Terence Malley
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Biblical Reflections

 

 

‘Biblical Writings’ Heading

This heading used to bear the title of Father Moon’s lecture series, called the Divine Principle.  I am leaving it blank for now because I need some serious head-space to tackle this project, in which I will attempt to summarise his teachings – using, perhaps, more accessible language that non-religious people can relate to.  This may take months, and even years, to complete and to do justice to.  I may start posting content there soon, we’ll see.   

Postscript to above paragraph

On reflection, I am not sure if it will serve any useful purpose to go ahead with the proposed summary of Moon’s Divine Principle (DP).     While the DP itself is contained in one single book, it has been further informed by subsequent writings and speeches made by Father Moon.   In addition, there have been numerous writings by academic and religious scholars on his teachings.   Therefore, to provide a ‘bite-size summary’ could not possibly do it justice. 

Instead, I will use this section to write various personal reflections on aspects of the DP that have touched on me (yet again, with the corollary that these are only my impressions and not direct UM teaching).   My first task will be to write on the life and mission of Jesus. 

Even though the central message of SMM is a simple one – that God is our spiritual parent who longs for a reconciliation with us - as would any loving parent wish for with their children who have lived as orphans – the teachings are far more detailed as they trace the course of God’s providential history from the very beginning of biblical human history right up to today.  I can see myself getting really bogged down in producing graphical presentations with diagrams, time-lines and charts used throughout and that will be challenging for both you to view and follow, as well as for me to reproduce!

As I see it, there are four main topics that the Divine Principle (DP) covers, which I hope will help prepare you in advance for when you attend a UM workshop (best option) or go online to watch the video presentations on SMM’s official website.   These are:

1.   The Principle of Creation – how and why life as we know it began and God’s original plan for mankind.

2.   The Fall of Man – how it all went wrong

 3.   God’s Path of Restoration for man up to the time of Jesus – looking at the Old Testament & other religious texts from other world faiths in perhaps a new light.

4.    God’s Path of Restoration for man from the time of Jesus to present day – looking at the mission of Jesus as contained in the New Testament, as well as looking at other world faiths that God has inspired and worked through in order to prepare people for the Lord of the Second Advent or returning Messiah, as well as to prepare for the present-day convergence of all faiths into one harmonious belief. 

(Anyway, abbreviated workshops are available over a weekend or a full seven days and I would suggest you try to attend these instead (see some dates etc or contact info in UM Links & News).   The whole point of a workshop is that you are taking yourself away, in a retreat like experience, from the normal distractions of everyday living so that your spiritual self can have a chance to predominate over your temporal self.  I have to say that I would struggle to watch a video presentation online from home without getting distracted by phone calls or TV shows to watch, which is why UM workshops are the best options.

We also have non-UM followers who have attended 21 and 40 day workshops to go more deeper into the content of the DP.   That can even stretch to 120 day workshops as well as undergraduate degree, Masters and PHD level courses at our theological seminaries in New York and South Korea.   Many of our seminarians have attended Harvard Theological degree courses as well, including Father Moon’s youngest son (Sean Hyung Jin) – there is a picture of him posted up on UM Links & News, speaking with the Dalai Lama.   The UM and Father Moon, as its founder, is one of the most researched topics within the New Religious Movement categories in universities throughout the world, and we get quite a lot of academics attending our workshops for their research work.   There is absolutely no pressure on them to join the UM and many have walked away from the workshops with a very changed and positive view of what the Moonies are about.)

   

Ten Statements Of Belief

(Here is something I wrote back in Nov 2010)

1.           I believe in a God that does not need me to question His existence, no more than I need to question the existence of electricity that turns on this light bulb

2.           I believe in a God that provides us with the raw materials and the natural elements that allow us to co-create and in a sense improve on what He has created

3.           I believe in a God that does not contradict science and evolution but surrounds us with an understanding of this great Intelligent Design and that we are more than just random atoms and particles

4.           I believe in a God that allows grown men to weep, mothers to suckle their young, strangers to help those in need, people to die for a cause they believe in … and my parents to fall in love!

5.           I believe in a God that provides us with Mother Nature that both sustain and delight us and all because He wants to walk the earth and enjoy the fruits of His labours through us

6.           I believe in a God that cares not for great deeds built on selfish desires and empty promises but who can bend down and kiss away the cares of the downtrodden and oppressed

7.           I believe in a God that can have such an endless patience and witness the terrible deeds of His children and yet still allow the sun to shine on their faces

8.           I believe in a God that wishes to walk the earth with me and marvel at what He has created as well as the creativity of human endeavour but who also longs to reach out and embrace His orphaned children

9.           I believe in a God that loves me as a true parent would love a child that had wandered into the wilderness and was now returning Home in peace and in reconciliation

10.       I believe in a God that can now rejoice because of what one of His closest sons and daughters have achieved on this earth … and in our own lifetime!

Preamble on mission of Jesus

I know I am going to be controversial with the content you are about to read.  It is a work in progress and I am bound to be continually amending and rewriting content as I revisit it.   This is not meant as some kind of Dan Brown (‘Da Vinci Code’) type sleuthing on my part in order to court controversy or as some deliberate attempt to challenge accepted dogma and doctrine.   Thankfully, we have moved on from the days when spiritual writings like these would be deemed heresy (where I would have been burned at the stake!) and it says a lot for the spiritual maturity of our present age that we can accommodate different interpretations without over-reacting to their content.

However, the time to take off our ‘rose-tinted glasses’ of what kind of person Jesus was needs to happen now.   It is Jesus the man that I am addressing because it is by understanding his life and mission in the context of our own lives and life experiences that we can more fully engage with him as our Lord and Saviour.   Since exploring deeper into his human condition, then I have grown to have a deep love and reverence for him.  This, in turn, has helped me understand more the mind and heart of God, as equally someone who has been grossly misunderstood in history. 

Even if historical records of Jesus’ life are virtually non-existent to sketchy, we have been left with writings by his early followers, each of which take his public life from a different angle.    Some of the clues are there, if we read between the lines, but I believe my views have also been informed by Father Moon’s teachings of how God has been working through providential history to return His children back to their Original Selves.

I should also preface what I am about to write by reiterating that this is not official UM theology but my own reflections on them.   Other UM followers may come to a different perspective and I stand to be corrected by that if their insights prove more plausible.   We are not dealing with an exact science here – this is all in the realms of faith and belief, none of which can be proved nor disproved.   In time, as our spiritual growth and understanding deepens then more of this ‘truth’ will reveal itself to us.  Nevertheless, I believe that Father Moon’s teachings have heralded a Completed Testament era that the New Testament must now give way to, just as 2000 years ago the Old Testament had to give way to the New Testament in terms of how God is trying to communicate with us.  

 

The Early Years of Jesus

 The New Testament Gospels (of Matthew, John and Luke), give no account of Jesus’ life before his public ministry began at the age of 30.  Why is that?  It seems extraordinary that the most important man in history is recorded with very partial and sketchy accounts of those three years of his public life, and virtually nothing is mentioned of his earlier years which spanned ten times that figure i.e. thirty years.  Is there something to be read into this?  Has there been a massive ‘cover-up’ of concealed other writings that perhaps give too much of a human side to Jesus than what the religious hierarchy wished us to know?  

There is a brief mention (Luke 2:39-52) of an incident when at the age of 12 he went missing from his parents after Passover for three days and was later found by them at the temple courts in Jerusalem with Jewish teachers and scholars, sitting in awe, as they listened to him question texts from the Torah and Mosaic laws.   Why was this story the only one recorded of his early years?  In this story, it seems these scholars marvelled that such a young boy could have such a grasp of theology with also the answers he himself gave.   When his mother remonstrated with him about wandering off like this, his response to her was to say he was doing his Father’s business i.e. attending to God’s work.

