Item Five: They Mislead, Draw In, Threaten, and Control People (Section Five)

III. A Dissection of How Antichrists Threaten People

We’ve finished fellowshipping about the two manifestations of antichrists misleading people and drawing them in; now, let’s fellowship about how they threaten people. These methods of antichrists are each more severe than the last. When compared to misleading and drawing in, is this method of threatening more sophisticated or less so? (Less so.) If misleading and drawing in don’t work, they resort to threats. How does an antichrist threaten people? Why do they resort to such a method? (Because their objectives weren’t met.) Their objectives weren’t met. There is another meaning contained in threatening—what word can be used to express it? (Revealing their true colors.) That’s not quite accurate; try another word. (Becoming angry from embarrassment.) You’re getting closer. Is there a more suitable word? (Feeling exasperated and furious.) Exactly, feeling exasperated and furious. It’s like the local saying “flying into a passion”; the meaning is, “I’ve tried both kind and harsh words. For the most part I never treated you unfairly. Why won’t you listen to me? Since you won’t listen, then you’ll get yours: I’ll use this tactic on you—threats!” They change their tactic. Satan has various tactics, all of them despicable. Threats are usually combined with enticement. If they only use threats, some people aren’t afraid and don’t listen to them. Then they have no other option and may resort to enticement. If this doesn’t work then they try doing that—they use both soft and hard tactics. So, why do antichrists threaten people? Under what circumstances do they resort to threats? If two people coexist peacefully, each walking their own path, with no conflicts of interest between them, will they resort to threats? (No, they won’t.) Then under what circumstances will this behavior and practice of making threats begin to arise? Of course, it’s when their interests or reputation become involved, when their objectives aren’t being met. They bring out the big guns, thinking, “So you won’t listen to me? Then I’ll show you the consequences!” What are these consequences? Whatever you’re afraid of. Can you recall any examples of threats you’ve witnessed? (Some antichrists, when they see brothers and sisters not submitting to them, start judging and condemning them, saying, “Failure to submit to leaders is failure to submit to God,” and they use this to threaten people.) (I can think of another example where if someone doesn’t listen to leadership, the leader uses their authority to replace them.) Regardless, they want people to understand that not listening to them will bring about consequences. So, what is their basis for making people listen to them? They often say, “Submission to leadership is submission to God, because leadership is ordained by God. You must submit. If you don’t submit or listen to the leaders, that is arrogance, self-righteousness, and resistance to God. The consequence of resisting God is being eliminated. In mild cases, you could be isolated for self-reflection; in severe ones, you could even be expelled from the church!” They use these plausible fallacies to coerce people into submitting to them. Apart from this, how do certain other antichrists threaten people? They incite others to rally against and reject those who do not submit to them. Additionally, they replace those who do not obey them or reassign them to a different duty. Some individuals indeed fear that they won’t have a duty to do. They believe that by doing their duties, they may have a chance at salvation, and failure to do a duty could take that away. Antichrists think in their hearts, “I know your weak point. If you don’t listen to me, I’ll strip you of the right to do your duty. I won’t let you do your duty!” Do they not let people do their duty because these people are not qualified to do their duty or because it harms the interests of God’s house? (No.) Then why do they do it? It’s to exclude dissenters and use this method to threaten people and make them listen up. When it comes to threats, antichrists definitely do not follow the truth principles in dealing with people or handling matters. Instead, they employ intimidation, force, and coercion to make people obediently submit and listen to them and not give them any trouble or spoil their affairs.

