Father's Course and our Life of Faith
by Won Pil Kim
Inheriting Heavenly Blood Lineage
I'd like to take today's topic from the Bible. The subject is how the Gentiles could inherit the blood lineage of the Israelites.
The Israelites were the chosen people, so how could the Gentiles inherit the blood lineage of the chosen people? The second Israelites, the Christians, are considered Gentiles from the point of view of the first Israelites.
We talk a lot about Cain and Abel. Abel sometimes bears Abel, but sometimes he bears Cain. On the other hand, Cain bears Abel. Do you understand what I am talking about? Had the Fall not happened there would have been no Abel or Cain. Originally, man stood in an Abel position, but because of the Fall man came to stand in a Cain position. In which position does an unfallen Adam? (In an Abel position. ) After the Fall, he came to stand in a Cain position. Therefore, Abel came to bear a Cain because of the Fall. If man had not fallen he would never have been born a child of Cain. Do you understand now?
If we think of an unfallen position as an Abel position and a fallen position as a Cain position, an Abel, an unfallen man who was supposed to bear an Abel, came to bear a Cain, a fallen man.
In which position does a Cain stand when he is restored through the way of indemnity? In which position does a restored Adam stand? (In an Abel position.) Then, a fallen man, Cain, comes to bear an Abel, a restored child, by having passed the way of restoration through indemnity. The person who stood in a Cain position gradually comes to bear an Abel child. The Messiah appears to all mankind as Abel. We, mankind, stand in a Cain position. Through the Abel what are we going to be? Cain or Abel? The Cain who is restored through Abel can stand in an Abel position. Do you follow me?
Those who have already accepted the Messiah stand in an Abel position and those who have not yet accepted him stand in a Cain position. Some of those who are standing in an Abel position fall and leave the position. Which child do those who have left bear? Cain or Abel? How about the child of those who once stood in a Cain position and have been restored through Abel? At first when I said Cain bore Abel and Abel bore Cain, you couldn't understand what I was talking about. But now you see much more, don't you?
The Israelites are a chosen people, an Abel type people. All other peoples are Gentiles. The reason God chose the Israelites was so that all other peoples could be restored through them.
You know that God had to choose the second Israelites, the Christians, when the first ones couldn't fulfill God's will. From the viewpoint of the first Israelites, all people, including the Christians, are considered Gentiles. But God chose the Christians, a Gentile people, as the second Israelites when the first ones couldn't fulfill their mission. What would happen if the second Israelites couldn't fulfill their mission? God would look for the third Israelites. From the point of view of the second Israelites, the third Israelites would be Gentiles. When Jesus appeared, the first Israelites thought that his followers were all heretics. At the time of the Second Advent, the second Israelites would think that the people following the second Messiah were heretics too.
Bearing this in mind, let's look at the following story from the Bible. After the liberation from Egypt, the Israelites went through the period of Judges. The story is from this 400 year period. It is the story of Ruth.
Elimelech of Judah moved to Moab from Bethlehem with his wife and two sons because of a famine. His wife's name was Naomi. The two sons married Moabite women. They lived happily for 10 years. Then the two sons died and so did Naomi's husband. Naomi decided that she would return to Bethlehem.
On the way back home Naomi told her two daughters in law to return to their mothers' houses. But both tearfully promised to follow Naomi. Again, Naomi advised them to go back home. The wife of the second son decided to go back and kissed her goodbye. A third time, Naomi recommended Ruth, the wife of the first son, to go back home, but she wouldn't. So Naomi returned to Bethlehem with Ruth.
They arrived at the time of the spring harvest. They were very poor and didn't have enough food to eat. There was a wealthy kinsman, a relative of Naomi's dead husband, whose name was Boaz. Naomi told Ruth to glean the ears of corn in Boaz's field and said that he would be kind to her. Boaz came from the countryside and asked the young servants who Ruth was. They said she was Naomi's daughter in law. Thanks to Boaz's kindness, Ruth could glean a lot and exchange the grain for money and attend Naomi well.
Naomi gave Ruth one difficult instruction. It was that she lie down at Boaz's feet on the night of the harvest celebration. For a woman, this was a very difficult request, but Ruth believed absolutely and followed what Naomi told her. After doing this Ruth became the wife of Boaz. They married with the blessing of the elders of Judah. Ruth bore one child, Obed, who became the father of Jesse, who was the father of David. Ruth became the mother of the grandfather of David, in other words his great-grandmother. David was the ancestor of Jesus. Joseph was born from the blood lineage of Ruth.
The point of my story is how could Ruth, a Gentile, inherit the blood lineage of the Israelites, that of the ancestors of Jesus? Let's look at what was said when Ruth and Naomi were on the way back to Bethlehem after they had lost their husbands.