(Passover was the big celebration to commemorate the Jewish freedom from slavery when Moses brought them out of Egypt and all Jewish people were required to come to Jerusalem each year for the three days of festivities there).

Here is the text of this from Luke that covers all we are given in the Bible about Jesus, before he started his public ministry at the age of 30:

[39] When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. [40] And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.

[41] Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. [42] When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom. [43] After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. [44] Thinking he was in their company, they travelled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. [45] When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him.

[46] After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. [47] Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. [48] When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you."

[49] "Why were you searching for me?" he asked. "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" [50] But they did not understand what he was saying to them.

[51] Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. [52] And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and men.

OK, so what’s the relevance of this brief story because nothing more is said about what Jesus did until he started his public ministry from the age of 30, until his death three years later?  Is it the case that nothing he did before 30, except for this brief account at the court temple, was noteworthy enough?   The way Luke tells this is presumably from speaking with Jesus’ mother, Mary, who tells him this one solitary incident of his childhood, either while Jesus was alive or more likely after his death.   Presumably, she would have told Luke many other instances of his early years but this one seems only to have been recorded.  

Initial impressions may suggest that here was a young lad who had marked himself out as a spiritually highly mature person and therefore in keeping with his future messianic mission.  Growing up as a Catholic, I did think about this passage often because it was the only piece that revealed certain human characteristics of Jesus as a boy.  As Catholics rarely read the Bible itself then we were reliant on the priest for their interpretations – sometimes these were fairly simplistic in the extreme and used to admonish us to be respectful and obedient to our parents. 

I am not trying to be deliberately controversial with the following comment but I believe that Jesus had a very difficult upbringing and childhood, largely because of the role played by Joseph, and despite the best efforts of his mother, Mary, to cushion him from this.   Joseph was not his physical father but his step-father, and he knew this, as presumably the whole town did, which only added to his difficulties of accepting Jesus. Joseph then went on to have five more children with Mary – this was a mistake, and I think indicative of the fact that Joseph didn’t have a clue about what Jesus was all about.  

All these extra children diverted attention away from giving Jesus the upbringing he would have needed to prepare for his mission.  I believe this pained his mother but, in her predicament of having a first-born son that was not Joseph’s, then she may have been forced by her husband to give birth to his own children soon after Jesus was born.   No matter that these things happened so long ago – a similar situation could be played out in any family situation today.   To some extent, Mary also failed in her spiritual responsibilities towards Jesus, as evidenced in another passage where Jesus appears to rebuke his mother.  But then, who are any of us to caste judgements on all of this when we could have done far worse in the same circumstances.

We need to go back to the revelations that occurred at Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem - the appearance of an angel, the guiding star that leads them to safety, the visitation of not only local shepherds who come to worship at his stable door, but also the three wise men (who were kings from far off lands) who came with gold, frankincense and myrrh.   If that doesn’t point out to Joseph that this was a special person he was now responsible for then I don’t know what other proof he needed!    Either these revelations did not take place in the dramatic way they are described (again, written many years later after Jesus’ death when perhaps a certain amount of poetic licence prevailed) or else Joseph was your ‘bog-standard’ Average Joe who was not sensitive to these spiritual awakenings.   My guess is that the truth lies somewhere in between. 

(How often have we experienced some special event that touches our spirituality, almost in a life-changing way, only for us to later forget all about that experience or minimise its impact?   This again highlights the battle between the spiritual and the physical or temporal sides of our life.   In a world of cause and effect, too often we are more comfortable living with the consequences of what happens to us in the physical dimension.  We are basically afraid of our unseen spiritual selves and what messages we are getting from that inner realm within us. 

If the angel Gabriel came down to me at night and, in an all-glowing visionary encounter, told me to leave my family and go and live as a hermit somewhere off the coast of Scotland or Ireland, what are the chances that I would say yes to that?   Even if I did say yes to him, afraid of the consequences of not doing so, and woke up the next morning, do you think I would have the courage to tell my wife that she is on her own now to look after our son?  Spiritual experiences we get are mostly individual and highly personal ones – very rarely are they collective ones that we can share with others.  Most of these we will take to our graves with no one being any the wiser which, I suppose, is a shame.

An experience some of us may be able to share in is the warm glow of goodwill to all men we sometimes get after attending a religious service.  Other times, that does not happen and we just feel we’re going through the motions and maybe just looking forward to the tea and biscuits afterwards.  But think of those precious few times where everything seems to come together.  It could be any combination of an uplifting sermon, the ambience and setting you are in, the feeling of warm fellowship coming from others, the singing of soulful hymns – all have reached into your spiritual core and made you come alive for that time and perhaps for a little while afterwards.   How long afterwards, then, does that experience stay with you?    However, so much depends on your own state of mind at the time, such as suffering some personal hardship, grief or loss, because the same can take place in another frame of mind and you come away with very little spirituality.)

Why have I digressed here?  It is because I believe Joseph, and not just his mother Mary, should have been central to making sure that Jesus got the best upbringing possible to prepare him for his public ministry, which actually should have happened a lot earlier than when he started at the age of 30.   Why is there a veneration of Mary, as the ‘Mother of God’, and little or no mention of Joseph in the New Testament?  Sainthood has been bestowed on him as St Joseph but there is no mention of him attending Jesus’ public ministry in the way that his mother did.  I am not saying that Joseph was deliberately cruel to Jesus – he was just indifferent to a child that was not his, more so when his own children came along.

(At some future time, I will write about the spiritual status of Mary, the mother of Jesus.   In Catholic teaching, she is venerated in a very deep way as the ‘Mother of God’ – a spiritual title that reflects more the paucity of spiritual understanding by those who came later to help frame Catholic doctrine.)

Perhaps it is because Joseph was not so strongly connected to his spiritual self and that so many signs of Jesus’ messianic status just passed him by.  With an ever larger family to support then his temporal self predominated.   It is also possible that he even felt a certain amount of anger towards a step-son who reminded him of a prior relationship that Mary had.  (More detail on this issue to follow at some later time)  Mary was only a slip of a girl of 16 when she gave birth to Jesus – a ‘teenage mum’ if you will, though in more approbate circumstances than exist today as young teenage girls then were expected to be married off at an early age.  

Joseph was arranged in marriage to Mary.  When Mary became pregnant with Jesus, and told Joseph of this, Joseph did not disown his marriage to her.   If he did, it is likely that Mary could have been stoned to death for committing adultery.   He did an incredible act of both love and faith to support Mary, for which we should all be incredibly grateful to him for. When they went to Bethlehem to give birth to Jesus, it was more to do with getting away from their immediate families so as to conceal her pregnancy and imminent birth.  The ‘no room at the Inn’ story at Jesus’ birth was also more to do with the social stigma of what they were going through and was a symbolic representation of society’s disapproval of a birth outside wedlock.  Their choice of a shepherd’s stable was in order to not draw attention to themselves as to the origins of this birth.   As such, I am not sure how excited they were by the attention they were suddenly getting with the gathering of local shepherds coming to worship and the three kings bearing their gifts!

The Flight to Egypt for two years by Joseph and his new family was not just to escape the soldiers of King Herod who were ordered to kill all children under two years, when he got wind of the birth of a new ‘king’ by these same three kings (not so very ‘Wise Men’, as it transpires).   It was also to escape any awkward questions by others about the identity of Jesus’ real father.  It gave them time to settle down as a family, away from people who knew them previously.   By the time of their return to Israel and settling into a small town called Nazareth, they counted on much of this blowing over.   However, I believe that this did not happen and Jesus still had to endure the social stigma of being a ‘bastard’ or illegitimate child.   Mostly, this was to do with Joseph letting the ‘cat out of the bag’ soon after they settled back in Israel.  

