Who is Ahn Sahng Hong?
Ahn Sahng Hong 안 상 홍 (January 13, 1918-February 25, 1985) was born in South Korea to Buddhist parents. The World Mission Society Church of God (WMSCOG) believes that Ahn Sahng Hong is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
What Was Ahn Sahng Hong’s Religious Background?
After practicing Buddhism for all of his life, in 1946, Ahn Sahng Hong began attending the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) church. The WMSCOG claims that Ahn Sahng Hong was baptized in 1948, but the SDA church in Busan, South Korea has records that prove he was not baptized until 1954. In 1953, Ahn Sahng Hong claimed to be receiving revelations from God. Ahn Sahng Hong was later excommunicated from the SDA church in March of 1962 because he claimed that the truth of the Early Church would be restored through him and that the Second Coming of Jesus would occur within 10 years. By this time, according to family census records, Ahn Sahng Hong was married to a woman named Hwang Won Soon and had a total of four children. On April 28, 1964 Ahn Sahng Hong established his own church, the Witnesses of Jesus Church of God.
What Were Ahn Sahng Hong’s Core Beliefs?
Though Ahn Sahng Hong established his own church in 1964, he maintained some of the SDA’s core beliefs and practices.
- Saturday is the sabbath not Sunday. Sunday worship the pagan practice of worshiping the Sun god.
- Christmas should not be celebrated because it was not Jesus’ birthday, but a pagan holiday.
- Seventh Day Adventist eschatology (end times beliefs). Ahn Sahng Hong believed that he was living in the end times and that the Second Coming of Christ was imminent.
- Tithing in addition to free will offerings are mandatory practices.
- The Roman Catholic Church is the beast prophesied in the book of Revelation and the Pope is the antichrist. This study is known as Daniel’s Prophecy.
Ahn Sahng Hong believed that some practices of the early Apostolic Church had been lost or distorted throughout history. In disagreement with the SDA doctrine, Ahn Sahng Hong believed that:
- Women were required to wear veils during worship.
- Baptism is the first step to salvation.
- Crosses are a form of idolatry.
- The Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread should be kept.
- First Fruits, Festival of Weeks, Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement and the Feast of Tabernacles should be kept. (Leviticus 23).
Similar Doctrine Written By Sun Myung Moon (Unification Church)
Sun Myung Moon, head of the Unification Church, wrote about some unique beliefs that Ahn Sahng Hong would later write about in his books. The guiding text in the Unification Church is the “Divine Principle.” shared some similar beliefs with Reverend Moon Sun Myung regarding the appearance of Second Coming Christ. Moon wrote that the Second Advent:
- Will come in the clouds, meaning must be born in the flesh.
- Must come from from the east, meaning South Korea.
The first edition of the “Divine Principle” is said to have been written and published by Sun Myung Moon in 1945. Ahn Sahng Hong did not denounce his Buddhist religion until 1948 and did not make the same claims about the Second Coming of Jesus until 1967 in the book titled “The Mystery and the Spring of the Water of Life.”
The Second Coming of Jesus Will Happen in 40 Years
Ahn Sahng Hong wrote about the Second Coming of Jesus being imminent in his book “The Mystery and the Spring of the Water of Life” (1967). It is clear from his writing that Ahn Sahng Hong believed he was living in the time of the “last one generation” and that the Last Church would be “ended up within 40 years.” These references to the Second Coming and the last one generation would later be removed from future editions of the text by the WMSCOG.
There is No God the Mother
In 1978 a member of Ahn Sahng Hong’s church named Um Soo In claimed to be the “mother god”, “heavenly Jerusalem” and “comforter” sent down from heaven. After expelling Um Soo In and her group of followers from his church, Ahn Sahng Hong wrote a book titled “Problems with the New Jerusalem, the Bride and Women’s Veils” in 1980 that not only denounced the idea of a mother god, but claimed that it was a result of Um Soo In’s “misguided delusion” (Chapter 7). Ahn Sahng Hong also declared Um Soo In, her beliefs and her followers, “sinful”.
The World Will End in 2012
In the same year, Ahn Sahng Hong predicted that the world would end in 2012 in his book titled “The Bridegroom Was A Long Time In Coming, And They All Fell Asleep.” The full text of the book is available on the NCPCOG website but is not available at any WMSCOG locations for members to access. The WMSCOG denies ever believing or teaching that the world would end in 2012 despite evidence to the contrary.
What happened to Ahn Sahng Hong’s Church after he died?
After Ahn Sahng Hong’s death in 1985, his church was divided. One group became the New Covenant Passover Church of God (NCPCOG) led by Ahn Sahng Hong’s son, and the other became the Church of God Witnesses of Ahn Sahng Hong, rebranded in 1997 (p. 5) as the World Mission Society Church of God (WMSCOG). The WMSCOG is currently led by general pastor Joo Cheol Kim and Zhang Gil Jah.
