Journal of Unification Studies Vol. 22, 2021 - Pages 45-86

Unification teachings portray Jesus’ death on the cross as a tragic setback in God’s providence. Exposition of the Divine Principle[1] [EDP], Unificationism’s primary text, reiterates again and again that the cross was not the outcome that God had hoped for, because it meant that Jesus could not establish the kingdom of God on earth, which was the original purpose for which he was sent to humankind.

While we affirm this basic tenet of Unificationism, we are persuaded that EDP does not give due regard to the salvific value of the cross. EDP affirms that Jesus brought “spiritual salvation,” but that was mainly the result of the resurrection, not the cross.

In this regard, we will examine the significance of the cross in Wolli Wonbon. This “first Divine Principle[2]” is the handwritten manuscript of 690 pages that Rev. Moon composed between April 1951 and April 1952 while living as a refugee in Pusan. It is the root of the published editions of the Divine Principle, first Wolli Haeseol (1957) and then Wolli Kangron (1967), which was translated into English as Divine Principle (1973) and Exposition of the Divine Principle (1996). In addition to containing most of their essential teachings, Wolli Wonbon also contains advanced teachings not included in the published editions, some that appeared in Rev. Moon’s sermons over the years and others unique to that manuscript.

Wolli Wonbon clearly states that the cross was a victory. It includes a noteworthy section heading: “The Fundamental Meaning of Jesus’ Victory of the Cross and the Victory of People of Faith.” There it explains that Jesus walked the path of the cross in order to advance God’s providence one step forward, to achieve victory for God amid the darkness of those days. It explains the meaning of that victory and its positive significance for the work of God going forward.

Wolli Wonbon views the cross as a victory from the perspective of a complete picture of Jesus’ mission from beginning to end, as he struggled to fulfill his ultimate goal to subjugate Satan and build the kingdom of heaven on earth. When he encountered faithlessness from the people who should have supported him, Jesus walked the path of the cross of his own will. He took responsibility for the sins of those who failed him, paid the price for those sins, and cleared them away. In this way, even at the cost of his life, he was able to advance the providence.

This understanding of Jesus’ cross should be helpful for explaining the Divine Principle to traditional Christians. It lays out points of agreement between Unification teachings and traditional Christian theologies on certain essential points. It affirms, firstly, the value of the cross as atonement for sin; secondly, that Jesus willingly walked the path of the cross to pay the price of sin; and thirdly, that bearing the cross was an act of love, whereby Jesus did for humankind what we could not do for ourselves.


The Cross in Exposition of the Divine Principle

There are several points about the cross in EDP that need serious reconsideration in light of Wolli Wonbon. First, EDP uses the word “failure” to describe Jesus’ situation after the cross. “Due to the faithlessness of such people, Jesus could lay neither the foundation of substance nor the foundation for the Messiah for the second worldwide course to restore Canaan. The second worldwide course thus ended in tragic failure.” (277) To be sure, the cause of the failure of Jesus’ mission was not Jesus himself but the faithlessness of the prepared people around him who should have supported him but did not. Yet, the cross, by taking Jesus’ life, is definitely depicted as a mark of failure.

Second, EDP sets up a dichotomy between the cross and the resurrection. It states that as a consequence of the cross, Satan gained ground. Satan could claim the foundation of faith that Jesus had laid during his forty-day fast. It was only with the resurrection that Jesus could triumph over Satan and restore that lost foundation of forty days.

When the second worldwide course to restore Canaan ended in failure due to the Jewish people’s rejection of Jesus, the foundation of faith which Jesus had laid during his forty-day fast from the position of John the Baptist was lost to Satan… During the forty-day period from his resurrection to his ascension, Jesus triumphed over Satan and broke all his chains. By doing so, Jesus restored the foundation of faith… (278)

Thus, EDP portrays the cross as Satan’s victory and the resurrection as God’s victory. On the cross “Satan exercised his maximum power” and at the resurrection “God exercised His maximum power.” (279) This dichotomy between the cross as Satan’s victory and the resurrection as God’s victory is a commonplace notion among Unificationists to this day.

A third point that needs to be reconsidered is Jesus’ agency at the cross. EDP has only a few statements that portray Jesus determining to take up the path of the cross by his own will. Mostly, it speaks of Jesus having been led to the cross or driven to the cross. Hence, Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me” (Matt. 26:39) was a “desperate prayer” to avoid this fate, because it would “shatter the hope of attaining the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.” (116) The cross was a fate that happened to Jesus. It happened as the result of persecution, because “the Jewish leadership persecuted Jesus and led him to the cross.” (117) Jesus was led to the cross, not of his own will but because of the people’s disbelief: “the people did not believe in Jesus; instead they led him to the cross” (118) and “Jesus died on the cross due to the disbelief of the people.” (121)

EDP describes the cross as Satan’s work. Satan is the one who confronted Jesus and led him to the cross. Thus: “Satan confronted Jesus, working through the Jewish leadership, the priests and scribes who disbelieved in Jesus. In particular, Satan confronted Jesus through Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed him.” (277) Also, “Satan… was fixed on killing one man, Jesus Christ.” (278) and “Satan exercised his maximum power to crucify Jesus.” (279)

EDP also describes the cross as God’s work: “God handed over Jesus to Satan as the condition of indemnity to save all humankind, including the Jewish people who had turned against Jesus and fallen into Satan’s realm.” (278-79) Then we read, “God… resurrected Jesus,” and “opened the way for all humanity to be engrafted with the resurrected Jesus and thereby receive salvation and rebirth.” (279) It is well known in Christianity that the resurrection was God’s work, but here the entire course from the cross to the resurrection was God’s work. Whether the cross or the resurrection, it seems as if Jesus has no agency in the matter.

Although the cross is portrayed in EDP mainly as the fate that befell Jesus, we do find a few statements about Jesus resolving to take up the path of the cross. These are relegated to the subsection of EDP that explains certain “Gospel passages in which Jesus spoke of his crucifixion as if it were necessary.” It explains Jesus’ rebuke of Peter when Peter tried to dissuade him from going to the cross, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me” (Matt. 16:23) by the statement that Jesus “determined to accept the fate of the cross as a condition of indemnity to open the way for at least the spiritual salvation of humankind.” (121) Likewise, EDP explains Jesus’ words on the cross, “It is finished.” (John 19:30) to mean that Jesus had “finished laying the foundation for spiritual salvation. By this time it has become the alternative goal of the providence.” (121)

However, these explanations are given merely to support EDP’s basic thesis that Jesus did not come to die on the cross. Only indirectly do they throw light on Jesus’ motivation for taking the path of the cross. And they certainly do not explain that Jesus took the path of the cross in order to gain victory over Satan. That is why the phrase “the victory of the cross” in Wolli Wonbon stands in bright contrast to Unificationists’ conventional understanding of the Divine Principle.


The Cross in Wolli Wonbon: Jesus Paid the Price of Sin

The perspective of Wolli Wonbon is that when Jesus carried the cross, he took on his own shoulders the price of sin and paid for it with his life. Jesus understood that humankind’s sin and faithlessness had accumulated to the point that a price had to be paid to clear it; otherwise Satan would be able to claim humankind forever. He saw that with no one to support him to bear those sins, it fell on him to pay the price himself. He would do it by giving his body to the cross.

1. “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up”

Of all the verses in scripture that describe the significance of the cross, the half-verse, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up.” (John 3:14) most accurately states Rev. Moon’s estimation of the matter. That is why this one passage from the Gospel of John appears three times in Wolli Wonbon. Here is one of them:

Jesus appealed to those disobedient people, saying, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of man be lifted up.” (John 3:14) As signs of Satan’s invasion began appearing due to the people’s disobedience, faithlessness and lack of attendance, he foretold that just as the people who were bitten by serpents should have died but avoided death by looking at the bronze serpent on the staff that Moses lifted up, in his case as well they would face the same result but that they look to him on the cross to avoid death.

All the problems in Jesus’ course happened because of faithlessness and disobedience. Nevertheless, Jesus expressed his inner heart of determination to fulfill the Will, even if it meant being hung on the cross. (244)[3]

The reason that the cross loomed before Jesus was because of Satan’s invasion on account of the prepared people’s disbelief and the disciples’ disobedience, just as the reason Moses lifted up the bronze serpent was because of venomous snakes that were unleashed upon the Israelites on account of their continual murmuring and lack of faith. (Num. 21:4-9)

In Moses’ day, venomous snakes appeared and began biting the people shortly after Moses made the misstep of striking the rock twice. (Num. 20:11-12) What Moses did not only dishonored God; according to the Principle it was the symbolic strike upon Jesus, whom that rock represented (1 Cor. 10:4). Thus, Moses striking the rock twice was a condition by which Satan would be able to invade Jesus’ person, and it indicated the possibility of the cross. (EDP, 254-258)

To signify that Satan had invaded, the very next time the Israelites murmured about food, venomous serpents appeared and began biting the people, necessitating Moses lifting up the bronze serpent to save them. It foreshadowed that at the time of Jesus, there would be disbelief among the people that would require God to send Jesus to the cross as the measure to save them.

Although it was difficult for the Israelites to stop looking down to try and avoid the snakes so that they could look up to the serpent on the pole, God set it up as the measure that could save them. Likewise, although it would be difficult for the people of Jesus’ day to lay aside their disbelief and make the crucified Jesus the object of their faith, Jesus determined to save them from that position.

Wolli Wonbon repeats this half-verse from the Gospel of John several times to indicate this reality. It does not complete the verse in the manner of John’s Gospel, where it is followed by the salvific statement, “that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.” That was the evangelist’s emphasis, but not so here. In Wolli Wonbon, the bronze serpent is a fitting image of the cross precisely because it includes the context of disbelief and disobe¬dience that was its cause. It is not a welcome image, but a rueful image. Moses should not have needed to raise the bronze serpent, but he had to take this measure because of faithlessness. With the cross it was the same. Hence, in each instance where Wolli Wonbon cites this verse, it always speaks of faithlessness and disobedience. Nevertheless, Jesus determined to be that bronze serpent and save them regardless.

Thus in the cross we can see understand Jesus’ heart and dedication to God’s Will, which did not waver regardless of the circumstances. We can see that Jesus determined to take responsibility for God’s Will, even at the cost of his life. We can be grateful that he was willing to go the way of the cross to pay the price of sins that would otherwise darken our lives, and thereby bring light and hope. Further, as people of faith, we can emulate Jesus in bearing our own crosses to deal with the challenges that we face in the course of advancing God’s kingdom.

Unificationists can also find significance in the cross for how it illuminates Rev. Moon’s heart and attitude towards his mission, especially during the many moments in his life when the foundations that had been laid for him crumbled around him, leaving him to face the task of restoration alone. One example was when he left his home to go to North Korea and walk that path that would take him to Hungnam Prison. Yet like Jesus at the cross, he was firmly resolved to fulfill the Will, no matter what.

2. The Cross Did Not Atone for Adam’s Sin, but for Failures Subsequent to Adam

Nevertheless, Wolli Wonbon’s explanation of the victory of the cross differs in some important respects from the view of the cross in traditional Christian theologies of atonement. For one thing, Christian theologies of atonement take the sin of Adam as their starting point, but Wolli Wonbon points to the failures in the providence of restoration subsequent to Adam. Let us examine this issue more closely.

