Question 14: Many brothers and sisters worship the pastors and elders in the heart. They do not understand why, although the pastors and elders often interpret the Bible and exalt the Bible, they still hate the truth and resist and condemn Almighty God incarnate. Interpreting the Bible and exalting the Bible, is that the same as bearing witness to the Lord and exalting the Lord?
Answer: An atmosphere is already growing in the religious community. Those that can interpret the Bible best, those that have the best biblical theory are widely praised and worshiped. The people that can interpret the mysteries of the Bible and the prophecies are worshiped the most. Therefore, many people worship the pastors and elders in the church. They all see interpreting the Bible and exalting the Bible as bearing witness to the Lord and exalting the Lord. When they see the pastors and elders resist and condemn Almighty God’s work in the last days, most of them feel conflicted and confused. On the one hand, they think the fact that the pastors and elders interpret the Bible and exalt the Bible means they’re bearing witness to the Lord. On the other hand, all that Almighty God expresses is the truth, but why do the pastors and elders resist and condemn Him? Do they condemn Almighty God because His name is not the Lord Jesus? However, all that Almighty God expresses is the truth, so He should not be condemned! Then why do the pastors and elders fanatically resist and condemn Almighty God who expresses the truth? Many people don’t understand it. Actually, this problem is not that hard to explain. If you think back to when the Lord Jesus came to do His work, didn’t the Jewish chief priests, scribes and Pharisees fanatically condemn and resist the Lord Jesus in the same way? Didn't they nail the Lord Jesus to the cross? Wasn’t that because the Lord Jesus was not named Messiah? Wasn’t that because He expressed many truths? They saw that the Lord Jesus’ words had authority and power; they saw that He could reveal miraculous things. They saw that thousands of people followed Him. It shocked the whole of Judea. If they allowed the Lord Jesus to spread His work, Judaism itself would be overturned. The consequences to Judaism would be unimaginable! Therefore, they developed a hatred for the Lord Jesus and a desire to kill Him. That’s how the Lord Jesus ended up crucified by them on the cross. Back then, didn’t the chief priests, scribes and Pharisees all interpret and exalt the Bible? Then why did they crucify the Lord Jesus on the cross? To put it plainly, wasn’t it because the Pharisees hated the truth and God’s work? To protect their own positions and meal-tickets, they were ruthless and vicious to the truth-expressing God. As you can see, they were willing to do any evil deed to resist God! It isn’t hard to see that these chief priests, scribes and Pharisees’ true nature is a hatred of the truth and resistance of God! It isn’t hard to see that these chief priests, scribes and Pharisees' true nature is a hatred of the truth and resistance of God! They interpreted and exalted the Bible for their own positions and meal-tickets. They were full of hatred for God and the truth. Therefore, when the Lord Jesus expressed the truth and did His work, their true nature—a hatred of the truth and resistance to God—was completely exposed. As you can see, whether people can resist God or not is not affected by how they interpret the Bible; it has to do with their nature. For people with a truth-hating and God-resisting nature, no matter how well they interpret the Bible, their inner hatred of the truth and resistance of God cannot be changed. Didn’t the Pharisees use their interpretations of the Bible to condemn and resist the Lord Jesus? This is something that God revealed long ago through His work. Do we really not see yet?