An antichrist’s use of threats isn’t solely because people don’t obey them or don’t take them seriously and disregard them—that’s only one aspect of it. There’s another reason, that is, when others discover the antichrist’s problems and want to expose them or report them to the Above, they fear that the Above may find out or more people may know about it, so they do everything in their power to cover these things up and suppress them, never allowing them to be exposed. What would happen if more people found out? They would reject and curse the antichrist, no one would worship them any longer, and they would lose their position and authority. Therefore, the antichrist’s purpose in using this method of threatening people is also to safeguard their own position and authority. They believe that if they don’t do this, the brothers and sisters will begin to discern them, and they won’t be chosen in the next election, reducing them to an ordinary believer. What does it mean for them to be an ordinary believer? It means they have no authority, no one to follow them or become their adherents, and their position and authority have been stripped away, leaving their ambitions and desires unsatisfied. They don’t want to be an ordinary believer or follower, so they use this method of threatening people to intimidate and coerce people into listening to them and submitting to them, allowing them to continue holding on to their authority and position, to continue controlling people and receiving certain people’s support. Everything the antichrist does revolves around their position. Whenever anything involves their position, they will use certain means or methods to vigorously safeguard and protect it; even when the Above asks some people about certain matters, they are able to brazenly lie to their face. For example, when questioned by the Above about how many people the church gained by spreading the gospel this month, even if the antichrist knows that it gained no one, they might lie and say five people were gained. When brothers and sisters who know the truth confront the antichrist, saying, “Those five people were just investigating. Why did you say we gained five people? You should tell the truth to the Above,” what does the antichrist say? “Why can’t we have gained five? I said five people, so it’s five. Your opinion doesn’t count. If we say we didn’t gain a single person, how would I explain that to the Above? If you want to report it, go ahead, but if you tell the truth, the Above might prune you. They might dismiss all of you who are involved in spreading the gospel, or even disband the gospel team. Then you won’t be able to do your duties, and I won’t be to blame for it.” When this person hears this, they become dumbfounded and dare not report it. Is this not a threat? (Yes.) It’s a blatant threat, thus openly delivered. When some people hear this, they think, “Being an honest person has consequences. If I’m honest, I won’t be able to do my duty, so I won’t report it. We must report five people.” Some people become uneasy in their hearts, saying, “If we didn’t gain anyone then that’s just how it is. We should submit to however the Above chooses to handle it.” What is the antichrist’s viewpoint upon hearing this? “Submission? It depends on the situation. Does the Above know about the difficulties we face in spreading the gospel now? Do they care about this?” When the Above inquired into the situation of gospel spreading, it wasn’t because they were unaware of the challenges involved. They knew how many people can be gained at the very least each month, and they never said that if the gospel team doesn’t gain anyone in a month, they will be disbanded. So where did the antichrist come up with this statement? (They made it up.) They fabricated it themselves to cover their lies, to control these people, to prevent the Above or the brothers and sisters from seeing through their lies, and to secure their position so they wouldn’t be replaced—for this they dared to invent such devilish words. Discerning individuals can expose them, but those lacking discernment are misled, thinking, “Indeed, this duty doesn’t come easily. We can’t be honest with the Above. If you say there were five people, then there were five. Although we didn’t gain any this month, we’ll aim to get them next month. After all, if we gain them next month, then it won’t be a lie.” The antichrist engages in trickery, and those following them engage in it too; they are a group of tricksters. What is the goal for an antichrist to threaten people? It is to make them submit and listen to them. They lie and commit evil, control the church, mislead people, conduct work without adhering to principles or the work arrangements, and no matter how recklessly they behave, they don’t allow the brothers and sisters to expose or report them to the Above. Once they discover someone planning to report them to the Above, that’s when they resort to threats. How do they threaten that person? They say, “We’re working down below, and the work is difficult. We even face the risk of being arrested by the great red dragon. The Above always demands that our practice adhere to the work arrangements. We endure so much suffering and take on so much risk in spreading the gospel. When the results are poor and you still wish to report them to the Above, after you make your report they will prune you. After they prune you, I’m not afraid of being replaced as a leader, but I’m afraid you won’t have a duty to do anymore. If you don’t have a duty to do any longer, don’t blame me!” It sounds so reasonable! They also say, “Who actually wants to report it? If you want to report it, I won’t stop you; everyone knows about these things anyway. If you don’t report it to the Above, then they won’t blame us. If you do report it, then we will be pruned. You can