Question 3: Right now, desolate churches are widespread throughout the entire religious world, but we have never fully understood the primary cause. That’s why we’ve been earnestly reading the Old Testament and have focused on how the actions of the Jewish chief priests, scribes and Pharisees in the late Age of Law led to such desolation in religion. Although some problems have been discovered, it’s never been entirely clear. We’ve also gone to churches in many different places and from different denominations, but we haven’t seen the work of the Holy Spirit. We’re not very clear on why the entire religious world is so desolate. What’s the real reason for this?
Answer: Now, the whole of the world of religion is a widespread desolation, devoid of the work of the Holy Spirit, and many people’s faith and love have cooled—this has already become an accepted fact. What exactly is the primary cause of the desolation in the world of religion is a question that all of us must thoroughly understand. First let us look back a moment at why the temple became desolate in the latter days of the Age of Law, and we will then be able to understand thoroughly the cause of the religious world’s desolation in the last days. In the latter days of the Age of Law, the Jewish leaders did not keep God’s commandments, they walked their own path and went against God; this is the main reason that directly resulted in the desolation of the temple. The Lord Jesus exposed and rebuked the Pharisees, saying: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like to white washed sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity” (Mat 23:27–28).
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchers of the righteous, And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Why you be witnesses to yourselves, that you are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill you up then the measure of your fathers. You serpents, you generation of vipers, how can you escape the damnation of hell? Why, behold, I send to you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them you shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall you whip in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom you slew between the temple and the altar. Truly I say to you, All these things shall come on this generation” (Mat 23:29–36).
“Well has Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. However, in vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things you do. And He said to them, Full well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your own tradition” (Mak 7:6–9).
It can clearly be seen from the words of the Lord Jesus that exposed the Pharisees, that the doings of the Jewish chief priests, scribes and Pharisees were in defiance of God and went against Him. They violated God’s laws and commandments and they only observed religious traditions. This is sufficient to prove that their serving God was actually defying Him, and that it betrayed God’s will. Particularly at the time of the manifestation and work of the Lord Jesus, they wildly condemned and defied Him, and their nature and essence were thoroughly exposed. It can therefore be seen that the main cause which led to the desolation of Judaism was that the Jewish chief priests, scribes and Pharisees defied God and went against Him. Another was that God’s work had already been transferred. Beyond the temple, the incarnate Lord Jesus had launched the work of redemption in the Age of Grace. That is, God’s work forged onward on the foundation of the work of the Age of Law, and the core of God’s work moved onto the work of redemption in the Age of Grace. Once the Lord Jesus had started His work of redemption, the Age of Grace was begun and the Age of Law was ended. Only those who accepted the Lord Jesus had the Holy Spirit’s work on them and had the Lord’s guidance, while those who remained in the temple, who cast the Lord Jesus aside, defied and condemned Him, were naturally forsaken by the work of God, falling into darkness and suffering the curses and punishment of God. Therefore, we can say with certainty that the desolation of the world of religion during the Age of Law was most definitely caused by man and was entirely because the religious leaders strayed from the Lord’s way, did not keep the Lord’s commandments, betrayed God’s will and set themselves against God. If the Jewish leaders had been able to hold to the Lord’s way and keep the Lord’s commandments, would the Lord Jesus still have gone into the wilderness to preach and work? Would He still have gone amongst the unbelievers to seek for those who would follow God? Absolutely not. The Lord Jesus would certainly have gone first into the temple and into synagogues to preach, appearing to man and doing His work. So why didn’t the Lord Jesus do this? Obviously, it was entirely because those within the temple and within synagogues did not accept the Lord Jesus, but instead condemned and defied Him, even going everywhere to try to arrest Him. Because of this, the Lord Jesus had no choice but to go into the wilderness to preach and work and to go amongst the unbelievers to seek for those who would follow Him. Intelligent people can all see this fact clearly. Now, we understand the cause of the desolation of the religious world in the