The Words of Sun Myung Moon from 1973
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for coming tonight. My topic this evening is, "The future of Christianity."
Tonight I am going to speak about some new revelations from God which are very vital to the understanding of all Christians. I will also frequently mention the chosen people of Israel. I am sure there are many Christians and Jewish people in the audience. I dearly love all Christian brothers and sisters, and I have high esteem for the Jewish people. I beg you to understand before I begin that what I will say in no way reflects my personal feeling. I am only bearing witness to the truth.
Sometimes testimony to the truth is a painful task. Yet it is a mission that it is my duty to fulfill. The content of my message tonight may be contrary to your previous understandings. Some things may be very new to you. May I ask you to think over seriously what you hear.
Unless I had something new to reveal, I would not come here to speak to you at all. Why should I come if only to repeat the things that you already know? I would like for you and me to spend this time together in open mindedness so that the spirit of God can speak directly into our hearts. Jesus taught in his Sermon on the Mount:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. (Matt. 5:3, 5,6)
Tonight I humbly ask you to be the poor in spirit. I ask you to be the meek, and I ask you to become those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Then we will all see the Kingdom of Heaven, and we shall all be satisfied. Now let us begin.
Christians, and Christianity itself, have a final hill to cross. Biblical prophecy states that Christians must pass through the end of the world and face the judgment of fire at the great and terrible day of the Lord. The Bible says we are going to see many extraordinary phenomena, in heaven and on earth, as the end comes near.
When Jesus promised his Second Coming, he conveyed a feeling of great imminence. From the day Jesus Christ ascended into heaven, Christians have been watching for his return to earth. For the last 2,000 years of history, it has been the hope of every Christian to see the returning Christ. But this extraordinary event has never occurred. Many people tired of waiting. Some finally decided this Second Coming would not happen literally. They came to think, "This is just one of God's methods to keep us alert."
Tonight we must clarify the meaning of the end of the world as the Bible prophesies it. We must also know how the Lord will reappear when he comes in the fullness of time.
We should first of all understand that God did not create the world to end. He always intended the world of goodness to last forever. The God who does not create for eternity cannot be an almighty God. The present world must end, however, because the fall of man initiated a history of evil. The end of the world is necessary because we have not achieved God's intended world of goodness. Instead of becoming children of goodness, we have in reality become creatures of evil.
Adam and Eve fell in the Garden of Eden. They were not at that time in a position to have a clear understanding of the will of God. They entered into a state of confusion and made the wrong choice. They were confronted with either obedience to God, which would have brought about the good world, or obedience to Satan, which did in fact bring about their fall. Between two clear choices, Adam and Eve made the wrong one. They brought evil into the world. God's original intention was to create His ideal world--a good and prosperous world He determined to last for eternity. But man fell, the good world of God ended abruptly, and human history started in the wrong direction.
The history of mankind is therefore a history of evil. God sowed good seed, and He intended to harvest a good crop. But Satan stole His crop before it was ripened and reaped a harvest of evil. Human history is a crop of weeds.
Then what does the end of the world mean? Just what is going to end? Evil is going to end. God will put an end to all evil. Out of God's new beginning will come a new opportunity for man. And the goodness God intended in His original ideal can be made real.
In the Garden of Eden man fell into evil instead of developing his goodness. Man was subjugated by Satan and became the child of sin. Therefore the Bible says:
'You are of your father the devil...' (John 8:44)
If the fall of man had not occurred, then the true ruler would be God. But He is not today the king of this universe, because Satan is sitting upon God's throne. God has to remove all results of the fall of man before He can truly reign over the world.
Now I will give you clearly the definition of the end of the world. The end of the world is the moment in history when God ends evil and begins His new age. It is the time of the cross junction between the old history of evil and the new history of good.
In light of this definition, why does the Bible predict extraordinary heavenly phenomena as signs of the end of the world? Will the things predicted really occur? The Bible says:
'Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken' (Matt. 24:29)
What does this mean? What are we to expect?
First of all, please rest assured that these things will not happen literally. God will not destroy anything in the universe. God often expresses His truth in symbols and parables, and these biblical sayings will be accomplished symbolically. Secondly, God has no reason to destroy the universe. It is not the universe, but man who has committed sin. Only man deviated from the original plan of God's creation. Why should God destroy the animals, or the plants, or anything in creation which fulfilled His purpose as He intended? God would not destroy those innocent things.
The Bible there says,
'A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever' (Eccl. 1:4)
But in Revelation we read:
'Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away...' (Rev. 21:1)
That new heaven and new earth refers to the coming of a new history of God, a time of new dominion. After you buy a house, won't you move in your family and possessions? Then you will say that you have a new home, and you are the new master of the house. In the same way, when men of God occupy this universe, it will become a new heaven and a new earth.
We know that when winter ends, spring begins. But can we say at precisely what point spring starts? Who can pinpoint the exact instant of transition? You cannot know because the passage from one season to another takes place imperceptibly, quietly. The end of winter is similar to the beginning of spring, so there is no discernible moment of transition.
At what moment does the old day end and a new day begin? Although the change occurs in darkness, there is no doubt that we do go from one day to the next. The change is unnoticeable at first, but it is also inevitable and irrevocable. Although three billion people live on earth, not one among them can point to the exact moment when the old day passes and the new day begins. So we understand that from the human point of view we cannot always know the precise moment things happen. But God knows when winter passes into spring, and God knows when night opens into day. And God can point to the transition into new history.
Our step into new history is like a glorious dawn emerging out of the blackest night. The crossing point between good and evil is not obvious. You will not notice it when it happens, but it will definitely take place, just as surely as the sun will rise tomorrow.
Then how can we know when the end is approaching? God will not hide this moment from man; He does not suddenly bring judgment on the world without warning. God will announce the coming of the great and terrible day through his prophets. Amos 3:7 says,
'Surely the Lord God does nothing, without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.'
