My Little Knowledge of Antichrist Dispositions

October 17, 2022

By Vladhia, France

I was elected to be a church leader in 2021. For a while, I was having trouble with our watering work. Some waterers weren’t coming to gatherings regularly, and when they did attend, they hardly fellowshiped. I didn’t know how to address the issue, so I told Sister Lucy, a leader, about this difficulty. One day she added a preacher, Brother Matthew, to our gathering group. I knew he understood the truth better than I did, and he’d helped me in my work before. But I wasn’t too pleased to see him joining our group, and my first thought was to wonder if he was coming to oversee my work. I was worried that if he discovered issues and exposed me, I could lose face, and the others wouldn’t think much of me as a leader, so I didn’t want him to supervise my work. Later I noticed that Sister Lucy added Brother Matthew to several other major groups in the church, and the brothers and sisters all sent messages welcoming him. This upset me even more. I felt that he was probably coming to take my place.

That evening Brother Matthew attended a gathering for new believers. They listened attentively to his fellowship and interacted eagerly with him, but seemed indifferent toward my fellowship. I was really envious of Matthew and didn’t want to say anything more. I felt like with him there, no one needed me anymore. Everyone was so happy after hearing Matthew’s fellowship and just kept thanking God. Some even said they’d never felt so enlightened before in gatherings, and they gained so much from his fellowship. I was really mad to hear the brothers and sisters say that and I felt they paid no attention to my presence, as if I hadn’t shared any fellowship with them at all. I felt humiliated, and I was even resentful toward the brothers and sisters, feeling they’d forgotten about everything I’d fellowshiped on. While wrapping up the gathering, Matthew summarized some things for us. I didn’t want to speak up, and I really didn’t want to hear everyone praising him. I wanted to end the gathering as fast as possible and get away from all of it. Just then, Matthew asked me what I thought of the gathering. I didn’t want to participate in the discussion, so I just said a couple perfunctory things. Then Matthew talked about some issues he’d discovered. He said my fellowship was pretty broad and unclear, that the others hadn’t understood it and nobody responded to it, and that kind of gathering wasn’t productive. I felt really defiant when I heard him say that. Why did he have to bring my problems to light? He must have come specifically to target me. If he was going to dismiss me, he should say so directly! I developed a bias against Matthew.

Later on, Brother Matthew suggested finding passages of God’s words relevant to new believers’ issues for gatherings. We could have more flexibility in fellowship, and use some examples or share little anecdotes to help them understand God’s words. I thought fellowshiping that way was overly detailed and at heart I disagreed, but everyone else really liked his suggestions. In the evening, we cochaired another gathering, and I was worried that Matthew would call me out again. I figured I could make note of the problems with his fellowship and point them out as the gathering was wrapping up. But to my surprise, the new believers liked that kind of gathering, and raising examples in fellowship helped them better understand God’s words. It was a fruitful gathering. I couldn’t find fault. But when Matthew asked the attendees questions, some of them didn’t respond, creating an awkward moment. I was really pleased and felt I’d finally found a problem of his. I noted this shortcoming of his so that I could call him out, too. When it came time for my fellowship, I wanted to do my best to share the key points of what I’d understood, to do my best to outdo Brother Matthew and get the others to look up to me. But before I knew it, I was fellowshiping on a different topic. I felt it was also really important and something that they had to understand, so I just went on. After concluding the gathering, Brother Matthew exposed my issues once again, saying I’d gone off topic in my fellowship, which made it hard for everyone to understand the main topic of that day’s gathering. He also reminded me to give serious thought to the topic of our gathering. A sister also said that my fellowship was too long, and she wasn’t able to grasp the main point. Hearing all this plunged me into misery and I couldn’t help but start crying. I was thinking, why did he keep talking about my mistakes? What would the others think of me after that? Would they still respect me? I was really angry with Brother Matthew at the time and I felt like he was intentionally making things hard for me, that he wanted everyone to see my flaws. I wanted to get him to leave, to not have him join our gatherings anymore. But I did have some awareness that I shouldn’t be thinking that way. I prayed to God, “Almighty God, I know that there’s a lesson for me to learn in this, but I’m really mad at Brother Matthew. It’s so hard for me to accept his suggestions. How should I understand this situation? God, please help me stay calm and guide me to know myself, to not do anything to offend You.”

