Item Six: They Behave in Devious Ways, They Are Arbitrary and Dictatorial, They Never Fellowship With Others, and They Force Others to Obey Them
Supplement: The Story of Daming and Xiaoming
Before we get to the main topic of our fellowship, let’s start by telling a story. What’s the benefit of telling stories? (They’re easy to remember.) Up to now, how many easy-to-remember stories have I told? (The story of Dabao and Xiaobao.) “The Story of Dabao and Xiaobao” was what I told last time. (There was also “Hunting Rats” and the story of the female leaders.) Quite a few stories have been told already. Why do I tell stories? Actually, the aim is to switch to a more relaxed, easy-to-understand form to fellowship about some truths people should understand. If you understand the truths from the stories I tell, and these truths help in various aspects of your entry in daily life, then the stories were not told in vain. It shows that you truly understand the truths involved in the stories, that you understand the practical side of these truths, rather than just hearing them as mere stories. Last time, I told the story of Dabao and Xiaobao. Today, I’ll be telling the story of Daming and Xiaoming. As you listen, think about what this story is really trying to make you understand and which aspect of truth it involves.
Daming and Xiaoming are father and son. Some time ago, Daming and his son Xiaoming accepted God’s new work. Is this a good thing? (Yes.) It is a good thing. Xiaoming is young and can only read a little bit, so Daming reads God’s words to him every day and patiently explains the words Xiaoming doesn’t understand. After a period of time, Xiaoming comes to understand quite a few doctrines about how to conduct oneself as a person, as well as some vocabulary he has never encountered before believing in God, such as submission, faith, honesty, deceitfulness, and so on. Daming, seeing his son’s progress, is very pleased. However, recently Daming has noticed that no matter how much he reads God’s words to Xiaoming, there isn’t much progress in his behavior or speech. Daming becomes anxious and he develops a burden, thinking: “How can I get my son to understand some truth by reading God’s words, to show some change so that others will approve of him, give him a thumbs-up, and praise him as a good child? And then, because of Xiaoming’s performance, they could acclaim that believing in God is good, and the gospel could be spread to others through my son’s changes—how great that would be!” Having developed this burden, Daming keeps pondering: “How can I properly educate Xiaoming to understand more about self-conduct, so that he performs better and conforms to God’s will? Finally, when Xiaoming becomes a good child and everyone praises him, all this glory could be given to God—how wonderful that would be! At that point, the heavy stone in my heart would be laid down.” Is the burden that Daming feels reasonable? Can it be considered as performing a proper task for him? (Yes.) From this perspective, his starting point is correct—it counts as being reasonable and a proper task. Is the path Daming chose for Xiaoming correct or wrong? Is it good or bad? Let’s see as we go on. Daming often prays and supplicates to God about this, and finally one day, he has an “inspiration.” What “inspiration”? The so-called “inspiration” in quotation marks. Since this “inspiration” is in quotes, what kind of path might Daming be referring to? Can you imagine what will happen next in the story? It’s not very clear, is it? It’s somewhat unknown.
One day, after reading God’s words to his son, Daming asks Xiaoming very seriously if believing in God is good. Xiaoming solemnly replies, “Believing in God is good. People who believe in God do not bully others, do not meet with disaster, can go to heaven, and will not be sent to hell after death.” Is Xiaoming correct? Given his young age, Xiaoming’s being able to say this is already quite good. His understanding of belief in God is very simple, it is rudimentary and extremely superficial, but for him, it’s already profound. Hearing this, Daming is pleased and feels comforted, and says, “Well done, you’ve made progress, Xiaoming. It seems that your belief in God has some foundation. Daddy is very pleased and comforted. But is believing in God really that simple?” Xiaoming ponders for a moment and says, “Isn’t this all that God’s words say? What else is there?” Daming immediately responds: “God’s requirements are not just these. You have believed in God for such a long time, and when brothers and sisters visit, you don’t even know to greet them. From now on, when you meet elderly people, call them grandpa and grandma; when you meet younger adults, call them uncle, aunt, or older brother and older sister. In this way, you will become a child who is loved by everyone—and God only loves children who are loved by everyone. From now on, listen to me and do as I say; when I tell you to call someone something, you call them that.” Xiaoming takes his father’s words to heart, feeling that what his dad says is correct. In his young heart, he believes that his dad is older, has read more of God’s words, and knows more than he does. Moreover, his dad has his best interests in mind and will definitely not lead him astray, so whatever his dad says must be right. Xiaoming doesn’t understand what is the truth and what is doctrine, but at the very least he knows what is good and bad, right and wrong. After his dad speaks, Xiaoming also develops a bit of a burden about this matter. Going forward, whenever Xiaoming goes out with his dad and they run into someone, if his dad tells him to call them “aunt,” he says “Hello, aunt”; if told to call them “uncle,” he says “Hello, uncle.” People all praise Xiaoming as a good child who is polite, and they also commend Daming for his proper parenting. Xiaoming is quite pleased, thinking to himself, “Dad’s instruction is good; I’m liked by whoever I meet.” Xiaoming feels delighted inside and particularly proud, thinking that the way his dad is guiding him is truly good and correct.
One day, as soon as Xiaoming gets home from school, he rushes to his dad and says, “Dad, guess what happened? Old man Zhang next door caught such a big—” Before he can finish, Daming interrupts: “‘Old man Zhang’? How could you say that, Xiaoming? Are you still a believer or not? How can you call him ‘Old man Zhang’? You’ve forgotten what I told you, you don’t actually have faith in God, you’re not a true believer. Look, I remember this; I can help and remind you. You should call him Grandpa Zhang, got it?” Xiaoming thinks it over: “Calling him Grandpa Zhang works too.” He continues, “So, Grandpa Zhang next door caught a fish that was this big! Old lady Zhang was thrilled!” “Did you forget again?” Daming says. “You’re still not getting it, boy. I just told you, you should call him Grandpa Zhang; that means his wife, who is of the same generation, should be called what? It should be Grandma Zhang. Remember this; don’t ever say old man Zhang or old lady Zhang again, or else people will laugh at us. Wouldn’t that be embarrassing for us as believers? They would say we’re impolite and improper, not like believers. This doesn’t bring glory to God.” Xiaoming initially was excited to tell his dad about the big fish old man Zhang caught, but after being corrected by his dad, he loses interest and doesn’t want to talk about it anymore. He turns around, puts on his backpack, and mutters as he walks away: “You think you know everything, with all this Grandpa Zhang, Grandma Zhang stuff. What does it have to do with us? Like you’re the only one who’s spiritual!” Daming replies: “Well, I am spiritual, in fact! For most people, no matter how old they are, I can tell their seniority just by looking at their age, and know how they should be addressed. I call older people uncle and aunt—why can’t you even get a title right? As believers, we can’t forget about this; we can’t mess up the generational terms.” After this upbraiding, Xiaoming doesn’t feel great inside, but deep down, he still thinks his dad is right; whatever his dad does is right, and even if he doesn’t want to, he admits that he’s wrong. From then on, whenever he sees old man Zhang or old lady Zhang, he calls them Grandpa Zhang and Grandma Zhang. Everything that his dad teaches and instills in him, Xiaoming takes to heart. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? So far, it seems like a good thing, doesn’t it?
One day, Xiaoming and his dad go for a walk and see an old sow leading a litter of piglets. The relationship between the sow and her piglets is very close. Xiaoming thinks that everything created by God is good; whether it’s a pig or a dog, they all have maternal instincts and should be respected. This time, Xiaoming doesn’t speak rudely or rashly call her an “old sow.” Afraid of making a mistake and angering his dad, he quietly asks, “Dad, how old is this mother pig? She has given birth to so many piglets, what should I call her?” Daming ponders for a moment: “What should we call her? That’s hard to say.” Seeing his dad lost in thought without coming up with an answer, Xiaoming complains: “Haven’t you read a lot of God’s words? You’re older than me too; how do you not even know this?” Provoked by Xiaoming, Daming grows a bit anxious and says: “How about we call her ‘grandma’?” Before Xiaoming calls out to the pig, Daming reconsiders and says, “We can’t call her grandma; that would put her in the same generation as your maternal grandma, wouldn’t it? Calling her Granny Pig would be even worse, that would put her in the same generation as my mother. Since she has given birth to so many piglets, we can’t neglect her identity or status, and we can’t get her generation wrong. We should call her ‘Auntie Pig.’” Hearing this, Xiaoming respectfully bows to the pig and calls out, “Greetings, Auntie Pig.” The sow is startled and, in her alarm, she and all the piglets scamper away. Seeing this, Xiaoming wonders if he called her the wrong title. Daming says, “The pig must be happy and excited to react this way. In the future, when we encounter such situations, regardless of what others say or do, we should continue to behave this way. Be polite and follow social norms; even pigs will be pleased when they see that.” From this matter, Xiaoming learns something new. What does he learn? He says, “God created all things; as long as all beings respect each other, are polite, understand seniority, and respect the elderly and love the young, then all beings can coexist harmoniously.” Xiaoming understands this doctrine now. Upon hearing this, his dad praises Xiaoming as an eminently teachable little boy. From then on, Xiaoming becomes even more civilized and polite. Wherever he goes, he is well-behaved and stands out from the crowd. Isn’t he a “good boy”? He is a “good boy” in quotation marks. And that brings us to the end of the story.
What do you think of this story? Isn’t it quite amusing? How did this story come about? It’s derived from the speech, actions, behavior, thoughts, and viewpoints of people in real life—they were condensed into this little story. What issue is this story talking about? What problems can you see with Daming in the story? What about Xiaoming? What is the essence of Daming’s problems? First of all, think about it: Is there any part of what Daming summarized and practiced that was in line with the truth? (No.) What was he practicing then? (Notions and imaginings.) Where did these notions and imaginings come from? (Traditional culture.) The root is traditional culture; his notions and imaginings were the products of infecting, conditioning, and education of traditional culture. He took what he believed was the best, the most positive, the quintessential elements of traditional culture, repackaged them, and turned them into what he believed to be the truth for his son to practice. Can this story be considered obvious and easy to understand? (Yes.) Share what you understood and what you were able to comprehend from listening to this story. (After listening, I felt that Daming’s problem was that although he believed in God, he never put effort into understanding God’s words. He believed in God based on people’s traditional notions, thinking that if he adhered to those superficial norms, God would be satisfied. He didn’t seek or contemplate from within God’s words what God actually requires of people and how one should live out a normal humanity.) What was Daming living by? (Notions and imaginings.) Living by notions and imaginings is an empty phrase; actually, he was living by traditional culture, and he treated traditional culture as the truth. He was living by traditional culture—what details are involved in this? Why did he want Xiaoming to address people by certain titles? (On the surface, he said it was to bring glory to God through these good deeds, but in actuality, he wanted to satisfy his own vanity, to be praised for having the ability to educate his child well.) Yes, that was his intention. His education was not to make his child understand God’s words and the truth; it was to make his child do things that added glory to him, to satisfy his personal vanity. This is also a problem. Is there a problem with always focusing on adorning and packaging oneself through behavior? (Yes.) This indicates a problem with the path he was on, and this is the most serious problem. What is the purpose of always focusing on packaging one’s behavior? It’s to gain people’s admiration, to make people flatter and compliment oneself. What is the nature of this? It’s hypocrisy, it is the Pharisees’ approach. Those who focus on outwardly good behaviors, who focus on packaging their behavior, who put lots of effort into their behavior—do they understand the truth? (No.) They read a lot of God’s words and put in quite a bit of effort, so why don’t they understand the truth? They don’t understand that God’s management and salvation of mankind aim to make people understand the truth, to perfect people, and to make them undergo a change in disposition—they don’t understand it. They think, “No matter how I read God’s words, I will summarize some speech, actions, and behaviors that people have an easier time agreeing with, that they appreciate, and that they will give their thumbs-ups to, and then I will live out these things and hold fast to them in real life. This is what a true believer would do.”
Do you have issues similar to those of Daming? Besides the obvious aspects just discussed, such as following social norms, paying attention to seniority, respecting the old and caring for the young, and maintaining a proper order among the elderly and the young, are there other similar behaviors, thoughts, viewpoints, or understandings? Do you yourselves know to dig into and dissect these issues? For example, in the church, if someone is older or has believed in God for many years, you always want to give them face. You let them finish speaking, not interrupt them even if they are speaking nonsense, and even when they do something wrong and need to be dealt with and pruned, you still try to save their face and avoid criticizing them in front of others, thinking that regardless of how unreasonable or terrible their actions may be, everyone still needs to forgive and tolerate them. You also often teach others: “We should give the elderly some face and not harm their dignity. We are their juniors.” Where does this term “juniors” come from? (Traditional culture.) It’s derived from traditional cultural thought. Additionally, a certain atmosphere has formed in the church whereby people, upon meeting older brothers and sisters, warmly refer to them as “Big Brother,” “Big Sister,” “Auntie,” or “Older Brother,” as if everyone is part of a big family; these older people are shown extra respect, which unconsciously leaves a good impression of the younger people in others’ minds. These elements of traditional culture are deeply rooted in the thoughts and bones of Chinese people, to the extent that they continuously spread and shape the atmosphere in church life. Because people are often restricted and controlled by these concepts, they not only personally endorse them, work hard to act and practice in this direction, but also approve of others doing the same, instructing them to follow along. Traditional culture is not the truth; this is certain. But is it enough for people to simply know it’s not the truth? That it is not the truth is one aspect; why should we dissect it? What is its root? Where does the essence of the problem lie? How can one let go of these things? Dissecting traditional culture is for the purpose of providing you with an all-new understanding of the theories, thoughts, and views of this aspect deep in your heart. How can this all-new understanding be achieved? First, you have to know that traditional culture originates from Satan. And how does Satan instill these elements of traditional culture into humans? Satan, in every era, uses some famous figures and great people to spread these thoughts, these so-called sayings and theories. Then, gradually, these ideas are systematized and concretized, coming ever closer to people’s lives, and eventually they become widespread among people; little by little these satanic thoughts, sayings, and theories are instilled into people’s minds. After being indoctrinated, people consider these thoughts and theories coming from Satan as the most positive things they should practice and adhere to. Satan then uses these things to imprison and control people’s minds. Generation after generation have been educated, conditioned, and controlled under such circumstances, all the way up until the present. All these generations have believed that traditional culture is right and good. Nobody dissects the origins or source of these so-called good and right things—this is what gives the problem its severity. Even some believers who have read the words of God for many years still think these are correct and positive things, to the extent that they believe these can replace the truth, can replace the words of God. Even more so, some think, “No matter how much of God’s words we read, living among people, the so-called traditional ideas and traditional elements of culture—like the Three Obediences and Four Virtues, as well as concepts like benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and trustworthiness—cannot be discarded. This is because they are passed down from our ancestors, who were sages. We can’t go against the teachings of our ancestors just because we believe in God, and we can’t alter or abandon the teachings of our ancestors and those ancient sages.” Such thoughts and awareness exist in all people’s hearts. Unconsciously, they are all still controlled and bound by these elements of traditional culture. For example, when a child sees you’re in your twenties and calls you “uncle,” you feel pleased and satisfied. If they directly call you by your name, you feel uncomfortable, thinking the child is impolite and should be upbraided, and your attitude changes. In actuality, whether they call you uncle or by your name, it doesn’t have any bearing on your character at all. So why are you unhappy when they don’t call you uncle? It’s because you are dominated and influenced by traditional culture; it has preemptively taken root in your mind and become your most basic standard for treating people, events, and things, and for evaluating and judging all things. When your standard is wrong, can the nature of your actions be correct? It most definitely cannot. If measured with the truth, how would you handle this matter? Would you care what others call you? (No.) Unless, that is, if they insulted or humiliated you—in that case, you would definitely feel uncomfortable; this is a normal expression of humanity. However, if your standard of measurement is God’s words, the truth, or the culture coming from God, then regardless of whether people call you by your name or “uncle” or “brother,” you would have absolutely no reaction. On this matter, you can follow local customs. For instance, in China, when someone calls you “uncle,” you feel they’re being respectful toward you. But if you went to a Western country and someone called you “uncle,” you’d feel awkward; you’d prefer being called by your name, finding this to be a form of respect. In China, if someone much younger than you called you by your name, you’d get very unhappy, feeling they’ve disregarded seniority; you’d feel greatly humiliated, and you would get angry and even condemn this person. Doesn’t this show there’s a problem with this way of thinking? This is the problem I intend to address.