latter days of the Age of Law, so let us look at the cause of the desolation of the religious world in the last days. We can all see that the pastors and elders of the world of religion in the last days mainly take preaching Bible knowledge and theological theories as their priority within churches. They frequently use their explanations of the Bible to flaunt themselves and show themselves off so that others worship them, and they do not follow the words or commandments of the Lord Jesus and do not keep to the Lord’s way. They seldom preach about life entry and they never lead people to practice or experience the Lord’s words in a way that will gain them an understanding of the truth and knowledge of the Lord, with the result that all believers in the world of religion stray from the Lord’s way. They may even have believed in the Lord for many years, yet all they understand is just Bible knowledge and theological theories, with no knowledge of the Lord at all, no reverence for Him, no obedience, having completely strayed from the Lord’s words and become people who believe in the Lord but don’t know Him, and who are capable of defying and betraying the Lord. From this it can be seen that the leaders of the world of religion have completely strayed from the Lord’s way, which has resulted in them losing the work of the Holy Spirit and losing God’s blessings; it can be said that this is the primary cause of the desolation of the world of religion. Another cause is that God’s work has been transferred and the Lord Jesus has already returned as the incarnate Almighty God who does the work of judgment which begins in God’s house, and which is based on the foundation of the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption, and He has established the Age of Kingdom and ended the Age of Grace. The core of the work of the Holy Spirit has been transferred into God’s work of judgment in the last days, and only those who accept Almighty God will have the work of the Holy Spirit and can enjoy the supply of the living water of life which flows forth from the throne. Those who cannot keep up with God’s present work and who refuse to accept Almighty God have lost the work of the Holy Spirit and have fallen into darkness. The pastors and elders of the world of religion in particular, facing Almighty God’s work of the last days, not only do they not seek or investigate it, but they also wildly defy and condemn God, disseminate all kinds of rumors and falsehoods to deceive and control believers, and they obstruct people from seeking and investigating the true way. They long ago aggravated God’s disposition and earned God’s hatred and curses, so how could they not be forsaken and eliminated by God? We have now seen that since the appearance of the “Four Blood Moons” the great disasters are to begin very soon. All those who have not accepted Almighty God will certainly fall into the disasters and will therein suffer chastisement and refinement, while those who accept Almighty God will be those who are raptured before the disasters. Those who have not accepted Almighty God can only fall into the disasters and wait to be raptured after the disasters. Will such people not be forsaken and eliminated by the Lord? After the disaster, how many people will there be left to be raptured? Now, almost the entire world of religion is under the control of this gang of pastors and leaders who hate the truth and set themselves against God, so how could it obtain the work of the Holy Spirit in this situation? And how could it have avoided becoming desolate? This is the fundamental cause of the desolation of the religious world.
We now understand the primary cause for the desolation of the world of religion, which is that the leaders of the world of religion don’t follow the Lord’s words, but on the contrary have strayed from His way, they do not keep His commandments, they have violated God’s will completely and have become people who defy God. Secondly, because the leaders of the world of religion have become people who defy God and none of them are able to accept or obey God’s work, God’s work has therefore been transferred, and the world of religion has lost the work of the Holy Spirit and has fallen into darkness. Why, when the Lord Jesus did His work back then, did He not preach in the temple? It was because all the chief priests and elders in the temple were people who defied the Lord. If the Lord Jesus had done His work in the temple, He would only have been cast aside and condemned, or immediately arrested and nailed to the cross—isn’t that a fact? This is the primary reason for the transferal of God’s work. If the chief priests and elders in the temple could have complied with the Lord’s words and served God in conformity with His will, how would the temple have become desolate? And how would God’s work have been transferred? Tell me, isn’t this the case? The desolation of the world of religion also completely fulfills the prophecy in the Bible: “And also I have withheld the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain on one city, and caused it not to rain on another city: one piece was rained on, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered. So two or three cities wandered to one city, to drink water; but they were not satisfied: yet