God’s Will and the World
God’s Hope for America
October 21, 1973
Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to express once again tonight my thanks for your coming to my lecture. My topic tonight is “God’s Hope For America.”
I love all of you very much, because I love God–and God loves America and the American people.
It has been a cardinal principle of God’s providence that in order to receive God’s blessing you must first demonstrate your worthiness of the blessing. Throughout history there have been many righteous people who demonstrated their worthiness of God’s blessing by leading sacrificial lives. Nevertheless, we know that the world we live in today is not literally God’s kingdom. We learn that human history started on the wrong footing, on the evil side. This is why the Bible says that the god of this world is Satan.
It has been the strategy of God to summon champions out of this evil world in order to restore the world and build His kingdom. To understand His ways, let us therefore examine the history of God’s providence. The family of Adam was the first family in God’s creation. In this family there was a man, Abel, whom God chose to be His first champion. Abel served God wholeheartedly, and became the first man to give up his life for God’s purpose.
An incomprehensible mission
Later on God called Noah as His champion. And Noah accomplished a very unusual mission. God directed Noah to build a ship, and he was to build it on the top of a mountain. Now, it is just common sense that in building a ship you need a shipyard by some body of water. But Noah’s instructions were to build the ark on top of a mountain rather than at the seashore or riverside. How many of us here could accept that kind of mission? How many of us could obey such a command and set to work without a single shred of doubt?
In Noah’s time, no one could believe that Noah had received a command from God–nor did anyone accept him in his mission of revealing the coming flood judgment. Can you imagine how Noah appeared to the people of his day? For 120 years he went up and down, up and down that mountain working on his boat. Would anyone among the ladies in the audience like to think of herself in the position of the wife of Noah? I don’t think you would be a very happy wife.
Noah’s wife must have packed his lunch basket every day, using only a little food. Noah was so busy with the ark he could not find time to provide for his family. Within only a few months the family squabbles must have begun, but it was not just for 12 months or 12 years that Noah’s wife had to sustain her situation, but for 120 years. Why, then, did God ask of Noah such an incomprehensible mission? Why does God have to work that way? There is a reason. It is because of evil.
God cannot dwell together with evil. The direction of God is 180 degrees contrary to the direction of evil. God abhors evil! God cannot accept the things that the evil world accepts. So God does not want anything to do with the evil world, or with whatever is tainted by evil.
We are all in the image of God and can find traits similar to His in our human nature. Consider if you have an enemy toward whom you have strong feelings; you don’t want to so much as look at that person. Likewise, God will have nothing to do with the evil, satanic world. Therefore, in dealing with it, He chooses ways often incomprehensible to man.
God also tests the faith of man. He cannot do this by asking just ordinary things of people. We must be willing to comply with God’s extraordinary instructions. We must display to God absolute faith. This is not an easy task. People thought Noah was a crazy man for building the ark. Nobody knew he occupied the central position in God’s view.
Not only Noah, but other men of God seem to act in peculiar ways when they are seen from the worldly viewpoint. Let us take a look at Abraham.
The idol-maker’s son
God summoned Abraham, not from a family headed by a man of God, but from an idol-maker’s house, and ordered him to separate himself from his evil surroundings and leave his homeland. God wanted Abraham to be His champion. This was God’s personal command. If Abraham had then discussed this matter with his father, the idol-maker would undoubtedly have asked him, “Are you crazy?” Abraham knew better than to mention anything to his father about his instruction from God. Who would have believed him? His mission was not just to say hello to his next door neighbor. God instructed him to journey to a strange land, as far away as Egypt.
Abraham’s decision then was a lonely one, based upon his faith and his reliance upon God. By faith alone he made his decision and departed, with nothing on his mind except following the command of God. I know he stole away in the middle of the night. Suddenly he found himself wandering like a gypsy. He lived in self-denial; he had given up everything.
The champions of God have one characteristic in common: They begin their missions by denial of themselves and their surroundings. Isaac’s son, Jacob, was no exception. Jacob was a man with strong willpower in service to God. He wanted to open an exemplary path, accomplishing something nobody else could duplicate.
In the Bible there are many stories about Jacob; One describes a very cunning act when he bought his elder brother’s birthright in exchange for a bowl of pottage. And later on he stole his father’s blessing, which was intended for his elder brother Esau. In this incident Jacob knew beyond any doubt that he would make an enemy out of his elder brother; He committed himself nonetheless. That craving in Jacob, that ardent desire for God’s blessing, was so strong in his heart that God was really comforted. After obtaining Isaac’s blessing, Jacob then escaped the danger of being killed by his elder brother when he fled from his homeland and went to the strange land of Haran.
