When God Gives a Command, It is not Something that Is Easy to Believe

Hebrews 13

11 After the high priest offers the blood of animals as a sin offering, the bodies of those animals are burned outside the camp. 12 Jesus himself suffered outside the city gate, so that his blood would make people holy. 13 That’s why we should go outside the camp to Jesus and share in his disgrace. 14 On this earth we don’t have a city that lasts forever, but we are waiting for such a city.

15 Our sacrifice is to keep offering praise to God in the name of Jesus. 16 But don’t forget to help others and to share your possessions with them. This too is like offering a sacrifice that pleases God.

Jeremiah 50

37 Then your chariot horses
and the foreigners in your army
    will refuse to go into battle,
and the enemy will carry away
    everything you treasure.

Noah

1. Noah and the Flood

Teachings of Rev. Sun Myung Moon

When God gives a command, it is not something that is easy to believe; rather it is something unbelievable. For example, God ordered Noah to build an ark for 120 years for the preparation for the flood judgment.9 Further, God ordered him to build the ark not by a river but on a mountaintop. Was it easy for Noah to believe this direction? The human ancestors fell due to the faithlessness; therefore, God needed Noah to stand on absolute faith. That is the reason He did not give him a command that was easy to believe. (53:93, February 10, 1972)

What do you think Noah’s family thought of him? Noah built the ark on the top of a mountain. If it had been on flat land it would be one thing, but building a ship on the top of a mountain is not only beyond common sense, it also certainly exceeded the limits of tolerance. In any ordinary sense, Noah was acting like a crazy man. If he wanted to build a ship, he should have built it on a river-bank, but since he built it on a mountain, his action was totally beyond common sense.
    When God gave that command, do you think He did it in a joking manner? No. God knew better than anyone that Noah’s course would require lifelong dedication on a path of unbearable suffering. God’s anxiety at giving that command was greater than Noah’s suffering. Nevertheless, God commanded Noah to go the path of suffering for 120 years, hoping thereby to gain a way to resolve His inner situation. How miserable was God’s heart? His misery was indescribable.
    At the decisive, tense moment, when whether or not to accept that command hung in the balance, Noah chose to obey God. At that moment, who do you think was happier, God or Noah? Had it gone the other way, God is the one who would have been saddened more than Noah. God’s position is that of a Lord who takes responsibility for joy and sorrow. (48:69, September 5, 1971)

Imagine, you women here, that you were Noah’s wife. Do you think you would have approved of him? Perhaps not. Every day he must have climbed up and down the mountain to build an ark, claiming that he had received a command from God. Every day his wife must have packed his lunch. Since Noah was too busy building the ark to provide for his family, she must have had to take the burden of providing for the family. In the beginning she might have been able to manage it, but within a few months family squabbles must have begun. Yet this difficult situation had to continue not for just twelve months or twelve years, but for 120 years. When she realized that she had to do it for 120 years, she must have fiercely accused her husband, saying that he had gone insane.
    Why couldn’t God instruct Noah to carry out His Will in ordinary circumstances? The reason is this: God cannot dwell together with evil. God’s direction is 180 degrees contrary to the direction of Satan. God abhors evil! If even a few people who are comfortable living in the satanic world have a small amount of faith in Him, God would not be pleased. In God’s sight, the things that are precious to people who compromise with evil would only defile His world.
    Even ordinary people have such a feeling. We do not like anything about our enemy; we do not even want to see him. If so, would the absolute God be pleased to receive praise from the evil world? Hence, God worked in a way that made it impossible for the people of the fallen world to have faith in Him. (69:94-95, October 21, 1973)

For one hundred and twenty years, Noah tolerated the faithless people who opposed and ridiculed him. Even when God told him to warn them that the earth was about to be judged, he accomplished his duty to God in faith. Because he was a righteous man, he was deeply concerned and saddened for the corrupt society in which he lived. While most people were living for their personal comfort, Noah alone struggled to uphold the commandment of public righteousness; Noah alone was concerned about the will of God; and Noah alone grieved in circumstances no one would want to endure. (3:169-70, October 25, 1957

I Must Restore the unaccomplished Mission of past Prophets and Saints

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Exodus 37

10 Bezalel built a table of acacia wood thirty-six inches long, eighteen inches wide, and twenty-seven inches high.

Richard: We should be practically involved in building God’s Kingdom, such as teaching the importance of sexual abstinence before marriage.

Matthew 9

29 Jesus touched their eyes and said, “Because of your faith, you will be healed.” 30 They were able to see, and Jesus strictly warned them not to tell anyone about him. 31 But they left and talked about him to everyone in that part of the country.

Richard: This is very interesting. Why did Jesus not want people (at that time) to know about him? Study more about Jesus’ course here.

