Some ask me: “Why do you say that Paul is an antichrist? Can you talk about the essence of an antichrist? What is an antichrist?” Isn’t this easy to explain? Those knowing full well all that the Lord Jesus expressed are truths that possess authority and power, who yet still oppose the Lord Jesus, such men are antichrists. How is an explanation such as this? Is such an explanation practical? Is this explanation relating to doctrines and rules? No, it is not. So, does this explanation fit with that which Paul has done? Once compared with that which Paul has done, we can see that Paul was just such a person. After the Lord Jesus was resurrected, He appeared for forty days, yet Paul did not let Him go. He continued to pursue the Lord Jesus. The Lord Jesus was resurrected as an ethereal body, yet Paul continued his pursuit. How frenzied was Paul’s pursuit of the Lord Jesus! Was he still a man? Was he not possessed by some demon? After the Lord Jesus was resurrected, Paul still didn’t come to realize the truth, he continued to pursue the Lord Jesus as well as arrest the disciples of the Lord Jesus. At that time, when the disciples of the Lord Jesus were captured, they would be beaten brutally, they would be killed. Therefore, we read in the Bible that Peter has denied the Lord three times. Peter recognized that the Lord Jesus was Christ, that He was the Son of God, yet why did he still deny the Lord three times? Tell me, what is happening here? This shows that Judaism was persecuting the Lord Jesus and His disciples to such a degree that the environment and atmosphere at the time was exceedingly harsh and terrifying, thereby making even someone like Peter, who truly believed in God, become timid and refuse to acknowledge God. Is this not the case? Tell me then, wasn’t Judaism’s persecution of Christians and its resistance of the Lord Jesus particularly frenzied, particularly cruel? Paul acted as the vanguard in Judaism’s frenzied antagonism against the Lord Jesus. Afterward, the Lord Jesus took a look and thought: “Oh, this man, Paul, is relentless in his pursuit. Judaism is too frantic.” Therefore, the Lord Jesus decided to teach Paul a lesson before having Paul serve Him, in order to shame the forces of Satan. Accordingly, the Lord Jesus appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus. This appearance was not an appearance of true significance, it was as punishment, it was to teach a lesson, it was to have Paul serve the gospel work. Some might say: “Must the Lord Jesus appear from the air to teach Paul a lesson, to punish him, for Paul to serve Him?” If the Lord Jesus had appeared to Paul as a spiritual body, could Paul have accepted? He would not have accepted, he would continue to give chase. He couldn’t wait to capture the Lord Jesus, and then crucify Him, and then burn Him at the stake. He was hostile. Therefore, all that the Lord Jesus was able to do was to shine onto him as a great light from the air, to first blind him with great light, such that he would be frightened and bow down once he lifted his head and looked at the light. If the Lord Jesus had appeared to Paul as a spiritual body, without the great light, would Paul have feared the Lord Jesus? He would not have. He would have said: “You are in the air, do You think that I cannot hit You in the air? I shall shoot You down with an anti-aircraft gun.” Paul would not have submitted. Therefore, a great light had to be used on him. Once he was shined onto with the true light, his eyes were blinded. Wasn’t it particularly painful once his eyes were blinded by the light? When he felt the pain, he said: “Lord, who are You?” The Lord Jesus then said: “I am Jesus whom you persecute.” He thought: “Oh, Jesus, this great light, this is the true light. Oh, this is God, this is God.” This time, he had no choice but to be subdued, he had no choice but to submit. It would not have worked without the true light. Tell me, how unyielding was this Paul? He was as unyielding as the devil, without conscience or sense. The Lord Jesus appearing as flesh did not work, the Lord Jesus appearing as a spiritual body did not work. The Lord Jesus had to shine upon Paul with a great light to blind his eyes, to have Paul bow down on the ground, before he was able to accept that which was entrusted by the Lord Jesus. When a man was this way, when he resisted God to such a degree, he was done for, he must perish, was that not the case? And now, what is your understanding of the Lord Jesus’ appearance to Paul? Was it an appearance of grace, was it an appearance of blessing, was it an appearance of God’s appreciation of Paul? It was none of these, it was entirely an appearance of punishment. That was not the meaning of God’s appearance to man.
