If My appearance was different from everyone else then that would be troublesome—everyone would come to worship Me and understand Me through their own conceptions, and they would not be able to bear that beautiful witness for Me.
Whom Do You Actually Believe in?
One day, two brothers, my wife, and I had a meeting at our home. We were watching a film of the Church of Almighty God, Rapture in Peril, on the computer.
After we finished it, my wife was overwhelmed by emotion, saying, “This film is really so great. It thoroughly exposes the substance of God’s believers worshiping man and looking up to man. And it indeed sounds warnings for those who believe in God but in essence follow man and obey man.”
I also said with feeling, “Yes! Without the truth, man is apt to be deceived by false shepherds and antichrists, and even thinks that they can also be saved and if they follow their pastors and elders. They are really muddled, foolish, and ignorant. I remember the Lord Jesus once said, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me’ (John 14:6). Almighty God also says, ‘Christ of the last days brings life, and brings the enduring and everlasting way of truth. This truth is the path through which man shall gain life, and the only path by which man shall know God and be approved by God. If you do not seek the way of life provided by Christ of the last days, then you shall never gain the approval of Jesus, and shall never be qualified to enter the gate of the kingdom of heaven, for you are both a puppet and prisoner of history. Those who are controlled by regulations, by letters, and shackled by history will never be able to gain life, and will never be able to gain the perpetual way of life. That is because all they have is turbid water that has lain stagnant for thousands of years, instead of the water of life that flows from the throne. …
Those who wish to gain life without relying on the truth spoken by Christ are the most ridiculous people on earth, and those who do not accept the way of life brought by Christ are lost in fantasy. And so I say that the people who do not accept Christ of the last days shall forever be despised by God. Christ is man’s gateway to the kingdom during the last days, which none may bypass. None may be perfected by God except through Christ’ (“Only Christ of the Last Days Can Give Man the Way of ” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words allow us to understand that only God is the truth, the way, and the life and that only God can save man and perfect man. Man’s gaining the truth and life is inseparable from God’s guidance and provision. If they don’t accept the truth expressed by Christ of the last days, there will be a faint hope for them to enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Brother Li said, “Yes! Only God can save man and lead man out of sin. When the Lord Jesus was crucified to redeem mankind, He redeemed man from under the law with His sinless flesh, so that man could continue to live. Today, the last days have come. God has returned to flesh, speaks and utters His voice among man, and judges and purifies man with the truth. These truths are the only way through which man can be purified and approved by God. If man leaves the provision of Christ of the last days, no one will be able to break free from Satan’s bondage and receive God’s promise. This is beyond doubt.”
I said with shame, “Alas! It shames me to say it. Looking back to the time when I didn’t accept Almighty God’s work of the last days, although I was a believer in the Lord, I worshiped man, looked up to man, and followed man. I listened to my pastors and elders in everything, thinking obeying them was obeying God and that they could surely take me into the kingdom of heaven as long as I followed them. Afterward, God’s work of the last days came upon me, but I listened to the words of my pastors and elders, neither seeking nor investigating the new work done by God. It was God’s mercy that allowed me to hear Almighty God’s words, and realize that I’m following man while believing in God and resisting God without even knowing it. Whenever I think of my former absurd viewpoints on belief in God and my attitude toward God’s work of the last days, I am beset by remorse and regret.”
Brother Liang looked at me, saying, “Brother Liu, we’re curious about how you accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days. Would you please share it with us?”
I sighed slowly and said, “Oh. It’s a long story. I really hate myself for being so foolish and ignorant …” Then I told them my experience.
One day a year ago, I was told that Pastor Sun came to give a sermon. So, I grabbed a quick snack and went to the meeting place. That day was also when my son came back home (he had worked away from home for over one year), but I had no time to pick him up.
After the meeting, I went back home happily. Unexpectedly, my son was talking to his mother and elder sister about how he accepted the Eastern Lightning. I flew into a rage, and said to him, “Aiguang, we haven’t seen each other for just over a year, but you accepted the Eastern Lightning! Why did you not consult with me about such a great matter? Do your really take me as your father?”