God chooses His instrument and through him God announces His plans. This has been the case throughout Bible history.
The person to be chosen as God's prophet must be one of the people living in our evil world. But he must be a man of faith who can demonstrate that he is worthy to be used by God. He must show absolute faith. To do this he must give up all worldly success and completely separate himself from this evil world. He must purify himself by cutting off all evil attachments. He will not be popular in the evil world. God is absolute good and therefore the exact opposite of evil. That is why evil always persecutes a man of God.
Noah was such a man chosen by God and scorned by the evil world. God instructed Noah to build a ship. He sent Noah to the heights of a mountain instead of down by the riverside or to the seashore. God's command was so ridiculous in the eyes of the evil world that many people laughed at Noah. He was ridiculed, not because people thought him a particularly funny man, but because he followed God's instructions so faithfully. The eyes of the world could not understand the way of God. In this manner, with such implausible instructions, God could test the faith of the man he had chosen as His champion. This is what happened in Noah's day.
And at the time of Abraham it was no different. God called Abraham, the son of an idol-maker, and commanded him, "Leave your home at once!" God does not allow for any compromise. God takes a position where evil can be totally denied. In no other way can good begin.
God has said He will start a new history, in which no element of evil will remain. God demands complete response from man. Those who follow God's direction must begin from absolute denial of the evil world. That is why Jesus Christ taught:
'He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for my sake will find it.' (Matt. 10:39)
He also said,
'... a man's foes will be those of his own household.' (Matt. 10:36)
You may ask, what kind of message is this? This is God's way, to choose His own people and put them in a position where they will be rejected by evil. Otherwise His champion can do no good for God. From the point of view of God's standard, then, modern Christians have been having a very easy time. This is very strange, because there is no easy way indicated in Christian teaching. I wonder how many Christians are really serious about following the path of God? God's demand is absolute. It allows for no middle ground.
Then how can we know clearly the path of God? Let us examine the history of God's providence. Today we are anticipating the end of the world. God has made previous attempts to end the world. For example, the time of Noah; that was a crossroads in history, when God wanted to bring an end to evil and begin the world of goodness. Noah was the central figure chosen in God's dispensation. To better understand Noah's mission and the meaning of the end of the world, we want to know more fully how the evil history began.
In the Garden of Eden, God gave Adam and Eve a commandment. That commandment was the word of God. Then Satan approached and enticed them with a lie. And that lie was the word of evil. Adam and Eve were in a position to choose between the two words: The truth was on one side, and a lie was on the other. They chose the lie.
Because this was the process of the fall of man, at the end of the world God will give mankind truth. The words of God will come through His prophet. When man accepts the words of God he will then pass from death to life, because truth brings life. Man has died in a lie, and in truth he will be reborn.
Therefore judgment comes by words. These words of God's judgment will be revealed by His chosen prophets. This is the process of the ending of the world. Those who obey and listen to the new word of truth shall have life. Those who deny the word will continue to live in death.
God chose Noah to declare the word. Noah's announcement was, "The flood is coming. The salvation is the ark." The people could have saved themselves by listening to Noah's words. However, the people treated Noah as if he were a crazy man, and they perished--because they opposed the word of God. According to the Bible, only the eight people of Noah's immediate family became passengers on the ark. Only these eight believed, and only these eight were saved.
God had said to Noah,
'I have determined to make an end of all flesh; for the earth is filled with violence through them; behold, I will destroy them with the earth.' (Gen. 6:13)
Did this actually happen? We know the evil people perished, but was the physical world demolished in the process? No. This passage was not literally fulfilled, and God did not destroy the earth. God did eradicate the people and destroy evil the sovereignty, leaving only the good people of Noah's family. This was God's way to begin to restore the original world of goodness through Noah.
If God had fully consummated His restoration at that time, then we would have heard no more about the end of the world. Once the perfect world of goodness is realized, another end of the world is not necessary. Nothing could then interfere with the eternal reign of God's perfect kingdom.
But the very fact that we anticipate the end of the world today is proof that God did not succeed at the time of Noah. What happened to Noah after the flood should be fully explained, but I cannot spend too much time on that subject tonight. To make a long story short, once again, sin crept into Noah's family through his son, Ham. God's flood judgment was thereby nullified, and evil human history continued until the time of Jesus Christ.
With the coming of Christ, God again attempted to end the world. Jesus came to start the new Kingdom of Heaven on earth. Thus, the first words Jesus spoke were, "Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." Indeed, the time of Jesus Christ's ministry was the end of the world. That great and terrible day was prophesied by Malachi, about 400 years before the birth of Jesus:
For behold, the day comes, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evil-doers will be stubble; the day that comes shall burn them up, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch! (Mal. 4:1)
Was the judgment of Jesus Christ done by literal fire? Did the day come at the time of Jesus when everything literally turned to ashes? No, we know it did not. Since these things prophesied did not literally happen at that time, some people say that such prophecy must have been meant for the time of the Second Advent. But this cannot be the case.
John the Baptist came to the world as the last prophet; Jesus said:
'... all the prophets and the law prophesied until John... ' (Matt. 11:13)
The coming of John the Baptist should have put an end to prophecy and the Mosaic Law. This is what Jesus said would happen. The purpose of all prophecy before Jesus was to prepare for his coming, and to indicate what was to be fulfilled up to the time of his coming. These prophecies are not for the time of the Lord of the Second Advent. God sent His son Jesus into the world, intending full and perfect salvation to be accomplished. The Second Coming was made necessary only by lack of fulfillment at the time of the first coming.
Why then was the time of Jesus the end of the world? We already know the answer. It is because Jesus came to end the evil sovereignty and bring forth God's sovereignty upon the earth. This was the end of the Old Testament age and the beginning of the age of the New Testament. Jesus brought the words of new truth.
