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The Rheama’s (scripture readings) for Saturday were missing. Here they are.
23 Jesus knew that they were trying to trick him. So he told them, 24 “Show me a coin.” Then he asked, “Whose picture and name are on it?”
“The Emperor’s,” they answered.
25 Then he told them, “Give the Emperor what belongs to him and give God what belongs to God.” 26 Jesus’ enemies could not catch him saying anything wrong there in front of the people. They were amazed at his answer and kept quiet.
5 I will break through the gates of Damascus. I will destroy the people[i] of Wicked Valley[j] and the ruler of Beth-Eden.[k] Then the Syrians will be dragged as prisoners to Kir.[l] I, the Lord, have spoken!
Eschatology and Messianic Hope
2. The Mission of the Messiah— to Vanquish Evil and Establish God’s Kingdom
Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name inscribed which no one knows but himself. He is clad in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, followed him on white horses. From his mouth issues a sharp sword with which to smite the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron; he will tread the wine press of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name inscribed, King of kings and Lord of lords.
For to us a child is born,to us a son is given,and the government shall be upon his shoulder,and his name shall be called“Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”Of the increase of his government and of peacethere will be no end,upon the throne of David, and over his kingdom,to establish it, and to uphold itwith justice and with righteousness, from this time forth and for ever more.The zeal of the lord of hosts will do this.
The Imam [Mahdi] who will create a world state will make the ruling nations pay for their crimes against society. He will bring succor to humanity. He will take out the hidden wealth from the breast of the earth and will distribute it equitably amongst the needy deserving. He will teach you simple living and high thinking.
Nahjul Balagha, Khutba 141, 187 (Shiite Islam)
Then will appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory; and he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Teachings of Rev. Sun Myung Moon
The Lord and Savior is coming! What will the Lord do when he comes? He is to rule the nation and the world. Will he rule arbitrarily, governing any way he pleases? No, he will rule with truth. Wherever in the world the Lord travels, he will govern with truth.
The Savior wants to make a world that is pleasing to God. More than that, he wants to make a world that rejoices the conscience. After all, since the human conscience originates from God, it knows what is pleasing to God and desires what God desires. In that world, there will be no racism or wars between nations. There will be no discrimination based on religion, ethnic background or cultural tradition. Instead, there will be universal agreement about what goodness is, and it will be in accord with God’s view.
The day when we can march forward to such a world is coming; it is the time of the Savior’s advent on earth. Christians call it the day of Christ’s Second Coming. (160:345, June 15, 1969)
The mission of the Messiah is to complete the will of God. He comes to destroy Satan’s evil sovereignty over this world. He comes to repair broken humanity and restore them to their original state of goodness and perfection. God sends him as the sovereign who will rule over the entire universe. (73:204, September 18, 1974)
Because the work of God is realistic and physical, the Messiah’s coming on the clouds does not make sense. Yet interpreting the Bible literally, many Christians think, “Jesus will descend on the clouds! It will be done by God’s power!” If that were true, if God could use supernatural power to do anything, then why did He need to send Jesus? Why would He call people to faith? In that case, God could simply create the Kingdom by Himself, without waiting for human beings to respond in faith… Yet, we know that even the omniscient and omnipotent God has been laboring for six thousand years and even longer to advance His providence of salvation without being able to send the [returning] Messiah until today…
Many Christians think that the Messiah will solve all the world’s problems in an instant. They do not understand that when the Christ returns he will have to plough the ground and sow the seeds again. (90:141, December 25, 1976)
Richard: Find out more by reading the section on the Last Days in the Exposition of the Divine Principle, the teachings of Rev. Sun Myung Moon.
I will punish Edom for countless crimes, and I won’t change my mind. They killed their own relatives[s] and were so terribly furious that they showed no mercy. 12 Now I will send fire to wipe out the fortresses of Teman and Bozrah.
54 Jesus was arrested and led away to the house of the high priest, while Peter followed at a distance. 55 Some people built a fire in the middle of the courtyard and were sitting around it. Peter sat there with them, 56 and a servant girl saw him. Then after she had looked at him carefully, she said, “This man was with Jesus!”
57 Peter said, “Woman, I don’t even know that man!”
58 A little later someone else saw Peter and said, “You are one of them!”
“No, I’m not!” Peter replied.
