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 Eight) Section One

II. The Interests of Antichrists

D. Their Prospects and Destiny

First let’s review what we fellowshipped on in the last gathering. (Last time God fellowshipped on the second item of how antichrists treat their prospects and destiny—how antichrists treat their duty. Antichrists have three kinds of attitudes toward their duty. Firstly, God has been providing for and leading humankind, so doing one’s duty as a created being before God is perfectly fitting, natural, and justified, and the most just and beautiful thing among humankind, but antichrists regard it as a kind of transaction and want to exchange doing their duty for good prospects and a good destination. Secondly, when God is working, He expresses many truths; antichrists not only do not regard God’s word as the truth, as something humankind should possess, pursue, accept, and enter into in order to be saved, but on the contrary, they regard the pursuit of prospects, destination, reputation, and status as the truth and as things they should uphold and obtain. Thirdly, God works to manage and save humankind, but from antichrists’ perspective this is just a transaction and a game; they believe that people can only gain the blessings of the kingdom of heaven through hard work and transactions. Judging from the attitude of antichrists toward the truth of God requiring people to do their duty, their disposition is wicked.) Is there anything to add? (Antichrists regard doing their duty as the only way to pursue blessings. Once their desire to gain blessings is dashed, they may immediately abandon their duty or even leave God. This is the attitude of antichrists when their desire to gain blessings is dashed.) (Antichrists do not truly repent. When they are dismissed or expelled because they caused disruptions and disturbances or committed evil deeds, and God’s house gives them another chance to do their duty, they are not grateful. Instead, they complain and pass judgment, saying, “You ask me back when you need me, but just kick me when you don’t.” This shows that antichrists will never repent.) In short, the essences that antichrists manifest in their treatment of their duties and their treatment of God’s word are basically the same; they’re just manifesting the same dispositions and the same essences in their treatment of these different things. We basically fellowshipped on all of the essences that antichrists manifest in their treatment of their duty last time. Item one, they do not believe and refuse to acknowledge that God’s word is the truth; item two, even if you fellowship God’s word with them, and they can understand the truth, they do not accept it; item three, they refuse to submit to God’s sovereignty and arrangements; item four, they never truly repent. Aren’t these the essences of their manifestations? (Yes.) Did you summarize these four items? (No.) Most of what you talked about were some of the manifestations we fellowshipped on last time, but you still haven’t seen through to what essences lie behind these manifestations. The essences which antichrists manifest before the truth and before God are always a refusal to acknowledge, accept, submit, or repent. Since this is how antichrists treat God’s word and their duty, how do they treat being pruned? What other manifestations are there that enable people to see that they possess the aforementioned essences, and confirm that they are antichrists, enemies of God, and enemies of the truth? This is the third item, which we will be fellowshipping on today: how antichrists treat being pruned. This item is the third sub-topic of how antichrists treat their prospects and destiny. See, fellowshipping on each truth requires such specific fellowship and specific seeking and pondering. If I only spoke in broad terms, you would be unable to understand the realities of each truth in a more specific way. Alright, we will not review the content that we fellowshipped last time any further. This time, we will fellowship formally on the third item.

