to be laid next. For this purpose, Isaac's sons, Esau and Jacob, had to be placed in the divided positions of Cain and Abel respectively. By making the substantial offering, they were responsible to fulfill the indemnity condition to remove the fallen nature and lay the foundation of substance.
If Abraham had not failed in the symbolic offering, Isaac and his half-brother Ishmael would have stood in the positions of Abel and Cain. They would have been responsible to fulfill the indemnity condition to remove the fallen nature which Cain and Abel did not accomplish. However, because Abraham failed in the offering, God set up Isaac in the position of Abraham, and Esau and Jacob in the positions originally intended for Ishmael and Isaac. It was then up to Esau and Jacob to fulfill the indemnity condition to remove the fallen nature.
For the purpose of making the substantial offering, Esau and Jacob were in the same positions under their father Isaac as Cain and Abel in relation to Adam, and as Shem and Ham in relation to Noah. Isaac's eldest son Esau represented Abraham's first symbolic offering defiled by Satan, while the second son Jacob represented the offering of Isaac by which Satan was separated. Moreover, Esau assumed the role of Cain as the representative of evil, while Jacob stood in the position of Abel as the representative of goodness. Esau and Jacob began fighting inside their mother's womb65 because they were in these opposing positions. Even then, God loved Jacob and hated Esau,66 but this was for a providential reason: they were supposed to restore through indemnity the mistakes which Cain and Abel had made in their offering.
However, before Esau and Jacob could fulfill the indemnity condition to remove the fallen nature and make the substantial offering, Jacob first had to fulfill the indemnity condition to restore the position of Abel. In all, Jacob had the following missions: First, he should fulfill the indemnity condition to restore the position of Abel, the central figure of the substantial offering. Next, he should make the substantial offering. Finally, as will be discussed in the next section, Jacob would enter Egypt to commence the four-hundred-year course of indemnity required of his descendants because of Abraham's mistake in the symbolic offering.
Jacob made the indemnity condition to restore the position of Abel in the following manner. First, Jacob fulfilled the condition of victory in the fight to restore on the individual level the birthright of the eldest son. Because Satan took dominion over the universe created by God, Satan assumed the position of the eldest son. God was cast in the position of the second son, from which He had to work His way toward restoring the birthright. For this reason, God has favored second sons over firstborn sons, as in the case of Esau and Jacob: "I have loved Jacob but I have hated Esau."67 Jacob, as the second son who had the responsibility to restore the birthright of the firstborn son, cleverly obtained it from Esau in exchange for some bread and a pottage of lentils.68 Because Jacob highly valued the birthright and worked to reclaim it from his brother, God had Isaac bless him.69 On the contrary, God did not bless Esau, because he thought so little of his birthright that he traded it for a bowl of lentil pottage.
Second, Jacob went to Haran, which represented the satanic world. After suffering through twenty-one years of drudgery, he triumphed over Laban in the fight to restore the birthright by gaining family and wealth as his due inheritance. After winning this victory, Jacob returned to Canaan.
Third, on his way back to Canaan, the land of the promised blessing, Jacob triumphed in wrestling with an angel at the ford of Jabbok, thereby restoring dominion over the angel in a substantial struggle. Through these three victories, Jacob restored through indemnity the position of Abel. Thereupon, Jacob became the central figure of the substantial offering.
Esau and Jacob thus secured the positions in which Cain and Abel had stood at the moment when God accepted Abel's offering. Accordingly, for Jacob and Esau to fulfill the indemnity condition to remove the fallen nature, Esau needed to love Jacob, respect him as his mediator to God, obediently submit to Jacob's directions, and finally, multiply goodness by inheriting goodness from the bearer of God's blessing. Indeed, when Jacob returned to Canaan with his family and wealth after enduring twenty-one years of hardship in Haran, he moved Esau to overcome his former hostility:
And Jacob lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, Esau was coming, and four hundred men with him. So he divided the children among Leah and Rachel and the two maids. And he put the maids with their children in front, then Leah with her children, and Rachel and Joseph last of all. He himself went on before them, bowing himself to the ground seven times, until he came near to his brother. But Esau ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept. -Gen. 33:1-4
When Esau opened his arms and affectionately welcomed Jacob, they fulfilled the indemnity condition to remove the fallen nature. For the first time, the foundation of substance was laid successfully.
