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

Supplements: A Dissection of Eastern and Western Traditional Culture

Tell Me, what is the truth? Haven’t we fellowshipped on this topic before? (Yes, we have.) Well then, tell Me what the truth is in your own words. (The truth is the principle and criterion by which all people, events, and things are measured.) Good. Anyone else? Is there a different way of putting it? Don’t think about which words of doctrine to use, or which line of God’s words to choose for your answer, just answer using words from your own actual experience and actual understanding. It’s fine if they’re not so profound. Some people say, “God’s words are the truth.” While this is correct, if you are only able to speak these words, but do not understand their actual meaning, then they’re just a doctrine to you. Let’s go one step further now—what is the truth? What are God’s words? What is the essence of God’s words? Is the truth the criterion that people produce through thought and consideration? (No, it isn’t.) Is the truth the summation of what people have experienced and the knowledge they have acquired, or a kind of social culture, or a traditional culture produced within a certain societal context? (No, it isn’t.) Then, is the truth the principles people summarize on their own for their comportment and actions? (No, it isn’t.) So, what exactly is it? How can we specify the principles spoken about here, so that they have a definite meaning and people know it’s the truth as soon as they hear it? How can we put this in a way that people feel is succinct and precise? (God’s requirements for man are all the truth.) God’s requirements for man are all the truth, that is correct, but how could you say that in an even more exact way? (The truth is the reality of all positive things.) This was often said before. We often said that God’s words, His requirements of man, and the reality of all positive things are the truth—what else is there? (The truth is the criterion and path for how people should handle matters and conduct themselves.) The truth is the criterion and path for how people should handle matters and conduct themselves, this is also correct. Now put all these aspects together and define the truth in one succinct sentence. (God is the truth.) God is the truth; this is a little too broad, too general. It needs to be more specific, so that when people hear it, they feel it’s a precise definition, not hollow but quite concrete and practical, and think that it sounds fitting. Try summing it up again; how exactly could you put it more precisely? (The Above has fellowshipped before that the truth is the criterion for man’s comportment, actions, and worship of God.) Is that not succinctly put? (Yes, it is.) The truth is the criterion for man’s comportment, actions, and worship of God. Why define it as a criterion? How should we understand this word “criterion” in a literal sense? (As a precise principle.) As a precise principle or rule; it can also be called a regulation. So, what does a “criterion” refer to? (A standard.) It refers to a standard, precise rule and principle. That is what we call a criterion. The criterion for man’s comportment, actions, and worship of God—if these definitions that we mentioned previously are accurate, then what does this criterion relate to? What does it refer to here? It’s as previously defined: the criterion for man’s comportment, actions, and worship of God. This is the truth. Now, when someone reads that sentence, could they think, “Our traditional culture is also the truth”? Can this be put under the category of the truth? (No, it cannot.) It cannot. Can they say, “We have an academic research conclusion which is the truth,” or “Our people have a culture, or an experience, or a good moral standard which is also the truth”? Can the truth be defined like this? (No, it cannot.) Why can’t we use these things to define the truth? Why do we say that these things have nothing to do with the truth? (They have nothing to do with worshiping God.) That’s right. They might relate to people’s comportment, but they don’t relate to worshiping God. What does the comportment they talk about refer to? What are their standards and rules? Good conduct that comes from Satan. They aren’t about worshiping God, they are about worshiping and defending Satan. They’re a set of sayings or cultures about comportment that have been summarized from human imaginings and notions, and from what people believe to be good morals or conduct. They don’t involve the truth or worshiping God—they have nothing to do with worshiping God.

Chinese people have summed up a traditional culture which is only suitable for Chinese people, and which Westerners cannot accept. Westerners have their own national heroes, national senses of moral integrity, and national cultures, but if they were to bring their cultures to the East, would people there accept them? (No, they wouldn’t.) They would likewise not be accepted. Therefore, no matter how highly people view these cultures, or how noble they perceive these traditions to be, is there any relationship between them and the truth? (No, there isn’t.) There’s no relationship. For example, there’s a kind of traditional culture in the East which states that owls are not auspicious animals. What do people say? “It is not the owl that cries that you should fear, but the owl that laughs. Hear them call, and bad things are bound to happen.” In Eastern traditional culture, owls are believed to be inauspicious and unlucky. So, do Eastern people like this “unlucky” animal? (No, they don’t.) What is this dislike based on? It is based on Eastern traditional culture, and what’s passed down through the generations, which says “Hearing an owl call out is a harbinger of a death in the family.” This might be a law that people have summarized, or a human imagining, or a coincidence, and people thereafter believe in their hearts that owls are bad. They think that no one should worship them or treat them as auspicious animals, and that, if they see an owl, they should quickly drive it away, and not welcome it. Isn’t this a kind of culture? (Yes, it is.) Regardless of whether this kind of culture is positive or negative, it’s a kind of folk inheritance. For now, let’s not talk about whether it’s right or wrong, and just say that this sort of culture is thoroughly endorsed by every person in the East, particularly in China. Every person there believes in their heart that owls are bad and not auspicious animals, so they will hurry to avoid one if they see it. But in the West, some people believe that owls are a kind of auspicious animal, and use owl statues and paintings as decorations. All kinds of embroidered works and totems also have owl designs, and they’re treated as auspicious animals. What does it mean to be an auspicious animal? It’s that this animal might bring you good luck, and you won’t encounter misfortune after hearing one call out or seeing one. This is a kind of popular traditional culture in the West. We won’t judge whether Eastern or Western culture is right or wrong, nor this matter itself. But through this matter we can see that the same animal created by God is subject to different views and notions in the East and the West, that are moreover completely disparate. Eastern people don’t view it as a good thing, and no matter if an owl laughs or cries, it’s not considered good for them, while Western people think it’s auspicious regardless of whether it is crying or laughing, and that just seeing one might bring them good luck, so they treat owls as auspicious animals. These two viewpoints and ways of dealing with owls come from traditional culture: one which believes owls to be unlucky, and one which sees them as auspicious. Looking at it now, which one is in line with the truth, and which isn’t? (Neither is in line with the truth.) What are you basing that assertion on? (Neither view comes from God.) That’s correct. When people say that owls aren’t auspicious animals, what are they basing that on? It’s Eastern traditional culture; what they believe to be auspicious or inauspicious, or to bring disaster, bad luck, or joy, is measured according to traditional culture. It’s a way of looking at things derived from imaginings and notions, from which arises this sort of culture. Westerners think this kind of animal can bring people good luck, and of course this is slightly better and more progressive than treating and viewing it as unlucky. It makes people feel that it’s a quite good animal, and at the very least they’ll feel calm and stable after seeing one, which is better than feeling unlucky. But what can you gain from understanding it like this? Can owls really bring you good luck? (No, they can’t.) If you were born in China, could owls really determine your luck? Also no. So, what can you see from this? Regardless of whether you believe this animal can bring you bad luck or good luck, it’s just a human belief and notion, not a fact. What does this prove? (That traditional culture is not the truth.) Correct; no culture is the truth. So how should you treat owls in a manner that is in line with the truth? This touches upon the criterion for man’s comportment, actions, and worship of God. What is the criterion here? That is, what sort of perspective you should view this creature from, and how you should treat it when one appears before you, no matter if it is crying or laughing—these things involve criterion. What is the criterion? (The truth.) The criterion is the truth. When it comes to how you should treat an owl, what should you base this on? (On God’s words.) And what does God’s word say about dealing with this kind of creature? His words don’t specifically say, “You must treat owls correctly, and cannot be biased in this matter. You can’t say that owls are unlucky, nor that they will bring you good luck. You must treat owls objectively and fairly.” God didn’t say this. So, what basis do you need to have for your views on owls to accord with the criterion, with the truth? (The fact that God created all things.) Your basis should be the fact that God created all things, this is the truth. In God’s hands all things have their function, mission, and value in existing. What else? (All things are good from God’s perspective.) Correct, all things created by God are good, have value in existing, and need to exist. As long as something comes from God and was made by Him, then it will never be unnecessary. What does this “never be unnecessary” mean? It’s that it won’t randomly bring people misfortune. Could a little owl really randomly bring you misfortune? Wouldn’t that make the owl too mighty? Are humans higher than owls? Humans are the stewards of all things, and it’s more accurate to say that they control owls’ destinies, and they could wipe out all owls just like that. It’s impossible for owls to change man’s destiny. So, what way of treating this creature is in line with the truth? Treating it according to God’s words. God created all things, all the different creatures, and humans too. Owls are creatures, so we should approach them according to the perspective that we treat all created beings with. First, we can’t casually destroy the laws of its survival. For example, the habit and characteristic of owls is to sleep during the day, and hunt and be active at night. If you come across an injured owl, and you kindly take it in, how should you treat it? (According to its habits.) Correct, you must respect the laws by which it lives. Don’t think about making it sleep at night, feeding it sleeping pills if it doesn’t sleep. This is wrong. If it’s always noisy at night, and this disturbs your rest, then you can move it somewhere where it won’t disturb you, but you cannot disrupt the laws by which it lives, or violate its way of survival. Isn’t this the right way to treat it? (Yes, it is.) This should be your perspective toward all things created by God. Firstly, have a correct perspective. This is the first step you should take when doing anything. Secondly, you must put this correct perspective to use when doing things or handling affairs, so what you do will be in line with the truth. These are criteria. Criteria, frankly speaking, are precise rules and laws. For example, when a cat sees a mouse, it wants to catch it. Say that you think that mice are also God’s creations, and want to restrain the cat, and prevent it from catching the mouse—is this wrong? (Yes, it is.) What do you think about this approach? (It violates the laws.) It goes against the laws of nature. When some people see a fish in the water they wonder, “Everyone says that fish can’t live without water. But I’ll try everything to get it out of the water and make it live on land.” This results in the fish dying shortly thereafter. What’s this called? (Absurd.) This is absurd. By discussing owls, have you more or less been able to understand what criteria are, and what they’re based on? (They’re based on God’s words.) Correct, they’re based on God’s words. So, how should you treat owls in the future? If, one evening, an owl was crying by your window, how should you handle it? At least, we know it has the right to cry, and we should allow it that right. If it’s too noisy, you can drive it off, but there’s no need to worry about whether you’d encounter misfortune the following day. It’s unnecessary to think this, as man’s fate, life, and death are all in God’s hands and under His sovereignty. People don’t understand the truth, so they are easily prejudiced toward things, and can even have imaginings and notions, or become somewhat superstitious. This leads people to have incorrect views on many things, and to fail to act in line with the truth principles or to meet the criterion for man’s comportment, actions, and worship of God in everything. What’s the reason for this? (Not understanding the truth.) This is brought about by not understanding the truth.

When some Eastern people come into contact with Westerners, they see their distinctive features—their high nasal bridges, their big eyes, their varied hair colors, and how elegant they all look—and unconsciously develop a sense of envy or admiration toward them. Then, through ongoing contact, they continually accept Western culture. Why are they able to accept it? Because of the envy in their hearts, and their desire to be like them. They think that appearances are ordained by God and cannot be changed, but that they’d be dignified if they could match Western ways of living, such as how they eat, dress, and the way they use things, as well as their manner of speech, way of thinking, and culture. What do you think about this kind of idea? Does everyone possess it? (Yes, they do.) Some Eastern people like to imitate Westerners, and the first thing they imitate is drinking coffee. They feel like Easterners drinking tea is too unsophisticated, so they learn to drink coffee from Westerners. Particularly, some Easterners see many Westerners rushing to work every morning, clutching their cups of coffee, and over time they learn to do this too, sometimes even when they’re not actually busy. This is called imitation. Easterners don’t actually have this habit, but they think Westerners’ customs are good, lofty, and elegant. They believe that, if they don’t have this habit, then they must learn and imitate it, and if they do learn it, and live according to this habit, they think they’ll surely join the ranks of Westerners and become one themselves. This is a kind of worship of Westerners. If you really like something then by all means study it, but if you’re just learning this kind of custom as a facade to show off to others, then that’s imitation. If someone doesn’t understand the truth, they’ll have no criterion in anything they do, and they’ll be like a headless fly, with no goal and no direction. When they see Westerners, they’ll study how Westerners act; when they see what’s fashionable in the world, they’ll study that. Nonbelievers are like this, and if someone who believes in God does the same, then what sort of person are they? (A disbeliever.) That’s right. Do they have any standards or principles when doing things? (No, they don’t.) They have no principles. Why? Because they adore worldly trends and wickedness; they don’t admire God, they don’t love the truth in their heart, and they don’t accept and seek the truth. Such people are all disbelievers. Because this type of person has these essences, even if they’re in the church reading God’s words and listening to sermons, they’ll still never be able to find the criterion for man’s comportment, actions, and worship of God. This implicitly means that they can never gain the truth. Isn’t that right? (Yes, it is.) Imitating others drinking coffee can reveal a person’s preferences, the path they take, and the principles of their actions. Tell Me, is drinking tea the truth, or is drinking coffee the truth? (Neither are related to the truth.) Well said. So, what is the truth? Some people say: “Everything that comes from God is the truth. God’s words which say that it’s good for you to eat seasonal things are the truth.” This is correct. The truth is the criterion for man’s comportment, actions, and worship of God. So, what does the criterion for comportment include? It touches on every aspect of the truth concerning comportment. How about the criterion for actions? It’s the manner and the means by which you handle things. Needless to say, we all know the criterion for worshiping God. The scope of this criterion refers to these things, and they all involve the truth. Suppose that someone says, “How come you don’t like tea?” and you say, “Is me not liking tea incompatible with the truth?” Another person says: “You’re in the West, so why haven’t you learned to drink coffee? It’s so tasteless, not drinking coffee!” and you say, “Are you trying to condemn me? Is it a sin to not drink coffee? Is ‘taste’ the truth? How much is taste worth?” It’s totally worthless, right? Not understanding the truth is what’s really worthless! What should people understand through this example? They should understand what views they should have toward these people, events, and things, and how to deal with them as God requires, so that His required standards are met. What should people understand and seek from all of this? The criterion they should follow to deal with all kinds of things.

