Unification Sermons and Talks
by Reverends Kaufmannn
For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present age of darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. -- Ephesians 6:12
That sounds like a fight worth getting tickets for. There is a great fascination with combat in our times. Perhaps it's always been. Dunno. The multi-billion dollar world of interactive video entertainment is largely dominated by combat (save for the delightful game Super Mario, in which the former governor of New York, works diligently to accomplish nothing in particular, and spends a large part of his time knocking his head against things). The billion dollar entertainment industry trends also tend to be combat oriented. The two most recent favorites being Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and the (how-could-one- be-even-) more successful Power Rangers. (Of course entertainment for ages 2 - 3 is dominated by the very non-combative but painfully, politically correct Barney, who guides our little ones to be tolerant of all forms of diversity.)
Further to our love for combat, there was more joy in Harlem the day Mike Tyson was released from prison than the day the incompetent David Dinkins was elected mayor of New York. Mike Tyson (for those from Mars) is the fellow who responded to a post prize fight victory interview question: "What are your plans now?" with the response (in his endearingly boyish voice) "Keep fightin' till I destruct the world." A laudable aspiration. After all he does fight for a living. Of course, at the end of the day, the men were forbidden to rejoice for the release of Mike, by militant feminists (Mike was in prison for rape), and the Harlem men had to sneak off to the bars and the park benches to get with the boys, and at least have Mike's welcome home parade in their hearts.
In short, it just seems we like a good fight. What's the Simpson (no not BART Simpson) trial if not a good fight? What's the 104th Congress if not Bill "I Didn't Do Anything Wrong" Clinton's sparring partner? A good fight makes up a great part of human social existence.
That being the case, what better fight could we ever hope to see than Armageddon. Boy would the scalpers outside the Garden LOVE to have a few good tickets for that one. So when is it gonna be. We've been promised Armageddon for Millennia now. The Big Showdown. Good versus Evil. Boy will sparks fly on that glorious day huh? A fight to the death with nobody holding back. This one's for keeps. All or nothing. Evil MUST win, or be vanquished forever. We're not just talking about the Mafia. We're not just talking about the KGB. We're talking about EVIL. Pure Evil. Vicious, merciless, perverse, ancient, terrifying, and more. All of it. The principalities and the powers, every last agent called into battle.
And how about the forces of good? What will they look like? Regiments of flashing white steeds, thundering into battle, ridden by mighty saints in blinding armor, wielding great swords of power and glory, vanquishing the dark forces of evil, trumpets blaring, and the chorus of heaven cheering and sending down its radiance and wonder? Is that what the great last battle will look like? From what I understand that won't be the case. In fact, the two incidents of significant and enduring victory over the destructive, forces of evil with which I am most familiar are characterized by quite different tactics and strategy. I refer to Jacob, and Jesus. In Jacob's case, as he approached the waiting army of his murderously obsessed brother, Jacob systematically surrendered his entire holdings, and finally surrendered his own life, bowing and baring the nape of his neck beneath the descending sword of his hate-filled brother. No flashing steeds there. Jesus' case was no different. On the night of Jesus' arrest an apostle sought to defend Jesus and in so doing cut off with a sword the ear of a slave of the high priest. "Put your sword back into its place," said Jesus, "Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and that he will at once send more than twelve legions of angels?" So apparently here, as with Jacob, the option to fight was not the manner of conquest. Surrender seems to be the secret weapon of choice on the side of good.
Jesus, despite his occasional ire at folks like the money changers in the temple, spoke mostly of enduring the slings and arrows. The meek, explains Jesus will inherit the earth (Mt. 5:5). Later he says:
Do not resist one who is evil. But if any strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also; and if any one would sue you and take your coat, let him have your cloak as well; and if any one forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.
There is little ambivalence in Jesus' view on how to respond to aggression. Still in the context of what little we've received from Jesus' short time of public ministry, we do not have enough to derive a systematic or strategic context for this approach to aggression.
