Item Eight: They Would Have Others Submit Only to Them, Not the Truth or God (Part Two)

Supplement: A Brief Discussion of Three Aspects of Normal Humanity

We won’t tell stories in our fellowship this time. We’ll begin with a topic that’s often discussed: what humanity is. We’ve said much about this topic in the past, and we do now, too. It’s a topic frequently mentioned, an issue one encounters every day of their daily life, a topic one can encounter and experience every day. The topic: what humanity is. Humanity encompasses several important things. What are the common manifestations of humanity in one’s daily life? (Integrity and dignity.) What else? Conscience and reason, right? (Yes.) You speak of those often. What others are there that you don’t often speak of? That is, which are topics that you basically don’t touch on in your usual talk about humanity? Conscience and reason, integrity and dignity—these topics are old standbys that one regularly encounters. How big of a connection is there between the conscience, reason, integrity, and dignity that you often discuss and your real lives? How has that material edified and helped your practice and entry in your real lives? How beneficial has it been? So, what other items are there that relate closely to your everyday human life? I’ll say a few, and we’ll see whether they’re topics you regularly come across. With our material that involves humanity, we’ll first set aside whether it’s positive or negative, and whether it’s about normal or abnormal humanity. Beyond the items we just mentioned, there’s the one of people’s attitude in their treatment of other people, events, and things in their everyday lives. Isn’t that one? Doesn’t that involve humanity? (It does.) There’s another, which is people’s stewardship of their personal surroundings in their everyday lives, and one more, people’s attitude and behavior in their contact with the opposite sex. Are these three items related to humanity? (Yes.) They all are. For the topic we’re going to discuss now, we’re going to put aside the subjects of man’s pursuit of the truth, how to enter the truth reality in one’s belief in God, and how to uphold all the various principles, and speak only of humanity. So, those three items—is their connection to humanity substantial? (Yes.) What are those three items? Restate them. (The first is people’s attitude in their treatment of other people, events, and things in their everyday lives. The second is people’s stewardship of their personal surroundings in their everyday lives. The third is people’s attitude and behavior in their contact with the opposite sex in their everyday lives.) And what do those three items involve? (Humanity.) Why do we say these three items involve humanity, that they’re related to it? Why would we set these three out? Why aren’t we talking about the conscience and reason part? Why are we putting aside the aspects we commonly discuss to talk about these three items? Are these three items more advanced or more rudimentary than conscience, reason, integrity, and dignity, as they relate to humanity, which we’ve discussed before? (They’re more rudimentary.) Is it then belittling you to discuss these things? (No.) So, why would we discuss them? (They’re practical.) They’re more practical. That’s the reason you’ve got? Why are we going to talk about this? Because I’ve found problems; in respect to conditions as they are and various behaviors that show up in people’s daily lives, I’ve found a few problems that are closely bound up in people’s real lives, and it’s necessary to lay them out, one by one, for fellowship. If people put real life aside, and the various behaviors of normal humanity and of everyday life, in their belief in God, and just doggedly pursue the truth—such high, profound truths as that of being a person whom God loves—tell Me, what problems will that lead to? What’s the basic condition under which someone may be able to enter the truth reality in their pursuit of the truth? (They have to do it in real life.) What else? (They need normal humanity.) That’s right—they must be possessed of normal humanity, which, apart from conscience, reason, integrity, and dignity, consists of the three items we just mentioned. It would be a bit hollow for someone to speak of pursuing and seeking the truth if they couldn’t live up to the standards or achieve normality in these three items that touch on humanity. Pursuing the truth, pursuing entry into the truth reality, pursuing salvation—these aren’t achievable by everyone, but only by the minority of people who love the truth and have normal humanity. If one doesn’t know what someone with normal humanity should be possessed of, or what they should do, or what sort of attitude and viewpoint they should have regarding certain people, events, and things, is that person capable of achieving entry into the truth reality? Can their pursuit of the truth produce results? Sadly, no.

A. People’s Attitude in Their Treatment of Other People, Events, and Things

We’ll begin with fellowship on the first item that involves humanity: people’s attitude in their treatment of other people, events, and things in their everyday lives. Everyone understands what “everyday lives” means. It needs no elaboration. What, then, are the main people, events, and things that relate to humanity? That is, what’s in there that rises to the level of normal humanity, that’s in relation to its scope, that touches on it? (Engaging with people and things.) That’s a piece of it. There’s also the knowledge and professional skills one should learn, and there’s general knowledge for everyday living. These are all parts of what someone with normal humanity should understand and possess. Some people, for example, learn carpentry or masonry, and others learn to drive or repair cars. These are skills, crafts, and to know such a craft is to be versed in the professional trade of that craft. So, to what degree and what standard must one learn a skill in order to be counted an adept? They must at least be able to produce a finished product to an acceptable standard. There are some people who do quite shoddy work. The jobs they do are not up to snuff, or even unappealing. What’s the problem there? That touches on their attitude toward their trade. Some people don’t have a conscientious attitude. They think, “If what I make manages to do its job, that’s good enough. Just make do with it for a few years, then fix it up.” Is this sort of view one that people with normal humanity should possess? (No.) Some people have devil-may-care, indifferent attitudes. “Good enough” is fine for them. This is an irresponsible attitude. It is something within a corrupt disposition to handle things so flippantly and irresponsibly: It is scumminess people often refer to. In all matters they do, they do it to the point of “that’s about right” and “close enough”; it is an attitude of “maybe,” “possibly,” and “four-out-of-five”; they do things perfunctorily, are satisfied to do the minimum, and are satisfied to muddle along as they can; they see no point in taking things seriously or striving for precision, and they see less point in seeking the truth principles. Is this not something within a corrupt disposition? Is it a manifestation of normal humanity? It is not. To call it arrogance is right, and to call it dissolute is also entirely apt—but to capture it perfectly, the only word that will do is “scummy.” Most people have scumminess within them, just to different degrees. In all matters, they wish to do things in a perfunctory and slipshod manner, and there is a whiff of deceit in everything they do. They cheat others when they can, cut corners when they are able, save time when they can. They think to themselves, “So long as I avoid being revealed, and cause no problems, and am not called to account, then I can muddle through this. Doing a job well is more trouble than it is worth.” Such people learn nothing to mastery, and they do not apply themselves or suffer and pay a price in their studies. They want only to get the patchwork sense of a subject and then call themselves proficient at it, believing they have learned all there is to know, and then rely on this to muddle their way through. Is this not an attitude people have toward other people, events, and things? Is it a good attitude? It is not. Simply put, it is to “muddle through.” Such scumminess exists in all of corrupt mankind. People with scumminess in their humanity take the view and attitude of “muddling through” on anything they do. Are such people able to perform their duty properly? No. Are they able to do things with principle? Even more unlikely.

Some people aren’t committed in anything they do, but are sloppy, careless and perfunctory, and irresponsible. There are some, for instance, who learn to drive, yet never ask experienced drivers what to pay attention to when driving, or what speed will damage the engine. They don’t ask, they just drive—and they break their car as a result. They kick the car and say, “This thing’s brittle. Give me a Mercedes or a BMW, this old lemon won’t do—it’s obsolete!” What attitude is that? They don’t treat material things with loving care, and don’t think to keep them in good shape, but wreck and spoil them on purpose. Some people live sloppy, remiss lives. They do everything, all day long, in a slapdash, careless way. What sort of people are these? (Inattentive people.) “Inattentive people” is a nice way to put it—you should call them “negligent people”; “base people” fits, too. Is that excessive? How can one tell the difference between noble and base people? Simply look at their attitude and actions toward duties, and look at how they treat things and behave when issues arise. People with integrity and dignity are meticulous, conscientious, and diligent in their actions, and they are willing to make sacrifices. People without integrity and dignity are desultory and slipshod in their actions, always up to some trick, always wanting to just muddle through. No matter what technique they study, they do not learn it diligently, they are unable to learn it, and no matter how much time they spend studying it, they remain utterly ignorant. These are people of low character. Most people are careless and perfunctory in performing their duties. What disposition is at play there? (Scumminess.) How do scummy people treat their duty? Certainly, they don’t have the correct attitude toward it, and they’re certainly careless and perfunctory with it. This means they don’t have normal humanity. Seriously scummy people are like animals. It’s like keeping a dog as a pet: If you don’t keep an eye on it, it’ll chew things up and destroy all your furniture and appliances. That would be a loss. Dogs are animals; they don’t think to treat things with loving care, and you can’t argue with them—you just have to handle them. If you don’t, but let an animal run riot and disturb your life, that shows that there’s something missing in your humanity. You’re not much different from an animal, then. Your IQ is too low—you’re a good-for-nothing. So, how do you handle them well, then? You need to think of a way to restrain them within certain parameters, or keep them caged, letting them out at two or three set times each day, so that they get enough activity in. That will curb their wanton chewing, and provide them with exercise, too, to keep them healthy. That way, the dog is well handled, and your environment is protected, too. If a person can’t handle the things they encounter and doesn’t have the correct attitude, they’re missing something in their humanity. It can’t meet the standard of normal humanity. Or, in terms of cooking: ordinary people use just a bit of oil when they’re stir-frying, but there are some women who use a whole bunch. Even if you’re rich, you can’t squander oil—you have to use a reasonable amount. But these women don’t care about that; if they lose their grip and pour too much oil into a stir-fry, they just scoop out the extra and toss it on the ground. That’s wasteful, isn’t it? What’s someone with that attitude toward material things popularly called? “Extravagant”—or, as an insult, a “spendthrift.” Where do material things come from? They’re given by God. Some people say they’ve earned their things—but how much could you earn if it weren’t given by God? He gave you your life. If He hadn’t, you had nothing, and you were nothing, so would you then still be able to have those material things of yours? God may have given you more than the average household, but is the attitude and viewpoint with which you’d squander it the right one? How is this to be characterized in terms of humanity? Such a person is of poor humanity. Extravagance, squandering things, not knowing to treat things with loving care—such a person doesn’t have normal humanity. Some people don’t even think to handle the things of God’s house with care. Something belongs to God’s house. They see this. Yet if it were about to rain, and it would be bad if that thing got wet, what would they think? “It’s no big deal if it gets wet. It’s not like it’s mine. I’ll leave it be.” Then, they’d walk away. What’s that attitude called? Selfishness. Are they upright in their thinking? If not, what are they? (Crooked.) If a person is not upright, then aren’t they crooked? Do people who aren’t upright in their thinking have normal humanity? Certainly not. For our first item, people’s attitude in their treatment of other people, events, and things, how many things have we now spoken of? There’s scumminess, scum. What else? (Being base and crooked.) Such colloquial language—do you use words like these when you reflect on, come to know, and analyze yourselves in your daily life? (No.) No one does. So, what words do you use? You speak in grandiose terms—no one uses such everyday language.

Many people feel quite grand about themselves because they believe in God. Those with some skill and professional know-how, or even advanced degrees, in particular, feel they’re above ordinary people. Pleased with themselves, they think, “I don’t want any of the solid careers out there in the world, and I didn’t come to God’s house for a free meal. Someone as skilled as me can make a contribution in God’s house. I expend of myself and suffer for God. I even share room and board with these common people, in communal living. How grand of quality I am!” They think they’re especially honorable of character, that they’re nobler than everyone else. They take constant joy in this. The fact is that there are so many things missing from their humanity, and not only do they not know it, they’re on cloud nine, thinking that they’re great, that the quality of their humanity is grander than that of ordinary people. In fact, there’s not one thing in there that would live up to the definition of the word “normal” that precedes “humanity” in “normal humanity.” Nothing in there is up to that standard; everything falls so far short. Their conscience? They don’t have one. Their personality? It’s no good. Their character and qualities? None of it is any good. With everyone living together, when some people have something precious, they won’t dare to leave it out in the open. Why is that? One part of it is that they don’t trust others, and the other is that where there are many people, there are unreliable people, and some of them might have sticky fingers—they might even steal. These people have poor-quality humanity. Some people set out to pick the best morsels when they eat, and they eat those to their fill, no matter how many people there are behind them who haven’t eaten. Is that not selfishness? There are some who consider and look after others when they’re eating. What does this illustrate? It shows that the latter are reasonable people who keep others in mind. They’ll eat a bit less, in order to leave more for others. That’s what it means to be of quality. In God’s house, some people have humanity, while some fall a bit short. They can’t even meet the standards of normal humanity. With an eye toward the behaviors I’ve mentioned, are there a lot of people with normal humanity among you? Or are there not many? When you display such behaviors, are you generally capable of realizing that they’re problems? When you reveal a corrupt disposition, are you aware of it? If you’re aware of it, and can feel it, and are willing to make a change, then you do have a bit of humanity—it just hasn’t achieved normality. If you’re not even aware of it, then can you be accounted as someone with humanity? You can’t. This isn’t a question of good or bad humanity, normal or abnormal—you have no humanity. At meals, for example, there are some people who see a plate of braised pork coming out and start grabbing for it, fatty and lean pieces alike, and don’t stop until it’s all gone. Have you ever seen animals fighting over food? (Yes.) It’s the same scene, but with animals; with humans, is that fighting a part of normal humanity? (It’s not normal humanity.) What would people of normal humanity do? (They’d be content with what they got, and not greedy.) That’s quite a factual way to put it. How can one not be greedy, then? What thoughts and what regard toward this issue comprise the thinking that people with normal humanity should have, through which one may go on to act with accuracy? First, your thinking must be correct. A woman, for instance, would think, “There’s a lot of braised pork today. I’d like to have more, but I’m a bit embarrassed to, seeing as I’m surrounded by my brothers. What should I do? I suppose I’ll wait to eat until they’ve had a go at it. I wouldn’t want others to wonder how a lady like me could be such a glutton. How humiliating that would be!” Thinking like that would be normal for a woman, as they’re generally a bit thin-skinned. Most men would think, “The braised pork is incredible. I’ll just go ahead and help myself.” They’d be the first to reach for it with their chopsticks, heedless of what others think. But some men are more rational than that. After they’ve had a bite, they give it some thought: “There are so many people behind me who haven’t eaten yet. I have to stop and leave some for others.” The fact that they can think and act like that shows that they’re a person with reason, that they inherently have humanity. Some people go off on an absurd tangent: “God doesn’t want people to eat braised pork, so I won’t even take one bite. That means I have even more humanity, doesn’t it?” That’s absurd thinking. What am I demonstrating with this example? That people should adopt a correct attitude toward every sort of person, event, and thing. One comes to this correct attitude through thought that is undertaken from the perspective of the rationality, conscience, integrity, and dignity of humanity. If you practice with this sort of mindset, you’ll basically be in line with normal humanity.

The attitude one has toward people, events, and things is nothing other than how engaging with people and things manifests in their day-to-day life. These manifestations may not have much to do with the work that’s yours to do, or they may be removed from it, but belief in God isn’t hollow: Believers in God don’t live in a vacuum, but in real life. They must not be detached from real life. What sort of attitude and thinking should people have, whether it be toward professional skills or toward common wisdom or knowledge about something? Is it right to always have a mindset of muddling along? Some people are always in a muddle about these things—will that work? Do they not have a problem with their point of view? A problem with their point of view is part of it; beyond that, it has to do with the quality of their humanity. The great red dragon has ruled over China for thousands of years, engaged always in campaigns and struggles. It doesn’t develop the economy, and it doesn’t give a thought to the lives of the common people. Eventually, the people fostered a sort of scumminess that plods forward, however it can. They’re careless and perfunctory in everything they do; all their views are makeshift. They don’t aim for excellence in any of their studies, nor can they achieve it. They’re always operating with makeshift views: They look at what the market needs, then rush to produce it, without a thought to spare until they’ve made their fortune. They don’t develop further from this foundation, or do further scientific research, or strive for more perfect excellence, with the end result that China’s light and heavy industries alike have no cutting-edge product in any part of the world stage. Yet the Chinese are boastful: “We have 5,000 years of first-rate traditional culture here in China. We Chinese are kind and hardworking.” Why, then, does China keep making knock-offs to rip people off? Why do they have next to nothing that could compete in the global market? What’s going on there? Does China have cutting-edge products? Chinese people do have one “cutting-edge” thing, and that’s their skill at imitation and counterfeit—at deceit. Their scumminess is present in that. Some will say, “Why would You depict us like that? It belittles and demeans us.” Is that so? To look at some of the things the Chinese do, the shoe may indeed be said to fit. Are there any Chinese people, in the market or among the common folk, who attend to their proper work? Very few, and those who try to lose their stomach for it when they see how adverse the social environment is, and that no good comes to those who attend to their proper work. They stop trying and give up.

Those things that touch on humanity—the attitudes, thoughts, and opinions that people reveal in their treatment of people, events, and things—are very telling. Of what do they tell? They tell of how one can see the quality of a person’s humanity, of whether they are a decent and upright person. What is it to be decent and upright? Is being traditional decent and upright? Is being civil and well-mannered decent and upright? (No.) Is following rules to the letter decent and upright? (No.) None of this is. So, what is it to be decent and upright? If someone is a decent and upright person, then, no matter what they do, they do it with a certain mentality: “No matter whether I like doing this thing or not, nor whether it falls within the scope of my interests or is something in which I have little interest—it was given to me to do, and I will do it well. I will begin studying it from scratch, and, with my feet on the ground, I’ll undertake it one step at a time. In the end, no matter how far I’ve gotten in the task, I’ll have done my best.” At the very least, you must possess a sort of the attitude and mentality that is down-to-earth-ness. If, from the moment you take over a task, you do it in a muddle and do not care about it in the least—if you do not treat it earnestly, and do not refer to relevant resources, make detailed preparations, or seek and consult with others; and if, beyond that, you do not increase the time you spend studying this thing so that you may constantly improve at it, attaining mastery of this skill or profession, but maintain a cavalier attitude toward it and an attitude of just getting by in your treatment of it, then this is a problem in your humanity. Is this not just muddling along? Some say, “I don’t like it when you give me this kind of duty.” If you do not like it, do not accept it—and if you do accept it, you should approach it with an earnest, responsible attitude. That is the sort of attitude you should have. Is this not the attitude that people with normal humanity ought to possess? This is what it is to be decent and upright. In this regard, you need, at the very least, normal humanity’s attentiveness, conscientiousness, and willingness to pay a price, along with its attitudes of being down to earth, earnest, and responsible. To have these things is enough.

There are all sorts of people in the church. Those who love the truth are of better humanity, and when they reveal a corrupt disposition, they’re readily corrected. Those who don’t are of much worse humanity. If a person doesn’t apply themselves and is irresponsible with God’s commission, are they not unworthy of credit? Humanity like that is worthless and of no value. It’s dross. You believe in God. If you approach your commission with a perfunctory and irresponsible attitude, whether it’s God’s commission of you or the church’s, is yours the attitude that someone of normal humanity should have? Some may say, “I don’t take things brothers and sisters give me to do seriously, but I guarantee that I’ll succeed at things God gives me to do. I’ll treat those well.” Is that the right sentiment? (No.) In what way isn’t it? Someone who’s uncreditworthy and deficient in virtue, whose humanity lacks these things—to whom could they be true? No one. Even with their own affairs, they cheat and go through the motions. Is a person like that not base and worthless? If someone can apply themselves and take responsibility and be creditable with things other people commission them to do, then would they do much worse with a commission they’ve accepted from God? If they, someone with conscience and reason, understand the truth, then they shouldn’t do worse with a commission they’ve accepted from God and with the performance of their duty. They’ll do much better, for sure, than those without a conscience who lack in virtue. That’s the difference in the quality of their humanity. Some say, “I wouldn’t take it seriously if you ask me to take care of a dog or a cat, but if I were tasked with an important matter for God’s house, I’d dispatch it well, for sure.” Is this valid? (No.) Why not? If someone has the correct point of view, in big matters and small ones alike, whatever their commission may be, and if they’re right at heart and noble in quality, and have integrity, and is creditworthy, and moral in conduct, then that’s precious, and it is different. Such people address any matter at all with their morality and their creditworthiness. If someone amoral and unworthy of credit were to say, “If God directly commissions me with something, I’m sure to handle it well,” would that be truthful? It would be a bit overblown and deceptive. How can you be trustworthy to others without a conscience or reason? Your words ring hollow—they’re a trick. God’s house once had two little dogs, to guard a place. Someone was arranged to look after them, and they looked after them and handled them as if they were their own. That person wasn’t too fond of dogs, but they looked after them well. When a dog got sick, they’d treat them, and they bathed them, and they fed them right on time. They may not have liked dogs, but they took looking after those dogs as their commission and responsibility. Isn’t there something there that should be in humanity? They had humanity, so they did the thing well. The two dogs passed later into another’s care, and within the month, they were pitifully thin. What had happened? No one cared or noticed when the dogs got sick, and their poor mood affected their appetites. That’s how they wound up so thin; that’s how that person looked after them. Is there a difference between people? (Yes.) Where? (In their humanity.) Did the one who looked after the dogs well understand some great number of truths? Not necessarily. And the one who looked after them poorly hadn’t necessarily believed in God for a shorter time. Why, then, is there such a big difference between the two of them? Because it’s the quality of their humanity that’s different. Some people are creditworthy. When they give someone their word, they’ll be able to give an account of themselves in the end, whether they like doing the thing or not. When they take over a task, they’re sure to get it done, one foot after the other. They live up to the credit others extend them, and they live up to their own heart. They have a conscience, and with it, they measure all things. Some people have no conscience. They’ll give their word and do nothing to back it up afterward. They don’t say, “They believed in me. I have to do the thing well, to keep their trust.” That’s not the heart they have, and that’s not how they’d think. Is that not a difference in humanity? Tell Me, did the person who did well find it laborious to do so? They didn’t find it too tiring or laborious. They didn’t rack their brains trying to figure out how to do the thing well, and they didn’t pray often over the thing. They knew at heart what would be the proper thing to do, so they took up that burden. The one who was unwilling to bear the burden accepted the duty, too, and found it a nuisance once they did. They’d get irritated when the dogs barked and reprimand them: “Bark, will you? Bark once more and I’ll kick you to death!” Is there not a difference of humanity here? There is, and it’s a big one. With some people, when you task them with something, they find it irritating, a bother, that you’re leaving them with little liberty. “Another job? I’ve got plenty to do already—I’m not just loafing around over here!” And so, they make all manner of excuses to pass the thing off, to pardon themselves for not fulfilling their responsibility. They have no conscience or reason, nor do they reflect on themselves, instead giving justifications and excuses to pardon themselves of their poor humanity. This is how people of poor humanity behave. Can such a person enter the truth reality, then? (No.) Why not? They don’t love the truth, and they don’t love positive things. Isn’t that the case? They are possessed neither of normal humanity nor of the reality of positive things. They don’t have that essence inside them. So, what is the relationship between the truth and normal humanity? What must be inside of someone’s humanity for them to enter the truth reality and to practice the truth? They must first have a conscience and reason. Whatever they’re doing, they must have the correct attitude, the correct thinking, and the correct point of view. Only with these can one have normal humanity—and only by possessing normal humanity can one accept and practice the truth.

