“Why did God create man and woman? He wanted to see himself in His creation. God is love. However, love all by itself is incomplete. God needed a family to become His love,” was the theme of the Nov. 5, 2016, prayer breakfast held at Clifton, NJ Family Church, attended by 30 clergy and ministry associates.
Several pastors spoke before the main message was given (below in italics). Rev. Stephen Webb, (pastor of the New Life Christian Center) opened the program by saying he felt like it was a “reunion” (of ACLC clergy who had not come together for a long time.) He then invited up Rev. Banks (a minister from his church), to give the table blessing. After breakfast, the New Jerusalem Choir lifted the spirit to even higher ground with two beautiful musical selections, followed by Welcoming Remarks from the host pastor, Pastor Manoj Jacob.
Dr. Lizzie Alston, (pastor of Universal Church of God) was called upon to lead the Unity Prayer. She read an excerpt from Father Moon’s speech “Standing in the Presence of God”, which was followed by a prayer by Rev Dr. Jeffery Garland (pastor of the Berean Baptist Church.)
Annette Dockens (from International Pentecostal Fellowship Church) sang a selection of praise songs preceding the testimony given by her pastor, Rev. Wehye. Rev. Wehye shared that he first heard about Rev. Moon while he was in his country of Liberia. There were some young people in Monrovia (Liberia) passing rumors in the streets. When he came to America and later attended an ACLC meeting, what he heard drew him to the edge of his seat. He wanted to know more. He learned from this experience that, “If you want to know something, don’t just hear it from other people. Dig into it yourself.” He began to study some the writings of Rev. Moon. He wondeered how can this man be so informed. Rev. Moon must be inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Although Rev. Wehye never had the opportunity to meet Rev. Moon while he was alive, he has read most of his sermons. He concluded his testimony by sharing that the greatest experience he has had (in ACLC), was participating in the Holy Marriage Blessing (in 2016)…. Rev. Wehye said, “Marriage is a very important ceremony in ACLC because it was instituted by Rev. Moon. Now, in the twentieth century men have many ideas about marriage.” Rev. Wehye then thanked ACLC for giving him back his wife (through the Blessing.) Since the Blessing they promised never to take each for granted. He then addressed the clergy who were new to ACLC. He implored them to not base their opinion ACLC and Rev. Moon from the advice of others. Rather, check- out it for themselves.
The MC, Rev. Webb shared a short testimony as one of the 172 who met Rev. Moon in Korea. He felt that the words that imparted to them were truly inspired by the Holy Spirit for such times as these. He thanked God for the life and legacy of Rev. Moon.
Then Rev. Dr. Michael Sykes, a friend and mentor to clergy (in the local area as well as through the states), was invited up with his wife Zena, to give a testimony about their tour across America. Before launching into his testimony Rev. Sykes remarked that our country is in trouble. He said neither political candidate can save this country. “The only people who will save this country are the people of God. Then, he cited II Chronicles 7:14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. That is the first thing we have to do. The second thing that will save America is through blessed marriages because our marriages are in trouble.” He then testified that he found this out not through studying books but from his personal experience.
In 2014, Dr. Sykes and his wife were blessed in marriage, in the Clifton Church. At the time, he didn’t know what he was getting himself into. However, now he feels it is the greatest thing that has ever happened to him. They have been inspired by the spirit of Rev. Moon not to just keep the Blessing to themselves but do something.
In 2015, they had vision to make a tour around the country and share the Blessing. The Clifton Family Church was the first church to stand by them and give financial assistance. That first tour was a great success. A few months ago they decided to make a second tour. They toured the southern belt. The clergy and members they met were inspired by the testimonies they gave about the Blessing. Dr. Sykes shared with the clergy, that blessed couples treated their wives and husband as sons or daughters of God. During the tour, some clergy expressed a desire to receive the Marriage Blessing and asked the Sykes for their help to find a spouse. Dr. Sykes told them that they first needed to study and understand the Divine Principle and then they could get blessed.
All the testimonies acted as a prelude to the sermon by Bishop Jesse Edwards (ACLC Evangelist.) Bishop Edwards pointed to the banner on the wall, “The Kingdom of Heaven is realized through families”, the theme for the Prayer Breakfast. He recounted that Jesus proclaimed that the Kingdom was at hand. He went on to say that Jesus came to set-up a Kingdom.
He shared that Father Moon said (to a group of the 172) that they should become Jesus. Then he asked the audience, “How would they do that? Must they be reincarnated in flesh, or cloned from Jesus DNA? No, the Bible says that to be a son of God you must have the spirit of God. If you are led by the Holy Spirit, there will be unity in the body of Christ. You will be able to break down racial barriers. You will be a prophetic voice promoting family values.”