Both the Pharisees and the pastors and elders interpret and exalt the Bible. However, how can they still resist and condemn God incarnate? We must understand yet another truth: The Bible is only testimony of God; it is a record of God’s work during the Age of Law and the Age of Grace. God expresses some truth during each stage of His work. In His words, people find His disposition and all that He has and is. Therefore, each time people experience a stage of God’s work, they understand some truth and know more about God. During the three stages of work in His management plan, God gradually reveals His inherent disposition, all that He has and all that He is. During the Age of the Kingdom, God fully reveals His inherent righteous disposition, almightiness and wisdom, authority and glory. If we only know God from His work during the Age of Law and the Age of Grace, that is an all-too-limited knowledge of God. It’s like during the Age of Law when believers acknowledged God’s real existence and wise deeds through the work of Jehovah God. They came to know that Jehovah God’s laws could not be violated. In the Age of Grace, when believers saw the Lord Jesus’ work, they knew He was the Redeemer of mankind, the compassionate, merciful God. However, they did not understand God’s substance or inherent righteous disposition. They did not really achieve true knowledge of God. Therefore, we can see that if we only know God from His work and words in the Age of Law and the Age of Grace, our knowledge of God will be too one-sided. We will only know a part of His disposition and what He is. We cannot achieve the standard of truly knowing God. when people who do not know God interpret the Bible, they are very liable to define Him and resist Him. Is that the truth? However, not only did the Jewish chief priests, scribes and Pharisees not know God, but most importantly, they had satanic nature: They hated the truth and resisted God. That was their fatal flaw! If their hearts had been good, they would not have crucified the loving Lord Jesus, Redeemer of mankind, on the cross, even if they did not know God. God did not have any place in the hearts of the Pharisees. Their positions and meal-tickets were more important than all else. Therefore, when God’s work threatened their positions and meal-tickets, they treated God as their enemy and killed Him. As you can see, their hearts and their nature and substance were so toxic! No wonder God said they were brood of vipers! Although the leaders of the religious community do not know God, nonetheless those that fanatically condemn and resist God will be exposed as antichrists. Of course, some religious leaders have their own conceptions of God’s work, but their God-fearing heart prevent them from verbally condemning or resisting God. Take for example, when the Lord Jesus did His work, Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, did not condemn the Lord Jesus. Nicodemus was able to search for the truth in the Lord Jesus at night. These are all facts recorded in the Bible. As you can see, if people believe in God but do not know Him or have a God-fearing heart, then when they serve God, they are also liable to resist Him. If people with a truth-hating nature and toxic heart become religious leaders, sooner or later they will be exposed as antichrists. This is a fact that no one can deny! Are you all clear on this now? At that time, the Lord Jesus critically exposed and cursed the hypocritical Pharisees. In the last days, Almighty God has exposed, judged and condemned the pastors and elders who have the antichrist essence of misleading others with their interpretations of the Bible and resisting God. Let’s read two more passages from Almighty God’s word. “There are those who read the Bible in grand churches and recite it all day long, yet not one among them understands the purpose of God’s work. Not one among them is able to know God; still less can any one among them accord with God’s will. They are all worthless, vile people, each standing on high to lecture God. They willfully oppose God even as they carry His banner. Claiming faith in God, still they eat the flesh and drink the blood of man. All such people are devils that devour the soul of man, demons that deliberately get in the way of those trying to step onto the right path, and stumbling blocks impeding those who seek God. They may appear of ‘sound constitution,’ but how are their followers to know that they are none other than antichrists who lead people to stand against God? How are their followers to know that they are living devils dedicated to the devouring of human souls?” (“All People Who Do Not Know God Are People Who Oppose God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“Theirs is always an attitude of hostility toward the new work of God; they never have the slightest inclination to submit, nor have they ever gladly submitted or humbled themselves. They exalt themselves before others and never submit to anyone. Before God, they consider themselves the best at preaching the word, and the most skillful in working on others. Never do they discard the ‘treasures’ in their possession, but treat them as family heirlooms for worship, for preaching about to others, and they use them to lecture those fools who idolize them. … They take preaching the word (doctrine) to be their highest duty. Year after year, generation after generation, they go about vigorously enforcing their ‘sacred and inviolable’ duty. None dare touch them; not a single person dares openly reproach them. They become ‘kings’ in the house of God, running rampant as they tyrannize others from age to age. This pack of demons seeks to join hands and demolish My work; how can I allow these living devils to exist before My eyes?” (“Those Who Obey God With a True Heart Shall Surely Be Gained by God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Almighty God’s words reveal the pastors and elders’ essence clearly: They interpret the Bible but resist God. The pastors and elders do not know God; they define and resist Him instead. This is especially true for those that condemn or blaspheme against Almighty God; their natures and essences are the same as those of the Pharisees who crucified the Lord Jesus on the cross. They are all satanic, toxic people that hate the truth. They are all antichrists exposed by God’s work; they are all the ones that crucified God on the cross again. They are all cursed by God!