B. People’s Stewardship of Their Personal Surroundings

The second item: people’s stewardship of their personal surroundings in everyday life. Which area of normal humanity does this item entail? (That of one’s living environment.) And what does that consist of? It mainly consists of two broad areas: the environment one lives in that extends only so far as their personal life, and the public environments they frequently come into contact with. And what do these two broad areas consist of, specifically? One’s lifestyle, as well as their care for cleanliness and for their environment. To break it down further, what does one’s lifestyle consist of? Work and rest, diet, and things like preserving one’s health on a day-to-day basis, and knowing how to handle basic affairs. We’ll begin with the first one, work and rest. Those should just be done in a regular, scheduled way. Outside of special circumstances, as when one’s job requires them to work through the night or just stay late, work and rest are most often to be regular and scheduled. That’s the right way. There are some who prefer to be up at night. They don’t sleep in the evenings, but busy themselves with all sorts of things. They don’t go to sleep until others get up and start their work, early in the morning, and when others go to bed at night, that’s when they rise and get to work. Aren’t there people like that? Always out of sync with others, always being special—such people aren’t terribly sound of reason. Everyone’s rhythms should be basically in sync under normal circumstances, special cases notwithstanding. What is the next one? (Diet.) The dietary requirements of normal humanity are easy to achieve, aren’t they? (Yes.) This one’s easy. However, don’t people have a few fallacious views on diet? Some say, “We believe in God, and everything is in His hands. There’s no way of eating that could harm one’s stomach. We’ll eat whatever we like, at our liberty, freely. It’s not an issue, with God protecting us.” Aren’t there people with such a take on it? Isn’t there something a bit distorted in this? A take like that is abnormal; those who have it aren’t normal in their thinking. There are others who get normal, commonsense knowledge for living mixed up with hewing to the flesh. They believe that to focus on commonsense knowledge for living is to hew to the flesh. Aren’t there people who believe that? (Yes.) For instance, some people have stomach troubles and don’t eat spicy, stimulating things. There are some who say to them, “That’s a dietary preference of yours; you’re hewing to the flesh. You need to forsake it. There are places you’ll go where that’s the food, and you’ll need to eat it. How could you not?” Aren’t there people with that sort of take? (Yes.) Some people can’t eat a certain thing yet insist on eating it, to their discomfiture, in order to forsake the flesh. I say, “You’re allowed not to eat it if you don’t want to. No one will condemn you if you don’t.” They say, “No, I have to!” In that case, their discomfort is deserved. They’ve brought it on themselves. They set rules for themselves, so it’s they who have to keep them. Would it be wrong not to eat the thing, then? (No.) It wouldn’t. Others with particular health conditions are allergic to some foods. They need to avoid those things and not eat them. Some are allergic to chili peppers, and so shouldn’t eat them, yet insist on it. They go on eating them, believing that that’s what it means to forsake the flesh. Is that not a distorted comprehension? That it is. If you’re not fit to eat something, don’t eat it. What are you fighting with your body for? Isn’t that reckless of you? (It is.) There’s no need to keep to that rule, nor to forsake your flesh in that way. Everyone has their own physical condition: Some have bad stomachs; some have weak hearts; some are poorer of vision; some are prone to sweat; some never sweat. Everyone’s condition is different; you must make adjustments based on your own. A single sentence can stand for these cases: Learn a bit of common sense in life. What does “common sense” mean here? It means that you need to know what’s harmful for you to eat and what’s good for you to eat. If something doesn’t taste good but is good for your health, then you have to eat it, for the sake of your health; if something’s tasty, but you get sick when you eat it, then don’t eat it. That’s common sense. Beyond that, people must also know a few commonsense ways to stay healthy. In the four seasons of the year, let the time, the climate, and the season dictate the things you eat—this is a major principle. Don’t fight your body—this is a thought and understanding that people with normal humanity should have. Some people have enteritis and suffer from diarrhea when they eat stimulating foods. So, don’t eat those. Yet some say, “I’m not afraid. God’s protecting me,” and suffer through diarrhea after their meals as a result. They even say that it’s God testing and refining them. Aren’t they absurd people? If they’re not absurd, they’re terrible gluttons who eat without regard for the consequences. Such people are troubling. They can’t control their mouths, but say, “I’m not afraid. God’s protecting me!” How’s their take on the issue? It’s absurd; they don’t understand the truth, yet blindly try to apply it. They have enteritis yet eat indiscriminately, and when they get diarrhea as a result, for them to say it’s God testing and refining them—isn’t that a blind application of the rules? For such an absurd person to say something such rubbish—isn’t that blasphemy against God? Would the Holy Spirit do work in such a ridiculous person? (No.) If you don’t understand the truth, you mustn’t blindly go apply rules to things. Would God just test anyone? Certainly not. You’re not even qualified for that; your stature isn’t there—and so, God won’t test you. Someone who doesn’t know what foods will make them sick is an idiot with an unsound intellect. Can people who are unsound of reason and intellect understand God’s will? Can they understand the truth? (No.) Would God test such a person, then? No, He wouldn’t. That’s what it is to lack reason and speak nonsense. There are principles to God’s tests of people; they’re directed at people who love the truth and pursue it, at people whom God would use, at people who could bear witness for Him. He tests people of true faith who can follow Him and testify to Him. No one who seeks only comfort and enjoyment and doesn’t pursue the truth at all, and certainly no one with an absurd apprehension of things, has the work of the Holy Spirit. That being so, would God test them? It’s a total impossibility.

Some people have access to Chinese herbal medicines or health foods, which they frivolously partake of. Some women, when they have nothing to do, will slather on their face things that protect the skin, that whiten and tauten it. They’ll spend two hours every day applying their products and three hours removing them, and ultimately ruining their skin beyond recognition. They’ll even say, “No one can overcome the natural law of beauty fading with age—just look at this aging skin of mine!” The fact is that they wouldn’t look so old if they hadn’t kept messing with their faces—it was slathering on those very products that aged them. What do you make of that? (They brought it on themselves.) Serves them right! There’s some commonsense knowledge for living in normal humanity, and one needs to get a grasp on it, such as common knowledge about preserving one’s health and preventing illness: that cold feet are liable to cause back pain, for instance, or how one should treat early-onset farsightedness, or what the harms are of sitting too long at the computer. One should understand a bit about such commonsense care for their health. Some may say, “To believe in God, you’re only supposed to read His words. What’s the use of learning all that commonsense healthcare stuff? A man’s lifespan is determined by God; no amount of healthcare knowledge will do any good. When it’s time for you to die, no one can save you.” This seems right on the face of it, but in fact, it’s a bit absurd. It’s something someone without spiritual understanding would say. They learn to rattle off well-worn words and doctrines and seem spiritual, when in fact, they don’t have any pure comprehension at all. They blindly attempt to apply rules when things happen to them, speaking as nicely as they can, without practicing any truth. Some people may tell them cornmeal porridge is nourishing, for instance, that it’s good for the health. That won’t get through to them. Yet as soon as they hear someone say braised pork is healthful, they’ll eat their fill of it the next time they see it, saying even as they chew, “What can I do? I need to eat this; it’s for my health!” Isn’t that a deceitful thing to say? (It is.) It’s deceit. To possess what people with normal humanity should possess, to know what people should know, to know what there is to know at the stage of life that corresponds to your age—that’s what it is to have normal humanity. Some people in their twenties eat indiscriminately. They’ll eat ice cubes on a freezing day. Their elders get scared to see that, and urge them to stop, telling them they’ll get a stomachache. “A stomachache? I’ll be fine” they say, “Look at me: I’m in peak physical condition!” They don’t know about such things at their age. Wait until they’re forty; give them an ice cube to eat then. Would they do it? (No.) And when they’re sixty, forget about eating ice—they’ll be afraid to come near it. Its chill will be too much for their body to bear. That’s called experience—learning life lessons. If someone at sixty still doesn’t know that their stomach can’t handle too many ice cubes, that their body can’t take them, that they’ll make them ill, what’s that called? Are they deficient in normal humanity? They’re deficient in lived experience. If someone who’s sixty-odd years old still doesn’t know that cold is bad for the back, that cold feet cause a sore back, then how must they have lived for those sixty-odd years? They must have just muddled through them. Some people understand a lot of commonsense things about life by the time they’re in their forties: commonsense health knowledge, for instance; and they have a few correct views regarding material things, money, and work, and regarding their relatives, and the affairs of the world, and life, and so on. They have a pure understanding of these things, and even if they don’t believe in God, they still understand these things a bit better than their juniors. These are people with a sense of right and wrong, whose thinking is normal. In the twenty additional years they’ve lived, they’ve understood many things, some of which come near the truth. This shows them to be people with comprehension ability, people of fine caliber. And if they’re someone who pursues the truth, their entry into the truth reality will come much faster, because they’ll have experienced much in those twenty years, and gained a few positive things. Their experiences will be consistent with the truth reality God speaks of. However, if much is lacking in that person’s humanity, and they don’t have correct views, or the thinking of normal humanity, much less the intelligence of normal humanity regarding life, and regarding the people, events, and things that come up in those twenty years, then they will have lived those years in vain. In several places I’ve been, I’ve found that some of the older sisters don’t know how to cook. They can’t even plan a balanced meal. They make soup of what should be fried, and fry what should go in a soup. Produce changes with the seasons, yet it’s always the same few dishes on their tables. What’s happening there? That’s a real lack of intelligence, no? They’re lacking the caliber of normal humanity. They can’t even cook the various foodstuffs they come across in their daily lives, things like cabbage and potato. They’re not up to the simplest tasks and can’t accomplish them. How did they muddle through the last fifty years? Could it really be that their hearts made no demands of their lives? If someone can’t derive experience from anything they do, then what duty could a person like that perform well? The fact is that people can learn to do things, if they just apply themselves and train for a while. If someone still can’t do a thing after several years of study, their intellect and caliber must be awful!

Let’s now talk a bit about the management of hygiene. I recently went to two places where the houses and their environs were a total mess. Everything had originally been quite orderly there, so how did they wind up such “pigsties”? The reason is that the people there don’t know how to stay on top of things. They don’t have normal humanity’s consciousness of and requirements for hygiene. It’s not merely that they’re lazy; beyond that, they’ve gotten accustomed to living in such conditions. They strew trash on the ground and put things down anywhere, without regulation or restriction. When they’ve cleaned a place up, they can keep it clean for just a day or two; a few days later, it’s so messy and dirty that it’s hard to look at. Tell Me, what’s an environment like that called? And the people there can eat heartily and fall asleep in such conditions—what people are those? They’re like pigs, aren’t they? They have no awareness and understand nothing of hygiene, of their environment, of structure, of management. They don’t notice it, no matter how dirty or messy it gets. It doesn’t bother them; they’re unworried and unruffled about it. They go on living as they have, unparticular and without requirements. Some places take fine care of their hygiene and environment, and you’d think the people there cared about cleanliness, that they knew to manage their surroundings—but no one knows until a surprise inspection that they’d been sending people in advance of inspections to clean the place up. If you tell them you’re coming ahead of time, the place is guaranteed to be clean; if you go without warning them, you’ll find a different environment, one that’s sure to be dirty and messy. The rooms of some of the girls have clothes and shoes strewn about, and outside, tools of trade like hoes and pickaxes are piled together with clothing. Some there may say they’ve been so busy that they haven’t had time to clean. That’s how busy they’ve been? Have they even had time to breathe? If they haven’t, then that’s busy, alright—but still, how could it have come to this? What’s so hard about managing their space? What’s so taxing about maintaining a clean, tidy environment? Does this have something to do with humanity? Why would people like living in a “pigsty” so much? Why would they be at such ease in such an environment? How could they be entirely unaware of such surroundings? What’s going on there? What’s the cause of poorly managed environments? If I go someplace on occasion and tell them in advance, they’ll make it spick and span, but they’ll stop cleaning if I go there often. They say, “You’re here often, so we’ll dispense with the formalities. This is just how we are. It’s exhausting to be cleaning all the time! Who has the energy? We’re so busy with work all day long, we don’t even have time to brush our hair!” They give justifications like this. And what others do they give? “This is all temporary. We don’t need to get it in perfect order. It’ll do as is.” Indeed, everything is temporary—but even if you were living in a tent, you’d still have to take care of it, wouldn’t you? That’s normal humanity. If you don’t even have that bit of normal humanity, how different are you from beasts?

There’s one church in God’s house that’s quite well situated, near mountains and water. The road there is well maintained, and trees line the nearby river. It even has a gazebo, with ornamental rocks next to it. Really, it’s quite pretty. One day, I saw from far off some little, yellow thing there on that clean road. Coming closer, I saw that it was an orange peel. Who knows who would casually toss their garbage there. And in the gazebo, which had also been clean, someone had been eating sunflower seeds and discarding the shells all over the floor. Tell Me, was that person someone who knows rules? In normal humanity, are there required standards for one’s hygiene and environment, or are there not? Some may say, “In what way don’t I have standards? I wash my feet every evening. Some people don’t. Some people don’t even wash their face when they get up in the morning.” Your feet may be clean, alright, but why’s your work environment like a pigsty? What does that cleanliness of yours amount to? At best, it shows that you’re terribly selfish. You’d like to manage all things—how could you be master of all things, if you can’t even manage a compound? That is shameless, truly! It’s not just their environment that people can’t manage—they can’t even manage their own hygiene, and toss litter on the ground. How does one develop this habit? They may justify tossing fruit peels on the ground by calling it compost. Why not put them in a compost heap or trash bin, then? Why toss them on the road or in that gazebo? Is a gazebo a place to keep compost? Is that not a disregard for rules? (It is.) It’s a terrible paucity of humanity, reason, and morals—they’re base people! Tell Me, is there a way to resolve this issue? How can it be stopped? Will supervision do the trick? Who could keep such an eye on things? What’s to be done? (Fine them.) Yes, that’s the last resort. A proper system must be put in place. No more impunity. These people are just so scummy—they’re incorrigible! In some places, there are rotten cardboard boxes, rotten boards, and shreds of paper strewn all over, and the people there say they’re keeping them to use later. Given that they’re useful things, why not sort them by type, in neat stacks? Wouldn’t that look nicer and take up less space? Most people don’t know about upkeep. Things are stacked and scattered haphazardly in their spaces, such that there’s no free space. The piles get messier as they grow, and with messiness comes dirt, until the place becomes a dump, repellent to all who see it. Do people who live in such environments have normal humanity? Are they people of caliber, if they can’t even stay on top of the environment they live in? What difference remains between such people and beasts? Part of the reason most people don’t know how to manage the spaces they live in is that no one has an awareness of hygiene, nor does anyone know how to manage their environment. These things don’t occur to them, and they’re unaware of what people’s living environment should be like. They’re like animals, unconscious of the sort of environment they should be living in. The other part has to do with managers not knowing how to manage these things. The managers don’t know how to manage these things, and those being managed aren’t proactive or aware of these things. In the end, with everyone’s “cooperation,” the place turns into a “pigsty.” When these people have been around a place for a while, I come away from it with a certain feeling: “Why isn’t this place ever clean? Why doesn’t it ever seem like a home?” Tell Me, could seeing a place like that lift a person’s mood? (No.) Would going there put you in a good mood? (We wouldn’t have much of a feeling about it.) That would be your true takeaway—not much of a feeling. I laid out plans for a few of those places, and when the work was done and things had been reordered, everyone enjoyed the sight. Yet a few days later, things were a mess again. I had to find someone suitable to manage the task, if hygiene was to be maintained. That’s because most people are so unclean, making a mess in whatever job they’re doing. Some people pick vegetables and don’t know the right place to wash them. They insist on seeking out a clean place to do it, which makes that place dirty again as a result. How would you feel to see that? Are these people not a herd of beasts? They’ve got no humanity! To look at these people, who care nothing for hygiene and don’t know how to manage their environment—it’d rouse you to anger! These people are given a nice environment to live in, with everything fixed up nicely. All sorts of flowers and grasses pop up in the spring; they’ve got mountains, water, a gazebo; they’ve got places to work, and places to live, and all sorts of amenities. How nice! But how did it wind up? They took it for granted; they didn’t appreciate the kindness. They thought, “This is a nicer place to be than most, but it’s more or less countryside. The ground is nothing but grasses and mud.” With that mindset, they mindlessly trashed the place. They didn’t think to manage their environment. How many things are absent from such humanity! It doesn’t possess those things that humanity should; those people can’t even keep on top of the various aspects of their living environment in the most basic ways. Tell Me, how could people not think to treasure such a nice environment that they live in? How could they not think to take care of it? Why? Is it that they are so busy with their duties that they lack the time? Or what else is going on with them? Is anyone not busy with their duties? There are some who live in worse environments than you, yet they take quite good care of their space. People see it and give them the thumbs-up, with admiration and esteem for them. And then, there’s your living environment—others don’t even need to go inside; they’d scorn you with just a look at the exterior. Is this not your own doing? Your actions and behaviors have brought about this deplorably shabby environment you live in. When people see the environment you live in, it is the same for them as seeing your essence. Can you blame them, then, for scorning you? Whether a person is high or lowly, noble or base, isn’t decided by others’ assessments, but by what they themselves live out. If you possess the things of normal humanity, you’re able to live out true human likeness. You’ll be able to demonstrate your noble quality, and others will naturally value and esteem you. If you don’t possess those things, and you don’t understand commonsense hygiene, and you don’t know how to take care of your environment, living all your days in a “pigsty” and feeling quite pleased about it, that reveals your beastly quality. It means you’re base and lowly. Such a base and lowly person, with such base and lowly humanity, without a shred of the thinking, views, requirements, and pursuit that normal humanity ought to have—without any of those, can such a person understand the truth? Can they enter the truth reality? (No.) You also think they can’t? Why not? Some will say, “We’ve long since rid ourselves of all those worldly things in our years of believing in God. We don’t care about that stuff! ‘Living a life of quality’—that’s a worldly thing!” Are there not those who say this? Is the air you breathe a worldly thing, then? The clothes you wear, all the material things you use—are those worldly things? Why don’t you find any old place out in the open to gather in? Why gather in a room? Aren’t people who say this absurd? I’ll tell you a fact: If such a person wants to enter the truth reality, that will be hard for them. If a person wishes to enter the truth reality, they must first possess normal humanity; beyond that, they must cast those bad habits in their life, to pursue something of a style and aim in life that has quality, manners, and morality. Is this an apt way to put it? Well then, are these problems easy to put right? How long does it take to change one’s lifestyle and shed a poor habit in one’s life? What method must be used to enter this as quickly as possible? What methods are there, outside of punishment? (Mutual supervision.) Mutual supervision is one method; it comes down to whether people accept it. As I see it, levying fines is a powerful move, and truly an effective one. As soon as you touch on cash fines, you’re touching on people’s interests. They have no choice but to comply, for fear that their interests might suffer. That’s what’s achieved by levying fines. But why isn’t anything achieved by our fellowships on the truth with those people? Because they don’t have normal humanity or the requisite conditions for accepting the truth. That’s why fellowshiping the truth is an ineffective method with them. In any work environment at all, learn first to sort things by type, second to maintain tidiness, third to maintain hygiene and cleanliness, and then, on top of that, to cultivate the habit of cleaning out trash. That is what normal humanity should possess.

