The Purpose of the Messiah

          I. God's Purpose in the Dispensation for Salvation

Each person is created as a child of God.  When he perfects himself
and becomes an embodiment of goodness, he lives in the Kingdom of God
on earth and in the spirit world.  God's purpose in making the
Creation is to feel joy through experiencing his children living in
the Kingdom of Heaven, which is the world of God's love and Heart.  It
is established through and based on the fulfillment of the Three
Blessings.  However, because of the Fall of the first ancestors, man
became the embodiment of sin and evil, and ever since has lived in
suffering both on earth and in the spirit world, and the Purpose of
Creation has not been realized.  Would God abandon his original Ideal
for the Creation and leave it unrealized?  No, he would not.  

As God says in Isaiah 46:11, "'I have spoken, and I will bring it to
pass; I have purposed and I will do it.'"  God will surely accomplish
his purpose.  The God of love could not leave fallen man in such a
state, for man was created as his child.  Instead, God has been
working for man's salvation.  

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

Thus, God's purpose in salvation is to restore an individual to the
sinless state that God originally created, raise him to be an ideal
individual, establish an ideal family centered on the individual, and
the establish an ideal society, nation, and world, based on that ideal

        II.  The Fulfillment of the Dispensation for Salvation 
         is the Fulfillment of the Purpose of the Creation.  

If a person were to become such an ideal individual, namely a restored
person who has realized the First Blessing, what would he be like? 
This perfect individual would have the same relation to God as the
body of an individual has to his mind.  The mind dwells in the body,
and the body acts as the mind directs it.  Similarly, a perfect person
is a temple of God, and God dwells in his mind.  God becomes the
center of his thoughts and actions -- the center of his life.  Such a
person of perfected character achieves the ideal of unity with God,
just as our body achieves harmony with our mind.  This is expressed in
1 Corinthians 3:16, which says, "Do you not know that you are God's
temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you?" and John 14:20 says, "'In


that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in

If Adam and Eve had become such perfect individuals, then in their
life in the Garden of Eden would they ever have needed prayer, a
religious life, or a savior?  Why would prayer have been necessary for
those who were continuously living and communicating directly with
God?  If a religious life is a life of faith in which fallen man
desperately gropes in darkness in search of the God he lost, then why
should a perfect person who lives his daily life as a temple of God
have need of any form of worship?  Thus, if man had not fallen in the
Garden of Eden, there would be no churches or Bibles, no sermons, no
all-night prayer vigils, no revival meetings, nor the like.  All each
person would need to do is live as the embodiment of goodness,
attending God in his everyday life.  Just as those who are not
drowning have ne need of a rescuer, perfected people, who are sinless,
have no need of a savior.  

Then if man had established the ideal family, fulfilling God's Second
Blessing, what would such a family have become?  If Adam and Eve had
become husband and wife embodying goodness, giving birth to children
embodying goodness, this family would have become the origin of a
sinless tribe, society, nation, and world.  With this family, the
Kingdom of Heaven would have been established, and from that family
and ideal society of one world family would have developed, with one
set of true parents (the first man and woman) and endless generations
of sinless descendants growing in prosperity.  God's dispensation for
salvation is to develop such heavenly individuals, people who have
realized God's Three Blessings and have thus established the Kingdom
of Heaven.  

It is for this purpose of salvation that God sent his Son, Jesus
Christ, as saviour to this world.  Thus the Messiah must stand before
God as the origin of all ideal individuals and must establish the
ideal family, which is the family that fulfills the purpose of the
creation and is the place where God's love can dwell.  He must then
also establish the ideal nation and world, thereby realizing the
originally intended Kingdom of Heaven on earth, fulfilling the Purpose
of the Creation.  This is the purpose for which the messiah comes.  

         III.  The Dispensation of Salvation through the Cross

                     A.  The Crucifixion of Jesus

God Truly loved his chosen people, the Israelites, who were to be the
foundation for the coming of the Messiah.  Many times God prophesied
the coming of the Messiah, and he even warned the people to remain
alert and wait for him.  God even prepared a great witness, John the
Baptist, to testify to the Messiah.  In fact, the nation of Israel was
passionately longing for the Messiah to arrive.  