Christian theologies of atonement begin with the sin of Adam, and speak of Christ’s death on the cross as atoning for the original sin. The key verse is Romans 5:18-9:

Just as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous.

Christianity thus links the sin of Adam with redemption by Jesus the Second Adam. Adam sinned by disobedience, violating the commandment at the risk of his life, “of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.” (Gen. 2:17) Accordingly, on the cross Jesus brought salvation by obedience unto death.

Hence, the major Christian theologies of atonement attribute Jesus’ death on the cross to the solution of Adam’s sin—the original sin. Only Jesus, because he is without sin, was in a position to deal with Adam’s sin. He was in the same position as Adam before the Fall who was innocent and pure. He was without any cause for Satan to accuse him. Therefore, he did not deserve to be punished for sin. Instead, his obedience to offer his life on the cross could serve to pay the price of the sins of others—the sins of all humankind.

Christ’s atonement presented in Wolli Wonbon closely resembles the classical Christian theory of atonement developed by the early church fathers, of which Irenaeus (d. 200) was the foremost exponent. In the classical theory, Jesus offered his body on the cross as a ransom to the Devil. Adam’s sin gave Satan a claim over all humankind.[4] On the cross, in exchange for taking Christ’s pure and holy body, the Devil released his claim on humankind. Yet it is not identical because the classical theory of atonement begins with Adam’s sin and portrays the sinless Jesus’ death on the cross as the path which paid the price for that sin.

However, in Unification theology, Jesus’ death cannot possibly atone for the whole of Adam’s sin, because the Fall involved Eve and Adam succumbing to Satan by engaging in acts of illicit sex. The image of eating the fruit in the Genesis story symbolizes sexual relations, as it does in Song of Songs:

As an apple tree among the trees of the wood,

so is my beloved among young men.

With great delight I sat in his shadow,

and his fruit was sweet to my taste.

He brought me to the banqueting house,

and his banner over me was love. (SS. 2:3-4)

Likewise, the term “knowledge” in the phrase “fruit of the knowledge of good and evil,” refers to carnal knowledge, as the verb “to know” means in Gen. 4:1 and Gen. 24:16. Indeed, the story of Adam and Eve is rife with sexual imagery and innuendo, which would have been obvious to the Israelites of biblical times,[5] and it continued to be understood as such in some rabbinic traditions.[6]

Specifically, according to the Divine Principle, the Fall began when Lucifer (Satan) took Eve as his wife, casting Adam aside. Then, when Eve, having received Satan’s blood through their conjugal love, realized that Adam was to be her husband, she went to him and seduced him, with the result that Adam also was ensnared in Satan’s bloodline. Hence, Lucifer’s connection to humankind through Adam and Eve’s fall is a matter of a blood relationship.[7] That sort of attachment is not simply a matter of disobedience; hence it cannot be remedied simply by obedience. Nor is Satan’s claim on human beings severed by a physical death, even Jesus’, because Satan’s connection by lineage follows human beings into the spirit world, where they end up in hell.

In fact, Jesus intended to make atonement for the sin of the Fall, but by a different providence than death on the cross. It would have been by making a condition to change the blood lineage. That was the providence for Jesus to find his Bride.

Even so, since Jesus’ original mission was to atone for the sin of the Fall, God wanted to begin the work of atoning for Adam’s sin on the cross, even if only symbolically. To this end, EDP speaks of the condition that Jesus made by enduring a period when God abandoned him on the cross:

Because the first Adam forsook God, his descendants ended up in the bosom of Satan. Accordingly, in order for Jesus, the second Adam, to take people out of the bosom of Satan and return them to God, he had to worship and honor God even after being forsaken by Him. This is the complicated reason behind God’s abandonment of Jesus on the cross. (Matt. 27:46) (178)

Nevertheless, actual atonement for the sin of the Fall would require dealing with the relationships between Adam, Eve and Lucifer. For this, Jesus had to remain alive and take his Bride. If Jesus were to die, it would prevent this crucial work of atonement from taking place. For this reason, Satan, who desired to prevent Jesus from doing the actual work of atonement for the Human Fall had ample motivation to cause Jesus’ death.

3. The Ransom Theory

In the classical ransom theory of atonement as expounded by Irenaeus and most of the church fathers, which Aulén revived in Christus Victor, Jesus on the cross defeated the powers of death that sought to destroy him.[8] In this view, Satan actively worked to destroy Jesus by placing the cross in his path. Yet Jesus, by giving his body on the cross to pay the price of sin, bound Satan and destroyed his power—hence the cross was Christ’s victory over evil.

The ransom theory, by directly involving Satan in the drama of the crucifixion, is consistent with the biblical portrayal of Jesus’ opponents who drove him to the cross—the high priests, Pharisees and Judas Iscariot. It avoids the contradiction that arises from the commonplace belief that Jesus’ death on the cross was God’s Will, which would lead to the paradox that Jesus’ opponents were unwitting agents of redemption.

The contradiction inherent in the conventional view that the cross was God’s will, is nowhere more evident than in its treatment of Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed Jesus. Logically, Judas’ handing over Jesus to the cross within the plan of God. Yet Christians are almost unanimous in stating that Judas deserved damnation. They cannot say otherwise, because Jesus himself said of him, “It would be better for him if he had not been born.” (Matt. 26:24) If Judas were a necessary actor in the plan of salvation, would his act of betrayal not be praiseworthy?

The same applies to all those who drove Jesus to the cross: the scribes, Pharisees, Temple authorities, and even his own disciples. Yet the testimony of scripture, whether from the mouth of Jesus (Matt. 23:29-32) or his followers (Acts 7:51-52), is nearly unanimous in condemning those who were responsible for Jesus’ death. The view of Rev. Moon in Wolli Wonbon is that they were all doing the work of Satan:

In his reproach to the Pharisees and scribes, Jesus said, “You, like your ancestors, made a base to unite with the enemy Satan and have come thus far. And now, you are doing the Enemy’s work even to me, the embodiment of God. Therefore, you will become the fruit of a history over which God will grieve. For this you cannot escape God’s punishment.” (249)

Yet, given the grace that the cross would bring, how can we understand Satan’s motivation in opposing Jesus at every turn and inspiring such hatred in the scribes, Pharisees and Judas Iscariot that they would drive Jesus to take up the cross? Specifically, why would he do that, knowing that on the cross Jesus would give his life to pay the price of sin and liberate humankind from his own dominion?

Here is a contradiction that the ransom theory must face. After all, Satan did not want to lose his dominion over humankind. Since the result of the cross was that Satan would lose the people who were under his dominion, why would Satan act to make that happen? Satan had already taken the measure of Jesus at the three temptations and knew that he was not the sort of man who would falter. Why, then, would Satan act against his own purpose?

The best explanation the ransom theory can put forward is that Satan was ignorant of God’s plan, and that God engaged in heavenly jujitsu in the battle with Satan by employing Satan’s blind hatred of Jesus to effect his own downfall.[9] This is the original meaning of Paul’s statement in 1 Cor. 2:8, “None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” In this verse, “the rulers of this age” denotes more than the chief priests and Pontius Pilate who directly participated in the crucifixion, but especially the “principalities and powers” of evil (Eph. 6:12) who have Satan at their head. From Satan on down, the powers of evil did not understand God’s plan, God’s heavenly wisdom, the “foolishness of the cross” which “made foolish the wisdom of the world.” (1 Cor. 1:18-20) But in fact, Satan, as the fallen Lucifer, the archangel of intellect, was too intelligent to fall for such a ruse.

Here the Divine Principle bests the ransom theory by pointing out its limitation, namely the extent of the atonement that his ransom could provide. The reason Satan wanted to kill Jesus was because in order to fulfill the entire work of atonement, Jesus had to remain alive. This is the Principle’s key insight. To restore the Fall, which was the foundation for Satan’s power of humankind, Jesus would have had to live to receive his Bride and establish the new Adam and Eve free of the original sin. Satan sent Jesus to the cross to prevent this outcome, which would have spelled his total demise.

Still, Jesus on the cross did the thing that Satan could not do: sacrifice his life willingly and forgive his enemies. That is why he is the victor, and why Satan retreated from him as he manifested the glory of his resurrection. Thereupon he began a course of victory that has continued to this very day. Yet Satan still could continue; he still could manifest his evil, as when he worked through the Roman emperors to persecute Christians and through today’s tyrants to do the same. Yet, from the time of the cross Satan has been on a downward path, and he has now arrived at his total defeat at the Second Coming.

If Jesus, as Christus Victor, resolved to go the path of the cross to defeat the enemy Satan, then what was the content of Satan’s defeat? If Jesus did not go to the cross to pay the price of Adam’s sin, the original sin by which Satan attached himself to humankind by lineage, what did Jesus go to the cross to overcome? Wolli Wonbon indicates that he had to deal with Satan’s invasions of the past, specifically the foundations of Moses and Elijah, which remained as “unfinished missions on God’s side”:

When Jesus [spoke the woes against the scribes and Pharisees], it was after he had already met Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration, from whom he heard that he would have to depart this earth in Jerusalem.[10] Having become aware that he would have to complete their unfinished missions on God’s side, he was already determined to go the path of the cross. (249)

4. Invaded Foundations

According to the Divine Principle, God worked through history to build a foundation for the Messiah. It would be the foundation that would protect Jesus’ life. One of the pillars of that foundation should have been John the Baptist, of which Wolli Wonbon says:

What was the purpose of the mission that John the Baptist, who was sent representing Elijah, should have fulfilled? It was to establish the foundation to fulfill God’s Will. That is, his purpose was to bear the historical responsibility to enable Jesus, who was God’s body, to fulfill the Will without facing any harm. (195)

As an aside, many Unificationists think that the term “foundation for the Messiah” means the foundation to receive the Messiah, and they interpret it as a matter of personal faith. This is the sense of the term in several passages in EDP: “On this foundation, we are to receive the Messiah and be reborn, and thereby be fully restored to the original state of human beings before the Fall.” (175) However, the word “to receive” is not in the original Korean of the phrase “foundation for the Messiah;” an accurate literal translation would be “foundation on behalf of the Messiah.” It is the foundation that the Messiah needs to support his mission on earth (EDP, 182-86), or as Wolli Wonbon puts it, “fulfill the Will without facing any harm.”

Therefore, for an individual believer to make the foundation for the Messiah at the time of the Second Advent means that he or she will obey the Messiah, defend him from harm, and assist him in his work for world salvation. It is not merely a matter of faith, but requires attendance and full devotion.

Such was the foundation that God expected John the Baptist to prepare for Jesus. John the Baptist’s mission was to be Jesus’ major supporter and a bridge to all the Israelites of the time to receive Jesus. Yet, although he testified to Jesus at the Jordan River, afterwards he went his own way. Instead of proclaiming Jesus before the public, his failure to do so placed Jesus in the difficult position of a self-proclaimed Messiah. This was a contributing cause to Jesus’ death on the cross.

