Sunday, April 16, 2017

Did Jesus Have to Die?

Jesus' murder was a most heinous crime. But, did God want Jesus to die?

No. This was the ultimate sin of rebellion against God.

An example of how it could have gone:
Due to Abraham's act of faithlessness, he was told by God to sacrifice his son; but because Abraham showed his faith by making the offering of his son, Isaac was spared and rose from the sacrificial alter. Together Isaac and Abraham offered the lamb that God provided as an acceptable offering.

Prophecies of the Lord of suffering - if the people had no faith
Prophecies of the Lord of Glory - if the people had faith.

There are many prophecies in the Bible that show that it could have gone either way. However, all those prophecies ended with John. "For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John." (Matthew 11:13 )

Even though the crucifixion was not God's hope, we received the grace of salvation through the cross; and as absolutely gloriously wonderful and precious the Resurrection is, it is plan B. "I am the way the truth and life. Follow me". He didn't ask us to nail him to the cross. Jesus told Judas that it would have been better if he had never been born. Not that Judas had fulfilled his mission well.

Jesus said "Forgive them for they know not what they do". He didn't say thank you very much, you did a good job.

Yet even God's plan B allows us to spiritually connect to God through our rebirth through Christ and the Holy Spirit, But it doesn't end there... Christ said he must return for the Marriage of the Lamb. Even though Jesus said "It Is Finished" Christ must return to finish what wasn't done in the Garden. The perfection of Adam and Eve must be accomplished physically and spiritually on Earth.

What then can we do at this time?

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Moving from Personal Salvation to Family Salvation

Salvation through the Holy Marriage Blessing

All people are fallen due to original sin, and it is True Parents' fundamental mission to save them. The centerpiece of this mission is the providence of the marriage Blessing, which eradicates original sin and fallen lineage. The marriage Blessing is the ceremony through which the evil lineage stained by Satan, is converted to the lineage of goodness rooted in God. It is the important ceremony that restores the order of love with God at the center, and eradicates the disordered love engendered by Satan through the Fall. The providence of the marriage Blessing, under the auspices of the True Parents, is the starting point for realizing the ideal of one family under God.

The reparation to receive the Blessing of marriage is perhaps best done by using the tools Jesus gave us to liberate ourselves from Satan. Jesus taught us The 3 Great Human Virtues for the fallen world to use to liberate us from Satan.

“Love, Forgive & Repent"

Jesus' teachings placed us perfectly at the foot of The Tree of Life. He opened the door to the 1st blessing of individual perfection.
This lifestyle should be pursued by both the man and woman preparing to be blessed in marriage.
It is best if blessing candidates be admired by all people as people of good character. Additionally, they must fulfill basic requirements, such as maintaining purity, receiving education, testifying, fasting and offering devotions. True Parents have also said that a couple should commit to one another only after obtaining parental consent.

Originally, if Adam and Eve had reached the perfection stage of the 1st Blessing in the Garden of Eden, they would have received the marriage Blessing from God. However, due to the Fall, the marriage Blessing centered on God was not realized. Therefore, God had to work through 4,000 years of history to raise up the Israelites, to whom He sent the Messiah. He intended to give the marriage Blessing at the time of Jesus. Unfortunately we had to wait until the present day for the “Marriage of the Lamb”

Rev Sun Myung Moon, as a young 15 year old praying on a Korean mountain-top on Easter morning in 1935, was asked by Jesus, to take on the mission of bringing God's 2nd Blessing, the Blessing of Marriage, to humankind. After a long difficult road, he and Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon were victorious in assuming the mantle as the True Parents of Humankind.

In 1960 True Parents opened the new chapter in the history of human salvation through the marriage Blessing. The marriage Blessing is of great significance, because it replaces Satan's lineage with God's, and recovers the order of love rooted in God. The Blessing benefits society by offering the opportunity for people to enter into cross-cultural marriages, which contribute to the realization of one world under God by breaking down barriers between nations, races and religions.

The marriage Blessing ceremonies began with 3 couples on April 16,1960. Then the 36 Couples, 72 Couples, 124 Couples and 430 Couples were blessed on the tribal and national levels. Through the next several ceremonies, including the Blessings of 777 Couples, 1,800 Couples, 2,075 Couples and 6,000 Couples, the holy marriage Blessing became an international event. At the 6,500 Couples Blessing, largely between Korean and Japanese spouses, for the first time the majority of the couples were international. From the time of the 30,000 Couples Blessing, the Blessing expanded to a global scale, with the inclusion of simultaneous international satellite Blessing ceremonies.

Hand in hand with the marriage Blessing, True Parents carried out the pure love movement and the true family movement on an extensive scale. These seek to offer fundamental solutions to the global problems of youth immorality and family breakdown. The ideal world of creation can be realized only when the pure love tradition sets the standard for the order of love among young people and then expands to transcend religion, nation and race. In other words, God's Will can be realized when the marriage Blessing expands, gains popularity and takes root.

