Question 37: Although pastors and elders hold power within religious circles and they walk the path of the hypocritical Pharisees, we believe in the Lord Jesus and not in them, so how can you say that we also walk the path of the Pharisees? Can we really not be saved through our faith within the religion?
There are a lot of people in religion who blindly believe in and worship and follow Pharisees. So whether the path they walk is the path of the Pharisees is obvious once we think about it. You dare say you worship and protect Pharisees in your heart but have nothing to do with their sins? You dare say you follow hypocritical Pharisees, but aren’t like them, a person who resists God? Can we still not see through such a simple question? The type of person we follow is the type of path we walk. If we follow the Pharisees then we are on the Pharisees’ path. If we walk the path of the Pharisees then we are naturally the same type of person as the Pharisees. Whom we follow and what path we choose is all directly related to our nature. Whoever follows the Pharisees has the same nature and essence as the Pharisees. This is an undeniable truth! The essence of Pharisees was hypocrisy. They believed in God but didn’t love the truth or seek life. They only believed in a vague God up in heaven and their own notions and imaginations, but they didn’t believe in or acknowledge Christ incarnate. Strictly speaking, they were all unbelievers. Their believing in God was researching theology and treating faith in God as a form of knowledge to conduct research. Their livelihoods depended on researching the Bible and theology. In their hearts, the Bible was their livelihood. They thought the better they were at explaining biblical knowledge and theological theory, the more there would be people who worshiped them and the higher and more firmly they could stand on the podium, and the more stable their status would be. It was precisely because the Pharisees were people who only lived for their status and livelihood, and were people who were fed up with and despised the truth, that when the Lord Jesus became flesh and came to work, they stubbornly held on to their own notions and imaginations and biblical knowledge for the sake of protecting their own status and livelihood, stopping at nothing to resist and condemn the Lord Jesus and oppose God. From the words of Almighty God we can completely see the Pharisees’ truth-hating essence and the roots of their resistance to God. Almighty God says: “Do you wish to know the root of why the Pharisees opposed Jesus? Do you wish to know the substance of the Pharisees? They were full of fantasies about the Messiah. What’s more, they believed only that the Messiah would come, yet did not seek the truth of life. And so, even today they still await the Messiah, for they have no knowledge of the way of life, and do not know what the way of truth is. How, say you, could such foolish, stubborn and ignorant people gain God’s blessing? How could they behold the Messiah? They opposed Jesus because they did not know the direction of the Holy Spirit’s work, because they did not know the way of truth spoken by Jesus, and, furthermore, because they did not understand the Messiah. And since they had never seen the Messiah, and had never been in the company of the Messiah, they made the mistake of paying empty tribute to the name of the Messiah while opposing the substance of the Messiah by any means. These Pharisees in substance were stubborn, arrogant, and did not obey the truth. The principle of their belief in God is: No matter how profound Your preaching, no matter how high Your authority, You are not Christ unless You are called the Messiah. Are these views not preposterous and ridiculous?” (“By the Time You Behold the Spiritual Body of Jesus, God Will Have Made Heaven and Earth Anew” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “In the past, when God had yet to become flesh, you may have been a religious figure, or a devout believer. After God became flesh, many such devout believers unwittingly became the antichrist. Do you know what is going on here? In your belief in God, you do not concentrate on reality or pursue the truth, but instead obsess over falsehoods—is this not the clearest source of your enmity to God incarnate? God incarnate is called Christ, so are not all those who do not believe in God incarnate the antichrist?” (“Only Those Who Know God and His Work Can Satisfy God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). This shows that in nature the religious Pharisees are fed up with the truth and hate the truth. They only believe in their own notions and imaginations. They only believe in the theological theories researched and developed by themselves, but they don’t believe in Christ incarnate or the truths expressed by Christ. They are all enemies of God incarnate. They are all antichrists exposed by the work of God’s incarnation in the last days. Those who follow them are the same as them, also stubbornly holding on to their notions and imaginations as well as biblical knowledge and theological theory. They follow them in denying Christ, resisting and condemning Christ, refusing to accept the truth and treating Christ as the enemy! The facts are sufficient to prove that, in nature and substance, anyone who follows the Pharisees is also fed up with the truth and hates the truth! The path they walk is precisely the path of the Pharisees. They belong in the same category as the Pharisees and are all people who oppose Christ! This is a fact all can see. It has already been completely revealed by God’s work of the last days!
