Truth is My Sword, Volume II
by Bo Hi Pak
Chapter 36 Death Shall Be No More
New York, New York
May 27, 1979
This is a unique and frank sermon about the real meaning of death. In it, listeners are reminded about the importance of having complete knowledge of the spirit world, so that they can overcome the power of death.
May God be with you this morning. Nowadays in our Christian churches ministers are very careful in preparing their weekly sermons. They seem to have a tacit agreement not to touch upon sensitive subjects. My years in America have taught me that, although there are many aspects of the American mentality and culture that I admire, Americans have a tendency to avoid talking about certain things at cocktail parties or other gatherings.
One subject the good American people do not like to worry about is death. And this topic is not fully discussed in the pulpit either. So I am very glad I am not a trained minister. I don't know the good pulpit etiquette that they teach in American theological seminaries. I am like an outcast, a revolutionary. I deliver my sermons as if I am tackling a bold adventure.
I understand that another tacit agreement is that a sermon should not last more than 15 minutes. It is said that after 15 minutes no soul can be saved. Again, I am not a trained minister, but it is my opinion that talking seriously to people about committing your life to God takes a little more than 15 minutes. So please forgive me. Even though I want to finish in 15 minutes, my English capability keeps me from competing with other ministers, so at least allow me double time.
Another important thing: the Unification Church is here to ignite a spiritual revolution. We are not here only to seek our individual salvation. Basically we gather here today and every Sunday to think about committing our lives for the sake of Christ, God, and the world. For us, world salvation comes first. We want to burn our God-given energy for the highest purpose. The Lord's prayer says: Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Our job is to think how we can make ourselves available to do the work of God so that His will can be accomplished here on earth as it is in heaven.
So I want to make our service a very serious one as well as a revolutionary one. We want to talk about serious subjects and naked truth. This morning I want to talk about death. But in hope, not in despair.
Many Heroic Deaths
In history, we have many examples of heroic deaths. In the 5,000 years of Korean history, there are many patriotic, heart-rending, and thrilling heroic deaths. Here in America there are also many instances of what your great ancestors did for the sake of the country. One of these was Nathan Hale.
This story touched me when I first read about him with my children. I can never forget this great man of America who lived during the Revolutionary War, serving under George Washington as a most promising future commander of the Revolutionary Army. He was only 21 years old when he was given a mission by Washington to scout the British territory. He bravely penetrated deep into British territory and he obtained important information, but he was captured while he was returning. The British officers grilled him-much like the deprogramming methods they are using today-trying to convince him that it would be to his advantage to join the British army. They would make him an officer, and then he would fight the Revolutionary Army. He was given great temptations. But their efforts were to no avail. They failed. And they set the date for his execution.
The day came. The chaplain said a word of prayer in front of the execution squad, and the British officers asked young Nathan if he had any final wishes. This is your last chance to change your mind, they said. Nathan Hale uttered only one statement: I regret that I have but one life to give for my country. And they hanged him.
In Christian history there are a great many heroic deaths, a great array of martyrs. Just a few weeks ago I gave a sermon on St. Stephen. He was the first martyr in Christian history, as you can read in the Acts of the Apostles. St. Stephen had no fear of speaking the truth. He condemned the Jewish people, his own people, for murdering Jesus Christ. The people did not want to hear this stark truth. It hurt their conscience, so they plugged their ears. They were enraged and they drug Stephen out of the city and began to stone him.
In his final moments, Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed up into heaven and saw Jesus Christ standing on the right hand side of God. Jesus is usually described sitting next to God. To me that one word difference is very meaningful: Stephen saw Jesus standing, not sitting. At the moment of Stephen's death, Jesus could no longer sit next to God. He stood up, ready to receive Stephen's soul. In his final moments Stephen echoed Jesus' final words: "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. Lord, do not hold this sin against them." To me this epitomizes the courage of men living the tradition of Jesus Christ.
