Sodom and Gomorrah Deserved God’s Punishment

2 Corinthians 9

I don’t need to write you about the money you plan to give for God’s people. I know how eager you are to give. And I have proudly told the Lord’s followers in Macedonia that you people in Achaia have been ready for a whole year. Now your desire to give has made them want to give. That’s why I am sending Titus and the two others to you. I want you to be ready, just as I promised. This will prove that we were not wrong to brag about you.

Jeremiah 23

11 The Lord told me to say:

You prophets and priests
think so little of me, the Lord,
    that you even sin
    in my own temple!
12 Now I will punish you
    with disaster,
and you will slip and fall
    in the darkness.
I, the Lord, have spoken.

Richard: Remember, the current day priests and prophets are ministers in Christian churches.

Abraham

4. Abraham’s Plea for the People of Sodom and Gomorrah

The Lord said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do, seeing that Abraham shall become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall bless themselves by him? No, for I have chosen him, that he may charge his children and his household after him to keep the way of the lord by doing righteousness and justice; so that the lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.”
    Genesis 18.17-19

The Lord said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great and their sin is very grave, I will go down to see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry which has come to me; and if not, I will know.

”So the men turned from there, and went toward Sodom; but Abraham still stood before the Lord. Then Abraham drew near, and said, “Will you indeed destroy the righteous with the wicked? Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city; will you still destroy the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it? Far be it from you to do such a thing, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
    And the lord said, “If I find at Sodom fifty righteous in the city, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”
    Abraham answered, “Behold, I have taken upon myself to speak to the lord, I who am but dust and ashes. Suppose five of the fifty righteous are lacking? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five?

”And he said, “I will not destroy it if I find forty-five there.”
    “Suppose forty… thirty… twenty…”
    “For the sake of twenty I will not destroy it.”
“Oh let not the lord be angry, and I will speak again but this once. Suppose ten are found there.”
“For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.” And the lord went his way when he had finished speaking to Abraham; and Abraham returned to his place.
    Genesis 18.20-33

Teachings of Rev. Sun Myung Moon

Sodom and Gomorrah deserved God’s punishment. It was not Abraham’s direct concern whether the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah understood the will of God or whether their people were doomed. Yet because he had a sense of mission for the divine dispensation, he felt that he should take responsibility for them. Day and night, Abraham felt anxious over the fate of the two cities; what is written in the Bible reveals some of his inner feelings.
    Today, as we witness the concluding period of the 6,000-year history of God’s providence, we can sleep in peace, wear nice clothes and eat good food, but not because of any merit on our part. The reason the world can at least sustain us is because in the background there was Abraham, and countless unknown people like him, as a hidden root. They appealed to God on behalf of their peoples, shedding tears and blood on countless altars…
    If there were even a few righteous people in Sodom and Gomorrah who knew of Abraham’s fervent prayer that penetrated into heaven, of his discussion with God face-to-face, Abraham could have used them as a condition when he appealed to God, “O Father, who determines and judges with justice, far be it that you should slay the righteous with the wicked!” Nonetheless, when he realized that he was the only one praying for Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham’s heart was deeply saddened. (1:138-39, July 1, 1956)

America—this Sodom and Gomorrah-like hell! Unless I can deal with it and restore it, the Kingdom of Heaven cannot be built. It has every element that can ruin the youth of the world. It is the breeding place of drugs, promiscuity, and all manner of corruption. I am trying to clean it up with my own hands. (105:324, October 28, 1979)

Since I came to America I have been working as hard as I can, and also I am pushing Americans to go through many hardships. Nevertheless, if we can prosper, it can be a blessing to America, and an indemnity condition that can cover the failure of America to fulfill its God-given mission. Then, I can pray to God, “Heavenly Father, please have regard for these Thy children and forgive America for their sakes. Although America deserves to perish, because these children are devoted to Thee, please save this nation.” It is similar to Abraham’s prayer when he pleaded with God to spare Sodom and Gomorrah if ten righteous people could be found. (103:200, February 25, 1979)

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

The Path of Indemnity Is to Deny Oneself and Go Opposite the Way of the World

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Joshua 19

24-26 Asher was the fifth tribe chosen to receive land, and the region for its clans included the following towns:

Helkath, Hali, Beten, Achshaph, Allammelech, Amad, and Mishal.

Jeremiah 50

38 Your rivers and canals
    will dry up.

All of this will happen,
because your land
    is full of idols,
and they have made fools
    of you.
39 Never again will people live
    in your land—
only desert animals, jackals,
    and unclean birds.

Richard: Modern day idols are power, money and sex, when misused in a self-centered way.