For 21 years Jacob endured a life of tribulation in Haran. During that time Jacob was repeatedly deceived by his uncle Laban. Ten times Laban cheated Jacob, and Jacob did not complain even once. He just persevered and waited for the day when he could return to his blessed homeland. That day finally came, and at the ford of Jabbok, on the way back, God sent an angel to fight with Jacob. Now consider this: An angel from God suddenly appeared to Jacob and became a dreadful enemy. God was really pressing Jacob and testing the strength of his faith. Jacob had to wrestle with the angel. And he did wrestle.
Jacob didn’t cease fighting all through the night. He never gave up. And then God knew that Jacob’s determination was to fight to the end, even to death. Even when the angel hit his thigh bone and knocked it out of joint, Jacob still did not give up despite the pain. Jacob finally won the test. The angel of God surrendered, and said to him, “Your name shall no more be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.” (Gen. 32:28)
From Pharaoh’s palace to the wilderness
Later on God chose Moses as His champion. Imagine how fortunate Moses was to grow up in the Pharoah’s palace, where he could enjoy a luxurious life. But then one day, as a young man he suddenly stood up as the champion of his people; he could no longer stand the Egyptians’ oppression of his people. At that moment he knew that God was with him. He rejected his surroundings, denied himself, and went to the wilderness of Midian. He awaited his ultimate mission for 40 years, persevering and growing worthy of God’s blessing. Moses’ life was very humble and meek. Every day he surrendered himself anew to God’s purpose and asked His divine guidance, eagerly awaiting his eventual mission, the leading of his people out of Egypt.
These men, Abel, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, and Moses, were champions of God. Now let us look also at John the Baptist. Described in the Bible as a great saint and prophet, John the Baptist went around the countryside like a common vagabond. He went without shoes, wearing camel skin with a leather belt, sustaining himself on locusts and wild honey. This was not a customary way to live, even in John’s time; and I don’t think John the Baptist’s parents were very proud of their son. They must have felt ashamed.
Suppose you put yourself in the position of parents with your son, John the Baptist, going out in the wilderness year after year and living like a beggar. How would you feel? I have traveled in Israel, and I don’t believe you will find many locusts or much wild honey in the desert. John the Baptist had to beg for his food many times. Imagine him wearing a camel skin, half of his body exposed, barefoot and with a beard, going from one place to another begging for food. If I came up here on the podium tonight barefoot, with a beard and clothed in an animal skin, and then said I was proclaiming the word of God, I am sure you would think I was crazy.
The rejection of Jesus
Let us continue along this line and examine the situation of Jesus Christ himself. I am sure there are many devout Christians among you who have various opinions on the life of Jesus. How would you visualize Jesus’ appearance? What was Jesus doing for the 30 years before his public ministry? Was he in a college studying? The Bible doesn’t say he even went to elementary school. He was a laborer, an assistant to a carpenter. There is so much to know, so many hidden truths within the Bible which are not written explicitly. If I revealed some of those secrets I am sure you would be amazed. Even though I know these things, I could not tell you those stories lightly. For you would then ask, “How do you know such things?”
I learned them from Jesus. Yes, and I learned from God. Remember, at the time of Noah nobody could believe Noah. At the time of Abraham, nobody could believe Abraham. By the same token, even though I will honestly tell you what actually happened at the time of Jesus, no one will easily believe me.
From the point of view of the society of those days, Jesus was a fatherless child, an illegitimate child. In the sight of God he was conceived by the Holy Spirit, but there was no way to prove it to people! So set your thoughts in a realistic vein and just evaluate that I am going to say.
Mary conceived Jesus before marriage. Under the Jewish law, such a woman was to be condemned to death by stoning. Joseph suffered indignation because of Mary’s situation, and quietly waited until the right time to divorce her. Then an angel appeared to Joseph and said to him, “You are to take Mary as your wife. Do not condemn her, for she has a special mission from God.” If Joseph had not been a righteous man, Mary would have been automatically condemned to death by stoning.
Joseph’s lonely decision
Now, do you think Joseph could have discussed this matter with his parents by saying, “Mother and Father, my wife-to-be, my betrothed, has conceived a child, but an angel said that this is the will of God, so I must take her as my wife and care for her”? What would Joseph’s parents have said? There are many older couples in our audience. Put yourselves in the position of the parents of Joseph. You would not have believed Joseph if he spoke such things. Again, Joseph had to make a lonely decision. Without discussing the matter with anybody, he took his fiancée off to some secret hiding place.
