Why Did Jesus Come When He Came? The “Fullness of Time”: Theology and Philosophy of the Necessary OT Ages

The Loving Beauty of Pregnancy, the Beautiful Child in the Womb, and the Developing Old Testament

It is truly unfathomable and priceless to our hearts to consider the wonder and beauty of our God, that from the total love and exchange of two persons, wholly to one another—reckless abandonment into their arms and bodies—can come a third priceless person, a child, an immeasurably splendid gift from our Creator that images the very Triune nature of God Himself: that just as, in the Genesis allegory, woman proceeded from man of equal substance and priceless worth, so the Son, of equal Substance and Divinity, proceeded from the Father; and that just as the total self-giving and cherishing love between man and woman becomes another priceless person—a third inestimable creature, a child—so also the totally reckless exchange of love and gift between Father and Son became, from all eternity, the Holy Spirit, a third Person of same equal Substance and Divinity.

And were that not enough, God gives to woman an ineffable gift: to carry a wondrous child in gestation, in her womb, growing from a tiny cell—slowly, wonderfully—into a little fully formed babe, for nine precious months, till it pours forth into the world as new life at birth.

Toward this end, what if there is an utterly profound theology and meaning to these incomprehensibly beautiful and moving moments that are shared by a most blessed lady, to partake of bringing new life into the world? I truly believe in my heart that there is, and in this, precisely in the reality of the Old Testament. More specifically, we know from Catholic mystery that God could never just pour out in fullness the God-man into the world from the beginning of history. Rather, ages must develop until the Eternal Son can come down from heaven and enter human history as a creature like us. There would need to be preparation, just as a baby must prepare in his mother’s womb to come forth. And so, in this regard, I will state something very bold and then offer profound argumentation to support it: just as woman must carry a child in her womb for nine months, so, in any world that would happen to fall and that was to then receive an Incarnation from God, I believe that there would need to be the a parallel nine theological phases of history to prepare for Incarnate One.

Sound crazy? Come and see!

The Requirement of a Prefiguring Covenant Prior to the Incarnation

To begin, if an arbitary world with rational material creatures happens to fall, is it not evident that God can in no wise enter Incarnate into the fallen world immediately after such fall if it is to be in any way significantly efficacious for the creatures' renewal? Rather, clearly, at least several stages of Revelation and development are indispensable in order that the Coming of Incarnation might be most efficacious.

How can we see this? Let us probe it.

Progressive Revelation

Firstly, we remember that whereas the angelic creature, free from the impediments of physical steps of intellectual development, is able to digest the profound mysteries in a single instant, the material creature of necessity can only progress in stages to comprehend the profound. In other words, just as a child must develop in intelligence into maturity only by a slower process, so also must humanity as a whole progress in its capacity to understand the spiritual mysteries. This is the first reason to argue that God can only progress humanity in stages of Revelation to prepare for their capacity to accept the fullness of truth that comes in the Incarnation.

Man’s Self Deification and the Scourge of Paganism: 666

The second reason for preliminary ages to precede the Incarnation is humanity's severe tendencies toward materialism and paganism because of its fallen nature. To illustrate, we perhaps recall the infamous "mark of the beast" in the NT apocalypse and that its number is 666. How can we view this allegorically? As follows: a mystical way to look at this symbolism is to reverse the relationship between God and man. How? Well, first note that 7 is the number of perfection and so, in one sense, of God. It follows that 6 is a symbol of imperfection and therefore of man, who falls very short of God. But then, just as God is three Divine Persons in one Nature, so three 6’s in one number symbolizes man [6] making himself as God [three in one]. Consequently, whereas God made man in God’s Image and Likeness, so, through the evil number above, man makes God in man’s image.

Subsequently, when man makes God into his image, one greater result is paganism, which is precisely the nature of man projecting his image onto the Divine. For, in paganism, the deities are largely a reflection of the fallen nature of man, themselves finite in power and in constant struggle according to diverse, and many times arrogant and selfish, passions.

An additional severe hurdle in the nature of man making God into his image is the blasphemous tendency of humanity to even deify themselves, presuming utter independence from God, the makers of their own destiny and fulfillment, and the final arbiter of truth.

All these things present supreme obstacke to the mystery of God's Plan to impart the Revelation of the Incarnate One to a fallen world. This is clear because, firstly, on account of paganism, man tends to see God in multiplicities and with conflicts , whether through the multiple gods of polytheism, or pantheism, where the god of the universe is having a bad dream from which man must help "him" [and therefore themselves also] to wake up.

