Question 38: In recent years, various denominations within the religious world have grown more and more desolate; people have lost the kind of faith and love that they once had, becoming ever more negative and weak. All of us have also felt the withering of the spirit, that there is nothing left to preach, and that we have all lost the work of the Holy Spirit. We’d like to ask, why is the entire religious world so bleak? Is it really detested by God; has it really been cast aside by God? How should we understand God’s words of damnation for the religious world in the Book of Revelation?
Now, the whole of the world of religion is facing widespread desolation, devoid of the work of the Holy Spirit, and many people’s faith and love have cooled—this has already become an accepted fact. What exactly is the primary cause of the desolation in religious circles is a question that all of us must thoroughly understand. First, let us look back a moment at why the temple became desolate in the latter days of the Age of Law, and we will then be able to understand thoroughly the cause of the religious world’s desolation in the last days. In the latter days of the Age of Law, the Jewish leaders did not keep God’s commandments. They walked their own path and went against God; this is the main reason that directly resulted in the desolation of the temple. The Lord Jesus exposed and rebuked the Pharisees, saying: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like to white washed sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity” (Mat 23:27–28).
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchers of the righteous, And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Why you be witnesses to yourselves, that you are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill you up then the measure of your fathers. You serpents, you generation of vipers, how can you escape the damnation of hell? Why, behold, I send to you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them you shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall you whip in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom you slew between the temple and the altar. Truly I say to you, All these things shall come on this generation” (Mat 23:29–36).
“Well has Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. However, in vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things you do. And He said to them, Full well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your own tradition” (Mak 7:6–9).
It can be clearly seen from the words of the Lord Jesus that exposed the Pharisees, that the doings of the Jewish chief priests, scribes and Pharisees were in defiance of God and went against Him. They violated God’s laws and commandments, only observing religious traditions. This is sufficient to prove that their serving God was actually defying Him, and that it went contrary to God’s will. Particularly at the time of the manifestation and work of the Lord Jesus, they wildly condemned and defied Him, and their nature and essence were thoroughly exposed. It can therefore be seen that the main cause which led to the desolation of Judaism was that the Jewish chief priests, scribes and Pharisees defied God and went against Him. Another was that God’s work had already shifted. The incarnate Lord Jesus had launched the work of redemption in the Age of Grace outside of the temple. That is, God’s work forged onward on the foundation of the work of the Age of Law, and the core of God’s work moved onto the work of redemption in the Age of Grace. Once the Lord Jesus started His work of redemption, the Age of Grace was begun and the Age of Law was ended. Only those who accepted the Lord Jesus had the Holy Spirit’s work in them and the Lord’s guidance, while those who remained in the temple, who cast the Lord Jesus aside, defied and condemned Him, were naturally forsaken by the work of God, falling into darkness and suffering the curses and punishment of God. Therefore, we can say with certainty that the desolation of the world of religion during the Age of Law was most definitely caused by man and was entirely because the religious leaders strayed from the Lord’s way, did not keep the Lord’s commandments, went against God’s will and set themselves against God. If the Jewish leaders had been able to hold to the Lord’s way and keep the Lord’s commandments, would the Lord Jesus still have gone into the wilderness to preach and work? Would He still have gone amongst the unbelievers to seek for those who would follow God? Absolutely not. The Lord Jesus would certainly have gone first into the temple and into synagogues to preach, appearing to man and doing His work. So why didn’t the Lord Jesus do this? Obviously, it was entirely because those within the temple and within synagogues did not accept the Lord Jesus, but instead condemned and defied Him, even going everywhere to try to arrest Him. Because of this, the Lord Jesus had no choice but to go into the wilderness to preach and work and to go amongst the unbelievers to seek for those who would follow Him. Intelligent people can all see this fact clearly.