Founders, Prophets and Saints

3. Keeping the Tradition of the Fathers of Faith

Teachings of Rev. Sun Myung Moon

We should respect the tradition established by the forefathers of faith… Where is the spirit of Noah who was loyal to Heaven for 120 years? Where is the spirit of Abraham, who left the land of Ur of the Chaldeans to wander in a foreign land? Where is the spirit of Jacob, who left the land of Canaan and entered Egypt, and the spirit of the Israelites, who fled Egypt, the land of their enemy, and marched across the wilderness to the land of Canaan? Where is the spirit of Jesus, who after coming to the earth, wanted to bring all Israel into a new blessed Canaan, the new Eden? You should inherit their spirit through keeping their tradition. (8:25, October 25, 1959)

When Confucius appeared, did he ignore the traditions passed down from generation to generation and create something totally new that never before existed in history? No, he did not. Rather, he studied the traditions, systematized their ideas, and expanded upon them. (25:93, September 30, 1969)

Why should posterity revere the saints and the great men and women of the past? It is because in their hearts are concentrated all the stories of the struggle for goodness. In order to achieve the purpose of goodness, we should devote ourselves through their foundations. Otherwise, we cannot connect with the path leading to the fulfillment of the divine purpose. People cherish the saints and seek to follow in their footsteps, because through them the fallen human heart is connected to the heart of Heaven. Thus, it is natural to follow these people as we pursue our original value. (17:268, February 15, 1967)

In the history of the providence of resurrection, many of those who were entrusted with a mission exerted themselves with utmost sincerity and faith to realize the will of Heaven. Even though they may not have fully carried out their responsibilities, based on their devotion, they broadened the foundation upon which subsequent generations can form a relationship of heart with God. We call this foundation the merit of the age in the providence of restoration. The merit of the age has increased in proportion to the foundation of heart laid by the prophets, sages and righteous people who came before us. (Exposition of the Divine Principle, Resurrection 2.1)

As an individual, each one of us is a product of the history of the providence of restoration. Hence, the person who is to accomplish the purpose of history is none other than I, myself. I must take up the cross of history and accept responsibility to fulfill its calling…
    In other words, I must restore through indemnity, during my own generation, all the unaccomplished missions of past prophets and saints who were called in their time to carry the cross of restoration. Otherwise, I cannot become the individual who completes the purpose of the providence of restoration. To become such an historical victor, I must understand clearly the heart of God when He worked with past prophets and saints, the original purpose for which God called them, and the details of the providential missions which He entrusted to them. (Exposition of the Divine Principle, Restoration 3)

We must become sons and daughters adequate
to inherit the spirit of our forbearers
who shouldered the mission of indemnity through the ages of history. (30:39, March 15, 1970)

Religious Founders Taught the True Way to Live

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John 21

12 Jesus said, “Come and eat!” But none of the disciples dared ask who he was. They knew he was the Lord. 13 Jesus took the bread in his hands and gave some of it to his disciples. He did the same with the fish. 14 This was the third time that Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from death.

Isaiah 24

24 The Lord is going to twist the earth out of shape and turn it into a desert. Everyone will be scattered, including ordinary people and priests, slaves and slave owners, buyers and sellers, lenders and borrowers, the rich and the poor. The earth will be stripped bare and left that way. This is what the Lord has promised.

Founders, Prophets and Saints

2. Every Prophet and Saint Endured Hardships and Rejection

Teachings of Rev. Sun Myung Moon

Of all the people throughout history, there are four great saints worthy of reverence; they are Jesus, Mohammed, Confucius, and Buddha. Did they have big, fancy houses? Did they even live a settled life in a village? No, wherever they went they were persecuted, despised and driven out. Jesus said, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have their nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” Is that a characteristic of a great man?
    During his time Confucius was called a “homeless, wandering dog,” as he put it, because he had to beg for food while traveling from place to place. The Buddha was born into a palace as a great prince, but he gave it all up for his spiritual quest, living as a hermit in the mountains, praying and searching for spiritual truth. None of these saints had a house to live in; they died without a nation. Yet today everyone considers them great. (115:14-16, October 25, 1981)

When a prophet spoke out strongly, warning the people not to follow the ways of the world, the people would say angrily, “That man is not one of us!” They would beat him and persecute him and cast him out from their midst. After much bitter rejection, the prophet would reach out to the failures of the world, to the crippled, the wounded, and those discarded by society. He would tell them of his mission as a prophet and describe how the people persecuted him and drove him out. Thus he would build relationships with those who were similarly rejected by society.
    He would give hope to people in despair, telling them of a new world, one far better than the existing society of their day. They would naturally listen closely to the message, while the stylish and well-to-do people were nowhere to be seen. Only society’s rejects became his followers. None of the people with talent and good family backgrounds joined him because Satan took them all away. All that remained were those whose hearts were hurt and scarred. They were the ones with no ties to the world and who wished for a new world. They were the ones who responded to the prophet’s words of hope. (106:176-77, December 30, 1979)

