Only the Bible? Manhee Lee's Vision on a Mountain.

Dear reader,

In the history of world religions and end-time movements, many leaders testify that they felt the presence of spirit beings (for instance, Christ, God the Father, angels, or the Holy Spirit) or even have these spiritual beings working through them.  These entities are the source behind their information - new information about a movement God accomplishes at the end of human history as we know it.  

The point is that these leaders claim to be in contact with a spiritual world.  They refer to powerful spiritual experiences.  Naturally, many modern thinkers might explain away these experiences with natural explanations (and, in some cases, it could be true) - power, insanity, money, women, or an urge for hero status.

Yet, from a Christian perspective, there is an invisible world.  The spiritual world existed before the physical world.  God, who is spirit, created spiritual creatures before humans.  A rebellion occurred in the spirit world and, thus, evil spirits are a reality.  Satan himself can manifest as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:13) and his side has evil angels who are crafty.  The Bible reveals that many of these demons inspire teachings to people and are deceptive.

Because end-time leaders are captivated by these experiences (and the seemingly logical explanations to final prophecies), they move forward in full force.  However, it is important to ask how these leaders tested these spirits.  When Christians look at other end-time leaders, they notice the need for testing.  Mohammad, Joseph Smith, Samuel JoaquĆ­n, Ellen G. White, and others all embraced their spirit encounters as true.  

What about Manhee Lee in Shinchonji?  Does Shinchonji explain to their members how he tested the spirits that appeared to him?  The excerpt below describes two beings (Jesus and an angel) appearing to Mr. Lee on a mountain in South Korea.  

¨What follows is a summary of the life of the promised pastor who received the words of the opened scroll....On Sundays, he would climb to the top of a nearby mountain for his prayers. This man had the unique experience of seeing stars in the sky during the day. At one point, during his prayers to God, he saw these stars approaching him for three days in a row....On the first day he went to church, he climbed up a mountain and made a covenant with God, swearing by his own blood. After that, the promised pastor met the Lord, who was walking among the clouds of the sky, and he received an anointing from him. The Lord commanded him to write down what he saw...After that, he received the opened scroll from an angel and was commanded to go and preach to the peoples...¨ (1)

If one hundred leaders appear with similar spiritual experiences, how can Christians discern if these encounters are trustworthy?  Christians are warned,  ¨Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God¨(I Jn. 4:1, NASB).

Many people assume testing ¨the spirits¨ is seeing if their revelation/revealed word provides answers, interpretations, and connections that no else has in the Christian world. However, it is more effective to test if the spirits rightly divide the Bible.  (See other articles on this point.)  In Christian thinking, it is safer to see if the voice behind the spirit-revelation is different than the voice in the written word.

When spirit entities appear to different leaders and give them powerful explanations to Revelation and end-time prophecies, many experts look at other areas that these spirit revelations change (e.g. Jesus' identity, salvation in the end, and other passages that all Christians notice) - texts and spiritual truths that evil spirits hate or want to distort.

The other reality about this experience is that if Manhee Lee's vision is unreliable, it means that all the information received from these spirits (the parables, the flesh-spirit union, the model of betrayal, the figurative interpretations in Revelation, and all the unique teachings in SCJ) is coming from spirit entities, not the Spirit's voice in God's Word.

Lastly, when leaders contend that they are only going by the Bible, it is not completely accurate.  They are only basing everything on a spiritual vision that uses the Bible.  

(1) Church of Jesus, the Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony,¨Shinchonji Website Articles. Accessed May 22nd, 2010.