Pastors Have Become Modern-day Pharisees
By Jingjing, Taiwan
Since I was little, I believed in the Lord Jesus with my mother. From then on, my mother would take me to church with her regardless of wind, rain or snow. And the Lord bestowed abundant grace on us. After I got married, I continued to go to church as before.
One day, when I called my mother, she told me: “The Lord Jesus has returned! I have read a lot of words of Almighty God, I am sure that Almighty God is indeed the returned Lord Jesus! He has brought with Him new work and taken a new name. From now on, we must pray in the name of Almighty God.” She also shared with me lots of details of God’s work in the last days. After hearing her words, I thought to myself: My mother is a devout Christian. She always told me to keep the Lord Jesus’ name. How come she has turned to Almighty God? Besides, if the Lord Jesus truly has returned, the pastors would know first. How could they not tell us yet? I had lots of doubts in my heart about the Lord’s return. But at the same time, I was afraid that if the Lord had truly returned yet I refused to accept His new work, I would be abandoned by Him. I felt very conflicted inside. So I constantly prayed to the Lord: “O Lord, have You truly returned? If so, may You lead me and guide me. I don’t want to be someone who believes in You yet rejects You.” To figure things out as soon as possible, one month later, I bought a plane ticket and flew to my mother’s place.
One day, after lunch, my mother went to the airport to pick up my sister-in-law who was coming back from Canada. At that time, the pastor came to visit my mother with gifts. As soon as he sat down, he said to me: “Recently, your mother has started to believe in Eastern Lightning. She said the Lord Jesus has returned, and that we should not pray in the name of the Lord Jesus, but in the name of Almighty God. The Lord has bestowed so much grace on you, yet she has betrayed Him. This is apostasy!” He also said many things that blasphemed Almighty God. I sat there silently and thought: It seems that things are pretty serious. The pastor is the Lord’s servant and he should know better than us. What if mother’s faith is wrong? When she returns, I must ask her and find out. Before leaving, the pastor urged me: “Since you are back now, you must do your best to persuade your mother not to believe in Eastern Lightning.”
When my mother came back, I couldn’t wait to ask her what was going on. She said to me: “During these past few years, I saw the co-workers of the church plotted against each other. And what the pastors preached were all theological theories and biblical knowledge, which could not supply our life one bit. I was so thirsty in spirit that I went to several other churches. But later I found the situation in these churches was almost alike. The faith and love of the brothers and sisters had grown cold, and they were negative and weak in spirit. Just when I was disheartened and desperate, I met a sister from The Church of Almighty God. Through her fellowship, I came to understand: The reason why the churches are desolate is because the Holy Spirit’s work has shifted and the churches of the Age of Grace are already without the work of the Holy Spirit. Only those who keep up with God’s footsteps can obtain the supply of the living water of life and gain the work of the Holy Spirit. Now God has returned to do His new work and expressed millions of words. These words have opened up all the mysteries of the Bible. Through reading them, your father and I became sure that Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus. So we both accepted Almighty God’s work in the last days. Now we read God’s words every day, and enjoy the watering and supply of the living water of life which flows from the throne. Our faith in God has been restored and we feel that we have a clearer path in our belief in God. Not long ago, I shared this great and wonderful news with the brothers and sisters in the church. But I never expected that after the pastors knew, not only did they refuse to seek and study God’s work in the last days, but they also brought the elders and deacons to disrupt me, warned me not to believe in Almighty God, said many things that blasphemed Almighty God, and sealed off the church to stop me from contacting the brothers and sisters. The deacons even called me to warn me that if I continued to preach to the brothers and sisters, they would call the police and have me arrested.”
After saying this, my mother held my hand and continued: “Jingjing, we cannot worship the pastors, but should obey God and listen to His words. The greatest wish of us believers in the Lord is to welcome the Lord’s return. Since you are back home to spend the New Year, you must take this chance to investigate Almighty God’s work in the last days properly!” After hearing her words, I thought: The condition of the churches in Taiwan is also not good like before. Though I attend gatherings every week and also attend the Bible study groups and women’s fellowship, I have not gained anything. There is no new light in the pastors’ preachings, and the faith and love of the brothers and sisters have grown cold. So the reason why the churches are so bleak and desolate now is because the Holy Spirit’s work has shifted. Besides, ever since I returned home, I had noticed that my mother indeed understood more truth than she did before. So I promised her to meet with the brothers and sisters from The Church of Almighty God and investigate the work of Almighty God.
After dinner, my mother invited over a sister from The Church of Almighty God, who then fellowshiped with me the truth regarding God’s name. From her fellowship, I came to understand: God originally had no name. It is just because He has work to do among man that He uses a name that befits the age to represent the work that He does in each age. For example, in the Age of Law, God’s name was Jehovah. God took on this name based on the work He did and the disposition He expressed in the Age of Law. In the Age of Grace, people respected the name of the Lord Jesus as a holy name. As long as people prayed in the name of the Lord Jesus, their illnesses would be cured and their sins pardoned. The name of Jesus was taken based on God’s redemption work in the Age of Grace. Now in the Age of Kingdom, God takes a new name and is called Almighty God. Likewise, He takes this name based on His work of judgment in the last days. I thought of Revelation 1:8, which says: “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, said the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” It turned out that God had long foretold that His name would be Almighty God in the last days.
Then I asked the sister: “The pastors and elders often tell us to vigilantly await the Lord’s return. Since the Lord has returned, they should lead brothers and sisters to seek and investigate God’s work. How come they resist and even condemn it?”
After hearing my words, she read me a passage of God’s words: “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. … 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?”
She continued to fellowship: “God’s words have clearly stated the root and essence of the Pharisees’ resistance to God. Because their nature was wildly arrogant, they did not have the slightest reverence toward God, nor did they ever seek the truth. When God came to perform His work, they stubbornly held on to their own notions and imaginations, thinking that as long as He was not called the Messiah, He was not Christ. Though they knew what the Lord Jesus expressed was all truth, they did not have any intention of seeking it. Instead, they tried to find all kinds of accusations against Him in all respects. Moreover, they led the Jewish people to deny and condemn Christ, taking them on the path of resisting God and being enemies of God, and making them the accomplices and puppets of Satan. In the last days, Almighty God has come. He has expressed millions of words of truth and is doing the judgment work of the last days. Similarly, He is resisted and condemned by the leaders of the religious world. Identical to the Pharisees, they are controlled by their arrogant nature of Satan and stubbornly hold on to their notions and imaginations. They insist that anyone who is not called the Lord Jesus and does not come upon a white cloud is not God. They never lead the brothers and sisters to seek and study the true way, and moreover, they resist and condemn God’s work, and even crucify Christ again. They are indeed walking the path of the Pharisees. From this, we can see their satanic nature of hatred of the truth and hatred of God. If we pay no attention to listening for God’s voice, and don’t seek and investigate the true way after hearing God’s voice, it will be very easy for us to follow the pastors and elders to resist God. If so, we will lose the opportunity of God’s salvation and sink into darkness where we will weep and gnash our teeth.”
After hearing her fellowship, I gained some knowledge of the pastors’ and elders’ satanic nature of resisting God. I thought of the Pharisees who believed in God for generations. They read and re-read the Bible and outwardly appeared devout. The Jewish people at that time were deceived by their external actions. So they blindly listened to and worshiped them, and followed them to resist and condemn the Lord Jesus, eventually offending God’s disposition. Then I thought of myself. I always thought that the pastors were seminary graduates, and served the Lord, labored for Him, and were the Lord’s servants, so they must know God better than we did, and that if the Lord returns, those pastors should accept Him first and then tell us about it. Now I knew: This was just my false notion. In fact, they are those who don’t love and accept the truth. I saw that I didn’t have the reality of the truth or know how to discern people, and that it was easy for people who blindly worshiped others to be deceived. And it was because I blindly worshiped the pastor that I was close to being misled by him and forfeiting myself, and also holding my mother back from accepting the true way.
After the gathering, the sister gave me a book of God’s words and said to me: “God incarnate of the last days has mainly come to judge, cleanse, and save man by expressing the truth. Whoever can hear the returned Lord Jesus’ voice and seek and accept Him is a wise virgin who will attend the feast with Him. This exactly fulfills what the Lord Jesus said: ‘My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me’ (John 10:27). If we want to be the wise virgins, we have to read more of Almighty God’s words.” From then on, I read God’s words every day as if I was dying of thirst and hunger. I also fellowshiped and shared God’s words with brothers and sisters. I gradually understood the relationship between the three stages of God’s work. Though in different ages God’s name and work are different, His three stages of work are closely linked, and they truly are the work of one God. I also understood: My mother has accepted the work of Almighty God and prays in the name of Almighty God, this is not apostasy but keeping up with the footsteps of God’s work. Through reading God’s words, a lot of perplexities which I had had when I believed in the Lord were solved. This made me confirm that Almighty God’s work is indeed the appearance and work of the Lord Jesus. Later, my sister-in-law also accepted Almighty God’s work in the last days. I was extremely happy that I could welcome the Lord’s return. This really is a blessing for me and also God’s divine favor toward me.
One month later, I returned to Taiwan. One day when I called my mother, she told me that the deacons from her former church often called her at home to threaten her, and that she had no alternative but to leave our hometown with the excuse of taking care of my grandma, in case the pastors and deacons would call the police and have her arrested. After hearing her words, I was filled with rage. At the same time, I saw more clearly the pastors’ and elders’ nature of resisting God and being enemies of God.
Not long after I returned to Taiwan, I got in touch with the brothers and sisters from the local church of Almighty God. Through attending gatherings with them, I gradually understood God’s intention of saving man. When I saw that a lot of brothers and sisters who believed in the Lord were living in the darkness and desperately waiting for His return, I wanted to bring those sincere believers in the Lord who awaited His coming before God to comfort God’s heart.
Later, I contacted a brother who once gathered with me, and bore witness to God’s work in the last days to him. Unexpectedly, he said: “The preaching of Eastern Lightning is very profound. The pastor said our stature is small and asked us not to listen to, read, or get in touch with them.” He used this as an excuse to refuse to investigate God’s work in the last days. Several days later, I passed on the gospel to a sister. After she finished hearing, she said that the preaching was profound and contained the truth. But I never expected that she would call the pastor later that day. The next day, she tricked me into coming to the church. Then the pastor took me to his office, where I found the preachers, pastor, pastor’s wife, deacons, and group leader gathered there. They seven surrounded me, each holding a Bible in their hands. Then they questioned me closely, like interrogating a criminal, about whether I had accepted Eastern Lightning. In the face of these people, I was somewhat timid, so I prayed to God silently in my heart: “O God! You know that my stature is small. In the face of so many people’s attacks, I am very afraid. May You lead me so that I can stand testimony for You.” After praying, I thought of God’s word: “Almighty God, the Head of all things, wields His kingly power from His throne. He rules over the universe and all things and He is guiding us on the whole earth. We shall often be close to Him, and come before Him in quietness; never shall we miss a single moment, and there are things to learn at all times. The environment around us as well as the people, matters and objects, all are permitted by His throne. Do not have a complaining heart, or God will not bestow His grace upon you.” “I am your Rock, your Backer.” God’s word gave me confidence and strength. I now understood that all things and matters are in God’s hands. God permitted this environment to befall me. He was using it to test whether I had true faith in Him, and whether I could bear witness to Him when besieged by so many people. After understanding this, I was no longer afraid of this environment but could face it calmly.
Then the pastor and the deacons questioned me fiercely: “Who passed on the gospel to you? Who told you to come to our church and steal our sheep? No matter who comes to steal our sheep, we will not spare them.” After this, they also said lots of blasphemous things against God. I could not bear to listen to them anymore, so I retorted: “Eastern Lightning is the Lord Jesus’ appearance and work. This exactly fulfills the Lord’s words: ‘For as the lightning comes out of the east, and shines even to the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be’ (Matthew 24:27). Facing the Lord’s appearance, not only do you not seek or investigate it, but you also accuse me of stealing your sheep. The flock belongs to you? We are all the Lord’s sheep. I bring the good news of the Lord’s return to all the brothers and sisters who eagerly yearn for His arrival. Is there anything wrong with this? You block people from investigating the true way and deprive them of their rights to study the true way. Is this in accordance with the Lord’s will?”
Seeing I would not give in, the pastor looked more fierce. He continued saying: “Do not believe in Eastern Lightning! Come back quickly! Look at Sister XX. Due to believing in Eastern Lightning, she is not normal now.” After hearing this, I thought: Aren’t you talking nonsense? The sister is upright and kind-hearted and is also a true believer in God. Moreover, she is quite well and normal. I never thought that in order to prevent me from believing in Almighty God, they would bear false witness and spread lies so brazenly. Aren’t they afraid of offending God’s disposition? At the thought of this, I said to the pastor: “The Bible says: ‘Judge not, that you be not judged’ (Matthew 7:1). You arbitrarily judge and condemn people. Is this in accordance with the Lord’s will? The sister is not at all what you said she is. Why do you lie and spread such a rumor about her? Are you complying with the Lord’s teachings by doing this?” Seeing their mouths full of words of judgment against God and blasphemy, I thought of what the Lord Jesus said: “Give not that which is holy to the dogs, neither cast you your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you” (Matthew 7:6). When seeing their attitude of hatred of the truth and God, I knew it was no use saying anything more to them. So I said to the pastor: “I have nothing more to say to you. I’ve got to go home.” He warned me: “Don’t you ever come here to steal our sheep again! If you do not repent, you will go to hell!” I responded: “Whether I will go to hell or not, it’s not your call. God has the final say.” Hearing my words, he snarled at me: “You are no longer welcome in the church! We will expel you!” I thought to myself: Now the church is without any work of the Holy Spirit, and you people are doing whatever you please without the slightest reverence for God. You have turned the church into a den of thieves. Even if you ask me to stay, I will not follow you false shepherds any longer. At the thought of this, I left the church without a backward glance.
After returning home, I still couldn’t calm down. In the past, I always had the utmost respect for the pastors and considered them people who led the church and labored for the Lord. But today, the pastor drove me out of the church and cursed me just because I passed on God’s gospel to brothers and sisters. Thinking back to his ferocious face, the more I thought about it, the worse I felt. I couldn’t figure out why these people hated preachers of Almighty God’s gospel so much. So, during the gathering of that night, I told what had happened that day and my puzzle to brothers and sisters. One of the sisters shared with me a passage of 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, 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?”
Having finished reading God’s word, she fellowshiped: “God’s word reveals the essence of the religious pastors’ and elders’ resistance to God. They just pay lip service to belief in God and only believe in the vague God in heaven, and they do not seek the truth at all, nor do they practice the Lord’s words. When Almighty God’s work of the last days arrives upon them, not only do they not investigate God’s work with a seeking heart, but they wantonly condemn and blaspheme Almighty God, and even seal off the churches in the name of protecting the sheep flock. These people are the same as the Pharisees. They do all this to protect their status and meal tickets. They are afraid that no one will give money to them or think highly of them, so they resist and condemn Almighty God by all means possible, and even do their utmost to disrupt and block believers from investigating the true way. They are trying to establish their own independent kingdom in the religious world and usurp God’s sheep for themselves. So they hate Almighty God very much and hate those who proclaim and bear witness for Him. These pastors and leaders in the religious world are identical to the Jewish Pharisees who condemned and resisted the Lord Jesus. They are all antichrists who hate God and are in opposition to God. They are devils who trample people and devour their souls. They are precisely the evil servants and wicked tenants. Just like what the Lord Jesus said when He condemned the Pharisees, ‘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). These pastors and elders cause people to lose their opportunity to receive salvation, severely offending God’s disposition. They will surely receive God’s righteous punishment.”
After hearing her fellowship, I calmed down a lot. Through this experience, I had seen through the reality of the pastors and elders’ hypocrisy. Thinking back, when my mother donated several thousand yuan to the church every year, they often prayed for us and visited my mother with gifts to show their concern for her. However, when my mother started following Almighty God, their ugly faces were revealed completely. They often went to my mother’s house to disturb her, in hope of making her give up the true way. Besides, when they saw my mother had born witness for the Lord’s appearance and work to brothers and sisters of the church, to secure their livelihood, they actually wanted to serve as the henchmen of the Chinese Communist Party and call the police to have her arrested. Is this not to be Judas? Aren’t they accomplices of Satan? When I thought about this, I felt that God’s work in the last days is so full of wisdom. God uses His work to reveal all of the goats and sheep, good servants and bad servants, so that each will end up with its own kind. At the same time, it allows us to see that these pastors and elders are the modern-day Pharisees.
Later, I heard from a sister that I had been expelled from the church by the pastor, that he publicly announced my name in the church, asked all the believers who knew me to forsake me, forbade them to contact me, and moreover, intensified efforts to resist Eastern Lightning. After that, several times when I ran into some sisters from my former church on the street, when they saw me, they all distanced themselves far from me and did not dare to approach me. I felt sorry for these people. They believe in God nominally, but actually treat the pastor as their idol and regard obeying the pastor as being obedient to God. When they heard the truth, they did not seek or investigate, but only listened to the rumors and lies of the pastors and elders. As a consequence, they lost the last opportunity to receive God’s salvation.
Through this experience, I have clearly seen the hypocritical, truth-hating, and God-opposing essence of those pastors and elders. I am no longer deceived by their false, outward appearance. Now I will read more of God’s word and equip myself with more of the truth. I will bear witness for God’s salvation to those brothers and sisters who are deceived by lies, so that they will come back before God and receive God’s salvation in the last days. Thanks be to Almighty God!