From this, it follows that God must first overcome the hurdle of multitheism and limited power of the deities by emphasizing the Unicity, Omnipotence, and Omniscience of God. Likewise, this emphasis on God's unicity and infinite transcendence must also be ground in to make certain the reality that man cannot ascend above God, fashion his own fulfillment, nor determine the truth independent of God. Only after this hurdle can the next much more profound mystery of the Incarnation and Trinity be made manifest, where we see the threefold family of love within God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, each different Persons but all fully God (which must not be confused with a multiplicity of limited deities ) and of the Son Himself taking on human nature, so as to suffer in humility for the creatures (not to be confused with a lack of potency on God's part, nor to imply that man, as a mere creature, can ascend and become God, but to reveal His immeasurable love to suffer in solidarity with and for fallen man). Hence, our first conclusion is that before the Incarnation, the spiritual nature, unicity, omnipotence, and omniscience of God must be firmly grounded in Revelation.

A Covenant of Pictures

Now, is there more to the preparation for the Incarnation than simply to emphasize the unicity and transcendence of God? Absolutely, as follows: doesn’t a child need illustration first before the abstraction of written word without pictures? Moreover, will not man, in this early stage of development, still be, because of the fall, quite partial to the material order and less inclined to the spiritual? How much more, then, will God need to establish a starting, Prefiguring Covenant that will need to use veritable physical pictures, or types, of what will eventually be revealed in the New as what really matters. More specifically, precisely because of man's materialistic existence, he will tend to need to learn or discern the spiritual dimensions through visible images, or types, before the abstractions that transcend the material signs are more palatable, just as, again, a child must first learn through illustration before graduating to the raw abstractions of written word without images.

For this reason, it in fact implies that God must first establish stages of Revelation and Covenant that, in the beginning, use material things that only later shall be unveiled to point to their respective fulfillments. For example, killing a literal lamb must prefigure the sacrifice of the Eternal Lamb, the Christ; a literal land, or nation, will prefigure the ultimate Promised Land, heaven , the union with God in the eternal Beatific Vision; the miraculous but merely physical bread fulfilled in the spiritual bread of God Himself, the Eucharist. One must abstain from literal unclean meats, to be fulfilled in the abstinence form unclean moral actions. Henceforth, this special covenant that uses these material signs shall be referred to as the Prefiguring or Foreshadowing Covenant . In this world, it refers to the Old Testament Judaic Covenant.

All these conditions show us that the Incarnate One can in no wise come to the world prematurely and that certain stages of understanding—the supreme of which are the utter emphasis on the unicity of God, His spiritual nature, omniscience and omnipotence--must first progress before any substantial portion of humanity shall be prepared to accept, if even grudgingly, the deeper of the mysteries of God as Trinity and Incarnation.

The Prefiguring Covenant cannot Come Immediately

Now, we ask, right after man falls, is he ready immediately for such prefiguring covenant? I argue not! More specifically, I would say from our world’s experience that when humanity falls in the beginning, it is so privy to the fallen nature and this world, that it will give itself over completely to what we can call “the lies of the fall” and in such a manner that God will not even be able to break through their stubbornness to commence the Prefiguring Covenant without chastisement.

What are these lies of the fall? I have worked them out , but let us review. Where should we start? Well, let us ponder this: if great principles that summarize all goodness could be found in Cathoilc doctrine, wouldn’t the total negation of them be our lies of the fall that summarize all evil? Certianly, for it makes common sense. But where will be find such principles? Bingo, the Baltimore Catechism! The two great reasons that we exist are:

  • To know, love, and serve God in this life

  • To be happy with him forever in the next

Now, it happens that the signs or dispositions of Baptism and Marriage perfectly fulfill these principles:

Knowing and loving God is akin to faith and repentance, which are the primary dispositions necessary for Baptism. So the first principle, or reason, is summed up in the Baptismal disposition.

The second principle, or reason, is akin to Marriage with God, since, collectively, in Heaven, we will all be the Spouse, or Bride, of Christ, where Jesus will impregnate us with the full gift of Himself, His Mystery, His Love, forever, without end--an unending spiritual ecstasy! So the second principle is therefore like a spiritual Marriage.

The Two Great Lies: Anti-Baptism and Anti-Marriage

So then, the lies of the fall would be the devil telling the fallen rational creatures that they shouldn’t seek these principles but rather their opposites, and that, in doing so, they will not only escape the consequences but, in fact, will be far more fulfilled in the Anti-Principles than in the Principles themselves.

And therefore, the two great lies of the fall, in any world, that summarize everything that has been wicked or will be (Solomon: “there is nothing new under the sun. All that has ever been wicked came before Abraham was…”), are:

Anti-Baptismal Disposition: No faith, no repentance: Seek not to know and love God in this life. Rather believe as you wish, and do as you wish, and you will be fine, and better off.