In religion, many people believe in God under the control of Pharisees, fully following them and listening to them. Like them, they only study the Bible and theology, only paying attention to understanding biblical knowledge and theological theory, and never focusing on seeking the truth or practicing the Lord’s words. Like the Pharisees, they only believe in a vague God up in heaven, but don’t believe in Christ incarnate of the last days—Almighty God. No matter how authoritative and powerful the truths expressed by Almighty God, they still stubbornly hold on to their notions and imaginations, and follow pastors and elders in resisting and condemning Almighty God. Needless to say, they are the same type of people as the Pharisees, and are walking the God-resisting path of the Pharisees. Even if they are not following the Pharisees, they are still the same type of people as the Pharisees and are also the descendants of the Pharisees because their nature and essence are the same. They are all unbelievers who only believe in themselves but don’t love the truth! They are antichrists who hate the truth and oppose Christ! Just as Almighty God has revealed, “Many in the church have no discernment: When something deceptive occurs, they unexpectedly stand on the side of Satan; they even take offense at being called Satan’s lackeys. Though people might say they have no discernment, they always stand on the side without truth, they never stand on the side of the truth at the critical time, they never stand up and argue for the truth. Do they not truly lack discernment? Why do they unexpectedly take the side of Satan? Why do they never say one word that is fair and reasonable in support of the truth? Has this situation genuinely arisen as a result of their momentary confusion? The less discernment people have, the less able they are to stand on the side of truth. What does this show? Does it not show that people without discernment love evil? Does it not show that they are the loyal spawn of Satan? Why is it that they are always able to stand on the side of Satan and speak its language? Their every word and deed, the expressions on their faces, are all sufficient to prove that they are not any kind of lovers of the truth; rather, they are people who detest the truth” (“A Warning to Those Who Do Not Practice the Truth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Isn’t this the truth? When some people in religion follow pastors and elders, they not only listen to them but do all they can to protect them; as soon as they hear someone exposing religious pastors and elders, these people will feel uncomfortable and come out in defense of pastors and elders. What is the problem here? Is this not sufficient to prove that these people only have pastors and elders in their hearts but no place for God? In these people’s hearts, religious pastors and elders are all higher than God. What does this show? When man resists God, there aren’t many who come out in defense of God. There aren’t many who can stand up and bear witness to God. But as soon as the Pharisee essence of religious pastors and elders is exposed, why are there so many people who cry injustice on their behalf and come out in their defense? This is sufficient to prove that these people are the dutiful descendants of the Pharisees. They are the accomplices and lackeys of antichrists! This is a fact no one can deny!
Excerpted from Classic Questions and Answers on the Gospel of the Kingdom
What kind of place is religion? It’s the world of the Pharisees, the old nest of antichrists! To think that we can be saved by believing in God there is just wishful thinking! Why can’t we be saved if we believe in God in religion? The main reason is that, when God performs new work in the last days, the work of the Holy Spirit has been transferred along with God’s new work, and the religious world thus lost the work of the Holy Spirit, becoming a wasteland. Additionally, the religious world has been completely controlled by the hypocritical Pharisees, antichrists, and has long become a place that resists God. Not only is the Holy Spirit not working in religion, God incarnate also does not come into religion to work. Therefore, we cannot experience God’s work of the last days by believing in God in religion. We cannot eat, drink and enjoy the words of God in the last days, and thus naturally fall in the darkness. If we don’t seek and investigate the true way now, it will be very easy to collapse in the wasteland and miss God’s salvation! We who have fallen in the wasteland of the religious world only hold on to the Bible during meetings and cannot enjoy God’s present words. Without the work and guidance of the Holy Spirit, the God we believe in is a vague one. All our communications at meetings are about records of God’s work and utterances in the Bible from the past. How can we gain the salvation of God of the last days and receive God’s promise? It’s just like back when the Lord Jesus started working outside of the temple. The temple became a chaotic wasteland, a den of thieves. Because they did not follow the Lord Jesus’ work, those who remained in the temple were still holding onto the old laws and rules, naturally losing out on the Lord’s salvation. Similarly, now in the last days, Almighty God has performed His work of judgment beginning from the house of God, expressing truths to judge and cleanse mankind, making man break away from Satan’s corrupt disposition and influences to gain God’s salvation, and be perfected by God into an overcomer and directly taken up into His kingdom. This is a golden opportunity! If we do not follow Almighty God’s work of the last days, we will not be able to receive salvation and enter the kingdom of heaven. Let’s read some from Almighty God’s words. “Those who do not accept the new work of God are bereft of the presence of God, and, moreover, devoid of the blessings and protection of God. Most of their words and actions hold to the past requirements of the Holy Spirit’s work; they are doctrine, not truth. Such doctrine and regulation are sufficient to prove that the only thing that brings them