Reversal and Restoration

Teachings of Rev. Sun Myung Moon

The path of indemnity is to deny oneself and go opposite the way of the world. In the beginning in the Garden of Eden, Adam fell because he rejected God and followed Satan. Now in reverse we must reject Satan and return to God. (73:93, August 4, 1974)

When someone has lost his original position or state, he must make some condition to be restored to it. The making of such conditions of restitution is called indemnity. For example, to recover lost reputation, position or health, one must make the necessary effort or pay the due price. Suppose two people who once loved each other come to be on bad terms; they must make some condition of reconciliation before the love they previously enjoyed can be revived. In like manner, it is necessary for human beings who have fallen from God’s grace into corruption to fulfill some condition before they can be restored to their true standing. (Exposition of the Divine Principle, Restoration 1.1)

A snake cannot grow without shedding its skin. To shed it, the snake crawls between narrow rocks. It needs an opposing force to push off the old skin. Likewise, the force of darkness has soaked through our body and blood. We cannot just go along with it; how do we get rid of it? We need the wisdom to go the opposite way entirely. (46:83, July 25, 1971)

Humanity went astray from the very beginning when Adam and Eve went in the wrong direction. Now we have to turn it completely around. Our conventional attitudes, our ways of thinking, and our desires in all areas of life must be changed into their opposites. What, then, should be our way of thinking? Thus far we have been thinking about our family for how it can benefit ourselves, and we have been dealing with our nation in ways that advance our self-interest. However, from now on we should think, “I exist for the greater whole—for my family, not for me; for my nation, not for me; for the world, not for me.” Do you understand what I am saying? We must change fundamentally. White people should live for black people and yellow people, and yellow people should live for white people and black people. Likewise, Christianity should live for Islam, and Islam for Christianity. (May 1, 1978)

The Human Fall took place because the first human ancestors were caught up with consciousness of self. Conversely, restoration requires that our awareness be reoriented away from the self and toward the cosmos and its ideal purpose. Therefore, the path to liberation requires that we willingly bear other people’s burdens and take responsibility for the common good. (396:178, November 7, 200

God Only Asks People to Pay a Small Amount

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Jeremiah 49

30 Run and hide,
you people of the desert
    who live in villages!
Nebuchadnezzar has big plans
    for you.
31 You have no city walls
    and no neighbors to help,
yet you think you’re safe—
    so I told him to attack.
32 Then your camels
and large herds
    will be yours no longer.

People of the Arabian Desert,
disaster will strike you
    from every side,
and you will be scattered
    everywhere on earth.
33 Only jackals will live
where your villages once stood.
    I, the Lord, have spoken.

John 7

37 On the last and most important day of the festival, Jesus stood up and shouted, “If you are thirsty, come to me and drink! 38 Have faith in me, and you will have life-giving water flowing from deep inside you, just as the Scriptures say.” 39 Jesus was talking about the Holy Spirit, who would be given to everyone that had faith in him. The Spirit had not yet been given to anyone, since Jesus had not yet been given his full glory.

Atonement

  1. The Principle of Atonement

Teachings of Rev. Sun Myung Moon

In the Old Testament Age, the chosen people of Israel made atonement through offering ceremonies involving the shedding of blood. But they did not know the principle behind it. God is the owner of all creation. However, the sacrificial offering represented the people. It was divided into two: one part was taken by God and the other, by Satan. (309:203, May 30, 1999)

What is meant by indemnity? No human being could possibly pay all his debt of sin. Even if he tried for his entire lifetime, he would die with the debt still unpaid. Therefore, salvation requires that there be a way to lighten the debt and shorten the period to pay it off. God would shorten the period to, say, one year. However, at that point Satan makes accusations and insists that God cannot be so lenient; he demands a greater payment, one that might require ten years. Then what happens? God and Satan agree to a compromise. In other words, there is a struggle between God and Satan. Satan demands that human beings pay a great deal of the debt as is their due, while God only asks people to pay a small amount as a condition to forgive the whole debt. Actually, Satan is correct from the viewpoint of principle: debts should be paid in full. Yet, God is correct from the viewpoint of love, in seeking a way to reconnect human beings with His love. And love is the very core of the principle. (111:147, February 10, 1981)

We received the amazing grace of forgiveness of our sins thanks to the altars of blood erected by the many saints and sages. 11 (9:161, May 8, 1960)

Why has God patiently made sacrifice after sacrifice, developing His providence to the worldwide level? For whom has God made these sacrifices? Not for America, nor for Christianity; God did it to save me. God sent the Jesus Christ and allowed him to die on the cross for me, for my salvation. God then raised up the Christian church, established it throughout the world, and prepared it for the Second Coming in these Last Days—all for me. (77:46, March 30, 1975)