Do you think that a traditional culture or a national sentiment can be worthy of the term “criterion”? (No.) For example, “Being human means you must love your country”—is this a criterion? (No, it isn’t.) “Being human means you must be filial to your parents”—is this a criterion? (No, it isn’t.) Some also say, “Women must be virtuous,” or “Women must follow Confucian values,” but are these criteria? (No, they’re not.) “A man can only have one wife, and must be faithful”—is this a criterion? Does it qualify as the truth? (No, it doesn’t.) It’s a correct behavior and moral, and the most basic and fundamental thing within humanity, but it falls short of the truth. It’s in line with the moral and behavioral standards of normal humanity, but can it be considered the criterion? What does criterion refer to? (The truth.) Criterion refers to the truth, and whatever falls short of the truth is therefore not the criterion. Do you see? Are the requirements of men and women in traditional culture that I just mentioned God’s requirements? (No, they’re not.) Well, what does God require of men? What does the Bible say? (That they labor and sweat to support their families.) This is God’s requirement for men, and it’s the most basic thing that a man should be able to do. What about God’s rule for women? (That their desire shall be to their husbands.) Since this is what God’s words say, it is the truth, and it’s what people should abide by. Whatever comes from man’s traditional culture or moral scriptures, however correct it may be, is not the truth. Why do I say it’s not the truth? (Because God didn’t say it.) What God doesn’t say is certainly not the truth, nor is that which has nothing to do with the requirements of God’s words. What are the standards by which Easterners define women? They believe that good women must first be gentle and virtuous, cultured and refined, cute and petite, and that after marriage, they must take care of everyone else in the family, young and old, without complaint. They’re just doormats. This is the image of women created by Easterners; these are the required standards they have for women. Let’s look now at what Westerners’ required standards are for women, that is, what they educate and advocate through their thoughts and viewpoints. Westerners believe that women should be independent, free, and equal—these are essentially the women’s rights that the West advocates for. These rights have a fundamental definition and requirement for women, that is, they present a fundamental concept for a woman’s lifestyle and appearance. What is this concept? That women should not be submissive, pitiful, and well-behaved all day long, like doormats. They think this is bad, and that women must be strong and bold. These are required standards for women in the hearts of Westerners. They believe that women don’t need to be like puppets, meekly submitting to adversity on a daily basis, waiting for others to scold them or give orders. They think there’s no need for this. Westerners advocate for women to be proactive, independent, and courageous in their actions. Of course, what we understand might not be totally commensurate with their thinking, but this is basically the main difference between Eastern and Western women. Which of these two views is correct? (Neither is correct.) Actually, this isn’t about right and wrong. Under an Eastern social background, within such a community, you have to live like that. Could you rebel if you wanted to? Within a family, you risk death if you rebel. In the West, you could live as a Western woman does, but no matter how you live, under which social background or in which community, which view is in line with the truth? (Neither of them is in line with the truth.) Neither view is in line with the truth, they both violate it. Why do I say this? Easterners want women to always be well-behaved, to embody the Confucian values, to be virtuous and gentle—for what purpose? To make them easy to control. This is a malignant ideology which has grown from traditional Eastern culture, and it is actually harmful to people, ultimately leading women to live lives without direction or ideas of their own. These women don’t know what they should do, how to do it, or what actions are right or wrong. They even offer their lives to their families, but still feel they haven’t done enough. Is this a type of harm to women? (Yes, it is.) They do not even resist when their own rights, the rights they should enjoy, are taken away. Why don’t they resist? They say: “It’s wrong to resist, it’s not virtuous. Look at so-and-so, they do so much better than me and have suffered much more, yet they never complain.” Why would they think like this? (They’re influenced by traditional cultural thinking.) It’s this traditional culture which has taken root deep within them, and caused them great suffering. How are they able to tolerate this kind of torment? They know full well that this kind of torment is painful, that it makes them feel helpless and hurts their hearts, so how can they still take it? What is the objective reason? That this is their social background, so they can’t break free, but only meekly resign themselves to it. This is also how they subjectively feel. They don’t understand the truth, or how women should live with dignity, or the correct way for women to live. No one has told them these things. As far as they know, what is the criterion for man’s comportment and actions? Traditional culture. They think that what has been passed down through the generations is right, and that if someone violates it, then their conscience should be condemned. This is their “criterion.” But is this criterion actually right? Should it be put in quotation marks? (Yes, it should.) This criterion isn’t in line with the truth. No matter how approved of or favorable someone’s behavior is under the control of this type of thinking and viewpoint, is it actually a criterion? It’s not, as it goes against the truth and humanity. For a long time, women in the East have had to take care of their whole families, and they’ve been responsible for all the little trivial matters. Is this fair? (No, it’s not.) Then how can they tolerate it? Because they are bound by this kind of thinking and viewpoint. Their ability to tolerate it indicates that, deep down, they mostly believe that it is the right thing to do, and that if they just endure, then they’ll be able to meet the standards of traditional culture. So, they are running toward that direction, toward those standards. If, deep down, they thought it was wrong and that they shouldn’t do it, that it wasn’t in line with humanity, and that it went against humanity and the truth, could they still do it? (No, they couldn’t.) They would have to think of a way to get away from those people, and to not be their slaves. But most women wouldn’t dare do this—what do they think? That they could survive without their community, but that they’d bear a terrible stigma if they left, and suffer certain consequences. After weighing it up, they think that if they were to do it, their colleagues would gossip about how they weren’t virtuous, society would condemn them in certain ways and have certain opinions about them, and all this would bring serious consequences. In the end, they mull it over and think, “It’s better just to tolerate it. Otherwise, the weight of the condemnation would crush me!” This is how Eastern women are, down through the generations. What must they endure behind all these good deeds? The deprivation of their human dignity and rights. Are these thoughts and views in line with the truth? (No, they aren’t.) They’re not in line with the truth. They have been deprived of their dignity and human rights, and lost their personalities, their independent living and thinking spaces, and their rights to speak and express their own desires—everything they do is for those people at home. What is their purpose in doing this? To meet the standards required of women by traditional culture, and to have other people praise them, calling them good wives and good people. Is this not a kind of torture? (Yes, it is.) Is this way of thinking proper or distorted? (It’s distorted.) Is it in line with the truth? (No, it isn’t.) God created free will for mankind, and what are the thoughts that come from this free will? Are they in line with humanity? These thoughts must be in line with humanity at the very least. Aside from this, He also meant for people to have accurate views and understandings of all people, events, and things in the course of their lives, and to then choose the right path to live and worship God. Life lived in this way is given by God and should be enjoyed. People, however, are restricted, bound, and distorted by these so-called traditional cultures and moral scriptures their entire lives, and ultimately become what? They become the puppets of traditional culture. Isn’t this caused by people not understanding the truth? (Yes, it is.) Would you choose to walk this path in the future? (No, I wouldn’t.) So, what should you do? Suppose that you say, “I’ll fight them,” or “I’ll serve them no longer. I have human rights, and I have my own personality.” Is this okay? (No, it’s not.) This isn’t okay. This is going from one extreme to the other, and it isn’t bearing witness to God or glorifying Him. So, how should you act? (In line with the principles.) Of course it’s right to act in line with the principles, and you should treat everyone in line with the principles, treating them as brothers and sisters if they believe in God, and as nonbelievers if they do not. There’s no need to wrong yourself, distort your personality, or give up your dignity and rights by sacrificing your life for them. They don’t deserve it. There is only One in this world who’s worth spending your life for. Who is it? (God.) Why? Because God is the truth, and His words are the criterion for man’s existence, comportment, and actions. As long as you have God, and God’s words, then you won’t deviate, and you’ll be accurate in how you comport yourself and act. This is the ultimate effect that God’s words achieve on someone once they’ve been saved.

“What Is the Truth?” is too vast a topic. We just gave a few examples, one of which was how to treat owls. What other examples were there? (Easterners imitating Westerners drinking coffee.) (Easterners’ and Westerners’ required standards for women.) These are the most obvious examples. So, between Eastern and Western people’s views on various things, which is the criterion? (Neither.) Neither involve the truth, they are both human views and opinions. More precisely, they’re both erroneous viewpoints and fallacies. They’re not criteria, they are Satan’s strategies, theories, and philosophies that harm people. Do you understand this matter a little more, after fellowshipping on it like this? (Yes, we do.) If I hadn’t talked about this, perhaps one day you might have considered imitating Westerners by drinking coffee and eating hamburgers, emulating them. Does that accord with the principles? Even if you eat Western food every day, it’ll all be useless if you don’t pursue the truth, you still won’t have the criterion for how to comport yourself. The key is whether you can seek the truth and act according to the principles—this is of benefit to you. Through Me fellowshipping like this, do you have some understanding of the truth and the criteria? (Yes, we do.) Is there truth within people’s traditional culture or moral criteria? (No, there isn’t.) Is there truth in the moral scriptures? (No, there isn’t.) Can you now be certain that God’s words are the truth? (Yes, we can.) After confirming His words to be the truth, you have to consider: What are God’s words? What are the principles required in His words? What are the criteria that He has told to man? How exactly should they act in order to be in line with God’s words, and what are the correct principles for doing this? This is what you must seek, but for now that’s all on this topic.


A Day in the Life of Xiaojia

Let’s move onto the next topic. What should it be? I should probably tell a story. Stories also touch upon the truth, and criteria for man’s comportment, actions, and worship of God. Listen to what this story has to do with the truth, and the criteria for human conduct. It talks about a day in the life of Xiaojia. Our hero is Xiaojia, and over roughly how long does the story happen? (One day.) One day. Some people might say, “Is a day’s events even worth telling?” Well, it depends on what you tell. If it’s all just gossip and right and wrong, then it’s not worth telling. But if it touches upon the truth then never mind a day—even a minute’s events are worth telling, right? (That’s right.)

Xiaojia is someone passionate about pursuits and enthusiastic about doing his duty, and his story begins early one morning after he’s just gotten up. After rising, reading God’s word, and practicing his devotions, Xiaojia headed for breakfast and grabbed a bowl of porridge and some vegetables. Then he saw some eggs, and thought: “I should take a couple. Two eggs a day are enough nutrition.” But just as he reached out, he hesitated, “Take two or one? It’ll be bad if others see me take two. It’s too greedy, and others will think I’m a glutton. Better to only take one.” He withdrew his hand before reaching out again and picking up an egg. Just then, someone else came over to take an egg, and Xiaojia’s heart skipped a beat as they did so. He thought: “Actually, best to not eat eggs. I’ve got porridge and vegetables, as well as some steamed buns, and that’s enough for breakfast. I shouldn’t be so greedy. And why even desire to eat eggs? How terrible if others saw. Wouldn’t that be indulging in comfort? I won’t have any.” Thinking thus, Xiaojia put the egg back and, after finishing breakfast a few minutes later, began to do his duty. He busied himself with the tasks at hand, finishing one thing after another. Time passes quickly, and in the blink of an eye it’s time for lunch. Everyone else went to eat, but Xiaojia looked at his watch and saw that it was 12:40 p.m. “Wait a minute. I shouldn’t be in a hurry to go eat when everyone else does. If I rush off with everyone else, then won’t I be just the same as them, and seem a glutton? I’ll wait just a little bit longer.” He went on with what he was doing, but his stomach let him down and started rumbling. He clasped his stomach and absent-mindedly looked at the computer, thinking: “I’m starving! What’s for lunch today? Could there be some meat? It would be great if I could have a little meat!” His stomach kept rumbling as he thought, and it was only with great difficulty that he managed to wait until everyone else had come back from lunch. Someone said: “How come you didn’t have lunch? Hurry up and go, the food’s going cold.” Xiaojia said, “No worries. I haven’t finished what I’m doing. I’ll go when I’m done.” “Wouldn’t it be better to keep working after you’ve eaten?” “It’s fine. I’ll be done soon.” So, Xiaojia endured his hunger and went on with his work. In fact, he was now very hungry, and not in any mood to keep working, but still he endured his hunger and kept up his pretense. After a while he looked at his watch again, saw that it was 1:30 p.m., and thought: “That’ll do. I should probably go for lunch now.” Just as he was about to get up and go eat, a sister brought him a tray of food and said: “It’s so late! How come you didn’t go have lunch? It doesn’t matter how busy you are, you still have to eat, and you’ll get stomach problems if you don’t eat on time.” He replied: “It’s fine. I’ll eat after I’m done.” “You don’t need to go. I brought your meal to you, so hurry up and eat.” “What’s the rush? I’m not even hungry yet.” Just as he said he wasn’t hungry, his stomach rumbled with a sound like thunder. Xiaojia clutched his stomach, smiled sheepishly, and said to the sister: “Don’t worry about bringing me food again.” “But if I don’t, the food will just get cold and have to be heated again. It’s already been reheated once.” “Well then, thank you!” With his mouth watering, Xiaojia took his meal from the sister. Glancing at the tray, he was very happy: two steamed buns, vegetables, meat, and soup. Xiaojia had another thought when he saw the steamed buns, and said to the sister: “I can’t eat two buns. I’m too busy these days, can’t sleep well, and don’t have much of an appetite. Isn’t it a waste if you give me two buns? Take one back.” “It’s okay. You can send it back if you really can’t finish it,” the sister replied before leaving. Xiaojia thought to himself: “Hurry up and go. I’m starving.” He picked up the bowl, seeing that no one was around but still feeling a little embarrassed, and gingerly took a sip. Then he looked at the meat, “Wow! I could smell the braised pork from miles away. But I can’t eat it right away, as I have to eat my vegetables first. I’ll eat less meat if I fill up on veg, otherwise I’d finish half the bowl of meat, and wouldn’t that be embarrassing?” He considered a moment before doing just so. He munched the steamed buns and vegetables, and drank his soup. As he ate, he felt like he wanted to have a bit of meat, so grabbed a chunk of braised pork. Bringing it to his mouth, he closed his eyes and carefully savored it, “So delicious! Meat really is good, but I can’t eat too much. Just a mouthful is enough, then more vegetables and more soup.” He continued eating the steamed buns, but kept staring at the meat while he ate, “Should I eat this meat? It’s so good, it’d be a real shame not to eat it.” His mouth started watering again, and he thought, “I know! I’ll tear the buns into pieces and dip them in the broth. Isn’t that the same as eating meat? This way others can see that I’m not eating meat, but I’ll still get all that meaty flavor. How great is that!” With this thought, he put a bit of steamed bun into the broth before fishing it out and eating it, finding it delicious and almost exactly like meat. Xiaojia then immediately tore apart the whole bun and put it in the broth…. In under ten minutes, he’d eaten it all, as well as finished his soup. He’d only eaten one steamed bun, enduring his desire to eat the other one and restraining himself. After all the dishes had been finished as planned, Xiaojia was more or less full, and didn’t think he needed any more. Then he thought: “Oh, it’s not really appropriate to eat so quickly, like I’m starving. I really was pretty hungry, but it’s not good for people to see me like that. I have to eat slowly. But what can I do now that I’ve already finished? Well, I have an idea. I’ll send it back in ten minutes.” He held his watch and stared at the face, “Five minutes … Ten … Fifteen … Okay, two o’clock. Great, send it back!” Happy, he sent back the remaining braised pork and steamed bun.

It was after 2 p.m. when Xiaojia returned. His brothers and sisters had gone for their afternoon break, and he didn’t have anything to do by himself, so was really bored. He thought: “Should I have a nap too? It’s always good to have a nap after eating. But no, if I sleep while everyone else sleeps, what does that make me? I can’t sleep. I have to hold on. But how to stay awake? I wouldn’t be able to sleep while standing, but if I’m always standing up then I’ll startle someone if they suddenly come in. No, I can’t stand. Well, I’ll just sit in front of my computer then. If anyone sees me, they’ll just think I’m working, but I’ll actually be taking a break. What a good move.” So he sat naturally in front of the computer, staring at it blankly, but within five minutes he was asleep and snoring on the keyboard. Forty minutes later, Xiaojia suddenly woke from his deep sleep and jumped up, “Aren’t I standing? How come I fell asleep?” He looked at the time, saw that it was getting late, and went to wash his face while no one was there. Seeing himself in the restroom, he said “Oh, no! My face is covered in keyboard marks! How can I be seen like this?” He hastily scrubbed his face, rubbing and patting it, and was in the restroom for quite a while. Then he looked in the mirror and saw that the keyboard marks were mostly gone, and rejoiced in his heart: “No one would ever notice, unless they were really paying attention.” After this he combed his hair and straightened his collar, suddenly realizing that the collar of his light-colored shirt was a little greasy, and on closer inspection his cuffs were a bit dirty too. He thought to himself, “I haven’t washed or changed my clothes for a few days now, but there’s some benefit to not washing. A bit of dirt never hurts anyone, and I’m not bothered by a little grime. Anyway, doesn’t it look more spiritual to be a bit grubby?” He simply turned out the collar and sleeves of his shirt and rolled up the sleeves of his jacket, revealing all the dirty areas. Very satisfied, he cheered up and walked calmly out of the restroom. After a while most people were in their places and began to busy themselves with work. When Xiaojia saw that everyone else was there, he said: “You guys didn’t get a long nap! You can really suffer and pay the price! I didn’t even have a nap, but just rested my eyes for a minute before splashing some water on my face. I wouldn’t have any energy otherwise.” No one replied. He felt pretty bored, so also got to work. Because he’d had so much soup at lunch, he kept wanting to use the restroom but resisted the urge, thinking: “If I go, won’t people think I’m lazy? That’s not a good reputation to have, so I can’t go.” So he held on, enduring until someone else finally went to the restroom, and he saw his chance. He quickly joined the line, thinking, “It’s great to just follow the crowd, as no one will say anything about me.”

It was a busy afternoon. Xiaojia did a lot of work, fellowshipping with this person, asking questions of that person, seeking resources, and doing all kinds of tasks relevant to his duties. After all the bustle, it was finally time for dinner. This time Xiaojia was just a little bit later than the others, but he more or less finished eating on time. The period after dinner was Xiaojia’s happiest time of day, because it was the only time when he could calmly have a cup of the coffee he liked, without any self-reproach nor the criticism of others, but with a tranquil heart. Why? Because he had enough reasons for why he needed to drink coffee, reasons totally legitimate in the eyes of everyone else. Thus this was his happiest time. As he made his coffee, he muttered to himself, “Meh, gotta work overtime again today. Don’t even know for how long. Guess I’ll see how long this coffee can keep me going.” He banged the freshly brewed coffee onto the table, as if to tell everyone, “And what? I’m having my coffee, what are you going to do about it?” He glanced at the others around him. No one was looking at him, but he still nonchalantly picked up his cup and took a sip of coffee, thinking: “They all say coffee’s good, and it really is. It tastes different every day, offering a different experience. It’s wonderful!” Happy, he proudly sipped his coffee, then looked vacantly about for his evening’s work. He basically had no goals in mind, and felt exhausted after a busy day, but forced himself to keep going. He couldn’t doze off, and couldn’t let others see he was tired or had any perfunctory, irresponsible, or irreverent attitude in handling his work or his duty. He forced himself to perk up and sat at his computer to keep working, and naturally drank coffee after coffee. The more he drank, the more alert he became and the less sleepy. Xiaojia occasionally glanced at his watch, “It’s past one o’clock, but I can’t sleep as I’ve set myself the goal of three o’clock. I can’t even go to sleep at 2:50 a.m., as that would be breaking my promise and I’d have no explanation for God. This is a promise a created being should keep, so I have to honor it. I said I’d sleep at 3 a.m., so I’ll sleep at 3 a.m., even if I have to drink loads of coffee.” So, he drank coffee and resisted his tiredness, mentally constraining and controlling himself. At three o’clock, Xiaojia had an important task to perform, so he took his phone and sent a message which read: Sister so-and-so, this is Xiaojia. I’ve got an important reminder for you not to forget there’s a group gathering tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. It’s mandatory to attend, and don’t be late. Signed below: Xiaojia. At the same time as being relieved after sending the message, Xiaojia also thought: “Sending it is one thing, but what if she doesn’t receive it? Does she know that I sent her a message? I can’t sleep yet. I need to wait and see if she replies.” After waiting for half an hour there was still no reply, and he thought: “Is she asleep? How come she’s sleeping so early? How useless, already asleep at three.” He waited until the sister replied at 3:50: I haven’t forgotten about 10 a.m., tomorrow. I hope you don’t forget either, and come on time. Xiaojia read it and thought, “Oh, what kind of person is this? How can she be going to sleep later than me?” But he couldn’t take it anymore. “No more coffee! If I have any more then I won’t sleep at all tonight. I need to go to bed, as I have to get up at 5:30 a.m., 6 a.m. at the latest. I can’t be later than my other brothers and sisters, as I must let everyone see me praying, reading God’s words, and listening to sermons after they get up. So I can’t get up late. It’s all because of this message that I couldn’t go to sleep early. But it doesn’t matter, the others know I was up late. I achieved my goal though, and will try to get to sleep by four o’clock tomorrow.” While Xiaojia tried to think, he couldn’t help but feel so dazed that he didn’t even take off his clothes when he got back to his room. He collapsed on his bed, already half asleep, but still forced himself to remember: Don’t eat eggs in the morning, only have one steamed bun for lunch, don’t eat braised pork, go to sleep at 3 a.m., still have messages to send…. Xiaojia thought and thought until he finally lay still, falling asleep in weariness, exhaustion, dreams, and delusion. And this was a day in the life of Xiaojia.