Friends and neighbours would have remarked at how unlike Jesus looked to Joseph, more so when Joseph’s own children were coming on to the scene.   Either because of him having a short fuse or hot temper, or because of one night having too much to drink, I believe he did make that very big mistake of not standing by both Jesus and his wife, Mary, and admitting to others that Jesus was not his own flesh and blood.   Again, put yourself in his shoes and I guess you will also understand the inner turmoil that Joseph was experiencing that Mary was not a virgin and had sexual relations with another man that produced Jesus.

In order to reverse the consequences of the Fall of Man, when Adam and Eve ‘ate of the fruit’, then throughout the Bible (both Old and New Testaments) there are examples of God ‘working in mysterious ways’.  Why God should decree that Mary should have sexual relations with an unnamed man is beyond the understanding of those who would later come to write our doctrinal beliefs. It therefore suited such theologians to come up with the concept of ‘Virgin Mary’ and ‘Virgin Birth’ and Christians have bought into this concept without questioning the hidden clues within the Bible that may suggest a very different plan by God.

By the time Jesus was twelve, he was so ‘surplus to requirements’ in Joseph’s mind that no one had noticed him missing on their camel train walk back to Nazareth.  Joseph now had five younger children, his own biological children, to support.  Whether Jesus answering his parents back by saying he was in his ‘real’ father’s house was an intentional rebuke to Joseph we can only speculate on.   At age 12, he perhaps was entering his early teenage rebelliousness, compounded by the sense of isolation he may be feeling.  Think about this please – is it not possible that Joseph reminded Jesus more than once before, at the height of some petty argument or other, that he was not Jesus’ real father?   Is it also not possible that Jesus would have had a hard time of it from relatives and neighbours that he was a ‘bastard’ and illegitimate boy?

(Look, it’s not enough to just gloss over these early years of Jesus as if they were not significant to God’s providence.  They were extremely important but I believe the early gospel writers only had snippets of what he did before the age of 30.  I am inclined to believe that his early followers (apostles and disciples) learned not to ask him about his early years.  

A great deal of revisionism had been done to the Gospels about 300 years after they were written – from the First Council of Nicaea (325 AD) by Christian bishops onwards.  I believe much has been left out or rewritten to portray a particular set of beliefs that really could not be questioned by an illiterate and servile faithful (that Jesus was ‘God made Man’) but which also helped establish an infallible hierarchy (that God’s Word comes only through the Pope and his bishops) that has perpetuated to today.)

Joseph was a carpenter and maybe wasn’t too happy with Jesus’ contribution to the family income, since, in Joseph’s mind, Jesus seemed to be preoccupied with more loftier and spiritual things than helping out with the family carpentry business.   I am sure that Jesus did help out whenever he could as he grew older but perhaps not to the extent that Joseph had hoped for.  He is described as the ‘son of a carpenter’ and not as a carpenter in his own right, so that may give some clue about his worth to Joseph.

(I believe that Jesus did travel extensively throughout these ‘lost years’ up until his public ministry began at 30 in order to prepare himself for his mission.  If he was prepared to spend three days away from his immediate family at aged 12 then it is very plausible that he did not hang around Nazareth all this time attending the family carpentry business).

At this juncture, I can see I am being quite harsh on Joseph.  Actually, I’m not sure if I would have behaved any differently to him, given the circumstances he was in.  We need to get away from this image of Jesus as someone who walked around with a halo around his head, for all to see.  This was a boy who, in a temporal sense, was no different to any other boy.   The sad fact for Jesus was that Joseph did not have his spiritual self switched on for most of the time, especially when he had all these extra mouths to feed.  Mary was incredibly protective of Jesus and of a sense that he was destined for great things, but the sad fact for her was, as Luke writes in line 51 above, she had to keep so many of these things ‘hidden in her heart’.

Luke mentions that the family travelled with ‘relatives and friends’. The camel train included Jesus’ extended ‘family’ of aunts, uncles, cousins and others from Nazareth who would have all travelled together, for safety from bandit attack, once a year from Nazareth to Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover.     Reading between the lines of Luke’s account above, I believe that Mary was already preoccupied with the needs of her younger children not to have noticed where Jesus had got to.   She may have been told by Joseph not to give so much time and attention to her first born son, Jesus, since now she had younger children to care for.   The fact that they left Jerusalem without him would suggest something bordering on reckless abandonment of Jesus.  Crowded as it all must have been in Jerusalem after Passover, the least one would expect is for Joseph to have done a basic head-count of his children to make sure everyone was there.   This is further compounded by the fact that for a day they assumed Jesus was with his relatives or friends.

There is some speculation that Jesus may have been adopted into one of his uncle’s family i.e. one of Joseph’s brothers who may not have had children of his own – who knows.   Additional thinking is that his uncle had a fishing and boating business and that Jesus learnt the skills of fishing more than he did of carpentry, which may explain how he was not only able to recruit fishermen Apostles but also give them advice on catching a shoal of fish, as told in the Bible.  If he was more interested in this line of work from working with his uncle then it may also add credence to his use of boats to travel extensively to areas outside Israel.  Whether to England or India as some speculate then that is anyone’s guess but we should not discount it just because it is not written down in the Bible.

What I think cannot be ruled out is that Jesus just stayed in Nazareth during his earlier and unrecorded years before reaching 30.  I am convinced he did travel extensively in order to better understand how other people outside Israel lived as well as learn more of the various other faiths beyond Judaism in order to reach an understanding that the unconditional power of love that emanates from our heavenly father/mother can also be transmitted towards our fellow man – this simple message is what can unite all of us and bring us to work harmoniously with each other.

 

As much as Mary had a sense of his spiritual status in the visions she received before his birth, I don’t believe she was strong enough to stand up to her husband’s detachment of Jesus as his son.   Joseph knew he was not his son and I can only presume the whole town knew that as well, which perhaps only added to his difficulties in accepting Jesus.   Please bear in mind that this was a highly observant religious part of the world that Jesus grew up in and illegitimacy was very much frowned upon.        

It says in Luke 2:50 ‘But they did not understand what he was saying to them.’  Now if I had said such a thing to my mother at 12 then I may have got a clip around the ear from my dad for such impertinence, not least also for driving them to distraction looking for me for three whole days.  Presumably, the camel train they were on would have gone on without them.  They then had to make their own way back to Nazareth, through bandit country, and Joseph would not have been too pleased with that prospect as well.   For Jesus to say to both his parents that he was in his‘Father’s house’ must have come as a ‘red rag to a bull’ to Joseph.  If Joseph was not spiritually attuned to what Jesus was saying then this would have come across as a serious rebuke to his standing as his parent.  I believe Jesus was beaten ‘black and blue’ by Joseph, such that he learnt not to do or say anything that was likely to offend a hot-tempered Joseph again.  It says:

[51] Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.

At 12, legally he was their responsibility.  It is only when he reaches 13 and attends his bar-mitzvah that he enters manhood and no longer Joseph’s responsibility.   I think it was Mary’s instigation to go back to look for Jesus, rather than Josephs.   Remember the words in Luke say‘she treasured all these things in her heart’.    This suggests she kept a lot of this inside her, rather than reveal Jesus’ true worth to her husband.  Reading more into this, it is possible that Joseph continued to give Mary a hard time over a number of years because Jesus represented an ‘unfaithful’ act on the part of his wife.   As a mother of five further children, Joseph would have reminded her of having to give preferential treatment to his children rather than to an illegitimate child i.e. Jesus. 

I believe also that Joseph’s temporal self predominated in his treatment and understanding of Jesus, and this was the first major handicap he faced in his mission.   Another issue that should be borne in mind is the tradition that the first born son stands to inherit the legacy and family business of his father when the father dies.   So much time and attention would normally be given by a father to his eldest son to prepare him for this inheritance.  What would have been Joseph’s position in this?  Put yourself in his shoes – what would you have done knowing that Jesus was not your real son but the result of an illicit affair between your wife and another man?  There would be additional pain in knowing that your true first born son would not inherit anything.   

