Messiah - My Testimony to
by Bo Hi Pak
Chapter Six - Encounter With the Unification Principle
Soon, I was promoted to the rank of major. In the military, a promotion from a rank of company grade to one of battalion grade has great importance. I continued to work in the office of the head of KMAG. I also continued attending church after rejecting Reverend Dong's proposal. As time went by, though, my thirst for spiritual refreshment became more urgent and my inner turmoil over life's enigmas more pressing.
In my own way, I was on a spiritual search. I hungered and thirsted for the truth. During the Korean War, I had come face to face with death numerous times. This made me look at the fundamental questions of life with a special sense of gravity. I wanted to commit myself to a religious path. As a Christian, I spent a great deal of time reading the Bible. It seemed, though, that the quagmire of doubt only became deeper as I continued my search.
I wanted to possess a faith such that belief in God would well up from the depths of my heart. I had pledged my life to God on the hank of the Changchon River. Yet, over the years my heart had cooled. I began to wonder whether it was really possible for a person to achieve the realm of spiritual awakening and enlightenment. If it did exist, then how far did I still have to go to reach it? To me any attempt to approach the fundamental truths of the universe and human life appeared utterly impossible.
During the war, the sight of my comrades falling on the blood-soaked battlefield had made me wonder about the meaning of death, whether there was anything after death, and what it meant to be alive. These may not be questions that a typical young man in his twenties would struggle with, but they come to mind quite naturally when a person repeatedly finds himself on the verge of death.
I had a good life during this time, a loving home to return to at the end of the day, a wonderful wife, and beautiful children. Our life together had acquired a certain degree of security, and I found my job challenging and rewarding. Life was full of things for which I was thankful.
I couldn't help feeling, though, that there was still some special mission for me that I had not yet found. I could never forget how Mother used to tell me: "You were born for something very special in life." Would there be a day when I would receive Heaven's calling? Was there some special task that God would someday entrust to me, and if so, what was this task?
I remembered how, on my first night in America in 1952, I had pounded the floor of a San Francisco hotel room, calling out to God for answers concerning His apparent preferential treatment of America. Korea suffered the oppressive rule of Japanese imperialism for thirty-six years. No sooner did we become independent in 1945 than our country was violently divided into two parts, and two mutually exclusive ideologies came to dominate the North and the South. This led to a tragic war of Koreans killing Koreans. Millions of innocent lives were sacrificed, more than ten million people became separated from their families, and the land was devastated.
"Are we as a people tinder some eternal curse? If there is hope for our people, where are we to find it?"
The Korean people can he compared to a scraggly pine tree growing out of the side of a tall cliff. In winter, the tree is blown by cold north winds. In summer, it has to endure the wind and rain of typhoons, as well as the hot sun. It is always in danger of falling into the valley below if it is hit by a falling rock from above or the cliff collapses. Despite everything, though, the tree hangs on to life. At one time in our history, Koreans roamed freely and boldly throughout what is now northeast China. Today, though, such aspects of our nature have shriveled like a dried gourd.
When I was studying in America with the group of Korean officers, there were instances when a member of our group would make some mistake or not perform a task up to standard. In such instances, others in our group would often say. "Well, what do you expect from a yeobchun?" The term refers to a brass coin circulated during the Yi dynasty that was worth very little, and so it is commonly used by Koreans as a term of self-deprecation.
"What kinds of sin have our people committed that we have to he cursed? Is it our fate to always be yeobchun?"
I couldn't erase these thoughts from my mind, and they made me very uncomfortable. Especially after seeing first-hand the level of material wealth in the United States, my feelings of despair gradually grew stronger.
Since independence in 1945, we had sung the words of our national anthem in praise of our country. Were they, though, just the self-consoling words of a people forsaken by God? Or were they prophetic words foretelling the course that our country and our people would someday he called to travel?
"Oh, God," I cried out, "It is too dark. Please, give us light. Throw your light somewhere on the world so that we can know that there is hope for humanity!"
'Ibis was my constant prayer. It was my sincere entreaty and my desperate plea to God.
Then, one day, a letter was delivered to me. The sender was someone with whom I was not directly acquainted, a Miss Young Oon Kim who worked as a secretary in the KMAG chaplain's office, which was located in the same compound where I worked. The letter's contents were quite short, saying only, "There is a place where they discuss matters that are important to human life. Would you like to go there with me sometime?"
"Matters important to human life" were just what I had been searching for over the past five years. I had been frustrated many times in seeking answers to my questions, but I could only know for sure whether this was something worthwhile by going to hear about it for myself.
I telephoned Miss Kim at her desk in the chaplain's office and told her that I was willing to go with her to this place sometime when it would not interfere with my official duties. I checked General Matthews' calendar and made an appointment to accompany Miss Kim in the evening two days later. It was my hope that this invitation would lead me further on the pathway to the truth.
A Momentous Meeting
At the appointed time, I went to the place where Miss Kim had asked me to meet her, a shop in the middle of Seoul named Tonghwa Dang. It specialized in herbal medicines used in traditional Korean healing practices. This made me wonder whether I was going to hear a talk on traditional Korean healing or Oriental medicine.
I walked up to the shop and opened the door. Inside, I found myself alone. Soon, a middle-aged lady appeared, so I introduced myself.
"I received an invitation from Miss Young Oon Kim to come here, but it seems I'm too early. No one's here yet."
Her reply surprised me.
"I am Young Oon Kim," she said. "Welcome. Everyone expected today has already arrived."
"Everyone has arrived? Where are they?"
"Actually, Major Pak, you're the only one."
"What? Just me? In that case, I certainly feel sorry for the person who will be speaking."
"No, you don't need to worry about that," she said. "I'm the one who'll be speaking. I used to he a professor at Ehwa Women's University. Would it be all right for me to give you a lecture?"
She smiled very sweetly as she made this request. She had an air of dignity and grace.
I replied, "Oh, I see. I didn't know you were a professor. Please excuse me for not giving you the proper respect. Well, since all the students have come, let's go ahead and begin."
"All right, but there's just one thing I'd like to say first." "Oh? What's that?"
