Item Fifteen: They Do Not Believe in the Existence of God, and They Deny the Essence of Christ (Part One) Section One

I. Antichrists Do Not Believe in the Existence of God

Today we will fellowship on item fifteen of the various manifestations of antichrists—they do not believe in the existence of God, and they deny the essence of Christ. This item exposes two manifestations of how antichrists treat God and Christ, which represent the essence of antichrists. Both of these manifestations pertain to God Himself, involving in one respect the Spirit of God and in another respect God’s incarnate flesh. Antichrists do not believe in the existence of God, nor do they acknowledge His incarnate flesh. These are the viewpoints that antichrists harbor toward God, and they are the primary manifestations of how antichrists treat God. For now, we won’t fellowship on the essence of these two primary manifestations, instead let’s first discuss how antichrists’ disbelief in God’s existence manifests, that is, what thoughts, viewpoints, attitudes, and specific behaviors, manifestations, and approaches antichrists have toward God that prove they do not believe in His existence. Are there concrete manifestations of this disbelief? Some may say, “Antichrists’ disbelief in God’s existence simply means them not acknowledging this fact and denying God’s existence. In their hearts, they believe there is no God, and that the Spirit of God, God Himself, and the Creator, are invisible and nonexistent. To them, the title ‘God’ is void and a figment of human imagination. Isn’t this a simple thing to explain and fellowship on? How does this relate to the essence of antichrists? How are there specific manifestations of this? Isn’t this making a mountain out of a molehill? Is it really that complex?” Is this line of thinking correct? If you were asked to fellowship on the subject of antichrists not believing in God’s existence, how would you fellowship on it and dissect it? For example, consider a particularly deceitful person. Can you talk about the specific manifestations of their deceitfulness? If you just say, “This person is very deceitful and always lies without uttering a single true word,” will you be done fellowshipping then? What are the specific states and manifestations of deceitfulness? How can you dissect that person’s deceitfulness? What approaches do they use to deal with people and handle matters in their day-to-day life? What methods do they use to deal with the world? What is their character like? What is their viewpoint on people, events, and things? How can it be proven that this person is very deceitful? Aren’t there specifics here? There absolutely are specifics. It’s not just about saying what deceitfulness is or what actions are deceitful, and it’s not just about explaining this term, instead you need to dissect their specific manifestations, behaviors, thoughts, viewpoints, their methods for handling matters, their character, and so on. The main characteristic of a deceitful person is that they never open their heart to fellowship with anyone, and they do not speak their heart even to their best friend. They are extraordinarily inscrutable. In fact, such a person may not necessarily be old, or have seen much of the world, and may even have little experience, yet they are extremely inscrutable. They are very cunning for their age. Is this not a deceitful person by nature? They hide themselves so deeply that no one can see through them. No matter how many words they speak, it is difficult to tell which are true and which are false, and no one knows when they are telling the truth or when they are lying. In addition, they are especially skilled at disguise and sophistry. They often hide the truth by giving people false impressions, so that all people see is their false appearance. They disguise themselves as a lofty, good, virtuous, and guileless person, as a person who is liked and approved of, and in the end, everyone worships them and looks up to them. No matter how long you spend with such a person, you never know what they are thinking. Their views and attitudes toward all manner of people, events, and things are hidden in their heart. They never tell these things to anyone. They never fellowship on these things even to their closest confidant. Even when they pray to God, they may not confide what is in their heart or the truth about them. Not only that, they try to disguise themselves as a person with good humanity, who is very spiritual and dedicated to pursuing the truth. No one can see what kind of disposition they have and what kind of person they are. These are the manifestations of deceitfulness. For instance, consider a lazy person. What are the specific manifestations of laziness? Some might say, “Laziness is not doing any work at all, just sitting around all day, not wanting to move or worry about anything, and not wanting to talk.” Are these the concrete, essential manifestations of laziness? (No, these are just some superficial