4. The consequences of someone’s subjection to the deceit and control of the Pharisees and antichrists of the religious world, and whether they can be saved by God
Relevant Words of God:
What are the conditions a person must meet in order to receive salvation? First of all, they must possess the ability to identify satanic antichrists; they must have this aspect of the truth. It is only by possessing this aspect of the truth that they can genuinely believe in God and refrain from worshiping or following man; only people who can identify antichrists have the ability to truly believe in God and follow and bear witness to Him. In order to identify antichrists, people must first learn to see people and things with complete clarity and understanding; they must be able to perceive the essence of antichrists, and they must see through all of their conspiracies, tricks, inner motivations, and objectives. If you can do this, then you can stand firm. If you want to obtain salvation, then the first test you must pass is to learn how to defeat Satan and how to overcome and triumph over hostile forces and interference from the outside world. Once you possess stature and sufficient truth to persevere to the end in a battle against Satan’s forces, and have defeated them, then—and only then—can you pursue the truth steadily, and only then can you step steadfastly and without mishap upon the path of pursuing the truth and being granted salvation. If you cannot pass this test, then it can be said that you are in great danger, and you are liable to be captured by an antichrist and come to live under Satan’s influence. It is possible that there are currently some among you who hinder and trip people who are pursuing the truth, and they are those people’s enemies. Do you accept this? There are those who do not dare to face this fact, nor do they dare to accept it as fact. In reality, these things do indeed exist in the church; it is just that people cannot discern them. If you cannot pass this test—the test of antichrists, then you are either deceived and controlled by antichrists or made to suffer, tortured, pushed out, suppressed, and abused by them. Ultimately, your measly little life will not withstand for long, and will wither; you will no longer have faith in God, and you will leave Him, saying, “God isn’t even righteous; where is God? There is no righteousness or light in this world, and there’s no such thing as God’s salvation of humanity. We might as well pass our days going to work and making money!” You deny God and no longer believe that He exists; any hope that you will obtain salvation is entirely gone. So, if you want to get to where you can be granted salvation, the first test you must pass is one of being able to see through Satan, and you must also have the courage to stand up and expose and forsake Satan. Where, then, is Satan? Satan is at your side and all around you; it might even be living inside your heart. If you are living within Satan’s disposition, it can be said that you belong to Satan. You cannot see or touch the Satan of the spiritual realm, but the Satan that exists in practical life is everywhere. Any person who detests the truth is evil, and any leader or worker who does not accept the truth is an antichrist and an evil person. Are such people not living Satans? These people might be the very ones you worship and look up to; they could be the people who lead you or the people you have long hoped for, admired, trusted and relied upon in your hearts. In fact, however, they are roadblocks standing in your way and hindering you from obtaining salvation; they are antichrists. They can take control of your life and the path you walk, and they can ruin your chance to be granted salvation. If you fail to identify them and see through them, then at any moment, you could plummet into their traps or be captured and taken away by them. Thus, you are in great danger. Are there many who can escape this danger? Have you escaped it?
There are some who call themselves pursuers of the truth and say they do not fear the antichrists—is this not mere bluster? When you encounter an antichrist baring their fangs and brandishing their claws, poor of humanity and doing evil, you are certain to recognize them. Yet if there is an antichrist who appears fairly devout and is agreeable to people’s notions, whose humanity is excellent, whose speech and action are very tactful, gentle, and considerate, you will not be able to see through them—but their behavior, thoughts, and views, as well as their ways of doing things and even their ways of understanding the truth, will all be able to affect you. What is the extent of their effect? They can affect the way you act, the path you walk, and your attitude toward God; in the end, they will become your idol and will hold a place in your heart, and you will be unable to rid yourself of them. When you are influenced to this extent, your hope of salvation may become quite slim. Were you worked by God and the truth to such an extent, that would be welcome and a good thing, but to be controlled to such an extent by a person corrupted by Satan or Satan’s ilk—would that be a disaster or a blessing for you? It would be a disaster for you and in no way a blessing. Though they may be able to give you a temporary path or temporarily provide for you, help you, edify you, and so on, and though this would seem of great benefit to you, as soon as they hold a certain place in your heart and can control and orchestrate your thoughts and views, such that they can even orchestrate your direction forward, then you are in trouble—you will then be under Satan’s control. There are those