Woe to You, Scribes and Pharisees, Hypocrites!

Exodus 31

12-13 Moses told the Israelites that the Lord had said:

The Sabbath belongs to me. Now I command you and your descendants to always obey the laws of the Sabbath. By doing this, you will know that I have chosen you as my own. 14-15 Keep the Sabbath holy. You have six days to do your work, but the Sabbath is mine, and it must remain a day of rest. If you work on the Sabbath, you will no longer be part of my people, and you will be put to death.

Richard: Rev. Moon introduced the idea of not only having your own Sabbath, but creating a Sabbath for God, who has had no rest since the Fall of Man.

Acts 4

4 The apostles were still talking to the people, when some priests, the captain of the temple guard, and some Sadducees arrived. These men were angry because the apostles were teaching the people that the dead would be raised from death, just as Jesus had been raised from death. It was already late in the afternoon, and they arrested Peter and John and put them in jail for the night. But a lot of people who had heard the message believed it. So by now there were about five thousand followers of the Lord.

Jesus

11. Jesus’ Wept Out of Love for the People and Agonized Over Their Unbelief,
Even as His Closest Disciples Proved Faithless

Then Mary, when she came where Jesus was and saw him, fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled; and he said, “Where have you laid him?” They said to him, “Lord, come and see.” Jesus wept. So the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
    John 11.32-36

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faith; these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!
    Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you cleanse the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of extortion and rapacity. You blind Pharisee! first cleanse the inside of the cup and of the plate, that the outside also may be clean.
    Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. 
    Matthew 23.23-28

And they went to a place which was called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I pray.” And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch.” And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible to thee; remove this cup from me; yet not what I will, but what thou wilt.” And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to answer him. And he came the third time, and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come; the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.” 
    Mark 14.32-41

And as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the maids of the high priest came; and seeing Peter warming himself, she looked at him, and said, “You also were with the Nazarene, Jesus.” But he denied it, saying, “I neither know nor understand what you mean.” And he went out into the gateway. And the maid saw him, and began again to say to the bystanders, “This man is one of them.” But again he denied it. And after a little while again the bystanders said to Peter, “Certainly you are one of them; for you are a Galilean.” But he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know this man of whom you speak.” And immediately the cock crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had said to him, “Before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept.
   
Mark 14.66-72

Why Does the Name of Mary Magdalene Endure in Christianity?

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Acts 17

13 When the Jewish leaders in Thessalonica heard that Paul had been preaching God’s message in Berea, they went there and caused trouble by turning the crowds against Paul.

Ezra 4

12 You should know that the Jews who left your country have moved back to Jerusalem and are now rebuilding that terrible city. In fact, they have almost finished rebuilding the walls and repairing the foundations. 13 You should also know that if the walls are completed and the city is rebuilt, the Jews won’t pay any kind of taxes, and there will be less money in your treasury.

Women of the Bible

8. Mary Magdalene

Why does the name of Mary Magdalene endure in Christianity? Why is her name praised throughout the generations? It is because Jesus wanted her name to be known.
    During Jesus’ lifetime, who could understand her behavior? She was ridiculed as a woman of a low background. When she poured perfumed oil worth 300 denarii on his feet, all the disciples mocked her and Judas Iscariot protested her actions. Yet Jesus declared that her name would be remembered wherever the Gospel is preached. He said so because her offering to Jesus at that hour was greater than the devotion of his disciples or anyone else. In fact, her act of devotion to Jesus matched Jesus’ own devotion to God. (4:107, March 16, 1958)

When Jesus was petitioning to Heaven in the Garden of Gethsemane, his three disciples fell asleep; they did not listen to the voice of his prayer. However, Mary Magdalene recognized the divine value of Jesus. She washed his feet with her own hair after pouring perfumed oil on his feet. In this manner, she assured the glory of the Lord Jesus at his resurrection. At the time, his disciples ridiculed her behavior and attempted to stop her. Christians do not know that Jesus was deeply grieved at their attitude, a grievance that remains to this day.
    Jesus Christ lived in sorrow, walking a lonely path that no one recognized. Only Mary Magdalene comforted him, empathizing with Jesus’ divine heart for the past, the present and the future. For this reason, he blessed her with joyful grace and elevated her to stand in the forefront of God’s will. (2:212, May 26, 1957)