3. How Antichrists Treat Being Pruned

Being pruned is something that everyone who believes in God may experience. Particularly in the course of doing a duty, as their experience of being pruned increases, most people become more and more aware of the meaning of being pruned. They feel that there are so many benefits to being pruned, and they are more and more able to treat being pruned correctly. Of course, as long as they can perform a duty, and no matter what duty they do, every person will have the chance to be pruned. Normal people can treat being pruned correctly. In one respect, they can accept being pruned with a heart of submission to God, and in another respect, they can also reflect upon and come to know what problems they have. This is a common attitude and perspective in how people who pursue the truth treat being pruned. So, do antichrists also treat being pruned in this way? Absolutely not. The attitudes of antichrists and people who pursue the truth are certain to be different when it comes to their treatment of being pruned. First of all, with antichrists, when it comes to the matter of being pruned, they are unable to accept it. And there are reasons they are unable to accept it, the main one being that when they are pruned, they feel they have lost face, that they have lost their reputation, status and dignity, that they have been left unable to raise their heads in front of everyone. These things have an effect in their hearts, so they find it hard to accept being pruned, and they feel that whoever prunes them has it out for them and is their enemy. This is the mentality of antichrists when they are pruned. Of this, you can be sure. It is in pruning, in fact, that whether someone can accept the truth and whether someone can truly submit is most revealed. That antichrists are so resistant to pruning suffices to show that they are averse to the truth and do not accept it in the least. This, then, is the crux of the problem. Their pride is not the crux of the matter; not accepting the truth is the essence of the problem. When they are pruned, antichrists demand that it be done with a nice tone and attitude. If the doer’s tone is serious and their attitude is severe, an antichrist will resist and be defiant, and grow furious from shame. They pay no mind to whether what is exposed in them is right or whether it is a fact, and they do not reflect on where they have erred or on whether they should accept the truth. They think only of whether their vanity and pride have suffered a blow. Antichrists are entirely unable to recognize that pruning is helpful to people, and loving, and salvific, that they are of benefit to people. They cannot even see this. Is this not a bit undiscriminating and unreasonable of them? So, when faced with being pruned, what disposition is it that an antichrist reveals? Without any doubt, that disposition is one of being averse to the truth, as well as one of arrogance and intransigence. This reveals that the nature essence of antichrists is one of being averse to the truth and hating it. Therefore, antichrists are most afraid of being pruned; as soon as they are pruned, their ugly state is completely exposed. When antichrists are pruned, what manifestations do they display, and what things might they say or do, that allow others to clearly see that antichrists are antichrists, that they are different to an average corrupt person, and that their nature essence is distinct from those who pursue the truth? I will give a few examples, and you can think about them and add to them. When antichrists are pruned, they first calculate and think: “What kind of person is pruning me? What is he getting at? How does he know about this? Why did he prune me? Does he feel disdain for me? Have I said something to offend him? Is he taking revenge on me because I have something good and haven’t given it to him, and he’s using this opportunity to blackmail me?” Instead of reflecting and coming to know their own transgressions, past misdeeds, and the corrupt dispositions they’ve revealed, they want to find clues within the matter of being pruned. They feel that there is something suspicious about it. This is how they treat being pruned. Is there any true acceptance here? Is there any true knowledge or reflection? (No.) When most people are pruned, it can be because they revealed corrupt dispositions. It can also be because they did something wrong due to ignorance and sold out the interests of God’s house. It may also be because they were perfunctory in their duty and this caused losses to the work of God’s house. The most detestable thing is that people blatantly do as they wish without restraint, violate principles, and disrupt and disturb the work of God’s house. These are the primary reasons people are pruned. Regardless of the circumstances that cause someone to be pruned, what is the most crucial attitude to have toward it? First, you must accept it. No matter who is pruning you, for what reason, no matter whether it comes across as harsh, or what the tone and wording, you should accept it. Then, you should recognize what you have done wrong, what corrupt disposition you have revealed, and whether you acted in accordance with the truth principles. First and foremost, this is the attitude you should have. And are antichrists possessed of such an attitude? They are not; from start to finish, the attitude they exude is one of resistance and repulsion. With an attitude like that, can they be quiet before God and modestly accept pruning? No, they cannot. So, what will they do, then? First of all, they will vigorously argue and offer justifications, defending and arguing against the wrongs they have done and the corrupt disposition they have revealed, in hopes of winning people’s understanding and forgiveness, so that they need not take any responsibility or accept words that prune them. What is the attitude they evince when faced with being pruned? “I haven’t sinned. I’ve done nothing wrong. If I made a mistake, there was a reason for it; if I made a mistake, I didn’t do so on purpose, I shouldn’t have to take responsibility for it. Who doesn’t make a few mistakes?” They seize on these statements and phrases, but they do not seek the truth, nor do they acknowledge the mistakes they have made or the corrupt dispositions they have revealed—and they certainly do not admit what their intent and goal were in doing evil. No matter how evident the mistakes they have made are or how great a loss they have caused, they turn a blind eye to these things. They do not feel the least bit sad or guilty, and their conscience does not feel reproached at all. Instead, they justify themselves with all their might and wage a war of words, thinking, “Everybody has a justifiable point of view. Everyone has their reasons; it comes down to who’s the better talker. If I can pass my justification and my explanation off on a majority, then I win, and the truths you speak of aren’t truths, and your facts aren’t valid. You want to condemn me? No way!” When an antichrist is pruned, in the depths of their heart and soul, they are absolutely, resolutely resistant and repulsive, and reject it. Their attitude is, “Whatever you have to say, however right you may be, I won’t accept it, and I won’t admit to it. I’m not at fault.” No matter how the facts bring their corrupt disposition to light, they do not acknowledge or accept it, but go on with their defiance and resistance. Whatever others say, they do not accept it or acknowledge it, but think, “Let’s see who can outtalk whom; let’s see who is a better speaker.” This is one sort of attitude with which antichrists regard being pruned.

