Item Nine: They Do Their Duty Only to Distinguish Themselves and Feed Their Own Interests and Ambitions; They Never Consider the Interests of God's House, and Even Sell Those Interests Out in Exchange for Personal Glory (Part Two) Section One

II. The Interests of Antichrists

Today, we will continue fellowshipping about item nine in the manifestations of antichrists. The ninth item about their manifestations is as follows: They do their duty only to distinguish themselves and feed their own interests and ambitions; they never consider the interests of God’s house, and even sell those interests out in exchange for personal glory. Last time, we fellowshipped on a small portion of this, just starting our topic and fellowshipping about what interests are, which is the first point. For the second point, we fellowshipped about what people’s interests are and what is the essence of people’s interests. The third point we fellowshipped about was what God’s interests are and what is the essence of God’s interests—this was more or less the content of the three points we fellowshipped on. What we fellowshipped about last time was essentially conceptual truths, arriving at a definition for various aspects of interests and providing people with an understanding of basic concepts. We won’t delve any further this time into the aforementioned content, because the subject matter we will fellowship about for our ninth item is meant to highlight various manifestations of antichrists. Therefore, we will continue to hone in on the manifestations of antichrists in our fellowship of this item. We will primarily dissect antichrists’ attitude and behavior toward various interests related to themselves, attempting to identify the nature essence and disposition of antichrists and dissect them from this perspective. We will begin by fellowshipping on what, in the eyes of antichrists, are the things relevant to their interests.

In the eyes of antichrists, God, the house of God, and the church are merely labels, perhaps nothing more than names, without any actual value. Therefore, they regard the interests of God, of God’s house, and of the church with contempt, and they are beneath their consideration or unworthy of attention. In contrast, antichrists’ personal interests hold the utmost significance for them. Consequently, antichrists frequently sell the interests of the church and God’s house out in exchange for their personal interests. Now, let’s categorize and thoroughly dissect which things are relevant to antichrists’ interests, in order to provide people with a clear view of their viewpoints on matters of interest. First and foremost, regardless of how antichrists are labeled, be it as antichrists, evil people, or individuals who do not practice the truth or harbor hostility toward it, these kinds of people do not live in a vacuum. They live in the flesh and have the same needs of normal human life. Therefore, people like antichrists who live among the brothers and sisters or within the house of God and the church, also have interests related to their own safety. This is the first subsection about the interests of antichrists—their own safety. The second subsection about the interests of antichrists is their own reputation and status, which has to do with their authority. The third subsection about antichrists’ interests involves their benefit. Is it clearer to dissect antichrists’ interests through these three subsections compared to fellowshipping about them in an unstructured, straightforward manner? (Yes.) If I ask you to fellowship based on these three subsections, do you have any insights? Can you fellowship some understanding? (I might be able to discuss some insights regarding the second subsection, but I’m not very clear about personal safety and benefit.) Alright, as I am fellowshipping, you can supplement where you are able to speak clearly, and I will fellowship on what you find unclear. Does that work? (Yes.)

