Essentials Of The Unification Principle
by Thomas Cromwell
12. Abraham's Family
According to scriptures, 400 years and ten generations passed after Noah before sufficient conditions had been laid for God to choose a family to restore the mistakes made in the families of Adam and Noah. The central person God chose was Abraham, and Abraham's family was given the task of laying foundations of faith and substance. Several generations of Abraham's family contributed to making successful foundations for true parents and launching a new dispensation of restoration, which eventually grew from the individual to the global level.
Because of this success, Abraham was a prophet of special importance. His family became the starting point of the lineage chosen to receive true parents. He and his descendants made conditions and received revelations from God which gave birth to the three great monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
However, even though Abraham was such a great providential figure, not all went well in his family. Because it is human nature to err in the fallen world, several mistakes were made which caused delays and complications in the history of restoration. Some of the problems sowed seeds of discord that multiplied into tribal, global and national rivalries and conflicts, seriously damaging God's providence. This chapter will explain the successes and failures of Abraham's family and how these affected the providence.
Preparation for Abraham's Mission
In the history of restoration, anyone chosen to be a central figure in the providence of God must first qualify for the mission by separating from the fallen world. This purification process confirms central figures in their missions and readies them to participate in God's work. Only after central figures make conditions to purify themselves and devote their lives to God will God use them in the providence.
Although Abraham came from a blessed lineage, his own father worshiped idols and created a home environment dominated by Satan. Abraham had to separate himself from this fallen environment before he could begin his mission for God. In Noah's providential course, the chosen family was separated from the sinful world by the flood; in Abraham's case he was called by God to leave his home and travel to a land that would be shown to him as the place where he should settle and lay the foundation for true parents.
Abraham obeyed God. He rejected the idolatry of his father and left his homeland with his wife Sarah and nephew Lot. With the help of God, Abraham's family traveled safely to its destination in Canaan, overcoming all obstacles along the way. In a final attack from Satan, Egypt's pharaoh tried to seduce Sarah in a repetition of the Servant's seduction of Eve, but he was warned of the consequences and, out of fear, allowed Abraham's family to leave in safety. Having successfully separated his family from the internal fallen world of his home and the external fallen world of Egypt, Abraham was ready to make conditions to establish a foundation of faith.
The Foundation of Faith
God called on Abraham to make a sacrifice. Making this offering would lay a foundation of faith. Abraham was to take a heifer, ram, she goat, pigeon and turtle dove, cut them in half and offer them to God. Abraham cut the larger animals in half, but not the birds. Scriptures relate that birds of prey descended upon the offering. The minor error of not cutting the birds provided an opportunity for Satan, represented by the birds of prey, to invade the offering, with two consequences. First, Abraham was called upon to make a condition of greater indemnity by offering his son, and, second, he was told his descendants would have to undergo a 400-year period of slavery to indemnify the error.
By not cutting the birds in half, Abraham failed to make the necessary condition of purifying the sacrifice before it was offered to God. In the same way that Adam had to be divided into Cain and Abel, God instructed Abraham to divide the sacrifice, symbolically separating Cain from Abel in the offering, draining out the fallen blood and separating the fallen elements from the good.
The birds, male and female, represented man and woman in the formation stage of restoration; the ram and she goat represented man and woman in the growth stage and the heifer represented the unified being of man and woman in the completion stage. In making the offering, Abraham was setting up a condition for the restoration of humankind through the three stages. When the birds were not cut, Satan was able to invade the foundational formation stage of the sacrifice, thereby claiming the whole offering.
Abraham was determined to restore this mistake, and, despite the unspeakable difficulty, he prepared to sacrifice his son, as God had asked him. Before doing so, he once more had to pass through a process of separation from Satan, restoring the conditions which were annulled through the failed sacrifice. His family was again subjected to a trial similar to that which it had experienced in Egypt, but this time it was King Abimelech of Gerar who tried to seduce Sarah. As with the pharaoh, the king was warned by God that he would be punished if he kept her, and in fear he returned Sarah to Abraham who then left Abimelech's kingdom safely. Abraham's family had once more separated itself from Satan in preparation to lay a foundation of faith.
