Unification News for October 1998
Who Do You Say That I Am?
Rev. Dr. Chang Shik Yang is the Regional Director in Washington, DC. This is taken from his sermon given September 27, 1998 at the Washington DC Unification Church. The interpreter was Tim Elder.
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi he began asking his disciples saying, "who do people say that the Son of Man is?" and they said, "some say John the Baptist, and others Elijah but still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" and Simon Peter answered and said, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God." And Jesus answered and said to him "Blessed are you, Simon bar Jonah, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you but my father who is in Heaven." Matt 16:13-17
These words of the Bible from the gospel according to Matthew have many inspirations for us. The passage that was read is a part of a conversation that took place between Jesus and his disciples just before he was to be crucified while he was on an evangelical mission at Caesarea Philippi. The disciples did not realize this yet, but Jesus already knew that within days he was to be crucified. And Jesus wanted and needed to at least establish the condition of having people know who he was before he died. So Jesus turned to his disciples and said as you go around witnessing what do people say about me, who do they say that I am? And some disciples said "oh they say you are John the Baptist and others say that you are Elijah and so on." And some people say that you are a prophet. But Jesus was not really interested in what the people thought. What he really wanted to know was what his disciples thought, so he asked them directly "Who do you think that I am?" and that is the subject of todayís sermon.
And then Peter who was the first disciple gave a clear answer. He said "You are the Christ, you are the son of the living God." Then we have to pay close attention that Jesus gave in response. He said "Blessed are you, Simon bar Jonah, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you but my father who is in Heaven." In other words he was saying that when you confess and say that I am the Son of God, you are not saying this from your flesh and blood but because of God who is your father in heaven.
Peter was a descendent of fallen men. He had a fallen blood lineage and he had a fallen physical body. And as a fallen person he had certain limited spiritual senses. So by his physical senses and by his flesh and blood he could not recognize Jesus and confess that Jesus was the son of God. Recently in one of Fatherís sermons there was one with the following subject. The subject was, "Do you know me? Do you believe in me?" Two thousand years ago, how many among the disciples who followed Jesus knew who Jesus was? Anyone who truly knew Jesus would certainly have truly followed Jesus. But as we know through history and through the lessons of the Bible, when it came to the point where Jesus was dying on the cross, there was no one there to follow him.
During Jesusí public mission, many people followed him around, many people had their diseases cured by him, many people witnessed his miracles but why then at that final moment was no one there with him? If people had really known who he was, and though Peter confessed at this moment, if Peter had really known the true meaning of what he was saying then certainly they would not have turned against him. Peter did not really understand who Jesus was until after the crucifixion, until after Jesusí resurrection when the Holy Spirit opened his eyes and finally then, only then could he recognize who Jesus really was. Just before the crucifixion, Peter turned to Jesus and said, "I believe in you Lord, I believe in you Lord, I really truly believe in you Lord", but then after that he turned against Jesus and denied him three times. And Jesus prophesied that before the cock would crow the following morning that Peter would deny him three times and it in fact turned out that way.
Today, I know that there are many members who are concerned and worried about the many things that have taken centering on the True Family, the True Parents' family, during the past week. Many people have been surprised and many people are concerned. During the past 20 years, 30 years or even longer since we joined the church we have overcome all kinds of criticism and persecution. But no matter what persecution, no matter what criticism we received our fundamental, our basic belief was never shaken and that is why we are all here today.
But the reason that many people are concerned and worried and struggling today is because the persecution or the criticism is not coming from outside but because it is a situation that is occurring inside. We are today in the same place where that occurred 2000 years ago. Jesus was crucified on the cross. Many people never thought that Jesus would actually be crucified. And when it finally actually did turn out that way, almost everyone turned against Jesus and only Mary Magdalene and a few others, a handful of people kept his grave.