phenomena.) What then are the essential manifestations of laziness? Primarily, there are two major manifestations: first, an unwillingness to endure any hardship, not bearing a burden or responsibility in whatever they do, complaining whenever their body suffers a little discomfort, or encounters any slight difficulty or a bit of tiredness; second, an aversion to doing any work, wanting a life of pleasure, preferring leisure and disliking labor, idling away their time, and drifting through their days, as well as whining endlessly and hiding themselves away where no one can find them whenever they have to work. These are the two main manifestations of laziness; we won’t discuss the specific manifestations here. Take, for example, a gluttonous person. What are the specific manifestations of gluttony? This is something within humanity that should be easy to dissect and discern, right? (Constantly pursuing physical pleasures, always wanting to eat tasty food, satisfying one’s cravings.) (Having an insatiable appetite when it comes to delicious food.) These are manifestations of gluttony. Aren’t there people who, after hearing that a place has delicious food, go to great lengths to find it? For instance, say that a new restaurant opens somewhere, and it offers a variety of delicious dishes, but it’s a bit expensive and far away, and it takes an hour’s drive to get there. Most people would think it’s not worth traveling that far just for a meal. But people who love to eat, upon hearing about this restaurant, would think, “An hour’s drive isn’t far. Isn’t life all about eating, drinking, and having fun? Let’s go eat!” However, if the same person were asked to drive an hour to attend to their proper work, they would start pondering, “Won’t I get tired going there? Will it be fruitful for me to spend so much time to go and work there? What if I encounter bad people? What if the car runs out of gas? What will I eat there? Will there be ready-made food? What if I can’t adapt to the local environment? What if I can’t sleep at night?” They complicate things when it comes to their proper work, seeing difficulties everywhere. But when it’s about eating something delicious, they are willing to overcome all obstacles; every obstacle becomes a non-issue, and they stop overthinking. These are specific manifestations of gluttony. I am just briefly mentioning this here; I won’t elaborate on it further.

Let’s go back to the subject of today’s fellowship. What are the manifestations of antichrists’ disbelief in the existence of God? What specific thoughts, viewpoints, and states do they reveal? When things befall them, what attitudes, viewpoints, and ideas do they possess that prove they truly do not believe in the existence of God? Isn’t this worth fellowshipping on? Antichrists do not believe in God’s existence; what are the details and specific manifestations of this disbelief? (No matter what happens, they don’t believe that it is orchestrated and arranged by God, and they cannot accept it from God.) (They do not believe that God rewards the good and punishes the evil, so they brazenly commit evil.) These are some specific manifestations. Antichrists do not believe in the existence of God. This disbelief in God’s existence is a denial. What do they deny that proves that they deny God’s existence? (They deny God’s identity as the Creator.) (They deny that God controls everything and holds sovereignty over all things.) (They deny that God’s words are the truth, and deny that God’s work of judgment and chastisement can cleanse people’s corruption and save them from Satan.) Which of these statements is representative and more essential? Denying God’s identity and His sovereignty over all things—are these not representative? Are they not essential issues? (They are.) Believing in God’s existence is, in one respect, acknowledging God’s identity and essence. Furthermore, it is accepting and acknowledging the fact that God holds sovereignty over all things, on top of that foundation of believing in God’s identity and essence. Isn’t this completely believing in God’s existence? Aren’t these two points crucial? (They are.) These two are the most essential issues. Therefore, to dissect antichrists’ disbelief in God’s existence, we first need to dissect two things: first, antichrists refusing to acknowledge God’s identity and essence; second, antichrists refusing to acknowledge God’s sovereignty over all things. Other aspects are contained within these two points. Previously, we fellowshipped about how antichrists do not acknowledge that God is the truth, that God’s words are the truth, or that God can save people. This is also a fact. Here, however, I am saying that antichrists fundamentally do not believe that there is a God, and fundamentally do not believe in God’s existence. Dissecting this from the perspective of antichrists not acknowledging God’s identity and essence, and refusing to acknowledge God’s sovereignty over all things, will be more powerful and representative.