Whether or not a person can accept the truth is revealed when they are pruned. Antichrists are all very clear when speaking words and doctrines, but when they are pruned, they keep defying, arguing, and resisting, and do not accept the truth at all. They cannot put into practice any of the words and doctrines that they usually spout. Why is this? The reason is that antichrists are in essence averse to the truth. The disposition of antichrists is vicious and arrogant in the extreme. Their attitude before the truth and facts is always one of intransigence, resistance, and antipathy. When they are pruned, in addition to justifying and explaining themselves as much as they can to maintain their own reputation, antichrists have the strongest conviction: “I believe in God, not some person. God is righteous, and no matter how people prune me, they cannot decide my destiny. I don’t accept the truth, but what can people do about it?” In their hearts they are defiant, “No matter how right or in accordance with the truth the things that person on earth says are, they are not the truth, only direct utterances from the God in heaven are the truth; no matter how that person on earth judges and chastises people, and prunes them, He is not righteous, only God in heaven is righteous.” What is their unspoken implication? “No matter how right or in accordance with the truth the things that God on earth says are, they are not the truth. Only God in heaven is the truth, God in heaven is the greatest. Although God on earth can express the truth, He can’t compare with God in heaven.” Isn’t this what they mean? (Yes.) “What I believe in is God in heaven, not God on earth. No matter how right or in accordance with the truth the words that You, this ordinary person, speak are, You are still not God in heaven. God in heaven is sovereign over everything. God in heaven determines my destiny. God on earth cannot determine my destiny. No matter how consistent with the truth the things that God on earth says are, I won’t accept them. I only accept and submit to God in heaven. However God in heaven treats me, I will submit to it.” These words are all words that antichrists reveal when they are pruned. They are all words that come from their hearts. These heartfelt words of theirs entirely represent their disposition and reveal their nature essence that is averse to the truth and hates the truth. When antichrists reveal these words, their true face is completely laid bare. It can be said that anyone who can say these words is a genuine antichrist, and an authentic devil and Satan. Some antichrists display an unyielding attitude that is neither servile nor overbearing when they are being pruned. They do not accept the truth or accept being pruned, nor do they truly come to know themselves. Instead, they retreat into that conviction of theirs and use it to defend their own reputation, status, and sense of presence, completely exposing their disbeliever essence. They use the words “I believe in God, not some person, and God is righteous” to refute and defeat everybody, and to deny the truth and deny God on earth. At the same time, they use these words to conceal and evade their responsibility for their own sins, and to conceal their corrupt dispositions and their nature essence. Antichrists use their conviction and their theories to conceal their own evil deeds, and they also use them to comfort and shield themselves. How do they comfort themselves? They think, “It’s alright, what this person on earth says doesn’t count. No matter how right the things He says are, I won’t accept them. As long as I don’t accept them, then the things He says aren’t facts and they don’t accord with the truth. So, I don’t need to take responsibility for whatever mistakes, misdeeds, or transgressions I make, I can just do as I please, strut around, and do things my own way as I did before.” So, antichrists continue walking their path in this way without any misgivings at all and still without any sense of shame, holding on to their desire and intent to gain blessings to the very end. This is the true face of antichrists.

