Discerning Modern-Day Pharisees, I Followed God’s Footsteps

By Fangxia, Brazil

Pastors Were the People I Respected Most

“Hey, Sister Fang, a pastor from outside the town is here to preach to us, are you coming to hear it?”

“Of course I’m coming. I always go when pastors come to preach.”

In my heart, pastors and elders had always been the people I respected and worshiped most, because in the Bible it says, “Take heed therefore to yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to feed the church of God” (Acts 20:28). Pastors and elders are all established by God, obedience to the pastors and elders is obedience to God, and not obeying the pastors and elders is resistance to God, so in all things we should listen to and obey them. In addition to that, the pastors and elders have believed in God for a long time, understood much of the Bible, and had the most solid foundation, so when the Lord comes, He will first enlighten Himself to them. So, by following the pastors and elders, we would certainly be able to enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whenever I heard that a pastor had come to deliver a sermon, I would always go to listen.

a christian pray to GodAt meetings, our pastor would often tell us, “To serve God, I gave up high-paying positions in France and the USA. I pray for each of you believers every day, and for our church. If any of you have any difficulties, no matter the time of day, you can seek me out, and I’ll resolve it for you.” When I heard the pastor say that, I believed even more that he was someone who loved and loyally served the Lord, that he was worthy of my respect, and that we certainly should listen to and obey the pastors and elders. So, in all things, I would first go to my pastor, and allow him to guide me and pray for me. Even in matters such as opening my family’s shop, my son’s marriage, and the birth of his son, I felt that my pastor was someone who delighted God, so with his prayer, God would surely keep me and ensure everything went smoothly. This is why I felt that no matter what happens, the pastors and elders could certainly resolve it.

My Pastor Forbidding Us to Hear Sermons Led Me to Reflect

As time went on, I realized that the pastor’s sermons had become stale and clichéd. If he wasn’t interpreting the surface meaning of scripture, he was preaching the doctrine of making offerings. There was nothing new or interesting. Hearing these same things over and over, I received no spiritual provision, so a group of brothers and sisters and I began listening to sermons at neighboring churches. But very quickly, our pastor learned about this, and with his finger wagging at us, he said, “Church regulations state that believers may not listen to sermons at other churches. If you were to bring anything negative back to our church and influence your brothers and sisters, you would be doing wicked deeds.”

These words didn’t sound right to me. I thought, “In the Bible it says, ‘There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all’ (Ephesians 4:4–6). The church is the Lord’s body. No matter how many churches there are, there is only one body, and all brothers and sisters who believe in the Lord are one family, so there ought to be nothing wrong with going to hear sermons at another church.”

The pastor then said, “For example, if your son doesn’t come home, but instead goes to someone else’s house, you’ll be very worried, and afraid that he won’t be properly fed and accommodated there. You are all my sheep, and I have to take responsibility for your lives. I need to watch over you. This is the Lord’s commission for me.”

Hearing my pastor say that, I couldn’t help but be confused, “Aren’t we all God’s sheep? The pastor is only God’s servant, not God, so how could we be his sheep?” But I again thought that pastors and elders are established by God, that obeying pastors and elders is obeying God, so for now I ought to listen and obey, so that I wouldn’t end up resisting the Lord. After that, I no longer dared to listen to sermons at other churches.

But I still was very doubtful, and I thought, “If what the pastor is doing is wrong, do we still need to obey?” After that, I asked a preacher, who told me, “God observes our hearts, and if what the pastor is doing is wrong, God will discipline him, which has nothing to do with us. All we need to do is obey.” I felt that seemed like a reasonable answer, so I continued to go to meetings and listen to sermons at my church.

Hearing the Good News of the Lord’s Return

One day, coincidentally, I met a preacher, Brother Mu, at the home of Brother Yang. Brother Mu fellowshiped with me on many aspects of the truth, such as the mystery of God’s incarnation, how to be a wise virgin, the true meaning of being raptured, how to discern true and false Christs, and how to be an honest person. These truths and mysteries were things I had never heard in the church. They were very fresh, a pleasure to hear, and gave me spiritual provision. After the meeting, when we prayed, I heard Brother Mu pray to the name of Almighty God. This made me very curious, so I went online and searched it. I was led to the website of Almighty God, and when I opened the link, I found a rich trove of content. There were many gospel movies, artistic performances, hymns, and articles of testimony of the experience of many brothers and sisters. All the brothers and sisters in the films and videos appeared excited and filled with joy, in a way that made me admire them. I also listened to many hymns. I thought they sounded good, and found them very moving. I felt that The Church of Almighty God had the work of the Holy Spirit.