My son said with a smile, “Dad, only after I sought from and investigated the words expressed by Almighty God many times and made certain that Almighty God is indeed the returned Lord Jesus, did I accept His work of the last days. This time I come back just to tell you the good news of the Lord’s return …”
“Stop!” I waved my hand and interrupted him, “With regard to any news of the Lord’s coming, which is a serious issue, we should listen to our pastors and elders. If they accept it, we’ll follow them. But if they deny it, we won’t accept it, either. They’re ordained by the Lord. The Bible says, ‘Let every soul be subject to the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whoever therefore resists the power, resists the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation’ (Romans 13:1-2). From this verse, we can see that we should listen to our pastors and elders in everything. Listening to their words means listening to God’s words, and obeying them is obeying God. Now that the pastors and elders tell us never to listen to or accept it when some people preach the Lord has come, we should act that way according to their words.”
My wife said in agreement, “Yeah. Aiguang, your father is right. While believing in the Lord, we should listen to our pastors and elders in all things. And this has a biblical basis. If we follow what the pastors and elders say, we cannot possibly be wrong.”
My son smiled and said, “Dad, mom, sister, according to the verse ‘Let every soul be subject to the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God’ (Romans 13:1), most believers think obeying their pastors and elders is obeying God and that what their pastors and elders speak and do is from God. But is that really the case? Are we right in holding on to such a viewpoint? Has the Lord ever spoken such words? Without the confirmation of the Lord Jesus’ words, what consequence will it bring to us if we carry on like that? Let us all recall this. In the Age of Grace, when the Lord Jesus was incarnated to do the work, those Jews without discernment obeyed the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees who ruled in religion. They didn’t seek or investigate the Lord Jesus’ work, but followed the religious leaders to resist and condemn Him, and became accomplices who crucified Him. This is a fact. If obeying those in power were obeying God, how come there was such an outcome? Is it in accord with the truth and the fact? You’ve believed in the Lord for years, but why don’t you even have such knowledge?”
At that moment, my wife nodded and said to me, “Oh, what Aiguang fellowshiped is reasonable, but you are also right because it is what it says in the Bible. Could it be wrong? We can’t see it clearly. What is going on here?”
My son said unhurriedly, “Dad, mom, those words are indeed recorded in the Bible, but there is one thing we should be clear about: They were said by Paul, not by the Lord Jesus, nor were they the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. Why don’t you believe in God’s words but instead deny them using man’s words? We all know that when the Lord Jesus came to work, the Judaism of that time persecuted Him. Paul didn’t seek in the slightest whether the Lord Jesus is the incarnate God but blindly listened to the chief priests, persecuting, resisting, and condemning Him. From here we can see that what Paul obeyed was position and influence. He was not at all one who submitted to God. Moreover, he himself said that he was a chief sinner of resisting God. If we act in line with what he said, that is, obey whatever our pastors and elders say and follow them blindly without discerning whether their deeds are after the Lord’s will, aren’t we too foolish? Regarding how to treat God’s work, the Lord , ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’ (Matthew 5:3), and ‘Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God’ (Matthew 5:8). From these two verses, we can see that the Lord’s intention is for us to drop our notions and seek and investigate His work. We will know whether the Lord has really come back after making an investigation. However, where the news of the Lord’s coming is concerned, if we act as previously mentioned, that is, accept it when our pastors and elders accept and refuse it when they refuse, and neither seek nor investigate it, we are actually listening to man’s words rather than God’s words, and we have a place for man in our hearts rather than for God. Then whom do we actually believe in? This question concerns the serious matter of man’s life and death!”
My wife thought for a while and then said to me, “Aiguang’s explanation accords completely with the fact. Most people in the religious world think that pastors and elders are predestined by God to be His servants, and that God raises them up to lead people to His kingdom. I also have been seeing it this way. But just now what Aiguang fellowshiped is right. The Lord Jesus indeed never told us to obey the pastors and elders in all things, nor did He say obeying the pastors and elders in belief in God was obeying God. So, is there anything wrong with our viewpoint that obedience to the pastors and elders equals obedience to God?”
I responded defiantly, “Aiguang, I acknowledge your fellowship is right. However, the pastors and elders have been serving God for years, toiling and laboring. Their knowledge of the Bible is more than ours anyway. Listening to and obeying them shouldn’t be the wrong thing to do.”
My son said sternly and solemnly, “Dad, mom, people believe that pastors and elders know the Scriptures very well and suffer much, so they must be after God’s heart and it is undoubtedly right to follow them on the path of belief in God. However, the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees in Judaism were all religious leaders. They were familiar with the Bible and suffered a lot of hardships. Do you think they were people after God’s heart? Then who crucified the Lord Jesus? Who led the Jewish people down a road of no return? Weren’t they the hypocritical Pharisees? The Pharisees were familiar with the Bible, and they knew the coming of the Messiah prophesied in the Scriptures. But when the Lord Jesus came, did they recognize that He was the Messiah? Did they bring the Jewish people before God? This fact is sufficient to prove that the Pharisees did not know God. What they understood were just letters and doctrines. They explained the scriptures in the temple according to the knowledge summed up from their mind and their imaginations and conceptions, without the enlightenment and guidance of the Holy Spirit. They were not fellowshiping about the truth, but evidently exalting and testifying about themselves through the sermons. They used their biblical knowledge to deceive and shackle people, and drew the believers into their presence to worship and follow them. What’s more, the Pharisees did not at all know the direction of the Holy Spirit’s work. They worshiped their notions and imaginations as the truth, so that they ended up committing a heinous crime of nailing the Messiah to the cross though anxiously waiting for Him. The Pharisees had undergone many sufferings, but their suffering and sacrifice were all for their fame, gain and positions. They worked for their status and jobs, hindered people from following the Lord Jesus, and had people listen to them and obey them. The Lord Jesus exposed them with the words, ‘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). ‘Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, you make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves’ (Matthew 23:15). ‘Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess. You blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like to white washed sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity’ (Matthew 23:25-28). The Lord Jesus also revealed them to be blind guides and cursed them for their being the generation of vipers. Seen from the Lord Jesus’ revelation of the Pharisees, they were the ones who hindered God’s work and opposed God, and God loathed and despised their actions. God observes the depths of man’s heart while we focus solely on man’s appearances. The Pharisees gave the appearance of piety yet hated the truth and opposed God inside. Dad, mom, the pastors and elders in the last days are believing in God yet opposing Him following the path of the Pharisees. Outwardly they are pious, faithful, and can bear hardships, but behind the facade lies their ulterior evil intentions. They’re no different from the Pharisees, working for status and jobs, adhering to letters and doctrines and theologies, but not practicing the truth. For example, the Lord Jesus prophesied, ‘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 …’ (John 16:12-13), and chapter 2, verse 7 in Revelation says, ‘He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit said to the churches.’ These scriptures clearly state that the Lord will surely express new words when He comes back, and that man must seek with caution. But why do pastors and elders not practice the Lord’s words and lead the brothers and sisters to seek and investigate Almighty God’s work in the last days? Why do they arbitrarily judge and condemn Almighty God and nail the returned Lord Jesus to the cross again? It is plain to see that they don’t know the new trend and direction of the Holy Spirit’s work like the Pharisees, and that neither do they know the work of God. What’s more, they only exalt what man says instead of what the Lord says while expounding on the Bible, and don’t follow the Lord’s way. They make the Lord’s words ring hollow and replace them all with man’s words. For example, the Lord said, ‘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’ (Matthew 7:21). Have the pastors and elders ever led us to follow the will of God? They only tell us that as long as we endure hardships, run and expend ourselves for the Lord, preach the gospel more and bear fruits, then we will be able to enter the kingdom of heaven and there will be laid up for us a crown. Isn’t it holding on to man’s teachings but making void the Lord Jesus’ requirements for us? Isn’t the path they lead contrary to or even poles apart from God’s will? When the Lord Jesus returns to do new work in the last days, they refuse to accept it and even hinder the brothers and sisters from seeking and investigating the true way. Isn’t it restricting man’s freedom of investigating the true way? Is there any difference between them and the Pharisees who hindered the Jews from accepting the Lord Jesus’ work? Christ of the last days, Almighty God, has already revealed the essence of the pastors and elders. Let’s read Almighty God’s words.
Almighty God says, ‘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, 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). Dad, mom, Almighty God’s words sharply lay bare the real situation of the religious world. It has been controlled by antichrists and false shepherds. Though these pastors and elders label themselves as believers in God, they stand in God’s place to restrain and lecture people. They are arrogant and conceited, lawless and defiant of God, and they simply don’t have a heart that fears God. In order to keep their position and bread and butter, they hinder people from investigating the true way, for fear that God’s sheep will hear God’s voice and hence reject them so that they will lose the place in man’s heart. Thus, they clutch God’s sheep tightly in their hands, intentionally disturb God’s work and don’t allow people to seek and investigate the true way. Are they not antichrists? Many people have been deceived by them, believing in God in name yet following and obeying antichrists and false shepherds. If, even today, we are still deceived by these people and obey these hypocritical pastors and elders, sooner or later, we will be eliminated by the Lord and stripped of our chance for salvation. When the time comes, our outcome can only be being punished by God. God is righteous. He will not spare anyone who resists and betrays Him.”
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