Item Fourteen: They Treat the House of God Like Their Own Personal Domain (Section One)

At the last gathering we fellowshipped about the fact that, besides controlling people’s hearts, antichrists also control church finances. What were the main points we fellowshipped about? (We fellowshipped about two main points: The first point was prioritizing their own access to possession and use of church property, while the second point was squandering, embezzling, lending, fraudulently using, and stealing offerings.) We fellowshipped about these two main points.Today we will be fellowshipping about the fourteenth item of the various manifestations of antichrists: They treat the house of God like their own personal domain. Let’s look in this item at what manifestations antichrists have that prove them to have the essence of an antichrist. They treat the house of God like their own personal domain: On the surface, these two terms—“house of God” and “personal domain”—give no indication of what evil antichrists can do. Saying “antichrists treat the house of God like their own home” gives no outward indication of just what this “home” is referring to, whether it is something positive or negative, whether it is being used as a compliment, or pejoratively. But does swapping “home” with “personal domain” suggest that there are certain problems? First of all, what does “personal domain” tell us? (Antichrists want to have the final say.) What else? (They treat God’s house as their own sphere of influence, cultivating cronies and people from their own household, and then gaining control over the church.) This is also a manifestation of antichrists. Anything else? Does the superficial meaning of this phrase indicate that it is the antichrists’ sphere of influence, that this is where antichrists wield power and hold sway, the place where all is controlled, monopolized, and held in check by the antichrists, the place where antichrists call the shots? (Yes.) We can read such meaning into this phrase; because when previously discussing the various manifestations of antichrists, we fellowshipped a lot about dissecting and exposing the essence of antichrists. Chief among these manifestations are antichrists’ attempts to control people and wield power—though of course there are various other manifestations, too.

So now that we have fellowshipped the general meaning of antichrists exercising “personal domain,” let us fellowship what exactly is meant by the “house of God.” Do you have a concept of what the house of God is—can you provide an accurate definition of it? A group of brothers and sisters gathered together—is this the house of God? Is a gathering or assembly of people who follow Christ and God considered the house of God? Is a gathering of church leaders, deacons and various team leaders considered the house of God? (No.) Just what is the house of God? (Only the church where Christ rules is the house of God.) (Only a gathering of people who take God’s words as their principles of practice can be considered the house of God.) Are these two definitions accurate? You can’t explain it. Even after all the sermons you’ve heard, you can’t provide such a simple definition. Evidently, you’re not in the habit of taking these spiritual terms and vocabulary seriously and giving them due consideration. How careless you are! So think it over: What, exactly, is the house of God? If it is defined theoretically, the house of God is a place where the truth reigns, an assemblage of people whose principles of practice are the words of God. In which case, antichrists treating the house of God as their personal domain is a problem; they are treating the gathering of brothers and sisters who follow God as their own personal sphere of influence, as the place where they exercise power and as the object upon whom they exercise power. This is the literal meaning that can be discerned from the antichrists treating the house of God as their personal domain. No matter what angle you explain or look at it from, antichrists treating the house of God as their personal domain shows their nature essence of trying to mislead and control people and hold absolute power. The house of God is the place where God works and speaks, where God saves people, where God’s chosen people experience God’s work, are purified, and attain salvation, where God’s will and intentions can be carried out unobstructed, and where God’s management plan can be implemented and accomplished. In sum, the house of God is the place where God holds power, where God’s words and the truth reign; it is not the place where any individual exercises power, conducts their own operation, or achieves their own desires or grand designs. However, what antichrists do goes precisely against what God wants: They don’t pay attention and give no heed to what it is that God wants to do, they care not whether God’s words are brought to fruition among people, nor whether God’s words and the truth principles can be understood, practiced, and experienced among people; they only show consideration for whether they have status, power, and the final say; whether their intentions, ideas, and desires can be realized among people. That is, within their sphere of influence, how many people listen to their words and obey them, and what kind of image, reputation, and authority they have—these are precisely the key things they try to manage, and these are what they care about the most in their hearts. God speaks and works among man, He saves people, leads people, and provides for people, He guides their coming before God, understanding His intentions, entering the truth reality step by step, and gradually attaining submission to God. Everything antichrists do runs precisely counter to this. God leads people in coming before God, yet antichrists vie with God for these people, and try to bring them before themselves. God guides people in entering the truth reality, understanding the intentions of God, and submitting to the dominion of God step by step; antichrists try to control people step by step, grasp their movements, and bring them firmly under their own power. In sum, everything antichrists do is in order to turn followers of God into followers of themselves; after they win over those muddleheaded people who do not pursue the truth under their power, they go a step further and try every means to win over those who are able to follow God and do their duty loyally under their power, making everyone in the church listen to what they say, and making them live, act, behave, and do everything according to the antichrists’ wishes, so that they end up obeying everything the antichrists say, obeying their wishes, and obeying their demands. Which is to say, whatever God wishes to do, whatever effect God wishes to achieve, that is the result antichrists wish to achieve as well. The result they wish to achieve is not to make people come before God and worship God, but come before them, and worship them. All in all, once the antichrists have power, they try and control every person and thing within their sphere of influence, they try to control what sphere they can, they try to make the church, the house of God, and those who follow God the sphere where they exercise their power and are able to reign. That is to say, God leads people before Himself, while antichrists mislead people and also want to lead those people before themselves. The antichrists’ aim in doing all of this is to make God’s followers their followers, to turn the house of God and the church into their own house. Since antichrists possess these motivations and essence, what specific manifestations and behaviors do they have which indicate that these antichrists are antichrists, that they are the enemies of God, that they are demons and Satans which are hostile to God and the truth? Next, we will dissect concretely what kind of specific manifestations and approaches antichrists have which prove that they treat the house of God like their own personal domain.