Abraham is the source of the three monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. He is the ancestor of the Jewish people; for Christians he is the father of faith (romans 4.1-3); in Islam he set up the Kaaba in Mecca and is the father of the Arab people through Ishmael. Abraham is renowned as the first monotheist, who came to the truth of the one God despite growing up in an idol-maker’s household. Then he left home at God’s command and obediently followed to an unknown land. He put his life and his future in God’s hands, trusting that he would provide. Though sojourning as a stranger among the peoples of Canaan, he showed remarkable compassion for them, particularly when he interceded for the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Father Moon teaches that God entrusted his entire providence to Abraham, and looked to him as a partner to make the conditions on earth needed to advance the work of salvation. Therefore, every act, every offering, every prayer of Abraham was fraught with significance. When Abraham did well, as when he left home at God’s command without hesitation, God’s providence advanced. When Abraham made a mistake, as when he failed to cut the birds in two at the important sacrifice described in Genesis chapter 15, God’s providence was set back and prolonged. When there was a quarrel in Abraham’s family, as between Sarah and Hagar, it created a negative condition for enmity between Jews and Arabs that has persisted to this day. Abraham passed through many trials in his walk of faith. The culmination of these, when God asked him to sacrifice his son, is treated in the next section.
1. Abraham: A Man of Absolute Faith
Now the Lord said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who curses you I will curse; and by you all the families of the earth shall bless themselves.” So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran. And Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother’s son, and all their possessions which they had gathered, and the persons that they had gotten in Haran; and they set forth to go to the land of Canaan. Genesis 12.1-5
We gave Abraham of old his proper course, for We were aware of him, when he said to his father and his people, “What are these images to which you pay devotion?” They said, “We found our fathers worshippers of them.” He said, “Truly you and your fathers were in plain error.” They said, “Do you bring us the truth, or are you some jester?” He said, “No, but your Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth, who created them; and I am of those who testify to that. And, by God, I shall circumvent your idols after you have gone away and turned your backs.” Then he reduced them to fragments, all save the chief of them, that perhaps they might have recourse to it.
They said, “Who has done this to our gods? Surely it must be some evildoer.” [Others] said, “We heard a youth make mention of them, one called Abraham.” They said, “Bring him here before the people’s eyes that they may testify.” They said, “Are you the one who has done this to our gods, Abraham?” He said, “No, their chief has done it. So question them, if they can speak.” Then they gathered apart and said, “You yourselves are the wrongdoers,” and they were utterly confounded. Then they said [to Abraham], “You know well that they do not speak.” He said, “Do you worship instead of God that which cannot profit you at all, nor harm you? Fie on you and all that you worship instead of God! Have you then no sense?”
They said, “Burn him and stand by your gods, if you will!” We said, “O fire, be coolness and peace for Abraham!” They wished to set a snare for him, but We made them the greater losers. And We rescued him and Lot, and brought them to the land that We have blessed for all peoples.
The word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.” But Abram said, “O Lord god, what wilt thou give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “Behold, thou hast given me no offspring; and a slave born in my house will be my heir.” And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, “This man shall not be your heir; your own son shall be your heir.” And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” And he believed the Lord; and he reckoned it to him as righteousness. Genesis 15.1-6
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place which he was to receive as an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was to go. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he looked forward to the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
Jesus said to his disciples, “Have the people sit in groups of fifty.” 15 They did this, and all the people sat down. 16 Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish. He looked up toward heaven and blessed the food. Then he broke the bread and fish and handed them to his disciples to give to the people.
Richard: We have all the resources that we need, if we can work together, centered on God’s New Word.
6 I swore that I would rescue them from Egypt and lead them to a land I had already chosen. This land was rich with milk and honey and was the most splendid land of all. 7 I told them to get rid of their disgusting idols and not to sin by worshiping the gods of Egypt. I reminded them that I was the Lord their God, 8 but they still rebelled against me. They refused to listen and kept on worshiping their idols and foreign gods.
2. Christian Unity
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all.
You are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. Ephesians 2.19-22
I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me.
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Colossians 3.12-15
Teachings of Rev. Sun Myung Moon
We frequently hear that the church is the body of Christ. What is the body of Christ? Does it consist of church buildings made of wood or stone? No, the body of Christ is the congregation, the people. We who believe in Jesus are Jesus’ body and Christ’s representatives on earth.