And I think that today, True Parents are in the same situation where today they are on the cross. For the last 20 or 30 years we have believed in True Parents and we have followed them. But we have to think about how we are going to understand ourselves, how we are going to see ourselves in this particular situation that is occurring today. I think that this is the time where the faith that we have kept for the past 20 or 30 years comes to its ultimate conclusion, its ultimate fruit. So what I want to suggest to you is to think very deeply about who True Parents are, because without knowing who they are I think it would be very difficult for us to survive this situation in this time today.
I think people who truly understand who True Parents are will find themselves in the same fate and in the same position as True Parents and through that experience they will find themselves drawn closer to True Parents. People who do not see themselves that way then I think will have more and more spiritual difficulties in their spiritual life. I don't intend to go into the details and talk about all the detailed matters of everything today, for example whether or not all the allegations made in the book are true or not.
There is one word that Jesus left for us before he died on the cross. He looked at all the disciples and followers and he said, "Don't cry for me, but cry for your descendants and for yourselves." There is a certain objective fact here which we can look at from two different perspectives. For example, the first would be then to have the conclusion first and to interpret all the facts in a way that leads up to that conclusion. Or we can look at various facts and then arrive at a certain conclusion based on where those lead. The first is inductive reasoning and the second is deductive reasoning.
When we first decided to go this way, we did so as a result of deductive reasoning. We looked at many things and as a result of various things that we saw and heard and facts that we came into contact with we decided, "Okay, therefore, True Parents must be the Messiah and I will follow." It was a deductive process. Then once we began to follow what is required of us, then it is the opposite, that we look at things in the opposite direction. I have heard of several instances where people have said they that are beginning to doubt fundamentally whether True Parents are the Messiah. In that case, such a person should go back to the point where he or she first entered the church.
As Jesus said to Peter we cannot with our own flesh and blood understand the providence of Heaven. As it says in the general introduction to the Divine Principle, the True Parents have come with two missions. One of those missions is to restore all the past history through indemnity. It is to recover all that has been lost. In other words, they have the responsibility to indemnify all the things that the central figures throughout history have failed to accomplish. We are living in the process of history. What kind of history is it? It is the history of providence. What kind of providence? It is the restoration providence. It is the history of restoration through indemnity. And expressed in Korean it is eight syllables, Tang Gam Bok Gui Sub Li Yeok Sa . That is Tang Gam meaning indemnity, Bok Gui meaning restoration, Sub Li providential, Yeok Sa history. Those eight characters in Korean describe all of this mission.
After the fall of Adam and Eve, God established many central figures, after Adam there were Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and Jesus to True Parents. And there are many things that True Parents need to bring to a conclusion within their lifetime. First of all, in order to accomplish the work, they have to know God. And without knowing Satan, nothing can be accomplished. And who in history has known God more deeply than Father knows him? And no one and no doctrine in history has revealed as much about Satan and about the motivation of Satan and about the actual visage of Satan than what True Parents have done. As a central figure in restoration history there are two things that he has to do and one is to bring back, recover, restore fallen man, and that means the liberation of God.
For a human being to restore other human beings means what? It means to restore what was lost in the Garden of Eden. In other words it means to restore the blood lineage and to restore the love that was lost there. We often read the Old Testament. Everything in the Old Testament is a description of the providential process by which preparation was made to send Jesus as the Messiah. Restoration is not simple. In order to have restoration the reverse course of the Fall has to be taken, and we know that this history of restoration began within the family of Adam and Eve.
The essence of restoration is to recover the lost love, the lost blood lineage and the lost life. Because Adam and Eve fell, the descendants of Adam and Eve were no longer the direct descendants of God. They were all the descendants of the archangel, and so our blood lineage, the basic essence of our blood lineage is not that of God. So without knowing exactly what original sin is, there is no way for us to be restored, and only True Parents have exactly identified what the original sin was. It was the creation of a wrong blood lineage, and unless a condition is established to restore this mistaken blood lineage there is no way that the Messiah could come to this Earth. And that is the entire history of the Israelites. Why was Jesus able to come to Israel as the Messiah? We know that it was because of the victory of the three generations of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and we know that especially beginning with the family of Jacob, there was the full scale work to restore the blood lineage. This was based on the victory of Abel's sacrifice in Adam's family.