When antichrists are pruned, they are revealed. This is the time when their nature essence is most likely to be exposed. Firstly: Can they confess to their evil deeds? Secondly: Can they reflect on themselves and know themselves? And thirdly: Can they accept it from God when they are pruned? With these three measures, one can see the nature essence of an antichrist. If a person can submit when pruning befalls them, and reflect on themselves, and thereby come to know their own revelations of corruption and corrupt essence, then that is someone who can accept the truth. They are not an antichrist. These three measures are precisely what an antichrist lacks. An antichrist does something else instead, something no one expected—that is, when they are pruned, they make unfounded countercharges. Instead of confessing their wrongdoing and acknowledging their corrupt disposition, they condemn the person who prunes them. How do they do that? They say, “Not all pruning is right, necessarily. Pruning is all about man’s condemnation, man’s judgment; it’s not done on God’s behalf. God alone is righteous. Whoever would condemn others is to be condemned.” Is this not an unfounded countercharge? What kind of person is it that would make such unfounded countercharges? Only a senselessly bothersome person who is impervious to reason would do so, and only someone who is the ilk of devils and Satan would do so. Someone with a conscience and reason would never do such a thing. So those who make unfounded countercharges when they are pruned must be evil people. They are all devils. When antichrists make unfounded countercharges, what do they often say? “I believe in God, and God is righteous! I submit to God, not to some person! Not all pruning is right, necessarily. If God prunes me, I will accept it, but if people prune me, I won’t!” The first thing antichrists will say is “God is righteous!” You can hear that their tone carries in it a malicious mentality. The second thing they say is “I submit to God, not to some person!” Have you heard these two statements? (Yes.) Have you ever spoken them? (No.) Most people do not dare to say these two statements. It’s only when something happens to them that they believe is positive and something that they should accept, that they say: “God really is righteous, it was right for me to be pruned and disciplined.” They accept it in a positive way, and aren’t at all using these words to defend their own interests or to justify and explain themselves. They truly accept and acknowledge these words and this fact from the bottom of their hearts. The attitude of antichrists is different. In the context of being pruned, they could use this tone of voice or this kind of intent to say, “I believe in God, and God is righteous! I submit to God, not to some person!” What does this mean? Are they people who accept the truth? They certainly are not. They deny that being pruned comes from God and is approved of by God. Their inability to accept it from God completely proves that they do not acknowledge God’s sovereignty over everything and do not believe God’s words are the truth. How can they acknowledge that God is righteous, then? They are clearly using these words, which appear correct on the face of it, to condemn others, to condemn those who are unfavorable to them, who prune them, and who expose their corrupt dispositions. Aren’t these the actions of evil people? These are evil people. Evil people may use correct words to resist God and oppose the truth at critical moments, and use correct words to protect their own interests, their own image, and their own face and reputation. Is this not shameless? “An evil man hardens his face” (Proverbs 21:29), this sentence is borne out in evil people and antichrists. Antichrists are people of this sort.

Another thing antichrists say is: “I believe in God, not in some person!” Does this sentence sound wrong on the face of it? (No.) Believing in God is of course correct—one cannot believe in some person. These words are so decent and correct, there is nothing wrong with them. Unfortunately, the meaning of this sentence changes when it comes from the mouth of an antichrist. What does this change of meaning show? That antichrists use correct words to get themselves out of trouble and explain themselves. What is their intent behind speaking these words? What is their reason for speaking these words? What aspects of their essence does it prove? (Not accepting the truth, hating the truth.) Correct, they do not accept the truth. So, they do not accept the truth, but will they openly say, “I don’t accept it; even if what you said is right, I don’t accept it”? If they said this, people would be able to discern them, and everyone would reject them, and they would be unable to keep their foothold, so they cannot say this. They understand these things clearly in their hearts. This is where the deceitfulness and wickedness of antichrists lies. They think, “If I openly contradict you, openly clamor against and oppose you, you will say I don’t accept the truth. I won’t let you see that I don’t accept the truth, then. I’ll use other means to solve this matter and protect myself.” So, they say: “I believe in God, not in some person.” Regardless of whether they believe in God or in some person, what we are dissecting here is whether antichrists accept the truth. Aren’t they mixing up concepts by saying this? They are mixing up concepts and trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes. To stop people from seeing that they do not accept the truth, they say that they acknowledge God and acknowledge the truth, that they believe in God and believe God is the truth, and that since God is the truth, God cannot become a person, and if He becomes a person, then He does not have the truth, and that person isn’t God. Judging based on this, haven’t they already been revealed as antichrists? They simply do not acknowledge that God can become Christ and become an ordinary person. They think that only God in heaven, only that God which is invisible and intangible, and can be arbitrarily imagined and used by man, is God. Are there similarities between this view and that of Paul? (Yes.) What was Paul’s attitude toward Christ on earth? Did he acknowledge Him? Did he accept Him? (No.) Paul said: “Christ is the Son of the living God, and we are also sons of the living God. This means that we are all the brothers and sisters of Christ, and in terms of seniority, we are all equal. The God we believe in is in heaven. There is no God on earth. So don’t misunderstand, this person on earth is Christ, He is the Son of God. He is not the same as God. He can’t represent God in heaven, man can’t regard Him as the truth, and man doesn’t need to follow Him.” What can we dissect from the words “I believe in God, not in some person” which antichrists say? Like Paul, they only acknowledge a vague God in heaven, and do not acknowledge that Christ is God. In other words, they do not acknowledge the fact that God has become flesh and become an ordinary person—on this point antichrists are exactly the same as Paul. Their meaning is: “If you believe in God, then believe in God, not in some person. It is useless to believe in some person, you cannot gain blessings from believing in some person. To believe in God you must believe in God in heaven, the invisible God. God in heaven is so great and so almighty, what can God on earth do? He can just express some truths and speak some correct words.” If we dissect and judge their essence based on these words, they are resisting Christ, not acknowledging Christ, and denying the fact that God has become flesh. They are out-and-out antichrists.