Mary Magdalene appeared insignificant compared to the disciples, yet when Jesus passed away, she was the one who visited his tomb. Mary loved Jesus—who was still a bachelor—more than anyone else. She followed him everywhere, sharing the ridicule, the cursing and the ostracism he suffered. Because she longed for him so earnestly, when Jesus was resurrected he appeared to her first. Mary Magdalene is a role model for Christians throughout the world, showing the path that they should walk in the latter days.
    What was the life of Mary Magdalene? She so loved Jesus that she forgot about what to eat or what to wear. She lived only for him, with an unchanging heart. She was not attached to her life; she did not think about saving face. Her faith was exemplary among all Jesus’ disciples. Christians in the Last Days should have the faith of Mary Magdalene. If you can have the same heart as Mary Magdalene, you would have the tears God shed over the 6000 years of the providence welling up in your eyes, and you would recognize how much you are indebted to Heaven. (4:258-59, June 29, 1958)

When Jesus was resurrected after the cross, he turned Mary Magdalene away when she tried to embrace him. He was not in a position to say, “Mary, my Bride, let us go to the Father together.” Jesus had worked hard to restore the Bride that [Heaven] had sought for 2,000 years, looking forward to the day when he could embrace his Bride. It was the Father’s will that Jesus come before Him rejoicing with his Bride, receive God’s marriage Blessing and become the True Parents… but Jesus departed this world without receiving the Blessing by which he could restore the position of humanity’s true ancestor. This is the sorrow of both God and Jesus. (5:187, January 18, 1959)

Among the disciples, Jesus loved Judas Iscariot in particular. He made Judas his object partner, through whom to restore God’s primary Will. Jesus intended to use him in order to erect a woman in the position of Eve, but to do this they should fulfill the roles of the personages involved in the Fall. Specifically, God’s Will required that Jesus set up Judas’s wife as the new Eve. This woman was Mary Magdalene. She had been Judas’ lover, but now as a disciple she was absolutely obedient to Jesus. So, just as Satan had taken Eve from Adam, Jesus [as Adam] planned to take Judas’s woman to be the new Eve. That way the three of them would fulfill God’s will according to the Principle.
    Accordingly, Jesus first acknowledged that Mary Magdalene belonged to Judas Iscariot. Then Jesus commenced the providence by choosing her to be his Eve. While this fundamental providence was going on, in the meantime Satan was fully on the attack, mobilizing the Pharisees and scribes against Jesus. Regardless, had Judas Iscariot trusted, obeyed and attended Jesus in this matter, they would have established the foundation for the fulfillment of God’s Will. But Judas was full of discontent and confronted Jesus. That was the beginning of his rebellion against his Teacher, which culminated when he sold out the One Man unique in all human history for a mere 30 pieces of silver. (Wolli Wonbon 242-43)

Mary was a Revolutionary Woman

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Matthew 7

24 Anyone who hears and obeys these teachings of mine is like a wise person who built a house on solid rock. 25 Rain poured down, rivers flooded, and winds beat against that house. But it did not fall, because it was built on solid rock.

26 Anyone who hears my teachings and doesn’t obey them is like a foolish person who built a house on sand. 27 The rain poured down, the rivers flooded, and the winds blew and beat against that house. Finally, it fell with a crash.

Acts 17

17 After Paul and his friends had traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they went on to Thessalonica. A Jewish meeting place was in that city. So as usual, Paul went there to worship, and on three Sabbaths he spoke to the people. He used the Scriptures to show them that the Messiah had to suffer, but that he would rise from death. Paul also told them that Jesus is the Messiah he was preaching about. Some of them believed what Paul had said, and they became followers with Paul and Silas. Some Gentiles[a] and many important women also believed the message.