Afterward, whenever Brother Mu preached, I always went to listen. Brother Mu also testified to me that Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus, and that in the last days, Almighty God has expressed millions of words and does the work of judgment beginning with God’s house, to completely save people from the bondage of sin. And this precisely fulfilled the Lord Jesus’ prophecies: “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come” (John 16:12–13). “And if any man hear My words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejects Me, and receives not My words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12: 47–48).

books of God's word

While I admitted Brother Mu’s sermons were very good, but I was still somewhat doubtful of the idea that the Lord had returned, so I asked him, “Brother Mu, you said the Lord has returned, but why doesn’t the pastor of our church know about this? The pastors and elders serve God, they are established by God, and if the Lord had returned, He would enlighten them first of all!”

Brother Mu patiently fellowshiped, “Sister, we believe that the Lord will first enlighten the pastors and elders when He returns, but do we have a basis in the Lord’s words for this view? Does this accord with the Lord’s will? Did the Lord say He would first enlighten the pastors and elders? The Pharisees in Judaism were people who had served God in the temple for years. They were familiar with the Scriptures, well-versed in the law and temple decrees, and had traveled to the far corners of the earth to spread the gospel, but when the Lord Jesus came to work, He did not first enlighten them. In fact, none of the apostles who followed the Lord Jesus began believing in the Lord after they received God’s revelation. So, the idea that the Lord first enlighten the pastors and elders when He returns has no basis in God’s words, and is based purely on the notions and imaginings of man. The Lord Jesus said: ‘My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me’ (John 10:27). ‘And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him’ (Matthew 25:6). The Book of Revelation in the Bible also prophesied: ‘Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me’ (Revelation 3:20). ‘He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches’ (Revelation 2:7). From this, we see that when the Lord Jesus returns, He will speak to the churches, and those who are His sheep will recognize His voice from His words. The Lord Jesus asked us to be wise virgins, listen attentively for His voice, and after hearing it, to be able to seek and accept it. This is the way we can receive the Lord’s appearance and dine with Him at the wedding feast. So, in the crucially important matter of receiving the Lord’s coming, we should be wise virgins based on the Lord’s words and according to His requirements. We should listen attentively for the Lord’s voice, and when we hear someone preach that the Lord has come, we must be able to proactively seek and investigate, as well as to accept and obey once we determine it is God’s word and the truth. Only in this way can we receive the returned Lord and be lifted up before God’s throne. If we rely on our notions and imaginings and believe that when the Lord comes, He will undoubtedly first enlighten the pastors and elders, think that we only need to wait for our pastors to tell us the news that the Lord has come, ignore the Lord Jesus’ requirements for us, do not listen for the words spoken by the returned Lord, and do not seek or investigate the Lord’s work in the last days, we could very easily miss our chance to receive the returned Lord and be forsaken by Him!”

Brother Mu’s fellowship had wisdom and a sound foundation. I nodded to express my approval. In the matter of receiving the Lord’s coming, we certainly do need to practice according to the Lord’s words, be wise virgins, and listen attentively for the Lord’s voice, because only then will we have a chance to receive the returned Lord.

Are Pastors and Elders Really Established by God?

Then, Brother Mu said, “Sister, you just said pastors and elders are all established by God, but I’m not sure if you’ve considered whether that’s in accord with the truth.”

Puzzled, I said, “The Bible says, ‘Take heed therefore to yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to feed the church of God’ (Acts 20:28). Doesn’t this Bible verse say that pastors and elders are established by God? Obeying pastors and elders represents obedience to God. Are you saying that’s wrong?”

