Item Ten: They Despise the Truth, Publicly Flout Principles, and Ignore the Arrangements of God’s House (Part One)
Before we begin our gathering today, we’ll listen to a conversation. Two people are chatting. The first says: “If I were dealt with, the brothers and sisters wouldn’t want to do their duties anymore.” The second says, “They wouldn’t want to do their duties? Big deal. If I were replaced, the brothers and sisters would grow negative and weak.” Seeing he’s been one-upped, the first says: “If I stopped believing, the brothers and sisters where I am would all follow me.” On hearing this, the second says, “Well, you’re a stronger presence than I am, then. Even so, if I were cleared out, lots of people in our church would stop believing. What do you think of that? I’m a stronger presence than you, aren’t I?” Do you understand what they’re saying in this conversation? What are the two of them competing over? (They’re competing over who’s more able to win people over, who’s more able to establish an independent kingdom; they’re seeing which of them is a bit more skillful than the other.) They’re competing over who’s more skillful, who’s more capable, who has the greater ability, and which of them has won more people over. Are they competing over which of them has more truth reality? Over which of them has more humanity? Over which of them understands the truth more? (No. They’re competing over which of them would have more people rush to their defense if they were replaced, or if they were cleared out.) What sort of ability is that, that they’re competing over? They’re competing over who has the greater capacity to control, ensnare, and mislead people. Take a guess: What sort of people are these two? (They’re both antichrists.) What are they? Are the both of them not a pair of evil people, of tyrants? (They are.) It’s plain to see that they’re a pair of evil people—they’re brazenly competing over which of them has the greater capacity to do evil, over who’s more able to mislead and control people, who’s more able to win people over, who’s better able to compete with God for His chosen people. Whichever of them can control more people, that’s whose capacity is greater. That’s what they’re competing over. Tell Me, are there antichrists who have such competitions? (There are.) Do they have them publicly, or do they vie with each other in secret? (In secret.) So, does the content of the conversation between the two in this story exist? Is it real? (It does, and it is.) Given that they vie with each other in secret, would they blatantly say these things? The vast majority of antichrists are cunning and wicked; they wouldn’t publicly or directly say that, so as not to give people ammunition against them. But this is how they think in secret, and indeed, it’s what they do. However they try to cover things, and hide things, and disguise themselves, their antichrist’s nature and malicious nature can’t be covered up. It’s all certain to be revealed. They may not say anything out loud, and there’s nothing obvious for others to hear, but they act without the least bit of concealment or negligence, without hiding or secrecy. They don’t go behind people’s backs, either, much less make any concessions. There’s no negligence or carelessness whatsoever in their behaviors and actions to ensnare people, mislead them, control them, and establish an independent kingdom. They blatantly oppose God, and they blatantly try to ensnare people and mislead them. They’re hopeful that if they were to be dealt with, many brothers and sisters would come to their defense, that they’d oppose God and His house, that they’d get negative and slack off, and not do their duties. That would delight them and fulfill their wish. If they’re replaced, they’re desperate for many people to grow negative, to speak up for them, and come to their defense, and give explanations and arguments on their behalf, behind the scenes. They’re desperate for people to give a tally of their merits, to defend their rightness—and even to judge and condemn the arrangements of God’s house, to go up against God secretly at heart, denying His righteousness, and denying that all He says and does is the truth, that they’re all positive things. And if they stop believing, they’re desperate for everyone to follow them in disbelief, to leave with them, to become their followers; they’re desperate for everyone to deny that God is the truth, and believe that they have the truth, that all they do is right, and that they can change people and save them. If they’re cleared out or expelled by the church for doing evil, they get desperate for many people to deny God’s existence and return to the world, where they’ll become people who don’t believe. That would delight them. It would restore balance in their heart, and be a release for them. These revelations of a satanic disposition, these behaviors, these essences, and even these intricate, detailed ideas and thoughts—whom do they speak to? Are these people true brothers and sisters? Do they have true faith in God? Do they truly submit to God? Do they have even the tiniest bit of fear of God? (No.) From this, it can be seen that antichrists are by essence inimical to God and they’re God’s enemies. Is this statement accurate? Is it the truth? (It’s accurate, and it’s the truth.) It’s one hundred percent how things are. The statement is the truth, not a bit short of it, because it’s a fact, a forever-unchanging fact. That is how antichrists think, and that’s what they do. All their actions and deeds are governed by their personal ambitions and desires, and governed and instigated by the nature of antichrists. Can people such as antichrists be saved, then? (No.) They’re inimical to God at every turn, at every turn inimical to the truth. Whoever, as they see it, does harm to their interests, whoever causes a loss to their reputation, depriving them of their desires and ambitions, of their hope of being blessed, they will rise up in resistance against them and be their enemies—no matter whether what they did was right or wrong. That’s the nature of antichrists. This is why no matter what wrong and evil things such people as antichrists have done, or what things they’ve done that go against the principles and the work arrangements of God’s house, they will not permit others to prune and deal with them, or to expose and handle them. As soon as these things are upon them, they won’t just fail to submit to them and accept them, or fail to acknowledge that what they’ve done was an evil deed—no, they’ll strike back, and try to restore their good name by any means necessary. By any means at their disposal, they’ll try to put their sins, their mistakes, on someone else’s head, and take none of the responsibility themselves. And beyond that: Their greatest wish is that people may be duped and misled into making excuses for their evil deeds and arguing in their defense, and that more people might stand up and speak on their behalf. This is what they’d most like to see.
We’ll end our story here. You guessed right: Those two are antichrists, indeed. Only antichrists could have such a conversation, give voice to such things, and wish for such things. Normal, corrupt people may have a few such ideas from time to time, but when something truly does happen to them, they’ll come back before God to seek and to pray. Little by little, they’ll come to submit. All who are true believers, all who have conscience and reason, will have something of a God-fearing heart when they’re dealt with and pruned, or replaced. They will have something of an attitude of submission, a willingness to submit. They don’t wish to stand across from God, inimical to Him. This is how an ordinary person with a corrupt disposition should behave. An antichrist, however, possesses none of this. However many sermons they hear, they won’t let go of their desires, and they won’t let go of such ambitions of theirs as controlling people, winning them over, and misleading them. What’s more, those things won’t diminish at all; as time passes and circumstances change, their ambitions and desires will even grow ever worse, ever more inflated. This is the radical difference between the nature essence of antichrists and that of ordinary, corrupt people.
We’ve now finished our fellowship on item nine of the various manifestations of antichrists. This time, we’ll fellowship on item ten: They despise the truth, publicly flout principles, and ignore the arrangements of God’s house. Despising the truth, publicly flouting principles, ignoring the arrangements of God’s house—any one of these would be serious enough on its own, and none is a revelation of an ordinary, corrupt disposition. One can see in any of them that the essence of antichrists they encompass bears with it viciousness and wickedness. These are the two obvious and serious elements. In this instance, can arrogance, intransigence, and deceitfulness be used to describe the essence of antichrists? (No.) It would be difficult enough to get to the heart of these features of an antichrist’s essence with those descriptors. Only the two dispositions of viciousness and wickedness can be used to encapsulate the essence of antichrists.
We’ll go through these, one by one. They despise the truth—what does “despise” mean? (To look down on something.) (To belittle, disdain, and trivialize something.) (To think something’s beneath contempt.) The words you’re using all mean pretty much the same thing. To “despise” something means to disregard it, to look down on it, to trivialize, belittle, and disdain it. To put it generally, it means to resist something, to be averse to it, and to loathe it, from the pit of one’s heart, and not to accept it, and even to condemn it, too, along with hostile judgment and slander. How does this compare in degree to what you said? (It’s more detailed and specific.) It’s more specific and practical than what you said. Most of the definitions you offered were synonyms of “despise.” What I said is a further refinement of the essence of the action and behavior of “despising”; it’s a concrete, detailed description of the behavior and essence of despising the truth. It means that when someone despises the truth, then in what they do, in how they treat the truth in their daily life, and in the attitude they adopt at heart toward matters that involve the truth and positive things, people can see that their attitude toward the truth is this: unacceptance, resistance, and being sick of it—and even judgment, condemnation, and vilification of it. All these are the specific ways in which “despising the truth” manifests and is revealed—so specific as to include each aspect of such a person’s attitudes toward the truth and approaches to it: They’re repulsed by the truth, God’s words, and positive things. They resist them from the pit of their heart, and don’t accept them. When you tell them that something is God’s words, that it’s the truth, what will their attitude be? “God’s words, the truth—who cares! You use God’s words and the truth in place of everything. Isn’t there stuff besides God’s words in the lives we people live? We’ve read so many books, we’ve absorbed so much culture—was that all for nothing? People have brains and minds; they have the ability to think independently about problems. Basing everything in God’s words and truth—isn’t that a bit too dogmatic?” What will their attitude be when something happens to them, and you tell them they need to pray to God, and seek Him, and read His words? “‘Read God’s words’? When something happens to us, it’s our own problem. What do man’s problems have to do with God? What do they have to do with the truth? Do you really think that everything’s there in God’s words, that they’re an encyclopedia? God’s words don’t necessarily mention everything. People’s problems are for people to handle, and specific problems have specific solutions. And if you can’t handle something, look it up on the internet, or consult with an expert about it. There are even college professors here in our church, and plenty of the brothers and sisters are college students. Can’t all of us together be a match for the truth?” As soon as you mention seeking God and seeking the truth, as soon as you say they must read God’s words, they get it in their heads to look down on you. They’re unwilling to practice like that; they’d find it too degrading and humiliating, and they think it would make them look incompetent. Is that not a form that despising something takes? This is a practical manifestation, a practical behavior, of despising the truth. People like this aren’t in the minority. They may listen often to sermons, and hold volumes of God’s words in their hands, and do duties in God’s house, but when something happens to them, and they’re told to seek the truth and read God’s words, they find it ludicrous, and feel fed up with it. They can’t accept it; they’re even repulsed by it. That’s why when something happens to them, they use human methods to resolve it, claiming: “Specific matters have specific solutions, and people’s issues are for people to resolve. There’s no need to look for God. God doesn’t have to take care of everything. Besides, there are some things that God can’t take care of. Those are our private affairs, which have nothing to do with God, and nothing to do with the truth. God shouldn’t interfere with our personal freedom, and He shouldn’t interfere with our private affairs. We have the right to make choices—and we have the right to choose how we live, how we comport ourselves, and how we speak. The truth and God’s words are for times of greatest need, for critical times, for times of greatest necessity, when something happens to someone that they can’t resolve, that they have no recourse against—that’s when they’re to bring out God’s words and read them a bit, for relief, to give them a bit of spiritual comfort. That’s more than enough.” It can be seen in this that the attitude such people as antichrists have toward the truth is clearly one that doesn’t acknowledge that the truth can be man’s life, or that God’s words are related to everything that happens to people in their real lives. And less still do they believe the fact that God holds everything of man’s in His hand.
Antichrists despise the truth; this covers a lot of ground. What does it mean to say that antichrists despise the truth? What’s the scope of that? We’ll break it into three items for dissection. It’ll be clearer to you that way. First, they despise God’s identity and essence. Do God’s identity and essence not signify the truth? (They do.) Next, they despise the flesh in which God is incarnate. Are the flesh in which God is incarnate and the work He does not the truth? (They are.) What remains is that they despise the word of God. The first is that they despise God’s identity and essence; the second may be shortened to say they despise Christ; and the third is that they despise the word of God. We’ll go on to dissect each of these on its own.