Tell Me, what was that all about? Wasn’t it tiring for Xiaojia to always pretend like that? (Yes, it was.) Robots don’t get tired doing the same thing all day, because they don’t have minds or consciousness, but it’s exhausting for people. Why did Xiaojia live like that when he was so tired? Why did he do it? Did he have a plan? (Yes, he did.) What did his plan revolve around? (Showing off to others.) Was there any benefit to him showing off? (It could make people admire him.) It could make people admire him. Is Xiaojia’s approach familiar to you? What kind of people act in that way? (Pharisees.) That’s right. Pharisees take good behaviors, and behaviors and practices that align with people’s notions, and perform them in front of others so they look good and are worshiped. They use this method to achieve their goal of misleading people. What is the primary nature of them faking it in this way, and engaging in all sorts of good behaviors to show off to other people? It is one of pretense, trickery, misleading—anything else? (Fake spirituality.) How many things in Xiaojia’s day involved dispositions, and are common to all those who are capable of fakery? Eating eggs, steamed buns, braised pork, and drinking coffee. These are all external things, but what essence can you see within them? Pretense and self-control. What pretense? (The pretense of suffering.) Do people view suffering as a good or bad thing? (A good thing.) Suffering is a good behavior which everyone highly admires. What do people consider it to be? They consider it to be the practice of the truth. So, Xiaojia didn’t hesitate to suffer and pay a price. What did his suffering entail? Not eating nice foods, and staying up late, getting up early, and disciplining his body. What is the nature of these kinds of suffering? They’re all pretense. He didn’t suffer for the truth or righteousness, but for the esteem and adoration of others, and a good reputation and prestige for himself. Did he suffer for the truth? (No, he didn’t.) Which of his actions were in line with the truth principles, and were Xiaojia rebelling against himself and setting aside his personal interests for the sake of the truth? Were any of them? (No.) What was the nature of his suffering? Was it putting the truth into practice? Was it a manifestation of his love for the truth? (No, it wasn’t.) Well, what was it? (Hypocrisy.) It was hypocrisy, it was being averse to the truth, it was trickery, pretense, fakery, and misleading; it was purely actions and choices that were based on his own imaginings and notions, and centered around his own interests, and it had nothing to do with the truth at all. He wasn’t seeking the truth, so his actions were not the truth either; not only did they have nothing to do with the truth at all, they were also completely at odds with the normal needs of humanity contained in the depths of his heart. Is it a sin to eat eggs? (No, it isn’t.) But Xiaojia saw eating eggs as greedy. Eggs are a kind of food that God created for man. If you have the means to eat them, then it is not greedy to do so, but if you don’t have the means to eat them, and you steal and eat the eggs of others, then that is greedy. How did Xiaojia define this matter? He believed that eating eggs was greedy, and even greedier if others were to see it. He thought that if he could eat eggs without anyone seeing, behind their backs, that wouldn’t be greedy. What was his standard for measuring greed? It was based on whether anyone saw. Did he base it on God’s words? No, it was his own personal view. In fact, do others have any thoughts or views on this matter of eating eggs? (No, they don’t.) This was purely a theory that Xiaojia fabricated himself. He believed that eating eggs for breakfast was being greedy, indulging in comfort, and showing consideration for the flesh. Based on his view, then, aren’t all those who eat eggs indulging in comfort and showing consideration for the flesh? His implicit meaning was: “When all of you eat eggs, you’re showing consideration for the flesh. I don’t show consideration for the flesh, I can restrain myself, so I don’t eat eggs. Put eggs right in front of me and I can still put them back, even after picking them up. That’s just the kind of resolve and determination I have, and that’s how much I love the truth. Could you do that? If you couldn’t, then you don’t love the truth.” What did he treat his idea as? As the standard for measuring right and wrong. Wasn’t this fakery? (Yes, it was.) This was fakery.

Another manifestation that Xiaojia displayed was that he didn’t go eat when it was time for lunch. What did he do instead? (He put it off.) He suppressed his hunger and put off going to eat. But why? (To show off to others.) He was putting on a show, and doing this for others to see. What did he want others to see and understand from this? He wanted to show others how much suffering he could endure, and how diligent, loyal, earnest, and responsible he was in his work! He wanted people to see that he was really superhuman! Then he would have achieved his aim; that was the assessment he wanted. What did that assessment mean to him? It was his life, his lifeblood. Is this a love of the truth? (No, it isn’t.) So, what do people such as him like? They don’t hesitate to show off, engage in plotting and scheming, and deceive others by putting on a facade, showing them how much they can suffer, and thereby receiving comments from them like: “You can really endure suffering. You’re someone who really loves God, and you do your duty with loyalty.” They don’t hesitate to use false appearances and tricks to conceal the actual facts, deceive God and con other people, all to get a good word or a favorable assessment from others. What sort of disposition is this? (A wicked disposition.) This is wicked. They’re so good at pretending, and at putting on a show and playing tricks! It’s just a meal, what’s the problem with calmly going to eat? What living person doesn’t eat? Is it a sin to eat on time? Is it a sin to find something to eat when one is hungry? (No, it isn’t.) It’s a physical need; it’s reasonable. These people treat all reasonable needs as unreasonable and condemn them. What do they promote? They promote constant bodily discipline, concealing the true facts, and presenting a facade so others can see how they suffer, how they refrain from indulging in comfort, and how they pay any price, and offer up their time, energy, and everything they have for their work. This is what they want people to see. Is this what they actually do? No, it’s not. They mislead others with false appearances, and this is a manifestation of a wicked disposition. They go to such great lengths over something as insignificant as eating a meal—what kind of people are they? Is this what a person with normal humanity should do? (No, it isn’t.) It’s not. It’s too insidious! Would most people approve or feel revolted if they heard about somebody showing off so much over a minor matter? (They’d feel revolted.) Could you ever act like this? (Sometimes.) As gravely as this? (No.) Hunger is a difficult feeling to bear, but some people are able to tolerate this suffering. If you ask them to submit to God’s words, expend effort on His words, act according to the principles of God’s words, and speak honestly, they’d find it too strenuous and difficult. For these people, giving up their own interests and pride would be harder than ascending to heaven, but they’re willing, no matter the cost, to set aside God’s words, act according to their own imaginings, and protect their own fleshly interests. Isn’t this a manifestation of not loving the truth? (Yes, it is.) It’s one aspect.

What other manifestations did Xiaojia display? He was terribly sleepy but didn’t go to bed. Tell Me, if someone is sleepy and goes to bed for a while, or takes a quick nap, and then has more strength for work, isn’t this reasonable? (Yes, it is.) It’s reasonable. Would anyone condemn Xiaojia for sleeping? (No, they wouldn’t.) So, why was he so terrified, if no one would condemn him? What was he afraid of? (Letting something slip.) That’s right, he was afraid of letting something slip. In his imaginings, he believed that he was held in high regard by everyone, that everybody thought he was particularly capable of enduring suffering, and exceptionally pious. He felt that if his true colors were exposed, and everyone discovered he wasn’t that kind of person, his whole good image would collapse. He couldn’t bear the thought of this, and so he restrained himself over even a nap. He was that strict with himself. What kind of person is he? Isn’t he mentally ill? People like this listen to sermons, read God’s words, and often gather to fellowship, so how come they don’t focus on the truth? It’s great for you to ponder on the truth principles. Look at what God’s words say: Are there any declarations about people napping in God’s words? (No, there aren’t.) God didn’t make any declarations about this matter, nor did He even mention it. Anyone who possesses the thinking of normal humanity should know how to handle this. It’s reasonable to have a nap when you’re sleepy. It’s reasonable to rest at noon on a hot summer day. In particular, some older people, who can’t keep up in terms of their bodies, energy levels, and so on, need to sleep for a while after lunch. This isn’t based on their lifestyle habits, but on their physical needs. God has given you the awareness, consciousness, and responses of normal humanity to allow you to handle your own daily diet, toil, and rest according to your own work and environment; you shouldn’t abuse yourself. For example, suppose that you don’t eat lavish meals and say, “God doesn’t allow people to eat nice foods; always eating nice foods makes people greedy.” God never said this, and He doesn’t have this sort of requirement for people. But this is what Xiaojia thought, and he reckoned that God probably thinks the same. He thought that if someone goes to sleep too early, this is indulging in comfort, and God doesn’t like it. Isn’t this not understanding the truth? (Yes, it is.) When Xiaojia didn’t understand the truth, he could have sought it, but he didn’t do that, he just acted according to his own subjective will. How far did he take this? He drank three or four cups of coffee in a day, just so he could stay up late. Some people say: “I’ve drunk a lot of coffee while doing my duty these past few years so that I can do the work of God’s house.” If another person says, “Who made you drink coffee? Didn’t you choose to drink it?” they will think to themselves, “You know why I drink coffee? It’s not to stay up late, it’s to lose weight. Didn’t you know that? But I can’t tell you that, because then you’d know. Will I look thin if you’re thinner than me?” This is really calculating, right? What views and ideas are contained within this? Is there any of the understanding or rationality of normal humanity? (No, there isn’t.) No, there’s only battles of wits, tricks and plots, pretense, fakery, and misleading contained within this. That’s all there is. It’s being calculating whenever something happens. They absolutely won’t tell any person their honest views and thoughts, let alone allow everyone to know, or allow God to see. Their mentality is not one of, “I lay myself bare. My actions are in line with my thoughts, and that’s just who I am.” Their mentality is definitely not this, so what is it? They conceal and pretend as much as they can, fearing that the image others have of them is not grand, devout, or spiritual enough.

Why did Xiaojia want to stay up late? Many kinds of work don’t require late nights, and people are mostly sleepy after 10 p.m. Even if they keep working, it wouldn’t be effective, because people have finite energy. But Xiaojia always forced himself, not caring whether it was effective, even though he knew full well it wasn’t. Why did he send a message before sleeping? (So others would notice.) To make others witness that he went to bed at three o’clock. Even if you don’t sleep all night, won’t you be the one who’s ultimately sleepy? And won’t you have brought it on yourself? Some people stay up late and send a message at 3 a.m. When the recipient replies at 4 a.m., they wait until 5 a.m. to reply, to demonstrate that they go to sleep even later. They torment themselves and harm each other in this way, and in the end neither of them get any sleep the whole night. Aren’t they a pair of reckless idiots? What sort of behavior is that? It’s stupid behavior. Where does this kind of behavior come from? It all comes from a corrupt disposition. For now, we won’t look at which corrupt disposition this behavior derives from, we’ll just say how ridiculous it is. These people could change this kind of ridiculous behavior and practice by picking any of God’s words to practice. Any one of His words could enable them to live peacefully and securely, and make their lives more realistic and practical. Why don’t they choose to live according to God’s word? Why do they torment themselves like this? Aren’t they reaping what they sow? (Yes, they are.) However much someone like this suffers, it’ll always be in vain, and however much suffering they endure, the consequences of it will be theirs to bear. Some people say: “I’ve believed in God for all these years, and I’ve been a leader for 20. I always stayed up late and didn’t sleep, and in the end, I suffered from nervous exhaustion.” I say: “You got off lightly with nervous exhaustion. If you keep foolishly tormenting yourself and act like that, psychosis won’t be far behind.” Can someone be healthy if they don’t sleep at night, are always on edge, and their body functions abnormally? They brought this on themselves! Say that you tell them, “Acting that way won’t do. Try your best to arrange your work for the daytime, and increase your productivity. When everyone discusses work, speak less nonsense and don’t talk so much about unimportant things. You should grasp the key points, core, and theme of the discussion, and when it is over, everyone should get on with their own tasks. Don’t keep rambling on and on, and don’t dawdle.” They won’t listen to you. They are not good at expressing themselves, but they don’t summarize experiences, they just talk drivel to waste time until one or two in the morning, not sleeping or letting anyone else sleep. Isn’t this tormenting and harming others? Finally, they think, “God, You saw, right? It was three o’clock and I still hadn’t slept!” God saw it. He not only saw how they looked on the outside, but also their inner hearts, and He says: “Your heart is filthy. You stay up all night in pointless torment, but God will never remember this. When it’s time to sleep, you do not go to bed, but instead force yourself to hold on. You’ve brought this suffering on yourself!” When people are sleepy, their eyelids naturally close. This is an instinct, so you deserve to suffer if you always go against instincts and the laws of nature! God will not ask you to endure suffering that is pointless, or caused by violations of the laws of nature, or violations of the principles or the truth. If you insist on these kinds of suffering, then so be it. Some people, when they hear that someone doesn’t go to sleep until 3 a.m., think, “Isn’t that just like me? Well, in the future I’ll go to sleep at 3:30 a.m.” They then hear that someone sleeps at 3:30 a.m., so they want to sleep at 4 a.m. Isn’t this a mental illness? You could compete over anything, and you choose to compete about who sleeps latest—this means that you are mentally abnormal. Do such people have a problem with comprehension? (Yes, they do.) They cannot comprehend the truth. When you have time, stop putting in effort, wracking your brain, and putting thought into things like outward behavior, pretense, and fakery. What, then, should you put effort into? See how God’s words expose mankind’s corrupt nature and wicked disposition, and how He exposes people being perfunctory. Put effort into comparing yourself to these words of God that expose man, reflect on how many of the manifestations which God exposes you possess, and how many of them you often act out or reveal. It’s a great thing to summarize these things! How despicable it is for a person to always make an effort over a few eggs or steamed buns, or over dipping things in broth! What is that? It is calculating and lacking in wisdom. What is a person like that? (An idiot.) Well said. When it comes to people who always consider how many eggs to eat, or always think about drinking coffee to stay up at night, it’s not an exaggeration to call them idiots who are obsessed with food. In what areas are they stupid? Why do we say these people are stupid? (What they suffer is totally worthless.) It is definitely worthless. Why would you want to do such childish things? Do you think that a lifetime not eating eggs will enable you to understand the truth? Isn’t acting in this way foolish? (Yes, it is.) Don’t do foolish things. What kind of people tend to do foolish things? (People who lack spiritual understanding.) Do these people have the ability to comprehend the truth? (No, they don’t.) Some people say: “Their caliber is good, and they can preach so skillfully.” They might preach skillfully, but why do they always engage in childish activities whenever it comes time to act? Why do they act in such an immature and laughable way? What’s going on here? They talk one way but act in another. What they speak about is their doctrinal understanding, and what they act out are those things they truly understand and can accept. Deep down, do they endorse or acknowledge the doctrines they preach? (No, they don’t acknowledge them.) They don’t acknowledge that those things are the truth, or criteria they should put into practice and abide by. In fact, it’s the schemes and notions in their hearts, the fake ideas and practices, and the behaviors that others deem good, that they really believe to be criteria and paths of practice. Won’t such people be written off if they never turn themselves around? Will they have any chance of salvation? There’s little hope.