A. Their Own Safety

We’ll begin our fellowship with the first subsection of antichrists’ interests—their own safety. The meaning of this subsection should be clear to everyone; it pertains to a person’s physical safety. In mainland China, believing in God means living in a dangerous environment. Every person who follows God faces the daily risk of being arrested, sentenced, and subjected to cruel persecution by the great red dragon. Antichrists are no exception. While they may be classified as antichrists within the house of God, the great red dragon, in alliance with the religious community, constantly does its utmost to suppress and persecute the church of God and His chosen people, and of course, antichrists also find themselves in such an environment and are not exempt from the threat of arrest. Therefore, they must frequently encounter the issue of their own safety. This touches upon the question of how antichrists handle their own safety. For this subsection we are mainly fellowshipping about the attitude antichrists hold toward their own safety. Well, what is their attitude? (They do their utmost to protect their own safety.) Antichrists do their utmost to protect their safety. What they think to themselves is: “I absolutely must guarantee my safety. No matter who gets caught, it mustn’t be me.” In this matter, they often come before God in prayer, pleading that God keeps them from getting into trouble. They feel that no matter what, they are indeed carrying out the work of a church leader and that God should protect them. For the sake of their own safety and to avoid being arrested, escape all persecution and situate themselves in a safe environment, antichrists often implore and pray for their own safety. Only when it comes to their own safety do they truly rely upon and offer themselves up to God. They have real faith when it comes to this and their reliance upon God is real. They only bother to pray to God asking that He protect their safety, not giving the slightest thought to the church’s work or their duty. In their work, personal safety is the principle that guides them. If a place is safe, then antichrists will choose that place to work, and, indeed, they will seem very proactive and positive, showing off their great “sense of responsibility” and “loyalty.” If some work does entail risk and is liable to meet with incident, to get its doer found out by the great red dragon, they make their excuses and refuse it, and find a chance to flee from it. As soon as there is danger, or as soon as there is a hint of danger, they think of ways to extricate themselves and abandon their duty, without a care for the brothers and sisters. They care only about getting themselves out of danger. They may already be prepared at heart: As soon as danger appears, they drop the work they are doing at once, without a care for how the church’s work goes, or for what loss it may incur to the interests of God’s house, or for the safety of the brothers and sisters. What matters to them is fleeing. They even have an “ace up their sleeve,” a plan to protect themselves: As soon as danger is upon them or they are arrested, they say everything they know, clearing themselves and absolving themselves of all responsibility to preserve their own safety. This is the plan they have at the ready. These people are unwilling to suffer persecution for believing in God; they are afraid of being arrested, tortured, and convicted. The fact is that they have long since succumbed to Satan in their hearts. They are terrified of the power of the satanic regime, and more afraid still of such things as torture and harsh interrogation befalling them. With antichrists, therefore, if all is smooth sailing, and there is no threat at all to their safety or issue with it, and no hazard is possible, they may offer up their zeal and “loyalty,” and even their assets. But if circumstances are bad and they could be arrested at any time for believing in God and doing their duty, and if their belief in God may get them fired from their official position or abandoned by those close to them, then they will be exceptionally careful, neither preaching the gospel and testifying to God nor doing their duty. When there is a slight sign of trouble, they become shrinking violets; when there is a slight sign of trouble, they wish immediately to return to the church their books of God’s words and anything related to belief in God, in order to keep themselves safe and unharmed. Are they not dangerous? If arrested, would they not become Judas? The antichrists are so dangerous that they may become Judas at any time; there is always the possibility that they will betray God. Furthermore, they are selfish and despicable to an extreme. This is determined by the antichrists’ nature essence.