A. Refusing to Acknowledge God’s Identity and Essence

Let’s begin by fellowshipping the first point: Antichrists refusing to acknowledge God’s identity and essence. What is God’s identity? To all created beings, God is the Creator, so what is His identity to all things? (The Sovereign of all things.) This title is also accurate, yet what is God’s true identity? When addressing God, can you directly refer to Him as “the Sovereign of all things”? It’s like how your mother’s identity to you is the person who gave birth to you and raised you, but can you call your mother “the one who gave birth to me and raised me”? (No.) What do you call her? (Mom.) That is your term for your mother. Therefore, the title of the Creator, the Sovereign of all things, is God, and only God Himself can be called God. To all created and non-created things, God is God; His identity is the Sovereign of all things, and His title is God. The One who holds this title is God Himself, He is God. Only He who is worthy of the title of God possesses God’s identity and essence. Let’s not speak about the word “essence” for now, and speak instead about identity. God Himself, who possesses the identity of God, does the things of God, expresses God’s disposition, and leads all mankind and holds sovereignty over all mankind and all things using God’s methods. For those who believe in God and acknowledge God’s identity, their perspective on all that God does is utterly different from that of antichrists. Those who can correctly understand everything that God does amid all things will see from this the methods of His actions, and further assure themselves of His existence among all things. By contrast, the viewpoint, manner, and angle from which antichrists view all these things are completely opposite to those who believe in God’s existence. It is because of this that antichrists would rather die than believe in God’s existence, or believe that the One who is capable of doing all these things is the One who possesses the identity of God, and that only He is worthy of being called God and worthy of being addressed by people as God.

For many matters that exist amid all things and all of mankind, whether they be visible to the naked eye or not, if people view and understand them through God’s words and the rationality of normal humanity, they will discover that God is leading mankind amid all things, and that He does indeed exist. The laws of all things and the development of all things are being orchestrated and arranged within an invisible, indescribable set of rules, so who is capable of orchestrating and arranging all this? Not any great person, nor any hero, and this certainly is not a natural formation. Rather, it is the One who is invisible and intangible, but can be perceived by man, who is sovereign over all this. Who is this? It is God. Isn’t believing in the existence of God the minimum rationality that people should possess? Isn’t this the most minimal, basic viewpoint and angle people should view things from? Antichrists, however, lack this rationality, and therefore do not view things from such a viewpoint and angle. So, with regard to the things orchestrated by God, which humanity can only perceive, and which God has not explicitly communicated to mankind in clear language, antichrists consider them to be coincidental, man-made, naturally formed, or even imagined and manipulated by people. No matter how you testify to God’s existence, no matter how many facts you use to prove that God is among all things, that God possesses the identity of God, and that only the One who possesses God’s identity can do these things, and arrange all things in an orderly manner, and that such a Sovereign is the One who possesses the identity of God, will antichrists see it this way? Would antichrists understand it this way? (No.) No matter how many facts you present to prove it, antichrists will neither believe it nor acknowledge it. Even if they don’t say anything on the surface, and even if they cannot present any evidence to refute it, deep down, they are disagreeing and refusing to acknowledge this a hundred times over, and putting a series of question marks behind it. They think that the people who believe in God’s identity are fools, and that they have been misled, and that this is something only those lacking in mature thought would do and think. In their view, man’s free will should be controlled by man himself and freely expressed. They think that people should form opinions about the events that occur amid all things in whatever way they choose, and that these events should be viewed through scientific methods and a scientific perspective, that people should not be so superstitious, or use God’s sovereignty to explain everything, or approach everything using God’s sovereignty. For instance, in the church, many brothers and sisters have experienced numerous signs and wonders performed by God since receiving His salvation. They testify about how God led them at that time, how God showed them that He does indeed exist through these events, and that they were truly carried out by Him, as well as the immense blessings and grace they received through these events. The evidence is there, both in testimonies and in physical proof. The faith of those who believe in God’s existence is strengthened by these testimonies and physical proof, but does the viewpoint of antichrists, who