Father espouses identical insights to those of Jesus in this regard, but Father further explains how this approach is actually the dynamic whereby evil can be vanquished, rather than a free-floating recommendation based on the idea that religious people should be "nice." Father has explained the idea of turning the other cheek countless times in countless sermons. In a recent East Garden speech he says:
That's why when we look at human history, for thousands and thousands of years God just couldn't interfere and get rid of all this evil power. Whenever the major confrontation came in time periods like that. God always offered to be hit through His representatives, individuals, families sometimes nations were allowed to be hit first and because of that indemnity condition God came around and took another step forward. (p. 4)
That was the course that the heavenly side, God's side got hit first, got attacked first, and because of that particular condition we come around to restore, and indemnify a certain level of human history. (p. 9)
(East Garden June 9, 1995 unpublished)
This notion of getting hit (turning the other cheek) is, of course, linked to the Divine Principle teaching on indemnity "the act of restoring the original position or status endowed at the creation (DP p. 224)... [by] taking a course to reverse what we have gone through. [DP p. 226]"
This clear exposition on the weapons and tactics of the side of good transforms the concept of Armageddon into a profoundly different reality. If the way that good conquers is by being struck by the forces of evil, and bearing this violence, persecution, and injustice with gratitude, grace, mercy and compassion, then we'd have to understand and expect that the last great battle is nothing like the image to which we have become accustomed in the literature and in our imagination. In fact, rather than being something that would be thrilling and exhilarating to watch, it would be something almost unbearable to watch, like a mis-matched prized fight in which you turn your head, cover your eyes and wish someone would step in and stop the match; like watching a person possessed in rage savaging someone unconscious, or near death. Once we know the strategy of the heavenly side, we would wish that Armageddon would never have to take place. The "final showdown" is simply be too brutal to even contemplate let alone witness.
There is one last thought I want to develop here before I sew the pieces of this thing together. We know through our studies that life on earth is the arena for the unfolding of Divine Providence. The entire fate of even God(!) AND the spiritual world is entirely dependent upon developments among those alive with their physical bodies here on earth in the present. Those physically alive are the cross-over point between the past and the future. We are the link from our ancestry to our heirs. Jesus strove to communicate this fact about the present world by explaining "whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Mt. 18:18)"
This absolute intersection concentrating all relevance on the earth, here and now, is interesting in all kinds of ways, but in the context of Armageddon we should note the following: 1. The longer something exists the more powerful it tends to become. For example, think if you could have put 2 dollars in the bank when Jesus was born. What would you be worth today? NOW, with this in mind, think of how old Satan is! How long has be been working? Is he smarter than he was when he started? Is he better at what he does? More experienced? Knows more about his enemy? etc. Would you rather play chess against someone who's been playing fifty years, or three years?
How vast and expansive is the empire of evil in the spiritual world? What kind of empire is it? Highly populous? In a battle it's good to have a large army, a large national population, right? Of course. What I want to point out here though, is not just how ancient, how experienced, and how vast and far reaching the power of evil is, but this should be considered in light of the fact that the this earth is the "present" of the providence. Therefore this vast, and ancient Satanic realm of evil force and power by all means WILL manifest itself ON THIS EARTH, IN THE PRESENT. For HERE and NOW is where and when the direction of the providence is determined. This means that the ancient and far-reaching wellspring of evil surely incarnates itself IN ITS FULLNESS, IN THIS WORLD. Somewhere, in the world this overwhelming and expansive force of evil is embodied. It will naturally do so utilizing all available vehicles of power and control? These are power (politics), money (economics), knowledge (scholarship), and love (family). Through these four vehicles for dominating human beings pure evil will embody itself and perpetually expand its domain. The one who comes to fight the final battle must be prepared to wage war against the fortresses of power (governments and military), money (banks, various types of mafias etc.), knowledge (universities, institutes, media, information technology and so forth), and distorted (i.e., manipulative) love (dysfunctional families, free sex, pornography and so forth). And how will he (she. they) wage that war? That's written above. The one who would vanquish evil "turns the other cheek." Armageddon is the relentless, vicious, malicious, seething, brutal attack from every... a-b-s-o-l-u-t-e-l-y EVERY possible place in which power can be entrenched.
And do we suppose these centers of power are independent of each other? Do we think evil is stupid? Disorganized? Ineffective? Would it now know enough to conduct a masterfully orchestrated and well coordinated assault? The determination of evil is singular. It's purpose is to destroy as quickly, perfectly, surgically, and permanently as possible, the one who would threaten the empire. The network and interplay of the multifarious power bases is perfect, the knowledge supports the money, the money supports the power, illicit love weaves its way throughout, and the web is woven. Links are secure and far-reaching in ways we will never dream. These are directed to destroy the one with God's secret.
My conclusion? We have already seen Armageddon. One man has borne the affliction and anguish required as the heavenly weapons. When we come to realize this in our heart of hearts we will cry for days or weeks. Name me some powerful institutions we've seen in our lifetime? The United States Government? The Soviet Union? American Media? Japan? Germany? The American Academy? The Christian religion? The Catholic Church? Where power is embodied and institutionalized it will be used in Armageddon. It will be used to destroy God's champion who would lay bare Satan's Kingdom. That champion will have but one weapon with which to respond; being struck, and responding with humility, grace, compassion, mercy, and gratitude.
Frank Kaufmannn is the Executive Directror of IRFWP and can be contacted through email: email@example.com, fax: 212-869-6424 or mail: 4 W 43, NY NY 10036.
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