There are some women who comb their hair and go out, without first sweeping up the fallen strands. They do this every day. Can such a habit be changed? When you’re done combing your hair, you must clean and tidy up at once. Don’t leave others to clean it up—manage your own environment well yourself. If you wish to manage your environment well, you must begin with yourself. Clean up your own space first. Apart from that, one must be civic-minded about the public environments they inhabit. Responsibility should fall to everyone to manage the spaces where people live and rest, for instance. If you see a few shreds of an orange peel on the ground, just pick them up and toss them in the trash. In some worksites, there are wood chips, wood shavings, iron bars, and nails all over the place when the work is done. Go there, and you could easily step on a nail if you’re not careful. It’s terribly unsafe. Why wouldn’t you clean up and make things hygienic once you’ve done your job? What sort of nasty habit is that? By doing this are you able to explain yourself? What would people think, to see such a messy, dirty workplace? Is that not the way beasts do their jobs? People with humanity must clean things up nicely when they’re done with a job. That’s how to let others know at a glance that the job was done by humans. Beasts don’t clean up after they’ve done a job, as if cleaning up didn’t fall to them and had nothing to do with them. What sort of logic is that? I’ve seen more than a few people who don’t clean up after they do a job. They all have this bad habit. I’ve told them that every day, when their jobs are done, they must arrange for someone to clean up all the trash. Clean up every day. That way, the site will be clean. They must cultivate a habit like that. To cultivate a life habit, one must begin by maintaining an environment, then wait to grow accustomed to it. Then one day, when that environment changes, they themselves will feel ill at ease to see that something is unclean. It’s just as with some people who’ve lived abroad for four or five years, who think everything’s better over there. The day comes when they return to their hometown, and they feel that they’ve suddenly become fancy. They look with scorn on others who aren’t concerned with hygiene, on people whose houses are unclean. They can’t even stand going a few days without a shower. Wasn’t it their environment that dictated this? That’s how it works. So, you must begin by managing the hygiene of your person and your environment. That’s the way to feel comfortable performing your duty; it’s also what people with normal humanity should possess. In several places I’ve been, I’ve seen girls’ rooms that are total messes, in disarray. Some may say, “You want us to be tidy; should it be like in a boot camp?” There’s no need for all that. Make your bed and clean your room every day. Maintain cleanliness. Make a habit of it—do these things every day, and they’ll become a habit, a norm; they’ll become as automatic as eating. When you’ve cultivated this sort of habit, it’ll take your requirements for your surroundings up a notch. And when you’ve gone up that notch, your whole bearing, your mental outlook, your taste, your humanity, and your dignity will all be raised. But if you live in a “pigsty,” a place that’s not for humans, but is more like the lair of a beast, you don’t possess human likeness. On entering the same room, for instance, some people, seeing that the room and its floor are clean, will scuff the dirt off their shoes for a while outside. They’ll still feel unclean, so they’ll go on to take their shoes off before entering the room. When the owner of the room sees how clean and respectful they are of him, he’ll respect them, too. Other people will go ahead in, with mud-caked shoes, and think nothing of it to get mud on the floor. They’re completely insensate to it. The owner of the room sees that they’re inherently heedless of rules. He views them badly, and so, he scorns them, and won’t let them into the room in the future. He’ll make them wait outside, and here’s what that will imply: “You don’t deserve to come inside—you’d spoil the place if you did, and what a long time I’d have to spend cleaning it up!” He won’t respect them. When he sees that they do not possess human likeness, he won’t even respect them. If someone’s life gets to this point, are they even still human? A pet animal is a better thing than them. So, people must live out human likeness in order to be called human, and they must possess normal humanity in order to live out human likeness. Wherever someone lives, whatever duty they perform, they must abide by the rules. They must take care of their space and hygiene, and have a sense of responsibility, and have good life habits. They must be attentive and serious in all they do, and keep it up until they’ve done the thing well and up to standard. In this way, people will see in your performance of your duty, your dealings with others, and your actions that you’re upright and decent, a good person. They’ll feel admiration for you, and they’ll naturally come to respect you. They’ll esteem and value you, too, and so they won’t fool you or bully you. They’ll speak to you in a serious manner, without any mockery or contempt. I don’t know how people perceive My appearance, but I do have a feeling: When I encounter an average person, they don’t make jokes or speak frivolously. I don’t know why that is. It may be that people get a feeling: “You’re just such a serious person, and You’re serious in Your speech and Your actions, too. You’re an upright person; I wouldn’t dare crack a joke when interacting with You. It’s clear at first sight that You’re not that sort of person.” If, when you go to a place and talk with people, chat with people, interact with people, they feel that there’s something there in your humanity and morality—they may not be able to say clearly what it is, but you’ll know what it is you think of each day, and you’ll always have principles and standards for how you view things and engage with people—if that’s how you engage and interact with others, then they’ll say you’re so prudent, so serious and prudent in all you do, meaning that you’re so principled. What feeling will this ultimately inspire in them? Mull that over slowly. If you’re equipped in your comportment with the things those with normal humanity ought to have, it doesn’t matter how people may assess you behind your back. If they feel, in the pit of their heart, that you’re an upright, prudent person, someone with a serious, responsible attitude toward all things, who’s noble of virtue, then after engaging and interacting with you for a while, they’ll come to approve of you and esteem you. And then, you’ll be worth something as a person. If, after engaging with you for a while, they see that you don’t do anything well, that you’re lazy and greedy, unwilling to learn anything, that your standards exceed your capabilities, that you’re quite avaricious and selfish—and more, that you’re unconcerned with hygiene, and don’t think to take care of your environment; if they see that you don’t know the ropes in anything you do, that you’re of quite poor caliber, and that you’re unworthy of credit, unable to do any task you’re given well—then you’ll be of no account at all to people, and invalidated as a person. To be of no account at all to others is no big deal, all told—what matters is that if you’re likewise base, low, and worthless in God’s heart, like a beast, without heart or soul, then you’re in trouble. You’re still so far from being saved! For any person whose character isn’t up to standard, whose speech and actions are entirely unregulated, who’s like a beast, is there hope of being saved? They’re in danger, as I see it. Sooner or later, they’ll have to be cast out.

C. People’s Attitude and Behavior in Their Contact With the Opposite Sex

Our third item is people’s attitude and behavior in their contact with the opposite sex in their daily life. This is an issue that everyone who lives among other people will confront, regardless of their age. What aspect of humanity does it involve? It involves one’s dignity, one’s sense of shame, and the style of one’s conduct. Some people are very casual in their approach to contact with the opposite sex. They feel that it is no big deal so long as nothing happens, and neither is indulging in lustful thoughts or revealing some iniquitous passion. Should someone with normal humanity have such thoughts? Is this a sign of normal humanity? Once you are old enough to marry and come into contact with the opposite sex, and want to fall in love, do it normally, and no one will interfere. But some people don’t want to fall in love—they flirt for a couple of days with someone who catches their eye, and as soon as they meet someone who takes their fancy and suits their preferences, they start to show off. And how do they show off? A raised eyebrow, a wink of an eye, or a change in their tone of voice as they talk, or else they move a certain way or start making humorous remarks to get themselves noticed; this is showing off. When a person who is not normally like this exhibited these giveaway traits, you can be sure that there are some members of the opposite sex nearby who suit their preferences. Who are these people? You might say that they conduct themselves in poor style, or do not keep clear boundaries between men and women, but they have not exhibited any deplorable behavior. Some might say that they are simply being frivolous. In other words, they conduct themselves in an undignified way; frivolous people do not have the idea of self-respect. Some people reveal these characteristics in everyday life, but the performance of their duties is not affected, nor has it affected the completion of their work, so is this really a problem? Some say: “As long as it does not hinder your pursuit of the truth, is there any need to talk about it?” What does this relate to? The shame and dignity of one’s humanity. A person’s humanity cannot be without shame and dignity, and without them theirs cannot be normal humanity. Some people are credible, they are earnest, responsible, and work hard in everything they do. They don’t have any major problems, but they simply don’t take this aspect of their lives seriously. When you flirt with a member of the opposite sex, is this constructive, or damaging? What if the one you flirt with falls in love with you? You might say “That’s not what I wanted”; well, if you still flirt with someone when that’s not what you want, aren’t you toying with them? You are harming them! This is somewhat lacking in moral sense. People who do this have poor quality of humanity. Furthermore, if you do not intend to pursue this relationship and are not serious about it, and yet you still raise your eyebrows and wink at the opposite sex, and show off with fun and humor, doing everything to show that you have style, that you are attractive, showing off your good looks—if you show off like this, what are you actually doing? (Seducing people.) There’s an intent to seduce in it. Now is this kind of seductive behavior a noble or an ugly thing? (It’s an ugly thing.) This is where there is no longer any dignity. What sort of people in this world would seduce others? Prostitutes, wanton women, rogues—these people don’t know shame. What does it mean to not know shame? It means that they’re disgraceful. Integrity, shame, and honor, as well as dignity and reputation—they don’t care about any of these. People like this go around showing off and being flirtatious. Flirting with one or two people isn’t enough for them, and they don’t find eight or ten excessive. It would take thousands upon thousands to make them happy. Some married women have had two children, and no one outside the house knows about it. Why don’t they let people know? They’re afraid that once they say they’re married and spoken for, they won’t find any more success in their flirtations, and they’ll lose their seductiveness and allure. That’s why they won’t be open about it. Is that not disgraceful? Is someone’s humanity normal if it has such things in it? It is not. The implication of this is that if you have such humanity and such behaviors, then there’s something missing from your normal humanity; it lacks shame and dignity. Some people begin stroking their hair and straightening their clothes as soon as they’re around the opposite sex, or they’ll apply rouge and powder, trying their best to pretty themselves up. What’s their goal in this? Their goal is seduction. This is something that shouldn’t be in normal humanity. To be able to seduce people like this and feel nothing, thinking that it’s quite normal and commonplace, that it’s no big deal, is to lack a sense of shame and to not even know what one should and shouldn’t do. There are some people who’d be willing to walk up and down the street stark naked if they were given ten thousand yuan. What kind of people are they? They are people without a sense of shame. They’ll do anything for money, without shame. Integrity, character, sense of shame, and dignity mean nothing and are worthless to them. They feel that their ability to show off and seduce others is a talent of theirs, and their only joy comes from winning the favor of more people and having more people pursue them. That’s the highest honor to such a woman; it’s what they treasure. They don’t treasure things like dignity, a sense of shame, or character. Is this good humanity? (No.) Have you exhibited these behaviors? (We have.) Are you able to keep them in check, then? Can you do this most of the time, or are these cases in the minority? Do you have the ability to restrain yourselves? People who can restrain themselves are those whose hearts know shame. Everyone has passing moments of impulsiveness and dissolution, but when those who can restrain themselves do, they feel that what they’re doing isn’t right, that it degrades them, that they have to turn around right away, and that they mustn’t do this anymore. And later, when they encounter such a thing again, they’re able to control themselves. If there’s not even this bit of capacity for self-restraint inside your humanity, then what could you forsake when called on to practice the truth? Some people are blessed with good looks, and are constantly finding themselves pursued by the opposite sex; the more people pursue them, the more they feel they can afford to show off. Isn’t this dangerous? What should you do in this situation? (Recognize and avoid this pitfall.) This really is a pitfall, which you must avoid—if you don’t, you may very well find that a person has snared you. You need to avoid this pitfall before you become ensnared; this is called self-restraint. People who have self-restraint have a sense of shame and have dignity. Those who do not have it can be lured away by anyone who seduces them and take the bait whenever someone pursues them, which spells trouble. Furthermore, they will also deliberately show off, preen and dress up, and whatever clothes they have to wear that can make themselves look more handsome, more attractive and pretty, they will specifically choose those to wear, and will wear them each and every day; this is dangerous and it shows that they are someone who is consciously attempting to seduce others. If you look too eye-catching and seductive in these clothes, then you must forsake your flesh and give up wearing clothes like these. If you are resolved in this regard, there is nothing to stop you from achieving it. If, however, you do not have this resolve, yet you want to look for a partner, then go ahead and find one: Interact normally with each other, without flirting with the other. If you are not looking for a partner, but still flirt with others, this can only be termed as lacking a sense of shame. You have to be clear about what you are choosing. Can you all abide by the principles? (We have this resolve.) If you have this resolve, then you have the energy, the motivation, and it will be easy to abide by them. Some people are essentially decent by nature, and moreover, having found faith in God, they pursue the truth and take the right path; they do not have that desire, and do not respond to anyone who attempts to flirt with them. Some people are quite prone to this, while others don’t pay it any heed; some people seem to have this resolve, but even they themselves cannot tell whether they in fact do or do not. In regard to interacting with the opposite sex, this is something you must deal with correctly and reexamine, and identify as part of the dignity and shame of normal humanity. How does lacking a sense of shame relate to lacking humanity? It’s fair to say that if one has no sense of shame, they have no humanity. Why is it that everyone who lacks humanity doesn’t love the truth? And why do we say that one can pursue the truth if they possess humanity? Tell Me, do people without a sense of shame know what’s good and what’s not? (No.) So, when they do bad things that resist and betray God and violate the truth, do they feel any self-reproach? (No.) Can they get on the right path if their conscience does not reprimand them? Can they pursue the truth? Brazen, shameless people are numb; they can’t clearly distinguish positive and negative things, or what God loves and what He loathes. So, when God says to have people be honest, they say, “What’s the matter with telling a lie? Saying a falsehood isn’t degrading!” Wouldn’t someone without shame say something like this? If a person with a sense of shame fails to be honest and is found out by everyone, does their face not grow flushed? Are they not uneasy on the inside? (They are.) And what about a shameless person? “Being an honest person, what others think, what value I have to them, or what weight they accord me—none of it matters to me!” They don’t care. Can they still pursue the truth, then? If you ask them after they’ve spoken lies whether they’re unsettled at heart or whether they feel any self-blame, they’ll say, “What does it mean to be at peace? What’s self-blame? Why does this have to be so troublesome?” They have no such perceptiveness. Can someone of such unsound reason follow God? Can they pursue the truth? They do not pursue it. To them, there are no boundaries between positive and negative things, between the truth and what violates it—they’re all the same. At any rate, they think, it’ll be fine if everyone makes an effort, performs their duty, and pays a price. Nothing distinguishes these things. They feel no self-reproach when they’ve done something that resists God, when they’ve done something that violates the truth principles, when they’ve done something that has incurred a loss to someone else’s interests, or when they’ve done something that disturbs the work of the church. They have no self-reproach at all. In this, are they not lacking a sense of shame? People with no sense of shame are undiscerning about such things. For them, it’s about doing whatever they want. Anything goes; there’s no need to use the truth to make judgments. So, there’s no way for people with no sense of shame to understand or practice the truth. This is the relationship between having no sense of shame and lacking humanity. Why, then, were you not able to say this? You’re all thinking, “What You’re preaching doesn’t have much to do with the truth; it’s quite far removed from it. We’re usually able to see these things clearly, so do we still need You to speak about them?” If you feel it has nothing to do with the truth, then how much of the truth reality have you entered? Do you live out normal humanity? Have you really become people who have the truth and humanity? You’re too small of stature and can’t even tell these things apart, so what truth reality could you have?

One of the ten administrative decrees of God’s house says: Man has a corrupt disposition and is moreover possessed of emotions. As such, it is absolutely prohibited for two members of the opposite sex to work together unaccompanied when serving God. Any who are discovered doing so will be expelled, without exception. How do people regard this administrative decree? If one man had improper relations with more than thirty women, tell Me, how would the people who heard of this feel about it? (They’d be incredulous.) You’d be surprised to hear it; you’d be shocked, “Goodness, that’s a lot! That’s disgusting, isn’t it?” And what feeling would that man have had when he told you? (He would have acted like it didn’t matter to him.) It would be nothing to write home about to him. Ask him what he’s eating today: “Rice.” Ask him how many women he’s been with: “Thirty or more.” He’d say the two things with precisely the same tone of voice and mindset. Is there any salvation for a person with such humanity? There is not, even if he believes in God. How could he not know to be ashamed when he blurts out something like that? It’s a degrading matter! How could he just blurt it out, then? Tell Me, does he have any sense of shame remaining? No, he doesn’t. The perceptiveness of conscience inside his humanity has already gone numb, and he has no perceptiveness anymore. This isn’t a mere matter of being depraved—people without shame or dignity are no longer people. They still look like people on the outside, but it falls apart as soon as they have to handle something. They’re capable of doing anything, with no knowledge of shame—and that means they’re not people anymore. Let’s close our talk on these matters here.

Mull over these three aspects of normal humanity that we’ve discussed today—are they important? Are these things in normal humanity disconnected from the pursuit of the truth? (No.) Then what do they have to do with the pursuit of the truth? If the humanity of a believer in God does not possess a meticulousness, a sense of responsibility, or a capacity for attentiveness in their actions—if they don’t have such humanity, then what can they gain in their belief in God and pursuit of the truth? We’ve fellowshiped on quite a few truths over the years, truths in every area. If people don’t apply themselves or treat these truths with a conscientious mindset, with everything slapped together and nothing done conscientiously, can they achieve an understanding of the truth like this? Some people say: “If I can’t get to an understanding of the truth, can’t I just commit these doctrines and terminologies to memory?” Will you ultimately be able to gain the truth in this way? If you don’t possess this sort of normal humanity and don’t possess these things inside your humanity, meaning that you don’t have a conscientious, meticulous, earnest, and responsible attitude toward things, then the truth turns into doctrines and catchphrases for you—it turns into regulations. You can’t gain the truth, because you’re unable to understand it. Beyond that, if you can’t manage the environment, routine, and style of your personal life well, will you be able to enter the various principles and sayings that involve the truth? You will not. What’s more, people must love positive things in life, and with negative and evil things, they must maintain an attitude of loathing and revulsion in the depths of their heart. This is the only way to enter a few truths. This means that in your pursuit of the truth, you must have the correct attitude and the proper frame of mind; you must be an upstanding, serious person. Only people like this can gain the truth. If someone has no sense of shame, and remains numb and unaware at heart when they’ve done many evil things, many things that rebel against God and violate the truth, thinking it’s no big deal—is the truth of any use to them then? It is of no use at all. The truth exerts no effect on you, and it isn’t able to restrain you, reprimand you, guide you, or point out the direction and path to you, which means you’re in trouble. How could a person without even a sense of shame understand the truth? For a person to be able to understand the truth, they must first be sensitive to positive and negative things at heart. They’re repulsed by so much as a mention of or encounter with a negative or evil thing, and if they do such a thing themselves, they feel ashamed and unsettled. They feel love for the truth and can accept the truth into their heart; they can use it to restrain themselves and turn their wrong states around. Aren’t these the things that normal humanity should possess? (Yes.) With possession of these, doesn’t it become easy for a person to pursue the truth? And if someone possesses none of them, then speaking about pursuing the truth is just empty talk—how could they do that without positive things in their heart? Not until your normal humanity is possessed of these things will the truth take root, blossom, and bear fruit inside you—not until then will it produce an effect. When you’ve understood the truth, you’ll be able to alter your thinking and restrain your behavior, and your corrupt thoughts will grow ever fewer. This is true change.

How many of these manifestations of normal humanity that we’ve discussed today do you possess? How many do you lack? What do you possess? (A sense of shame.) A sense of shame—that’s a good one. A sense of shame is the least you should possess. What else? Do you all have a conscientious, meticulous mentality and attitude regarding people, events, and things? I see that you’re sloppy in all you do, just being lethargic and slacking off, and when I see those things you do, the anxiety grows in My heart. Can you detect these problems on your own? Do you get worried when you do detect them? (Yes.) In what way? Talk about it. (Now that I’ve just heard God’s fellowship, I feel that I don’t have much humanity, and that I’ve had a flippant mentality toward my duty and the events in my life. I’m so far off from the standards of God’s requirements. It’s a bit frightening.) There’s too much lacking in your humanity, is that it? To feel that your years of believing in God and the many truths you’ve heard have not even resulted in you having the most fundamental things of humanity—how could you not be anxious? Some people have a bit of technical skill, but everything they do is shoddy. It’s all subpar, not up to standard, and they don’t look into what the advanced and standard methods are. Isn’t this backward-minded of them? For instance, they were once asked to install a door and they said: “Where I’m from, most of the doors we have are single-leaf doors.” That little place they’re from doesn’t set the standard. They should look at the style of doors in businesses and residential buildings in the big cities, then do their work based on the reality of the situation. Yet here, they opened their mouths and said: “We don’t make double-leaf doors back home, and there aren’t too many people here. It wouldn’t be a big deal if there were, either—they can just squeeze in.” Someone else said: “If people are squeezing in for too long, it’ll break the doorframe. Let’s talk this over. Make it a double-sided door this time, as an exception, alright?” Then they said: “No! I make single-leaf doors; I can’t make double-leaf ones. Is it me who knows how to do it, or you? It’s me—so why won’t you listen to me on this? You have to listen to me!” They were told to work according to the situation, but they didn’t listen and insisted on making a small door. Is this not a hassle? When made to install a glass partition between the interior and exterior to let light in and keep the space from feeling small, they said, “Why would we install glass? That would be a security risk, wouldn’t it? I’m not installing glass; these two doors will do fine. This is the only sort of door we use where I’m from.” They’re always trotting out stuff like “where I’m from,” “back home,” “I’ve studied technical stuff,” in order to suppress others. Are those things the truth? (They are not.) For them to adopt such an attitude toward external matters, what must be deficient inside their humanity? Rationality. And what sort of thing, specifically, must be deficient in their rationality? Insight. They always feel that everything where they’re from is right, that it’s all what’s highest, that it’s all the truth. Isn’t their rationality poor? What should normal rationality look like? With normal rationality, they would say, “I’ve been at this trade for so many years, but I haven’t seen much. This is how we all make doors where I’m from, so let’s see how big the doors are here. We’ll go along with what the people here do. This is a different place, and in this task, I should stay flexible.” Is that not rationality? (It is.) Does this person have such rationality, then? No—they have no sense. And how was it be handled in the end? The work had to be redone. Is redoing work not a loss? (It is.) Yes, it is. Are there many instances of such matters? There are. That person is stubborn, through and through. How stubborn are they? They didn’t listen to what anyone said; they didn’t even listen to what I said, and they also contradicted Me. I said, “You need to switch it up. If you won’t, this isn’t the job for you.” And they had the guts to say, “I’ll make a door this size even if You don’t need me!” What disposition is that? Is that normal humanity? (No.) It’s not normal humanity—so what humanity is it, then? As I see it, they’re a bit like a beast. It’s just like when an ox is thirsty: No matter how many goods or people it may be carrying in the cart, as soon as it sees a puddle or a river, it’ll pull the cart straight over there. No number of people can drag it away. This is an animal we’re talking about. Do people also have this sort of disposition? When they do, it’s not normal humanity, and that’s dangerous. They’ll find an excuse to deny you, to stop listening. They’re so obstinate. With such matters in daily life, if you don’t have an attitude of modest acceptance, of being receptive to others’ opinions, if you don’t have an attitude of study, how will you be able to accept the truth? How will you be able to practice it? Everyone says it would be more suitable to make a double-leaf door. You can’t even do that, and that’s nowhere near practicing the truth—you won’t even listen to a sound suggestion. Would you be able to listen to something that touches on the truth? You wouldn’t listen, same as always. Nothing can get through to someone who possesses a disposition like this, and that means big trouble for them. If one’s humanity doesn’t even possess this sort of reason, then what truth can they practice? For whom do they do those things that they’re busy with every day? They do them entirely according to their own preferences, their own selfish desires. Every day, they have this sort of view toward the people, events, and things that surround them in daily life: “I’ll do what I want, I’ll do what I think, and I’ll do as I believe.” What is this called? All day long, all that they think is entirely evil. And if they’re so evil at heart, what of their actions? Is there such a thing as a person whose thoughts are all evil, but whose actions all still align with the truth? This is not right—it would be a contradiction. Their thoughts are all evil, and where they start out from is entirely evil, so the things they do will at the very least not be remembered. And of the things that aren’t remembered, some are disruptions and disturbances, some are destructive, and some are just cobbled together. If they were taken seriously, they would have to be condemned. That’s how it works.