Abraham Offers His Son
God instructed Abraham to sacrifice his son. (According to the Bible he prepared to sacrifice his second son, Isaac, who was the only child of Sarah. The Koran does not specify which son it was but Islamic tradition generally holds that it was his first son, Ishmael, born of his servant Hagar. According to the pattern of restoration demonstrated by the Principle, it is always the second son who, as Abel, has to offer himself to restore Adam's faith.) Father and son traveled for three days to reach the mountaintop location appointed for the sacrifice. Abraham prepared an altar of firewood on which to offer his son. He was just about to pierce the body of the boy when an angel intervened to stop him, telling him that his faith was sufficient.
Abraham's great faith in being willing to offer his own child as a sacrifice to God restored his family as the central family for God's providence. Most important, his son accepted what his father was doing, believing that it was the will of God. It is hard to imagine how the youth could be so obedient as to cooperate with his father in his own death. By showing this incredible faith, a condition was made to restore Ham's loss of faith in his father Noah and to establish a foundation of faith in Abraham's family.
On the strength of this victory, Isaac, as the second son in Abel's position, was fully united with his father's heart of faith and was able to take the place of his father in fulfilling the foundation of faith. He assisted in offering a sheep as a sacrifice. Thus, on the strength of two successful foundations of faith, made by Abel and Noah, and the great faith of Abraham in offering his son, Isaac inherited his father's position as the central figure to restore Adam's faith. This made him, like Noah and Abraham before him, a father of faith.
The Foundation of Substance
According to the principles of creation, human beings are the central figures of creation and all other beings are created to be objects to them. Therefore, the Servant, although created before Adam, was to be obedient to Adam and receive God's blessings through Adam. In the fall, the Servant took unrighteous dominion over Adam through Eve. Because of this reversal of positions in the creation, God would not give His blessings to Adam or the Servant. To bless them when they were violating the principles of creation would have been to accept an unprincipled relationship as principled, giving it eternal value.
According to the principles of restoration, the relationship between Adam and the Servant has to be restored to the proper order by a representative of the Servant willingly submitting to a representative of Adam. After the pattern of restoration established in Adam's family, the older son is chosen to represent the Servant and the second son to represent Adam. Once the relationship between Adam and the Servant is righted by the older son (Cain) submitting to the love of the younger son (Abel), a foundation of substance is achieved and both sons can receive the blessings of God.
If Abraham had completed the foundation of faith himself, then his two sons, Ishmael and Isaac, would have been responsible to restore the Cain-Abel relationship and lay a foundation of substance. If successful, both sons would have received the blessings of God. Because of the mistake in Abraham's first offering, Isaac inherited the position of father of faith from Abraham, and his two sons, Esau and Jacob, inherited the positions of Ishmael and Isaac (Cain and Abel).
Ishmael and Isaac
As the older son and child of a servant, Ishmael was to have restored the Cain position and received God's blessings through unity with Isaac. But after Abraham's position had been passed to Isaac, Ishmael was not able to participate with his brother in laying a foundation of substance and could not at that time realize the blessings that God granted the sons of Abraham. The fulfillment of the blessing was delayed for Ishmael. As both the Bible and Koran confirm, the history of restoration from Abraham's family initially developed in the lineage of Isaac. His son Jacob became the father of faith to twelve sons who became the twelve tribes of God's chosen people, the Children of Israel. Only many centuries later, with the advent of the prophet Mohammed, did the lineage of Ishmael come to play a central role in the providence of restoration.
Therefore, due to no fault of his own, Ishmael was excluded from participating in the immediate providence of Abraham's family. The blessing promised to Ishmael and his descendants was inevitably linked to the providence of Isaac, since God viewed Abraham's family as one lineage. Ishmael's difficult position was conducive to his feeling resentful for having to wait to receive God's blessing. The tendency to feel resentful towards Isaac and his lineage was passed from Ishmael to his descendants and has been one of the lingering providential problems needing restoration. Ishmael had twelve sons whose offspring became twelve tribes of the Arab people. It was to fulfill His promise to Ishmael and to end the historic resentment between the families of Isaac and Ishmael that God eventually sent Mohammed to the Arabs some 2500 years after Abraham's family had passed into the spirit world (see Chapter 19).
