The Words of the Fefferman Family
With so many letters already circulating, I don't feel I have much to add in the way of facts or who is right and wrong. However, as the movement's "religious freedom guy" in the US, I'd like to offer a couple of thoughts regarding religious liberty and conscience. I'd also like to provide my own biblical analysis of the current crisis as a restoration of the situation in King David's family.
About religious liberty and conscience, I defend the right of any Unification Church member to follow his "conscience before Parents." However, I also think we have to recognize who the head of our church and movement is, namely True Father and True Mother, and under them, Hyung Jin Nim. Those whose conscience leads them to oppose True Parents and Hyung Jin Nim place themselves outside the authority structure of the Church. They have a right to do so, and should not be punished by the State for their decision. Nor should anyone treat them with anything other than love. But the Church also has the right, indeed the responsibility, to take disciplinary action to ensure proper order.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that out. Of course, whatever discipline the Church decides to impose, we are all children of True Parents. We can never lose touch with the heart of love and unity they represent.
Now I'd like to turn to the Bible. We've all heard how Jesus, when he finally declared publicly that he was Messiah, was greeted by shouts of "Hosanna, Son of David!" That is because the Messiah came to restore the throne of David and was also thought to be David's literal descendant. In 2008-2009, when I wrote a series of articles on the Israelite monarchy for Father's New World Encyclopedia, I became aware of a number of parallels between David's life and True Father's. And more recently, when the current controversy began to break, the parallels struck me as so clear that there must be a providential significance. So here's the short version of the story, from 1 Kings 1-2, if you want to read it in the biblical narrative:
David was a very old man, so old that he could no longer govern directly.
His oldest surviving son was named Adonijah. This son, together with David's long-time lieutenant, Joab, decided that David was incompetent and it was time for a younger, more capable man to rule. The handsome Adonijah enjoyed the king's considerable trust and favor: "His father had never interfered with him by asking, 'Why do you behave as you do?'" So Adonijah and Joab promoted Adonijah's kingship, and together with the high priest Abiathar, even held a public sacrifice to celebrate it, enlisting many royal officials to join them. At this point, David's beloved wife Bathsheba and the prophet Nathan joined forces to warn the king of Adonijah's actions. They urged David to act immediately and name his youngest son, Solomon, as king. David did as they suggested. Thus, Solomon became David's anointed successor, even while David was still living. Solomon, although he was the youngest of David's sons, was the one God chose to build the Temple that David had always wanted. This young man, seemingly so unready to take on the mantle of leadership, went on to establish Israel's Golden Age.
Perhaps I don't need to say so, but I'd like to point out some of the parallels to the current situation.
Father, the founder of Chun Il Guk, stands in King David's position, the founder of the kingdom of Israel/Judah.
True Mother, the beloved and loyal wife of True Father, stands in the position of Bathsheba, who gave wise advice to the aging David and thus helped save the kingdom.
Hyun Jin Nim, the oldest surviving son, stands in the position of Adonijah, who foolishly tried to lead without David's blessing.
And Hyung Jin Nim, the youngest son, stands in the position of Solomon, the loyal son who built the Temple on David's behalf.
Tragically, those joined Adonijah's rebellion included some of the best and formerly most loyal of David's people: Joab was his most effective general; Abiathar was the high priest who had been with David since his days in exile from King Saul. Their ultimate fates, however, were shameful. Joab was put to death, and Abiathar was sent into exile. Those who supported Solomon, however, had a bright future. Zadok, much less prominent than Abiathar, would become the new high priest and establish a lineage that lasted in that office for centuries. Nathan lives in history as one of Israel's most righteous and courageous prophets. As for Adonijah himself, the way to reconciliation was open to him if he "proved worthy." Unfortunately, he did not.
There are many wonderful stories about Solomon, who, like Hyung Jin Nim, represented the future. So perhaps it is fitting that I close on that hopeful
Note: young Solomon actually went on to be ever "greater" than his Father, at least in terms of external results. He was also blessed with tremendous wisdom and discernment. But he was not born with these gifts. According to the Bible, God appeared to Solomon in a dream and offered "whatever you want me to give you."
Solomon answered, "You have shown great kindness to your servant, my father David, because he was faithful to you and righteous and upright in heart… Now, O Yahweh my God… I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties… So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong." The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. So God said to him, "Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be."
The rest, as they say, is history. Let's pray that the current crisis ends as happily, with as bright a future as Solomon had, in establishing Israel's Golden Age.