The Jewish leaders were jealous and got some worthless bums who hung around the marketplace to start a riot in the city. They wanted to drag Paul and Silas out to the mob, and so they went straight to Jason’s home. But when they did not find them there, they dragged out Jason and some of the Lord’s followers. They took them to the city authorities and shouted, “Paul and Silas have been upsetting things everywhere. Now they have come here, and Jason has welcomed them into his home. All of them break the laws of the Roman Emperor by claiming that someone named Jesus is king.”

The officials and the people were upset when they heard this. So they made Jason and the other followers pay bail before letting them go.

Women of the Bible

7. Mary

Teachings of Rev. Sun Myung Moon

Mary was a revolutionary woman in faith who could follow God’s Will. Because the Human Fall came through the archangel Lucifer, another archangel [Gabriel] should assist Mary by bringing her God’s revelation. Eve believed the words of the archangel and fell. This time Mary should absolutely believe the archangel’s message from God and follow it. This is for restoration through indemnity. Therefore, Mary risked her life, completely believing what the angel told her: “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus… the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.” (Luke 1.31, 35)
    Mary’s situation paralleled that of Eve in the Garden of Eden before the Fall. Mary and Joseph were engaged but not yet married; Adam and Eve were also in an engagement period as they were growing up—they were brother and sister, but someday to marry. An angel induced Eve to commit the Fall; now another angel brought Mary to God for the fulfillment of His Will. In these respects their situations were precisely parallel.
    Since human beings have inherited the fallen act like a normal tradition, the same act should be repeated for God in the course of restoration. Therefore, Mary deceived her husband-to-be and her father. Do you think Mary could discuss with her father or Joseph about how she had conceived her baby? She was risking her life, because in those days an adulterous woman would be stoned to death.
    Mary conceived Jesus after inheriting the victorious foundation of Rebecca and Tamar. Through these three women, all the indemnity conditions were fulfilled for the birth of the Son of God. Therefore, Satan could not make any accusation against the birth of the child. That is why, even in Mary’s womb, Jesus was already the only begotten Son of God. (92:289-90, April 18, 1977)

Mary, who was engaged to Joseph, received from the archangel Gabriel the surprising message that the Messiah would be born through her. (Luke 1.31) In those days, if an unmarried woman became pregnant, she would be killed. But Mary accepted the will of God with absolute faith, saying, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1.38)
    Mary consulted with the priest Zechariah, who was her relative and was highly respected. Zechariah’s wife Elizabeth, with the help of God, was pregnant with John the Baptist. She said to Mary, “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.  Why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke 1.42-43) With these words she testified to the coming birth of Jesus. In this way, God let Mary, Zechariah, and Elizabeth know about the birth of the Messiah before anyone else. All of them had the absolutely crucial mission of following the will of God and serving Jesus. Zechariah’s family let Mary stay in their house. Jesus was conceived in the house of Zechariah. Elizabeth and Mary were cousins on their mothers’ side. But according to God’s providence they were considered sisters, with Elizabeth as the elder (Cain) and Mary as the younger (Abel). Mary received Elizabeth’s help in the presence of Zechariah. Through this cooperation, Zechariah’s family, on the national level, indemnified the lack of unity between Leah and Rachel in Jacob’s family. This allowed Jesus to be conceived. For the first time in history, there could be born on earth, free of satanic accusation and through a prepared womb, the seed of the Son of God—the seed of the True Father. In this way, the only begotten Son of God, the owner of the first love of God, was born. Mary had to achieve something that could not be understood by common sense, nor easily tolerated under the law of those times. Mary, Elizabeth, and Zechariah had been spiritually moved. They were to follow the revelation that came from God, and unconditionally believe that it was the will and desire of God. (277:206-07, April 16, 1996)

 
 

Do Saints Live as They Wish?

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Acts 7

39 But our ancestors refused to obey Moses. They rejected him and wanted to go back to Egypt.

40 The people said to Aaron, “Make some gods to lead us! Moses led us out of Egypt, but we don’t know what’s happened to him now.” 41 Then they made an idol in the shape of a calf. They offered sacrifices to the idol and were pleased with what they had done.