Brother Mu patiently said, “Sister, those words were spoken by Paul, not God. Paul was only a member of corrupt mankind. Could his words represent God? Is it appropriate for us to determine that pastors and elders are established by God based on Paul’s words? Isn’t that human notions and imagining? The concepts of ‘established and used by God’ are not ideas to be spoken of lightly. Those established and used by God are people selected personally by God. When Moses was established and used by Jehovah in the Age of Law to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, for example, there were clear words to that effect. Jehovah appeared to Moses in a burning bush and said, ‘I will send you to Pharaoh, that you may bring forth My people the children of Israel out of Egypt’ (Exodus 3:10). ‘Certainly I will be with you; and this shall be a token to you, that I have sent you: When you have brought forth the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain’ (Exodus 3:12). In the Age of Grace, when the Lord Jesus used Peter to shepherd the church, there were also clear words to that effect as proof when He said to Peter, ‘Simon, son of Jonas, love you Me? … Feed My sheep’ (John 21:17). ‘And I say also to you, That you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven’ (Matthew 16:18–19). From how God established and used Moses and Peter, we can see those who have God’s word as proof that they are established and used by God also have the Holy Spirit’s work as proof. Those established by God are all people who lead God’s chosen people to practice God’s word and follow His way according to His requirements, their work is protected and guided by the Holy Spirit, they are capable of allowing God’s chosen people to gain spiritual provision and genuine shepherding. So, when others obey these people’s work and guidance, they are obeying God, and resisting these people’s work is resisting God, which offends God’s disposition, and incites God’s cursing and punishment.”

Hearing these things brought me a feeling of sudden realization, “That’s right, I never noticed that that Bible verse was spoken by Paul, not the Lord Jesus. Brother Mu’s fellowship is correct. How could the words of man represent the Lord’s words? The fact is that the people used by God all have God’s words as proof, as well as the Holy Spirit’s work as proof. Goodness! In the past I truly was ignorant to believe the pastors and elders were all established by God.” But I was still confused, “If these pastors and elders aren’t established by God, then how can they preach and work in the church? What’s going on here?” So, I explained my confusion.

Brother Mu listened, then fellowshiped, “Actually, most of the pastors and elders in the religious world are graduates of theology schools. Others who never attended theology school were selected by believers. As pastors and elders, they lack God’s word as proof, and they lack the Holy Spirit’s work as proof. They are not established by God at all. And today, the religious world is becoming ever more desolate, with more and more lawless acts being committed. Many pastors and elders follow evil worldly trends. They lust for wealth, are greedy for vainglory, fight and squabble amongst themselves, and struggle for fame and fortune. In their work and sermons they focus only on preaching about theological theories and biblical knowledge, teach people to abide by religious rituals and regulations, and often discuss how much they themselves have worked and how many paths they have walked for the Lord, and how they have forsaken things like work and marriage to serve the Lord, in order to make others worship and look up to them. Yet they never testify or exalt God’s word, they never fellowship on God’s will, they don’t lead others in practicing or experiencing God’s word, and they never discuss their life experience. By listening to their sermons, people not only gain no knowledge of their own corruption, and no genuine obedience or fear of God, and they actually look up to and worship these pastors and elders more and more. No matter what may happen, people no longer pray and seek, but instead go first to their pastors and elders. They believe in and follow God in name only, and actually believe in and follow man. These pastors and elders of the religious world left the Lord’s path long ago, and they were abandoned and eliminated by the Holy Spirit’s work. How could God possibly establish or use these people who serve God, and yet resist Him, to lead His chosen people? How could such people be said to be established or used by God? The view that ‘pastors and elders are established by God’ is utterly ridiculous, and is an idea with no other purpose than to confuse people and resist God! Also, many people believe that ‘because the pastors and elders are established by God, obeying the pastors and elders is obeying God, and not obeying the pastors and elders is resisting God.’ Based on this logic, should we say that the believers in Judaism who followed the Pharisees in condemning and resisting the Lord were obedient to God? And were those who rejected the Pharisees and followed the Lord Jesus people who resisted God? Obviously this is a ridiculous viewpoint.

“Also, sister, in our belief in the Lord, we should respect Him above all, use the Lord’s words as the basis for all things, and when things happen to us, we must seek to understand God’s will. In the matter of how to treat pastors and elders, we must first understand that they are not established by God, which means that we can’t blindly obey them, and that we must develop discernment. If what the pastors and elders say and do accords with God’s words, and we are able to understand God’s will and requirements through their fellowship, then we should accept and obey them. If the pastors and elders only exalt themselves but do not witness for God in their work and sermons, and what they say and do does not accord with God’s words, or even betrays God’s words, then we can’t listen to them or obey them. Only in this way are we truly in accord with God’s will and genuinely believers in God. So, if we blindly believe and obey the words of the pastors and elders, and have no discernment at all of what they say and do, we may very easily follow them in resisting God, and the consequences of that are unthinkable.”