Herein lies the principles by which God appears to man. Look at the way that God appeared to Abraham, such that he saw a Son of man, as if a Son of man was talking to him. He said: “My Lord! …” He bowed down to the ground, to address the Lord. God appeared to Abraham as an ordinary man, yet Abraham was able to bow down to the ground and address Him as Lord. Did such a man have humanity? Was he someone who feared God? It was the same when God appeared to Noah, he quickly bowed down to the ground: “Lord, I shall do your bidding.” Look, this was someone who truly believed in God. God did not have to appear to him as a great light for him to accept and to submit. He merely had to hear God’s voice to accept and to submit, to dedicate himself to God’s words and that which God entrusted him. God appears to men who are normal, with genuine heart and spirit, this is God’s true appearance. God appeared to Moses in the flame, meaning: “I am the flame. Now I shall entrust you with this great work of leading the Israelites out of Egypt.” Once Moses saw God speaking in the flame, he covered his face, because he feared God. Such ordinary men were frightened. God appeared to Moses in this way. How did God appear to Job? God appeared out of the whirlwind, and only Job was able to hear His voice. Job was under extreme pain at the time, and God spoke to Job out of the whirlwind. Job listened, and then he bowed down to the ground, saying: “I shall repent in the ashes, I am ashamed to face God. I put my hand over my mouth, for I can no longer speak. What I have said was wrong, with no reverence to God.” Therefore, by comparing the ways with which God appeared to a few, we get a glimpse of the secret in the ways that God appears. Now, let us look at the way that the Lord Jesus appeared to Paul, which was different from the others. For the others, such as Moses, Abraham, and Job, they accepted and submitted once they heard God’s voice. If God should have appeared to Paul in this way, would Paul have accepted? What would Paul have done? Paul would have said: “Good, I have been pursuing You for twenty, thirty days, now You have shown up. I have finally found You. I am going to capture and crucify You.” Wouldn’t he have said something like this? Paul would have most certainly said something like this. Therefore, the Lord Jesus did not appear to him in the image of Jesus on the ground, He could only appear to Paul in the air through a great light, to shock him, to have him bow down to the ground, to accept that which was entrusted to him by the Lord Jesus. The Lord Jesus thus entrusted Paul to shame Satan. “Satan, aren’t you frantically persecuting Me? I shall subdue you through a major miracle, then I shall command you to serve Me. You shall be loyal to that which I have entrusted you, and give your life in the end.” This is the meaning. From this, can you not see God’s righteous disposition? God cannot be offended, yet Paul offended God, therefore God punished him thus, as well as made him serve God to shame him. After Paul received that which was entrusted by the Lord Jesus, he was spreading the gospel for over twenty years, or at most thirty years, and in the end he martyred himself. What did he say before he martyred himself? “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: From now on there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness …” (2 Timothy 4:7-8). How are such words? Do they make sense? Did he know the disposition of the Lord Jesus? Did he know why the Lord Jesus had entrusted him to spread the gospel? He did not know, he did not grasp the meaning of the Lord. Tell me, did such a man have sense? He had no sense. Let us give an example. Let us say, a servant was working for a rich landlord. The servant kept doing bad things, beating other servants, as well as deceiving the landlord, and in the end he was disciplined and punished by the landlord. After he had been punished, he was thrown out of the house. This servant then pled pitifully: “Please forgive me, please give me another chance. I will be a loyal and knowledgeable housekeeper, I will take good care of your house.” How was the pleading of this servant? Did it make sense? The landlord then gave this servant another chance, “Good, I shall let you work for me one more time.” When the servant was doing his work this time, he was not grateful nor repentant. Although he worked harder than before, yet he was still showing himself off, not obeying anyone, not showing respect for anyone, as if he were above everyone else except for his master. In the end, as his service was coming to an end, he even asked his master to give him a crown of righteousness. Does this make any sense? Paul used to so frantically resist the Lord, performing all kinds of evil deeds; in the end, after he had put in some effort, he dared to ask to be crowned. This makes no sense at all. He was fortunate to atone for his sins, he was fortunate to have a second chance. Was that not the case? On the contrary, Paul was witnessing for himself, saying that there was laid up for him a crown of righteousness. What does it mean that “there was laid up for me a crown of righteousness?” “Lord, if You do not bestow onto me such a crown of righteousness, then You are not a righteous Lord. The Lord, the righteous judge, shall surely bestow the crown of righteousness upon me; if You do not give it to me, then You are not the Lord.” Was this not resisting the Lord once again? Weren’t such words resisting God to an extreme extent? Tell me, was this witnessing for God, or resisting God? If I do not fellowship about this today, will you be able to see through this matter clearly? You cannot, is that the case?