The next day, I looked for words of God to address my issue. I read a couple of passages. “There are some who are always afraid that others are better than they and higher than they, that others will be esteemed while they are neglected. This leads them to attack and exclude others. Is this not a case of being jealous of people more capable than themselves? Is such behavior not selfish and contemptible? What kind of disposition is this? It is malicious! Thinking only about one’s own interests, satisfying only one’s own desires, showing no consideration for others or the interests of God’s house—people like this have a bad disposition, and God has no love for them(The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Freedom and Liberation Can Be Gained Only by Casting Off One’s Corrupt Disposition). “In anything that involves reputation, status, or which can give them exposure—when people hear that the house of God plans to nurture various kinds of talent, for example—everyone’s heart leaps in anticipation, and each of you always wants to make a name for yourself and be recognized. Everyone wants to fight for status and reputation; and they are ashamed of this, but they feel bad if they don’t. They feel jealousy and hatred when they see someone stand out, and become resentful, and feel that this is unfair, thinking, ‘Why can’t I stand out? Why do other people always get the glory? Why is it never my turn?’ And after they feel resentment, they try to repress it, but they cannot. They pray to God and feel better for a while, but when they encounter this sort of situation again, they still cannot overcome it. Does this not display an immature stature? When people are plunged into such states, have they not fallen into Satan’s trap? These are the shackles of Satan’s corrupt nature that bind humans. If a person has cast off these corrupt dispositions, is he not then free and liberated? Think about it: to avoid falling into the states of jockeying for prominence and profit—to free yourself of these corrupt states, release yourself from the stresses and fetters of status and reputation—which truths must you understand? Which realities of the truth must you possess to gain freedom and emancipation? First, you must see that Satan uses status and reputation to corrupt people, to ensnare them, to abuse them, to degrade them and plunge them into sin; furthermore, it is only by accepting the truth that people can forgo, can put aside reputation and status. … You must learn to let go and set aside these things, to recommend others, and to allow them to stand out. Do not struggle or rush to take advantage the moment you encounter an opportunity to stand out or obtain glory. You must be able to put aside these things, but must not delay the performing of your duty. Be a person who works in quiet obscurity, and who does not show off to others while you loyally perform your duty. The more you let go of your prestige and status, and the more you let go of your own interests, the more peaceful you will become, the more light there will be within your heart, and the more your state will improve. The more you struggle and compete, the darker your state will be. If you do not believe it, try it and see! If you want to turn this sort of corrupt state around, and not be controlled by these things, you must seek the truth, and clearly understand the essence of these things, and then put them aside, relinquish them. Otherwise, the more you struggle, the more darkness will surround you, and the more jealousy and hatred you will feel, and your desire to obtain will only grow stronger. The stronger your desire to obtain, the less capable you will be to do so, and as you can’t obtain, your hatred will increase. As your hatred increases, you will grow darker inside. The darker you are inside, the more poorly you will perform your duty; the more poorly you perform your duty, the less useful to the house of God you will be. This is an interlinked, vicious cycle. If you can never perform your duty well, then, gradually, you will be cast out(The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Freedom and Liberation Can Be Gained Only by Casting Off One’s Corrupt Disposition). God’s words describe jealous and envious behaviors really clearly. People are envious, rejecting, and combative with anyone better than them. That’s a satanic disposition. I was exactly that way—way too envious. Seeing the others always approving of Brother Matthew’s fellowship and suggestions, I wanted to compete with him. That put me in a bad state, making me miserable and putting me in darkness. Before Brother Matthew came, I always chaired the gatherings. The waterers would come ask me about problems they ran into, and they all admired me. They asked for my input a lot on what to fellowship about in gatherings, and they looked forward to my fellowship in gatherings, to help them resolve problems. But later on, my fellowship wasn’t fixing their problems, so they weren’t able to improve their watering of new believers. They became negative and didn’t want to talk in gatherings. After Brother Matthew came and gave them real guidance for their watering and showed them a path of practice, they got actual help and benefited from that. They all wanted to hear his fellowship. I should have been happy about that. I could have used that to reflect on my problems and shortcomings. But instead, not only did I fail to self-reflect, but I just kept fighting for name and status. I clearly lacked a lot and wasn’t able to get practical work done, but I didn’t want watering and support from anyone else. I wanted to be the only leader in the church so everyone would look up to me, and listen to me only. I was just focused on my own name and status, but gave no consideration to the church’s work. That situation thoroughly exposed my desire for status and my corruption. I said a prayer, asking God to enlighten me to really reflect on myself.