do not believe in God’s existence, change after hearing them? (No.) How can you tell? Because, no matter how truthfully you speak or how many people there are to personally verify your testimony, antichrists won’t believe it. They will say, “Unless I experience it myself, if I haven’t seen it, then it doesn’t exist. What you have encountered and experienced was just a coincidence, a happenstance. Doesn’t everyone experience dangerous or coincidental events in their life? Does the occurrence of these coincidences and happenstances prove that they’re God’s doing? Does it prove that the One doing these things is God? Maybe it’s just your imagination, maybe you were just fortunate that some benefactor was there to help you, or maybe it just wasn’t your time to die and you had a lucky escape.” See, do they acknowledge the things God has done on these people? (They do not.) They don’t acknowledge or believe in the things that God has done on the brothers and sisters, nor do they believe that God can perform such deeds, or that the things the brothers and sisters experienced really happened. They think, “How can such things exist in the world? If they do, they are just figments of human imagination. As the saying goes, ‘What you think about in the day, you will dream of it at night.’ These things are all just illusions.” When antichrists hear about how brothers and sisters experienced some signs and wonders, some of God’s special grace and blessings, and some things that are beyond the reach of ordinary people, they do not believe it. So, can antichrists believe in the enlightenment and guidance that brothers and sisters gain while experiencing God’s words? They do not believe in that either. They do not believe that God enlightens, illuminates, and guides people. They think this all comes from the human mind, from man’s knowledge-based analysis and understanding, and that this produces these experiential testimonies. They believe, “If people think hard and strive hard in this direction, won’t they gain some knowledge? If I also put in effort, and thought hard and contemplated hard in this regard, then, like writing an article, I could also come up with some experiential testimony.” Therefore, when it comes to the experiential testimonies of the brothers and sisters, where they testify to how God led them, how He enlightened and illuminated them, how He judged, chastised, pruned, and disciplined them, and how God orchestrated situations to try and refine them, as well as how they came to understand God’s intentions from this, and so on, antichrists do not acknowledge or believe in any of these deeds of God. They think that all these things are impossible. Antichrists do not acknowledge or believe in these events that occur among the brothers and sisters. Does this confirm the antichrists’ essence of completely refusing to acknowledge God’s identity? In fact, this is not the most powerful evidence to prove the antichrists’ essence of refusing to acknowledge God’s identity.

Let’s temporarily go beyond the scope of the church and the brothers and sisters, and examine the viewpoints of antichrists toward various matters among groups of people and in real life. What are these matters? (The birth, aging, illness, and death of people, as well as social changes, political shifts, and the occurrence of disasters. Antichrists fail to know the sovereignty of God within any of these things.) (Antichrists do not believe that people’s destinies are in God’s hands, instead, they want to create a beautiful homeland with their own two hands.) These are specific manifestations that touch on the essence of the issue. Can antichrists see that human destiny, life and death, and all the experiences that each person goes through in life are under God’s sovereignty? They cannot see this. For instance, there’s a popular saying in society: “Building bridges and repairing roads lead to blindness, while murderers and arsonists ensure that their offspring multiples.” Is this saying a substantive rule for something? Is it the truth? Is it a philosophical theory? (No.) Then, where does this saying come from? Certainly not from those who believe in God; it’s a superficial phenomenon in the living conditions of various people throughout human development. People believe the world lacks fairness, that the more good deeds a person performs, the more likely they are to become blind, and the more they face retribution, while the more evil a person does, the more they thrive and find success in the world. Do the developmental laws of various things among mankind align with this saying in any way? There’s also the saying, “The good die young while the evil live to a great old age.” What sort of people created this saying? These types of sayings are known by people as folk adages; what sort of people are capable of speaking these adages? Are they believers in God? Are they people who believe in the existence of God? (No.) There are certain kinds of cynics who are unsuccessful in society and among people, who face obstacles everywhere, with hard fates, and unfulfilled aspirations, and they do not thrive no matter where they go. They think that they are somewhat competent and capable, and yet they’ve been unable to make a name for themselves, flourish, surpass others, or honor their ancestors. Wherever they go, they are excluded, bullied, and oppressed, and they