I. Despising God’s Identity and Essence
We’ll first fellowship on the sort of attitude antichrists have toward God’s identity and essence, which will demonstrate that they despise the truth in this regard. What is an antichrist’s attitude toward God’s identity and His essence? What do they think about those things? How do they define them? How do they regard them? What is entailed in God’s essence? God’s righteous disposition, His almightiness, His holiness, and His uniqueness. As to the fact that His identity is the Creator, that He is sovereign over the fate of all mankind, do antichrists acknowledge it to be so? (No.) How does their not acknowledging that manifest, specifically? (Antichrists won’t accept the people, events, and things that come upon them every day from God; instead, they’ll just analyze those issues, and address them with human notions and imaginings.) They’ll address them with human notions and imaginings? The first half of what you said was right: When something happens to an antichrist, they know only how to analyze the issue. The second half, though, where you said that they’ll address things with human notions and imaginings—those are behaviors that ordinary, corrupt people do. What we’re fellowshiping about and exposing here is the fact that antichrists despise the truth and God’s sovereignty over mankind’s fate. To find evidence for that, you have to find relevant methods and behaviors of antichrists. In point of fact, antichrists do acknowledge, with their words, that “man was made by God, and man’s fate is in God’s hands, so people should submit to God’s dominion”—but is that how they accept it when things happen to them? Those words they speak are quite nice and correct, but that’s not how they practice when something happens to them. It’s their approach and their attitude toward things when something happens to them that reveal the words they say to be catchphrases, not true knowledge. When things happen to them, what sort of views, what thoughts, statements, and attitudes do they have that prove that they have the essence of an antichrist? When something befalls an antichrist, can they accept it as a fact as their first reaction? To calm down and submit before God, and to accept the environment that God has laid out, whether good or bad, and whether it benefits them or not—is that the sort of attitude they have? Obviously, they have no such attitude. Their first consideration when something happens to them is how it affects their interests and position; then, they scheme up ways to break free of it, to find an exit route, to evade it. Not wishing to take responsibility for the thing, they obliquely look for reasoning and excuses; they use human methods to resolve it, and they use their brains to analyze and address the issue. They’ll even push responsibility off onto others, complaining that this person’s wrong and that one doesn’t do as they’re told, regretting as they do that they were careless and negligent to begin with, that things were as they were to begin with. They obviously have a resistant, evasive, refusing, and unaccepting attitude toward the circumstances that come their way, the circumstances that God orchestrates. Their first reaction to those circumstances is to fight their arrival; their second is to use human methods to smooth them over, to weather the storm by human means, and even to use human means to cover up the facts, and to cover up the losses they incur to the work of the church and the life entry of the brothers and sisters. They put all their mental energies toward using human means to cover up and hide away their evil deeds. They don’t acknowledge the nature of the bad things they’ve done, or which truth principles they violated, even instructing those around them: “Don’t let this stuff get out. Let none of us say anything; no one else can know.” Not only do they not submit and refuse to accept these circumstances—they’ll also strike back, tricking and withholding, trying to cover up what the facts really are, in hopes of making the mountain back into a molehill, to trivialize it, so as not to let their superior leaders or God know about it. This is how antichrists handle things that befall them. Is their way of handling things consistent with the catchphrases they shout? Between the catchphrases they shout and their attitude when things happen to them, which is a revelation of their nature essence? (Their attitude when things befall them.) So, what is that attitude, exactly? Do they have an attitude of submission? Do they have such an attitude that would humbly accept God’s discipline of them, and His pruning and dealing with them? Do they have a willingness to submit to God’s sovereignty? Are their attitude and genuine behaviors those of true belief that no matter what happens to them, God is the One who holds sovereignty over all that is man’s? (No.) Not in the least. What is their attitude, then? It’s quite evident: They mean to refuse things, to cover things up, and to deceive; they mean to oppose to the end, and not let God act or be sovereign. They think they have the capability and capacity to set everything right. On their turf, no one may interfere with their work or manage them—they must be the greatest. Does the God they believe in still exist in that moment, then? Not anymore—He’s now an empty shell. So, what is their faith in that moment? It’s vague and hollow, and it carries deceit in it. They don’t have genuine faith.
When nothing has happened to an antichrist, they’ll pretend to listen to sermons, read God’s words, and learn hymns. They’ll participate in church life and proactively participate in all the church’s work projects, often saying: “We believe in God, so we have to believe in His sovereignty, and submit to His sovereignty. Everything is in God’s hands, and all He does is good.” Moreover, they’ll often instruct others: “People shouldn’t insist on taking action in their own way. When something happens, they should pray to God, because everything is in His hands.” They shout these catchphrases quite loftily, and their attitude seems quite determined and absolute—but they fall short of expectations in that when something does befall them, the facts as they are, what they genuinely reveal exposes their true stature and their essence, utterly and completely. It exposes them not to believe in the fact of the Creator’s identity and essence, nor in the fact that He is sovereign over all. They’re unwilling to accept these facts, much less acknowledge them. Direr still, they don’t just fail to acknowledge or accept them, but stubbornly remain oppositional to the end. When something happens to them, they’re aggrieved, if not by one thing, then by another. They don’t come before God in an orderly, dutiful way to seek His intent and His will; they don’t come before God, orderly and dutiful, and submit to His sovereignty and arrangements, and accept His orchestrations and sovereignty; and they don’t dutifully accept His discipline. Instead, they wish to smooth the thing over with human techniques and schemes, with human means—to quash the thing, to pull the wool over others and over God. They believe that by smoothing the matter over, they’ll effectively have put it to rest—that by smoothing it over, their faults and their corrupt disposition will be covered up, and no one will know of them, or be able to detect anything amiss with the antichrist, or pursue the matter any further. They’ll have accomplished something huge, and then, they’ll be settled. Judging by an antichrist’s words and behaviors, and their deeds and acts, when something happens to them, as well as the essence of their behavior and performance, they’re stubbornly resistant to God’s sovereignty. They’ll obstinately fight it to the end. Whatever they’ve done wrong, they won’t permit God to deal with them, or prune them, or lay out environments with which to discipline them, much less will they permit Him to reveal and expose them. As soon as they’re exposed, as soon as the cat’s out of the bag, they panic, and grow flustered and exasperated; they’ll even turn the tables and preemptively sling accusations, saying that God failed to protect them, that He didn’t bless them, that He’s unfair—why else, when the same things happened to them and someone else, would God not reveal the other person, only them? Why else, when the same things happened, would God not discipline the other person, only them? They’ll even say, “Seeing as God’s not righteous, I’ll have to protect myself with human methods, my own methods.” They believe that God can’t discipline and expose them when they’ve done something wrong, but must cover up for them, giving them the go-ahead at every turn, the easy way out, indulging their every wrongdoing. They believe that that’s what God would do. If God exposes them, and doesn’t treat them with special favor when things happen to them, and doesn’t give them special vision or leadership, they feel that such a God isn’t lovely, that He’s unfit to hold sovereignty over their fate. So, when something happens to them, they don’t want to submit to God as a created being, and accept all that comes from Him; instead, they want God to serve them, to give them a leg up in all things, and even not to rebuke or discipline them for any of the transgressions they commit, or for any corruption, rebelliousness, or resistance they reveal. It can be seen in every behavior and manifestation of an antichrist that they don’t have true faith in God. That so-called true faith of theirs is just an attempt to rake in benefits and gain advantages. They don’t submit to God’s orchestrations, but would orchestrate God, wishing to exploit Him into doing all things for them and opening doors for them. They don’t accept God’s sovereignty and arrangements, or His salvation, as a corrupt created being. Instead, they feel that they’re extending God an extraordinary favor by believing in Him, and that God should remember it, and protect them, and unconditionally bless them, and forgive them, no matter what bad thing they’ve done, giving them a special pardon. The sort of people who are antichrists are truly evil. They have no shame at all. They don’t even know the sort of thing they are or who they are, so when something happens to them, they unabashedly offer justifications and excuses, and plead and press their case, and pass the buck, and hide the facts. They oppose God to the end, for fear that if they’re exposed and people see through them, they’ll no longer have status or prestige. Their faith in God stops with their mouth; they expend nothing, and they don’t genuinely submit, much less do they come anywhere near acceptance. Therefore, with regard to the fact of God’s identity, it can be seen in an antichrist’s essence that they are against it at the pit of their heart—they’re unwilling to let God hold sovereignty over their fate and orchestrate all that’s theirs. They don’t want to let God be sovereign—whom would they like to be sovereign? They’d like to have the final say themselves, which implicitly means letting Satan orchestrate things, and letting a corrupt disposition and Satan’s corrupt essence be their life, and reign as king in their heart. That’s how it goes. And as for the essence of God—how does an antichrist treat that? An antichrist harbors doubts about the elements that God’s essence includes. They don’t believe; they doubt; they even have notions about all those elements, along with condemnation. At times, they even use their imaginings, knowledge, and brain to analyze and decipher those elements. Some stupid people even believe that their decipherments are quite good, spiritual, legitimate, and practical. That’s more disgusting still.
A. Despising God’s Righteousness
Such people as antichrists always treat God’s righteousness and disposition with notions, doubts, and resistance. They think, “It’s just a theory that God is righteous. Is there really such a thing as righteousness in this world? In all the years of my life, I haven’t once found it or seen it. The world is so dark and evil, and evil people and devils are doing quite well, living in contentment. I haven’t seen them get what they deserve. I can’t see where God’s righteousness is in this; I wonder, does God’s righteousness really even exist? Who has seen it? No one has seen it, and no one can attest to it.” This is what they think to themselves. They do not accept all God’s work, all His words, and all His orchestrations on the foundation of belief that He is righteous, but are always doubting and passing judgment, always full of notions, which they never seek the truth to resolve. This is always how antichrists believe in God. Do they have true faith in God? No. Antichrists always maintain a stance of doubt when it comes to God’s righteousness. Of course, they have their doubts about God’s disposition, His holiness, and what He has and is. They don’t believe in those, but go only by what the eye can see—if they can’t see something with their own eyes, they’ll never believe in it. They’re just like Thomas, always doubting the Lord Jesus, not believing that the Lord Jesus was resurrected from death, not believing in God’s great might. Could such dross as antichrists, who don’t have spiritual understanding or pursue the truth, believe that God’s words are the truth? Could they believe in His almightiness and wisdom? They believe in none of this; at heart, they always have their doubts. Judging from the essence of antichrists, they go by what the eye can see, so they’re materialists. They can’t see God’s almightiness, and they don’t believe that His words are the truth, that they’re facts He has already made happen. Because they don’t have spiritual understanding, and they have no true faith, they have no way to see God’s acts. The fact is that they have an ulterior motive for believing in God. They’re wanton troublemakers—Satan’s servants. Can a person who doesn’t accept the truth or believe in God’s existence, who looks at all things with human eyes, learn of the existence of the truth? Can they learn of the fact of God’s sovereignty over mankind? Certainly not. They look on things with a scrutinizing gaze, a suspicious gaze, and a skeptical attitude, and even resist all that God does, so antichrists are unbelieving about God’s righteous disposition. They have their doubts and don’t accept it. What behaviors of antichrists show others that they don’t accept the truth or acknowledge God’s essence? There are many specific ones. For instance: When a problem arises in the work of the church, no matter the severity of the blame for it nor what its consequences are, an antichrist’s first reaction is to clear themselves and pass the blame elsewhere. In order not