I was surprised when something similar happened three months later. In a work meeting, Brother Matthew asked me how the church’s new members were doing. I got a little mad. I thought that as a preacher, he should be familiar with each church’s situation, so why was he asking me? And by asking me to speak up in front of so many people, wasn’t he intentionally demeaning me, so I’d admit I couldn’t do watering work well? I gave a quick, impetuous response to his question without sharing any details, and I made sure to mention some struggles, and ask him how to handle them. But I regretted it the moment I was done talking. I was intentionally trying to make things hard for Brother Matthew, and that’s a shameful thing to do. I was wondering why I couldn’t control myself when he exposed my shortcomings in front of others, but I became resentful of him, and even wanted to note his problems in fellowship to expose him in front of everyone, to take revenge. I knew that was a dangerous state to be in, but I didn’t know why I was so furious with Brother Matthew. One evening, I read a testimonial essay called Being Called Out Unmasked Me. It quoted some of God’s words, and gave me a better understanding of this. Almighty God says, “What is the main objective of an antichrist when they attack and exclude a dissenter? They seek to create a situation in the church where there are no voices contrary to their own, in which their power, their leadership status, and their words are absolute. Everyone must heed them, and even if they have a difference of opinion, they must not express it, but let it fester in their heart. Anyone who dares to openly disagree with them becomes the antichrist’s enemy, and they will think of any way they can to make things hard for them, and can’t wait to make them disappear. This is one of the ways that antichrists attack and exclude a dissenter in order to shore up their status and protect their power. They think, ‘It’s fine for you to have different opinions, but you can’t go around talking about them as you please, much less compromise my power and status. If you have something to say, you can say it to me in private. If you say it in front of everyone and cause me to lose face, you are asking to be snubbed, and I’ll have to take care of you.’ What kind of disposition is this? Antichrists do not permit others to speak freely. If they have an opinion—whether about the antichrist or anything else—they must keep it to themselves; they must consider the antichrist’s face. If not, the antichrist will brand them an enemy, and attack and exclude them. What kind of nature is this? It is the nature of an antichrist. And why do they do this? They do not allow the church to have any alternative voices, they do not permit any dissenters in the church, they do not allow God’s chosen ones to openly fellowship the truth and identify people. What they fear most is being exposed and identified by people; they are constantly trying to consolidate their power and the status they have in people’s hearts, which they feel must never be shaken. They could never tolerate anything that threatens or affects their pride, reputation, or status and value as a leader. Is this not a manifestation of the vicious nature of antichrists? Not content with the power they already possess, they consolidate and secure it and seek eternal domination. Not only do they want to control others’ behavior, but also their hearts. The antichrists’ modus operandi is wholly in order to protect their power and status, it is entirely the result of their desire to hold on to power(The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Two). My state was exactly like what God exposed. When Matthew revealed my faults and shortcomings, I wanted to refute him and take revenge. Those are antichrist behaviors. I’d already acknowledged that I loved status and I was arrogant, but I didn’t have any real self-knowledge. Deep in my heart, I thought that being a church leader meant I was capable and had caliber, and even though there were flaws in my duty, I was still able to do the church’s work, and I wouldn’t be dismissed. When I saw Brother Matthew being added to one gathering group after another, I felt like my position was threatened, as if a rival had suddenly appeared to replace me. I hated him, and I rejected him. I didn’t remotely care about what the brothers and sisters needed, and didn’t consider the church’s work. I just surreptitiously fought with Brother Matthew to keep my position secure. That was an evil disposition. He pointed out my problems, I couldn’t accept it, so I went up against him. I even wanted to take revenge on him and make him look bad. I felt humiliated when he called attention to my mistakes again and I became infuriated with him, even wanting to get rid of him. But in fact, he was putting the truth into practice. There really were oversights in my work, and lots of principles that I didn’t grasp. That’s why he was teaching me a better way to work. But instead of welcoming him, I kept trying to find his problems so I could call him out in front of everyone. I didn’t share any details with him when he asked about my work, but purposely asked questions to make him look bad. Before, I thought I was just jealous of him. But I realized through the revelation of God’s words that I was displaying an antichrist disposition. I wanted to lash out at him and take revenge to protect my name and status. I probably would have done something even worse if I’d had the chance. When I saw my antichrist disposition, I felt both shocked and afraid. I knew that if I went on like that, God would definitely cast me out, because God won’t save antichrists. I prayed to God in repentance, “Almighty God, I haven’t done a leader’s work well. I’ve fought wholeheartedly for my own name and status and I was even capable of evil, like lashing out and taking revenge. I have taken on the role of Satan with my behavior. God, I want to repent.”