Tell Me, is it reasonable to hold an umbrella or wear a straw hat in the hot sun? (Yes, it’s reasonable.) People working in the sun will get burned quickly if they don’t wear a hat, so it’s totally reasonable to do so. Some people do not think like this, and say: “Wear a straw hat? Wouldn’t that be an insult to me? Could I wear a hat? I’m not scared of suffering, nor of getting tanned. In fact, it’s healthy.” If this is what they really think, it’s not a problem, but the key is that, deep down, some people don’t think like this. They think, “Look at you, wearing a straw hat because you’re scared of getting a tan or sunburned on a hot day. I won’t wear one! What’s to fear in a tan or sunburn? God likes those things, so I don’t care what other people think!” What do you think of people who say this? Do you think they’re a little deceitful, a little fake? In fact, there’s a motive behind their refusal to wear a hat, which is to show people that they are able to suffer and that they are really spiritual. This kind of hypocritical behavior is disgusting! Can people who are this good at pretending do their duties well? Can they suffer and pay a price for their duties? Once they get a tan or sunburned, won’t they complain and blame God? Hypocritical Pharisees never put the truth into practice, but feign spirituality. Could they really suffer and pay a price? Based on the essence of hypocrites, you can see that they don’t have any love for the truth, and that they are even less capable of suffering or paying a price for it. What’s more, no matter how many words of truth they hear, they never listen or understand them as the truth, instead they treat and preach them as a kind of spiritual theory. These kinds of hypocrites don’t understand why people believe in God, why He wants to provide the truth to people, what the process of people accepting God’s salvation is like, where its significance lies, and what God really means by salvation. They don’t understand any of these truths. If there’s a hypocrite in a church who doesn’t love the truth but loves being fake, then they are truly a Pharisee. They pay attention to behavior, appearances, and people’s assessments in their hearts, and no matter how many truths they hear, they never put them into practice. Everything they say is correct, and they can speak about every kind of doctrine, but they don’t practice what they preach. If someone is really in step with them, are they the same kind of person? (Yes, they are.) How will someone with normal thinking view this hypocrite’s manifestations? They’ll think, “Their method of practice is wrong, isn’t it? Why is it so weird? When it’s time for a meal, they should just go and eat, so why do they go around in so many circles about it?” They’ll say this person is strange, that they understand things differently from others, in a distorted way—and they won’t be affected by them. But if someone is the same kind of person as this hypocrite, and pays particular attention to external behavior and people’s opinions, then they’ll compare and compete with them. It’s just like how Xiaojia sent a message at 3 a.m., and the recipient replied at 4 a.m., thinking: “You sent a message to me at 3 a.m., so I’ll reply at 4 a.m.,” and then Xiaojia thought, “You replied to me at 4 a.m., so I’ll send mine at 5 a.m.” Over time, competing like this, everyone gradually becomes a hypocrite. If a church leader is this kind of person, and the brothers and sisters lack discernment, then they’re in danger, they may be misled at any time. Why do I say this? It’s easy for a person who doesn’t understand the truth to be misled and influenced by the outward good behavior of others. Because they don’t know what is right, they believe in their notions that such behavior is good. If someone else can carry out those behaviors, that person will then become the object of their adoration, and they will think that person should be a leader, be perfected, and be loved by God. They will approve of this kind of behavior, and affirm it in the depths of their heart. What will happen if they affirm it? They will follow that person. If they are both leaders, they’ll compare and compete with each other. One time, leaders and workers from churches in different countries gathered online. After I went online and listened for a while, I felt that something wasn’t right. I thought, “What are these people doing here? Are they preaching?” After understanding the situation, I realized that they were praying. I wondered to Myself why they were praying like that. It sounded frightening, it was all so outrageous and ugly. That isn’t a big deal in itself, so what was the main problem? They seemed to be praying with their eyes open, not before God, and not saying what was in their hearts. Rather, they were competing to see who was the most eloquent, who could speak about more doctrines, and who spoke the most extensively and profoundly. It sounded like a match in an arena, and certainly not like prayer to God. Aren’t these people finished? Haven’t they been written off? With people like this serving as leaders, how much suffering do those below them have to endure? Aren’t the people below them being harmed? Each person prayed enthusiastically for at least 20 minutes, and despite the Above’s stipulations that gatherings should not be dominated by any one person, and that people may only fellowship for 5 to 10 minutes, they still brazenly took up so much time praying. Later, I finally understood why so many gatherings last from morning to night: These so-called leaders take a long time just praying, one after another, while those below them suffer. These false leaders were there to verbally spar, to ramble, with some so incoherent that they forgot whether they’d already said something. To them, it was all okay, as long as they spoke for longer than the others. I was puzzled: When a person prays, they should be praying to God with their eyes closed, so why were their eyes open? Did it really not disturb their minds to have their eyes open and see how other people were praying? Especially needing to think about how others were praying and which words they were using, and wanting to be superior to them—with a heart full of things like this, would it be possible to pray to God and speak from the heart? Isn’t this abnormal reason? Aren’t these all manifestations of the false spirituality of false leaders and false workers? It’s a good thing for everyone to gather together, and read God’s words, and fellowship on the truth, but some people have reported: “Oh, you have no idea. When those leaders gather and pray, it is like they are chanting scriptures; they keep talking about one thing, and it’s the same every time we gather. I’m sick of hearing it.” How do gatherings like this edify people? False leaders and workers always do this; can they be in accordance with God’s intentions? They don’t pay attention to fellowshipping on the truth to help people understand it, nor to solving problems by fellowshipping on the truth; instead, they engage in the false spirituality of religion. Is this not leading people astray? What’s the problem here? They don’t understand God’s intentions at all, nor His requirements for people. They just engage in religious rites and show off! Worse still, they use prayer to expose, attack, and condemn others, while some use prayer to justify themselves. Their prayers appear to be for God’s ears, but in fact they are for man’s. Therefore, these people don’t have the slightest bit of God-fearing hearts, they are all disbelievers who are disturbing the work of God’s house. These false leaders reveal so much ugliness in their prayers. Some pray, saying things like: “God, some people have misunderstood me. I didn’t mean it like that. I’m praying to You, I don’t feel negative, and other people can think what they like.” Some talk about doctrines, and others compete over who listens to more sermons, who remembers the most hymn lyrics or God’s words, who spends the most time praying, who is the most eloquent, or who has the most varied ways to pray, and engages in many different types of prayer. Is this prayer? (No, it isn’t.) What is it? It’s unscrupulously doing evil! It’s toying with and trampling on the truth, dishonoring and blaspheming God! These devils and disbelievers dare say anything through prayer—tell Me, are they true believers? Do they have any piety at all? (No, they don’t.) People like this become negative when their status as a leader is removed, they do not reflect on themselves at all, but complain everywhere: “I suffered so much in my work for God, yet they still said I did no actual work and that I was a false leader, and replaced me. What’s more, how many people can speak about doctrines as comprehensively as I can? How many have my compassion? I gave up my family and career, and spent every day in the church gathering with my brothers and sisters, speaking for three or five days at a time. How could they replace me just like that?” They are uncompliant and harbor complaints. There are also those who spread the assertion: “Don’t be a leader in God’s house. If you get selected as a leader, you’re in for trouble, and once you are replaced you won’t even have the chance to be an ordinary believer.” What are these words? They are the most absurd and ridiculous words, and it can also be said that they are words of noncompliance, dissatisfaction, and blasphemy against God. Isn’t that the meaning of those words? (Yes, it is.) What is contained within those words? An attack—those words are not an ordinary judgment! These people don’t say that they were replaced for running amok doing evil and failing to do any actual work, but complain that God was unfair to them, that He didn’t take their pride into account in His actions, and that He didn’t understand how they felt and their emotional investment. Their mentality is that of a nonbeliever, they are completely devoid of the truth realities!

How long do you usually pray during gatherings? Does it take up too much of everyone’s time? Do your prayers ever annoy people? Some people take a lot of time praying, and everyone feels fed up listening to them, yet these people still think they’re the most spiritual, and believe this is what they’ve gained and accomplished over their many years of believing in God. They don’t get tired even after praying for a couple hours, during which they just repeat the same old, irrelevant stuff, talking about all those words and doctrines, and slogans that they know, or things they have heard from others, or things they have made up. They do this no matter if everyone is fed up or not and regardless of whether they like it or not. Is this how you pray? Tell Me, is it right to pray briefly, or at length? (There is no right or wrong.) That’s right. You can’t pass a verdict on which of these is right or wrong, you should just pray to God according to the needs of your heart. Sometimes prayer doesn’t require any ceremony, while sometimes it does; it depends on the environment and what’s happened. If you think a prayer may take a while, then pray to God privately about your personal matters. Don’t pray about all that in the gatherings and take up everyone’s time. This is called reason. For the sake of their pride and reputation, some people don’t pay this any mind. That is being ignorant and lacking in reason. Do people who lack reason have any shame? They aren’t even aware that everyone is averse to watching them pray. Can people who don’t even have this little bit of perception or awareness comprehend the truth? They cannot. The truth principles God requires man to put into practice are all in His words, and all the words God fellowships on regarding the practice of the truth contain and are principles, people just need to carefully ponder on them. There are so many principles in God’s words about putting the truth into practice; there are principles and paths for how to practice in all sorts of matters, situations, and contexts, the key thing is whether or not you have spiritual understanding, and possess comprehension ability. If someone has this comprehension ability, then they can understand the truth. But if they don’t, all they’ll comprehend are regulations, no matter how detailed God’s words are, and this is not understanding the truth. God, therefore, gives you a principle so you can adapt it to different circumstances. Through listening to His words and coming to know Him, through various experiences and through fellowship, as well as the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, you will come to understand one aspect of the principles by which He speaks, and His required standards in one matter. Then you will have understood that aspect of the truth. If God had to explain everything in detail, and tell people how to act in this matter or that matter, then the principles He speaks of would be useless. If God used this method, and told mankind regulations for one thing after another, what would people ultimately gain? Just some practices and behaviors. They’d never understand God’s intentions or His words. If people don’t understand God’s words, then they’ll never be able to understand the truth. Isn’t this how it is? (Yes, it is.) Are you able to understand the truth? Most people cannot, and it’s only the few who have spiritual understanding and love the truth that can really achieve this. So, what are the preconditions for those who are able to achieve this? They can achieve it if they have spiritual understanding, have comprehension ability, sincerely pursue, and love the truth and positive things. When it comes to those remaining who cannot achieve it, in one respect, it’s due to problems with their caliber or comprehension, and in another, it’s an issue of time. It’s like people in their 20s—if you ask them to achieve what someone in their 50s could and should achieve, isn’t this forcing them to do something that’s beyond their abilities? (Yes, it is.) Now have a think, what is a person’s ability to comprehend the truth related to? (Their caliber.) It’s related to their caliber. What else? (Whether or not they pursue the truth.) It has a certain relationship to their pursuit. Some people are actually adequate in terms of their apprehension, speed of mind, and IQ, and can understand the truth, but they don’t love or pursue the truth. They don’t feel anything toward the truth in their hearts, and they don’t make any effort in this respect. To people like this, the truth will always be something hazy and unrecognizable, and no matter how many years they believe in God, it will be of no use.

Well, I’ve finished telling My stories. Can the plot and content of these stories help you to understand some truths? (Yes.) Why do I tell these stories? Would it be necessary to tell these stories if they were out of touch with people’s living conditions, the dispositions they reveal, and their thoughts in real life? (No.) It wouldn’t be necessary. The things we’ve discussed are all common phenomena and states people often reveal in their life, and they are related to human dispositions, views, and thoughts. If, after listening to these stories, you think that they’re just stories, that they’re a little humorous and mildly interesting but that’s it, and you’re unable to understand the truths in them, then they’ll be of no use to you. You must understand some truths from these stories—this will at least have a corrective effect on your behavior, particularly your views on certain things, and enable you to turn back from your distorted methods of understanding, and possess a pure understanding of these kinds of things. This isn’t just to change your behavior, but to solve, from the root, these states that are created by corrupt dispositions. Do you understand? Now, let’s fellowship on the main topic.

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

IV. A Dissection of Antichrists’ Pretending to be the Embodiment of the Truth Once They Have Acquired a Bit of Experience and Knowledge

Last time, we fellowshipped on the eighth item of the manifestations of antichrists—they have others submit only to them, not the truth or God. Item eight is divided into four sub-topics in total. We have finished fellowshipping on the first three sub-topics, so what is the fourth? (Antichrists pretend to be the embodiment of the truth once they have acquired some experience, knowledge, and lessons.) This is the fourth sub-topic of item eight. Of course, this also involves an aspect of the manifestations of item eight’s subject—they are related. What is this subject? That they have others submit only to them, not the truth or God. Let’s split this sub-topic up and talk about it bit by bit. What, respectively, are experience, knowledge, and lessons? What kind of people possess them? What kind of people like to equip themselves with them? What kind of people emphasize equipping themselves with these things rather than the truth? What kind of people regard these things as the truth? First, one thing is certain: No matter the caliber of these people, and no matter what their perception is like, they have a great love for knowledge, and their love for knowledge surpasses their love for the truth reality. The goal and direction they pursue in their belief in God is to gain some so-called experience and knowledge. They want to use this knowledge and experience to arm and package themselves so that they become more tasteful, more stylish, more cultivated, and more able to be esteemed and worshiped. With this knowledge and experience, they think that their life is more valuable, more fulfilling, and more filled with self-assurance. In their view, they believe in God to equip themselves with this knowledge, and with sayings that relate to theology and to various aspects of common sense, knowledge, and lessons. They believe that by equipping themselves with these things, they can occupy a place in God’s house and in this group of people. Therefore, what they think about, worship, and follow in their hearts every day is all related to knowledge, experience, and so on.

Let’s first take a look at what kinds of knowledge, experience, and lessons there are, as well as which of these kinds can be called pretending to be the embodiment of the truth. First, it can be said with certainty that these things have nothing to do with the truth, are not in line with the truth, and run counter to the truth. These may be things that are right according to people’s notions, things that, according to their notions, are positive and beautiful and good. But in fact, in God’s eyes, these things are not related to the truth, and these things are even basically the source of people’s condemnation of the truth, the root and source of people’s resistance to God and their notions about Him. Experience, knowledge, and lessons—is there a difference in age and gender among those who acquire these things? (No, there isn’t.) There most likely isn’t. Some people have gifts. What are gifts? For example, after some people listen to a theory or saying and comprehend the core or basic concepts of such a theory, their mind reacts very quickly. They immediately know how to explain such a theory or saying and how to turn it into their own language which they use to speak with other people. After listening to these things, they quickly remember them; this falls short of them being highly perceptive, they merely have an excellent memory, which is a kind of special gift. Is there anyone who possesses a gift like this? (Yes.) There are people like this who, after you say one thing, can immediately use that thing to make inferences about something else. They can, when presented with information about one aspect of a subject, apply it to other areas. They are very good at using the subject that’s under discussion to put forward their own ideas. They are very good when it comes to logical and linguistic things like external matters and theories. That is to say, they excel at playing word games and using theories to draw in and convince others. There are some people with this kind of gift. They are very eloquent, with extremely agile thinking and reactions. On hearing an aspect of the truth, with their petty cleverness and gifts, they understand this aspect of the truth as a type of knowledge and learning, and then use this sort of learning to fellowship with others and do the so-called work of watering and shepherding. What effect does this have on people? Are there any good results? (No, there aren’t.) Why is this? (It’s not practical, and people have no path to practice when they hear it.) After listening to what these people have said, others think that everything they said is right, that there is not a word wrong and not a word that goes against the principles—all of it is correct. But, when putting them into practice, they feel that these words are empty, that there is no goal or direction when practicing, and that these words cannot be used as principles of practice. So, what are these words? (Doctrines.) They are a kind of doctrine, a kind of knowledge. Such manifestations of antichrists are very evident and prominent. They regard the truth as knowledge, as something academic, as theory. While only half understanding things, they always demand that others do this or that. When others do not understand and ask them to explain in detail, antichrists cannot explain clearly and instead respond in a rebuttal: “You do not love the truth. If you loved the truth, you would be able to understand what I say and have a path to practice.” Upon hearing this, some who are muddled and lacking in discernment think, “That’s right. If I really loved the truth, I would be able to understand their words.” People who have no discernment feel that what this person is saying is right—that they don’t understand the truth. They place the responsibility on themselves and are thus misled by antichrists into losing their bearings.