When Jacob and Esau succeeded in making the substantial offering, they restored through indemnity the previous failures in making substantial offerings: the failures of Cain and Abel in Adam's family and of Ham and Shem in Noah's family. Their victory in the providence centered on Abraham also restored through indemnity, horizontally in one family, the long vertical course of history in which God had been working to restore the foundation of substance.
Esau had been in the position to be hated by God from the time he was inside his mother's womb70 only because he had been given the role of Cain, who was on Satan's side, for the purpose of setting up an indemnity condition in the providence of restoration. Once he submitted to Jacob and completed his portion of responsibility, he stood in the position of restored Cain and was at last able to receive God's love.
God's work to lay the foundation for the Messiah, which He first tried to establish in Adam's family, had to be conducted three times because the central figures of the providence of restoration could not fulfill their portion of responsibility. The third attempt was in Abraham's time, yet even this was prolonged when he failed in the symbolic offering. Isaac and his family inherited the Will and laid the foundation of faith and the foundation of substance. At last, the foundation for the Messiah was established. One would expect that the Messiah would have come on the earth at that time.
However, the foundation for the Messiah also requires a social environment conducive to his coming. The foundation must make it feasible for this satanic world to be restored into God's Kingdom ruled by the Messiah. In the providence in Adam's and Noah's families, there were no other families which could possibly attack or corrupt the central family. If either of these families had laid the foundation for the Messiah on the family level, the Messiah could have come without opposition. However, by Abraham's time, fallen people had already built up satanic nations which could easily overpower Abraham's family. Hence, even though the foundation for the Messiah was laid at that time, it was a limited foundation, on the family level. The Messiah could not have safely come on that foundation. A foundation of a sovereign state was needed to cope with the nations of the satanic world.
Such support would have been necessary even if Abraham had not failed in the symbolic offering, but had succeeded with his sons, Isaac and Ishmael, in making the substantial offering to lay the family foundation for the Messiah. It still would not have been safe for the Messiah to come until Abraham's descendants had multiplied in Canaan and established a national foundation for the Messiah. As it was, though the descendants of Isaac had established the family foundation for the Messiah, they would leave their homeland and suffer in a foreign land for four hundred years as the penalty for Abraham's mistake. Despite their suffering in Egypt, they would flourish and consolidate as a people. They would return to Canaan and build the national foundation for the Messiah as a sovereign nation prepared for the Messiah and his work.71
A course of indemnity had been placed upon the shoulders of Abraham's descendants due to his mistake in the symbolic offering. Jacob was to begin this course of indemnity, not Isaac. Indeed, the one who shoulders the major burden in walking the course of indemnity is the Abel-type person who serves as the central figure of the substantial offering. Abel in Adam's family, Ham in Noah's family, Isaac in Abraham's family, and Jacob in Isaac's family carried the major burdens in walking the indemnity courses set down for their families. Among them, Jacob was the only Abel figure who stood upon the foundation for the Messiah. Therefore, he would walk the model course for the separation of Satan, setting the pattern for the Messiah to follow at his coming.72
Jacob's family stood upon the foundation for the Messiah which had been completed in Isaac's family. Inheriting the position of Isaac's family, they set out to complete the dispensation entrusted to Abraham by taking responsibility for Abraham's sin and embarking upon the four-hundred-year course of indemnity. In Isaac's family it was Jacob, in the position of Abel, who walked the entire course of indemnity. In Jacob's family it was Joseph, the son of Rachel-Jacob's wife on God's side-who was to secure the position of Abel by entering Egypt and walking the course of indemnity. After being sold into slavery by his brothers and brought to Egypt, Joseph rose to the office of prime minister of Egypt by the age of thirty. He witnessed the realization of a prophecy which God had given him in his dreams while he was still a child.73 First, Joseph's half brothers, born of Leah-Jacob's wife on Satan's side-entered Egypt and surrendered themselves to him. Later, all of Jacob's children entered Egypt, and finally they brought their father to Egypt. In this way, Jacob's family began the indemnity course to build a nation which would one day receive the Messiah.