Each country and each ethnicity has its own traditional culture. Do we criticize all traditional cultures? There is one culture that should not be criticized. Can you say what culture that is? I’ll give you an example. God created Adam; who was it that named Adam? (God.) So, God created humankind, and when interacting with them, how does He address people? (By calling them by their names.) Right, He calls them by their names. God gives you a name, and this name has meaning in God’s eyes; it serves as a designation, an appellation. When God gives you a designation, He calls you by this designation. Isn’t this a form of respect? (Yes.) This is the best form of respect, a respect that aligns most closely with the truth and is the most positive. This is the standard for respecting people, and it comes from God. Is this not a form of culture? (It is.) Should we advocate for this culture? (Yes.) This comes from God; God calls a person directly by their name. God gives you a name, gives you a designation, and then uses this designation to represent you and call you. This is how God treats people. When God created a second person, how did He treat her? God let Adam name her. Adam named her Eve. Did God call her by this name? He did. So, this is a culture that comes from God. God gives each created being a designation, and when He calls out that designation, both humans and God know who is being referred to. This is called respect, this is called equality, this is a standard to measure whether a person is polite, whether there is a sense of decorum in their humanity. Is this accurate? (Yes.) It is indeed accurate. In the Bible, whether it records a certain event or the genealogy of a family, all the characters have names, they have designations. However, there’s one thing I’m not sure if you’ve noticed: The Bible does not use appellations like grandfather, grandmother, uncle, aunt, elder uncle, elder aunt, and so on; it simply uses people’s names. What can you glean from this? What God has set for people, whether it’s regulations or laws, is, in human terms, a kind of tradition that has been passed down among people. And what is this tradition that has been passed down from God? It is something that people should abide by: There is no need for hierarchical titles. In God’s eyes, there aren’t these convoluted familial titles like grandfather, grandmother, elder uncle, younger uncle, elder aunt, younger aunt, and so on. Why are humans so concerned with these hierarchical titles and appellations? What does it mean? God detests these things most. It is always Satan’s kind that are fussing about these. In terms of this traditional culture, there’s one very substantive fact with God: God created all of humankind, and He knows clearly how many families and descendants one person may have; there is no need for any hierarchy. God simply says to be fruitful and multiply, to make your family prosperous—that is all you need to remember. How many descendants each generation has, and how many descendants those descendants have—that’s all there is to it, there is no need for hierarchy. Later generations don’t need to know who their ancestors were, nor do they need to build ancestral halls or temples, much less offer sacrifices or worship them. The Bible records that all who believe in God and follow Him, those who believe in Jehovah, all present offerings before the altar. Everyone in a family comes before God and presents offerings. This is unlike the Chinese, where each family has an ancestral hall filled with memorial tablets for great-great-grandfathers, great-grandfathers, great-grandmothers. In the place where God first began His work, these things do not exist, whereas in places far away from God’s work that are controlled by Satan and evil spirits. In these Buddhist countries, these satanic practices thrive. There, people must worship their ancestors, and everything must be reported to the family, everything must be relayed to the family’s ancestors; even if the ancestors’ ashes are no more, later generations still must offer incense and bow their heads. In modern times, some people who have been exposed to more Western and newer ideas and have broken free from traditional family bonds are unwilling to remain in such families. They feel tightly and rigidly controlled by such families, with elders in the family intervening in almost any matter, especially when it comes to marriage. In China, such things are not uncommon. Satan makes people focus on seniority, and this concept seems to be readily accepted by people, who believe: “Each generation has its rank; those at the top are our ancestors. Once the word ‘ancestor’ is mentioned, people should kneel and worship them like gods.” From childhood, one is influenced, conditioned, and brought up by their family in this way; their young minds are instilled with one thing: that one cannot live in this world without a family, and that leaving the family or breaking free from the bonds of family is a morally reprehensible offense. What does that imply, a morally reprehensible offense? It implies that if you do not listen to your family, you are an unfilial child, and being unfilial means you are not human. Therefore, most people dare not break these familial shackles. Chinese people are severely conditioned, influenced, and controlled by hierarchy, as well as concepts like the Three Obediences and Four Virtues, and the Three Fundamental Bonds and Five Constant Virtues. Young people who don’t properly address their elders as uncles, aunts, grandpa, or grandma are often accused of being rude and uncultured. What does this mean? It means you are considered inferior in this ethnic group, in this society, because you don’t follow social norms, you’re not cultured, and you are worthless. Others are well-dressed, skilled at pretense, and speak with both manners and grace; they are honey-tongued, while you don’t even know to call someone uncle or aunt. People will say you’re uncultured, and look down on you wherever you go. This is the kind of ideology that Chinese people are instilled with. Some children who don’t know how to address people will be harshly scolded or even beaten by their parents. While beating them, some parents will say, “You’re rude, worthless, and uncultured; I might as well just beat you to death! You do nothing but embarrass me, making me lose face in front of people!” Just because the child doesn’t know how to address others, parents would blow the issue out of proportion for the sake of their own face, beating the child severely. What kind of behavior is this? This is outright nonsense! Would you realize these things if I didn’t fellowship this way? Can you, through phenomena you observe in real life, or through reading God’s words, or through your own experiences, gradually and bit by bit see through these matters, and then change the direction of your life, altering the direction of the path you’re on? If you can’t, your insight is lacking. In all matters, using God’s words, God’s work, and God’s demands as the standard is the most correct approach, it is without a single error—this is beyond doubt. Anything that comes from Satan, no matter how much it aligns with human notions or tastes, no matter how decent it appears, is not the truth but a counterfeit.
The purpose of telling this story is to straighten you out, to make you understand what the truth is, what humans gain from believing in God, what it means for God to make people change their dispositions and obtain the truth, and whether the truth spoken by God and His demands have any relation to what one might conceive of, or the thoughts, perspectives, and various understandings that are produced through education and conditioning from one’s national and social environment. You should all dissect these matters yourselves too. Today, our example has only covered one aspect. In fact, in each person’s heart, there is no shortage of things from traditional culture. Some people say: “Since we’re meant to dismiss hierarchy, does that mean I could call my parents by their names?” Is this okay? If you call your parents mother and father, does that mean you’re still observing hierarchy and have fallen back into traditional culture? No. Parents should still be called as they should be; calling them mom and dad is how God has people address them. This is how they ought to be called; it’s just like how your parents call you “kid,” “son,” or “daughter.” So what are you primarily meant to understand by My telling this story? What issue is it mainly addressing? (Our standard for judging things must change; everything should be judged according to God’s words and requirements.) That’s right. Don’t blindly make things up yourself. People always want to create their own “truth.” Whenever they want to do something, they come up with a set of arguments and theories, and then a set of methods, and carry it out regardless of its correctness. They practice this for years, sticking to it doggedly regardless of whether it bears any result, yet still feel they are benevolent, righteous, and kind. They think the things they’re living out are good, and that this garners them praise and admiration, and they wind up increasingly thinking they’re great. People never ponder, try to fathom, or seek what God’s requirements are for each matter, what the principles of action are for doing each thing, and whether they have demonstrated loyalty to God’s commission in the process of doing their duty. They don’t ponder these things; they just ponder those twisted and wicked matters—isn’t this engaging in wickedness? (Yes.) Whoever is outwardly gentle, behaves properly, is educated and follows social norms, is full of talk about benevolence, righteousness, propriety, wisdom, and trustworthiness, and who speaks with refined elegance and says pleasant-sounding things—observe whether or not such a person practices the truth. If they never practice the truth, then they are nothing but hypocrites who feign goodness; they are just like Daming, and not a bit different. What kind of people are those who focus solely on having good behavior and use it to deceive others into praising and admiring them? (Hypocrites.) Do these people understand spiritual matters? (No.) Can people who don’t understand spiritual matters practice the truth? (No.) Why can’t they? (They don’t understand what the truth is, so they just take some outwardly good behavior and things that people see as good as the truth and practice them.) That’s not the main point. No matter how much they don’t understand the truth, don’t they still know some obvious principles of doing things? When you tell them how to perform their duty, can they not understand? Such people have one characteristic: They have no intention of practicing the truth. No matter what you say, they won’t listen to you; they’ll just do and say as they please. We’ve been talking frequently about the various manifestations of antichrists lately. Take a look at those around you: See who has shown some change, and whose behavior and principles of doing things haven’t changed at all, whose hearts remain unmoved no matter how you fellowship with them, and who still don’t change, or intend to change, and continue doing things however they please, even if they are able to link the content of your fellowship to themselves. Have you encountered such people? You have, haven’t you? Why are some leaders and workers removed from their roles? It’s because they don’t practice the truth, they don’t do practical work. They understand all sorts of doctrines, and they persist in their own ways. No matter how you fellowship the truth principles, they still have their own set of rules, clinging to their own views and not listening to anyone. They just do as they wish—you say one thing, they do another. Leaders and workers like this should be removed, right? (Right.) Indeed they should. What path are these people on? (The path of an antichrist.) Walking the path of an antichrist, given enough time, they will become an antichrist themselves. It’s just a matter of how long it will take. If, no matter how you fellowship the truth with them, they still don’t accept it and don’t change at all, then it’s really troublesome, and they’ve already become an antichrist.
What is the biggest inspiration you have gained from the story told today? It should be that it is easy for people to deviate. Why is it easy for people to stray? First, people have corrupt dispositions; second, no matter their age, people are not blank slates in their thoughts and deep within their hearts. So what tips does this story give you? It is easy for people to go astray—that is the first one. Secondly, people tend to adhere to what they believe is good and right as if it were the truth, treating biblical knowledge and spiritual doctrines as God’s words to practice. After understanding these two issues, what new understanding, ideas, or plans do you have for the path you should walk in the future and for each task you have to perform in the future? (When doing things in the future, we should not simply act on what we believe to be right. First, we should consider whether our thoughts align with what God desires, and whether they match God’s requirements. We should find principles for practice in God’s words, and then proceed. Only in this way can we ensure that we are practicing the truth and that the path we are walking in our belief in God is correct.) You must put in effort with regard to God’s words. Stop making your own assumptions. You do not understand spiritual matters; your caliber is poor; and however grand the ideas you come up with are, they are not the truth. Even if you are confident that what you’ve done is flawless and correct, you should still bring it to the brothers and sisters for fellowship and verification, or compare it against relevant words of God. Can you achieve one hundred percent flawlessness in this way? Not necessarily; you may still deviate in your practice, unless you have fully grasped the truth principles and the source of what God has said. That’s one aspect. What’s the second? If people depart from God’s words, no matter how rational or agreeable their actions may seem, they cannot replace the truth. Anything that cannot replace the truth is not the truth, nor is it a positive thing. If it’s not a positive thing, what is it? It’s definitely not something that pleases God, nor is it in line with the truth; it is something that God condemns. What will be the consequences if you do something that God condemns? You’ll make God detest you. All things not coming from God are negative things, they come from Satan. Some people may not understand this; let it come gradually as you gain experience.
Today, we have been solemnly criticizing one thing; what are we criticizing? The matter of referring to an old sow as Auntie Pig, right? Is it shameful to call a pig “Auntie Pig”? (Yes.) It is a shameful matter. People always want to have an honorific title. Where does this “honor” come from? What does “honor” refer to? Is it about seniority? (Yes.) Always wanting to be regarded as an elder, always focusing on seniority—is this good? (No.) Why is focusing on seniority not good? You should analyze what the significance of focusing on seniority is. It’s so simple to just say it like this: “God does not allow people to focus on seniority, so why are you senselessly discussing it? You’re talking nonsense while pretending to be civilized. You never consider the interests of God’s house while performing duty, always betraying them for the sake of your own. When something involves your own interests, you won’t hesitate to betray the interests of God’s house. Who are you trying to fool acting like a good person? Are you worthy of being deemed good?” Would saying it like this be acceptable? (Yes.) What should be said to make it even harsher? “What are you babbling about? You’re just a stupid pig, an imbecile, with no understanding of the truth whatsoever. What are you posing as? You’ve been educated, you’re cultured, and you believe in God. You’ve read so many of God’s words and you still think you believe in God quite well. But in the end, you don’t even know what it means to practice the truth. Aren’t you just a stupid pig, a complete idiot?” That’s all for this story. Let’s now return to the main topic of fellowship.
A Dissection of Antichrists’ Devious, Arbitrary and Dictatorial Behavior and How They Force People to Obey Them
I. A Dissection of Antichrists’ Devious Behavior
Last time we fellowshiped about the fifth item of the manifestations of antichrists—they mislead , draw in, threaten, and control people. Today we will fellowship about item six—they behave in devious ways, they are arbitrary and dictatorial, they never fellowship with others, and they force others to obey them. Is there a difference between this item and item five? In terms of disposition, there’s no major difference; the actions of both are all about seizing power and acting arbitrarily and dictatorially. The dispositions are both wicked, arrogant, intransigent, and vicious; the dispositions are the same. However, item six highlights another prominent manifestation of antichrists, which is that their actions are devious—this pertains to the nature of antichrists’ actions. Now, first let’s discuss the word “devious.” On the surface, is “devious” a derogatory or commendatory word? If someone does something devious, is that thing good or bad? (Bad.) If someone is said to act deviously, is this person good or bad? Clearly, people’s impressions and feelings are that someone who acts deviously is a good-for-nothing jerk. If someone encounters something devious, is it a cause for happiness or does it give them the creeps? (It’s creepy.) This is simply not a good thing. In short, on its surface, “devious” is a derogatory term, whether describing an action itself or a person’s way of acting, none of it is positive; it is certainly negative. Now, let’s first explain what the manifestations of deviousness are. Why is it called devious and not deceitful? What special implication does the word “devious” have here? Deviousness is deeper than deceitfulness. Does it not take longer and is it not more difficult for people to see through someone who acts deviously? (Yes.) This much is obvious. So, use words you can all comprehend to explain the term “devious.” Here, “devious” means sinister and cunning, and it refers to abnormal behavior. This abnormality refers to being deeply hidden and impenetrable to the average person, who can’t see what such people are thinking or doing. In other words, the methods, motives, and starting points of this type of person’s actions are particularly difficult to fathom, and sometimes their behavior is also sneaky and furtive. In short, there is a term that can describe the actual manifestation and state of a person’s deviousness, which is “a lack of transparency,” making them unfathomable and incomprehensible to others. The actions of antichrists have this nature—that is, when you realize and sense that their intentions for doing something are not straightforward, you find it quite terrifying, yet in the short term or for some reason, you still cannot see through their motives and intentions, and you just unconsciously feel that their actions are devious. Why do they give you this kind of feeling? In one respect, it’s because no one can get a feel for what they say or do. Another is that they often talk in a roundabout manner, misdirecting you, eventually making you unsure which of their statements are true and which are false, and what their words actually mean. When they lie, you think it’s the truth; you don’t know which statement is true or false, and you often feel that you’ve been fooled and tricked. Why does this feeling arise? It is because such people never act transparently; you cannot see clearly what they are doing or what they are busy with, inevitably making you suspicious of them. In the end, you see that their disposition is deceitful, sinister, and also wicked. The word “devious” is abstruse and sounds quite unusual to people, but why explain it with such a simple phrase as “a lack of transparency”? There is an implied meaning in this phrase. What is this implied meaning? It’s that antichrists often show you a false image when they want to do something, making it hard for you to see through them. For example, if an antichrist wants to slap your left cheek, they will aim their blow at your right cheek. When you dodge to protect your right cheek, they successfully land the slap on your left cheek, thus achieving their goal. This is deviousness, and being full of schemes—everyone who interacts and has dealings with them is within their calculations. Why are they always calculating? Apart from wanting to control people and occupy a place in their hearts, they also want to reap benefits from everyone. Additionally, you can also discover a kind of wicked disposition in such people: They particularly enjoy exploiting others or leveraging their own strengths to poke fun at others’ weaknesses, and they take pleasure in toying with people. This is a manifestation of their wickedness. In worldly terms, such people are considered shrewd. Ordinary people think, “Only older people can be shrewd. Young people have no experience or worldly wisdom, so how can they be shrewd?” Is this statement correct? No, it’s not. The wicked disposition of antichrists does not depend on age; they are born with this disposition. It’s just that when they are younger and less experienced, their engaging in such machinations may be more elementary and less refined. As they get older, they become watertight, like those old devil kings whose actions are tightly sealed and wholly inscrutable to most people.
I’ve just given a rough explanation of the word “devious,” so now let’s fellowship on the specific states and manifestations of deviousness. Is this not worth fellowshiping? If we don’t fellowship on it, will you be able to discern them? Can you see through them? (No.) It’s not that you absolutely can’t discern or see through them; sometimes you’ll also feel that some particular person is really crafty—so crafty that you end up doing their bidding even after they’ve betrayed you—and that you have to be wary of them. So, what things do antichrists do, and what speech and actions do they reveal in their treatment of brothers and sisters and the people around them that show that they do things in a devious manner and with a wicked disposition? This is worth fellowshiping. When only the word “devious” is explained, people generally find it quite simple; checking the dictionary is probably enough to understand its meaning. But when it comes to which of people’s actions, behaviors, and dispositions are associated with this word and are concrete manifestations and states of this word, it becomes more strenuous and difficult to understand, doesn’t it? First, think about the people, or specific antichrists, that you’ve met and encountered. What actions of theirs made you feel that the nature of this action was related to deviousness, or what everyday words, actions, and behaviors of theirs were related to this? (I once encountered an antichrist who clearly wanted to vie for status and be a leader, but told the brothers and sisters, “We need to report on false leaders and false workers. Only by doing this can we have the work of the Holy Spirit. If we don’t report on and expose false leaders, we cannot obtain the work of the Holy Spirit. We must stand up to jointly safeguard the church’s work.” Acting under the banner of safeguarding the church’s work, he sought ways to gain leverage over the leaders and workers, making a big fuss over minor issues and inciting the brothers and sisters to report on the leaders and workers. His goal was to bring down the leaders and workers so that he would have a chance to become a leader himself. Many brothers and sisters did not discern this and were misled by him. Instead of discerning the problem based on the principles, they seized upon some minor issues and revealed corruptions of the leaders and workers to condemn them, label them, and blow things out of proportion, sending the church into chaos.) Tell Me, is this deviousness? (Yes.) It is exactly that. Why is it devious? He waved the banner of justice to achieve his undisclosed goals, at the same time encouraging others to act while he did not show himself and stayed hidden to observe the outcomes. If things worked out, all the better, and if they didn’t, no one would have seen through him, as he was deeply hidden. This is deviousness—this is one form of its manifestations. He wouldn’t let you know his true thoughts deep down, and if you could guess even a little, he hastily came up with various excuses and arguments to cover them up and defend himself at all costs, fearing that people would see through to the truth. He deliberately complicated matters; this is deviousness. Anyone else? (A few years ago, a band of antichrists emerged in our church and took control, leaving the church’s work in disarray. The Above sent someone to take over the work, but this band of antichrists acted under a guise, saying, “We have our leaders, and we do not accept leaders transferred from other places; we can handle the work ourselves.” As a result, many were misled and listened to the antichrists, refusing to accept the leader arranged by the Above. These antichrists even confined the leader sent by the Above to one place, prohibiting them from interacting with the brothers and sisters and making it impossible for them to lend a hand to the church’s work or to implement any work.) This was awfully devious of the antichrists—what was their hidden motive? They wanted to control the church and establish their own independent kingdom. This is devious; this is the kind of thing that antichrists do.