If the believers are the body of Christ, then can there be more than one church? Today’s church, divided as it is into numerous denominations, is a church in error. It is heartbreaking for Jesus to see the existence of so many denominations, each bearing his name. It is as though his body has been torn apart into many pieces…
Christianity should have become a single worldwide religion, based on the victorious foundation of Jesus’ sacrifice. Like Jesus’ own body, the church should have become a whole offering before God; then by that victorious foundation of offering, it could have become one worldwide religion, one Christian church. Instead, the heart of Jesus Christ is grieved to see his body so shamefully divided. Jesus is the mind and today’s Christianity is the body. How can there be one mind and 1,000 bodies? How can the mind and body differ to such an extent? Therefore, our task is to unite them as one mind and one body.
What is the core conviction that Jesus has sought to convey to Christianity until this day? It is this: “God is our Father, all people are our brothers and sisters; the earth belongs to all of us; therefore we should be as members of one household.” Today’s Christians should adopt this outlook. Since it is God’s teaching and Jesus’ teaching, it should be Christianity’s teaching. Therefore, we should not get caught up in sectarian squabbles. We should restore the people, even if to do so we have to abandon our denomination. We should restore the earth, even if our denomination must perish in the process. (93:12-25, May 8, 1977)
Why is today’s Christianity divided into numerous denominations? The proliferation of denominations contradicts the Christian doctrine that we ought to love our enemies. Christian doctrine instructs us to love the brethren, but people have forgotten it. Christians may love one another within the same church, yet their churches are fighting one another. Jesus taught us to love our brethren. From Jesus’ perspective, the Presbyterian Church, the Methodist Church, the Holiness Church and all other denominations are each other’s brethren. (107:20, February 21, 1980)
God’s heaviest burden is to create oneness among the declining remnants of Christianity and among the many religions. While God is trying hard to create oneness among the religions, some Methodists are praying, “O Father, I don’t care what happens to other churches, but please bless the Methodist Church.” Do you think such a prayer will reach God’s ears? Methodism is only one of more than four hundred denominations. God will say, “You rascals! You denominationalists! Before praying for yourselves, you should make the Christian church one! If you do that, I will listen to your prayer.”
What would God say if Christians were to unite as one and pray, “O Lord! Give us strength to resolve your biggest headache by uniting Christianity and creating oneness among all the religions. Gives us the ability! Help us to create this oneness!” Surely He would say, “Yes, I will grant your prayer.” God is waiting for the appearance of people who can break down the walls surrounding the denominations and make them one. (98:114-15, May 7, 1978)
By what means can we unite Christianity throughout the world? It is by the Holy Spirit. Hence, I named our church, “The Holy Spirit Association.” Not by fists or bayonets, but by the Holy Spirit. We cannot unite the churches by human power. It is possible only by the power of the Holy Spirit, through mobilizing the hosts of heaven. (113:97, May 1, 1981)
44 Around noon the sky turned dark and stayed that way until the middle of the afternoon. 45 The sun stopped shining, and the curtain in the temple split down the middle. 46 Jesus shouted, “Father, I put myself in your hands!” Then he died.
24 Whenever the creatures flew, their wings roared like an ocean or a large army or even the voice of God All-Powerful. And whenever the creatures stopped, they folded their wings against their bodies.
1. The Values of Buddhism
Teachings of Rev. Sun Myung Moon
In ancient times, Buddhism and Buddhist culture emerged out of God’s will, in order to reform the society of India. Buddhism presented a new ideal through a new understanding of subject and object relationships.15 (144:182, April 24, 1986)
Buddhism, which emerged from India, is a world-level teaching. Only religions like Buddhism, which transcends the practical domain of life and contains a world-level point of view and a transcendental philosophy, will remain in the Last Days. (9:279, June 12, 1960)
Among the Oriental religions, Buddhism is the closest to God’s providence… However, as Buddhism teaches the logic of Sarvadharma [the oneness of all things], it is ignorant of a personal God—a major weakness. Nevertheless, God set things up this way to prepare the people of Asia to one day be united [with God’s Kingdom] through the Oriental religions when Buddhism would connect with Judaism [had the latter received Christ]. (208:311, November 21, 1990)
Buddhism teaches the existence of God, but it focuses on God’s lawful aspect. It does not explain that God is actively working in the world. (53:297, March 4, 1972)
The Buddha’s entire philosophy is based on law (dharma). However, the object of dharma is the circumstances of human beings as objects, not the human being himself. Actually, the measure of a human being is love, not law. But the Buddha taught a standard based on law; hence his teachings are called Law Sutras.