"It's possible, since you are a soldier, that you don't know a great deal about religious matters. Have you ever heard the term 'heresy'?"
This was certainly an unexpected question.
"Well, yes," I replied. "I do know at least that much. I may not look like it, but I've been a Christian for five years now." We both laughed.
"I see," she continued. "Well, what is your opinion regarding heresy?"
If I were to express an opinion on heresy I guess it would he this: that the important thing is not whether something is considered orthodox or heretical. The important thing is whether it speaks to the hearts of people. Because I am a soldier, I've had the experience of being surrounded with death and struggling to understand the truth about life. I suppose you might say that I am on a kind of spiritual search. I don't think anyone can be more serious about trying to understand human existence than a soldier who has experienced battle." My tone was quite earnest.
"You have to excuse me," she said. "For not giving you due credit. I think your outlook on life is really beautiful."
"No, you flatter me too much. What was the subject you wanted to lecture on?"
"It is the Word of God in the Principle," she told me.
I thought her use of the term "principle" somewhat peculiar.
"What?" I responded with some amusement, "Did you say 'principle'? What principle would that he? The principle of Archimedes? The principles of higher mathematics?"
"I'm referring to the fundamental principle that gave rise to the principle of Archimedes." she answered. "This is the principle of God. It is the fundamental principle by which the laws of the universe came into being."
I was impressed by this answer and responded in a much more serious tone.
"Oh, I see. I didn't realize there was such a thing. I'd like to hear more about that."
"God and God's truth," Miss Kim began to explain, "Are eternal. The expression of God's truth can differ from age to age, however, only because people in different historical periods are different in their spiritual and intellectual levels. For example two thousand years ago when Jesus was on earth, no one would have believed a person who tried to claim that the earth was spherical in shape and rotated on its own axis as it revolved around the sun. Also, if someone a hundred years ago had predicted that someday man would be able to land on the moon, he would have been considered a heretic.
"The New Testament is the Word of God given to us through Jesus at a level that corresponded to the intellectual level of the people of that age. People today, living two thousand years later, have the benefit of highly advanced scientific knowledge. People find it difficult to he satisfied with the words of two thousand years ago, and they can't help but fall into a spiritual slumber.
"God has brought about enormous changes in the human condition about every two thousand years. According to the biblical record, human history began with the Fall in the Garden of Eden. Two thousand years later, He sent Abraham as the father of faith, and this was the beginning of the history of the chosen people of Israel. Another two thousand years later, He sent Jesus Christ to the earth. Human history continued to flow to the present, when we are nearing the end of the twentieth century. A tremendous change is about to occur on earth as we approach the year 2000.
"God is God, and it is not His purpose to destroy us, but to save us. To do that, He needs to communicate His will in a way that is appropriate to the people of this age. That will of God, that is, His fundamental principle, has now been unveiled on this earth through revelation. That is the Principle that I would like to speak to you about now.
"So, this means that the content that I'm about to give you does not come from me. Nor is it something that some famous theologian put together as a result of many years of study. It is the revelation of God. For that reason, I would like for you to save any questions you might have until the end, until after you've heard my lecture in its entirety."
This was certainly an extravagant introduction. I had no objection, though, to what she said. In fact, I had been waiting for something just like this. I prayed that this would turn out to be the real thing.
There was no blackboard available, so Miss Kim placed a white piece of paper on a table and wrote in large letters, "Principle of Creation." This, too, was a phrase I had not encountered before. Rather than try to repeat Miss Kim's lecture word for word. I would like to give the reader my own broad outline of the Unification Principle to which I was introduced that evening.
Broad Outline of the Unification Principle
What Is Salvation?
What is salvation? What is it, exactly, that has to happen to a human being in order for us to say he has been saved? Various modern religions preach "salvation." but in fact they are unable to clearly explain what they mean by salvation. The reason for this is that they are unaware of the following two points.
First, they do not know about the original world of God's creation. The world we live in today is not that world. It is a diseased world. This world is called the "fallen world."
What does it mean that a doctor saves a patient? It means that the doctor is able to return the patient to the healthy state he enjoyed prior to his illness. Suppose, though, that the doctor does not know what a healthy human body is supposed to look like. In this case, he wouldn't know what condition he has to create in the body of the patient, so he would have no idea where or how to begin his treatment.
The original world of God's creation, to continue the metaphor with the human body, is the healthy world that existed before the world became diseased. In other words, it is the world of God's ideal. Because today's religions do not know about the ideal world of God's creation, they are unable to clarify the definition of salvation.
Second, religions today do not fully explain the condition of the fallen world. They do not know how it was that the good and ideal world of God's original creation became the evil, fallen world that we see today. They do not know the series of events that led to humankind becoming separated from God. Without knowledge of the fall, it is impossible to discuss salvation. In the example of the sick patient, it is impossible for a doctor to give the correct prescription without first diagnosing the disease.
For these two reasons, today's religions are not able to give precise definitions of salvation. This definition has been made clear for the first time by the revealed Word of God, that is the Unification Principle. This principle is composed, first of the "Principle of Creation." which teaches clearly about God's ideal of creation and His purpose. In the medical comparison, this section of the Principle is analogous to a text that gives a clear understanding of what a healthy human body is supposed to look like.
Next, the Principle clarifies what actions brought about the Fall of ideal human beings and the process by which today's fallen world came into existence. It explains why and how a healthy human body became diseased and gives the precise diagnosis of this disease.
From this point, answers to the questions above regarding salvation become self-evident, and we are able to apply the prescription for salvation. This is the power of the Principle and its purpose.
World of God's Ideal Creation
The world of God's ideal creation has never yet existed in reality. Thus, it is a world that no one has seen or experienced. The Principle of Creation shows us the blueprint of God's original ideal world. God set out to create a world that was good. It was a world in which God and humankind would exist in a state of oneness. I Corinthians 3:16 describes this state in terms of humans being "God's temple." In other words, it was intended that humans be God's houses and that God would dwell in them. God's ideal world is a world of God-human oneness.