What are the primary manifestations of antichrists acting deviously? One is a lack of transparency, and another is that they secretly entertain unmentionable schemes. If they were to disclose their plans and intentions to everyone, would they be able to realize them? Certainly not. Why do people who use devious methods do things this way? What is the purpose behind these actions? Up to now, what you have thought of is only control over the church, but some matters do not involve controlling the church or controlling everyone. Misleading the people of a church or of a region is a relatively major matter, so what is the purpose behind the more minor behaviors and actions of antichrists in ordinary times? It is to exploit people and make people expend effort for them to satisfy their interests and for their own ends. While God orchestrates people and rules over their fates, antichrists also wish to dictate people’s fates and manipulate them. But if they were to directly say that they wish to manipulate you, would you agree to it? If they said that they wish to order you around as a slave, would you agree? If they said that they are the leader and you must listen to them, would you agree? You would certainly not agree. Therefore, they have to resort to some unconventional methods so that you unwittingly get exploited by them; this is called being devious. For example, the great red dragon operates in a devious manner, using seemingly legitimate pretexts to mislead people. How did it go about confiscating the assets of landlords and capitalists? Did it establish in writing a policy stating that all assets over a certain amount must be turned over to the state? Would it have worked if it declared this openly? (It wouldn’t have.) Since that wouldn’t have worked, what did it do? It had to find a way that everyone believed to be correct to justifiably confiscate and seize the assets of landlords and capitalists. This disempowered the landlords and capitalists, enriched the state, and consolidated its rule. How did the great red dragon do that? (By attacking landlords and redistributing land.) It waved the banners of “attacking landlords and redistributing land” and “equality for all,” and then concocted stories like “The White-Haired Girl” to frame and condemn all the landlords and capitalists. It used the power of public opinion and propaganda to indoctrinate people with these fallacious ideas, making all those who were uninformed think that landlords and capitalists were bad and not equal to the working masses, that now the people were the masters of their own country, that the state belonged to the people, that these few individuals shouldn’t own so much wealth, and that it should be confiscated and redistributed to everyone. Under the incitement of such so-called good, correct, and pro-poor people ideologies and theories, people were misled and blinded, and they started combatting local tycoons and attacking landlords and capitalists. And what was the final outcome? Some of these landlords and capitalists were beaten to death, some were maimed, and some fled far away. In short, the end result was that the great red dragon got its way. These foolish and ignorant masses were gradually guided under such scams to achieve the goals that these devils wanted. Similarly, antichrists also adopt such devious methods when they do things. For instance, when an antichrist is paired with someone in a leadership role, and sees that this person has a sense of justice, understands the truth, and can discern them, they start to feel uncertain: “Could this guy undermine me behind my back? Is he up to something behind the scenes? Why can’t I pin him down? Is he on my side or not? Could he report me to the Above?” With these thoughts in mind, they start to worry that their status is not safe, don’t they? So what do they do next? Do they directly punish that person? Some antichrists would take action against that kind of person openly, but the more devious sort would not do it directly. Instead, they would start by talking to a few relatively weaker, muddle-headed, and undiscerning brothers and sisters, questioning them and probing them discretely: “So-and-so has been a believer for over a decade, so his faith should have some foundation, right?” Someone might reply: “He does have quite a foundation. In all those years of believing in God, he’s forsaken his family and his career; his faith is greater than ours. Pairing with him should be quite good for you.” The antichrist would say: “Yeah, it’s pretty good, but he never mingles with the other brothers and sisters. He doesn’t seem very sociable.” Another person might add: “That’s not the case—he pursues the truth more than we do. We often chat together, but he mostly spends his time reading God’s words, listening to sermons, and learning hymns, and when he’s with us he fellowships God’s words.” Hearing these favorable and approving comments about this person, the antichrist feels that they can’t say much more, so they shift the topic, saying: “He has believed in God for many years and has more experience than us. We should interact more with him in the future and not isolate him.” Hearing this, the others still don’t discern anything. Seeing that the majority of people speak highly of that individual, the antichrist, unable to achieve their motives, says no more on the subject. Later, the antichrist finds another group of people and asks: “Do you ever see so-and-so reading God’s words? I get the impression he’s always fellowshiping with others and looking busy on the surface; why doesn’t he ever read God’s words?” This group is more perceptive, and they catch the undertone and think, “Seems like there’s discord between these two; they’re trying to get us to undermine that person and exclude him.” So, they reply: “Yeah, he’s always busy with unimportant tasks, always reading too much into people and things. He rarely reads God’s words, and on the occasion that he does, he just ends up falling asleep; I’ve noticed it quite a few times.” From their talks with the first group of people and the second, what kind of disposition is present in the antichrist’s words? Isn’t it wicked? (Yes.) What are the nature and means of their actions? They are devious. The first group of people didn’t realize what the antichrist was trying to do, while the second group caught a glimpse of what was going on, and then went along with what they said. Seeing that the second group followed what they said and could be drawn in, the antichrist wants to use this group to get rid of their partner. This train of thought is devious. After all sorts of persuading, the second group is misled and drawn in, and says: “Since that person doesn’t meet the principles and conditions for being a church leader, I suppose we shouldn’t vote for him as leader next time, right?” This group is quite treacherous, and after they speak, they observe the antichrist’s attitude. The antichrist says: “That won’t do; it would be unfair. This is the house of God, not society!” Upon hearing this, they ask: “That really won’t work? Then what should we do? We’ll vote for him next time, then.” The antichrist immediately says, “Voting for him won’t work either.” See? No matter what they say, it’s not right; this is a problem. In fact, the antichrist just wants to lead these people onto their path, digging a hole for them to fall into. In the end, after listening to this and that, these people figure out the antichrist’s intentions: “Let’s just have a fair election. He doesn’t have much going for him, so he might not be chosen anyway.” The antichrist is pleased. Take a look: Here’s a wolf and some foxes, and they’re banding together to act hand in glove. This is the principle and nature of the actions taken by the antichrist and the forces that follow them in the church; this is their manifestation. The people who follow the antichrists say, “So let’s vote. Besides, he’s not that great; if we vote, he might not even be chosen.” Is something fishy here? Are they planning something? They’ve already detected the clues from each other’s words, but no one directly says what to do; there is a tacit understanding between them, and everyone gets it. On the surface, the antichrist doesn’t directly instruct anyone not to choose their partner, and the people below them also don’t say, “We won’t choose him; we’ll choose you.” Why don’t they say it outright? It’s because neither wants to give the other any leverage. Isn’t this devious? It is sheer wickedness. They listen to the tone of each other’s speech, but no one speaks directly, and in the end, a consensus is reached. This is called a satanic dialogue. Among them, there is one “fool” who, after listening, still doesn’t understand and asks the others whether they will vote for that person or not. How does the antichrist reply? If they say, “Do as you see fit,” it would be too obvious. Such a reply carries a nature of threat and inducement; wicked people don’t speak like this. Instead, they say: “Doesn’t God’s house have work arrangements? Vote for who you should; if someone shouldn’t be chosen, don’t vote for them.” Isn’t this speaking ambiguously? They use a seemingly legitimate pretext, saying: “You must act according to the principles; you can’t listen to me. What I say doesn’t matter. I am not the principles; God’s words are the principles.” The “fool” hears this and thinks, “If we are to act according to the principles, then I’ll vote for him.” Seeing that this person is foolish and could mess up their plans, the group collectively throws them out, not allowing the “fool” to stay among them. In the end, when the “fool” keeps asking whether they should vote for that person or not, someone says: “Let’s talk about it later. We’ll determine it based on his performance.” Is there any decisiveness in these words? Any component of honesty? (No.) Then what is actually in these words? These words convey their wicked disposition, as well as their undisclosed motives, intentions, and objectives. They include the secret conspiracy among themselves—the wolf and the foxes—to get rid of the person who is an eyesore to the antichrist. Why is it that this group of people can act like this? Apart from being governed by their wicked disposition, the reason they can do so is that their higher-up, the antichrist, doesn’t like that person. If they vote for him, and the antichrist finds out, the result will not be good. So, for them, the most urgent and crucial thing to do, the most advantageous thing to do, is to not vote for that person. They all listen to the antichrist; whatever the antichrist says, in whatever direction their words turn, these people follow, casting aside the truth principles and God’s words. You see, as long as an antichrist appears, there will inevitably be those who obey them. As long as an antichrist acts, some people will accompany and follow them—there is no antichrist who acts all alone and in isolation.
What was just discussed was one of the manifestations of how antichrists act deviously. The deviousness mentioned here refers to antichrists having their own purposes and motivations in what they do, but they will not tell you nor let you see it. When you discover it, they will go to great lengths to cover it up, using various means to mislead you, to alter your perception of them. This is the devious aspect of antichrists. If their motives were easily exposed, widely publicized, and shared with everyone, letting people know, would that be devious? That wouldn’t be devious; what would it be? (Foolish.) Not foolish—it would be arrogance to the point of forfeiting reason. Antichrists are devious in their behavior. How are they devious? They behave always in a way that depends on trickery, and their words give nothing away, so it is hard for people to fathom their intentions and goals. That is devious. They do not come easily to conclusions in anything they say or do; they make it so that their subordinates and listeners can sense their intent, and those people, having understood the antichrist, act according to their agenda and motivations and carry out their orders. If a task is completed, the antichrist is happy. If it is not, no one can find anything to hold against them, or fathom the motivations, intentions, or goals behind what they do. The deviousness of what antichrists do lies in hidden plots and secret goals, all meant to deceive, toy with, and control everyone else. This is the essence of devious behavior. Deviousness is not simple lying or doing something bad; instead, it involves bigger intents and goals, which are unfathomable to ordinary people. If you have done something you do not want anyone to know about, and tell a lie, does that count as deviousness? (No.) That is just deceitfulness, and it does not rise to the level of deviousness. What makes deviousness deeper than deceitfulness? (People cannot fathom it.) It is difficult for people to fathom it. That is one part of it. What else? (People do not have anything to hold against a devious person.) That is right. The point is that it is hard for people to find anything to hold against them. Even if some people know that person has done bad things, they cannot determine whether they are a good person or a bad person, an evil person or an antichrist. People cannot see through them, but think they are good, and can be misled by them. That is deviousness. People are prone in general to telling lies and hatching little plots. That is just deceitfulness. But antichrists are more sinister than common deceitful people. They are like the devil kings; no one can fathom what they do. They can do many evil things in the name of justice, and they harm people, but people still sing their praises. This is called deviousness.
There was an incident in the past where a leader, during contact and fellowship with the Above, was informed about some of the work plans of the house of God. At that time, the work arrangement hadn’t been formally issued yet. After returning, he began to show off, but you couldn’t tell it was showing off. He was speaking very seriously during a gathering, and suddenly, in the middle of his fellowship, he said something that no one had heard before: “Up to now, each step of God’s work has been completed, and people have basically stabilized. Starting from next month, we will expand the preaching of the gospel, so we need to establish gospel teams. How should gospel teams be established? There are some details in this….” When others heard this, they thought, “Where did these words come from? The Above hasn’t issued any work arrangements yet. How does he know? He must have foresight!” They were worshiping him, no? People’s attitude toward him changed immediately. All he did was mention establishing gospel teams but didn’t do any specific work afterward—he just shouted empty slogans. Of course, he had his purpose for shouting empty slogans; he was showing himself off, wanting people to think highly of him, to worship him. Not long after, the work arrangement from the Above was issued. When the brothers and sisters saw it, they were amazed and said, “Incredible! Isn’t this prophetic? How did you know about this? You understand the truth better than us; your stature is greater. Our stature is too small. When it’s time to expand the gospel, you had already told us, while we were numb and unaware. Look, doesn’t what you fellowshiped align with the work arrangement from the Above? It’s a coincidental match, and it’s been verified now.” Through this incident, everyone worshiped him even more, and not just ordinarily, but with complete submission, almost to the point of kneeling and bowing before him. Most people didn’t know about this matter; if he didn’t speak of it himself, no one would know, only God knows it. It was such an obvious matter, and he didn’t reveal it to anyone, choosing instead to deceive them so brazenly. Is this behavior considered devious? (Yes.) Why did he deceive others like this? Why could he behave and act in this way? What was he really thinking in his heart? He wanted people to see him as different, to think that he was not an ordinary person. Is this something that should be found in normal humanity? (No.) Such a person’s actions are disgusting and shameless. Would you consider this devious? (Yes.) Besides being devious, it’s also somewhat disgusting.
Among the antichrists, there is a type of person who has never been heard saying anything wrong or seen doing anything wrong; what they do and how they act are generally considered good and are approved by everyone. They often wear a smile, with a countenance like a merciful saint, never dealing with or pruning anyone. No matter what mistakes people make, they always tolerate them with a heart as forgiving as a loving mother’s. They never handle those in the church who violate the administrative decrees, cause disruptions and disturbances, or commit evil deeds. Is it because they can’t see or discern these things? No, it’s neither; they can see and discern them, but in their heart, they believe that if these people were cleansed away and the church became peaceful, filled only with honest people who pursue the truth and sincerely expend themselves for God, then they themselves would be easily discerned and might not be able to have a foothold in the church anymore. Thus, they keep these people around, letting the evildoers continue to do evil, the liars to keep lying, and the disturbers to keep disturbing, ensuring through these disturbances that the church is never at peace, and thereby securing their own status. So, as soon as someone is to be expelled, dealt with, isolated, or removed from their position, what do they say? “We must give people a chance to repent. Who doesn’t have shortcomings or corruption? Who hasn’t made mistakes? We must learn tolerance.” The brothers and sisters ponder this over and say, “We are tolerant of those who truly believe in God and have transgressions or who are foolish and ignorant, but we do not tolerate evil people. He is an evil person.” The antichrist responds, “How is he an evil person? He just occasionally says harsh words; that’s not evil. People who commit murder and arson in the world, they are the real evil people.” But what does the antichrist really think? “He’s an evil person? Is he as evil as me? You haven’t seen what I’ve done, you don’t know what I’m thinking inside. If you did, wouldn’t you cleanse me away? Thinking of cleansing him away? Not a chance! I won’t let you handle him. Whoever tries, I will be furious with them, I will make things very difficult for them! Whoever tries to handle him, I will expel!” But would they say this out loud? No, they wouldn’t. What do they do then? They first calm the situation, stabilizing the state of affairs, appearing capable of leading the church and able to balance various forces, so that the church can’t do without them. In this way, isn’t their position secured? Once their position is secure, isn’t their livelihood preserved? This is what is called being devious. That’s why most people can’t see through such individuals. Why not? They never speak the truth, nor do they act lightly. Whatever the Above asks them to do, they go through the motions; whatever books need to be distributed, they send them out; they maintain the few gatherings a week, and don’t monopolize the fellowship during gatherings. On the surface, everything seems perfect and flawless, leaving no room for criticism. But there’s one thing you can discern: They never handle evil people. On the contrary, they protect them, constantly covering up and defending them. Isn’t this devious? What is the devious aspect of their behavior here, what is the focus? These must be made clear. They never speak the truth, always telling lies to deceive God’s house. They see evil people committing evil but don’t handle them, always smoothing things over and practicing patience and tolerance. What is their motive for doing these things? Is it genuinely to help people complement each other’s strengths and be tolerant of each other? (No.) Then what is their aim? They want to solidify their own influence, to stabilize their status. They know that once evil people are cleansed away, they will be the next one to go; this is what they fear. Therefore, they keep the evil people around; as long as they are there, the antichrist’s status is secure. If the evil people were cleansed away, the antichrist would be finished. Evil people are their protective umbrella, their shield. So, no matter who exposes the evil people or suggests they should be cleansed away, they disagree, saying, “They can still do their duties, they can still offer money; at the very least they can still render service!” They find reasons and excuses to defend the evil people, and, typically, people without discernment can’t see the malicious intent hidden within them, they are unable to discern it.
Are there any other instances where the devious actions of an antichrist left a deep impression on you? Someone share. (There was a sister who was the leader of a gospel team, and every month she managed to gain some people, some of whom were unbelievers. The antichrist interpreted a work arrangement out of context, saying that preaching the gospel should mainly target denominational people, with unbelievers being secondary, and that if the main focus was on unbelievers, it was a serious violation of the work arrangement. He even used God’s words from “A Warning to Those Who Do Not Practice the Truth” to dissect this behavior. Then he had everyone vote, asking, “Can such a person still be in charge?” At that time, many in the church were new believers of just one or two years and couldn’t discern, so they felt that violating the work arrangement was serious and agreed to replace the sister. The sister became very negative at that time; after being dissected and condemned by this antichrist, she felt she was an antichrist herself, would definitely be cast out by God, and she became extremely negative, not wanting to live. Moreover, this antichrist also withheld some sermons and fellowships from the Above, not letting us listen. He claimed that the fellowship from the Above was very harsh and that we, as new believers with small stature, would develop notions after listening. On the surface, it seemed like he was looking out for us, but in actuality, he was afraid that if we listened to the sermons from the Above, we would be able to discern him, and then he wouldn’t be able to control us. He used these seemingly sensible methods to manipulate and dupe people, making it seem like what he did was logical and according to the work arrangements of God’s house.) This incident can certainly be described as devious. The consistent practices of anyone who is considered an antichrist are always the same, not varying in the slightest, with the same intentions and aimed at the same goals in whatever they do. Doesn’t this prove that antichrists are indeed demons, evil spirits? (Yes.) Absolutely. Describing the actions of antichrists—these demons and evil spirits—as devious is perfectly apt and not at all an exaggeration.
After these examples, you should have gained some insight; have you begun to develop some discernment about the devious actions of antichrists? Anything that involves devious behavior, with hidden intentions and motives, is not the actions of a normal person, not the actions of an honest person, and certainly not the actions of one who pursues the truth. Are the things they do practicing the truth? Are they upholding the interests of God’s house? (No.) So, what are they doing? They are disrupting and dismantling the church’s work, committing evil; they are not following God’s way, nor are they upholding the work of God’s house. What they do is not the church’s work; they are merely using the guise of doing the church’s work to pursue their own agenda, essentially safeguarding their personal interests and those of Satan. Are there any other examples? (In 2015, a work arrangement was issued from the Above, instructing us to use the article from “the Awakened” to fellowship on discerning false leaders and distinguishing between true and false churches. There was a leader in the church who had just been replaced, who said that we were new to believing in God and of small stature, and that we comprehended the Above’s work arrangement too superficially—God’s actions are unfathomable, and the Above issued this arrangement with a deeper meaning. He also said, “Regarding the truths of discerning false leaders and antichrists, the Above has previously provided a lot of fellowship and explained it very clearly. If it were simply about discerning false leaders and antichrists, would there be a need to issue another work arrangement?” Afterward, he took sections out of context from past work arrangements, sermons, and fellowships from the Above, compiling tens of thousands of words of material to mislead the brothers and sisters, leading us to discern “the Awakened” instead. At that time, we were misled and did not focus on discerning false leaders and antichrists. Later, this person was revealed as an antichrist. He feared that if everyone started discerning false leaders and antichrists, they would uncover his evil deeds and discern him, so he deliberately misguided us to discern “the Awakened” instead.) This was sleight of hand, a tactic of misdirection, creating a diversion to shift your focus so that no one would pay attention to him. Doesn’t this method sound familiar? When the great red dragon faces a crisis, such as internal turmoil within its political system or the public planning strikes or rebellions, it uses this same tactic—diverting attention. It employs this method often. Whenever a crisis emerges, it incites panic about war, fostering patriotism, then incessantly plays movies about wars of resistance and patriotism, or spreads fake news to stir up nationalist sentiments to divert attention. The great red dragon does these things with ulterior motives, harboring unspoken aims—this is called devious behavior. Who is the forebear of the antichrists? It’s the great red dragon, the devil. The nature of their actions is exactly the same, as if they are in cahoots with each other. Where do the antichrists’ schemes and methods come from? They were taught by their forebears, devils and Satan. Satan dwells within them, so operating in a devious manner is quite normal for them; it fully reveals they have the nature of an antichrist.