to be held responsible, they will even guide gazes off themselves, saying a few correct, nice-sounding things and making a superficial to-do, to cover up the truth of the matter. In ordinary times, people cannot see it, but when something befalls them, an antichrist’s ugliness is exposed. Like a porcupine, with all its spikes erect, they protect themselves with all their might, wishing not to take on any responsibility. What sort of attitude is this? Is it not one of not believing that God is righteous? They do not believe that God scrutinizes all or that He is righteous; they wish to use their own methods to protect themselves. They believe, “If I don’t protect myself, no one will. God can’t protect me either. They say He’s righteous, but when people get into trouble, does He really treat them fairly? No way—God doesn’t do that.” When faced with trouble or persecution, they feel unaided, and think, “So, where is God? People can’t see Him or touch Him. No one can help me; no one can extend justice to me and uphold fairness for me.” They think the only way to protect themselves is with their own methods, that otherwise, they would suffer loss, be bullied and persecuted—and that God’s house is no exception to this. An antichrist will already have planned everything for themselves before something has befallen them. In part, what they do is disguise themselves as such a powerful person that no one would dare offend them, or mess with them, or bully them. The other part is their adherence at every turn to Satan’s philosophies and its laws of existence. What are those, in the main? “Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost,” “Let things drift if they do not affect one personally,” “Sensible people are good at self-protection, seeking only to avoid making mistakes,” acting as circumstances permit, being smooth and slick, “I will not attack unless I am attacked,” “Harmony is a treasure; forbearance is brilliance,” “Speak good words in harmony with others’ feelings and reason, as being frank annoys others,” “A wise man submits to circumstances,” and other such satanic philosophies. They don’t love the truth, but accept Satan’s philosophies as if they were positive things, believing that they’ll be able to protect them. They live by these things; they don’t speak the truth to anyone, but invariably say pleasing things, ingratiating, flattering things, offending no one, thinking of ways to showcase themselves so that others will esteem them. They care only about their own pursuit of fame, gain, and status, and do not do anything at all to uphold the work of the church. Whoever does something bad and harms the interests of God’s house, they do not expose or report them, but act as if they had not seen it. Looking at their principles for handling things and their treatment of what happens around them, do they have any knowledge of God’s righteous disposition? Do they have any faith in it? They have none. “None” here does not mean that they have no awareness of it, but that they have doubts about God’s righteous disposition in their heart. They neither accept nor acknowledge that God is righteous. When they see many people testifying that the truth and righteousness reign in God’s house, they resist and pass judgment on it in their heart, saying, “Why is it that the great red dragon has faced no retribution for persecuting God’s chosen people so? The evil people among the unbelievers bully God’s chosen people, and slander them, and pass judgment on them, and they’ve faced no retribution, either. They are all sitting pretty—why is it believers in God are always the ones getting bullied?” At heart, they don’t believe in God’s righteous disposition. They don’t believe that God treats every person with righteousness, nor do they believe in the ideas that God will give each person their due, in accordance with their acts, and that only those who pursue the truth will be blessed by God and obtain a beautiful destination. Antichrists don’t believe in these things. They say to themselves, “If these are facts, how come I haven’t seen them? You say that those who pursue the truth will be blessed by God. Well, so-and-so in our church pursues the truth, and expends himself for God, and is quite loyal in doing his duty. How does that wind up for him? He’s hunted down by the great red dragon such that he can hardly go home; his family’s wrenched apart—he can’t even see his children. Is that God’s righteousness? And there’s so-and-so, who was thrown in prison for believing in God, where he was tortured half to death. Where was God’s righteous disposition then? He stood firm in his testimony; he was no Judas. Why didn’t God bless and protect him? And why did God permit the great red dragon to beat him half to death? There was also a leader in our church who gave up his family and profession for the work of the church. He did his duty for years and went through quite a few hardships, and in the end, he was condemned and cleared out for having done a bit of evil and disturbed the work of the church. Where was God’s righteous disposition? And there are some brothers and sisters doing duties in God’s house at quite a young age, bearing hardships and toil, yet as soon as they make a mistake and violate the principles, they’re dealt with and pruned. Some of them cry quite mournfully for fear of being cleared out and cast out, without anyone there to console them. Why can’t I see God’s righteousness in that? In what way, exactly, does God’s righteous disposition manifest in these things? Why can’t I see it? And there’s my own case, too—I may be a bit perfunctory in doing my duty, and I may sometimes reveal a bit of a corrupt disposition, but still, I’ve got talent. Why won’t God’s house promote me?” With all such matters, antichrists can’t see clearly what’s going on. They see only external phenomena, but can’t see what God’s will is behind things. The depths of their hearts are filled with misgivings and doubts, with ideas and notions—and there are a great many knots in their hearts, which they can’t disentangle. Whenever they think of these things, they’re filled with resentment, with condemnation and blasphemy against God’s righteous disposition. Aggrieved, they say to themselves: “If God is righteous, why do guileless people get dealt with? If He’s righteous, why doesn’t He excuse people for revealing a bit of corruption? If He’s righteous, why do some people, who have done their duty and suffered so much, get dismissed, for no more than failing to do practical work? If He’s righteous, why would we, who follow Him with staunch devotion, be persecuted and tortured, and possibly sent to prison, and in a few cases, even beaten to death?” Antichrists have no clear explanation for any of these phenomena. They don’t know what’s going on with them; they can’t see it clearly. Often, they ask themselves: “Is the God I believe in righteous, or isn’t He? Does the God who is righteous exist or not? Where is He? When we’re faced with difficulties, when we’re persecuted—what is He doing then? Can He save us, or can’t He? If God’s righteous, why doesn’t He destroy Satan? Why doesn’t He destroy the great red dragon? Why doesn’t He punish this wicked mankind? Why doesn’t He extend us justice and uphold fairness for us, who believe in Him and have suffered terribly? Why doesn’t He stick up for us? We hate devils and Satan, and we hate evil people—why doesn’t God avenge our grievances?” One “why” after another, coming ceaselessly outward from an antichrist’s heart, like a machine gun, uncontrollable by any means. When they can’t control these things, why don’t they come before God to pray and seek, or read His words and seek out brothers and sisters for fellowship? Won’t they then resolve such problems, one at a time? Is resolving these problems really a difficult thing to do? If you adopt an attitude of submission to God and the truth, one of accepting the truth, these problems are problems no longer—they can all be resolved. Why aren’t antichrists able to do that? Because they don’t accept the truth, or believe that God’s words are the truth, or acknowledge the truth. They can’t submit to all God’s sovereignty and arrangements, much less accept from Him all the things that happen. That’s why antichrists are filled at heart with doubts about God’s righteousness. When they’re faced with temptation, the doubts that fill their heart will burst forth, and internally, they’ll question God: “If God’s righteous, why does He let us suffer so much? If God’s righteous, why doesn’t He have mercy on those of us who have endured our fill of misery following Christ? If God’s righteous, why doesn’t He protect those of us who expend ourselves for Him and do our duties, or protect our families? If God’s righteous, why does He let some people who sincerely believe in Him die in prison, at the hands of the great red dragon?” They then begin clamoring against God: “If God is righteous, He shouldn’t let us suffer so much; if God is righteous, He shouldn’t discipline and expose us without rhyme or reason; if God is righteous, He should be tolerant of all the evil deeds we do, and pardon all our negativity and weakness, and make allowances for all our transgressions. If You can’t even do these things, then You’re not a righteous God!” All these are things antichrists have on their mind. They’re full of notions about God, and they don’t seek the truth at all to resolve them. When the day comes that they’re exposed, those notions are bound to burst forth. Such is the ugly mindset and true face of antichrists.
Antichrists don’t acknowledge or accept the truth, much less acknowledge the fact that God is the Creator, so to them, God’s righteous disposition remains a great, open question. And with the passage of time, and the occurrence of events, and the emergence of various issues, that question mark of theirs grows bigger and bigger—and gradually, it turns into a strikethrough. What does that strikethrough signify? It means that they deny outright the fact that God is righteous. And when that strikethrough has been drawn—when an antichrist denies that God is righteous—all their fantasies and wishes go up in smoke. Think on this: What leads to such a consequence? (Antichrists think that by believing in God, they should be blessed, and receive His protection. So, when God does work that doesn’t accord with their notions and imaginings, they feel that He’s not righteous, and they can’t accept it from Him. Also, they don’t pray to God and seek the truth once their notions about God have arisen, and they can’t resolve them promptly. In that way, their notions accumulate and pile up—that’s what leads to such a consequence, in the end.) You’re talking about surface-level phenomena; you’re not getting to the root. Why do I say so? Because there’s something at the root of antichrists’ ability to behave like this and have such ideas, of their ability to doubt and deny God. It’s determined by an antichrist’s nature essence, of course. That’s the root—we’ll leave it there. The main root cause, then, is that antichrists begin without a love for the truth or acceptance of it. Why don’t they accept the truth? This, too, has its root: They don’t acknowledge that God is the truth, that His words are the truth—and since they don’t acknowledge that, they can’t accept it. Given that they don’t accept the truth, can they regard any problem at all with the gaze of the truth? (No.) They can’t do that—so, what are the consequences? They can’t see through the things that happen to them, whatever they may be—things great and small that happen around them, as well as the words of others. They can’t see through people or events—they can’t see through anything. Some things seem on the outside to be as they say, but that’s not how they are in essence. This has to do with the truth. If you don’t understand the truth or accept it, can you understand the truth involved in these things? You don’t, so all you can do is analyze and study the things with a human gaze, with human knowledge, and with a human brain. What results will such study produce? Will they accord with the truth? Will they accord with God’s requirements and intentions? No, they never will. It’s as with the story of Job, which all who believe in God know. Everyone who acknowledges and accepts the truth and who’s able to believe in God and submit to Him commends and admires Job at heart; they all wish to be a person like Job. They also commend and admire Job’s expressions of praise for God and knowledge of Him amid his trials. People can accept in their hearts that the various tribulations and agonies visited on Job were the work of God. On the whole, Job, as a person, stands as an aspiration for all who pursue the truth. They all want to follow his example and be such a person. So, how is such a positive outcome achieved? What’s its foundation? The heartfelt belief and acknowledgment that this is the truth, that all of this is God’s work—it’s on this foundation that one comes, step by step, to wish to be a person like Job, to wish to become someone who fears God and shuns evil. They believe in all this and acknowledge it at heart, and eventually, they achieve an aspiration toward it, which they go on to pursue in their life. To achieve such a result, what’s most fundamental is that one acknowledges all this and believes in it at heart. So, do antichrists have such an acknowledgment and belief? They do not. How do antichrists view all that Job went through? Do they think there’s significance to all God did? Can they see that all of it was ruled over by Him? They can’t see that, nor that there’s significance to all God did. What do they see in it? Job had great wealth, with sheep and oxen to fill a mountain, and the most beautiful sons and daughters in the land. This, they see. And then, after all his sufferings, God blessed him once again. What do they see in that? They’d say, “The man made a bargain for those blessings—he earned them. It’s only right for God to have bestowed them.” In their overall understanding of the matter, is antichrists’ vantage one from which they’re accepting the truth and submitting to God? (No.) What sort of vantage do they take on it, then? There’s only one vantage from which antichrists view the whole matter, and that’s the vantage of a nonbeliever. A nonbeliever looks at whether there is profit made, or advantage gained, or losses suffered; how to take advantage, and how not to; what would lead to loss and suffering; and what’s not worth doing, and what is. This is the viewpoint of nonbelievers. Nonbelievers view, treat, and do everything in this manner, with this sort of essence. This is the attitude of antichrists toward God’s righteous disposition.