Naomi said to her two daughters in law: "Go, return each of you to your mother's house." She could understand the situation of her daughters in law. She continued: "May the Lord deal kindly with you as you have dealt with the dead and with me," and "May the Lord grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband."
Naomi no longer had her husband on whom she relied, nor the two sons who supported her. She was alone with only these two daughters in law to rely on. She didn't think of herself, but she worried about her daughters in law. She thought that they would be uneasy about going home and so she specially blessed them that they could live a peaceful life in the house of their respective husbands and that God might protect them in the future. And they said to her in tears: "No, we will surely return with you to your people." They said "your people". This means that they had their own people too. When they said "your people", it meant the chosen race of the Israelites. They denied their own people and decided to return with their mother in law to her people.
Then Naomi said to the weeping daughters in law: "Go home, my daughters. Why should you come with me? Have I yet sons in my womb that they may be your husbands? Go, for I am too old to have a husband. If I said I have hope, if I should even have a husband tonight and also bear sons, would you therefore wait until they were grown?" She told them that it was not possible and therefore they would worry her if they did not return home. They were willing to join Naomi's people, abandoning their own, but this second persuasion worked well. Naomi was quite an enlightened woman for those days and recommended them to marry again.
It was quite natural for Naomi to want to be together with her daughters in law for ever, because they were in the same situation of having lost their husbands. But Naomi thought differently. Even though she had to remain a widow, she didn't want her daughters in law to have to do the same. When Naomi used this persuasion, the wife of the second son agreed with it and became weak minded. She thought she wouldn't be able to marry again if she stayed with Naomi. She wondered how she could remain single like Naomi and so she kissed her and left. But Ruth still stayed.
Then Naomi said: "Behold, your sister in law has gone back to her people and her gods." Ruth could pass the first and second tests to abandon her people and herself, but it was quite difficult to deny her own faith and God whom she loved at the risk of her life. But Ruth said: "Where you go, I will go and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people and your God, my God." This is a very famous passage. After that Naomi couldn't say anything to persuade Ruth to go home.
These three persuasions have the same internal contents that we should overcome. Naomi was able to find her successor, Ruth. Naomi had inherited the blood lineage of the Israelites and had to pass it on.
Elimelech had the right of inheritance and he was like a seed of the blood lineage of the Israelites, but now he and his sons were dead. So she had to find a person who was qualified to inherit the blood lineage of the chosen people. Naomi's three persuasions worked as a test for Ruth. She denied herself first, then her ideal spouse, then her people and her God, so she could be accepted as an Israelite, a member of the Israelite family, of the Israelite people and a follower of the Israelite God.
However, Ruth still had one big difficulty to overcome. She was chosen and approved as a successor to Naomi, because of her right answers to Naomi's tests, but she could still not be completely accepted. According to the custom of the Israelites, a wife who lost her chastity had to be stoned to death. Naomi told Ruth to lie down at the feet of Boaz, which was very difficult for Ruth to obey. It wouldn't have mattered so much if Boaz had been amorous, but actually he was a good and leading person in Judah. If he had accused Ruth when he found her at his feet, she would have lost her life. But Naomi was sure of God's blessing and that Ruth would be welcomed by Boaz. Even though Naomi's order was impossibly difficult to obey, Ruth did according to everything Naomi had suggested, as a result of which Ruth could now become one with Naomi. She risked her life in following Naomi.
Even though Peter said that he would believe Jesus absolutely, he denied Jesus three times later. We can often pass an oral examination, but we fail at the moment when it is decided whether we will be accepted or not. Even though we establish a foundation of faith, we fail at the stage of foundation of substance.
The period during which Ruth passed the three tests of Naomi is taken to be a period for Ruth to lay a foundation of faith; the period during which she followed Naomi's commandment successfully was the period for laying a foundation of substance. On these foundations there came a blessing and the foundation to receive the Messiah was established victoriously.
We also have to be substantially victorious besides making a verbal promise. In our daily life of faith we meet the same situation repeatedly. Each one of us has something he or she loves which we would risk our lives for. The thing we would risk our lives for varies from person to person. It appears before you as the biggest enemy. The thing you love more than your life becomes your biggest enemy or trial.
The thing which is important for Mr. A may not be so important for Mr. B so I can't define what it is for each of you. We have to learn a lot from Ruth who abandoned herself, her family and her ideal, her God and faith for the real God, God's people, a spouse from God's side, God's ideal and God's family.
We had our own world before we joined the Family. Like Ruth, we once denied all of them, but there still remains some decisive thing for us to finally overcome.
First we must be recognized, then accepted and then we come to be judged victorious. You must be admitted by the people, by Satan and finally by God, besides being satisfied with yourself. When we realize that the things we should overcome are always waiting for us, we have to separate ourselves from Satan strictly in our daily lives. I'd like to conclude today's speech, thinking of Ruth who was once a Gentile but could inherit the precious blood lineage of the Israelites. Thank you very much.
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