Unofficial Notes from
International Conferences for Clergy Questions And Answers
ICC - Questions And Answers - Jesus And The Cross
QUESTION: 1. How do you explain Mark 8:31 which states that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes and be killed and after three days rise again?
ANSWER: Again, it was the last year of His ministry, after the faithlessness of Israel is an irrevocable fact. From this point, Jesus must die.
QUESTION: 2. Was it possible for God's Kingdom of Heaven to be set up upon the earth, without the cross?
ANSWER: Had Israel repented and believed in Christ, yes...in view of their lack of response to the mandate of Christ, no.
QUESTION: 3. If Jesus had not died on the Cross and the "Primary Will" had been done, would people have begun to live eternally then? What would have happened to the dead in faith such as Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, etc.?
ANSWER: If Israel had displayed faith in Jesus at that time, then we would have seen the fulfillment of scripture such as Jeremiah 31:31 and Isaiah 65:17. The dead in faith would be linked to that victory in the same way that they, through us, are linked to the victory of Calvary (see Hebrews 11:39-40).
QUESTION: 4. You said that Christ's death was only foreordained in the last year of His life! How do you explain Rev. 13:8 that clearly tells of how Jesus (the lamb) was slain from the foundation of the world?
ANSWER: As I mentioned, more reliable exegesis casts serious doubts on the interpretation you attach to Rev. 13:8. The prepositional phrase "from the foundation of the world" is more correctly attached to "the names" not appearing in the book of life and not to "the Lamb who was slain". The RVS renders it this way and the NIV includes it as a footnote. We see further evidence in the fact that Rev. 17:8 renders the phrase again and here it clearly defines the names and not the Lamb. All in all, such an interpretation of Rev.13:8 as you attach would require the disregarding of an enormous amount of scripture which indicates otherwise.
QUESTION: 5. Christ became the head of the new man when He took our place on the Cross (Rom. 6:17) where death had reigned before all who looked to the lifted up one as in the wilderness (the bronzed serpent of Moses) we look and live, we enter into that place that was lost. Why wait? It is here now! We are a new creation!
ANSWER: Yes, but the process of salvation is not yet completed and it is why we are waiting for the Second Coming (see Hebrews 9:28, 1Peter 1:5, Acts 3:21, Rev. 21:1, Romans 8:23-24).
QUESTION: 6. Regarding the assumption that Christ was not supposed to be delivered up according to God's plan: How do you explain verses such as Genesis 3:15 or the whole book of Hebrews?
ANSWER: That's not what I said. I recommended that you purchase the tape of the lecture and review what I said, if you like. I said that the plan for the cross was pre-planned, but not predestined until the last year of His ministry. The cross became necessary because of the faithlessness of Israel. Gen. 3:15 is not an emphatic declaration of the cross, it is an emphatic declaration that Christ will defeat satan, which will be completed at the Second Coming.
QUESTION: 7. Has Christ's crucifixion been absolutely necessary since the Fall of Man?
ANSWER: No, Christ's crucifixion became absolutely necessary from the last year of His ministry when the faithlessness of the Chosen People became an irrevocable fact. What was absolutely necessary, however, from the fall, is that sinners in order to be saved, must be born again through faith in the Living Adam.
QUESTION: 8. How do you explain Hebrews 10:5-9?
ANSWER: The potential for the Kingdom passes away from Matt. 16:21. From that point, the rest of the Gospels, the epistles of the Apostles, and the book of Revelation's sole focus is to articulate the meaning of the necessity of the death of Christ and to establish the historical context upon which Calvary was enacted. Because that is the sole object of focus (and of course, rightly so) you will not find scripture which mentions the lost potential of the Kingdom (other than, perhaps, the inexplicable [from the single destiny view] sorrow of Christ in Gethsemane. Even so, Hebrews 10:5-9, does not invalidate what God told Israel in Deut. 28 as a real viable destiny if they had had faith in Jesus at His First Coming.