The NCPCOG believes that Ahn Sahng Hong was the prophet Elijah, not the Second Coming of Jesus, as is written on Ahn Sahng Hong’s tombstone. The NCPCOG does not believe in a “mother god.”
In contravention to the NCPCOG, the WMSCOG believes that Ahn Sahng Hong was the Second Coming of Jesus and that Zhang Gil Jah is “god the mother.” The WMSCOG now uses the same false interpretation of the same Bible verses that Um Soo In used to say that she was “god the mother,” to argue that Zhang Gil Jah is “god the mother.” The WMSCOG claims that Ahn Sahng Hong specifically wrote “Problems with the New Jerusalem, the Bride and Women’s Veils” about Um Soo In and that none of what Ahn Sahng Hong wrote applies to Zhang Gil Jah. To date, there are no published writings by Ahn Sahng Hong that specifically name Zhang Gil Jah as the real “god the mother.” None of Ahn Sahng Hong’s books support the belief that there would ever be a “god the mother.”
Three Failed End of the World Predictions
In addition to the aforementioned end of the world prophecies made by Ahn Sahng Hong in his books, on July 14th, 2005 the Northern Seoul Regional Court chronicled the failed doomsday predictions and the events that took place after Ahn Sahng Hong’s death in a written decision in the WMSCOG vs. Ji Won Tak case. It is documented by the Court that the WMSCOG preached that the world would end in 1988, 1999 and 2012 (pages 4-5).
Controversy Within the WMSCOG
WMSCOG members have been taught that Ahn Sahng Hong and Zhang Gil Jah are “god the father” and “god the mother” despite Ahn Sahng Hong never claiming to be God. The WMSCOG claims that Ahn Sahng Hong and Zhang Gil Jah are the “spirit and the bride” in Revelation 22:17 and show the members a picture of them that suggests that they were married. Over the last decade, it has been revealed to the WMSCOG members and the public, at least in the United States, that Ahn Sahng Hong was married and had four children. Ahn Sahng Hong never divorced his wife and in 2008 when his wife died, she was buried next to him. Both of their names are written on a shared tombstone, with their children’s names written on the back. This unveiling caused a lot of controversy in the WMSCOG. The WMSCOG’s position on the issue became that the “physical” does not matter and members should focus on the “spiritual.”
What Does The World Mission Society Church of God Tell Its Members About Ahn Sahng Hong’s Life?
It seems as though the way that the WMSCOG describes Ahn Sahng Hong’s life to its members and what the actual evidence shows, just does not add up. Let’s take a look.
“His whole body seemed to be shattered; He could barely take a step.”
A WMSCOG member blog also describes AhnSahngHong’s suffering and sacrifice:
“Father Ahnsahnghong climbed rough hills and mounts; no one knew He suffered all alone, searching for us. Every step, with pain, His whole body ached as He stumbled over stone, and He was feeble with weary legs. How much in pain Father Ahnsahnghong’s feet were.”
Ahn Sahng hong hardly suffered alone as the documents shown below demonstrate, he was married and had four children. Ahn Sahng Hong also does not appear “feeble with weary legs” in this picture of him standing in a river nor in this picture of him swimming at the beach.
The lyrics of “Holy Is Your Sacrifice” further claim that [Ahn Sahng Hong],
“Even a bowl of soup he would sacrifice; He saved his poor wages, skipping his poor meals…He was hungry, He was cold, for thirty seven years.”
The same presumed member blog (see screenshot above) similarly goes on to say:
“Mountain water was His only meal…Even His food He spared for the sake of the children and we steam Him not.”[sic]
Yet, Ahn Sahng Hong is seen here (left) eating a meal with his wife, children and other members of his church that clearly includes plenty of solid food. Ahn Sahng Hong is also photographed standing behind his 3 tier birthday cake (right).
Clearly, there are a number of inconsistencies between the WMSCOG’s portrayal of AhnSahngHong’s life and the evidence that we have available. Yet, another contradiction stands out. WMSCOG General Pastor Joo Cheol Kim’s view on family and love being “temptations of Satan” does not reflect Ahn Sahng Hong’s actions with respect to the same issues. Clearly Ahn Sahng Hong did not believe that family and love were temptations of the satan since he married and decided to have four children. It would appear that the WMSCOG believes that their own leader and supposed “god”, Ahn Sahng Hong, was tempted and succumbed to Satan’s tempations. It also is apparent that a marriage and four children did not interfere with Ahn Sahng Hong’s important work of establishing a new church, “restoring the Passover”, and preaching to the public.