Truth is My Sword, Volume II
by Bo Hi Pak
Chapter 37 Abraham, Father of Faith
New York, New York
July 1, 1979
When I first joined the Unification Church, one of the most moving things I encountered was the singing of hymns. Even though I had been a Christian for five years prior to joining the Unification Church, when I sat down with our brothers and sisters singing holy songs, I truly felt the singing was coming from the soul. A genuine quality of heart was so evident. I would like to preserve the tradition in all worship services of the Unification Church throughout the world. This is where Reverend Sun Myung Moon is leading the crusade about God's message, God's movement, directly from New York.
So I would like you to be very conscious when you are singing hymns that you are contributing to the service. I would like to have every guest who comes here be inspired by your singing more than anything. In order to raise our spiritual temperature a little higher, I would like to ask Brian to lead one more hymn. Let us sing "Song of the Banquet."
As you all may know, the Unification Theological Seminary at Barrytown, New York, held its third commencement ceremony yesterday morning. We congratulated about 50 determined champions of God who have been equipped in spirit and knowledge and experiences to go out into the world and build the Kingdom of God on earth. This morning I am sure some of the parents who came to congratulate their sons and daughters in Barrytown are here worshiping with us. Perhaps some brothers and sisters of the graduates are here also. I would like to recognize them. Stand up, please. Congratulations on behalf of all the brothers and sisters of our church around the world, and thank you for coming.
This morning I would like to invite your attention to the crusade of Abraham, one of the most prominent figures in the Old Testament. Abraham is commonly known as the Father of Faith. Actually, God established His first foothold with the faith of Abraham. Of course, God intended to establish the foundation of faith earlier than Abraham; God's dispensation to restore man started immediately after the fall of Adam and Eve with Cain and Abel. Then God worked with Noah. But Noah, although he was intended to become the Father of Faith of Israel, failed to secure that position. Then came Abraham's opportunity.
So today I would like to dwell on how Abraham was chosen and approved and accepted in the sight of God as the Father of Faith. As you know, the human fall in the Garden of Eden mainly came about because of the failure of Adam and Eve to uphold God's word. They lacked faith in God and God's word. That was the cause of all sin and suffering. God gave Adam and Eve the commandment to obey, just as Moses brought the Ten Commandments and Jesus brought the two most important commandments to all mankind.
But the first commandment was given by God to Adam and Eve. A commandment is like a big traffic sign on the highway. It is obvious: Speed Limit 65 Miles Per Hour; Yield; Stop. But what good is it to have that road sign unless the drivers have faith and obey it? Unless drivers obey the traffic signs, those signs serve no purpose. In the same way, God's commandment is no use unless man obeys it. To obey that road sign what you need first is faith in the authority of that road sign. If you think that road sign is somebody's joke, then certainly you would not obey it.
Adam and Eve's destiny was to reach perfection, which means total oneness with God, oneness in heart and love. When you reach that, you don't need faith. God is in you and you are in God. God is fact, reality, not a matter of faith. But in order to reach this union with God, you must grow into it. During this time, you need faith, faith in God, faith in His commandment. And that is exactly where Adam and Eve failed. Instead of having faith in God, they demonstrated skepticism. That is, instead of taking the word of God seriously, they took the word of Satan seriously.
Therefore, ever since the fall of Adam and Eve, God has been seeking one man who could demonstrate absolute faith, someone absolutely faithful and obedient to God. Nothing under the sun could deter such a man's confidence in God. God was searching and Abraham was the first candidate who passed that test.
But Divine Principle also teaches that Abraham didn't pass the test with the best score. He didn't make the honor roll. Do you know why? Because Abraham did not fulfill the entire requirement of Father of Faith. Abraham was succeeded by his son Isaac, who was in turn succeeded by his grandchild, Jacob. It took three generations to meet the requirement. So that is why the Bible frequently mentions "the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob."
Did you ever notice that God liked to give names to His special people? In Genesis God said, "Let us make man"; the word "man" is the generic Hebrew term "adam." Abraham's original name was Abram. God appeared to Abram when he was 99 years old, and in Genesis 17:4-5 God said to him, "Behold, my covenant is with you, and you shall be the father of a multitude of nations. No longer shall your name be Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations." God gave him his new name of Abraham, which means "father of a multitude." God gave Abraham many tests to see if he qualified to be the Father of Faith.