together is religion; they are not the chosen ones, or the objects of God’s work. The assembly of all those among them can only be called a grand congress of religion, and cannot be called a church. This is an unalterable fact. They do not have the Holy Spirit’s new work; what they do seems redolent of religion, what they live out seems replete with religion; they do not possess the presence and work of the Holy Spirit, much less are they eligible to receive the discipline or enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. These people are all lifeless corpses, and maggots that are devoid of spirituality. They have no knowledge of man’s rebelliousness and opposition, have no knowledge of all of man’s evildoing, much less do they know all of God’s work and God’s present will. They are all ignorant, base people, they are scum that are unfit to be called believers!” (“God’s Work and Man’s Practice” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “Those who wish to gain life without relying on the truth spoken by Christ are the most ridiculous people on earth, and those who do not accept the way of life brought by Christ are lost in fantasy. And so I say that those who do not accept Christ of the last days shall forever be despised by God. Christ is man’s gateway to the kingdom during the last days, and there are none who can go around Him. None may be perfected by God except through Christ. You believe in God, and so you must accept His words and obey His way. You cannot only think of gaining blessings while being incapable of receiving the truth and incapable of accepting the provision of life. Christ comes during the last days so that all those who truly believe in Him may be provided with life. His work is for the sake of concluding the old age and entering the new one, and His work is the path that must be taken by all those who would enter the new age. If you are incapable of acknowledging Him, and instead condemn, blaspheme, or even persecute Him, then you are bound to burn for eternity and shall never enter the kingdom of God” (“Only Christ of the Last Days Can Give Man the Way of Eternal Life” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). This shows that all those who don’t accept the work of Almighty God in the last days and those who don’t obey God’s present work and words are objects of God’s loathing. This way, those believers who remain in religious places have naturally lost God’s guidance and are unable to gain the supply of God’s present words. They can only fall into the darkness and be eliminated, losing God’s salvation of the last days. Just like it was in the Age of Grace, some people still held on to the work and regulations from the Age of Law, naturally losing out on the salvation of the Lord Jesus. In the Age of Kingdom, if we still hold on to the work and regulations from the Age of Grace, we will naturally be abandoned and eliminated by God and will not be saved into the kingdom of heaven! This is a fact nobody can change!
Believing in God in religion, people want to please Satan and antichrists on the one hand and on the other still want to receive God’s salvation—is that possible? The religious world is controlled by hypocritical Pharisees and controlled by religious pastors and elders. The reality is that it is controlled by these God-opposing antichrists. This is an established fact! When pastors and elders work and preach, they never pay attention to explaining or bearing witness to the Lord’s words, or bearing witness to God’s work and His disposition in the Bible. They only pay attention to explaining man’s words in the Bible and use man’s words in the Bible to replace God’s words and make God’s words irrelevant, making people all follow man’s words while keeping away from God’s words. Additionally, they also focus on explaining biblical knowledge and theological theory, explaining characters in the Bible, historical background, and so forth. They explain these things to show off and make us worship them, taking us on the path to following man, worshiping man and resisting God. Especially when Almighty God comes to do His work of the last days, they furiously resist and condemn Almighty God, and do all they could to block and restrict people from seeking and investigating the true way, prohibiting us from accepting the truths expressed by Almighty God and not letting us receive the supply of Almighty God’s words. They only let us accept their various fallacies and ideological theories. Therefore, when we believe in God in the religious places controlled by Pharisees, antichrists, and accept the teachings of religious Pharisees, our thoughts and viewpoints, choices, and ability to receive are all influenced and affected. We naturally grow darker and darker inside and become isolated from God. When Almighty God comes to do His work in the last days, we are bound and controlled by religious Pharisees, antichrists, and so we aren’t able to hear God’s actual utterances or enjoy the supply of the living water of life flowing from God’s throne. That way, we won’t be able to receive God’s salvation of the last days. More frightening is that, even though we believe in God in religion, what we follow are men, antichrists, and the path we walk is precisely that of the Pharisees, antichrists. After a while, we will naturally also turn into Pharisees. How could we then become people who follow God’s will and enter the kingdom of heaven? That’s certainly impossible. Now, the essence of the religious world has been thoroughly revealed through the work of Almighty God of the last days. The religious world is not the kingdom of heaven; it is the old nest of antichrists. It is a staunch bastion that resists God, a satanic kingdom that opposes God! Hence, we are unable to achieve salvation by believing in God in religion. Even if we are someone who loves the truth, if we don’t accept Almighty God’s work of the last days, we won’t be able to gain the supply of the words expressed by Christ of the last days and also won’t be able to receive God’s salvation!
Excerpted from Classic Questions and Answers on the Gospel of the Kingdom