40 Years in America
The New Future of Christianity
Rev. Sun Myung Moon
Excerpts from the Madison Square Garden Speech, September 18, 1974
Ladies and gentlemen, I am very happy to be here tonight. Thank you very much for coming. We are gathered together in this impressive setting of Madison Square Garden tonight in the name of God.
My topic tonight is "The New Future of Christianity." But before I begin this eveningís message, I would like to make one personal plea. I did not come here to repeat what you already know. I have come to reveal something new. I want to share with you a revelation from God.
There is only one God, one Christ, one Bible. Today, however, in the Christian world alone there are more than 400 different denominations, all looking at the same Bible from very different points of view, with many different interpretations. What we are interested in is not the human interpretation of the Bible, but how God interprets the Bible, and what Godís will really is. Therefore, no person by himself is capable of satisfying us. That information must come from God, in the form of revelation.
And I want to share that revelation with you tonight. Since this message came from God, and since it is from Godís point of view, the content naturally may be different from human understanding. Therefore, it may be very new to you. But what we need is new ideas -- Godís ideas -- because man has exhausted all of his own ideas already. That is the reason for my coming to talk to you tonight. So I ask each one of you to open your mind and open your heart, so that the spirit of God can speak to you directly.
Kingdom of Heaven on Earth
If Adam and Eve had obeyed God, they would have brought the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. What would that kingdom be like? Adam and Eve were created sinless, with the potential for perfection. And they were to grow into perfection by obeying the law of God. While they were growing into fully perfected man and woman, their relationship was to be that of brother and sister. They were expected to set the true tradition of brotherhood and sisterhood. What is perfection? Perfection is manís total union with God. A man is supposed to be the temple of God, in which the spirit of God dwells. Such a man is divine, as God is divine; that man is holy, as God is holy. Jesus was the first such perfect man. This perfection is the state that Jesus was speaking of when he said,
Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me. (John 14:11)
When you become one with God, His divine power is yours, and you shall be perfect as God is perfect. Therefore, Jesus set as manís goal to be perfect as God is perfect when he said,
You, therefore, must be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect. (Matt. 5:48)
God created one male and one female. Why? After their reaching the state of perfection, God wanted to bring them together into one heavenly couple, through the blessing of heavenly matrimony. God intended to begin His Kingdom with Adam and Eve as the first husband and wife.
If that had become a reality, then Godís blessing to be fruitful and multiply would have been fulfilled. By having children, Adam and Eve would have become the God-centered True Father and Mother -- the True Parents of mankind. If Adam and Eve had formed this first God-centered family, from them would have come a God-centered tribe, a God-centered nation, and a God-centered world ruled by God alone. Then perfection would have reigned from the beginning to eternity.
Kingdom of Hell -- Paradise Lost
Then let us further examine the state of the fallen people and the fallen world. We read in John that Jesus says,
You are of your father the devil. (John 8:44)
By the fall, man was brought under the false fatherhood of Satan. Man changed fathers. We left our true father, God, and united with the false father, Satan. The first man and woman became the children of Satan. Under the false fatherhood of Satan, Adam and Eve united unlawfully as a couple without Godís blessing or permission. And when they multiplied children, they all came under the same false father. They were all born as the children of sin, not the children of God. Therefore, the multiplication of sinful children from one generation to another has brought about this fallen, sinful world.
Because God is not at the center, this is a world of sin, a world of mistrust, a world of crime, a world of war. And we, the nations and societies of this world, can destroy each other and feel no pain. This is the kingdom of hell on earth. The master of this world, indeed, is not God, but Satan. This is why John 12:31 indicates that Satan is the ruler of this world. We know this universe was created by God. We know God created us. But God is no longer the master, because people changed masters. Man betrayed God and united with a false master, Satan. This Satan became the father of mankind.
Salvation Is Restoration
Almighty God is a God of love, a God of mercy. His heart is compassionate and He grieved at the living death of His children. He knows no person is capable of breaking his chains and getting rid of sin by himself. He knows that only one power can bring people into salvation -- God Himself. And God, in His mercy, is determined to save this world. What is salvation? Salvation is simply restoration. What does a doctor do to save his patient? He restores the patient to normal health. That is a cure. What would you do to save a drowning person? You would save him by bringing him out of the water and restoring him to dry land. That is a rescue.
By the same token, Godís salvation of man is simply to restore man from an abnormal, deviated state to the original state of goodness. So, salvation is equivalent to restoration. God is going to restore the kingdom of hell to the Kingdom of Heaven. God made His determination clear in the Bible: "I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it." (Isaiah 46:11) God did not say He might do it. He said He will do it, showing His absolute determination to restore man and the world to the original design. How? By the Messiah. To restore mankind, God sent His only son, Jesus Christ, into this world as the Savior, as the Messiah. Two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ came into our world as the author of life. He came to transform all sinful people into Christ-like people. He came to restore the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. Therefore, Jesus Christ proclaimed as his first gospel, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matt. 4:17)
With the coming of Jesus Christ, people were truly at the threshold of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Jesus Did Not Come to Die
There is one historical puzzle that not been solved. For 4,000 years before the coming of Jesus Christ, God had prepared the people for the Messiah, as I explained earlier. Through His prophets, God had forewarned the people to be ready for the Messiah. God was working to build up expectation, and there was indeed great messianic fervor in Israel. And at the appointed hour, God fulfilled His promise. The Son of God, Jesus Christ, came to his own people on time. Then what happened? History is the witness: We did not know him. We rejected him, rebelled against him, and finally crucified him on the cross. Why? The Christian churches say, "Well, the answer to that question is, simply, God sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross. The crucifixion was the predestined will of God from the beginning."