This was only one of the many foundations that God prepared over the course of 4,000 years of history leading up to Jesus. Wolli Wonbon enumerates a number of foundations. One was the Temple in Jerusalem, which represented Jesus’ body (John 2:19-21); God had the Israelites erect and revere the Temple are a foundation for them to honor Jesus at his coming. (177-178) Another was the foundation laid by the four faithful women who are listed in Jesus’ lineage (Matt. 1:3-6):

The acts of these women fully demonstrated faith, obedience and attendance, which are the conditions that needed to be restored for the sake of the Origin’s Will. They were the foundation on which this Will could begin. (223)

On the other hand, Satan worked to undermine these foundations by promoting faithlessness, disobedience and lack of attendance to the Will. He would achieve his nefarious purpose—bring about Jesus’ death—on the basis of faithlessness and disobedience:

“All the problems in Jesus’ course happened because of faithlessness and disobedience… Jesus’ path to the cross was not his predestined course, but was rather a course caused by unprincipled disobedience and faithlessness.” (244)

God sought to lay foundations for the Messiah beginning with Cain and Abel in Adam’s family, then Noah’s family, Abraham’s family, Moses, the Temple, Elijah and John the Baptist, Jesus’ family, and finally with the scribes and Pharisees of Jesus’ day. If these people whom God specially called to lay these foundations had fulfilled their missions with faith, obedient to God and attending God’s Will, then Jesus would have stood on a foundation to be protected from Satan’s attack. Jesus then would have had a platform on which to fulfill the central issue of atonement.

In other words, the confrontation between Jesus and Satan that led to his death on the cross was not for the purpose of completing the atonement. Rather, it was a battle for Jesus to secure the foundation upon which he could fulfill the work of atonement. The cause of the cross that lay in Jesus’ path was the accumulated failures of the foundations that God tried to erect, which were to enable him to fulfill the work of atonement.

5. The Sins that Jesus Cleared by the Cross

Based on this explanation, we can elucidate the nature of the sin that Jesus cleared by the cross. We discussed above that while Christian theories of atonement simply state that the sin that Jesus paid the price for on the cross was Adam’s sin, the viewpoint of the Wolli Wonbon is that the sins that Jesus paid for by his death on the cross were the failures that accumulated in the course of restoration subsequent to Adam’s sin. Let us investigate what these sins were.

According to the Divine Principle, the Fall tied humankind to Satan’s lineage, by which Satan came to have a claim on human beings. However, this was counterbalanced by God’s claim as the Creator. Hence, right after the Fall, human beings were in the midway position:

Immediately after the Fall, when Adam and Eve had the original sin but had not yet committed any subsequent good or evil deeds, they found them¬selves in the midway position—a position between God and Satan where they were relating with both. As a consequence, all their descendants are also in the midway position… Unless Satan finds some condition through which he can attack a fallen person, he cannot arbitrarily claim him for his side. (EDP, 176)

Thus, after the Fall neither God nor Satan could fully claim Adam and Eve, since they were in the midway position. Human beings were situated in a position where they would determine to whom they belonged, God or Satan, by the conditions they made. If they made a condition of faith and obedience to return to God, God could claim them, but if they acted with faithlessness and disobedience in ways that pleased Satan, Satan could claim them.

Therefore, after the Fall Satan looked for conditions of faithlessness and disobedience by which he could claim human beings fully as his. And in fact Cain demonstrated faithlessness and disobedience because he ignored God’s explicit warning (Gen. 4:7) and had a rebellious heart (Gen. 4:9). When Cain murdered Abel, Satan had the basis to fully claim Cain as his own, and thus he had a path to claim all humankind—Cain’s descendants—as his own.[11] Wolli Wonbon is clear about this point:

When we look at the path of Satan’s invasion of human beings and how these sins originated, although it began from Adam, the one who made the dividing point when Satan could actually claim human beings was his son Cain. It is because Cain bore the fruit of disobedience, faithlessness and failure to attend when he killed Abel, who was God’s side.… Although Adam committed the first sin, which is the root of all sins, since he was a person in the midway position who could relate to both God and Satan, Satan could not claim him. However, due to Cain’s act of killing Abel, Satan actually claimed human beings and began to invade them. Thus it was with Cain that Satan could firmly establish the path on which to claim humankind throughout history. (254-255)

Accordingly, the sins by which Satan could fully claim humankind were those of providential figures in the history of restoration after Adam, beginning with Cain. Since Jesus came as the fruit of that history, they were the sins by which Satan could claim Jesus as well. That is why Jesus had to deal with these sins first, before he could deal with the original sin.

Wolli Wonbon enumerates these failures in detail and links them to the Seven Woes in Matthew chapter 23. While outwardly they are the woes that Jesus pronounced on the scribes and Pharisees, inwardly their significance was to enumerate the sins in the history of Satan’s invasion of God’s providence, which accumulated at every step and which would bear fruit Jesus’ death.

The first woe, in which Jesus condemned the scribes and Pharisees for shutting the door to kingdom of heaven so that others cannot enter (Matt. 23:13-14), stood for Cain’s murder of Abel; the second woe (Matt. 23:15) denoted Ham’s sin that allowed Satan to invade all humankind after the Flood; the third, Abraham’s mistake when he voided his offering by not cutting the doves; the fourth, Moses’ misstep when he broke the tablets of stone; the fifth, Moses’ sin of striking the rock twice; the sixth, the failure of Jesus’ family to properly attend and support him; and the seventh spoke to the disbelief of the scribes and Pharisees themselves. Since Jesus came as the fruit of this entire providence, the sins denoted by these woes, as well as other sins such as John the Baptist’s disbelief and Judas’s betrayal,[12] accumulated as conditions by which Satan could claim Jesus’ life:

Looking at the content of the Seven Woes, we can understand that Satan’s course of invading human beings, which began with their disobedience, faithlessness and failure to attend, continued down to the time of Jesus, who was the fruit of history.…

Looking at the order of Satan’s invasion, it started from Cain and then proceeded to Ham, Abraham, Moses firstly breaking the tablets, Moses secondly striking the rock twice, Joseph’s family and Mary, the enemies of Jesus in his day, and so on and so forth. Further, when we study these actions by which Satan invaded in history, we can understand that their fundamental cause related to disobedience, faithlessness, and failure to attend. (254-255)

These sins at every step of the providence of restoration, from Cain’s murder of Abel to the disbelief of John the Baptist, accumulated as conditions of faithlessness and disobedience that gave Satan grounds to confront Jesus and cause his death. Jesus lamented bitterly over this fact. Even as he pronounced these woes to declare the consequences for God’s people, he determined that he would pay the price for them himself.

Such were the historical sins, enumerated in Wolli Wonbon, that Jesus cleared away by paying the price of death on the cross. They were the sins that damaged the foundation for his messianic work. The messianic work proper that Jesus wanted to accomplish was to deal with Adam’s sin at the Fall, which more than faithlessness and disobedience was an attachment of blood lineage. But with his foundation so damaged, Jesus was not able to address the issue of blood lineage without recovering this foundation first.

Further, since this foundation was invaded by acts of faithlessness and disobedience, Jesus could restore them directly on the cross by demonstrating faith and obedience unto death. Jesus certainly wanted to deal with the sin of the Fall, but to atone for that sin Jesus would have needed to undertake a different procedure in order to receive his Bride.

6. Jesus Paid the Price

The position of Wolli Wonbon is that Jesus took those failures due to faithlessness and disobedience upon himself, and offered his body on the cross in order to clear away those historical sins in the providence of restoration. By voluntarily going to the cross, Jesus gave Satan what he wanted—his death—and thereby removed the sting of those sins. Jesus was the ultimate goal of God’s providence of restoration in which all those sins accumulated, and they existed only for the purpose of blocking Jesus’ way. Hence, when Jesus offered his life on the cross, he made the purpose of those sins moot. The sins no longer had any purpose. Moreover, since these sins were Satan’s foundation among human beings by which he made his claim on humankind, once Jesus paid the price for them, Satan’s foundation to claim humankind was also rendered moot. We read:

Jesus carried the cross to pay the price that Satan demanded for the fruit of sin and evil that people committed up to and including the Old Testament Age.… As long as Jesus remained alive, all of Satan’s claims and all the historical sins of human beings on which they were based were alive. If Jesus were to die, then all of Satan’s claims and all those sins of human beings would die. Simply put:

Jesus’ death = death of all Satan’s claims + death of all the historical sins

Thus, Jesus carried the cross to indemnify all the historical sins. Through his death, Jesus intended to indemnify the historical sins and thereby eliminate the foundation that Satan established for his own purpose. (262-263)

Wolli Wonbon declares that Jesus willingly paid the price of these sins by his death on the cross. Had Jesus not paid the price for them, Satan would have had every right based on the Principle to use them as a basis to possess all humankind, beginning with the chosen people. But Jesus did pay the price for those sins.

Because the purpose of the providence throughout history to that point was to send Jesus, and the purpose of the sins within that history was to block Jesus, Jesus could satisfy the purpose of those sins by offering his life. By doing so, Jesus took away Satan’s basis to claim humankind.

This is the explanation of the victory of the cross in Wolli Wonbon. Jesus died to save all humankind, who because of these providential sins of the past that implicated all humankind, as well as the disbelief among Jesus’ contemporaries, were now within Satan’s grasp. They would have provided Satan with a foundation to possess humankind forever. Jesus saw that the only way to destroy Satan’s base was to annul Satan’s claims, and for that he would have to pay the price for those sins. Jesus resolved to pay that price, and therefore he walked the path of the cross. By giving his life, Jesus defeated Satan and provided humankind with a new start free from Satan’s claims.

7. Exposition of the Divine Principle Speaks of the Cross as a Condition of Indemnity, but What Was Indemnified?

Let us look at how the understanding of the cross in Wolli Wonbon illuminates EDP’s statement, “God handed over Jesus to Satan as the condition of indemnity to save all humankind, including the Jewish people.” (278-79) A condition of indemnity should restore a previous transgression, but EDP does not specify what it was that the cross indemnified. Lacking more information, one could readily assume that it was the faithlessness of “the Jewish leadership, the priests and scribes who disbelieved in Jesus,” as well as the faithlessness of the disciples, notably Judas Iscariot. (277) But this position raises questions.

First, if the sin Jesus that indemnified by the cross was the very sin of sending Jesus to the cross, it would be trivial in comparison to the traditional Christian assertion that Jesus went to the cross to pay the price for all sin. To posit that the sin Jesus paid the price for on the cross was solely the faithlessness of those who sent him to the cross would seem to deny the great value of Christ’s atonement.

Second, it would deny the universality of Christ’s love. Scripture states, “For God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten Son” (John 3:16), and the cross is widely viewed as the ultimate expression of that love. If the cross only paid the price for the sin of those who killed him, how would the cross demonstrate Jesus’ love for the world? At most it would demonstrate love for his enemies who had him killed. But what of Jesus’ love for the world? That alone makes us want to go deeper than EDP’s superficial explanation of the cross as indemnity for the faithlessness of the people who sent him to the cross.

EDP’s explanation of the cross lacks the depth of the explanation in Wolli Wonbon, which discloses the historical issue and identifies the sins that Jesus indemnified on the cross. The faithlessness and disobedience that Jesus encountered among the people who sent him to the cross was the fruit of sins that extended back through history as far back as Cain. The faithfulness and obedience that Jesus demonstrated on the cross indemnified the faithlessness and disobedience demonstrated by all the central figures of the past who had carried God’s hope for the recovery of all humankind. Here Wolli Wonbon adds historical concreteness to fill in the gaps in EDP. It provides a more comprehensive answer to the question of what the cross was for.