B. Despising God’s Almightiness
How do antichrists view God’s almightiness? It’s fair to say that to an antichrist, the word “almightiness” is a very emotional one, one that can stimulate their ambitions and desires. This is because they’d like very much to be that sort of person. To be almighty, omnipotent and omnipresent, to be capable of anything, to know how to do anything, to be able to do anything—if someone gained this capability, if they had this ability, then everything would be a breeze for them. They wouldn’t have to fear anyone; they’d have the highest authority, the highest status, and they’d be able to reign over others. They’d have absolute power to control and orchestrate other people. This is far beyond the reach of an antichrist, and it betrays their ambitions, their desires, and their true colors. Part of this is that the phrase “God’s almightiness” fills them with all sorts of imaginings, curiosity, and notions. Another part is that they’d like to gain insight into God’s almightiness through faith in Him, so that they can broaden their own horizons, grow more insightful, and satisfy their curiosity. Another part still is that they are also striving to be omnipotent, to be worshiped by thousands, with ever more people prostrating to them and keeping a place for them in their hearts. So, do antichrists have genuine knowledge of God’s almightiness? Do they have true faith in it? Again, it’s the same as with God’s righteous disposition—antichrists aren’t just filled with notions, with vague and hollow imaginings that don’t accord with the facts—they also spawn deep doubts about God’s almightiness. They’re dubious; they don’t believe in it: “Almightiness? Where in this world is there anyone who’s almighty? Where is there someone who’s omnipresent and omnipotent? There’s no such person! There are loads of great and famous people in the world, and there are plenty of people with paranormal powers: prophets, for instance, and all sorts of astrologers and interpreters of prophecy, and even they aren’t omnipotent. A question mark still needs to be placed behind ‘God’s almightiness,’ it needs to be thoroughly researched.” So, to an antichrist, God’s essence of almightiness doesn’t exist, because, as they believe, “I can’t imagine or understand how God could be almighty, so this ‘almightiness’ of His doesn’t exist. I don’t acknowledge it. How great are God’s abilities and capabilities, really? No one—past, present, or future—has seen or will see them.” Antichrists are constantly doubting and unsure at heart, so everything that happens in the church and to the brothers and sisters becomes the subject and scope of their research. What are they researching? They’re researching in everything that arises, in everything that happens in a group or to a person, what God has done, how He has worked, whether there are any signs and wonders within it, any fresh and unique occurrences that are beyond what man can conceive of or beyond man’s ability and reach. In addition to that, they’re researching whether any brothers or sisters have spoken of an experience of God doing such work in them as surpasses man’s expectations. An example of this would be a girl coming out of a snail’s shell, as in the folk tale, and making a feast for them, at the time when they were hungriest. Another would be gold appearing out of nowhere in their house, at a time when they were short on funds, or their pursuers suddenly being struck blind, unable to see anything, at a time when they were being pursued, and an angel coming down and saying to them, “Don’t fear, child—I’m here to help you.” A different example would be, at a time when the brothers and sisters were suffering savage beatings and cruel torture, God’s great light shining down and blinding the eyes of the perpetrators, leaving them rolling on the floor, begging for mercy, never again daring to strike the brothers and sisters, with God having avenged them; or, at a time when they were reading God’s words but just couldn’t seem to understand them, and were about to fall asleep, seeing a form in the haze that says to them, “Don’t sleep; waken—here is what My words mean”; or, when something happened and they were about to make a mistake, being alerted by a powerful, internal rebuke and disciplining that doing that would be wrong, and that doing this would be right. If any of these things, which ordinary people can’t experience and aren’t capable of, happened in the church, in God’s house, in anyone who follows God, that would suffice to prove that God is almighty. If no such things happen, or if they happen quite infrequently, and even if they do happen, it’s just hearsay anyway, and so their factuality and believability are greatly compromised, then is God’s almightiness a fact, or isn’t it? Does God possess the essence of almightiness, or doesn’t He? In the heart of an antichrist, they put question marks behind these ideas.
Antichrists are forever pursuing these signs, wonders, and paranormal powers while God works, speaks, and saves man. They pursue things that don’t fit with reality or facts. These things they pursue have nothing at all to do with God’s work of saving man, or with the truth, or with a change to man’s disposition. But still, they’re bent on pursuing them. They’re full of curiosity about God’s almightiness. Often, in their prayers, they’ll request of God: “Oh, God, would You reveal Your almightiness to me? Oh, God, are You not almighty? If You are, I ask You to settle this matter for me. God, if You are almighty, omnipotent and omnipresent, I beg You to help me, as I’m now faced with challenges. God, if You are almighty, I beg You to take the ailments from my body, to take the circumstances I’m faced with away, to help me avert danger. God, if You are almighty, I beg You, as I do my duty, to make me smart and clever, talented and gifted overnight, so that I can grasp the professional skills without having to study them, become an expert, and be distinguished from others. Oh, God, if You are almighty, I ask You to punish and visit retribution on those who malign and mock my faith in You. Make them blind of eye and deaf, with sores on their heads, and pus coming from the soles of their feet. Let them die like dogs. God, if You are almighty, I beg You, let me see Your almightiness.” God has said so many words and done so much work, yet antichrists turn a blind eye to it and brush it aside; they never take God’s words to heart, nor do they take to heart His work and each step of His important work of saving man, or take it seriously. Instead, they’re bent on asking for signs and wonders, for God to perform miracles amid His work, asking that God do special things that will open their eyes and satisfy their curiosity, in order to prove His existence, to prove that He is almighty. What’s more laughable is that antichrists even appeal to God in prayer: “Oh, God, I can’t see You, so my faith is small. I ask You to reveal Your real person to me, even if only in a dream—I ask You to reveal Your almightiness to me, so that I can have faith in You and assuredly believe in Your existence. If You don’t, I’ll always have misgivings in my belief in You.” They can’t see God’s existence or know His essence and disposition amid His work and words, but would have Him do additional things, things that are inconceivable to man, in order to strengthen them and establish their faith. God has said many words and done much work, yet however practical His words are, however edifying the truths He speaks are to people, however urgently they need to understand them, antichrists aren’t interested, and they don’t take them to heart. Indeed, the more God speaks, the more specific work He does, the more averse, irritable, and resistant they feel. What’s more, there will even arise in them condemnation of God and blasphemy against Him; they’ll clamor against Him: “Is Your almightiness in these words? That’s all You do—express words? If You didn’t speak, would You not be almighty? If You’re almighty, then don’t speak. Don’t use speech or fellowshiping on the truth and provisioning man with the truth to enable us to gain life and achieve dispositional change. If You had us all become angels overnight, Your messengers—now, that would be almightiness!” As God speaks His words and does His work, the nature of antichrists is revealed and exposed, bit by bit, without any concealment, and their essence of being sick of the truth and going against it is laid entirely bare, as well. The disposition and essence of antichrists that despises God’s identity and His essence is also exposed and revealed, bit by bit, with the passage of time and the ceaseless, forward advancement God makes in His work. Antichrists pursue vague things; they pursue the sight of signs and wonders—and governed by this ambition and desire, which doesn’t conform to reality, their nature of being sick of the truth and hating it is brought out into the light. By contrast, those who truly pursue reality and the truth, who believe in and love positive things, see God’s almightiness in the process of His work and words—and what these people can see, what they can gain, and what they can know are exactly what antichrists are forever unable to know and unable to gain. Antichrists believe that if people would gain the life from God, there need to be signs and wonders; they believe that without signs and wonders, gaining the life and the truth from God’s words alone, and thereby achieving dispositional change and attaining salvation, is an impossibility. To an antichrist, that is an eternal impossibility—it doesn’t hold water. That’s why they tirelessly wait and pray, in hope that God will reveal signs and wonders and perform miracles for them—and if He doesn’t, then His almightiness doesn’t exist. The implication behind this is that if God’s almightiness doesn’t exist, then God certainly doesn’t exist. This is the logic of antichrists. They condemn God’s righteousness, and they condemn His almightiness.
While God is saving people, antichrists are entirely uninterested in His words, His various requirements, and His will. They resist these things and are fed up with them, from the pit of their hearts. What they’re interested in isn’t the reality of all positive things, nor is it the salvation and being made perfect that man can achieve as a result of pursuing the truth and submitting to God’s orchestrations. So, what are they interested in, then? They’re interested in God revealing signs and wonders and performing miracles for them to see, in Him enabling them to gain insight by doing so, and enabling them to turn into remarkable people, into superhumans, into people with special powers, into extraordinary people. They wish to rid themselves of designations, identities, and statuses such as ordinary people, common people, and corrupt people through God’s almightiness. So, whatever notions or problems there may be for them amid God’s work, they don’t seek the truth to resolve them. They’re not just unable to understand the truth or achieve dispositional change—no, they’ll also pass judgment on God, and condemn Him, and resist Him, because of all He does that doesn’t accord with their notions. In the eyes of antichrists, all the practical work that God does is what they don’t acknowledge—it’s what’s condemned by them. In the end, it’s these views, and these definitions of God that lead them to utterly deny the existence of God’s essence in their hearts, and more utterly to condemn, besmirch, and blaspheme against the existence of God’s essence. This is because their belief in God is established on the foundation that God is almighty, that God will redress their grievances, that He’ll avenge them, that for them, He’ll defeat all those whom they hate and look down on—that God will satisfy their desires and ambitions. This is the foundation of their belief in God. But having come to the present, these evil people see now that such a God doesn’t exist, and that there’s no possibility that God would do anything for them. From their perspective, this is quite an unfavorable situation for them—it’s terrible. So, once they’ve experienced many things, their misgivings and doubts about God grow stronger and stronger, until they make up their minds to leave God and His house, to pursue the world, to follow wicked trends, and to cast themselves into Satan’s embrace. That’s how things wind up for these people. Judging from the attitude that antichrists harbor toward God’s righteous disposition and His almightiness, antichrists are indeed nonbelievers. They don’t have the slightest bit of faith in God, nor the slightest bit of submission to or acceptance of what God does. When it comes to positive things and the truth, they’re averse and resistant. That’s why, no matter how you look at it, the nonbeliever essence of antichrists truly does exist. It’s not something others impose on them, and it’s not making a mountain out of a molehill—this essence of theirs is defined on the basis of all the views and approaches they reveal when things befall them.
Antichrists believe in God for years without being able to see the fact that God is sovereign over man’s fate. They can’t understand that fact. They can’t understand a fact, though it’s laid out in front of their eyes—is that not blindness? God’s righteous disposition and His almightiness are often revealed in the work of the church, in His chosen people, and in all sorts of things that occur. He lets people see these things everywhere—but antichrists, being blind, can’t see them. When antichrists have followed God for many years, they’ll say that famous phrase: “I’ve believed in God for so many years, and what have I gained?” It seems they really haven’t gained anything. God has poured out His life for man, but antichrists have gained nothing. Isn’t that pitiable? It really is! That phrase of antichrists illustrates the problem so well. Everyone who hears God’s words and experiences His work, who accepts His words as their life, would say: “We’ve believed in God for so many years, and we’ve gained so much from Him. Not just grace and blessings, His protection, and His mercy—what’s more important is that from God, we’ve understood and gained so many truths. We live with the likeness of humans, with dignity. We know how to conduct ourselves. We owe God so much. Compared to the price He pays, to what He does for us, our little hardships aren’t even worth mentioning. Man should repay God’s love.” Antichrists, however, are quite the opposite. They say, “God’s been at work these last few years, so how come I haven’t gained anything? You all say you’ve gained this and that, had this or that experience—but will those experiences keep you fed? What do those experiences amount to? Next to blessings, to grace, to seeing signs and wonders, aren’t they entirely unworthy of mention? That’s why I feel that in my many years of belief in God, I haven’t gained anything. Next to the suffering I’ve endured, to what I’ve forsaken and expended for God, the things I’ve gained haven’t been worth it at all! What’s the truth but a few statements and theories? What is it but a few doctrines? I’ve heard these words, these truths, and I don’t feel that some monumental change has been achieved in me! For starters, my mind isn’t that nimble when I think about things. What’s more, I’m getting on in years, and my health isn’t growing better than it was before. My hair’s grey, I’ve got more wrinkles on my face—I’ve even lost a few teeth, and no new ones have grown back. God says those who will be saved are like fresh, lively children, and here I am, an old bag of bones, with an old man’s face. I haven’t turned into a child. Going by God’s words, grey-haired old people can turn into raven-haired youths. How come I haven’t changed? God says He’ll completely transform people, but that hasn’t happened to me; I haven’t become a new person. I’m still me, and when things happen to me, I still have to figure out how to handle them on my own. My fleshly difficulties are increasing, too—I’m often weak and negative. And what’s more, my memory’s been bad over the last two years. I read God’s words so much, but He hasn’t strengthened my memory. Can’t God give people bit of a special ability, one that keeps their bodies from aging? I feel the biggest issue right now is people transforming completely; the truth doesn’t seem able to solve that problem. If God would say something that truly could turn someone into a new person, with the appearance of a shining angel, who can become disembodied, who can escape through solid walls, who, when faced with persecution and danger, can utter an incantation and disappear, and be forever beyond grasp—if, by reading God’s words often, people’s hair didn’t go grey, and their faces didn’t wrinkle, and new teeth would grow in to replace those they’d lost—that’d be great! That’s what it is to be completely transformed! If God would do those things, then I’d believe that He’s God, without any reservations. If He carries on speaking and preaching the truth, then my faith will soon wear out; soon, I won’t be able to go on believing, and perhaps I won’t be able to perform my duty anymore. I won’t want to.” In the span of time that an antichrist follows God, this or that demand of Him will often arise in their heart, and all sorts of doubts and exacting demands will often arise within their notions, and in response to their environments and their personal desires, all sorts of strange thoughts will come to them. There’s just one thing, though: They can’t understand the words God speaks, and they can’t see the fact that God works to save man, much less can they understand that all God does is meant to save man, that it’s all meant to enable man to achieve dispositional change. So, as they go on believing, they lose their drive; as they go on believing, feelings of negativity and depression arise in their hearts, and they have feelings and thoughts of withdrawing, of giving up. As for God’s essence, forget about whether they’ll believe in it, or acknowledge it, or accept it—as they go on believing, they can’t even be bothered to concern themselves with the issue. That’s why, when you say in fellowship that something is God’s righteousness and His almightiness and sovereignty, that people should submit to it and know it, antichrists won’t outwardly make a sound—they won’t express any views at all. Inwardly, however, aversion will arise in them: They won’t want to listen; they’ll be unwilling to listen; some of them will just stand up and leave. When everyone’s listening to sermons, when others are fellowshiping God’s words, when the brothers and sisters are fellowshiping their experiential testimony with great zeal—what are antichrists doing? Drinking tea, reading magazines, playing with their phones, gossiping idly. And by protesting and resisting with these silent actions, they’re seeking to confirm with their behaviors that all God does is useless: “You’re just trying to rationalize things, fooling yourselves—God and the truth simply don’t exist, and it’s simply impossible for mankind to be saved by God!” In their eyes, all who believe in the truth, submit to God, and believe in the fact that God can save mankind are fools—they’re all brainless, and they’ve all been duped. They believe that a person’s fate is in their own hands, that one can’t let others orchestrate it for them, that people aren’t puppets, but have minds and the ability to think independently about problems—and if someone can’t even take control of their own fate, then they’re trash, an inferior person. So, no matter what, they’re unwilling to hand their fate over to God for Him to control. This is the attitude of antichrists toward all that God does. They remain from beginning to end spectators and nonbelievers, who play the part of Satan’s lackeys. They’re freeloaders and troublemakers—they are evil people who have snuck their way in.