Actually, crucifixion was the most cruel way to kill a person. Killing a person slowly is most painful. You know that. If you want to be merciful, you kill them quickly. They don't suffer too much. But slow killing is the worst. Crucifixion was used during the time of the Roman Empire and that was Jesus' sentence. They nailed him down on the cross and finally pierced his heart with a spear. Even while hanging from the cross, Jesus never allowed his mind to stray to his own situation. There was no moment when Jesus was worrying about himself. He was worrying about the mission. He was worrying about his own enemies. He was worrying about the salvation of mankind. He forgot himself in this worst hour of his life. He prayed to God, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." Forgive them. Stephen followed that tradition most eloquently.
The Roman Empire picked the same cruel way to execute Peter: crucifixion. When the moment came, St. Peter told the Roman soldiers that it would be too great an honor to die the same way that his Lord died and asked them to crucify him upside down. What courage. There was no panic. Just peace.
My dear brothers and sisters, today I would like to talk about the source of power that helped these brave saints overcome death. As the Bible says, He will wipe away every tear from their eyes and death shall be no more. As far as the apostles were concerned, they did not die. They did not recognize death. They conquered death.
Today, the Divine Principle makes it easier to understand the meaning of "death shall be no more." Many people today think that accepting Christ, receiving the coming of the Lord, means that they will live forever on this physical earth. They expect that there literally will be no more death. I tell you the Divine Principle clearly reveals that that will not be the case. According to the Principle of Creation, we humans are destined to die, but that is not death in God's sight.
The Truth Brings Light
What is death? Why is death such a problem to us today? Why is death so fearful? Because death is darkness. Because we don't know the truth about death. We can't see an inch beyond death. Therefore, we are afraid. But God did not create darkness. Darkness came because of the fall of man. It is spiritual darkness. We are living today in absolute spiritual darkness. We only recognize physical things. We see only what we eat, what we touch, what we read, what we see, what kind of fun we can have with our body today. This has become the focus for people today, particularly here in America. But actually, we are missing 99.9 percent of the true reality God created. What you perceive today is not even one percent of God's creation. We are blind to the greater reality, the spiritual creation of God. That is the real world God created.
Actually, the physical world in which we live today, the planet earth, is merely a staging area for humanity. It is a trial run. While you are here on earth, you think it is your whole life. But actually God designed man's true life as a spiritual one, an eternal one. The physical world is bound by the elements of time and space. Compared to eternity, the 6,000 years of biblical history-much less an individual's ?0 or 100 years-is like a sparkle of light. Eternity is a long time. How long? There is no way to describe how long eternity is. That is the real life you and I are going to live. God created that as the main world and the physical world as a pet project. Just a small pet project and staging area of man so that we can prepare ourselves for the spirit world. We are like little babies in our mother's womb, being educated for nine months to come out into the new world. The nine months is the baby's indoctrination period to be ready for this world, which is incredibly larger than the mother's womb, isn't it?
By the same token, we live here today in this physical life as an indoctrination period to be ready for the ultimate eternity. You know the Principle of Creation teaches that everything passes through three stages: formation, growth, and perfection. Gestation in the mother's womb is the formation stage. Our life here on earth is the growth stage. We have one ultimate stage to come. Perfection stage. That is the ultimate life of the spiritual world. You learn in the Bible that what you worship today here on earth is a carbon copy of the real world. You are not even living in the real world yet. You think this is real. You think the sounds are real. This microphone is real. You know your friends and family are real. Wait until you get there. You have not even opened up and tasted the real world yet. This world is a shadow of the heavenly sanctuary above us.
There are two types of people who live here on earth today: those who totally disregard the future, and those who live for the future. The first kind think they are very wise and that Christians, and we Moonies in particular, are very foolish. We are so foolish we don't know how to enjoy life here on earth and waste all our time on the fantastic, mysterious idea we call heaven.
St. Paul once said, let us be fools for Christ. To be a really good Christian, you should look like a fool. Dumb, dumb. Yes. But in reality, once we know the truth, we are no longer in darkness, and when we perceive the entire world God created, we find we are not that dumb. We are perceiving the greater reality of God.