1 Kings 14

14 The Lord will soon choose a new king of Israel, who will destroy Jeroboam’s family. And I mean very soon.15 The people of Israel have made the Lord angry by setting up sacred poles for worshiping the goddess Asherah. So the Lord will punish them until they shake like grass in a stream. He will take them out of the land he gave to their ancestors, then scatter them as far away as the Euphrates River. 16 Jeroboam sinned and caused the Israelites to sin. Now the Lord will desert Israel.

17 Jeroboam’s wife left and went back home to the town of Tirzah. As soon as she set foot in her house, her son died. 18 Everyone in Israel came and mourned at his funeral, just as the Lord’s servant Ahijah had said.

Richard: Sacred poles: Or “trees,” were used as symbols of Asherah, the goddess of fertility. The people here are committing sexual sins.

Founders, Prophets and Saints

1. God’s Champions and Messengers

Teachings of Rev. Sun Myung Moon

When God assigns a responsibility within His providential Will to human beings, He raises up for them a central figure. He raises each central figure to be the leading light of the people of his age and link them to the thought of Heaven. In other words, at key moments in history God seeks out a single individual who can represent his age, his culture, and the whole world. God calls on His chosen one to declare His teaching to Heaven and earth. (4:192, April 20, 1958)

Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha and Confucius are called the great saints of history. They left their traditions to posterity, which became organized as the time-honored religions and gave birth to the great civilizations of humankind.
    Did these saints live as they wished, enjoying themselves every day? No, from an earthly point of view they lived miserable lives, far more difficult than the lives of ordinary people.
    Why did they live that kind of life? The saints did not live according to their own desires, but instead lived obedient to the divine Will and for the sake of the world God desired to build through them.
    Although they had individual desires, the saints lived always thinking about God and how they could inherit His tradition. They were concerned to train their character and to conform their life to God’s Will. When they looked at their families, they thought about what would be the authentic family in the sight of God. They thought about how their society could be acceptable to God. They sought to understand what traditions their nation should have in the sight of God. (95:271, December 11, 1977)

What did these founders of religion teach? They taught centered on God. They taught according to God’s teachings and guided their people to do God’s Will. They did not teach their own will. They did not boast of their greatness. They passed away while proclaiming a God-centered worldview, a God-centered way of life, and a God-centered understanding of the universe. (41:329-30, February 18, 1971)

God is the Source of the principle that governs the universe. While creating the universe, God invested Himself totally for the sake of His creation. Throughout history, God has continually sacrificed Himself to save fallen human beings, who have been living just as they desire.
    The prophets, saints, and sages who knew God’s Will followed God’s principle in their own lives. Furthermore, they were not content to keep the truth to themselves, but walked the way of sacrifice to teach others. Moses, Confucius, Buddha, Mohammed, Socrates and Jesus suffered hardships and persecution for their efforts to teach the people. They dedicated their lives to enlighten and liberate humanity. (234:222, August 20, 1992)

The Chinese character for “saint” (聖) has three parts, representing ears (耳), mouth (口), and king (王). The combination of these three elements signifies a saint. If you link the meanings, a saint is the “king of the mouth” and “king of the ears.” What does this mean? As the king of the ears, he comprehends and interprets what he hears like a king. He does not simply repeat what he hears, for if he did it could cause many troubles. As a king of the mouth, he is careful about the words he speaks. He knows that whatever he says could become the law; it could sway the destiny of his nation. (118:44, May 2, 1982)

What is the definition of a saint? A saint is someone who transcends national boundaries. The saints of history did not live merely for their own people or for their own tribe. They transcended national boundaries to live for the sake of all humanity. They could say, “I will die for the sake of all humanity. I transcend all the boundaries that separate the thousands of ethnic groups and nations. I am beyond nations, beyond religions, and beyond races.” Before they went to their deaths, these saints forged a connection to all humanity on a worldwide level. (38:350, January 8, 1971)

The Liberation of the Self Is Based on the Unity of Your Mind and Body

Acts 10

The next day about noon these men were coming near Joppa. Peter went up on the roof of the house to pray 10 and became very hungry. While the food was being prepared, he fell sound asleep and had a vision. 11 He saw heaven open, and something came down like a huge sheet held up by its four corners. 12 In it were all kinds of animals, snakes, and birds. 13 A voice said to him, “Peter, get up! Kill these and eat them.”