How did the people receive the gospel which he brought? The Jewish leaders accused Jesus and had him crucified. They were prisoners to the letter of the Old Testament and could not perceive the presence of the spirit of God in the new truth. It is ironic that Jesus fell victim to the very prophecies that were to testify to him as the Son of God. By the letter of the Mosaic Law he was judged a criminal. Blindly the people nailed him to the cross.
At the time of Jesus many learned people, many leaders of churches, and many people prominent in society who were well versed in the Law and the prophets were waiting for a Messiah. How happy they would have been to have their Messiah recite the Old Testament exactly, syllable by syllable and word by word! But Jesus Christ did not come to repeat the Mosaic Law. He came to pronounce a new law of God. People missed the whole point. And Jesus was accused. The people of Israel said to him,
'We stone you for no good work, but for blasphemy; because you, being a man, make yourself God.' (John 10:33)
The Bible states: "And they reviled him (one of Jesus' disciples), saying,
'You are his disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from.' (John 9:28-29)
This was the way they looked at Jesus. Those people who diligently obeyed the letter of the Mosaic Law disobeyed Jesus Christ. The most devout of the Jewish faithful were the first ones to be judged by Jesus.
Now at this time I would like to clarify the meaning of "judgment by fire."
We read in the New Testament:
... the heavens will be kindled and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire! (II Peter 3:12)
How can this fantastic prophecy come true? Will it happen literally? No. The statement has symbolic meaning. God would not destroy His earth, His stars, and all creation without realizing His ideal on earth. If He did so, then God would become the God of defeat. And who would be His conqueror? It would be Satan. This can never happen to God. Even on our human level, once we determine to do something, we see it through to its completion. How much more so will God almighty accomplish His will. When God speaks of judgment by fire in the Bible, He does not mean He will bring judgment by flames. The significant meaning is a symbolic one.
Let us now consider another biblical passage which speaks of fire. Jesus proclaimed,
'I came to cast a fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled!' (Luke 12:49)
Did Jesus throw literal, blazing fire about? Of course not.
The fire in the Bible is symbolic. It stands for the word of God. This is why James 3:6 states, "... the tongue is a fire... "
The tongue speaks the word, and the word is from God. Jesus himself said,
'He who rejects me and does not receive my sayings has a judge; the word that I have spoken will be his judge on the last day." (John 12:48)
In contemporary society, the word of the court executes judgment. The word is the law. In this universe, God is in the position of judge. Jesus came as the attorney with authority to oppose Satan, the prosecutor of man. Satan accuses man with his words, but these are false charges. Jesus champions the cause of believers, and his standard is the word of truth. God pronounces the sentence: His love is the standard, and love is His word. There is no difference between the earthly court and the heavenly court, in that both conduct their trials by words, not by fire.
So the world will not be burned up by fire when it is judged. The Bible says "... the Lord Jesus will slay him [the evil one] with the breath of his mouth..." (II Thess. 2:8)
The word of God is the breath of his mouth. Jesus came to slay the wicked by the word of God, and "... he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked." (Is. 11:4)
What then is the "rod of his mouth?" We take this symbol to mean his tongue--through which he speaks the word of God.
Let's resolve this point completely. Look to where Jesus was instructing the people: "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes Him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life." John 5:24) Men pass from death to life by words of truth. God will not send you the Messiah to burn you up. He will not send you the Messiah to set your houses afire or destroy your society. But if we reject the word of God spoken by the Lord, we leave no choice open except to be condemned by judgment. Here is the reason why.
In the beginning God created man and the universe by His word-logos. Man denied the word of God and fell. Spiritual death has reigned ever since. Through His salvation work, God has been recreating man. Man fell by disobedience to God's word, and man shall be recreated by obedience to the same word of God. The word of God is given by the Lord. Accepting the word brings life out of death. Such death is the hell in which we live. Thus the word of God is the judge, and it will bring upon you a far more profound effect than the hottest flames.
Now at this time we can examine another important point. What would have happened if the people of Israel had wholeheartedly accepted Jesus Christ? Imagine the nation of Israel united with Jesus. What would that have meant? First of all, Jesus would not have been killed. People would have glorified Jesus as the living Lord. They would have then marched to Rome with the living Christ as their commander-in-chief, and Rome would have surrendered to the Son of God in his own lifetime. But in the sad reality of history, it took four centuries for a band of Jesus' disciples to conquer Rome. Jesus never won the chosen people of Israel, and he never gained the support he needed from them. He came to erect the Kingdom of God on earth, but instead he had to caution his disciples even to keep his identity a secret because people did not accept his legitimacy as the Messiah, and he therefore lacked the power to be the king of kings.
Today we have much to learn, and we must not believe blindly. We must know the hidden truth behind the Bible. Jesus was crucified, not by his own will, but by the will of others. Rejection by the chosen people of Israel killed Jesus Christ.
Right now I am making a bold declaration. Jesus did not come to die. Jesus Christ was murdered. Let me repeat: Jesus Christ was murdered, and his own people had him killed. Even the Roman governor Pilate wanted to release Jesus. He did not find any fault with Jesus. But Christ's own people rejected him and forced Pilate to release Barabbas instead. What a pity! What a tragedy!
This may be shocking and astounding news to you, but if you are only surprised, then you have missed my purpose. I am revealing these things because of my duty to bear witness to the truth.
It was the chosen people of Israel, the chief priests, the elders, the scribes, and the faithful, who shouted at Pilate's court. "Crucify him!" Saint Paul said, "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)
The people living at the time of Jesus Christ made a terrible mistake. But do you think they were so much more ignorant and less aware than we are today? No, not at all. They learned the Old Testament word by word and memorized the Mosaic Law. Based on their understanding, Jesus did not meet the qualifications to be the Messiah.