(God, I want to share an example. This case of an antichrist occurred in the Jijin pastoral area. It was around the spring of 2012. An antichrist named An spread many fallacies in various churches and even wrote a booklet titled “What God Cares About Most Before Leaving the Earth,” which he distributed privately to all the churches. He claimed that what God cares about most before leaving is whether God’s chosen people will listen to the man used by the Holy Spirit after He leaves, so we should understand God’s intentions; and that now, just reading the sermons, fellowships, and work arrangements of the man used by the Holy Spirit is enough, replacing the need to eat and drink of God’s words. As a result, many brothers and sisters were misled; they stopped eating and drinking of God’s words, which was the goal the antichrist sought to achieve. The insidiousness of the antichrist lied in that, under the guise of bearing witness to the man used by the Holy Spirit, he led people away from God’s words, abandoning the eating and drinking of God’s word, while also making people feel that he deeply understood God’s heart. He had thought of what God cares about before leaving, so people held him in high regard and worshiped him.) Why did he exalt the man used by the Holy Spirit? The man used by the Holy Spirit is human, and so is he. By exalting the man used by the Holy Spirit, he was actually getting people to worship and exalt him; that was his goal. We can’t just judge if what he said was right or wrong; we need to look at the consequences and objectives his words achieved; that is key. So, his purpose in exalting the man used by the Holy Spirit was actually to exalt himself; that was his aim. He knew that exalting the man used by the Holy Spirit would surely not be objected to by anyone, and people would agree with him and exalt him. But if he directly exalted and bore witness to himself, people could expose, discern, and reject him. Therefore, the antichrist employed the tactic of exalting the man used by the Holy Spirit to achieve self-exaltation and self-testimony; this was the insidiousness of the antichrist. The antichrist An’s actions were very devious, people were easily misled by them—this is a typical antichrist incident. God’s chosen people should learn to discern from this antichrist case, understand the devious aspects of antichrists, as well as the common methods and means they use to achieve the consequence of misleading people. Understanding these is greatly beneficial for people to discern antichrists. Who else has an example to share?
(God, I also have an antichrist case to share. This incident occurred in the Henan pastoral area. Around 2011, the antichrist Yu, a false leader who’d been replaced, was assigned by the church to oversee cleansing work because she had some gifts and work experience. At that time, a work arrangement was issued from the Above to thoroughly expose and abolish false leaders and antichrists. Yu, who was fond of status, saw this as an opportunity for a comeback. Under the guise of implementing the work arrangement, she continuously fellowshiped with the brothers and sisters to follow the stream of the Holy Spirit’s work and focus on discerning false leaders and antichrists. However, she didn’t fellowship the principles for discerning them but instead led us to focus our attention on the leaders and workers. At every gathering, she would ask the brothers and sisters to speak about the performance of the leaders and workers. After we spoke, she would seize upon some deviations and revealed corrupt dispositions in their work, escalating the nature of these issues, directly labeling them as false leaders, and replacing them. Afterward, she would continually testify to the brothers and sisters about how she abolished these false leaders and workers, making them feel she was discerning and capable in her work. In actuality, she aimed to use the dismissal of these leaders and workers as an opportunity to make her comeback and continue as a leader. Misled by Yu, the brothers and sisters, upon seeing the leaders’ and workers’ revealed corruption and deviations in their work, started to wonder if they were false leaders, and even questioned the church’s leaders at all levels, failing to cooperate normally with the work of the leaders and workers. Many leaders and workers of small stature were also greatly constrained, living in a state of passivity and caution, unable to do their duties normally, which led to chaos in the church. At that time, many people worshiped this antichrist, and about a dozen churches were misled and controlled by this antichrist. Even after this antichrist was revealed, some people still couldn’t discern her, believing she was upholding the church’s work, and some even stood up for her.) What happened to those brothers and sisters who were misled later? (Through fellowship and help, some gained discernment of the antichrist and were rescued, while some, no matter how others fellowshiped with them, remained obstinate and determined to follow the antichrist, and these people were eventually cast out.) Do most people now discern this antichrist? (They do have some discernment now.) Those who remain stubborn and unchangeable deserve to perish; this is the outcome of following an antichrist.
We just fellowshiped about various manifestations of the devious actions of antichrists. Now, let’s do a summary: What is the essence and disposition expressed by such behavior of antichrists? (Wickedness.) It is a disposition primarily characterized by wickedness. Can we then say that people with a wicked disposition usually act deviously, and those who act deviously have a very wicked disposition? (Yes.) Is this logical reasoning? While it seems somewhat like reasoning on the surface, in fact, this is exactly how things are—people with a wicked disposition often operate in devious ways. The nature essence of antichrists acting deviously originates from Satan; it is quite clear they are akin to devils and Satan. By observing how antichrists act, you can understand how devils and Satan operate. The real devils and Satan, the great red dragon, act even more severely than this. Even a mere antichrist can act so deviously, with such clever tactics, speaking without leaving any loopholes, making it impossible for anyone to find a flaw or catch them out. How much more so for the old devils and Satan! When considered from the perspective of the devious behavior of antichrists, ordinary people without status, who rarely communicate or open up to others, who act without transparency and don’t want others to know what they are thinking about or considering doing deep inside and their intentions in acting, who keep themselves deeply hidden and tightly wrapped up—wouldn’t their speech and actions also have a hint of deviousness? If such people are not classified as antichrists, then they are certainly walking the path of an antichrist. This is certain. Those who walk the path of an antichrist, if they do not accept being dealt with and pruned, nor heed others’ suggestions, and even more so do not accept the truth, once they gain status, will inevitably become antichrists; it’s just a matter of time. If some people have such a wicked disposition and have once walked the path of an antichrist, showing some similarities to an antichrist, but after accepting being dealt with and pruned, they repent, can accept the truth, abandon their previous path, and can turn around and practice the truth, what will the result be? Such a transformation will distance them further from the path of an antichrist, making it easier for them to enter the right track of believing in God, and they will then have hope of being saved. That’s all for the fellowship on the manifestations of how antichrists act deviously; the next manifestation to fellowship about is how they are arbitrary and dictatorial.
II. A Dissection of Antichrists’ Arbitrary and Dictatorial Behavior, and How They Force People to Obey Them
Antichrists act in an arbitrary and dictatorial manner, never fellowshiping or conferring with others, doing however they please, and forcing others to obey them. It can be said that no matter what antichrists do, whatever arrangements they make or decisions they take, they do not fellowship with others, do not reach a consensus, do not seek the truth to resolve problems, and do not seek the principles that should be applied in doing their duties. Moreover, they do not allow people to understand why they are doing things in a certain way, leaving people confused and obligated to listen to them. If someone does not understand and asks them about it, the antichrist is unwilling to fellowship or explain. What status does the antichrist want to maintain in this matter? No one is allowed to know the details; no one has the right to be informed. They do whatever they want, and what they think is right must be implemented thoroughly. Others have no right to question, much less are they qualified to work in coordination with them; they only have the role of obeying and submitting. How does the antichrist view this? “Since you chose me as a leader, you are under my management and must listen to me. If you don’t want to listen to me, then you shouldn’t have chosen me. If you choose me, you have to listen to me. I have the final say in everything!” In their eyes, what is the relationship between them and the brothers and sisters? They are the one who gives orders. The brothers and sisters cannot analyze right from wrong, cannot inquire, and are not allowed to accuse, discern, question, or doubt them; all of these are forbidden. The antichrist only needs to propose plans, statements, and methods, and everyone must applaud and agree without questioning. Isn’t this a bit coercive? What kind of tactic is this? It’s arbitrary and dictatorial. What kind of disposition is this? (Vicious.) On the surface, “arbitrary” refers to making decisions alone, having the final say; and “dictatorial” means that after making a judgment or decision on one’s own, everyone else must execute it without the right to have differing opinions or statements, nor even to ask questions. Being arbitrary and dictatorial means that when faced with a situation, they ponder and consider it themselves before making a decision on what to do. They independently make decisions behind the scenes about how to do things, without anyone else’s input; even their own co-workers, collaborators or higher-level leaders cannot interfere—this is what it means to be arbitrary and dictatorial. No matter what situation they face, those who act in this manner consistently proceed by mulling things over in their minds and racking their brains in deliberation, never conferring with others. They think this way and that in their heads, but what they are actually thinking, no one knows. Why does no one know? Because they don’t say. Some people might think it’s just because they are not talkative, but is that really the case? This isn’t a matter of personality; it’s an intentional choice to keep others in the dark. They want to do things on their own, they have their own calculations. What are they calculating? Their calculations revolve around their own interests, status, fame, gain, and prestige. They ponder how to act in their own favor, how to protect their status and reputation from harm, how to act without letting others see through them, and crucially, how to conceal their actions from the Above, hoping to eventually receive benefit without revealing any flaws to anyone. They think, “If I have a momentary slip-up and say something wrong, everyone will see through me. If someone speaks out of turn and reports me to the Above, the Above might replace me, and I will lose my status. Besides, if I always fellowship with others, won’t my limited abilities be evident to all? Might others look down on me?” Now, tell Me, if they were really seen through, would that be good or bad? Actually, for those who pursue the truth, for honest people, being seen through and losing some face or reputation doesn’t matter much. They don’t seem very concerned with these things; they seem to be less overtly conscious of them and don’t place too much stock in them. But antichrists are the exact opposite; they don’t pursue the truth, and they regard their status and others’ perceptions and attitudes toward them as more important than life itself. Asking them to speak their minds or the truth is exceedingly difficult; even offering many benefits might not suffice. If they were asked to reveal their secrets or private matters, that would be even harder—they might not even do it at the cost of their life. What kind of nature is this? Can such a person accept the truth? Can they be saved? Definitely not. After all, “A leopard can’t change its spots.”
Antichrists place special importance on their self-worth, status, face, and anything that can maintain their power. You fellowship with them, saying, “In doing the church’s work, whether it’s external matters or internal administration, personnel adjustments, or anything else, you must fellowship with the brothers and sisters. The first step in learning to cooperate with others is to learn to fellowship. Fellowship isn’t idle talk or solely expressing your own negativity or rebellion against God. You shouldn’t release your negative or rebellious states to influence others. The main point is to fellowship about how to find principles in God’s words and understand the truth.” However, no matter how you fellowship the truth, it cannot move them or make them change their principles and direction in how they operate and conduct themselves. What kind of disposition is this? To put it mildly, it’s intransigence; to put it strongly, it’s viciousness. In fact, calling it vicious is apt. Consider a wolf with a sheep in its jaws, enjoying its prey; if you negotiate with it, saying, “I’ll give you a rabbit instead, and you let the sheep go, okay?” it won’t agree. You say, “I’ll give you a cow, how’s that?” It absolutely won’t agree. It will eat the sheep first, and then go for the cow. It’s not satisfied with just one; it wants both. What kind of disposition is this? (Insatiably greedy and extremely vicious.) It’s all too vicious! Similarly, regarding the extremely vicious disposition of antichrists, fellowshiping the truth, dealing with and pruning, or advising them doesn’t work. None of it can change their deep-seated pursuit of status or their desire to control others, unless you attract them with a higher status or greater benefits. Otherwise, the prey that is already in their mouths, they absolutely will not let go. What does this absolute refusal to let go mean? It means that once they have a certain status, they will use this opportunity to vigorously perform and showcase themselves. Showcase what? Their various talents and gifts, their background, education, worth, and their status in society, boasting and flaunting how capable and skilled they are, how they can toy with and manipulate people, how they can drive people. Those without the truth or discernment, upon hearing this, feel such antichrists are so impressive; they themselves feel inferior, and they willingly submit to the antichrist’s control.
Some antichrists are particularly cunning and deep in their scheming. They adhere to a supreme satanic philosophy, which is to rarely speak up in any situation and to not readily express their stance in any situation they face, speaking only when absolutely compelled to do so. They simply observe everyone’s actions attentively, as if their purpose is to thoroughly understand and see through those around them before speaking or acting. They first identify who can be their prey and become their helper, and who they need to guard against as their “political enemy.” Sometimes they don’t speak or take a stance, remaining silent, yet they are pondering and calculating internally; these individuals are cunning at heart and rarely speak out. Would you say such a person is quite sinister? If they don’t often speak out, how can you discern them? Is it easy to see through them? It is very difficult. Such people’s hearts are completely filled with satanic philosophy. Isn’t this devious? Antichrists believe that if they talk too much, constantly expressing their views and fellowshiping with others, everyone will see through them; they will think the antichrist lacks depth, is just an ordinary person, and won’t respect them. What does losing respect mean to the antichrist? It means the loss of their esteemed status in the hearts of others, appearing mediocre, ignorant, and ordinary. This is what antichrists do not hope to see. Therefore, when they see others in the church always opening up and admitting their negativity, rebellion against God, the mistakes they made yesterday, or the unbearable pain they feel from not being honest today, the antichrist considers these people foolish and naive, as they never admit such things themselves, keeping their thoughts hidden. Some people speak infrequently because of poor caliber or simple-mindedness, a lack of complex thoughts, but when antichrists speak infrequently, it’s not for the same reason; it’s a problem of disposition. They rarely speak when meeting others and don’t readily express their views on matters. Why don’t they express their views? Firstly, they certainly lack the truth and can’t see through things. If they speak, they might make mistakes and be seen through themselves; they fear being looked down upon, so they pretend to be silent and feign profundity, making it hard for others to gauge them, appearing wise and distinguished. With this facade, people dare not underestimate the antichrist, and seeing their seemingly calm and composed exterior, they hold them in even higher regard and dare not slight them. This is the devious and wicked aspect of antichrists. They don’t readily express their views because most of their views are not in line with the truth, but are merely human notions and imaginings, not worthy of being brought out into the open. So, they remain silent. Inside they hope to obtain some light which they can release to gain admiration, but since they lack this, they stay quiet and hidden during fellowship of the truth, lurking in the shadows like a ghost waiting for an opportunity. When they find others speaking forth the light, they figure out ways to make it their own, expressing it in another manner to show off. This is how cunning antichrists are. No matter what they do, they strive to stand out and be superior, as only then do they feel pleased. If they don’t have the opportunity, they first lie low, and keep their views to themselves. This is the cunningness of antichrists. For example, when a sermon is issued by God’s house, some people say it seems like God’s words, and others think it seems more like a fellowship from the Above. Relatively simple-hearted people speak what’s on their mind, but antichrists, even if they have an opinion about this, keep it hidden. They observe and are prepared to follow the majority view, but in actuality they can’t thoroughly grasp it themselves. Can such slick and crafty people understand the truth or have real discernment? What can someone who doesn’t understand the truth see through? They can’t see through anything. Some people can’t see through things yet pretend to be profound; actually, they lack discernment and fear others will see through them. The correct attitude in such situations is: “We can’t see through this matter. Since we don’t know, we shouldn’t speak carelessly. Speaking incorrectly can have a negative impact. I will wait and see what the Above says.” Isn’t that speaking honestly? It’s such simple language, and yet why don’t antichrists say it? They don’t want to be seen through, knowing their own limitations; but behind this there is also a despicable intention—to be admired. Isn’t this what’s most disgusting? After everyone has spoken, seeing that most say it’s God’s words and a few say it’s not, the antichrist also feels the sermon may not be God’s words, but they don’t state it outright. They say, “I can’t rush to judgment on this matter; I’ll go with the majority.” They don’t admit their lack of insight, instead using this approach to disguise and conceal, all the while thinking that they’re very wise, that their methods are brilliant. Then, two days later, when God’s house announces the sermon was God’s words, the antichrist immediately says, “See, what did I tell you? I knew it was God’s words all along, but I was worried about the weakness of those of you who didn’t recognize them, so I couldn’t say it. If I had said it was God’s words, wouldn’t I have been condemning you? How sad you would have been! Could I be at ease knowing how weak you are? What kind of leader would I be then?” Such a master of disguise! There are intentions and aims behind everything antichrists say; whenever they open their mouths, it’s to boast about themselves, to flaunt their achievements, past good deeds, and past glories. Whenever they speak, it’s about these things. Those who can’t see through them idolize them, while those who can see through them find them extremely insidious and deceitful—the antichrist never admits their shortcomings. Antichrists operate in secrecy and speak equivocally; most of what they say is nonsense, and they are unable to see through anything or understand any truth. Worse, they pretend to understand the truth despite not understanding any and want to be involved in everything, wanting to make decisions and have the final say in all matters, leaving those around them without any right to know. What situation does this ultimately lead to? Everyone who cooperates with them or does duty with them feels that while they seem loyal and willing to pay the price on the surface, it’s not really the case. Even those who have been close to the antichrist for years can’t see through them or know what they’re truly capable of—most people can’t see through them. What they say is all falsehoods and empty words, duplicitous and deceptive words. They want to be involved in everything and make all the decisions, but once they have decided, they don’t take any responsibility for the possible repercussions, and they come up with reasons to excuse this behavior. After deciding, they let others do the work, while they move on to interfere in other matters. As for whether the original matter is followed up on, whether it’s implemented, the effectiveness of the execution, whether most others have any opinions about the approach, whether it harms the interests of God’s house, or whether the brothers and sisters have discernment about it, they don’t care, acting as if it’s not their concern, that it has nothing to do with them—they show not the slightest care. What is the only thing they care about? They care only about matters in which they can show off and gain admiration from others; they never miss opportunities to do so. In their work, they do nothing but give orders and enforce regulations. They are only capable of playing power games and manipulating people, while being self-satisfied and thinking they are accomplished in their work. They are completely unaware of the consequences of their way of working—they are harming God’s chosen people, causing disruptions and disturbances in the church’s work. They are obstructing the carrying out of God’s will, and trying to establish their own independent kingdom.
