Shinchonji/Shincheonji teachers receive their Bible explanations from one source, Manhee Lee, who received his information from an angel (a holy spirit), Jesus, and God.
Since the information comes from these sources (i.e. supernatural spirits from heaven), we must be careful and test it. Of course, testing is not physically persecuting a leader, who is loved by God. But, it is necessary to avoid deception (Lk. 21:8, I Tim. 4:1, I John 4:1).
When we test a leader's information, it is important to consider if the revealed voice and the written voice are the same. Does the revealed voice submit to the voice in the written word or does it only reveal meanings in the written word? Do the revealed meanings seem to be what the written word is saying? Does the revealed word make connections that seem forced or controlled?
As we become more familiar with these questions, it becomes easier to test a final leader's information.
With this in mind, let's test an important explanation given to Manhee Lee about the book of Revelation - the secret of the beast in Revelation 13.
According to Mr. Lee, it was revealed to him that a church he was attending in South Korea (the Church of the Seven Golden Lampstands) was chosen by Jesus and had Jesus' words. However, this church betrayed Christ and was destroyed by the invaders (the Nicolatians/Satan's organization). The pastor and his associates who invaded this church are the ¨beast¨ in Revelation 13.
In his book, Manhee Lee writes, ¨This chapter concerns the event of a false pastor (a beast) belonging to the world (the many waters or the sea) entering the church of the seven golden lampstands (the tabernacle of heaven) to destroy its chosen people using his ecclesiastical authority. The destroyers are called beasts because they lack knowledge of God's word just like animals (Prov. 30:2.3, Is. 56:9-11)¨ (Creation of Heaven and Earth, 217).
What is the problem with this explanation? What do we discern?
First, there is a problem with Manhee Lee's perception of the Church of the Seven Lampstands, which was an apocalyptic group in South Korea with problems of its own. It is doubtful that they possessed Jesus' words from the beginning. (See article on the history of Mr. Lee before SCJ.)
Second, Manhee Lee's sources change the meaning of a beast used in apocalyptic prophecies. When God explains the meaning of beasts and wild creatures in Daniel's prophecies, the images refer to real kings, empires, and world leaders (Dan. 7:17,24, Dan. 8:19-24, Dan. 11).
The beast in Revelation is taken from the images of beasts in Daniel, and it is expected that Christian readers around the world will understand this.
Manhee Lee uses verses in Proverbs and Isaiah (about beasts and a lack of knowledge) to change the apocalyptic meaning of a beast. What we notice is that this is a connection that is based on the authority of Mr. Lee's sources, not a connection that is taught in God's Word on its own.
Third, when we read the descriptions of the beast in Revelation, the voice in the written word points to something bigger. Rev. 13:7 says the beast has authority over every tribe, people, language, and nation. The whole world is astonished by the beast. Some are killed for defying the beast (Rev. 13:15, Rev. 20:4).
In Christian thinking, we see that God spoke to Daniel of a final ruler in the end (see Daniel 7:15-26, 8:23-25, 9:26,27, 11:33-12:11). In Dan. 11, a final king appears, which was not fulfilled in the times before Christ. This ruler/king blasphemes God, conquers the saints, invades the nation of Israel, and has authority over real countries and nations. The voice here in the written word refers to a world leader.
Manhee Lee subtracts a global meaning from God's Word in Rev. 13 and adds a local meaning. He writes, ¨The events in this chapter occur in a single place called the tabernacle of heaven (a reference to the Church of the Seven Lampstands). They do not take place all over the world¨ (Creation of Heaven and Earth, 218).
When we study the descriptions of a beast in Revelation (along with the references of a final leader in Daniel), we see that God is giving a much bigger idea of a beast than a false pastor in South Korea.
This is what we discern when we test Manhee Lee's secret about the beast in Revelation 13.