Today, many people are concerned especially about two particular points, and I have received these questions. One of these has to do with the contents of Nan Sook's book. I think that with regards to the content of that book, we have to understand what the motivation and the intent was of the person who wrote that book. True Parents have released a statement in their name saying that they very much regret the situation that is taking place, centering on Hyo Jin's family, and have asked that people give them time for healing. People have a tendency to believe negative things. I think that the proper position for Abel-type people to take is if we as people who have been on this way of faith for 20 or 30 years, try to look beyond the allegations and try to look at the more fundamental aspect of this. I believe that Father's speech of September 21, the transcript and also the video, will be given to you soon. But I think that the key is who do we confess True Parents to be, and who do we believe the True Parents to be.
As I said a moment ago, the first of True Parents' missions is to restore the 6000 years of providential history, and the second is to establish a Kingdom of God on Earth, the ideal Kingdom on Earth. We don't need to go into the details of the establishment of the ideal Kingdom of God, we are actually living that today and we are a part of the process. As far as providential history is concerned, we can think about them in terms of what we know about them. This is part of the responsibility of the Messiah, someone who knows God and someone who knows Satan, who goes the way in order to restore fallen man, and to liberate God. How incredibly difficult that must be!
Jacob went that course in a conditional way, and Moses did, and Jesus and now finally ultimately, True Parents are going that same way, as the last ones to go that way.
A moment ago I said that Father preached a sermon, do we know True Parents and do we believe in True Parents, but if there is anyone here who thinks that they know True Parents, I would like to see your hand. We may know them externally, but can we really know them in the deepest way, in terms of their mission with God, and in the relationship with God? Father has sometimes said it this way, that no one understands, no one knows. My children don't know, and Mother doesn't know. There are many things, providential things, that only Father knows about, only he can resolve without anyone else knowing. So that is why faith is emphasized.
We can make judgments of good and evil based on our own standards of morality and ethics which are based on what we have learned in the world at large, but those are based on our own horizontal common sense that we have acquired as a member of the society in general. We cannot make judgment on providential things based on that kind of common sense, and we have seen many examples of that in the Bible. The most vivid example of that is the example of Tamar, the daughter-in-law of Judah. There are actually four adulterous women in the ancestry of Jesus whose acts actually helped to establish the conditions for the Messiah to come. Tamar was the daughter-in-law of Judah, the wife of Judah's son, but she received a direction from Heaven to have a relationship with her father-in-law, and Jesus was the descendant of that relationship. Can anyone in society throw a rock at that?
The four gospels of the New Testament include all the positive and good things about Jesus, but that was not necessarily a record of Jesus' life, but was a confession of the faith of the disciples who wrote those gospels. In coming to believe in Jesus, one of the most difficult things for the disciples was how could a person from Nazareth be the Christ? How could such a person be the Messiah? If you have been to Israel you know that Nazareth is a very small village, and everyone knew about the background of Jesus' birth. Father has said that Mary already knew from her father, her father already told her the things she would have to do, by revelation he received that, and people in that age all knew that Jesus was born as an illegitimate child. Partly because of that people in Israel even today do not believe that Jesus was the Messiah. That was one of the largest stumbling blocks in getting people to believe in Jesus as the Messiah, that is, the background of his birth. So in those days, by the common sense of the general society, it was impossible to confess Jesus as the Messiah.
Another good example. In the Old Testament, let's look at Numbers chapter 12. This is talking about the situation just before Moses was about to send 12 men into Canaan. Moses had already married but with the direction from Heaven, he took another woman. At that time Miriam and Aaron his strongest supporters criticized him very harshly. In chapter 12, verse 4, it says (Num 12:4):
'And suddenly the Lord said to Moses and to Aaron and Miriam, "Come out, you three, to the tent of meeting." And the three of them came out." Miriam; and they both came forward. And he said, "Hear my words: If there is a prophet among you, I the Lord make myself known to him in a vision, I speak with him in a dream. Not so with my servant Moses; he is entrusted with all my house. With him I speak mouth to mouth, clearly, and not in dark speech; and he beholds the form of the Lord. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?" And the anger of the Lord was kindled against them, and he departed; and when the cloud removed from over the tent, behold, Miriam was leprous, as white as snow. And Aaron turned towards Miriam, and behold, she was leprous.'