But most people are trying to make a showdown in this life: success or failure within 100 years. That is all I have. I have 100 years to enjoy my life. Of course, people very seldom live that long, but they are trying. They jog a lot and try to prolong their life, sure that it is the only life. And while they are enjoying their physical life here on earth, the most important aspect of life has been neglected. Not only neglected, but forgotten. When that person ascends into heaven, there is not much to ascend. When the physical body decays, there is not much left to bring back to heaven.
As you know, your spiritual self lives encased within the physical body. Your spirit self is your real self, not your physical body. I like to describe the body as being like a rented car. You have to turn it back into nature when your lease is up. If your spirit self does not develop during this life on earth, when you turn in your body, nothing remains. But if you have a true passenger, meaning you developed your spirit self, then you ascend into heaven to enjoy eternity. That is the deal. But the amazing thing is so many people don't see that truth. This is such a pity.
Eternal Spiritual Fabric
In the same way, just as our spirit man is encased in our body, the spirit world is encased in our physical world. This particular space here in the New Yorker Hotel is occupied by the spirit world as well as the physical world. In other words, this ballroom is spiritual as well as physical. Except the spiritual part is not composed of physical fabric. It is made out of spiritual fabric, which does not decay. No matter how great the New Yorker was when it was built 50 years ago, now when you look at the ceiling you can see very clearly it is decaying. In another 100 years, we'll have to rebuild something here.
But spiritual fabric is different. It is of ultimate quality. We can live in it for eternity. In that spiritual world, our spirit men are going to enjoy eternity. That is the way God planned. So once we know the reality of spirit world, death is merely a transition from one place to another. Furthermore, when you have the absolute truth, there will be no more darkness. While you are here on this earth, you are already enjoying the spirit world. You already recognize the spirit world. You know in this auditorium there are all kinds of waves, for example, from radio and television. But you don't perceive them, do you? You need a television or radio set to perceive the electronic waves coming into this room.
By the same token, there is a spiritual reality. Our spiritual senses were darkened due to the fall so we cannot perceive the spiritual world. We are blind to it. But the spirit world was not supposed to be hidden. God originally intended for us to be able to perceive spiritual reality while we are here on earth. When restoration is complete, then you and I will no longer live in darkness. When you are not in darkness, you no longer have fear. Death shall be no more. Death is merely a move from the ghetto of New York to a mansion in Miami Beach. How do you like that? When we move to the spirit world, it will be much greater than moving from the ghetto to a mansion. It is really a heaven and earth difference.
Therefore, the Divine Principle is the first step ever taken in human history to try to mend this broken radio in human form, so that we can be eventually restored and made whole; so that we can perceive the spiritual reality as much as Jesus did. Today, the one person living on earth today who perceived the absolute naked truth of our spirituality is Reverend Sun Myung Moon. When I learned the Divine Principle, much of the darkness faded away. Still I am so imperfect. Our spiritual senses are not fully opened. We still have a long way to go, but I do have hope. I do have hope to conquer the darkness. We shall no longer suffer in fear of death. We have already been given the great power that can conquer the fear of death.
My dear brothers and sisters, you have many, many important chores to take care of today. Many things you need to do. But if anyone asks you what is your most urgent business, the answer is obvious. Solving the problem of death is most urgent. Because you have no guarantee when that particular moment will visit you. There is no age that makes a difference. There is no rule that only old people die. The other day the entire nation was shocked to read about the tragic airplane crash in Chicago. Something like 272 persons were aboard and not one single soul was saved. They were heading to Los Angeles. I am sure there were many families with children who were looking forward to visiting Disneyland for the first time. But not even one person in that plane was thinking about that darkness when it struck.