Jesus’ Life-Long Struggle to Save Humankind

According to Wolli Wonbon, Jesus was well aware that these conditions of faithlessness stood in the way of him fulfilling God’s Original Will to establish the kingdom of heaven on earth. He already had to deal with the failure of his family—of Mary and Joseph—to properly attend him (see below), and he experienced the pain of John the Baptist’s disbelief. He could have let their faithlessness discourage him, but he only became more determined to seek out a way to make a new start. Such was his experience when he went out into the wilderness:

As a result of John the Baptist’s failure, the scope of Jesus’ activities for the mission to save human beings by having them cooperate with him was greatly narrowed, and darkness fell on his path to fulfill the Will.[13] Did anyone know about this? Only Heavenly Father and Jesus himself.

Where were the wise men from the East? Where were the shepherds who had visited Jesus at his birth? Where was his mother? What was John the Baptist doing? If any of them at that time had recognized Jesus as the Messiah and attended him, they surely would have received Heaven’s greatest commendation.

Instead, each of them acted according to their own desires, and none of them stood with Jesus. They turned out to be people who brought sorrow to Jesus rather than joy, and caused him to lament with even greater pain.

Jesus could have despaired that his first plan, namely with John the Baptist, did not succeed. He could have despaired, feeling totally alone in the desolate wilderness. However, he did not give in to despair. Instead, after living in the wilderness with that painful heart, he resolved to take it as the opportunity to aggressively confront the enemy Satan for a final showdown. (203-204)

When Jesus went into the wilderness to face Satan’s temptations, he already understood that he would have to take responsibility to cover for their failures, and indeed for all the incomplete aspects of the foundation that they were supposed to have provided for him. All those foundations would need to be restored if he was to defeat Satan and liberate humankind.

This view of Jesus’ life and ministry is quite different from that of conventional Christian theology that focuses on Jesus’ cross as the entire nexus of salvation. In such theologies, Jesus’ ministry had little meaning, as far as salvation was concerned. Jesus came to die on the cross and pay the price for humankind’s salvation. Hence, his ministry of three years was merely preparation for the real salvific work, which was his passion and death. It is true that Jesus’ ministry reveals much about him and the truth that he brought; it reveals Jesus as a paragon of love. But otherwise, his life was determined from the outset, since it was his destiny to die on the cross.

This is where the theology of Irenaeus and other church fathers is helpful. As Gustav Aulén pointed out, the church fathers recognized continuity between Jesus’ obedience to God’s Will during public life, his death on the cross, and his resurrection. Thus, Jesus’ showdown with Satan in the wilderness was one of Jesus’ victories during his life that foreshadowed his greatest victory over Satan on the cross. Furthermore, Christ’s victory over sin on the cross has only grown through the resurrected Christ’s continuing work over the centuries to expand Christianity by saving people from Satan’s coils one by one. “The work of Christ is the overcoming of death and sin… His victory is the starting-point for His present work in the world of men, where He, through His Spirit, ever triumphantly continues to break down sin’s power.”[14] Divine Principle completely concurs with this view.

1. Jesus’ Love on the Cross

However, the Divine Principle holds that breaking the power of sin is not for Christ to perform on his own. Human beings also must change their hearts in the love of Christ and stand on His side to be severed from sin. This brings us in contact with the subjective theory of atonement put forth by Peter Abelard (1079-1142), which had wide impact among liberal theologians like Schleiermacher in the nineteenth century and continues to live in mainstream Protestantism. For Abelard, Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross was of a piece with the love that Jesus demonstrated throughout his ministry. Jesus manifested agape love, both in life and in death, which has the effect of transforming people inwardly. Thus, all the loving deeds of Jesus during his life and ministry—his healing and his preaching—were also of salvific value because they could effect inward transformation.[15] Thereby, human beings would stand in the realm of God’s grace.

However, the subjective theory of atonement discounts the objective reality of sin, which for the Divine Principle along with other Christian theologies of atonement is the issue of central importance to salvation. Sin is a real condition; it provides Satan with the fetters to bind humankind. As long as the power of sin is not tamed, the inward transformation of the Christian life is hardly possible. Because sin is an objective reality, the weight of humankind’s sin created a situation where Jesus was opposed at every turn. Hence, Jesus’ ministry from start to finish was a struggle to loosen the fetters of sin.

Dealing with sin is human beings’ portion of responsibility. It is because human beings sinned in the beginning; hence, sin can only be removed when human beings make the conditions to indemnify it. Therefore, Jesus’ healings, no matter how comforting, and his teachings, no matter how edifying, could not be the full measure of the love that Jesus wanted to give humankind. Out of love, Jesus guided people to deal with sin in order to be liberated from Satan’s power. To love human beings like that was far more difficult than healing the sick and giving edifying sermons.

Hence, Jesus strove to have the people demonstrate faith, which would indemnify faithlessness, and demonstrate obedience, which would indemnify disobedience. Accordingly, the entire purpose of Jesus’ miracles was to elicit faith, as summed up in the statements, “Your faith has made you well” (Matt. 9:22) and “Even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” (John 10:38) Jesus also exhorted his disciples to demonstrate obedience, saying “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) In a final desperate effort to establish a condition of obedience, in the garden of Gethsemane Jesus asked his disciples to stay awake with him while he prayed:

And they went to a place which was called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I pray.” And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled. And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch.” And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible to thee; remove this cup from me; yet not what I will, but what thou wilt.” And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? (Mark 14:32-37)

Yet it was to no avail. The crowds who had flocked around Jesus to see him perform miracles deserted him. (John 6:66) The disciples whom Jesus asked to pray with him fell asleep. Judas betrayed him. Peter denied him three times. (Matt. 26:69-75) Jesus was left alone to make the condition to sever the bonds of sin. Amid faithlessness and disobedience the only way open to him was the cross. To demonstrate his love there, Jesus offered forgiveness to those who had crucified him, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34) From this perspective, one could say that the cross was the occasion of Jesus’ greatest love. He willingly laid down his life to save us (John 15:13) in spite of ourselves.

Certainly the cross takes pride of place among all the demonstrations of God’s love that Jesus made. And under the circumstances, there surely was no greater love. But does Jesus’ sacrifice truly illuminate the full measure of God’s love for humankind? Paul understood that we cannot even imagine the extent of God’s love for us, when he wrote, “no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the human heart conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him,” (1 Cor. 2:9) and “Now we see but a poor reflection in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (1 Cor. 13:12)

Sacrifice as a form of love has the limitation of being unidirectional. As much as we human beings are edified and transformed inwardly by Jesus’ agape love, as long as we are mainly in the position of receiving love, we are not complete beings of love. It is a rule that in human relationships, love blossoms most fully when there is good giving and receiving between partners. If one partner is resistant, the opportunities for expressing love are much reduced. Love, according to the Principle of Creation, should be manifest in a circuit of giving and receiving.

Hence it is not enough to receive God’s love through Christ; we must become empowered to give God’s love from within ourselves. Complete love does not only come from God, it must also come from human beings, who as God’s children are themselves embodiments of love. In this sense, John’s statement, “We love, because he first loved us” (1 Jn. 4:19) describes a state of incompleteness. God must love us to the extent that we ourselves can be generative beings, loving others and loving God in ways that God can take delight in.

Parents take the most delight when their children become like them. They sacrifice for their children, but their sacrifice is not an end in itself, but seeks growth in their children to the point where they can stand as parents themselves. God, our Heavenly Parent is likewise. God has made countless sacrifices in the course of the providence, especially sacrificing His-Her Son on the cross. But God’s sacrifices have a higher goal, which is to see in His-Her children a love of the same quality shining forth.

Thus the Divine Principle asserts that God’s purpose in loving humankind through Christ did not end with the cross. It did not end with the resurrection. It still continues, until we are restored to the original state that God intended for us in the beginning, as people who can fully give and receive God’s love. The goal of Jesus’ love is nothing less than restoring human beings to the state of God’s original children who can form original families and build an original society, nation and world replete with God’s love. In short, it is the kingdom of God.

This is God’s ideal and the standard by which God views all efforts at salvation. It is the point of reference from which to view Jesus’ work and see his entire purpose. If Jesus’ goal was to save human beings to this extent, we can see that the cross left much unfinished. Therefore, we should recognize that Christian theories that glorify the cross are mistaken to the extent that they absolutize what is only a way-station on the path to realizing God’s greater Will—and greater love.

In light of this standard, Wolli Wonbon discloses that Jesus’ entire life, whether before the cross, at the cross, or after the cross, was all of a piece, namely a continual life-long struggle to liberate human beings from sin and bring them to the point of fulfilling God’s original purpose and ideal. Such was Jesus’ love, which did not end at the cross.

Jesus had hoped to take all the steps necessary to separate Satan from humankind and bring humankind into the kingdom of heaven. One such step was Jesus’ forty-day fast in the wilderness mentioned above. Another was the cross. However, if the circumstances had been different such that Jesus did not need to take the way of the cross to liberate humankind from sin, there were other measures he could have taken that would have provided humankind with even greater love.

2. The Three-Day Course

Traditionally, Jesus underwent three days from the crucifixion to the resurrection. (1 Cor. 15:4) This can be termed his three-day course in the tomb. However, in the Divine Principle, Jesus’ three-day course references earlier three-day courses, specifically Isaac’s course when he accompanied Abraham to Mt. Moriah to be sacrificed (Gen. 22:4) and especially Moses’ three-day course to bring the Israelites out of Egypt. (Exod. 5:1-3) Isaac’s three-day course turned out not to be a course of death, but a course of life when God intervened to spare him. Although Moses risked his life when he confronted Pharaoh to ask his leave for the Israelites to take a three-day journey, the result was that he liberated the Israelites from bondage. Seeing Jesus’ life through the lens of these earlier three-day courses, Divine Principle understands that Jesus’ original intention was likewise to accomplish a three-day course during his lifetime to liberate humankind from Satan.

Both Exposition of the Divine Principle (226) and Wolli Wonbon state that to understand the steps that Jesus needed to take to subjugate Satan during his lifetime, we should refer to Moses’ course. Moses was able to unite the Israelites around his leadership, defeat Pharaoh, and bring the Israelites to the land of Canaan. It is what Jesus needed to do as well. God set up Moses’ course as a model to show Jesus the course that he would have to walk to subjugate Satan once and for all. Wolli Wonbon says it best:

Jesus, who came in the place of Adam, was responsible to advance based on the example of this first course of victory over Satan that God guided Moses to walk. It was the way that he too could be victorious over Satan.

This is why in John 5:19-20, we read that Jesus said he followed the example that God showed first:

The Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever He does, that the Son does likewise. For the Father loves the Son, and shows him all that He himself is doing; and greater works than these will He show him, that you may marvel.

The meaning of this verse is that Jesus began his course, the second course, and intended to walk it victoriously by modeling it after the victories that God showed first in His own course. We need to understand this. (150)

The reason God worked like that was because God felt responsible for humankind’s plight. Since the Fall that brought destruction to the world was caused by human beings, human beings would have to take responsibility to restore it. Yet, even though human beings fell of their own volition, God’s heart was to view Godself as the ultimate cause of the Fall, since God was the one who created human beings and angels in the first place. Therefore, before giving the burden of subduing Satan and restoring Adam and Eve’s Fall to Jesus the Second Adam—or more precisely, to Jesus and his Bride the Second Adam and Eve—God took the first responsibility and through Moses showed the example of what Jesus would have to do.

God considered that the first cause of the Human Fall, though indirect, was Himself; the next was Adam, and then Eve. In other words, God viewed the causation of the Fall as the opposite of the course of the beings who directly brought about the Fall.