I am sure Joseph went through a most difficult period in which he was full of suspicion about Mary. Joseph must have asked his wife-to-be, “Mary, we are close and have no secrets from one another. Now tell me what really happened to you. Who is the true father of the baby in your womb?” I am sure any husband would be very curious about this matter. If I had been in the position of Joseph I would have asked Mary this question. But Mary was telling the truth when she said, “I really do not know who is the father of this child. It was conceived by God.” How many of us could believe this statement? It is easier to believe now, because we know who Jesus is, but this, was not the case during the lifetime of Jesus.
Therefore, Joseph had certain suspicions and injured feelings in his heart. He thought, “My wife is not truly honest with me.” Because of these circumstances there was emotional turmoil and upheaval in Jesus’ family even after he was born.
One instance in particular witnesses to this fact. One day Jesus met his mother at a wedding feast in Galilee, and Mary informed Jesus that they had run out of wine. He called out to his mother, saying, “O Woman, what have you to do with me?… ” (John 2:4) The point is, he did not say, “Mother’ but instead called out, “Woman.” Later on a disciple of Jesus came to him saying, “Your mother and your brothers would like to see you.” And Jesus replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers? . . . Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother:’ (Mark 3:33-35) This indicated that in the eyes of Jesus the members of his family were not doing the will of God.
Jesus’ life of sorrow
Jesus suffered great anguish within his own family. There are many hidden stories not yet revealed. Many of the facts about his suffering are unknown. The Bible leaves a scanty record of the 30 years before Jesus’ public ministry. If this were a glorious record, we can be sure that God and Jesus’ disciples would have revealed it. But Jesus lived in sorrow and grief; he was an obscure figure for 30 years. People were therefore shocked one day when they heard him say, “I am the fulfillment of the law’ and “Moses wrote of me.” He proclaimed, “I am the Son of God ‘ and “The Father in heaven has sent me.” “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but by me.” How many of us could have accepted such extraordinary statements if we had lived in those days? Jesus just bewildered people, he sounded so outrageous. Even John the Baptist had difficulty seeing Jesus as the Son of God, and John was supposed to come to prepare the people and make straight the way of the Lord.
Today it is very easy to accept Jesus Christ as the Son of God because for 2,000 years Christianity has been glorifying him as God. But in those days, the elders did not accept him. And the priests did not accept him either They were no less intelligent than we are today. In fact, we would probably have compounded their mistakes if we had lived in the days of Jesus of Nazareth. They saw only an outcast, a blasphemer, and an outrageous heretic. They simply could not see the Son of God.
Jesus had been long awaited. The Messiah was expected for 2,000 years. But when he finally appeared, there was no reception for him. The faith of the Jews at that time was no less powerful, no less devout than the faith of Christians today. Yet we know that the people Jesus associated with were not on a par with the rest of society, that he mixed with harlots, tax collectors, and fishermen. We know the story that one day a young woman poured precious ointment over Jesus’ body, then washed his feet with her hair. If we had seen these things, how many of us can say in a pious manner that we would have accepted Jesus as the Son of God?
The three years of Jesus’ public ministry were a far cry from the anticipated messiahship. No one understood Christ’s true mission. The people judged the Son of God with sinful eyes, according to their own earthly standards. And they treated him as they pleased. This sinful world can never be hospitable to the purity of Christ. He came to his own people but the people received him not.
God seeks world salvation
As I mentioned, all the saints and prophets and righteous men of history had first to deny themselves totally and give themselves up to God. When He summoned them, they gave up their homes, their fortunes, their families and their nations. God wants His champion on the individual level, on the family level, tribal level, national level and worldwide level. He has summoned His champions on each level. And the qualification for God’s champion on any level always remains the same. He needs the absolute and untiring faith required to follow His command wherever it may lead. God needs total obedience to His will.
We must examine then, what is the will of God? Why does He give His people such a hard time? Individual salvation is certainly important in the sight of God. God does not neglect that. However, that is not the ultimate purpose of God’s work. God’s will is the salvation of the world! God needs an individual to be His champion for the ultimate goal of world salvation. God summoned one family to be an instrument for the salvation of the world. God summoned His people to achieve the salvation of the world. God wants to have a nation as His champion, for the ultimate fulfillment of world salvation.
People in the time of Jesus were anxiously awaiting the Messiah. But they were thinking only of their own national glory as Israel, the chosen people of God. They did not understand the universal mission of Jesus Christ. It was the purpose of God to send the Messiah to the chosen people of Israel so that the Messiah would unite with the chosen people. Then they could become soldiers of faith, to fight for and achieve the salvation of the world.
