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, many 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?
A supernatural source reveals knowledge and secrets that the Bible does not fully reveal on its own. This makes it interesting. Also, it convinces leaders of end-time movements that their supernatural source must be divine in origin. Leaders recruit people with the material from the revelation-vision and debate other Christians with this information.
With discernment, of course, we know that just because explanations come from a spirit-revelation, it does not necessarily mean that the explanations are from God. Many leaders have been deceived by spirit entities. They make the Bible say things even though the voice in God´s Word is saying something else. This is why outside Christians are puzzled when they hear the explanations and look at the texts themselves.
Further, final leaders write articles and books filled with pages contending that the real reason Christians do not accept their new teachings is because Satan has deceived them and they are spiritually in darkness. Only the revelation given to their leader, which opens seals and end-time prophecies, can give light.
But, before rushing ahead, let´s get back to the appeal and attraction people feel.
The prophecy models and knowledge from a final leader bring a new freshness to the Bible. One young lady confessed that she started studying with SCJ because she was attracted to the freshness and newness of it all. The Bible had become routine.
Others (in the SCJ testimonial page) have said that it was amazing to hear Shinchonji give such clarity and sureness when talking about biblical prophecies. They say 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) are two strong reasons. It is also true that some believers join final groups with a sincere heart. They desire to be a part of something big. To paraphrase one 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 many cases, people on the inside have much passion and spiritual zeal, which is commendable. As pointed out by Christian thinkers, many followers in apocalyptic groups have more zeal than a large percentage of church-goers today.
So, why would genuine Christians and Christian thinkers doubt these supernatural entities (angels, Jesus, a spirit of prophecy)? What would cause a sincere believer not to join an apocalyptic group?
Let´s look briefly at five reasons, although many more could be given.
First, there is a clear warning of deception in the New Testament writings (Mt. 24:4,5, I Tim. 4:1, Lk. 21:8, I John 4:1, 2 Pet. 2:1, etc.). If you were entering a foreign country and were warned of fraudulent police officers on the backroads, imagine the impressions that would flood your mind if you saw police cars coming up to your vehicle.
In the same way, Jesus´ voice warns of deception in Christianity. Many spirit entities have given revelations to final leaders with ¨freshness¨ and ¨clarity¨ about Jesus Christ´s return but have caused destruction in people´s lives and terrible spiritual harm.
Second, Jesus warns us about final leaders embodying and representing his return (Lk. 21:8). Shinchonji, like other apocalyptic groups, discredits that God glorified Jesus´ humanity, teaching instead that he is now only a spirit who returns to earth and invisibly guides them or incarnate their leader. Thus, the leader is the physical mouthpiece of Christ Jesus. In SCJ thinking, Jesus´ spirit has entered and embodies (works through) Mr. Lee´s flesh. Seeing Mr. Lee is like seeing the Lord Jesus (see Shinchonji´s article on Rev. 1:7). Mr. Lee writes that he is the white horse (human flesh) in Rev. 19 which Jesus uses to return to earth.
In contrast, in the written word God affirms that ¨this same Jesus¨ who left is the one who is returning (Ac. 1:11), not a spirit Jesus in another flesh.
Third, Christians are suspicious of new movements that are gnostic in content. Gnosticism was one of the early attempts to distort Christianity through ¨secret knowledge¨ - fresh information about Christ and the universe that the early Christian communities didn´t know. But, in doing so, their secrets distorted salvation and the Son of God´s identity.
Today deceptive spirits follow the same pattern. Secret knowledge is given about the end-times and Jesus´ return, but make changes to Jesus, God, or the Holy Spirit. In Shinchonji, changes are made about the Holy Spirit and Jesus. The written word reveals one thing, but the SCJ revealed word to Mr. Lee says something else. In Christian thinking, true messengers honor Jesus´ identity since he is worshipped in heaven and Christ Jesus is the same and will be the same forever (Heb. 13:8).
Another sign is when the leader´s words become the inspired authority, which explains the written word and is above the written word´s self-revelation. The Scriptures become controlled (i.e. connecting verses based on the leader´s authority) and meanings of words are only interpreted based on what the leader teaches. The group ignores the context in the written word. More often than not the revelation is saying something about a text, but Christians see God´s voice in the Bible saying something else.
One person said that one Shinchonji instructor told him to put aside everything he thought the Bible was revealing. He was instructed only to listen to the revealed word. But, in Christian thinking, this is backwards. Believers are supposed to use the written word (2 Tim. 3:16) to test spirit-inspired revelations, not let revelations to leaders be the authority over the written word.
Finally, Christians doubt supernatural entities/revelations that bring a message contrary to God´s heart and character. If you have ever received an e-mail from a friend and realized that it was a scam or a virus, you understand this concept. Content determines the degree of reliability. Some people who started the SCJ studies testified that the emphasis on knowledge of prophecies didn´t seem right. Others mentioned feeling uncomfortable about using deception and dishonesty when recruiting others for the SCJ Bible studies. Still others noticed a harsh, cultish, and arrogant tone on the SCJ website and in Mr. 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 these signs appear.
In the articles that follow, we look at these and other points in more depth.