International Coalition for Religious Freedom www.religiousfreedom.com
1: Now King David was old and advanced in years; and although they covered him with clothes, he could not get warm.
2: Therefore his servants said to him, "Let a young maiden be sought for my lord the king, and let her wait upon the king, and be his nurse; let her lie in your bosom, that my lord the king may be warm."
3: So they sought for a beautiful maiden throughout all the territory of Israel, and found Ab'ishag the Shu'nammite, and brought her to the king.
4: The maiden was very beautiful; and she became the king's nurse and ministered to him; but the king knew her not.
5: Now Adoni'jah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, "I will be king"; and he prepared for himself chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him.
6: His father had never at any time displeased him by asking, "Why have you done thus and so?" He was also a very handsome man; and he was born next after Ab'salom.
7: He conferred with Jo'ab the son of Zeru'iah and with Abi'athar the priest; and they followed Adoni'jah and helped him.
8: But Zadok the priest, and Benai'ah the son of Jehoi'ada, and Nathan the prophet, and Shim'e-i, and Re'i, and David's mighty men were not with Adoni'jah.
9: Adoni'jah sacrificed sheep, oxen, and fatlings by the Serpent's Stone, which is beside En-ro'gel, and he invited all his brothers, the king's sons, and all the royal officials of Judah,
10: but he did not invite Nathan the prophet or Benai'ah or the mighty men or Solomon his brother.
11: Then Nathan said to Bathshe'ba the mother of Solomon, "Have you not heard that Adoni'jah the son of Haggith has become king and David our lord does not know it?
12: Now therefore come, let me give you counsel, that you may save your own life and the life of your son Solomon.
13: Go in at once to King David, and say to him, `Did you not, my lord the king, swear to your maidservant, saying, "Solomon your son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne"? Why then is Adoni'jah king?'
14: Then while you are still speaking with the king, I also will come in after you and confirm your words."
15: So Bathshe'ba went to the king into his chamber (now the king was very old, and Ab'ishag the Shu'nammite was ministering to the king).
16: Bathshe'ba bowed and did obeisance to the king, and the king said, "What do you desire?"
17: She said to him, "My lord, you swore to your maidservant by the LORD your God, saying, `Solomon your son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne.'
18: And now, behold, Adoni'jah is king, although you, my lord the king, do not know it.
19: He has sacrificed oxen, fatlings, and sheep in abundance, and has invited all the sons of the king, Abi'athar the priest, and Jo'ab the commander of the army; but Solomon your servant he has not invited.
20: And now, my lord the king, the eyes of all Israel are upon you, to tell them who shall sit on the throne of my lord the king after him.
21: Otherwise it will come to pass, when my lord the king sleeps with his fathers, that I and my son Solomon will be counted offenders."
22: While she was still speaking with the king, Nathan the prophet came in.
23: And they told the king, "Here is Nathan the prophet." And when he came in before the king, he bowed before the king, with his face to the ground.
24: And Nathan said, "My lord the king, have you said, `Adoni'jah shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne'?
25: For he has gone down this day, and has sacrificed oxen, fatlings, and sheep in abundance, and has invited all the king's sons, Jo'ab the commander of the army, and Abi'athar the priest; and behold, they are eating and drinking before him, and saying, `Long live King Adoni'jah!'
26: But me, your servant, and Zadok the priest, and Benai'ah the son of Jehoi'ada, and your servant Solomon, he has not invited.
27: Has this thing been brought about by my lord the king and you have not told your servants who should sit on the throne of my lord the king after him?"
28: Then King David answered, "Call Bathshe'ba to me." So she came into the king's presence, and stood before the king.
29: And the king swore, saying, "As the LORD lives, who has redeemed my soul out of every adversity,
30: as I swore to you by the LORD, the God of Israel, saying, `Solomon your son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne in my stead'; even so will I do this day."
31: Then Bathshe'ba bowed with her face to the ground, and did obeisance to the king, and said, "May my lord King David live for ever!"
32: King David said, "Call to me Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benai'ah the son of Jehoi'ada." So they came before the king.
33: And the king said to them, "Take with you the servants of your lord, and cause Solomon my son to ride on my own mule, and bring him down to Gihon;
34: and let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet there anoint him king over Israel; then blow the trumpet, and say, `Long live King Solomon!'
35: You shall then come up after him, and he shall come and sit upon my throne; for he shall be king in my stead; and I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and over Judah."
36: And Benai'ah the son of Jehoi'ada answered the king, "Amen! May the LORD, the God of my lord the king, say so.