Tragically, however, the much-prepared chosen people failed to
recognize the Messiah when he came.  The Son of God cried out that he
was the Son of God, but his words fell on deaf ears.  He was never
understood; he was branded a blasphemer and ultimately crucified. 
Ironically, the pagan rulers of that age knew of Jesus' innocence (Lk
23:14-16; Jn 18:38; Mt 27:19,23; Mk 15:10-14), while those who judged
him guilty where his own people and the leaders of Judaism, whom God
himself had nurtured and prepared for so long.  They were even anxious
to send Jesus to the cross.  Why?  

Christians have traditionally believed that Jesus' death on the cross
was predestined as the original plan of God.  No it was not!  It was a
grievous error to crucify Jesus Christ.  The crucifixion of Jesus was
the consequence of the sheer ignorance of the people of Israel
concerning God's dispensation.  God's will was clearly for the chosen
people to accept and believe in Jesus (Jn 6:29, 10:37,38) and receive
salvation.  The people of Israel did not understand who Jesus of
Nazareth was, for even as he hung dying on the cross they mocked him,
shouting that they would believe in him as savior only if he came down
from the cross.  The Bible points out that "he came to his own home,
and his own people received him not" (Jn 1:11); and the Apostle Paul
testified that "none of the rulers of this age understood this; for if
they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory" (1 Cor

Christians today do not have a clear understanding of the truth behind
the historic events that took place in Jesus' time.  If God's will for
man's salvation could be accomplished only by the Crucifixion, why did
he spend so much time preparing a chosen people?  Was it not because
he did not want to hand his Son over to faithless people?  

In the garden at Gethsemane, Jesus prayed, "' ... My soul is very
sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me ... My
Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me ... '" (Mt 26:38,
39).  Jesus uttered this prayer not once, but three times.  Many
Christians, who believe that Jesus' mission was to bring salvation by
dying on the cross, explain that Jesus uttered this prayer out of
human weakness or frailty.  But could Jesus Christ, the savior of
mankind, utter any prayer out of weakness?  

The first Christian martyr, Stephen, and many of the martyrs who
followed, never prayed from such weakness.  Did they ever ask, "Let
this cup pass from me," as they were dying?  How can we say that Jesus
was weaker than these martyrs?  Especially if the purpose of his
coming was to save all mankind by dying on the cross, could there be
any reason that he would pray to escape from it?  

This prayer of Jesus was not a selfish or timid prayer, uttered out of
fear of dying.  If the crucifixion had been the very way for Jesus to
save mankind, he would gladly have died on the cross thousands of
times over.  Jesus was beset with anxiety when he thought about his
mission as the Messiah, which was to realize God's Purpose for the


Creation on earth.  His heart was so troubled because he knew how
sorrowful God would feel if the completion of the dispensation for
salvation were delayed.  Jesus also foresaw the sufferings and
bloodshed of his disciples and followers, the Christians, who would
have to follow his path of suffering and the cross.  He also anguished
over the troubled future that would come to the people of Israel if
they rejected him.  With all of this in mind, in the garden of
Gethsemane, Jesus uttered a last desperate prayer to God, repeatedly
pleading that God let him remain on earth, even in those hopeless
circumstances, so that he could continue his mission and change the
hearts of the people to the point where they would accept him.  

If Jesus' death on the cross was predestined by God, then why did
Jesus say to Judas Iscariot, his betrayer, "' ... woe to that man by
whom the Son of man is betrayed!  It would have been better for that
man if he had not been born'" (Mt 26:24); and how can we explain
Jesus' crying out on the cross, "' ... My God, my God, why hast Thou
forsaken me?'" (Mt 27:46).  If the crucifixion were truly God's
original will for Jesus, then Jesus should have felt resounding joy on
the cross, having successfully completed his mission.  