There exists in some people a sort of erroneous view, one that others find quite disgusting. These people have a few gifts or strengths, or maybe a craft, some competence, or a special ability in some area, and after they’ve come to believe in God, they think themselves distinguished people. Is this attitude correct? What do you think of this view? Is it a thing that belongs to the thinking of normal humanity? No. What sort of idea is it, then? Is it not lacking in reason? (It is.) They believe, “I’m higher than ordinary people because I know this craft, and I’m better than the average person in God’s house. I’m a man, possessed of craftsmanship and ability, and I’m a good talker and talented. I cut quite a figure in God’s house. I’m the cat’s meow. No one can give me orders, no one can lead me, and no one can command me to do anything. I have this skill, so I’ll do what I want. I don’t have to give a thought to the principles—whatever I do is right and in line with the truth.” What do you think of this view? Are there not people like this? Such people aren’t in the minority, and they come to God’s house to flaunt themselves. If they used their strengths or skills to perform a duty in God’s house, that would be alright, but if they’re out to flaunt themselves then that’s a problem of a different nature. Why is it called “flaunting themselves”? They see believers in God as stupid, as nothing. Hasn’t something gone wrong with their thinking? Is something not wrong with their rationality? Is this how things actually are? Are the people who believe in God truly worthless? (No.) Then why would those people see them as such? Why would they have such a thought? What gives rise to such a thought? Do they learn it from unbelievers? They think that people who believe in God are nothing, that they’re all housewives and househusbands, that they’re all peasants, and that they’re from the lower strata of society. Their view is that of the great red dragon. They think that people who believe in God are incapable, that they couldn’t make their way in society, and that they only came to believe in God because there was no path for them out there, nowhere else to turn. They think that because they have some ability, know a bit about some profession, or have some technical know-how, that makes them a person of talent in God’s house. Is that thought correct? (No.) What is wrong about it? They believe that there aren’t any able people in God’s house, and with their bit of professional know-how, they’d like to wield power and have the final say on things. Are there such people out there? Are there people like this beside you, or among those you’re familiar with or know? There are a number of people who are skilled in a certain area, and when you have them act as a group leader or supervisor, they feel as though they’ve earned an official post. They feel that they have the final say in God’s house, that no one else looks out for the interests of God’s house like they do or protects its interests more than they do, and that no one’s as loyal as them. They want to manage and participate in everything, but they don’t manage anything well, nor do they seek the truth principles. They don’t even listen to what I say. Are there such people out there? (Yes.) There are such people. Under the banner of the certain skill they have, they wish to manage everyone and hold office. For instance, when some brothers and sisters do something that’s not to their liking, they’ll say: “We need to get a handle on these people—they’re outrageous!” When believers in God have a problem, they must fellowship on the truth. This isn’t an army camp where military control must be practiced. With matters in the church, problems can only be resolved by fellowshiping about God’s words and getting people to understand the truth. Those who don’t accept the truth and act arbitrarily and capriciously may be dealt with and pruned—it’s only those who are dead set on not accepting the truth who may be kept in check. There are some people who have served as supervisors or as leaders and workers who clearly do not have the truth reality, but still always wish to wield power and have the final say in God’s house. Do these people have a conscience and reason? They merely know a few tricks of a trade and don’t understand the truth in the slightest. They think themselves useful and capable, thinking that they’re better than the average person in God’s house, and they wish to do what they want in the church from a position of power—to have the sole, final say. They don’t seek the truth principles but act according to what they wish, according to their preferences. What’s the problem here? Is this not the disposition of an antichrist? Do people like this have the reason of normal humanity? They don’t have a shred of it. We’ll bring our fellowship on normal humanity to a close here.

A Dissection of How Antichrists Have Others Obey Only Them, Not the Truth or God

III. A Dissection of Antichrists Prohibiting Others From Interfering, Making Inquiries, or Supervising Them in Their Work

Continuing from the topic of our last fellowship is the eighth item among the various ways that antichrists manifest: They would have others obey only them, not the truth or God. We’ve split this item into four subsections. Two, we discussed in our last gathering: The first was that they can’t cooperate with anyone; the second was that they have the desire and ambition to control and subdue people. What’s the third? Prohibiting others from interfering, making inquiries, or supervising them in any work they’ve taken on. What might any work they’ve taken on include? It includes any work program that a leader or worker may be responsible for, as well as the work that a group supervisor or a group leader may be responsible for; it may also be professional work in some area, or a single person’s work. This person who’s taken on any work may be a leader or worker, or they may be an ordinary brother or sister. If they prohibit others from interfering, making inquiries, or supervising them, what state is it that they’re in? What behaviors are related to this prohibition? This is another behavior that falls amid the eighth manifestation of antichrists, another revelation of their essence. In duty of each sort, there’s some work that’s professional, and there’s some that directly involves life entry. Professional work involves all aspects of such things as technique, knowledge, learning, and staffing. These are all included in it. Some people, having taken on a job, begin to work on it by themselves. They don’t discuss it with others, and when they have difficulties, they don’t seek others’ input; they want to be the sole arbiters and have their word go. Other people may offer their ideas and input, hoping to help them a bit—but do they accept it? (No.) No, they can’t. What sort of disposition is that? What disposition is governing them, that they’d prohibit others from interfering, making inquiries, or supervising them? They believe, “I know about this line of work, and I know the theory. The church has tasked me with this work. So, I’ll do it on my own.” They often offer their understanding of a profession and the fact that they’re an insider as a justification for refusing to disclose any work-related information or work progress to others. They don’t even want to let others know about blunders, mistakes, or mishaps that come up in the work. Once someone else learns of such a thing and wants to make inquiries, get involved, or find out more, they refuse to answer, but say, “Things inside the scope of my work are my turf. You have no right to make inquiries. The church didn’t task you with this—it tasked me, and I have to keep it in confidence.” Is that a reasonable justification? Is it right of them to “keep it in confidence”? (No.) Why not? Would it constitute a breach to communicate with others about the state of the work, blunders and problems that have come up in it, and its plan and direction? (No.) It doesn’t, except with some particular details that would constitute a safety hazard for the church if they were to come out, and would be inappropriate to tell others. In such cases, it’s fine not to say them. But if they’re using their confidence as a justification, and won’t let others know anything that falls within the scope of their work, and resist and refuse inquiries, questioning, or solicitations, from ordinary brothers and sisters and leaders and workers alike, what’s the problem there, then? They may want to do something a certain way, for instance. Someone else says to them, “If you do it like that, it will incur a loss to the interests of God’s house, and you’ll go off course. How about we do it like this instead?” They think to themselves, “If I do it like you say, that’ll show others that my way’s no good, won’t it? And then the credit for the work will go to you, won’t it? That won’t do; I’d rather go off course than go along with your way. I have to stick to my way. I don’t care if it incurs a loss to the interests of God’s house; it’s my reputation and status that matter—it’s my prestige that matters!” Even if what they do is wrong, then they’ll just be wrong, and won’t allow anyone to intervene. Is that not an antichrist’s disposition? (It is.) What is the essence of not allowing others to intervene? It’s engaging in one’s own operation. The interests of God’s house aren’t what’s important to them, and its work isn’t their focus. They don’t work by that principle. Instead, they work with their focus on their personal interests and their status and prestige; the work and the interests of God’s house must serve their own status and their own interests. That’s why they don’t let others interfere with or make inquiries into their work. They believe that as soon as someone interferes with their work, their status and interests will come under threat, that their shortcomings and deficiencies, as well as the problems and aberrations in their work, are liable to be exposed. So, they’re dead set on prohibiting others from interfering with their work, and they don’t accept the cooperation or supervision of anyone else.

Whatever work an antichrist is engaged in, they’re afraid of the Above learning more about it and making inquiries. If the Above does make inquiries about the state of the work or of staffing, they’ll just give a perfunctory account of a few trivialities, a few things that they believe it’s fine for the Above to know, for which no consequences would come of their knowing. If the Above presses inquiries about the rest of it, they’ll believe that they’re meddling in their duty and in their “internal affairs.” They won’t say any more to them, but will play dumb, deceiving and covering things up. Are they not refusing the supervision of God’s house? (They are.) And what will they do if someone uncovers a problem of theirs and is going to expose them and report it upward? They’ll block it, intercept it—they’ll even make threats: “If you say this and it leads to someone being dealt with by the Above, the blame lies with you. If anyone’s to be dealt with, it’ll be you!” Are they not trying to establish an independent kingdom? (They are.) They won’t even let the Above make inquiries, and no one has the right to know about things that fall within the scope of their work or to question them about those things, much less to make recommendations. If they’ve gotten their hands on a work program, then they alone can have the final say about matters that fall within the scope of that work; only they can arbitrate; only they can act and speak as they please, and however they act, they have a justification for it. What course of action do they employ once someone makes inquiries? Perfunctoriness and cover-ups. And what else? (Deception.) That’s right: deception—they’ll even present you with a false front. In some church, for instance, a leader or gospel deacon may clearly have gained just three people in the church they are responsible for in the space of a month, substantially fewer than at other churches. They feel there’s no way to give an account of that to their superiors—so, what do they do? When they give a report on their work, they add a zero after that three and say they’ve gained thirty people. Someone else learns of this and questions them: “Isn’t that deception?” “Deception?” they say. “Why, it’ll be fine once we gain thirty people next month to make up for it, won’t it?” For this, they have a justification. Should someone else take the matter seriously and wish to report the facts upward, they believe that person is making trouble for them, that they have it out for them. So, they’ll suppress them and take care of them—they’ll make trouble for them. In this, are they not punishing people? Are they not doing evil? They never seek the truth principles in their work, so what’s their goal in doing work? It’s about securing their position and livelihood. Whatever bad things they do, they don’t tell people the intent and motive for what they do. They must keep those strictly confidential; those things are classified information to them. What’s the most sensitive topic for people like this? It’s when you ask them, “What have you been doing recently? Has your performance of your duty yielded any results? Have there been any disruptions or disturbances in the area covered by your work? How did you handle them? Are you where you ought to be with your work? Have you been performing your duty loyally? Have the work decisions you’ve made incurred losses to the interests of God’s house? Have leaders who aren’t qualified been removed and replaced? Have people of good caliber who are relatively truth-pursuing been promoted and nurtured? Have you suppressed people who’ve been insubordinate to you? What knowledge do you have of your corrupt disposition? What sort of person are you?” These are the topics that are most sensitive to them. Being asked these questions is what they’re most afraid of, so, instead of waiting for you to ask them, they’ll rush to find another topic with which to cover them up. They’d like to mislead you by all means, keeping you from knowing what this situation actually is, as it stands. They’re always keeping you in the dark, always keeping you from knowing how far they’ve actually gotten with their work. There’s not a bit of transparency there. Do such people have true belief in God? Do they have fear of God? No. They never proactively report on the work, nor do they proactively report on mishaps in their work; they never ask, seek, or open up about the challenges and confusion they’ve encountered in their work, but go so far as to cover those things up, hoodwinking and deceiving others. There’s no transparency at all in their work, and it’s only when the Above presses them to give a factual report and account that they’ll reluctantly say a bit. They’d rather die than speak about any issues that involve their reputation and status—they’d die before offering a single word on that. Instead, they pretend not to have understood. Is that not an antichrist’s disposition? What sort of person is this? Is this sort of problem resolved easily? If the Above should give them guidance in their work, what’s their attitude toward that? Perfunctoriness. They appear to assent, and they’ll even take out a notebook or computer and vigorously take notes—but once they have, will they then have understood the guidance and get to work? (No.) They’re going through the motions for you to see, putting on a show to beguile you. What are they really thinking? “Since this work has been given to me to do, what I say goes. No one can meddle with what I want to do. ‘The county official cannot order people around like the local one can,’ so I have this right. If that’s not so, don’t have me handle it. Fire me.” This is what they think, and this is how they act. What disposition is that? Is that not an antichrist’s disposition? (It is.) This means trouble. You’re not allowed to interfere or make inquiries, nor to probe and ask questions. They’re quite sensitive to that. They think, “Is this the Above trying to check on my problems and check on my work? Who spilled the beans?” In a panic, they make a concerted effort to figure just who it was who compromised them. In the end, their doubts narrow down to two people, and they send them packing. What problem is this? It’s the disposition of an antichrist.

What is the main hallmark of an antichrist’s disposition? Holding onto status and controlling others. They gain status in order to control others. So long as they have status, they’ll legitimately get people under their control. Why do I say they’ll do so legitimately? Because their job was assigned to them by God’s house; they were chosen by the brothers and sisters to do it. Won’t they thus feel that they’re legitimate in doing it? (Yes.) So, this comes to serve them as something to capitalize on, with this in mind: “You chose me, didn’t you? If you chose me, you have to trust me. There’s that saying of unbelievers: ‘If you use a man, do not be suspicious of him; if you suspect him, do not use him.’” Here, they even employ a satanic maxim. Is this saying the truth? (No.) It’s satanic heresy and fallacy. If you make inquiries about their work, they’ll come out with such a theory: “‘If you use a man, do not be suspicious of him; if you suspect him, do not use him.’ If you use me, you can’t suspect me. If you don’t know what kind of person I am, if you can’t see through me, then don’t use me. But you are using me, and given that that’s so, I have to stand firm in this position. What I say must go.” What they say must go in all work affairs; it won’t work not to let them, or to find a partner for them, or to have others supervising and guiding them. If someone comes to check up on their work, they just say no—they feel that they’ve done nothing wrong and don’t need to be checked on. By rights, they exploit their status and authority to take control of others, of the worksite, and of the work of the church. Are they not establishing an independent kingdom? Is this not an antichrist? God’s house may have you do this work and perform this duty, but it wouldn’t have you wield power as a dictator. Hasn’t such a person misunderstood God’s will and the arrangements of His house? Why are they always grasping for status and power instead of performing their duty well? (They’re governed by an antichrist’s disposition.) That’s right—such is the disposition of an antichrist. Why do they misunderstand it when the church arranges work for them? Because they intrinsically like to control people. That’s their nature essence—it’s what they are. Arrange work for them, and they’ll feel they now have power and status, and thus have control over their turf. If you go to their turf, you have to do what they say. Say, for instance, that God’s house arranges for a leader to go check on an antichrist’s work. That leader and the antichrist are both leaders; they’re of the same rank. The antichrist says, “You’re a church leader, and I’m a church leader. We’re the same rank. You don’t meddle with me, and I won’t meddle with you. Don’t fellowship with me—you’re in no position to! And you’d like to ask about how things are going at our church—did the Above instruct you to? Show me the evidence.” The leader says, “The Above just had me convey a message. Go ask if you don’t believe me.” The antichrist says, “Then what gives you the right to fellowship with me and make accusations against me? What gives you the right to make inquiries about things that fall under my work? You have no standing to do so!” Do these words accord with the truth? (No.) What manner of action is it? One that only an antichrist would do. There’s a saying among the unbelievers: “Might makes right.” They compete to see whose rank is higher, whose force is greater, who’s more competent. They compete to see who’s in charge of more people. And in God’s house, antichrists compete with others to see these same things. Have they not come to the wrong place? Would a person with a corrupt disposition, yet who isn’t an antichrist, ordinarily think in this way when they encountered a church leader of the same rank as them? They’d reveal something, but they’d be able to fellowship normally. They absolutely wouldn’t say, “Are you in a position to make inquiries about my work?” They wouldn’t say that, because they’re of normal reason, and they have a God-fearing heart. How would someone with normal reason behave? They’d think, “To have us lead the church—that’s God raising us up; it’s His commission, and it’s our duty. If God hadn’t commissioned us to do this, we’d be nothing. It’s not some sort of official posting. I can fellowship with you about the church’s work, and how things are going with the brothers and sisters, and my work experience.” Will an antichrist fellowship with others about these things? No—they absolutely won’t reveal them. This is why one feature of antichrists is a desire for status and power that surpasses that of ordinary people, and it’s why beyond that, they’re more cunning and insidious than ordinary people. Where do their cunning and insidiousness manifest? (They don’t say anything to you. They don’t tell you anything directly.) It’s that they feel that every matter is a secret, something they shouldn’t speak to others about. In every matter, they’re guarded against others; they keep everything wrapped up, bundled, and concealed. Can they then have normal interaction and communication in their dealings with others? Can they say anything from the heart? No. They just offer a few superficial platitudes and pleasant words, to keep you from gauging the underlying situation. After you’ve been in contact with them for a while, you’ll feel, “By appearances, this person doesn’t seem to be evil, but why do I always feel like their heart is so far from other people? Why is it always so awkward to be in contact with them? I’m always getting the feeling that they’re unfathomable.” Do you have that feeling? (Yes.) That’s an antichrist’s disposition: They’re guarded against everyone. And why are they guarded? Because as they see it, anyone is liable to pose a threat to their status. If they’re not careful, if they let down their guard, they may allow others to know what’s really going on with them, their real self—and their status will then be untenable. So, when they come up against someone asking after the state of their work and their duty, or asking after their personal state, they’ll cover up what they can and wrap up what they can. What they can’t wrap up, they’ll find a way to smooth over, or they’ll hide themselves from you. Some antichrists have a bizarre disposition: Though they live among others, you won’t see them having normal interactions with anyone, and they have no normal communications with others. Every day, they keep to themselves, appearing at mealtime and vanishing again afterward. They’re always playing hooky. Why don’t they interact with others? They’ll say anything to their family, so why don’t they have anything to say to the brothers and sisters? The unbelievers have a saying: “He who talks a lot errs a lot.” Such people are committed to this tenet; they won’t let themselves speak carelessly, as something they say may well give away their game, exposing a weakness of theirs. There’s no telling which word might make others look down on them and let others know what’s really going on with them, so they do all they can to evade others. Is this evasiveness of theirs unintentional, or is there something inside it that governs it? There’s something there, governing it. Is that thing just and honorable, or is it unseemly? (It’s unseemly.) Of course it’s unseemly. This isn’t the only way that antichrists behave—most of the time, they don’t communicate or interact normally with others; sometimes, though, they’re very articulate and able to speak—but what things do they talk about? What’s their content? They preach the words and doctrines, showing themselves to advantage. They say they can do practical work and solve practical problems, when in fact, they don’t have any real skills. Ask them what deficiencies they have, whether they have an arrogant disposition, and they’ll say, “Who among corrupt mankind isn’t arrogant?” Look there—even their arrogance has its basis. It includes everyone inside it, as if their arrogance were quite proper. They’ll never seek the truth, and they seem not to perceive that there are any problems or difficulties in the work. And you won’t suss out the real situation by asking them. When they’ve got nothing to do, they’ll just sit there silent, and whenever they’re speaking, they will be talking about their qualifications. They never open up; they never say what rebelliousness or extravagant desires are inside them, or how they try to strike deals with God, or to whom they’ve told a lie, or what their ambitions are in doing work. They never raise these issues, and when others do, they’re uninterested. Even with questions that touch on things within the scope of their work, they’ll just speak a bit in a cursory way. In brief, anyone who comes into contact with them, for any length of time, will have great difficulty if they wish to learn more about anything within the scope of their duty, be it related to personnel, professional practice, or the work’s progress. Whatever the angle of your approach—whether you try to slip your question in obliquely, or ask it directly, or pose it to someone nearby—you won’t get results easily. It’s so laborious. Isn’t that devious? (Yes.) Why is it so laborious to get any information about things as they are from them? Why do they keep things wrapped up so tightly? What’s their goal? They want to stay secure in their status and livelihood. They believe, “It was no easy thing to get this status, to get to where I am today—wouldn’t it mean trouble for me if I were to make a fool of myself by making a mistake in a moment’s carelessness? And besides, if God’s house knew the bad things I’ve done, who’s to say whether they’d handle me?” However much you talk about being open, and being an honest person, and performing a duty loyally, will it get through to them? No, it won’t. For them, there’s only one credo: Loose lips sink ships. If you tell others everything, you’re incompetent—a good-for-nothing! That’s their credo. Such is the disposition of antichrists.

