Monday, April 4, 2011

Heavenly Father I know, but who is "Heavenly Mother"

While looking at a menu in front of a 식당, a young lady approached me and asked if I knew "Heavenly Mother". Several people have approached me or knocked on my door with the same question, but with my poor Korean and with not being able to comprehend the basic principles of the Church of God religion, I just could not understand who this "Heavenly Mother" was [Even in English I struggled to understand because their beliefs are so "unique".] But now someone spoke English and had a good understanding of giving Bible studies in support of the religion, and so I listened and questioned for well over an hour. I'm still in the dark about some basic beliefs but now I at least understand who the "Heavenly Mother" is.

First some background knowledge about the Church of God. In Korea there are about 400 temples and several seminary institutes. It is a very fast-growing church within Korea, but since followers in the Church of God believe that Korea is a type of Jerusalem, then understandably Korea would be a Mecca of sorts for believers to come, pray together, study together and further their beliefs. They believe in Passover (rather different in character is my understanding than that in the Bible - seems to be a celebration of feasting with focus on symbolism of taking the Passover feast once a year for the purpose of being "saved" until the next Passover feast). They also believe in foot-washing, in women covering their heads in worship as based on the New Testament, and they believe in the 6-day creation week as being symbolic of 1000 days for each day (they support this with Rev 3:8). These are basically variations of other Christian beliefs but their truly "unique" beliefs are centered around the time and function of the Godhead and of course their central belief, that of the existence of a "Heavenly Mother".

The pictures above are pictoral timelines concerning the Godhead and the time and function of it. Before someone can understand about God from a Church of God viewpoint, he or she must understand about the function of the Bible and creation itself. Before creation (as I was told), the earth was a time for beasts, and so when Jesus spoke in Luke 9:59-60 to "let the dead bury the dead", supposedly this was a reference to the spiritually dead to tend to non-believers, just as the time before creation was a time period of spiritually dead people or "beasts". They believe in both creationism and evolution, which is rather ironic to me since that means that God as the Creator made earth from something rather than created it from nothing. But then they believe that the Bible is merely a parable and not a collection of actual events. Believing such, they can qualify the Godhead [God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit] into three separate characters operating under three separate time periods. That is, when the parable of creation occured in roughly 4000 B.C. and until the zero year when Jesus Christ was born, God the Father or "Jehovah" ruled. Once Jesus was born, it was the time for God the Son or "Jesus Christ" to rule. And then the ultra-unique aspect of their belief is for an earthly man, "Ahn Sang Hong" who symbolized God the Holy Spirit, to spiritually rule. Even more uniquely, upon his death, his wife became the spiritual ruler and is known as "Heavenly Mother" and at present she is believed to rule. The religion has definite undertones of feminism in it, restructuring the godhead unlike any religion I have yet encountered.

How can this belief be supported by the Bible?

According to the believers, in John 6 Jesus promises four times to "raise man up in the last day". Jesus didn't give eternal life when He came the first time as, they qualified, this eternal life would be only when He would return the second time (as Ahn Sang Hong) because, they told me, "He [not Jesus but Ahn Sang Hong] was waiting for His bride [his wife]". This was supported with "For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready"(Rev 19:7-8). In Rev 21:9-10, Jesus said He would show the bride, who is identified later in the verse as Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven. So as interpreted to me, Rev 22:17 is about the spirit [Ahn Sang Ho to them] and the bride ["Heavenly Mother" to them] come to give the water of life.

They said, because both the Heavenly Father and "Heavenly Mother" give the water of life, it is important to know the "Heavenly Mother" because most people just believe in the Heavenly Father. Galatians 4:26 says "she (Jerusalem) is our mother" and in the last days "living water will flow out of Jerusalem" [Jerusalem and "Heavenly Mother" are duality in their belief] (Zech 14:8).

Why is Korea the place of the (new?) Jerusalem?

OK, this was the part that really wasn't clearly explained to me, but of key importance is the Passover because it is "eagerly desired" (Luke 22:15). The Passover is a "new covenant" (Luke 22:20), and according to Lev 23:4-5 the Passover date is the 14th day of the 1st month, or Jan 14th by the Jewish calendar which translates to falling in the solar calendar sometime from late March to early May. Jesus kept the Passover 2000 years ago, but in 325 A.D. the Passover was abolished as prophesized by Daniel (Dan 7:25). However, the Church of God doesn't recognize this abolishment, so they still keep the Passover and women still wear veils, as found in Corinthians. Until the 1600s (according to history) there was no Passover celebration, but Isaiah 25:6-9 talks about the return of "aged wine", symbolic (to them) of a long period of time after which Jesus would return to "remove the disgrace from the earth" or in other words, reinstate the Passover by bringing Ahn Sang Hong in 1948 [which I still don't have Biblical support for]. They used Heb 9:28 to support this belief - Jesus will appear [in 1948] a 2nd time, "not to bear sin, but to bring salvation" [which is through the Passover].


I had a lot of questions, and since, more have popped up. But one question which seemed and still seems so obvious obviously odd to me is about the likely death from the aging "Heavenly Mother". Just as Ahn Sang Hong died in 1985, his wife who is "Heavenly Mother" is a human also and will experience death, so I asked what will happen after she dies. The answer was quite simple, "Nobody knows. The Bible doesn't talk about that." This really perplexes me. If Ahn Sang Hong was supposed to be Jesus and as Savior returned to earth the second time to give living water and he as "Jesus" died (and a second time!) even though he was the creator of the earth, how can his death a second time which seems to be a forever-death rather than a 3-day death with resurrection be justified? And what happens to "Heavenly Mother" when she dies, as do all humans? How will she bring living water, and what is living water from her earthly perspective? Will there be any thoughts of spiritual renewal or even "hope" for something else to exist? The Godhead is synonymous with "life" and so for the Godhead to die, there must be purpose. To me, there is no purpose in Ahn Sang Hong's death or for "Heavenly Mother's" death. When Jesus died at His first coming 2000 years ago, He had a clear purpose - to die so that we could live.

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