Therefore, God considered that He had to take the first responsibility for the work to recover the Will. God would become the center of this work and pave the way by showing the model. Then God intended that the second Adam and Eve would fulfill the Will.

In other words, God would establish the course of victory over Satan, and thus set the example for the path on which the Second Adam and Eve would proceed. God wanted them to follow this example that God demonstrated and establish the foundation of victory over Satan as if they were the ones who determined that course themselves. This was God’s purpose when working through Moses. (149-150)

In other words, the course by which Moses liberated the Israelites from Egypt and brought them into Canaan was God’s own course, for which God took the major responsibility. Although Moses was the earthly protagonist in the fight against Pharaoh, in fact the battle was between God and the Pharaoh. This is what Jesus would have to emulate in his battle with Satan.

In that course, God brought Pharaoh to submission. The matter that Pharaoh submitted about was Moses’ request for three days:

Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.’” But Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should heed his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and moreover I will not let Israel go.” Then they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us; let us go, we pray, a three days’ journey into the wilderness, and sacrifice to the Lord our God. (Exod. 5:1-3)

The reason for the focus on Moses’ request of Pharaoh for a three-day journey is because the Principle requires that Satan surrender voluntarily. Pharaoh was in the position of Satan. If he had not given his permission for the Israelites to undertake the three-day course, they would not have been able to leave Egypt. Pharaoh would not do so willingly, just as Lucifer would not “meekly surrender before God.” (EDP, 226) Therefore, God equipped Moses with the ten plagues with which to strike Pharaoh, until finally he surrendered to Moses and granted his request.

Pharaoh relented and released the Israelites to embark on the three-day journey after the last plague of killing the first-born of Egypt. (Exod. 12:31-32) The three days can be reckoned from the moment the Israelites departed from Egypt to their crossing the Red Sea,[16] where Pharaoh’s forces were utterly defeated.

This course of Moses—God the Father’s course in the verse, “The Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing” (John 5:19) —was the course that Jesus would have to emulate as the Second Adam to fulfill the portion of responsibility of a human being to defeat Satan. Central to that course would be a three-day course of bringing Satan to surrender, as Moses did to Pharaoh. As Moses’ three-day course was the starting-point of the Israelites’ journey to the land of Canaan, Jesus’ three-day course would be the starting-point for humankind’s journey from Satan’s realm to the kingdom of heaven.

This is the reason that the chapter on Moses and Jesus is the longest chapter in Exposition of the Divine Principle, with most of its pages devoted to Moses’ course. It is because God set up Moses’ course as the blueprint for Jesus in his course. The study of Moses’ course informs us of what Jesus was faced with in his earthly ministry and the measures that he had to take in order to prevail. As Moses united the Israelites, Jesus needed to unite the people around himself. As Moses faced Pharaoh and defeated him, Jesus had to face Satan and defeat him. As Moses brought the Israelites to the Promised Land, Jesus intended to lead humankind to the kingdom of heaven on earth. Since Jesus did not complete all these things, but left much to be completed by the Lord of the Second Advent, Moses’ course informed the Lord of the Second Advent of what would be required of him to complete Jesus’ unfinished work.

Wolli Wonbon takes as its reference-point Moses’ three-day course by which he defeated Pharaoh, and looks at Jesus’ earthly ministry from the perspective of the conditions he required to fulfill his own three-day course:

The three-day course was a life-and-death matter that would determine whether the Israelites would be released from Egypt. Further, it was an absolutely necessary condition for God to begin the providence for the Original Man. (146)

In Wolli Wonbon, the term Original Man denotes Jesus’ mission to receive his Bride and fulfill the original purpose of Adam and Eve.

Moses was able to secure Pharaoh’s surrender because of the conditions that he made before he met Pharaoh. Hence, Wolli Wonbon carefully examines the first chapters of the book of Exodus to identify those conditions. First, Moses completed the number 40 by undergoing 40 years of exile in Midian (Acts 7:30; cf. Exod. 7:7). Second, Moses received the staff that turned into a serpent (Exod. 4:2-5), with which he would challenge Pharaoh. (Exod. 7:8-12) Third, Moses received a demonstration of his staff turning river water into blood (Exod. 4:9), by which he would bring the first of the ten plagues. (Exod. 7:15-24) Fourth, Moses received God’s promise that if the Pharaoh continued to stubbornly refuse his request, God would kill the first-born of the Egyptians, the tenth plague. (Exod. 4:22-23) Fifth, Moses overcame the test of circumcision where God sought to kill him. (Exod. 4:24-26) Sixth, Moses received the support of Aaron to be his spokesperson, who united all the Israelites with him. (Exod. 4:27-31)

Emulating Moses’ course, Jesus sought to equip himself with all the conditions to subdue Satan that Moses had shown. He undertook a forty-day fast in the wilderness, which fulfilled the number forty that Moses fulfilled through forty years in the palace and forty years in Midian. When Jesus defeated Satan at the end of his forty-day fast, he also he established himself in the position of Moses’ staff. Also, like Moses, Jesus performed miracles and signs to gain the support of the people of Israel.

However, Jesus was unable to fulfill two of the crucial conditions that Moses showed he would require to begin his three-day course. First, he was unable to find a person like Aaron who would faithfully proclaim all his words to the people. Second, he was unable to fulfill the condition of circumcision, as will be discussed below. These matters blocked Jesus from fulfilling his three-day course during his lifetime. Instead, he would have to gain victory over Satan on the cross before he could begin it. In the words of Wolli Wonbon:

Jesus at his coming also would have to go through such a three-day period while he dealt with Satan. During the process of completing this course, Jesus had to equip himself with several conditions that Moses had established. One of them was a forty-day fast in the wilderness, during which he overcame Satan’s three temptations. By defeating Satan there, he made a condition for beginning a three-day course.

However, Jesus was unable to find someone like Aaron [and] a person with the role of Eve who would work on his behalf. This became a cause for him to not be free to undertake the three-day course, which he wanted to begin during his lifetime. (146-147)

We can understand that the “someone like Aaron” was supposed to be John the Baptist. Well respected by the people, he should have “prepared the way of the Lord” (Mark 1:3, Matt. 3:3) by attending Jesus and becoming his spokesperson. But he proved faithless and went his own way. “A person with the role of Eve” can be understood in the context of the circumcision condition that Moses made with his wife Zipporah. The failure of these individuals was a cause for Jesus to be unable to complete his three-day course in his lifetime.

In sum, God had intended that Jesus would fulfill the three-day course in his lifetime, but certain individuals who had major responsibilities for his course failed him. By their faithlessness and disobedience, they sinned against Jesus. These sins were numbered among the historical sins for which Jesus paid the price on the cross, as was already discussed. Once Jesus paid that price, he was free to begin his three-day course. That Jesus could do so was another consequence of the victory of the cross. However, it would be a spiritual course, not the original three-day course that had wanted Jesus to fulfill during his lifetime.

3. Moses’ Circumcision and the Providence of the Bride

The issue of finding Jesus’ Bride relates to one of these conditions that Moses made in preparing for his three-day course, namely the test over circumcision. It occurred when Moses and his family were at a lodging-place on the way to Egypt and God tried to kill him. Moses’ wife Zipporah circumcised their son Gershom, thereby averting the threat on Moses’ life. (Exod. 4:24-26) Since this incident was a matter of life and death to Moses, and since it occurred when he on the way to Egypt to confront Pharaoh, it is clear that it was of great import for success in his three-day course.

Wolli Wonbon examines the meaning of that incident and describes the comparable condition in Jesus’ course:

When Moses, who was the model for Jesus, was on the way to Egypt, there was an incident in which Jehovah appeared and attempted to kill him. At that time, Moses’ wife Zipporah circumcised their son. Based on that condition performed through the unity of mother and son, Moses could live. Once this condition was made, Moses was able to aggressively confront Pharaoh and seize the decisive opportunity to lead his people to go out to the wilderness for three days.

Jesus likewise had to make a condition like that of the mother of Moses’ son uniting with him for the circumcision, making unity of mother and son to lay the foundation for his three-day course. However, in Jesus’ case his mother did not unite with him, and hence she failed to make this condition of circumcision, which is the foundation for the Will. (241-242)

A key point of this condition was mother-son cooperation. By circumcising their son, Zipporah saved Moses’ life and enabled him to go forward to confront Pharaoh for the three-day course and win Pharaoh’s submission. It was the same pattern of mother-son cooperation as that of Rebekah and Jacob that saved Jacob’s life[17] and enabled him to go forward to the next stage of his life in Haran, where he equipped himself with the means to bring Esau to submission. In Jesus’ course also, there would need to be mother-son cooperation before he could advance to fulfill God’s Will. However, Jesus was unable to make this condition, because his mother Mary did not unite with him, the Son. The specific task that Jesus charged his mother to fulfill was to procure his Bride.

Just as in Moses’ case where there was unity between mother and son, in Jesus’ case also there would need to be unity between his mother and the Son. Only then could God’s fundamental purpose be realized.

In Moses’ case, if mother and son not united with him, he would have died. In Jesus’ case also, unless there was unity between the mother and the Son, so that based on that unity she could find his Bride, he could die on the cross without being able to fulfill the Original Will. This is what that incident foreshadowed symbolically. (139)

For Moses to survive his test of circumcision, the role of Zipporah in the position of mother was essential. Likewise, for the circumcision that Jesus required, his mother Mary had to take on the primary role. However, she did not fulfill the task of procuring Jesus’ Bride. Wolli Wonbon states that this frustrated Jesus’ effort to establish the True Family in his day. Jesus’ anger and disappointment with her came to the surface at the incident when she asked him to change water into wine. (John 2:4)

When Jesus came, his mother was supposed to cooperate with Jesus the Son so that he could fulfill the ultimate purpose of circumcision. This was necessary if Jesus was to fulfill the Will. However, in Jesus’ case, this purpose of circumcision was not fulfilled, and therefore it became a fundamental cause for why Jesus could not fulfill the Original Will. Everyone needs to understand this now.

That is why when Jesus’ mother Mary asked him to change water into wine, the sign that he performed at Cana in Galilee, Jesus said, “Woman, what have you to do with me?” The reason he spoke to his mother like that, and other similar sayings, was because of this. It was because when Jesus began his first course to fulfill the Original Will, the person who caused its failure was his mother. (141)

The Jewish ritual of circumcision was established by Abraham. (Gen. 17:9-14) Its significance according to the Principle was to symbolically remove “the blood of darkness,” namely Satan’s blood.

Because Adam received the blood of darkness through his male part, for Abraham’s descendants to live as God’s descendants, first the blood of darkness had to be extracted from the male part of their body. God had them begin circumcision as a symbolic ritual to do so, and thereby enable them to belong to God. This is the reason God commanded Abraham to establish circumcision as an everlasting covenant. (143)[18]

That ritual carried the promise that in the future, God will remove Satan from the human lineage and return it to God’s lineage. But the substantial process of changing the human blood lineage—the “purpose of circumcision” referred to above—required the Messiah and his Bride.

Figuratively speaking, circumcision means cutting off Satan’s evil from the part involved in reproduction. Hence, the mission that Mary was given to procure the woman whom God had chosen for Jesus’ Bride required that she sever her from all entanglements with Satan. If so, what Jesus wanted Mary to do could not have been an easy task.

