VIII. Questions and Answers on Dissecting the Essence of the Pharisees
Question (3): Paul clearly said in the Bible: “Take heed therefore to yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost has made you overseers, to feed the church of God …” (Act 20:28). This proves that pastors and elders are all anointed by the Holy Spirit. Doesn’t being anointed by the Holy Spirit represent being anointed by God? God anointed pastors and elders as overseers to all the flock. That can’t be wrong!
Answer: Some absurd people in religious circles often misuse words from the Bible to make up rules. They claim that the hypocritical Pharisees and religious pastors are all anointed and used by God. Isn’t this severely resisting and blaspheming God? Many people just don’t know how to distinguish. They believe in the Lord but don’t magnify Him, instead advocating gifts, status and power, and also blindly believe in and worship pastors and elders. They can’t distinguish whether one has the work of the Holy Spirit and the reality of the truth. They simply think as long as one has a pastor certificate and gifts and can analyze the Bible, it means they are approved and anointed by God, and that they should be obeyed. Some people are even more absurd and think obeying pastors and elders is obeying God, and that resisting pastors and elders is resisting God. If we go according to such notions, the Jewish chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees who were all familiar with the Bible and often explained the Bible to others, but resisted and condemned the Lord Jesus when He appeared and worked, and even crucified Him, were they people anointed and used by God? If one followed the Jewish leaders in resisting and condemning the Lord Jesus, does that mean they were obeying God? Would you say those who rejected Jewish leaders and followed the Lord Jesus were resisting God? This shows that the view “Obeying pastors and elders is obeying God, resisting pastors and elders is resisting God” really is too absurd and fallacious! We believers of God should be clear that if religious pastors and elders resist God, and the path they lead betrays the truth and opposes God, then we should stand on the side of God, expose them, and reject them. That is true obedience of God. That is forsaking darkness for light and satisfying God’s intentions. Therefore, when it comes to how to deal with pastors and elders, we should pursue the truth and understand God’s intentions. If pastors and elders are people who love the truth and pursue the truth, then they will surely have the work of the Holy Spirit and be able to lead us to practice and experience God’s words, fear God and depart from evil. Respecting and following such people accords with God’s intentions! If they don’t love the truth and only care about explaining their Bible knowledge and theological theories to show off and build themselves up, to make us worship and obey them, and don’t exalt God, bear witness to God, and don’t lead us to practice and experience God’s words, then they are people who have been condemned and cursed by God and we will be opposing God if we still worship, follow and obey them. This would be completely against God’s intentions.
Most people currently in religious circles are unable to distinguish the pastors and elders essence of opposing God. They believe that as long as pastors and elders understand the Bible and can explain the Bible, and that as long as what pastors and elders say conform with the Bible and are based on the Bible, then people should follow and obey. Such a viewpoint sounds right, but when we think about it, do pastors and elders really understand the Bible? Do they really know God’s work? Does having Bible knowledge represent knowing God? Can listening to pastors and elders explain the Bible really guide people to understand the truth and know and obey God? I’m afraid no one in religious circles are able to see through these questions. Let’s think back to how the Jewish Pharisees appeared to others as though they understood the Bible and were good at explaining the Bible, but when the Lord Jesus worked, they did not recognize Him and instead relied on letters and rules from the Bible to try and trap the Lord Jesus any chance they got. They resisted and condemned the Lord Jesus, and because the Lord Jesus expressed God’s words, they condemned and blasphemed the Lord Jesus, accusing His words of being blasphemy. In the end, they cruelly nailed the Lord Jesus to the cross. Just what was their problem? Weren’t they arrogant and unknowing of God? These facts are sufficient to prove that having Bible knowledge and being good at explaining the Bible does not mean that a person understands the truth and knows God, and it does not mean that they know God’s work! Those who truly experience God’s work all pay attention to experiencing and practicing God’s words. In God’s words they see God’s wondrous deeds, understand all the care and thought God has expended in saving mankind, and see clearly all the words expressed by God in the course of His work are all the reality of truth that people should enter. They also have true understanding of why God expresses these truths, what His intentions are, and what He seeks to achieve through His work on people. Only such people truly understand God’s work. Only such people truly understand the Bible and the truth. People who truly understand the Bible all focus on communicating God’s words in the Bible and communicating God’s intentions, God’s requirements of man, and God’s work and His disposition, and can lead us into the reality of the truth and make us fear God and obey God. What do religious pastors and elders preach? Just Bible knowledge and theological