C. Despising God’s Holiness and Uniqueness
Antichrists do not acknowledge or believe in the least in the righteousness and almightiness in God’s disposition and essence, much less have any knowledge of them. It’s harder still, of course, for them to believe in, acknowledge, and know God’s holiness and uniqueness. So, when God mentions that He’d have people be honest, that He’d have them be down-to-earth created beings that can keep to their stations, ideas arise in an antichrist, and an attitude and feeling come to them. They say: “Is God not exalted? Is He not supreme? If so, the requirements He makes of man should be grand and exalted. I thought God was so mysterious; I wouldn’t have thought He’d make such trifling demands of man. Can those be thought of as the truth? They’re too simple! It would be right for God’s requirements to be elevated: One should be a super-person, a great person, an able person—that’s what God should require man to do. He’d have one be an honest person—is that really God’s work? Is it not counterfeit?” In the depths of their heart, antichrists don’t just resist the truth—as they do, blasphemy comes to them, too. Is that not them despising the truth? They’re rife with contempt and disdain for God’s demands; they define and treat them with an attitude of scorn, disregard, sarcasm, and ridicule. Evidently, antichrists are odious in their disposition and essence; they’re unable to accept things or words that are true, beautiful, and practical. God’s essence is true and practical, and His requirements of people are in line with what people need. “Grand and exalted,” as the antichrists bring up—what is that? It’s false, empty, and hollow; it corrupts people and misleads them; it makes them fall, and takes them far from God. The truths God expresses and His life, on the other hand, are faithful, lovely, and practical. Once one has experienced and been through God’s words for a while, they’ll discover that God’s life alone is what’s most lovely, that it’s His words alone that can change people and be their lives, and are what people need—while those grand, exalted opinions and sayings put forth by Satan and antichrists are diametrically opposed to the trueness and practicality that God demands of man. Therefore, on the basis of antichrists’ essence of this sort, they’re entirely unable to accept God’s holiness and uniqueness. There’s absolutely no way that they’ll acknowledge those things. And as for the various facets of people’s corrupt disposition and corrupt essence that are exposed by God—their intransigence and arrogance, their dispositions of deceitfulness, wickedness, of being sick of the truth, and of viciousness—antichrists don’t accept them at all. And as for God’s judgment of people and His stern rebuking of them, antichrists aren’t merely unable to know God’s holiness and loveliness in those—to the contrary, they are at heart sick of those words God speaks, and resist them. Each time they read God’s words that chastise, judge, and expose man’s corrupt disposition, they hate them and want to swear. If someone says they’re an arrogant person, an intransigent person, a wicked person who’s sick of the truth, they’ll argue with that person and swear about their forebears; and if someone exposes their corrupt essence and condemns them, it’s as if that person meant to kill them—they absolutely won’t accept it. It’s because antichrists have such an essence and reveal such things that they’re identified, without their knowing it, and unwittingly isolated and revealed, in God’s house and the church. Their ambition and desire often goes unfulfilled, and so their hatred mounts for the words God speaks, for His existence, and for the phrase “the truth reigns in God’s house.” If you say that phrase to them, they’ll want to battle you to the death, to torment and punish you to death. Does this not show on its own that antichrists are inimical to God? It does, indeed! If someone said, “God is unique; man may worship no person, apart from Him, nor any idol,” would an antichrist be willing to hear it? (No.) Why not? These words condemn them, do they not? Don’t they deprive them of their right to be God? Would they be happy without the right to be God, with that hope extinguished? (No.) That’s why if you were to expose them, to leave them ruined in standing and reputation, with no one worshiping them, to leave them unable to win people over, without status, they’ll reach out for you with their malicious, demonic claws, to punish and torture you. When things happen in a church, and someone means to report them to the Above, will the leader of the church, if he’s an antichrist, allow them to make the report? They won’t get that past him. He’ll say, “If you make that report, the consequences will be on your head! If the Above deals with us and clears out people in our church, I’ll see to it that you’re sorry—I’ll get everyone to abandon you. Then you’ll get a taste of what it feels like to be cleared out!” Doesn’t this frighten and threaten the person who’d have made a report? The antichrist says, “God’s unique, isn’t He? Fine; I’ll be unique, too. What I say goes in our church. Whatever you want to do, you have to go through me—and you’re not getting past me. You want to get past me? You’ll have to do it over my dead body! I reign in our church; what I say goes here. I’m the truth—I’m the unique one!” Is this not a devil made manifest? It is—its devilish countenance exposed, its devilish words spoken.
Regarding how antichrists treat God’s essence, they go from disbelief and doubts to biding their time and testing, and ultimately on to judgment and blasphemy. This leads them step by step into a quagmire, a bottomless abyss, and it leads them toward the path of resisting God and being His enemy, at complete odds with Him, and clamoring against Him to the end, from which there’s no return. They don’t merely fail to acknowledge the existence of God’s essence—instead, all sorts of notions and imaginings about each aspect of God’s essence arise in them, with which they mislead the people around them and the people they come into contact with. Their goal is to make more people the same as they are, doubting God’s existence and the existence of His essence. When they die, they’d even drag others down with them. It’s not enough for them to do bad things on their own—they want to find others to accompany them, to do bad things with them, to resist God and disturb the work of His house with them, to doubt and deny God with them. Antichrists are filled with notions and imaginings about every aspect of God’s essence. Not only are they unable to know God’s essence from everything He does—they’ll also rigorously analyze, study, test, and pass judgment on God’s essence, and even secretly contend with God, saying: “Aren’t You unique? Aren’t You the God who holds sovereignty over mankind’s fate? How could You let such things happen to people who believe in You? If You are the unique God, You shouldn’t allow any enemy force at all to trespass in Your workplace.” What sort of talk is that? Whenever anything happens in the church, an antichrist will be the first to stand up and say undermining things, negative and judgmental words. They’ll be the first to stand up and argue with God, to confront Him, demanding that He do this thing and that. It’s at those times in particular when God’s house is faced with difficulties or thorny problems that an antichrist is overjoyed. Those are the times when they’re happiest and most pleased, when they jump highest for joy. They’re not just unable to uphold the interests of God’s house—no, they stand on the sidelines, watching and laughing, waiting eagerly for insurrection to crop up in God’s house, for all His chosen people to be apprehended and disbanded, and the work of His house unable to progress further. They’d be as happy then as they are on New Year’s Eve. And every time something that happens in God’s house is settled and resolved, when the brothers and sisters have taken a lesson from it, that’s when the antichrist’s “sentence” will be passed down. It’s also when an antichrist is most negative, sad, and despairing. They can’t bear to see the brothers and sisters doing well, or followers of God having faith, and brimming with confidence as they follow Him; they can’t bear to see the brothers and sisters being changed in their dispositions under the guidance of God’s words, and doing their duties loyally, and the work growing better and better. They can’t bear to see the church flourishing, or God’s management plan developing by degrees in a good direction—and more still do they detest it when people raise their voices to preach God’s words, to bear witness for Him, and praise His loveliness and His righteous disposition. And more than that, they loathe it when people seek God, pray to Him, and seek His words no matter what happens to them, submitting to Him and abiding by His orchestration. Even as an antichrist eats from God’s house, enjoys God’s words, and enjoys all the benefits of His house, they’re often wishing to have a chance to laugh at God’s house. They’re eagerly waiting for all the believers in God to be dispersed, and for God’s work to be left unable to progress further. Therefore, when something happens to God’s house, instead of defending it, or thinking of ways to resolve the issue, or protecting the brothers and sisters with all their might, or joining up with them to take care of the issue in unison, jointly coming before God and submitting to His sovereignty, an antichrist will stand on the sidelines, laughing, offering bum advice, destroying and disturbing. At a critical moment, they’ll even offer a hand to outsiders at the expense of God’s house, thus acting as Satan’s minion, deliberately disturbing and breaking things. Is such a person not an enemy of God? The more critical the moment, the more clearly their devilish likeness is exposed; the more critical the moment, the more eventful it is, the more their devilish likeness, in its greatest detail and to its fullest extent, is exposed; the more critical the moment, the more help they’ll give outsiders at the expense of God’s house. What sort of thing are they? Are such people brothers and sisters? They’re people who do destructive, abominable things; they’re God’s enemies; they’re devils, they’re Satan; they’re evil people, antichrists. They’re not brothers and sisters, and they’re not candidates for salvation. If they really were brothers and sisters, people of God’s house, then with any problem that came up in His house, they’d unite heart and mind with their brothers and sisters to face it and handle it in unison. They wouldn’t be bystanders, much less look on and laugh. Only such people as antichrists would stand on the sidelines, and laugh, and eagerly await bad things to come to God’s house.
An antichrist’s essence may be exposed in any and every matter. It’s quite unconcealable. Whatever they’re doing, whatever the issue, all the views and dispositions they reveal are abhorrent to man and to God. Not only do they cause destruction, disruption, and disturbance in all sorts of things that come up, laughing from the sidelines—they also often face off with God and test Him. What does that mean, to test God? (At heart, they don’t believe in God, and they say some things or employ some tricks to probe His will, trying to figure out what it is.) You see that happen a lot. In the matter of Job, how did Satan test God? (The first time Satan spoke, it said that if God struck Job of his household and possessions, he ought not to worship God anymore; the second time, it said that if God struck Job’s flesh and bones, he ought to deny God. Satan wanted to test God by having disasters befall Job.) Is that a test? Is that an accurate definition of the term? (No.) Strictly speaking, those passages refer to an indictment. What Satan meant in saying those things was, “Didn’t You say that Job’s a perfect person? With all the good things You’ve given him, how could he not worship You? If You strike him of those good things, do You think he’d still worship You then?” That’s an indictment. What sort of thing is a test, then? Satan had bandits rob and plunder Job’s possessions. For Job, that was a test. How is that a test? Like so: “Don’t you believe in God? Once I strike you of these things, let’s see if you still believe in Him then!” Yet how did Job understand it? Believing it to be a trial from God, he didn’t struggle or fight, nor did he say anything—he submitted, and accepted it from God. There are also the things that befell the Lord Jesus: Satan having Him turn stones into food, and showing the Lord Jesus all the glory and riches of the world, having Him bow down in worship to it. Those were tests. Now, what things do antichrists do as tests of God? (Antichrists don’t have God-fearing hearts. They do evil, even when they know it to be so; they want to test God to see whether His punishment will befall them. As they don’t believe in God’s righteous disposition, when they do evil, they’re unaware of it.) That’s a test. They’re going into it with a let’s-try-it-and-see mindset; they want to see just what God will do: “Isn’t God majestic and wrathful? Well, I’m running riot and rampaging in the church. I’ve done so many bad things behind God’s back and man’s—does God know about it, or not? If there’s no sadness inside me and I suffer no fleshly punishment, that means God doesn’t know.” They make little sallies to test whether or not God’s almighty, to test whether He observes people’s innermost hearts. That’s what tests are. They want to confirm the veracity of the matter, to test whether God will really take action and whether He really exists. That’s what tests are.