True Parents have made it clear that blessed families need to be concerned about and live for their tribe, their people, their nation and the world before their own family. When a blessed husband and wife honor each other as the person who stands in the position of God, they set the example for those around them. As such, blessed families are to take the lead in the restoration of their tribe, their nation, the world, and all of heaven and earth. They need to live together experiencing the love of brothers and sisters. They are to establish the tradition of community life through which all people can live together and love one another, transcendent of nation, race and religion.

True Parents said that through the marriage Blessing, we need to establish the traditions of true husband and wife, true parents, true children and true siblings, with true love at the center. They particularly emphasized that true love incorporates the rights of inheritance, equal status and shared participation. So the ideal of the kingdom of heaven can be realized when people inherit the tradition of the true love of God.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Same-Sex Marriage: A Unificationist Response

By Robert Beebe

Same-sex marriage is now the law of the land, thanks to the recent 5-4 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court. Despite 30 states enshrining in their constitutions that marriage was the union of one man and one woman through the combined votes of 50 million people, all this was swept away in two years largely by federal court rulings that made same-sex marriage legal in 37 states, culminating in the Supreme Court decision. Along the way, a majority of Americans are said to now support same-sex marriage. The culture war is over, advocates say. The traditional view of marriage has been cast aside.
All this has occurred not for want of effort on the part of traditional marriage supporters. The National Organization for Marriage, the Family Research Council, and other Christian-based groups have fought tooth-and-nail for many years to prevent what has just happened. Despite their confidence in their cause, and believing that God was on their side, they ended up fighting a losing battle. How did this happen?
Looking back, it seems now an inevitable result of a half-century of cultural change beginning with the sexual revolution of the 1960s. Traditional marriage lost its honored place in American culture long ago when the divorce rate began to skyrocket towards 50%, where it remains today. What are we to expect when millions of children fail to experience the benefits of traditional marriage in their own homes during their formative years? Why should we be surprised when, as teens and young adults, they begin to look elsewhere and experiment in unorthodox ways in their desire to find love? The seeds for legalization of same-sex marriage can be found in the breakdown of the traditional two-parent family.
This has been accompanied by the indoctrination of our young people by a public school system that promotes in the name of diversity not only tolerance but the celebration of all sorts of lifestyles and personal expression. The Judeo-Christian values that once provided the moral foundation for our culture and informed the nation’s education system have been replaced by a godless secular perspective in which anything goes. From this new perspective, once accepted traditional values are now regarded as oppressive and bigoted. Having breathed this atmosphere day-after-day in the public schools, many of our own children have adopted the values of the popular secular culture.
Christian groups mistakenly believe God is on their side as they oppose same-sex marriage and other nontraditional expressions coming to the fore now that gay marriage has been legalized: transgenderism, polygamy, and other forms of group marriage, in particular. We should expect these will grow in popularity and acceptance in coming years. Attempts by Christians to oppose them will only fuel their rise and contribute to Christianity’s decline as people vent their anger and resentment towards Christians in response. Standing against same-sex marriage has only given energy to the gay rights movement, feeding into its mantra that Christians are homophobic, hatemongering, anti-freedom and anti-equality.
What should be the Unificationist response today?
Christianity’s inability to stop the onslaught of same-sex marriage is due to its not having a clear understanding of God’s ideal. The Divine Principle teaches that God’s ideal was to be manifested through Adam and Eve’s fulfillment of the Three Blessings as expressed in Genesis 1:28. Because of the Fall, this did not come to pass and God had to work for thousands of years to prepare the appearance of a new Adam, Jesus, who, together with a new Eve, would fulfill what was left undone in the Garden of Eden.
The Principle teaches that Jesus did indeed fulfill the first blessing, becoming one with God, but was unable to fulfill the second blessing due to his rejection and crucifixion. Christianity was built on Jesus’ crucifixion and subsequent resurrection. Christians have believed their mission is to emulate the example and teachings of the individual Jesus, to bring others to salvation through him, and await the Second Coming, which would occur in some supernatural and miraculous way.
Thus, traditional marriage has never been a core teaching of Christianity. Its founder was never able to show the example of an ideal marriage. Because of this, it is no surprise that Christians have been as susceptible to divorce and family breakdown as non-Christians. Their inability to show a better example in this regard reduces their moral authority when it comes to dealing with issues like same-sex marriage.
For Unificationists, on the other hand, marriage occupies a central place in our teaching. It is essential to fulfilling the second blessing and the purpose of life. Because of the Fall, Adam and Eve were unable to establish a God-centered marriage and family and gave rise to a lineage apart from God, which has continued to the present day. As Unificationists, we believe Reverend and Mrs. Sun Myung Moon, as a modern day Adam and Eve and messianic couple, have finally accomplished this and, on this foundation, have given others the opportunity to receive this Blessing, and, through their descendants, restore God’s lineage.