37: As the LORD has been with my lord the king, even so may he be with Solomon, and make his throne greater than the throne of my lord King David."
38: So Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benai'ah the son of Jehoi'ada, and the Cher'ethites and the Pel'ethites, went down and caused Solomon to ride on King David's mule, and brought him to Gihon.
39: There Zadok the priest took the horn of oil from the tent, and anointed Solomon. Then they blew the trumpet; and all the people said, "Long live King Solomon!"
40: And all the people went up after him, playing on pipes, and rejoicing with great joy, so that the earth was split by their noise.
41: Adoni'jah and all the guests who were with him heard it as they finished feasting. And when Jo'ab heard the sound of the trumpet, he said, "What does this uproar in the city mean?"
42: While he was still speaking, behold, Jonathan the son of Abi'athar the priest came; and Adoni'jah said, "Come in, for you are a worthy man and bring good news."
43: Jonathan answered Adoni'jah, "No, for our lord King David has made Solomon king;
44: and the king has sent with him Zadok the priest, Nathan the prophet, and Benai'ah the son of Jehoi'ada, and the Cher'ethites and the Pel'ethites; and they have caused him to ride on the king's mule;
45: and Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet have anointed him king at Gihon; and they have gone up from there rejoicing, so that the city is in an uproar. This is the noise that you have heard.
46: Solomon sits upon the royal throne.
47: Moreover the king's servants came to congratulate our lord King David, saying, `Your God make the name of Solomon more famous than yours, and make his throne greater than your throne.' And the king bowed himself upon the bed.
48: And the king also said, `Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, who has granted one of my offspring to sit on my throne this day, my own eyes seeing it.'"
49: Then all the guests of Adoni'jah trembled, and rose, and each went his own way.
50: And Adoni'jah feared Solomon; and he arose, and went, and caught hold of the horns of the altar.
51: And it was told Solomon, "Behold, Adoni'jah fears King Solomon; for, lo, he has laid hold of the horns of the altar, saying, `Let King Solomon swear to me first that he will not slay his servant with the sword.'"
52: And Solomon said, "If he prove to be a worthy man, not one of his hairs shall fall to the earth; but if wickedness is found in him, he shall die."
53: So King Solomon sent, and they brought him down from the altar. And he came and did obeisance to King Solomon; and Solomon said to him, "Go to your house."
1: When David's time to die drew near, he charged Solomon his son, saying,
2: "I am about to go the way of all the earth. Be strong, and show yourself a man,
3: and keep the charge of the LORD your God, walking in his ways and keeping his statutes, his commandments, his ordinances, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do and wherever you turn;
4: that the LORD may establish his word which he spoke concerning me, saying, `If your sons take heed to their way, to walk before me in faithfulness with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail you a man on the throne of Israel.'
5: "Moreover you know also what Jo'ab the son of Zeru'iah did to me, how he dealt with the two commanders of the armies of Israel, Abner the son of Ner, and Ama'sa the son of Jether, whom he murdered, avenging in time of peace blood which had been shed in war, and putting innocent blood upon the girdle about my loins, and upon the sandals on my feet.
6: Act therefore according to your wisdom, but do not let his gray head go down to Sheol in peace.
7: But deal loyally with the sons of Barzil'lai the Gileadite, and let them be among those who eat at your table; for with such loyalty they met me when I fled from Ab'salom your brother.
8: And there is also with you Shim'e-i the son of Gera, the Benjaminite from Bahu'rim, who cursed me with a grievous curse on the day when I went to Mahana'im; but when he came down to meet me at the Jordan, I swore to him by the LORD, saying, `I will not put you to death with the sword.'
9: Now therefore hold him not guiltless, for you are a wise man; you will know what you ought to do to him, and you shall bring his gray head down with blood to Sheol."
10: Then David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David.
11: And the time that David reigned over Israel was forty years; he reigned seven years in Hebron, and thirty-three years in Jerusalem.
12: So Solomon sat upon the throne of David his father; and his kingdom was firmly established.
13: Then Adoni'jah the son of Haggith came to Bathshe'ba the mother of Solomon. And she said, "Do you come peaceably?" He said, "Peaceably."
14: Then he said, "I have something to say to you." She said, "Say on."
15: He said, "You know that the kingdom was mine, and that all Israel fully expected me to reign; however the kingdom has turned about and become my brother's, for it was his from the LORD.
16: And now I have one request to make of you; do not refuse me." She said to him, "Say on."
17: And he said, "Pray ask King Solomon -- he will not refuse you -- to give me Ab'ishag the Shu'nammite as my wife."