The foundation for the Messiah was laid through Jacob, the champion of the family, and through Moses, the champion of his people. Finally the Messiah came to the nation of Israel. He was to be the champion of the nation and the champion of the entire world. The purpose of God is not the salvation of one church or one nation alone. It is the will of God that He sacrificed the lesser for the greater. Therefore He will sacrifice the church or the nation for the world. If Christians today think only of their own salvation, their own heaven and their own well-being, then they are not living in accordance with the purpose of God. If we are only concerned with the salvation of our own families, we are not worthy of God’s blessing. If people focus on benefiting their own people alone, or their nation alone, then they are absolutely going against the will of God.
God will give you your own salvation. When you become God’s champion for world salvation, your own salvation is guaranteed. Now, the Christian population is probably one-seventh of the total world population. But among these, very few are devout Christians. And among devout Christians, how many of us really strive for the salvation of mankind? We must all devote ourselves to the salvation of the world!
God cannot be pleased with man if we live in a self-centered way. I met Jesus personally, and I received a revelation through which I learned that God’s grief is great. His heart is broken. Today God is working ceaselessly for the ultimate salvation of all mankind. He needs His champion to succeed in this work. The purpose of God’s church is to save the entire world. The church is the instrument of God, and it was this very fact that the chosen people of Israel forgot at the time of Jesus.
Beginning with this knowledge, let us now continue our historical perspective and determine how America has become blessed.
The course of Christianity
After Jesus’ crucifixion and glorious resurrection, the Christian church spread throughout Asia Minor. The principal thrust was Rome. Rome was the target because at that time Rome was “the world.” For the world to be saved Rome had to be conquered by the army of Jesus Christ. But this was an impossible battle, an inconceivable goal. The Roman Empire appeared as an impregnable fortress not subject to conquest. Jesus’ army was barehanded. They-used no weapons, neither swords nor spears. They were armed only with their love of God and Jesus Christ. They marched fearlessly onward,. in conviction and strength. They paid the price in blood and sacrifice.
There can be no stronger army than the one which fears no death. No enemy is invincible against an army of faith. History is witness to the deeds of that army of Jesus. The Roman Empire fell at last, and Jesus conquered Rome. Roman Catholicism became the center of God’s dispensation of world salvation. The Pope was in the position to become God’s champion.
However, in the Middle Ages, great corruption appeared in the Church, and Christianity disintegrated in spirit. Medieval church hierarchies were interested in their own power, their own authority, and their own welfare. The Church enjoyed formidable power both politically and economically. The hierarchy preserved this power, abused this power, and forgot about God’s purpose. They clung tenaciously to their positions and ruthlessly persecuted any opponent. The Church leaders claimed lineage from Jesus’ disciples, yet they could not rise above their own sins. The Christian spirit in these men was absolutely dead.
But God had to continue forward. He is never satisfied with less than a total response. The Church needed reform, so religious revolution came. Martin Luther launched the new Protestant Reformation. And the crackling flames of dissatisfaction quickly swept over all Europe, in a storm of revolt against the power of the Church. These protesters disclaimed the old church of their fathers. Throughout the land, righteous people determined to win liberation from the old doctrines and practices. They wanted to worship God, not the Church. Equality in the sight of God was their claim. Direct communication with God was their desire. They helped God bring the world step by step closer to the ultimate goal.
Later in England, the people again protested against the intolerable corruption of the autocratic Church. There was an outcry for the purification of the Church of England. The Puritan movement began, and it quickly spread even amid great persecution. These new seekers threatened the established Church leaders, who used almost any means to suppress the new movement. Those who truly wanted the freedom of worship soon had either to flee or to be imprisoned. Their spirit was strong, but they had not enough power to resist and yet nowhere to turn. They fled to Holland. And still they longed for some new world, some new heaven and new earth where they could find freedom to worship God.
The Pilgrim fathers
America must have seemed attractive to those who were dreaming of a new world. Even though America was unknown territory, it promised them the freedom of worship they craved. The Puritans felt a strong desire to create a community of their own. America seemed an ideal place, so they made the courageous decision to venture there. They committed themselves to the treacherous journey across the Atlantic. They risked their very lives, finding strength in their faith, which was stronger than life itself.
Think of it: They had to give up their families, their relatives, their surroundings, and their country, and head toward an unknown land. Their only hope was in God. Every step they took they depended upon God. Their journey was long, and there were many storms. They prayed unceasingly to God. They had but one way to turn. They turned to God. When they were sick and dying on the voyage, they had no medicine to take, no doctor to care for them; they turned to God. Those Pilgrim men and women were one with God. And that is how they survived.
Put yourself in their position of total reliance on God. What a wonderful faith! I am sure that the faith of the Pilgrim Fathers touched the heart of God. And when God is moved He offers promises; and when He makes promises, He will fulfill them. God determined to give these faithful people the ultimate thing they wanted–freedom of worship. He then determined to give them even more.