This would lead to my thinking that Jesus was adopted by one of Joseph’s brothers at an early age in order for Joseph to be able to treat his own biological first born son as his eldest son to inherit the family business.   In Luke’s account, it says that they looked for him among their relatives after travelling for a day and thinking he was among them.  The fact that it was a day before anyone realised he was not among them would suggest that even his adopted family (his uncle) did not take much care of him either.  I am convinced that Jesus had one of the most miserable upbringings that could be imagined as a result of his family’s domestic arrangements and that that would have included his mother being virtually banned from mothering him in any close way.   Mary may well have been the only one within his community to care for Jesus and it is likely that it was she who would have asked where Jesus was as well as insisting that they go back to Jerusalem to look for him.  

Jesus would have been teased mercilessly about his illegitimacy and it is very possible that he would have been reminded of this even into his later years as I am sure many within the ultra-conservative community in Israel (the ‘chosen people’) would have heard of his background and belittled him for it, right up until the time of his death.

 

What a pity that this one isolated incident, of Jesus as a 12 year old, should be recorded but nothing else about his early years.   Surely there was some meaning to recording this one incident – did it not also mark Jesus out as ‘one to watch’, so to speak, among the holy men of that time?   With such a wise head on young shoulders, I cannot help wondering why these Jewish scholars could not have taken him under their wing as someone with potential to become a great Rabbi and leader.   And yet, fast forward 21 years, and these are probably the very same people who incited the mob to have him crucified by the Romans.  (Anyway, I will go into this another time.)

At both ends of Luke 2:39-52, there are lines that seem to contradict my assertion of a difficult upbringing. 

1.            Line 39 says: ‘When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth’.

2.           Line 40 says: ‘And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him’.

3.           Finally, Line 52 says: ‘And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and men.’

I suppose I could have taken these lines out, and be deliberately selective of the text to expound on my claim.   This would have been deceptive of me and higher authorities than I will now need to discourse on where the truth lies or, better still, for Jesus himself to reveal through the Holy Spirit what his early years were like.  This is not a ‘cop-out’ on my part because I believe he could still have had a difficult upbringing and yet, because the ‘grace of God was upon him’ still grow ‘in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and men’.  

His triumph over adversity was not solely in his offering himself up to the Cross – his whole life was a triumph over adversity.   Whether it matters to any of us what kind of childhood he had may be immaterial to what he subsequently achieved in his short lifetime, but I cannot accept these two lines from Luke (lines 40 & 52) as anything more than a ‘glossing over’ of Jesus’ first thirty years on the earth.  

 

Postscript to above (Oct 2010)

My account of Jesus’ early years could be way off the mark and just my wild imaginings.  On the one hand, I cannot prove my theories but on the other hand I cannot be disproved of them either.   Jesus has been appearing to Father Moon since the age of 16 but has not volunteered accounts of his life to him.   In inheriting Jesus’ mission directly from him and from God, then both God and Jesus have had to step back in order to test Father Moon’s foundation of faith.  

Christianity, in its present form and various forms of worship, may be flawed but at least it had enough going for it to some extent in keeping Satan at bay.   Where it was outlawed, as in atheistic communist states, then Satan has had his way with the untold destruction that happened in these countries (the former Soviet Union and China in particular).  What God did not want to see happen was for a new ‘prophet’ to come along and say they have the answers, not only because of the dangers of cult of personality that it can engender, but essentially because ‘new answers’ or ‘new truths’ could rock the core beliefs of Christianity to its knees, disillusion many of its adherents, and lead to further division.   Satan loves to divide and rule and if such happened then lessons would not be learned from even recent history and we might find that militant atheism would take greater hold of how present nominally Christian countries are governed. 

That is why, in a sense, God had to wait and allow for Sun Myung Moon to go through his path of suffering prison camp torture and hostility from those closest to him in order to test his faith.   Through his suffering, SMM could stand in a position to be given confirmation from Jesus about his mission and his teachings.   Otherwise, Satan would have turned around and accused God of interfering in the affairs of man.   This is a crucial point in understanding the spiritual importance of Father Moon as the inheritor of Jesus’ mission.  In numerological terms, this 2000 year time lapse between the life of Jesus and the life of Sun Myung Moon is significant.  

Certainly, I would be kicking myself if I were one of those in the crowd who condemned Jesus to death, knowing what I know now.   That same mistake can happen again so we all need to be careful how we react to this time we are living in and to the ‘mysterious ways’ that God so often has to work in.    God cannot just wave some magic wand and have Jesus appear in the clouds for all to see.  Again, Satan would accuse God of interference in the affairs of man.   But the main reason that God cannot interfere is back to this issue I wrote in my Home Page.   God does not want His children bowing down, like some slaves, to Him in fear and adoration, as existed in the Old Testament era.   That time is over. 

The New Testament era is also over, where we bow down to Him as adopted sons and daughters, adopted through the atonement of Jesus dying on the cross for our spiritual salvation.   The Completed Testament era is where we embrace God in a deeply personal way as our Spiritual Parent, and as true sons and daughters who have no blood connection to Satan’s lineage.   Only then, will Satan let go of the hold he has over us, bow down asking for forgiveness to not only God but to us as well, and resume his role as the good Archangel Lucifer, who was the bringer of Light and Intelligence to the world.

In using this website to make such bold statements, I bear a great deal of spiritual responsibility in writing all of this.   Some of this is already in the public domain if people care to look for it.  Even newspapers have tended to preface their description of Moon by saying he is a ‘self-styled messiah’, so on that level what I am writing is not anything new.  Whether he is the Lord of the Second Advent or the Returning Messiah or just a charlatan and ‘anti-Christ’, as others view him, will ultimately be each person’s responsibility to determine for themselves.

Of course, I am mindful that I am far from religious in my own observance and, as I said in my Home Page, would see myself as often a walking contradiction to my beliefs.   Those who know me would think me as not a great role model or shining example of a disciple if what I believe of Father Moon’s spiritual status to be true.   In both my public and private life, I am trying to live up to the high expectations that I expect of myself – if I so often fail then I will have to live with that.   Truthfully, I’m not too anxious how others view me because I know I am a bit of maverick and loose cannon to some – just so long as God does not see me that way! Either way, there is still a price to pay for ‘hiding your light under a bushel’ (from the bible) as there is for not hiding it – so I might as well not hide it.

At the end of the day, and as I said before, there may still only be a handful of people getting this far in reading my website contents and, in any case, it is still being written with my son in mind so that he can read these spiritual writings when he is older and, hopefully, take them further.   As well as trying to leave him with great memories of me as a deeply loving father to him, this website is also my main legacy to him.

(An interesting aside to this, is that when I am at my laptop writing this, he seems to like coming in every now and again, sit on my lap and start reading from it.  He does not understand, of course, what it is all about but just now he did it again and I find it very comforting when he does this kind of thing.   Boys of ten are so cute because all they really want is a reassuring hug from their parents every now and again before going back to their toys in another room.  Of course, he also wants me now to go out on our bicycles so I’d better stop here!).

 

References to God in male form (Oct 2010)

A point I wish to make, before writing further, is that, even though I have stated that God has both male and female characteristics, that allow us to be ‘made in the image of God’, I realise that I may be contradicting myself by attributing solely male characteristics by using words such as‘He’, ‘His’, ‘Him’ ‘Heavenly Father’ when describing God.    These attributes have been passed on from generation to generation, presumably set out in the First Council of Nicaea in AD 325, though probably earlier since recorded history has always had a male-oriented, patriarchal slant to it, with the role of women and the female seeming to play a more subservient role.