choose for yourselves; if you want to report it to the Above, then go ahead. Now, whoever wants to report it, raise your hand.” When everyone hears this tone of theirs, they start contemplating, “Am I actually allowed to report this or not?” After contemplating, some people raise their hands. The antichrist sees this and thinks, “You still want to report it? Aren’t you asking for trouble? Fine, I won’t forget you.” Afterward, they start contemplating opportunities to punish this person. They find an excuse, saying, “You haven’t produced any results while doing your duties recently. Anyone who hasn’t produced results while doing their duties for three months will have their right to do duties revoked. If their performance doesn’t improve, they’ll be isolated. If they still don’t repent, then they’ll be cleared out or expelled!” Does that fool, that coward still dare report it? Upon hearing this, they think, “My reporting won’t benefit me. What’s the point of my reporting? If I report it and then I’m subdued and suffer retaliation from the leader, and if my brothers and sisters reject me, I’ll be isolated within the church. It’s more important for me to listen to the leader; I don’t even know where God is, can He care about my life and death?” So, they don’t report it anymore. Haven’t they been frightened by the antichrist? (Yes.) The person believes, “Sinning against God is no big deal. God is loving, merciful, tolerant, and patient; He doesn’t easily get angry or curse and punish people. But if I offend the leader, then I’ll have to suffer. Reporting problems won’t do me any good; I’ll be rejected by everyone. I can’t do such a foolish thing.” Isn’t this being spineless? (Yes.) How should such a spineless person be dealt with? Are they worth feeling sorry for? Such a spineless person should be handed over to Satan, to the antichrist, to let the antichrist punish them—they deserve it. They lack the faith, determination, and strength to practice the truth and submit to God, but when it comes to submitting to the antichrist, they gain particular strength, are willing to do whatever is asked of them and full of enthusiasm. When the antichrist threatens and scares them, they dare not report problems anymore. Isn’t this a coward? What’s the colloquial term for it? Being a pushover and caving in when faced with the antichrist. There are quite a few people in the church who have become pushovers due to the threats of antichrists! These individuals don’t know how to handle the phrase “God is sovereign over all.” When the antichrist threatens, rejects, or isolates them, they feel like they have no support, they don’t believe in God’s sovereignty over everything or in God’s righteousness, and they don’t believe that people’s lives are in God’s hands. A couple of intimidating or threatening words from the antichrist, and they’re scared off, they cave in, and dare not report it anymore.

When an antichrist reports their work to the Above, they brazenly lie and trick them. Some who know the truth can’t stand it and want to report the situation to the Above. The antichrist keeps tight control over people and watches them closely. They can instantly spot anyone who might be inclined to report an issue to the Above. When they have nothing else to do, they focus on observing people, their words and facial expressions, looking for those who have opinions about them, those who are disloyal, those who don’t obey them, those who pose a threat to their position, those who are indifferent to them, who don’t treat them seriously, who don’t give them the seat of honor, and who don’t let them eat first during meals. This spells trouble for these people. What does the antichrist do to such individuals? Some antichrists who are insidious don’t reveal their true colors immediately. They wait for an opportunity to deal with you. If that doesn’t work, they resort to harsh threats to make you feel that your life is clenched in their hands. Whether as a believer you can be saved, whether you can reach the end, whether you can stay in the church—all of it is in their grasp and takes only a word from them. They have the final say. If you don’t listen, don’t obey their control, don’t take them seriously, and keep trying to report their issues, then you’re going to suffer. They start planning how to punish you. How does the antichrist view the behavior of brothers and sisters reporting their issues to the Above? (As tattling.) Exactly, they don’t see it as reporting a situation; they see it as tattling. What does tattling mean? It means reporting all the various things they do that go against the truth and all their evil deeds to the Above, or giving an account of things about them that are unknown to others to the Above. They consider this tattling. Once they discover someone tattling, that person must be punished. Some muddleheaded and spineless people are frightened by the antichrist’s threats, by their domineering and nefarious ways. When the antichrist asks who has contact with the Above, even before they get to them, they quickly make it clear, “It’s not me.” The antichrist asks, “Then how does the Above know about that matter?” They think about this and say, “I don’t know either.” They’re living in constant fear of the antichrist punishing them, always on edge, afraid that the antichrist might expel them from the church. They are anxious and fearful to the point that it’s hard for them to even get through the day. Would they be this afraid if the antichrist hadn’t threatened them like this? No, they wouldn’t. Furthermore, do they have genuine belief in God? No, they don’t. They are spineless and muddlers. When they encounter the antichrist, they cower. They don’t have genuine belief in God, but they willingly submit to the antichrist, ready to do their bidding. They are, by nature, minions of Satan.