The Jewish people were in a very difficult position. If they wanted to believe the Law and the prophets, they had to abandon the Law of Moses as they understood it. Four thousand years of tradition had been based on the Old Testament. It was very, very difficult for people to just wake up one morning, turn away from the Law, and totally accept Jesus Christ as the Son of God. Because people had their eyes riveted to the letter of the Law, the spirit of the Law simply passed them by.
Let us look into the Old Testament and examine the prophecy of Malachi:
'... I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers...' (Mal. 4:5-6)
The people of Israel knew God's promise clearly. They knew it by heart. And they expected the coming of Elijah before the Messiah appeared. When the Messiah did come, naturally they asked, "Where is Elijah?"
Elijah had been a prophet who performed miraculous works about 900 years before Christ. And it was written he ascended into heaven in a chariot of fire. Since Elijah ascended upward into heaven, he was expected to return from heaven. Did such a miracle happen before the coming of Jesus? Did the people hear any news about the arrival of Elijah? No, they did not. But what they did hear one day was the voice of Jesus Christ declaring, "I am the Son of God, the only begotten Son of God." And Jesus spoke not timidly, but with authority and power. Such a man could not be ignored.
This presented a great dilemma for the people of Israel. They immediately asked, "If this Jesus is the Messiah, then were is Elijah?" They earnestly expected the Messiah at that time, so they were also waiting for Elijah. They believed he would come straight down from heaven, right out of the sky, and the Messiah would come soon after, in a similar manner.
So when Jesus proclaimed himself as the Son of God, the Jewish people became puzzled. If there had come no Elijah, then there could be no Messiah. And no one had told them that Elijah had come. The disciples of Jesus were also confused. When they went out to preach the gospel, people persistently denied that Jesus could be the Son of God because the disciples were unable to prove that Elijah had come. They confronted this problem everywhere they went.
The disciples of Jesus were not educated in the Old Testament. Many learned people rebuked them when they went out to preach, asking, "Do you not know the Old Testament? Do you not know the Mosaic Law?" The disciples were embarrassed when they were attacked through the verses of the Law and the prophets. One day they came back to Jesus and put the question to him:
'... why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?' He replied, 'Elijah does come, and he is to restore all things; but I tell you that Elijah has already come, and they did not know him, but did to him whatever they pleased. So also the Son of man will suffer at their hands.' Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist.' (Matt. 17:10-13)
This was the truth. We have determined the truth according to the words of Jesus Christ. But the disciples of Jesus could not convince the elders and chief priests and scribes of this fact. To those men, the idea was simply ridiculous. The only authority that supported such a notion was the word of Jesus of Nazareth. That is why the testimony of John the Baptist was so crucial. But alas, John himself denied that he was Elijah when he was asked! His denial made Jesus seem to be a liar.
Read the Bible: 'And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, 'Who are you?'... And they asked him, 'What then? Are you Elijah?'
He said, 'I am not.' Are you the prophet?' And he answered, 'No'. (John 1:19-21)
John himself said, "I am not Elijah." But Jesus had said, "He is Elijah."
John made it almost impossible for the people to know that Elijah had come. But Jesus declared the truth anyway. He said,
'... if you are willing to accept it, he [John the Baptist] is Elijah who is to come' (Matt. 11:14)
Jesus knew that most people could not accept the truth. Instead they questioned the motivation of Jesus. In order for Jesus to seem like the Messiah, Elijah had to come first, so the people thought he was lying for the purpose of his own self-aggrandizement. The Son of God became more and more misunderstood by the people. This was such a grave situation. In those days, the influence of John the Baptist was felt in every corner of Israel. But Jesus Christ was an obscure and ambiguous figure in his society. Nobody was in a position to take Jesus' words as the truth. This failure of John was the major cause of the crucifixion of Jesus.
John the Baptist had already seen the Spirit of God descending upon the head of Jesus Christ at the Jordan. At that time he testified:
'I saw the Spirit descend as a dove from heaven, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him; but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit' And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.' (John 1:32-34)
Yes, John the Baptist bore witness, and he did the job that God intended for him to do at that time. But later on, doubts came to him, and he finally succumbed to the many rumors circulating about Jesus. One such rumor called Jesus fatherless, an illegitimate child. John the Baptist certainly heard that rumor, and he wondered how such a person could be the Son of God. Even though he had witnessed to Jesus, John later became suspicious and betrayed him. If John the Baptist had truly united with Jesus Christ, he could have moved his people to accept Jesus as the Messiah, for the power and influence of John was very great in those days.
I am telling you many unusual things, and you may ask by what authority I am speaking. It is the authority of the Bible, and with the authority of revelation. Let us read the Bible together, and see word by word how John the Baptist acted.
'Now when John heard in prison about the deeds of the Christ, he sent word by his disciples and said to him, "Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?"' (Matt. 11:2-3)
This was long after he had testified to Jesus as the Son of God. How could he even ask, "Are you he who is to come as the Son of God?" after the testimony of the Spirit to him? Jesus was truly sorrowful. He felt anger. Jesus refused to answer John the Baptist with a straight yes or no. He replied instead,
'Blessed is he who takes no offense at me.'
Let me paraphrase what Jesus meant: "John, I am sorry that you took offense at me. At one time you recognized me, but now you doubt me. I am sorry your faith has proved to be so weak."
After this incident, Jesus spoke to the crowds concerning John. He put a rhetorical question to them:
'What did you go out into the wilderness to behold? A reed shaken by the wind? Why then did you go out? To see a man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, those who wear soft raiment are in kings' houses. Why then did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is he of whom it is written, "Behold I send my messenger before thy face, who shall prepare thy way before thee."' (Matt. 11:7-10)
What Jesus was saying here was this: "John, you went out to the wilderness to see the person more than a prophet--the Messiah, the Son of God. You have seen everything but missed the vital point, the core of your mission. You indeed failed to recognize me and failed to live up to God's expectation. It is God who expects of you 'to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.' You have failed."
'Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he' (Matt. 11:11)
Conventional Christian interpretations have never fully explained the meaning of this controversial verse.
The missions of prophets through the ages were to prepare for or testify to the Messiah. Prophets always testified from a distance of time. John the Baptist was the greatest among prophets because only he was the prophet contemporary with the Messiah, the prophet who could bear witness, in person, to the living Christ. But John failed to recognize the Messiah. Even the least of the prophets then living in the spiritual world knew Jesus was the Son of God. That is why John, who was given the greatest mission, and failed, became less than the least.
'From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and men of violence take it by force.' (Matt. 11:12)
John the Baptist was the chosen instrument of God, destined to be the chief disciple of Jesus. He failed in his responsibility, and Simon Peter, by the strength and force of his faith, earned that central position for himself on his own merit. Other men stronger and more violent in faith than John the Baptist fought relentlessly with Jesus for the realization of God's kingdom on earth. The devout men who righteously followed John the Baptist could not become the 12 apostles and 70 Disciples of Christ, as they were to have been. If John the Baptist had become the chief disciple of Jesus, those two together would have united all of Israel. But the truth is that John the Baptist did not follow the Son of God.
One day John's followers came to him and asked,
'Rabbi, he who was with you beyond the Jordan, to whom you bore witness, here he is baptizing, and all are going to him' (John 3:26)
They carried concern in their question: "Look at all the people going to Jesus. What about you?" John the Baptist replied,
'He must increase, but I must decrease.' (John 3:30)
Usually Christians interpret this passage as proof of John's humble personality. This is an incorrect understanding of the meaning of his words. If Jesus and John had been united, their destiny would be to rise or fall together Then Jesus could not increase his reputation while John's own prestige diminished! The lessening of his own role was what John feared.
John once stated the Messiah was the one '... whose sandals I am not worthy to carry...' (Matt. 3:11)
Yet he failed to follow Jesus even after he knew that Jesus was the Son of God. John the Baptist was a man without excuse. He should have followed
God sent John as a forerunner to the Messiah. His mission was clearly defined,
'...to make ready for the Lord a people prepared' (Luke 1:17)
But because of John's betrayal, Jesus Christ had no ground upon which to start his ministry. The people had not been prepared to receive Jesus. Therefore, he had to go out from his home and work all by himself, trying to create a foundation on which the people could believe in him. There can be no doubt that John the Baptist was a man of failure. He was directly responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
You may again want to ask me, "With what authority do you say these things?" I spoke with Jesus Christ in the spirit world. And I spoke also with John the Baptist. This is my authority. If you cannot at this time determine that my words are the truth, you will surely discover that they are in the course of time. These are hidden truths presented to you as new revelations. You have heard me speak from the Bible. If you believe the Bible you must believe what I am saying.
We must therefore come to this solemn conclusion: The crucifixion of Jesus was a result of the rejection by the Jewish people. The major cause of their rejection was the betrayal of John. Thus we have learned that Jesus did not come to die on the cross. If Jesus had come to die, then he would not have offered that tragic and anguished prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus said to his disciples:
'My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here and watch with me' And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, 'My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.' (Matt. 26: 38-39)
Jesus prayed this way not just once, but three times. If death on the cross had been the fulfillment of God's will, Jesus would certainly have prayed instead, "Father, I am honored to die on the cross for Your will."
But Jesus prayed asking that this cup pass from him. If his prayer came out of his fear of death, such weakness would disqualify him as the Son of God. We have witnessed the courageous death of many martyrs throughout Christian history and even elsewhere people who not only overcame their fear of death, but made their final sacrifice a great victory. Out of so many martyrs, how could Jesus alone be the one to show his fear and weakness, particularly if his crucifixion was the glorious moment of his fulfillment of the will of God? Jesus did not pray this way from weakness. To believe such a thing is an outrage to Jesus Christ.
The prayer of Jesus at the Garden of Gethsemane did not come from his fear of death or suffering. Jesus would have been willing and ready to die a thousand times over if that could have achieved the will of God. He agonized right up to the moment of death, and he made one final plea to God, because he knew his death would only cause the prolongation of God's dispensation.
Jesus wanted to live and fulfill his mission. It is a tragic misunderstanding to believe that Jesus prayed for a little more earthy life out of the frailness of his human soul. Young Nathan Hale, in the American struggle for independence, was able to say at the time of his execution, "I regret that I have but one life to give for my country!" Do you think Jesus Christ was a lesser soul than Nathan Hale? No! Nathan Hale was a great patriot. But Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
Think this over. If Jesus came to die on the cross, would he not need a man to deliver him up? You know that Judas Iscariot is the disciple who betrayed Jesus. If Jesus fulfilled God's will with his death on the cross, then Judas should be glorified as the man who made the crucifixion possible. Judas would have been aiding God's dispensation. But Jesus said of Judas,
'The Son of man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.' (Matt. 26:24)
Judas killed himself.
Furthermore, if God had wanted His son to be crucified, He did not need 4,000 years to prepare the chosen people. He would have done better to send Jesus to a tribe of barbarians, where he could have been killed even faster, and the will of God would have been realized more rapidly.
I must tell you again, it was the will of God to have Jesus Christ accepted by his people. That is why God labored in hope and anguish to prepare fertile soil for the heavenly seed of the Messiah. That is why God established His chosen people of Israel. That is why God sent prophet after prophet to awaken the people of Israel to ready themselves for the Lord.
God warned them and chastised them; He persuaded them and scolded them, pushed them and punished them because He wanted His people to accept His Son. One day the disciples asked Jesus,
'"What must we do, to be doing the works of God?" Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent"' (John 6:28-29)
The chosen people of Israel did the very thing God had labored to prevent. They rejected the one He had sent.