have you not returned to Me, said Jehovah” (Amo 4:7–8). “Behold, the days come, said the Lord Jehovah, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of Jehovah” (Amo 8:11). From these two pieces of scripture we can understand that the “one city” in “to rain on one city” refers to the church where God incarnate appears and does His work, and “another city” in “not to rain on another city” naturally refers to the world of religion which does not heed God’s words, does not follow God’s commandments and which denies, defies and condemns the manifestation and work of God incarnate. God causes famine to befall the world of religion in order to force those within religion who sincerely believe in God and love the truth to leave religion, to search for the footsteps of God’s work, to search for what the Holy Spirit says to all churches and to seek the manifestation and work of God. All those who hear the voice of God and who accept and obey Almighty God’s work of judgment in the last days are the wise virgins and are those who are caught up before the throne of God. These people are all attending the wedding feast of the Lamb and enjoying the supply of the living water of life that flows forth from the throne; their original faith and love have been restored and they are training in eating and drinking the words of God, practicing and experiencing God’s words, and they will achieve an understanding of the truth and entry into reality. When these people understand the truth and have a true knowledge of God, they will then be able to revere God and obey Him, and in this way obtain a new life from God! All those religious organizations or individuals that don’t accept the work of Almighty God are detested, rejected and eliminated by God, and are devoid of the work of the Holy Spirit—this is beyond all doubt! Let us read the words of Almighty God: “God will accomplish this fact: He will make all people throughout the universe come before Him and worship the God on earth, and His work in other places will cease, and people will be forced to seek the true way. It will be like Joseph: Everyone came to him for food, and bowed down to him, for he had things to eat. In order to avoid famine, people will be forced to seek the true way. The entire religious community will suffer severe famine, and only the God of today is the wellspring of living water, possessed of the ever-flowing wellspring provided for the enjoyment of man, and people will come and depend on Him” (“The Millennial Kingdom Has Arrived” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “God has made this group of people the sole focus of His work throughout all the universe. He has sacrificed all His heart’s blood for you; He has reclaimed and given to you all the work of the Spirit throughout the universe. That is why I say you are the fortunate ones. Moreover, He has shifted His glory from Israel, His chosen people, onto you, and He shall make the purpose of His plan fully manifest through this group. Therefore, you are the ones who will receive the inheritance of God, and even more than this, you are the heirs to God’s glory” (“Is the Work of God As Simple As Man Imagines?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
We see clearly from the words of Almighty God that God has never discarded those who sincerely believe in Him and who long for the manifestation of God. Through His almightiness and wisdom, God saves those who believe in Him sincerely so that they break away from the bonds and control of the antichrists and evil men of the religious world, and He causes them to be caught up before the throne of God and to accept the judgment, purification and perfection of God’s words. Almighty God of the last days does His work of judgment and expresses the entire truth that purifies and saves mankind, so that a group of overcomers may be made before the disasters, these being His first fruits, and this fulfills the prophecy in the Book of Revelation: “These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits to God and to the Lamb” (Rev 14:4). After this group of overcomers are made by God, the work of judgment beginning in God’s house which is done by God incarnate will be temporarily concluded, thereafter God will bring down the great disasters to reward the good and punish the wicked. At that time, all those who have not accepted God’s work of judgment in the last days and who condemn and defy Almighty God will all fall into the disasters and will therein suffer the refinement of being judged and chastised. Only if we leave religion, keep pace with the footsteps of the Lamb, accept and obey Almighty God’s work in the last days and undergo the judgment and purification before the seat of Christ, can we then be perfected by God into overcomers and only then will we be spared from trials while all under heaven have to suffer trials. Only these overcomers who have been made by God—these first fruits—are qualified to inherit the promise and the blessings of God! God has now already made a group of overcomers in mainland China, and with the great disasters just around the corner, all those who condemn and defy Almighty God will fall into the disasters and be punished, losing forever any chance of being saved.
Excerpted from the movie screenplay of The City Will Be Overthrown