We can see an example of this God-human oneness in the physical human body. The human body is made of about sixty trillion cells. Each cell is a truth body, or independent body, possessing its own unique individuality and function. The sixty trillion cells come together, working in flawless unity, to form a single human body and work in an orderly manner to fulfill this body's life purpose. This is possible because there is one organ, the brain, which exercises fundamental control. In other words, the position of the brain in the human physical body is precisely the position that God occupies in the universe. When the brain sends out a command, the mission of each individual cell is to respond in an orderly manner and function in a way that furthers the good of the whole.
There is never a situation where the interests of a person's left and right hands come into conflict and fighting erupts between the two hands. It is a person's eyes that allow him to see something funny, but it is with his mouth that he will react with laughter. If a bee is flying toward a person to sting him, the eye will see this and report it to the brain. The brain, then, sends out a command for the right arm to mobilize a defensive attack against the bee. How beautifully they help each other for the benefit of the whole. Sixty trillion cells exist together without contradiction.
Simply described, this is what a human society of God-human oneness would look like. God set out to bring such an ideal world to reality on the earth. Had this been accomplished, this would have been the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. This would have been a realm of absolute value centering on God. It would have been a moral world in which the three basic standards of morality would be absolute honesty, absolute sexual purity, and absolute service.
Such a world would have given God joy. The relationship between God and human beings is that of father and son, and all people regardless of race or ethnic origin are children of God. There are no exceptions. Human society would be a world populated by brothers and sisters sharing the same parent, that is, God. People would always be surrounded by their compatriots and humankind would be one family. The world family would be one family with God as the family head. The force used to rule such a world would be that of true love. True love is the force that binds God and humanity and binds human beings to each other.
Just as the left and right hands of a single human body never battle against each other, there would be no wars in the ideal world described here. Since people would not have enemies, they would not kill each other. They would not injure others, because this would be the same as causing injury to themselves. I would feel another person's pain as acutely as I would my own.
God's ideal is for a Kingdom of Heaven on earth. Heaven is the world of "father-son connection" and a world of true love.
The Fallen World
Such a world, though, is nowhere to be found today. This is because humankind fell before the ideal world could be accomplished. What, then, is meant by "the Fall"?
The Fall signifies humanity's separation from God. Human beings fell from a world of God-human oneness to a world where God is not present. Human beings who were God's temples lost God and became dens of the devil, or Satan. This is the Fall. From the day that this occurred, Satan's law came to rule human society and the world became a world of evil.
Human morality disappeared, and the law of the jungle came into force. This means violence. It means lies and deception. It means sexual immorality. It means extreme selfishness. It is the exact opposite of God's ideal world, and for this reason the Principle refers to this as "hell on earth."
Since the Fall, humankind has lived in hell on earth. When God sees this world, He feels sorrow. He laments with resentment. This is the reality in which we exist today. In this world, there is no end to war, murder, rape, and thievery. People, far from seeing each other as brothers and sisters, have become enemies to each other. It is in a world of such extreme selfishness that people will go so far as to kill another person to ensure their own success.
This is a very simple, but exceedingly clear, explanation of the ideal world of original creation and the fallen world. The question now is what God is trying to do about this situation. This is the most important matter that concerns humankind.
Gods Will Is Restoration
If God were to look at the fallen world and become so angry as to destroy it, this would signify a failure on His part. It would mean that He is not omniscient and omnipotent. He cannot destroy the world. As long as He is an omniscient, omnipotent, and loving God, His purpose cannot be the destruction of humankind, but our salvation. How, then, does He carry out salvation?
Because of the "Principle of Creation" and the "Fall of Man," the definition of salvation is clear. For God to save humanity means that He cures the fallen world of its disease and restores the healthy world that existed prior to the disease, the world of original creation.
The term "restoration" is extremely important. If a healthy person becomes ill, he must he restored to the state that existed prior to his illness. Thus, salvation means restoration. Salvation means to take the world in which God is not present and restore it to the world of God-human unity. It means taking people, who have become the dens of the devil, and restoring them to be temples of God. It means restoring the hell on earth to the Kingdom of God on earth.
The Mission of the Savior
What methods does God employ in order to restore this world to His ideal world? The savior, or messiah, is the person who appears on earth with the mission to save each and every human being and build the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. For this reason, humankind has an absolute need for the savior. The plain truth is that there is no avenue for salvation without the savior.
Jesus Christ, who was born two thousand years ago in a manger, was this savior. In John 14:6 Jesus says: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, but by me." This is the truth among truths.
Yet, what do we have? Even though Jesus Christ came two thousand years ago, the Kingdom of Heaven on earth still has not been achieved. Hell on earth continues. Why?
There is a good reason. Two thousand years ago, the chosen people of Israel were not able to believe in Jesus, which resulted in his being nailed to a cross and killed. If everyone had believed in him, he would not have been crucified.
For this reason, Jesus ascended into heaven having accomplished only "spiritual salvation" and gave us the promise of his Second Coming: "Surely, I am coming soon." [Revelation 22:20] The age of the Second Coming has finally arrived. This is that age. God has planned the Second Coming around the year 2000.
The history of Judeo-Christianity has come through the Old Testament and New Testament ages. When the Second Coming occurs, we can expect that the returning Jesus will bring a new expression of God's word. This will not be the Old Testament or the New Testament it will he the Completed Testament, which fulfills God's promise. God does not simply make promises, as He has in the Old and New Testaments. Eventually, there conies a time when He fulfills these promises. This is the time of the Second Coming. Thus, the new heaven and new earth of the "Completed Testament Age" will open up at the time of the Second Coming.
The Lord comes as the savior and ultimately must take on the position of the True Parent of humankind. With the Fall, humankind lost our True Parents. During the past six thousand years of biblical history, the position of humankind has been that of an orphan. We have been playthings of Satan, who is the "false parent." The coming Lord, though, is the "True Parent" of humankind. Through the True Parent, humanity will have their names entered in heaven's family registry as God's direct descendants. 'I1ten, for the first time in history, we will no longer be orphans.