Whatever work an antichrist is doing, they prohibit others from interfering or making inquiries, and more still they prohibit God’s house from supervising them. What’s their goal in doing this? They mainly wish to control God’s chosen people, to secure their status and their power, which means that they’re securing their livelihood. That’s their main goal. If you are a leader or worker, are you afraid of the house of God making inquiries about and supervising your work? Are you afraid that the house of God will discover lapses and mistakes in your work and deal with you? Are you afraid that after the Above gets to know your real caliber and stature, they will see you in a different light and not consider you for promotion? If you have these fears, this proves that your motivations are not for the sake of church work, you are working for the sake of status and prestige, which proves that you have the disposition of an antichrist. If you have the disposition of an antichrist, you are liable to walk the path of the antichrists, and commit all the evil wrought by antichrists. If, in your heart, you have no fear of God’s house supervising your work, and you are able to provide real answers to the questions and inquiries of the Above, without hiding anything, and say as much as you know, then regardless of whether what you say is right or wrong, irrespective of the corruption you revealed—even if you revealed the disposition of an antichrist—you will absolutely not be defined as an antichrist. What’s key is whether you are able to know your own disposition of an antichrist, and whether you are able to seek the truth in order to solve this problem. If you are someone who accepts the truth, your antichrist’s disposition can be fixed. If you know full well that you have the disposition of an antichrist and yet do not seek the truth to resolve it, if you even try to conceal or lie about problems that occur and shift responsibility, and if you do not accept the truth when subjected to pruning and dealing, then this is a serious problem, and you are no different from an antichrist. Knowing that you have the disposition of an antichrist, why do you not dare face it? Why can you not approach it frankly and say, “If the Above inquires about my work, I’ll say all I know, and even if the bad things I’ve done come to light, and the Above no longer makes use of me once they know, and I lose my status, I’ll still say clearly what I have to say”? Your fear of supervision of and inquiries after your work by God’s house proves that you treasure your status more than the truth. Is this not the disposition of an antichrist? To cherish status above all is the disposition of an antichrist. Why do you treasure status so much? What are the benefits of status? If status brought you disaster, difficulties, embarrassment, and pain, would you still treasure it? (No.) There are so many benefits to having status, things like envy, respect, high opinion, and flattery from other people, as well as their admiration and reverence. There is also the sense of superiority and privilege that gives you pride and a sense of self-worth. In addition, you can also enjoy things that others do not, such as trappings of status and special treatment. These are the things you dare not even think of, and are what you have longed for in your dreams. Do you treasure these things? If status is merely hollow, with no real significance, and defending it serves no real purpose, is it not foolish to treasure it? If you can let go of things such as interests and enjoyments of the flesh, then prestige, profit, and status will no longer tie you down. So, what has to be resolved before resolving issues related to treasuring and chasing status? First, see through to the nature of the problem of doing evil and engaging in trickery, concealment, and covering up, as well as declining the supervision, inquiries, and investigation of God’s house, in order to enjoy the trappings of status. Isn’t this blatant resistance and opposition against God? If you can see through to the nature and consequences of coveting the trappings of status, the problem of pursuing status will be resolved. And without the ability to see through to the essence of coveting the trappings of status, this problem will never be resolved.

Do you partner up to do work and perform your duties? Do you accept supervision? Have you done anything to keep others from interfering or making inquiries? If someone makes inquiries, do you then resist them and say, “Who do you think you are, interfering in my business? I’m a rank higher than you in status, and my say goes in my work. The Above hasn’t made inquiries, so what gives you the right?” Anything like that? What’s the main disposition of antichrists? Occupying status and grasping for power; not doing anything that benefits the work of God’s house, anything that comes out of consideration for its interests, but being careless and deceptive, and going through the motions. They seem from the outside to be quite energetically busy at their tasks, but look at the things they do, which first, make no progress; second, are inefficient; and third, don’t have much of an effect—they’re made into a total mess. There’s only one thing they don’t let go of, and that’s making use of the opportunity their job presents to grab hold of power and not let go. They’re fine so long as they have power. Whatever job they’re doing, whether it has to do with a profession, with external affairs, with technical skill, or with other aspects, there’s no transparency to it, across the board. Is this lack of transparency unintentional? No—what’s unintentional isn’t dispositional, but has to do with a lack of caliber and not knowing how to do the work. Why, then, do I say that this disposition is the disposition of an antichrist? They’re acting intentionally. They have an intent inside them: They consciously keep you from knowing these things, and consciously hide from you and avoid seeing you. They minimize their speech and communication with you; they minimize their exchanges with you. They minimize their exposure of these things, so that you won’t always be blaming them and making inquiries of them, so that you won’t know too much, so that you won’t perceive their true face. Is that not intentional? Isn’t there an intent in it? What is their intent and goal? They wish to trick you, to bluff their way through; they give you a false impression and keep you from knowing how things really are. In that way, they’ll have secured their status, which will please them. Is that not the essence of it? (It is.) It’s the disposition of antichrists, consciously to deceive, hoodwink, and cover things up. It’s all conscious. Tell Me, what work program is there that keeps people so busy that they have no time to meet with others? None, right? No work program makes one so busy that they have no time to eat or sleep, nor any time to meet with others. Things haven’t gotten that busy yet. Time for those things can be eked out. So, why don’t these people have the time? They don’t want to meet with you; they don’t want you to make inquiries about their work. Is that not the disposition of an antichrist? (It is.) What sort of people are they? Are they not nonbelievers? They are—each and every antichrist is a nonbeliever. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t expropriate the work of God’s house, or control those who follow God under their own power. They wouldn’t do things like that. The first behavior of nonbelievers is that they have no God-fearing heart at all. They plot for their own interests, on the pretext of believing in God; they’re bold and reckless, unafraid at all. Their belief in God is no true faith, but a slogan. They have no fear at all for God in their heart.

What attitude do some people adopt as soon as they hear someone means to interfere with and supervise their work? “Supervision is alright. I accept supervision. Making inquiries is fine, too—but if you really do supervise me, there’ll be no way to go forward with my work. My hands will be tied. If you always have the final say and make me an enforcer, I won’t be able to work. ‘There can only be one alpha male.’” Isn’t this a theory? It’s a theory of antichrists. What disposition does a person who says this have? Is it the disposition of an antichrist? What does that mean, “There can only be one alpha male”? They won’t even abide the Above making inquiries. If the Above didn’t make inquiries, wouldn’t your actions then violate the truth? Would you do something wrong because of inquiries? Would the Above derail your work? Tell Me, does the Above give guidance on the work, make inquiries about it, and supervise it in order to see it done better, or worse? (Better.) Well, why do some people not accept those improved results? (They’re governed by an antichrist’s disposition.) That’s right. It’s their antichrist’s disposition—they can’t help themselves. As soon as someone makes inquiries about the work they’re responsible for, it upsets them. They feel that their interests will be meted out to others, as will their status and power. So, they get discomfited. They feel their plans and procedures have been thrown into disarray. And will that work for them? If the Above promotes someone and has that person cooperate with them, they think, “I had no plans to make use of this person, but the Above insists that they’re good and promoted them. I don’t feel great about it. How will I work together in cooperation with them? If the Above makes use of them, I’ll just quit!” They say so in word, but will they in fact be able to let go of their status? They won’t—what they’re doing is confrontational. Would they consent to anyone doing work that threatens their position, that doesn’t highlight them, that sabotages their current scenario? No, they wouldn’t. When the Above promotes someone or replaces someone, for instance, what do they think? “What a slap in the face! They didn’t even go through me. All else aside, I’m still a leader—why don’t they say anything to me beforehand? Why, it’s as if I don’t matter at all!” Who are you, anyway? Is that your job? First, it’s not your turf, and second, these people don’t follow you, so why must you matter so much to them? Is that in line with the truth? Which truth? There are principles to the Above’s promotion of a person or their replacement of a person. Why does the Above promote someone? Because they’re needed for the work. Why does the Above replace someone? Because they’re no longer needed for the work—they can’t do the work. If you don’t replace them, and even don’t let the Above do it, aren’t you being impervious to reason? (Yes.) Some say, “For the Above to dismiss someone—what a disgrace that makes me out to be. If you mean to replace someone, tell me in private, and I’ll do it. That’s my job; it’s part of what falls to me. If I replace them, it’ll show everyone how perceptive I am of people, and that I can do practical work. What an honor that would be!” Do you think like this? Some people want the good name and pride, and they give justifications like this. Will that fly? Is it viable? In one regard, God’s house does its work in accordance with the truth principles; in another, it works according to circumstances as they are. There’s no such thing as overstepping boundaries, especially when it comes to the Above’s promotions and replacements, or their guidance and instructions for some work project—in such cases, it’s even less a matter of lines being crossed. So, why does an antichrist look for these faults? One thing’s for sure: They don’t understand the truth, so they assess the work of God’s house with their human brain and those processes that are out there in the world. Beyond that, their main goal remains self-preservation. They must have their pride, being all things to all people in all they do. They can’t let the people under them see that they have any defects or deficiencies. To what extent will they keep up appearances? So much that others will see them as faultless, without any corruption or deficiencies. Others will see it as fitting that the Above should make use of them and that the brothers and sisters should choose them—they’re a perfect person. Isn’t that how they’d like things to be? Is that not the disposition of an antichrist? (It is.) Yes, that is the disposition of an antichrist.

Our fellowship just now was about one of the primary behaviors of antichrists—they prohibit others from interfering, making inquiries, or supervising them in their work. Whatever arrangements God’s house makes to follow up on their work, or learn more about it, or supervise it, they’ll employ every kind of technique to thwart and refuse them. By way of example, when some people are assigned a project by the Above, a while goes by without any progress at all. They don’t tell the Above whether they’re working on it, or how it’s going, or whether there have been any intervening difficulties or problems. They give no feedback. Some of the work is urgent and can’t be delayed, yet they drag their feet, drawing it out for a long time without finishing the work. The Above must then make inquiries. They take those inquiries as an affront, and they resist them at heart: “It’s only been ten-odd days since I was assigned this job. I haven’t even gotten my bearings yet, and already, the Above’s making inquiries. Their requirements of people are just too high!” There they are, looking for faults with the inquiries. What is the problem here? Tell Me, isn’t it quite normal for the Above to make inquiries? Part of it is a wish to know more about the state of the work’s progress, as well as what difficulties remain to be resolved; in addition to that, it’s a wish to know more about what sort of caliber the people on the job have, and whether they’ll actually be able to resolve problems and do the job well. The Above wants to know the facts as they are, and most times, they make inquiries in such circumstances. Is that not something they should do? The Above is worried that you don’t know how to resolve problems and can’t handle the job. That’s why they make inquiries. Some people are quite resistant and averse to such inquiries. They’re unwilling to let people make inquiries, and so long as people do, they’re resistant and have misgivings, always ruminating, “Why are they always making inquiries and looking to know more? Is it that they don’t trust me and look down on me? If they don’t trust me, then they shouldn’t use me!” They never understand the Above’s inquiries and supervision, but resist them. Do people like this have reason? Why don’t they permit the Above to make inquiries and supervise them? Why are they resistant and defiant, besides? What’s the problem here? They don’t care whether their performance of their duty is effective or whether it will hamper the progress of the work. They don’t seek the truth principles when performing their duty, but do whatever they want to. They give no thought to the results or efficiency of the work, and no thought at all to the interests of God’s house, much less to what God wills and requires. Their thinking is, “I have my own ways and routines for performing my duty. Don’t require too much of me or require things in too much detail. It’s well enough that I can perform my duty. I can’t get too fatigued or suffer too much.” They don’t understand the Above’s inquiries and attempts to know more about their work. What’s missing from this lack of understanding of theirs? Isn’t it missing submission? Isn’t it missing a sense of responsibility? Loyalty? If they were truly responsible and loyal in performing their duty, would they reject the Above’s inquiries into their work? (No.) They’d be able to understand it. If they truly can’t understand it, there’s only one possibility: They see their duty as their vocation and their livelihood, and they capitalize on it, regarding the duty they perform as a condition and bargaining chip with which to obtain a reward all the while. They’ll just do a bit of prestige work to get by with the Above, without any attempt to take God’s commission as their duty and their obligation. So, when the Above makes inquiries about their work or supervises it, they go into an averse, resistant frame of mind. Is that not so? (It is.) Where does this problem stem from? What is its essence? It’s that their attitude toward the work project is mistaken. They think only of fleshly ease and comfort, of their own status and pride, instead of thinking about the effectiveness of the work and the interests of God’s house. They don’t seek to act according to the truth principles at all. If they truly had a bit of conscience and reason, they’d be able to understand the Above’s inquiries and supervision. They’d be able to say, from the heart, “It’s a good thing the Above is making inquiries. Otherwise, I’d always be going off of my own will, which would impede the effectiveness of the work, or even botch it. The Above fellowships a bit and checks things out, and it has actually solved practical problems—what a great thing that is!” This would show them to be a responsible person. They’re afraid that if they took on the work by themselves, if there happened to be an error or mishap, and it caused a loss to the work of God’s house that there would be no way to remedy, that would be a responsibility they couldn’t bear. Is that not a sense of responsibility? (It is.) It’s a sense of responsibility, and it’s a sign that they’re fulfilling their loyalty. What do they think, those people who won’t let others make inquiries into their work? “This job is my business, seeing as it was I who got tasked with it. I call the shots with my own business; I don’t need anyone else to get involved!” They consider things on their own, and do what they’d like to, as dictated by their personality. They do whatever will benefit them, and no one’s allowed to ask after things—no one’s allowed to know the real state of affairs. If you ask them, “How’s it going with that task?” they’ll say, “Wait.” If you then ask, “How’s it progressing?” they’ll say, “Nearly there.” Whatever you ask them, they’ll only say a word or two. They’ll pop out just a couple words at a time, and no more than that—they won’t offer a single accurate, specific sentence. Don’t you find it sickening to speak with people like this? It’s obvious that they don’t want to say anything more to you. If you pose more questions, they get impatient: “You keep on asking about that one thing, as if I can’t get things done—as if I weren’t cut out for the task!” They’re simply unwilling to let people ask questions. And if you keep questioning them, they’ll say, “What am I to you, some donkey or horse to boss around? If you don’t trust me, don’t make use of me; if you make use of me, you have to trust me—and trusting me means that you shouldn’t always be making inquiries!” This is the sort of attitude they have. Are they treating the work program as a duty that’s theirs to perform? (No.) Antichrists don’t treat work as their duty, but as a bargaining chip with which to obtain blessings and a reward. They’re content merely to render service, which they’d like to exchange for blessings. That’s why they work with a careless, perfunctory attitude. They don’t want others to interfere with their work, in part, in order to preserve their dignity and pride. They believe that the duty they perform and the work they do belong to them personally, that they’re their private affairs. That’s why they don’t let others interfere. The other part of it is that if they get the work done well, they can claim credit for it and ask to be rewarded. If someone interfered, the credit would no longer go to them alone. They’re afraid of others snatching the credit away from them. That’s why they absolutely won’t consent to others’ interference with their work. Are such people as antichrists not selfish and vile? Whatever duty they’re performing, it’s just as if they were attending to their private affairs. They won’t let others interfere or participate, no matter how well they do the thing on their own. If they do the thing well, they’ll only allow the credit to go to them alone, so as not to let someone else claim a share of the credit and the results of the work. Isn’t that troublesome? What disposition is it? It’s Satan’s disposition. When Satan acts, it does not permit the interference of anyone else, it wishes to have the final say in everything it does and to control everything, and no one may supervise or make any inquiries. If anyone interferes or intervenes, this is even less permissible. This is how an antichrist acts; no matter what they do, nobody is allowed to make any inquiries, and no matter how they operate behind the scenes, no one is permitted to interfere. This is the behavior of an antichrist. They act this way because in one sense they have an extremely arrogant disposition and in another are extremely lacking in reason. They are completely lacking in obedience, and they do not permit anyone supervising them or inspecting their work. These are truly the actions of a demon, which are completely different from those of a normal person. Anyone who does work requires the cooperation of others, they need other people’s assistance, suggestions, and cooperation, and even if there is someone supervising or watching, this is not a bad thing, it is necessary. If mistakes happen to occur in one part of the work, and they are identified by the people watching and promptly fixed, and losses to the work are averted, is this not a great help? And so, when smart people do things, they like being supervised, observed, and having inquiries made by other people. If, by any chance, a mistake does occur, and these people are able to point it out, and the mistake can be promptly rectified, is this not a much desired outcome? No one in this world does not need the help of others. Only people with autism or depression like being on their own and not being in contact with or communicating with other people. When people suffer from autism or depression, they are no longer normal. They can no longer control themselves. If people’s minds and reason are normal, but they just don’t want to communicate with others, and they don’t want other people to know about anything they do, they want to do things secretly, privately, and operate behind the scenes, and they don’t listen to anything anyone else says, then such people are antichrists, are they not? They are antichrists.

Once, when I saw the leader of a church, I asked him what was going on with the brothers’ and sisters’ performance of their duties. I asked, “Is there anyone in the church at present who’s disturbing church life?” Can you guess what he said? “Things are alright; they’re fine.” I asked, “How is sister so-and-so performing her duty?” He said, “Fine.” I then asked, “How many years has she believed in God?” He said, “It’s fine.” I said, “This table shouldn’t be here; it has to be moved.” He said, “I’ll think on that.” I said, “Doesn’t this plot of land need watering?” He said, “We’ll fellowship on that.” I said, “This is the crop you’ve planted on this plot this year. Will you plant the same thing next year?” He said, “Our decision-making group has a plan.” Those are the sort of answers he gave. What feeling does it give you to hear them? Do you understand anything in them? Do you gain any information? (None at all.) You can tell at once that he’s being perfunctory with you, taking you for an idiot, an outsider. He doesn’t know exactly who the outsider is; the unbelievers call this “a guest acting as host.” He doesn’t know his own identity. I said, “You’ve got so many people living here, and the air doesn’t circulate well. You should set up a fan, or it’ll get too hot in here, and people will be liable to get heatstroke.” He said, “We’ll talk that over.” With anything I tell him, he has to talk it over, fellowship on it, and think it over, too. Whatever arrangements I make, whatever I say, is of no account to him. To him, they’re not arrangements or orders, and he doesn’t implement them. What does he take My words to be, then? (Suggestions for his consideration.) Am I giving him suggestions for his consideration? No—I’m telling him what he should do, what he must do. Is it that he doesn’t understand what I’m saying? If he doesn’t, he’s a blockhead who doesn’t know what his identity is or what duty he’s performing. There are so many people living there, without indoor air conditioning or a cross draft. How intelligent could you be if you don’t set up a fan? Go home at once—you’re trash, and God’s house has no need of trash. People don’t know everything about anything, but they can learn. There are some things I don’t understand, so I discuss them with others: “What do you think is a good way to go about it? You’re free to offer your suggestions.” If some people think some way would be best, I say, “Fine, let’s do as you say. I haven’t yet thought through what we should do, in any case. We’ll go with what you say.” Is that not the thinking of normal humanity? That’s what it means to get along with others. In getting along with others, people mustn’t make a distinction between who’s superior or inferior, or who does and doesn’t get the spotlight, or who has the final say over things. There’s no need to make these distinctions—whoever’s way is right and in accord with the truth principles, that’s who’s to be heeded. Are you capable of doing this? (Yes.) There are some people who aren’t. Antichrists aren’t—they insist on having nothing less than the final say. What sort of thing is that? What others raise won’t fly with them, even if it’s reasonable; they know it’s right and reasonable, but they won’t abide anything proposed by anyone else—they’re happy so long as they’re the one who proposed something. Even in this matter, they fight for preeminence. What disposition is that? The disposition of an antichrist. They place excessive value on status, prestige, and pride. How much value? Those things are more important to them than their life—they’ll safeguard their status and prestige, even if it means their life.