“Being arbitrary and dictatorial, never fellowshiping with others, and forcing others to obey them”—what primarily does this behavior of antichrists signify? Their disposition is wicked and vicious, and they possess an exceptionally strong desire to control others, exceeding the bounds of normal human rationality. Additionally, what is their understanding or view and attitude toward the duty they perform? How does this differ from those who genuinely perform their duty? Those who genuinely perform their duty seek principles for what they do, which is a fundamental requirement. But how do antichrists apprehend the duty they perform? What disposition and essence are revealed through their performance of duty? They stand in a high position and condescend to those below them. Once they are chosen to lead, they start to see themselves as individuals of status and identity. They don’t accept their duty from God. Upon acquiring a certain position, they feel their status is important, their power great, and their identity unique, allowing them to look down on others from their high position. At the same time, they think that they can issue commands and act according to their own thoughts, and that they don’t even need to have any misgivings about doing this. They think they can use the opportunity to perform duty to satisfy their craving for authority, to satisfy their desire and ambition to rule and lead others with power. It could be said they feel they finally have the chance to be unchallenged in their authority. Some say: “The manifestations of antichrists are being arbitrary and dictatorial, and never fellowshiping with others. Although our leader also has the disposition and revelations of antichrists, they often fellowship with us!” Does that mean they are not an antichrist? Antichrists can sometimes pretend; after a round of fellowshiping with everyone and understanding and grasping everyone’s thoughts—identifying who is aligned with them and who is not—they categorize them. In future matters, they only communicate with those who are in good relations and compatible with them. Those who are not in sync with them are often kept in the dark about most matters, and they may even withhold books of God’s words from them. Have you ever acted in this way, being arbitrary and dictatorial, never fellowshiping with others? Being arbitrary and dictatorial certainly happens, but this is not necessarily the case for never fellowshiping with others; occasionally you may fellowship. However, after fellowshiping, things still proceed as you said. Some people think: “Despite our fellowship, I’ve actually already established a set plan long ago. I fellowship with you just as a formality, just to let you know I have my principles in what I do. Do you think I don’t know your measure? In the end, you will still have to listen to me and follow my way.” In fact, they have already decided in their hearts long ago. They believe, “I have a silver tongue and can twist any argument to my favor; no one can outtalk me, so naturally, the trend will follow my lead.” They have made their calculations far in advance. Does this sort of situation exist? Being arbitrary and dictatorial is not a behavior that is accidentally revealed on occasion; it is controlled by a certain disposition. It may not seem like being arbitrary and dictatorial from their way of speaking or acting, but from their disposition and the nature of their actions, they are indeed arbitrary and dictatorial. They go through formalities and “listen” to others’ opinions, allowing others to speak, making them aware of a situation’s details, discussing what God’s word requires—but they use a certain rhetoric or phrasing to guide others to reach a consensus with them. And what is the final result? Everything develops according to their plan. This is their sinister aspect; this is also called forcing others to obey them, it is a kind of “gentle” compulsion. They think, “You’re not listening, right? You don’t understand, right? Let me explain.” In explaining, they weave and wind their words, leading others into their logic. After leading them around, people listen and think, “What you say is right; we’ll practice as you say, there’s no need to be so earnest anymore,” and the antichrist is pleased. Most people can’t discern their words. Do you have discernment? What should you do when faced with such situations? For instance, when confronted with a matter, you feel there is a problem; you can’t pinpoint the exact problem at the moment, yet you feel you’re being forced to obey. What should you do then? You should look for relevant principles, seek guidance from the Above, or fellowship with the individual in question. Additionally, those who understand the truth can discuss and fellowship about this matter together. Sometimes, the work and guidance of the Holy Spirit will allow you to understand the problems in the proposals or theories put forth by antichrists or those who walk the path of antichrists, and their ulterior motives. Through fellowshiping with each other, you may come to understand. But perhaps you don’t fellowship, instead thinking, “This isn’t a big issue, let him do as he pleases. After all, I’m not primarily responsible, I don’t need to bother with these matters. I won’t be accountable if something goes wrong; he will bear it.” What kind of behavior is this? This is being disloyal to your duty. Isn’t being disloyal to your duty betraying the interests of God’s house? This is like Judas! Many people, when faced with oppressive power, end up compromising and going along with those brandishing this power, which is a manifestation of being disloyal to their duty. Whether you face an antichrist or someone who acts recklessly and forces you to obey them, what principles should you choose to uphold? What path should you follow? If you feel that what you are doing doesn’t conflict or deviate from God’s words and the work arrangements, you must stand firm. Adhering to the truth is correct and approved by God, but bowing and compromising to Satan, to wicked forces, to evil people, is behavior of betrayal, it is an evil deed, hated and cursed by God. When antichrists encounter someone who argues with them, they often say, “I have the final say in this matter, and it must be done my way. If anything goes wrong, I’ll take responsibility!” What disposition does this statement represent? Can someone who speaks and practices this way have normal humanity? Why do they force others to obey them? Why don’t they seek the truth to resolve issues when they arise? Why can’t they determine the principles of practicing the truth? This proves they lack the truth. Can you discern the problem with this statement? Saying such things is enough to prove they have the disposition of an antichrist; this is the behavior of an antichrist. However, a more cunning antichrist, fearing being discerned by others, must say some things that everyone agrees with and that seem right to achieve their goal of misleading people and gaining a foothold. Then, they will ponder how to control God’s chosen people.
The manifestations of antichrists being arbitrary and dictatorial should be numerous, because this kind of behavior, disposition, and quality can be seen in every corrupted person, let alone in antichrists. Can you think of some examples where you were arbitrary and dictatorial? For instance, if someone says you look good with short hair, and you reply, “What’s so good about short hair? I prefer long hair, and I’ll do as I please,” is this arbitrary and dictatorial? (No.) That’s just a personal preference, a part of normal humanity. Some people like to wear glasses even if they are not nearsighted. If some people judge them, saying, “You’re just trying to look good, you don’t actually need glasses!” and they respond, “So what if I am? I’ll wear them anyway!”—is this arbitrary and dictatorial? No, this is a personal preference, at most it’s being willful, and it doesn’t involve any problem of their disposition; they might stop wearing the glasses after a few days if they feel like it. So what mainly constitutes being arbitrary and dictatorial? It mainly involves the path one takes, their disposition, and the principles and motivations behind their actions. For example, in a marriage where the husband likes cars and the family only has 20,000 yuan, and the husband borrows money from wherever he can to needlessly buy a car for 200,000 yuan, leaving the family unable to afford food, and the wife doesn’t even know about the purchase, is this husband being arbitrary and dictatorial? This is indeed being arbitrary and dictatorial. Being arbitrary and dictatorial means not considering the feelings, thoughts, opinions, attitudes, or viewpoints of others, only focusing on oneself. Simply put, in everyday life, it means satisfying one’s fleshly pleasures and desires, satisfying one’s selfishness, and when it involves duty, it refers to satisfying one’s ambition and desire to pursue status and power. Here’s an example: The church had a house, and a road needed to be built next to it. The appropriate width of the road should be determined by the size of the house and yard, aiming for both aesthetics and functionality. Given the large area of this house and yard, the road needed to be at least two meters wide. The person in charge said: “I’ve decided, we’ll make it one meter wide.” Others said, “Many people go in and out every day, and sometimes we have to carry things; one meter simply won’t work, it’s too narrow.” But the one in charge insisted on their own view, and was not open to discussion. After completion, everyone saw that the road was too narrow; it was out of place with the house and yard and impractical—it required redoing, which led to rework. Everyone then complained about this person. In fact, before the road construction began, some people had raised objections, but this person disagreed and insisted on their own view, forcing others to execute according to their wishes, leading to such consequences. Why couldn’t this person accept others’ suggestions? When there were differing opinions, why couldn’t they consider all aspects and find the correct approach? If there was no one to confer with, it’s fine to make one’s own decisions, but now that there were people to confer with and even better suggestions available, why couldn’t they accept them? What kind of disposition is this? There are at least two possibilities: One is that the person is thoughtless, a muddle-headed individual; the other is that their disposition is too arrogant and self-righteous, always feeling they are right, unable to accept what others say no matter how correct it is—this is so arrogant it causes a loss of reason. Such a simple matter revealed their disposition. Excessive arrogance leads to a loss of rationality. What does it mean to lack rationality? What kind of thing lacks rationality? Beasts lack rationality. If a person lacks rationality, they are no different from a beast; their mind lacks the capacity to judge, and it doesn’t have rationality. If a person becomes so arrogant that they lose reason, and they lack rationality, aren’t they similar to beasts? (Yes.) That’s just what they are; lacking human rationality means they are not human. Do antichrists possess such rationality? (No.) Antichrists lack it even more; they are worse than beasts, they are devils. Like when God asked Satan, “From where come you?” God’s question was actually very clear; what message did God convey? (He was asking Satan where it came from.) This sentence obviously ends with a question mark; it’s a question, referring to “Satan” with the subject “you:” “Where have you come from?” The grammar is appropriate, and God’s question is easily understood. How did Satan respond? (“From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it” (Job 1:7).) This is Satan’s famous quote. Does Satan’s answer exhibit any rationality? (No.) It lacks rationality. When God asked it again where it came from, it repeated the same answer, as if it couldn’t understand God’s words. Can people understand what Satan said? Does its speech have any rationality? (No.) It lacks rationality—can it understand the truth then? Even to such a simple question from God, it responded in that way; it is even less capable of understanding the truths that God speaks. It can be said that antichrists also lack rationality; those who act deviously, who cannot understand God’s words or the truth are all irrational. No matter how much you talk about practicing the truth, acting according to principles, and seeking principles and fellowshiping with others while performing one’s duty—to which they say they understand and know—when it comes to taking action, they don’t take your words to heart and do whatever they want. This is a demonic nature! Those with such demonic nature do not understand the truth and lack rationality. What is their most unreasonable and shameless aspect? Humans are created by God, and God selects people and brings them before Him for what purpose? It is to make people heed and understand God’s words, to walk the right path in life as God directs, and ultimately to be able to distinguish right from wrong, positive and negative things. This is what God intends; in this way, those who follow God become increasingly better. And to what extent are antichrists unreasonable? They think, “God, You bring people before You, so I will do the same; You can choose people, and orchestrate and rule over them, so I will do the same; You can have people submit and listen to You, You give direct commands and have them do as You say, so I will do the same.” Isn’t this irrational? (Yes.) Doesn’t being irrational mean they have no sense of shame? (Yes.) Are people yours? Should they follow you? Why should they listen to you? You are merely one of the tiny created beings, how could you aspire to be above everything? Isn’t this irrational? (Yes.)
Some people are fortunate enough to be chosen as leaders in the church, but in actuality, their calibers and statures are not up to the mark. Being a leader is a high honor from God, but they don’t perceive it that way. Instead, they think, “As a leader, I am better and more elevated than others; I am no ordinary person anymore. While you all need to bow and worship before God obediently, I don’t have to, because I am different from you; you are created beings, but I am not.” Then what are you? Aren’t you also flesh and blood? How are you different from others? The difference lies in your shamelessness; you lack a sense of honor and rationality, you don’t even compare to a dog. You act arbitrarily and dictatorially, ignoring any advice from others—that’s the difference. No matter how poor their own calibers or how low their efficiency in doing things, they still think they are above the average person, believing they have ability and talent. Thus, they don’t confer with others to reach a consensus no matter what they do, thinking they are qualified or have the absolute capability to control everything. Isn’t this arrogance leading to loss of reason? Isn’t this shamelessly brazen? (Yes.) Before becoming a leader, they behaved with their tail tucked in between their legs; they believed they had talent and capability, and harbored some ambition in their actions, but just lacked the opportunity. Once they became a leader, they set themselves apart from the brothers and sisters, assuming a superior position. They began to act superior, showing their true colors; they started thinking they could achieve grand things, believing, “God’s house picked the right person; I am indeed talented—true gold is destined to glitter eventually. Look at me now: God has recognized me, hasn’t He?” Isn’t this disgusting? (It is.) You are just one among the ordinary created beings; regardless of how great your gifts or talent are. your corrupt disposition is the same as everyone else’s. If you think you are uniquely extraordinary and consider yourself superior, wanting to rise above all others, to be superior to everything, then you are mistaken. Due to this misconception, you act arbitrarily and dictatorially, without fellowshiping or conferring with others, and you even wish to bask in the obedience and compliance of others to you, which is wrong. Where does the mistake lie? (In assuming the wrong position.) Why do antichrists always stand in the wrong position? One thing is certain, which you may not have realized: There’s something extra in their humanity compared to others; they always have a kind of misconception. How does this misconception come about? It’s not given by God, but by Satan. Everything they do, everything they reveal and express, is not an instinct within the normal bounds of humanity, but is driven by an external power. Why is it said that their actions are devious, and their ambitions and desires are uncontrollable? Their desire to control people has exceeded the limits. What does exceeding the limits mean? It means resorting to any means, surpassing rationality and sense of shame; it’s irrepressible, like a spring—it may stay down temporarily when you press it down, but once you let go, it springs back up. Isn’t this being consumed by desire and driven to obsession? It’s not an exaggeration at all.
Wherever antichrists hold power in a church, that church can no longer be called a church. Those who have experienced this should have a sense of it. It’s not an atmosphere of tranquility, joy, and collective uplifting, but rather one of tumultuous disharmony. Everyone feels particularly restless and uneasy, unable to feel peace in their hearts, as if some great disaster is about to happen. The words and actions of antichrists bring about an atmosphere where people’s hearts become clouded, losing the ability to discern positive from negative things. Additionally, being misled by antichrists for a long time distances people’s hearts from God, leading to abnormal relationships with God, just like people in religion who nominally believe in God but have no place for Him in their hearts. There is also a real issue, which is that when antichrists hold power, it causes division and chaos within the church. Those who love the truth feel no enjoyment or liberation in gatherings and thus want to leave the church to believe in God at home. When the Holy Spirit works in a church, regardless of whether people understand the truth or not, everyone unites in heart and effort, creating a more peaceful and stable atmosphere, free from agitation. However, whenever antichrists act, they bring about a restless and eerie atmosphere. Their meddling leads to the emergence of factions, with people becoming defensive toward each other, judgmental of each other, and attacking each other, undermining each other behind their backs. Clearly, what role do antichrists play? They are Satan’s minions. The consequences of the actions of antichrists are: Firstly, mutual judgment, suspicion, and guardedness among the brothers and sisters; secondly, the dissolving of boundaries between men and women, gradually leading to inappropriate interactions; and thirdly, in their hearts, people become unclear about the visions, and they stop focusing on practicing the truth. They no longer know how to act in accordance with the truth principles. The little understanding of doctrines they once had is lost, their minds become clouded, and they blindly follow the antichrists, focusing only on running about doing superficial tasks. Some people can feel that following antichrists leads nowhere; if only those who pursue the truth could gather and do their duties together, what joy that would bring! Once antichrists hold power in a church, the Holy Spirit ceases to work, and darkness falls upon the brothers and sisters. Believing in God and doing duties become lackluster. If this continues for a long time, won’t the majority of the brothers and sisters be cast out by God?
Today, in one regard, we dissected the manifestations of the arbitrary and dictatorial behavior of antichrists. In another, by dissecting these manifestations, everyone is made aware that even if you are not an antichrist, having such manifestations links you to the quality of antichrists. Is acting in an arbitrary and dictatorial manner a manifestation of normal humanity? Absolutely not; clearly, this is a display of a corrupt disposition. No matter how high your status or how many duties you can perform, if you can learn to fellowship with others, then you are upholding the principles of the truth, which is a minimum requirement. Why is it said that learning to fellowship with others equates to upholding principles? If you can learn to fellowship, it proves that you don’t treat your status as a meal ticket or take it too seriously. Regardless of how high your status, you are performing your duty. Your actions are done for the sake of performing your duty, not for status. At the same time, when encountering problems, if you can learn to fellowship and, regardless of whether it’s with ordinary brothers and sisters or those you collaborate with, you are able to seek and fellowship with them, what does this prove? It shows that you have the attitude of seeking and submitting to the truth, which firstly reflects your attitude toward God and the truth. Furthermore, performing your duty is your responsibility, and seeking the truth in your work is the path you should follow. As for how others respond to your decisions, whether they can submit or how they submit, that’s their business; but whether you can properly perform your duty and meet the standards is yours. You must understand the principles of performing duty; it’s not about submitting to some individual but submitting to the truth principles. If you feel that you understand the truth principles and, through fellowshiping with everyone, reach a consensus that everyone agrees is appropriate, but there are a few who are recalcitrant and want to cause trouble, what should be done in such a situation? In this case, the minority should follow the majority. Since most people have reached a consensus, why do they come out to cause trouble? Are they deliberately trying to cause destruction? They can express their opinions to let everyone discern them, and if everyone says that their opinions do not conform to the principles and don’t hold up, then they should abandon their viewpoints and stop holding onto them. What is the principle in dealing with this matter? One should uphold what is right and not force others to obey what is wrong. Understood? Actually, before antichrists exhibit this behavior and practice of being arbitrary and dictatorial, they already have their own plans in mind. Being arbitrary and dictatorial definitely does not refer to doing the right thing or practicing the truth. It certainly refers to doing what is wrong and what violates the truth, following the wrong path, and making wrong decisions while still expecting others to heed them. This is what is called being arbitrary and dictatorial. If something is right and conforms to the truth, then it must be adhered to. This is not being arbitrary and dictatorial; this is adhering to principles. These two should be distinguished. What is mainly referred to by antichrists being arbitrary and dictatorial? (Doing things that are not in line with principles or the truth, and still making others follow along.) Right, no matter what situation arises or what problem is being handled, they do not seek the truth principles but make decisions based on their own notions and imaginings. They know in their hearts that doing so goes against the principles but still want others to listen and submit. This is the consistent approach of antichrists.