In several of his sermons, Rev. Moon revealed that before Jesus began his public ministry at the age of thirty-three, he asked his mother to arrange his marriage with John the Baptist’s younger sister,[19] but she did not comply.

In those days it was customary for males to marry at around 18 to 20 years of age. Why did Jesus not marry? Why was he still single even at the age of 33? In fact, when Jesus was 17 years old, he honestly told Mary the providential reason why he must marry: Adam fell around age 16, to restore the Human Fall he had to marry, and a certain procedure would be required. Three times he spoke of this to his mother: at age 17, then again at age 27 and again at age 30. But his mother would not listen to him. (266:193, December 25, 1994)

Mary was already well acquainted with the parents of Jesus’ intended Bride; they were Zechariah and Elizabeth in whose home Mary had lived when she became pregnant with Jesus. (Luke 1:35-43) In fact, according to Rev. Moon, Jesus was conceived there.[20] However, she stayed there for only three months and then returned to her home in Nazareth. (Luke 1:56) Rev. Moon stated that Zechariah and Elizabeth should have welcomed Mary to stay with them and raised the Christ child under their protection; he also said that their unwillingness to support Mary and her child was a setback for the providence.

Although the Son of God could be born on earth, he needed a wall of protection to grow up safely in Satan’s world and fulfill the Will of God. God had hoped that these three people in the family of Zechariah would establish that protective foundation. There are many points to consider with regard to how seriously the three had to dedicate themselves to protecting and serving the Son of God, and how long they were to have been united with each other.[21]

Based on that history, we can surmise that there must have been some estrangement between Mary and the family of Zechariah and Elizabeth. As time went on, they only became more distant. Furthermore, Zechariah and Elizabeth were a prominent high priestly family, while Mary and Jesus lived amid the poor circumstances. The social distance between them became another barrier.

More importantly, there were internal reasons why Mary lacked the faith and conviction to comply with Jesus’ request. Rev. Moon taught that Mary should have remained only Joseph’s fiancée; they should not have become husband and wife and had sexual relations. It would have been far better for Jesus if Mary had even separated from Joseph and raised Jesus alone, devoting all her strength to attend him as the Son of God. Yet they did marry, and Satan could invade through their marriage and through Joseph’s children who were in the position of Cain to Jesus.

The result for Jesus was that he did not have a place of honor in Mary and Joseph’s family, but was treated as an illegitimate child. An indication of his family’s neglect was that when Jesus was left behind in the Temple, it took them a whole day before they realized that he was missing. (Luke 2:43-45) The result for Mary was that she lost all spiritual support and began to see everything through human eyes. She no longer believed that her son Jesus had special value as the Son of God. She lacked the faith that God was working in Jesus; that is why she dismissed Jesus’ request to arrange his marriage as unrealistic, and even opposed it. In the words of Rev. Moon:

We also need to consider the influence that Joseph and Mary’s relationship had on Jesus. Mary had to restore the positions of Eve and Tamar through indemnity, so she was supposed to have remained as only the fiancée of Joseph. Providentially, they could not be husband and wife. It was God’s desire that they not have sexual relations either before or after Jesus’ birth. Joseph still loved Mary after Jesus’ birth, however Mary ought to have separated from Joseph and raised Jesus as the Son of God.

The real circumstances did not make this easy to do. Even though Mary’s original mind told her that she was not to do so, she had sexual relations with Joseph and they had children, which was a repetition of Eve’s mistake. With this condition, Satan established a claim on them. With the exception of Jesus, everyone who ought to have protected Jesus came under the dominion of Satan: his father, his mother, his Abel-type brothers, John the Baptist and his brothers, and his Cain-type brothers, the children of Joseph.

When Satan influences someone, that person loses all spiritual support and inspiration. Trust in God, as well as any sense of gratitude to Him, is lost. One begins to see everything through human eyes. Mary did not help Jesus with the wedding he desired. She even opposed it. This was the direct reason that Jesus could not receive his bride, and could not become the True Parent. Ultimately, this compelled him to go the way of the cross.[22]

As was mentioned, the condition of circumcision in Jesus’ course is a figurative way denoting the necessity of separating from Satan’s entanglements. In this regard, we can say that Mary did not circumcise her heart. (Deut. 10:16) She did not have the faith that Zipporah had when she stood at Moses’ side and protected him from death. Further, lacking faith in herself, Mary had no power to act in faith to pull John the Baptist’s younger sister out of her worldly entanglements in Zechariah’s family, to in effect circumcise her, so that she could become Jesus’ Bride.

Had Mary circumcised her heart, she could have courageously gone in faith to Zechariah and Elizabeth. Then, God could have moved Zechariah and Elizabeth to grant permission for their daughter to marry Jesus, just as Zipporah’s cooperation in Moses’ day moved God to remove his threat against Moses. After all, Zechariah and Elizabeth were spiritually sensitive people, who when John the Baptist was born had been filled with the Spirit to do God’s work; certainly they could have been spiritually moved once again. By having Zechariah and Elizabeth release their daughter to Jesus to become his Bride, Mary would have fulfilled the purpose of circumcision substantially.

4. The Second Attempt to Fulfill the Condition of Circumcision

Instead, Mary’s failure put a huge obstacle in the path of Jesus, who still needed to fulfill the condition of circumcision if he was to complete the three-day course in his lifetime. When Jesus was unable fulfill the condition within his own family, he had to leave his family aside and establish a new family among the disciples whom he gathered. (Mark 3:33-34) Even as they accompanied him while he was teaching throughout Galilee, he sought another opportunity to fulfill the condition of circumcision with them. This is because, following the pattern of Moses’ course, Jesus still needed to fulfill this condition before he could embark on his three-day course to confront Satan and bring him to voluntary surrender. According to Wolli Wonbon:

Jesus determined that to begin fulfilling the Will, he would make this condition, even if it had to be outside his family. For his second attempt, Jesus chose someone from among his disciples and attempted through unity with that person to again make a condition like the condition of circumcision that Moses made.… Unless Jesus could make this condition, he would not be able to take the offensive against Satan in order to fulfill the Original Will. Making this condition of circumcision was a serious matter…

Among his beloved disciples was Judas Iscariot. Jesus loved him especially and chose him as his partner to cooperate with him for making the condition of circumcision for the fulfillment of the Will. (242)

Jesus chose Judas Iscariot as the representative among his disciples to make this condition to sever Satan’s bonds. Apparently, Jesus had particular love for Judas and believed that he had been prepared to fulfill what would be a difficult course. We have to consider that as a consequence of Jesus’ mother not having faith sufficient to fulfill the condition of circumcision, Judas would have to indemnify that failed condition by mustering even more faith.

Judas’ counterpart for fulfilling this condition would be Mary Magdalene. Judas and Mary Magdalene would have to do something very difficult, at which they could only succeed by maintaining absolute faith, in order to fulfill the condition of circumcision that would clear the way for Jesus to receive his Bride.

To explain further, Jesus could not simply choose a woman from among his disciples and erect her in the position of his Bride. Even those who think that Mary Magdalene was Jesus’ wife[23] do not understand this point. According to the Principle, all conjugal love has been tainted by the sin of the Fall. The condition of circumcision had to be made first, before Jesus and his Bride—whether that woman would be Mary Magdalene or someone else—could stand in a position to marry Jesus. It was the same as for the condition that Jesus’ mother should have fulfilled: severing herself and John the Baptist’s sister from Satan’s entanglements needed to happen before she would be able to give Jesus his Bride. Mary Magdalene’s mission was to cooperate with Jesus and Judas to fulfill the condition of circumcision as the necessary foundation for the Bride.

To fulfill this circumcision condition, Judas and Mary Magdalene needed to sever their connection to Satan. To do so, they were placed in fallen positions, and from there they were supposed to reverse the course of the Fall by centering on Jesus:

For this, Jesus intended to place Judas in the position to represent Satan, the originator of the Fall, by having him claim a woman in the position of Eve who would receive him as her object partner (husband). Next, Jesus intended to claim Judas’ wife, who would then be in the position of fallen Eve, for himself. This would achieve the goal of circumcision, and after that he intended to fulfill the Original Will.

At that time Mary Magdalene was a person who absolutely obeyed Jesus’ will, but in addition she was Judas Iscariot’s girlfriend.

Thus, Jesus planned to give Mary Magdalene to Judas Iscariot as his wife, and then, just as Satan took Eve and left Adam aside, Jesus would claim Judas’ wife, who was in the position of fallen Eve. In this way they would fill up the Principle of Restoration and fulfill the purpose of circumcision. (242-243)

Truly, this was a difficult course for Judas and Mary to fulfill.

To better understand the course that was required of them, Wolli Wonbon presents the courses of the women in Jesus’ lineage, namely Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and Bathsheba. Of them, Wolli Wonbon states:

The reason such women appeared as ancestors in Jesus’ bloodline is because the human ancestors Adam and Eve left God and united with Satan. Since they defiled themselves and died by receiving Satan’s bloodline, God needed to restore their fallen lineage and move it to God’s bloodline.

Each of these women demonstrated an example of an action opposite to the action by which God lost Adam and Eve to Satan. God intended by these conditions to make the fallen lineage belong to God again and recover the Original Principle that Satan had defiled. (222-223)

In the case of Tamar, because she so valued the bloodline of God’s people and was determined to carry out her responsibility to continue that bloodline, when Judah her father-in-law would not give her the husband that was due her according to the custom of levirate marriage, she disguised herself as a prostitute and conceived a child through Judah himself.[24] By doing what was seemingly unprincipled by voluntarily defiling herself, and doing so at the risk of her life, she succeeded in continuing the lineage of God’s chosen people.

Wolli Wonbon points to what Tamar did as foreshadowing the course of a woman who would have to do something similar with Jesus at his coming. Tamar modeled what this woman—Mary Magdalene—would have to do to reverse what Eve did at the Fall, when she united with Lucifer when she was supposed to be Adam’s husband.

What was the meaning of Tamar’s deed? When Eve fell and lost her virginity to Satan, she began the unprincipled lineage that continued through the generations. Conversely, Tamar acted in a like manner deliberately in order to continue the lineage on God’s side.

That is, Eve acted in such a way that she lost God’s bloodline and failed to fulfill the Original Will, but Tamar voluntarily acted in a manner opposite to what Eve did in order to fulfill the Will. We need to understand that her action indicated that in the future when Jesus came to fulfill the Original Will, someone like Tamar would have to appear and take a course to reverse Eve’s act. (225)

Another exemplary course for reversing the Fall was that of David, Bathsheba and Uriah. Uriah was in the position of Satan. This can be understood from the fact that he was David’s servant and hence in the archangel position; moreover he was a disobedient servant because he disobeyed David’s order to go down to his house. (2 Sam. 11:8-11) Accordingly, Bathsheba, Uriah’s wife, was in the position of Satan’s wife, that is, fallen Eve. David was in the position of God, or unfallen Adam who was God’s embodiment. Interestingly, the Jewish mystical text Sefer ha-Peli’ah offers a similar insight about David, Bathsheba and Uriah; it too recognizes that they were the positions of Adam, Eve and Satan.