God also changed the name of Abraham's grandson. Jacob was a central figure in the Old Testament dispensation. Actually it was Jacob upon whom the nation of Israel was born. Jacob was on his way home to a great confrontation with his brother, Esau, when he came to the ford of Jabbok. There he had a showdown with an angel, wrestling him all night. In Genesis 32:28, the angel said to Jacob, "Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed." So upon the new name of Israel, the Israel nation was born. Today the name of the nation of Israel comes from the name of Jacob, a God-given name.
You Shall Call His Name John
An angel also appeared before the birth of John the Baptist. Zechariah, the father of John, was a priest of Israel. Luke 1:12-13 describes, "And Zechariah was troubled when he saw [an angel], and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, `Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer is heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.'" God gave John his name before he was even born.
And of course, Jesus' name came from God. An angel appeared to Mary and told her she would conceive a son and that his name would be Jesus. An angel also appeared to Joseph when he was planning to divorce.
Mary because she was pregnant. "Son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus." [Matthew 1:20-21] The name was given.
Do you know that Reverend Moon's name was given by God? Probably very few people know about this. Reverend Moon's original name was Young Myung Moon. Then God revealed to him, "Your name shall be Sun Myung Moon."
Incidentally, we are building our university in Seoul, Korea. This morning we talked about it a little and the name of that university will be Sun Moon University. It comes from Reverend Moon's name. Instead of Sun Myung Moon, it is Sun Moon University. It is very providential, even prophetic. The sun and the moon are the two major heavenly bodies that give out light. We are going to create a university, which, like a mother and father, will give out light to the world. Incidentally, we are the first to create a chain university. You have heard of chain supermarkets, like Safeway, and fast food chains, like McDonald's and Burger King, but you have never heard about a chain of universities. Harvard is not a chain, Yale is not a chain, but we are going to have one. Sun Moon University is going to be a chain. It will be established initially in Korea, Japan, and the United States and eventually in 120 countries all over the world. How do you like that?
This has become a dire necessity because we are not one family of man. We need one common true parent, regardless of where we live, what nationality we have. We are the children of God so we should live as one family. So this one family of God will have one university teaching under one concept, one ideology, one commitment to God and fellow man. It is most logical. But this kind of thought can only be possible after we have the knowledge and understanding of God and the True Father of mankind.
Remember the famous words Reverend Moon spoke at Madison Square Garden: "God is color-blind." God doesn't see you as a white man, black man, yellow man. God sees you as His child, His sons and daughters. The Unification Church is symbolic of His ideology. Isn't it truly wonderful? Look at this audience. It is far greater and more colorful than NBC's "living color." We have a living color family here. It is beautiful, a beautiful mixture of all colors and races, all languages and cultures under one love of God. Truly magnificent. This is really our own witness. Already we are showing where the Unification Church is heading: one family of man, under one common fatherhood of God.
In the Unification Church our Blessed couples feel it is a great honor for their children to be named by Reverend Moon. In fact, Farley Jones' two sons were named by Reverend Moon. Their names have a deep philosophical meaning. I won't explain the philosophy of names now, but it is a tremendous joy for our members to have their children named by Reverend Moon, just like the important people in the history of God were named directly by God.
So Abraham was given Isaac when he was 100 years old. God promised Abraham that he would prosper through his son Isaac: "I will bless him and make him fruitful and multiply him exceedingly; he shall be the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation." [Genesis 17:20] God established His covenant with Abraham and gave the blessing.
Then one day, the heavenly mandate came. Abraham was told to offer his son Isaac. It was very ironic. God knew precisely what He was asking. He said, "your only son." Abraham was to bring Isaac to the land of Moriah and offer Isaac as a burnt offering. It was a horrendous request. How could anyone in Abraham's position accept that? Immediately he could have protested, God, what are you talking about? You said I will multiply generations through my son Isaac, and now you want me to kill him. But Abraham didn't say that. Abraham accepted God's direction with absolute faith.