Understanding this aspect of God’s ideal also tells us that in God’s ideal there is no room for same-sex marriage, or any of the other confusions concerning gender and love coming to the fore in today’s culture. Such a statement is not rooted in hatred or fear of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, or transgenders, but in the recognition that the latter identities are the tragic result of having not experienced God’s true love during one’s formative years and hence being susceptible to a culture that increasingly views these as viable lifestyles in the pursuit of love and happiness.
Another issue that weakens Christianity’s ability to deal effectively with same-sex marriage and related matters is its ambiguity concerning the Fall of Man, the act through which evil came into the world. Although many Christian scholars have acknowledged the sexual aspects surrounding the Fall, traditional Christianity tends to take the story literally and regards Adam and Eve’s greatest transgression to be their disobedience of God. Unificationists, however, see the fruit as symbolic of sexual love and that the story is really about the abuse or misuse of that love. This was the original sin that transformed human beings’ original nature from being in God’s image to a fallen nature that resembles the fallen archangel who initiated the process of the Fall.
Thus began a fallen history in which sex itself has often been regarded as dirty and degrading. Indeed, the highest spiritual path in many religions has been one of celibacy. Of course, this was also Jesus’s path until his crucifixion. Rev. Moon was one of the few religious leaders, if not the only one, who spoke clearly of God’s ideal for sexual love, using the colorful term “absolute sex.”
In one sense, we can regard the sexual revolution as reflective of human beings’ desire to return to the Garden of Eden, a place where, once Adam and Eve had reached perfection, sexual love could have been expressed freely and purely. Lacking access to God’s truth as expressed through the Divine Principle, that revolution became corrupted and diverted to Satan’s purposes of not only continuing but expanding the misuse of sexual love in its many manifestations to one of open cultural acceptance. The Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage represents one more milestone on the road towards total acceptance of fallen love relationships.
We have reached the point as expressed in Isaiah 5:20 where people “call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness.” Ministers are now fearful of what they say from the pulpit lest they be charged with hate speech, as has already occurred in Canada after same-sex marriage was legalized there. The Bible itself is on the verge of being regarded as hate speech for its admonitions against homosexuality.
Rainbow-colored lights shone on the White House after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage on June 26, 2015.
Rev. Moon said the Last Days will be a time when chaos and confusion will reign:
“When such a time comes, where will we find ethics and morality? When the time comes in which global trends are tossed about as if in a raging storm and we can neither discern our direction nor distinguish between what is good and what is false, we should know it is the Last Days. Now is that very time” (Cheon Seong Gyeong, 2014 ed., p. 767; p. 42 of PDF).
It is based on the exaltation of “individualistic love” in which people follow their bodily desires rather than being governed by a sense of right or wrong. It is history come full circle where that which brought evil into the world in the beginning now seeks to be the dominating, even totalitarian, force in human life.
Following Jesus’ crucifixion, not only was Israel eventually destroyed, but the entire Roman Empire gradually disintegrated. As their civilization collapsed around them, more and more people were drawn to become Christians despite wave upon wave of persecution. They were attracted to their example of love, conviction in what they believed, sense of responsibility, honesty, integrity, and humility. These spiritual benefits eventually translated into worldly benefits as Christians were given ever higher positions and responsibility to the point where Christianity became the state religion of what was left of the Roman Empire. Not only would Christianity outlast the Romans but would go on to provide the spiritual foundation of an even greater world power: the United States.
Today, we can expect America to enter a similar period of decline, and cannot hope to prevent it. We can, however, as Unificationists, like the early Christians, set an example of love, conviction, responsibility, honesty, integrity, and humility, that will over time attract thousands and millions to us as the culture collapses, creating the foundation for a more beautiful and glorious culture that we call Cheon Il Guk, also known as the kingdom of heaven on earth.
For this to happen, there are two things we must do and pass on to future generations: keep our sexual purity (not to repeat the Fall) and establish God-centered marriages and families as the foundation for maintaining God’s lineage on the earth. Even as we reach out to others with God’s love, we cannot compromise our values and beliefs, but should confidently promote and exemplify sexual purity and commitment in marriage between a man and a woman as the road to true and lasting love and happiness.
We need to establish schools which will support these values and protect our children from the influences of the fallen culture. This does not mean to isolate them from the real world but to give them a protective environment, like a greenhouse for plants, to grow and develop their original nature. In this way we can equip them with the inner strength to resist and overcome the temptations of the surrounding world. By speaking the truth with love backed by living example, we will enable others to turn away from unprincipled and unhealthy lifestyles and “choose life” (Deut. 30:19).♦
Dr. Robert Beebe (UTS Class of 1984) is the principal of New Hope School, a K-8 private school in Clifton, NJ. He served 13 years in Russia as vice president of the International Educational Foundation, where he trained thousands of teachers in the use of the Principled-based curriculum, “My World & I.” He received a bachelors in economics from Princeton University, an M.Div. from UTS, and a doctorate in educational leadership from Walden University. He is blessed to Karen Fallwell (UTS Class of 1983 and they have six children.