lack the ability to break free from all this. Eventually, they conclude: “There is no fairness in society or mankind, there is no such thing as rewarding the good and punishing the evil, or retribution. Bad people do bad things without being punished, while good people who have done a lot of good things, like giving donations and helping the poor, do not receive rewards in the end. So, don’t be good; it’s useless. Good people end up becoming blind—one must be an evil person instead.” Because they are unsuccessful in the world and among groups of people, they complain about the lack of fairness and justice in the world, and the absence of a savior in the world. They think that everyone has wronged them because no one sees their strengths or expertise, and no one puts them in important positions. So, they produce this kind of twisted theory to complain about mankind and the world. In reality, are there reasons behind the occurrence of these various things? Are there causal relationships? Absolutely! Antichrists share the same viewpoint as these people; they do not believe that God is sovereign over all things, nor do they believe that everything God—who has the identity of God—holds sovereignty over is righteous. Therefore, antichrists not only fail to acknowledge that all God does represents His identity, they also believe in the twisted theories and heresies that circulate in society. They believe that those twisted theories and heresies are true, and it is only those who are able to prosper in this world, who are worshipped and followed, that can be called the gods of their hearts, and the ones in their hearts who possess the identity of gods. For example, in Chinese legends, there are figures like the Queen Mother of the West, the Jade Emperor, the Eight Immortals, Guanyin, and the Buddha—these are who antichrists truly worship in their hearts. In these legends, the Jade Emperor is the greatest; he has the power to punish sinners in the heavenly realm by casting them down to the mortal realm. When antichrists hear this, they feel a great admiration for him, thinking, “The Jade Emperor is truly a god! He has the demeanor, bearing, and capabilities of a god!” These legends, along with the so-called immortals that the general public makes offerings to, have left a deep impression on people. They believe, “These so-called immortals have great skills and powers. They are deserving of the title of gods. They are able to provide a statement of resolution in the heavenly realm on all the unfair and unsatisfactory things that happen in the world, and if one seeks justice, they can find an answer from them. For example, historical figures like Bao Gong and Guan Gong uphold justice for mankind in the spiritual realm. When a person is wronged, and the courts are unjust, if they bring their case before Bao Gong or Guan Gong, they are guaranteed to get justice.” People believe that these characters from folk tales can administer justice for mankind, punish evil people, and rectify all the unfairness in the world, allowing those who suffer and struggle to stop shedding tears. They think that the poor people at the bottom of society, the incompetent and the bullied, need only to make offerings to, believe in, and follow these figures in order to escape all their suffering, and resolve all of the abuse and oppression they face. Similarly, in their hearts and minds, antichrists believe that gods should be like the so-called Bodhisattva and Buddha, solving all human suffering and rescuing people from the sea of misery. For instance, a man whose mother was terminally ill and beyond medical help was very filial and didn’t want his mother to die, so he burned three sticks of incense and offered delicious food and drinks to an idol of Guanyin Boddhisatva every day. Then he made a vow: If his mother’s illness could be cured and she could live for another 30 years, he would willingly give up 30 years of his own life in exchange, become a vegetarian for the rest of his days, and refrain from ever taking the life of a living creature again. After burning the incense, kowtowing and making this vow, and offering up his sincere heart, his mother’s illness was cured. Did this mean his vow was heard by the Bodhisattva? Did it mean that his mother would live an additional 30 years and he would live 30 years less? No. But because he believed, he was convinced that it was true. He then started to fulfill his vow by becoming a vegetarian. One day, he wondered: “My mother has been cured, and her longevity isn’t an issue anymore, so can I break my vow in the future? Can I eat a chicken leg? If I want to eat one, I can.” Right after eating the chicken leg, he felt good, and his heart felt at peace, but the next day, he suffered from vomiting and diarrhea, and was sick for several days without any improvement. On the fourth day, he wondered: “Is this punishment from the Bodhisattva? Is she not permitting me to eat meat? It looks like the words I spoke before really did count—I cannot eat meat!” When he thought of this, he quickly burned three more sticks of incense, offered up lots of delicious food, and acknowledged his sin. His sickness was cured the next day. When he saw that the Bodhisattva was so effective, he believed even more firmly that: “When people act, the Bodhisattva is watching. I must not try to trick her, I must keep to my vow, or face her punishment!” From