Let’s now talk about experience. Experience is a method that has been summed up over a long period of going through things. Do people who have worked for two days have any experience? (They do not.) Then those who have worked for 10 or 20 years certainly have experience. Some people feel that they have experience from working for many years, that when it comes to what they should do when certain matters befall them, how to deal with certain types of people, and what kinds of doctrines they should speak to which kinds of people, they know it all. As a result, when one day something new happens that they do not know about, they flip through the records of their past 20 years of work, ponder on them, and then indiscriminately apply these past sayings and practices. When they act in this way, those who do not understand the truth still think that what they are doing is in line with the truth, while those who understand the truth look and say, “This person is acting blindly. They have no principles in their work; they rely entirely on experience and do not understand God’s intention, nor do they understand how to act in a way that safeguards the interests of God’s house and conforms to the principles of God’s house on how to treat people. They are applying regulations blindly.” There’s a problem here. If the average person has only worked for a short time, they may not have the capital to say, “I have experience; I am not afraid. I have worked for so many years. What type of person have I not seen, and what matters have I not dealt with?” But these people dare to say this. Even if you have dealt with a lot of things and more than a few different types of people, can you guarantee that you are acting in accordance with the truth principles in dealing with every matter and when approaching every person? In actuality, this is not something you dare to guarantee. But for those who regard experience and routine as the truth, if anyone raises an objection to them, they say: “I’ve been working for so many years. I’ve crossed more bridges than you’ve walked paths, yet you still dare to disagree with me? Go home and pray, why don’t you!” In front of them, no one dares to say the word “no,” put forward different opinions, or voice a word of dissent. What is this behavior? This is regarding experience as the truth and believing oneself to be the embodiment of the truth. Some say: “I don’t regard myself as the embodiment of the truth—who would dare to bear such a title? Only God is the truth. I have never acted like that, nor have I ever thought as such.” Subjectively, you do not think in that way, nor do you intend to act like that. But objectively, your ways of doing things, your behavior, and the essence of your actions ultimately characterize you as one who regards themselves as the embodiment of the truth. Why do you get people to obey your suggestions to the letter? If you don’t regard yourself as God and are just an ordinary person, are you qualified to make others obey you? (No, I am not.) There is one circumstance in which people can obey you, which is if you understand the truth—if you are a person who understands the truth. But then again, even if you are a person who understands the truth, you are still just an ordinary person, and can an ordinary person be the embodiment of the truth? (No, they cannot.) If one can figure out all of the words that God has spoken and all the truths that God requires man to understand, can that person become the embodiment of the truth? (No, they cannot.) Some say: “That may be because they have not been perfected. Peter was a perfected man. Could Peter be called the embodiment of the truth?” Being perfected does not make one the embodiment of the truth, and do you know why? (There is a difference in essence.) There is a difference in essence; this is one aspect of it. Whether man can become the embodiment of the truth—this is a matter we must discuss. Why is it said that man cannot possibly be the embodiment of the truth? Is the embodiment of the truth merely a question of essence? Some people say: “Man is born as a created being, and the One in heaven is inherently the Creator. We don’t need to argue about this matter—God will always be the embodiment of the truth. Then is it because Christ understands the truth and has the truth that He is the embodiment of the truth? If we have gained all of the truths from God, can we also be called the embodiment of the truth?” Others say: “You cannot. I used to think that when people understood more of the truths, they could become Christ and become God. Now I know that this essence is irreplaceable and unchangeable.” Their understanding has reached this point. So, are you capable of understanding this matter even further? You should understand this matter as soon as I’m done fellowshipping with you. When we speak of the embodiment of the truth, just what is this “embodiment”? This term is a bit abstract, so let’s put it in the simplest terms. God Himself is the truth, and He possesses all the truths. God is the source of the truth. Every positive thing and every truth come from God. He can pass judgment on the rightness and wrongness of all things and all events; He can pass judgment on things that have happened, things that are happening now, and future things yet unknown to man. God is the only Judge who can pass judgment on the rightness and wrongness of all things, and this means the rightness and wrongness of all things can only be judged by God. He knows the criteria for all things. He can express truths at any time and place. God is the embodiment of the truth, which means that He Himself is possessed of the essence of the truth. Even if man understands many truths and is perfected by God, would they then have anything to do with the embodiment of the truth? No. This is a certainty. When man is made perfect, regarding God’s current work and the various standards God requires of man, they will have accurate judgment and methods of practice, and they will fully understand God’s intentions. They can differentiate between what comes from God and what comes from man, between what is right and what is wrong. Yet there are some things which remain unattainable and unclear to man, things which they can only know after God tells them. Could man know or predict things yet unknown, things that God has not yet told them? Absolutely not. Moreover, even if man obtained the truth from God, possessed the truth reality, and knew the essence of many truths, and had the ability to discern right from wrong, would they have the ability to control and govern all things? They would not have this ability. That is the difference between God and man. Created beings can only ever obtain the truth from the source of the truth. Can they obtain the truth from man? Is man the truth? Can man provide the truth? They cannot, and therein lies the difference. You can only receive the truth, not provide it. Can you be called a person that possesses the truth? Can you be called the embodiment of the truth? Absolutely not! What exactly is the essence of the embodiment of the truth? It is the source that provides the truth, the source of governance and sovereignty over all things, and it is also the sole criterion and standard by which all things and all events are judged. This is the embodiment of the truth. Antichrists often refuse to accept this point. They believe that knowledge is strength, that experience is a weapon for people to equip themselves with to become powerful, and that when people have experience, knowledge, and these lessons, they can control everything. They can control people’s fates, control and sway people’s thoughts, and even sway people’s behavior. Or, some people will think that these things can instruct people, change people’s minds, and change people’s dispositions. What kind of thoughts are these? (The thoughts of antichrists.) These are the thoughts of antichrists. Why can God hold sovereignty over mankind’s fate? God is the reality of all positive things, and His words are the reality of all positive things. What is the essence of God? His essence is the truth, and that is why He is able to hold sovereignty over mankind’s fate. Antichrists do not see or recognize this point, let alone accept it. They regard as the truth those things that come from people, from knowledge, and from society and that are esteemed by evil mankind, and they attempt to use these things to mislead people, control people, and gain a place in the church and among God’s chosen people. What is the purpose of them misleading people? What is their purpose in studying and equipping themselves with these things? It is to make people obey them and listen to their words. What is their purpose in getting people to listen to their words? (To control them.) That’s right, their purpose is to control them. This means that when they utter some words, people will comply with and be manipulated by them, becoming their tools and their slaves. Because people accept their viewpoints and accept their so-called experience, knowledge, and lessons, these people then worship them. Does worshiping them not mean listening to them? (Yes, it does.) Does listening to them not mean that these people can be easily manipulated? Have the antichrists not succeeded? (Yes, they have.) Once someone listens to them, does this not mean they have been taken away from God? (Yes, it does.) This makes the antichrists happy; this is their purpose. Actually, deep in their hearts, they don’t necessarily believe unequivocally that they are the embodiment of the truth and that they are the truth, but they do think like that and act like that. Why do they think and act like this? They believe that their knowledge, experience, and all that has come from their gifts are right, and they want to use these things to control people and grasp people firmly in their hands. Some of their knowledge, experience, and lessons are obviously devilish words meant to trick people. Some, although not obvious, have schemes, cunning plots, and conspiracies hidden inside, and those who cannot see through them will be misled. What are the consequences of being misled? People grow far away from God and no longer understand the truth, regarding human knowledge, experience, and lessons as the truth and putting aside God’s words. People become very hazy about God’s words, but they care very much about and hold in esteem this knowledge and experience, even putting effort into practicing and implementing them. This is the purpose of antichrists’ actions. If they did not have such ambition to manipulate people, control people, and make them obedient, would they equip themselves with these things? They would not put any effort toward it. They have a goal; their sense of purpose is very clear. What is this clear purpose? (To control people.) It is to control people. Regardless of whether they control a whole group of people or only a portion of them, would they be able to control anyone without a theoretical basis? They must first find a set of thoughts and theories that are most in line with people’s notions and imaginings and most suited for people’s tastes, and use every means possible to spread them among people. This means brainwashing people, doing psychological work on them, constantly indoctrinating them, and constantly making people listen to, familiarize themselves with, and accept these thoughts and viewpoints. In fact, people are being passively indoctrinated and passively brainwashed, and they unconsciously accept these views. Because people do not have the inner ability to distinguish right from wrong, before understanding the truth, they have no ability to resist these things—they have no antibody for this. When people accept these fallacious views, they are quickly captured by them. What is meant by “captured”? It means that after accepting these views, people become increasingly dead set on believing that these things are right and constantly use these views to convince themselves and others. They have been misled and controlled, and this is how Satan achieves its goal when misleading people.

Some who have learned some special professional skills in the world, or those who have a certain social status in society, have a common thought after coming to God’s house, which gives rise to a common manifestation in them. What is this thought? They consider themselves as the elite in society. What are the elite? They are people who stand out in groups. They have received some special higher education, and their talents, caliber, and gifts are a cut above the rest. What does it mean to be a cut above the rest? It means that among a group of people, they have outstanding thinking, intelligence, and eloquence, and they have a special ability to understand certain things and skills. This is called being a cut above the rest, and these people are known as elites in society. Every country cultivates this kind of person. What is the purpose of their cultivation? To make the country develop faster. When such people devote themselves to various positions, development speeds up in all walks of life. Is the status of such people in society high or low? (High.) They definitely do not have an ordinary status. They have some special talents, have learned some special knowledge, and have received some special education. Their caliber, talents, and learned knowledge are higher than those of ordinary people. If these people come to the church, what is their mentality? What is their first thought? First, they think: “Even a scrawny camel is bigger than a horse. Although after believing in God, I do not pursue the world or enjoy renown there, given the special education I have received, as well as the knowledge I have learned and the talents I am equipped with, I should be a leader among you. In God’s house, I should be a mainstay and a pillar. I should be one who leads and guides.” Is this not how they think? What is this thinking based on? If they were a lowly farmer, would they dare to think like this? (They would not.) Why not? (They don’t have the capital.) They don’t have the capital to think like this. So, what kind of people can think this way? They are all people with certain knowledge, talents, gifts, and so-called caliber. When they come to God’s house, they think: “I no longer pursue the world. The world is too evil, so I will come to God’s house and pursue there instead. In God’s house, I can at least gain the position of a leader or a worker.” Do they harbor good intentions? (They do not.) Why do they not harbor good intentions? The things they have learned and their social status harm them terribly. If they do not pursue the truth, they will never come down from such a position in their lives. They will always feel that they are high in the clouds, but in fact, from God’s point of view, they are no different from any ordinary created being. They will always place themselves high up in the clouds. Is this not dangerous? If they fall, they will fall harshly, and their life may be in danger! Why do such people feel that they should have a high status, should be worshiped, should have many people revolve around them, should be consulted on everything and have their opinions listened to, and should be thought of and put first in everything? Why do they think of so many “shoulds”? Because they attach great importance to their social status, knowledge, and the special things that they have learned. They think, “No matter how much or how high the truth is spoken, these things of mine are still valuable; they are more valuable than the truth and cannot be replaced by the truth. In society, I am the boss of a company. I manage thousands of people. With a wave of my arms, everyone has to listen to me. I have such great power—so just think of what kind of position and status I hold! Among these little people in God’s house, how many are higher than me? When I look around, I don’t see many special people. If I were to manage them, it wouldn’t be a problem; it wouldn’t be a big deal!” Suppose that you tell them: “Okay. It’s good that you have this ambition. I’ll satisfy your desire, I will recommend you as a church leader. You bring these people before God so that they know how to read God’s words and put the truth into practice, and you prop up the weak, the negative, and those who do not do their duty.” They will say: “That’s easy. When I was in business, I did all of that psychological work. This is something that I’m good at.” What happens after more than thirty people in a church are placed in their hands? In less than two months, those who were weak become weaker, those who were negative become more negative, and those who spread the gospel cannot gain people. Those who do not know how to read God’s word become drowsy as soon as it’s time for a gathering and no longer even want to listen to sermons from the Above. When asked: “Aren’t you quite capable?” they say: “Yes, I was a boss. My capabilities are obvious!” Whatever kind of boss you are in the world, it is useless. If you do not understand the truth, then you are a layman in doing church work. If these people are allowed to take charge of the gospel work, they will only engage in useless and superficial formalities, they will not get any results, and a church with dozens of people will not be watered well. What is going on here? Such knowledgeable people were once corporate bosses and executives in society, so why can’t they exhibit their skills when they come to God’s house? (The Holy Spirit does not preserve them.) That the Holy Spirit does not preserve them is one aspect, but what is the main reason? They don’t understand the truth, so when it comes to people’s states, people’s corrupt dispositions, God’s requirements for man, God’s words that expose man, and the way God speaks, they lack spiritual understanding and cannot see through to what is going on with these things, and they just act in a blind and superficial way. They think that church work is like running a business in the world, and that as long as they inspire people’s minds, and stir up their enthusiasm, then they will have done a good job. They think that they should, in one respect, do psychological work, and in another, make good use of their established ways of dealing with things in the world, trying to bribe those above them and buy those below them. They believe that as long as you make sure that people get money, then they will listen to and follow you—they think that it’s just that simple. Outside things do not involve the truth. In believing in God, everything one does involves the truth and changes in disposition. Will using the same methods as they did in the world work? (No.) It won’t work. When it comes to how to deal with people’s states, how to deal with people’s weaknesses, how to support people well, how to deal with people’s notions about God, how to make people know themselves when they reveal their corrupt dispositions, and how to get people to be honest, they are clueless and even talk nonsense and impose regulations blindly. For example, if someone says something that is amateurish and lacking in spiritual understanding, they will say that this person is of poor caliber and does not pursue the truth. They just blindly apply regulations, and they do so in this way and that until others have no road forward, disturbing them and making them unmotivated. Those who do their duty no longer have any energy for it, while those who are negative become even more negative. Some people say that it would be better for them to read God’s words at home if such a person leads their church. What caused this? When they lead a church, they cause people to become unmotivated, making them no longer want to believe in God. Why don’t people want to believe? Because people originally had a little clear vision, but this person’s actions disturb and confuse them. There weren’t any truths in these people’s hearts to begin with—only understanding of doctrines. After they are disturbed by this person, they become even more muddleheaded, and they can no longer grasp the work of the Holy Spirit. The existence of God Himself also becomes a little unclear. So, what kind of methods do they use to bring people to this point? For example, is the statement “Man was created by God” truth? (Yes.) You must use your real insights, understanding, and experience to prove this statement so that the brothers and sisters can more firmly believe that this statement is the truth and right and be convinced that mankind came from God, thus increasing their faith in God. Once a person has faith in God, when they accept discipline or suffer some hardship or persecution, they will have strength in their hearts. This is a fact. But what do these people say? “There is a TV program that says that it’s been discovered that humans lived in tribes 100 million years ago.” When they show off their knowledge and talk about history like this, everyone who hears them is confused: “Isn’t it said that man was created by God? When you put it that way, it doesn’t sound like it. Did man come from apes?” Look, where have they taken people? Is this not harming people? (It is.) Whenever they have a chance, they show off their knowledge and talk about history, philosophy, and how they deal and collude with government officials in the world, just showing off these things. When they show off like this, and when some brothers and sisters who are young in stature, weak, and whose faith is small, hear these things, where do their hearts go? (Running toward the world.) That’s right. What does this equate to? These people who were entrusted to them are forfeited by them. They are obviously a layman. Not only do they not understand the matters of life entry, but they also don’t understand what their job is, let alone spiritual matters in life or changes in disposition. They don’t understand any of this, yet they still pretend to be one that understands the truth and want to be a shepherd to lead God’s chosen people. Is this not absurd? If you don’t understand spiritual matters in life, what should you do when chosen as a leader? You say: “I am a layman, and I have never led a church. I have to seek and see what the work arrangements stipulate about this, and find people who understand this to fellowship with on how work should be carried out, or find brothers and sisters who understand the truth and coordinate with them.” Is this the right attitude? (It is.) But some people don’t do this. They put on airs and say, “You want me to coordinate with others—who has more senior qualifications than me? Who has a higher social status than me? I am quite renowned in society. Anyone who meets me needs to pay a bit of respect.” They just brag and show off their capabilities like this. When they lead a church like this, do the brothers and sisters still have hope of entering into the truth reality? (They do not.) They don’t. And even though this is the case, these people still make others report everything to them. These devils went to university for a bit, and they possess a bit of knowledge, and consequently they dare to swagger and swindle in secular society, and to do all manner of bad things. They have some means of survival, so they want to come to God’s house to achieve something. In order to obtain status and bring glory to their ancestors, they even want to pretend to be the embodiment of the truth so that God’s chosen people will listen to and follow them. What does “the embodiment of the truth” mean to them? It means, “Every one of my thoughts, approaches, and opinions, you all must uphold them as the truth. I have set a rule for you: All bills, even those that are under five dollars, must be reported to me.” Others say: “There should be no need to report five dollars. We also have a scope of authority. Can we not just act according to principle?” What do they think? “How could that be okay? This is a big deal. I am the leader. I alone have the final say!” Though they don’t say it, this is how they think in their hearts. This is how they control people. They can do anything that is bad or deceives others. When they deceive and harm others, they do not blink, their hearts don’t skip a beat, and they do not feel uneasy inside at all. When given a position in God’s house, they dare to take it. Once they take it, they don’t want to step down and wish to pretend to be the embodiment of the truth to make others obey. Do such people exist? (They do.)