Anti-Marital Disposition toward God: Don’t seek to live for your Creator in the next world—for beautiful and profound goods of mystery, love, truth, and goodness in Heaven—but seek to live for this world, the creation, and its brute, superficial goods—materialism: living for the pleasures, possessions and accomplishments in this world instead of for eternal love and truth with God in the next world.

In light of these arguments, we return to the proposition that man must seek to “digest the lies of the fall” before the Jewish covenant can even be introduced. Moreover, since a child cannot be reasoned with in early phases but must be disciplined, we argue that man will need chastisement to restrain his pursuit of the lies, else, no progress toward that same Prefiguring Covenant can be made. Here then, we argue humanity, slow like a child, will seek to digest the lies one at a time. Hence, the first ages of humanity, the first four are:

The First Four Ages of Humanity

The Fall and Anti-Baptism: man is wicked and has no regard for God.

Chastisement, Apocalyptic Baptism: God must kill man off before He does it to himself, sparing a remnant, a Baptism, the Flood

Anti-Apocalyptic Marriage: man turns from a spousal relationship with God to join himself like a harlot to the world, that is, makes himself unfaithful to his Creator in order to flirt with the Creationmaterialism: a phase of history in which man cooperates perversely in selfish ambition toward a society of materialistic utopia and grandeur, as at Babel.

Chastisement: the response from God here cannot be killing humanity off, since that humanity wants to do great things with the Creation is, in and of itself, not wrong. It is rather that they have an exaggerated and disordered infatuation with material progress. Too, since their infatuation is severe, invitation to spousal relationship to God will be ignored. So God must restrain or frustrate the situation to buy time for the Prefiguring Covenant. The solution in our world seems fitting to any: confound communication. This then breaks up the materialistic unity and gives the perfect slot for God to form the Prefiguring People and Covenant by choosing One special nation among many to be His first Bride!

Now, we have that God has, in one and the same phase with this confounding of tongues and calling of Abraham, restrained the anti-spousal stage of materialism and formed His Prefiguring People by choosing one special nation of the many from Babel to be His Bride!

Now what? Well, if we have four ages so far, we need five more to make nine [months of pregnancy]. What might they be?

The People of God Should Journey the Way of the Saint Historically

We now that the Prefiguring People are called to journey through a Covenant of pictures and types, to mature and grow in knowledge and holiness until, what would seem clear to be, at the height of their maturity, Incarnate One should come.

Well… do we have any frame of reference for growing in maturity and holiness in the Catholic Gospel? Yes! We have it in the Way of the Saint. And the way of the saint has three general phases with certain parts:

  • The Purgative Way

  • The Illuminative Way

  • The Unitive Way

This entirely suggests an amazing correlation! More preciesely, just as what is true of the individual child extrapolates historically to man, so also what is true of the individual human saint extrapolates to the People of God, so that, therefore, the stages of the historical Covenant should also follow this three stage process! This means that the three general ways are necessary to progress historically for the Prefiguring People in order to adequately prepare for the appearance of the Christ. How astounding this would be it if it were true! Well, lo and behold, the theology and history fits perfectly. Let us probe it!

The Way of the Individual Saint

Firstly, though, we need to remind ourselves of this process for the individual saint, then later, for the People of God of a potential material world. To commence, we have just seen in the argument for the preeminent ages above that the fall is the same in any world that happens to fall; the creatures impacted by the fall are like the following:

  • They don't care about knowing or loving God in this life.

  • They live for this world and its goods instead of for the next world, the Creator, and the Uncreated Good.

But if they are this way, they too will have original sin, like us, the absence of supernatural grace that would enable them to seek God's will. Because they live for created goods and this world, they are driven toward, and enslaved to, the physical things in exaggerated proportion. Therefore, they shun pain that is sacrificial, and they love pleasure and the goods of this world rather than God and discipline.

Hence, when a person repents in such a world, that is, converts to God, and therefore acquires sanctifying grace, they will still have these dispositions of sinful tendencies. How much more then will they, by virtue of their, as of yet, concupiscence, like our world, need to purge themselves of these before anything else can be done. For, whereas all creatures there are called to know, love, and serve God, love is essential before knowledge, for knowledge alone does not save [“and if KNOW all mysteries, and have not LOVE, I am NOTHING!”]. Therefore, the saint must first rid himself of the greater sinful tendencies before moving on to superior knowledge of God.

And so, we see the necessity of the purgative way in any fallen material world as the first necessary greater stage: penance exercised to beat the material flesh into subjection to the Spirit.