Again, current reasoning and understanding rightly state the equality of men and women in every aspect of our life.   However, there is no getting away from the fact that biblical texts point clearly to a predominance of male central figures, such as Noah, Abraham, Moses and ultimately, Jesus. In the Book of Genesis, it tells of how the Fall of Man originated with our first human ancestors, Adam and Eve.  It relates that the ‘Original Sin’ began with a woman, Eve, allowing herself to be tempted by Lucifer (Satan) who then went on to tempt Adam.  To reverse this course, as a path to restoration and salvation, then it was considered that God must work through the male species first before the female species can be ‘redeemed’.

As a justification for undermining the role and worth of women in history, this type of biblical view held by a male-oriented religious hierarchy in the past would now be seen as not only overly simplistic, but borderline misogynistic as well, and nowadays to hold such a view is unnecessarily divisive and drives a wedge between the two genders.  (Anyway, this is going off on another tangent, and I’ll come back to this in later writings).   What I wish to say, at this juncture, is that, in regard to my description of God, using the male gender characteristics, it should not be imputed to be excluding God’s female characteristics.  For now, I will stick to the norms of how religious writings describe God but sincerely hope that some day we can all get around a table and come up with a better way of describing God, rather than continually having to say: ‘She/He’,  ‘Him/Her’,  ‘Hers/His’  ‘Heavenly Father/Mother’ etc!

 

The Mission of Jesus

(Posted: Sept 2010)

As if my previous piece on the early years was not controversial enough, I am now going to make some further declarations.   Again, it is in the light of revelations given to Father Moon, when Jesus first appeared to him at the age of 15, as well as from subsequent teachings and speeches that he gave, that have helped inform some of the things I am about to write.   It is to the human side of Jesus that I wish to write about because it is in knowing more of his personal life and upbringing that we can feel closer to him. 

Despite my strong Catholic beliefs that might suggest otherwise, I do not believe in the literal teaching of the Virgin birth and that God became incarnate through the birth of Jesus.   In a spiritual context, these things took place, but modern reasoning and spiritual understanding point to a different perspective as to whether these things happened in a physical sense.  It defies the scientific laws of the natural world for us to suspend our disbelief in the supernatural. So much of the contents of the bible are written in metaphysical and metaphoric language to suit the spiritual understanding of the people in generations past.  I believe that our present spiritual growth and development of logic and reasoning now requires our faith to be built on more solid foundations.   Otherwise, faith in these supernatural events will always divide people, which God does not wish for.  

What is less controversial is our affirmation that Jesus was the first true son of God in the fact that he mastered his mind and body to be one harmonious whole.  He was not born ‘sinless’ – this is a concept we need to get away from in our understanding of his anointing by God.  He was born of a man (not Joseph) and of a woman (Mother Mary).  He came from a long line of descendents that could be traced back to Kind David. The long history of suffering and persecution that the Jewish chosen people had endured, under a succession of foreign powers culminating in the Roman empire, had laid a foundation of faith from which God could claim Jesus from Satan as His ‘Second Adam’, who would then go on to prepare the chosen people for their task in creating a kingdom of heaven on the earth.  

He achieved the Original Self stature that I spoke about before, not least by going out into the desert and fasting for 40 days and 40 nights and resisting the various temptations of Satan.  By doing so, he was able to break away from the blood lineage of Satan, by overcoming the Original Sin, and, like a vine, attach himself to the blood lineage of God.

 

 

That is why he could declare himself the ‘only begotten Son of God’ and say ‘I am the Way, the Truth and the Light’ and he was ‘the vine’ through which ‘no one comes to the Father except through me’.   These were all accurate statements he made in the light of his spiritual standing with God, his heavenly Father.  Taken out of context, as they must have done with Jesus’ claims of divinity, would have shocked the religious leaders of the time, such as the scribes, Sadducees and Pharisees, who were the so-called spokespersons of the ‘chosen few’ of Israel.  It must have come across as the most blasphemous thing they ever heard, to hear him directly proclaim himself the ‘only begotten Son of God’ It went against so much of what they believed in, even though they might otherwise have thought him to be a religious teacher, albeit with a small band of followers.

Here was a man who was presenting himself as almost ‘God-like’, when in fact they must have thought he was no more than an illegitimate son of a carpenter from a backwater town called Nazareth.  Such was their sense of outrage at Jesus’ claims in front of the Sanhedrin (the highest court of justice and supreme council in ancient Jerusalem, with 71 members) that they were prepared to have him put to death, even when it meant allowing the freedom of a known trouble-maker and rebel leader, Barabbas, who they despised at the time.

However, let’s not kid ourselves that his crucifixion was the will of God.  If you accept my premise that God is our spiritual Parent then it is unthinkable that He would allow His son to die like this.  It says that the skies turned dark and ominous (the day turned into night) during those three hours when he was slowly dying on the cross – surely a sign that this was a desperately sad time for God.  It was the rejection of the people that forced Jesus’ hand in giving up his physical body in this way, which acted as an atonement for the sins of mankind.  The Cross is symbolic of that ultimate sacrifice and, in this battle between God and Satan over the minds and hearts of men, then this paved the way for the birth of a new religious movement, Christianity, to lead the way back to God.  

It was God’s wish that Jesus be received, welcomed and followed as the Messiah who would lead everyone back to God.  That is why UM followers venerate Jesus as Our Lord and Saviour because he was the first … but he is not the last.     The derivation of the word ‘messiah’ means the ‘anointed one’ and such a position could be inherited by those who, if called by God, take up the cross and follow in Jesus’ path.  Of course, this would apply to the religious professionals who should, in theory, be the more receptive to this ‘calling’ by God.   However, it is not exclusively so, as we are all capable of attaining ‘messiah-ship’ in our own lives, by breaking away from Satan’s blood lineage and attaching ourselves to that vine that allows us to be also called true sons and daughters of God.

While God has worked through other world faiths, such as Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism etc. in bringing people back to Him, it has been ultimately through accepting Jesus as our Lord and Saviour that we do get closest to understanding the mind and heart of God.   This, of course, is not to diminish the value and worth of other world faiths, with many of its adherents practicing their faith to a far higher standard than many nominal Christians.   All are playing a part in this ‘many paths to God’ scenario with their faith being more culturally specific to the regions of the world from which they originated.

That same mantle of messiah-ship is now bestowed on each one of us to take up Jesus’ cross and complete his mission.  ‘Completing his mission’ does not at all mean that Jesus failed somehow – his willingness to give himself up to death was in order to bring spiritual salvation to the world.  If the people did not reject him then he would have brought both spiritual and physical salvation to man i.e. the kingdom of heaven on earth. 

Far from failing in his mission, Jesus did all he could do to communicate his message and teachings.  There were an awful lot of circumstances in his life that prevailed against him, and all because of the failure of the prepared people of Israel to receive him, both in his public ministry from the age of 30 and also in his earlier years.   When he entered Jerusalem in his final days, and sensed that the wrath of the greater majority of its people, egged on by its religious leaders, was about to turn against him, then he knew that offering up his body in the way he did would achieve spiritual salvation for those who believed in him. 

There were two prophesies given by Malachi in the Old Testament about the coming of the Messiah – one was of eternal glory (i.e. both the spiritual and physical salvation of the world) and the other was of partial glory (the spiritual salvation of the world). The first was conditional on the full acceptance by the people of Jesus, and the latter on the rejection by the people of Jesus.  What ‘full acceptance’ by the chosen people actually means, I will go into another time.  It did not qualify as this when he was at first welcomed into Jerusalem on Psalm Sunday, just five days before his death.   Yes, his reputation had gone before him as a special religious leader and the fickle crowds of followers at the time did not care that he was a very unorthodox rabbi. 