          B.  The Extent of Salvation Available through the 
         Cross and the Purpose of the Second Coming of Christ

Death on the cross was not the mission that God had originally
intended for Jesus, his Son.  Rather, it became God's painful
secondary dispensation necessitated by the faithlessness of the people
of Israel.  What would have happened if all the people of Israel had
believed in Jesus and had welcomed him, loved him, and united with
him?  Most certainly, complete salvation would have been realized.  In
other words, Jesus would have completely established the Kingdom of
Heaven on earth, the place where the Purpose of the Creation has been
realized.  God's world would have been realized -- the world in which
all people believe in and follow the Son of God.  The people of Israel
would have become the glorious core of heaven.  The Jewish and
christian worlds would never have been divided, nor would the early
christians have had to endure any of their terrible sufferings. 
Furthermore, because the Messiah would have completed his mission,
there would be no reason for a Second Coming.  

Understanding the question of salvation in this light, we can see that
Jesus' crucifixion was a secondary course of salvation and provided
only spiritual salvation.  When the people came to the point of
completely disbelieving Jesus and abandoning him, God had to pay the
price for the sinful lack of faith of the Israelites and all mankind
by giving the live of his only Son to Satan as a ransom.  As a result,
Satan destroyed Jesus' physical body by nailing him to the cross, and
Jesus' blood on the cross became the price for the redemption of

By resurrecting the crucified Jesus, God opened up a way of spiritual
salvation, a way to a realm free from satanic invasion.  God's victory


was not the crucifixion, but Jesus' resurrection.  As a result of the
crucifixion, the physical selves of mankind are still subject to
satanic invasion, even though they were meant to be saved by man's
believing in Jesus and being engrafted to him (Rom 11:17).  Only man's
spirit can attain salvation, by the condition of participating in the
resurrection through man's belief in the victorious Christ.  Our body
still awaits redemption (Rom 8:23).  

Thus, even after Jesus' appearance on earth, the world continues to
suffer under the power of Satan, and sin mercilessly persists in the
bodies of people everywhere.  The Apostle Paul lamented, "Wretched man
that I am!  Who will deliver me from this body of death? ... I of
myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve
the law of sin" (Rom 7:24,25).  As a saint, Paul was devout and in
full grace of the Lord, but his flesh continued to be oppressed by
sin.  This confession is not limited to Paul alone, but applies to
every person alive.  This is the reason that the Bible teaches us to
"Pray constantly" (1 Thess 5:17) -- To protect us from satanic
invasion.  Also, 1 John 1:10 says, "If we say we have not sinned, we
make him a liar ...," telling us that mankind is still under the
bondage of original sin.  There is no one who has been cleansed of
original sin.  It is for this reason that the Messiah must appear
again on earth, to liquidate our sins completely and establish the
Kingdom of Heaven on earth, fulfilling God's Purpose for the Creation. 

           C.  Two Kinds of Prophecy Concerning the Messiah

If Jesus' death on the cross was not essential for the fulfillment of
his messianic purpose, then why did Isaiah 53 predict the Messiah's
suffering and death?  Here we must remind ourselves that there are
also verses in the Bible which prophesy that the Messiah will come as
the Son of God and the King of kings and bring about the Kingdom of
Heaven on earth.  These prophecies appear in Isaiah 9, 11, and 60, in
other verses in the Old Testament, and in Luke 1:31-33.  

When God first created man, he created him to grow to perfection only
by man's completing a share of responsibility.  Man can either
accomplish his responsibility, as God wants him to do, or to the
contrary, he can fail to accomplish it.  Accordingly, it was necessary
that God give two kinds of prophecies regarding the fulfillment of His

It is God's responsibility to send the Messiah, but it is man's
responsibility to believe in him.  Unfortunately, by not accepting
Jesus, the Israelites failed to fulfill their responsibility; they did
not fulfill God's primary prophecies for the Messiah's coming, which
are in Isaiah 9, 11, and 60 and Luke 1:31-33, but to the contrary,
carried out the alternative or secondary prophecy of the suffering
Messiah, in Isaiah 53.  