who say of an antichrist, “He’s not Satan! He’s a spiritual person who pursues the truth!” Is that a valid statement? The guidance, help, and provision that any person who truly pursues the truth gives you—the influence or benefit they bring to you—brings you before God so that you may seek His words and the truth, and you come before God and learn to rely on Him and seek Him, and your relationship with Him grows closer and closer. By contrast, if it is your relationship with that person that grows closer and closer, what is happening? The path you are walking is now reversed, and you are heading the wrong way. What consequences does this lead to? Having been brought before man, you will be far away from God, and, as soon as God does something that does not benefit the idol whom you worship, you will revolt straight away. This is a common occurrence. When some leaders are replaced or, in some cases, expelled, their followers leave with them and stop believing. Is this not a common occurrence? How come they have stopped believing? They say, “If my leader can’t be saved, what hope do I have?” Is this not muddled talk? How could they say such a thing? Their leader has deceived them. What is the consequence of being deceived? It is that they are already under their leader’s control. Their leader’s every word and action, every deed and movement, and any views their leader holds, they accept wholesale, and use them as benchmarks and examples, and regard them as the supreme truth. They therefore do not tolerate anyone saying their leader’s words, actions, or views are wrong, or saying anything negative about them, or condemning and forming conclusions about them. As soon as the leader is expelled or dismissed, those whom they control leave with them, unshakeable in their conviction, and no amount of persuasion can bring them back. Are they not under their leader’s control? Only under their control would you fight for justice on their behalf, or share their anxieties, their thoughts, their tears, and their grievances, going so far as no longer to acknowledge God. Their goal is to be your Lord, your God, the thing you depend on, so that you obey and follow them with docility at the pit of your heart, and you adopt an attitude of rejection toward God. You will regard the antichrist as God, and you will have made them your Lord and God. To you, God will be nothing—that is the outcome. It is no use saying you are not worried about being deceived by an antichrist and that you do not fear following one, for if the path you walk is wrong, then ultimately, this is the inevitable outcome. You cannot escape it and you cannot change this fact. As you walk along the path you have chosen, this outcome, bit by bit, floats to the surface and presents itself; this is inevitable.
—The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. They Exclude and Attack Those Who Pursue the Truth
You have to discern antichrists. If you never take this seriously, you will have no way of knowing in what kind of situation you could be led astray by them, and, you might even be following antichrists in a haze of confusion, without even knowing what is happening. When you started following them, you did not realize that anything is wrong, and you might even feel that what the antichrist is saying is right. Unwittingly, you have been led astray. Once you have been deceived, God no longer wants you. Some people normally seem to do fine, and they are just temporarily taken in by an antichrist, so the church can eventually wrest them back through warning them and fellowshiping with them. However, some people never come back, no matter what kind of fellowship they receive; instead they are dead set on following the antichrist. Is this not being ruined? Why do they not just come back? It is because God does not make it happen. Some people say, very well-intentioned, “Oh, but he’s such a nice person. He’s believed in God for years and has sacrificed and expended a lot. He’s really upright and has been really devout in his duty, plus his faith in God is tremendous. He’s a true believer.” That is what it looks like on the surface, based on people’s good intentions, but you cannot see into that person’s innermost heart. You cannot see what sort of person he truly is, what his essence is. Additionally, you may try to save him out of the goodness of your heart, but no matter how you fellowship he will not turn back, and you do not know what the reason behind this is. In fact, it is that God does not want him anymore. Why does God not want him anymore? There is a supremely obvious and easily observable reason for this. Some antichrists are very clearly evil spirits, while some antichrists do not go so far as to present themselves as evil spirits, so they cannot be defined as such. For those antichrists who clearly are evil spirits, once someone else follows them, would God still acknowledge that person, considering God’s essence and disposition? God is holy, and He is a jealous God—He rejects those who have followed evil spirits. Even if, on the surface, this person seems to you to be good, God is not looking at that aspect. What is “jealous”? What does “jealous” mean here? If it is not clear from the word itself, see if you can understand from My explanation. Starting from when a person is selected by God up until when they determine that God is the truth, that He is righteousness, wisdom, and almightiness, that He is the one and only—once they understand all of this, they gain a basic understanding deep within their heart of God’s disposition and essence, as well as what He has and is. This basic understanding then becomes their faith, and