There was once an antichrist in mainland China who misled a group of people. He saw God’s house organizing choirs and singing hymns overseas, and thought, “If you can have choirs overseas, we can do it here, too.” So, he brought people from various places together to sing in a choir. He gathered a big audience for them, too; it was quite a scene. Why did he do this? In one sense, he was establishing an independent kingdom, which needs no elaboration. In another sense, what he meant was, “The God we believe in is the true God, and we have the work of the Holy Spirit. We may be in a hostile environment, with the great red dragon persecuting us and keeping us under close and strict watch, but let’s show people whether God is protecting us or not. Let’s see if anything can happen to us; let’s see if we can be arrested.” What sort of mindset is that? (One of testing.) It is testing—it’s flying such banners and using such catchphrases as believing that God is almighty and omnipresent in order to examine what God will actually do, make a wager with Him, and contend with Him. That’s called “testing.” For some people, when others say to them, “You can’t eat this; it’ll give you an upset stomach,” they say, “I don’t believe you, I’m going to eat it! Let’s see if God gives me an upset stomach or not.” So, they eat it, and indeed, it upsets their stomach. They think to themselves, “Why didn’t God protect me? It upset other people’s stomachs, but that’s because they don’t believe in God. I believe in God; why did it upset my stomach like everyone else’s?” What sort of behavior is this? (Testing.) It’s a result of them not knowing God. But with antichrists, there’s something extra: They don’t acknowledge the existence of God’s essence at all, so they do things by their own efforts and their own imaginings, and they don’t do them by faith. Instead, they’re testing God. They’re using their behavior and their momentary thoughts and impulses to investigate whether God exists, and whether His almightiness is real, and whether He can actually protect them. If their experiment is a success, then their faith will continue on that basis; if it fails, if God disappoints them, what will they do? They’ll say, “I won’t believe in God anymore. It’s not like He cares for people. Everyone says that God is man’s refuge—as I see it, that’s not necessarily how it is. In regard to these words, people need to make some backup plans for themselves in the future; they can’t be that dumb about things. People need to resolve their own affairs—they can’t rely on God for everything.” That’s the result they’ve inferred from their test. What do you make of this result? Will this be the result for people if they pursue the truth? (No.) Why not? If people pursue the truth, they’ll ultimately come to a good, positive achievement and reward. That is to say, no matter what things people do, God has His ways and principles as to how He acts in response and how He regards these things, and people have their obligations to perform and their own instincts. God bestows their instincts on them; He has already given them principles, so people should act according to those principles under the guidance of God’s words. With some things, on the surface it seems as though God should protect man, but does that “should” come from man or from God? (From man.) It’s imagined in the mind of man. That “should” isn’t the truth; it’s not God’s responsibility. So, what exactly will God do, then? God has His ways of acting, and He has His principles. At times, by not protecting you, He’s revealing you, seeing what path you choose. At times, by means of a hostile environment, He’s perfecting your knowledge in some area, letting you gain an aspect of the truth and change in some regard. He’s strengthening you and making you grow. In brief, however God acts, He has His principles and reasons as well as His goals and objectives. If you take as the truth the idea that “God should protect me, and He should act in such-and-such a way,” and uphold it as such, making demands of God with it, then when God doesn’t act in that way, a conflict will arise between you and God. When this conflict arises, God won’t be at fault. Who will be? (Man.) It begins with a problem in people’s views, in their taking the wrong stance, occupying the wrong position. When you ask God to act in a certain way, you’ll feel quite justified. But to take a step back, when you can submit and accept, you’ll feel then that your justifications don’t hold water, and that these are your corrupt dispositions and unreasonable demands. When you can accept, God will bestow on you the measure of truth and of knowledge that you should gain. As He sees it, that is the element of the truth that you most ought to gain, not some trifling grace or blessing. God alone knows what’s most important for you, and He’ll bestow it on you when it’s time and in doses. Antichrists, on the other hand, don’t acknowledge the truth or the work of the Holy Spirit. Whoever may fellowship about the truth and testify to God’s love and salvation, an antichrist won’t just refuse to accept it, they’ll be averse and resistant to it. This is the difference between antichrists and ordinary corrupt people.
We’ll conclude our fellowship here on antichrists’ feature of denying God’s identity and His essence of uniqueness. Do you have any more questions? (God, I have a question. I encounter a lot of believers in the Lord when I’m spreading the gospel, and they’re all bent on upholding that view of Paul’s that goes, “To me to live is Christ.” They think that if they can meet the standard of Paul’s words, they can become God. Is this another manifestation of antichrists, and also a denial of God’s essence of uniqueness?) More or less. That antichrists deny the uniqueness of God is chiefly because they wish to be God. The words of Paul are their particular favorite: “For me, to live is Christ, to live is God, with the life of God I am God.” They believe that, if this view holds true, they have hope of becoming God, of reigning as king, and of wielding control over people; if it does not, then their hopes of reigning as king and becoming God are dashed. In short, Satan always wants to be on an equal footing with God—and so do the antichrists: They, too, possess this essence. For example, among those who follow God, there are people who constantly exalt God and testify to Him, bear witness to His work and to the effect that the judgment and chastisement of His words have in man. They praise all of the work God does to save man, and they also praise the price paid by God. Do antichrists also wish to enjoy all of this, or do they not? They wish to enjoy support, flattery, exaltation—praise, even, from people. And what other shameful ideas do they come up with? They want people to believe in them, to depend on them in all things; it’s all right for people to rely on God, too—but if, at the same time that they depend on God, it is more realistic and genuine for them to depend on the antichrists, then the antichrists will be exceedingly pleased. If, at the same time that you praise God and count the graces God has given you, you also tot up all the meritorious achievements of the antichrists, and sing their praises among your brothers and sisters, broadcasting far and wide everything they do, then in their hearts they will be wonderfully gratified, and they will feel content. Thus, speaking from the point of view of the nature essence of antichrists, when you say God is possessed of authority, that He is righteous, and that He is able to save people, when you say that only God possesses such essence, that only God can do this kind of work, and no one can stand in His stead or represent Him in doing these things, nor could anyone possess this essence and do these things: when you say this, the antichrists, in their hearts, do not accept these words, and refuse to acknowledge them. Why do they not accept them? Because they have ambitions—that’s one side of the issue. The other side is that they do not believe, nor do they acknowledge, the incarnate flesh to be God. Whenever anyone says that God is unique, that only God is righteous, they take exception in their hearts and will inwardly resist it, saying: “Wrong—I’m righteous too!” When you say that only God is holy, they will say: “Wrong—I am holy too!” Paul is an example of this: When people spread the word of the Lord Jesus Christ, saying that the Lord Jesus Christ gave His precious blood for mankind, that He served as a sin offering, and saved all mankind, and redeemed all mankind from sin—how did Paul feel on hearing this? Did he acknowledge that all this was God’s work? Did he acknowledge that the One who was able to do all this was Christ, and that only Christ could have done it all? And did he acknowledge that only the One who was able to do all this could represent God? He did not. He said: “If Jesus could be crucified, then people can be crucified, too! If He could give His precious blood, then people can, as well! In addition to which, I can preach, too, and I’m more knowledgeable than Him, and I can endure suffering! If you say that He is Christ, then shouldn’t I, too, be called Christ? If you spread His holy name, then shouldn’t you also spread mine? If He is fit to be called Christ, if He can represent God, and if He is the Son of God, then are not we, too? We who are able to suffer and pay a price, and who can toil and work for God—can’t we also be called Christ? How is being approved of by God and being called Christ any different from Christ?” In short, antichrists have failed to grasp the aspect of God’s essence that is His uniqueness, and they do not understand what the uniqueness of God actually is. They believe, “Being Christ or being God is something that one works toward on the strength of skill and capability, just as one gains power through fighting. You do not get to be called Christ by having the essence of God; it is the hard-earned result of Your own skill. It is just like how things are in the world—whoever is more skilled and more capable is the one who can be a big-time official and can have the final say.” This is their logic. Antichrists do not acknowledge God’s word to be the truth. The essence and disposition of God that are spoken of in God’s words are incomprehensible to them; they are laymen and amateurs, and they are clueless, so their talk consists entirely of the words of amateurs, words without spiritual understanding. If they’ve worked for a few years and think that they are capable of suffering and paying a price, that they can blow a lot of hot air while preaching doctrines, that they’ve learned how to play the hypocrite and can mislead others and have won the approbation of some, then they believe, as a matter of course, that they are capable of becoming Christ and becoming God.