Now that we understand the cause of the desolation of the religious world in the latter days of the Age of Law, let us look at the cause of the desolation of the religious world in the last days. We can all see that the pastors and elders of the religious world in the last days mainly take preaching Bible knowledge and theological theories as their priority within churches. They frequently use interpretations of the scripture to flaunt themselves and show off so that others worship them, and they do not follow the words or commandments of the Lord Jesus and do not keep to the Lord’s way. They seldom preach about entry into life, and they never lead people to practice or experience the Lord’s words in a way that will gain them an understanding of the truth and knowledge of the Lord. This results in all believers in religious circles straying from the Lord’s way. They may even have believed in the Lord for many years, yet all they understand is just Bible knowledge and theological theories; they lack knowledge of the Lord at all, and have no reverence or obedience for Him. They have completely strayed from the Lord’s words and become people who believe in the Lord but don’t know Him, and who are capable of defying and betraying the Lord. From this it can be seen that the leaders of the world of religion have completely strayed from the Lord’s way, which has resulted in them losing the work of the Holy Spirit and losing God’s blessings; it can be said that this is the primary cause of the desolation of the world of religion. Another cause is that God’s work has shifted and the Lord Jesus has already returned as the incarnate Almighty God doing the work of judgment beginning with God’s house based on the foundation of the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption. He has established the Age of Kingdom and ended the Age of Grace. The core of the work of the Holy Spirit has been transferred into God’s work of judgment in the last days, and only those who accept Almighty God will have the work of the Holy Spirit and be able to enjoy the supply of the living water of life which flows forth from the throne. Those who cannot keep up with God’s present work and who refuse to accept Almighty God have lost the work of the Holy Spirit and have fallen into darkness. The pastors and elders of the world of religion in particular, facing Almighty God’s work of the last days, not only do they not seek or investigate it, but they also wildly defy and condemn God, disseminate all kinds of rumors and falsehoods to deceive and control believers, and obstruct people from seeking and investigating the true way. They long ago aggravated God’s disposition and earned God’s hatred and curses, so how could they not be forsaken and eliminated by God? We have now seen that after the appearance of the four blood moons the great disasters will be on the verge of occurring. All those who have not accepted Almighty God will certainly fall into disaster and will therein suffer chastisement and refinement, while those who have accepted Almighty God will be those who are raptured before the disasters. Those who have not accepted Almighty God can only fall into the disasters and wait to be raptured after the disasters. Will such people not be forsaken and eliminated by the Lord? After the disaster, how many people could there be left to be raptured? Now, almost the entire world of religion is under the control of this gang of pastors and leaders who hate the truth and set themselves against God, so how could it obtain the work of the Holy Spirit in this situation? And how could it have avoided becoming desolate? This is the fundamental cause of the desolation of the religious world.
We now understand the primary cause for the desolation of the world of religion, which is that the leaders of the world of religion don’t follow the Lord’s words, but on the contrary have strayed from His way, they do not keep His commandments, they have violated God’s will completely and have become people who defy God. Secondly, because the leaders of the world of religion have become people who defy God and none of them are able to accept or obey God’s work, God has shifted His work, and the world of religion has lost the Holy Spirit’s work and fallen into darkness. Why, when the Lord Jesus did His work back then, did He not preach in the temple? It was because all the priests and elders in the temple were people who defied the Lord. If the Lord Jesus had entered the temple, He would only have been cast aside and condemned, or immediately arrested and nailed to the cross—isn’t that a fact? This is the primary reason for God shifting His work. If the priests and elders in the temple had been able to comply with the Lord’s words and serve God in conformity with His will, how could the temple have become desolate? And how could God have shifted His work? Isn’t this the case? The desolation of the world of religion also completely fulfills the prophecy in the Bible: “And also I have withheld the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain on one city, and caused it not to rain on another city: one piece was rained on, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered. So two or three cities wandered to one city, to drink water; but they were not satisfied: yet have