The savior at the Second Coming is the True Parent of humankind, who comes with the ability to give both physical and spiritual rebirth to fallen humanity so that we may he renewed.
Hidden Biblical Meanings Explained
In her extraordinary lecture that first evening, Young Oon Kim explained the hidden meanings of the Bible to me one by one. Her words were like the warm spring sun falling on the Han River, melting away the thick ice of winter without a sound. She told me that these words represented the fulfillment of Jesus' prophesy in John 16:25 when he said, "I have said this to you in figures; the hour is coming when I shall no longer speak to you in figures but tell you plainly of the Father."
This point was particularly evident in the section called "The Fall of Man," which discusses the human Fall and identifies the specific sin that was committed. The original ancestors did not fall because they ate a literal fruit called "the fruit of' the tree of the knowledge of good and evil," but because of illicit love that went against God's commandment. In other words, they committed a transgression of love, fornication and adultery, which are sins that deal with blood lineage. Thus, the illicit love of Adam and Eve, the original human ancestors, defiled the blood lineage of God. This defiled blood lineage has been passed on from generation to generation, and its effects have been inherited. This is the "original sin" spoken of in Christianity.
From this perspective, I could begin to understand everything much more clearly. I could see how the sin committed by Adam and Eve could continue to affect us today. It is because the Fall was a transgression of love that defiled the blood lineage. This explanation made sense to me.
The Genesis account of the Garden of Eden mentions two specific trees as having been in the garden. One was called the "tree of life," and the other was the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil." These trees are symbolic references to the two original human ancestors, Adam and Eve. The "fruit of good and evil" referred to Eve's love, making Eve the person who held the key that determined good and evil. Righteous actions would bear good fruit, and immoral actions would hear evil fruit.
Eve was to have maintained the purity of her love until she had matured, and then, when the proper time came, she was to have offered her love to Adam. Adam and Eve were to have been brought together in love sometime in the future.
This process was interrupted by an untimely incident. A tempter appeared on the scene. The Bible refers to this tempter as a "serpent," and until now humankind has not known the true identity of this serpent. The being symbolized by the serpent was a wise and cunning archangel. The name of this archangel was Lucifer. It has been said that he is the "Day Star" referred to in Isaiah 14:12.
Originally, God created angels as His servants. Thus, they were also servants to Adam and Eve, who were created as the children of God. The archangel also had wisdom, however, and he came to have a wicked heart. By seducing Adam's future spouse, Eve, and dominating her through illicit love, the archangel usurped the authority that would rightfully have gone to Adam, to exercise dominion over the world. In short, the archangel rose in rebellion against God.
He used cunning words of deceit to seduce Eve. His motivation was selfish. His first act outside the Principle was to tell a lie. All sins stem from lies. Among all the animals, the snake is the one that has a forked tongue. How appropriate it is, then, that the Bible chose to represent the angel that seduced Adam and Eve as a snake. Having a forked tongue means to say two contradictory things with one tongue. In this instance, the snake symbolizes the being that tells a lie.
The greatest problem in our world today is that selfishness has become widespread and lies are the root of the various evils that disrupt our societies. These were the fundamental motivations of the human Fall.
The Archangel Lucifer succeeded in corrupting Eve. The teenaged Eve was pure-hearted and like a budding flower, but the Archangel violated her with his illicit love. This adulterous relationship was a spiritual one, and it was the "Spiritual Fall."
When Eve's eyes were opened, she realized she had committed a sin that went against God's will. She became afraid and ran to Adam. She prematurely sought to have Adam give her his love. As a result, Adam, who was still in the state of purity, became a partner in adultery. This also was an illicit love that violated God's commandment and constituted the "Physical Fall." In this way the original human ancestors, Adam and Eve, fell completely, both spiritually and physically.
God called out to Adam: "Where are you?' Adam was ashamed, and he appeared before God hiding his sexual parts with fig leaves. Adam and Eve were hiding the parts of their bodies that they had used to commit sin. Without a doubt, their sin was the sin of fornication.
God expelled Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden and blocked the way to the tree of life. This signifies that Adam was no longer able to become a completed human being, that is, the first Christ. Thus, the original human ancestors, Adam and Eve, were not able to become the true parents of humankind. They were expelled from the Garden of Eden, and the Kingdom of Heaven on earth was not accomplished.
From this moment, the desire of God was directed toward sending a completed human being (Christ) to earth. Jesus is the completed Adam and God's only child, so the Bible says that he came as "God's only begotten son."
I found these explanations quite convincing. Not only was the logic consistent, it was very dramatic and exciting. I began to understand the answers to all my questions regarding various biblical passages. The experience of being confronted with incredible truth was so exciting that it gave me goose bumps all over.
Jesus Did No Come to Die
The most remarkable point I heard that evening was an insight about Jesus. Christians have believed for the past two thousand years that humanity receives salvation as a result of Jesus' crucifixion.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." This is the famous Bible verse of John 3:16. All forms of Christianity says that God could not stand by in the face of all the sin in the world, so He sent His only son Jesus Christ as a lamb of atonement. Jesus, by being nailed to the cross, wiped away all the sins of the world and gave us salvation. Thus, Jesus' death on the cross is treated as having been preordained by God.
This raises a major problem. The Principle has no quarrel with the idea that "God so loved the world that He gave His only Son." Neither does the Principle deny the fact of salvation through the cross in the present time. The problem concerns whether God sent Jesus for the express purpose of having him crucified. John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son." It does not say He so loved the world He had his son crucified. The verse also says, "that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." If the chosen people of Israel had believed in Jesus according to God's Word, then surely Jesus would not have gone the way of the cross.
The teaching that Jesus emphasized consistently throughout his suffering course was for people to "believe in him who God has sent." He invested his entire heart and soul into trying to get the chosen people to believe in God's only son. What was the purpose for which God, beginning at the time of Abraham, chose the Israelites, prepared them, and trained them? His only purpose for doing this was so they would believe in His son whom He would send to the world. Finally. God even sent the prophets to proclaim that the time was near when the savior would come. All these deliberate efforts were made by God so that when Jesus was horn, the Israelites would accept him and believe in him.