Resentment destroys human relationships because it is predicated on the desire to take what others have for oneself rather than to give of oneself to others. It is destructive both for the person who harbors it and for its target. Resentment was a major motive behind the Servant's rebellion against God and invasion of Adam and Eve's love relationship. It can be overcome only by the power of love, which confirms the original value of its object and liberates fallen humanity from resentments, enabling people to fulfill their potential. Thus the descendants of Isaac and Ishmael were to love each other in order to resolve the resentment planted in Ishmael's heart and heal the divisions in Abraham's family which grew out of the unresolved relationship between Ishmael and Isaac.
Jacob and Esau
Like their father Isaac and uncle Ishmael, Jacob and Esau were especially important figures in the history of restoration. For this reason, considerable space is devoted to them here.
Esau and Jacob were twins, with Esau the first-born. Jacob, in Abel's position, had to win Esau's willing surrender, even though Esau, representing Cain, enjoyed the privileged position of first son. As a fallen man, Esau's natural inclination was to dominate Jacob against the will of God, but in the end Jacob was able to persuade his twin brother to accept him as God's representative and together they succeeded in laying a foundation of substance.
There were several steps in achieving this victory. Jacob first won the birthright from Esau by offering a meal in exchange for it at a moment when Esau was hungry and valued food above his position in the family. Esau's attitude was like that of fallen Adam, who set personal gratification above the purpose of establishing a good lineage, whereas Jacob understood the superior value of lineage.
Forty years later, when Isaac was old and blind and on the verge of death, Jacob succeeded in winning his father's blessing in place of Esau. Rebecca, Isaac's wife, assisted him in this, thereby restoring Eve's failure to secure God's blessings for her children.
Esau was furious when he discovered that Jacob had received the blessing that was to have been his as the oldest son. His jealousy and anger towards Jacob were similar to the feelings of the Servant towards Adam and Eve when he felt he was losing the love of God. They were also similar to the jealous feelings of Cain which prompted him to murder Abel. Jacob did not want to give his elder brother an opportunity to murder him, so, again with the help of his mother, he fled to the home of his uncle Laban, in Haran.
Laban was a Servant-type figure whom Jacob had to win over with service and love. Jacob served Laban for seven years to win the hand of his daughter Rachel. But Jacob was cheated by Laban who substituted Leah for her sister Rachel on the wedding night. He worked a second seven years for Rachel, whom he married as well.
When Jacob wanted to return home, Laban would not let him take any material goods with him, even though Jacob had served Laban faithfully for fourteen years and made him rich. So Jacob worked a third seven years to win material wealth. By persevering in loving and serving Laban until he gained a victory, Jacob conditionally restored Adam's subject position over the Servant (Laban). On the foundation of this success he also won dominion over the material world, thus completing conditions to fulfill the three blessings: restoring himself, his spouse and possessions.
On the strength of this victory, Jacob returned to his homeland in Canaan. On the way back, at a ford crossing the river Jabbok, he encountered an angel, who wrestled with him. Even though the angel dislocated Jacob's thigh, Jacob persevered and eventually prevailed against the angel. Once again, Jacob had restored the proper relationship between the Servant (the angel) and Adam (himself). By not giving in to the angel, Jacob made a condition to reverse the fall. Having won the contest, he demanded the blessing of the angel, which he received, together with the new name Israel, which means "he who strives with God." From this point on, Jacob was known as Israel and his descendants as the Children of Israel.
After his victories over Laban and the angel, Jacob continued towards Canaan and prepared to meet his brother Esau, who, still angry over having lost the birthright and blessing, was preparing to attack him. Jacob understood the anger and resentment in Esau's heart and wisely offered Esau his wealth and all that was precious to him before they met. Esau, who had expected to face his brother returning as a conqueror, was surprised and moved by this generosity and love. When Jacob himself appeared, Esau forgot all his anger and the two brothers embraced in tears. Jacob had completely won the heart of his brother Esau.