There are several categories of people who go to the spirit world. One group lives out their full span of life; another group does not. Among those who go to the spirit world earlier than their given life span, there are two categories: those who are being punished for their sins, and those who are taken as indemnity conditions for the sins of the world.
There is a saying that if in a village three exemplary young men die in their prime, great blessings will come to that village. The same is true for a clan: if three great young men die in a clan, that clan will receive many blessings. That is, to deserve blessings a price must be paid. This is by the law ofcause and effect: it applies everywhere.
When God lets one central person, worthy of one thousand people, go the path of death, ifthose one thousand people are moved by his love and are determined to live like him, taking after his example, they will enter that person’s realm of benefit. People want to follow the path of a patriot or a saint because they want to enter the same realm of benefit. Last year, many of our church members went to the spirit world, and it will be the same this year as well. Although I do not speak of it, I am already aware it will happen. Why is it so? Every time we take another step forward, we must pay indemnity for it. (33:11, July 28, 1970)
You should become like a chief priest, repenting of the past on behalf of your people and making an offering of atonement before God. In order to make such an offering, you should share your people’s path of tribulation. This is a principle in approaching God. (13:265, April 12, 1964)

And the Great Dragon Was Thrown Down

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James 1

From James, a servant of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Greetings to the twelve tribes scattered all over the world.[a]

My friends, be glad, even if you have a lot of trouble. You know that you learn to endure by having your faith tested. But you must learn to endure everything, so that you will be completely mature and not lacking in anything.

Jeremiah 51

51 I, the Lord, am sending
    a wind to destroy
the people of Babylonia
    and Babylon, its capital.
Foreign soldiers will come
    from every direction,
and when the disaster is over,
Babylonia will be empty
    and worthless.

The Devil and His Activities

Scriptures of all religions testify to demonic beings and powers. Their chief is known by various names: Satan, Lucifer, Iblis, Mara, Samael, Beelzebub and Angra Mainyu, among others. Some of them we met in the accounts of the human Fall and the origin of evil. yet the Devil is continually active, drawing people’s hearts to do wickedness. While rationalists have difficulty accepting the reality of the Devil, a glance at the history of the twentieth century and its horrors makes plain that the capability of human beings to inflict evil on one another transcends reason. Pope Paul VI said of the Devil,
 
We know that this dark and disturbing spirit really exists, and that he still acts with treacherous cunning; he is the secret enemy that sows errors and misfortunes in human history… who finds his way into us by way of the senses, the imagination, lust, utopian logic, or disorderly social contacts in the give and take of life.
The Devil’s hooks are many and various. scriptures teach that when a person desires to do a small evil, the Devil has a claim and can influence him to do something far worse. conversely, people on a religious path experience the Devil’s temptations precisely at the point where they are about to make great progress. 
    Belief in the power of the Devil does not imply dualism, although in some religions—Zoroastrianism most notably—God and the Devil are in eternal rivalry. For the monotheistic faiths that teach the goodness of God’s creation, the demons themselves are resultant beings, angels who fell from their original status as God’s servants to become the enemies of God. Father Moon explains that the fall of the angel Lucifer occurred at the human Fall, at which time he becomes Satan, the powerful demon who asserts dominion over human beings.     Following these are passages describing the Devil’s nature and the various temptations and stratagems he uses to capture human beings. We should be aware that the key to overcoming Satan is to purify ourselves of every characteristic that resembles him—selfishness, arrogance, greed, craving for sensual pleasures—and instead live a life fixed on God and eternity.
  1. The Fall of the Angels
And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. Revelation 12.9How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you said in your heart, “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High.” Yet you shall be brought down to hell, to the depths of the pit.
    Isaiah 14.12-15 (KJV)
 
And when We said to the angels, “Bow your-selves to Adam,” they bowed themselves, save Iblis; he said, “Shall I bow myself to one whom You have created of clay?” He said, “What do you think? This [creature] You have honored above me, if You defer me until the Day of Resurrection I shall assuredly master his seed, save a few.”
    Said We, “Depart! Those of them that follow you—surely hell shall be your recompense, an ample recompense! And startle any of them whom you can with your voice; and rally against them your horsemen and your foot [soldiers], and share with them in their wealth and their children, and promise them!” But Satan promises them naught, except delusion.
    Qur’an 17.61-64
 
The Lord God spoke to Moses, saying, “That Satan… is the same who was from the beginning, and he came before me, saying, ‘Behold, here am I; send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that not one soul shall be lost. Surely I will do it; therefore give me my honor.’
    “But my Beloved Son, who was my Beloved and Chosen from the beginning, said to me, ‘Father, Thy will be done, and the glory be Thine forever.’
    “Therefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give to him my own power; by the power of my Only Begotten [Christ], I caused that he should be cast down; and he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice.”
    Pearl of Great Price, Moses 4.1-4 (Latter-day Saints)
 
And the angels that did not keep their own position but left their proper dwelling have been kept by Him in eternal chains in the nether gloom until the judgment of the great day; just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise acted immorally and indulged in unnatural lust, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.
Jude 6-7