There are some people who, although they believe in God, do not willingly and gladly exert themselves for Him, instead performing their duty reluctantly. They only think about laboring to receive blessings but are not willing to strive toward the truth. When performing their duties, they often act perfunctorily and aren’t meticulous, and they are satisfied with just achieving some results so they are not cleared out. But regardless of whether people truly believe in Him and expend themselves for Him, God gives people the opportunity to repent. God will not condemn you because you do not understand the truth or act perfunctorily when performing your duty. God will constantly scrutinize you to see whether you can accept the truth and whether you can truly repent and take the right life path. It depends on how you choose. Some people did not understand any truths when they started to perform their duties, but because they often listen to sermons and often gather and fellowship, they gradually come to understand the truth. Their hearts become brighter and brighter, and they see that they lack too much, have no truth at all, and have no principles in performing their duties, only doing some work according to their own wishes. They feel that performing their duties in this way is not in accordance with God’s intentions, and their hearts become remorseful. They start to strive toward the truth, and they achieve better and better results when performing their duties. Just like this, in one respect, they gain life entry, and in another respect, they gradually become qualified in performing their duties. This is a person who can accept the truth in performing their duties. As their understanding of the truth gradually becomes clearer, they can clearly see their own revelations of corruption. They can pray to God and rely on God in their hearts, be willing to cast away their corruption, put the truth into practice, and take the path of pursuing the truth. This is the gradual growth of life in the course of performing one’s duty. Those who follow God all come to understand the truth and enter into the truth reality in the course of performing their duties. If one does not love the truth, can there be such a change? Definitely not. Some people are particularly arrogant and conceited. When they come to God’s house, especially after doing their duty, the extent of this becomes apparent. With arms crossed over their chest, or their hands on their hips, they display defiance and dissatisfaction. Why are they so arrogant? In their hearts, they say: “In order to believe in God and do my duty, I have forsaken the world, my family, and my job. Is this price not high? I have forsaken so much for God. Shouldn’t God give me some compensation? In addition, according to my status and income in society, shouldn’t God’s house at least give me the same treatment? Now that I am performing my duty, can’t God give me some special favor? I am a special talent, much better than ordinary people. I should have status in God’s house. If others can lead, then I can also lead. My status should not be lower than others, and I should enjoy treatment higher than ordinary people. Most importantly, can God assure me that I will receive blessings and have a good destination in the future?” From the thoughts in their hearts, we can see that they have come to make a deal with God, not to sincerely expend themselves for Him. They think the same way that Paul did, wanting to do their duty in exchange for God’s blessings. But their reason is much worse than Paul’s—it is far inferior to Paul’s. Why do I say this? Because Paul indeed suffered much over the many years he spread the gospel, and the fruits of his spreading the gospel were much better than that of ordinary people. At the very least, his footsteps traveled through most of Europe; he established many churches throughout Europe. In this regard, ordinary antichrists cannot compare to Paul’s reason or how much he labored. But the person I just mentioned becomes incredibly arrogant after just doing their duty. Isn’t that too lacking in reason? They are utterly unreasonable, and like a bandit, they cannot let go once they seize the opportunity to receive blessings. Such people are always willfully looking for opportunities to step into the limelight in God’s house, even if it’s just becoming a team leader or a supervisor. In short, when coming to God’s house, they are unwilling to be an ordinary follower. No matter who can admit that they are an ordinary created being, that they are just an ordinary created being like all other living beings, they will never accept this viewpoint—they will never let themselves be wronged in this way. They believe they should have special treatment and that God should give them special grace and blessings. They also want to enjoy special benefits of status in God’s house. They do not allow God’s house to doubt their talents, and even less do they allow people to ask about their work—everyone must have absolute faith in them because they have forsaken everything for God and are absolutely loyal to Him. Is this not an unreasonable request? Does this person have any reason? How many of such people are there? What percentage of the church can it be? Such people always think that they have some abilities and talent, so they brag about how brilliant they are. So, what does this so-called talent mean? It means they can talk big, speak a lot of nonsense, change the way they speak depending on who they are speaking to, and have higher skills at deception than ordinary people. They believe that this is talent and ability, and they want to use this ability to swagger around and bluff. What does true talent mean? It means having special skills. When God created man, He gave various types of people different specialties. Some people are good at literature, some people are good at medicine, some people are good at studying skills, some people are good at scientific research, and so on. People’s specialties are given by God and are nothing to boast about. No matter what specialties one has, it does not mean that one understands the truth, and it certainly doesn’t mean that one possesses the truth reality. People have certain specialties, and if they believe in God, they should use these specialties to do their duties. This is acceptable to God. Boasting about a certain specialty or wanting to use it to make deals with God—this is too lacking in reason. God does not favor such people. Some people know a certain skill, and so when they come to God’s house, they feel that they are a cut above others, they want to enjoy special treatment, and they feel that they have an iron rice bowl for life. They regard this skill as a kind of capital—such arrogance! So, how should you view these gifts and specialties? If these things are useful in God’s house, then they are only tools for you to fulfill your duty. They have nothing to do with the truth. No matter how many you have, gifts and talents are only human specialties and have nothing to do with the truth. Your gifts and specialties do not mean that you understand the truth, and they certainly don’t mean that you possess the truth reality. If you use your gifts and specialties to do your duty and do your duty well, then they have been used in the right place, and their use is approved of by God. But if you use your gifts and specialties to show off, to testify for yourself, and to build an independent kingdom, then your sins will be great, and you will become a grave offender in resisting God. Gifts are given by God. If you cannot use them to do your duty and testify to God, then you would be too unconscionable and lacking in reason, and you would be so indebted to God—this is outrageous rebelliousness! But no matter how well you give play to your gifts and specialties, it does not mean that you have the truth reality. Practicing the truth and acting in a principled way means that you have the truth reality. Gifts and talents are always gifts and talents. They have nothing to do with the truth. No matter how many gifts and talents you have, and no matter how high your reputation or how high your status, it will never mean that you have the truth reality. Gifts and talents will never become the truth. They have nothing to do with the truth. But antichrists do not think this way, and it is precisely these things that they value greatly. For example, some people have acting talents. After playing the leading role in a movie shot in God’s house, they start to put on airs. Even three people helping them put on makeup is not enough to satisfy their needs. They used to be an ordinary person, but now that they believe in God, after doing their duty as an actor, they start putting on airs. Are they not courting death? I think they are doing just that! They aren’t special in appearance, and their acting skills are average. They are just suited for playing certain parts, so they are given another role—isn’t this exalting them? When given a chance to do their duty, they even put on airs. When acting, they order people around to serve them by bringing tea and pouring water, angering all brothers and sisters who saw. I said, “Cleanse them away!” And so the church cleansed them away. Should these people not be cleared out? They thought that the church could not make movies without them, so they dared to put on airs. They did not expect this consequence. This was driven by their nature. Such people cherish knowledge, talent, learning, and experience. They attach too much importance to these things, but they ignore the most precious thing—the truth. They do not realize that the truth reigns in God’s house. If they do not pursue the truth, no matter how high their knowledge or how great their eloquence, they will not be able to stand. Sooner or later, they will be revealed and eliminated. Is it easy for people to understand this bit of doctrine? Those who have believed in God for many years but can’t even see through to this are just muddleheaded people with no value at all. If they were a bit sensible, they would not be so arrogant. Such people are devils and Satans betraying themselves. Now, I directly pointed out this matter so that you can also understand it clearly; so that you can distinguish this matter a little and see it through. If I didn’t point it out clearly, would you be able to distinguish it like this? Would you be able to clear them out? People can’t see the problem, so I have to be straightforward. If I were not straightforward, the problem couldn’t be resolved. Relying on just the few doctrines that you understand, no problems can be resolved.

Antichrists always think of themselves as having special talents. They think that they are college graduates who are profoundly learned and who possess a wealth of knowledge. They greatly treasure and value their knowledge and the spiritual theories they learn, and even treat these things like the truth. Even more so, they frequently take this knowledge and experience which they believe to be correct, and use it to instruct, mislead, or condition those around them. In particular, they often speak of their “glorious” pasts, which they use to persuade and convince other people, and make them esteem and worship them. And what are these “glorious” pasts of theirs? Some of them will say: “I was once a lecturer at a university. All of my students were Masters or PhD students. Every time I gave a lecture, there wasn’t a single empty seat; each of the students sat in complete silence, looking upon me with adoration and admiration in their eyes. I wasn’t even nervous. How grand and impressive it all was! I was born with such talent and such nerve.” Others will say: “I learned to drive when I was 14 years old. I have now been driving for over 40 years and my driving skills are top-notch.” What do they mean by this? They mean: “You’ve only been driving for a few days. What do you know? A seasoned driver like myself has been driving for a lifetime. I have all manner of experience. In the future, you should ask me if there’s something you don’t understand. You must listen to what I have to say.” When they have some kind of skill, antichrists think themselves to be remarkable, they make themselves out to be mysterious, and they show themselves off and testify to themselves, making others esteem and worship them. When people of this sort have a bit of a strength or a gift, it makes them think that they are better than others, and aspire to lead them. When other people come to them for answers, antichrists lecture them from on high, and if those people still don’t understand afterward, they simply attribute it to them being poor of caliber, though in actuality, it is the antichrists themselves who haven’t provided a clear explanation. For instance, upon seeing that someone is unable to repair a faulty machine, an antichrist will say: “How can you still not know how to do this? Haven’t I already told you how to do it? I explained it so clearly, yet you’re still not getting it. You truly are of poor caliber. You fail to learn every time I teach you how to do this.” Yet when that person asks them to fix the machine, they will look at it for the longest time and also not know how to repair it, and they will even hide the fact that they don’t know how to fix it from that person. After sending that person away, the antichrist will secretly do research and try to figure out how to repair the machine, but they still won’t be able to fix it. They will end up taking the machine apart, making a complete mess, and being unable to put it back together again. Then, afraid of this being seen by the others, they will hide the pieces. Is it shameful to not know how to do some things? Is there anyone who can do everything? There’s nothing shameful in not knowing how to do some things. Do not forget that you are just an ordinary person. No one esteems you or worships you. An ordinary person is just that: an ordinary person. If you do not know how to do something, just say you do not know how to do it. Why would you try to disguise yourself? People will feel disgusted with you if you’re always disguising yourself. Sooner or later, you’ll give yourself away, and at that time, you’ll lose your dignity and your integrity. This is the disposition of an antichrist—they always think of themselves as jacks-of-all-trades, as someone who can do everything, who is capable and competent in all things. Won’t this get them into trouble? What would they do if they had an honest attitude? They would say: “I’m not proficient in this technical skill; I just have a little bit of experience. I’ve applied all that I know, but I do not understand these new problems we’re encountering. Therefore, we must learn some professional knowledge if we wish to do our duty well. Mastering professional knowledge will allow us to do our duty effectively. God entrusted this duty to us, so we have a responsibility to do it well. We should go and learn this professional knowledge based on an attitude of taking responsibility for our duty.” This is practicing the truth. A person with the disposition of an antichrist would not do this. If a person has a bit of reason, they will say: “I only know this much. You do not need to esteem me, and I do not need to put on airs—won’t that make things easier? It’s miserable to always be disguising ourselves. If there’s something we don’t know, we can learn it together and then work harmoniously to do our duty well. We must have a responsible attitude.” Upon seeing this, people would think, “This person is better than us; when a problem befalls them, they don’t blindly force themselves beyond their limits, nor do they pass it on to others, or shirk responsibility. Rather, they take it on themselves and approach it with a serious and responsible attitude. This is a good person who is serious and responsible toward their work and duty. They are trustworthy. God’s house was right to have entrusted them with this important task. God truly scrutinizes the depths of people’s hearts!” By doing their duty in this way, they would improve their skills and gain everyone’s approval. How does this approval come about? Firstly, they are approaching their duty with a serious and responsible attitude; secondly, they are able to be an honest person, and they have a practical and studious attitude; thirdly, it can’t be ruled out that they have the guidance and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. Such a person has God’s blessing; this is what someone with conscience and reason can achieve. Although they have corrupt dispositions, deficiencies, and shortcomings, and they do not know how to do many things, they are still on the right path of practice. They don’t disguise themselves or deceive; they have a serious and responsible attitude toward their duty, and a longing and pious attitude toward the truth. Antichrists will never be able to do these things because their way of thinking will always be different from those who love and pursue the truth. Why do they think differently? Because Satan’s nature lies within them; they live by the disposition of Satan in order to achieve their goal of assuming power. They always seek to use various means to engage in schemes and tricks, misleading people by hook or by crook into worshiping and following them. Therefore, in order to pull the wool over people’s eyes, they find all kinds of ways to disguise themselves, trick, lie, and deceive, to make others believe that they are right about everything, that they are capable at everything, and that they can do anything; that they are smarter than others, that they are wiser than others, that they understand more than others; that they’re better at everything than others, and that they are above others in every respect—even that they are the best of the best in any group. They have such a need; this is the disposition of antichrists. Thus, they learn to pretend to be something they are not, producing each of these various practices and manifestations.

Think about it: What disposition is possessed by people who like to pretend to be something they are not? What do they pretend to be? They do not pretend to be a devil or a negative figure; they pretend to be something lofty, good, beautiful, and kind, to be something that people esteem and admire—they pretend to be these things that people praise or approve of. They pretend to know and understand everything; they pretend to possess the truth, to be a positive figure, and to be the truth reality. Is this not seeking their own destruction? Do they have that reality? Do they have that essence? No. It is precisely because they do not that they are said to be pretending. So, would anyone say that they are the embodiment of the truth because they possess the truth reality? Does this statement hold water? (No, it does not.) Even if you possess some truth realities, you are by no means the embodiment of the truth. Therefore, anyone pretending to be the embodiment of the truth is an arrogant individual and an absurd type! A person who possesses only a tiny bit of the truth reality yet dares to pretend to be the embodiment of the truth is like a mere single drop of water claiming to be a vast, boundless sea. Is this not the height of arrogance? Isn’t this brazen shamelessness? For a person to pretend to be the embodiment of the truth, they must have the capital to do so. And what do antichrists use to pretend to be the embodiment of the truth? It’s those things that I just mentioned—knowledge, experience, and lessons. This includes the special skills and talents people acquire through learning as well as the gifts they are born with. Some people have a gift for speaking in tongues, while others have a gift or eloquence for preaching. Others have learned or mastered certain special professional skills. For example, some people are particularly outstanding in dance, music, fine arts, languages, or literature; while others are adept at politics, which means that they are especially good at manipulating people, that they excel at diplomacy, and so on. In short, this includes people with special talents from all walks of life. These people with special talents or gifts may not necessarily have a certain status or a set career in society. Some people live in small places, yet they can speak about a wide-range of matters from past to present clearly and logically, and in a particularly eloquent manner. If people with these special talents have the disposition of an antichrist, they will not be content with things as they are when they come to the house of God; they will harbor certain ambitions and desires, and they will gradually be revealed.

Regarding the item of antichrists pretending to be the embodiment of the truth once they have some experience, knowledge, or lessons under their belt, we’ve just discussed the scope of such knowledge, experience, and lessons. And what has been the focus of this discussion? (Pretending.) That’s right. The crux is antichrists pretending to be the embodiment of the truth. Knowledge, experience, lessons—none of these things are the truth; they have absolutely nothing to do with the truth. These things even go against the truth and are condemned by God. Take knowledge, for example, does history count as a form of knowledge? (Yes.) How did the knowledge and history books about human history, the history of certain countries or ethnic groups, modern history, ancient history, or even certain unofficial histories, come about? (They were written by people.) So, do the things written by people accord with true history? Aren’t people’s ideas and views at odds with the principles, ways, and means of God’s actions? Are these words spoken by man related to true history? (No.) There is no relation. Therefore, regardless of how accurate the records contained in history books are, they are only knowledge. Regardless of how eloquent those historians are, and how logically and clearly they narrate these histories, what is the conclusion you will arrive at after listening to them? (We will know of those events.) Yes, you will know of those events. But are they narrating these histories merely for the purpose of informing you about those events? They have a certain idea that they wish to indoctrinate you with. And what is the focus of their indoctrination? This is what we need to analyze and dissect. Let Me give an example so that you might understand what it is they wish to indoctrinate people with. After reviewing history from ancient times to the present, people have ultimately come up with a saying; they have observed a fact from human history, which is: “The winners take the crown, and the losers get nothing.” Is this knowledge? (Yes.) This knowledge comes from historical facts. Does this saying have anything to do with the ways and means by which God holds sovereignty over all things? (No.) In fact, it is the opposite; it contradicts and goes against them. So, you have been indoctrinated with this saying, and if you do not understand the truth, or if you are a nonbeliever, what might you think after hearing it? How would you perceive this saying? First of all, these historians or history books list all the events of this kind, using sufficient evidence and historical events to substantiate the accuracy of the saying. At first, you may have only learned this saying from a book, and merely know of the saying itself. You might only understand it on one level or to a certain extent until you become aware of these events. But once you hear these historical facts, your recognition and acknowledgment of the saying will deepen. You absolutely will not say, “Some things aren’t like that.” Instead, you will say, “That is how it is; looking at history from ancient times to the present, mankind has developed in this way—the winners take the crown, and the losers get nothing!” When you perceive the matter in such a way, what views and attitudes will you hold toward your comportment, your career, and your day-to-day life, as well as the people, events, and things around you? Will such a perception change your attitude? (Yes.) Above all else, it will. So, how will it change your attitude? Will it guide and change the direction of your life and your methods for worldly dealings? Perhaps you previously believed that “Harmony is a treasure; forbearance is brilliance” and “The good have peaceful lives.” Now, you will think, “Since ‘the winners take the crown, and the losers get nothing,’ if I want to become an official, I’ll have to carefully consider So-and-so. They’re not on my side, so I can’t promote them—even if they deserve to be promoted.” As you think about things in this way, your attitude will change—and it will change quickly. How will this change come about? It will be because you accepted the idea and viewpoint that “The winners take the crown, and the losers get nothing.” Hearing many facts will only further affirm the correctness of this view in real human life for you. You will deeply believe that you should apply this viewpoint to your own actions and comportment in order to pursue your future life and prospects. Will this idea and viewpoint not then have changed you? (Yes.) And while it is changing you, it will also be corrupting you. That’s how it is. Such knowledge changes and corrupts you. So, when looking at the root of this matter, regardless of how accurately these histories are laid out, they are ultimately summarized into this saying, and you are indoctrinated with this idea. Is this knowledge the embodiment of the truth or the logic of Satan? (The logic of Satan.) That’s correct. Have I explained this in enough detail? (Yes.) Now it’s clear. If you do not believe in God, you still won’t understand this even after two lifetimes—the more you live, the more you will feel that you are foolish, and think that you aren’t ruthless enough, and that you should be more ruthless, more cunning, more sinister, and a worse and more evil person. You will think to yourself: “If he can kill, then I must set fires. If he kills one person, then I must kill 10. If he kills without leaving a trace, then I will harm people without them knowing—I’ll even make their descendants thank me for three generations!” This is the influence that Satan’s philosophy, knowledge, experience, and lessons have wrought upon mankind. In reality, it’s just abuse and corruption. Therefore, no matter what kind of knowledge is being preached or propagated in this world, it will indoctrinate you with an idea or viewpoint. If you cannot discern this, you will be poisoned. All in all, one thing is certain now: It doesn’t matter if this knowledge comes from common folk or from official sources, whether it is revered by a minority or revered by the majority—none of it is relevant to the truth. The truth is the reality of all positive things. Its correctness is not determined by the number of people who acknowledge it. The reality of positive things is itself the truth. No one can change this, nor can anyone deny it. The truth will always be the truth.