The loving reunion of Jacob and Esau restored the Cain-Abel relationship. For the first time in the dispensation of restoration, a foundation of substance was successfully completed by a providential family.
The Foundation for True Parents
Abraham's was the first family chosen by God to restore Adam's family in which both a foundation of faith (by Abraham and Isaac) and a foundation of substance (by Jacob and Esau) were laid successfully. The moment when Esau and Jacob embraced in love was the most hopeful and joyful moment for God after the fall of Adam and Eve. With that great providential success, a foundation for true parents had finally been achieved and God could begin to build the providence of restoration on a substantial level, expanding His foundation among the fallen people of the world.
However, true parents themselves could not appear at that time because Abraham's error in the sacrifice of the animals and birds had first to be restored through Jacob's family and descendants. The indemnity period for this restoration was the 400 years of Israelite captivity in Egypt. Furthermore, by Abraham's time Satan had dominion over whole nations whereas God had only one family on His side. How could one family succeed against nations?
Perez and Zerah
The reconciliation between Jacob and Esau was a major victory for God. Nevertheless, it represented only a symbolic purification of blood lineage. Cain and Abel were born out of the fallen womb of Eve, therefore the substantial purification of lineage had to be accomplished in the womb, so that a new lineage might be engendered.
This is what lies behind the paradoxical story of Tamar. By understanding that Tamar, like Isaac's wife Rebecca, was in the position to restore fallen Eve, one can know why Jesus was born of her lineage, out of the tribe of Judah. She risked her life when she obeyed God's instructions and bore twins by her father-in-law Judah, who was one of Jacob's sons.
At the time of birth, the position of the twins was reversed in the womb, such that the younger son, Perez, representing Abel, was born before his brother, Zerah. The reversed order of birth was known because Zerah's hand had emerged before Perez was born, and a red thread had been tied to it before it was retracted into Tamar's womb.
The purification of Tamar's womb was the foundation for Jesus to be born sinless, the primary qualification for the messiah. Jesus was to become a true parent and establish a purified lineage in which all people could be brought to God's dominion by grafting into the lineage of the true parents.
Jacob's Lineage Is Chosen
When Jacob and Esau restored the relationship between Cain and Abel, they completed the first foundation for true parents in history. Therefore God chose the descendants of Jacob, who became the twelve tribes of Israel, as the people to establish a nation to receive the messiah. When Tamar restored the purity of Eve's womb, God chose the lineage of Judah to give birth to the messiah. Thus Abraham's family, and in particular Jacob's lineage, became the beginning point for the expansion of the restoration providence from the individual to the family, tribe and, eventually, national foundations to receive true parents. The Children of Israel became the chosen people.
Jacob's Family Foundation
Jacob's family became the center of God's providence. Jacob had twelve sons, the first ten by three women: Leah, the servant of Leah and the servant of Rachel. The two youngest, Joseph and Benjamin, were by Rachel. These twelve sons created families that became the twelve tribes of Israel, the people chosen by God to be the nation to receive the true parents.
The internal, Abel-like attitude of Jacob was inherited in particular by his second-to-last son, Joseph. The older brothers of Joseph were envious of his position as a favored son of Jacob and sought to kill him. However, they sold him into slavery in Egypt instead. There Joseph prospered and became prime minister under the pharaoh. By overcoming temptations of the fallen world of Egypt, especially the seduction of women, Joseph was confirmed as the Abel figure in the second generation of Jacob's family.
When famine struck Canaan, his homeland, his brothers came to Egypt to purchase grain. He recognized them and ' despite their terrible mistreatment of him previously, he received them with love, giving them grain and returning the money they had used to purchase it. They could not understand this generosity, but when they went on a second grain-buying mission to Egypt Joseph revealed his identity to them. The brothers wept with joy to be reunited.