I am sure you know, as I have learned, that the Mayflower arrived at Plymouth Rock in New England almost in the dead of winter. November in New England is rather cold. The destiny of the newcomers could have been only starvation because there was so little food to eat. Given this fact, it really inspires me to learn about the store of grain in the hold of the Mayflower which they would not touch, even though they were starving to death. They preserved this grain for planting the next spring. This was truly a supreme example of sacrifice. They preferred to die hoping in tomorrow rather than to act in desperation for only a few more days of life.
The Pilgrims came to this land full of purpose and hope. They knew that this purpose of theirs was more important than preserving their own lives. Nothing could have given them this kind of courage, this kind of dedication, this kind of sacrificial spirit except their faith in God. When they arrived at Plymouth, the 41 men who had survived the voyage got together and organized their ideas for government. The resulting Mayflower Compact was signed, “In the Name of God, Amen.” This is really a wonderful story. This little group of people left Europe with their hope set in God. They grew sick and died in God; they survived in God. They formed their first government and signed their official papers, “In the Name of God.”
The story of the American Pilgrim Fathers is one of a kind in God’s history. It fits into the pattern of the righteous people of history, such as Abraham, Isaac, and Moses. These Pilgrims were the Abrahams of modern history. They therefore had to brave many hardships even after the Mayflower Compact was signed.
A winter of heartbreak
During the first winter in America, the population of the hardy Mayflower survivors was cut in half. Each day that winter brought a heartbreaking separation from loved ones. One by one these courageous pioneers died. Yet their life from morning to night, from dusk to dawn, was centered upon the will of God. God was their only comfort, their only hope and their only security. God was the principal partner for them. Here was an example of such a rare and pure group of God’s people. They demonstrated untiring faith, and God gave them power and courage. They never lost their trust in God and their vision of the future. Their purpose in coming to America was to build a nation where God could dwell, where they could really share fellowship with each other and rejoice in fellowship with God. This was all in God’s providence, because He needed a nation to serve as His champion for the ultimate and permanent salvation of the world.
So another miracle came to the Pilgrims. When they were just barely surviving and their population had been halved, the Indians could easily have wiped them out with one stroke. But again, God was a shield for them. The first group of Indians the Mayflower survivors encountered were not hostile. The Indians welcomed the settlers. If the Pilgrims had been destroyed at that time, there would probably have been no America for God. God intervened to save His people here in America. This is my belief. God wanted them to settle, and He gave the Pilgrims a chance.
As the population of the settlement grew, they had to push the Indians away to enlarge their own colony. Of course, this land did not belong to the new American people originally. The Indians were the inhabitants of the land, and the Pilgrim settlers must have been invaders in the eyes of the Indians. Why then did God give these settlers their great chance? Here is my interpretation: God sided with the American settlers because it was in His plan. Furthermore, these American settlers met God’s requirements and truly demonstrated an unwavering faith in God. God could not help but give them His promise and fulfill that promise.
America’s existence was according to God’s providence. God needed to build one powerful Christian nation on earth for His future work. After all, America belonged to God first, and only after that to the Indians. This is the only interpretation that can justify the position of the Pilgrim settlers.
This continent of America was hidden away for a special purpose and was not discovered until the appropriate hour. The people of God came at the appointed hour. They came to mold the new way of life. Their principal partner was God. At home, in caring for their children, in farming or. cooking or building, they let God share their work. He was the only security they had. A farmer might talk to his son working out in the field with him. “Let’s plow this field in the name of God.” Their everyday life was lived in the name of God.
After the first spring visited them, they cleared the fields, planted, cultivated, and harvested the crop. And they attributed all their precious harvest to the grace of God. The beautiful tradition of Thanksgiving thus originated. Following the next severe winter, the first thing they built was a church. At night, at dawn, in the morning and at noontime, they prayed to God. I am sure they prayed, “God, we want to build a place for You which must be better than the Old World. We want to build a place where You can dwell and be master.”
And they also had a vision of the future that this Christian nation would do more good for the rest of the world than any other country upon the face of the earth. I am sure that after their church they built a school. They wanted outstanding schools for their children, better than any schools existing in the Old World. And their homes came last. After they built these homes, they dedicated them to God. This is the history of your Pilgrim fathers, I know. I can visualize early America as a beautiful America, because God was dwelling everywhere. In the school, in the church, in the kitchen, in the street–in any assembly or market place, God was dwelling.
The birth of America
I understand that in America you are approaching your nation’s 200th birthday. Let us therefore examine the people who led the independence movement in this country in 1776. Those freedom fighters were traitors in the eyes of the British crown. But God could use these traitors as His instruments, as His people, and through them He conceived and built the best nation upon the face of the earth.