Let us talk about the fact that God holds sovereignty over all things. Since God began leading mankind, He has also kept a history and an account. How does God view human history? What God wants people to see is the truth, and the evaluations and conclusions that people make about things aren’t the truth. But why do human beings not view history based on God’s words and the truth? Because human beings are averse to the truth, hate the truth, and do not accept any bit of the truth at all. That’s why they are able to come up with a set of specious, ridiculous, and absurd theories. For example, the Lord Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit. This is a positive thing. Yet, what does Satan say about it? Satan does not acknowledge the fact of the conception by the Holy Spirit, and even blasphemes that the Lord Jesus is a bastard, that He was born of man. Satan takes mankind’s dirtiest word, an expression that people scorn and despise, and applies it to the birth of the Lord Jesus. Is this not a distortion of the facts? (Yes.) The conception by the Holy Spirit is the work of God. And regardless of the form it takes, one thing is certain about God’s work: It is the truth, the immutable truth. So, why does Satan not accept such an obvious fact, a fact that was preordained and witnessed by God? Why does Satan ignore this and even describe the Lord Jesus as an illegitimate child who was born of man? (It hates the truth, it hates positive things.) It is deliberately discrediting God! Satan is most aware of this fact; it sees this perfectly clearly in the spiritual realm. So why does it do it? What is its motive, what is its intention? Why does it propagate such a statement? It’s deliberately vilifying and discrediting God. What is the purpose of it discrediting God? To make people believe that Jesus is an illegitimate child, find this disgraceful, and thereby not believe in Him. Satan thinks, “If people have no faith in You, then You won’t be able to complete Your work, will You?” In reality, the truth will always be the truth. Even if all of mankind had rejected it at the time, two thousand years later, the Lord Jesus ultimately has followers and people who praise Him all around the world, the cross is prominently displayed everywhere, and Satan has failed. Did Satan’s statement work? (No, it did not.) Therefore, it is not the truth; it does not hold up and discrediting Him is useless. Regardless of whether this thing that God did fits with people’s notions and imaginings, or whether it is contrary to the traditional culture, sayings, or moral ethics of humankind, God does not care. Why does God not care? What does this touch on? Since God holds sovereignty over everything, can these devilish words of Satan destroy God’s work? You can’t see through this, can you? (No.) Tell Me, isn’t everything in God’s hands? (Yes.) Could Satan’s devilish statement, just those few words, destroy God’s management plan? Is that possible? (No, it is not.) Satan wants to succeed, but can it do so? The truth will always be the truth. This is the power of the truth. The power of the truth is something that nobody—including Satan—can change. Even now, Satan continues to propagate that statement. Does it work? No, it does not. The work of the Age of Grace is over; the gospel of the Lord Jesus has been spread to the ends of the earth and the new work of judgment in the last days has been underway for many years. Satan has long since failed and been humiliated. So, is there any use now for Satan to be angry and frustrated? No, there is no use. Therefore, no matter the view, or how high the level of knowledge is, or the number of people among whom the view is applied and propagated, this is all of no use; it will not hold up. God’s work is unstoppable; even Satan cannot stop it. Do a few insignificant people really think they can stop God’s work? That’s delusional! Many of you grew up with these rumors, accepting Satan’s misleading views; your heads were filled with things like Satan’s logic, philosophies, knowledge, and science. And what happened then? When God’s words came to you, you still heard God’s voice and returned before God. Satan’s rumors and devilish words were useless. They did not stop God’s work from going forward in the slightest. God’s chosen people in all countries have begun to accept God’s work in the last days. Every day, they eat and drink God’s words, listen to sermons and fellowship. They do their duties for God and bear witness for Him. Satan ponders this, saying, “Why are my many misleading words not working? I have done so many things to suppress, arrest, and abuse God’s chosen people, why haven’t they had much effect at all? Why are the number of believers in God increasing instead?” Then it knows in its heart that God is truly almighty, after which it is thoroughly humiliated—hence the saying: “Satan will always be vanquished at God’s hands.” Is this a fact? (Yes.) It is indeed God’s words that can accomplish everything! Satan and all devil kings are rendering service to God. In God’s hands they are service objects and foils. Do these service objects and foils have anything to do with us? (No.) No, they do not. We just need to focus on believing in God, we have nothing to do with them. Whether they are kings or bandits, they belong to Satan and they will be destroyed. We need only to follow God with all our hearts, forever betraying Satan, and going only with God. This is the right thing to do.

I have given an example of knowledge and experience, so you ought to understand these things somewhat more accurately now. What is the purpose of fellowshipping about these things? In one respect, it is to enable you to use these facts and examples to discern antichrists, and also recognize this aspect of the disposition of antichrists in yourselves. In another respect, can’t this kind of discussion restrain some people from acting recklessly? (Yes.) In the past, certain people were prone to relying on experience and old-fashioned ways in the performance of their duty, and they clung to their own ways of doing things, so they disrupted and disturbed the work of God’s house, and they were consequently dealt with. They valued their outmoded practices and experience above all else, never considering the most important things: what God had said or required of people, or how to adhere to the truth principles. They also stubbornly clung to their outmoded practices, and furthermore used an absurd logic as a basis for this: “We’ve always done it this way,” “It’s always been done this way where we’re from. This is how our ancestors did it.” Why did they always emphasize things like this? This proved that they did not accept new things; that they did not accept the truth. They couldn’t see through to the clumsiness, backwardness, and ridiculousness of these outmoded ways. They were unaware that there are new ways of doing things, ways that are more advanced, more accurate, and more appropriate. They always stuck to their old-fashioned ways, relying on their old experience, thinking that they were quite advanced; that they were practicing the truth. Are these not absurd types? “It’s always been done this way where we’re from,” “The way I previously did it,” “We’ve always done it this way”—can these old ways, these archaisms replace the truth principles? Does doing things the old-fashioned way mean that someone is practicing the truth? Those people did not understand a thing, nor could they see through to anything. Aren’t they old fuddy-duddies clinging to the old ways and being stubborn? It is too difficult for people like this to accept the truth! Tell Me, regardless of whether something is new or old, how do you approach it? How do you deal with it? What is your basis for dealing with it? If everyone has only limited knowledge about something, how do you approach it in a manner that is right and in line with the principles? You must first ask someone with relative expertise in this field. As long as you find someone knowledgeable, you will have a path. If you cannot find someone knowledgeable, you can fully resolve the issue by going online to seek advice or look up information. And while you search, you still need to pray to God and look up to Him; let God open up a way forward. What do we call this? We call this the principles of practice. Some of you think to yourselves, “I’m a professional in this field with a wealth of experience. I’ve even received awards for doing this, so I have this capital. Since this work has been entrusted to me, I’m the person in charge. I have the authority to make decisions and everything is up to me. Everyone should follow my commands and obey me. Nothing anyone else says matters and anyone who disagrees with me should shut up!” Is this way of thinking correct? It is definitely not correct. Your attitude and the disposition you are revealing are problematic. In your hearts, you think that accepting this commission entitles you to wield power. You want to call the shots and no one else is allowed to have a say. It’s as though you do not need a work partner, or for everyone to express their opinions; everything goes according to what you say, it is all up to you. What kind of disposition is this? Is this not too arrogant and lacking in reason? This is the disposition of an antichrist. It may be that you are of slightly better caliber than others, you may have a bit of perception, and a bit of experience in this matter. However, there is one thing you need to be clear about: None of these things that you possess are the truth. If you believe yourselves to be of somewhat better caliber, to have some perception, some talent, and to possess some knowledge, and you regard these things as the truth, and believe yourselves to be the truth, and think that everyone must follow your commands and obey your arrangements, is this not the disposition of an antichrist? If you truly do things in this manner, then you are nothing less than an antichrist. What is wrong with you treating your gifts as the truth? The caliber, perception, talents, and knowledge you possess are not wrong. So, what are we dissecting here? What we are dissecting is your disposition—a corrupt disposition that you carry behind these things; an arrogant disposition, a self-righteous disposition. When you treat your gifts as the truth, you believe that you have the truth because you possess these gifts. You replace the truth with such gifts, so what kind of disposition is this? Is this not the disposition of an antichrist? Antichrists all treat their own thoughts, their own learning, gifts, and talents as the truth. They think that by possessing these gifts, they possess the truth. They therefore demand that others obey them, follow their commands, and obey their power. This is where antichrists go wrong. Do you truly possess the truth? You do not have a true understanding of God, nor do you have a God-fearing heart, even less are you someone who submits to God, and you do not possess the truth in the slightest, yet you are arrogant, conceited, and self-righteous, thinking you possess the truth, and that others should obey you and follow your commands. You are an authentic antichrist.

Gospel expansion work involves various projects that require people to study and learn different skills and professions; however, some people do not understand God’s intention and easily go astray. They only study professional knowledge and skills without accepting an iota of the truth. What kind of person is this? (A person with the disposition of an antichrist who focuses on gifts.) Correct. This is the type of person we are exposing; this type of person has the disposition of an antichrist and, in severe cases, they are an antichrist. They wish to use this opportunity to learn these things and then become the best of the best among all those who know this profession or skill, to become the most learned and proficient in this area so that others will rely on them for everything, and listen to them in the place of practicing the truth while they take on a leading role within this group. Therein lies the problem. What kind of people are like this? Those who only seek to study and equip themselves with all sorts of knowledge, learning, and experience; who rely on their caliber, talents, and gifts to do everything. Sooner or later, they will all walk such a path. This is inevitable. This is the path of Paul. Regardless of the area or field you are in, having a little more knowledge, experience, or lessons learned than others is not sufficient to demonstrate that you understand the truth or have entered the truth reality, and it certainly does not mean you have obtained the truth. So, what does sufficiently demonstrate this? Gaining a better understanding of the principles for doing this kind of duty, as well as the required standards of God’s house for doing this duty in the course of studying these professional skills. There are some people who become more resistant the more you try to get them to learn professional knowledge, and think it is impossible to do their duty, even saying, “Believing in God should be about disengaging from the world of nonbelievers, so why do we have to learn the skills and knowledge of nonbelievers?” They do not want to learn. This is slothfulness. They do not hold a responsible attitude toward their work, they lack loyalty, and they are unwilling to invest any effort into such a matter. The purpose of learning professional knowledge and skills is to do your duty well. There is a lot of knowledge and common sense you have yet to encounter that you need to learn. This is God’s requirement and commission to man. Therefore, learning these things will not be in vain; it is all for the sake of doing your duty well. Some people think that after learning such skills, they will be able to gain a foothold in God’s house. Doesn’t this way of thinking mean trouble? This outlook is wrong. Is there anyone who is capable of walking this path? The greater the power, the greater the scope of work, the greater the responsibility this kind of person is given, the more danger they are in. How does this danger arise? It is, of course, because they have corrupt dispositions, and the disposition of an antichrist. When doing things, they focus only on how to do the task and go through the motions. They do not seek the principles. They do not, through the process of doing their duty, come to understand God’s intentions, nor do they come to further understand or further grasp the truth principles. They do not seek the principles, nor do they examine or review the corruption they reveal, the incorrect views that arise in them, or the wrong states they fall into while doing their duty. They focus only on external practices, paying attention only to mastering and equipping themselves with the various kinds of knowledge required in their duty. They believe that, regardless of the line of work one is in, knowledge leads all; that they will become strong and establish themselves in a group if they possess knowledge; and that, no matter the group they are in, those with high levels of knowledge and advanced academic degrees have high status. For instance, in a hospital, the hospital director is generally the very best in all aspects of the profession and possesses the strongest technical skills, and such people think that this is also the case in God’s house. Is this way of understanding things correct? No, it is not. This goes against the saying: “The truth reigns in the house of God.” Such people believe that knowledge reigns in God’s house, that whoever has knowledge and experience, whoever has enough seniority and sufficient capital will be established in God’s house, and everyone must listen to them. Isn’t this viewpoint wrong? Some people may unconsciously think and act in this way; they pursue this, and maybe one day they’ll end up hitting a wall. Why might they hit a wall? Can a person who does not love or pursue the truth, who utterly ignores the truth, understand themselves? (No.) And while not understanding themselves, they have equipped themselves with a lot of knowledge, paid some prices for God’s house and made some contributions—what have they turned these into? They have turned them into capital. And for them, what is this capital? It is a record of their practice of the truth, evidence of them entering the truth reality and understanding the truth. This is what they have turned these things into. In the heart of every individual, understanding the truth and entering into the truth reality is regarded as a good and positive thing. Of course, this is true in the eyes of this kind of person as well. It is unfortunate, though, that they have mistaken knowledge for the truth. Yet, they still feel good about this mistake. This is a sign of danger. What kind of person would act this way? People who do not have spiritual understanding would all act this way, unwittingly embarking on the wrong path. And once they’re on it, you will be unable to pull them back. If you fellowship with them about the truth, point out their states, and expose them, they will not understand, they won’t be able to connect this to themselves. This is a serious lack of spiritual understanding. Such a person naturally treats their knowledge, experience, and lessons as the truth. And once they take these things as the truth, a certain situation will eventually arise. This is inevitable. Suppose God says one thing and this kind of person says another thing—their perspectives would surely be different. So, whose perspective would this kind of person consider correct? They will believe their own perspective to be correct. So, will they then be able to submit to God? (No.) What will they do? They will cling to their own perspective and deny what God has said. In doing this, aren’t they treating themselves as the embodiment of the truth? (Yes.) They think that, just like a Buddhist, they have finally achieved success in their self-cultivation; as they deny God, they make others treat them like God, and think that they have become the embodiment of the truth. How absurd that is! For example, say that someone is particularly proficient in a certain area of knowledge or line of work. Being a layman in this area, I ask them questions related to this field, but when I do so, they begin to show off. What kind of person is this? Tell Me, am I wrong to ask them questions? (No.) So, why do I ask them questions? Because some matters are related to work and professions, and since I do not understand them, I should ask someone else. Moreover, I know that they have experience and understand these matters. It is absolutely proper for Me to ask them questions. Is My intention and approach correct? (Yes.) There shouldn’t be anything wrong with this, right? So, what is the correct way in which that person should treat this matter? They should tell Me all that they understand. And then, how should they think about it? What is the right way to think about it? What is the wrong way? How would a normal, rational person think about it? How would someone with the disposition of an antichrist think about it? Some people, upon hearing that I do not understand, say, “Oh, You don’t understand! You don’t know how hard it was for us to do it! You don’t know this and You don’t understand it!” As they talk, they begin to show off. And what does this showing off signify? That there is a problem. These people are usually so refined and pious, but why do they suddenly start showing off? (They consider themselves to be the truth because they understand a bit of knowledge and have a bit of experience.) That’s right. Previously, when others asked them a question, they didn’t think it was a big deal. But when I ask them a question, they think, “Aren’t You the truth? Aren’t You supposed to understand everything? How could You not understand such a matter? If You do not understand this, then I am above You.” They want to show off a bit. Isn’t this what they are thinking? (Yes.) They don’t feel honored, instead a kind of satanic disposition bursts forth from them. Suddenly, they feel that they are so mighty between the earth and the heavens after all! Isn’t this a misperception? Aren’t these blockheads? (Yes.) I think so too. Only a blockhead would think this way. Don’t they just understand a bit about this field? There are a lot of things people don’t know; they should have a bit of self-awareness. Some people know a bit about fabrics and can pretty much tell the type of material just by touching it. If you compliment them by saying, “It looks like you know fabrics,” they will reply: “That’s right. You wouldn’t know this since you haven’t learned about it. I’ve learned about it, I’m more of an expert about it than you. I’m not looking down on you, you just really need to study more.” Isn’t this quite repulsive? Then there are people who do a bit of cooking and start to show off about how many dishes they can make and how many meals they can cook. Some people worked as barefoot doctors in the countryside for a bit. When their brother or sister comes down with a slight illness and asks them to give them a massage or perform acupuncture or cupping for them, and inquires if that can cure them, they respond: “Do you think this can be treated so easily? You don’t understand. Those of us in the medical profession all know that the human body is complex. There are mysteries to God’s creation of man. So, it depends on the circumstances whether acupuncture or cupping can be used.” In reality, they, too, know very little. They are unable to clearly explain any medical condition or treat many illnesses. However, for the sake of saving face, they still put on airs, pretend, and act like an expert. The manifestations of these different types of people show that corrupt humans all have the disposition of Satan and the disposition of an antichrist. Still, there are even more serious cases in which people disguise themselves and pretend to the very end. Regardless of whether others praise them, they harbor a dark thought deep within them. What is this thought? “I will never let anyone know my true identity and my true abilities.” For instance, if they are only a barefoot doctor, they always try to make others think they are a renowned doctor, never wanting anyone to know that they are a barefoot doctor, or whether or not they can actually treat illnesses. They are afraid of other people knowing the true nature of their situation. And to what extent do they wrap themselves up? To the extent that everyone who comes into contact with them thinks that they never make mistakes and that they are devoid of any shortcomings; that they’re proficient in everything they’ve learned and can do anything that others need. If others ask them whether or not they can cook, they will say they can. When asked if they can prepare a Manchu-Han banquet, though they think to themselves, “I can’t do that,” they will reply, “Yes!” when asked further. Yet, when asked to do it, they will come up with an excuse to decline. Is this not deception? They pretend to know everything, to be able to do everything, to be capable of anything—aren’t they a blockhead? But regardless of whether they are a blockhead or have a bit of caliber, some abilities, or gifts, what is the one thing antichrists have in common? It is their desire to pretend to understand everything, to pretend to be the truth. Though they do not directly claim to be the truth, they want to pretend that they’re the reality of all positive things, that they can do everything. Isn’t the implication, then, that they are the embodiment of the truth? They believe they are the embodiment of the truth, that everything they say is correct, that it is the truth.