Jacob, as the central figure who laid the foundation for the Messiah in Isaac's family, was responsible to shoulder Abraham's sin. He was also responsible to embark upon an indemnity course to realize on the national level the Will which had been entrusted to Isaac. Therefore, as was the case with Abraham and Isaac, God regarded Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as the same person with respect to His Will, even though they were three different individuals. Accordingly, Jacob's success meant Isaac's success, and Isaac's success meant Abraham's success. The providence of restoration centering on Abraham, though it was extended to Isaac and Jacob, came to be regarded in the sight of God as having been accomplished in Abraham's own generation without any prolongation. It is written, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob."74 This verse indicates that although they were three generations, God regarded as one generation these ancestors who collectively accomplished His Will.
God intended to fulfill the goal of His providence by establishing the national foundation for the Messiah and sending the Messiah to that prepared nation. To accomplish this, God had Jacob's family enter Egypt, the satanic world, where they would suffer as slaves for four hundred years. Then, as promised to Abraham, God would raise them up as the chosen people and bring them back to Canaan.
The foundation for the Messiah established in Isaac's family became the basis upon which to begin the course of indemnity to establish the national foundation for the Messiah. The period of two thousand years from Adam to Abraham was in effect the period to lay the basis for this national providence to begin in the next era.
In conclusion, Jacob was victorious in taking responsibility for the indemnity course to pay for Abraham's mistake. By using his wisdom for the sake of God's Will, Jacob triumphed as an individual in his struggle with Esau to win the birthright. He entered Haran and, as a family, triumphed in a twenty-one-year struggle with his uncle Laban to win the birthright. On his way back from Haran to Canaan, Jacob was victorious in the fight with the angel. He was the first fallen man to fulfill the indemnity condition to restore dominion over the angel. Thereupon, he received the name "Israel,"75 signifying that he set the pattern and laid the groundwork upon which the chosen people would be established. After returning to Canaan with these victories, Jacob won Esau's heart, and together they fulfilled the indemnity condition to remove the fallen nature.
Jacob thus victoriously completed the model course to bring Satan to submission. Moses, Jesus, and even the people of Israel would walk this course after the pattern set by Jacob. The history of Israel can serve as a good historical source for understanding the course to bring Satan to submission on the national level. For this reason, it is central to the study of the providence of restoration.
First, Abraham's course demonstrates that God's predestination concerning the manner in which His Will is fulfilled is conditional. The providence of restoration cannot be fulfilled by God's power alone; it can only be fulfilled in conjunction with the human portion of responsibility. Hence, although God called upon Abraham for the purpose of fulfilling the providence of restoration, when he failed to complete his responsibility, God's Will was not fulfilled.
Second, Abraham's course demonstrates that God's predestination concerning human beings is conditional. Although God preordained Abraham to be the father of faith by succeeding in his offering, when he could not complete his responsibility, this mission extended to Isaac and Jacob.
Third, Abraham's course shows us that when human beings fail to complete their responsibility, the fulfillment of God's Will is always delayed, and its restoration requires fulfillment of a greater indemnity condition. In Abraham's case, God's Will was to be accomplished by merely sacrificing animals; upon his failure, however, it had to be accomplished by offering his beloved son, Isaac, as a sacrifice and had to be completed through Isaac and Jacob.
Fourth, Abraham's cutting the sacrifices in two provides a lesson that each of us must divide our own self as an offering to separate good from evil. A life of faith involves putting ourselves in the position of an offering. Only by dividing good from evil in ourselves can we become living offerings pleasing to God. We should constantly separate good from evil within ourselves, according to the standard of God's Will. If we neglect to do this, a condition is set up for Satan to invade.