If the Israelites had done as God had intended and as Jesus taught, that is, if they had recognized Jesus as the coming Lord and had believed in him, would they have allowed Jesus to be nailed to the cross? Surely, they would not have done this. It wouldn't make sense for them to want to see the death of the man they believed to be their savior. The crucifixion of Jesus was the result of disbelief. If the chosen people had believed, Jesus would have been received as the "king of kings," and surely the Kingdom of Heaven on earth that is God's objective would have been accomplished in his time.
Who, then, placed Jesus on the cross? It was the king, priests, and Pharisees, who were jealous of Jesus' success and felt a need to contain him. The words of the Bible make this fact quite clear. Judas Iscariot, who sold Jesus for thirty pieces of silver, has been judged to be the worst man in history. If, however, Jesus' crucifixion was the only way to salvation and was in accordance with God's desire, Christianity should be praising Judas as a "saint" who contributed to the fulfillment of God's will. On the one hand, Christianity condemns Judas as a traitor, while on the other hand, it rationalizes and praises the crucifixion as God's will. There is no greater contradiction than this.
This is why the Apostle Paul said in I Corinthians 2:8, "None of die rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory." Paul is saying that Jesus' death on the cross came about as a result of people's ignorance and disbelief. Paul confesses that in the beginning he persecuted Jesus' disciples because he didn't know who Jesus was. lie says that he, too, was in a state of ignorance before he came to understand that Jesus was the son of God.
The crucifixion of Jesus was a tragedy of human history. The salvation that was achieved by the cross was of a secondary nature. It was a spiritual salvation but was not total salvation. Total salvation is salvation of the spirit and the flesh. Jesus had no choice but to allow his flesh to fall into the hands of Satan, and this meant he was unable to bring about salvation of the flesh.
God created human beings to have both spirit and flesh, and the human Fall was a fall of both the spirit and the flesh. Therefore, salvation, too, needs to take place in both spirit and flesh. This is total salvation, and this is the will of God.
For total salvation to come about in Jesus' time, the Israelites would have had to attend the living Jesus. Jesus would have had to fulfill the position of Adam as the original human ancestor and attain the position of the father of all humankind. Jesus, then, would have been the True Parent of all humankind. Because he passed away without fulfilling all this, he must come again. That is the Second Coming for which Christianity waits today.
This explanation makes the need for Jesus' Second Coming very clear. When I heard these words, I said to myself, "That's right. Jesus has to come again. This is where the true hope of humanity lies." The ideas presented in the lecture were quite revolutionary. I was more than inspired. It would he more accurate to say that the content came as such a shock as to put me totally at a loss for words. The truth has an overpowering effect on the listener.
The "Last Days" of Human History
As I listened to the Principle lecture on that first day, I found greatest hope in the vision that was presented on the "last days" and "resurrection" of humanity. Normally, the phrase "last days" suggests something undesirable and is taken to mean the annihilation of all human beings. The prevailing view of the Last Days is that human sin will reach such an extreme that God can no longer tolerate it. In His rage, God will cause all sorts of natural disasters that will result in the sky falling and the earth deviating from its axis. Humanity will be destroyed in the flash of an eye, and the world will come to an end.
This is not the teaching of the Unification Principle. If God were to annihilate humankind through natural disasters, this would represent a failure on the part of God Himself. Human beings can fail, hut it is not possible for God, who is omniscient and omnipotent, to fail.
Also, humankind committed the Fall, not the rest of creation. All that is needed is for humankind to account for its sin. When this is done, the Kingdom of Heaven will be completed and everything will be finished. With the sole exception of human beings, all the myriad creatures that God created have been completed exactly as He created them. Heaven and earth did not commit sin; the beautiful mountains, rivers, flowers, trees, and other aspects of nature are not guilty of sin. There is no reason why God would go out of His way to destroy these completed aspects of His creation. All He has to do is complete His creation by fixing the part that has gone wrong. Then, the entire creation will be completed according to His original ideal, and all will become objects of His joy.
Thus, it is only humankind that goes through the Last Days not the physical world. God's eternal will is to bring about the salvation of humankind and bring an end to the fallen world so that a new history can begin. When the Principle speaks of the Last Days, it is a message overflowing with hope. The Last Days is the time when the ideal world of God's original creation can begin. This is the world that both God and humanity have longed to see for such a long time. It is the time when the light of the old world will grow dim, and the new world will shine brightly.
The Last Days is a time of hope for humanity. People, however, must be prepared for one thing: to survive the judgment of God that will take place in the Last Days. To judge means to separate, to draw a distinction between good and evil, to take away the impurities in something so that it becomes pure. It means to separate and distinguish between those who are righteous and those who are not. It means to harvest the wheat in the field and separate the chaff. The Bible says in Matthew 3:12 that the wheat will be placed in the granary but the chaff will he burned "with unquenchable fire."
How should humankind approach this judgment of God? To understand this we first need to understand how the judgment is to be carried out. God's judgment will be carried out by means of His Word. The Word of God can also be thought of as the commandments of God.
Let's take a moment to look at how criminal trials are conducted in the secular world A trial is conducted in accordance with the laws of the state. The laws of the state are the word of that particular country. In the same way, the universe has been created according to God's Word, that is, God's law. It is only natural that our merits and demerits, our good works and evil works will be judged according to the eternal law of God. The record of each person's life will be held up to the mirror of God's law. This is a completely fair and just judgment. There is no possibility of injustice.
How, then, should people conduct themselves? In the first place, they need to familiarize themselves with God's Word, that is, His law. Second, they should not just know the law but live in accordance with it. At the time of the Second Coming, the Lord will bring the Word of judgment. Thus, receiving the Lord who comes at the Last Days is a matter of life and death f0r us. Whoever believes in him will live, and whoever disbelieves will perish. For this reason, it is important for people who are living in the Last Days to be open-minded and humble. Otherwise, they will not be able to greet the coming Lord. This is because we don't know exactly how the Lord will come. Those who are arrogant run a high risk of spitting on the Lord when he returns.