When antichrists are pruned, when they encounter setbacks, and when somebody exposes them, they use the phrase “God is righteous” to defend themselves, to deny the other person’s exposing of them, and deny the other person’s pruning of them. No matter what, when they are pruned their primary attitude is one of defiance, resistance, and non-acceptance, doing their utmost to explain and defend themselves. Some even say: “Time will reveal everything. God is righteous. Let God reveal this for me one day!” Being corrupt people, no matter how great losses they incur to the work of God’s house in the course of doing their duty, they do not care or pay any heed to this. If this fact is exposed, they still do not acknowledge that these losses were caused by them and they are unwilling to take responsibility. In the end they still want to let God reveal it for them, as if God is there to serve them, and must defend them when they make mistakes, as if He is that kind of God. They do not accept the truth, they cannot accept being pruned, and they aren’t able to know themselves, but that’s not all—they even ask God to give explanations and justifications for them. Isn’t this a shameful thing? This is so shameful! Antichrists are all shameless in the extreme, and they are also wicked in the extreme. This is one aspect. What two statements do antichrists often say when they are pruned? (“I believe in God, not in some person!” “God is righteous!”) These are two sayings they habitually use. They cannot utter any other kind of false reasoning, they do not dare to do so. They use two correct statements to mislead people, to argue unreasonably on their own behalf, trying to turn something wrong into something right, to turn something wicked into something just, to turn their mistakes and the losses they have caused into something justified. They want to use these two statements to write off all these things in one stroke, completely erase them, and pretend that they do not exist, and they continue believing as they always have. Is there repentance in this manifestation of antichrists? (No, there is not.) Not only are they not repentant, they also manifest another aspect of antichrists—aversion to the truth, arrogance, wickedness, and viciousness. Their arrogance manifests in the fact that they despise whoever is pruning them, thinking, “You’re just a person, I’m not afraid of you!” Isn’t this arrogant? (Yes.) In what way does their wickedness manifest? (Making unfounded countercharges.) Making unfounded countercharges is one aspect, and another aspect is using correct words to explain, justify, and defend themselves. What other disposition lies within this? Making unfounded countercharges is also vicious. Antichrists do not acknowledge that God’s word is the truth. If somebody exposes this essence of theirs, they still do not accept the fact that they do not acknowledge the truth. They do not reflect on and try to know themselves; instead, they make unfounded countercharges, and use correct and nice-sounding words to condemn others. The methods and sayings they use to condemn others are both insidious and wicked. They know which words to use to condemn others and silence them, so that other people do not know what to say next and cannot do anything to them. This is wickedness. This method and practice of theirs are an out-and-out vicious disposition. These are several dispositions of antichrists that we can dissect from the matter of antichrists being pruned. Do these dispositions and revelations of antichrists not match up with the four items we previously spoke about? (Yes.) What are those four items? (Item one is not believing and refusing to acknowledge that God’s word is the truth; item two is that even if you fellowship God’s word with them, and they can understand the truth, they do not accept it; item three is refusing to submit to God’s sovereignty and arrangements; item four is never truly repenting.) Not believing, not accepting, not submitting, and not repenting, these “four nots” represent the essence of antichrists. Antichrists will never accept the truth, and they will never bow their heads before facts. This is stubborn unrepentance and it is something that pours forth from the nature of antichrists. This is the first manifestation of how antichrists treat being pruned. Although antichrists share the same disposition essence, the famous sayings and great mottos that come from their mouths are certainly not exactly the same. Sometimes antichrists may say this, and sometimes antichrists may say that, but no matter what kind of speech comes forth from their mouths, its characteristics and essence will be the same—the essence of their words is that of not accepting the truth. If they do not accept the truth, then just what are these words of theirs? Are they words that accord with the truth? Are they human words or words that accord with ethics? Are they words that accord with conscience and reason? (They are devilish words.) Correct. Calling them empty words or muddled words does not quite define them accurately, but saying they are devilish words explains the issue.

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