When the work of expanding the gospel first began, some people took The Word Appears in the Flesh to religious circles to preach the gospel. The religious folks, after reading God’s words revealing mysteries, fellowshiping visions, and discussing life entry, all said they were quite good. However, they found some words of judgment and exposure about people too harsh in their choice of words. They felt as if they were being scolded and couldn’t accept it, saying, “Can God speak in a way that scolds people? These words at best seem to be written by a wise person.” The person responsible for spreading the gospel said he had a solution. Later, he altered all the parts of God’s words that didn’t align with people’s notions, imaginings, and tastes, as well as those words which he feared would cause people to develop notions after reading them. For instance, words God used to expose human nature, like “harlot,” “prostitute,” “scoundrel,” and phrases like “cast down into hell” and “cast into the lake of fire and brimstone,” were all deleted. In short, any words that could easily give rise to notions or misunderstandings were entirely removed. Tell Me, after removing these words of judgment, condemnation, and cursing from God’s words, do they remain God’s original words? (No.) Are they still the words expressed by God in His work of judgment? This “old gentleman” didn’t confer with anyone and deleted many of God’s words that were especially harsh about refinement and exposing people’s corrupt dispositions, particularly those pertaining to the time of the trial of the service-doers. Later, when the religious people read the revised version, they said, “Not bad, we can believe in such a God,” and they accepted it. This old gentleman thought to himself, “Look how smart I am! It’s not wise for God’s words to be too harsh. With those people, it’s all about coaxing them—how could You say things that might be mistaken for scolding? That’s not wise! I made some changes, and look what happened: Even the religious pastors are willing to believe, and more and more people are accepting it. How about that? Aren’t I wise? Aren’t I smart? Isn’t that quite impressive?” The results of his changes made him exceedingly proud of himself. However, some religious people who entered the church found that the words of God they had read were altered and different from the original texts in the church, and this issue was raised. It was later discovered that this old gentleman had changed the content of God’s words. What do you think about what this old gentleman did? Let’s not mention anything else and just say: Those words were not yours, you had no right to change them. Even if it were an article or book written by a human, if you want to make changes, you first need to obtain the original author’s consent. If they agree, you can make changes. If they don’t agree, you absolutely cannot alter even a single word. This is called respecting the author and the readers. If the author lacks the energy to make modifications and authorizes you, saying you can change anything as long as it stays true to the original meaning and achieves the desired effect, can you then make changes? (Yes.) If the author has given their consent or authorization, then changes can be made. What is this kind of behavior called? It’s justifiable, legitimate, and proper, right? But what if the author has not agreed and you change it without their authorization? What is that called? (Being reckless and willful.) That’s calling being reckless and willful, arbitrary and dictatorial. Now, what did this old gentleman change? (God’s words.) The original words of God, which carry God’s mood, disposition, and intentions toward humankind. God’s words are meaningful in the way they are said. Do you know the mood, intention, and desired effect behind each word spoken by God? If you can’t fathom it, why blindly make changes? Each sentence spoken by God, the choice of words, the tone, and the atmosphere, mood, and emotions they make people feel, are all carefully formulated and considered. God has deliberation and wisdom. What did this old gentleman think? He regarded God’s way of speaking as unwise. That’s how he viewed God’s work. He believed, “Those in religion who wish only to eat their fill of bread need to be coaxed and treated with love and mercy. The words cannot be so harsh. If they are too harsh, how can the gospel be spread? Can the gospel still expand then?” Doesn’t God know about this? (Yes.) God knows very well. Then why does He still speak in this way? This is God’s disposition. What is God’s disposition? To speak in His way, whether you believe or not. If you believe, you are one of God’s sheep; if you don’t, you are a wolf. God’s words expose you and scold you a bit, and you then refuse to acknowledge that you are a believer in God? What, are you no longer a created being of God? Has God ceased to be God? If you can deny God because of this, then you are an evil person, a devil. God does not save such people, so the church should not forcibly or coaxingly accept them. Some people say: “Even if God scolds me, I am happily willing. If He is God, He can save me. If He strikes me, it is deserved. If He calls me a muddler, then I am a muddler, even more muddled than a muddler; if He calls me a harlot, although I don’t seem to have done what a harlot does, since God says it, I acknowledge and accept it.” They have the simplest belief, acknowledgment, and acceptance, and the simplest God-fearing heart. God wants to gain such people. Some people find God’s words too harsh and piercing, feeling they won’t receive blessings, and thus don’t want to believe anymore. They think, “Even if You are God, I won’t believe in You. If You speak like this, I won’t follow You.” Then beat it! If you don’t even acknowledge God, how can God recognize you as His created being? That’s impossible! God’s words are laid out here; believe them or not, it’s your call. If you don’t believe, then take a hike. You will miss out. If you believe, you will have a glimmer of hope for salvation. Isn’t this fair? (Yes.) But did this old gentleman think this way? Could he see through God’s thoughts? (No.) Wasn’t he foolish? People who do not have spiritual understanding commit such foolish acts. He perceived God as very insignificant and simple, thinking God’s thoughts were not much higher than human thinking. He often spoke of God’s thoughts being higher than man’s, preaching these grand doctrines during ordinary times, but when actually confronted with a situation, he tossed these words to the back of his mind, feeling that these words of God did not seem like something God would say. In his heart, he did not acknowledge these words of God, so he just couldn’t accept them. Just as the gospel was being spread, he took the opportunity to change God’s words, even under the guise of “spreading the gospel effectively and gaining more people.” How did I ultimately designate his behavior? As tampering with God’s words. What does tampering mean? It means arbitrarily adding, subtracting, or altering the original meaning, changing the author’s intended meaning, disregarding the author’s initial intentions and purpose in speaking, and then randomly altering them. This is called tampering. Did he have a God-fearing heart? (No.) Such audacity! Is this something a human would do? (No.) It’s the work of a devil, not of a human. You can’t even casually alter the words of an ordinary person; you must respect the author’s opinion. If you want to make changes, you need to notify them in advance and get their consent, and only after receiving their permission can you make modifications according to the original meanings. This is called respect. When it comes to God, what’s required is much more than just respect! If even a single sentence in God’s words is printed incorrectly, if it’s missing even a single grammatical article, you have to ask if it’s acceptable; if not, you have to reprint that page. This requires such a serious and responsible attitude; this is called having a God-fearing heart. Did this old gentleman have such a heart? (No.) He did not have a God-fearing heart. He considered God beneath him; he was utterly audacious. Such a person should be expelled.
A similar incident happened recently. Some people once again used the excuse of spreading the gospel and gaining more people as a reason to recklessly alter God’s words. This time it was slightly better than the last; in the last instance, it was done arbitrarily and dictatorially, without fellowshiping with others, acting randomly and heedlessly to tamper with God’s words. This time, they asked the Above first, saying, “The people from a certain ethnic group can’t accept some of the terms in God’s words. We’ve come up with a strategy to remove or change those terms, and the parts of sayings or passages in God’s words they can’t accept, and then preach to them with a specially tailored version of God’s words. Wouldn’t they believe then?” Look at that; they’re truly audacious. What kind of behavior is this? If treated leniently, such people could simply be considered foolish and ignorant, and too young; they could just be told not to do so again. But if we judge the nature of what they did, they were casually altering God’s words to please Satan. What is this called? This is the behavior of Judas, of traitors and rebels, selling out the Lord for glory. They tampered with God’s words, making them more palatable and agreeable to people to please them and get them to accept the gospel—what does this amount to? Even if not a single person on earth believes, do God’s words cease to be God’s words? Does the nature of God’s words change? (No.) Are God’s words only the truth if they accept them, and if they don’t, His words are not the truth? Can the nature of God’s words change because of this? Absolutely not. The truth is the truth; if you don’t accept it, you perish! Some people spreading the gospel think, “How pitiful they are for not accepting! What a great and noble people they are. God loves and mercies them so much, how can we not show them some love? Let’s change God’s words so they can accept. How wonderful those people are, and how good and merciful God is toward them. We should be considerate of God’s intentions!” Isn’t this posing? (Yes.) Another imposter—those who don’t understand the truth can only do foolish things! It has already been said that someone who tampered with God’s words was handled and expelled, and now there are people who want to tamper with them again. What are they trying to achieve? Isn’t this selling out the Lord for glory? (Yes.) This is selling out the Lord for glory, pleasing Satan. Are God’s words not practical? Can’t they be presented openly? Don’t you acknowledge them as the truth? If you don’t acknowledge them, then why do you still believe? If you can’t accept the truth, what’s the point of believing in God? It’s impossible to achieve salvation like this. No matter how God speaks, whatever words He uses that don’t align with your notions, He is still God, and His essence does not change. No matter how pleasant you speak, no matter what you do, no matter how kind, benevolent, or loving you think you are, you are still a human, a corrupt human. You refuse to acknowledge God’s words as the truth and attempt to alter God’s words to please Satan. What kind of behavior is this? It’s contemptible! I thought that after previous fellowships about the nature of tampering with God’s words, such an issue wouldn’t arise in spreading the gospel again now. Yet, unbelievably, there are still people daring to tamper and entertain such thoughts. What is the attitude of these people toward God’s words? (Irreverence.) They are utterly reckless! In their hearts, God’s words are as light as feathers, they are of no consequence. They think, “God’s words can be put in any way; I can change His words as I please. It’s better to make them align with human notions and tastes. That’s what God’s words should be!” Those who do such things as tampering with God’s words can be labeled as antichrists. They act recklessly and thoughtlessly, randomly tampering; they are arbitrary and dictatorial, and share the same disposition and quality as other antichrists. And there’s another point: What is their first thought and action when they face danger or when their own interests are harmed? What do they choose? They choose to betray God’s interests and the interests of God’s house to protect themselves. Those who tamper with God’s words, do they really do it to effectively spread the gospel? What’s the ulterior motive behind their so-called effectiveness? They want to show off their talents and capabilities, making people see, “Look how capable I am! See how effectively the gospel spreads after my alterations? You don’t have the same skills, you wouldn’t even dare to think like that. Look, with my thoughts and actions, see the results I achieved?” These people disregard God’s words and tamper with them to satisfy their own ambition and desire to pursue fame and status. Don’t they have the character of an antichrist? Labeling them as antichrists is not at all unjust.
What is another manifestation of the arbitrariness and dictatorialness of antichrists? They never fellowship the truth with the brothers and sisters, nor do they resolve people’s actual problems. Instead, they merely preach words and doctrines to lecture people, and even force others to obey them. What about their attitude and approach toward the Above and toward God? It is nothing but deceit and duplicity. Regardless of the issues within the church, they never report anything to the Above. Whatever they do, they never inquire of the Above. It seems as though they have no issues that require fellowship or guidance from the Above—everything they do is furtive and secretive, and behind the scenes. This is called underhanded manipulation, where they wish to have the final say and be the decision-maker. However, sometimes they also masquerade, bringing up trivial matters to inquire of the Above, posing as someone pursuing the truth, leading the Above to mistakenly believe they seek the truth in everything with utmost meticulousness. In reality, they never seek guidance on any significant matter, making unilateral decisions and keeping the Above in the dark. If any problem arises, they are even less likely to report it, fearing that it might affect their power, status, or reputation. Antichrists act arbitrarily and dictatorially; they never fellowship with others and force others to obey them. To put it plainly, the primary manifestations of this behavior are engaging in personal management; cultivating their influence, personal clique, and connections; pursuing their own ventures; and then, they do whatever they please, doing things that benefit themselves, and acting without transparency. The wish and desire of antichrists to have others submit to them are particularly strong; they expect people to obey them like a hunter making his hound obey his commands, not allowing any discernment of right or wrong, insisting on absolute compliance and submission.
Another manifestation of the arbitrariness and dictatorialness of antichrists can be observed in the following scenario. For instance, if the leader of a certain church is an antichrist, and if higher-level leaders and workers intend to learn about and intervene in the work of that church, would this antichrist agree? Absolutely not. To what extent does he control the church? Like an impenetrable fortress, where neither needle can pierce nor water seep in, he allows no one else to get involved or inquire. When he learns that leaders and workers are coming to learn about the work, he says to the brothers and sisters, “I don’t know what these people’s aim is in coming. They don’t understand the actual situation of our church. If they interfere, they could disturb our church’s work.” That’s how he misleads the brothers and sisters. Once the leaders and workers arrive, he finds various reasons and excuses to prevent the brothers and sisters from contacting them, while hypocritically entertaining the leaders and workers, keeping them secluded in a place under the guise of ensuring their safety; but in reality, it’s to prevent them from meeting the brothers and sisters and learning about the situation from them. When the leaders and workers inquire about the work situation, the antichrist engages in deception via presenting a false image; he deceives those above him and hides the truth from those below him, pads his statements, and exaggerates the work’s effectiveness to deceive them. When the leaders and workers suggest meeting with the church’s brothers and sisters, he replies, “I haven’t made any arrangements! You didn’t notify me before coming. If you had, I would have arranged for some of the brothers and sisters to meet you. But given the current hostile environment, for safety reasons, it’s better you don’t meet with the brothers and sisters.” Although his words sound reasonable, a discerning person can detect the issue: “He doesn’t want the leaders and workers to meet with the brothers and sisters because he fears being exposed, afraid that the flaws and deviations in his work will be revealed.” The antichrist tightly controls the brothers and sisters of the church. If the leaders and workers are not responsible, they can easily be deceived and duped by the antichrist. The actual situation of the church’s brothers and sisters, their difficulties that remain unresolved, whether the Above’s fellowships and sermons and books of God’s words are timely delivered to the brothers and sisters, how the various work projects of the church are progressing, whether there are deviations or problems—all these things the leaders and workers would not know. The brothers and sisters are also unaware of any new work arrangements in God’s house; thus, the antichrist completely controls the church, monopolizing power and having the final say in matters. The church’s brothers and sisters have no opportunity to contact the upper-level leaders and workers, and not knowing the factual truth, they are misled and controlled by the antichrist. These inspection leaders and workers, regardless of how the antichrist speaks, lack discernment and still think the antichrist is doing good work, placing their complete trust in him. This is tantamount to entrusting God’s chosen people to the antichrist’s care. If, during the antichrist’s deception, the leaders and workers are unable to discern, are irresponsible, and do not know how to handle it, isn’t this hindering the church’s work and harming God’s chosen people? Such leaders and workers, are they not false leaders and workers? With regard to a church controlled by an antichrist, the leaders and workers must intervene and make inquiries, and they need to promptly handle and get rid of the antichrist—this is without question. If there are false leaders who do not do practical work and ignore the antichrist’s misleading of God’s chosen people, the chosen people should expose these false leaders and workers, report them, remove them from their positions, and replace them with good leaders. This is the only way to thoroughly resolve the issue of the antichrist misleading people. Some may say, “Such leaders and workers might be of poor caliber and lack discernment, which is why they failed to handle and resolve the issue of the antichrist. They are not doing it intentionally; shouldn’t they be given another chance?” For such muddle-headed leaders, no more chances should be given. If given another chance, they will only continue to harm God’s chosen people. This is because they are not people who pursue the truth; they lack conscience and reason, and are unprincipled in their actions—they are despicable people who should be cast out! In the past two years, some brothers and sisters in certain churches have united to dismiss, replace, and cast out such false leaders and antichrists who do not do practical work. Isn’t that a good thing? (Yes.) It pleases Me to hear of such good news; it is the best evidence of God’s chosen people growing in life and entering the right track of believing in God. This shows that people have gained some discernment and stature, and are no longer controlled by false leaders and antichrist demons. Ordinary false leaders and antichrists can no longer mislead or control God’s chosen people, who are not constrained by status or power anymore. They have the courage to discern and expose false leaders and antichrists, daring to banish and dismiss them. In fact, whether leaders and workers or the ordinary among God’s chosen ones, they all have equal status before God, differing only in their duties. In God’s house, there is no distinction in status, only differences in duty and responsibility. When faced with false leaders and antichrists disturbing the work of the church, both leaders and workers and God’s chosen people should expose and report them, handling them promptly, expelling the antichrists from the church. This responsibility is the same and shared by all.