Obviously, however, God does not desire the creature to remain in greater sinful tendencies. Therefore, by grace, the creature that perseveres in walking with God will eventually work out those larger vices. Then, by way of implication, since, again, the purpose for any creature is to love and know God in any world, now that love is firmer and devoid of serisous wrong-doing, the creature can begin to grow in knowledge of the Divine Mysteries (which by nature also increases love). Hence, the illuminative way: the creature grows in holiness by knowing God on a much deeper level than merely the seed creed of such covenant, which, for the creatures in pre-Incarnate times, is the Prefiguring Covenant [Judaism], and for the creatures beyond Incarnate One, the Incarnate One’s Covenant, the fullness of truth and grace (derivatively, the universal kingdom of all nations beyond the Prefiguring People, in this world, the Catholic Church).

Progressing on, if we recall that the creatures disposed toward the fall are not interested in either loving God or knowing him, it follows that as the holy creature’s [the one traversing the ways of the saint] personal knowledge of Divine Mysteries grows, the sharing of such with the fallen creatures around the just person is received with colder and colder response from the outside world, so that, just as the purgative way has physical desolations from the pain of denying the flesh, so the illuminative way has spiritual desolations from an outer environment that is progressively hostile to the deeper immersion in Divine Mystery and Revelation. Of course, by intrinsic necessity, the desolations grow in such severity that they culmniate in a total frigidity toward knowledge, the dark night of the soul, when all consolation of Divine intimacy is lost by the saint—the culmination of the illuminative way in a spiritual darkness.

However, once again, God desires to draw light from darkness, as the literal day of this world, the sunrise from the sunset. Therefore, God predestines in this ordeal the resurrection from spiritual aridity. He vindicates the Revelation. Consider, for example, how the village and world ridiculed the children of Fatima until the Great Miracle of the Sun absolved them. Or how the prophets’ darkness of being rejected and mocked by their People led to their similar exaltation in the exile, which proved their earlier warnings authentic. And so we have the unitive way: the holy one vindicated, resting in the certitude of God’s truth, and having endured the remaining purgation through the illuminative way, the saint now reposes in Divine consolation, practically every step taken being in the Will of God, enjoying its reason for existence to the fullest possible in the material world, knowing and loving God.

However, is this all? Indeed, should not the saint, whether before or after the coming of the Christ in a world, pass through a Passion like their Eternal Master, seeing as, “no servant is greater than his master. If they persectued Me, they will persecute you!” Yes! Hence, a final darkness awaits before death carries the saint to his reward, a martyrdom. Remember, we have seen in previous essays that the Divine desire for the redemption of a fallen world is to love so much as to suffer for them and to give such redemptive suffering to the just creatures themselves. How much more should the saint follow the path of his Incarnate Savior, whether He will have come or not, by going into the total abandonment into God’s love, stretching out his creaturely faculties to embrace all the horror the material world can sting his flesh with, so as to follow in the footsteps of His God-Man Redeemer. Amen, in our world, clearly the majority of saints endure a martyrdom, an abandoning of the physical and spiritual into the arms of the Father, whether literal martyrdom or of the bed. Of course, following, the saint crosses the threshold of death into eternity, a “new age”.

The “Way” of the People of God

Ok! Once again, we are confronted with the reality that the physical Body of Jesus images the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ. Hence, since Jesus is the ultimate individual saint, we can all but assume His Mystical Body passes through the individual ways we have just seen, only in a historical context or analogy. It does work! Let us formulate it.

To begin, how doe s the purgative way find its fulfillment in the Peope of God. Well, we must ask, what is the flesh? For, it is the flesh that exercises the wrath upon the saint in this way. Well, how about the world around the Peopel of God? How about the wicked empires or kingdoms that sting them? Yes! This works very well. More specifically, just as the incoming spirit enters the saint to correct its sinful tendencies of the flesh, causing the flesh to sting the saint back in resistance to such correction, so, when we consider the People of God in infancy, who are infused into the world to bless it, the outside world feels threatened by them and lashes out by oppression and persecution. In the case of the Prefiguring Nation, it will be a single predominant nation that oppresses them. In the case of the Universal Society of Incarnate One, the Church, it will be the universal collection of nations around them, the Roman Empire.