Some may say, “Perhaps people with these manifestations are only found in the country of the great red dragon, in the social context of China. When you go overseas, there’s no persecution or arrest, so personal safety becomes irrelevant. Is there still a need for this topic?” Do you think there’s a need for it? (Yes.) Even overseas, many people who do duties in the house of God frequently exhibit these behaviors. As soon as the discussion turns to attacks, slandering, and movements made against the house of God by the political regime of a certain country, by nonbelievers, or by the religious community, certain people feel profound fear and cowardice deep down. They may even feel that they would be better off in this moment and more free if they didn’t believe in God, some of them regret putting their faith in God, and in their hearts, some even contemplate beating a retreat and entertain ideas of backing out. At all times people like this harbor concerns about their own safety, feeling that nothing is more important than this. Their lives and their own safety are the foremost concerns deep within their hearts. So, when faced with how the world and all of humanity maligns, slanders, and condemns the church and the work of God, these people do not stand with God in their hearts. Instead, when these things occur, when they hear voices maligning and condemning God, deep down, they stand in opposition to God. They eagerly wish to draw a line between themselves and God, His house, and the church. Furthermore, in moments like these, admitting that they believe in God is a difficult and painful task for them. They desperately want to have no association with God, His house, or the church. At times like these, they feel uneasy and even ashamed and unable to show their face about being a member of the house of God. Are such people truly followers of God? Have they truly forsaken everything to follow God? (No.) When people believe in God in mainland China, they frequently face persecution and arrest and often encounter issues of personal safety; even though the environment overseas is not as harsh, people still encounter similar circumstances. They face slander and condemnation from the religious community, and they must contend with the indifference or certain statements of not understanding by various countries toward the church. Some feel at a loss and even have uncertainties and doubts about whether the work of God is genuine, questioning God’s correctness even more. Therefore, because they frequently consider their own safety, they cannot do their duties in the house of God with a heart that is steady and at ease. Have these individuals truly given their lives over to God? (No, they haven’t.) Some even think, “Coming overseas means escaping the clutches of the great red dragon, doesn’t it? Isn’t there religious freedom overseas? Isn’t everything free and liberated? Since God has led us overseas to do our duties, why do we still have to face the same harsh conditions? Why do we still have to learn these lessons and undergo this suffering overseas?” Some people have doubts in their hearts, and some not only doubt but resist, harboring questions like, “Since it’s the true way, since it’s the work of God, why do we, who are loyal in doing our duties, who have forsaken everything to expend ourselves for God, still have to endure such unequal treatment in this world?” They don’t understand. Because they don’t understand and they prioritize their own safety above all else, therefore, they turn this lack of understanding into complaints and questioning aimed toward God. Isn’t that the case? (Yes.) Some people overseas are even afraid to take risks in doing their duties. If they are assigned a duty that involves some risk, they find excuses like, “I’m not suitable for this duty. My family is still in mainland China, and if the great red dragon finds me out, won’t it be troublesome for me?” They refuse to perform such duties. They choose to preserve themselves, protect their own safety, and save their own lives. They leave a way out for themselves instead of completely offering themselves up, letting go of everything, and forsaking everything to accept their duties. They can’t achieve this. These are some of their behaviors when it comes to their own safety. Some people feel uneasy in their hearts and pray about this often. Some people often feel fear and cowardice, thinking that the forces of Satan are too powerful, and how can an ordinary person like them resist? Therefore, they often fear and worry about this. Some even feel that as soon as they are arrested, there will be nothing the church or the house of God can do, that nobody will be effective if something happens. So, they think it most crucial to protect themselves. Therefore, when they need to stick their necks out and take on a risky duty, they hide themselves, and nobody can persuade them. They claim they are not competent, finding all sorts of excuses and reasons to refuse the important duties entrusted to them by the house of God. If the environment is good, these people might even stand in a public place in front of a large crowd with a microphone and shout, “I believe in Almighty God, I am a member of The Church of Almighty God. I hope everyone can come and investigate the true way.” They can do this without any fear when their personal safety is not at risk. Once there’s even the slightest hint of a threat or any situation that involves their own safety, or when sudden circumstances arise, their enthusiasm disappears, their “loyalty” vanishes, and their “faith” fades away. They only know to flee this way and that, always trying to find some inconspicuous, behind-the-scenes work to carry out, pushing the tasks and duties that require sticking their necks out and taking on risks onto other people. As soon as the environment improves, they pop up again like stage jesters. Why do they reappear? To start showcasing themselves, to let people know of their existence, to show God their enthusiasm, to let God see their loyalty at that moment, and at the same time, to make amends for what they did before, desperately trying to recover. However, at the slightest sign of trouble or change in environment, these people disappear again and go into hiding.