QUESTION: 9. The rejection of Jesus by the Jews is central to your argument. But can we really say that the Jews rejected Jesus? He was crucified by Rome, at the insistence of a few prominent Jews. However, the New Testament seems to indicate that the Jews enthusiastically accepted the message of Christ. At the Pentecost and shortly after, over 8000 Jews (and possibly as many as 20,000) accepted Christ. Then the faith spread quickly among Jews. Without the acceptance by the Jews, the evangelizing of the Gentiles may not have been as successful as it was.
ANSWER: The rejection of Jesus; or who killed Jesus in not the central theme at all, the central theme is not who rejected Jesus or who was responsible for His crucifixion. The central theme is this: Israel was responsible to have faith in Jesus. That faith or lack thereof, would determine which destiny would be set in motion, the Kingdom of the cross (blessing or curse). This is why we saw Jesus in the early part of His mission focussing exclusively on that issue of the faith of the Jew (Matt. 10:5, 15:24). Once that faith was not forthcoming, the destiny of the cross was implemented (Matt. 16:21). The faithful response of Jews after the cross, did not restore the original role of Israel. That was lost and soon after Israel was destroyed (as promised "if" faithlessness prevailed, see Deut. 28 and 29:24).
QUESTION: 10. What would have happened if the First Israel had not failed? And Christ had not been crucified?
ANSWER: That which we all are expecting now, would happen then, that is, the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth and in the Spirit World would have been established at that time rendering the Second Coming unnecessary.
QUESTION: 11. Hebrews 12:2 destroys your theory that Jesus was grieving about the cross. Hebrews 12:2 states that the cross was "the joy" set before Jesus. Hebrews 5:7 says that Jesus prayed and cried as flesh, not because of sorrow.
ANSWER: As far as Hebrews 12:2 is concerned, we probably have an exegesis problem of the Greek translation. "Joy" is translated from the Greek "xapas" which is suspiciously close to "xapaka" which means " a palisades or mound for besieging". To describe Calvary as a mount of besieging would be far more appropriate then describing it as "joy". Quite frankly,..."who for the "joy" that was set before Him endured the cross"...is completely out of sync with the next sentence..."despising the shame". Likewise, describing the cross as "joy" would also be in contradiction with Mark 14:34, Luke 22:24, and certainly with Matt. 27:46. Hebrews 5:7 does not say that Jesus prayed and cried as flesh, it says rather, that Jesus prayed and cried in the days of His flesh.
QUESTION: 12. If God had not permitted the fall of Adam and Eve, how would we have found salvation without the sacrifice at the cross? Are you saying there would have been no Jesus?
ANSWER: Jesus as the Son of God is an eternal position, Jesus as savior was a role that the Son had to take up because of Adam's fall. If Adam had not fallen, there would be no sin and death, and therefore the role of savior would have been unnecessary, does not mean the figure of the Son of God would then be unnecessary. Even for us, after Jesus saves us, He still has an important and central role in our life.
QUESTION: 13. How can you teach that the cross was a failure?
ANSWER: We never taught that. The cross was not a failure, it was a victory. However, because of the failure of the Chosen People to believe in Jesus, the cross became the single will of God. If the Chosen People had believed in Jesus, the Kingdom of Heaven would have been established at that time. The cross was pre-planned by God, but only as a plan to implement in consequence of the Chosen People's non faith. Thus, in the last year of His ministry when the faithlessness of the people was firmly established, the cross becomes destined and Jesus proclaims for the first time, His suffering and death to come (Matt. 16:21) much to the confusion and consternation of His apostles. Christ's shed blood atoned for sin and his resurrection conquered death.
QUESTION: 14. The Old Testament sacrificial system only has meaning as it finds it's fulfillment in the ultimate sacrifice of the Lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world. The central theme of the book of Hebrews is the absolute necessity of the cross for, Hebrews 1:23, the purging of sin; Hebrews 9:12, remission of sin; Hebrews 9:26, the putting away of sin by the sacrifice of Himself; Hebrews 10:19, the access into the "Holiest".
