VIII. Questions and Answers on Dissecting the Essence of the Pharisees
Question 5: Upon learning that we had accepted Almighty God, the pastor and elder have been ceaselessly bothering us, explaining the Bible to us nonstop. Though we refute them, and reject them, they do not let up. This is severe harassment of citizens. In the past, when we were weak or negative, they were never so diligent. Now, as soon as we accept Almighty God, however, they have become very angry, using both carrot and stick, endlessly annoying us. It seems that this evil of theirs won’t let up until they have dragged us into hell with them! I just don’t understand it. The pastor and elder, as persons who serve the Lord, and who often talk of the Bible, they should be able to see that all words expressed by Almighty God are truth. Why do they not seek truth? Why don’t they investigate the last-days work of Almighty God, instead of wildly condemning, resisting, and blaspheming Almighty God? The pastor and elder expend such effort to obstruct our acceptance of Almighty God. We really do need to understand. Please fellowship this a bit with us.
Answer: Can the pastor and elder not be worried about your acceptance of Almighty God? In the eyes of the pastor and elder, you are their sheep. You have been stolen away—this strikes the pastor and elder at a vital part. They therefore must do whatever it takes to entangle you, and seize you back. Recall the times during which the Lord Jesus appeared and worked. The chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees of the Jewish religion slandered, condemned, and blasphemed the Lord Jesus in an unbridled way; they even crucified the Lord Jesus. At that time there were certainly many people of the Jewish faith who wanted to accept the Lord Jesus. Why did they not dare to accept the Lord Jesus? And dare even less to follow the Lord Jesus? I think that those Jewish chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees must have frequently threatened the Jewish believers, and even adopted various methods to prevent people from accepting the Lord Jesus. At that time there was a person called Nicodemus. Why could he only go to see the Lord Jesus at night time? It is certainly not unrelated to this situation. These things have been recorded very clearly in the Bible. Unfortunately no more than a few people in religious circles could see into the source of the Pharisees’ resistance to the Lord. Even less was there anyone able to discern the pastors and elders of religious circles based on the words the Lord Jesus spoke to condemn, expose, and curse the Pharisees. Is this not the actual situation? Almighty God of the last days has arrived, and has exposed the substance and true situation of the resistance of religious Pharisees, pastors, and elders toward God. Let’s read a few passages of Almighty God’s word.
Almighty God says: “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? They opposed Jesus because they did not know the direction of the Holy Spirit’s work, because they did not know the way of truth spoken by Jesus, and, furthermore, because they did not understand the Messiah. And since they had never seen the Messiah, and had never been in the company of the Messiah, they made the mistake of paying empty tribute to the name of the Messiah while opposing the substance of the Messiah by any means. 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? I ask you again: Is it not extremely easy for you to commit the mistakes of the earliest Pharisees, given that you have not the slightest understanding of Jesus? Are you able to discern the way of truth? Can you truly guarantee that you will not oppose Christ? Are you able to follow the work of the Holy Spirit? If you do not know whether you will oppose Christ, then I say that you are already living on the brink of death. Those who did not know the Messiah were all capable of opposing Jesus, of rejecting Jesus, of slandering Him. People who do not understand Jesus are all capable of denying Him, and reviling Him. Moreover, they are capable of seeing the return of Jesus as the deceit of Satan, and more people shall condemn Jesus returning to flesh. Does not all of this make you afraid? What you face shall be blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, the ruination of the words of the Holy Spirit to the churches, and the spurning of all that is expressed by Jesus. What can you gain from Jesus if you are so befuddled? How can you understand the work of Jesus when He returns to flesh on a white cloud, if you obstinately refuse to realize your errors? I tell you this: People who do not accept the truth, yet blindly await the arrival of Jesus upon white clouds, will surely blaspheme against the Holy Spirit, and they are the race that shall be destroyed” (“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).
“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, head 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).
“Every day they seek traces of Me in the Bible, and find ‘suitable’ passages at random that they read endlessly … They pay no heed to My existence or actions, but instead devote extreme and special attention to each and every word of Scripture, and many of them even believe that I should not do anything I wish to do unless it is foretold by Scripture. They attach too much importance to Scripture. It can be said that they see words and expressions as too important, to the extent that they use verses from the Bible to measure every word I say, and to condemn Me. What they seek is not the way of compatibility with Me, or the way of compatibility with the truth, but the way of compatibility with the words of the Bible, and they believe that anything that does not conform to the Bible is, without exception, not My work. Are such people not the dutiful descendants of the Pharisees? The Jewish Pharisees used the law of Moses to condemn Jesus. They did not seek compatibility with the Jesus of that time, but diligently followed the law to the letter, to the extent that they ultimately nailed the innocent Jesus to the cross, having charged Him with not following the law of the Old Testament and not being the Messiah. What was their essence? Was it not that they didn’t seek the way of compatibility with the truth? They obsessed over each and every word of the Scripture, while paying no heed to My will and the steps and methods of My work. They were not people who sought the truth, but people who rigidly followed the words of Scripture; they were not people who believed in God, but people who believed in the Bible. Essentially, they were watchdogs of the Bible” (“You Should Seek the Way of Compatibility With Christ” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“Look at the leaders of every denomination. 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.’ 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).
