XV. Questions and Answers on Dissecting the Essence of the Pharisees
Question 3: No matter what, pastors and elders all preach based on the Bible. Isn’t explaining the Bible and making people hold on to the Bible exalting and bearing witness to the Lord? Is it wrong for pastors and elders to explain the Bible? How could you say they are hypocritical Pharisees?
Answer: To people, explaining the Bible should not be wrong, but at the same time as explaining the Bible, what they actually do are acts that resist God. What kind of people are these? Aren’t they hypocritical Pharisees? Aren’t they God-resisting antichrists? Why is explaining the Bible resisting God? Why is it condemning God? I find this so strange. Even communicating in this way there are still people who don’t understand and still think that explaining the Bible is exalting and bearing witness to God. The Jewish chief priests, scribes and Pharisees back then were all scripture scholars and experts who often explained the scriptures to people. If explaining the Bible is exalting and bearing witness to God, then why is it that when the Lord Jesus came to preach and work, they instead furiously resisted and condemned the Lord Jesus, and in the end colluded with the government to nail the Lord Jesus to the cross? Modern religious pastors and elders are all people who are familiar with the Bible and have explained the Bible for many years. If explaining the Bible is exalting and bearing witness to God, then why is it that when Almighty God came to express truths and perform His judgment work, they not only failed to seek and investigate, but instead resisted and condemned? What’s the problem here? Isn’t this a serious problem that all believers should reflect on? Furthermore, if religious leaders explaining the Bible is the same as exalting and bearing witness to God, then in the Age of Grace, why is it that the Lord Jesus did not work in the temple when He came? Why is it that Almighty God of the last days doesn’t work in the church when He came? It’s because religious leaders don’t exalt and bear witness to God at all and are all hypocritical, arrogant Pharisees. They are all antichrists who control religion and oppose God! How could they possibly allow God to exist or allow the religious world to have voices that bear witness to God?! If the incarnate Christ came into religion and worked and preached in the church, then He would surely be arrested and handed over to the ruling party and crucified. If people went to religious churches to bear witness to God, then they would surely be arrested and persecuted. As the Lord Jesus said, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the middle of wolves. …” (Mat 10:16) Can people still not see this fact clearly? Based on the fact of religious Pharisees’ resisting and condemning God, we should be able to see clearly whether or not exalting the Bible is bearing witness to God. Can people who truly exalt and bear witness to God resist God? Can they see God as their enemy? Additionally, we should all know that the Bible does not contain only God’s words but also many words of man. Therefore, exalting the Bible and exalting God are not the same thing. Upholding the Bible and upholding the Lord's commandments are not the same thing. When religious Pharisees explain the Bible, they only focus on explaining man’s words in the Bible, explaining Bible knowledge and theological theory, and preaching and bearing witness to man’s words, but do not focus on spreading and bearing witness to God’s words and the truth expressed by God in the Bible. Can this still be said to be exalting and bearing witness to God? Is this not resisting and betraying God? Therefore, all those who think explaining the Bible is exalting and bearing witness to God don’t understand spiritual matters and cannot see through the essence of the problem. They are all confused people, people who worship and blindly believe in and follow religious leaders. Is this not a fact?
Back then, those Jewish Pharisees only focused on explaining Bible knowledge and doctrines, as well as engaging in religious rituals and observing religious rules and human traditions, but instead abandoned God’s commandments and veered off God’s way, such that when the Lord Jesus came, they furiously resisted, condemned the Lord Jesus and nailed Him to the cross. As a result, they were cursed and punished by God. Although today’s religious pastors and elders often explain the Bible and bear witness to the Bible to people, they do not pay attention to spreading and bearing witness to God’s word, or pay attention to preaching the Lord Jesus’ will and His requirements of man, and also rarely bear witness to the Lord Jesus’ divine substance and loveliness. They don’t guide people to practice and experience the Lord’s word, and moreover do not pay attention to how to uphold the Lord’s commandments and follow God’s will. They only focus on explaining and exalting the words of man in the Bible, asking others to treat man’s words in the Bible as God’s words and as the truth to practice and uphold. When they resolve problems it is also mostly based on man’s words in the Bible instead of God’s words in the Bible. They use man’s words in the Bible to reject and resist God’s words. On the issue of entry into the kingdom of heaven, for instance, the Lord Jesus clearly told people: “Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Mat 7:21). But pastors and elders instead put the words of the Lord Jesus aside and treat man’s words in the Bible as the truth and as the standard for man’s entry into the kingdom of heaven, teaching people that they only need to toil and work for the Lord to enter the kingdom of heaven. They use man’s words to replace God's words and reject God’s words, and as a result lead people astray. This is the most treacherous, malicious aspect of religious pastors’ and elders’ resistance of God! They interpret the Bible out of context, using man’s words in the Bible to resist and condemn Almighty God, and stopping at nothing to deceive, bind, and control believers, and block them from investigating and accepting Almighty God’s work of the last days, putting them all firmly under their own control. It’s just as 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) Based on these facts, how can we say that religious pastors and elders explaining the Bible is exalting and bearing witness to God? Are they not taking advantage of the opportunity of explaining the Bible to misinterpret the Bible and take things out of context to resist God? They have long become obstacles and stumbling blocks to people accepting the true way and returning to God, and are precisely the antichrists exposed by the work of Almighty God in the last days. Can people still not see this fact clearly?