Jesus had one purpose throughout the three years of his public ministry: acceptance. He could not fulfill his mission otherwise. From the very first day, he preached the gospel without equivocation, so that the people could hear the truth and accept him as the Son of God. The word of God should have led them to accept him. However, when Jesus saw that the people were not likely to receive him by the words of God alone, he began to perform mighty works. He hoped that people could recognize him through his miracles.
'Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.' (John 20:30-31)
Jesus gave sight to the blind and made the lepers clean. He healed the lame and blessed the deaf with hearing. Jesus raised the dead. He did these things only because he wanted to be accepted. Yet the people said of him,
'It is only by Beelzebub, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons.' (Matt. 12:24)
What a heartbreaking situation! Jesus soon saw the hopelessness of gaining the acceptance of the people. In anger and desperation he chastised them: 'You brood of vipers!... ' (Matt. 12:34)
He did not hide his wrath, but exploded in anger.
'Woe to you, Chorazin! woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.' (Matt. 11:21)
And he wept when he drew near the city of Jerusalem.
'O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!' (Matt. 23:37)
Who has ever understood the broken heart of Jesus? He said, 'Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace! But now they are hid from your eyes.' (Luke 19:42)
By that time Jesus knew there was absolutely no hope of avoiding death. Yet he pleaded with God in Gethsemane, and he pleaded with God on the cross:
'My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?' (Matt. 27:46)
Thus Jesus died on the cross, not of his own will, not of the will of God, but by the will of men. Christ was destined to return from that moment on. He will return to consummate his mission on earth. Mankind must await his Second Coming for the complete salvation of the world.
Many people may now ask, "What about the prophecies in the Old Testament concerning the death of Jesus on the cross?" I am aware of those prophecies, such as Isaiah, Chapter 53. We must know that there are dual lines of prophecy in the Bible. One group prophesies Jesus' rejection and death; the others, such as Isaiah, Chapters 9, 11 and 60, prophesy the glorious ministry of Jesus when the people accepted him as the Son of God, as the king of kings. For example:
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called 'Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.' Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David, and over his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore... (Is. 9:6-7)
This is the prophecy of the Lord of glory, Jesus as the king of kings, and prince of peace. On the other hand, we can read:
'Surely he has borne our grief and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed.' (Is. 53 4-5)
This is the prophecy of the suffering Christ. It is indeed the prophecy of the crucifixion.
Then, once again, why did God prophesy in two contradictory ways in the Bible?
It is because God has to deal with men--fallen men-- in His dispensation. And fallen man is wicked and untrustworthy and possesses the capacity of betrayal.
In a way God fears man, and Satan fears man also because of man's ability to betray. God is absolute good, and He never changes His position; Satan is absolute evil and he never changes his position either. In this respect God and Satan are similar. However, man is a mixture of good and evil. Man stands between God and Satan and has the ability to change. Therefore, man is unpredictable. One day a man may profess his untiring faith in God and desire to serve Him; and the next day the same man may curse God, unite with Satan and become his slave.
Since God did not know how man would respond to His providence for the Messiah, He had no choice but to predict two contradictory results dual prophecies, each possible depending on man's actions. Thus the faith of man was the factor determining which one of the two prophecies would be fulfilled.
In the case of Jesus, if the chosen people of Israel demonstrated faith and united with him, then he would be accepted. The full realization of the prophecy of the Lord of glory would result. On the other hand, if the people rejected the Messiah when he came, inevitably the second prophecy, that of the suffering Christ, would be fulfilled. And history shows that the chosen people took the second way. Therefore, the prophecy of the suffering Lord became reality instead of the prophecy of the Lord of glory. Thus the crucifixion and the story of the suffering Christ became the course of history.
Since the prophecy of the suffering Christ became fact in the time of Jesus, the prophecy of the Lord of glory has been left unfulfilled. And this is the prophecy which will be fulfilled at the time of the Lord of the Second Advent.
I would like to also observe that the Bible does not provide much record of the life of Jesus prior to his public ministry, except for the story of his birth and a few accounts of his childhood. Haven't you ever wondered why?
For 30 years Jesus lived in great rejection and humiliation. There were many events and circumstances which grieved and agonized Jesus. He was a truly misunderstood person--in his own society and even among his own family. Nobody, absolutely nobody, treated him as the Son of God. He was not even accorded the common respect due to any man. His society ridiculed him. God's heart was very deeply grieved by Jesus' life. If I revealed just a glimpse of some of the situations of heartbreak and sorrow in the life of Jesus, that obscure figure, the man of Nazareth, you would not only be shocked and stunned, but you would burst into tears of sorrow.
God did not wish mankind to know the tragedy, the heart breaking reality of the humiliation of Jesus Christ. The death of Jesus was neither his will nor his fault. The death of Jesus was murder, and his body was taken by Satan. Our salvation in Christianity comes not from the cross but from the resurrection. Without the resurrection, Christianity has no power The crucifixion itself was a criminal act of faithlessness. However, the resurrected Jesus brought new hope, new forgiveness, and a new power of salvation. Therefore, when we place our faith in Jesus Christ of resurrection and unite with him, our salvation comes.
Please ask seriously in your prayers for a final answer on these matters. Ask either Jesus Christ or God Himself. If Jesus had lived and fulfilled his primary mission of bringing the Kingdom of God on earth, Christianity would never have been what it is today. The purpose of Jesus' coming was for the salvation of the world. The Jewish people were to be God's instruments. However, salvation was not intended only for God's chosen people. For every soul upon the face of the earth, Jesus is the savior. He is the savior of all mankind. Since Jesus left his mission uncompleted, he also left us the promise of his Second Coming.
Then let us examine when the end of the world will come. This is very important to us. The gospel says that in the last days God will separate the sheep from the goats. What is the difference between these two kinds of animals? Sheep recognize their master, the shepherd, while goats do not follow a shepherd. Today you know that our world is divided into two opposing camps. One is the democratic world, the other is the communist world. Our free world says, "There is a God." We accept our shepherd. The communist world says, "God does not exist.?' They deny their master. Thus the free world may be symbolized by sheep, and the communist world by goats. At the time of the formation of these two conflicting ideological worlds we can know we have come to the end of the world.