And here I want to concentrate especially on verse 8, where it says, "With him I speak mouth to mouth, clearly, and not in dark speech". In other words, there was a direct channel of communication between God and Moses. And brothers and sisters, I want to ask you today, do we believe that our True Father, Rev. Sun Myung Moon, communicates directly with God, or does he communicate with God through someone else? [Directly] In that case, if we believe that there is a direct communication, then with respect to the work and the deeds that Father does, we have to look at them from the providential viewpoint.
Today I want to say to you that within our church, within our congregation, we need to reaffirm and make sure what we believe in, and then to the world outside, we need to prepare ourselves so that we can go out and proclaim proudly the content of our faith.
As we approach the year 2000, all of history is coming to a conclusion at a certain point. Many prophesiers and prophets have said that the year 1999 will be the year of the final judgment. We are living in a time of great judgment, and we are also at a stage now where our faith has to be brought to its ultimate point. So let us not try to judge based on our own flesh and blood, or on our own common sense reasoning. There is nothing that True Parents do without reasons that lie in providential history, and if we believe in Father and believe that he is the Messiah, then we also have to believe in the things that he does.
You have seen in the Bible where Jesus says, "If you cannot believe in me, then look at the things that I do, and believe in my deeds." I think that each of us has our own different way of coming to the conclusion that True Parents are the Messiah. As the Messiah, there are two things that he has to do. One is to recover human beings. But before humanity can be restored and recovered, there are things that he has to do as the Messiah in order to achieve that position of True Parents, and True Parents are not in a position to explain all those things to us and it is not necessary for him to do so. He has told us everything about the public course that we need to take, and he does not speak about the courses that are not our responsibility to follow.
In the course of history, there have been many religious leaders who have received revelations about polygamy, Joseph Smith would be one example, and others too. Some of those people then told their disciples that they should also do the same. The True Parents have to make right all that was wrong beginning with Adam and Eve and then go back and then stand in the position of Adam and Eve. That is the eternal position that Father and Mother are standing in today, and he has already described that process through many, many speeches.
Today, I would like to introduce to you one sermon, in which Father talks about the essential part of the change of blood lineage. Today, Father is in a position where whether people believe it or not, he has a responsibility to speak the truth, and so there is some of that content that was in the speech that he gave at the anniversary of the founding of the Washington Times on April 16, 1996, "View of the Principle of the Providential History of Salvation " ( http://www.unification.net/1996/960416.html ) and he has spoken about this in his nationwide speaking tours, and he spoke in great detail about the situation about the restoration of Mary. He spoke in great detail about the aspects of Mary's mission that she was not able to accomplish. He also spoke in detail of this in the speech, "The Meaning of the Day of Victory of Love" which was given in São Paulo, last year. On page 22 of this speech, he revealed all that can be revealed about the situation of Adam and Eve. If you want to have a more intellectual understanding of this, you can go into brother Damian Anderson's web page, and click on 1997, and click on this speech, "The Meaning of the Day of Victory of Love", and you can read that for yourselves. (http://www.unification.net/1997/970102.html)
The essential most important aspect of the restoration is the restoration of women, that is the most important aspect of God's providence. The fall of Eve led to the fall of all of humanity and that has led to the situation where all humanity has a fallen blood lineage. The Messiah is sent by Heaven, and there has to be a representative from Earth, and Eve has to be in the position where no matter what happens, no matter what the circumstances are, she will absolutely believe in the Messiah, and believe in Heaven. This is the course that Mother has come. This has been true since 1960, since their Holy Marriage.