Why then did such people who initially welcomed him, suddenly turn on him in a few short days and have him crucified.   I remember steeling myself to see the Mel Gibson film ‘The Passion of the Christ’ (2004). I’m glad I could see it alone as a DVD because of the amount of tears I shed virtually throughout the film.  The violence and degree of torture meted out to Jesus was relentless and I could sense God’s deep suffering that His anointed Son was offering himself up in such a way.  That is why God could claim his death from Satan as symbolic of the spiritual salvation for mankind and that those who went the way of the Cross could also be adopted as God’s sons and daughters.   But this means ‘adoption’ only – it does not mean a full separation from Satan’s blood lineage as true sons and daughters.  Only Jesus achieved this. 

We are still tainted by our ‘original sin’ from the Fall of Man.   Our minds may reach for spiritual salvation but our bodies lag behind.   St Paul referred to this by saying that while the mind is willing, it is the body that is weak.  It is the physical world that Satan has dominion over and he feeds our desires with so many kinds of temptations.  These selfish instincts have been passed down to us, generation after generation, since the biblical story of Adam and Eve (more explanation of this to follow).  Because of the rejection by the chosen people of Jesus then he could not bring about full salvation.  He, of course, did not in any way fail in his mission but could only achieve partial salvation for mankind through the atonement of offering himself up to the Cross.   That is why Jesus has now returned, 2000 years later, not in the clouds but through the body of another man - the Lord of the Second Advent – in order to complete his mission of full salvation.

 (I will end here to give you time to catch your breath as well as time to reflect on what you have just read.   By the way, one of the most awful accusations made by some Christians, especially in the past, against Jewish adherents, is that they were responsible for rejecting and ‘killing’ Jesus.   What I want to say to that is this - that same fate would have befallen Jesus no matter what race or group of people he lived among and I defy anyone who can convince me otherwise.   It is one of the legacies of our Satan-controlled world that he rules by sowing such divisions among the different world faiths.   Racial and religious hatred and segregation has no place in God’s kingdom!)

 

The Fall of Man

(Posted: Oct 2010)

The biblical texts of Genesis provide an account of our ‘first’ human ancestors, Adam and Eve.  In another topic, I will try to write about the historical issue of the evolution of the human species because we know that it was much earlier than the so-called 6000 years of Christian ‘human history’.  The unravelling of these historical inaccuracies have dogged Christian dogma and have pitted religious texts against fairly irrefutable scientific research that suggests otherwise.   So no, UM theology does not believe that human history is only 6000 years old, nor does it believe that God made the world in ‘6 Days’ of Creation.   Where we do differ with scientific and evolutionary research is our affirmation of an Intelligent Designer (i.e. God) and that we are not just a random selection of atoms and particles.

Think of what any parents do, especially for their first born, in preparing a special room full of toys and bright colours and you will get a sense of how God had been preparing creation, in this case the Garden of Eden, for the birth of Adam and Eve.   Now, I believe that both had biological parents, who in turn had parents and ancestors that could be traced back to the Neanderthal era.    Just as a car designer has many prototypes of models to get through until a final blueprint can be produced so also God had various stages of mankind to work through before the final end product, Adam and Eve, now stood in the position of being His True Children. 

To help in this task, God had ‘angels’ and three main Archangels, who were Gabriel, Michael and Lucifer.   As the angel of ‘Light and Truth’, Lucifer was in a particularly important position to educate and prepare Adam and Eve.   Images of the ‘Tree of Life’ and the ‘Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil’ in this Garden of Eden are metaphors for something more than just trees.   The expression to have ‘carnal knowledge’ means to have a sexual encounter with someone.   Adam and Eve were not yet ready in their spiritual understanding to begin to pro-create – that is why they were told not to ‘eat of the fruit’ of this ‘Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil’.

Lucifer had previous fallings out with God and was now jealous of the position that Adam and Eve would eventually take as God’s own children. This would put them closer to God than Lucifer had been.  The twin evils of jealousy and resentment often go hand in hand when someone perceive that others, such as in the workplace, are getting a better deal and recognition than them.  Resentment then sets in when they compare their own efforts and hard work with what they see as the little effort of others who suddenly get promoted over them.   How often do these things happen around us, when people feel that their own efforts are not being recognised enough and there seems to be favouritism towards others who may be ‘less worthy’?

I can see that some readers will view all of this as fanciful imaginings on my part in drawing comparisons with modern day experiences and examples like this.   I beg to differ – being asked in modern day thinking to accept the Christian dogma that the actual eating of an apple from a tree could bring about the ‘Original Sin’ and downfall of mankind is far more fanciful and unrealistic.   It really is time for these ‘scales of ignorance’ that cloud our understanding of faith and the religious experience to be lifted.   ‘Blind faith’ is just not enough at a time when God is trying to communicate with us through Father Moon’s teachings. When new truths emerge then these old ones should die away – such a time is now with us in our own lifetime and it behoves us to re-examine what we were once asked to just accept as doctrine and traditional belief when they fly in the face of modern reason and understanding.

Had Lucifer been less arrogant and self-important, then he could have sat down with God to sort out his ‘issues’ with Him.   That exchange could have cleared the air and in fact would have enhanced Lucifer’s position with God in the important role he had in preparing Adam and Eve.   The fact that Lucifer did not seek to resolve his ‘issues’ meant that he went off on a diametrically opposite course to what God wanted him to do, perhaps not much different to what a disaffected employee does if they don’t get their way.   Industrial sabotage will happen if a disgruntled employee stays on and this is what happened at the ‘Fall of Man’.

In his role as Archangel, Lucifer had taken on human form in guiding Adam and Eve.   As their teacher and guide, they were in awe of him and I believe Eve was very attracted to this older, wiser and more handsome man than towards Adam, who would have been in his geeky and awkward teenage stage of appearance and behaviour.  Over the years of guiding them, Lucifer himself would have grown irresistibly attracted to Eve as she was developing in her beauty from early teens.   The fact that he knew she was in awe of him only made his situation worse.   Both, in a sense, knew that it was only a matter of time before they would have sexual relations with each other.

This ‘forbidden fruit’ scenario has been played out in human history right up to present day, and usually with disastrous consequences.   Men will often find that their power, wealth and position can be a strong aphrodisiac for women.   That temptation to commit adultery is such a difficult one to resist, more so when we consider Lucifer’s situation.   His was a combination of feeling unloved and alone because of his growing distancing from God, and of suddenly having a beautiful young woman (Eve) perhaps even giving subtle signals out of her attraction to him.

That is why God’s command to not eat the ‘forbidden fruit’ was also directed at Lucifer as it was to Adam and Eve.   This was a command that would have hit hard at Lucifer because he knew that God knew what was going on and what was around the corner.   This was a time when he should have come clean with God about his mixed up emotions and asked to be taken off the job in favour of Michael or Gabriel taking over.  Instead, he let his emotions get the better of him and his heart grew hard and resentful towards God.   He knew he was in God’s ‘bad books’ already with the way he seemed to be grooming Eve towards him.   He now felt he had gone beyond the point of return in reconciling with God and so a reckless decision was made to commit this ‘industrial sabotage’ and undo all his previous good works for God.  

The image of Lucifer in Genesis is one of a snake who tempts Eve to eat the apple – the so-called ‘forbidden fruit’.   The snake is a long-held phallic symbol of a man’s penis.   He more or less tells her that this final act of sexual intercourse is what will bring her the enlightenment she needs to become God-like and that this was the reason why God told them not to do any sexual act.   What Lucifer didn’t tell her was that this prohibition of God was only a temporary one until both Adam and Eve were mature enough in their spiritual understanding to do so.   If Lucifer was teaching them in the right way before then, then perhaps God would have given them the blessing to start to pro-create.   God knew that Lucifer was filling her head full of nonsense in the period up to the Original Sin and I suppose, in hindsight, God should have seen what was coming and got Lucifer away from them. 