Now that we’ve read the words of Almighty God, is everyone clearer about how the religious Pharisees resisted and condemned the Lord Jesus, how pastors and elders of religious circles resist and condemn God’s last-days work, and the facts and source of their resistance toward God? In the Age of Grace, the Lord Jesus cursed the Pharisees, and exposed the true visage of the Pharisees as hypocrites. Almighty God of the last days has arrived, and has revealed the God-resisting conduct, behavior, and essence of pastors and elders of religious circles. In God’s two incarnations, why does He expose the essence and actuality of the religious leaders’ hypocrisy and resistance of God both times? The reason is that though they wave the banner of serving God, in fact they do not carry out and experience the words of God, and don’t abide by God’s commandments. For this reason they have no reality of truth, and even less are they people who really submit to God; they only observe a few doctrines, rules, and religious rites. They utilize their own eloquence and gifts, explain biblical knowledge and theology only to call attention to themselves and show off, so that people revere and follow them. This causes God’s chosen people to obey them, and consult them in every matter, obeying them in everything. Even investigating and seeking the true way, God’s chosen people must get approval from the pastor and elder. Regardless what matter they encounter, rather than emphasizing prayer to God or pursuit of truth, they depend on and look to the pastor and elder for support. What is this problem? Do they ultimately believe in the pastors and elders, or in the Lord Jesus? It really makes a person wonder. The religious Pharisees, pastors, and elders have not actually brought the people before God, rather they have controlled them in their own power. Because many of God’s chosen people do not have discernment, they have been deceived by this hypocritical appearance of the religious Pharisees, pastors, and elders. We don’t understand truth, and have not a whit of discernment. If God had not come to express truth and expose their essence of hating truth and resisting God, no one would be able to see that they are antichrists who hate truth and wage battle with God over God’s chosen people! In this way, God’s chosen people have no way to escape their deception and entrapment, have no way to accept God’s work and turn toward God to achieve salvation, and are ultimately ruined by these evil servants and antichrists. Almighty God has thoroughly exposed the essence and source of the resistance of religious Pharisees, pastors, and elders toward God, and torn away their masks and disguises as hypocrites, allowing believers in God to see the facts and truth of their resistance of God while serving Him. Is this not God saving us from the restraint of the religious Pharisees, and from Satan’s influence? If God did not work in this way, would believers in God be able to voluntarily return to God’s presence? If God had not exposed the truth and facts of the Pharisees resisting God, would believers in God be able to discern the Pharisees? If God had not exposed the truth and facts of religious pastors and elders resisting God during the last days, would believers in God be able to escape their restraint and entrapment? They certainly would not. Hence we say that God working in this way is His compassion for us, and His salvation of us!
In religious houses of worship, most people revere the pastors and elders. They believe that the pastors and elders understand the Bible, and are devout. They are also quite loving to the brothers and sisters, and often explain the Bible to people, working tirelessly. How can they be hypocritical Pharisees, and antichrists? whether or not the pastors and elders of religion are antichrists cannot be told only from how good they are to others superficially, or by how much work they do for the Lord, or how much they suffer. Most crucial is to see how they treat the appearance and work of God, and how they treat the incarnate Christ and the truth that Christ expresses. Only in this way can their true features be clearly seen. It is quite similar to the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees of the Jewish faith long ago. They were all adept at explaining the scriptures; scripture was even embroidered on the fringes of their clothes. From the outside, they looked very devout, but when the Lord Jesus appeared and began to work, how did they treat the Lord Jesus? When the Pharisees saw the Lord Jesus heal the sick and cast out demons, exhibiting the authority and power of God, they actually blasphemed the Lord Jesus for using the demon king to cast out demons, and committed the sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, the high priest tested the Lord Jesus, asking Him if He was the Christ. When the Lord Jesus said, “I am,” they used this as cause to accuse the Lord Jesus of blasphemy. They turned the Lord Jesus over to the Roman government. They would rather release a robber, so long as they could crucify the Lord Jesus. The Jewish chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees all knew that the Lord Jesus spoke words of authority and power, yet they did not seek truth in the slightest, even less did they accept truth. They obstinately clung to scriptural laws and decrees, using the letter of scriptures to condemn the work of God. They paid no heed to how much truth the Lord Jesus expressed, or to how many miracles and wonders He performed. As long as He was not called the Messiah, they madly condemned and resisted Him, dead set on nailing the Lord Jesus to the cross. These facts are sufficient to prove that the nature and substance of the Pharisees was truth-hating, God-hating antichrist devils. In the last days, the Lord Jesus has returned as Almighty God, expressing truth, and doing the work of judging and purifying people. The good sheep and leading sheep of various denominations hear the words of Almighty God, and recognize it as the voice of God, and have turned toward Almighty God. Pastors and elders of religious circles clearly know that the words spoken by Almighty God are all truth, and have authority and power, but they do not seek truth at all. Rather they garble the Bible and quote it out of context, saying that departing from the Bible amounts to heresy, and that any Lord Jesus who does not descend on a cloud is a fake. They also declare that any message of the coming of God incarnate is heresy and false doctrine. They madly spread various rumors and fallacies that condemn, slander, attack, and blaspheme Almighty God. They obstruct people by hook or by crook from pursuing and investigating God’s last-days work, causing God’s chosen people to abandon God’s arrival. The pastors and elders know that they are God’s sheep, yet they do not return them to God. Instead, they called God’s sheep their own sheep, intending to control and dominate God’s chosen people forever. Is this not the behavior of antichrists? Don’t pastors and elders of religious circles act this way? Even more hateful is that as soon as they discover someone is going to a church to spread the news and bear witness for Almighty God, they beat him, abuse and humiliate him, and even call the police. They hand over the ones who bear witness for Almighty God to the satanic CCP regime, vainly hoping to ban God’s last-days work with the help of the evil power of the CCP, to fulfill their wicked goal of being forever in control of religion in China. This completely reveals their satanic nature of hating truth and hating God.
from the movie script of Stay Out of My Business