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Gospel Reader

Fallacy (4): Someone says, “If Almighty God’s work of the last days that you are spreading is the true way, then why isn’t it accepted by the elders, pastors, and priests?”

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Response: Determining whether or not something is the true way based on whether the elders, pastors, and priests accept it is really unsound and unreliable. We all know that the work of Jesus Christ is the true way, and we believe it without any doubt. But when Jesus worked among the Jews, did the religious elite of that time—the chief priests, elders, and scribes—accept His work? Did they acknowledge that His work was the true way? Not only did they refuse to believe in Jesus and accept His work, but they did everything they could to prevent others from believing in and following Him. Could we draw the conclusion that it is not the true way just because the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees refused to accept the work of Jesus? It is clear that determining whether or not something is the true way based on whether the religious elite accept it is not at all sound. In truth, whether or not it is the true way cannot be determined based on the approval, acknowledgement, and acceptance of the elders, pastors, and priests. Neither can it be determined based on the judgments of any spiritual greats or celebrities. It must be determined based on whether it is God’s own work. If it is God’s work, it can surely express God’s disposition as well as bring the truth, the way, and the life to mankind, and it can surely save mankind from corruption and restore their life dispositions of normal humanity. If someone cannot express God’s disposition, do the work of God Himself, or save mankind from their corruption, then even if he is acknowledged by pastors, elders, or priests, that does not prove that his work is the true way. So, weighing whether or not something is the true way must be determined based on whether it is God’s own work, and not on whether the top leaders in the religious world accept it or not.

As for how to weigh whether something is the true way or the false way, Almighty God’s words clearly state: “What is the most basic principle in seeking the true way? You have to look at whether or not there is the work of the Holy Spirit, whether or not these words are the expression of the truth, who is testified to, and what it can bring you. Distinguishing between the true way and the false way requires several aspects of basic knowledge, the most fundamental of which is to tell whether or not there is the work of the Holy Spirit. For the substance of man’s belief in God is the belief in the Spirit of God, and even his belief in God incarnate is because this flesh is the embodiment of the Spirit of God, which means that such belief is still the belief in the Spirit. There are differences between the Spirit and the flesh, but because this flesh comes from the Spirit, and is the Word become flesh, thus what man believes in is still the inherent substance of God. And so, in distinguishing whether or not it is the true way, above all you must look at whether or not there is the work of the Holy Spirit, after which you must look at whether or not there is the truth in this way. This truth is the life disposition of normal humanity, which is to say, that which was required of man when God created him in the beginning, namely, all of normal humanity (including human sense, insight, wisdom, and the basic knowledge of being man). That is, you need to look at whether or not this way takes man into a life of normal humanity, whether or not the truth that is spoken of is required according to the reality of normal humanity, whether or not this truth is practical and real, and whether or not it is most timely. If there is truth, then it is able to take man into normal and real experiences; man, furthermore, becomes ever more normal, man’s human sense becomes ever more complete, man’s life in the flesh and the spiritual life become ever more orderly, and man’s emotions become ever more normal. This is the second principle. There is one other principle, which is whether or not man has an increasing knowledge of God, whether or not experiencing such work and truth can inspire a love of God in him, and bring him ever closer to God. In this can be measured whether or not it is the true way. Most fundamental is whether this way is realistic rather than supernatural, and whether or not it is able to provide the life of man. If it conforms to these principles, the conclusion can be drawn that this way is the true way. … God does not repeat His work, He does not do work that is not realistic, He does not make excessive requirements of man, and He does not do work that is beyond the sense of man. All the work He does is within the scope of man’s normal sense, and does not exceed the sense of normal humanity, and His work is according to man’s normal requirements. If it is the work of the Holy Spirit, man becomes ever more normal, and his humanity becomes ever more normal. Man has an increasing knowledge of his disposition, which has been corrupted by Satan, and of the essence of man, and he has an ever greater longing for the truth. That is to say, the life of man grows and grows, and the corrupt disposition of man becomes capable of more and more changes—all of which is the meaning of God becoming the life of man. If a way is incapable of revealing those things that are the essence of man, is incapable of changing the disposition of man, and, moreover, is incapable of bringing him before God or giving him a true understanding of God, and even causes his humanity to become ever more lowly and his sense ever more abnormal, then this way must not be the true way, and it may be the work of an evil spirit, or the old way. In short, it cannot be the present work of the Holy Spirit” (“Only Those Who Know God and His Work Can Satisfy God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). The fact is, Almighty God has opened up the mysteries of His six-thousand-year management plan, and He has expressed all the truths for mankind to be purified and saved. Under His leadership, our understanding of God has become greater and greater, and we have seen God’s wondrousness and wisdom, almightiness and sovereignty, righteousness and holiness, greatness and honorableness, as well as His faithfulness and goodness. Our hearts have become more and more willing to love God and we have become closer to Him. At the same time, we have understood more and more of our own corrupt essence and have more and more of a thirst for the truth. As we enter into the truth, our life dispositions have had a gradual transformation, and the humanity that we live out has become more and more normal. Over just 20-odd years, Almighty God’s gospel of the kingdom has spread all over mainland China, and through the same wave of flourishing it is expanding to every corner of the earth in glory. This is in stark contrast to the desolation of the religious world today. The facts are enough to show that The Church of Almighty God has the work of the Holy Spirit, and the way of Almighty God is the true way that supplies people with life.