I. Antichrists Monopolize Power

The first manifestation of how antichrists treat the house of God like their own personal domain is one we have often fellowshipped, and it is an essential manifestation that is unique to antichrists: Antichrists love status more than anything. Why do they love status the most? What does status represent? (Power.) That’s right—this is key. Only with status can they have power, and only with power can they easily get things done; only with power can their various desires, ambitions, and aims hope to be realized and become a reality. So, antichrists are very cunning, they are very clear-sighted in such matters; if they are to make the house of God their personal domain they must first monopolize power. This is a prominent manifestation. Among those antichrists you’ve encountered, heard of, or witnessed with your own eyes, which of them did not try to monopolize power? No matter what means they employ, whether through slipperiness and cunning, through being outwardly poised and genial, or through employing more vicious and particularly ignoble means, or through violence, antichrists only have one aim: To possess status and then wield power. Thus, the first thing I want to fellowship is that before all else, antichrists try to monopolize power. Antichrists’ desire for power goes beyond that of normal people; it surpasses that of ordinary people with a corrupt disposition. Ordinary people with a corrupt disposition only want others to think highly of them, to have a good opinion of them; they love to gain the upper hand when they talk, but they are not so pained if they don’t have power and people’s worship; they can get by whether they have it or not; they do have some fondness and hankering for power, but not to the degree of antichrists. And what degree is that? Without power, they are in a constant state of anxiety, they can find no peace, they suffer from eating and sleeping poorly, every day seems to bring only boredom and restlessness, and in their hearts, it feels as if there is something they are failing to achieve, and also as if there is something they have missed. Ordinary corrupt humans are happy to have power, but not overly upset by the lack thereof; they may feel a little disappointed, but they are also content to be an ordinary person. If antichrists have to be ordinary, they can’t survive, they can’t carry on, it is as if they have lost their life’s direction and purpose, they don’t know how to continue along the road—the life—ahead. Only with status, they feel, is their life filled with light, only with status and power is it made glorious, peaceful, and happy. Isn’t this different from normal people? Once they have status, antichrists become unusually excited. Others see this and think: Why are they different from before? Why are they so radiant and beaming? Why are they so happy? Upon asking, it turns out this is because they have status; they have power; they have the final say; they can boss people around; they can exercise power; they have prestige; and they have adherents. When they have status and power, something changes in the mental outlook of antichrists.