Truly witnessing the Lord and exalting the Lord isn’t about how men interpret the Bible. The key is whether they can practice God’s words and experience His work. If men love the truth, they will obtain the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit and true experience and knowledge of God’s word. This knowledge is created by practicing and experiencing God’s words. It is what it means to truly know God. Communicating these real experiences and testimonies is what it means to truly exalt God and bear witness to Him! The true knowledge of God that those who exalt and bear witness to Him speak of does not come from their own conceptions, imagination or logic; it definitely does not come from their literal interpretation of God’s words. Those who exalt and bear witness to God focus on communicating God’s words in the Bible, communicating God’s will, His demands toward people, His disposition and all that He has and is, allowing people to understand God’s will and disposition and truly know God. This is how people can truly revere and obey God. These kinds of biblical interpretations and communications about God’s words are how they can truly exalt God and bear witness to God. However, when the pastors and elders interpret the Bible, can they really communicate the essence of the truth of God’s words? Can they communicate God’s will? Can they bear witness to God’s disposition? Can they make others know, obey or revere God? The facts have showed us that most of the pastors and elders in the religious community hate the truth and resist God; that is their true nature. They do not practice God’s words or experience His work. They do not understand His will or demands at all, and they certainly do not understand His disposition, all that He has or all that He is. Therefore, they cannot communicate any true knowledge of God, and they cannot bear witness to the Lord Jesus’ divine substance or lovable qualities. They just interpret biblical knowledge and theological theory or certain characters’ stories in the Bible, along with the historical backgrounds to make people admire and look up to them. Not only that, but most of the time the pastors and elders are interpreting man’s words, like Paul’s words in the Bible. According to Paul, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God,” they take the words of the Bible as if they were God’s words. This has caused the entire religious community to take the words of the apostles as the words of God and tell the believers to practice and observe them. They’re quoting the words of the apostles more and more frequently when they give sermons, communicate or testify. However, they’re quoting God and the Lord Jesus less and less. The end result is that God and the Lord Jesus’ words in the Bible have all been replaced and nullified. The Lord Jesus’ place in people’s hearts is continually diminishing, while Paul’s and others’ place in their hearts continues to rise. This has allowed Paul’s words, along with other man’s words in the Bible, to occupy men’s hearts. People believe in the Lord Jesus in name, but in reality they’re just proceeding according to man’s words in the Bible, like Paul’s words. They are traveling along their own path of faith in God. How can people that believe in God this way not stray from the Lord’s way? How can this type of service be in accordance with God’s will? For instance, the Lord Jesus once said this regarding entering the kingdom of heaven: “but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Mat 7:21). However, the pastors and elders talk about salvation and the entry into the kingdom of heaven according to Paul’s words instead. This is a complete betrayal of the Lord Jesus’ words. The result is that most believers do not know how to follow God’s will. They're even less clear of what kind of people can enter the kingdom of heaven. People use Paul’s words as their motto: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: From now on there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness …” (2Ti 4:7–8). The pastors and elders teach others that as long as they labor for the Lord as Paul did and endure suffering, they can enter the heavenly kingdom. They substitute the words of men for the words of God; they exclude the words of God. The result is that they lead people astray. When they interpret the Bible this way, are they exalting God or bearing witness to God? I think they are in direct opposition to God! This problem is very serious! The religious pastors and elders often substitute men’s words in the Bible for God’s words. We should now be clear on the consequences of this, right? How can many people believe in the Lord for years and still not know Him? Why do they never really experience the Lord’s words? How can they that believe in the Lord this way ever obtain the truth or life? Isn’t this because the pastors and elders continually interpret and testify about the words of men from the Bible and urge their followers to keep these words? How can they exalt the Lord or bear witness to the Lord by interpreting the Bible this way? How can that kind of service be in accordance with God’s will? They are no different from the hypocritical Pharisees; both of them are traveling on a path of serving God while also resisting Him. During the last days, when God incarnate appears and does His work, they start to unscrupulously resist and condemn God’s work, which exposes their hidden satanic nature: They hate the truth and resist God. In the end, they will be cursed and punished by God. Just as Almighty God says, “Just look at the leaders of every denomination—they are all arrogant and self-righteous, and they interpret the Bible out of context and according to their own imagination. They all rely on gifts and erudition to do their work. If they were incapable of preaching anything, would those people follow them? They do, after all, possess some knowledge, and can preach on some doctrine, or know how to win over others and how to use some artifices. They use these to bring people before themselves and deceive them. Nominally, those people believe in God, but in reality they follow their leaders. If they encounter someone preaching the true way, some of them say, ‘We have to consult our leader about our faith.’ Their faith has to go through a human being; is that not a problem? What have those leaders become, then? Have they not become Pharisees, false shepherds, antichrists, and stumbling blocks to people’s acceptance of the true way?” (“Only the Pursuit of the Truth Is the True Belief in God” in Records of Christ’s Talks). Almighty God has clearly exposed the God-resisting essence of the pastors and elders clearly. True believers and truth-seekers should understand the truth: The religious pastors and elders quote the Bible out of context and misinterpret the Bible in resistance of God. This way, we’ll be able to escape their deception and control and return before God’s throne.
