For Eternal Liberation
Dr. Reverend Philip Lee’s sermon from 2nd Lord’s Day Service on August 11, 2019
74 Years of Independence
Today is the 74th year of our Korean Independence Day. On August 29, 1910, we lost our nation and sovereignty to the Japanese, which is the most shameful day in Korean history. We could not use our own language or names and even had to change our last names to Japanese names. For 36 years, the Korean people suffered oppression and were liberated on August 15, 1945. After being liberated from Japan, the people of Korea were very happy and they ran out into the streets holding the flags in their hands and shouted; “Korea lives forever!” All those who cried out “Korea lives forever” at that time are now gone from this world. Only a few are remaining alive to this day who have tasted and experienced the joy and delight of independence from Japanese annexation. Therefore, we must be able to inform our future descendants of the pain and suffering of 36 years of oppression from the Japanese, how this nation was liberated, and how this nation ought to grow from this day onward.
Our Nation Must Become Wealthy and Strong
Our nation must become wealthy and our military must become strong. Korea faced a 36-year long oppression by the Japanese because our nation was not diligent in keeping up with the wealth and the power and strength of this nation. Our nation of Korea was a hermit kingdom which shunned away from the developments and civilizations of the western world. Korean politicians did not care to find ways to make the people wealthy and live in greater welfare. Thus, they were only concerned about their self-interest and sought ways to increase their power.
Secondly, our nation had the wrong ideology of honoring and pursuing only literacy and writings while debasing the martial arts and national defense and power. This is why the nation was trampled by the Japanese. In the year 1919, during the Japanese annexation, this nation of Korea was forced to sign articles yielding sovereignty and ruling power of the Korean government over to the Japanese Emperor forever. This shows that a powerless nation cannot escape its fall and destruction.
In 586 BC the Babylonians invaded the last kingdom, the southern kingdom of Judah for the 3rd time. They seized King Zedekiah and killed all the princesses and then afterward, the Babylonians gouged out the eyes of King Zedekiah blinding him and took him to Babylon (2 Kgs 25:7). This teaches us that when a nation does not have power, there is no one who can help the king or that nation. Therefore, our nation must be protected by ourselves. Our founding Pastor Reverend Abraham Park always told us that without our nation, there will not be a church, a family, no worship, and our families won’t exist. Our nation is God’s nation and is in the hands of God and we depend upon Him only and no other countries (Psa 22:28). Although this small insignificant nation of South Korea is surrounded by world powers we know that God uses the weak against the powerful. Therefore, let us be convicted of this truth that our Republic of Korea will become a wealthy nation and strong nation used for the sole purpose as God’s mighty instrument to manifest His glory by spreading the Word of Redemptive History.
Korea must never forget the atrocities of Japanese annexation
For 36 years, the people of Korea suffered all kinds of exploitation under Japanese annexation. They were forbidden to speak their own language, use their own names and learn of their Korean history but instead were forced to study Japanese history. Our young maidens were taken from Korea and were sold and given to brutal Japanese soldiers for pleasure. According to Korean history, approximately two hundred thousand young women were taken to the battle field and it is recorded that one maiden would be required to be with 60-70 Japanese soldiers. These young women bodies were torn apart and their human rights were completely trampled. Likewise, about two million young men were taken to Japan and were forced into labor and were thrown into mines or into the airports and factories and they were never able to see their parents or families ever again and eventually died. In order to erase the traces of forced labors, Japan began to kill all of our young people and used young Korean men as human subjects for their experimentations. Three days after the Korean liberation, seven thousand Korean men who worked in various Japanese mines were lied to and were told they were going back home. Their hearts were filled with joy and happiness as they dreamed of being united with their families. They were put on a ship back home but the ship suddenly changed its route towards the East Sea, east of Japan where it exploded killing all seven thousand men at once. Likewise, just as the Israelites returned from Babylonian captivity, they were in great joy and delight and filled with tears (Psa 126:1-2).
We must never forget the atrocities that Japan brought upon this nation of Korea and its people. Six million Jews were massacred by German Nazis; however, the Jewish people say they will never forget. In Holocaust museums around the world, the phrase; “Forgetfulness leads to exile, but remembrance is the secret to salvation.” If we forget the past, then we will continue in our captivity. But if we remember the past, then that is the secret to our liberation and our salvation. We must instill true patriotism in our descendants and teach them how important our freedom and peace is. The man of God Reverend Abraham Park wrote in every front cover of the History of Redemption Series “Deuteronomy 32:7,” which commands us to “remember the days of old.” A nation that would forget the tragedy of the past will enter into the same tragedy again.
Conclusion: Liberation comes from God alone. It was God who delivered Israel from slavery after 400 years of suppression. The Israelites experienced this miracle of the splitting of the Red Sea, and on the other side, they rejoiced and sang “The Lord is my strength and the God of my salvation” (Exod 15:2-4). When God helps us, even the greatest powers have to surrender. Therefore, today by the blood of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on the cross we have been released by the bondage of sin and death (Rev 1:5-6; Rom 6:18, 22). Therefore, if we trust in Jesus, then He will deliver us from all of our sins, death and sicknesses for Jesus can heal all illnesses (Luke 6:19. When the Lord returns, eternal liberation will take place and He will become Lord and King over the entire world forever (Rev 11:15).