When the gospel work was just beginning to expand, it was particularly difficult to spread the gospel. At that time, there were not many people who could preach the gospel, and those who did were quite shallow in their understanding of the truth. They couldn’t discern people’s religious notions very well, and it was challenging to gain people. Moreover, preaching the gospel also came with risks. When you encountered people with a somewhat good humanity, at most, they would refuse to accept it and call it a day, but they wouldn’t harm or insult you. If you maintained contact with them, there might still be hope of gaining them, which would yield some results. However, when you encountered evil people or pastors and elders from various denominations, these people not only refused to accept but would even lead a joint attack, force you to confess your sins, and if you didn’t, they might physically assault you. In more severe cases, they might even report you to the police and hand you over to the station, putting you in danger of being detained at any time. Some church leaders were not constrained by these matters. They continued to do their duties when they ought to do so and even led the way in preaching the gospel and bearing witness to God. However, some so-called leaders or those false leaders did not act this way. When they faced such dangers, they would not go themselves but would send others. I heard of one leader who found out that a potential gospel recipient was a leader in a certain denomination. She intended to arrange for someone to spread the gospel to him. After thinking it over, she couldn’t find a suitable person and decided it was more appropriate to go by herself. However, she was afraid of the danger and didn’t want to go, so she arranged for a young sister of eighteen or nineteen years old to go instead. What do you think? Should she have arranged for this young sister to go? (She shouldn’t have.) Why shouldn’t she have? (Because the potential gospel recipient was a leader in a certain denomination with many religious notions. The young sister was of small stature, had a shallow understanding of the truth, couldn’t fellowship about the truth to address the potential gospel recipient’s problems, and not only might she not have been able to convert him, but she herself might have been misled.) Considering her age, how much of the truth could this young sister really understand? How much knowledge of the Bible did she possess? How confident could she be in converting the leader from that denomination? Given her age, she certainly didn’t have much experience in preaching the gospel. Additionally, she had just come of age and lacked experience. Could she see through the notions, ideas, and difficulties of adults? (No, she couldn’t.) Certainly not. At her age, she simply wasn’t up to handling the thoughts of adults. Tell Me, considering her age, was this young sister the best choice? (She was not.) She was not the best choice. So, by sending the young sister, did this leader have the right intention? (She didn’t have the right intention.) She didn’t have the right intention. She should not have sent the young sister. Later, when the young sister came into contact with the leader of that denomination and found that he was not a good person, she reported back to the leader, expressing that she felt particularly fearful and didn’t dare to go again. This leader put pressure on her, insisting, “No, this is your duty, and you must go!” The young sister was forced to tears, saying, “It’s my duty, and I should go, but I can’t handle it, I can’t do it.” Nevertheless, this leader did not relent and continued to say, “Even if you can’t do it, you must go; there’s no one else, so it has to be you!” What kind of leader do you think this is? Not only did she protect herself when danger approached, but she also put another in harm’s way while she stepped back. Even in situations where this young sister expressed her inability and even cried in fear, she still disagreed. What kind of wretch is this? Is this a human being? (No.) It’s not a human being. She didn’t consider the safety of her brothers and sisters, only herself. She even exchanged others’ safety for her own interest, just like those gambling parents who, when they’ve lost all their money and have nothing left, offer their own daughters as collateral to pay back their debts, to allow themselves to weather hard times and escape disaster, sacrificing the ones they love most in exchange for their own happiness. What kind of wretch is this leader? Does she have any humanity left? (No.) There isn’t a shred of humanity in her. Based on this behavior, can people like this be classified as antichrists? (They can.) They absolutely can! Some might say, “What they’re doing is for the sake of the church’s work, for spreading the gospel. Don’t they mean well? Aren’t they doing it to safeguard the interests of God’s house? How can they be classified as being antichrists?” Has anyone ever thought this way? Can this argument be made? (No, it can’t.) So, tell Me, what is the nature of this issue? (This leader, for the sake of her own interests and safety, used the young sister’s life and security as a bargain, that is, she intentionally pushed her into a pit—she has a particularly malicious humanity.) To put it more plainly, this leader, fully aware that the young sister was completely incapable of this task, made this arrangement for the purpose of preserving herself. At the same time, she did it to make an account for the fulfillment of her own duty, sacrificing the interests and safety of another to achieve her personal goals. That was her intention. She simply didn’t consider who was capable of doing this job, who could convert this