George Washington, Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, tasted the bitterness of defeat in many, many battles. When he finally faced the last heartbreaking winter at Valley Forge, he was serious. I am sure George Washington prayed like this: “God, it is You who led our people out of Europe and brought us over here to the New World: You don’t want us to repeat the dull, gray history of Europe. You liberated us and gave us freedom. You don’t want to see the mistakes in Europe repeated in this land. Let me give you my pledge. I will build one nation under God.” Thus George Washington made his battle God’s battle, and therefore the victory won was a victory for God.
I know that this victory and the independence of America came because God accepted George Washington’s prayer, along with the prayers of many other Americans. God knew that His champions would work for His new nation. But George Washington had nothing to work with, and the British army had everything–power, authority, tradition, and equipment. They were proud of their military strength. The American Continental Army had no ammunition and few soldiers. George Washington finally had one weapon only: faith in God. I believe that George Washington’s position paralleled David’s in his fight against the giant Goliath. David won his battle in the name of God. They both let God vanquish their foe. Each of them put his whole heart, his whole being, his whole sacrificial spirit into the battle, and won.
Now it is a significant fact that throughout history, God’s people could never be blessed on their own homeland. God moves them out of their homeland and settles them on foreign soil, and there they can become a people and a nation of God. According to the pattern, the American people journeyed in faith out of their homelands, came across the ocean to the New World, and here they received God’s blessing. God had a definite plan for America. He needed to have this nation prosper as one nation under God. With God, nothing is impossible. So out of the realm of impossibility the independence of America became a fact, and upon its foundation, great prosperity came.
The British army fought for their king. For them, the British crown was supreme. The American army fought for their king. God was their only King, and He alone was supreme. The New World was pioneered in the name of God. America is called “the land of opportunity’ Here is the soil on which people find opportunity in God.
America as God’s instrument
The Christian tradition in America is a most beautiful thing for foreigners to behold when they come to this country. I learned that every day your Congress is convened in prayer. Your president is sworn into office by putting his hand on the Bible. One day I visited a small prayer room in your Capitol building. When your leaders have grave decisions to make, they come to this place, kneel humbly before God and ask His help. There is a stained glass window depicting George Washington on his knees in prayer. Here I saw the true greatness of America. From the highest echelons of Congress way down to the rustic customs of the countryside, evidence of dependence on God can be seen everywhere in America.
In this respect America is a unique nation. Even your money, the bills and coins, are impressed with such a beautiful inscription, “In God We Trust.” No other nation does such a thing. Then whose money is it, your money? Is it American money? No, it is God’s money. Every bill or coin says so. You are the stewards, and God has deposited His wealth in your hands. Yes, this nation is not the American nation, it is God’s nation. And such a nation exists for the entire world, not just for America herself. Yes, America was formed as a new nation, a new Christian nation under a new tradition. The shackles of old traditions fell away in America. You must want to build a new nation under God.
God’s purpose is the salvation of the world and all mankind. Today in America, therefore, you must not think that you have such wealth because you yourselves are great. We must humbly realize that the blessing of God came to America with the purpose of making it possible for God to use this nation as His instrument in saving the world. If America betrays God, where can God go? If America rejects God, where can God go to fulfill His aim? Do you want to let him try to go to the communist world? To underdeveloped countries? God wants to have America as His base, America as His champion. And America has begun in the sacrificial spirit pursuing God’s purpose. America must consummate her history in the same sacrificial spirit for God’s purpose. Then America will endure forever!
Let me compare two striking examples. The people who came to America–to North America–came seeking God and freedom of worship. The sole motive of the first settlers was God. When they came for God, they not only found God, but they also found freedom and wealth. At the same time many people went to South America. Their sole motivation was to find gold. South America is a fertile land, no less than the North American continent. But when the colonists’ motivation was gold, they could find neither gold, nor God, nor freedom. And the South American countries remain underdeveloped nations.
America is the miracle of modern history. You have built the most powerful nation in history in a short time. Was this miracle possible only because you worked hard? Certainly you did work hard. However, hard work is not explanation enough. If God had not been the principal partner, creating today’s America would have been impossible. God played a prime role in American history, and this He wants America to know.
The time has come for the American people to be awakened. Because of the noble beginning of this country, God sent His blessing and promise. The sacrificial devotion of your ancestors was the foundation for God’s blessing. If you betray your ancestors, if you betray God, there is only one way for America to go. It will go to destruction. Since America was built on the pillars of faith in God, if God is moved out of American life, your nation will be without support. Your decline will be rapid.