How will the Lord of the Second Advent come? Our position as Christians exactly parallels the position of the elders, scribes, and priests at the time of Jesus. In those days, the people were waiting for Elijah and the Messiah to arrive in the clouds of heaven. Why did the people think this way? Why did they hold this kind of belief?
They were simply following the Bible prophecy written down in Daniel 7:13:
'I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him.'
Because of the great prophet Daniel, the people of Israel had every reason to expect the arrival of the Messiah with the clouds of heaven. Christians are expecting the arrival of the Lord of the Second Advent in the same way today, from the clouds of heaven.
John said, '... many deceivers have gone out into the world, men who will not acknowledge the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh; such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.' (II John 7)
The Bible says that many people were denying the appearance of Jesus Christ in the flesh. And John condemned those people as the antichrist. But let us not forget the Old Testament prophecy of the coming of the Son of God in the clouds of heaven. Unless we know the whole truth, we, like the people of Jesus' time, become victims of the words of the Bible.
Then, may I ask, what would you do if the Lord returned to earth not in the clouds but as a man in the flesh? What would you do? I am telling you, the Lord of the Second Advent will in fact appear as a Son of Man with flesh and bones. The first thing you may want to say is, "Reverend Moon, you are a heretic."
It is important to know on which side God will be and how God fulfills His plan. It is not important whether a man or his views are considered heretical or not. It does not matter how I look at the world or how you look at the world. It only matters how God looks at the world. And in God's view, we once again find in the Bible a dual prophecy concerning the coming of the Lord of the Second Advent. Revelation 1:7 definitely prophesies the arrival of the Lord of the Second Advent with the clouds. However, I Thess. 5:2 states:
'For you yourselves know well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.'
There are then two opposing prophecies. What shall we do? Would you simply choose the prophecy which is most convenient for you?
Perhaps the Lord will appear with a loud noise in the clouds of heaven, because the prophecy says so. But on the other hand, the Lord might appear like a thief in the night. If he comes in the clouds, he surely cannot slip into the world unseen like a thief. Tremendous attention would surround the spectacle of his coming in the clouds. I cannot imagine how such a thing could be hidden from your eyes.
Then just what is the truth? We have a crucial question before us. What is the truth? When you see the signs of the Last Days, the Bible urges you to go into a dark room and pray. Who can tell you the time of the Last Days? The angels do not know that day. Jesus said not even the Son of Man knew when that day would. arrive. Only God knows the time of the Last Days. That is why we have our answer from God. I am not saying you must believe me not at all. I am just revealing what I know to be the truth, but you must verify this truth with God.
In the Last Days, the Bible says, do not believe just anybody. Do not believe me, and do not believe your church elders. Do not believe your ministers, and do not believe famous evangelists. Heaven is so near, and you can be lifted up by the spirit so high, that you can speak with God and receive the answer directly from Him if you are earnest enough.
There are many ministers in New Orleans, many clergymen, and many church elders. How many of them are really listening for the voice of God? These ears of ours do not mean much, nor these eyes serve any useful purpose, unless we have spiritual ears and spiritual eyes. Jesus said, 'He who has ears to hear, let him hear' (Matt. 11:15)
And he said to his disciples, 'But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear' (Matt. 13:16)
He was not referring to physical sense organs.
When you use your spiritual senses and listen for the word of God, you will find His direction and guidance. But it is not easy to become a citizen of the kingdom of heaven. It is very difficult for a foreigner to become a citizen of the United States. How much more difficult it is to remove ourselves from our earthly life and transfer ourselves into the Kingdom of Heaven. But we can achieve this very thing.
We know that even after Adam and Eve fell in the Garden of Eden, they were still able to communicate directly with God. Do you think that after the days of the Old and New Testaments, God has for some reason become deaf and dumb? No, God is very much alive, and today we can talk directly to Him. God can speak to you, and you can have a direct confrontation with Him.
The book of Acts of the Apostles says that in the Last Days, '... your sons and your daughters shall prophesy and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams... ' (Acts 2:17)
We must know the truth. We have to know how to apply for citizenship into the Kingdom of God. We have to know when the Lord will come, and how he will arrive.
Even with clear guidance in our lives, there is still the chance of failure to reach the goal. But today people have no guidance, and no direction people feel confident to follow.
Let us look to our Bible and clarify how the Lord of the Second Advent will appear. In Luke 17:20-21, Jesus was asked by the Pharisees how the Kingdom of God was coming. He answered,
'The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed;... the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.'
Jesus then told his disciples, 'The days are coming when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and you will not see it'
But if the Lord comes in the clouds of heaven, how could we not see it? Revelation 1:7 says, '... every eye will see him, everyone who pierced him...'
What can this mean? Why would we not see him? The only way we might miss that day is if we look for the Lord to come from one direction, and he appears from another direction in an entirely unexpected manner, just as Elijah did at the time of Jesus. This is the reason you may not see the Lord at the time of his Second Coming.
Another mysterious prediction was given by Jesus Christ himself. He declared about the Lord at the Second Coming: 'But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.' (Luke 17:25)
If Christ at his Second Coming appears in the glory of the clouds of heaven, who would dare deny him? Nobody would cause him suffering and pain.
The only way this prophecy can be fulfilled is if people expect his return from the clouds and he suddenly appears as a humble man in the flesh. Do you not think that Christian leaders of today would make the same mistake that the priests and scribes and elders committed at the time of Jesus? Yes! They may very well deny him and reject him, because the manner of his coming would be very difficult for Christian leaders to accept. However, in this way the Bible will be fulfilled. He will First suffer and be rejected by this generation.
