Sunday, December 09, 2007

Confronted by a "Moonie"

Somehow I managed to forget that I'd already written about this; following is today's revision, which will not go into my daily commentary site
When I was still quite young in the faith, a "Moonie" tried to persuade me that Sun Myung Moon might be Jesus Christ returned to earth, as his Unification Church taught, rather than the criminal leader of a corrupt cult.

The cult member read to me from Revelation chapter 12, which is in today's New Testament reading:
A great and wondrous sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth. Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on his heads.... The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that he might devour her child the moment it was born.
Revelation 12:1-4
He said this showed that when Jesus Christ returns to earth, it will (or may) be that he would be born of a woman.

This did not sound right to me, mainly because of passages that say otherwise (like Matthew 24:26-27 and 1 Thessalonians 4:16). It wasn't until a few days later that I saw why even this passage itself shows it can't be interpreted that way. A friend of mine made this simple statement: "If the woman is real (rather than metaphorical), then the dragon must also be real." Put differently, if the dragon isn't real, neither is the woman.

That is a very simple principle of interpretation that helped me confidently refute the cult regarding this passage. I'm not sure I could prove this, but I'd guess that some large portion of biblical misinterpretations could be traced to something just about this simple.

Something more interesting

Now here is something a little more uplifting. A few verses down, we see this:
They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.
Revelation 12:11
This feels uplifting, though I couldn't tell you exactly what I plan to do about it. The key thing I get from this is that Christ's sacrifice on the cross (i.e., the blood of the lamb) plus my willingness to talk about my experience with him -- probably about how I have found him true and good -- along with courage, enables us to overcome the evil one, just as we're promised elsewhere (1 John 4:4,5:4-5 for example).

Of course this kind of courage does not come naturally to people like (you and) me; we need help from the Holy Spirit. And I'm glad that the Holy Spirit is ready to fill us as we call out to God in our time of need (as Hebrews 4 tells us).

Okay, having written this, I think I now know what I'll do about this passage: live confidently! The dragon is not defeated by works of great power (which I can't do anyway); rather, it's defeated by simply telling the truth about the goodness and mercy of Jesus, what I have seen him do.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...
Actually, it is not all that surprising that Moon would be so close to Satan. They have alot in common. The name Lucifer (who became Satan) actually means "Light Bearer". And interestingly, Moon's name "Sun Myung Moon" means: "Shining Truth". But the Bible also shares that Lucifer (satan) is an angel that disguises himself as light, and appears as light, but that in actuality, he is a liar and deceiver. The Bible calls satan: "That Ancient Serpent", and "The Dragon". Similarly, Moon's name "Sun Myung Moon" (Shining Truth) is not the name he was born with. Moon changed his name when he decided to pretend to be the messiah. Moon's real name is: "Young Myung Moon" which means: SHINING DRAGON in Korean.