King David, of blessed memory, was a great sage and recognized transmigrations. When he saw Uriah the Hittite, he knew that he was the Serpent who had seduced Eve, and when he saw Bathsheba, he knew that she was Eve, and he knew that he himself was Adam. Thus, he wished to take Bathsheba from Uriah, because she was destined to be David’s mate.[25]

For David to take Bathsheba from Uriah, despite the immorality of the act, was a type of restoring the Fall by indemnity. Here it was not a matter of Bathsheba risking her life in the manner of Tamar; David was her king and she went to him as she was commanded. But the affair put Uriah in a hard spot, and he ended up paying with his life when David arranged for him to die in battle. That God could accept this course is evident from the fact that among all David’s sons, God blessed the son of David and Bathsheba to become King Solomon (2 Sam. 12:24), the glorious king who built the Temple.[26]

Here is how Wolli Wonbon explains this as a course that restored through indemnity the course of Adam and Eve’s fall:

When Lucifer (Satan) took Eve, he pushed God aside. It was as if he took her from God, who was supposed to be her Husband. Therefore, God needed to erect the Principle by recovering Eve. The woman who demonstrated this symbolically was Bathsheba, who already had a husband.

King David had a loyal subject named Uriah, and Bathsheba was his wife. Nonetheless, King David took her and lay with her. Then David sent Uriah to the frontline of the battle and had him die there. Afterwards, he took Bathsheba as his wife. She bore him the son who became King Solomon.

How could such a woman as Bathsheba become the mother of Solomon, a glorious and honored king? Further, how could she become an ancestor of Jesus? The fundamental meaning is this:

King David symbolized God; Uriah symbolized the archangel Lucifer; Bathsheba symbolized Eve whom God was personally trying to recover; and Solomon the glorious king symbolized Jesus, the Central Man.

This incident indicated a mission that Jesus would have to fulfill with God at his coming. Satan took Eve, who should have become God’s wife. Therefore, King David took Bathsheba, the wife of Uriah who was in the position of Satan. This indicated that for Jesus to restore Satan’s misdeed substantially centering on God’s Will, he would have the mission to recover Eve in the world in such a manner. (228-29)

Both Tamar and Bathsheba symbolized fallen Eve, who would stand before Jesus and whom Jesus would restore from being the wife of Satan to being unfallen Eve by taking her for himself. That would be the position of Mary Magdalene. Jesus would have Mary Magdalene, as fallen Eve, act with firm faith to leave her husband and join with him, the Second Adam who was God’s embodiment.

Judas Iscariot was the man who would stand before Jesus in the position of Satan, in the same position as Bathsheba’s husband Uriah. Jesus would require Judas Iscariot to accept the loss of his wife and thereby indemnify Satan taking Eve from Adam (and from God). He should accept that loss without complaint, subjugating Satan’s greedy heart at the Fall when he took Adam’s wife as his own.

This was Jesus’ plan when he enlisted Judas Iscariot and Mary Magdalene to make a second attempt to fulfill the condition of circumcision. He placed them in the positions of Satan and fallen Eve, and then initiated actions to have them reverse the course of the Fall.

At that time Mary Magdalene was a person who absolutely obeyed Jesus’ will, but in addition she was Judas Iscariot’s girlfriend. Jesus planned to give Mary Magdalene to Judas Iscariot as his wife, and then, just as Satan took Eve and left Adam aside, Jesus would claim Judas’ wife, who was in the position of fallen Eve. In this way they would fill up the Principle of Restoration and fulfill the purpose of circumcision.

To execute his plan, Jesus gave Mary Magdalene to Judas Iscariot as his wife and had them represent fallen Eve and Satan, respectively. Then he chose Judas’ wife Mary as an Eve-figure for himself.[27] In this way he began the providence to make the condition of circumcision. (243)

Jesus began this way, but to fulfill it Judas had to demonstrate absolute obedience. Since this circumcision was to remove the blood of the Fall, it required that Judas as Satan’s representative submit to this condition voluntarily of his own free will. In other words, Judas would have had to circumcise his heart.

However, the Gospels hint that Judas had become jealous over the affection that Mary Magdalene showed Jesus, in the incident where Mary washed Jesus’ feet with her hair:

Mary took a pound of costly ointment of pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” (John 12.3-4)

About this incident Rev. Moon once remarked:

Why does the name of Mary Magdalene endure in Christianity? Why is her name praised throughout the generations? It is because Jesus wanted her name to be known.

During Jesus’ lifetime, who could understand her behavior? She was ridiculed as a woman of a low background. When she poured perfumed oil worth 300 denarii on his feet, all the disciples mocked her and Judas Iscariot protested her actions. Yet Jesus declared that her name would be remembered wherever the Gospel is preached. He said so because her offering to Jesus at that hour was greater than the devotion of his disciples or anyone else. In fact, her act of devotion to Jesus matched Jesus’ own devotion to God. (4:107, March 16, 1958)

Mary’s faith was solid, and she obeyed Jesus’ request to take the position of his bride for the condition of circumcision. Her love for Jesus was not a worldly love, but an offering of devotion to her Lord. Yet, because Judas could not bear with giving Mary to Jesus, the condition ended up a failure. It is because Judas could not keep the Will at the center of his heart, but instead viewed the matter from a human point of view, thinking that Jesus was stealing his woman.

Jesus tried to educate Judas with the proper faith so that he could overcome this humanistic attachment to Mary Magdalene. He had Judas in mind when he instructed his disciples, “He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Matt. 10:37) Judas needed to subordinate his love for his wife to Jesus’ purpose, which was God’s Will. That would have sufficed for the condition of circumcision.

Nevertheless, Judas bore a grudge against Jesus, which led him to betray him. And the storm of controversy swirling around Jesus made it an easy thing to do. Here is how Wolli Wonbon puts it:

Even as Jesus raised this matter, which was essential for inaugurating the Original Human Beings, Satan mobilized the Pharisees, scribes and such to create tremendous turbulence and incited them to oppose him.

If Judas Iscariot had completely kept faith, obedience, and attendance to Jesus, then Jesus, together with Mary Magdalene, could have fulfilled the condition of circumcision to inaugurate the Original Human Beings. However, like the Pharisees, Judas also was upset with Jesus, although now we know it was for a different reason. For that reason he acted against him and committed a sin unprecedented in human history, selling his Teacher for 30 pieces of silver.

Here what we need to understand is that the reason Judas Iscariot acted against Jesus was because he did not know the Original Will. Other¬wise, he would not have conspired with a group of the Enemy and acted to destroy the Will. Yet because he did, Judas went in the direction that Satan wanted, and this placed Jesus in a position where he could not avoid crucifixion and death. (243-44)

Thus, Wolli Wonbon reveals that Judas betrayed Jesus over something far more serious than 30 pieces of silver; it was a matter of love. Judas needed to fulfill his part for the restoration of love from Satan’s ownership to God’s ownership; this would have fulfilled the condition of circumcision once and for all. But he was faithless in this matter. And since it concerned the fundamental matter of the ownership of the human lineage, it cemented Satan’s hold on humankind ever more firmly. Judas’ betrayal was the consummation of all the episodes of faithlessness and disobedience in the providence. It was decisive in causing Jesus to have to walk the path of the cross.

To repeat, even though all the people disbelieved, if only Judas Iscariot had kept faith in Jesus and followed him all the way to the end, it would not have been necessary for Jesus to go the way of the cross. Jesus’ path to the cross began because Judas did not keep faith in him, and specifically because he did not obey him for the matter of the condition of circumcision.

That is why Jesus said about Judas, “It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” He meant that Judas, due to his faithlessness and disobedience, ended up being the final and decisive person who brought destruction to God’s Will. (245)

Jesus was determined to complete the three-day course, but how could he succeed if he could not make the fundamental conditions that were required for its success? He did not have his Aaron, namely John the Baptist. Nor was he able to make the condition of circumcision that would clear the way for him to receive his Bride, either through his mother or through his disciples. His efforts to complete that last condition resulted in his arrest and betrayal.

Mary Magdalene, that faithful disciple who obeyed Jesus for the condition of circumcision, kept her devotion to the very end. She alone waited at the tomb where his body was laid and found it empty. (John 20:1) She alone waited at the tomb, weeping, and she was the first person to whom the resurrected Jesus appeared (John 20:16-17). But when she went to embrace him, Jesus turned her away. This is because the condition of circumcision failed, with the consequence that Jesus could not receive his Bride. Mary’s sorrow represented Jesus’ sorrow over this outcome. On this point, Rev. Moon said:

When Jesus was resurrected after the cross, he turned Mary Magdalene away when she tried to embrace him. He was not in a position to say, “Mary, my Bride, let us go to the Father together.” Jesus had worked hard to restore the Bride that Heaven had sought for 2,000 years, looking forward to the day when he could embrace his Bride. It was the Father’s will that Jesus come before Him rejoicing with his Bride, receive God’s marriage Blessing and become the True Parents… but Jesus departed this world without receiving the Blessing by which he could restore the position of humanity’s true ancestor. This is the sorrow of both God and Jesus.[28]

In all this, we can see that Jesus fought to the bitter end to make the conditions to defeat Satan and fulfill God’s Original Will. He did not go to the cross as the victim of circumstance. He was not the victim of Satan’s plot. Certainly it wasn’t God who delivered him to the cross. No, Jesus was the active agent throughout. He put his life on the line time and again to complete the requirements for his three-day course, especially when he tried to fulfill the condition of circumcision with his disciples. When it went wrong, he digested the setback and determined to go forward nonetheless, willingly taking up the cross.

In sum, when we look at the entirety of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection from the perspective of the Principle, we can recognize that everything he did was for the purpose of defeating Satan and leading believers to salvation. From the beginning of his ministry to the end of his earthly life on the cross, and beyond it to his resurrection, his ascension, and his subsequent work through Christian history, we can see that Jesus was fixed on the same goal, and everything he did was in the context of efforts to realize it.

As Gustav Aulén wrote in Christus Victor, there is “a continuous line from the Incarnation, through the entire earthly life of Christ, and His death, to His resurrection and exaltation.”[29] Wolli Wonbon agrees—to a point. The cross was not the unique event by which Jesus brought salvation to humankind, but of a piece with all Jesus’ efforts to subjugate Satan in order to bring humankind into God’s kingdom. They did not end with his resurrection, nor with his exaltation, but have continued throughout the subsequent 2,000 years right up to the Second Advent.


From the Cross to the Resurrection

The principle for subjugating Satan does not change. The cross did not end the requirement that Jesus fulfill the three-day course. So it was left for Jesus to fulfill it by dying on the cross. Thus, the three-day course that he wanted to fulfill in his life became the three days in the tomb from the crucifixion to the resurrection. (1 Cor. 15:4) In the words of Wolli Wonbon:

It was not until after his death on the cross that Jesus could commence his three-day course, which was the fundamental condition for inaugurating the Original Human Beings.

If Jesus’ mother had united with him during his lifetime and found the woman who would have been his Eve for the fulfillment of the Will, and also if the people whom God had prepared had obeyed Jesus who stood on God’s side, then Jesus could have taken a path that would have been more effective than the cross. Had that happened, Jesus would have prepared more aggressive measures for dealing with Satan that could have achieved a result that would have fulfilled the Will.