            IV.  John the Baptist and the Return of Elijah


                      A.  The Messiah and Elijah

At this point, there is one matter which we must look into regarding
God's dispensation of having Jesus go the way of the cross.  God had
repeatedly prophesied to the chosen people about the coming of the
Messiah, and the chosen people themselves longed for him and cherished
the promise of his coming.  How could God send the Messiah in such a
way that the chosen people were unable to recognize him?  Was it God's
will that they not recognize and receive the Messiah?  Or did the
people fail to recognize him despite God's clearly showing them how he
was to come?  

In order to find the answers to these questions, let us first examine
the second coming of Elijah.  In Malachi, the las book of prophecy in
the Old Testament, it says, "'Behold, I will send you Elijah the
prophet before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes ... '"
(Mal 4:5,6).  The "great and terrible day" that is referred to is the
time when the Messiah comes, and thus this prophecy shows that before
the Messiah comes, Elijah must first return.  

Elijah was a great prophet of Israel who lived nine hundred years
before Jesus.  There is record of his having ascended into heaven on a
chariot of fire (2 Kings 2:11).  The Israelites' longing for the
Messiah was actually intensely focused on the arrival of the
historical prophet, Elijah.  This was because the Old Testament did
not clearly foretell when the Messiah would come, but did clearly
indicate that Elijah would precede him.  

It was under these circumstances that Jesus appeared, proclaiming
himself the Messiah.  He told the Jewish people that he was the Son of
God -- this to the very people who thought that he was simply a young
man from Nazareth.  they had not yet heard any news of Elijah's
coming, so they asked, "How could Jesus of Nazareth be the Son of

Thus, when Jesus' disciples went out among the people of Israel,
testifying to Jesus', the people doubted that Jesus was the Messiah
and challenged the disciples by asking where Elijah was, since Elijah
was to precede the Messiah.  So Jesus' disciples turned around and
asked Jesus, "' ... then why do the scribes say that first Elijah must
come?'" (Mt 17:10).  Jesus replied, "' ... Elijah does come, and he is
to restore all things; but I tell you that Elijah has already come,
and they did not know him, but did to him whatever they pleased ...'. 
Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them of John the
Baptist" (Mt 17:10-13).  

Jesus understood the meaning of the scribes' important question and
indicated that John the Baptist was the second coming of Elijah. 
Jesus' own disciples could easily believe this, but could the
Israelites bring themselves to believe it?  John the Baptist did not
come directly from heaven, and he himself even denied he was Elijah


(Kn 1:21).  Jesus himself knew that the people would not easily accept
it, saying, "' ... if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who
is to come'" (Mt 11:14).  

Jesus said that John the Baptist was Elijah who the people had been
long awaiting, but since John himself denied it, whom would the people
of Israel believe?  Naturally, it would depend on how these two men
were viewed by the people of that time.  

First, how did Jesus appear to the Israelites of the time?  Jesus was
an obscure young man raised in a humble carpenter's home and was not
known to be experienced in spiritual disciplines.  Yet, Jesus
proclaimed himself "lord of the sabbath" (Mt 12:8), was known as one
who was abolishing the law (Mt 5:17), was the friend of tax collectors
and sinners, and was known as a glutton and a drunkard (Mt 11:19).  He
put himself on an equal footing with God (Jn 14:9-11) and told the
people that they had to love him more than anyone else (Mt 10:37). 
Because of this, the Jewish leaders went so far as to claim that Jesus
was working by the power of Beelzebub, the prince of demons (Mt

On the other hand, how did the Israelites of that time see John the
Baptist?  He was the son of a prominent family, and the miracles
surrounding his conception and birth were known throughout the country
(Lk 1:5-66).  When he was older, he lived on locusts and honey in the
wilderness, and thus in their eyes, he led an exemplary life as a man
of faith.  In fact, John was held in such high regard that high
priests, as well as the common people, even asked if he were the
Messiah (Lk 3:15, Jn 1:20).  

Under these circumstances, the people of Israel tended to believe more
in John the Baptist, who asserted he was not Elijah, than in Jesus,
who told them that John the Baptist was Elijah.  The people decided
that Jesus' view of John as Elijah was untrustworthy, thinking that
Jesus said this only to make believable his claims about himself.  