14 But Peter said, “Lord, I can’t do that! I’ve never eaten anything that is unclean and not fit to eat.”[c]

15 The voice spoke to him again, “When God says that something can be used for food, don’t say it isn’t fit to eat.”

16 This happened three times before the sheet was suddenly taken back to heaven.

Amos 1

I will destroy the king of Ashdod
    and the ruler of Ashkelon.
I will strike down Ekron,
and that will be the end
    of the Philistines.
I, the Lord, have spoken!

Judgment on Phoenicia

The Lord said:

I will punish Phoenicia
for countless crimes,
    and I won’t change my mind.
They broke their treaty
and dragged off my people[r]
    from town after town
to sell them as slaves
    to the Edomites.
10 That’s why I will send flames
to burn down the city of Tyre
    along with its fortresses.

Liberation

2. Universal Liberation

Teachings of Rev. Sun Myung Moon

Liberation means that all hazardous conditions in our world are transformed into harmonious relationships. Our world becomes unified, without any sharp edges, where up and down, right and left, and front and rear have equal value.
    Once liberation comes, grandfathers and grandmothers will like it, quarreling husbands and nagging wives will be satisfied, children and grandchildren will be glad. The multitudes will rejoice, and people of all nations will cheer. (341:161-62, January 1, 2001)
 
Before trying to liberate North Korea, you should ask yourself whether you are liberated. The liberation of the self is based on the unity of your body and mind. The liberation of the nation is the fifth level after the liberation of the individual, family, tribe and people.18 (187:126, February 5, 1989)
 
All things that were supposed to be united into one were shattered into pieces. They were turned upside down throughout humanity’s fragmented history, because countless indemnity courses blocked heaven and earth and passed each other in all directions. Therefore God has been leading a course of re-creation. To walk that course, True Parents came to the earth.
    Heavenly Father, we know how hard Thou hast striven throughout history, in Thy providence of recreation which Thou hast conducted through our forbearers, to reconnect all the divisions in the mineral world, the world of microscopic organisms, the plant kingdom, the animal kingdom, the human world, and even in the heavenly world…
    Therefore, centering on the love that is proper to God’s ideal of creation, we should restore back what was lost in the world of minerals, the world of microscopic organisms, the plant kingdom, the animal kingdom, the human world, and the heavenly world. Thou, Heavenly Father, and we, True Parents, should create the realm of oneness… I sincerely hope and ask Thee to guide us to create one unified world, joining the heavenly world and earthly world. (May 4, 2003)
 
Throughout history, human beings have been searching for their own liberation and salvation, but who has been concerned about God’s situation? Does God dwell in blissful joy for eternity, not in need of liberation? God is the Parent who has been mourning over human beings as they suffered in sin and evil throughout history. How, then, can God rejoice with a liberated heart? It is impossible. Depending on the degree of earthly liberation, God’s heart can also be liberated. Only when God is liberated can human beings be liberated, be free to enjoy a family life of true love, and bring liberation to the creation. Furthermore, only when God is liberated can the beings in the spirit world be liberated and released. (April 30, 2004)
 
The ultimate goal of God’s providence of salvation goes beyond the individual; it is to liberate and save the family, tribe, nation, physical world and the spirit world including hell. Until this is done, God Himself is not liberated. When the purpose of God’s providence of salvation is fully attained, in other words, when even hell and all the spirit world are liberated, on that day, God will declare the completion of His ideal, proclaiming, “My will is done! Hallelujah! March forward into one world, under the dominion of my love.” (114:78, May 17, 1981)