I read a passage of God’s words after that that helped me see my corrupt disposition a little more clearly. “The antichrists’ cherishment of their status and prestige goes beyond that of normal people, and is something within their disposition and essence; it is not a temporary interest, or the transient effect of their surroundings—it is something within their life, their bones, and so it is their essence. This is to say that in everything an antichrist does, their first consideration is their own status and prestige, nothing else. For an antichrist, status and prestige are their life, and their lifelong goal. In all they do, their first consideration is: ‘What will happen to my status? And to my prestige? Will doing this give me prestige? Will it elevate my status in people’s minds?’ That is the first thing they think about, which is ample proof that they have the disposition and essence of antichrists; they would not consider these problems otherwise. It can be said that for an antichrist, status and prestige are not some additional requirement, much less something extraneous that they could do without. They are part of the nature of antichrists, they are in their bones, in their blood, they are innate to them. Antichrists are not indifferent toward whether they possess status and prestige; this is not their attitude. Then, what is their attitude? Status and prestige are intimately connected to their daily lives, to their daily state, to what they strive for on a daily basis. And so for antichrists, status and prestige are their life. No matter how they live, no matter what environment they live in, no matter what work they do, no matter what they strive for, what their goals are, what their life’s direction is, it all revolves around having a good reputation and a high station. And this aim does not change; they can never put aside such things. This is the true face of the antichrists, and their essence(The Word, Vol. 4. Exposing Antichrists. Item Nine (Part Three)). This passage of God’s words revealed what I’d been pursuing all along, and my nature and essence. What I cared about most was my own name and status. In my interactions with others and in everything I did, I was always thinking of leaving a good impression, of getting others’ respect. That’s how I’d been taught since I was little, and I’d always sought to be the best. In high school, I was constantly competing with others in my efforts to be the most accomplished, the most outstanding student in my class, so others would admire and look up to me. After joining the church, I was still fully focused on my reputation and status, always wanting others’ admiration. I thought the church assigned a duty to me because I had special capabilities, and I could get things done quickly and well. When I became a leader later, I got even more arrogant and self-important. I always wanted to show off my abilities through fellowship, but I wasn’t focused on learning about and making up for my faults in my duty. When Brother Matthew pointed out my shortcomings, I felt I’d lost face, and lost the brothers’ and sisters’ admiration. I couldn’t accept that, so I wanted to lash out at him and take revenge. I saw from eating and drinking God’s words that everything I’d done had been to protect my name and status, which is disgusting to God. I asked God to save me from that corrupt disposition.