Antichrists are arbitrary and dictatorial, never fellowship with others, and must have the final say in all matters—aren’t these problems all clearly visible? Fellowshiping with others and seeking principles is not a mere formality or a superficial process; what is the aim? (To perform one’s duty with principles, and to have a path in performing them.) That’s right; it is to be able to have principles and a path in performing one’s duties. What are God’s requirements, and what are the regulations of God’s house? It is only by seeking the truth in God’s words and understanding the principles that one can effectively perform their duty. If you fellowship the truth to resolve problems, what approach should be taken? Which people need to be involved? The right individuals should be chosen; you should fellowship mainly with some people of good caliber who can understand the truth, as this will lead to effective results. It is essential. If you select muddle-headed people of poor caliber who lack reason, for whom no amount of discussion will allow them to understand or reach the truth, then even if an abundance of truth is fellowshiped, it will not yield any results. Regardless of the problems that arise in the church, God’s chosen people have the right to be informed and should know the situation of the church’s work and the existing problems. If the leaders and workers deceive those above them and hide the truth from those below them, employing methods meant to confound others, God’s chosen people have the right to expose and report them, or to take the situation to the higher-ups. This is also the duty and obligation of God’s chosen people. Some false leaders act arbitrarily and dictatorially, controlling God’s chosen people in the church. This is resisting and opposing God, it is a consistent practice of antichrists. If God’s chosen people do not expose and report this, and the church’s work is hindered or stagnates, it is not just the leaders and workers who bear responsibility, but also God’s chosen people, because it is God’s chosen people who suffer when false leaders and antichrists wield power in the church, potentially jeopardizing their chance of receiving salvation. Therefore, God’s chosen people have the right and responsibility to report and expose false leaders and antichrists, which is beneficial for the church’s work and the life entry of God’s chosen people. Some leaders and workers say: “You all say I’m arbitrary and dictatorial, right? This time I won’t be like that. I’ll let everyone express their opinions. One day, two days—I’ll wait however long it takes for you to share them.” Sometimes, when facing certain special issues, disputes go on for days without a resolution, and they just keep waiting. They wait until everyone reaches a consensus before proceeding with the work, which can cause significant delays. It hinders work so much; this is clearly a manifestation of irresponsibility. How can a leader or worker effectively manage the church’s work if they cannot make decisions? In the church’s work, while leaders and workers have the authority to make decisions, brothers and sisters have the right to be informed. However, ultimately, it is the leaders and workers who must make the decisions. If a leader or worker is unable to make decisions, then their caliber is too poor, and they are not suitable for leadership roles. Even if they are leaders, they cannot do practical work or perform their duties adequately. Some leaders and workers argue over a single issue for a long time, unable to make a decision, and in the end, just go along with whoever they see is more forceful. Is this approach principled? (No.) What kind of leadership is that? That’s just being muddle-headed. If you say, “Antichrists are arbitrary and dictatorial, and I fear becoming one; I don’t wish to walk the path of an antichrist. I’ll wait for everyone to express their opinions, and then I’ll conclude and summarize a moderate approach for the decision”—is that acceptable? (No.) Why not? If the result doesn’t align with the truth principles, even if you proceed in this manner, can it be effective? Will it satisfy God? If it’s not effective and doesn’t satisfy God, then the problem is serious. Not acting according to the truth principles, being irresponsible in performing your duty, being perfunctory, and doing things according to Satan’s philosophy is being disloyal to God. It’s deceiving God! To avoid being suspected or judged as an antichrist, you shirk the responsibilities you ought to fulfill and adopt the “compromising” approach of Satan’s philosophy. As a result, you harm God’s chosen people and affect the work of the church. Isn’t this unprincipled? Isn’t it selfish and despicable? As a leader or worker, you must speak and act with principles, fulfill your duties with results and efficiency. You should act in whichever ways benefit the work of God’s house and align with the truth principles. For example, items for the church must be purchased with a practical result in mind. The items should be reasonably priced and functional. If you spend money recklessly without principles, it can cause a loss to the interests of God’s house and to the offerings of God. How would you handle such a situation? (Seek guidance from the Above.) Seeking guidance from the Above is one way. Additionally, don’t be lazy. Research thoroughly, inquire extensively, ask around more, understand the details, and prepare adequately; perhaps then a relatively suitable solution can be found. If you don’t do this groundwork and act carelessly without understanding the details, resulting in a waste of a lot of money, what is that called? It’s called being perfunctory. Some people perform their duty in this way, lacking transparency in what they do. They report only half of what they should, hiding the rest because they feel that being completely transparent will bring trouble upon themselves and they will be required to carry out further research and improvements. So, they simply conceal the real situation and details from others, quickly completing the task and then asking God’s house to pay. But upon inspection, the task isn’t up to standard and requires reworking, and even more money is wasted. Isn’t this harming God’s house? Isn’t this the behavior of a Judas? (Yes.) The behavior of a Judas involves specifically betraying the interests of God’s house. When confronted with situations, such a person sides with those outside the church, only considering their own flesh and not thinking about the interests of God’s house at all. Do they have any loyalty to God? (No.) Not a bit of loyalty. They take pleasure in betraying the interests of God’s house and harming the work of the church—this is the behavior of a Judas. There is also another situation: Some duties involve specialized knowledge or expertise in other fields that may be unfamiliar to everyone. In such cases, you mustn’t shy away from the trouble. In this age of abundant information, you should not be lazy but actively search for relevant data and information. Starting with acquiring the most basic information, you gradually gain a basic understanding of the profession or field, and then progressively learn about more aspects within the scope of that field, whether it be data or various professional terms, making yourself basically familiar with it. After reaching this level, isn’t it more beneficial for fulfilling your duties adequately and loyally? (Yes.) So, what is the purpose of all this preparatory work when performing your duty? Researching, understanding details, and then finding feasible solutions through fellowship and discussion are all part of the preparation for adequately fulfilling your duty. Doing these preparations well demonstrates loyalty in performing one’s duty; it also reveals those who are perfunctory. What about the attitude of nonbelievers and those who do not genuinely expend themselves for God when they perform their duties? They are entirely perfunctory; no matter what they purchase for the church, they spend money recklessly according to their own whims, without seeking guidance from the Above, thinking they understand everything. As a result, they waste the money of God’s house. Aren’t they wastrels, harbingers of disaster? They cause losses to God’s offerings and don’t even realize they are doing evil and resisting God; their hearts feel no remorse whatsoever. Only when God’s chosen people expose and discern them, and they are voted to be cleared out and expelled, do they gain some awareness and start to regret. They didn’t realize their actions would have such severe consequences—truly, they won’t shed a tear until they see their own coffin! Such people are mostly blockheads who are a few cards short of a full deck, yet they aspire to be leaders and workers and perform tasks for the house of God. They’re like pigs who’ve smeared on some lipstick—utterly shameless. These people are nonbelievers; no matter how many years they have believed, they understand no truth. Yet they still always want to be leaders and workers in God’s house, always wanting to wield power and have the final say—aren’t they brazenly shameless? Why are such people considered nonbelievers? It’s because despite believing in God for many years and hearing so many sermons, they understand no truths and cannot put any truths into practice, which makes them nonbelievers. Do any of you exhibit these behaviors? Those who do, raise your hands. All of you? Then you’re all nonbelievers, and that’s a serious problem. Those who sincerely believe in God, if they consistently listen to sermons, will understand some truths and make some progress, becoming more reliable in their speech and actions. If someone listens to sermons for years without any progress, they’re a muddler, a beast, a nonbeliever. Some people, within three to five years of believing in God, understand quite a bit and can seek the truth in their speech and actions. If they notice flaws in performing their duty or cause some loss to God’s house, they feel distressed, self-reproachful, and hate themselves; they feel that their momentary mistakes, lack of loyalty, laziness, or indulgence in fleshly comfort led to such significant flaws and caused such great losses, and they hate themselves for this. Such people with remorseful hearts have some humanity and can reach the point of receiving salvation. If someone, after many years of listening to sermons, doesn’t understand any truths, keeps making mistakes in performing their duty, always creates trouble for God’s house and causes losses to the church’s work, and lacks even a remorseful heart, then such a person has no humanity whatsoever, they are worse than pigs and dogs. Could they still perform their duty properly? Even if they do perform duty, it’s perfunctory, and won’t receive God’s approval.
Some people always refer to God’s house as “our family” when they speak, constantly bringing up “our family” in conversation. How sweetly they say it! What is this “our family” they speak of? There’s only God’s house, God’s family, the church. Is it appropriate to always say “our family”? It doesn’t feel appropriate to Me. The term “our family” can be used, but it’s only appropriate if what’s said corresponds to reality. If you are not someone who pursues the truth, if you often perform your duties perfunctorily, not upholding the work of the church whatsoever, not taking the church’s work seriously at all, and yet you keep saying “our family,” then that’s inappropriate. It has a hint of falsehood and pretense, causing disgust and revulsion; however, if you are someone who truly possesses the truth reality and upholds the work of the church, then referring to God’s house as “our family” is acceptable. It sounds genuine to others, without falsehood, and they will see you as a brother or sister, liking and admiring you. If you do not love the truth in your heart, nor accept the truth, and are irresponsible in performing your duties, then do not refer to God’s house as “our family.” You should earnestly pursue the truth, fulfill your duties well, and be able to uphold the work of the church so that God’s chosen people feel you are part of God’s house. Then, when you say “our family,” it gives others a sense of closeness, without any feelings of revulsion, because in your heart, you truly consider God’s house as your own home, and in performing your duties, you truly are responsible and uphold the work of the church. When you say “our family,” it sounds fully deserved, with no trace of falseness. If one shows no responsibility toward the work of the church, performs whatever duties they have perfunctorily, doesn’t even bother to pick things up off the ground, clean a dirty room, or clear snow or tidy the yard in winter, appearing not like a member of God’s house but rather an outsider, is such a person qualified to call God’s house “our family”? They are merely service-doers, temporary workers, people without life who belong to Satan, not belonging to God’s house at all. And they still often shamelessly refer to God’s house as “our family,” saying it whenever they open their mouths, saying it with such intimacy, addressing the brothers and sisters with great warmth—but they do not handle any real tasks. When they do undertake tasks, they make mistakes, causing harm to God’s house. Aren’t they just hypocrites? Such people are utterly immoral, lacking any conscience or reason. The most basic qualities one should have as a believer in God are conscience and reason, and they should also be able to accept the truth. If they don’t even possess conscience and reason, and don’t accept the truth at all, do they still deserve to call God’s house “our family”? They are just temporary workers, and service-doers; they belong to Satan and have little to do with God’s house. God does not acknowledge such people; in His eyes, they are evil people. Many people believe in God but do not pursue the truth at all, showing indifference to the affairs of God’s house. They ignore problems they come across, neglect their responsibilities, stay away from the brothers and sisters in difficulty, and show no hatred for those who do bad things and harm the interests of God’s house or ruin the work of the church. They lack awareness in matters of great right and wrong; whatever happens in God’s house is of no concern to them. Do they treat God’s house as their own home? Clearly not. These people are not qualified to call God’s house “our family”; those who do are just hypocrites. Which people are qualified to say “our family”? Recently, I’ve noticed that some people are indeed not bad, though of course they are in the minority. Regardless of how much truth they understand, or the size of their stature or faith, these people truly believe in God, can undertake real tasks, and are genuinely responsible in whatever duties they perform—they have some semblance of humanity. Only such people can truly be considered part of God’s house. When they say “our family,” it feels warm and genuinely heartfelt. For example, the church needed a table, which would cost six or seven hundred dollars if bought. Some brothers and sisters said, “That’s too expensive. We can save a lot of money by buying the wood and making it ourselves. It would work just as well, without any difference.” After hearing this, how did I feel in My heart? I felt somewhat touched: “These people are not bad; they know to save money for God’s house.” Such people are much better compared to those who squander the offerings, at least possessing some conscience and reason, and a bit of human feeling. Some people cause hundreds or thousands of dollars in losses to God’s house without any awareness, even saying it’s not their concern, feeling no reproach in their hearts. On the other hand, there are others who say, “Even saving ten or eight dollars is worthwhile. We shouldn’t spend money unnecessarily on things we can resolve ourselves. We should save where we can. There’s no need to spend money that doesn’t need to be spent. It’s right for us to endure a bit of hardship and toil.” Only those who can say such things are people with conscience and reason, possessing normal humanity, and are truly aligned with God’s house. These people can rightfully call God’s house “our family” because they consider the interests of God’s house. Some people don’t think at all about the interests of God’s house. Is it that they aren’t capable of these considerations? When it comes to their own life, they are extremely frugal, begrudging every cent, always wanting to buy the cheapest and most practical items, saving wherever they can, even haggling over prices, calculating meticulously, obviously adept at managing their lives. But when it comes to doing things for God’s house, they don’t act this way. They spend extravagantly when using the money of God’s house, spending it however they please, as if not spending it would be a waste. Isn’t this a sign of terrible character? Such people are extremely selfish, not considering God’s house at all, only seeking to satisfy themselves. They hope to worm their way into the kingdom of heaven and gain great blessings at the least cost. Such selfish and despicable people still harbor such grand ambitions and desires; this shows a severe deficiency in their moral character!
Have we now basically fully covered this manifestation of antichrists, that they behave deviously and are arbitrary and dictatorial, in our fellowship? (Yes.) Let’s summarize then. Antichrists doing things deviously, and their being arbitrary and dictatorial, are two distinct but equally significant and concurrent behaviors common among them. This manifestation exposes two of the antichrists’ primary dispositions—wickedness and viciousness; they are both wicked and vicious. Sometimes, you might not see their vicious side, but you can see their wicked side. They might act gently, making it hard to see any of their coercive or barbaric behavior. They don’t appear outwardly fierce, nor do they force you to do anything, but they ensnare you through other wicked means, winding you into their control, making you serve their purposes—and thus you are exploited by them. Unaware, you fall into their trap, willingly submitting to their manipulation and toying. Why can they bring about such consequences? Antichrists often use correct statements and sayings to instruct and influence you, inciting you to do some things, making you feel that everything they say is right, that you should carry it out and you should do it this way, otherwise you will feel like you’re going against the truth, you’ll feel that disobeying them means rebelling against God. In doing so, you willingly obey them. What is the end result of this? Even if people follow their words and practice what they say, do they understand the truth? Is their relationship with God getting increasingly closer or increasingly distant? When faced with situations, people not only fail to come before God and pray to Him, but also don’t know how to seek the truth principles in God’s words, nor how to grasp God’s intentions and requirements. Instead, they make an unbelievable statement: “I have believed in God for so many years, mainly relying on the leaders for support and sustenance. Whatever happens, as long as the leaders give fellowship, there’s a way forward. Without the leaders, it just doesn’t work.” They’ve believed in God for many years and their stature is just this, still unable to function without the leaders. Isn’t that pitiful? What is the implicit meaning here? The implication is that they don’t know how to pray to God, depend on God, look up to God, or eat and drink God’s words. All these things must be supported by the leaders for them to understand; the leader can replace the God they believe in. It can be said that such a person’s belief in God is actually belief in their leaders. They listen to everything the leaders say, and believe whatever they say. Who are they truly believing in, following, and obeying—God or the leaders? Isn’t this just like religious people who nominally believe in the Lord, but in reality believe in, follow, and trust their pastors? Isn’t this being controlled by humans? You worship the leaders, listening to them in all matters. This is believing in and following humans, being constrained and controlled by people. God has spoken so clearly and yet you can’t understand His words, nor do you know how to practice them, but you understand devils and Satan after they speak just a few words? What is it you actually understand? Sometimes you understand a regulation or doctrine—does that count as understanding the truth? (No.) That is not understanding the truth; it is being misled. That’s exactly what it is.
In the manifestation of antichrists behaving deviously and being arbitrary and dictatorial, their primary dispositions are wickedness and viciousness. Where does their wickedness manifest? It manifests in their devious behavior. And where does their viciousness manifest? (In being arbitrary and dictatorial.) It primarily manifests in their being arbitrary and dictatorial, and in forcing others to obey them; their compulsion conveys a vicious disposition. God requires people to submit to Him and the truth. What is God’s way of working? After God expresses His words, He tells people that the most important thing in believing in God is that they should submit to the truth and God’s words. You know this truth, know that this phrase is right, but regarding whether you submit and how you submit, what is God’s attitude? You have free will, the right to choose. If you want to submit, you submit; if you don’t want to submit, you don’t have to. However, what consequences might not submitting bring? What does God scrutinize in people, and what are His conclusions about them? In these matters, God doesn’t do anything extra. He doesn’t warn you, threaten you, or force you, making you pay the price or punish you for it. God doesn’t act that way. During the period when God is saving people, when He is expressing words to provide for humans, God allows people to make mistakes, to take the wrong path, and allows people to rebel against Him and do foolish things. But through His words and some of His working methods, God gradually lets people understand what His requirements are, what the truth is, and what is right and what is wrong—for instance, through dealing with and pruning, chastening and disciplining, and also through exhortations. Sometimes, He gives you some grace, moves you internally, or gives you some illumination and enlightenment, letting you know what is right and what is wrong, what God’s requirements really are, what position humans should assume, and what people should practice. While making you understand, He also gives you a choice. If you say, “I will be rebellious, I will be willful, I don’t want to choose what’s right, I don’t want to be loyal, I just want to act this way!” then ultimately, you are responsible for your own destination and outcome. You have to take responsibility for your actions and pay the price; God does not do anything in this regard. God is fair and righteous. If you act according to His requirements and are a person who submits to God, or, if conversely you do not act according to God’s requirements and are not a person who submits to God, then, in both cases, wherever your destination will be, God has determined it far in advance. God doesn’t have to do anything extra. It’s not like if you don’t act according to God’s requirements today, He will discipline, chasten, or punish you, bringing disasters upon you—God doesn’t work like that. With God, He requires people to submit simply to let them understand the truth about submission; there is no element of “compulsion.” God does not force people to submit or to practice this aspect of truth. Therefore, in God’s way, whether He orchestrates people, rules over their fate, leads them, or provides them with the truth, the premise of these actions is not based on compulsion, nor is it necessity. If you act according to God’s words, you will gradually understand the truth more and more, and your condition before God will continue to improve—you will maintain a good condition, and God will also enlighten you in aspects of daily life that you do not understand. However, if you do not practice the truth, do not submit to God, and are unwilling to pursue the truth, what you gain will be very limited. This is the stark difference between these two. God does not show partiality; He is fair to everyone. Some people say: “Wouldn’t I practice if God just forced me?” God does not force people; that is what Satan does. God doesn’t work that way. If you can only submit to God when forced, what does that make you? Are you really submitting to God? That is not the kind of submission God desires. The submission God speaks of is where, based on understanding the truth, a person willingly practices God’s words out of conscience and reason. This is the original meaning of submission. It does not involve compulsion, restriction, threats, or any form of binding or control. Therefore, when you feel particularly bound or constrained in a matter, it is certainly not the work of God. In one regard, it might stem from human thoughts or a distorted comprehension and self-imposed constraints. In another, it could be someone else trying to constrain you, using regulations or some correct-sounding argument or theory to constrain you, leading you to develop some distortions in your thinking. This indicates a problem with your understanding. If you feel willingly and happily submissive to God, this comes from the work of the Holy Spirit and also from genuine humanity, from conscience and reason.
In God’s house, there are some people who do not submit to the truth, do not submit to the work arrangements of God’s house, and do not submit to the arrangements of the church. How does God’s house handle this? Are there any methods of forced implementation used to resolve this? For example, if a leader does not do practical work, does not work according to the work arrangements, and does not practice the truth, or cannot do practical work, how does God’s house handle it? (God’s house replaces them.) They are directly replaced, but are they expelled? (No.) Those who haven’t committed evil are not expelled. Regarding ordinary brothers and sisters, if they are arranged to perform a certain duty and they refuse, does this count as not submitting? If they don’t go, someone else can be found; would anyone be forced to perform a duty? (No.) There is no coercion. If, through fellowshiping the truth, they are willing to accept and submit, then that’s fine. This is not considered coercion; it is arranging them to perform this duty under the condition of their personal consent and willingness. For instance, some people like cooking, but are arranged to do cleaning, and they say, “If I am asked to clean, then I will clean. I submit to the arrangements of God’s house.” Is there any coercion here? Is there any forcing against someone’s will? (No.) This is arranged under their willingness and submission, without putting anyone in a difficult situation or forcing anyone to carry something out. There might also be cases where, for a certain duty, no one can be found temporarily, and you are arranged to provisionally fill in; you personally may not be willing, but this is a necessity for the work, it is a special case. You are a member of God’s house, you partake of the food from God’s house and perform your duties there—since you acknowledge yourself as someone who believes in and follows God, can’t you rebel against your flesh in this small matter? This doesn’t even really count as submission or hardship; it is only temporary, it’s not asking you to perform this duty long-term. Some people complain that the work they are asked to do is dirty and tiring, and they are unwilling to do it. If they bring it up, they should be promptly reassigned. However, if they are only verbally expressing this but actually are willing to submit and willing to suffer, then they should continue performing their duty. Is this approach appropriate? (Yes.) Is this principle correct? (Yes.) God’s house absolutely does not force people against their will. There is another situation where some people, no matter what duty they perform, are lazy, irresponsible, and lack loyalty. Sometimes, they even secretly do bad things. When they do not perform their duty well, they make excuses, claiming that the duty is not suitable for them, not their strong suit, or they don’t understand the field involved. But in reality, everyone sees clearly that their failure to perform well is not for these reasons. How should such people be handled? If they request to perform a duty elsewhere, should this be agreed to? (No.) Then what should be done? Such people are not suitable for performing duties; they do it reluctantly and without a proper attitude, so they should be sent away. There’s another kind of person who becomes difficult and resistant as soon as they’re told to perform a duty. They are extremely unwilling and reluctant, barely managing to suppress their discontent, thinking, “I’ll just lay low here and scrape by for a few years, who knows where I’ll end up after that!” People with such intentions should not be allowed to perform duties, and even if they want to perform other duties, it’s not allowed. Such cases must be handled forcefully. Why is this? Because their essence is seen through—those who understand them say they are nonbelievers; people around them also say they are not suitable for performing duties. Such a person is an unbeliever, and they must be cleansed away. If not, they can only cause disturbances, commit misdeeds, and harm God’s chosen people inside the church, which is absolutely unacceptable. Such cases should be handled according to the principles for how to treat those performing duties in the church; their unwillingness is not a factor. Is this coercion? This is not coercion; this is acting according to principles, upholding the interests and work of God’s house. It’s about cleansing away the nonbelievers and those who are just there to freeload in God’s house. If you want to freeload, do it somewhere else, not here. God’s house is not a retirement home; it doesn’t support loafers. Understand?