Again, in modern parlance, it is a bit like a successful and charismatic businessman grooming a beautiful and young PA or secretary to become his mistress.   He would lavish her with praise and gifts and at the same time fill her with self-pitying stories of how his marriage is a shambles, that he does not feel loved at home, that he is lonely for human comforts etc.   All are designed to make the potential mistress feel compassion for her boss.  In his reassuring words to her, he would have suggested that by allowing herself to become his mistress then she should not feel guilty at all because she will be actually helping him cope with his loneliness as well helping to keep his marriage and family life together.   It is all a tangled web of deceit piled upon deceit designed to entrap a woman into not feeling any guilt about sleeping with a married man – on the contrary, many mistresses may even think they are doing a great service in helping men to stay in their loveless marriages.

Lucifer had done his grooming of Eve so well that she could buy into his dodgy take on why God forbade her to eat this forbidden fruit.    Once Lucifer had tempted Eve to have sexual intercourse, then he became Satan and was cast out of the Garden along with his cohort/legion of angels who he had manipulated into following him.   Had Eve stopped there and confessed to God what He already knew had taken place, then the Original Sin could have been avoided and to some extent a damage limitation exercise could have been put in motion to get Eve back on track.   God knew that Eve was the innocent victim in all of what Lucifer had been doing to her and there might have been a way back for her to reconcile again with God. 

Unfortunately, because Lucifer had ‘brainwashed’ her mind full of nonsense, then Eve herself became resentful towards God because He had banished Lucifer from the Garden.   She was caught up in her own emotions of perhaps even genuine love for Lucifer that she could not let go of.    This is all about how we exercise our free will and in such a situation it is often our emotions that overcome our reason.   God cannot interfere with that – as any parent will tell you, they know they cannot make a child do what they should be doing.   To try to do so at a time when the child does not realise it themselves then only makes the child resentful and rebellious towards the parent.   

Genesis then records that Eve presented the ‘apple’ for Adam to eat.  It could be that she felt shamed by her act with Lucifer and thought by tempting Adam that she might redeem herself in God’s eyes since Adam was her intended spouse.   As a young woman, Eve was a mix of emotions.  She would have learnt of her special position to be a first true daughter of God but she would have been struggling with her feelings for Lucifer, and now she was alone.   Adam was possibly too ‘spaced out’ to know what was going on behind the scenes and was possibly also being led astray by Lucifer about this ‘forbidden fruit’ issue.   His hormones were fully active and presumably it did not take much persuading by Eve to also eat of the forbidden fruit and engage in sex together.

 

Once the act was done, it would appear that they both realised what they had done and felt ashamed and tried to hide themselves from God.   It says they were hiding their shame – however, this was not by covering their mouths after eating something they should not have eaten.  They covered up their sexual parts, covering it with fig leaves, which would suggest the guilt lay there and not with something they had eaten.   We should also remember that this Garden was full of other fruit and so the temptation to eat an actual forbidden apple is just not a plausible one. Predictably, they then tried to blame each other until God lost patience and banished them both from the Garden of Eden.   This ‘Garden of Eden’ would have be an area of lush forests, animals and fruit trees with the specific intention for Adam and Eve to have ‘dominion’ over.   Lucifer would have guided them there in their early years in order that they would start an ideal family under God, and whose children would grow up in truth and love.

Their first born child, Cain, and second born child, Abel, could have reversed the Fall by uniting in true brotherly love.   Unfortunately, Cain killed Abel out of both jealousy and resentment that Abel was being given the ‘birthright’ that should normally be given to the first born son.   Cain represented the first sexual act between Eve and Lucifer and Abel represented the more acceptable act of love between Adam and Eve. Therefore issues could have been resolved if Cain had bowed down in submission to Abel – something Cain could not bring himself to do. Again, Cain’s response to God when asked about Abel’s where-abouts was ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ – this was telling in the kind of person that Cain had grown to become.    In providential terms of God’s next attempt to have mankind restored, this was not to happen until much later with the story of Noah, his Ark and the Great Flood.

Postscript

Again, these are stories when usually as a child growing up in a Christian community we would have learnt.   I remember those colourful bible story books with wonderful illustrations of Old Testament figures, especially liking those famous battle scenes.   It was just that – bible stories that seemed to have no relevance to today.  There was no clear explanation of what the point was of the different bible figures and the situation they were in, such as Noah, Abraham, Moses, King David etc. except to say that they had ‘faith’ in this God who seemed pretty vengeful in having slaughtered anyone who went against Him. 

It all seemed a pretty brutal time in history to have lived in and as we grew older then we tended to ignore the Old Testament in favour of the New Testament and the recorded sayings and actions of Jesus.   The New Testament had content that spoke of love for others and for God as a parental force, something that as adults we tend to more easily relate to in preference to the Old Testament stories, which have gradually receded into our memory.   However, these ‘stories’ do have immense value and relevance but only when we consider the teachings of Father Moon, as contained in his Divine Principle.   Only by attending a workshop of the DP do we begin to understand the pattern of biblical events in history as God’s efforts to restore mankind back to their original states and finally free from the original sin they inherited from the Fall of Man.

If you think this version of the Fall of Man is a more plausible one than what we have hitherto being asked to accept, then consider what else is contained in Father Moon’s teachings.  I believe his teachings come directly from God because we are now at a level of spiritual understanding when we can take on board the true significance of these bible stories.   The temptation to sexual intercourse will always be the most difficult one to resist.   The fact that the Garden of Eden was full of food alternatives does not make eating a physical apple at all plausible – to ‘eat of the forbidden fruit’ is a clear connotation for engaging in an illicit sexual act.  Throughout history, the misuse of sexual intercourse has brought empires, nations and people down in self-destruction.    In our present day, we can read of many ‘celebrity’ stories of the great and the good being brought down by illicit sexual acts.   Prostitution and pornography have being with us since the dawn of human history, but none more so than in our present society.

Because sex is so pleasurable and tempting, then this issue is the hardest to accept in asking people to take on the religious experience.  We are all judged by this revelation of the Fall of Man because it makes for uncomfortable reading to be told that any illicit sex is going directly against God’s wishes.   It leads people to look on God and the religious community as ‘kill-joys’ and that life should be a straight-jacket of thoughts and deeds that make us all behave in some type of uniform, ‘boring’ way.  God does not want us to live out our lives in a George Orwell ‘1984’ world where our thoughts and deeds are closely watched and judged by a Big Brother.  Nor does He wish us to live in the kind of sterile, prudish, distrusting world that existed under Stalin and Mao – that is the kind of world that Satan would wish for but it is most definitely not what God wants.

However, control of our sexual proclivities is what lies at the heart of our reconciliation with God.  Even on those occasions when we engaged in ‘illicit’ sex with someone who was not our partner or who was someone else’s partner, there is always that sense of guilt that comes after the act that makes us feel we have let down someone who trusted us.   It can also happen with people who pick each other up for a ‘one night stand’ – without having first established some shared commitment to each other over time then the next morning one or both will feel uncomfortable about seeing each other again.  People who masturbate in front of pornographic images will also feel somewhat guilty and deflated afterwards about letting their sexual desires get the better of them.  

We are judged not only by our past actions but also about our present mindset that could be so easily tempted towards an endless string of illicit relationships as soon as we see an attractive person.  If that particular person showed interest then would we have found it hard to resist?  The need for sensual human contact is ever-present in our minds.  Most times, we try and suppress it and just get on with what we do with our lives, helped no doubt by our getting older when our sexual libido is less active but we should face the reality of how the desire for sexual relations permeates everything within and around us.