Two thousand years ago, Jesus was born in Bethlehem, in a shabby manger. Only a few people were able to understand that Jesus Christ, the only son of God, had appeared along the banks of the Sea of Galilee leading a group of poor fishermen. This is a clear historical lesson that we need to pay attention to. Back then, too, only those people who were flexible and humble were able to understand Jesus. If we don't want to repeat the disbelief of Jesus' time, we trust all become flexible and humble. We must open our hearts and wait for the Word of God that will be given to us. This is the concept of the Last Days in the [Indication Principle.
True Meaning of "Resurrection" and "Death"
In that first day's lecture, I was also struck by the ideas that were presented concerning the true meaning of "resurrection." These were quite different from what is generally believed in Christianity.
Resurrection is often understood as in the prophet Ezekiel's vision of the valley of the dry bones. [Ezekiel 371 In this vision, dry bones come together, are then covered with flesh and skin, and finally became living people. In the same way, it is believed that when the Lord comes in the Last Days, all graves will open and the saints of the ages will come back to life in the flesh. In the context of twentieth-century scientific thinking, it is difficult to imagine how this would be possible. The Bible contains many passages, such as this vision in Ezekiel that are difficult to understand, and at times the Bible appears to contradict science. Requiring people to blindly believe in such content word for word is not going to inspire genuine faith.
The difficulty of understanding such biblical passages is one reason that so many young people today are becoming more distant from the church. Not many will follow when they are simply told: Just believe unconditionally and you will go to heaven." In fact, Christianity today is steadily declining.
The understanding of resurrection in the Unification Principle is extremely scientific and very clear. Once the Principle of Creation is understood, it becomes obvious that there is no reason for people to take on their fleshly bodies again and return to this physical world. According to the Principle of Creation. God created two worlds for the sake of humankind. One is the earthly world, which is corporeal and the other is the spiritual world, which is incorporeal. Both are real and substantial. The spiritual world stands in the position of the subject partner to the physical world. Also, God created human beings to have two selves, a physical self and a spiritual self. The spiritual self is in the position of the subject partner vis-à-vis the physical self. The earthly world is the place where these two selves live together.
In the still unrealized ideal world of God, human beings would develop their spiritual selves to perfection in the earthly world through faith and good deeds. If the physical body is like a tree, the spiritual body is similar to the fruit of that tree. Once a person has achieved the perfection of his spiritual self in the earthly world, he will shed his physical body at the appropriate time and rise up into the spiritual world, where he will live eternally. This state is called the Kingdom of Heaven in heaven.
Thus, human beings were created with the idea that they would live in the physical world until their spiritual selves are perfected. Once this is accomplished, the idea is for them to live in the Kingdom of Heaven in heaven, that is, in the presence of God. There is no reason that people in the spirit world would want another hundred years of life on earth or to take on their fleshly bodies again to return to this world.
The problem lies in our misunderstanding of the meaning of death. In the conventional concept, death is equated with the destruction of the physical body and the end of human life. In God's eye, however, death is something quite different. God created human beings with two selves with the idea that the physical body would eventually be left on earth and only the spiritual self would enter the spirit world. When a silkworm weaves a cocoon and later emerges as a moth, this transformation is not described as a death. In the same way, it is part of the normal, natural process for a person to shed his physical body and go to the Kingdom of Heaven in heaven. In God's eye, it would be wrong to describe this as death.
What, then, would constitute death in the eyes of God? To God, death is what happens when a human being separates from God, who is the source of all life, and commits the Fall, thus losing the life of his spiritual self. This is exactly what happened with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Eating the fruit did not result in the destruction of their physical bodies. That does not mean. though, that God lied when He told them, "In the day that you eat of it [the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil] you shall die." [Genesis 2:17] Adam and Eve died the moment they ate the fruit. In God's eyes and in the context of the true meaning of death, Adam and Eve did die. They separated themselves from the source of eternal life, and their spiritual selves died.
Resurrection, then, refers to a resurrection from death in its true meaning. That is, resurrection is what happens when a person who has been separated from God returns to God and becomes one with Him so that he may again have access to eternal life from God. Resurrection refers to resurrection of the spiritual self. It is the means by which we come to have eternal life. The total resurrection of humans happens when we receive the Lord of the Second Coming, accept the Word of God that he brings, and become one with the Lord. Thus, the Last Days can be described as a time of resurrection for humankind.
This is certainly another source of great hope for us. Let's imagine for a moment. God looks down and sees a world of death. We may insist that we are alive, but in God's eyes we are dry bones in the valley of Ezekiel's vision. At the Second Coming, God sends the Lord into a world that is no different than a valley of dry bones. When people receive the Word of God that the Lord brings and unite with the Lord, they receive life. Then, we begin to regain our spiritual pulse and begin to breathe again. Eventually, people who were once no more than a collection of dry bones are resurrected into full life.
This is a symbolic way of representing something that goes on in the spiritual realm. This is the true meaning of the resurrection that is our blessing to receive from God. It is not the people who have been placed in caskets and buried in the ground who need to be resurrected. It is I and everyone else in the world who think that we are alive merely because we still happen to have our physical bodies.
What is the reason, then, that people have such a tremendous fear of the destruction of the physical body? How did this fear come about? The fear of death came about as a result of the Fall. We fear physical death because we don't know what lies beyond it. We have no idea what will happen to us in the moment after death, and so we fear it intensely. Had there been no Fall, there would be no fear of death.
If human beings had not fallen but had grown to perfection, they would have been able to see the spirit world even during their life on earth. They would be able to interact freely with the spirit world. The event that we now think of as death, that is, the shedding of the physical body and the passing of the spiritual self into the spiritual world, would be thought of as something akin to moving. It would he like moving out of an old house and taking up residence in a new home that is thousands, even tens of thousands of times more desirable.
Suppose, for example, that a person were about to go on a trip to an earthly paradise like I Hawaii. In the days leading up to this trip, you wouldn't expect this person to be in a state of extreme fear and grief. In fact, he might he staying up nights counting the days until the trip and imagining all the fun he will have once he gets there. This is because he knows he is going someplace nice. He feels joy, not fear.