From these things that Paul has done, we come to know the essence of Paul. This man did not accept the truth. Some might say: “What basis do you have to say that Paul did not accept the truth?” The Lord Jesus spoke for over three years, expressing countless words, yet have the letters from Paul witnessed any of them? Paul wrote so many letters, yet he never witnessed for or held up the words of the Lord Jesus. Is that not fact? That is fact. After Paul had accepted that which was entrusted by the Lord Jesus, he should have truly repented, he should have been unable to eat or sleep for thirty days, reflecting on his own deeds. If he had truly felt that the Lord Jesus was the true God, that He was the manifestation of God, he should have said: “The sermons and words spoken by the Lord Jesus in these few years are too precious, I must collect these sermons and words. I must carefully read the words of the Lord Jesus, ponder the truths within His words, then evangelize and witness for Him based on these truths and the words spoken by Him.” Shouldn’t a man of conscience who seeks truth have acted in such a way? Yes, he should have. Has Paul acted in such a way? We all know who wrote the Four Gospels, there is no need for me to remind you. The apostles of the Lord Jesus wrote them. The disciples and apostles of the Lord Jesus collected many of His words as their maxims in order to follow the Lord Jesus. Did Paul collect any of the Lord Jesus’ words as his maxims? No. Are you able to find words of the Lord Jesus on which Paul has repented, reflected, and thereby come to know his mistakes? Were there such words? There have not been any such words in Paul’s letters. The Lord Jesus that Paul resisted was God incarnate. Did Paul understand this truth of God’s incarnation? He did not understand a single bit. Why do I say that he did not understand? He kept on saying “The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,” always treating the Lord Jesus as the Son, as the Son of God. He always placed Jehovah God at the very top, is that not the case? Look at Paul’s letters. In them, is there anything like this, “The Lord Jesus Christ is God Himself, He is God incarnate”? Are there words like this in his letters? No. Where did the “Trinity” arguments of the religious community come from? These all came from Paul’s points of view. Paul kept on talking about the Trinity, which shows that he did not recognize the Lord Jesus as the manifestation of God. He did not acknowledge. He did not acknowledge that the incarnate Christ was the manifestation of God, that He was God Himself, then how could he have understood the truth regarding God’s incarnation? Therefore, when we say that Paul was not someone who sought the truth, that he did not know the Lord Jesus, do we have any basis? When I further say that Paul had no truths, that he was not someone who sought the truth, that most of the time he witnessed for the Lord Jesus based on the Old Testament, does it not show that Paul was not someone who sought the truth? It does. Now, do you still have notions regarding what I said? Not anymore. Now that we see clearly that Paul had no reverence for God, that he was so frenzied as to not have any humanity, conscience, or sense, have I gone too far in saying that he was a devil who resisted God, that he was a typical representative of the antichrists? No, I have not.