There are some people who are assigned a special task by the Above. Upon learning of this, they think to themselves: “This task was entrusted to me by the Above, my power has therefore become greater. I will now have the opportunity to demonstrate my talents and power. I shall make those beneath see how formidable I am.” When interacting with the brothers and sisters, they order them about, saying: “Go and do this!” When asked how to do it, they say: “Are you going to do it or not? If not, I will sort you out! This is an order from the Above. Can you afford to offend them by holding it up? When the Above seeks accountability, who can afford to bear this responsibility?” The brothers and sisters respond: “We simply wish to figure this out and seek principles for doing it, rather than going about it haphazardly and applying any approach we see fit. Everything must be done according to principles. Regardless of the matter, or how urgent or important it may be; regardless of who entrusts it, adhering to principles is an immutable truth. This is our duty and we must be responsible. Seeking principles is what God requires of us. We are seeking and asking for clarification with a responsible attitude. There is nothing wrong with this. You need to clarify this matter for us.” Yet, they reply: “What is there to say about this matter? Can what the Above said be wrong? Hurry up and get it done!” To which the brothers and sisters respond: “Since the Above said so, we will certainly do it on the double. But can you tell us clearly how it should be done? Are there any specific rules or instructions?” They say: “Do as you see fit. The instructions from the Above were not that detailed. Figure it out yourselves!” What kind of a person is this? Let’s forget for the moment about their motive or root cause for doing this; instead, let’s first examine their disposition. Is this approach of theirs good? (No.) How could they have come up with such an approach? Is this a normal approach? (No, it is not.) It is not normal. Is this a problem with their mental state or their disposition? (A problem with their disposition.) That’s right, their disposition is problematic. There is an expression called “biding one’s time.” It means that in the past, they never had the right opportunity to build upon their power; yet, now that such an opportunity has presented itself, they will seize it and use it as a pretext to act. What kind of disposition is this? No matter the duty you receive from the Above, the principles of your actions cannot change. When the Above entrusts you with a job or task, it is merely a commission entrusted to you. It is also your duty to do it. However, after receiving a commission from the Above and taking on the job, can you then claim to be an ambassador plenipotentiary and expert on the truth? Do you now have the authority to command others and do as you wish? Are you allowed to simply follow your own inclinations, acting as you please according to your own preferences and in your own way? Is there any difference between the Above directly entrusting you to do something and doing your usual duty as you normally would? There is no difference; they are both your duty. Since both are your duty, have the principles for doing things changed? No, they have not. Therefore, regardless of whence you receive your duty, the essence and nature of your duty are the same. What do I mean by this? It means that you must act according to principles no matter the duty you are doing. It doesn’t mean that just because the Above directly entrusted you to do something, you can do it in any way you please, and that anything you do will be right and justified. Even if you have some abilities, can you deviate from the path of seeking the truth principles? You are still a corrupt human being. You haven’t become God; you are not in a special group. You are still you, and you will always be human. In the Bible, there are many people who were personally called upon by God: Moses, Noah, Abraham, Job and many others. There are also many people who have spoken with God; however, not one of these people believed themselves to be a special figure or a member of a special group. Among these people, some personally saw God appear in flames of fire, others heard God’s utterance with their own ears, some heard messengers convey God’s words, while still others personally received God’s trials. And was there anyone among them whom God viewed as being different from ordinary humans? (No.) No. God does not see it that way. But if you understand it that way and always view yourself as a special figure, what kind of disposition do you have? (The disposition of an antichrist.) It is indeed the disposition of an antichrist, which is terrifying! Even if God laid His hands upon your head and granted you the power to perform miracles backed by divine power or accomplish certain tasks, you would always remain human; you could not become the embodiment of the truth. What does this mean? It means you will never be entitled to use the name of God to go against the truth and act as you please, that is the behavior of the archangel. At times, God employs special methods or special channels to entrust certain people to do special things, to perform special work, or to convey special events or tasks. This is because God believes these people are capable of taking on such work, that they can complete the work God entrusted to them, that they are worthy of God’s trust—and nothing more. Even if they have personally been commissioned by God Himself, have heard the utterances from God’s mouth, or have spoken with God, they will not become anything different from an ordinary person; nor will they be elevated from being a common created being to a unique or higher created being. That will never happen. Therefore, in the midst of humankind, in the house of God, no matter how special certain things such as one’s talents, identity, status, experience, or lessons may be, they cannot be transformed into the embodiments of the truth. If someone so wantonly pretends to be such, then that person is undoubtedly an antichrist. Though some people occasionally reveal such a disposition, they can still accept the truth and repent. Such people have the disposition of an antichrist and walk the path of an antichrist; they still have hope of being saved. However, if someone consistently pretends to be the embodiment of the truth, continues to believe that they are correct, and refuses to repent, then they are a genuine antichrist. Anyone who is an antichrist will not accept an iota of the truth. Even if they are revealed and eliminated, they still cannot know themselves; nor can they be truly remorseful. Some leaders and workers only have the disposition of an antichrist. The principles by which they act and the paths that they choose are the same as an antichrist’s. They too lack rationality and do not understand the truth, are unaware of the nature and consequences of their actions, and act recklessly. However, what sets them apart is that some of them can still accept some of what I say. My words can still spur them on and serve as a warning to them. Although they have the disposition of an antichrist, they can still accept some of the truth; they can accept some pruning, they can be truly remorseful and repent to some extent. This distinguishes them from antichrists. These are people who only have the disposition of an antichrist. There is a commonality between having the nature essence of an antichrist and having the disposition of an antichrist. They are basically the same, with the common trait between an antichrist and someone with the disposition of an antichrist being that they both have an antichrist’s disposition. However, some of these people can accept the truth and show genuine remorse. Such a person is not an antichrist, but rather is someone with the disposition of an antichrist. This is the difference between an antichrist and those with the disposition of an antichrist. Anyone who cannot accept even a shred of the truth and lacks true remorse is a genuine antichrist. Anyone who can accept the truth and has true remorse is someone with the disposition of an antichrist and can be saved. You should be able to clearly discern between these two types of people and not make blind judgments. Which type are you? Some people may say, “Why do I feel as though I’m the same as an antichrist? There doesn’t seem to be any difference.” This feeling is accurate, there is no obvious difference. If you can accept the truth and show true remorse, then that is the only difference; it is also a difference in terms of humanity. That is, an antichrist is an evil person. A person with the disposition of an antichrist, on the other hand, is not an evil person; they just have a corrupt disposition. That is the only difference. There is no difference in their corrupt dispositions, they are all the same in this regard, this is a commonality they all share. The various conditions of corrupt humanity exposed by God’s words are completely accurate and do not deviate from reality in the slightest. When God’s chosen people read God’s words, they all feel the same way; they all share the same understanding, differing only in the depth of their experiences. They all recognize their own arrogance and lack of reason. They are all able to realize they have too many corrupt dispositions, that Satan’s corruption of humankind runs too deep, and that it is not easy for God to save humankind. Though so much has been said, there is still more to say. They all recognize that humankind is poor and pitiful, blind and ignorant. They are all aware that it is Satan who has corrupted humankind too deeply, that the root cause of humankind’s corruption and wickedness lies in Satan’s corruption and control of humankind. After being corrupted by Satan, humankind became tainted with Satan’s poison, thereby developing the disposition of Satan and losing the rationality, conscience, and reason of normal human beings. People lacked the ability to distinguish between right and wrong. If God had not established laws for humankind, people would not know whether it is right or wrong to hit or kill someone; or to steal or be promiscuous. They would believe their actions to be justified and that they should act in such a manner. However, after God promulgated laws and commandments, people became aware that doing these things was a sin; their rationality became a bit more normal. Of course, this was only the most superficial level of rationality, which would naturally become more profound once they understood the truth. Now, if people are able to further understand various truths, to know themselves, find their proper place, and accurately measure the extent of their own caliber, perception, and ability to comprehend the truth, and if they are also able to use the truth as a standard and rely on God’s words to figure out such things as which of the various attitudes that corrupt human beings hold toward God are positive and which are not, and which are notions and imaginings, and which accord with the truth, then their rationality will become even more normal. Therefore, only the truth can give people a new life. However, if you equip yourself with knowledge, emphasize certain practices, and always show off, always exhibit yourself, and always flaunt that little bit of obscure, insignificant knowledge or learning and do not pursue the truth, will you be able to obtain this new life? No, that would be delusional. Not only will you not obtain it, you will lose the opportunity for salvation, and that is very dangerous!

Each of you has listened to many sermons on the truth and you now more or less have some discernment toward various kinds of people. Although you can discern evil people and bad people, you still cannot discern false leaders and antichrists. Now, God’s house is gradually cleansing away from the church all those who do not accept the slightest bit of the truth, who still act recklessly and disturb and disrupt the work of God’s house. This shows that God’s work has reached this stage, and God’s chosen people are beginning to awaken. When I came into contact with certain people in the past, I always sensed there was a kind of “odor” emanating from them. What kind of odor? It was just like the odor of wild beasts and ferocious animals who would bristle their fur and howl before one even got close to them. Human beings also exhibit certain behaviors similar to animals. How do these behaviors come about? They come from the corrupt satanic dispositions that people possess. What do I mean by “odor”? I mean that you do not see sincerity when you look into their eyes; instead, you are met with a blank, wandering gaze. They feel they are unable to gauge you and so their eyes wander when looking at you. You cannot detect any candor in the words they speak either, because deep down they have none. What do I mean when I say they have no candor? I mean that no matter whom they interact with, there is a defensive barrier deep within them. You can perceive this defensive barrier by the look in their eyes, the tone of their voice, and their manner of speaking. It is the kind of odor they have; it gives one the feeling that though they have heard many sermons, they still do not understand the truth, nor have they embarked on the path of salvation. No matter how you fellowship with them about the truth or expose humankind’s corrupt disposition; no matter how sincerely you treat them, provide for them, shepherd them, or help them, you will not earn a sincere attitude from them. So, what lies within them? Guardedness, doubt—these are the most common; moreover, there is also a kind of self-protection and a desire to always be thought highly of. Therefore, their words, the look in their eyes, their facial expressions, they all reveal something quite unnatural. That is, what you perceive from their eyes and expressions is different from what they are thinking deep down. In short, regardless of whether a person is timid, or cautious, or has difficulties within them, if you cannot see their candor, wouldn’t that be problematic? (Yes.) Indeed, it is a problem. So, how can we tell? We can tell from their behavior or the manner in which they speak. They do not say what’s on their mind; rather, they choose words they think are appropriate and fellowship with you about things they have already considered. This is a self-defense tactic of nonbelievers. Whenever something befalls them, they first bristle up like a hedgehog, protecting themselves. Their truth, their abilities and talents, the mistakes they’ve made, their bewilderment—even their deception and hypocrisy—are all wrapped up in their spines, kept out of sight from the outside world, kept out of sight even from Me. They exert a great deal of effort to cover and package themselves and also to protect themselves. Where do these things come from? Humankind acquired these things after being corrupted by Satan. In the beginning, after God created Adam and Eve, He led them to live in the Garden of Eden; He told them which fruits from which trees they could eat, and which they could not. They were naked and unashamed before God. And what did they think of this? They thought that this was how God created them, that they had whatever God gave them, and that they did not need to hide from God—they never thought of doing that. Therefore, regardless of how they appeared before God, they were always open-hearted. You could see sincerity in their eyes; they had no defenses or protective walls against God deep within their hearts. They did not need to protect themselves before God because they knew, deep in their hearts, that God posed no threat to them; they were absolutely safe. God would only protect them, love them, and cherish them. God would never harm them. Deep down, this was their most basic and solid thought. But when did this start to change? (When they ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.) Eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil is, in fact, symbolic. It meant that, starting from the moment that Satan first enticed Eve, they were enticed by Satan little by little, committing sins, doing wrong things, and walking the wrong path; then, Satan’s poison entered them. Soon afterward, before the coming of God, they frequently hid from God, not wanting God to find them. Why would they do this? They felt distant from God. And how did this distance come about? It was because they had something different inside of them. Satan gave them certain thoughts and views; it gave them a kind of life, causing them to doubt and guard against God. They then instantly started to wonder whether God would laugh at them upon seeing them naked. Where did this idea come from? (From Satan.) Why did they not think this way before Satan enticed them? At that time, they possessed the most primal life given by God; they were not afraid of God laughing at them, nor did they have such thoughts. Yet, after being enticed by Satan, everything began to change. First, they thought, “We’re not wearing anything. Won’t God laugh at us? Does this mean we have no shame?” A series of questions arose in their minds. And once these thoughts arose, they could not help but hide from God. They surely thought to themselves, “When is God coming? If God does come, what should I do? I need to hide quickly!” They felt the need to always be hiding. Is this a corrupt disposition? (Yes.) Satan’s enticement is at the root of this corrupt disposition. When guarding against and hiding from God, would they still trust God in their hearts? Would they still rely on Him? (No.) So, what remained? (Guardedness.) The only things remaining were guardedness and suspicion, as well as distance, fear, and doubt—all of these came. They even thought, “Would God harm us? We are naked and have nothing with which to defend ourselves. Could God strike us? Could He kill us?” It never occurred to them that their lives were given to them by God, and He surely wouldn’t kill them so lightly. Their minds were a blur, they had become confused. Satan’s corruption of humankind continues to the present; the attitude of humankind toward God can be seen in people’s eyes, and has never changed. The sincerity is gone; the genuine faith, trust, and reliance on God are gone. Where does the root of this lie? (In Satan’s corruption.) That is right, it lies in Satan’s corruption. Satan has harmed humankind terribly! Although people may think that the time before Satan corrupted humanity was pretty good, in reality, when compared to the time after being saved and understanding the truth and knowing God, things back then were still not as good as they are after being saved. If you could choose, which of these scenarios would you choose? (The time after being saved.) Actually, it is not proper for people to choose either one; humans cannot choose. This is ordained by God, it is humankind’s fate. Before being corrupted by Satan, even though people had trust in and relied on God, the first of humankind did not understand the truth and did not know who God was. Nowadays, people at least have a concept of this; they know humankind comes from God, that they are created beings and God is their Creator. They know that God is in control of everything. But people at that time did not understand these things. They were quite simple, meaning they were not afraid of God seeing them or laughing at them, and they would turn to God for everything. Their beliefs were as simple as that. Yet, did they know who God was? No. Therefore, all of the work God has done has profound value and major significance for humankind. It is all good. When we talk of the history of humankind’s rebellion against God, do you feel quite sad? The once intimate relationship between humankind and God has become so distant. God sincerely protects and loves humanity, yet humans doubt God; they hide and distance themselves from God, even looking upon God as an enemy. It does indeed bring much sorrow to say this. But we can only direct our hate toward Satan; it is Satan who has corrupted humankind so terribly. Though Satan has corrupted humankind to such an extent, God has a way to save humanity. No matter how Satan disturbs, it will not affect God’s work of saving humankind. This is God’s almightiness, God’s authority.

An antichrist, having acquired some experience, knowledge, or lessons, pretends to be the embodiment of the truth. We’ve fellowshipped more or less enough about this topic. What information have you gained from it? What truths do you understand? (We should not value knowledge.) This is one aspect. Are there others? (Mankind is never the truth and should not pretend to be God.) Pretending to be the truth is not a positive thing in itself. The truth is not something one can pretend to be; it is the essence of God. God provides you with some truth—and gaining a bit of the truth is already good enough. Yet some people want to become the embodiment of the truth. This is impossible. Such claims are completely unfounded. Moreover, if people want to be saved through believing in God, they must learn to comport themselves in a down-to-earth manner and not pursue perfection. Though the word “perfection” may exist, the idea of created human beings becoming perfect is untenable. Perfection can only be found in God. Who among human beings, who are full of corruption, is perfect? Everything God creates is flawless. This is what we call “perfection.” Consider the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the fowls and beasts that roam the earth—they are all perfect. Can you find any that are not good? Then there is the biological chain formed by all living things—how perfect it is! Corrupt human beings can only cause destruction, making it imperfect, flawed, and deficient. How selfish and despicable! Everything God creates is good. Leaves on trees come in all shapes; animals big and small come in all types of builds, each with its own function. God is too considerate of humankind; however, humankind, being corrupted by Satan, has failed to take care of all things. Instead, humankind has ruined things and wasted God’s painstaking intention. Human beings have not cherished all of this; rather, they have vigorously ruined it, squandering and destroying all resources to the extreme. And what is the result of this? What is the ultimate outcome? They reap what they sow! The environment is destroyed, the food chain is disrupted, the air is polluted, and water is contaminated. There is no natural food left; there is not even clean water to drink. Therefore, the concept of “perfection” does not exist among human beings corrupted by Satan. Any person who, under the banner of pursuing the truth, claims to be perfect or to be seeking perfection is making a claim that does not hold water—it is a deceptive, misleading lie. And yet such corrupt human beings wish to pretend to be the embodiment of the truth! They have done so many bad things yet still think they can pretend to be the embodiment of the truth! Doesn’t this mean their satanic nature is unchanging? (Yes.) To have no truth at all yet still wish to pretend to be the embodiment of the truth, how shameless these satanic types are!

November 20, 2019

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

Next: Excursus One: What the Truth Is

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