So why don’t today’s elders, pastors, and priests accept the work of Almighty God? Actually, they don’t accept the true way for the same reason that those chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees didn’t accept the work of the Lord Jesus and rejected Him. Next, we’ll analyze and dissect in detail the reasons that the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees didn’t accept the work of Jesus so that we can gain a clearer perspective on why today’s elders, pastors, and priests don’t accept the true way.

The first reason is that the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees of the time clung to the letters of the Bible, and they defined God within their own notions and imaginations. This is the primary reason they could not accept God’s work. They only focused on the letters of the Scripture, and they were full of imaginings about the prophecies in the Scripture about the coming of the Messiah. When the reality of God’s work did not match up with their imaginings, they would not let go of their own notions and imaginings to seek and to accept God’s work. Instead, they clung to their own notions and imaginations and desperately denied Christ and resisted the true way. Just as Almighty God revealed: “Do you wish to know the root of why the Pharisees opposed Jesus? Do you wish to know the substance of the Pharisees? They were full of fantasies about the Messiah. What’s more, they believed only that the Messiah would come, yet did not seek the truth of life. And so, even today they still await the Messiah, for they have no knowledge of the way of life, and do not know what the way of truth is. How, say you, could such foolish, stubborn and ignorant people gain God’s blessing? How could they behold the Messiah?” (“When You Behold the Spiritual Body of Jesus Will Be When God Has Made Anew Heaven and Earth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). We all know that the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees of the time were all well-versed in the Bible. When they read these words in the prophets: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government shall be on his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, on the throne of David, and on his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from now on even for ever” (Isa 9:6-7), they made extrapolations based on the literal meaning of the prophecies about the coming of the Messiah: Since the coming Messiah would come to rule, then He would certainly act as their king just like David, and He would definitely lead them to overthrow the rule of the Romans and rescue them from the oppression and misery inflicted by the Romans. In addition, since the Messiah would come to be their king, without a doubt He would be born into a royal palace and would look extraordinary, and possess unusual talents. However, the truth and their notions and imaginings were like night and day. The Lord Jesus was not born into a royal palace—He was born in a manger. He did not live in a house of nobles, but He lived in a very average carpenter’s home. He did not look extraordinary—He looked no different from the most ordinary man. What was particularly out of line with their notions was that the Lord Jesus did not act as their king and lead them to overthrow the Romans’ rule as they had imagined. Instead, He instructed them to practice forgiveness and tolerance, and to love their enemies. Because there was nothing in the work of the Lord Jesus that was in line with their imaginings, they could not acknowledge at all that Jesus was the Messiah they had been waiting for, and they refused to accept His new work. They only believed in the letters of the Scripture, and they only believed in the God they imagined in their heads. They could not tolerate any new work of God that went against the letters of the Scripture and their imagination. Because the Lord Jesus did not match up with the Messiah in their notions and imaginations, the top leaders in the religious circles determined that Jesus was not the Messiah they had been waiting for. They also did everything possible to resist and condemn Jesus, and to slander the true way. In the end, they used the excuse that “Jesus has taken the name of God in vain and has not obeyed the law” to nail Him to the cross, thus committing a monstrous sin. Taking a look at these pastors, elders, and priests who do not accept Almighty God’s work in the last days, aren’t they just a mirror image of those chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees? They cling to the literal meaning of the prophecies in the Bible just the same, defining God within the boundaries of their own notions and imaginings. When they see that it says in the Bible that “why stand you gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11) and that “Behold, he comes with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him” (Rev 1:7), they are full of imaginings about the Lord Jesus’ return. They believe that His return will certainly be Him descending upon a white cloud, and that it will certainly be public. They think that there will certainly be a great vision and a great miracle when He returns, that they will certainly be raptured up to heaven so that they may enjoy blessings with the Lord, and so on. However, the arrival of Almighty God has dealt a huge blow to their notions—He has not descended on a white cloud and openly revealed Himself as they have thought, but instead He was incarnated and arrived in secret. His work is not shaking the heavens or reverberating through the skies as they have imagined. It is quiet, humble, and hidden. He only expresses words and doesn’t display miracles. In addition, Almighty God has not lifted them up to heaven so that they may enjoy wonderful blessings alongside God, but instead He has expressed words of judgment and chastisement to expose people’s corruption and rebelliousness and transform people’s life dispositions. So, because Almighty God’s work is entirely out of line with their notions and imaginings, these pastors, elders, and priests condemn and resist Almighty God, Christ of the last days just like what the leaders of Judaism did to the Lord Jesus two thousand years ago. They reject Him, do their utmost to resist Him and seal off the churches to prevent believers from accepting the true way. They don’t accept it themselves and moreover don’t allow others to seek and to investigate it. The reason they do not accept God’s new work and rush to do evil is because they haven’t found a basis for God’s work of the last days in the letters of the Bible and because God’s return in the last days is not in line with their notions and imaginings. Therefore, they wantonly condemn and blaspheme Christ of the last days. This is entirely brought about because they have defined God within the limitations of their own notions and imaginings.