The brothers and sisters sent me some of God’s words after that. “Arrogance is the root of man’s corrupt disposition. The more arrogant people are, the more irrational they are, and the more irrational they are, the more liable they are to resist God. How serious is this problem? Not only do people with arrogant dispositions consider everyone else beneath them, but, worst of all, they are even condescending toward God, and they have no fear of God within their hearts. Even though people might appear to believe in God and follow Him, they do not treat Him as God at all. They always feel that they possess the truth and think the world of themselves. This is the essence and root of the arrogant disposition, and it comes from Satan. Therefore, the problem of arrogance must be resolved. Feeling that one is better than others—that is a trivial matter. The critical issue is that one’s arrogant disposition prevents one from submitting to God, His rule, and His arrangements; such a person always feels inclined to compete with God for power over others. This sort of person does not revere God in the slightest, to say nothing of loving God or submitting to Him(The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Part Three). “Let no person think of themselves as perfect, or distinguished and noble, or distinct from others; all this is brought about by man’s arrogant disposition and ignorance. Always to think oneself distinctive—this is caused by an arrogant disposition; never being able to accept their shortcomings, and never being able to confront their mistakes and failures—this is caused by an arrogant disposition; never permitting others to be higher than oneself, or to be better than oneself—this is caused by an arrogant disposition; never permitting others to be superior or stronger than them—this is caused by an arrogant disposition; never permitting others to have better thoughts, suggestions, and views than oneself, and, when they do, becoming negative, not wishing to speak, feeling distressed and dejected, and becoming upset—all of this is caused by an arrogant disposition. An arrogant disposition can make you protect your reputation, unable to accept others’ guidance, unable to confront your own shortcomings, and unable to accept your own failures and mistakes. More than that, when someone is better than you, it can cause hatred and jealousy to arise in your heart, and you can feel constrained, such that you do not wish to do your duty and become slipshod in performing it. An arrogant disposition can cause these behaviors and practices to arise in you. If you are able, little by little, to dig deeper into all these details, achieve breakthroughs in them, and gain understanding of them; and if you are then able gradually to forsake these thoughts, and to forsake these erroneous notions, views and even behaviors, and are not constrained by them; and if, in performing your duty, you are able to find the right station for you, and act according to principles, and perform the duty you can and should perform; then, over time, you will be able to perform your duties better. This is entry into the reality of the truth. If you can enter into the reality of the truth, you will appear to others to have a human likeness, and people will say, ‘This person conducts themselves according to their station, and they are doing their duty in a grounded way. They do not rely on naturalness, on hot-headedness, or on their corrupt, satanic disposition to do their duty. They act with restraint, they have a heart that reveres God, they have love for truth, and their behavior and expressions reveal them to have forsaken their own flesh and preferences.’ How wonderful it is to conduct oneself so! On the occasions when others bring up your shortcomings, you are not only able to accept them, but are optimistic, facing your shortcomings and flaws with poise. Your state of mind is quite normal, free of extremes, free of hot blood. Is this not what it is to have a human likeness? Only such people have good sense(The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. The Principles That Should Guide One’s Conduct). God’s words expose the root cause of the problem. Lots of our corruption stems from an arrogant nature. My arrogant disposition was the reason I was envious and defiant of Brother Matthew, and wouldn’t accept his suggestions. I was living in arrogance and couldn’t see my own mistakes. Even though his suggestions were beneficial for me, I wouldn’t accept them. I refused to accept his help and guidance, in an effort to protect my name and status. I didn’t give any thought to what I should do in order to do my duty well. There were clearly some difficulties in the work and I wasn’t doing a good job, yet I was arrogant and defiant. I really didn’t have any self-awareness. Brother Matthew pointed out a number of practical issues which were all flaws in my duty. I wouldn’t accept that or self-reflect, but instead nitpicked at him. But in fact, his fellowship was really practical and helpful for new believers’ understanding of the truth, more helpful and beneficial for them than the gatherings I’d chaired before. Faced with the facts, I couldn’t acknowledge that Brother Matthew was more skilled than me, but I resented him and was envious. I really was arrogant, self-important, and unreasonable. I thought too much of myself. I always wanted to be the best out of everyone, and adulated by others. That’s the archangel’s disposition and it goes against God. I said a prayer in my heart, ready to pursue the truth and to change my corrupt disposition, to be a reasonable person.