you not returned to Me, said Jehovah” (Amo 4:7–8). “Behold, the days come, said the Lord Jehovah, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of Jehovah” (Amo 8:11). From these two passages of scripture we can understand that the “one city” in “to rain on one city” refers to the church where God incarnate appears and does His work, and “another city” in “not to rain on another city” naturally refers to the world of religion which does not heed God’s words, does not follow God’s commandments, and which denies, defies and condemns the manifestation and work of God incarnate. God causes famine to befall the world of religion in order to force those within religion who sincerely believe in God and love the truth to leave it, to search for the footsteps of God’s work, to search for what the Holy Spirit says to all churches and to seek the manifestation and work of God. All those who hear the voice of God and who accept and obey Almighty God’s work of judgment in the last days are the wise virgins and are those who are lifted up before the throne of God. These people are all attending the wedding feast of the Lamb and enjoying the sustenance of the living water of life that flows forth from the throne; their original faith and love have been restored. They are training in eating and drinking the words of God, experiencing God’s words and putting them into practice, and they will achieve an understanding of the truth and entry into reality. Once these people understand the truth and have true knowledge of God, they will be able to revere God and obey Him, and in this way obtain a new life from God! All those religious organizations or individuals that don’t accept the work of Almighty God are detested, rejected and eliminated by God, and are devoid of the work of the Holy Spirit—this is beyond all doubt! Let us read the words of Almighty God: “God will accomplish this fact: He will make all people throughout the universe come before Him and worship the God on earth, and His work in other places will cease, and people will be forced to seek the true way. It will be like Joseph: Everyone came to him for food, and bowed down to him, for he had things to eat. In order to avoid famine, people will be forced to seek the true way. The entire religious community will suffer severe famine, and only the God of today is the wellspring of living water, possessed of the ever-flowing wellspring provided for the enjoyment of man, and people will come and depend on Him” (“The Millennial Kingdom Has Arrived” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “You should be able to see the will of God, and should see that the work of God is not as simple as the creation of the heavens and earth and all things. That is because the work of today is the transformation of those who have been corrupted, who are numb to the utmost degree, it is to purify those who were created but altered by Satan. It is not the creation of Adam or Eve, still less is it the creation of the light, or the creation of every plant and animal. God makes pure the things that have been corrupted by Satan and then gains them anew; they become things that belong to Him, and they become His glory” (“Is the Work of God As Simple As Man Imagines?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
We see clearly from the words of Almighty God that God has never discarded those who sincerely believe in Him and who long for His manifestation. Through His almightiness and wisdom, God saves those who believe in Him sincerely so that they may break away from the bonds and control of the antichrists and evil men of the religious world, and He causes them to be lifted up before the throne of God and to accept the judgment, purification and perfection of God’s words. Almighty God of the last days does His work of judgment and expresses the entire truth that purifies and saves mankind, so that a group of overcomers may be made before the disasters, these being His first fruits. This fulfills the prophecy in the Book of Revelation: “These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits to God and to the Lamb” (Rev 14:4). After this group of overcomers is made by God, a stage of the work of judgment beginning in God’s house which is done by God incarnate will be temporarily concluded, thereafter God will bring down the great disasters to reward the good and punish the wicked. At that time, all those who have not accepted God’s work of judgment in the last days, who condemn and defy Almighty God, will all fall into the disasters and will therein suffer the refinement of being judged and chastised. Only if we leave religion, keep pace with the footsteps of the Lamb, accept and obey Almighty God’s work in the last days, and undergo judgment and purification before the seat of Christ, can we then be perfected by God into overcomers. Only then will we be spared from trials while all under heaven will have to suffer trials. Only these overcomers who have been made by God—these first fruits—are qualified to inherit the promise and the blessings of God! God has now already made a group of overcomers in mainland China, and with the great disasters just around the corner, all those who condemn and defy Almighty God will fall into the disasters and be punished, losing forever any chance of being saved.