Joseph used much the same wisdom in winning over his brothers as his father had employed in gaining the love of Esau. By giving his brothers gifts, he showed that he loved them even though they had done him wrong in the past. For their part, they were willing to repent and ask forgiveness for what they had done to him. By this restoration of the Cain-Abel relationship in Jacob's family, the family foundation for true parents established by Jacob was expanded to the clan level by his sons,
Lessons from Abraham's Family
It is important to pay attention to detail, in addition to having a willing heart, in the completion of indemnity conditions. The need to make offerings came about because Adam and Eve did not complete their responsibilities as God's son and daughter: they failed to take God's warning seriously and, consequently, failed to carry out God's instructions diligently. Therefore, an offering has meaning only if it is completed with the right heart of responsibility and the diligent implementation of instructions. Abraham was serious about fulfilling his responsibility to God in undertaking the offering of animals and birds, but after finishing the major portion of his offering by cutting the animals in two, he somehow overlooked the much smaller task of cutting the birds. From this small mistake, the whole sacrifice was negated.
The gravity of the situation created by Abraham's omission mirrored the fundamental reality of the fall. On the face of it, one could say that the mistakes of Adam and Eve in the fall were minor when judged against the evils of the fallen world. Yet those seemingly minor mistakes were the cause of all human suffering and misery. A small mistake can have major consequences if the person making the mistake is a central figure on whom many depend. Adam and Eve were the first human ancestors and all humanity was affected by what they did. Abraham had the mission to. establish a foundation for the restoration of all humankind. His error affected everyone in his lineage and all those touched by it in the providence of restoration, which, ultimately, was the whole world. In both cases, because of the great providential importance of these central figures, the failure to complete God-given responsibilities was the cause of great difficulties for the whole of humanity. If God asks for something specific, people should assume that it is important even if they cannot understand how or why from their limited perspective.
An attitude of total humility and obedience to God is the most powerful weapon against evil. Complete humility was demonstrated by Abraham's son in accepting his father's decision to obey God by sacrificing him. His unconditional willingness to offer his life for the will of God completely defeated Satan's plan to destroy Abraham's family. There was no room for Satan in the relationship between Abraham and his son because both were committed to obey God at the cost of their lives. It would have been easier for Abraham to offer his own life than to kill his beloved child. Their powerful demonstration of faith made it possible for Abraham's family to retain the central providential position that had been put in jeopardy by the mistake made in the earlier offering.
The faith of Abraham and his son represents the ultimate standard of faith, a level of commitment that restores Adam's lost faith. In the fall, Adam ignored God's warning that he would die as the consequence of eating the fruit. He sought to gratify his own desire at the cost of his life. He could not see the absolute importance in something that seemed inconsequential from his narrow point of view. Restoration of Adam's wrong attitude is accomplished when someone in Adam's position sacrifices his own desires for the will of God, even at the cost of his life. It is this willingness to obey God completely, at any cost, that facilitates God's ability to give all, including life, to the one with such faith. Therefore, because Abraham's son was willing to die for God he did not have to die.
Abel has to win the heart of Cain through service and love. Jacob was the first Abel figure in the history of restoration to succeed in laying a foundation of substance because he made a great effort to melt the resentment and anger of Esau by giving love to him even in the most difficult circumstances. The mission of Abel is to win the willing surrender of Cain. Only love can achieve this, and service is the practice of love. Jacob's son Joseph learned well from his father and won his brothers' hearts by serving them with love even though they had acted in an evil way towards him. Both Jacob and Joseph were able to win the willing cooperation of Cain (Esau and the eleven brothers, respectively) to establish foundations of substance, moving the providence of restoration forward significantly.
Abraham's family was the beginning point of the expansion of God's providence of restoration. Out of Abraham's family came the peoples who were chosen by God to bear the major responsibility for the restoration providence: Jews, Christians and Muslims.
With the second generation of Jacob's family having made the clan foundation for true parents, the providence focused on expanding this foundation to a national level. After the end of the four centuries of slavery suffered by the children of Israel, Moses was sent to Egypt to liberate them and to set up a national foundation for true parents, the nation of Israel. The life of Moses and God's providence for Israel and Judaism are the subject matter of the next chapter.
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