Then let me ask those Christians, "What will you do when Jesus Christ returns to you today?" All Christians undoubtedly will answer, "We will receive him! Welcome him! Unite with him! Follow him!" Let me further ask, "Will you crucify Christ when he appears?" Your answer must be, "No!" If that is so, then what about the people of 2,000 years ago? If they had accepted Jesus -- as you would today -- would they still have had to crucify him? No! It was a mistake! It was in ignorance that we crucified Jesus Christ.
It was Godís will that His people accept the Messiah. But we crucified him instead. And then Christians "passed the buck" by saying that was the will of God. Ridiculous! This is not acceptable to our logic. Something must have gone terribly wrong. What was it? The people did not know who Jesus of Nazareth was. They did not know him as the Son of God. If they had clearly known Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God, they would not have crucified him.
He came to his own home, and his own people received him not. (John 1:11)
None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. (I Cor. 2:8)
If they had only known who he was, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. It was a mistake. It was ignorance and blindness that killed Jesus Christ!
Christians of the world have not realized the truth about what actually happened in Jesusí time. If Godís only purpose in sending His Son was to have him nailed on the cross, then why would God spend the time to prepare the people in the first place? It would have been much easier for God to send His son among the disbelievers, or even among savages. They would have killed him more quickly, and salvation would have come faster.
Crucifixion Brought Only Spiritual Salvation
So Jesus focused on his secondary mission, spiritual salvation. Due to the sin and blindness of the people, God permitted His son to be a sacrifice. That was the significance of the crucifixion. God allowed Jesus to die on the cross as a ransom paid to Satan. In exchange, upon Jesusí resurrection, God could claim the peopleís souls, though redemption of the body was not possible.
Therefore, Godís victory was not in the cross but in the resurrection. The resurrection brought the salvation Christianity offers.
At Jesusí crucifixion, Christianity was crucified as well. At the hour of the Lordís tribulation, no one remained faithful. Everyone betrayed Jesus. Even Peter denied Christ.
But with the resurrection, Christianity revived as well. Then for 40 days, Jesus rejoined and cemented the shattered fragments of Christianity. That was the beginning of the Christianity of today.
Yes, our salvation does come from Jesusí victorious resurrection. This is the victory of Christ, and Satanís power can never influence it. But the body of Jesus Christ was given up as a sacrifice and a ransom. In giving up his body, Jesus also gave up the body of mankind. Our salvation is limited to spiritual redemption, because the redemption of the body remained unfulfilled 2,000 years ago. And our world still suffers under Satanís power. Sin rages and dominates this world through our bodies.
Therefore, Paul shouted out in anguish,
Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I of myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. (Rom. 7:24-25)
Therefore, our great hope is the Second Coming of the Messiah. This is the hope of America, the hope of the world. America -- this unique Christian nation -- must awaken now and ready herself for the day of his coming. The error was made here on earth. Sin was committed here on earth. Thus the error must be remedied and sin eradicated here on earth. Jesus asked us to pray, "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.íí Earth is the problem. That is why Christ must come back to this earth.
Many Christians believe that at the end of the world, God will destroy everything. The sun will be darkened, the stars will fall, and the earth will be burned up. A mere handful of Christians will be lifted up in the air, to spend the millennium with Christ. If God did that, then He would become a God of failure, His original will forever unfulfilled. He would be relinquishing this earth to Satan. Then Satan would actually become the victor, and God the loser. This will never happen! God is almighty. He will not give up on this earth. It was meant to be, and it shall be, His kingdom. This New York shall be His kingdom, too.
You can be the citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven if you meet the coming Messiah. He is your hope, my hope, and the only hope of America and this world. If we fail to see him, however, then Christianity will have no hope. Christianity will decline. Its spiritual fire will be extinguished. The churches will become the tombs of the old legacy. Our world then will be doomed. Ladies and gentlemen, I have come here to Madison Square Garden tonight in obedience to Godís command. The Bible says,
And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my spirit on all flesh, and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. (Acts 2:17)
We are living in such an extraordinary time, at the birth of a new age! Heaven is quite near. And if you earnestly call upon God, He will answer you. You must urgently ask Him, "How can I know if Reverend Moon is telling the truth?" Do not let me or anyone else answer that question for you. Let God answer you directly.
So go in peace, and please ask God earnestly, sincerely. Confront God in prayer. God will reveal the answer to you. The new hope for mankind is the Messiah. And that "great and terrible day of the Lord" is at hand. It is up to you whether that day will be great or terrible. If you meet the Messiah, for you that day will be great. But if you fail to meet him, then for you that day will indeed be terrible.
God bless you. Thank you for your attentive listening.
Kamsa hamnida! Thank you, and good evening
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