it becomes what drives them in following God, expending themselves for God, and doing their duty. This is their stature, right? (Yes.) These things have already taken root within their life and they will never again deny God. But if they do not have true knowledge of Christ or of the practical God, they may still worship and follow an antichrist. This sort of person is still in danger. They may still turn their back on Christ in the flesh to follow an evil antichrist; this would be openly denying Christ and cutting off ties with God. The subtext of this is: “I won’t follow You anymore, but I am following Satan. I love Satan and wish to serve it; I want to follow Satan, and no matter how it treats me, how it ruins, tramples, and corrupts me, I am more than willing. No matter how righteous and how holy You are, I don’t want to follow You anymore. I don’t want to follow You in spite of the fact that You are God.” And they leave just like that, following someone who has nothing to do with them, someone who is an enemy to God or even an evil spirit. Would God still want that kind of person? Would it be reasonable of God to spurn them? It would be perfectly reasonable. From common sense, people all know that God is a jealous God, that He is holy, but do you understand the actual situation of what really lies behind this? Is what I am saying here not accurate? (It is.) If it is, then would God giving up on that person count as cruelty on His part? God acts on principle—if you know who God is but you do not want to follow Him, and you know who Satan is and you still want to follow it, then I will not insist. I will let you follow Satan forever and I will not ask you to come back, but I will give up on you. What sort of disposition is this on God’s part? Is it obstinance? Is He acting on emotion, or being dignified? This is not dignity, nor obstinance, but part of God’s “jealousy.” That is, if you, as a created being, are happy to become depraved, what can God say? If you wish to become depraved, that is your personal choice—ultimately you will bear the consequences, and you will have only yourself to blame. God’s principles for dealing with people are immutable, so if you are happy with depravity then your inevitable end is to be punished. It does not matter how many years you may have followed God before; if you wish to be depraved, God will not help you with your choice, nor will He force you. You yourself are willing to follow Satan, to be misled and defiled by Satan, and so in the end you have to bear the consequences.
—The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. They Are Evil, Insidious, and Deceitful (Part Two)
No matter how many people believe in God, as soon as their beliefs are defined by Him as being those of a religion or group, He has already determined that they cannot be saved. Why do I say this? In a gang or crowd of people who are without the work and guidance of God, and who do not worship Him at all, whom do they worship? Whom do they follow? In form and name, they follow a person, but whom do they essentially follow? Deep down, they acknowledge God, but in fact, they are subject to human manipulation, arrangements, and control. They follow Satan, the devil; they follow the forces that are hostile to God and that are His enemies. Would God save a pack of people such as this? (No.) Why not? Are they capable of repentance? (No.) They wave the flag of faith, carrying out human enterprises and conducting their own management, and they run counter to God’s management plan for mankind’s salvation. Their final outcome is one of being detested and rejected by God; He could not possibly save these people, they could not possibly repent, they have already been captured by Satan—they are entirely in Satan’s hands. In your faith, does how many years you have believed in God matter to whether or not you are praised by Him? Do the rituals and regulations you abide by matter? Does God look at people’s methods of practice? Does He look at how many people there are? He has selected one portion of mankind; how does He measure whether they can and should be saved? He bases this decision on the paths these people walk. In the Age of Grace, although the truths that God told people were less numerous than today, and not as specific, He could still perfect people at the time, and salvation was still possible. Thus, as for the people of this age who have heard many truths and have come to understand God’s will, if they are incapable of following His way and unable to walk the path of salvation, then what will their final outcome be? Their final outcome will be the same as that of believers in Christianity and Judaism; there will be no difference. This is God’s righteous disposition! Regardless of how many sermons you have heard or how many truths you have understood, if, ultimately, you still follow humans and Satan, and in the end, if you are still incapable of following God’s way and unable to fear Him and shun evil, then such people will be detested and rejected by God. To all appearances, such people who are detested and rejected by God can talk much about letters and doctrines, and may have come to understand many truths, yet they are incapable of worshiping God; they cannot fear God and shun evil, and are incapable of total submission to Him. In God’s eyes, He defines them as part of a religion, as just a group of humans—a gang of humans—and as a lodging place for Satan. They are collectively referred to as Satan’s gang, and these people are utterly despised by God.
—“Only by Constantly Living Before God Can One Walk the Path to Salvation” in Records of Talks of Christ of the Last Days