Later in my devotionals, I read this in God’s words: “This is the sort of atmosphere you must have within the church—everyone focusing on the truth and striving to attain it. It does not matter how old or young people are, or whether or not they are veteran believers. Nor does it matter whether they have high or low caliber. These things do not matter. Before the truth, everyone is equal. The things you must look at are who speaks correctly and in conformity with the truth, who thinks of the interests of God’s house, who bears the greatest burden in the work of God’s house, who understands the truth more clearly, who shares a sense of righteousness, and who is willing to pay the price. Such people should be supported and applauded by their brothers and sisters. This atmosphere of uprightness that comes from pursuing the truth must prevail within the church; in this way, you will have the work of the Holy Spirit, and God will bestow blessings and guidance. If the atmosphere that prevails within the church is one of telling tales, making a fuss about one another, bearing grudges against each other, being jealous of each other, and arguing with each other, then the Holy Spirit will certainly not work in you. Struggling against each other and secretly fighting, deceiving, tricking, and plotting against one another—this is an atmosphere of evil! If such an atmosphere prevails within the church, then the Holy Spirit will certainly not do His work(The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Only One Who Performs Their Duty With All Their Heart, Mind, and Soul Is One Who Loves God). “Today, all who cannot accept God’s scrutiny cannot receive His approval, and those who do not know God incarnate cannot be perfected. Look at all that you do, and see if it can be brought before God. If you cannot bring all that you do before God, this shows that you are an evildoer. Can evildoers be perfected? All that you do, every action, every intention, and every reaction should be brought before God. Even your daily spiritual life—your prayers, your closeness to God, how you eat and drink of God’s words, your fellowship with your brothers and sisters, and your life within the church—and your service in partnership can be brought before God for His scrutiny. It is such practice that will help you achieve growth in life(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. God Perfects Those Who Are After His Own Heart). God’s words provided me both comfort and a path of practice. God requires us to not be envious or competitive in the church, but to focus on pursuing the truth. We should listen to anyone whose words are in line with the truth. Brother Matthew exposed my shortcomings to help me do the work of watering new believers well. He wasn’t protecting interpersonal relationships. He shared fellowship when he saw a problem, guiding people to know themselves. When he showed corruption, he was up front about it, not trying to get people to admire him. He was able to pursue the truth and uphold the church’s work, and I should learn from him to make up for my own flaws, not be jealous, defiant, and even try to find fault with him for revenge. I also saw that receiving pointers and being called out is God’s protection and salvation for me, helping me know my own corruption and correct my mistakes. God is watching us, hoping we’ll do things in line with the principles. I felt ready to accept God’s scrutiny, to examine my corruption and make a change quickly, and to act according to principle.

I’m not jealous of Brother Matthew anymore. I’m able to accept his fellowship and pointers. In gatherings when I ask others questions, I organize what I want to say so it’s clearer for the brothers and sisters. When they’re silent and aren’t actively engaged in fellowship, I focus more on interactive communication with them. To make gatherings more effective, I communicate with the others more beforehand to find out what their practical problems are, to address them through fellowship on God’s words. In general I also try to read God’s words more and equip myself with the truth to be more helpful in resolving their difficulties. This little bit of change I’ve made is God’s salvation. Thank Almighty God!

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