Antichrists prohibit the interference, inquiries, or supervision of others in anything they do, and this prohibition is manifested in several ways. One is refusal, plain and simple. “Stop interfering, making inquiries, and supervising me when I work. Any work I do is my responsibility, I’ve got an idea of how to do it and I don’t need anyone managing me!” This is straight refusal. Another manifestation is the appearance of being receptive, saying “Ok, let’s fellowship a little and see how the work should be done,” but when others really start making inquiries and trying to find out more about their work, or when they point out a few issues and make a few suggestions, what is their attitude? (They are unreceptive.) That’s right—they simply refuse to accept, they find pretexts and excuses to reject others’ suggestions, they turn wrong into right and right into wrong, but actually, in their hearts, they know that they are forcing logic, that they are blowing hot air, that this is conjecture, that their words have none of the reality of what other people say. And yet to protect their status—and knowing full well that they are wrong and that other people are right—they still turn other people’s right into wrong, and their own wrong into right, and keep carrying it out, not allowing things that are correct and in line with the truth to be introduced or implemented where they are. Are they not treating the work of the church as a game, a joke? Are they not refusing to accept inquiries and supervision? They don’t express this “prohibition” of theirs brazenly, by telling you, “You’re not allowed to interfere with my work.” That’s not how what they do appears, but that’s their mindset. They’ll use certain tricks, and seem quite devout on the outside. They’ll say, “It happens that we do need help, so now that you’re here, fellowship with us a bit!” Their higher-level leader will believe that they’re being genuine, and so fellowship with them, telling them about circumstances as they stand. Once they’ve heard the leader, they’ll get to thinking: “That’s how you see things—well, I’ll have to debate it with you, to refute and disprove your view. I’ll put you to shame.” Is that an attitude of acceptance? (No.) What attitude is it, then? It’s a refusal to abide others interfering, making inquiries, or supervising them in the work they do. Given that antichrists would do that, why, then, do they put up a false front for people and affect an attitude of acceptance? That they would deceive people in this way shows how very cunning they are. They’re afraid that people will see through them. At present, especially, there are some people with a measure of discernment, so if an antichrist were to refuse others’ supervision and help directly, people would be able to tell and see through them. They would then lose their pride and status, and it wouldn’t be easy for them to be elected a leader or worker in the future. So, when a higher-level leader checks on their work, they pretend to accept it, saying pleasing and pandering things, making everyone think, “Look at how devout, how truth-seeking our leader is! Our leader is looking out for our lives and for the work of the church. They take responsibility in performing their duty. We’ll choose them again in the next election.” What no one sees coming is that once the higher-level leader leaves, the antichrist will say something like this: “What that person who checked on the work said was all right, but it doesn’t necessarily suit the conditions at our church. Things are different at every church. We can’t go along with what they said in its entirety—we have to consider it in light of our real situation. We can’t just apply rules by rote!” And everyone comes away from this thinking it’s right. Have they not been beguiled? Part of what an antichrist does is to say pleasing words and pretend to accept others’ supervision; immediately afterward, they commence the work of beguilement and brainwashing internally. They simultaneously implement the two parts of this approach. Do they have tricks? Plenty, indeed! Externally, they speak nicely and feign acceptance, making everyone believe that they feel quite responsible for the work, that they can let go of their position and status, that they’re not an authoritarian, but can accept supervision from the Above or from other people—and as they do, they “make clear” to the brothers and sisters the pros and cons of things, and “make clear” the various situations. What is their aim? It is to stop other people from interfering, inquiring, or supervising, and to make the brothers and sisters think that them acting as they are is justified, correct, in line with the work arrangements of God’s house, and in agreement with the principles of action, and that, as a leader, they are abiding by principle. Really only a few people in the church understand the truth; the majority are undoubtedly incapable of discernment, they can’t see this antichrist for who they really are, and are naturally misled by them. Some people, for instance, lose a night’s sleep for some particular reason. They go all night without sleeping. There are two types of people, in whom that lack of sleep manifests in two different ways. The first type finds a chance to sleep a bit as soon as they can. They don’t let others know they didn’t sleep. That’s one situation, one way things are. There’s no intent behind it. The other sort of person naps at mealtime and tells everyone, “I didn’t sleep last night!” Someone asks, “Why not?” and they say, “There was an online gathering, and I found some problems in the work. I stayed up solving them.” They go on incessantly, announcing that they hadn’t slept all night. Were they really so reluctant to stay up all night? What are they confessing to the group? And is there something within that confession? What’s their goal? They want to inform the whole world of what they did, for fear that others might not know. They want everyone to know that they’ve suffered, that they stayed up all night, that they’re willing to pay a price in their belief in God, that they don’t crave comfort. With this, they mean to win the sympathy and approval of the brothers and sisters. They buy off people’s hearts by making this superficial performance, and in doing so, they get others to esteem them, and they gain prestige in people’s hearts. Once they have status, they’re then sure to speak with authority. And once they speak with authority, won’t they then be able to enjoy the special treatment that accompanies status? (Yes.) Do you think they’ve seized this opportunity well? Do you tell others when you haven’t slept, or if you’ve worked through the night? (We have.) When you did, was it unintentional, or was there some intent behind it? Did you just tell someone offhand, or were you making a grand proclamation, putting on a show? (It was offhand.) There’s no intent behind saying it offhandedly; that doesn’t suggest a dispositional problem. There’s absolutely a different nature to saying it intentionally and saying it unintentionally. When an antichrist acts, what is the motive behind what they’re doing, whether they seem on the surface to be accepting others’ interference and inquiries, or whether they’re refusing them outright—whichever it happens to be? They’re grasping at status and power, and they won’t let go of it. Is that not their motive? (It is.) That’s right—they absolutely won’t let their hard-won power, their hard-won status and prestige, slip so casually away, in an inattentive moment; they won’t let anyone weaken their force and influence by interfering with their work or making inquiries about it. They believe this: To perform a duty, to take on a work program, isn’t really a duty, and they don’t need to perform it as an obligation; instead, it’s to be possessed of a certain power, to have a few people under their command. They believe that with power, they no longer have to consult with anyone, but now have the chance and the power to be in charge. This is the sort of attitude they have toward duty.

There are some others who, when the Above makes inquiries of them about their work, just go through the motions. They give a superficial performance and ask about a few frivolous matters, as if they were someone who seeks the truth. If there’s an incident that clearly constituted a disruption and disturbance, for instance, they’ll ask the Above whether the person who caused it should be handled. Isn’t a thing like that part of their job? (Yes.) What are they after, in asking the Above about it? They mean to give you an illusory impression of them, to show you that if they’d ask even about matters like that, it’s proof that they’re not idle, that they’re working. They’re just manufacturing an illusion to beguile you. The fact is that they have some practical problems in their heart, and they don’t know how to fellowship the truth to resolve them, nor do they know which principles they should practice. There are things that are obscure to them, in handling people and handling affairs alike, but they never ask or seek about them. Given that they can’t get these things straight in their heart, should they not then ask the Above about them? (Yes.) They can’t get them straight or see through them, but go on acting blindly—what will be the consequences of that? Can they predict what will happen? Will they be able to bear responsibility for the consequences? No, they won’t. So, why don’t they ask about these things? There are considerations in their not asking. One is a fear of the Above finding them out: “If I can’t even handle this trivial matter, if I have to ask about it, with my so-so caliber, won’t that allow the Above to see right through me?” There’s also the consideration that if they do ask, and the Above’s decision conflicts with and differs from their own view, they’d be hard-pressed to choose. If they don’t do what the Above says, the Above will say they’re violating the work principles; if they do, it’ll incur a loss to their own interests. So, they don’t ask. Isn’t that considered? (Yes.) It is. What sort of person are they, who considers these things? (Antichrists.) They are indeed antichrists. With anything, whether they ask about it or not, whether they give voice to it or just think it, they don’t seek the truth or regard that thing according to the principles; in all things, they put their own interests first. They have a list in their heart of which things the Above may inquire about and know, and which things they don’t want the Above to know at all. They’ve delimited those regions and split them into two categories. They’ll speak cursorily with the Above about those insignificant matters that could pose no threat to their status, in order to get by with the Above; but with things that could threaten their status, they won’t offer a single word. And if the Above asks about those things, what are they to do? They’ll give them a few, equivocal words; they’ll say, “Fine, we’ll discuss it … we’ll keep looking …”—a mouthful of affirmations for you, without anything that could be read as resistance. By appearance, they’re quite obedient—but the fact is, they have their own calculations. They have no plan to let the Above call the shots; they have no plan to solicit the Above’s suggestions and let them make the decisions, or to seek some path from the Above. They have no such plans. They don’t want to allow the Above to interfere or know what’s really going on. Once the Above does know, then, what threat will that pose to them? (They’ll be insecure in their status.) It’s not only that they’ll be insecure in their status—it’s that their plans and goals will no longer be workable, and they’ll thus no longer be legitimized in their evildoing; they’ll no longer be able to follow their own plans legitimately, openly, and brazenly. This is the problem they’ll be faced with. So, will they then be able to ascertain how to act in a way that benefits them? They’ll certainly have their thoughts and calculations about it. Do you find yourselves faced with such things, as well? What do you think about them, then? How do you treat them? An example: Someone becomes a leader and gets quite carried away with it, fond always of showing off in front of others to gain their esteem. They bump into an unbeliever whom they know, who wants to borrow money. The unbeliever pleads their case so pitiably that the leader, with an impulse, in the excitement of the moment, consents, after which they think, placid and without qualms, “I’m the leader of the church—I should have final say over the church’s money. When it comes to things that belong to God’s house, to the church, and offerings—I’ve got the office, so what I say goes. The finances are mine to manage, and matters of staffing are mine to manage, too—I have the final say over all of it!” And so, they lend the money of God’s house to an unbeliever. Once they have, they feel a bit ill at ease, and consider whether they should tell the Above about it. If they did, the Above might not consent to the matter—so, they begin to fabricate lies and find excuses with which to deceive the Above. The Above fellowships the truth principles to them, yet they pay it no heed. That’s how they commit the evil deed of privately misappropriating offerings. Why would such a person dare to make designs on offerings? You’re a mere church leader—do you have the right to manage offerings? Do you have the final say over matters of offerings and finances? How should you regard God’s offerings, if you’re someone with normal humanity and reason, someone who pursues the truth? Shouldn’t matters related to offerings be referred to the Above, to see what God’s house decides? Doesn’t the Above have a right to know about such a major issue? Yes. This is something you should be clear on at heart; it’s the reason you ought to possess. When it comes to financial matters, major and minor ones alike, the Above has a right to know. It’s one thing if they don’t ask—but once they do, you must answer truthfully, and you should submit to whatever they decide. Is this not the sort of reason you should have? (It is.) Yet are antichrists capable of this? (No.) That’s the difference between antichrists and normal people. If they think there’s a hundred-percent chance that the Above won’t consent to the thing, and that they’ll suffer a loss to their pride, they’ll think up all manner of ways to keep it under wraps, to keep the Above from knowing about it. They’ll even work over the people beneath them, and say: “If anyone discloses this, they’re against me. They’ll be hearing from me. I’ll take care of them, come what may!” And with those fearsome words from them, no one dares to report the matter to the Above. Why would they do that? They believe, “This comes under the scope of my authority. I have the right to deploy and distribute the people, money, and materials that are within the realm of my jurisdiction!” What are their principles for deploying and distributing these things? They make arrangements for people at will, they use and give out money and materials arbitrarily, without adhering to any principles, they squander and waste these things indiscriminately, and no one else has the right to interfere—they must have the final say over all of it. Of course, they won’t say this out loud, in such explicit terms—but in their heart, this is absolutely what they’re thinking: “What’s the point of having office? Isn’t it all about money, about keeping fed and clothed? Now, I’m in office; I have that status. Wouldn’t it be dumb of me not to exploit my power to do as I please?” Isn’t that what they believe? (It is.) It’s only with such a disposition, and with their ability to believe this, that they would dare conceal such a matter without the slightest scruple, heedless of any consequence, by any ways and means they can conceive. Is that not so? (It is.) They don’t assess whether the thing is right or not, or what the proper thing to do is, or what the principles are. They don’t consider these things; their only consideration is who is going to look out for their interests. An antichrist is an insidious, selfish, vile thing! How vile are they? It can be captured in a single word: They’re shameless! Those people aren’t yours, nor are those things, and less still are those possessions yours—yet you’d claim them as your own, to dispose of as you please. Others don’t even have the right to know about it; even if you squander and waste those things, others have no right to make inquiries. How far gone are you? You’ve gone into shamelessness! Isn’t it shameless? (It is.) That’s an antichrist. What kind of line does the average person have that they won’t cross when it comes to possessions? They think that those are God’s offerings, and offerings are donated to God by His chosen people, so they belong to God—they’re His “personal belongings,” as some may say. What belongs to God doesn’t belong to the commons, nor does it belong to any person. Who is the master of God’s house? (God.) Yes, it’s God. And what does God’s house entail? It entails His chosen people in each church, as well as all the supplies and property of each church. All these things belong to God. They absolutely do not belong to a single person, and no one has a right to claim them. Would an antichrist think that? (No.) They believe that offerings belong to whoever manages them, to whoever has a chance to draw from them, and that if someone’s a leader, they have the right to enjoy them. That’s why they’re constantly pursuing status with all their strength. Once they’ve gotten it, all their hopes are realized at last. Why do they pursue status? If you had them scrupulously lead God’s chosen people, with principles behind their actions, yet didn’t permit them to touch the church’s property or God’s offerings, would they still be so proactive in their scramble upward? Absolutely not. They would wait passively, and let things take their course. They’d think, “If I’m elected, I’ll do the job and perform my duty well; if I’m not, I won’t suck up to anyone. I won’t say or do anything about it.” It’s precisely because an antichrist thinks that as a leader, one has the right to dictate and enjoy all the church’s property that they rack their brains in their attempts to strive upward, to the point of shamelessness, in order to gain status and enjoy everything that status brings. What does it mean to be shameless? It means to do disgraceful things—that’s what it means to be shameless. Should someone say to them, “What you’re doing is so disgraceful!” they wouldn’t care, but think, “What’s disgraceful about it? Who doesn’t like status? Do you know what it feels like to have status? To be in control of money? Do you know that joy? Do you know that sense of privilege? Have you tasted it?” That’s how antichrists view status, in the recesses of their heart. Once an antichrist gains status, they’ll want to be in control of everything. They’ll take God’s offerings under their control, too. They wish to have the final say about any part of the church’s work that costs money, without ever consulting with the Above. They become the master of the property of God’s house, and God’s house becomes theirs. They have the right to give the final word over it, to dictate what happens to it, to give it to this and that person as they please, to dictate how every bit of it is spent. With God’s offerings, they never act carefully and cautiously, according to the principles; instead, they’re extravagant spenders, and what they say goes. A person like that is a classic antichrist.

There was once someone who secretly misappropriated God’s offerings, which is a serious problem. It’s no ordinary transgression; it’s a problem with their nature essence. When they interacted with unbelievers while handling some affairs, they kept showing off to make people think they had money and power. Consequently, people asked to borrow money from them. Not only did this person not refuse them, they actually committed to lending them money, then employed deceptive tactics against God’s house in order to do so. This person had a serious problem. With such a major matter, you should make a report to the Above, and explain the facts; you can’t respond to people with God’s offerings for the sake of your own credit and pride. That’s how a rational person with a God-fearing heart would handle such matters when they encounter them. But what do antichrists do? Why are they called antichrists? Because they don’t have the least bit of a God-fearing heart; they do as they wish, pushing God, the truth, and God’s words to the back of their minds. They have no true obedience to God at all, but give their own interests, their own prestige, profit, and status pride of place. They employ deceptive means to beguile the church’s leaders and workers, and thereby lend money to unbelievers. Is it their money? With just a few words, they loan it out—is that not making a gift out of God’s offerings? This is something antichrists do, and some actually have done such things. For them to be able to do such a thing, their disposition must be an audacious one, awfully arrogant and quite insidious, too. It’s also evident that they’re stupid, as stupid as stupid gets—they’re bound to be hoisted by their own petards. Tell Me, how should such people be handled? (They should be expelled.) That’s it? Expulsion? Who will make up for the losses? They must be made to pay restitutions, and then expelled. Aren’t antichrists brazen, to be able to do such a thing? How are they different from the archangel? The archangel would brazenly say, “It is I who made the heavens and earth and all things—mankind is mine to control!” It despoils and corrupts mankind at will. Once an antichrist has taken power, they say, “You must all believe in me and follow me. I rule here, and I get the final say. Turn to me in all matters, and bring me the church’s money!” Some people say, “Why should we?” and the antichrist says, “I’m the leader. It’s my right to manage this. I have to manage everything, including offerings!” And then, they take charge of everything. Antichrists don’t care about what problems or difficulties the brothers and sisters have in their life entry, or what books of sermons and God’s words they are short of. What they do care about is who holds the church’s money for safekeeping, and how much of it there is, and how it’s used. If the Above makes inquiries about the state of that church’s finances, not only will they not hand over the church’s money—they won’t even let the Above know the facts. Why won’t they do that? Because they want to embezzle and take the church’s money for themselves. Antichrists have the highest interest in material things, money, and status. They’re certainly nothing like how they describe themselves, “I believe in God. I don’t pursue the world, and I don’t covet money.” They’re absolutely not as they say. Why do they pursue and maintain status with all their might? Because they wish to possess, or control and seize, everything they have jurisdiction over—money and material things, in particular. They enjoy these riches and material things as though they were the trappings of their status. They’re genuine descendants of the archangel, with the nature essence of Satan in name and in fact. All who pursue status and value wealth certainly have a problem with the essence of their disposition. It’s not so simple as them just having an antichrist’s disposition: They are very ambitious. They want to control the money of God’s house. If they’re made responsible for an item of work, then first of all, they won’t let others interfere, nor will they accept inquiries or supervision from the Above; beyond that, when they’re the supervisors of any item of work, they’ll find ways to show themselves off, safeguard themselves, and elevate themselves. They always wish to come out on top, to become people who rule over and control others. They also wish to wield and vie for higher status, and even to control every part of God’s house—its money, especially. Antichrists have a special love for money. When they see it, their eyes light up; in their minds, they’re always thinking about money and making efforts toward it. These are all signs and signals of antichrists. If you fellowship the truth with them, or try to learn about the brothers’ and sisters’ states, asking such questions as how many of them are weak and negative, what results each of them is getting in their duty, and which of them aren’t suited to their duty, antichrists won’t be interested. But when it comes to God’s offerings—the amount of money, who’s safeguarding it, where it’s being kept, its passcodes, and so on—this is what they care about most. An antichrist has an exceptional command of these things. They know them like the back of their hand. This, too, is a sign of an antichrist. Antichrists are best at speaking nice-sounding words, but they don’t do practical work. Instead, they’re always preoccupied with thoughts of enjoying God’s offerings. Tell Me, aren’t antichrists immoral? They have no humanity at all—they’re devils, through and through. In their work, they always prohibit the interference, inquiries, and supervision of others. This is the third behavior that the eighth manifestation of antichrists is displayed.

Some time ago, a church in one country bought a new house that needed renovating, and it just so happened that the church leader in that country was an antichrist who hadn’t yet shown her true colors. That antichrist used an unfamiliar person for the renovations, and no one knew what sort of relationship he shared with her. As a result, that evil person took advantage of the situation, and a lot of money that shouldn’t have been spent was wasted during the renovations. There were some usable furnishings that came with the house, which were all cleared out and replaced with new ones. The old furnishings that had been cleared out were then sold by that evil person for money. They weren’t actually broken—they could still be used—but that evil person spent a sum of money buying new ones, in order to make money, to exploit the situation. Did the antichrist know about these things? She did. Why, then, did she condone him acting in that way? Because they must have had an abnormal relationship. Some people saw the problem and were going to follow up and check on the construction, to see how it was going. As soon as they said they were going to look at the construction, that antichrist got worried and anxious, and said: “No! The deadline hasn’t arrived yet—no one’s allowed to look!” Her reaction was so strong, so sensitive—was there something going on within this? (Yes.) Those people, now a bit alarmed, discussed the matter: “This won’t do. She won’t let us take a look at the construction. There’s surely an issue here; we have to go take a look at the site.” But the antichrist still wouldn’t let it be seen until the work was due to be delivered. Tell Me, were those people not muddled? The fact that the antichrist wouldn’t let the construction be seen proved that there was something going on. They needed to rush to report it to the Above, or jointly dismiss her, or forcibly go look and check on the construction. That was their responsibility. If they couldn’t take on that responsibility, that meant they’re useless, cowardly trash. Those pieces of cowardly trash didn’t persist. It wasn’t an issue with their own houses, so they just ignored it. That’s how selfish and irresponsible they were. And when the work was delivered, I saw through a video that there was a problem. What problem did I see? There was a table in a conference room, and all around it were leather chairs like those used in fancy offices. The chairs I sit on are all regular chairs, so should those regular people be using such fancy stuff? (No.) That was the sort of furniture they installed; those people were enjoying very nice seats, indeed. Once I’d discovered the problem, I called that scoundrel up and began to investigate the matter. Everywhere, in each room, a check revealed so many oversights. A lot had been lost. Some of the house’s original furnishings had been usable, yet that evil person hauled them out and sold them, to make money off of them; what’s more, he made money when he bought those high-priced, new furnishings; and furthermore, he installed some equipment that shouldn’t be in a church. That evil person did this without consulting anyone. When he did this, did the antichrist know about it? She probably did. She went to the work site every day, and having seen it, she made no report, but condoned his squandering. The nerve! Is she a believer in God? After 20 years of belief in God, she engaged in such revolting behavior, and did a thing like that—what sort of person is she? She’s not a person! Even good people among the unbelievers don’t do that; what immorality! Every time the Above asked her things about the construction work, she played dumb to pull the wool over their eyes, covering and concealing things, which led to so many problems arising. Would it be excessive, then, to expel her and make her get a job to earn money to compensate for the losses? (No.) Tell Me, even if she could return the money, would that antichrist find peace in this life? Could she have an easy time? I’m afraid she’ll have to spend the whole of her life in torment. Since her actions came to this, why on earth did she act that way back then? What was she out to do in the first place? It’s not as if she’d only believed in God for a year or two and didn’t know the rules in His house, or what it is to have a God-fearing heart, or what loyalty is—after all those years of believing in Him, she hadn’t changed at all, and though she could have rendered a bit of service, she did such evil instead! For that repugnant behavior, she ought to be cast out and cursed!