The second reason is that the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees of the time were stubborn and conservative. They did not understand the principles or direction of the work of the Holy Spirit, so they delimited God’s work within the law of the Old Testament. Almighty God says: “Do you wish to know the root of why the Pharisees opposed Jesus? … They opposed Jesus because they did not know the direction of the Holy Spirit’s work…” (“When You Behold the Spiritual Body of Jesus Will Be When God Has Made Anew Heaven and Earth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “Because there are always new developments in God’s work, thus there is new work, and thus there is also work that is obsolete and old. This old and new work is not contradictory, but complementary; each step follows on from the last. … The work of God is always new and never old, and it never forms doctrine and is, instead, continually changing and renewing to a greater or lesser extent. … The way in which man believes in God, however, is quite different: He clings to old, familiar doctrines and systems, and the older they are the more palatable they are to him. How could the foolish mind of man, a mind that is as intransigent as stone, accept so much unfathomable new work and words of God? Man abhors the God who is always new and never old; he only likes the antiquated old God who is white-haired and immobile. Thus, because God and man each have their own likes, man has become the enemy of God” (“Only Those Who Know the Work of God Today Can Serve God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). From God’s words, we can see that the reason the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees resisted Jesus was because they clung to the old and did not recognize the direction of the Holy Spirit’s work. They did not know that God’s work is constantly moving forward and always changing. They did not know that God is always doing new things, amazing things and things that no man could ever imagine. This is why they delimited God’s work within the confines of the Bible, within the confines of the law. When the things Jesus did surpassed the Bible and were not done according to the law, they began to condemn Him and say that His work did not come from God. In the end, because Jesus “went against the Bible and did not obey the law,” they nailed Him to the cross. Just as it is written in the Bible: “Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keeps not the sabbath day” (John 9:16). “Pilate said to them, Take you him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him. The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God” (Jhn 19:6-7). Isn’t this what was pitiful about the Jewish Pharisees? Just the same, today’s pastors, elders, and priests are the modern-day chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees—they are equally conservative, they do not understand the principles or direction of the Holy Spirit’s work, and they do not know that God’s work is always moving forward, that it is always new and never old. They believe that God’s work never changes, that He cannot do new work or do work that man cannot conceive of. They think that God’s work must be done according to man’s notions and imaginings and according to what is recorded in the Bible, that it cannot go beyond the Bible. They delimit God’s work within the Bible and within the Age of Grace. This is why when Almighty God came to do His work and they discovered that it did not match up with the Bible and did not accord with the Bible or with their notions and imaginings, they try every possible means to resist and condemn Almighty God’s work, and accuse His new work as being “heresy.” This is a second important reason behind them not accepting Almighty God’s work.

