Shincheonji is a branch of a Christian new religious movement started by Lee Man-hee in South Korea. Shincheonji is also known as the Church of Jesus, the Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony. Lee Man-hee founded Shincheonji on 14th March 1984 and opened its first temple in Anyang, Gyeonggi Province. The members of its followers grew, and the membership was divided into twelve tribes within South Korea according to its geographic territories. The headquarters were moved to Gwacheon in 1999 as it had a prophetic meaning within Shincheonji theology.
In 2003 the first case of deprogramming Shincheonji members began when the mainline Christian churches were alarmed by its members’ loss. According to the teachings of Shincheonji, it is claimed that Lee Man-hee is the pastor who is promised in the New Testament. And it is also believed that the Book of Revelations is written in secret metaphor, which only Lee Man-hee can interpret. Lee was also a member of the controversial group, the Olive Tree, before he founded his own religious movement.
According to the teachings of Shincheonji, it is true faith with which its members will receive salvation at the time of final judgment. And all those people who are not members of their group will be denied forgiveness and will be destroyed. Shincheonji was one of the fastest-growing religious sects in South Korea, with members over 120000 in the year 2014 and around 200000 were estimated in the year 2020. In March 2020, exactly 317320 members were found registered while the government of South Korea’s health authorities was investigating the Covid-19 pandemic.
During the Covid-19 pandemic in South Korea, this group became the center of intense investigation. The outbreak of coronavirus cases started in Daegu after a 61-year-old member of the group was found positive. The pandemic started to surge in Daegu after he infected the other church members. The disease started to spread among its members and many others across the city. There was a national outcry against the group as the disease kept spreading.
Many people who join Shincheonji are often zealots, quitting their employment or schools in the procedure. Since being fanatics, members devote their attention to proselytizing. From the start, most of Shincheonji followers have been taught to incorporate particular meanings, which they assume were created by Lee. They say, as an instance, that the word’bird’ simply means’Holy Spirit and that the word’tree’ stands for’church.’ As a result, Shincheonji’s disciples use those interpretations to decode passages in the book of Revelation. They’re certain that they’re those capable of deciphering the clues shown in the Book of Revelation. The party considers its philosophies to be equivalent to all other concepts established in the past 6,000 years.