Excerpted from Classic Questions and Answers on the Gospel of the Kingdom
In fact, the religious community’s history of resistance to God goes back at least to the end of the Age of Law. When God was incarnated and did His work for the first time during the Age of Grace, the religious community had already been taken over by the Pharisees and antichrists. It became the main opposition force to the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption. When Almighty God, Christ of the last days, appears and does His work, those in the religious community still stand as an enemy force to God’s judgment work in the last days. Not only do they fanatically condemn and blaspheme against Almighty God, they collaborate with the CCP satanic regime to capture and persecute those who bear witness to Almighty God. They have committed the heinous sin of crucifying God again! Not only did the Lord Jesus curse the Pharisees that they were evil in essence, revealing the darkness of the religious community, but when Almighty God does His work of judgment in the last days, He also exposes the pastors and elders’ true essence: their resistance to God. In addition, He curses the antichrists that once again crucify God. This really is thought-provoking! Both times God was incarnated, He condemned and cursed the religious community. What does this show? God’s elect finally understand that the religious community, Babylon the great, is destined to fall. The religious pastors and leaders believe in God in name only, but never really exalt God or bear witness to Him. They definitely do not follow His will. They cannot bring God’s elect before Him. They certainly cannot lead them down the right track of faith in God, so that they understand the truth and know God by practicing and experiencing His words. The religious leaders completely go against God’s will. They do not practice the Lord’s words themselves, but preach biblical knowledge and theological theory to show off and make people look up to them and worship them. They lead the believers on the God-resisting path of the Pharisees. They hurt and ruin many of God’s elect. This is enough to prove that the religious leaders have all become Satan’s tools, genuine antichrists. During the three stages of His work to save mankind, God has been incarnated twice to redeem humanity and save humanity. The entire religious community is the enemy of Christ; they have become stumbling blocks to God’s work of salvation. They have crucified God twice and have broken God’s heart; they have offended God’s disposition. How could they not be cursed and punished by Him? It is just as the prophecies in Revelation say, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit” (Rev 18:2), “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication” (Rev 14:8), “Alas, alas that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is your judgment come” (Rev 18:10).
Let’s look at how Almighty God condemns these antichrists that fanatically resist, condemn and blaspheme Him and the religious community controlled by the antichrists. Almighty God says, “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. For this Christ is Himself the expression of the Holy Spirit, the expression of God, the One whom God has entrusted to do His work on earth. And so I say that if you cannot accept all that is done by Christ of the last days, then you blaspheme the Holy Spirit. The retribution to be had by those who blaspheme the Holy Spirit is self-evident to all. I also tell you that if you resist Christ of the last days, if you spurn Christ of the last days, there will be no one else to bear the consequences on your behalf. Furthermore, from this day onward you will not have another chance to gain the approval of God; even if you try to redeem yourself, you will never again behold the face of God. For what you resist is not a man, what you spurn is not some puny being, but Christ. Do you know what the consequences of this will be? You will not have made a small mistake, but committed a heinous crime” (“Only Christ of the Last Days Can Give Man the Way of Eternal Life” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“Recall what followed after the Jews nailed Jesus to the cross 2,000 years ago. The Jews were expelled from Israel and fled to countries around the world. Many were killed, and the entire Jewish nation was subjected to unprecedented destruction. They had nailed God to the cross—committed a heinous sin—and provoked the disposition of God. They were made to pay for what they did and were made to bear all the consequences of their actions. They condemned God, rejected God, and so they had but one fate: to be punished by God. This was the bitter consequence and disaster that their rulers brought upon their country and nation” (“God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“We trust that no country or power can stand in the way of what God wishes to achieve. Those who obstruct God’s work, resist the word of God and disturb and impair the plan of God shall ultimately be punished by God. He who defies the work of God shall be sent to hell; any country that defies the work of God shall be destroyed; any nation that rises up to oppose the work of God shall be wiped from this earth and shall cease to exist” (“God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“But so long as the old world continues to exist, I will hurl forth My rage upon its nations, openly promulgating My administrative decrees throughout the universe, and visit chastisement on whomever violates them:
“As I turn My face to the universe to speak, all mankind hears My voice, and thereupon sees all the works I have wrought throughout the universe. Those who go contrary to My will, that is to say, who oppose Me with the deeds of man, will fall down under My chastisement. I will take the multitudinous stars in the heavens and make them anew, and thanks to Me the sun and the moon will be renewed—the skies will no longer be as they were; the myriad things on the earth will be renewed. All will become complete through My words. The many nations within the universe will be partitioned afresh and replaced by My nation, so that the nations upon the earth will disappear forever and become a nation that worships Me; all the nations of the earth will be destroyed, and will cease to exist. Of the human beings within the universe, all those belonging to the devil will be exterminated; all who worship Satan will be laid low by My burning fire—that is, except for those now within the stream, the rest will be turned to ashes. When I chastise the many peoples, those in the religious world will, to varying extents, return to My kingdom, conquered by My works, because they will have seen the advent of the Holy One riding on a white cloud. All of humanity will follow their own kind, and will receive chastisements varying with what they have done. Those who have stood against Me will all perish; as for those whose deeds on the earth have not involved Me, they will, because of how they have acquitted themselves, continue to exist on the earth under the governance of My sons and My people. I will reveal Myself to the myriad peoples and the myriad nations, sounding forth with My own voice upon the earth to proclaim the completion of My great work for all mankind to see with their own eyes” (“Chapter 26” of God’s Words to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“The world is falling! Babylon is in paralysis! The religious world—how could it not be destroyed by My authority on earth? Who still dares to disobey and oppose Me? The scribes? All religious officials? The rulers and authorities on earth? The angels? Who does not celebrate the perfection and fullness of My body? Among all peoples, who does not sing My praises without cease, who is not unfailingly happy?” (“Chapter 22” of God’s Words to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Every sentence of Almighty God’s words is the truth. They have authority and power; they completely display God’s holy, righteous and unoffendable disposition. Those that resist God, interrupt and disturb God’s work will definitely receive punishment and retribution from God. This is determined by God’s righteous disposition. As is known to all, in the Age of Law, the citizens of Sodom publicly denied God and resisted Him. They enraged His disposition and were all destroyed by God; they were burned to nothing by the fire from heaven. During the Age of Grace, the Jewish chief priests, scribes and Pharisees publicly resisted and condemned the Lord Jesus. Eventually, they colluded with the Roman government to crucify the Lord Jesus. They committed a grave sin that provoked God’s disposition. The entire Jewish nation was subjected to unprecedented destruction. In the last days, the religious leaders wantonly judge, resist and condemn Almighty God. They even cooperate and collude with the CCP devil to suppress, arrest and persecute those brothers and sisters who spread the gospel of the kingdom. They have already committed the heinous sins of blaspheming against the Holy Spirit and recrucifying God on the cross. Isn’t their evil behavior even worse than that of the men of Sodom? Isn’t it incomparably worse than that of the Jewish Pharisees? They are the antichrists exposed by God’s work during the last days. They are the religious evil force that has resisted God more severely and fanatically than any other force in history! The religious community is composed entirely of evil forces that resist God. It is a nest of antichrist demons. It is a staunch bastion which tries to stand with the kingdom of Christ as an equal. It is a satanic camp of sworn enemies to God that stubbornly rebel against Him! God’s righteous disposition cannot be offended. God’s holiness cannot be besmirched! God’s work in the last days is the dawning of a new age and the end of the old one. The religious community that is controlled by all manner of antichrist demons as well as this evil world will be destroyed soon by God’s disaster in the last days. God’s righteous punishment has already arrived! It’s just as Almighty God says, “The world is falling! Babylon is in paralysis! The religious world—how could it not be destroyed by My authority on earth?” (“Chapter 22” of God’s Words to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
As for all those who do not accept Almighty God’s work of judgment in the last days, no matter how they keep the Lord Jesus’ name in religion, no matter how they hold to the Bible, the salvation of the cross or religious ceremonies, no matter how they labor, suffer or sacrifice, if they do not repent and turn to Almighty God, they will be overturned and destroyed along with the religious community. God ordained this long ago; no one can change it. God called His elect long ago in the prophecy of Revelation, “Come out of her, My people, that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues” (Rev 18:4).
Excerpted from Classic Questions and Answers on the Gospel of the Kingdom