How can one recognize a false Christ?
Created 07/29/2008 - 19:01
Jesus warned that in the last days there will arise counterfeit Christs who would masquerade as the Messiah and claim to be the savior of the world. It's in the Bible, Matthew 24:4 & 5. “Jesus answered: 'Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many.”
In the New Testament, the original Greek word for Christ is 'Christos'. The same word in Old Testament Hebrew is 'Mashiach', which in English is rendered as 'Messiah'. The literal translation of both Greek and Hebrew is "the anointed one". It is the title and identity which Jesus acknowledged during his ministry in Palestine. It's in the Bible, John 4:25 & 26 NAS. “The woman said to Him, 'I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.' Jesus said to her, 'I who speak to you am He.' ”
Shortly before his crucifixion, Jesus preached his great prophetic discourse regarding profound events that would occur at the end of the age just prior to his Second Coming. As recorded in Matthew 24:23-26 NIV, Jesus warned, “At that time if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'There he is!' do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time. So, if anyone tells you, 'There he is, out in the desert,' do not go out; or 'Here he is, in the inner rooms,' do not believe it.”
Jesus emphasized that the false Christs will perform great signs and miracles, and will manifest terrible deception. Many Christians think that as long as they believe in 'Jesus Christ', they will be shielded from the deception of the last days. However, the deceit proliferates due to the fact that there are actually two Jesus Christs, not just one. Some people are deceived into following the wrong Jesus. It's in the Bible, 2 Corinthians 11:3 & 4 NIV. “Just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough.” The apostle Paul is here speaking to the Christians of the early church. He warns them concerning false apostles who were preaching about a Jesus who is not the real Jesus of the Bible. This other Jesus is a fictitious Jesus, a fabrication of the corrupt imaginations and erroneous thinking of the spurious apostles. The gospel associated with this other Jesus is a different gospel; it is not the gospel recorded in the Bible and preached by the true apostles. Further, this false gospel is accompanied by an empowerment of the spirit, but it is a counterfeit spirit, it is not the Holy Spirit of the divine Trinity.
Who are the followers of the other Jesus really serving? The answer is found in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 NIV, “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. Is it not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.” The 'other Jesus' is a counterfeit Jesus devised by Satan, a false Jesus who can even masquerade as an angel of light.
Just prior to the day of Jesus' Second Coming, there is going to appear visibly on Earth a great counterfeit Christ. It's in the Bible, 2nd Thessalonians 2:3 & 4 NIV. “Don't let any one deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” In this profound prophecy of Last Day events, the Bible says there is going to be a rebellion, an apostasy, a great falling away from the faith. In conjunction with this apostasy, there will be an appearing of the 'Man of Lawlessness', also known as the 'Man of Sin', the Antichrist. This magnificent false Christ will set himself up in God's temple and counterfeit the ministry of Jesus.
What will happen to this false Christ, and how will we recognize him? 2nd Thessalonians 2:8-10 NIV informs us, “And then the Lawless One will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus Christ will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. The coming of the Lawless One will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refuse to love the truth and so be saved." The followers of the counter-feit Messiah are deceived because they refuse to love God's truth as revealed in his Holy Bible.
Jesus emphasized that it is not enough to simply profess the "name" of the Lord in order to enter into heaven. There needs to be a "doing" of the Father's will. It's in the Bible, Matthew 7:21 NIV. “Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." Jesus also declares in John 6:40 NIV, “For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” Thus there needs to be a "looking to the Son", a contemplation upon the real Jesus, upon his life, and a belief in the words he spoke. Affirmed Jesus, John 5:24 NIV, "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”
Tragically, the counterfeit Christians will in all sincerity regard themselves to be genuine believers actively doing the work of Christ. They will even prophesy in the name of Jesus, cast out demons in the name of Jesus, and work miracles in his name. It's in the Bible, Matthew 7:22 & 23 NAS. “Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.' ” The followers of the false Christ practice lawlessness. They break God's law, they disregard the commandments of Jesus. In contrast, Jesus declares in John 14:21 NKJV, “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”
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