Do you have any more questions? (God, would You fellowship a bit more with us on what it means to test God? In what ways does testing God manifest in people?) Testing God is when people don’t know how God acts, and don’t know Him or understand Him, and so they frequently come up with some unreasonable demands of Him. For instance, when someone is sick, they may pray that God cure them. “I won’t seek treatment—let’s see if God will cure me or not.” And so, after praying for quite some time with no action from God, they say, “Since God hasn’t done anything, I’ll take medicine and see if He hinders me. If the medicine gets stuck in my throat, or if I spill some water, that may be God’s way of hindering me and keeping me from taking it.” That’s what a test is. Or you are made to spread the gospel, for instance. In normal circumstances, everyone decides through fellowship and deliberation what your duties call for and what you should do, and then you act when the time is right. If something happens while you are acting, that’s God’s sovereignty—if God would hinder you, then He’ll do it proactively. However, let’s say you say in prayer, “Oh, God, I’m going out today to spread the gospel. Is it in accordance with Your will that I go out? I don’t know whether today’s potential gospel recipient can accept it or not, nor how exactly You’re going to rule over this. I ask for Your arrangements, for Your guidance, for You to show me these things.” After praying, you sit there, unmoving, then say, “Why doesn’t God have anything to say about that? Maybe it’s that I don’t read His words enough, so He can’t show me those things. If that’s so, I’ll get out there, right away. If I fall on my face out there, that may be God keeping me from going, and if everything goes smoothly and God doesn’t hinder me, that may be God allowing me to go.” That’s a test. Why are we calling that a test? God’s work is practical; it’s fine for people to just perform the duties they’re supposed to, arrange their daily lives, and live their lives of normal humanity in a way that accords with the principles. There’s no need to investigate how God’s going to act or what guidance He’ll give. Concern yourself only with doing what you’re supposed to; don’t always have additional thoughts such as, “Is God allowing me to do this, or isn’t He? If I do this, how will God handle me? Is it right of me to do it this way?” If something is obviously right, then concern yourself only with doing it; don’t go thinking about this and that. It’s fine to pray, of course, to pray for God’s guidance, that He’ll guide your life on this day, that He’ll guide the duty you perform today. It’s enough for a person to have a heart and an attitude of submission. For example, you know that if you touch electricity with your hand, you’ll get shocked, and may lose your life. Yet you think it over: “No worries, God is protecting me. I’ve just got to try it, to see if God will protect me, and to see what God’s protection feels like.” Then you touch it with your hand, and as a result, you get shocked—that’s a test. Some things are clearly wrong and shouldn’t be done. If you’d still do them, to see what God’s reaction will be, that’s a test. Some people say, “God doesn’t like it when people do themselves up prettily and wear heavy makeup. I’ll do that, then, and see what it feels like for God to reproach me inside.” So, after they’re all made up, they glance in the mirror: “Goodness, I look like a living ghost, but I only feel that it’s a bit disgusting and can’t bring myself to look in the mirror. There’s no additional feeling beyond that—I don’t feel God’s loathing, and I don’t feel His words coming down at once, to strike me down and judge me.” What sort of behavior is this? (Testing.) If you’re sometimes perfunctory in your duty, and you clearly know it to be so, it’s enough for you to just repent and turn yourself around. But you’re always praying, “Oh, God, I’ve been perfunctory—I ask that You discipline me!” What purpose does your conscience serve? If you have a conscience, you should take responsibility for your own behavior. You should rein it in. Don’t pray to God—that prayer will become a test. To take a very serious thing and make a joke of it, a test, is something God abhors. When people pray to God and seek Him when faced with an issue, and also in some of their attitudes, demands, and ways of doing things in their treatment of God, some tests will often crop up. What do these tests mainly entail? It’s that you’d like to see how God will act, or that you’d like to see whether God can or can’t do something. You’d like to investigate God; you’d like to use this matter to verify what God is like, to verify which words that God has spoken are right and accurate, which can come true, and which He can accomplish. These are all tests. Do these ways of doing things regularly appear in you? Say there’s something that you don’t know whether you’ve done right, or whether it’s in line with the truth principles. Here, there are two methods that can confirm whether what you’ve done in this matter is a test, or whether it is positive. One method is to have a humble and truth-seeking heart, saying, “Here’s how I’ve handled and viewed this thing that happened to me, and how it is now, as a result of my handling it that way. I can’t get a handle on whether this is what I actually should have done.” What do you think of this attitude? This is an attitude of seeking the truth—there’s no testing in it. Suppose that you say, “Everyone decides on this thing together, after fellowship.” Someone asks, “Who is in charge of this? Who’s the main decision-maker?” And you say: “Everyone.” Your intention is this: “If they say that this thing was handled in accordance with the principles, I’ll say that I did it. If they say it wasn’t handled in accordance with the principles, I’ll begin by withholding who did it and who made the decision. This way, even if they press on and try to pin the blame, they won’t pin it on me, and if anyone’s disgraced, it won’t be me alone.” If you speak with that sort of intention, that’s a test. Someone may say, “God loathes it when man follows worldly things. He loathes things such as mankind’s memorial days and festivals.” Now that you know this, you can just do your best to avoid such things, insofar as circumstances permit. However, let’s say you intentionally follow worldly matters while doing things during a festival, and as you do them, the intention you harbor is this: “I’m just seeing whether God will discipline me for doing this, whether He’ll pay me any mind. I’m just seeing what attitude He really has toward me, how deep His abhorrence goes. They say God abhors this, they say He’s holy and jealous, so I’ll see what His jealousy looks like and how He’ll discipline me. If, when I do these things, God has me spewing from my orifices, overcome with dizziness, unable to get out of bed, then it’ll seem that God really does abhor these things. He won’t just be talking—the facts will bear it out.” If you’re always hoping to see such a scene, what sort of behavior and intentions do you have? They’re testing. Man must never test God. When you test God, He hides from you and covers His face to you, and your prayers are useless. Some may ask, “It won’t work even if I’m sincere at heart?” Yes, even if you’re sincere at heart. God doesn’t let people test Him; He is jealous. When you entertain these wicked ideas and thoughts, God will hide from you. He won’t enlighten you anymore, but set you off to one side, and you’ll go on doing foolish, disruptive, and disturbing things until you are shown for who you really are. This is the consequence that comes from people testing God.
(God, I have a question. I manage equipment in the church. My attitude toward this duty is always flippant and unserious. The brothers and sisters pointed out my mistakes and dealt with me, and they fellowshiped with me on the example God once gave of a man who secretly drank cough syrup: God didn’t discipline or rebuke him, but cast him out once he’d drunk it. God’s disposition doesn’t brook man’s offenses—I know those words, but I have a view that God is merciful and loving, that He shouldn’t treat me the same as He did that man. So, I haven’t been afraid. Based on God’s fellowship today, I feel that I have an attitude of doubt about His righteous disposition, and a behavior of antichrists: that of testing God, never afraid of Him.) The attitude God has toward a person isn’t based in whether that person is afraid of Him, nor is it based in what transitory attitude that person may have about a given matter. God does not consider as serious problems the bad habits and irresponsible ways that a person may demonstrate and reveal in trivial matters of life. It’s enough just to be able to apply yourself to your essential duty and to take responsibility for it. If you feel yourself forever unable to take on responsibility for the management of equipment, and you can’t apply all your strength to doing it well, what does that show? In part, it shows that you’re not good at management; beyond that, it shows that you’re not a great fit for the job. If you feel that your remaining on that job may one day lead to disaster, you’d be better off recommending someone else for it; let someone in the church who’s fit for the task step in for you, then go do work that you’re good at and that holds your interest, and be loyal in doing that duty. Moreover, if someone truly loves the truth and truly wishes to fear God and shun evil, and to live with dignity, and not to be loathed by others, but respected by them, then they should be determined to do everything well. And as they do, they should have the will before God to say: God, please discipline me if I perform badly—please do Your work. People are poor managers of others; at best, they may teach someone to become a talent in a single area. But when it comes to the path someone walks, their views on life, the goals they choose in life, and what sort of person they’ll choose to be, no one can help them. God’s words and God alone can change people. How is this manifested? In that people themselves are helpless—they must let God handle things. So, what criteria must a person meet in order to let God work, before He’ll be willing to work? They must first have such a will and aspiration, saying, “I know I’ve never managed to do this task well. The brothers and sisters haven’t been satisfied—I haven’t been satisfied myself—but I do want to do it well. What do I do? I’ll come before God in prayer and let Him work in me.” If you’d have God work in you, what’s first for you is to be able to suffer—when God disciplines you, when He rebukes you, you must be able to accept it. To be obedient and accepting at heart is the beginning of doing anything well. It’s fair to say that everyone will have doubts about God’s righteousness and almightiness before they’re entirely saved. What differs is that ordinary, corrupt people can, despite their mere doubts, do their duty normally, and pursue the truth, and come to know God, bit by bit; their subjective aspiration is active and positive. Antichrists are quite the opposite: Their subjective aspirations aren’t accepting and obedient, and they don’t aspire to acknowledge; instead, they’re contrary. They’re not accepting. What’s good about ordinary, corrupt people, then? At the bottom of their heart, they accept and love positive things—it’s just that because of their corrupt disposition, there are times when they can’t help themselves, when they do poorly, and things are beyond them, outside their reach, and so they’re often negative and weak at heart, feeling God doesn’t want them, that He loathes them. Is that a good feeling? It’s a good feeling to have—it means you have a chance to be saved, and it’s a sign that you can be saved. If you don’t even feel that, then your hopes of gaining the truth and being saved are quite remote. It’s precisely having this feeling that shows you still have a conscience, and dignity, and integrity—that there’s still rationality in you. If you don’t even have these things, then you really are an antichrist, a nonbeliever. Currently, you only have some behaviors of a nonbeliever, a bit of what they reveal, a bit of their disposition, yet you aren’t a nonbeliever. As God sees it, you believe in Him, and you’re His follower, though there remain many problems and deficiencies for you on the path of belief in Him, and in your pursuit, and in your views, and in every facet of your personal life. How, then, are these problems to be resolved? That’s easy. So long as you meet the basic requirements of having a conscience and reason, pursuing the truth, and loving positive things, all these problems can be resolved—it’s just a matter of time. So long as you can accept the truth and the chastening and discipline that come from God, you’re already past the first hurdle. The second hurdle is that as you read God’s words, and listen to fellowship, and to the brothers’ and sisters’ experiential testimonies, you, for your part, learn to resolve your corrupt disposition, and the various states that arise in you as each thing befalls you, and you learn to resolve problems with God’s words. It’s that you are able to come before Him often, telling Him your circumstances and states, as well as the problems you’re faced with, saying them openly to Him, and sincerely accepting His dealing with you and pruning you, His discipline and chastening, and even His exposure of you and attitude toward you—your heart remains open to Him, not closed off. So long as your heart stays open, your conscience and reason may serve a purpose, and the truth will be able to enter you and give rise to change in you. All these problems can then be resolved. They’re not beyond resolution; none of them is a major problem. It’s a common thing for people to be perfunctory in doing their duty. This is the most common condition for all corrupt mankind to be found in. The first of it is being full of lies; the second is in all things goofing off, and being perfunctory, and being irresponsible, in a state of muddling along, in a condition of muddling through—this is the norm for all corrupt mankind. These are much less egregious things than man’s resistance against God and refusal of the truth. They’re not even what God looks at in man. If God were to measure people to the ounce, then if they said one wrong thing, He wouldn’t want them; if they’d once made a small mistake, He wouldn’t want them; if people were impetuous with youth and did things impatiently, God would no longer like them, and they’d then be those whom He’d abandon and cast out. If that’s how things were, not a single person would be saved. Some will say, “Didn’t You say that God condemns people and decides their outcomes through their behavior?” That’s another matter. On people’s path of pursuing of the truth in order to achieve dispositional change and salvation, such states of being in man are, as God sees them, the most common things of all, as ordinary and commonplace as they could be. God doesn’t even look at them. What does He look at? He looks at whether you have a positive pursuit, and what your attitude is toward the truth and positive things, and toward the pursuit of dispositional change. He looks at whether you have such a willingness, at whether you’re striving. When God sees you have these things, that your conscience rebukes you when you do wrong, that you know to hate it, that you know to come before God in prayer, and to confess your sins to Him and repent, He then says that you have hope, that you won’t be cast out. Do you think that God’s righteous disposition, His mercy and love, are all hollow phrases? It’s precisely because He has such an essence that God has an attitude toward each sort of person, and these attitudes are exceedingly practical—they’re not hollow at all.
This talk about the essence of antichrists we’ve been engaged in for a while now is meant for all to hear, in part so that they can understand and discern antichrists, and determine who they are, and spurn them; it’s also to let all know that everyone has an antichrist’s disposition, just as antichrists do, but that only true antichrists are to be cast out and abandoned, whereas ordinary people with an antichrist’s disposition are those whom God will save, not those whom He’ll cast out. Fellowshiping with people about the essence of antichrists and each aspect of their disposition isn’t about condemning people—it’s about saving people, giving them a path, letting them see clearly what corrupt dispositions they actually have, what God is really talking about when He says that mankind is His enemy, and why He’d say so—what precise sorts of corrupt disposition in man, and what revelations of resistance and rebelliousness against God in man, cause Him to say so, to make these condemnations. It’s precisely because God wants to save man, because He doesn’t abandon mankind, or His followers, or those whom He’s chosen, that He tirelessly speaks and works in such a way. God’s speaking and working like this isn’t merely about having people understand how lovely He is, how earnest and patient He is with people, how much effort He’s put forth. What’s the use of understanding these things? When people understand these things, they have no more than a bit of gratitude for God—yet their corrupt disposition isn’t resolved at all. God speaks with such earnest patience in order to let people see that God has made efforts toward and set His resolve on saving people—He’s not joking; God wants to save mankind, and He’s determined to do so. How is this to be seen? There’s no aspect of the truth on which God speaks from one side or one angle, nor does He speak in a single way—instead, He tells it to people from different angles, in different styles, with different language and to different degrees, in order that people will know their corrupt disposition and themselves, and from this, understand the direction their pursuit should take, and what sort of path they should take. He does this in order that people will abandon and alter their satanic, corrupt disposition, and let go of philosophies for worldly dealings, ways of survival, and ways and modes of living with which Satan corrupts people, having them live instead according to the ways, modes, directions, and goals that God has shown people and told them. God doesn’t do all this to get people to buy into it, to let them see His painstakingly kind intentions, or how hard it is to do all He does. You don’t need to know that. Focus only on finding what you should practice in the words God says, and understanding the truth and God’s will in them; enter the truth reality; live according to the truth principles, and comport yourself and act according to the truth principles, and complete the commission given by God, such that you achieve salvation. God will thus be satisfied, and the matter of man’s salvation will be accomplished in its entirety, thus benefiting man, too. And as for those times when there’s still a lot of doctrine in what people say, when they’re too superficial in their actions, when they’re always perfunctory, when their slovenliness is overpowering—in young people, especially, who aren’t apt to follow rules, who sometimes enjoy sleeping in, who have some habits that aren’t quite reasonable or edifying to others—don’t force these things. Go slow with them. So long as you’re willing to pursue the truth, and can make an effort with God’s words, and can come often before God, opening your heart to Him, He’ll work. No one can change anyone else by human strength or human means, including your parents, who can’t change you.