After hearing Brother Mu’s fellowship, my heart felt brightened a little, and I said, “So the fact is that some pastors and elders in the religious world only became pastors after graduating from theology institutes, while others were recommended by their brothers and sisters, but as pastors and elders, they lack both God’s word and the work of the Holy Spirit as proof of their qualifications. Despite that, I actually believed they were all established by God, and thought that obeying the pastors and elders is obeying God. That viewpoint is honestly ridiculous!

I sighed as I recalled scenes from the past, when I worshiped my pastor, and I said, “In the past, I always believed that the pastors and elders were established by God. I listened to whatever they said, and thought I was obeying God. At times I clearly saw that what my pastor said and did didn’t accord with the Lord’s will, but I feared that not listening to him would be resisting God, so I could only obey. Even when the pastor forbade us from hearing sermons at other churches, I didn’t dare go. I really have been ignorant! I didn’t understand the truth in the past. Fallacies confused me and placed me in bondage. I believed in God in name only, and what I actually believed in was my pastor. I became someone who believes in God but follows man. Truly a pitiable end! Brother Mu, what should I do in the future to become someone who genuinely follows God, and how can I avoid taking the path of following man?”

What It Means to Genuinely Follow God

After hearing my question, Brother Mu happily answered, “Thanks be to God! It’s thanks to God’s enlightenment and guidance that you can have this level of understanding. Sister, the question you just asked is a very good one, one directly related to whether we gain God’s approval in our belief in Him. God is the source of the living water of life, and if we depart from God and follow man, we lose access to the watering and provision of life, our spirits become ever more withered, we are without a path to follow, and though we may believe to the end, we gain nothing. And if we end up being deceived and following antichrists, and following them in doing evil and resisting God, we seal our own doom. So, in our belief in God, we absolutely must take the correct path of following God. Let’s read two passages of Almighty God’s word regarding this, ‘People who believe in God should obey God and worship Him. You should not exalt or look up to any person; you ought not to give first place to God, second place to the people you look up to, and third place to yourself. No person should hold a place in your heart, and you should not consider people—particularly those you venerate—to be on a par with God, to be His equal. This is intolerable to God’ (‘The Ten Administrative Decrees That Must Be Obeyed by God’s Chosen People in the Age of Kingdom’ in The Word Appears in the Flesh).

‘Of principal importance in following God is that everything should be according to the words of God today: Whether you are pursuing entry into life or the fulfillment of God’s will, everything should be centered around the words of God today. If what you commune and pursue are not centered around the words of God today, then you are a stranger to the words of God, and totally bereft of the work of the Holy Spirit’ (‘Know the Newest Work of God and Follow the Footsteps of God’ in The Word Appears in the Flesh).”

Brother Mu fellowshiped, “God is holy, He does not live in a filthy house, and as believers in God, we should respect God above all and place His words above all things. Whenever things happen to us, we should first go before God, seek His will in His words, do things and treat others according to His requirements, and achieve the ability to obey and worship God in all things. To do these things is to follow God. However, if we cannot respect God above all and place His words above all things, if we do not seek His will when things befall us, do not practice His word, and instead blindly listen to and obey the words of a person without discerning whether what this person says accords with the truth, then we are following man. Jehovah said: ‘Cursed be the man that trusts in man, and makes flesh his arm, and whose heart departs from Jehovah’ (Jeremiah 17:5). God’s disposition brooks no offense from man. God hates and despises those with no place for God in their heart, and those who worship, obey, and follow other people. Sister, we mustn’t repeat the mistakes of the believers in Judaism. They believed in God without a place for God in their hearts, blindly followed and believed the words of the Pharisees, and in the end they followed the Pharisees in resisting the Lord Jesus, and were cursed by God.