The third reason is that by nature the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees were arrogant and conceited, and didn’t love the truth, which is another important reason that they did not accept God’s new work. They were self-assured in their familiarity with the Bible and their proficiency in the law, and on top of that, the common people obeyed their every word, so they became more and more arrogant, conceited and self-righteous. They upheld themselves more stubbornly and believed more in themselves; their belief in themselves even surpassed their belief in God. So, when they looked at Jesus with their physical eyes and saw that He was a common man and not at all like the Messiah in the prophecies, their arrogant nature burst out and ran rampant. Even though they knew that the Messiah would come, and they saw Jesus’ miracles with their own eyes and heard Jesus’ powerful and authoritative words with their own ears, they did not have any intention of seeking with humility or examining it with open-mindedness. Their arrogant nature drove them to only believe in their own notions and imaginings—they did not believe in any of God’s new work that was not in line with their own notions. So, they just stuck to their idea that Jesus was not the coming Messiah, and they tried every means to get something on Jesus, and arbitrarily condemned Him. As a result, they became eternal sinners who were hoping for the Messiah but stopped at nothing to resist and reject the Messiah. Just as Almighty God has said: “These Pharisees in substance were stubborn, arrogant, and did not obey the truth. The principle of their belief in God is: No matter how profound Your preaching, no matter how high Your authority, You are not Christ unless You are called the Messiah. Are these views not preposterous and ridiculous?” (“When You Behold the Spiritual Body of Jesus Will Be When God Has Made Anew Heaven and Earth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Today, pastors, elders, and priests of various denominations and sects are just the same. They are overly confident in their own gifts, caliber, and ability to recite the Scripture, and besides, they are highly esteemed among believers, so they become wildly arrogant, self-important and self-righteous, thinking that they are better and more capable than others, that they understand more than others, that their understanding is the purest and is absolutely correct. They also require that others obey them, taking their own notions and imaginings as the truth. So, when they are faced with God’s new work, they do not seek with humility and look into it with open-mindedness, but rather they speak arrogantly, make arbitrary judgments, and delimit it as they please. They say “He who doesn’t come on a white cloud is certainly a false Christ,” “No matter how good the preaching is, if it departs from the Bible, it’s not correct and it is not the work of God.” Aren’t these words just like the Pharisees’ words of delimiting Jesus’ work? They don’t have the slightest reverence for God or the slightest desire to seek. As long as God’s work is not in line with their notions, they think that it’s not right, and moreover, they do everything they can to deny, resist, oppress, and reject it. Not an iota of modesty, reverence, or intention to seek can be seen in them. No matter how authoritative and powerful God’s words are, and no matter how full of the truth they are, they just display a haughty demeanor of dismissiveness, of turning up their noses. They stubbornly rely on their own notions and imaginings to resist and condemn God’s work, and they don’t give the Holy Spirit the slightest chance to work. This is why they are still unable to receive revelation from God and recognize that Almighty God’s work is the true way. Instead, they are, as always, doing the work of condemning, resisting, disrupting, and dismantling. This is entirely because they are arrogant and conceited, incorrigibly obstinate and don’t seek the truth by nature, which has led them to take the path of antichrists.

