Is Genesis 1-3 a Concealed Prophecy for a Pastor?

Dear reader,

Many end-time leaders teach they are the final interpreters or prophets of the Christian faith due to a revelation given to them by heavenly creatures or Jesus Christ himself.  It is an extremely powerful spiritual assertion.  At the same time, Christ and the apostles give many warnings of deception from final leaders (Lk. 21:8, I John 4:1, Mt. 24:24, I Tim. 4:1).   
In Shincheonji, Manhee Lee claims to have received a revelation or revealed word from divine beings about the meaning and physical fulfillment of the Bible´s last prophecies.  

Manhee Lee holds that he is the final pastor in a long line of chosen pastors.  

To support this teaching, he uses Adam as the first chosen pastor.  Thus, Genesis 1-3 becomes a figurative account of how God chooses his first pastor.  ¨Thus, understanding Genesis 1 literally and thinking that it records the creation of the natural world raises many contradictions.  The order of creation is recorded figuratively to hide the secret of the creation of God's world from the evil one¨ (Creation of Heaven and Earth, p. 33).

The following description is a condensed version of Manhee Lee's explanation of a pastor in the beginning (Creation of Heaven and Earth, pp. 33-51).  Notice the figurative meanings.

1st Day – God is looking for a light, which represents a pastor.  Jesus, a chosen pastor, also claimed to be a light (Jn. 12:46, Jn. 8:12).

2nd Day – God creates the expanse/sky, which represents the tabernacle/heaven of the chosen people.  The sun, moon, and stars are part of the expanse/sky, which refer to Jacob and the chosen people in the Bible (Gen. 37:9,10).  Water represents the ¨revealed word¨ from the pastor (Dt. 32:1,2, Am. 8:11).  The water above is the revealed word and the water below is lies. 

3rd Day – The land that appears refers figuratively to the chosen people and their tabernacle.  Both the tabernacle/sky and the land refer to the chosen people.  ¨The dry land that appears on the third day and the heaven created on the second day both refer to God´s tabernacle¨ (Creation of Heaven and Earth, p. 39).  The vegetation, plants, and trees refer to believers (Is. 40:6-8, Dt. 32:2). 

4th Day – The great light of this day is the chosen pastor.  The moon represents evangelists in the position of a mother.  The many stars are believers in the position of children, but they have different levels of glory (I Cor. 15:41).  They are given authority to rule over the world.

5th Day – The water represents God´s word (Am. 8:11), the fish represent believers (Hb 1:14, Mt. 4:18-22; Mt. 13:47-50), and the birds represent the spirits that belong to God.  On the fifth day the holy spirit comes as a bird to carry out its work.  Filling the earth means that people are evangelized. 

6th Day – The cattle, creeping things, and wild animals represent the four beasts in Rev. 4:6,7.  The four living creatures of the spiritual world are heaven´s army.  On this day an organization, like the four living creatures in the spiritual world, is created on earth.  This is what Moses did when he built the tabernacle on earth (Ex. 25:8,9). 

On page 47 of his book, he concludes, ¨Once again, the creation account of Gn. 1 is a spiritual re-creation, stated in the terms of a physical creation.  This creation is not limited to a specific generation.  It is repeated over and over until all of Revelation is fulfilled.  This process of creating heaven and earth takes six thousand years, which is likened unto six days.  The re-creation of heaven and earth in Gn 1 is completed six thousand years later in Rv 21 (Rv. 21:6).¨       

Is this revelation the true explanation of Genesis chapters 1-3?  Why doubt it?

First, although many Christian thinkers have used figurative meanings for Genesis in the past, this explanation seems far-fetched and beyond the simple meanings given.     

The verses used in support of his figurative meanings are disconnected and forced.  For example, Jesus said his disciples would be fishers of men, but this does not mean that ¨fish¨ refer figuratively to men in Genesis.  In context, Jesus used this analogy for fishermen to help them understand deeper spiritual truths, as with other parables (Mt. 13:47-50).  Another misapplication is connecting the metaphor of beasts (those who lack knowledge in Prov. 30:2,3) to beasts and animals in Genesis. 

These examples bring to light a central problem.  (See the article on SCJ Interpretations.)  The authority for making these connections is subtly based on ¨I say so¨ or ¨My revelation makes it so¨ authority (followed by Scripture connections or spiritual reasoning), but not based on the Scriptures themselvesWhen a final prophet is the one who makes these interpretations, it is subjective revelation, not proof-supported or objective.    

Another problem is that Manhee Lee´s figurative explanations and arguments against a literal interpretation (i.e. millions of years of life on earth, the appearance of Cain´s wife, Cain´s fear of being killed by other people, and the appearance of light on the fourth day) end up creading more spiritual problems than answers.

For example, he claims that Adam was not the first real physical man.  Adam was only the first man to receive God´s word (i.e. the first chosen pastor).  Mr. Lee states that other beasts (men without God´s word) existed before Adam.  Adam even had parents.

¨Second, the Bible implies that Adam had parents.  God told Adam to leave his parents and unite with his wife (Gen. 2:24).  If Adam really was the first human God created, how could he have had parents? Clearly, Adam was not the first human.  Although there were people living before Adam, because God gave Adam the breath of life that makes him a living being, God decided that Adam was the first ¨man.¨  Anyone with a physical body that lacks God´s breath of life is a mere lump of earth…The fact that no man had yet been created in this passage means God had not yet chosen a pastorThere were many people before Adam, but because they did not know God and they did not have God´s word, they were considered beasts.¨ (Creation of Heaven and Earth, pp. 58, 59, 61).

This means God created people at the beginning of time, before Adam appeared, who did not have his words.  This creates spiritual problems.  Why would the first humans not have God´s words?  How long did these humans exist without God´s Word?  These and more questions complicate things with his figurative explanation (1).  

Using figurative language to make Genesis 1-3 about a chosen pastor is a way to validate Mr. Lee´s claim about himself - the need for a final chosen pastor in Revelation.  This is not new. Many apocalyptic leaders interpret symbols or words to self-validate their group or authority. (Joseph Smith said that the ¨stick¨ in Ez. 37:15-17 was a figurative symbol for the Mormon revelation.)  But, this is circular since the ¨revealer-prophet¨ is the one who reveals these meanings instead of the written word.   

Another problem with this figurative explanation is that Manhee Lee makes Gen. 1-3 a spiritual parable about the creation of a pastor instead of a real account of God's glory and power in creating a physical world from nothing.  Shincheonji changes the story and focus.

The message God reveals is that the human race needs a savior to restore a broken creation and bring humans back into a perfect and beautiful relationship with God.  It is a promise and blessing repeated in Gen. 12 that finds its answers in the Messiah, not a final pastor who is not the Messiah.  Even early Jewish sources recognized the importance of the Messianic promise after the creation account (2).

(1) An unbiased reading of the Scriptures state that Adam was the first man to be alive, not receive God´s words.  ¨Thus, it is written, ´The first man, Adam, became a living being´¨ (I Cor. 15:45).  Before Adam, there were no other men.  This is why he is called the first. 

(2) ¨The Palestinian Targum testifies that in Gen. iii.15 there is promised a healing of the bite in the heel from the serpent, which is to take place "at the end of the days, in the days of the King Messiah." In the Palestinian Midrash to Genesis (Bereshith Rabba xii) we read: "The things which God created perfect since man sinned have become corrupt and do not return to their proper condition until the son of Perez (i.e. according to Gen. xxxviii. 29, Ruth iv. 18 ff. the Messiah out of the tribe of Judah) comes.", Accessed July, 2013.