That you’ve come today to God’s house is the work of God, and that you can listen to sermons here, securely and steadily, even in this age, amid the evil trends, and do your duty without earning a cent—this is the work of God. Why does God do this? What does God favor in you? That you have something of a sense of justice, and that you have a conscience; that you’re sick of evil trends, and that you like positive things; and that you look forward to the coming of God’s kingdom, to the reign of Christ and the truth. You have these aspirations, and God favors them in you, which is why He brought you to His house. Do you think God doesn’t see those bad faults and habits of yours? God perceives your faults—He knows them all. If He knows, why doesn’t He take care of them? Such things make people conflicted at heart in many instances. They say: “Would God save somebody like me? Can someone like me achieve salvation? I’m so wicked and corrupt, so reluctant to submit to discipline, so rebellious—and I resist and doubt God. How could God still choose me?” What’s eating you? God alone can save you; you must believe that He can. It’s enough for you just to focus on listening to God’s words, accepting and practicing them. Don’t get stuck in those other matters—don’t always be negative because of them. No one’s got you by the hair; no one’s got ammunition against you. God doesn’t look at those things. If you’re disturbed from your pursuit of the proper path and the truth by the bad habits, defects, or slovenliness that such entanglements in the weeds of life give rise to, isn’t that a loss? Isn’t that not worth it? (Yes.) There should be quite a few people stuck in such a state currently. Some people say it’s their personality to be too hasty, that they’re so coarse in whatever they’re doing, and that they don’t like to study. They say they have bad habits, too: They don’t like rising in the morning or going to bed in the evening, and they love gaming; they like to engage in idle chatter at times, and at times, they like to tell jokes. They ask: Would God save us? Isn’t it a problem that you have so many notions and imaginings about yourself? Why don’t you seek a bit? What is God’s view, really, and what do His words really say? Are these things mentioned as problems in His words? Some people say they like to get dressed up and must always restrain themselves. Others say they love eating meat, with an excessive appetite. These are small problems. These defects, these personalities, or these life habits are at most defects in a person’s humanity; they don’t count as a corrupt disposition. What people truly need to resolve is their corrupt disposition. Don’t lose sight of the bigger picture. When you learn that you have a corrupt disposition, and you begin to focus on reflecting on it and discerning it, and make an effort on it, and begin to hate it, those little defects of yours will slowly change—they’ll no longer be problems. Some young people are fond of having fun. Once they have taken care of their proper work, it’s fine to have fun for a while. Some young women love to be pretty, getting dressed up and putting on makeup. That’s fine, too, so long as it doesn’t go too far, and they’re not wearing strange get-ups or thick makeup. It’s all fine; no one’s restricting them. None of these things is a problem. These habits in life, demands for the quality of your life, and small problems of personality—none of these could make you resist God, nor could they make you go against the truth. What truly makes you resist God, what keeps you from coming before Him and makes you rebel against Him, is your corrupt disposition. When you can discover, know, and hate your corrupt disposition, and you gain the subjective desire to practice according to the truth principles, all these small defects can be resolved. And with your corrupt disposition resolved—the greatest problem, your resistance against God, resolved—will those little defects of yours still count as problems? When that time comes, such little things as how you comport yourself, and how you live, what you eat, what you drink, how you relax, how you do your duty, and how you get along with others will grow principled, bit by bit. Not until then will you learn that resolving one’s corrupt disposition was and remains the great matter of a person’s life, that once one’s corrupt disposition is resolved, all other problems are, as well. When you’ve resolved the problem of rebellion against God, that’s when you’ll live with the likeness of a human, with dignity. It may be that there are now some minor defects you no longer exhibit. People may praise you, saying that you’re a good young person, that you’re sincere in your belief in God, that you seem like a believer in God. But if God says you may still rebel against Him, then your outward good behaviors are useless, however great they may be. The fundamental problem hasn’t been resolved—your corrupt disposition isn’t yet resolved, and you may still rebel against God. You’re still so far from salvation! What use is it for you just to have good behaviors? Are you not just tricking yourself with them?
What problem is now of vital importance for you to resolve? (The problem of a corrupt disposition.) Some may say: “I like wearing colorful clothes, but God’s house doesn’t like them, so I’ll rebel against them.” You don’t need to—wear them if you like. Some say: “I like to put on powder and makeup, and cut a pretty figure when I see people every day—it’s so nice!” So long as you’ve got the time, that’s fine. Some say: “I like eating gourmet food—I like spicy stuff, and sour stuff, too.” So long as you have the means, the chance, and the free time, you can eat that stuff to your satisfaction. Even if you were to leave these things unsatisfied, and restrain them, and rebel against them, your corrupt disposition wouldn’t be resolved. What could come of your restraining them? You’d endure a great deal of fleshly suffering, but you’d feel quite wronged at heart—and what sort of negative consequence would that visit on you, then, as collateral? You’d feel that you’d suffered greatly for God, that you’d gained the truth, when in fact, you wouldn’t have anything or be anything. You may dress elegantly and with dignity and soberly—you may seem like a brother or sister, and be well regulated—but if you can’t even find the truth principles when made to do a duty, and if you might go on to disrupt and disturb the work of the church, has your fundamental problem been resolved? (No.) Therefore, however you look at it, what’s most fundamental is understanding God’s words, the truth, and entering the truth reality, and resolving your corrupt disposition. Don’t spend your efforts on a few trivial problems and external behaviors, dwelling on them and not letting go, always feeling guilty and indebted at heart, always resolving those things as if they were great matters. What comes of that is your corrupt disposition going forever unresolved. If even you don’t know what sort of person you are, or what sort of corrupt disposition you have—if you don’t have the least understanding of that, won’t that mess things up? When you come to know your corrupt essence, those small problems of yours won’t be problems anymore. Naturally, as you understand the truth and enter the truth reality, and grow able to act according to the truth principles, you’ll gradually be rid of those small problems. It’s as it is with fidgety personalities or with slowpokes, or with being talkative or taciturn—these aren’t problems. They’re issues of personality. Some people have clear diction, while others don’t; some people are on the bolder side and dare to speak in front of many people, while others are less bold and dare not speak when there are lots of people around; some people are extroverts, while others are introverts. None of these is a problem. What is a problem? The disposition of antichrists that resists God—that’s a problem. It’s the biggest problem, the source of all man’s corruption. If you resolve the problem of a corrupt disposition, no other problem is a problem any longer.
Any more questions? (God, I have a question: In my pursuit of the truth, I have a normal spiritual life, yet my heart of loving and pursuit of the truth isn’t so great. When I feel my state is wrong, I diligently pursue for a couple days, but when those days have gone by, I slacken again. This state comes up over and over, and even I know that it’s a disposition that’s sick of the truth, but I still can’t resolve it at its root.) There’s no way around that—that’s how man’s life entry is. In wishing always to resolve this problem, you’re making a mistake. By way of example: Some women, in trying to find a husband, have the criterion that it’s no big deal if he’s just average-looking, but he must be romantic. He has to remember when and where they first met, and her birthday, and their anniversary, and so on. He must remember every day of note, and he must also remember to say, “I love you, my darling!” from time to time, and to buy her presents from time to time. She’ll test him: “What day was our first date? When’s Valentine’s Day?” They’re often searching for romance and stimulation like that, and if their life gets any blander, they bridle at it, complaining to their husband: “Look at you, you oaf. You don’t know about romance. Spending my days with you is so boring! My life is ruined in your hands!” Aren’t there lots of women who exhibit this defect? And when you say someone else’s husband is romantic, that he knows how to coax a woman, that he treats his wife like a princess, these women get unbearably jealous, wishing they could snatch that husband for themselves. They’re simply unwilling to live a mundane, ordinary life. Have you exhibited this defect? (Yes.) As God does work and saves people, there aren’t that many thrilling, exciting bits, and He won’t create surprises for you. It’s mundane and ordinary—that’s what it means to be practical. Pursuing the truth doesn’t require feeling. So long as the pursuit is there in your heart; and so long as you examine once in a while whether the path you’re on deviates, and whether there are any oversights or losses caused by human error in the duty you perform, and you fellowship about whether the brothers and sisters have gained any new insights or knowledge while doing their duties over that period, insights or knowledge you lack, about whether there have been distortions in your comprehension of God’s words when reading them, about whether there’ve been things in them that are beyond your reach, or that you haven’t experienced, or have ignored, and so on—so long as all such paths, goals and directions are normal and correct, that’ll suffice. Your general direction must be right. Don’t seek excitement, and don’t look for surprises. No one’s going to surprise you. Believing in God and pursuing the truth is the same as how normal people live their lives. It’s quite uneventful much of the time, because you live in this world, where nothing is supernatural, and nothing is divorced from real life. That’s how uneventful it is. But there’s a difference between this sort of uneventful life and the life of those who don’t believe: While you believe in God and do your duty, you’re constantly learning of your corrupt disposition, constantly correcting and changing your relationship with God, and constantly learning of the truths you don’t understand, knowing and accepting the truths you don’t know or understand. That’s the difference. That’s quite a big difference already—so, what else could you ask for? Don’t enough things happen in God’s house, in the church, and around you? The things that have happened from the beginning of God’s work until now are enough for people’s reckoning. The days go by so fast: Ten, twenty years go by in a flash, then, with another flash, thirty, forty, fifty years have gone. That’s about right for a person’s life. What other excitement is there to look for? These things are exciting enough. All the things that happen around you should allow you to discover unique things, uncover the truth, and be surprising to you. That’s not uneventful, is it? (No.) To pursue the truth isn’t to seek excitement. That’s how it is for people, who live in their normal humanity, in this material world. Don’t go looking for excitement—looking for excitement and feeling is what people with full bellies idly do. In doing their duties and pursuing the truth, people have new lessons to learn every day. Some will say, “Why am I not learning, then?” Well, it may be that your progress is on the slower side; if there are things you learn every month, that’s enough. So long as you make progress and are pursuing the truth, you’ll have something to show for it. Has this fellowship resolved the issue? (It has.) How? Which words resolved it? (It’s resolved in that I know that my views on pursuit in my belief in God aren’t practical—mine isn’t a pragmatic way to pursue. I’m always looking to pursue stimulation, always pursuing feeling things, and regarding God with no more than notions and imaginings, maintaining a relationship with Him of respectful distance, yet ignoring that people will have weakness in the course of their life entry, and will grow as they do, and that they’ll be faced with all sorts of circumstances. That’s normal.) You’ve understood it correctly. When no circumstances have come about, people should do their duties however they ought to, and go on with their pursuit as they should. Don’t look for excitement, or feel things; don’t be hypersensitive and say, “Why am I in a bad mood today? Oh, my relationship with God is distant—I’ll hurry up and pray!” There’s no need for such hypersensitivity. God doesn’t mind; He doesn’t bother with those trifling matters of yours! You may say, “I haven’t prayed for days, but I often seek God in my heart when I act, and I maintain a God-fearing heart.” No problem there. Some will say, “Oh, I’ve been so busy with my duty that I haven’t read God’s words for days now.” You didn’t go through that procedure—you ignored it—but in the course of doing your duty, you have discovered many problems, and you have revealed something of a corrupt disposition, and you have listened to others’ fellowship over that period, which has edified you greatly. Is that not a practical gain? Don’t you read God’s words in order to understand the truth and gain it? What’s the use of insisting you do so in a certain way or manner? Alright. We’ll conclude today’s fellowship here. Farewell! (Thank You, God, and farewell!)
May 30, 2020