person, or who could do this job effectively, finding the best person for the task. The essence of her actions was not about performing her duty or fulfilling her loyalty or responsibility, but about being able to give an account to her superiors, and preserving herself by sacrificing other’s interests, even causing harm to others. She acted in a way that harmed others in order to preserve herself and achieve her own goals—isn’t this the essence of it? (Yes.) That’s the essence of it. Therefore, the actions of this leader can be classified as the actions of an antichrist. Isn’t this the root of the matter? (Yes, it is.) This is precisely the case. If there were no suitable candidates, and this young sister wasn’t there, if she was told to go convert the leader of that denomination herself, would she have gone? Would she have been able to say, “If there are no suitable candidates, then I will go. I’m not afraid. Even if it means sacrificing my life to gain this person, I’m willing to throw it away, because this is my duty and my responsibility”? Could she have done that? (No.) Why do we say that she couldn’t do it? We’re not speculating here. What are we basing it on by saying she couldn’t? (Because when she was doing her duty, it wasn’t really to achieve results and convert that potential gospel recipient. Therefore, she was just going through the motions by sending the young sister. If the young sister wasn’t there, she wouldn’t have personally gone herself to gain this person.) That’s right, that’s how it would be. If she saw that there were no suitable candidates available, shouldn’t she have gone herself? (Yes.) If she truly was loyal to her duty and didn’t consider her own personal safety, she wouldn’t have let the young sister go, but would have gone herself. So, what is the issue underscored by her not going herself? (She was preserving her own safety and interests.) That’s right, that’s how it played out. If she truly was loyal to her duty, she would have shouldered that responsibility herself. However, she didn’t do that; instead, she chose the least suitable candidate to go in her place. Was it her intention to send the least suitable person to the most dangerous place in order to achieve her own goal of shielding herself from danger and preserving herself? (Yes.) This is the behavior of antichrists. This has to do with arranging people.

In mainland China, the great red dragon has consistently and brutally suppressed, arrested, and persecuted believers in God, often placing them in dangerous environments. For instance, the government uses various pretexts to apprehend believers. Whenever they discover the area in which an antichrist resides, what’s the first thing the antichrist thinks about? It’s not about arranging the work of the church properly but how to escape from this dangerous situation. When the church faces suppression and arrests, the antichrists never engage in follow-up work. They don’t make arrangements for essential church resources or personnel. Instead, they find excuses and reasons in order to secure a safe place for themselves and be done with it. Once their personal safety is guaranteed, they rarely get personally involved in arranging the church’s work, personnel, or resources, nor do they inquire into the matter or make any specific arrangements. This results in the church’s resources and finances not being promptly transferred to secure locations, and ultimately, much is plundered and taken away by the great red dragon, causing significant losses to the church and leading to the capture of more brothers and sisters. This is the result of the antichrists shirking their responsibility over the work. Deep within the antichrists’ hearts, their personal safety always takes precedence. It’s an issue in their hearts that is a constant concern for them. They think to themselves, “I mustn’t get into trouble. Whoever might get caught, I can’t afford to be—I have to stay alive. I’m still waiting to share in God’s glory when the work of God is finished. If I get caught, I’ll act like Judas, and it’ll be over for me. There won’t be a good outcome for me. I’ll be punished.” Therefore, whenever they go to a new place to work, they first investigate who has the safest and most powerful household, where they can hide from the government’s searches and feel secure. Secondly, they look for households with better living conditions, where there’s meat at every meal, air conditioning in summer, and heating in winter. Additionally, they inquire about who among the believers is more enthusiastic and has a stronger foundation, someone who can provide protection when trouble arises. They investigate all these matters first. After their investigation, they find a place to settle down and do some superficial work, send a letter, or convey some information or work arrangements verbally. Now, do you think the antichrists are capable of doing work? When you look at how they meticulously and neatly take consideration of and arrange for their personal safety, it might seem like they know how to do specific work, they know in their hearts how to do it. However, their intentions are not right, they think only of personal gain, and they are averse to the truth; even if they know that what they are doing goes against the truth and is selfish and despicable, they insist on doing things their own way and acting wantonly and recklessly. Everything they do is in order to preserve their own safety. After settling themselves down and feeling that they are out of harm’s way, that the danger is past, then the antichrists proceed to do some superficial work. Antichrists are quite meticulous in their arrangements, but it depends on who they are dealing with. They think very carefully about matters