the book of God's word“There is something else that is crucial to following God, which is keeping up with God’s current words and work. God’s work eternally renews itself, and every stage of work is a higher work than the stage which preceded it, so when God does new work, we must keep up and be able to accept and obey it. This is what it means to be someone who follows the footsteps of the Lamb, which fulfills the prophecy in Revelations that ‘These are they which follow the Lamb wherever He goes’ (Revelation 14:4). Just as when the Lord Jesus came and worked, He concluded the Age of Law, began the Age of Grace, He did the work of redeeming mankind, which was higher than the work of the law. At the time, people like Peter, John, and the Samaritan woman recognized God’s voice from the Lord’s words and works, determined that the Lord Jesus was the Messiah prophesied to come, and came out from the Age of Law, followed the Lord Jesus’ work, gained the watering and provision of the Lord’s words, and enjoyed God’s rich blessings for mankind. Meanwhile, those who didn’t accept the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption and who continued to keep to the Old Testament’s law, worship God in the temple, keep the commandments, and keep the Sabbath were not following the footsteps of the Lamb, and were all eliminated by the work of the Holy Spirit. Today, the Lord Jesus has returned in the flesh, has concluded the Age of Grace, begun the Age of Kingdom, and does the work of judgment beginning with God’s house. This is a newer, higher work than the work of redemption. More and more people in countries all over the world are recognizing God’s voice in the words expressed by Almighty God, keeping up with Almighty God’s work in the last days, accepting the judgment and chastisement in God’s words, and dining at the wedding feast of the Lamb. If we wish to follow God, we cannot allow ourselves to suffer the constraints of man. We must follow closely the footsteps of the Lamb and accept God’s work in the last days, because only in this way can we receive the Holy Spirit’s work, and only then do we have a path to walk. Those who blindly worship pastors and elders, allow themselves to be constrained by them, and refuse to seek or investigate God’s work in the last days live in darkness, and if they refuse to awaken, they will inevitably be forsaken and eliminated by God’s work, fall into disaster, and wail and gnash their teeth.”

Hearing these things, my heart was brightened. I understood that following God not only requires respecting God above all, putting God’s word above all things, and seeking and practicing His word, but also requires keeping up with God’s current words and work and following closely God’s footsteps. Only in this way can we follow the footsteps of the Lamb and be people who genuinely follow God. Thanks be to God for His guidance! I felt that I had a path to gain God’s complete salvation and enter the kingdom of heaven, and I wished to continue seeking and investigating Almighty God’s work in the last days.

Developing Discernment After Experiencing My Pastor’s Constraints

The things I experienced during my time seeking and investigating Almighty God’s work of the last days allowed me to develop discernment toward pastors and elders. Once, I had dinner with several of my brothers and sisters, and after my pastor found out about it, he scolded us, saying, “You’re happy to eat and drink to your hearts’ content here instead of making offerings to God! If you don’t make offerings today, God will take away what He has granted you, just like He treated the Israelites who worshiped the golden calf!” I thought, “God is concerned with whether we worship and rely on God in our hearts, not with how much money we give in offerings. Every day you demand offerings from us, yet you don’t concern yourself at all with our lives. At any rate, the brothers and sisters of the church have offered up a significant amount of money over the years. Also, you said you would use the money in the bank to renovate the church, but we haven’t seen any work begun. In addition to that, the church’s accounts are never made public, and we have no idea what you’ve done with the money.” When I thought of these things, I felt that my pastor’s service to God didn’t accord with the Lord’s teachings at all.

Not long after that, a new church opened near ours. Because our pastor couldn’t provide us with life and placed all manner of constraints on us, my brothers and sisters all began to join the new church, and this made our pastor very unhappy. At one meeting, the pastor wagged his finger at us, the group leaders, and scolded, “Just what good are you as group leaders? Our sheep are all running to the other church, and you don’t care. You can’t even keep watch over them!” Seeing this made me miserable, because obviously it was the pastor who wasn’t providing for the brothers and sisters. Spiritually they were thirsty, in darkness, and without a path to walk, and the pastor actually forbade them from listening to sermons and seeking at other churches. Wasn’t this limiting people’s freedom? Was this really caring about the lives of my brothers and sisters? My church wasn’t ruled by God at all, it was ruled by my pastor, and I couldn’t accept his constraints any longer.

At our meeting the next day, I told Brother Mu about these things. After he heard them, Brother Mu read me a passage of Almighty God’s word, “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). And Ezekiel 34:2–4 say: “Thus said the Lord Jehovah to the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? You eat the fat, and you clothe you with the wool, you kill them that are fed: but you feed not the flock. The diseased have you not strengthened, neither have you healed that which was sick, neither have you bound up that which was broken, neither have you brought again that which was driven away, neither have you sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have you ruled them.”