The Kingdom of Heaven in heaven is a far more desirable place than Hawaii. The day a person leaves on his trip to this heavenly paradise corresponds to what is known now as death. This departure, however, represents hope, not fear. In the original world of God, there was no fear of death or suffering leading up to death. The fear of death came into being as a result of the human Fall.
John the Baptist, Man of Failure
These were the basic points of the Principle that I heard that first evening at the Tonghwa Dung Pharmacy from Professor Young Oon Kim. To be honest, I went to the meeting hoping to hear something interesting and useful, but with absolutely no expectation that I would hear such incredible content. Professor Kim spoke with a subdued voice, but her words pounded my heart with an incredible force. To say I was moved by what I heard is completely inadequate. I was overwhelmed. When she finished. I didn't know what to do with myself.
There could be no doubt that this was revolutionary content. From the standpoint of the tradition adhered to by modern Christianity, it was unconventional and heretical. Now I understood why Professor Kim had begun the evening by asking my opinion on heresy.
These were words that would turn existing Christianity on end. The Principle had a grand design and orderly logic that were beyond reproach. The words I heard resonated deeply in my heart. I had never heard anything that moved me nearly as deeply. The Principle took up the issues I had been struggling with regarding life and the Bible one by one and provided clear explanations. My thoughts after the lecture were that if God really loves this world so much that He wants to completely recreate it, then it would probably take something as revolutionary as this to accomplish such a task.
When Jesus faced the Sadducees and the Pharisees and declared in John 14:6, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one cones to the Father, but by me," the people of Israel were dumbfounded. They didn't know what to say. Through the long history of the Old Testament, the mere speaking of God's name was considered taboo. Yet, here was this young man, Jesus, claiming not only that God was his Father but that no one could go to that Father except through him. To them, Jesus must have seemed like the heretic of all heretics.
Those in positions of power among the Israelites branded this insolent man who disturbed their peace as an agent of the devil and "possessed by Beelzebub." Here we see the initial signs of Jesus being forced to go the way of the cross. God had worked for two thousand years to gather the chosen people and to educate and train them so that they would be able to overcome this trial. He even sent John the Baptist, who was a great prophet and greatly admired by the Israelites.
Christianity today praises John the Baptist as a great biblical figure. Sadly, though, a closer look reveals that John was a man of failure. He did not accomplish the specific mission given him by Heaven. He was supposed to have used his considerable influence to testify to Jesus as the Son of God and to protect Jesus. Tragically, John never fully realized who Jesus was. He had a glimpse at the time of his vision, but after that could not even imagine his shabby cousin could be the awaited messiah.
John told his disciples to go to Jesus and ask him, "Are you he who is to come, or shall we look for another?"
Jesus answered this question in an incredulous tone: "Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them." [Matthew 11:451
Even with such an admonishment, John still did not understand. In the end he was beheaded for criticizing King Herod's immorality, something totally unrelated to the mission that God expected him to fulfill.
Jesus said of John, "Truly. I say to you, among those born of women, there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he." Matthew 11:11
Sadly, John died without ever realizing that Jesus had come as the savior. This failure played an important role in hastening Jesus' death on the cross. Without John, there was no one to testify to Jesus. Jesus' words in Matthew 11:11 give us a sense of ,Jesus' anger toward John and remain as a fitting comment on John's failure.
Such content of the Principle is like a bolt of lightning out of a clear sky for today's Christianity. How is the Christianity of this age going to receive such Words of God? Just thinking about this question made my heart heat faster.
After Professor Kim had finished speaking, I sat quietly for a while thinking about all that I had just heard. Finally, she broke the silence with a question.
"Today, I have given you a summary of what is contained in the first half of the Principle. Would you like to hear about the second half as well?"
I looked up suddenly as if waking up from a dream, answered: "Yes, of course."
"Shall we arrange to meet again tomorrow?" she said. "Can you come here at the same time?"
We agreed to meet at the same place and time the next day, and so we left the pharmacy.
A Sudden High Fever
That night at home, I barely got any sleep at all. I was much too excited to close my eyes.
This is what people have been waiting for," I told myself. This must be what Heaven has been leading me toward all this time."
There were still many things, though, that were not clear. "I don't even know what church Professor Kim belongs to. Who is the person who has proclaimed such incredible content of God's Word? Is it someone from overseas? Is it a Korean?" The question that concerned me most was the final conclusion of the next day's lecture.
"What is the conclusion of the Principle?" I wondered.
I could hardly wait for the time of my next appointment. Actually. I had wanted to ask Professor Kim to continue with the second half that same night. I was ready to listen to her lecture all night, if necessary. It was all that I could do to keep myself from asking her to do this.
Morning came. I reported to work at my office in KMAG, but I couldn't get anything done. I left the office at 5:00 p.m. so that I would have time to eat dinner at home before going to the Tonghwa Dang Pharmacy.
Something strange happened, though. The moment I sat down to dinner I suddenly felt a terrible chill. After a few moments, my body began to shake uncontrollably. I had to get up from the table without eating anything.
My wife told me she could see that something was wrong with me, so I decided to lie down for a while. Soon, the chill turned into a high fever. My temperature climbed to 40 degrees Centigrade (104 degrees Fahrenheit), and I began to moan in pain.
I lost track of the time. I was so sick I was just barely hanging on to consciousness. Then, suddenly, my mind cleared and I sat up quickly to check the time. The clock was showing exactly seven o'clock.
"1'm supposed to be meeting Professor Kim right now!"
I didn't know what to do. I didn't know the telephone number of the pharmacy. I could imagine her sitting alone in the room, waiting for me to come.
"What should I do?" I asked myself.
I continued to suffer from the high fever, and another thirty minutes passed. Suddenly, it occurred to me that some evil force might be trying to prevent me from taking the path that I wanted to go. I threw off the bed covers and stood up to leave the house.
My wife was just getting ready to call a doctor, and she did all she could to stop me from leaving.