What are some other practices antichrists use to threaten people? Some antichrists are skilled at speaking certain correct and appealing doctrines to restrict and constrain you. They say, “Don’t you love the truth? If you love the truth, you must listen to me because I am the leader. Everything I say aligns with the truth. You must submit to whatever I say; when I say go east, you mustn’t go west. When I say something, you mustn’t have second thoughts; you mustn’t have any opinions or meddle blindly. What I say is the truth.” If you don’t listen to them, they might hate or condemn you. What kind of condemnation? They’ll say, “You’re not really someone who loves the truth; if you actually loved the truth, then as the leader, my words are correct—why wouldn’t you listen to them?” The antichrists use these seemingly right theories and doctrines to control and restrict you. Furthermore, some antichrists make people take care of their personal matters, saying, “I’m a leader now, and I don’t have time for certain personal matters. Besides, I am a leader, and my matters are the matters of God’s house. The matters of God’s house are also my matters. We can’t distinguish them so clearly anymore. Therefore, you need to share some of the burden in my matters at home, such as things like taking care of children, farming, selling vegetables, or building a house, and things like there not being enough money at home. These things used to be my duty, but now that I’m a leader, they have become your duty—you have to share the burden. Otherwise, I’ll constantly worry about my home affairs, get distracted by these matters, then can I still be an effective leader?” The more they say the more shameless they become. Some people hear this and think, “We didn’t know to be considerate of your heart—we truly were heartless! You don’t need to say anything; from now on, we’ll take care of all your household chores.” What kind of pleasant-sounding name do these antichrists give their own affairs at home and the affairs of their daily life? They call them “people’s duty,” that is, the antichrists take people working for their family, serving the young and old in their household, and handling their personal life matters, and turn these into matters of God’s house. Since they are now matters of God’s house, every person ought to put in their fair share, and if the leader wants you to do something then it becomes your duty. Doesn’t this sound correct? People without discernment might think it’s correct. They believe that since the leader is too busy to handle their own affairs at home, and they have a low caliber themselves and can’t perform any duty, they can only help the leader take on a few household chores. So, whenever they’re not busy they work at the leader’s house, assisting with various tasks. Can this be considered performing their duty? This can only be seen as enthusiastically assisting people. For people who genuinely expend themselves for God, who follow God’s will, when their families face difficulties, the church arranges for people to help and take care of their domestic affairs. In such cases, this can be considered to some extent as a performance of duty. Does it make sense now? The antichrist, busy with misleading and controlling people in the church, arranges their household chores for the brothers and sisters, claiming that this is also performing their duty. Some brothers and sisters, due to a lack of understanding of the truth, are misled and willingly take on these tasks, feeling happy to do so. Eventually, they even feel that they owe a debt to the leader, thinking, “The leader has broken their heart and split their lips for us. We are so unworthy. We’ve done so much work, yet how is it that we still don’t understand the truth?” If you are occupied with working for the leader all day long and neglect attending gatherings or listening to sermons, can you grasp the truth? Absolutely impossible. This is ingratiating yourself to the point of death! This is running after the antichrist and straying onto a crooked path. The antichrist often employs seemingly correct statements, packaging and processing them into correct speech, causing people to mistakenly believe that these words are indeed the truth, something they should follow and practice, and that they should accept these words. That way, people don’t need to discern whether what the leader is doing is right or wrong, or whether what they are following is right or wrong. Is