Antichrists’ desire for power indicates that theirs is no ordinary essence; it is not an ordinary corrupt disposition. And so, regardless of who they’re among, antichrists will try and find a way to stand out, to show off, to advertise themselves, to make everyone see their merits and virtues and pay attention to them, and to secure some position for themselves in the church. When church elections are held, antichrists sense that their opportunity has arrived: The chance to advertise themselves, to make their wishes a reality, to satisfy their desires, is here. They do everything they can to get elected as leader, they do everything they can to gain power, believing that gaining power will make it easier for them to get things done. Why will it be easier? When antichrists have no power, it may well be that you cannot discover their ambitions, desires, and essence from their outward appearance, because they hide them, and put on a pretense, so that you can’t see through them. But what is the first thing they do once they gain status and have power? They try to shore up their status, to expand and cement the power in their hands. And what methods do they employ to cement their power and shore up their status? Antichrists have many means; they would not miss such an opportunity, they would not do nothing when they have already seized power. For them, the arrival of such an opportunity is a time of great happiness—as well as when they bring their cunning to bear, and give full play to their abilities. After an antichrist is elected, he first sifts through his direct family and relatives, checking who is closely related to him, who cozies up to him, who is close to him, and who gets along with him and speaks the same language. He also checks who is upright, who won’t take his side, who reports him if he does something that goes against the rules and principles of the house of God—these are the ones whom he’s going to wheedle out. After sifting through them, he thinks: “Most of my relatives have a good relationship with me, we get along, we speak the same language; if they become my subordinates and I can use them, will my influence not grow? And will this not stabilize my status within the church? As the saying goes, ‘Promoting the capable without avoiding relatives.’ Nonbelieving officials all have to rely on their close friends and associates to help them—now that I’m an official, I must do the same, it’s a good idea. First, I must promote my relatives. My wife and children go without saying; the first thing I’ll do is arrange some positions for them. What will my wife do? Looking after offerings in the church is a vital and important role—financial power must be in our hands, only then will I be able to spend money freely and easily. This money can’t be put in the hands of an outsider; if it is, then it will be theirs after all, and expenditure will be monitored and controlled, which isn’t convenient. Is the person who currently manages the accounts on my side? They seem okay on the outside, but who knows what they’re thinking on the inside. No, I must come up with a way to replace them and let my wife manage the accounts.” The antichrist talks it over with his wife, who says, “This is great! Now that you’re a church leader, you have the final say on church offerings, don’t you? You decide who’s in charge of them.” The antichrist says: “At the moment, though, there’s no good way of getting rid of the person who currently manages the accounts.” His wife gives it some thought, and says: “Won’t that be easy? Say they’ve been doing the job too long. That’s bad; there could be dead accounts, bad debts, or incidents of graft. Mistakes easily happen when someone has been entrusted with something for a long time; as time goes on, they feel that they have capital, and stop listening to other people. What’s more, the person managing the accounts is quite old, they get muddled easily and often forget things. If there is ever any oversight it will lead to losses. It’s such an important role—they have to be replaced.” And who should say that they have to be replaced? Any talk of replacing this person can’t come from the mouth of him as the church leader; the brothers and sisters must be left to suggest the antichrist’s wife on their own. Once his wife has made her proposal, the church offerings are entrusted to her. But church principle dictates that safekeeping offerings cannot be done by one person alone, but jointly, by two or three people, which helps avoid any one person exploiting a loophole and embezzling the finances of God’s house. So the antichrist recommends his cousin to join in safekeeping it, saying she’s a long-time believer in God, has made many offerings, enjoys a good reputation, and can be trusted. Everyone says, “Both of these are your relatives. Someone from outside your family must also be found.” So the antichrist recommends a muddleheaded elderly sister to help manage and control the finances. First, the antichrist brings the finances under his family’s control, after which his family governs specifically how this money is spent and the specific ins and outs—control over all of this is in his hands.