By extension No Cross, then: No remission of sin, No purging of sin, No putting away of sin, No access into the presence of God, Jesus was the Lamb of God "slain from the foundation of the world." The heart of historical Christian faith is the "substitutionary atonement" of Christ's death.
ANSWER: The Divine Principle fully affirms the atoning work of Christ as the rightful heart of Christian faith and that the cross was the predestined, pre-planned dispensation of God through which sin was cleansed. There are important differences that I would like to clarify. Though we recognize the predestined nature of the cross, we would not agree that the nature of that predestination was absolute. We would see the cross as a limited or conditional predestined providence which was announced and begun in the last year of the ministry of Jesus.
The limited predestination centers on the condition of faith in Israel towards Jesus. The responsibility to produce the condition of faith is in the hands of the Chosen People and it is for this reason that God uses the word "if" when declaring the ultimate destiny of Israel (in the law of covenant). Though God declares a twofold potential for Israel with regard to their role and destiny, it is the unmistakable primary will of God that Israel fulfill the destiny of "blessing" as expressed in Deut. 30:19.
Also, we see that the cross, as a dispensation of God, would only be invoked as a consequence of Israel's faithlessness, and thus a primary dispensation, other than the way of the cross, would be fulfilled "if" Israel fulfilled, in faith, toward Jesus. The accomplishment of that primary dispensation is, therefore, the central purpose for which Christ comes. This purpose was promised as a central theme of the law covenant's declaration that blessing would be the destiny of Israel on the condition of faith. The vision laid out in OT scripture of a "blessed" Israel is one who accepts the King and establishes His Kingdom from sea to sea. Jesus calling for faith and repentance, stating that "now is the time, the Kingdom is at hand" indicates that God's primary will was to establish His Kingdom at that time and not to divide the fulfillment of Christ's coming into two comings separated by some 2000 years. But, again, to establish His Kingdom providentially required the faithful response of the Chosen People towards Jesus. When that faith was not forthcoming, just as in the time of Jeremiah, the dispensation turns from the destiny of blessing to one of curse, that is, from the vision of the Kingdom to the dispensation of the cross and a future return of Christ and the establishing of His Kingdom. That turn represents, also, a turn from the primary will to the consequential will and plan of God. It was "from that time" that Jesus began to explain His suffering and death to come, as it was "from that time", resultant of Israel's faithlessness toward Jesus, that the cross becomes the determination of God and the only course of salvation.
This would not be inconsistent with the OT sacrificial system, in that God states that the tradition of blood atonement is less preferred and superseded by the condition of faith in Israel. God desires mercy and acknowledgement of God rather than blood, as expressed in Hosea 6:6 and 1Samuel 15:22. Faith in Jesus in Israel would effectively supersede the requirement of blood "under the law" for atonement. Whenever sinners, in Israel at the time of Jesus, fulfilled that condition (Luke 5:22, 7:27), forgiveness from Jesus, was bequeathed to them. It is also why Hebrews 9:22 cannot declare an absolute OT tradition of blood atonement as the sole means of atonement (and thus, "almost" by blood all things are atoned).
We would not see John's declaration of Jesus as "the Lamb of God" to be an emphatic prediction of the cross, anymore than Jesus declaration in John 21:15, that we are "His lambs" is a prediction that believers will shed their blood. The purpose of the Divine Principle revelation from God is not to change the heart of Christian faith, but rather to make clear the providential failure of the First Israel and the true purpose for which the Chosen Nation was called. In that realization comes, also the acute awareness that Jesus' heart in Gethsemane was broken for a real reason. It is the desire to comfort that heart that is the true power and impetus driving Rev. Moon. Just as the failure of Cain and Abel returned to be unbound by Jacob and Esau, the failures of the First Israel has returned to be unbound by today's generation of Christians.
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