November 21, 2022
DAEGU, South Korea – A graduation ceremony for Bible students from Zion Christian Mission Center (ZCMC) Class 113 was held at Daegu Stadium on November 20. With a total of 106,186 graduates from 79 countries including the Philippines, it was the largest in the world for a theological education institution.
ZCMC is the Bible education institution operated by Shincheonji (New Heaven and New Earth) Church of Jesus, a church based in South Korea. Their students completed a 9-month theology course that covers the 66 books of the Bible.
This is their second 100,000-person graduation, after almost 3 years. When the pandemic hit, the institution shifted to online learning and utilized the virtual platform to make their theology lessons more accessible to the public including pastors.
In a press conference held before the ceremony, Chairman Lee Man-hee shared, "When this world has become corrupt and is full of sin, God desires to carry out the work of recreation. That one book [Revelation] is actually the content of recreation... People have to become a new person, completely changed."
Among the graduates, there has been a significant increase in the number of pastors and seminarians for a total of 522 pastors in Korea and overseas.
One of the pastors, Heo Jeong-wook, presented his testimony at the graduation ceremony as a representative of domestic graduates. After 20 years of ministry, he said, “I only learned traditional theology at seminary, but I didn’t know much about the Book of Revelation. I put aside the difficult words and only taught the words that are easy to convey to the congregation members. I repent that I was a sinner who added to and subtracted from the word of God." He added, “I have let go of everything I had and have come forward to the truth. I have completed this course by learning the real theology that leads to heaven, not human studies. I thank God for giving me a chance at life.”
The organizers assured the participants on security measures being observed in cooperation with the local government, police and health officials, given the high concern about safety issues in Korea recently. "Above all, in order to hold the graduation ceremony safely, we prepared with safety as the top priority above all else”, a church official said.