The fourth reason is that the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees were really in love with status and enjoyed the benefits of their positions. Their ambition to desperately pursue status was another barrier to their acceptance of God’s new work. These chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees were all top leaders of the Jewish faith; they had very high status and prestige. The common Israelites all looked up to them and adored them. They became accustomed to hearing the adulation of the masses and enjoying always having a retinue. Their desire for status had been entrenched early on, just as the Lord Jesus revealed: “Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts…” (Luk 20:46). They were eager for people to adore them, do their bidding, and be perfectly subservient, and even to treat them as God Himself. However, the arrival of Jesus shook up their long-held positions. Jesus was doing new work outside of the temple that was outside of the law, and because of the Holy Spirit’s work, more and more people followed Him. This made those religious officials who so loved their status very afraid; they feared that the Israelites would abandon them to believe in Jesus, causing them to lose the status they had held for many years. When they saw that Jesus was becoming more and more popular and that many people under their leadership left to follow Him, they developed animosity and hatred for Jesus. In order to preserve their precarious positions, they adopted any means necessary to resist, condemn, and deny Jesus’ work, and they developed murderous intent toward Him. This is also clearly recorded in the Bible: “Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, What do we? for this man does many miracles. If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation. … Then from that day forth they took counsel together for to put him to death” (Jhn 11:47-48, 53). We can clearly see from this that the chief priests and Pharisees thought of their status more highly, and in order to preserve it they would not even stop at the crime of framing and murdering Jesus. In the end, they nailed the merciful Lord Jesus to the cross. From beginning to end they had absolutely no intention of accepting the Lord Jesus’ work. Even though they later learned of the fact that the Lord Jesus was resurrected, they still did not have hearts of repentance; rather, they became even more uneasy, fearing that the people would hear of this and then believe in the Lord Jesus, causing them to lose their status and their livelihoods. In order to maintain their status, they bribed guards to fabricate rumors to cover up the fact of Jesus’ resurrection (see Mat 28). It is evident that fame and status had overtaken the hearts of those religious leaders long before that, turning them into sinners condemned by history who denied and defamed Jesus’ work. Likewise, the reason the pastors, elders, and priests in the religious world today reject and do not accept the work of Almighty God in the last days and adopt every means to resist, condemn, disrupt, and dismantle it is because their psychological states, nature, and essence are entirely the same as those of the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees who resisted the work of Jesus. The current pastors, elders, and priests in the churches also hold high positions and have good reputations, and they enjoy being flattered, supported, and looked up to by the believers. They stand up high in their pulpits, speaking with unbridled arrogance and issuing orders. They feel in their heart that they have long been the leaders of believers in God and they should enjoy the flattery, support, and adulation of the believers. In front of the people they always say that they are the servants of all and that they are caring for the flock on behalf of God, but essentially, they long ago sat themselves in God’s place and have wrested God’s followers into their own hands, making believers into tools for them to exercise their authority and revel in the blessings of status. This is why when God personally came among mankind to call and lead His flock, those religious leaders who were accustomed to being the heads of the flock were not happy to become subject to the name of Almighty God, and they were particularly unwilling to obediently hand God’s sheep back to Him, to allow Him to personally lead them and tend to them. They have done everything they can to condemn His work and to prevent His sheep from returning to Him. However, Almighty God’s work cannot be stopped—His sheep hear His voice. Many people have realized that Almighty God is the returned Jesus and they have returned to Him, and this has given rise to fear and unease in many of the religious leaders who lust for status. They are deeply afraid that Almighty God’s new work will attract more of the believers currently underneath them, and that they may even fully lose their positions they have held for many years, that they will lose the believers’ support, that they will no longer follow them. In order to maintain their own status and protect their own livelihoods, they are working under the guise of “protecting the flock and defending the truth,” stopping at nothing to seal off the churches and restrict the flocks and fabricating all kinds of rumors to slander and condemn God’s work in resistance to God’s arrival. Their ambition and love for status as well as their nature of disliking and hating the truth determine that they cannot possibly accept the truth. They have been abandoned by God long ago, and they will suffer the punishment of hell once God openly appears. These are the ugly consequences brought about by their unending pursuit of fame and status, and their greed for the blessings of their positions.

On the whole, it’s clear that the reason the pastors, elders and priests do not accept Almighty God’s work is not because it’s not the true way, but it’s because they cling to the letters of the Bible and define God within the confines of the Bible, within their own notions and imaginings. It is because they are too conservative and they do not know the direction of the Holy Spirit’s work so that they define God within the boundaries of His previous work. It is because their nature of arrogance and conceit and disobedience to the truth drives them to stubbornly uphold themselves and deny God. It is because their strong desire for status drives them to reject God’s return to their last gasp in order to protect their status. For all these reasons, they deny the true way and reject God, playing the role of modern-day Pharisees to the letter, and they have nailed God to the cross once again (that is, they have condemned God).

But there is a fact that cannot be denied: Even though the pastors, elders, and priests of various denominations and sects reject Almighty God’s work in the last days and they do their utmost to resist, condemn, disrupt, and dismantle it, God’s work has not been impeded due to their rejection, or their disruption and dismantling. Almighty God’s work in the last days has already been acknowledged and accepted by the majority of those who truly believe in God and thirst for the truth. All those who truly believe in God will come under the name of Almighty God, and this is already the main trend. It is a fact that God will accomplish immediately and cannot be stopped by any enemy forces. Almighty God’s work has already spread across all of mainland China and it is expanding to all corners of the earth. This is just like how the gospel of Jesus Christ spread at that time. Even though the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees then persistently resisted and condemned Jesus, and they even “put Him away” from the midst of the Jewish people, the gospel of Jesus Christ covered every corner of the universe, and was accepted by all those under the sun who longed for God’s redemption. We can see from this that no man can block the work of the true God, and no enemy force can destroy it.

Brothers and sisters, no longer believe that Almighty God’s work in the last days is not the true way just because the pastors, elders, and priests do not accept it. This viewpoint is too ridiculous, too absurd! Weighing whether or not it is the work of God cannot be based on whether the leaders accept it. God’s work is done according to His own plan, and based on the needs of corrupt mankind. It is not done based on the notions or imaginations of any pastors, elders, priests, or great spiritual figures. If we continue to weigh the true way based on whether or not they accept it, we will never find it, and we will never witness the appearance of the true God.