There are some antichrists who hide themselves very well, simply smiling without speaking when they see something, maintaining silence on many matters, feigning profundity and not expressing any stance. When you first come into contact with them, it’s not easy to see through them; you might even think they are substantial and remarkable. How do you discern such antichrists? You must pay close attention and observe what they really like, what they focus on, what interests them, and whom they interact with. By observing these aspects, you can gain an understanding of them. Additionally, there is one thing you all need to be aware of: No matter the level of a leader or worker, if you worship them for understanding a bit of the truth and for having a few gifts, and believe that they possess the truth reality and can help you, and if you look up to and depend on them in all things, and through this, you try to attain salvation, then this is foolish and ignorant of you. In the end, it will all come to nothing, because your starting point is inherently wrong. No matter how many truths someone understands, they cannot stand in the stead of Christ, and no matter how gifted someone is, this does not mean they possess the truth—so anyone who worships, looks up to, and follows other people will ultimately all be cast out and condemned. Believers in God can only look up to and follow God. Leaders and workers, whatever their rank, are still common people. If you see them as your immediate superiors, if you feel that they are superior to you, that they are more competent than you, and that they should lead you, that they are in all ways a cut above anyone else, then you are wrong—that is a delusion. And what consequences will this delusion visit on you? It will lead you unconsciously to measure your leaders against requirements that do not conform with reality, and to be unable to treat correctly the problems and deficiencies they have; at the same time, without your knowing it, you will also be profoundly drawn to their flair, gifts, and talents, such that before you know it, you are worshiping them, and they are your God. That path, from when they start to become your role model, the object of your worship, to when you become one of their followers, is one that will lead you unconsciously away from God. And even as you gradually move away from God, you will still believe that you are following God, that you are in His house, that you are in His presence, when actually, you will have been drawn away by minions of Satan, by antichrists. You will not even sense it. This is a very dangerous state of affairs. To solve this problem requires, in part, the ability to discern the nature essence of the antichrists, and the ability to see through to the ugly face of the antichrists’ hatred of the truth and resistance to God; so, too, does it require being familiar with the antichrists’ commonly used techniques of misleading and ensnaring people, as well as the way they do things. The other piece is that you must pursue knowledge of God’s disposition and essence. It must be clear to you that only Christ is the truth, the way, and the life, that worshiping any person shall visit catastrophe and misfortune on you. You must trust that only Christ can save people, and you must follow and submit to Christ with absolute faith. This alone is the correct path of human life. Some might say: “Well, I do have my reasons for worshiping leaders—in my heart, I naturally worship anyone who is talented. I worship any leader who is in line with my notions.” Why do you insist on worshiping man though you believe in God? When all is said and done, who is it who will save you? Who is it who truly loves you and protects you—can you truly not see? If you believe in God and follow God, you should heed His word, and if someone speaks and acts correctly, and it accords with the truth principles, is it not simply a matter of your submitting to the truth? Why are you so base? Why do you insist on finding someone whom you worship to follow? Why do you like to be Satan’s slave? Why not be a servant of the truth instead? In this, it is seen whether a person has reason and dignity. You should start with yourself: Equip yourself with truths of all sorts, be able to identify the various ways in which different matters and people manifest, know what the nature is of various people’s behavior and what dispositions they pour forth, learn to distinguish the essences of various kinds of people, be clear about what kinds of people are around you, what kind of person you are, and what kind of person your leader is. Once you see all this clearly, you will be capable of approaching people in the right way, according to the truth principles: If they are brothers and sisters, you will treat them with love; if they are not brothers and sisters but evil people, antichrists, or nonbelievers, you will keep your distance and forsake them. And if they are people who possess the truth reality, though you might admire them, you will not worship them. No one can take the place of Christ; only Christ is the practical God. Only Christ can save people, and only by following Christ can you obtain the truth and life. If you can see these things clearly, then you are possessed of stature and not likely to be misled by the antichrists, nor do you need to fear being misled by the antichrists.
Some people become worried when they see certain antichrists being revealed and cast out, saying: “Though antichrists don’t seem like evil people on the surface, why is it that upon discerning the things they do, they turn out to be so evil? It seems that antichrists are indeed quite devious. But I am of poor caliber, and if I encounter such antichrists again, I’m afraid I won’t be able to discern them. How should I guard against antichrists?” Even if you are of poor caliber, you don’t need to always worry about being misled or always think about how to guard against them. You just need to focus on understanding the truth, read more of God’s words, and when you have time, seriously ponder over the evil deeds committed by the antichrists, asking yourself, “Where does their evil lie? What drove them to commit such evil? Can ordinary people commit such evil? How do those who understand the truth discern them? How do I discern them?” Once you clearly see the essence of people through God’s words, you will understand everything. As you constantly think about these things, you will unconsciously learn to discern, and naturally, you will be able to discern when faced again with antichrists trying to mislead people. This requires going through many experiences; it’s not something you can learn just by listening to more sermons. It’s like gaining experience in society after being taken advantage of too much or suffering too many losses—“a fall into the pit, a gain in your wit.” It’s the same idea. In our belief in God, the main thing is to understand the truth. The more truth you understand, the more things you will see through. If you don’t understand any truth, even having knowledge is useless. With knowledge alone, you can’t see through anything; your views are the same as those of secular people, and whatever you comment on will be nonsense and fallacies. Don’t worry if you can’t see through some people right now. Once you understand the truth, you will naturally gain discernment. For now, just focus on doing your own duty well, eat and drink more of God’s words, and ponder more on the truth. When the day comes that you understand the truth, you will be able to discern people. Just by observing someone’s behavior, you will know what’s going on with them in your heart; just by listening to someone report on some issue, you will be able to see through the essence of the issue; and just by hearing someone’s thoughts and viewpoints, you will know their stature. Without much effort, you will be able to understand everything about any matter or person—this is the result of understanding the truth. However, if you do not pursue the truth, but instead rely on your imagination to assess people, worship them, depend on them, and blindly flatter them, and if you do not follow the path of pursuing the truth, what will be the end result? Anyone could mislead you; you won’t be able to see through anyone, not even the most obvious antichrist. They will play you for a fool, and you’ll still admire them for their ability, orbiting them every day. Then, you are truly a muddler, and it can be definitively said that you believe in a vague God, not the practical God, and you are definitely not a person who pursues the truth.
Some people, even after listening to several sermons on discerning antichrists, still can’t discern them. They only understand some methods of discernment but lack practical experience. When they actually face the evil deeds of antichrists, they fail to discern them again. Although they cannot discern antichrists after listening to sermons, they compare themselves with what they’ve heard and increasingly start to feel that they are like an antichrist. Eventually, they come to believe that they themselves are antichrists. There is nothing wrong with this kind of discernment. They are fully aware of the details in discerning antichrists, but they are just lacking in the principles of judgment. This is not a major issue; it shows that their listening to the sermons has been effective. Although they haven’t discerned the real antichrists, they have discerned themselves, which is also a good thing. They first save themselves, and avoid becoming antichrists, which is a fruitful outcome of listening to these sermons exposing antichrists. Being able to discern oneself as an antichrist is not simple; such discernment involves detailed observation, and I believe this already counts as having discernment. Discerning oneself now is a good thing; it’s not too late to do so. If you had committed evil or caused disasters and were then identified as an antichrist, it would have been too late. If you can discern now, at most, it means that you exhibit traits similar to those of antichrists, that you are walking the path of antichrists, and that you have chosen the wrong path. This is the extent of your current judgment. There is still time to change course, but it’s dangerous if you choose not to. The topic of discerning antichrists has been fellowshiped many times, and by now some people really can discern. They can identify their own antichrist dispositions that they reveal, which is a result and proves that they have gained discernment. If they can further distinguish between those who possess the nature essence of antichrists and those who only have antichrist dispositions, then they will have fully mastered discernment. This is something that can be achieved soon, so there is no need to rush. If people can discern their own antichrist dispositions, recognize whether they are walking the path of antichrists, and understand what the nature essence of antichrists is, then they have already learned how to discern antichrists. Being able to discern antichrists is not about how many years one has believed in God, but whether a person can strive for the truth and understand it. Some people have believed in God for many years and have listened to numerous sermons about exposing antichrists, but their antichrist dispositions and manifestations haven’t changed at all. No matter how I fellowship the truth, they remain unaware. They may identify with the content of the fellowship at the moment, but when it comes to taking action or doing their duties, they revert to their old ways. Isn’t this troublesome and dangerous for such people? It’s very dangerous! Regardless of how I fellowship, no matter how self-reproachful or upset they feel at the time of listening to Me, they don’t change at all afterward. They don’t reflect on why they always promote and cultivate people who flatter and fawn, nor do they reflect on why they treat others not based on principles, but according to their own whims. They don’t get tired of people they like, even if they are evil or bad, and continue to promote and use them. Even more so they don’t reflect on why they don’t pursue the truth at all and have embarked on the path of antichrists. Having committed so much evil without any real reflection or change is dangerous. In recent gatherings, the fellowship has been about exposing the dispositions and essence of antichrists. The disposition of antichrists is more hidden and wicked than the commonly seen corrupt dispositions. Antichrists are sick of the truth, they hate the truth, and absolutely cannot accept the truth or God’s judgment and chastisement. What then is the outcome, the end of antichrists? They are certain to be cast out. How does God characterize antichrists? As those who hate the truth and oppose God—they are God’s enemies! Opposing the truth, hating God, and hating all positive things—this is not the momentary weakness or foolishness found in ordinary people, nor is it the revelation of incorrect thoughts and viewpoints that arise from a moment’s distorted comprehension; this is not the problem. The problem is that they are antichrists, the enemies of God, hating all positive things and all truth; they are characters who hate and oppose God. How does God view such characters? God does not save them! These people despise and hate the truth, they have the nature essence of antichrists. Do you understand this? What is being exposed here is wickedness, viciousness, and hatred of the truth. It’s the most severe of satanic dispositions among corrupt dispositions, representing Satan’s most typical and substantial characteristics, not just the corrupt dispositions revealed by ordinary corrupted mankind. Antichrists are a force inimical to God. They can disturb and control the church, and they have the capacity to dismantle and disrupt God’s management work. This is not something that ordinary people with corrupt dispositions can do; only antichrists are capable of such actions. Do not underestimate this matter.
Evil people all have wicked dispositions. Some wickedness is expressed through vicious dispositions, as in frequently bullying guileless people, treating them in a satirical or sarcastic way, always making them the butt of jokes, and taking advantage of them. Evil people bow and scrape in deference when they see another evil person, but when they see a weak person, they trample on them and throw their weight around. These are extremely vicious and wicked people. Anyone who bullies or oppresses Christians is a devil disguised as a person; they are a soulless beast, and the reincarnation of a devil. If there are those among the throng of evil people who do not bully guileless people, do not brutalize Christians, who only unleash their wrath on those who harm their self-interest, then these people are considered good people among the unbelievers. But how does the wickedness of antichrists differ? The wickedness of antichrists is chiefly manifested in their particular penchant for competition. They dare to vie with Heaven, vie with the earth, and vie with other people. Not only do they not allow others to bully them, but they also bully and punish others. Every day, they contemplate how to punish people. If they are jealous of someone or hate someone, they will never let it go. These are the ways in which antichrists are wicked. Where else is this wickedness manifested? It can be seen in their devious way of doing things, which people with some brains, with some knowledge and some social experience, find difficult to detect. They do things in an exceptionally devious way, and this rises to wickedness; it is not ordinary deceitfulness. They can play shadow games and tricks, and do so at a higher level than most people. Most ordinary people cannot compete with them and cannot deal with them. This is an antichrist. Why do I say that ordinary people cannot deal with them? Because their wickedness is so extreme that they possess an enormous power to mislead people. They can think of all sorts of ways to make people worship them and follow them. They can also exploit all sorts of people to disturb and damage the church’s work. In such circumstances, the house of God repeatedly fellowships on every sort of manifestation, disposition, and essence of antichrists, so that people can discern them. This is necessary. Some people do not understand, and say, “Why always fellowship on how to discern antichrists?” Because antichrists are all too able to mislead people. They can mislead many people, like a lethal plague, which, through its contagion, can harm and kill many in a single outbreak; it is highly contagious and wide-reaching, and its infectiousness and mortality rates are quite high. Are these not severe consequences? If I don’t fellowship like this with you, can you break free from being misled and constrained by antichrists? Can you truly turn to God and submit to Him? This is very difficult. When ordinary people reveal an arrogant disposition, at most, it makes others see the ugly state of their arrogance. Sometimes they boast, sometimes they flaunt and show off themselves, and sometimes they love to brandish their status and lecture others. But is this the case with antichrists? On the surface, they may not seem to brandish their status or to be fond of it, they may never seem interested in status, but deep inside, they have a strong desire for it. It’s like some emperors or brigand lords of the unbelievers: When fighting for their land, they suffer hardships together with their companions, appearing humble and unambitious. But have you seen the desires hidden deep in their hearts? Why can they endure such hardships? It’s their desires that bolster them. They harbor a grand ambition inside, ready to endure any suffering or withstand any slander, defamation, offenses, and insults so that they may one day ascend the throne. Isn’t this devious? Can they let anyone know about this ambition? (No.) They conceal it and keep it under wraps. What is visible on the surface is a person who can endure what others cannot, who can bear unbearable hardships, who appears tenacious, unambitious, down-to-earth, and good to those around them. But the day they ascend the throne and gain real power, to consolidate their authority and prevent usurpation, they kill all those who suffered and fought beside them. Only when the truth is revealed do people realize how deeply cunning they are. When you look back and see that everything they did was driven by ambition, you discover their disposition was that of wickedness. What tactic was this? It was deviousness. This is the disposition of how antichrists operate. Antichrists and the devil kings that wield official power are of the same ilk; they absolutely will not suffer and endure in the church for no reason if they don’t get power and status. In other words, these people are absolutely not content with being ordinary followers, compromising in God’s house as common worshipers of God, or doing some duty quietly and anonymously; they would certainly not be willing to do this. If someone with status is replaced because they walked the path of an antichrist, and they think, “Without status now, I’ll just straightforwardly act as an ordinary person, doing whatever duty I can; I can still believe in God just as well without status,” are they an antichrist? No, this person once walked the path of an antichrist, once taking the wrong path because of momentary foolishness, but they are not an antichrist. What would a true antichrist do? If they lose their status, they won’t believe anymore. Not only that, but they will also think of various ways to mislead others, making others worship and follow them, to fulfill their ambition and desire to have power. This is the difference between those who walk the path of antichrists and actual antichrists. We analyze and dissect these dispositions, essences, and manifestations of antichrists because the nature of this issue is very serious. Most people cannot discern antichrists. Not to mention ordinary brothers and sisters, even some leaders and workers who think they understand some truth have not completely mastered discerning antichrists. It’s hard to say how much they’ve mastered, which indicates their stature is too small. Only those who can accurately discern antichrists are people with true stature.
What is a major issue you are all facing now? Most people cannot discern and are easily misled by false leaders and antichrists, which is very dangerous if not resolved. Therefore, I require that you learn to distinguish various kinds of people. Discern what disposition is represented by people’s various behaviors and statements, and based on these, discern the essence of the person. In addition, you need to be able to distinguish between what is the truth reality and what are just words and doctrines. If you cannot discern these, then you will not be able to enter the truth reality. How can you have the path to enter reality without discernment? Some leaders and workers only spout words and doctrines, thinking that understanding words and doctrines means they possess reality. So, while spouting words and doctrines, they feel content and justified, becoming more and more enthusiastic. But when trials come upon them, they falter and, not even knowing how they faltered, they still say, “Why didn’t God protect me?” Isn’t this a shameful failure? So, some leaders and workers always talk about words and doctrines—can you discern this? (No.) Sometimes I hear from some brothers and sisters that some leaders only talk about words and doctrines and are unsuitable to be leaders, and they ask to replace them. However, after they are asked to elect a new leader, most people lack discernment, and the elected leaders and workers are also those who speak only of words and doctrines without having much reality. This is a very serious issue, a very difficult one. When you listen to My words of fellowship on these matters, can you discern any difference from what ordinary leaders say? If you can discern the difference, then you know what the truth reality is. If you cannot discern it and think it’s all the same, thinking, “We have also learned to speak God’s words, and what we say is the same as what God says,” then that’s problematic. It proves that you don’t understand the truth at all, only know how to mimic God’s words and recite a bit of them, without really understanding the truth. Most antichrists possess certain gifts and eloquence, which gives them the capital to mislead people. Coupled with their wicked disposition and manipulative ways in speech and action, they are indeed able to mislead people. If you are only capable of spouting words and doctrines and cannot discern what the truth reality is, you can only be misled by antichrists. This is something beyond your control! For those who do not understand the truth, it is impossible not to be misled by antichrists, despite what they may wish. Breaking free from Satan’s influence is no simple matter, is it?
June 11, 2019