Then the Bishop directed our attention to the story in the Bible where Jesus was invited to a wedding in Cana. At the wedding, his mother told him they had no more wine. Jesus replied, “Woman, why do you involve me?” … My hour has not yet come.” (John 2:4.) Jesus’ words seemed harsh. Nevertheless, what Mary should have been doing was what every Jewish mother did – find a wife for her son. Jewish children never picked out their own husband or wife. That was their parents’ responsibility. Often, a man of God would a send out a prophet to find their son a wife, someone equally yoked. However, Jesus went to Calvary without a wife.
Bishop Edwards reminded everyone that Jesus’ words were, the Kingdom is at hand. How could it be? He raised the question, “What if Jesus had gotten married and had a son. Would Jesus’ son be sinless or sinful? In paternity cases the blood of the potential father is tested for a DNA match. If Jesus is sinless and he marries and has a child, that child would also be sinless. The Kingdom of Heaven is realized through families. Why did Jesus say the Kingdom is at hand? Because he wanted a wife and a family. He often talked about children and family. His lineage would not have perpetuated the fallen Adamic nature of sin.
The Bishop declared that we are 2,000 years behind schedule and asked why is our government making laws to allow men to marry men and women to marry women? Laws that allow men, women and children to use the same bathroom. He gave an example to illustrate his point. He asked the audience to imagine a 6-year-old girl using the same bathroom with an older man. Then he posed another question. “Why are our laws being changed in this way? It is not because Satan has gotten more powerful or the government is mean and cruel…The reason is that we are not doing our job. If we don’t like either candidate, why don’t we find a godly, spirit-filled one to put in office? If all the Christians – every child of God in the United States got together, we could put anyone we wanted in office. We are too worried about the our kingdom ..my own church… my members…”
He alluded to one of Father Moon’s speeches which says that Jesus is the masculine image of God and the Holy spirit is the feminine image. He went on to say that Adam and Eve were in God’s image, male and female. The Bishop concluded that God has both a masculine and feminine character. He questions us again. “Why did God create man and woman? He wanted to see himself in His creation. God is love. However, love all by itself is incomplete. God needed a family to become His love.”
The Bishop proclaimed “We don’t need to die to go to heaven. Jesus came to set-up the kingdom right here on earth. If you don’t get into the kingdom while you are on earth, you might just miss it. The Bible speaks of streets of gold. What does a spirit need with gold? .…A spirit flies around. He doesn’t need streets. When we die we put off the flesh and go forth as spiritual beings…. Then he asked, “Which do you feed the most, your body or spirit? The one which you feed the most is in control of you. If you feed your spirit (through the word, praise, and worship) you will walk in the spirit.”
Bishop Edwards disclosed that there was a time when he and his wife were on the verge of divorce. Nevertheless, because they were ministers; had children and grandchildren they didn’t want to become part of the status quo. When his wife first heard about the blessing she was against it. Nevertheless, she finally agreed to get blessed…. Three months later, Father Moon asked her what she thought about the Blessing. She said it changed her husband. Now, he expresses his love for her all the time. He even loves their congregation and the word of God. He also loves the creation. The Bishop emphasized that it’s not just a marriage ceremony. It is a blessing where God enters in the couple’s relationship. The blessing is in the Holy Wine.
Then Bishop Edwards referred to Jesus when he sat with his disciples at the Last Supper. He said, “Jesus took the wine and said this is my blood. Just as at the wedding in Cana. He took the water and changed it into wine. During his physical life, Jesus wanted change our lineage. We say we are born in sin and shaped in iniquity. How would it be if we could be linked with Jesus’ pure, unblemished, spotless lineage? If this had happened in Jesus day, there would be only one religion in the world today. …We would all be children of God.”
The Bishop asked “What makes this marriage so blessed?” (pointing to the Sykes.) They have accepted the blood of Christ. They drank from the same cup. The blood cannot be divided nor broken down… “ Jesus last words were, if this cup cannot pass from me…. There were 3 cups spoken of in the Bible. The one Jesus was referring to was his destiny. He was supposed to have a family and restore God’s Kingdom. (He was not afraid of Calvary). He was to become the true Messiah, the father, and his wife the mother of all mankind. However, the disciples and the Romans didn’t see it that way. Nor did the Jews who waited so long for the Messiah to come. This is why Jesus said “… thou knew not the time of thy visitation” (Luke 19:44.) Bishop Edwards said, “I don’t want to miss his visitation. Do you? I don’t want to miss the anointing of God’s spirit.”
Bishop Edwards concluded by saying, “What is the Kingdom? The marriage of man and woman.”
Submitted by: Rev. Kathaleen Sato/ ACLC-NJ