A Dark Three Days
Abraham took three days to get to the place God told him. This three-day period is a very important period for men and women of faith. Every great man has gone through three days of darkness in his faith. I am sure you have experienced that. After the crucifixion Jesus was to stay in the tomb of darkness for three days. It is a period where you can doubt God, curse Him. You can turn around and reject him. It is the best arena for Satan to come in. It took three days for Abraham to get to the place of sacrifice. I am sure those three days seemed longer than three years. Many, many kinds of thoughts came to him, I am sure. We may not talk about it, but you and I sometimes have many mixed emotions going through our hearts. This was a dark three days for Abraham.
To make the situation worse, his son Isaac, probably 11 or 12 years old then, was not that dumb. He was a very clever boy. He knew all the Jewish customs. He knew how burnt offerings were made. So he said, "My father!" Abraham answered, "Here am I, my son." Isaac said, we have wood, we have fire. In those days you had to carry fire. There was no lighter, no matches. So they carried the seed of fire with them. We have fire, we have firewood, we have a knife. But, father, "where is the lamb for a burnt offering?" Can you imagine how this question pierced the heart of Abraham? Abraham would have gladly taken the position to die himself a hundred times rather than have to kill his own son. I am sure he would rather die himself than kill his own son.
At that point normally you would expect to hear a word of complaint. That is the moment that Abraham could explode and burst into complaint. You know, my son, I don't know what this business is all about. He couldn't say, you are going to be the lamb, but there were plenty of ways to say that God was being really unreasonable. This was another test. Abraham answered him, "God will provide himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son." He showed his absolute faith in God. He could not say to his son, you are the lamb.
Abraham built an altar and laid the wood on it. The time had come. He bound Isaac and laid him on the altar and took up the knife. If he lifted up the knife with a complaining heart, he would not pass. Abraham maintained his untiring, absolute faith in God. God will provide. That was a precious moment. It was the most beautiful moment of Abraham's life. God's will be done, period. He was ready to use the knife and offer his son.
"But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, and said, `Abraham, Abraham!' And he said, `Here am L' " Abraham was still listening to God. "He said, `Do not lay your hand on the lad or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, seeing that you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me."' In other words, God is saying: you passed the test.
I would like to dwell on that particular statement of God, "now I know that you fear God." God is not truly a God of fear, but a God of love. Up to now, we did not know and no theologian could explain why God seems to be so cruel. Now with the Divine Principle, we do know. It is not because God is cruel, but because Satan possessed all mankind. We were united with Satan. It is absolutely man's responsibility to reject Satan and come back to God all the way. We have a duty to separate Satan from us. Satan separates from you only when you demonstrate that your faith in God is greater than your attachment to anything else, all your precious things, including your own son, your own wife, your own family. When you demonstrate that God comes first, upon that faith alone Satan no longer has a claim over you.
We are fighting a battle with Satan every day. You know, in many cases Christians are borderline. One leg is outside in the satanic world and one in the kingdom of heaven. This person suffers the most. You are torn between the two powers. The most beautiful thing about knowing God is that there are no strings attached. When you are completely, 100 percent inside of God, then you already have separated from Satan. Abraham, to be the Father of Faith, had to demonstrate that nothing came before God. He did that. That qualified him to be the Father of Faith.
Yes, that was a great faith. God did test Abraham, and he passed. This is our story too. God today is asking us to become even greater than Abraham. Do you know what is greater than Abraham? Father of Faith is not the greatest title. The greatest title of all is to be a child of God. To be a son or daughter of God. God is asking us to become His children. The greatest thing that could be written on my tombstone is, "Bo Hi Pak, son of God, lived and died for His sake." Nothing could be greater. This is far greater than Abraham's title of Father of Faith, because even Abraham could not conceive of how to become a true son of God. We can.
Show that God Comes First
So our job is greater than Abraham's, but the method is the same. We must have absolute faith. We must demonstrate that God comes first. Actually, when you possess God, you possess everything. This is Reverend Moon's ideology. When you possess God, you lose nothing. You possess everything. You possess the world, you possess a family, you possess husband and wife, but since God comes first, there shall be an anchor and peace. This is why our marriages can work. America's modern-day system for marriage doesn't work.