Almighty God’s work in the last days exposed these pastors and elders, these antichrist demons in the religious community. Otherwise, no one would be able to see that their exaltations and interpretations of the Bible are actually their insidious ways to deceive and control people, nor would anyone be able to see the truth: They are establishing their own, independent kingdom as enemies of God. At that time, the Pharisees exalted and bore witness to the Bible; they restricted God within the Bible. They never sought the truth or looked to follow God’s footsteps. The result was that they crucified the Lord Jesus on the cross, using His refusal to follow the Old Testament as their justification. They committed an extremely serious sin! The pastors and elders in the last days are just like the Pharisees were. They exalt and bear witness to the Bible; they define God in the Bible. They also disseminate fallacies, saying, “None of God's words and work exist outside of the Bible,” “To believe in the Bible is to believe in God. The Bible represents God; if you leave the Bible, you no longer believe in God.” They use these sayings to mislead people into believing in and worshiping the Bible. They treat the Bible as if it were God. They replace God with the Bible. The pastors and elders are using this secret, underhanded methods to steal people from God, and bring them before the Bible. This causes people to subconsciously lose their relationship with God. The people who once believed in God now only believe in the Bible. The Bible becomes the Lord in their hearts, the God in their hearts. Therefore, their blind belief in and worshiping of the Bible causes them to worship and follow the biblical scholars: the pastors and elders. As for the pastors and elders, they use the Bible as a tool to control the religious community and achieve their own ambitions. They exalt the Bible and interpret it out of context to deceive, snare and control people. They subconsciously lead people down a path of worshiping men, following men, resisting God and being enemies of God. They mislead people into thinking that worshiping the Bible and keeping the Bible is believing in God, and having the presence of God. Therefore, these people do not seek or study God’s work in the last days, and miss their last chance at salvation. This really is Satan’s most insidious, cunning plan. It’s really harmful! Therefore, we can see that the pastors and elders in the religious community are a group of genuine Pharisees and con-men! They are false shepherds and antichrists that mislead and control God’s elect! The religious community is controlled by a group of Pharisees and antichrist demons that resist God. It ceased to be a place where God could do His work long ago. It has become a satanic camp that takes God as its enemy. It became the great city Babylon long ago! How can the religious Babylon not fall under God’s wrath?!
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 Pharisees and antichrists a long time ago. It became the 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 enemies 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 persecute and suppress the Church of Almighty God. They have committed the heinous sin of crucifying God on the cross again! Not only did the Lord Jesus curse the Pharisees, revealing the darkness of the religious community, but when Almighty God does His work of judgment in the last days, He still exposed the pastors and elders’ true essence: their resistance to God. In addition, He cursed the antichrists that once again crucified God on the cross. 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 community believes in God in name only, but never really exalts God or bears witness to Him. They definitely do not implement His will. They cannot bring God’s elect up to His throne. They certainly cannot lead them down the right track, 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 truth 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 hypocritical path of the Pharisees. They hurt and ruin God’s elect. 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 are enemies of Christ; they have become stumbling blocks to God’s work of salvation. They have offended God’s disposition and were cursed and punished by Him as a result. It is just as the prophecies 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 God 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. … 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. … 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. … 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? … How could the countries on earth not perish? How could the countries on earth not fall? How could My people not cheer? How could they not sing with joy?” (“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 righteousness, majesty, wrath and unoffendable disposition. Those that resist God, interrupt or disturb God’s work will definitely receive punishment and retribution from God. 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 reduced to nothing. During the Age of Grace, the Jewish chief priests, scribes and Pharisees publicly resisted and condemned the Lord Jesus. They colluded with the Roman government to crucify the Lord Jesus on the cross. 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 committed the heinous sins of blaspheming against the Holy Spirit and recrucifying God on the cross long ago. Their evil behavior is even worse than that of the men of Sodom. It is incomparably worse than that of the Jewish Pharisees. They are the antichrists exposed by God’s work during the last days. They are the evil religious force that has resisted God more severely and fanatically than any other 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. They are 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 an 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 Utterances to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Excerpted from the movie screenplay of The City Will Be Overthrown