Antichrists have something in common in the way they work: No matter what work they’re doing, they prohibit others from interfering or making inquiries. They always want to conceal things and cover things up. They must be up to something; they don’t allow people to find out about the problems in their work. If they did things in an upright and aboveboard way, in a way that was in line with the truth and the principles, with a clear conscience, what would they have to worry about? What in that would be unmentionable? Why don’t they allow others to make inquiries and intervene? What are they worried about? What are they afraid of? Clearly, they’re up to something—it’s just so obvious! Antichrists do work without any transparency. When they’ve done something bad, they think of ways to hide it and cover it up, fabricating false appearances, even engaging in blatant deception. What are the results of this? God scrutinizes all, and though other people may not know of something for a while, and may be deluded for a time, the day will come when God exposes it. To God’s eye, all is overt, all is exposed. It’s useless for you to keep something from God. He is almighty, and when He decides to expose you, all will be laid bare in the clear light of day. Only such dunces who don’t understand spiritual matters as antichrists, who possess the nature of the archangel, would believe, “So long as I keep a tight lid on things, and don’t let you interfere or make inquiries, and don’t let you supervise things, you won’t know anything—and I’ll be in complete control of this church!” They believe that if they rule as kings, they’ll be able to control the situation. Is that how things actually, truly are? They don’t know that God is almighty; their cleverness is self-proclaimed. God scrutinizes all. For instance, say you did evil today. God scrutinizes it, but He doesn’t expose you—He’s giving you a chance to repent. You do evil again tomorrow, and still, you don’t give an account of it or repent; God still gives you a chance, and waits for you to repent. Yet if you remain unrepentant, God won’t want to give you that chance. He’ll be disgusted by you and loathe you, and in the depths of His heart, He won’t wish to save you, and He’ll abandon you utterly. In that case, it will be a matter of minutes before He exposes you, and however you try to cover things up or obstruct this, it will be to no avail at all. No matter how big your hand is, can you block out the sky with it? No matter how capable you are, can you cover God’s eyes? (No.) Those are man’s foolish ideas. As to how almighty God really is, people are already able to feel a bit of this in His words. Moreover, all members of this corrupt mankind who have done great evil and opposed God directly have met with various punishments, and all who see this are wholly convinced, and acknowledge it to be retribution. Even unbelievers can see that God’s righteousness brooks no offense, so those who do believe in Him should be able to see this all the more. God’s almightiness and wisdom cannot be fathomed. Man has no way to see them clearly. There’s that song—how does it go? (“God’s Ways Cannot Be Fathomed.”) This is God’s essence, the true revelation of His identity and essence. There’s no need for your surmises or speculations. You just need to believe those words—then you won’t do such foolish things. People all think themselves clever; they cover their eyes with a leaf and say, “Can You see me?” God says, “Not only can I see you in your entirety, I even see your heart, and how many times you’ve been to the human world,” and people are left dumbfounded. Don’t think yourself clever; don’t think, “God doesn’t know about this, and He doesn’t know about that. None of the brothers and sisters saw. No one knows. I have my own little scheme. Look how clever I am!” None of the people in this world who do not understand the truth or believe that God is sovereign over all are smart. No matter what they say or do, in the end, it’s all error, all in violation of the truth, all resistant against God. There’s only one sort of person that’s smart. Which sort is that? The sort that believes that God scrutinizes all, that He can see all, and that He is sovereign over all. People like that are exceedingly smart, because all they do is obedient to God, in line with the truth, approved by God, and met with God’s blessing. Whether a person is smart or not depends on whether they can submit to God; it hinges on whether what they say and do is in line with the truth. If you have this idea: “Here’s what I think about this matter, and that’s what I’d like to do, because it would benefit me—but I don’t want to confide this in others, nor do I want them to know about it”—is that the right way to think? (No.) What should you do when you realize that that’s not the right way to think? You should give yourself a good slap in the face, to teach yourself a lesson. You think that if you don’t say it, God won’t know? The fact is that while you’re having that thought, God knows your heart. How does He know? God has seen through man’s nature essence. So, why doesn’t He expose you in this matter, then? Even without Him exposing it, you’ll be able to gradually understand it on your own, because you’ve eaten and drunk so many of His words. You have a conscience and reason, a mind, and normal thinking; you should be able to figure out what’s right and wrong on your own. God is giving you time and a chance to think things through slowly, to see whether you’re foolish or not. You’ll see results after thinking the matter over for a few days: You’ll know then that you are foolish and stupid, and that you shouldn’t try to hide that matter from God. In all matters, you should be completely open to God and you should be candid—this is the only condition and state that should be maintained before God. Even when you are not open, you are open before God. God knows, whether you are open or not. Are you not very foolish if you cannot comprehend that? So how can you be a smart person? By opening yourself up to God. You know that God scrutinizes and knows everything, so don’t think yourself clever, and think that He might not know; since it is certain that God secretly observes people’s hearts, smart people should be a little more candid, a little purer, and be honest—that is the smart thing to do. Always feeling that you’re clever; always wishing to keep your own, little secrets; always trying to maintain a bit of privacy—is that the right way to think? It’s alright to be that way with other people, because some people aren’t positive characters and don’t love the truth. You can hold a bit back with people like that. Don’t bare your heart to them. Say, for instance, there’s someone you hate, and you’ve spoken ill of them behind their back. Should you tell them about it? Don’t—it’s enough just to not do such a thing again. If you spoke of it, it would impair relations between the two of you. You know in your heart that you’re no good, that you’re filthy and evil inside, that you’re jealous of others, that for the sake of vying for prestige and profit, you spoke ill of someone else behind their back to besmirch them—how vile! You acknowledge that you’re corrupt; you know that what you did was wrong, and that your nature is evil. You then come before God and pray to Him: “Oh God, what I did in secret was an evil, vile thing—I beg Your forgiveness, I beg You to lead me, and I beg You to reproach me. I’ll strive not to do such a thing again.” That’s enough. You can use some techniques in your interactions with people, but it is best to be pure and open with God, and if you harbor intentions and use techniques, then trouble will arise. In your mind you will always think, “What can I say to make God think highly of me, and not know what I am thinking inside? What is the right thing to say? I must keep more to myself, I must be a little more tactful, I must have a method; maybe then God will think highly of me.” Do you think God will not know if you are always thinking like that? God knows whatever you think. It is exhausting to think like that. It is so much simpler to speak honestly and truly, and it makes your life easier. God will say that you are honest and pure, that you are openhearted—and that is infinitely precious. If you have a candid heart and an honest attitude, then even if there are times when you go too far, and act foolishly, to God this is not a transgression; it is better than you being so calculating, and better than your constant pondering and processing. Are antichrists capable of these things? (No, they’re not.)

All who walk the path of the antichrists are people with an antichrist’s disposition, and what people with an antichrist’s disposition walk is the path of the antichrists—yet there’s a bit of a difference between people with an antichrist’s disposition and antichrists. If someone has an antichrist’s disposition and would walk the path of the antichrists, that doesn’t necessarily indicate that they’re an antichrist. But if they don’t repent and can’t accept the truth, they could develop into an antichrist. There’s still a hope and a chance for people who walk the path of the antichrists to repent, because they haven’t become antichrists yet. If they do evil things of many sorts and are classified as an antichrist, and are thus cleared out and expelled straight away, they won’t have a chance to repent anymore. If someone who walks the path of the antichrists hasn’t yet done a lot of evil things, this at least shows that they’re not an evil person yet. If they can accept the truth, there’s a glimmer of hope for them. If they won’t accept the truth, come what may, then they’ll have a very hard time being saved, even if they haven’t done all sorts of evil. Why can’t an antichrist be saved? Because they don’t accept the truth in the least. However God’s house fellowships about how being an honest person is to be open and candid, to come out and say what one has to say, and not to play deceitful tricks, they just can’t accept it. They constantly feel that people lose out by being honest and that it’s foolish to speak the truth. They’re dead set on not being an honest person. This is the nature of antichrists, which is sick of the truth and hates it. How can someone be saved if they don’t accept the truth in the least? If someone who walks the path of the antichrists can accept the truth, there’s a clear difference between them and an antichrist. All antichrists are people who don’t accept one bit of the truth. No matter how many wrong or evil things they’ve done, no matter how great the losses they’ve incurred to the work of the church and the interests of God’s house, they’ll never reflect on and know themselves. Even if they are pruned and dealt with, they don’t accept any truth at all; that’s why the church classifies them as evil people, as antichrists. An antichrist, at the very most, will admit only that their actions violate the principles and aren’t in line with the truth, yet they’ll absolutely never admit that they do evil on purpose, or resist God on purpose. They’ll just admit to mistakes, but they won’t accept the truth; and afterward, they’ll go on doing evil as before, without practicing any truth whatsoever. In an antichrist’s endless refusal to accept the truth, it can be seen that the nature essence of antichrists is that of being sick of the truth and hating it. They remain people who resist God as always, no matter how many years they’ve believed in Him. Ordinary, corrupt mankind, on the other hand, may all have an antichrist’s disposition, but there’s a difference between them and antichrists. There’re a number of people who can commit God’s words of judgment and exposure to heart after they’ve heard them, and ponder them repeatedly, and reflect on themselves. They may then realize, “So this is an antichrist’s disposition, then; this is what it is to walk the path of the antichrists. What a serious issue! I have those states and behaviors; I have that sort of essence—I am that sort of person!” They then consider how they may cast off that antichrist’s disposition and truly repent, and with that, they can set their will on not walking the path of the antichrists. In their work and life, in their attitude toward people, events, and things and toward God’s commission, they can reflect on their own actions and behavior, on why they can’t submit to God, why they’re always living by a satanic disposition, why they can’t forsake the flesh and Satan. And so, they’ll pray to God, and accept His judgment and chastisement, and beg God to deliver them out of their corrupt disposition and away from Satan’s influence. That they have the will to do this proves that they can accept the truth. They likewise reveal a corrupt disposition, and act on their own intentions; the difference is that an antichrist doesn’t just have ambitions and desires and want to establish an independent kingdom—they also won’t accept the truth, under any circumstances. This is an antichrist’s Achilles’ heel. If, on the other hand, a person with an antichrist’s disposition can accept the truth, and pray to God and rely on Him, and if they wish to cast off the corrupt disposition of Satan, and to walk the path of pursuing the truth, then in what ways will that prayer and that will be of benefit to their life entry? It will at least cause them to reflect on themselves and know themselves as they perform their duty, and to use the truth to resolve problems, such that they may come to perform their duty satisfactorily. That’s one way it will benefit them. Beyond that, with the training that performing their duty affords them, they’ll be able to set off on the path of pursuing the truth. Whatever difficulties they encounter, they’ll be able to seek the truth, to focus on accepting the truth and practicing it; they’ll be able gradually to cast off their satanic disposition, and come to submit to God and worship Him. They can achieve God’s salvation with practice like that. People with an antichrist’s disposition may reveal corruption on occasion, and they may still speak and act in the interest of their prestige, profit, and status, despite themselves, and they may still work off of their own intents—but as soon as they realize that they’re revealing their corrupt disposition, they’ll feel remorse, and pray to God. This proves that they’re someone who can accept the truth, who submits to God’s work; it proves that they’re pursuing life entry. No matter how many years of experience such a person has, nor how much corruption they reveal, they’ll ultimately be able to accept the truth, and to enter the truth reality. They’re someone who submits to God’s work. And as they do all this, it demonstrates that they’ve already laid their foundation on the true way. But some who walk the path of the antichrists can’t accept the truth. For them, salvation will be as difficult to come by as it is for antichrists. Such people feel nothing when they hear God’s words that expose antichrists, but are indifferent and unbothered. When fellowship turns to the topic of antichrist’s disposition, they’ll admit that they have an antichrist’s disposition and that they’re walking the path of the antichrists. They’ll speak quite well on it. But when it comes time to practice the truth, they’ll still refuse to do so; still, they’ll act on their own intents, in reliance on their antichrist’s disposition. If you ask them, “Do you struggle at heart when you reveal an antichrist’s disposition? Do you feel self-reproach when you speak in order to safeguard your status? Do you reflect on and come to know yourself when you reveal an antichrist’s disposition? Are you remorseful at heart once you’ve learned of your corrupt disposition? Do you go on to repent or change at all afterward?” they’re sure to have no answer, because they haven’t had any such experiences and encounters. They’ll be unable to say anything. Are people like this capable of true repentance? Surely, it won’t be easy. Those who truly do pursue the truth will be pained by any revelation of an antichrist’s disposition in themselves, and frantic with anxiety; they’ll get to thinking: “Why can’t I just cast off this satanic disposition? Why am I always revealing a corrupt disposition? Why is this corrupt disposition of mine so intractable and inextricable? Why’s it so hard to enter the truth reality?” This shows that their life experience is shallow, and that they haven’t yet resolved much of their corrupt disposition. That’s why the battle in their heart rages so fiercely when something befalls them, and why they also bear the brunt of that torment. Although they have the will to cast off their satanic disposition, they assuredly can’t go without that battle against it in their heart—and that embattled state intensifies by the day. And as their knowledge of themselves grows deeper, and they see how deeply corrupt they are, they yearn even more for the truth and treasure it even more, and they’ll be able to accept and practice the truth uninterruptedly over the course of knowing themselves and their corrupt disposition. They’ll gradually grow in stature, and their life disposition will begin to truly change. If they go on with this experience, things will get better and better, year by year, and in the end, they’ll be able to overcome the flesh and cast off their corruption, to practice the truth frequently, and to achieve obedience to God. Life entry isn’t easy! It’s just like resuscitating someone who’s about to die: The responsibility one can fulfill is that of fellowshiping the truth, supporting them, and providing for them, or pruning and dealing with them. If they can accept it, and if they can submit, there’s hope for them; they may narrowly escape disaster, and things will stop short of death. But if they refuse to accept the truth, and know nothing at all about themselves, then they’re in danger. Some antichrists go one or two years after being cast out without knowing themselves, and don’t acknowledge their mistakes. In such a case, there’s no sign of life left in them, and that’s proof that they have no more hope of being saved. Can you accept the truth when it’s yours to be pruned and dealt with? (Yes.) There’s hope, then—that’s a good thing! If you can accept the truth, you have a hope of being saved.

If you wish to be saved, you must get past many hurdles. What hurdles are those? Ceaseless battle with your corrupt disposition, and battle with the disposition of Satan and antichrists: It wishes to control you, and you wish to shake free of it; it wishes to beguile you, and you wish to discard it. If you find you can’t shake yourself free of your corrupt disposition even after you’ve come to know it, you’ll be distressed and in pain. So, you’ll pray, and when you see at times that it’s been a while, and you’ve still been unable to shake off the control of Satan’s disposition, you’ll feel it’s hopeless, but you won’t give in, and you’ll feel that you can’t go on so negative and despondent—that you have to keep fighting. In the process of performing a duty and the process of experiencing God’s work, people have different internal responses, by degrees. In brief, those with life are those who pursue the truth, and they are constantly changing inside. There will be a constant reversal in their thinking and views, in their behavior and conduct, and even in intentions, ideas, and thoughts that are deep in their mind. Furthermore, they’ll distinguish with increasing clarity what’s right and what’s wrong, and what wrong things they’ve done, and whether some way of thinking is right or wrong, and whether some view is in line with the truth, and whether the principles behind acting in some way are in line with God’s will, and whether they’re someone who submits to God, someone who loves the truth. These things will gradually grow clearer and clearer in their heart. On what foundation, then, is the achievement of these results built? The foundation of practicing and entering truths as they understand them. Why is it that antichrists just can’t achieve change? Are they incapable of understanding the truth? (No.) They can, but they don’t practice it, and they don’t practice it when they hear it. It may be that they’re understanding and accepting it as doctrine, but can they even put those bits of doctrines and rules that they’re able to understand into practice? No, not in the least; even if you forced them, even if they exhausted themselves trying, still, they wouldn’t be able to put them into practice. That’s why to them, entering the truth remains an eternal void. However much an antichrist may speak of being an honest person, however great their efforts, they still can’t make a single honest statement; and however they speak of being considerate of God’s will, they still won’t let go of their selfish, vile intentions. They act from a selfish point of view. When they see something good, something that would benefit them, they say, “Give it here—it’s mine!” They say whatever would be of benefit to their status, and they do whatever would be of benefit to themselves. This is the essence of antichrists. They may, in a momentary crest of passion, feel that they’ve understood a bit of truth. A zeal comes over them, and they shout a few catchphrases: “I need to practice and change, and satisfy God!” Yet when the time comes to practice the truth, do they do it? They do not. Whatever God says, however many truths and facts as they are He preaches, along with any number of real-world examples, it can’t move an antichrist, nor can it sway their ambition. This is a defining feature and a sign of an antichrist. They just won’t practice any truth at all; when they speak nicely, it’s for others to hear, and however nicely they speak, it’s just a form of platitudes—it’s theory to them. What position do such people actually assign the truth in their hearts? What have I already told you is an antichrist’s nature essence? (Hatred of the truth.) That’s right. They hate the truth. They believe that their wickedness, their selfishness and vileness, their arrogance, their viciousness, their usurpation of status and riches, and their control over others are the highest truth, the highest philosophy, and that nothing else is as high as those things. Once they get status and can control people, they can do whatever they wish, and all their ambitions and desires are then achievable. This is an antichrist’s ultimate goal.

Antichrists are sick of the truth and hate it. Is it possible for you to make someone who’s sick of the truth accept it and practice it? (No.) Doing that is equivalent to making a cow climb a tree or a wolf eat hay—would that be asking the impossible of them? You’ll sometimes see a wolf infiltrate a flock to be there with the sheep. It’s putting on a ruse, waiting for its chance to eat the sheep. Its nature will never change. Likewise, having an antichrist practice the truth is equivalent to having a wolf eat hay and abandon its sheep-eating nature: It’s impossible. Wolves are carnivores. They eat sheep—they eat all sorts of animals. That’s their nature, and it can’t be changed. If someone says, “I don’t know whether I’m an antichrist, but whenever I hear the truth fellowshiped, my heart flares with rage, and I hate it—and whoever would prune me and deal with me, I hate them even more,” is that person an antichrist? (Yes.) Someone says, “When things befall you, you have to submit and seek the truth,” and that first person says, “Submit, my foot! Stop talking!” What sort of thing is that? Is it a bad temper? (No.) What disposition is it? (Hatred of the truth.) They won’t even abide talk of it, and as soon as you fellowship the truth, their nature bursts forth, and they show their true form. They dislike hearing any mention of seeking the truth or submitting to God. How great is their dislike? When they hear such talk, they erupt. Their civility falls away; they’re not afraid to give up their game. That’s how far their hatred goes. Can they practice the truth, then? (No.) The truth isn’t meant for the evil; it’s meant for those people possessed of a conscience and reason, who love the truth and positive things. It requires of those people that they accept it and practice it. And as for those wicked people with an antichrist’s essence, who detest the truth and positive things to the utmost extent, they won’t ever accept the truth. However many years they believe in God, however many sermons they hear, they will not accept or practice the truth. Don’t suppose that they don’t practice the truth because they don’t understand it, and that they’ll understand when they’ve heard more of it. It’s impossible, because all who are sick of the truth and hate it are of Satan’s ilk. They’ll never change, and no one else can change them. It’s just like the archangel, after betraying God: Have you ever heard God say that He would save the archangel? God never said that. So, what did God do to Satan? He cast it down into the midair and has it render service to Him on the earth, doing what it should. And when it’s finished rendering service, and God’s management plan is completed, He will destroy it, and that will be that. Does God say a single additional thing to it? (No.) Why not? Because it would, in a word, be useless. To say anything else would be superfluous. God has seen through it: An antichrist’s nature essence can never change. That’s how it goes.

When you encounter an antichrist, how should you treat them? There have been some leaders who’ve been designated false leaders or antichrists and were replaced. With one of them, the brothers and sisters reported a while afterward that he was still somewhat able to do work, that he’d repented in the interim and had been performing well. It’s not quite clear specifically whether he’d been performing well behaviorally, or whether he’d been speaking well, or whether he’d grown more disciplined in his role. Since the brothers and sisters said he was performing well, and given that there was a lack of manpower for some of the work, it was arranged that he should work on a project. And as a result, not two months later, the brothers and sisters made a report: “Replace him right away—he’s oppressing us unbearably. If he’s not replaced, we won’t be able to perform our duties.” They wouldn’t consent to using him, no matter what; whomever they’d elect as leader, it wouldn’t be him. He was the same old reprobate—he talked a good game, but in fact, he hadn’t changed a bit. What do you make of that? His nature had been utterly exposed. How do you think this matter should be handled? That the brothers and sisters had such a strong reaction proves that they did, indeed, have a bit of discernment. Some people had been beguiled by him, and after the Above handled him, some came to his defense, and then some said he’d repented. So, he was promoted once more, and after a while, he was exposed entirely. The brothers and sisters had now seen right through him, and they would band together to depose him. The Above saw that these people were now discerning. They hadn’t been watered for nothing. So, given that they all refused to use him, the Above replaced him. Where did their discernment come from? (An understanding of the truth.) Yes—they’d understood the truth. Discernment comes from an understanding of the truth. Wasn’t it still the truth and God reigning there? (It was.) Theirs was a timely discernment: After he was dismissed, the brothers and sisters no longer suffered his control. People had suffered so much under his oppression. He had no humanity at all. He didn’t do his proper job, but disturbed the brothers’ and sisters’ performance of their duties—he sat astride their shoulders and abused them with his power. Who’d consent to that? A dummy—that’s who! When such people are replaced, do they have any feelings about it afterward? The last time, that person had been dismissed by the Above; this time, he was deposed by the brothers and sisters, booed off the stage—not a glamorous way to go! He’d originally wanted to seek a position. As it turned out, he didn’t get one, but plummeted all at once, and was knocked back into his original form. Shouldn’t he have reflected on himself? (Yes.) If he’d been a normal person, just one with a seriously corrupt disposition, wouldn’t he also have had to reflect on himself? (Yes.) There’s a type of person that doesn’t reflect. They think that they’re right, that whatever they do is right; they don’t accept facts, they don’t accept positive things, and they don’t accept others’ assessments of them. These are people who have the disposition and essence of an antichrist. Antichrists alone don’t know to reflect on themselves. What do they ruminate on instead? “Hmph! The day will come when my star rises once more. Wait until you’re in my grip—you’ll see then how I’ll whip you into shape!” Will they have a chance to do that? (No.) They’re out of chances. As the brothers and sisters come to understand more and more truths, and once they’re able to distinguish all the various states of various people—with antichrists, in particular, the space remaining for an antichrist to do evil will grow smaller and smaller, and they’ll have fewer and fewer opportunities to do so. It’ll be no easy thing for them to try to make a comeback. They hope that the Above would preach a bit less about discernment and not discern who they are anymore. When they hear such truths fellowshiped, they know it’s over for them, and think there’s no hope left for their comeback. Their ruminations don’t go: “I’ve been exposed and discerned correctly. Those are all my states. How should I change? If I just keep comporting myself like this, won’t that be the end of me? I’ll be written off. What good could come of walking the path of the archangel and antagonizing God?” Would they have such musings? (No.) They won’t muse, and they certainly won’t reflect on themselves and know themselves; instead, they’d die before repenting. That’s their nature. No matter how you fellowship the truth, it won’t rouse them or make them repent. Is there an escape hatch without repentance? (No.) They don’t repent. They follow their path to its bitter end, to their self-sought ruin, which is what’s dictated by the nature of antichrists.