This isn't just any ordinary appointment," I told her. "No matter what, I can't break this appointment. Even if it turns out that I collapse and die as a result. I have to go. I have to think of this the same way that I would if I were in a war."
The taxi driver had to help me into the back seat. I wrapped a blanket around myself to keep as warm as possible.
When Professor Kim saw me, her first words to me were, "I expected something like this."
"What do you mean?" I asked.
The words of the Principle are the words of Heaven. They are words that will destroy the power of evil in the world and bring about a world of goodness. So, all kinds of things happen to people who hear these words. The power of evil does not want to see this content being spread. In most cases, people aren't able to come to the second day of the lecture. You're very brave to have come despite a forty-degree fever."
"In any case, I'm here now," I said. "Could you please begin? If you don't mind. I'm going to lie down and cover myself with this blanket. Please excuse me for this."
The second half of the Principle was called the Principle of Restoration. It went through biblical history, explaining the hidden providence of God. To tell the truth, I don't recall anything that I heard about the Principle of Restoration that second evening. I was in terrible pain, and it was all I could do to keep from moaning.
After about two hours, Professor Kim said, "Well, let's go on to the overall conclusion. Now I will talk about how the Second Coming of Jesus will occur and where Jesus will appear at the Second Coming."
These words caught my attention.
"Yes," I thought, "this is what I've been waiting for."
I took off the blanket and managed to sit up. My fever seemed to have gone down a bit. I drew on all my energy to focus on the lecture.
Will Jesus Come on a Cloud?
In her quietly powerful voice, Professor Kim began to explain what it seemed I had been waiting all my life to hear:
If these are the Last Days, if this is the time when the Lord is to come again, and if salvation is to be received 1w meeting the Lord, then there are two things that we need to know in order to find him: First, how is he to come? And second, where is he to come?
If someone is coming by airplane, then it wouldn't be any use for us to wait at the train station. If someone is coining to New York, it wouldn't make sense to wait in Los Angeles.
Traditionally, Christianity has taught that the Second Coming will happen with the Lord coming on the clouds. [Matthew 24:30 and other verses] Some people have interpreted this to mean that they should keep their eyes on the clouds in the sky. Some believe that faithful believers will be pulled up into the sky and participate in a banquet with the Lord while suspended in air. I had always thought this to be too nonsensical to believe literally.
On this second evening, I heard Professor Kim make an incredible declaration. She said that at the Second Advent, the Lord would come to the earth through the womb of a woman, just as Jesus did. Jesus came two thousand years ago, but he met a tragic death as a result of the disbelief and betrayal of the chosen people. Jesus tried everything he could right up until the last moment to somehow fulfill his mission. The situation became untenable, though, and he had to accept that there was no way for him to avoid crucifixion. At this point, he promised that he would come again. He left things unaccomplished on earth that he could do only with a physical body. Thus, in order to accomplish all these things, it is necessary for him to return. This is the quite logical way that the Principle explains it.
The work that Jesus left unfinished on earth was ultimately to occupy the position of True Parents of all humanity. He would then have changed the blood lineage of all the world's people from the satanic lineage, help all people sever their ties to original sin, and have them be born again as children of God so that their descendants would be born free from original sin. Jesus at the Second Advent comes for the sake of "complete salvation," that is, salvation that is both spiritual and physical. In other words, he comes to bring into reality the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.
This means that people would be liberated from the cycle of being born as sinners and then having to believe in Jesus to go to heaven. Future generations will he born from the beginning as citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven. They will not need a messiah. This is the complete salvation that God has desired for humanity. The accomplishment of this desire was interrupted once by the crucifixion of Jesus. The crucifixion brought about spiritual salvation, but not physical salvation.
Again, I felt that this explanation answered the doubts that I had felt. It made no sense to believe, as traditional Christianity does in effect, that God gives us a disease and then gives us the cure. God doesn't first give us a disease called original sin and then send the messiah as the prescription to cure this disease. Instead, God is working to restore all humanity to a healthy state where we are free of the disease of sin. This is complete salvation. That being the case, the Lord of the Second Coming must be born into the world as a human being one more time through the womb of a woman.
Seen from this standpoint, everything in the Bible begins to make sense and the apparent contradictions disappear. Luke 17:25 says, But first he must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation." if Jesus were to appear in the midst of a supernatural phenomenon, such as riding down out of the sky on a cloud, who would dare make him suffer? Who would dare persecute such a supernatural Lord? Wouldn't the pope come and bow before him? Wouldn't all the ministers in the world race to pay their respects?
Even though Jesus was the son of God, his outward appearance did not distinguish him from other people in his time. It was partly for this reason that the world was not able to realize who he was, and why people heaped on him scorn and condemnation and tormented him as much as they pleased. The Bible says clearly that it will also be the case at the time of the Second Corning.
What about the biblical prophecy, then, that he will "come on a cloud"? The Bible is written in symbols and parables, so it is necessary to understand those symbols to know its meaning. The Bible is God's code given to humanity. Only the prophet who comes with the key to reading this code can know the true meaning of the Bible.
Clouds are, in essence, evaporated water. Even if water is heavily polluted, the moisture that evaporates into the air is pure. Thus, the clouds mentioned in the biblical prophecy refer to the saints who have been reborn. So. "coming on the clouds of heaven" means that the Lord will come in the midst of reborn saints and will conduct his work of salvation with them.
Ultimately, the only way that people will be able to understand the coming Lord will be through the Word of God. What means were available two thousand years ago for people to understand Jesus? It was the Word of God, the authoritative Word of God given by Jesus. The coming Lord will be received be people who are flexible and humble, the same type of people who were able to receive Jesus. Only those who have the eyes to see, only those who hunger and thirst for the truth will be able to understand the coming Lord. The Bible says, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." [Matthew 5:3]
The coming Lord is not the exclusive property of those whose stomachs are full, or those who have power. The Lord may, in fact, come in the midst of those who are poor, those who are being persecuted.
"History repeats itself." This is a clear lesson for us, and one I immediately took to heart. How could I avoid the mistakes of the past? How could L Bo Hi Pak, a man of the twentieth century, recognize the coming Lord?
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