After monopolizing financial power and controlling property, has the antichrist achieved his goal? Not yet. What matters most is controlling the supervisors of various church work, getting them on his side, and calling the shots. This, the antichrist feels, is what matters most; it relates to whether people in each team lower down do as he says, and whether his power penetrates to the lowest levels. So how does he do this? He introduces sweeping reforms. First, he fellowships, and says that the work of each original team had this and that wrong with it. Certain issues have appeared with the Video Editing Team, for example, and the antichrist says, “These problems were caused by the supervisor. These huge oversights in their work and the huge problems they have caused are proof that the supervisor is not up to the job, and should be replaced; if they are not, this work cannot be done properly. So, who will replace them? Do you have anyone in mind—are there any candidates? Who is best at what they do in the team?” Everyone thinks it over, and someone says, “There’s a brother who is very good, but I don’t know if he’s suitable.” The antichrist responds: “If you don’t know, he can’t be chosen. I’ll recommend one for you. My son—he’s 25 and a computer science graduate, he majored in special effects and video production. He’s a new believer in God, and doesn’t pursue the truth much, but he’d be better than all of you at this work. Are any of you professionals?” And everyone replies, “We’re not what you would call professionals, but we have been doing our duty for a long time and understand the principles of this work of the house of God. Does he?” “It doesn’t matter if he doesn’t understand; he can learn.” This sounds right to everyone and they go along with what he says, all agreeing to promote whomever he likes, and thus is another important role controlled by the antichrist. Next it occurs to the antichrist that the gospel work is important to God’s house—and its supervisor isn’t someone on his side. They must be replaced. How to replace them? By the same means: Finding fault. The antichrist says, “How has it turned out with last time’s potential gospel recipient?” Someone replies, “After believing for a month, they heard some negative propaganda and put their belief in that, so they didn’t believe anymore.” The antichrist asks, “How could they stop believing just like that? Is it because you didn’t fellowship the truth of visions clearly? Or is it because you were lazy, or you were fearful of the adverse environment and afraid of putting yourselves in danger, so you did not fellowship things clearly? Or is it that you didn’t promptly care about them? Or did you fail to help them resolve their difficulties?” They ask a whole heap of questions, one after another. And no matter how others reply, or what explanation they provide, it makes no difference; the antichrist insists that the gospel team’s supervisor has too many issues, their faults are too severe, they are irresponsible, and unqualified for the job, thus forcibly dismissing them. And after they have been dismissed, the antichrist says, “Sister So-and-so has spread the gospel before and has experience, too—I think she’d be good.” Hearing this, people say, “She’s your older sister! She may talk the talk, but her humanity is not good. She has a really bad reputation, she can’t be used,” and the brothers and sisters disagree. The antichrist says, “If you don’t agree then the gospel team will be disbanded. You are not to spread the gospel anymore, you are not capable of doing this duty properly. Either that or choose a suitable team leader, and my sister will be assistant team leader!” The brothers and sisters select someone, and the antichrist reluctantly agrees, on condition that his older sister be allowed as assistant team leader. With consensus thus reached, the gospel team is just able to remain in place.

No matter where it is or what work is involved, antichrists have to embed their cronies, people who are on their side. Once antichrists become leaders and gain status, the first order of business is not inspecting how the members of each team are doing in their life entry, or finding out how their work is getting on, or how the various difficulties they have encountered in their work can be resolved, and whether there are any outstanding issues or challenges; instead, they look at the state of personnel, and who the head of each team is, who is against them in each team and which people will be a threat to their status in the future. They are quite well-informed about such matters, but they never ask about the situation with the church’s work. They never ask about the state of the brothers and sisters, their life entry, or how church life is going, and they want to care even less. But they are well aware of the people in charge of each team: whether they are their cronies, whether they get along with them, and whether they pose a threat to their power or status. They know all these details and have worked them out very clearly. Regarding whoever in the group is relatively upright and speaks truthfully, they believe such a person should be guarded against and not given any status; yet they favor those who are adept at flattery, who know how to suck up, who speak pleasing words that cater to other people, and who can follow cues when doing things. The antichrist feels favorably disposed toward them and plans to promote them and put them in an important position. They even think about taking them with them wherever they go, ensuring they listen to more sermons and cultivating them into their cronies. As for those in the church who pursue the truth, have a sense of justice, and dare to speak truthfully, who consistently exalt God and bear witness to Him, who do not bow to wicked forces, status, or authority—they guard against them, loathe them, discriminate against them, and exclude them in their hearts. However, for those who flatter them, especially their family members, their distant relatives, these who can revolve around them are regarded as their own people and treated as family. All those under the antichrist’s power who are able to revolve around them, follow their cues and take direction when they do things, and carry things out according to their wishes—these people lack conscience or reason, humanity, and the slightest God-fearing heart. They are a bunch of disbelievers. No matter what bad things they do, the antichrist nurtures, protects, and regards them as their own family, bringing them under their power—in this way the antichrist’s domain is formed.