In California, approximately 90 percent of marriages end in divorce. I am not saying anything unkind about divorced people. I am sorry for the heartbreak and suffering they have to go through. I know they tried to make a home. Why didn't it work? Because they need some common ground upon which men and women can be united. That common ground is the "God comes first" ground. When men and women meet based upon commitment to God, their commitment to each other cannot be broken as long as their commitment to God is not broken. This is why we know our marriages will work, and not only work but prosper. Our marriages will bring children who will fill the earth.
Yes, there are so many, many ways to live, but I tell you Abraham's philosophy is Reverend Moon's philosophy: God comes first. Nothing is ahead of God. Nothing can stop you from going to God. Nothing under the sun. By doing so you can completely separate from Satan. No more strings attached. If a string is attached to you, someone can jerk it. Who is that? Satan. That is why the person inside of God has the courage to cut all the strings.
I would like to say a word to the parents of our Unification members. Our members are trying to give their 100 percent devotion to God in order to live by the God-comes-first philosophy. I am sure you sometimes feel neglected. Forgotten. Unloved. But I tell you, my dear fathers and mothers of our members, you are owning your sons and daughters even more. Because in this ideology, the God-comes-first ideology, the parents come second to God. Isn't that true? Isn't that the way Reverend Moon is teaching? Therefore, we are not dividing the family. We are uniting the family in a permanent way.
In order to go a permanent way, you need restoration. You know we are working on restoring the New Yorker Hotel. It looks ugly at the moment. Some of you may have gone up to the fourth floor. It is torn apart and looks ugly. But that ugliness is actually beautiful because through that ugliness we are creating beauty. We are not just covering the old dirt with lots of paint. We are taking off all the layers of old paint, getting down to the original wall, and rebuilding it.
Faith is just the same. I tell you parents, you will be proud. Your sons and daughters are greater than Abraham. That is my gift to you this Sunday. I want you to go back to your homes thinking, my sons and daughters are greater than Abraham, the Father of Faith; my sons and daughters are becoming the sons and daughters of God. Direct heirs. Chosen champions. Chosen for greater things than even Abraham was chosen for. This is my gift to you today. Reverend Moon always recognizes the family as the basis for the kingdom of heaven. What Reverend Moon and God call family does not mean only husband and wife. No, Reverend Moon thinks the father and son relationship comes first. Father and son relationship between God and man, father and son relationship between parents and children. That vertical relationship becomes the anchor. Then the horizontal relationship between husband and wife will be stable. That is the way it goes in lasting homes. America will be built upon this foundation.
We learned the God-comes-first philosophy from Abraham, absolute faith. You live it. You practice it. I know you will not regret it. I know things will be infinitely better in every way. You think you will lose a lot, but actually you gain so much. That is the glory of the future of our young people and our society and ultimately the new America, the new world. The kingdom of heaven is realistic, not just some fantasy.
So this morning I thank you for listening and for coming. Let us uphold our faith in God. Let God come first. Jesus said, love your Lord God with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul. There is no room to do anything else. Love your neighbor as you love yourself. Let us live more than the standard of Abraham. We shall indeed become the sons and daughters of God because we have a couple living for God here on earth, guiding us to the goal. God is here on earth, guiding us to the goal. Our way is so brightly lit, so much brighter than this auditorium. We are no longer in darkness, we can see the goal. The great day is here. We accept the challenge of building the Kingdom of God here on earth. Let us pray.
Prayer by Bo Hi Pak:
Our most loving Heavenly Father. Thank You very much, Father. You have been searching all these years for Your children who would come up and stand in front of You unconditionally, without any condition or string attached. Father, it is very difficult to become one in the unruly, despairing, and satanic world. But we have hope because we have a guide, we have the truth, and we have light. We are not in darkness. We are not dismayed. We have a clear-cut plan to reach You and become like You, Father. To live in Your image. Father, we will live and pursue the philosophy that You come first. You come first. Nothing under the sun can come before You. Father, we want to be totally separated from Satan so only You can indulge us. So only You can use us as Your instrument to build Your kingdom. Thank You, Father, for this most beautiful morning of July 1. Keep all in Thy grace. All these things we pray in the name of Christ our Lord. Amen.
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