Moving on, we saw that the saint eventually conquers the greater sinful tendencies and moves into a period of progressing knowledge and love of a proficient degree. Hence, we anticipate that the People are delivered into the Illuminative way—th Prefiguring Ones, into their literal nation of bounty [the holy land]; the New People of Incarnate One, into a spiritual kingdom, spiritual freedom [Cathoilc Christendom]. Then the Holy Societies contemplate and grow in the understanding of the Divine Truths, the mysteries; the People of Prefiguring, through their Prophets, the People of New, through the development of doctrine by the Teaching Office of the Church amongst the nations. Punctuated desolations assault the Holy Ones who ponder the mysteries; how? Well, just as the individual saint experiences coldness at every attempt to share the knowledge that it grows in, so the holy ones of God in the macro illuminative way experience the same frigidy in the People or nations they share with—the prophets experiencing desolations from the Jews around them, and the Church from the nations around her who react with heresies, infidelities, apostasies and schisms at every juncture. Moreover, as with the individual saint, these historical desolations ultimately must culminate in an age of unfaithfulness, the apocalyptic dark night of the soul. In the case of the Old, the majority of the Prefiguring nation resists the prophets, and in the case of the New, the majority of the general nations that had received the Divine Revelation reject the teaching office of Incarnate One’s True Society. The dark night is then the supreme wickedness of the Jews just prior to the exile, and for the Church, it is our modern age, where the complete darkness of atheim and relativism have enguled the former Christendom.

Then, the vindication! the consequences of sin and lack of faith fall upon the unfaithful. The faith is restored, the People and their surroundings walk in peace and love, the unitive way. In the Prefiguring case, the People are chastised with exile, they repent en-masse and return to their literal land, in the case of the New Covenant, the world is restored to the spiritual land, the Church, something future to our age, the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart referenced at Fatima.

Finally, just as the flesh stings the saint a final time, so the world around the holy ones stings them in a concluding episode, martyrdom. In the case of the People of Old, a manifestation of persecution, as in Maccabees, in the New Covenant, a similar persecution, NT Antichrist.

Then a new age is crossed, the Holy Incarnate One comes: after the Way of Old, the FIRST Coming, after the Way of the New, the SECOND Coming!

But We Needed Five Ages, Not Three

That is, right, we had four phases for the preeminent stages of humantiy: anti-baptism [the Fall and Noah’s day], baptism [the Flood], anti-apocalyptic marriage [Babel], apocalyptic marriage [confounding of tongues and formation of Hebrew People]. We need nine months, or nine phases. So five more. But the way of the saint is only three parts. True, BUT! There are sub-phases of the ways that boil down to darkness and light. How? Well, basically, there are three darknesses separted within by two lights, namely, the dark night of the senses [of the purgative way], the dark night of the soul [of the illuminative way], and martyrdom [of the unitive way]. The two phases of light that separate these three are the illuminative way of light and the unitive way of light. Altogether, it is, lo and behold,FIVE PARTS!

  1. Darkness: Purgative way, dark night of senses

  2. Light: illuminative Way of Light

  3. Darkness: Illuminative Dark Night of the Soul

  4. Light: Unitive Way of Light

  5. Darkness: Marytrdom, Unitive way of darkness

The Full 9 Phases of OT Activity

Early Fall of Man, Two Greater Ages According to the Lies of the Fall

  1. Darkness: The Fall and Wickedness of Noah's day

  2. Light: The Flood, an Apocalyptic Baptism

Anti-Marriage Toward God, Materialism

  1. Darkness: Tower of Babel

  2. Light: Confounding of Tongues, Marriage to Prefiguring People (Abraham)

The Three Greater Ages of the Prefiguring Covenant, the Way of the Saint

The Purgative Way

  1. Darkness: Dark Night of the Senses, Oppression by Glory-Seeking Pagan Power (Egypt)

The Illuminative Way

  1. Light: Exodus and Preaching of Prophets, Development of Old Testament Doctrine on the Law

  2. Darkness: Dark Night of Soul, Intermediate Jewish Apostasy from Old Law

The Unitive Way

  1. Light: Exile, Vindication of Prophets, Repentance of Jews, Restoration to Holy Land, Restoration of Faithfulness to Old Testament Covenant

  2. Darkness: Martyrdom: The Crisis of OT Antichrist and Final Jewish Apostasy (Maccabees)

There you have it! 9 total phases of spiritual activity are necessary to prepare for the Incarnate One. Moreover, this theology is NOT arbitrary. It argues a veritable necessity for these ages. As one final remark, in all of this, what more can we say to the reality that this theology is shouted from the mountain tops in the imagery of the woman of Apocalypse, who travails to give birth to the Messiah, a clear image of the Old Testament People of God, the Bride of Jesus, who suffers in the ages we have traversed here to bring forth the God-Man into human history. Amen, it all fits indeed! In fact, is this perhaps a revelation of a great mystery of WHY pregnancy lasts nine months? You decide. A blessed and happy Advent and Christmas to you all!

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