I was in the army, and one time I was under bombardment from enemy machine gunfire. I felt empty. What can I do? I found pity for myself who was not ready for death. It is a most important and urgent task now. You and I have a way to overcome death. That does not mean you will live for 100 years, or even 200 years. Maybe you would like to go past Adam's 900 years. Go ahead, do it. But compared to eternity, no matter how long you live, 900 years or 9,000 years, it doesn't make any difference, you are living in darkness. The length of your life will not make any difference.
Entitled to Heaven
Today the number one job for us is to recognize spiritual reality. You can have spiritual perfection through the Divine Principle. You will have complete knowledge about spirit world. Second, you must overcome the power of death. You will no longer dwell in darkness. Furthermore, whenever that physical transformation comes, you know you are entitled to heaven. You know you are already in the bosom of God and you will demonstrate any amount of courage, like those saints in the history of the Bible. I tell you, think simply of two things. First, know about the spirit world. Second, make yourself a child of God today. I want you to live today, this moment, with the complete realization that I am a child of God. I am His child. I am His son, I am His daughter.
Therefore, it doesn't make any difference how long I live. I will do my best for God and humanity as long as I live. But no matter how long or how short my life is going to be, ultimately that transfer from physical life to spiritual life will come. It is like a switch. I am ready because I am already a child of God. The full meaning of my life lies in God, and my life's purpose is to serve Him and serve mankind. You don't have to wait to get into spirit world to live eternal life. Let us start eternal life today. The physical transfer from this world to the spirit world will come. Let it come. I have already started the eternal life now. What do I have to fear? My eternal life starts now. I am His child. I am with God and I am with Christ.
Therefore, I want to read from Matthew 10:39: "He who finds his life shall lose it, but he who loses his life for my sake will find it." This is a powerhouse for the martyrs of Christianity. I am sure Stephen and Peter and Paul recited this verse many, many times. Jesus said, he who loses his life for my sake will find it. There are many people who lose their lives for a good cause today. But the greatest cause is for the sake of Christ and the sake of God. It is the only way you can conquer your death and death shall be no more. An ordinary death will not serve the purpose. You must lose your life for His sake and let Him be responsible for you, your life, your eternity. Trust him. He is almighty. He certainly can be responsible for your life.
Now, I want to conclude with one more statement. You think Jesus died and came back to life three days later in the resurrection. Actually, he did not. Even if the Roman soldiers crucified Jesus thousands of times, they could not kill Jesus. Nobody can destroy Jesus. They only destroy the physical fabric, the body. But the real Jesus no one was able to destroy. Resurrection did not come three days after. Jesus was the resurrection. The Bible says, "I am the resurrection." No one can destroy him. That is a man of God. That can be you and me. Everyone here on earth. We can become indestructible people. No power can destroy us. We already started the eternal life.
This is why the Bible says, do not fear those who will kill the body. They cannot kill the soul. Nobody can kill the soul, which is the real you. Rather, fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. That is God. Dear God is the one entity to fear. Nothing else under the sun. No power under the sun can destroy me. They may destroy my body, but my body is not the real Bo Hi Pak. The real Bo Hi Pak is the eternal one and has started the eternal life here on earth already. Nobody, no power can destroy me or destroy you. You are the resurrection. If you live in that condition, you will see no more death. You have conquered death already. Let us pray.
Prayer by Bo Hi Pak:
Thank you, Father. Father, You are the source of life. You gave us such an abundant life. You gave us such a full truth. But, Father, it has been darkened by the invasion of darkness, known as the fall of man. Today, most of our brothers and sisters around the world, more than four billion, are suffering in darkness. Father, thank You very much for giving us the truth of the Divine Principle, which is life, which can shine in the world. We can bring a touch of light to every corner of the earth. We can have the power, we can give them power, give the world power to conquer death. Everyone shall become invincible in Your sight. They can proclaim more proudly that death shall be no more. Thank You, Father. We are deeply grateful for giving us the most wonderful truth through which we already feel liberated. You said 2,000 years ago, know the truth and that truth shall make you free. Father, we know every sense of this verse. Thank You, Father, for the truth. All these things we pray in the name of Christ our Lord. Amen
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