I can speak about all these things because I have been there and if I am asking others to come clean to themselves then I should be the first to do so in this public admission.  I am not happy about some things I did in the past but I am also not going to get myself ‘hung up’ over it to the point that I render myself impotent to any form of dialogue with God.   Yes, in the next life, I guess I will have to face some sort of video tape recording of where I went ‘wrong’ in my life but then won’t we all in some form or other?!   Besides, if I can reconcile these issues with myself then so can you.   In the great scheme of things it is no big deal – we all mess up in some way on this path.   I often think that the best saints were once the worse sinners – certainly, I find it hard to judge anyone – as Jesus said‘Let he who is without sin caste the first stone’.

The natural urges we have for physical human comfort with those we are attracted to may be ephemeral and short-lived but they are no less important to our growth in understanding about how all this connects to our present position as spiritual orphans.  In such a state of insecurity, we will always try to cling on to that which gives us even momentary comfort.   When we receive the Holy Spirit of God’s parental love then we grow older and wiser and, most importantly, reconciled with ourselves again.   God does not want to burden us with ‘guilt trips’ such that we want to hide from Him like Adam and Eve did.   When I leave this life for the next, the only regret I will have is that I could not have done more to spread His love to others.

While I do not believe we should suffer ‘hang-ups’ about our sexual desires since the sexual act is the most pleasurable thing we can engage in, we should however remember it can also be the most destructive if our mind is motivated by selfish desires.   If two people are absolutely connected with God then their sexual intercourse can be an immensely pleasurable experience that God can feel a part of.   There is not the sense of guilt or awkwardness that comes from illicit sex – with God and the Holy Spirit coursing through our veins then that shared orgasm becomes a celebration of new life potentially forming from their union.   It is like experiencing ‘fireworks in Heaven’  (sorry for that imagery but I could not resist it!).   When you experience that depth of love and sexual climax, then all other forms of sexual relations and temptations that are out there just pale into insignificance.

What I am trying to say here is that God does not wish people to live in a world of prudish, non-sexual encounters.   Thanks to Father Moon’s foundation of faith in releasing God from the burden of the Fall of Man, then God can now walk the earth through you and enjoy the fruits of His labours, if only you would let Him.   Once you let God come into the core of your being then a whole new dimension to this world opens up to your physical and spiritual senses.  The long age of God’s suffering and wounded Parental Heart is now coming to an end and He is now preparing to directly come down to the earth and walk the earth with His Children.  

 

The War of Two Worlds

(Posted: Nov 2010)

When Lucifer, who now became Satan, was banished from the Garden of Eden along with his legion of follower angels, a spiritual war was declared against God.  That war continues today and is a war of two worlds, between God and Satan over the minds and hearts of mankind.  Behind any event in human history lies this struggle between good and evil. Angelic forces, of good and evil persuasion, can have an impact on the human mind if a person lays a base for this to happen.  We often do not recognise evil at the time it is being played out – only later do the actions of the Hitlers, Maos and Stalins, as well as lesser-known figures, strike us with horror that we could have been so easily duped and led astray by our collective spiritual blindness.  

It’s no use us trying to expunge these evils from our memory as if tearing down any statues or pictures of evil dictators will cleanse us.  Nor is it possible for us to say we won’t get fooled again – as long as we remain spiritually blind then we will not see the subtle ways that evil creeps up on us again.   History will repeat itself time and time again even though we try to learn from the mistakes of history.  The hand of Satan is not just played out in an extreme dictatorship country like North Korea – it is also more subtly at work in the West with the rise of militant atheism and secular humanism.

The resentment that Eve would have felt towards God should not be underestimated and she would have turned Adam’s mind once they were also banished from the Garden.  As indicated above, the first born child, Cain, represented the illicit relationship between Lucifer and Eve.  Normally, the first born son is given the birthright of inheritance and I believe Satan claimed Cain’s mind and heart and twisted it to his bidding.

In his declaration of outright war against God, Satan now had the upper hand and wanted to show that he was now the master of mankind’s destiny.   As he had usurped the position of Adam in claiming sexual relations with Eve, the first anointed woman of mankind, then he was claiming that all progeny from this time forward belonged to him and not to God.   When Cain killed his younger brother, Abel, then this represented a throwing down of the gauntlet from Satan to God.  That is why, in a spiritual sense, we are all Satan’s children and that his blood lineage courses through our veins, no matter that we do not realise these things ourselves.

I remember reading somewhere that we are 7 times more likely to act in a selfish way than in an unselfish one – not sure how they arrived at the mathematics of this but I think we can at least agree that our selfish instincts more often predominate over thoughts of goodwill and selflessness towards others.   Militant atheists like Professor Richard Dworkin might characterise this as our ‘selfish gene’ that ensure only a‘survival of the fittest’ scenario is played out in how some species evolve and others don’t.  To some extent this is true within the natural world but most definitely it is not for humans.  Recently though, survival for the animal kingdom has been made worse by man’s poor stewardship of our planet through pollution and our competing need for scarcer resources over all forms of non-human life.   That is why the bible says that ‘nature groans in travail’ because of mankind’s fallen nature.   Think of how much more beautiful this planet could be if we could all return to our ‘Original Selves’ i.e. God’s true children, living in harmony with nature and with each other.   

This is a time of great transition from Satan’s world to God’s Kingdom of Heaven on the Earth!   How lucky we are to be living in this time of the Lord of the Second Advent to whom even Satan has bowed down, though not yet in repentance and in humility.   Unfortunately, it will still take some time (perhaps generations) before all the evils that surround us can be undone.   We are now at a time of the ‘Great Flood’ of Noah’s time – if some people continue to resist Father Moon’s teaching then there will be a day of reckoning where there will be a forced separation of good and evil. 

The Old Testament stories of how God allowed calamities to fall on people and cities that went against His Will should now be taken more seriously. Even recent history has a habit of repeating itself if lessons are not learnt.  In all these cases, God sent one of His prophets to go there first and beseech the people to turn away from Satan.  It was only when these prophets were rejected that the ‘Wrath of God’ was unleashed. 

Actually, I do not believe in this concept of God as a vengeful and uncompromising Being.  It was something I used to struggle to understand because it did not sit well with this understanding of God as a parental and loving force for good.  Certainly, atheists and humanists latch on to these Old Testament stories, as well as present day examples of the Jewish holocaust, endless wars and famines, to point the finger of blame at God as if He had some power to prevent this happening and if He didn’t then that means He must not exist.  This is just simplistic nonsense – all these things are because of man’s inhumanity to man – it has nothing to do with God.  In fact, the finger of blame should instead be pointed at the hand of Satan working through those who unknowingly do his bidding to destroy whatever God has created, and especially His greatest creation, we humans who are His spiritually orphaned children.  

In regard to our present predicament and the consequences of not paying heed to God’s anointed one, Sun Myung Moon, and his teachings then time is running out.   I have already stated that early 2013 is a date we need to consider.   I suppose I can be accused of scare-mongering and I sincerely hope that time will come and go without any major calamity.   Whether that gets played out as a true World War 3 and‘mother of all battles’ I have no idea how that will take shape.   With nuclear arsenal that’s enough to decimate our planet 7 times over, then it does not take much insight to see how rogue states like North Korea or Iran could trigger a tit-for-tat nuclear exchange.   Even if contained to a small area, thanks to belated action by the United Nations and the various superpowers, it still leaves countless numbers of innocent people dead or without homes.

Even Satan has created a monster that he cannot control – he has tried to reconcile now with God but is powerless to prevent people continuing to commit selfish and destructive acts.   However, Satan and his legion of angelic followers now need to throw down their weapons of atheistic communism and its replacement ideology, secular humanism.   They now need to either stand back and let the angelic forces of good make inroads on the course of world events and what it is to follow from that, or better still, to restore themselves and start interceding on God’s behalf.  Even sitting on the fence is no longer an option for Lucifer (Satan), let alone for us.


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