Thank you for taking these topics to heart.
In the New Testament, there is a comment about angels being eager to know the full implications and meanings of our future redemption. In the same way, we can assume that the supernatural kingdom of darkness is also interested in these events.
For the last two hundred years, accounts of supernatural entities (angels, Jesus, a spirit of prophecy) have appeared to apocalyptic leaders with detailed explanations about the last chapter of Christianity – information about the Messiah’s return to earth and the true meaning of ambiguous prophecies.
What makes these supernatural visions so appealing to people?
The visions are intriguing because they unlock puzzling Bible predictions on the end-times. Ironically, they give answers to questions the Bible itself does not answer on its own. This makes it interesting. Further, the information is used their leader to convince others it must be from God. Leaders then recruit people with detailed studies about their revelation-vision, which becomes their primary focus.
With discernment, of course, we know that just because explanations come from a supernatural experience or vision, it does not necessarily mean it is true. Anyone who studies recent Christian history knows that many sincere leaders have been deceived spirit entities and visions. The Apostle Paul warned that Satan and his messengers can masquerade as legitimate servants of God (2 Cor. 11:14,15).
In addition, many leaders set themselves up as the heroes of Christian history, claiming that all other ministers, missionaries, Christian communities, etc. are deceived and in spiritual darkness.
Only their revelation brings light to the world. This is because their leader has been given a unique anointing or has had seals opened and explained before their eyes. Further, any Christian who does not accept their information is an enemy.
But, before rushing ahead, let’s get back to the appeal and attraction people feel.
The new prophecy model and information from the leader brings a new freshness to the Bible.
One young lady admitted that she started studying with Shinchonji because she was attracted to the freshness and newness of it all. The Bible had become routine at that point in her life.
Others on the SCJ testimonial page have said that it was amazing to hear Shinchonji give such clarity and sureness when talking about biblical prophecies. They wrote that no Christian minister was able to answer their Bible questions. Only SCJ’s explanations and details were found to be clear. Newness and certainty (in explaining the Bible and complex prophecies) were two reasons.
Another case is that some believers join final groups with a sincere heart. They desire to be a part of something big or they are tired of the mediocrity in Christian circles. To paraphrase a SCJ member, ¨If you hear that Revelation is being fulfilled in front of your eyes, why wouldn’t you want to test it out for yourself?¨ In these groups, there is much zeal and excitement. As pointed out Christian thinkers, members in apocalyptic groups often display more passion than a large percentage of church-goers today.
So, why would many simple Christians or Christian leaders question the veracity of these visions to end-time leaders? Why doubt SCJ? What causes devoted believers not to join them?
First, information directly from Jesus Christ´s revelation warns of deception, false messengers and spiritual lies from deceptive spirits all masked as Jesus´ final representative or revelation(Mt. 24:4,5, I Tim. 4:1, Lk. 21:8, I John 4:1, 2 Pet. 2:1, etc.). This means that the Christian world is to stay away from any final messenger or spokesperson who appears in Jesus´ name.
It is equivalent to a father warning his son never to open the door to masked strangers. Yet, many masked strangers continually appear claiming to be sent the father. The warnings protect the son from harm. The same is true with Jesus Christ and his words about final leaders in the end (Lk. 21:8).
Secondly, even though Christians have varying ideas about the end-times, one point that is evident in the Bible is that Jesus Christ returns himself without a mask, not as an invisible spirit via a human leader (I Thess 4:16, Acts 1:11, Mt. 24:30). The same resurrected Jesus is the one who returns (Acts 1:11). When leaders declare that Jesus Christ´s spirit is working through them, embodying his return, it is a different Jesus.
For example, one alarming teaching in Shincheonji is that Jesus’ spirit is working through a human vessel – Manhee Lee’s flesh/body to such a degree that seeing Mr. Lee is seeing ¨the Lord¨. Manhee Lee teaches he is the ¨white horse/flesh¨ in Rev. 19 upon which Jesus returns (The Creation of Heaven and Earth, pp. 246,247) .
third, Shincheonji follows the same pattern as other groups in history whose revelations and spiritual knowledge distort precious truths from Christ. This casts doubt on the spiritual sources behind the information. We observe this pattern in harmful movements in Christian history, such as Gnosticism, and in recent organizations such as the Watchtower Society.
These groups emphasize secret or revealed visions from God, yet the information distorts elementary truths about salvation, Jesus of Nazareth, or some aspect of God´s identity.
Shincheonji does this with the Trinity, Jesus´ identity, the Holy Spirit, and redemption (i.e. more focus on being ¨in the know¨ than salvation from sin).
Fourth, another reason Christians distrust final leaders is because they become the final authority in their group. They exalt themselves above the Bible (in practice, not theory) because they claim a unique anointing from God, which makes them the official interpreter/teacher of prophecies, parables, and other passages. This means the Scriptures can be made to mean anything the interpreter reveals them to mean.
The most obvious problem is when outside Christians see that meanings are ¨poured¨ into the Scriptures instead of letting the Scriptures give us the meanings. One Shincheonji instructor told one individual to put aside everything he thought the Bible was revealing and only listen to the revealed word in SCJ. In Christian experience, this is backwards. God´s voice in the Scriptures correct end-time revelations (2 Tim. 3:16, Mt. 4:4,7,10), not the other way around.
Lastly, Christians disregard messages from visions that are contrary to God’s heart and character.
When two people know each other well, it is easy to recognize messages which are contrary to the way they think or talk. A case in point is when someone hacks a friend´s e-mail account and sends messages that they would never write. The content proves the author is someone else.
This is one of the reasons behind doubting SCJ´s practices or content. Some people said that the heavy emphasis on knowledge in SCJ of prophecies did not seem right. Others mentioned that Jesus would not use lies and deceit in recruiting others to promote his truths. Still others noticed a harsh and arrogant tone on the SCJ website and in Manhee Lee’s books.
In summary, although leaders with revelations from the invisible world bring freshness and new explanations to Bible prophecies, it is important to be alert when other inconsistencies and signs appear.
In the articles that follow, we attempt to look at some of these and other points in more depth.
Thank you for your interest, and God bless.