According to people’s conceptions, explaining the Bible is the same as exalting and bearing witness to God, but from the Pharisees’ and religious leaders’ explaining of the Bible, we can see that this is not really the case. What religious Pharisees are exalting and bearing witness to is the Bible and not God. Their preaching is mainly explaining man’s words in the Bible and not God’s words. They use man’s words in the Bible to replace and resist God’s words, and take the words of man in the Bible out of context in order to resist and draw conclusions about God. The purpose of their explaining of the Bible is not to exalt and bear witness to God, but to deceive and control people and achieve their despicable purposes. Such explaining of the Bible is resisting God and doing evil! That is why, when God comes to work, they use the Bible to keep a tight grip on people making them blindly believe in the Bible and hold on to the Bible, taking them all on the road to resisting God. This shows that Pharisees’ and religious leaders’ explaining of the Bible is a means of resisting God. They are completely taking the words of man in the Bible out of context to resist and oppose God, to set up their own independent kingdom. Then how should one explain the Bible to be exalting and bearing witness to God? What the Bible records is God’s work and testimonies of God. Explaining the Bible means to exalt and bear witness to God in accordance with God’s words in the Bible and the truths in the Bible. It is to spread and bear witness to God’s words in the Bible. It is to communicate God’s intentions in accordance with God’s requirements and based on God’s words and communicate the truth in God’s words. It is to bring people testimonies of God’s work and His disposition, and to bear witness to God’s essence and His loveliness. It is to lead people to practice and experience God’s words, thus allowing them to achieve entry into the reality of Go’s words. It is to exalt the Lord Jesus and bear witness to Him in all things. Only by explaining the Bible in such ways is one exalting and bearing witness to God, being after God’s heart, and genuinely serving God. The words of man in the Bible can only be used as reference and supplement, and can never be compared to God’s words. Yet religious pastors and elders only care about explaining the words of man in the Bible. They treat the words of man in the Bible as God’s words, as the truth, using it as a guideline for their conduct and behavior, as the basis of the way they handle problems. But they rarely mention God’s words, and they use the words of man in the Bible to replace God’s words and leave God’s words behind. Is explaining the Bible like that bearing witness to God? Isn’t this just exalting and bearing witness to man? Additionally, when they explain the Bible they only focus on explaining theological theory, explaining characters, locations, and historical backgrounds in the Bible to show off. Isn’t this just deceiving and trapping people? Isn’t this making people worship and follow them? Back then, those hypocritical Pharisees took advantage of their opportunity of explaining the Bible to misinterpret the Bible in order to deceive and control people, and in the end they took believers on the road to following man and resisting God, and turned Judaism into a God-opposing independent kingdom. In the last days, religious pastors and elders are also taking advantage of explaining the Bible to make people blindly believe in and worship the Bible, and are using the Bible to replace God’s place in people’s hearts, unwittingly taking believers on the road to betraying the Lord’s word and resisting God, also turning the religious world into a God-opposing independent kingdom, a staunch bastion of resistance to God’s work. Isn’t explaining the Bible like they do resisting and blaspheming God? Isn’t this precisely the deception of the antichrist Pharisees in opposing God and setting up their own independent kingdom? How could it be said to be exalting and bearing witness to God? The cunningness of religious Pharisees in resisting God lies in using their opportunity to explain the Bible to misinterpret the Bible in order to deceive and control people. The Bible was originally a testimony of God. Based on man’s conceptions, they are always bearing witness to God no matter how they explain the Bible, yet the hypocritical Pharisees take advantage of this conception of man, doing their utmost in exalting and bearing witness to the Bible. They use the Bible to replace God and to resist God and deceive people. This makes people all blindly believe in and worship the Bible, and makes people worship and follow Bible scholars like them and thus betray God. This is Satan’s most treacherous, cunning deception to resist God and deceive people, and the aspect that is most difficult for people to see through and the easiest for them to be deceived with.
Let’s take a look at Almighty God’s words: “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, leading 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) “The most disobedient of men are those that intentionally defy and resist God. They are the enemies of God and antichrists. Such men always retain hostility against the new work of God, show no intent to submit, and have never gladly obeyed or humbled themselves. He exalts himself before others and never submits to another. Before God, he considers himself the most proficient in preaching the ‘word’ and most skillful in working on others. He never discards the treasures already in his possession, but treats them as family heirlooms to be worshiped, to be preached to others, and used to lecture those fools who adore him. There are indeed some such people in the church. It can be said that they are ‘indomitable heroes,’ generation after generation sojourning in the house of God. They think preaching the ‘word’ (doctrine) to be their highest duty. One year after another and one generation after the other, they perform their holy and sacred duty. None dare touch them and none dare openly reproach them. They became ‘king’ in the house of God, acting tyrannically through the ages. These demons seek to join hands and together destroy My work; how can I allow these living devils to exist before Me?” (“The Truly Obedient Shall Surely Be Gained by God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Evidently, even though religious pastors and elders often explain the Bible, they are not people who understand the truth and know God. They are precisely the hypocritical Pharisees. They are false shepherds and workers who deceive, control, bind and harm people. They lead people to deny Christ, condemn Christ, to the extent of even resisting and opposing God, making them all into Satan’s accomplices and puppets. Anyone with eyes can see that this is the case.
from the movie script of Break Through the Snare