Nevertheless, Jesus was responsible to accomplish his duty no matter what. He had to succeed in fulfilling the three-day course. Therefore, he resolved to fulfill his portion of responsibility for the mission to pass through this course, even if it had to be after he died on the cross. (147-148)

Since the condition of circumcision remained as a prerequisite for completing the three-day course, Jesus made a condition for it spiritually before he went to the cross. He declared that he is the Bridegroom (Matt. 9:15, Mark 2:19-20) and believers are his brides. (1 Cor. 11:2, Eph. 5:25-26) This condition sufficed for a spiritual circumcision, because faithful believers who become Jesus’ brides abandon their attachment to Satan’s love. They cut off from the love of the world and its riches in order to abide in the love of Christ. They place Jesus above everyone else and strive to be worthy of him, putting into practice his words, “He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Matt. 10:37)

It is based on these words that the tradition of celibacy developed in the Church, whereby people dwelt undividedly in the spiritual love for Jesus that surpasses all human love. Christians have kept this condition for two thousand years as a foundation for erecting the actual Bride at the time of the Second Advent. According to Wolli Wonbon, it was by setting up this condition among his followers that Jesus was finally qualified to begin his spiritual three-day course.

Jesus thought that if he did not make this condition of circumcision in the flesh and fulfill the responsibility of the Original Human Beings, it would be Satan’s victory. Therefore, he wanted to make it at least spiritually, in order to make a condition for victory over Satan and to find the way to erect the person of Eve.

Therefore, Jesus said that he is the Bridegroom and believers are his brides. With those words, he made the circumcision condition spiritually to establish the Will for the Original Human Beings. Thereupon, he resolved to set out on his three-day course by carrying the cross. (245-246)

The cross marked the beginning of Jesus’ three-day course and the resurrection was its conclusion. They are linked as cause and effect, and both were victories. There would have been no resurrection were it not for the victory of the cross. It is like Moses’ three-day course, which began with victory when Pharaoh yielded to Moses’ demand to release the Israelites from bondage and ended with even greater victory when Pharaoh’s army perished at the Red Sea. As Moses’ three-day course demonstrated God’s victory and Satan’s defeat from beginning to end, so did Jesus’ three-day course from the cross to the resurrection.

On the cross, Jesus paid the price for all Satan’s claims on Jesus. This eliminated Satan’s foundation to attack him, giving Satan had no choice but to release him. That is why once Satan exercised his “maximum power” to kill Jesus on the cross, the path was open for God to exercise His “maximum power” to resurrect Jesus. (EDP, 279) The narrative in Wolli Wonbon does not set the cross against the resurrection, but sees them as steps that follow one another on the one line.

While Jesus’ death on the cross demonstrated the result of Satan’s maximum power, his resurrection was within the domain of God’s special authority that Satan could not invade. That is why Jesus declared to Satan: “Henceforth you are separated from me.”

This dividing point began with the cross. That is, since Satan does not have the power to give life, after the cross, with the power that Satan does not have, God began the providence of resurrection. (263-64)

Satan was defeated on the cross. Because Jesus willingly paid the price of sin, Satan had to relent and let go of his hold on Jesus and those who believed in him. Thus the cross was the “dividing point.” The cross, not the resurrection that came three days later, marks the beginning of Christian history. It is from the cross that God’s work over the past two thousand years of Christian history has advanced from victory to victory, while Satan has been on a downward path. It is from the victory of the cross that Christianity began its journey to Canaan, namely the kingdom of heaven that will open after the Second Advent.

After Jesus’ death on the cross, Satan has been leaving a trail of defeat. Jesus began a three-day period, like Moses who set out on a three-day course to deal with Pharaoh in the position of Satan.

Not only that, based on Jesus’ victory, we who believe in Jesus are able to set out on a course for Canaan, although it is a spiritual journey, just as in Old Testament history the Israelites made the Exodus from Egypt and headed for Canaan. (266)

Yet, the victory of the cross only became manifest at the resurrection. During the three days that Jesus was in the tomb, his disciples were dispirited and felt defeated. They only regained their faith at the resurrection. The resurrection demonstrated that Jesus conquered death and that his blood shed on the cross, of which he had spoken at the Last Supper (Matt. 26:28), was indeed the blood of life.

Through the 40 days of his resurrection appearances, Jesus was able to unite all the disciples with him to form a new, victorious foundation for the work of liberating all humankind from Satan’s fetters. Thereupon, throughout Christian history, the resurrected Jesus has been standing over against Satan the evil archangel and calling upon humankind to reject Satan’s evil blood and receive his good blood. Here Wolli Wonbon takes a position that is quite close to traditional Christian doctrine:

Then, what is the meaning of Jesus’ victory of the cross? Adam and Eve died by receiving the blood of the archangel Lucifer, the substantial spiritual being who became Satan. Therefore, God is trying to block all human beings from receiving Satan’s blood and have them inherit the blood of life again through Jesus, a substantial spiritual being. This is the fundamental purpose for which God resurrected Jesus and had him ascend to heaven as a resurrected being after his death. (265)


The Accurate Significance of the Cross

Unificationists have long struggled to understand the proper significance of the cross. The cross is such an ambivalent event. On the one hand, the death of Jesus on the cross caused God such sorrow. For Jesus to accomplish God’s original purpose to establish the ideal of God’s kingdom, he needed to live. On the other hand, the cross was a victory, even if it could only fulfill the Will part way and left more to be accomplished at the Second Advent. The victory that Jesus brought on the cross brought humankind one step forward on the path towards realizing God’s ideal.

Unificationists who take the cross as a defeat normally seize upon the resurrection, because it was an unreserved step forward towards salvation. Yet as mentioned above, the cross and the resurrection are connected. The cross, where Jesus paid the price for sin even at the cost of his life, was the foundation for the resurrection and all the forward progress towards fulfilling the Will ever since.

Unificationists and their friends among the Christian clergy had to grapple with this issue in 2003, when Rev. Moon called for churches to take down their crosses. Here is an excerpt of Rev. Michael Jenkins’ report on an ACLC conference at that time:

We never dreamed that the ministers currently attending the Divine Principle seminars would agree to take down their church crosses, yet many have confirmed that they feel that it is right… The value of the cross is that Jesus turned it into victory. Many pastors have shared that the real essence is that Jesus gave his life as a willing sacrifice while forgiving and loving his enemies - the enemies of God.

The clergy in great part agree… the cross did not bring the victory, Jesus did. It was how he overcame the cross that allows God's spirit to bring victory through the cross.”[30]

The ministers spoke rightly: “The cross did not bring the victory, Jesus did.” The cross that loomed in front of Jesus on account of the faithlessness and disobedience of the people was a tragedy that grieved God’s heart, for it was never God’s purpose that Jesus should shed his blood. Jesus was supposed to live and fulfill all the conditions of restoration to realize God’s ideal. Yet when faced with the cross, Jesus overcame everything. By forgiving those who put him on the cross and voluntarily taking on his body all the sins of history, Jesus won a monumental victory that has resounded throughout history.



[1] Exposition of the Divine Principle (New York: HSA-UWC, 1996).

[2] Wolli can be translated Divine Principle or the Principle, and wonbon means “first version.”

[3] “Wolli Wonbon”, translated by Hee Hun Standard with Andrew Wilson, unpublished. Page numbers are those of the original manuscript.

[4] For a review of this and all the Christian theories of atonement, such as the satisfaction theory stemming from Anselm of Canterbury (c. 1033-1109), see Gustaf Aulén, Christus Victor: An Historical Study of the Three Main Types of the Idea of Atonement, trans. A.G. Hebert (New York: Macmillan, 1969). For a Unification perspective, see Theodore Shimmyo, “The Unification Doctrine of Atonement,” Journal of Unification Studies 12 (2011), 11-40.

[5] See Andrew Wilson, “The Sexual Interpretation of the Human Fall,” in Unification Theology in Comparative Perspectives, edited by Anthony J. Guerra (New York: Unification Theological Seminary, 1988), 51-70.

[6] For example, Abot de Rabbi Nathan 1: “What was the wicked serpent contemplating at that time? He thought, ‘I shall go and kill Adam and wed his wife, and I shall be king over the whole world.’” See World Scripture: A Comparative Anthology of Sacred Texts (New York: Paragon House, 1991), p. 303.

[7] EDP, pp. 60, 63-65.

[8] Aulén, Christus Victor, pp. 16-35.

[9] C. S. Lewis dramatized this interpretation of the cross in the narrative of Aslan’s sacrifice in his novel The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950).

[10] Luke 9:30-31

[11] Seth’s descendants united with Cain’s descendants, and thus fell into the same circumstances.

[12] Indicated by the words, “and so on and so forth” in the quotation below.

[13] Jesus’ scope narrowed, because instead of cooperation with large numbers of Jews at high levels of society, Jesus could only work with a small group of followers from the lower classes.

[14] Aulén, Christus Victor, p. 44.

[15] Shimmyo, “The Unification Doctrine of Atonement,” p. 15.

[16] Day one: the journey from Ramesses to Succoth. (Exod. 12:37) Day two: the journey from Succoth to Etham. (Exod. 13:20) Day three: Day three: the journey from Etham to Pi Hahiroth (Exod. 14:9), or Migdol (Num. 33:7), which was by the Red Sea. Cf. the complete itinerary of the Exodus in Num. 33:5-49.

[17] Gen. 27:41-28:5

[18] Gen. 17:9-14. Circumcision of the male organ is an everlasting covenant for the Jews during the era of restoration. However, once people receive the Marriage Blessing and are restored to God’s lineage, it is no longer needed. Indeed, removal of the foreskin is contrary to God’s original design for the organs that are meant to convey original love; hence in the era of God’s kingdom this practice should end.

[19] Sun Myung Moon, Blessing and Ideal Family I.2.1.5, pp. 110-111.

[20] Sun Myung Moon, “View of the Principle of the Providential History of Salvation,” Pyeonghwa Gyeong, pp. 114.

[21] Ibid., pp. 114-15.

[22] Ibid., pp. 116-17.

[23] The legend that Mary Magdalene was Jesus’ wife arose in gnostic circles in the second century, It was given new life when scholars unearthed a trove of gnostic texts near the Egyptian town of Nag Hammadi in 1945. One of them, the Gospel of Philip, refers to Mary Magdalene as Jesus’ companion and stated that Jesus often kissed her. The theory that Jesus and Mary had children together has been popularized in works of fiction, notably the best-selling The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (2003) and The Last Temptation of Christ by Nikos Kazantzakis (1955). In 2012, Harvard Divinity School professor Karen King unveiled a previously unknown second-century fragment in which Jesus called Mary Magdalene “my wife”; however now it is recognized that the document was a forgery.

[24] Gen. ch. 38

[25] World Scripture and the Teachings of Sun Myung Moon (Tarrytown: Universal Peace Federation, 2007), p. 476.

[26] Solomon was their legitimate son. The child of their relationship who was conceived out of wedlock died. (2 Sam. 12:15-19) One explanation is that God struck the baby to clear the outward sin of David and Bathsheba’s affair, so that Solomon could stand without accusation.

[27] “An Eve-figure”: the Korean syntax indicates that this condition was not done to erect Mary Magdalene as the Bride (True Mother). Rather, she represented fallen Eve who by moving to the position of Jesus’ bride, would make the fundamental condition to restore the Fall. That condition was a necessary foundation for the next step: to actually establish Jesus and his Bride as the Original Human Beings.

[28] Sun Myung Moon 5:187 (January 18, 1959), in World Scripture and the Teachings of Sun Myung Moon, pp. 480-81.

[29] Aulén, Christus Victor, p.  28.

[30] Michael Jenkins, “123 Churches Took Down the Cross Over the Easter Holiday,” Unification News, April 2003. cross_mj_overview.htm