During the period from 1960 to 1967, Mother was married but she was not in the position of the wife, she was in the position of the daughter, and during that time she had to go the course of rising up from being a daughter to becoming a wife. We have heard some things about how Mother accomplished this heartistic victory and how Father led her through that course. It was a very difficult and steep course. For example, she could not even enter Father's room without his permission, that even though she was a wife, she was actually in the position of servant of servants, and she had to rise up to the position of wife. It was on the foundation of Mother's victory in this course that God's Day was proclaimed in 1968. It was in 1992 then that it was proclaimed that Mother was really then on the same level, completely on the same level as Father. I will read just a part of that proclamation:
"Because of this process, I could not raise True Mother until 1992. Because women are talkative, a woman has a great possibility to disclose providential secrets. Therefore, after accomplishing all things for 40 years, from 1952 until 1992, with the liberation of women, True Mother could stand beside me with equal qualifications. From that time I began a three to four year course of handing over my authority to True Mother. I am going such a way now until this year. By this year, everything has to be done."
This sermon by Father, "The Meaning of the Day of Victory of Love" contains a great deal about Father's course to accomplish this. The content that he has taught us is very simple, that we can believe and follow. There are many things that Father does not and cannot talk to us about. These are providential things that only the True Family need to know. Beginning with the 36 couples and all the way until now, the direction that he has given us has been blessing. The direction we have received from Father is to unite as a couple, and to establish an ideal family. We do not understand the various indemnity conditions that have taken place in order to bring us to the point where we can now have the ideal family. I think that some day there will come a time when Heaven can reveal these things to us, one by one, but it cannot be revealed and announced before the time has come. The situation of Heaven's history of restoration though indemnity cannot be understood and cannot be approached from the common sense point of view of the fallen world.
It was only recently in the 1990s that Father began to talk about the situation of Mary, and about the more detailed situation of the background of Jesus' birth. He could not talk about this during the 1970s or the 1980s. And he spoke of the situation of Leah and Rachel, and how this related to Mrs. Won Bok Choi, and others, which could not be revealed before. I believe that if we read the words that Father has given us, the answers to what concerns us today are contained within those words.
To conclude, I would like to say again, we are in the position today of having realized the Completed Testament Age providence together with True Parents, and I think that if we understand who True Parents are, then all the questions to all our concerns will come out naturally. And there are many ways for us to understand True Parents. Of course, we can go back to Father's words, and read the words, and understand again who Father is. Only the Messiah can tell us about God and about Satan, and about the formula course for restoring original sin. And only the Messiah could have done the things that True Parents have done over the last 40 years of providential history.
The word I would like to leave you with finally is that what we need to do today is to pray. This is one shortcut to understanding who True Parents are. That shortcut is to read True Parents' prayers. Read ten, twenty examples of True Parents' prayers. When Father speaks, when he stands up and gives a sermon, he may speak in parables and symbols, but when he is praying, he is speaking directly with God, so there are no parables and symbols there. There is only direct speech there. Though Father's prayers we can see how absolutely and how completely Father knows God. We can see to what extent and how absolutely God and True Father are one, and how much and to what extent, how absolutely Father and Mother have established oneness between themselves. The most important thing is for God and True Father to be one, and for Father and Mother to be one, and for the parents and their children to be one, that is a priority.
Of course, with regards to the things that are taking place in the True Family we have to be very sad. I would like to speak very simply, and in a very common sense way about this. Recently, many wives came to Upshur House for the 40 day IOWC course. They left behind their husbands and children, and at the end of the 40 days it was time for reflections and this kind of topic was mentioned then. For 40 days, the mother was not home, and so now the children are just in a mess. First of all spiritually they could not have a center, and in a physical sense, no one was controlling them, no one was disciplining them. If this had taken place so that the parents could go off and enjoy something by themselves, then this would have been a crime. But for two providential reasons, True Parents not just for 40 days, but for the entire lives of their children were not able to really take care of them as much as they would like to have done. I know that there are a number of people in our congregation who have had opportunities to live closely with True Parents.