And who makes up the antichrist’s personal domain? First of all, the antichrist is the head, the leader, the king possessed of absolute authority whose word is beyond question in this domain. People related to them by blood, their immediate family, their cronies, buddies, hardcore fans, others who gladly follow and take orders from them, and still others who happily associate with them and join in their evildoing, and those who, regardless of how the arrangements and administrative decrees of the house of God are regulated, regardless of what the words of God and truth principles say, gladly work themselves to the bone for them, risk themselves for them, and toil for them—these are the members of the antichrist’s domain. Taken together, they are the diehard followers of the antichrist. And what do all these members of the antichrist’s domain do? Do they do their duty and every job according to the regulations and principles of the house of God? Do they do as God requires and treat His words and the truth as the highest of all principles? (No.) When such people exist in the church, can the truth and the words of God proceed without obstruction? Not only can they not, but because of the disturbance, misleading, and sabotage of the antichrist’s gang, God’s words, the truth that He expresses, and the requirements He makes of people cannot be brought to fruition in the church; they cannot be implemented. When the domain of the antichrist exists, God’s chosen ones cannot have a normal church life, nor can they do their duty normally, much less can they do things in accordance with the truth principles; every job in the church is controlled by the antichrist. Where this is to a lighter degree, the disturbance of the antichrist causes chaos, people are in a state of anxiety, work makes no progress, and people don’t know how to do their work well or do their duty properly; everything is thrown into chaos. In serious cases, all work comes to a standstill, and no one shows any concern or care. Even though a few people can tell that there’s a problem, they can’t discern that this trouble is caused by the antichrist; they, too, are disturbed and disoriented by the antichrist, not knowing who is right or wrong; even if there are some who can spot certain issues and want to speak out or take charge of the work, they are unable to undertake the work. The antichrist suppresses whoever tries to expose them, or has a sense of justice and tries to take on the work themselves. And how far do they go in suppressing them? If you dare not make a sound, if you beg for mercy, if you dare not inform about them, if you dare not report them to the upper levels, or bring up issues with their work, or fellowship the truth, or speak the word “God,” then the antichrist forgives you. If you uphold the principles and expose them, they will do everything possible to punish you, they will employ every means to condemn and suppress you, and will even instigate the members of their domain, together with other fence-sitters, and those people who are the gutless, cowardly, and fearful of the forces of the antichrist, to reject and suppress you. Ultimately, some of small faith and stature will be brought to their knees by the antichrist. And this makes the antichrists happy; they have achieved their aim. Once they have power, in order to monopolize this power and secure their status, they not only give all the important jobs in the church to their kin, and to those who have a good relationship with them, but simultaneously recruit others who are of no relation to them to render service and work themselves to the bone for them, the aim being to hold on to their status in the future, to always have power in their hands. In their mind, the more people in their domain, the larger their forces, and so the greater their power. And the greater their power, the more afraid of them are those who could resist them, who could say no, and who would dare to expose them. Such people become ever more scarce, too. The more afraid people are of them, the more capital they have to contend with the house of God and God; they are no longer afraid of God, and are unafraid of being dealt with by the house of God. Judging by the antichrist’s desire for power, what they do with it, and their various behaviors, in essence, the antichrist is an enemy of God; they are Satan and a devil.

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