Communism and the free world
We reap as we sow. Today the world is divided into two major camps and a global struggle faces us. Why has this phenomenon occurred? History was sown in the time of Jesus. Jesus was the seed of history. His crucifixion was the sowing. There were two thieves crucified with Jesus, one on the right-hand side, and one on the left-hand side.
Since Jesus went into heaven through the cross, at the time of reaping he will return through the cross. The circumstances at the time of the crucifixion of Jesus form the pattern which will be repeated on the global scale when the time of his return comes. And that time is now.
Today, we are aware that communism is a strong force in this world. The communists say, “There is no God.” And the democratic world or free world says, “God exists.” Why do we call the democratic faction in politics “right’ and the communist faction “left?” Where did this terminology come from? There is an ultimate reason seen from the historical perspective we have been pursuing. This was already determined at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion. The thief crucified on Jesus’ right side foreshadowed the democratic world, and the thief crucified on Jesus’ left side represented the communist world.
The thief on the left side condemned Jesus even on the cross, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” (Luke 23:39) He was saying: If you really were the Son of God, you would come down and save yourself and save me. Jesus was silent. He did not answer the man. There was also a defender of Jesus, the thief on the right. He said to the thief on the left, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” (Luke 23:40-41)
What faith was shown by this man on the right-hand side of the cross! He forgot his own death and defended Jesus. What a noble deed. And Jesus responded: “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43)
At this moment the seed was sown by the left-hand side thief that the God-denying world would come into being–the Communist world today. And the seed for the existence of a God-fearing world was sown by the thief on the right-hand side. The free world is in the position of the right-hand side thief. And America is the center of those God-fearing free world nations. America has been chosen as the defender of God whereas Communism says to the world, “There is no God.”
It is America’s position to say to the Communists, “What are you talking about? God exists. God dwells right here, with us.” Is America taking this position? No! Today’s America is quickly turning self-centered and away from God. America doesn’t seem to care about the rest of the world. But you must give America to the rest of the world as a champion for God. When America helped others, sent out missionaries and more aid to starving people, she enjoyed her golden age. Confrontation with communism could be done from a position of strength at that time.
But today America is retreating. It is not just an accident that great tragedy is constantly striking America and the world, such as the assassination of President Kennedy and the sudden death of Secretary General Hammarskjold of the United Nations, both in the same decade. The spirit of America has declined since then. Unless this nation, unless the leadership of this nation, lives up to the mission ordained by God, many troubles will plague you. God is beginning to leave America. This is God’s warning.
In our time, all Christians should be world champions, destined to fulfill for God the role of the right-hand side thief. Christians must rise and be willing to struggle for the salvation of the world. But Christians today are too busy perfecting their separate denominations and church interests. We must unite with the coming of the Lord. The end of the world signifies that the time of the arrival of the Lord of the Second Advent is near. He must have a base somewhere, some foundation prepared upon which he can begin to fulfill his mission. America is meant to be that base, but America is deeply troubled.
When I first came to America, I went to New York and stood on Fifth Avenue during the rush hour. Suddenly tears began pouring down my face. I looked at the wonder of the Empire State Building and the magnificence of the new Trade Center–the tallest buildings in the world. But I asked myself, “Does God dwell in those buildings?”
New York is becoming more and more a city without God. It is a city of crime. Such a beautiful city is now crumbling. I can see so much immorality and so many signs of godlessness in that city. It was shocking to my eyes as I stood watching during that rush hour. I could see so many things at once that are all intolerable in the sight of God.
I asked God, “Is this the purpose for which you blessed America?” I know God wants to see His spirit prevail in those great buildings. In those beautiful automobiles He wants to see young people bubbling with enthusiasm for God and the love of others. It doesn’t take the Empire State Building to glorify God; it doesn’t take a 1973 automobile to glorify God. Even if you have only a rock as your altar, when you pour out your hope and your tears upon it for the service of God, God is with you. I can really see that God is leaving the great city of New York. New York is instead becoming the city of evil.
America has been known as the “melting pot” where people of all colors, creeds; and nationalities are melted into one new breed. In order to melt anything, heat is required. Do you know who provided the heat for America? God was that heat. Without God, you could never have melted your people together.
America could only achieve true brotherhood through the Christian spirit, but when you begin to lose this foundation, America’s moral fiber will deteriorate. Today there are many signs of the decline of America. What about the American young people? What about your drug problems and your juvenile crime problems? What about the breakdown of your families? I hear that three out of every four marriages in America end in divorce. The California state government is issuing more divorce certificates than marriages licenses.