Father from the time when he was 16 years old and accepted this mission until today, there is not even one hour that he has spent for his own private purpose. We know that Father is a person who lives for the liberation of God and who lives for the situation of the providence with every cell of his body from the top of his head all throughout his body every second of every day, and that we know that through his words and we know that through his prayers and that is the reason that we have followed him up until today. Father gave the responsibility for his children to us who have received the love from Heaven. There is also their own portion of responsibility. Just from a common sense point of view, just think about the situation of a household where the father and mother are not present, in America. And think about what would happen in your household, if this were to happen and the parents were not able to be at home to discipline or control the children. In this American environment, what would happen to the children then?
We have to accept this pain as our own pain, and the pain of this family as the pain of our own families. This is the pain of True Parents, it is the pain of God. In the end, the final answer to our questions have to come from Heaven, and we have to receive it ourselves in prayer before Heaven. I think it is not a coincidence that President Clinton who represents America externally and the True Family are going through similar things at the same time. Right now, heaven is carrying out the grand finale of providential history in which all 6000 years of history are being indemnified. This will end with the final judgment, and this is a time that a great spiritual hurricane is coming. Certainly with earthly physical strength, we cannot stand that, and we will not be able to stand it with secular and general common sense. We have to ask heaven for wisdom. We have to ask heaven for our answers, and we have to look for our answers through the Holy Spirit. Because the True Family is in this situation right now, the spirit world is in an uproar, and people who pray give us all kinds of warnings. We have also heard warnings directly from True Parents. We have to think very deeply about our own thoughts and actions, and we have to be very careful in what we say. We are at a point now where we can either if we are not careful throw all our past life and the things that we have done into the trash, or else we can stand firmly on the side of Heaven and stand at a perpendicular angle and be connected with God.
I would like to thank you that almost everyone is praying with the attitude of love for True Parents and concern for their situation. Among the crosses that True Parents have to bear, the most difficult cross to bear is the cross of love. That which was lost as a result of love has to be restored, regained through love, and how incredible all the situations they have faced must have been in that course. That cannot be judged based on common sense standards. And they do not want to leave for their children the course of indemnity that only they are going and they need to know about. That is why they are parents of love. Love is sacrificial love. Love is not expressed through words. Do parents express their own struggles to their children? If True Parents have a situation which they know has to be restored in their own lifetimes, they are not going to pass this on to their own children through their words.
I would like to say that True Parents already previously predicted that this kind of situation would arise. And so after the proclamation of God's Day, they have gone through a series of providential indemnity in order to defeat Satan and in order to create a new God's Day. I think Father would say something like this now, "Don't worry about me, but worry about yourselves, and worry about your own descendants."
Let's open our spiritual eyes, and let's come together with True Parents at a 90 degree angle with our spiritual senses. If necessary go in through deep prayer, and if necessary, approach them through fasting. But in any case, we are in the same boat as True Parents today. If the way that we have come is the right way, then we cannot feel embarrassed about what we have believed. Father has said that there will come a time when there will be things that you cannot believe in no matter how hard you try, but you will have to believe in them. That is the lesson of history. That is the lesson of Ham.
The actions of Ham from general common sense were quite justified, but from the providential viewpoint, we know that his actions were a decisive mistake at a very important turning point in providential history. Our confession is that Father is a person who will not compromise even one bit away from the providence of history, who will not turn even one step away from that.
Father has said with respect to Nan Sook, we have to pray that she will return, that she will come back. And we have to understand that we need to educate our children very well. We were very shocked to hear the story about Un Jin. The only way to know about Father is through the Divine Principle. The same with Nan Sook. She was too young. And it was very difficult for them at their age to understand Father as the Messiah, and to confess Father as the Messiah. All the dark forces of history that have tried to destroy the heavenly families throughout the course of the providence have now all come together in order to strike at the True Family. But no matter what happens, certainly Father will never step back, he will never retreat in the face of this. Heaven will always continue to go forward in the providence. There will come a time when the providence is finally victorious and Father has said that the suffering that his family is going through will be a sacrifice for the sake of the victory of the cosmic providence. And I hope that your deep thoughts and deep prayers will bring you to the course that you can go ahead.
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