this not the case? This is called misleading, and it’s also threatening people. The antichrist uses these seemingly correct theories and statements to control these people. To what extent do they control them? These people willingly exert themselves for them, work themselves to the bone for them, and manage all their personal affairs. They would rather skip gatherings and neglect their own duties, leaving their own tasks behind. They sacrifice their own time spent on spiritual devotion, gathering, and eating and drinking God’s words to render service wholeheartedly and work themselves to the bone for the antichrist. Why are they able to work themselves to the bone like this? There’s a reason for this. What reason? It’s because the antichrist purposefully tells them, “If you can’t even handle these matters properly, what duty can you do? If you can’t do your duty, are you still a member of God’s house? Alright then, I won’t lead you. If I don’t lead you, you won’t count in the number of God’s house. Since I’ve been chosen as the leader, I am the gateway to this church. Anyone who wishes to enter the church must have my approval. Without my consent, no one can enter. Even if the church is clearing someone out, it must have my approval before they can leave. Therefore, the work I assign you and the tasks I hand over to you constitute your duty. If you fail to perform this duty, God’s word says that those who don’t perform their duty have no chance of salvation. They won’t count in the number of God’s house!” Is this not a threat? (Yes, it is.) What method is used to threaten people? (Seemingly correct words.) It’s threatening people using correct words that seemingly align with the truth—this is mixing apples and oranges. The antichrist uses performing duties as a pretext to achieve their personal goals. But is doing things for them really performing a duty? They twist it to make it seem like it’s a duty people should perform, and then use the principle and standards of performing duty to demand that brothers and sisters work themselves to the bone for them. They even threaten that if they don’t work themselves to the bone for them, they will have no chance for salvation and will be cleared out of the church and cut off from God’s house. When these foolish, undiscerning individuals hear the severity of the consequences, they quickly take on all the chores of the leader’s household and their daily affairs, feeling relieved once they’re done. They even think, pleased with themselves, “Now, I’ve fulfilled my duty properly. I haven’t been lazy at all, and I’ve been considerate of the leader’s will. I’ve done everything the leader instructed me to do, and I’ve taken care of all the leader’s household chores. This is what it means to be considerate of God! The leader is satisfied, and so is God. Now I have hope for salvation!” Is this called hope? Haven’t they become slaves to the antichrist? Haven’t they been led astray by the antichrist? What role is the antichrist playing here? Aren’t they acting like an abductor? They have a wicked disposition, and wickedness is of course much more serious than deceitfulness. Thus they absolutely know what to say and what theories to use to restrict people, to achieve their hidden agenda, to win over people’s hearts, and to control their behavior and thoughts. They are well aware of all this. Therefore, the goals an antichrist wishes to achieve through everything they say and do are carefully thought out and long premeditated. This definitely isn’t a matter of saying or doing something unawares and then achieving an unexpected result—it absolutely isn’t like this. So, those who willingly render service and work themselves to the bone for an antichrist, apart from being misled by their words, are also threatened and compelled by a kind of rhetoric from the antichrist. Perhaps they do those things for the antichrist willingly, but isn’t there an issue with this “willingness”? Shouldn’t it be put in quotation marks? (Yes.) This is absolutely not a genuine performance of duty but rather a consequence brought about by being misled by a certain theory, a certain correct and pleasant-sounding argument or rhetoric that misleads people. Because they’re worried they won’t be able to perform their duty, that they’ll be expelled, and they won’t be saved, they willingly accept the tasks designated to them by the antichrist, even thinking they are performing their duty for God. How muddled they have become!