                  B.  The Mission of John the Baptist

Then why did Jesus say that John the Baptist was Elijah?  As Luke 1:17
indicates, John the Baptist came with the mission of Elijah.  The
people of Israel, who believed the words of the Old Testament
literally, assumed that the original Elijah would actually come down
from heaven.  But God chose John and sent him with the mission of

John the Baptist himself declared that he was "sent before" the
Messiah (Jn 3:28), to "make strait the way of the Lord" (Jn 1:23). 
Being a man with such a unique and important mission, John, by his own
wisdom, should have known that he himself was Elijah.  

Many of the chief priests and the people of Israel who respected John
the Baptist thought that he might even be the Messiah.  Therefore, if


John had proclaimed that he was Elijah and had testified that Jesus
was the Messiah, the Jewish people of that time would have been able
to recognize and receive Jesus, thereby obtaining salvation.  Then
Jesus' family background and seeming lack of experience in spiritual
disciplines would not have mattered.  However, because of his
ignorance of God's dispensation, John insisted that he was not Elijah. 
This was the main factor that prevented the people of Israel from
coming to Jesus.  

In Matthew 3:11, John the Baptist said that he baptized with water,
but that the one who came after him (the Messiah) would baptize with
the Holy Spirit and with fire; he said that he was not even worthy to
untie the thong of his sandal (Jn 1;27).  In John 1:33, John said, "'I
myself did not know him; but he [God] who sent me to baptize with
water said to me, "He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain,
this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit [Christ]."  And I have
seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.'"  Thus God
gave John the Baptist a direct revelation that Jesus was the Son of
God.  Although John did initially fulfill his mission to testify to
Jesus Christ, regretfully he did not testify to Jesus throughout his

After meeting the Messiah, everyone should believe in him and serve
him throughout their lives.  This was especially true for John the
Baptist, who came with the mission of Elijah, which was to prepare the
Messiah's way (Lk 1:76).  Therefore, John should have served and
attended Jesus as one of his disciples.  John's father was told of his
son's mission when he was born and he prophesied, saying, "... 'And
you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High, for you will
go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation
to his people ...'" (Lk 1:76,77).  However, we cannot find any
instance in the Bible where John the Baptist actually served Jesus.  

Just before John the Baptist died in prison, having lived without
fulfilling his mission to serve Jesus, he began to have doubts
concerning his life and Jesus and sent his disciples to Jesus to ask,
"... 'Are you he is to come, or shall we look for another?'" (Mt
11:3).  This verse proves beyond any shadow of a doubt that John did
not believe in Jesus and failed to serve him.  

Jesus was indignant at such a question and answered quite
judgmentally, "'... blessed is he who takes no offense at me'" (Mt
11:6), indicating that despite Israel's great respect for John, John
had already failed his mission.  

Jesus also said, "'... among those born of women there has risen no
one greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom
of heaven is greater than he'" (Mt 11:11).  If one were the greatest
born of women, surely he should be equally great in the Kingdom of
Heaven.  Then how could John the Baptist, who was born as the greatest
in history, be less than the least in heaven?  


God sent John the Baptist as the greatest of prophets, for he was to
serve the Messiah and testify to him before all the people.  But he
was a dismal failure in fulfilling his responsibility.  Matthew 11:12
also explains this, saying, "'From the days of John the Baptist until
now, the kingdom of heaven had suffered violence, and men of violence
take it by force.'"  If John the Baptist had served Jesus well,
fulfilling his responsibility, he would have become Jesus' chief
disciple; but because he failed, Peter, who made the greatest effort
among Jesus' disciples, became the leader of the Twelve.  

In order to prepare the people of Israel to have faith in Jesus, God
gave many testimonies to John's parents, Zechariah and Elizabeth, who
were representatives of the Judaism of that time.  God continually
worked miracles so that the people would accept that he was directly
working in the conception and birth of John the Baptist.  Undoubtedly,
John was told by his parents about his being related to Jesus, and, as
mentioned above, he must have received many revelations directly from

Yet, despite all of this preparation, John the Baptist failed because
of his disbelief and ignorance.  Moreover, his personal ignorance and
disbelief led not only to his individual loss, but also to the
disbelief of most of the people and ultimately to Jesus' crucifixion.