Jesus once asked a most important question: 'When the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?' (Luke 18:8)
How does this question concern us today, when Christian faith covers the face of the earth? It is because although we do have faith today, it may be mistaken faith--a belief which expects the Lord must come on the clouds of heaven. There are few men on earth with the kind of faith ready to accept the Son of Man even appearing in the flesh. If this were not the situation, the Bible would not be fulfilled. Please note that Jesus did not say there would be no believers, but he said there would be no faith.
Jesus also said, 'Not everyone who says to me, "Lord, Lord," shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, "Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?" And then will I declare to them, "I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers."' (Matt. 7:21-23)
This prophecy cannot be realized if his Second Coming is on the clouds of heaven.
At the time of the Second Advent, people will again be crying out, "Lord, Lord." At the same time they may be in the process of trying to crucify the Lord of the Second Advent himself if he appears in a manner different from their own expectations. They will then be the worst evildoers.
This is the Bible. Those who truly have eyes will see. Those who truly have ears will hear. Throughout history, God has sent His prophets before the time of fulfillment. He warns the people of His plan. No matter how devout Christian faith is today, no matter how many millions of people are in the Christian churches, they and their churches and their world will be doomed to decline once they fail to accept the Lord, however he may appear. This was the tragic fate of the people of Israel when they denied Jesus Christ, regardless of their righteousness otherwise.
We must therefore also be open to a new message. Jesus Christ did not come to repeat the Mosaic Law. Just as Jesus revealed himself with the new truth, the Lord of the Second Advent will reveal himself with God's new truth for our time. That truth will not be simply a repetition of the New Testament.
The Lord will not appear miraculously in the clouds of heaven. Why? Because God is sending His Son to restore the things that once were lost. The first ancestors lost the Kingdom of God on earth. Satan invaded the world and took Eve to his side, and then Eve took Adam away, leaving God alone and separated from people. All people have therefore suffered under the bondage of evil. God must send a new ancestor for humanity, to begin a new history.
The work of God is restoration, always in the opposite direction from His original loss. This means that God first needs to find His perfected Adam, and Adam who instead of betraying God will become one with God. And then Adam must restore his bride in the position of Eve. Perfected Adam and perfected Eve, united together, will be able to overcome Satan and expel him from the world. In this way, the first righteous ancestors of mankind will begin a new history.
God's first beginning was alpha. This was invaded by evil, so He will restore the world in omega. Jesus is referred to as the last Adam in I Col 15:45. God wanted to bless Adam and Eve in marriage when they were perfected. As a heavenly couple, they could bear children of God. This life was not realized in the Garden of Eden. That is why Jesus came in the position of Adam. God intended to find the true bride and have Jesus marry. The True Parents of mankind would have begun in the time of Jesus, and they could have overcome and changed the evil history of the world. Since that hope was not fulfilled by Jesus, after 2,000 years he is returning to earth as a man to complete in full the mission he only partially accomplished. The Kingdom of Heaven on earth will be established at that time.
The new history of goodness will thus begin. With the truth of God and True Parents for mankind, a new alpha in God's history will begin and continue for eternity. The ideal of God is to restore the first God-centered family on earth. With this one model as a center, all the rest of mankind can be adopted into this family. We will become like them, and the first heavenly family will be expanded, multiplying into the tribal, national, and worldwide kingdom of God on earth.
The Kingdom of Heaven is to be literal and tangible. Jesus gave Peter the keys to the kingdom of heaven and said, '... whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.' (Matt. 16:19)
So accomplishment on earth must precede fulfillment in heaven; the Kingdom of Heaven will be first achieved on earth.
At this time only an intermediate place in the spirit world is open. That is called Paradise. Jesus and his disciples dwell in Paradise, and even they cannot actually enter the Kingdom of Heaven until it is established on earth. One reason for this is because the Kingdom of Heaven is prepared not for individuals, but for the family of God for the father, the mother, and God's true children.
Ladies and gentlemen, I believe my message is absolutely clear and simple. God intended to begin the history of goodness in Adam. But Adam fell. God worked to restore history and begin anew in Jesus Christ. But the people of his time lacked faith in him and did not give him a chance. Therefore, the promise of the Lord of the Second Advent will be fulfilled. He is destined to come to earth as the Son of Man in the flesh. He comes as the third Adam. He will take a bride and thereby bring about the most joyful day of heavenly matrimony, referred to as "the marriage supper of the Lamb" in the book of Revelation. He will fulfill the role of True Parents. True ancestry from God will be established and heaven on earth can then be literally achieved.
We cannot doubt that Christianity today is in a definite crisis. This is a crisis parallel to the time of Jesus, when the established religious institutions failed the Son of God. We recognize this crisis of our time; but we can also see through the haze to the brightly shining day of new hope.
The end of the world is at hand, not only for Christians but for all people throughout the world. The new history of God will begin with the arrival of the Lord. Blessed are those who see him and accept him. It is the hope of Christianity to recognize, receive, and accept the Lord of the Second Advent. The chance has arrived for all of us. The greatest opportunity in any man's lifetime is now knocking at our door. Please be humble, and open yourself to great new hope!
This is the time for unprecedented spiritual awakening. I want you to open your eyes and ears to perceive the truth. This is my hope, that by sharing this message with you, we might unite to prepare for the glorious day of the arrival of the Lord. Let us see the God of history, let us understand the God of providence, and let us embrace the living God in our own lives.
Today is my last day in this city. I hope you will investigate these matters thoroughly. There is opportunity in New Orleans to come to our church and study, or attend our workshops and explore the truth of the Divine Principle. I would not have come here if I did not bring with me new things to tell you. I am revealing new truth. This alone should be a compelling reason for you to look into the depths of this message.
I hope that, as I said in the beginning of our evening together, you will consider these ideas seriously, and pray to God. He will answer you.
Thank you very much.