that concern their own interests, but when it comes to the work of the church or their own duties, they display their own selfishness and despicableness and show no responsibility, lacking even a hint of conscience or reason. It’s precisely because of these behaviors that they are classified as antichrists. If we were to judge based on caliber alone, considering how well they think through and make meticulous and concrete plans for their own safety, they are not lacking in caliber and they have a head on their shoulders. They should be capable of handling the work of God’s house. Now, if you look at it based on their capability, they shouldn’t be labeled as antichrists, so why have they still been labeled as such? It’s determined based on their essence, on whether they can accept the truth and practice it, on whether they are people who pursue the truth. They make thoughtful and specific considerations and arrangements concerning their living environment, their food and drink, and their safety. However, when it comes to the work of God’s house, they become entirely different people, particularly selfish and despicable, showing no consideration for God’s intentions. These certainly aren’t people who pursue the truth. Antichrists deal with the work of God’s house and the work arrangements of the Above by filtering through them. They selectively filter through what they are and aren’t willing to do, and what does and doesn’t relate to their own safety. Then, they do some easy work that has no danger in it, just to avoid the Above finding out that they are quick to eat and slow to work, and that they don’t attend to their proper duties. After arranging the work, they never inquire or supervise how the specific tasks are carried out. For example, God’s house has specific principles and regulations regarding offerings and various resources: how to arrange them, where to place them, how to safekeep them, and who should safekeep them. The antichrists, on the other hand, only talk about these things, and once they have made the arrangements, they consider it done. No matter whether or not the environment is suitable, they never visit the site to take a look around; they merely move their lips, and in their hearts they don’t grasp, and do not inquire, investigate, or care whether specific arrangements for these resources of God’s house are appropriate or safe. So, during the antichrists’ time as leaders, within their scope of work, some books of God’s words are seized by evil people. Some books grow moldy due to improper storage, and in some cases, certain books or resources are placed in locations where nobody takes care of them. The antichrists not only fail to make specific arrangements for these matters, they certainly don’t inquire, investigate, or ask about them. Instead, they consider their task done once they make the arrangements. They talk the talk and that’s it; they only go through the motions without seeking any actual results. Do the antichrists display loyalty through these behaviors? (No.) They have no loyalty. When it comes to arranging various resources of the church, the antichrists never inquire. What does “never inquire” mean? Does it mean they don’t make any arrangements at all? They go through the motions and make arrangements in order to pull the wool over people’s eyes, lest someone report them to the superiors. But they never do any specific work. What does specific work refer to? It involves determining where these things should be placed, whether or not it’s safe, whether something might happen to them, whether rodents might come and chew things up, whether they might be flooded or stolen, whether the individuals responsible for safekeeping are suitable, and so on. The antichrists, however, never inquire, never investigate, and never concern themselves. In their hearts, they believe these things are not for them to enjoy; they don’t value them and have no use for them. They belong to other people, to God’s house, and are unrelated to them. They couldn’t care less; let whoever wants to be concerned worry about it—they aren’t concerned. They arrange things, and that’s the end of it. Some antichrists don’t even bother arranging. They believe that they won’t get any rewards even if they do this work well, and that nobody will hold them accountable for doing it poorly. Who would report them for something as minor as this? Would God punish them for it? The antichrists’ attitude and viewpoint toward their duties are just like that: They go through the motions and handle matters in a perfunctory manner. As long as these things don’t affect their own status or safety, they don’t care whether they are managed or not. Whether these things are lost, diminished, or damaged, it’s all unrelated to them. In the antichrists’ mind, these resources of God’s house are considered public property. They don’t need to be concerned about them, don’t need to pay them any mind, and don’t need to expend any energy to manage them. So, during the antichrists’ time as leaders, due to their negligence toward their duty, their focus on personal enjoyment, and their failure to perform specific tasks, various resources in God’s house are plundered or taken by the great red dragon, or seized by some evil people. There were many such cases. Some might say, “In such a hostile environment, who could attend to everything so meticulously? Who could avoid a bit of negligence or making a few mistakes?” Is this just about making a few mistakes? I dare say, if people could fulfill their responsibilities and display loyalty, the loss of these resources wouldn’t be as great; it would definitely decrease, and the effectiveness of the work would improve a lot.

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