We’ve been talking this whole time on the topic of discerning antichrists. What feeling do you think those who are antichrists have as they listen? When it comes time to gather, they feel an unbearable torment, and they’re resistant at heart. Are they not antichrists? (They are.) When a normal person with a corrupt disposition knows that they have an antichrist’s disposition, they anxiously hurry to hear and understand more, as once they’ve understood, that’s when they’ll be able to pursue change. They think that if they don’t understand, they’ll go astray, and there may come a day when they set foot on the path of the antichrists, where they’d commit great evil, opening the floodgates, and thus lose their chance at salvation, and come to ruin. They’re afraid of this. An antichrist’s mindset is different. They’re anxious for nothing less than keeping all others from speaking and hearing such sermons about discernment; they’re anxious for everyone to be muddle-headed and undiscerning, and to be led away by their guile. That’s what would make them happy. What is an antichrist’s greatest wish? To take power. Would you like to take power? (No.) Not with your heart, maybe, but it sometimes occurs to you mentally as something you’d like, and so it is, in fact, something you’d like to do. You may have a subjective wish inside you, a longing deep in your heart not to be that kind of person, not to take that path, but when something happens to you, your corrupt disposition sways you and drives you. You strain your mind thinking of how you’ll protect your status and influence, how many people you can control, how to speak with authority, to gain others’ esteem. When you’re always thinking of these things, your heart is no longer under your control. What’s controlling it? (A corrupt disposition.) Yes—it’s under the control of Satan’s corrupt disposition. One ruminates all day long about concerns of their fleshly interests; they’re always struggling with others, back and forth, without gaining anything. And it’s so painful, living only for the flesh and Satan. So one sets their resolve to perform their duty well and live for God, only to struggle again for status and their interests when things befall them: a back-and-forth struggle that wearies them to the bone, from which they gain nothing. Tell Me, is that not an exhausting way to live? (It is.) They live like that day after day, and before they know it, it’s been decades. Some people believe in God for ten or twenty years—how much truth have they gained? How much has their corrupt disposition changed? Who do they live for each day? For what do they busy themselves? For what do they rack their brains? It’s all for the flesh. God said that “every imagination of the thoughts of man’s heart is only evil continually.” Is there a mistake in those words? Taste them; savor them. When you think of these words, when you experience them, are you not afraid? You may say, “I do feel some fear. Externally, I pay prices all day; I forsake, and expend myself, and suffer. That’s what my fleshly body does—but all the thoughts of my heart are evil. They all go against the truth. In many things I do, the place I start from, my motive, and my goals are purely about doing the evil of my own imaginations.” What comes of acting like that? Evil deeds. Will God then remember them? Some may say, “I’ve believed in God for twenty years. I’ve given everything up—and still, God doesn’t remember it.” They’re saddened and in pain. What pains them? If God were to be truly exacting of man, man would have nothing to boast about. All this is God’s grace, His mercy—God is so tolerant with man. Think about it: God is so holy, so righteous, so almighty, and He just looks on as those who follow Him think entirely evil thoughts, all day long, and thoughts that go against the truth, and thoughts entirely about matters of interest to their own status, prestige, and profit. Will God abide His followers opposing and betraying Him in this way? Absolutely not. Dominated by these ideas, thoughts, intents, and motives, people blatantly do things in rebellion and opposition against God, boasting all the while that they’re performing their duty and cooperating with God’s work. All of this, God sees, and still, He must endure it. How does He endure it? He provides the truth; He waters and exposes; He also enlightens and illuminates, and gives guidance, and chastens and disciplines—and when that discipline is severe, He must even provide reassurance. How patient God must be to do all that! He has His eye on the various corrupt dispositions of these people, on the fact that all their different revelations, behaviors, and ideas are evil—and still, He can endure it. Tell Me, would man be able to do that? (No.) The patience that parents extend to their children is real, but they may still abandon them or even break off relations with them when things become unendurable. What, then, about the patience that God extends to a person? Each day you live is a day when God extends you His patience. That’s how patient He is. What’s inside that patience? (Love.) Not just love—He has an expectation of you. What is that expectation? That He may see a result and a reward through the work He does, so that man may taste His love. Does man have such love? They do not. With just a bit of learning and education, just a bit of a gift or talent, a person feels themselves to be of nobler standing than others, and that ordinary people can’t come anywhere near them. That’s the reprehensible character of man. Is that how God works? It’s quite the opposite: Such an unthinkably filthy, deeply corrupted mankind are those whom God saves; what’s more, He lives together with them, speaking with them and supporting them, face to face. Man can’t do that.

What follows is further fellowship on an additional problem. Some people, when they bear witness, say, “Whenever things befall me, I think of God’s love and His grace, and I’m moved. I stop revealing my corrupt disposition whenever I think of these things.” Most people feel that this is a good sentiment, that it really can resolve the problem of revelations of a corrupt disposition. Do these words really hold water? No, they don’t. God’s love, His almightiness, His tolerance for man, and all the work He does in man can only move a person—the part of them that is their humanity, the part that is their conscience and rationality; however, it can’t resolve man’s corrupt disposition, nor can it change the goal and direction of man’s pursuit. This is why God does the judgment work of the last days: He expresses and provides the truth in order to solve the problem of man’s corrupt disposition. What’s the most critical thing God does? He expresses and provides the truth, and judges and chastises man. He doesn’t wish to move you with His behavior or with things He does, to change the direction and goal of your pursuit. He wouldn’t work like that. Whatever God says about how patient He is with man, or about how He saves man, at however great a price—however He puts it, God only allows man to understand His will to save people. He doesn’t say those things to soften people’s hearts and enable them to turn around because of how moved they are for having heard Him. That can’t be done. Why not? Man’s corrupt disposition is their nature essence, and that nature essence is the foundation on which people rely to survive. It’s not a bad custom or habit that will change with a bit of prodding; it won’t change as soon as a person is happy, or with some amount of knowledge gained or a number of books read. That would be impossible. No one can change man’s nature. One can only change by accepting and gaining the truth—the truth alone is what can change people. If you wish to achieve a change in your life disposition, you must pursue the truth, and to pursue the truth, you must begin by getting a clear understanding of all the various truths God speaks. Some people believe that if you’ve understood doctrine, then you’ve understood the truth. This couldn’t be more wrong. It’s not the case that if you understand the doctrine of belief in God and can espouse a few spiritual theories, you’ve then understood the truth. Think it over, now: What does the truth refer to, exactly? Why am I always saying there are so many people who don’t understand the truth? They suppose, “If I can understand the meaning of God’s words, that means I’ve understood the truth,” and that, “All God’s words are right; they’re all spoken into our hearts, and so they’re our shared language.” Tell Me, is that statement right, or isn’t it? What does it actually mean to understand the truth? Why do we say they don’t understand the truth? We’ll talk a bit first about what the truth is. The truth is the reality of all positive things. So, how does the reality of those positive things relate to man? (As I understand it, God, the way it manifests when a person understands the truth is that whatever people, events, and things they encounter, they have principles, and know how to treat them, and have a path to practice; and the truth is able to resolve their difficulties and become reality in their life. We were just saying that a person’s understanding of doctrine isn’t an understanding of the truth—they feel as if they’ve understood the truth, but they can’t resolve any of the problems and difficulties they have in their real life. They have no path for that; they can’t link things up with the truth.) That’s what it is not to understand the truth. A part of what was just said hit the nail on the head: What is the truth? (The truth can enable people to have a path to practice, and to act with principles; it can resolve people’s difficulties.) That’s right. To compare oneself against the truth principles and to practice according to them—that’s the path. It proves that’s an understanding of the truth. If you merely understand doctrine, and when something happens to you, you can’t apply it, and can’t find the principles, then that’s not an understanding of the truth. What is the truth? The truth is the principles and criteria for doing all things. Is that not so? (It is.) When we say that you don’t understand the truth, we’re saying that you come away from sermons knowing only doctrine. You don’t know what the principles and criteria of the truth inside it are, or which things that happen to you involve that aspect of the truth, or which states involve it, nor do you know how to implement that aspect of the truth. You don’t know any of these things. Say, for instance, that you’ve asked a question. That you would ask the question means you don’t understand the pertaining truth. Will you understand it after fellowshiping about it? (Yes.) You may understand a bit after fellowship, but if you fail to understand it when a similar thing happens again to you, that’s not a true understanding of the truth. You don’t know about the principles and criteria of that truth; you don’t have a grasp on them. There may be a truth you think you’ve understood—but as to what the real situations are that it addresses, and what the states are it’s aimed at, if you’ve understood that truth, can you then hold your own state up against it for comparison? If you can’t, and you never know what your true state is, then is yours an understanding of the truth? (No.) It’s not an understanding of the truth. When it comes to one aspect of the truth and the principles, for you to know which matters and which states involve that truth, and which sorts of people or which of your own states relate to that truth, and for you also to be able to use that truth to resolve them—that’s what it is to understand the truth. If you feel you understand a sermon while you hear it, yet when you’re made to fellowship, you just parrot the words you heard, unable to speak on it and explain it in terms of states and real situations, is yours an understanding of the truth? No, that’s not what it is. So, do you understand the truth most of the time, or don’t you? (We don’t.) Why not? Because with most truths, you come away from hearing them just having understood doctrine. All you can do is adhere to it as a rule; you don’t know how to apply it flexibly. When something befalls you, you’re dumbstruck; when something befalls you, you can’t deploy that bit of doctrine you’ve understood on the scene—it’s useless. Is that an understanding of the truth, or isn’t it? (It’s not.) That’s what it is not to understand the truth. If you don’t understand the truth, what then? You have to strive upward, and take the trouble to figure it out. There are a few things that must be there in your humanity: You must be conscientious and meticulous in what you learn and do. If you’d like to pursue the truth but don’t have the conscience and reason of normal people, then you’ll never be able to understand the truth, and yours is a muddled faith. This doesn’t depend on your caliber; it depends only on whether you possess this sort of humanity. If you do, then even if your caliber is middling, you can still understand surface-level truths. This touches on the truth, at least. And if you’re of very good caliber, then what you understand may be things at the deep levels of the truth, in which case you’ll be able to enter more deeply into it. This is related to your caliber. But if there’s no attitude of conscientiousness and meticulousness in your humanity, and you’re always vague and uncertain, jumbled up, always in a condition of murkiness—murky, blurred, and perfunctory regarding all matters, then for you, the truth will always be regulations and doctrine. You won’t be able to gain it. Hearing Me say this, do you now feel that pursuing the truth is challenging? There is a challenge to it, but that challenge can be big, or it can be small. If you take the trouble and make the effort, the challenge will shrink, and you’ll gain a few truths; if you put no effort at all into the truth, but only into doctrine and external behaviors, then you won’t be able to gain the truth.

Have you seen through to the gist of something through My systematic fellowship on these truths? Have you come to any realizations? Isn’t there more detail to the things in any one strain of the truth than there is in the body of knowledge of any college course? (There is.) There’s so much detail. People can grasp the stuff of learning with just a few years’ effort, through constant practice and hands-on experience, so long as they can memorize and understand them. In learning an academic subject, one can gradually master it just by spending time and energy, and putting forth a bit of commitment. But to understand the truth, just using your brain won’t do—you must use your heart. If you don’t ponder God’s words with your heart or experience them with your heart, you won’t be able to understand the truth. Only people who understand spiritual matters, who are conscientious, and who have comprehension ability can reach the truth; those who don’t understand spiritual matters, who are of poor caliber, and who lack comprehension ability will never be able to reach it. Are you inattentive people, or are you meticulous? (We’re inattentive people.) Is that not dangerous? Can you be meticulous? (We can.) That’s a good thing; I love to hear it. Don’t always say you can’t—how will you know until you’ve tried? You ought to be capable of it. With your current will and attitude in your pursuit, there’s hope of you understanding fundamental truths. It’s achievable. So long as a person is willing to apply themselves and pay a price, and they work hard toward the truth in their heart, the Holy Spirit will get to work and perfect them. If they don’t work hard toward the truth in their heart, then the Holy Spirit won’t work. Remember: In order for a person to come to understand the truth, they must proactively put in effort and pay a price, but this can only achieve half of the desired results, it can only achieve the part that people ought to cooperate with. The other half is the crucial part of understanding the truth, which people fall short of, and must rely on the work and perfection of the Holy Spirit to achieve. You must not forget that, though it’s enough to rely on putting in effort when it comes to acquiring knowledge and learning about science, understanding the truth doesn’t work like that. It’s useless to rely on the mind alone—one must use their heart, and they must pay a price. What’s achieved by paying a price? The Holy Spirit’s work. But what is the foundation for the Holy Spirit’s work? A person’s mind must be sufficiently refined; their heart must be sufficiently quiet and settled, and sufficiently candid, before God will work. The Holy Spirit’s work is subtle, and those who have tasted of it know. People who frequently make efforts toward the truth can often feel the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment, so their path of practice in performing their duty is smooth, and there’s an ever-greater clarity in their hearts. People without experience can’t feel the work of the Holy Spirit, and can never see the correct path. All matters are hazy and obscure to them; they don’t know what the proper way is. It’s not in fact hard to achieve an understanding of the truth and to see the path of practice clearly: If one has in their heart those conditions, the Holy Spirit will work. But if your heart comes out of those conditions, you won’t be able to detect the Holy Spirit’s work. This isn’t abstract or vague. With you in those states and your heart in those conditions, if you seek, make efforts, ponder, and pray, the Holy Spirit will work in you. But if you’re absent-minded, always pursuing status and struggling for prestige and profit, always making a fuss about form and applying your efforts to it—if you’re always dodging, hiding from, avoiding, and rejecting God, not being candid, with a heart that’s not open to Him—the Holy Spirit won’t work. He’ll take no notice of you, not even rebuke you. How much truth can someone understand who hasn’t even experienced the Holy Spirit’s rebuke? Sometimes, the Holy Spirit rebukes you to let you know the right way and the wrong way to do something. When He gives you a feeling like that, what do you ultimately gain from it? You’ll have gained the ability to discern right from wrong, and you’ll be quite clear about that thing, at a glance: “That way’s wrong—it’s out of line with the truth. I can’t do that.” With that thing, you’ll know clearly what the principles are, and what God wills, and what the truth really is, and so, you’ll know what you should do. But if the Holy Spirit doesn’t work, if He doesn’t give you such discipline, you’ll be forever in a chaotic condition, without clarity, when it comes to such things. When they befall you, you’ll be dumbfounded; when they befall you, you won’t know what’s going on, and in your heart, it will be like tar—what you should do won’t be clear to you. You may be fit to burst with anxiety—but why won’t the Holy Spirit get to work? Perhaps some states inside you aren’t right, and you’re resisting. With what do you resist? If you’re clinging to some mistaken view or notion, God won’t work, but will wait until whenever it is that you realize that that notion or view is wrong. The Holy Spirit will only work from that foundation. When the Holy Spirit will work, He doesn’t stop at letting you know, consciously, what’s right and wrong. Instead, He lets you see clearly what the path is, and the direction, and the aim, and how far your understanding is from the truth. He lets you know this clearly. Have you had such encounters? If someone has believed in God for ten or twenty years without such specific encounters or experiences, what sort of person are they? An inattentive one. They can only offer a few, often-repeated doctrines and catchphrases, and can only resolve problems with those few tricks and simple techniques of theirs. For this, they’re destined to make little progress—they’ll never understand the truth, and the Holy Spirit won’t work in them. With such inattentive people, for whom the truth is entirely out of reach, they can’t understand it, even if the Holy Spirit enlightens them. And so, the Holy Spirit won’t work in them. Why not? Is God playing favorites? No. What’s the reason, then? Because their caliber is too poor, and it’s beyond their reach. They don’t understand the truth, even if the Holy Spirit works; if they were told that something is a principle, would they have the ability to understand that? No. So, God won’t do that. Have you had encounters with this? The truth is impartial. As you pursue it, as you delve into it, the Holy Spirit will work, and you’ll gain it. But if you’re lazy and covet comfort, and are unwilling to make an effort with the truth, the Holy Spirit won’t work, and you won’t be able to gain the truth, whoever you may be. You understand now? Are you currently pursuing the truth? Whoever pursues it gains it, and those who ultimately gain the truth will become treasures. Those who can’t gain it can envy them, to no avail: If they miss this chance, it’ll be gone.

When is the best period of time in which to pursue the truth? This period, when God is doing work in the flesh, speaking and fellowshiping with you face to face, advising you and helping you. Why do I say this is the best period? Because the work and speech of God incarnate is entirely up to the task of having you understand the Holy Spirit’s will, and of allowing you to know how He works. God incarnate is able to understand the principles, patterns, ways, and means of the Holy Spirit’s work in its entirety, and He tells you of it, so that you don’t have to cast about for it yourself. Take this shortcut, and you’ll be able to reach it, straight away. When God incarnate stops speaking and has finished His work, you’ll have to cast about for it yourself. There’s no one who could stand in for this incarnate flesh, who could explicitly tell you what to do, and where to head, and what sort of road to take. There’s no one who could tell you those things; however spiritual someone may be, they couldn’t do it. There are examples of this. It’s just as with believers in Jesus, who have been believing for two thousand years: Some of them now take a step backward to read the Old Testament and keep the law; and some carry crosses, yet hang the ten commandments in their rooms, and keep the regulations and commandments. What have they gained in the end? The Holy Spirit has done work, but without explicit words, they’ve been left to cast about. What does the absence of explicit words mean? It means that what people cast about for and obtain is inconclusive. There’s no one who can give you certainty, saying it’s right for you to do this and wrong to do that. There’s no one who can tell you that. Even if the Holy Spirit enlightens you, and you believe it’s right, does then God approve? That’s not certain either, is it? (No.) Those words of the Lord Jesus, that He left behind two thousand years ago and were recorded in the Bible—now, two thousand years later, believers in the Lord have offered explanations of all kinds of the matter of His return, and there’s no one who knows what the accurate explanation actually is. So, it’s a great strain for them to accept this stage of the work. What does this show? That with these equivocal words that aren’t explicitly given, ten people have ten explanations, and a hundred, a hundred. Everyone has their own justifications and arguments. Which explanation is accurate? So long as God doesn’t speak or offer a conclusion, nothing man says matters. However big your denomination may be, however many members it has, is that of account to God? (No.) God doesn’t look at your force. Even if not one person in the world can accept what God does, it’s right, and it’s the truth. This is an eternal, unchanging fact! The various religions and denominations explain it this way and that, and what happens in the end? Is your explanation of any use? (No.) God refutes it with a single sentence. However you go on explaining it, will God take note of you? (No.) Why won’t God take note of you? God has begun doing new work, going on nearly thirty years now. Will He take heed of those people, however arrogantly they clamor? (No.) He’ll take no heed. People in religion would say: “Without You taking heed of them, can those people not be saved?” The fact is that God has long since made things clear, and what He says goes. However much force the religious world has, it will be of no use to them; however great their numbers, that doesn’t prove that they have the truth. God does as He ought; wherever He should commence, that’s where He commences; whomever He should choose, that’s whom He chooses. Is He influenced and constrained by the religious world? (No.) Not in the least. This is God’s work. If corrupt mankind would like to reason with God, if they’d offer Him explanations all day, would that be of any use? They even take hold of the Bible’s words to interpret as they will—they clearly take them out of context, and even want to cling to them their whole lives, waiting for God to fulfill them. They’re dreaming! Is there any reason in it when someone doesn’t seek the truth in God’s words, but wishes always to ask God to do this thing and that thing? What are they trying to do? Do they want to revolt? Do they want to challenge God? When the great disaster descends, everyone will be dumbfounded; they’ll cry and scream, to no avail. Isn’t that how it will go? It is.

Now is the best period of time for God to save people and perfect them. Don’t wait until the day comes when you’ll have missed this period. Some people may be thinking this over like so: “What does that mean? It will have been better to ask at the time, but then, in the now when I can no longer ask, I’ll just pray. The Holy Spirit will work; that’s the same thing.” Will it be the same? (No.) If it were, then the people who’ve come to believe in the Lord over these two thousand years wouldn’t be as they are. Just look at the words written down by the so-called saints of the early second millennium—how shallow they are, how pitiable! There’s now a thick book of the hymns that people of the various religions and denominations sing, and those hymns only talk about God’s grace and being blessed—just those two things. Is that knowledge of God? No, it’s not. Is there any bit of truth in it? (No.) They just know that God loves the people of the world. There’s a saying that’s always out there in the world, never changing: “God is love.” That’s the sentence they know. Well, how does God love people? God now abandons them and casts them out—is He still love? As they see it, no—not anymore. They thus condemn Him. That man doesn’t pursue the truth and can’t understand it is the most pitiable thing. There’s such a great opportunity at present. God has incarnated to express the truth and to save people personally. It would be such a pity, if you didn’t pursue the truth and didn’t gain it. If you had pursued it, and done so with vigor, yet had failed to understand it in the end, you’d have a clear conscience—at least you’d be able to look in the mirror. Have you now begun your pursuit? Does performing a duty count as pursuing the truth? It counts as cooperation of a sort, but in terms of achieving a pursuit of the truth, of counting as a pursuit of the truth, it’s not there yet. It’s merely a form of behavior, an activity—there’s a truth-pursuing attitude to it. So, how can something count as pursuing the truth, then? You must begin by understanding the truth. If you don’t understand the truth, and don’t take anything seriously, and muddle through your duty, and do whatever you wish to, without ever seeking the truth or bearing the truth principles in mind, will you then be able to understand the truth? If you don’t understand the truth, how can you pursue it? Isn’t that right? (It is.) What sort of people are those who don’t pursue the truth? They’re idiots. So, how do you pursue the truth, then? You must begin by understanding it. Is it strenuous to understand the truth? No, it’s not. Start with the environments you come into contact with and the duty you perform, and practice and train according to the truth principles. Doing this shows that you’ve begun walking the road of pursuing the truth. First, from these principles, begin to search, ponder, pray, and gain enlightenment bit by bit—that enlightenment you gain is the truth you should understand. Seek the truth from your performance of your duty first, and pursue action according to the truth principles. All these things are inseparable from real life: the people, events, and things you encounter in life, and matters that fall within the scope of your duty. Start with those matters, and reach an understanding of the truth principles—you’ll then have life entry.

October 23, 2019

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Next: Item Eight: They Would Have Others Submit Only to Them, Not the Truth or God (Part Three)

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