then on, he felt even more so that the title “Bodhisattva” was sacred and inviolable. He burned three sticks of incense daily and made offerings during festivals and holidays. Over time, the belief that idols which people make offerings to like the Jade Emperor, Guanyin Bodhisattva, Guan Gong, and so on, are gods, was reinforced in such a person. Their status in their heart became even more unshakable, without any doubts or suspicions. Even if antichrists haven’t experienced these things or made offerings to these idols or clay figures at home, they still occasionally hear about or encounter such things in their social circles. For example, they hear about how the Buddha cured someone’s illness or dispensed justice by bringing retribution upon evil people, or how somebody became wealthy after a Feng Shui master rearranged some things in their house, or how someone consulting a Feng Shui master or a Yin Yang master regarding tombs and choice of graveyards led to their descendants becoming high officials or enjoying great success in their careers, and so on. These things leave an impression on the minds of antichrists that gods should possess capabilities and powers like these so-called buddhas and emperors which people encounter and see in their daily lives. They even think that gods should be like those idols people make offerings to, displaying some signs and wonders among people to invoke horror and astonishment. And if a god does not do this, then they think it should not be considered a god. With such views and understandings of gods, what does the concept of a god become for antichrists? In their minds, a being like the Jade Emperor, who could dispatch heavenly soldiers to cast those who violated heavenly laws into the mortal realm at any time and any place, is truly a god, and the one who possesses the identity of a god. Or, an idol which people make offerings to that can enable them to get rich and become high officials—to antichrists such beings are also deemed worthy of possessing the identity of gods. This is antichrists’ inner perception and understanding of the identity of gods. So, when God works in the land where the great red dragon lies, and some brothers and sisters are arrested, the church is damaged, and God’s work is obstructed and disturbed, what do antichrists think? “If this is God, why would such things happen to the church? When the brothers and sisters are being arrested, a god should display visions in the sky, and send out thunder and fury, causing the evil police who are arresting the brothers and sisters to flee in terror like frightened rats. Why have I never heard about such events occurring? Since these people follow God and are God’s chosen people, why doesn’t God rescue and protect them? The great red dragon persecutes those who follow God so madly and cruelly. Why doesn’t God come to earth to administer justice for mankind? Why doesn’t God obstruct the great red dragon? Why doesn’t He punish the great red dragon? Surely it can’t be that a God with God’s identity can only speak and supply the truth? Compared to the Jade Emperor, Guanyin Bodhisattva, and the Buddha, God doesn’t seem to have great capabilities and skills. They say God has power and authority, but where is this power and authority? Is one who can only supply the truth and who lacks the power and authority of a god truly a god? When the brothers and sisters are about to be arrested, a god should put up a wall in front of the evil police, or make them blind and lame, and drive them mad or cause them to become stupid. Before danger approaches, a god should let everyone clearly know about the impending risk, they should hear a voice, feel a strong sensation, and have a clear thought. Why doesn’t God do such things? Why doesn’t He give any hints when this kind of situation approaches? When people suffer arrest, torture, and persecution, why doesn’t God stop or punish these devils and evil police? When they handcuff the brothers and sisters, when their batons hit them, why does God do nothing? If it were the Jade Emperor or Guanyin Bodhisattva, they would never let their followers suffer like this. They would surely intervene and help, making the evil police blind, distorting their faces, driving them insane, making their hands and feet rot, giving them terminal diseases, and getting them to kill each other. Why doesn’t God do this? Where exactly is God? Does He even exist? When troubles come, God doesn’t rescue people even if they pray to Him, nor does He arrange circumstances for them to escape danger. When the evil police torture these defenseless people, common sense dictates that a god should intervene, help, and not just stand idly by, as gods don’t like to see injustices in the world, and gods are supposed to save people from misery and deliver all beings from suffering. Why does this God I believe in now not do such things at all? Does the God I believe in really exist?” After experiencing many things, antichrists are constantly confused and doubtful. They even go to fortune-tellers and Yin Yang masters during their belief in God for readings, to see what their future holds, to check whether they will be imprisoned, whether their work will go smoothly, whether a villain will try to take revenge on them, or whether there’s a way to avoid jail if it’s in their fate.

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