Brother Mu fellowshiped, “Without the truth expressed by Almighty God in the last days to expose the nature and essence of pastors, we suffer the harms of the pastors and elders, and still never clearly see their essence of serving God while resisting God! When we lack truth, we prefer to evaluate people based on outward appearances, and we worship those who are eloquent, who possess status, and who possess power. We see that the pastors and elders have served God for many years and can interpret the Bible, and we assume that they love the Lord, and that the Lord delights in them. Through what God’s word exposes and what is revealed by the facts, however, we see that these pastors and elders are not considerate of God’s heart at all, that they do not love the truth, and that for all their excuses of properly shepherding flock, they don’t care about the lives of believers one bit. Instead, they spend every day eyeing the church’s wealth and strive to make believers give more in monetary offerings to provide for themselves. They also are incapable of preaching about experience or knowledge of how to practice God’s words, nor can they provide believers with life. They rely solely on preaching theological theories and biblical knowledge to deceive believers, and they use their positions of authority to place constraints on believers. Some pastors and elders are especially hypocritical, often exalting themselves as people who have suffered much and walked many paths for the Lord, and they use these things to make believers worship them and look up to them. They leave no place for God in believers’ hearts, and they bring others before themselves. This is nothing less than stealing God’s sheep and contending with God for status, isn’t it? To protect their own status and positions, and to keep believers firmly under their own control, the pastors and elders forbid believers from listening to sermons at other churches, even if it means harming them and dooming their spiritual lives. Doesn’t this make them soul-swallowing demons? This reveals them as servants of evil and antichrists! If we lack discernment of these pastors and elders, and still follow them in our belief in God, then we will never be fully saved or enter the kingdom of heaven!”

I listened to God’s words and Pastor Mu’s fellowship, measured my pastor’s behavior against them, and for the first time in all these years felt that my pastor was despicable. Outwardly he forbade us from attending meetings or hearing sermons at other churches with the excuse of protecting the flock, and he claimed time and again to be trying to protect our lives. Actually, he didn’t care one bit for our lives. He cared only for how much money he took in in offerings, and about protecting his status and positions. He truly despicable and vicious! At the same time, I also realized that God would never work in a church ruled by its pastors. Such churches are the “cities from which rain is withheld” spoken of in the Bible. After listening to my pastor’s sermons for years, I gained nothing but a bare understanding of the rote text of the Bible. When things happened to me, I did not seek God’s will, and I blindly worshiped the pastors and elders, becoming a follower of man. If I remained in my church, I would gain absolutely no benefit to my life, I would never understand the truth, and I would never be able to gain full salvation or enter the kingdom of heaven. So, I decided to leave this “city from which rain is withheld” and accept Almighty God’s provision of living water.

After that, I told my pastor my opinion, and said that I would be leaving the church, and no longer wanted to be a group leader. When he heard this, the pastor angrily said to me, “I am the only one here who possesses the way of truth!” I never imagined he could actually say something so arrogant. Without doubt, he was an antichrist and a servant of evil! More clearly than ever, I saw the ugly, evil face of my pastor, so I left the church and accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days.

Afterword

Later, I testified Almighty God’s work in the last days to my son, and after he told the pastor, the pastor began trying to disrupt and obstruct him, and also began sending rumors fabricated by the CCP to libel and smear The Church of Almighty God to all of the church’s discussion groups and wildly condemn Almighty God’s work of the last days. I saw that, faced with the returned Lord’s work, the pastor not only refused to seek or investigate, he actually disturbed and obstructed believers from investigating or accepting it. Isn’t this precisely how the Pharisees prevented believers in Judaism from accepting the work of the Lord Jesus? This entirely exposed the pastors’ true face, that they loathe the truth and are enemies of God. They really are modern Pharisees! As the Lord Jesus said: “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for you neither go in yourselves, neither suffer you them that are entering to go in” (Matthew 23:13). The pastors and elders of the religious world are roadblocks and obstacles on people’s path to accepting God’s work of the last days. So, I went before God and prayed, “Almighty God! It was Your words that allowed me to clearly see the true face of the pastors and elders, and it was Your grace that brought me before You and allowed me to enjoy Your provision of the living water of life. Your words are the truth, I have determined that You are the returned Lord Jesus, and I wish to follow You and offer up my love to You for the rest of my life. Amen!”

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