The founders of religion taught the true way to live. They taught the people of their age about the world to come, but the people were ignorant and could not understand. Why? The difference between the future world and the present reality was too great. Hence, the rulers of their time persecuted, expelled and even murdered them.
   These saints did not harm their countries. They only wanted to rescue their countries from chaos and lead them to hope. However, the people did not understand, and drove them out. Yet, over the course of time, people began to accept their teachings because they showed the way for all people. In due course, their teachings would become the nucleus of the world’s civilizations. (39:256, January 15, 1971)

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)

Gods Intention Was to Unite the Arab People and the Jewish People

Hebrews 8

All of them will know me,
    no matter who they are.
12 I will treat them with kindness,
even though they are wicked.
    I will forget their sins.”

13 When the Lord talks about a new agreement, he means that the first one is out of date. And anything that is old and useless will soon disappear.

2 Chronicles 36

36 After the death of Josiah, the people of Judah crowned his son Jehoahaz their new king. He was twenty-three years old at the time, and he ruled only three months from Jerusalem. King Neco of Egypt captured Jehoahaz and forced Judah to pay almost four tons of silver and seventy-five pounds of gold as taxes. Then Neco appointed Jehoahaz’s brother Eliakim king of Judah and changed his name to Jehoiakim. He led Jehoahaz away to Egypt as his prisoner.

Islam

2. A Rival Religion, Correcting the Religions that Preceded It

Teachings of Rev. Sun Myung Moon

Had John the Baptist and the people of Israel accepted Jesus, they were destined to struggle against the Roman Empire, just as Jacob wrestled against the angel at the Ford of Jabbok.
    At that time, Roman sovereignty was weak, and there was an opportunity for the smaller surrounding countries to win their independence. Therefore, with Jesus Christ as the commander-in-chief, the movement could have unified the Arab world in revolt against Rome.
    By fighting a common enemy, God’s intention was to unite the Arab people and the Jewish people. It was an opportunity for these peoples under the Roman yoke to unite as one. But first, Jesus, Judaism and John the Baptist’s movement had to become one. That was the precondition to defeat Rome. However, instead John the Baptist went his own way, Jesus acted alone, and the Jews eventually revolted on their own [and were crushed]. As a result, there came to be lasting division between the Arabs and Jews. (111:151, February 10, 1981)
 
In the seventh century, the religion of Islam emerged in the Middle East. It was because Jesus was unable to establish his own nation that Islam appeared and took the position of a rival to Christianity. It is for Islam and Christianity to resolve this Cain-Abel relationship, and when they do they both will be perfected. Thus, you should understand that it was out of providential necessity that God raised up Islam as a rival religion. What do conventional theologians say is the reason and purpose of Islam?
 
    The Jews had received much blessing from God after the Exodus from Egypt. Nevertheless, [after the crucifixion] Islam emerged from the central people—the descendants of Abraham—and became the Jews’ adversaries. Nevertheless, the Jews should learn to live with their Muslim adversaries.
    These days, Islam is expanding more rapidly than Christianity. They are strong! Their values are strong and their faith is firm! They do not sway back and forth, compromising like Christians do.
    Ishmael and Isaac are brothers, both sons of Abraham. Yet their descendants became adversaries and fought throughout history. After the Jews lost Jerusalem, Christians and Muslims fought over the city at the time of the Crusades. The land of Israel should be restored for all these brother religions. However, this must not be accomplished by fighting and bloodshed.
    That is why Reverend Moon, representing Christianity and as founder of the Unification Church, gave his hand to Minister Farrakhan; and also to President Wahid of Indonesia. I wanted to join President Wahid and Minister Farrakhan as brothers. I also helped Minister Farrakhan at the Million Family March. White people opened their eyes in alarm, saying that I should by no means ever help him. But I said to those people, “You oppose me now, but wait and see who is right. Just follow me as I guide you, and something good will definitely happen, something that pleases God. Close your eyes and pray. Don’t open your mouth.”40 (June 21, 2001)
 
Jesus taught us to love our enemies. Minister Farrakhan may be an enemy to Christianity… but since we are taught to love our enemies, I am loving him. Does China love America? Does the Soviet Union love China? Between these enemies there is no love, but taking God’s standpoint I love them all. That is why I have no enemies—neither Christians nor Muslims, neither blacks nor whites. (339:156, December 10, 2000)