What about racial problems and the threat of communism? And what about the economic crises? Why are all these problems occurring? These are signs that God is leaving America. I can read the sign which says, “God is leaving America now!” If this trend continues, in a very short time God will be with you no longer. God is leaving America’s homes. God is leaving your society. God is leaving your schools. God is leaving your churches. God is leaving America. There are many signs of atheism in this once God-centered nation: There have been many laws enacted that only a godless society could accept. There was a time when prayer was America’s daily diet. Today you hear prayers in American schools no longer.
A new spiritual revolution
You may want to ask, “Who are you to say these things to the American people?” Then please raise your hands if any of you can take the responsibility for this country. For the last 10 years American churches have been declining in spirit; American churches are becoming senior citizens’ homes. The future of America depends upon the young people, and the churches are failing to inspire America’s youth. We need a spiritual revolution in America. A revolution of heart must come to America. Individualism must be tied into God-centered ideology. Who is going to do this? Who is going to kindle the hearts of American youth? Will the president do this? Will wealthy American businessmen do this? Will American churches do this?
I know that God sent me here to America. I did not come here for the luxurious life in America. Not at all! I came to America not for my own purposes, but because God sent me. For 6,000 years God has been working to build this nation. The future of the entire world hinges on America. God has a very great stake in America. Somebody must come to America and stop God from leaving.
My followers in Korea bade me farewell in tears. I know there are still many things to do in Korea. But working with only Korea would delay world salvation. America must be God’s champion. I know clearly that the will of God is centered upon America. I came from Korea, I gave up my surroundings in Korea, just as many people have in the history of God’s providence. I do not come to this country to make money. When I came to America, I committed my fortune, my family, and my entire life to America. I came to a new country where I can serve the will of God.
We must be humble. We must initiate from this moment the greatest movement ever on earth, the movement to bring God back home. All of your pride, your wealth, your cars and your great cities are like dust without God. We must bring God back home. In your homes, your churches, your schools and your national life, our work for God’s purpose must begin. Let’s bring God back, and make God’s presence in America a living reality.
I have initiated a youth movement which is probably the only one of its kind in United States history. This is a new Pilgrim movement. Does it seem. strange that a man from Korea is initiating an American youth movement for God? When you have a sick member of your family, a doctor comes from outside of your house. When your house is on fire, the fire fighters come from outside. God has a strange way of fulfilling His purpose. If there is no one in America meeting your needs, there is no reason why someone from outside cannot fulfill that role. America belongs to those who love her most.
The quality of faith
The mere numbers of the Christian population in America are not impressive. You cannot impress God with numbers, but only with fervent faith. The standard is the quality of Abraham’s faith. How many Christians in America are really crying out with fervor for God? How many American Christians feel that God’s work is their own work? How many people put God first? How many are ready to die for God?
Somebody must begin, and begin now. Even under persecution somebody must begin. Someone must give himself up for the purpose of God and bring God back home. We must have our churches filled with fiery faith; we must create new homes where our families can be really happy, and we must finally create a new society, a new spiritual nation where God can dwell. America must go beyond America! This is the only way for this country to survive. I know this clearly: This is the will of God. Therefore, I have come to America, where I become one voice crying in the wilderness of the 20th century.
In the last few weeks, and in particular in the last few days, our Unification Church people greeted every one of you–and not just once, twice, or three times. You are almost tired of them, I am sure. But put yourself in these young people’s positions. Why are they doing this? Does it bring them any material profit? Eighty-five percent of the young people in our movement are college graduates. They are capable of earning tens of thousands of dollars a year, but instead they are going out on the streets asking you to come to these lectures. Their hearts are compassionate. They have one purpose: They want to save America. They want to bring God back to America and they know that by serving the world they can save America.
These young people are here to rekindle America’s spirit. America has a great tradition. All you have to do is revive it. We need a new movement of Pilgrims with a new vision. This is inevitable, because God left no alternative for America. You have no other direction in which to turn. The new Pilgrim movement has come–not for America alone, but for the world. In other words, the movement for world salvation must begin in this country. America is the base and when America fulfills her mission you will be eternally blessed.
This is God’s hope for America. This is God’s ardent hope for you. For myself, I made a covenant with our young people of America that we will strive in partnership with God for this great crusade. I want you to join, I want you to support these young people.
There is nowhere else to turn. When you bring God back into your home, your home will be secure. Your juvenile delinquency problem will be solved. There is no good answer to the racial problem except God. Communism will be no threat when God is made real. God will increase your wealth. This is the one way that America can save herself.
This is my deep desire, from my heart, that America will see the glorious day of renewal. And for this reason I come to speak to you with hope for America.
I really appreciate, particularly tonight, every one of you who has come and listened so thoughtfully. May God bless your home, bless your work. Thank you very much.