The threats of antichrists allow people to see their true faces clearly. Do you engage in such threats? Is there a difference between threats and warnings or advice? (Yes.) Can you discern this or not? Where is the distinction? Find this distinction, and you will understand and be able to discern. (The intentions are different.) The intentions and motives certainly differ. So, where exactly is the difference? What is a threat? A threat involves words that may sound good and correct, and people don’t feel overly upset when they hear them, but their purpose is personal gain. On the other hand, what is the purpose of advice and warnings? It is to help people, to prevent them from making mistakes, straying from the path or taking a detour, getting misled, and to help them reduce or prevent losses. The aim is not personal benefit but purely to assist others. Isn’t that the distinction? (Yes.) In this regard, you need to learn to discern. Just because the manifestation of antichrists threatening people has been fellowshipped about, that doesn’t mean you don’t dare to offer warnings when necessary while talking to others. When a warning is needed, you should issue it. Warnings and advice are not the same as threats. Warnings are genuinely aimed at helping people so they can do their duties properly, ensuring that the work of God’s house isn’t compromised. Their goal is legitimate. Threatening, on the other hand, has an illegitimate and hidden agenda—it involves personal ambition and selfish desire. For example, when the antichrist makes others do their household chores, what is their selfish desire? They simply want to enjoy the benefits of status, making others do the dirty and exhausting work while they do nothing. Then, someone even has to serve them three meals a day. They believe that now that they hold a position, their enjoyment can begin. However, it’s unjustified to directly tell people to do work for them, so the antichrist creates a set of excuses, saying, “Now that I’m a leader, I’m very busy with my duties. If you have a burden and humanity, then you should learn to cooperate. What can you do? All you can do is exert yourselves, isn’t it? There’s no one to do the work in my vegetable garden at home, and you’re not helping! If you help, it proves that you have a kind heart, and you’re actually doing your duty by helping me with the work. I am your leader—aren’t my affairs yours as well? Aren’t your affairs things you ought to be doing, and what you ought to be doing is your duty, isn’t it?” When they place such a big responsibility on your shoulders, and you contemplate that what the leader says makes sense, you go and do the work for them. Isn’t this falling for a scam? An antichrist has their own goals, and before they can achieve those goals, they need to find appropriate excuses and theories to establish a pretext. Then, those who accept these theories go to work for them, they achieve their purpose, and then they can enjoy the benefits of status. Isn’t this someone who makes a living off the church? (Yes.) That is indeed what it is. They are lazy and unwilling to work, wishing to enjoy physical comfort and the benefits of status. They play politics, and when they can’t find suitable words, they extract reasonable and more easily accepted phrases from God’s words and the doctrine they understand. They use these words to mislead and restrict those who do not grasp the truth and are foolish. In doing so, they accomplish their hidden objectives, making people willingly accept their manipulation. Some people even think that if they don’t heed the leader’s words or fail to perform the tasks assigned by their leader well, then they haven’t done their duty properly. They feel like they owe God and even shed tears. Isn’t this a profound level of muddleheadedness? They’re so muddleheaded that it’s revolting.

Antichrists often speak using threats to achieve their goals, but their threats sometimes come in the form of correct words and in a gentle manner, like a snake slowly wrapping itself around you—once you’re wrapped up, they’re ready to ask for your life. Other times, their threats aren’t gentle, but harsh and vicious, like a wolf seeing a sheep and revealing its vicious face. Their intention is to tell people: “If you don’t listen to me, you’ll get what’s coming to you, and if consequences arise you will bear the responsibility yourself!” What are the typical bargaining chips that antichrists use in their threats? They target people’s destination, their duty, and even their position and going or staying within the church. Antichrists use these tactics, and of course others, to threaten individuals. However, their strategies generally fall into these two categories: Sometimes, they’ll coax you with pleasant words, and other times, they’ll come at you forcibly and viciously. What’s the purpose of antichrists’ threats? First and foremost, they want people to listen to them. They aim to reap personal benefits, enjoy the benefits of status, and indulge in the various perks and pleasures that come with it. Secondly, they don’t want anyone to reveal the true state of affairs or to challenge their position. They won’t tolerate people doing anything that threatens their position. For example, if certain people want to report their situation or if some people discern them and want to unite the brothers and sisters to reject and remove them from office, antichrists will resort to threatening tactics. One aspect of the goal of making threats is in order to enjoy the many benefits that come with their position, and the other is to secure their position. These are precisely the two objectives antichrists have in threatening people—they both revolve around position. Where do all these various benefits come from? They also come from their position. Some antichrists say, “If you don’t comply in this matter, you’ll bear the consequences!” If someone discerns them and won’t listen to them, do they think of a way to handle it? They won’t simply resign themselves to what may come. As long as there’s an ounce of hope for them to preserve their position, they’ll fight tooth and nail for it. Their eagerness for position surpasses that of most people. It’s like a wolf seeing a sheep—its mouth starts salivating even before it starts to eat. Its eyes take on a fierce gleam and it contemplates eating it; this is the kind of craving it has. Isn’t this its nature? (Yes.) Antichrists’ craving for position is akin to a wolf’s craving for a sheep, a need within their malicious nature. Therefore, their threats toward others are indispensable.

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