The Death of the Messiah
By Thomas Manteufel
News has been received that Sun Myung Moon (1920-2012) died on September 3. He was the founder of the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity (often called Moonies). He built a global business empire which included many financial enterprises and social and political instruments such as the Washington Times.
But he is primarily known for his claim to be bringing about the Restoration of humanity. He proclaimed that from the beginning God has wanted this to happen by (1) reconciliation of sinners to himself, with the result of certain benefits after death in the spirit world, and (2) the establishment of the perfect family on earth, with sinless parents producing sinless children and all mankind being ultimately incorporated into it. Jesus, the first Messiah, was sent to do all this, but was only able to accomplish the first goal. In 1936 Jesus appeared in a vision to Moon in Korea, calling him to carry on the work and complete it, as a second and more successful Messiah. He devoted himself to the task, setting forth his teaching about Restoration in Divine Principle, his book of revelations. The worldwide membership of his group of followers has grown to 3 million (or 100,000, depending on whose claim one believes).
“Restoration,” according to the Unificationists’ application of Jesus’ work, “is to be fulfilled by man’s joint action with God”—that is, by adding one’s works and penances to Jesus’ sacrifice. As for completing Jesus’ work, Moon alleged that he eliminated original sin in himself and was the sinless Father who married the sinless Mother in 1960 and started the perfect family. Since that time, by his religious leadership and performance of mass marriages he brought others into the holy, saving lineage and thus began to bring about the Kingdom of God on earth. He announced that “we are the savior, the Lord of the Second Advent, the Messiah,’ also that he was the Third Adam and the True Father. His self-chosen name in Korean means something like “Sun Shining Moon” and “Truth Revealing Itself.”
His burial is to take place on September 15 in Korea. But according to his teaching there is no resurrection of the body. People live on in the spirit world and channel messages and work for the benefit of people still on earth. By this activity they can now advance in levels beyond what Jesus had made possible.
All this is only the tip of this doctrinal and moral iceberg. Many pertinent passages of Scripture come to mind, such as 1 John 1:8-2:2, Jer. 23:31-32, Is. 8:19, Eph. 2:8-9, John 19:30, Matt. 24:23-24, Phil. 3:20-21, and John 14:6. We will not quote these now, but the readers of this notice are encouraged to look them up for their own up-building and for guidance of those who yet remain on the iceberg.
Dr. Manteufel is Emeritus Professor at Concordia Seminary.