Buddhism teaches self-realization, but what should happen after attaining self-realization? Is that the end of it? That is why, even though Buddhists live solitary lives deep in the mountains and work hard for self-discipline and self-realization, they still are ambiguous about the ideal world of love. (50:116, November 6, 1971)
2. Buddhist Enlightenment
Strive and cleave the stream. Discard, O Brahmin, sense-desires. Knowing the destruction of conditioned things, be a knower of the Unmade.
Since all Dharmas are immanent in our mind there is no reason why we should not realize intuitively the real nature of Suchness. The Bodhisattva Sila Sutra says, “Our Essence of Mind is intrinsically pure, and if we knew our mind and realized what our nature is, all of us would attain Buddhahood.”
Sutra of Hui Neng 2
Every Buddha Tathagata is one whose body is the Principle of Nature (Dharmadhatu-kaya), so that he may enter into the mind of any being. Consequently, when you have perceived Buddha, it is indeed that mind of yours that possesses those thirty-two signs of perfection and eighty minor marks of excellence [which you see in Buddha]. In fine, it is your mind that becomes Buddha; nay, your mind is indeed Buddha. The ocean of true and universal knowledge of all the Buddhas derives its source from one’s own mind and thought.
Meditation on Buddha Amitayus 17
In heaven and on earth, I alone am the Honored One.
7 Crowds of people came out to be baptized, but John said to them, “You bunch of snakes! Who warned you to run from the coming judgment? 8 Do something to show that you really have given up your sins. Don’t start saying that you belong to Abraham’s family. God can turn these stones into children for Abraham.9 An ax is ready to cut the trees down at their roots. Any tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into a fire.”
47 City of Babylon, You are delicate and untouched, but that will change. Surrender your royal power and sit in the dirt. 2 Start grinding grain! Take off your veil. Strip off your fancy clothes and cross over rivers. 3 You will suffer the shame of going naked, because I will take revenge, and no one can escape. 4 I am the Lord All-Powerful, the holy God of Israel. I am their Savior.
2. Rebirth Requires Cutting Off the Old Self
All who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and puts off the natural man and becomes a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becomes as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord sees fit to inflict upon him, even as a child submits to his father.
Book of Mormon, Mosiah 3.19 (Latter-day Saints)
These same people, though wrapped in all these veils of limitation, and despite the restraint of such observances, as soon as they drank the immortal draught of faith, from the cup of certitude, at the hand of the Manifestation of the All-glorious, were so transformed that they would renounce for his sake their kindred, their substance, their lives, their beliefs, yea, all else save God! So over-powering was their yearning for God, so uplifting their transports of ecstatic delight, that the world and all that is therein faded before their eyes into nothingness. Have not this people exemplified the mysteries of rebirth?
Book of Certitude 155 (Baha’i Faith)
Teachings of Rev. Sun Myung Moon
We cannot be born again unless we deny our fallen selves. (244:100, January 31, 1993)
Christianity teaches that we cannot be saved unless we receive the Holy Spirit. We come before God when the Holy Spirit visits us and connects us with the Savior. The Holy Spirit comes to bring us to Heaven, to the God of goodness. But before we can receive it, first we must repent. (99:75, September 1, 1978)
Resurrection may be defined as the process of being restored from the death caused by the Fall to life, from the realm of Satan’s dominion to the realm of God’s direct dominion, through the providence of restoration. Accordingly, whenever we repent of our sins and rise to a higher state of goodness, we are resurrected to that degree. (Exposition of the Divine Principle, Resurrection 1.3)
Father! Because we were born from evil, we must be born again to goodness. The destiny of having to be born twice is a very miserable one. Isn’t living as a stepchild very regrettable even in the world? Yet we are not even at the level of stepchildren; having been born as children of the enemy we must find our Original Parents, but the path is never a smooth one. Therefore, we receive countless attacks from Satan’s spears, swords and arrows. We must cut the ties that bind our bodies and go forth. We must confront the people that bind us and cut their ties, whether with our teeth or with our strength. (27:161, December 7, 1969)