theory. What is the consequence of communicating such things? In the end, it can only make people more and more arrogant. They don’t give in to anyone just because they understand a bit of Bible knowledge. As a result, when God becomes flesh to express the truth, they deny God, resist God, and oppose God! By the look of things, pastors and elders explaining Bible knowledge and theological theory is actually resisting God! Aren’t they just like the Pharisees from before? Why aren’t these religious pastors and elders able to communicate their knowledge and experience of their own practice of God’s words? Why aren’t they able to communicate their true understanding of God’s work and His disposition? It’s precisely because they don’t have genuine experience of God’s words and the truth and what they focus on is merely studying the Bible so they can attain Bible knowledge, which is why they cannot possibly receive the work of the Holy Spirit. So how could their service possibly receive God’s approval? God has become flesh as the Son of man and expressed the truth to perform His judgment work of the last days, revealing every person. Those who love the truth, hate the truth, good servants, evil servants, those who serve God, and those who serve mammon will all be revealed. As for those religious pastors and elders, they all take the verses out of context and rely on their notions and imaginations to misconstrue the Bible, even determining that “There is no utterance and work of God outside of the Bible” and also spreading all sorts of fallacies to resist and condemn God’s work in the last days. Is this not misleading and deceiving people? Who knows how many believers have been harmed and ruined by their spreading of such fallacies? How many people have lost chance to be taken before God’s throne and attend the wedding banquet with God and the rare opportunity to be made into an overcomer by God? Aren’t these pastors and elders stumbling blocks and obstacles to people accepting the true way?
Let’s read some of Almighty God’s words and we’ll be able to discern religious pastors and elders even better! Almighty God says: “Look at the leaders of every denomination and sect. They are all arrogant and self-right, 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 learning, and can speak a little of doctrine, or know how to win over others and how to use some artifices, through which they have brought people before themselves and have deceived them. Nominally, those people believe in God—but in reality they follow their leaders. If they encounter those who preach the true way, some of them would say, ‘We have to consult our leader about our belief in God.’ See how they require someone’s consent to believe in God; 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).
“Those who read the Bible in grand churches recite the Bible every day, yet not one understands the purpose of God’s work. Not one is able to know God; moreover, not one is in accord with the heart of God. They are all worthless, vile men, each standing on high to teach God. Though they brandish the name of God, they willfully oppose Him. Though they label themselves believers of God, they are ones who eat the flesh and drink the blood of man. All such men are devils who devour the soul of man, demons who purposefully disturb those who try to step onto the right path, and stumbling blocks that impede the path of those who seek God. Though they are of ‘robust flesh,’ how are their followers to know that they are antichrists who lead man in opposition to God? How are they to know that they are living devils who specially seek souls to devour?” (“All Who Do Not Know God Are Those Who Oppose God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Almighty God has exposed the true essence of pastors and elders who resist God and deceive man while serving God very clearly! Religious pastors and elders often take verses out of context and misinterpret the Bible when explaining it. They rely on the notions and imaginations to explain Bible knowledge and theological theory to show off, build themselves up, and make people worship and follow them. But they never exalt the Lord, bear witness to the Lord, and instead plan to place everyone under their control. Why are there so many religious people who worship pastors and elders as well as those who can explain the Bible, but not many people can magnify the Lord? What is the problem here? Especially during Almighty God’s work of judgment in the last days, there are many people who don’t investigate and pursue the truth. Do these people believe in the Lord or pastors? We should all self-reflect on these problems. The Lord Jesus already exposed the religious Pharisees’ resistance against God long ago, so how come we don’t have any discernment when it comes to religious pastors and elders in the last days? And there are still many people who worship and follow them. They have unknowingly embarked on the path of resisting God, and are despised and hated by God like the Pharisees. What kind of problem is this? Isn’t this the result of being deceived by pastors and elders? Now, many who love the truth and hunger for God’s appearance have seen through the antichrist nature of religious pastors and elders. They have all left the religion and accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days and are attending the wedding supper of the Lamb. As for those who still worship and follow religious pastors and elders, they will be forsaken by God’s work. The great disaster is about to descend. If we don’t look into and accept Almighty God’s work of the last days, all we can do is fall into the disaster, weeping and gnashing our teeth!
from the movie script of Break the Spell