18: Bathshe'ba said, "Very well; I will speak for you to the king."
19: So Bathshe'ba went to King Solomon, to speak to him on behalf of Adoni'jah. And the king rose to meet her, and bowed down to her; then he sat on his throne, and had a seat brought for the king's mother; and she sat on his right.
20: Then she said, "I have one small request to make of you; do not refuse me." And the king said to her, "Make your request, my mother; for I will not refuse you."
21: She said, "Let Ab'ishag the Shu'nammite be given to Adoni'jah your brother as his wife."
22: King Solomon answered his mother, "And why do you ask Ab'ishag the Shu'nammite for Adoni'jah? Ask for him the kingdom also; for he is my elder brother, and on his side are Abi'athar the priest and Jo'ab the son of Zeru'iah."
23: Then King Solomon swore by the LORD, saying, "God do so to me and more also if this word does not cost Adoni'jah his life!
24: Now therefore as the LORD lives, who has established me, and placed me on the throne of David my father, and who has made me a house, as he promised, Adoni'jah shall be put to death this day."
25: So King Solomon sent Benai'ah the son of Jehoi'ada; and he struck him down, and he died.
26: And to Abi'athar the priest the king said, "Go to An'athoth, to your estate; for you deserve death. But I will not at this time put you to death, because you bore the ark of the Lord GOD before David my father, and because you shared in all the affliction of my father."
27: So Solomon expelled Abi'athar from being priest to the LORD, thus fulfilling the word of the LORD which he had spoken concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh.
28: When the news came to Jo'ab -- for Jo'ab had supported Adoni'jah although he had not supported Ab'salom -- Jo'ab fled to the tent of the LORD and caught hold of the horns of the altar.
29: And when it was told King Solomon, "Jo'ab has fled to the tent of the LORD, and behold, he is beside the altar," Solomon sent Benai'ah the son of Jehoi'ada, saying, "Go, strike him down."
30: So Benai'ah came to the tent of the LORD, and said to him, "The king commands, `Come forth.'" But he said, "No, I will die here." Then Benai'ah brought the king word again, saying, "Thus said Jo'ab, and thus he answered me."
31: The king replied to him, "Do as he has said, strike him down and bury him; and thus take away from me and from my father's house the guilt for the blood which Jo'ab shed without cause.
32: The LORD will bring back his bloody deeds upon his own head, because, without the knowledge of my father David, he attacked and slew with the sword two men more righteous and better than himself, Abner the son of Ner, commander of the army of Israel, and Ama'sa the son of Jether, commander of the army of Judah.
33: So shall their blood come back upon the head of Jo'ab and upon the head of his descendants for ever; but to David, and to his descendants, and to his house, and to his throne, there shall be peace from the LORD for evermore."
34: Then Benai'ah the son of Jehoi'ada went up, and struck him down and killed him; and he was buried in his own house in the wilderness.
35: The king put Benai'ah the son of Jehoi'ada over the army in place of Jo'ab, and the king put Zadok the priest in the place of Abi'athar.
36: Then the king sent and summoned Shim'e-i, and said to him, "Build yourself a house in Jerusalem, and dwell there, and do not go forth from there to any place whatever.
37: For on the day you go forth, and cross the brook Kidron, know for certain that you shall die; your blood shall be upon your own head."
38: And Shim'e-i said to the king, "What you say is good; as my lord the king has said, so will your servant do." So Shim'e-i dwelt in Jerusalem many days.
39: But it happened at the end of three years that two of Shim'e-i's slaves ran away to Achish, son of Ma'acah, king of Gath. And when it was told Shim'e-i, "Behold, your slaves are in Gath,"
40: Shim'e-i arose and saddled an ass, and went to Gath to Achish, to seek his slaves; Shim'e-i went and brought his slaves from Gath.
41: And when Solomon was told that Shim'e-i had gone from Jerusalem to Gath and returned,
42: the king sent and summoned Shim'e-i, and said to him, "Did I not make you swear by the LORD, and solemnly admonish you, saying, `Know for certain that on the day you go forth and go to any place whatever, you shall die'? And you said to me, `What you say is good; I obey.'
43: Why then have you not kept your oath to the LORD and the commandment with which I charged you?"
44: The king also said to Shim'e-i, "You know in your own heart all the evil that you did to David my father; so the LORD will bring back your evil upon your own head.
45: But King Solomon shall be blessed, and the throne of David shall be established before the LORD for ever."
46: Then the king commanded Benai'ah the son of Jehoi'ada; and he went out and struck him down, and he died. So the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon.