Danger of Following False Christs
Dr. Valson Abraham
A man looks at a sore on his neck that does not heal. He worries - is it cancer? The thought frightens and horrifies him.
He asks advice from others regarding a good doctor. Someone tells him, “Oh, it doesn’t really make any difference which doctor you go to. Just find a doctor you feel most comfortable with, someone who best suits who you are.”
The man hates the idea of surgery, but he does have a problem that doesn’t go away. He wants a doctor, but he decides what he most desperately wants is a doctor who will tell him what he wants to hear.
The medical practitioner he contacts is a very pleasant man with an impressive looking diploma hanging in his office where everyone can see it. He smiles, has a pleasant, appealing manner, and he assures the man that no, he does not have cancer. He advises him to take a simple remedy, cover the sore with a bandage so he doesn’t see it, and refrain from worry. Elated, the man goes home and says to himself, “My worries are over!”
Unfortunately, six months later, the man dies of an aggressive cancer that has spread from his neck to the rest of his body. The doctor who gave him the “good news” is an unqualified fake who says he practices medicine, but who specializes in telling patients what they want to hear. The diploma that hangs in his office is as fake as the so-called doctor.
If the man had gone to a real doctor, he would have heard unpleasant news. He would have faced painful surgery, but he would also have gone on to live a normal and useful life.
When we read such a story, we recognize the total carelessness and foolishness of the man-his stubborn unwillingness to put up with unpleasant news in the short run at the expense of his long term health. Sad to say, this happens more often than we like to think.
In spiritual matters, this same kind of carelessness and foolishness also happens again and again when we seek out teachers and false messiahs who tell us only what we like to hear.
In the Bible, Jesus is portrayed as the Great Physician. In some ways, Jesus tells us unpleasant things that make us uncomfortable. We all experience problems in life, and we see many problems in the world around us, but we don’t like to hear we are all sinners before a holy God, and we are headed to hell. We don’t like to be told to repent and commit our lives to God through Jesus Christ. We don’t like to be told that we have a spiritual cancer that is killing us and that only Jesus Christ, the Great Physician, will remove it.
To many ears, the Good News of Jesus Christ is bad news. Like surgery, Jesus’ death and crucifixion for our sins seems too bloody, ugly and unnecessary. We may not find satisfaction with our lives, but the spiritual surgery that Jesus requires seems too messy, too radical and scary. We don’t like to think about it. To make us feel better, we may even jeer at those who trust in Jesus as their Great Physician.
We know we need help, but we seek our help in people who claim to be prophets, who claim to be even Jesus Himself, who tell us what we want to hear rather than what we need to hear.
Jesus Himself warns us about the dangers of following after charlatans-teachers who exalt themselves over the clear teaching of the Bible. He warns us about those who promote a different gospel from the one He taught-a so-called “gospel” that leaves out sin, the cross and repentance, judgment and hell. He warns us about people who preach God’s love but not His holiness, his forgiveness but not His hatred of sin and the penalty for sin.
Much of what the false christ says may be true and right, but even if he deviates just a little bit, avoid him as if he were the devil himself!
Any self-proclaimed “christ” who fails to preach the gospel as taught by Jesus Christ is an imposter with a spirit of lawlessness that will show up in some form in his own life such as sexual perversion, abusive behavior, misuse of money or other kinds of moral failures.
Jesus warns us that some false teachers may even perform miracles. They may awe us with great signs and wonders. They may read minds, forecast the future, even heal others from illness. But if they deny the fundamental gospel of the cross, Jesus says, “Stay away from them.” They are phonies.
In the face of so many deceptive christs-some who even claim to be Jesus returned to earth-how will we know when the real Christ has appeared?
We will know by the manner of His second appearing. When Jesus still walked with His disciples, He told them He will return in a Second Coming. Jesus makes the manner of His Second Coming very clear in Matthew 24:27:
“For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be.”
Faster than a lightning flash, He will come “in the twinkling of an eye,” that is, with great suddenness. Everyone will go about his daily business, and all at once, there will be a great blast from an angel’s trumpet, and Jesus Christ will appear in all His glory, with millions and millions of glorified men, women and children from every time and place. The sign of His Second Coming will be unmistakable. It will surpass all power to imagine or describe. The splendor of Jesus’ Second Coming will outshine the combined splendor of the sun and all earthly rulers. He will make them all look like paupers and pretenders. (1 Corinthians15:52; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Revelation 1:7; 6:15-17; 19:16)
It is an event that will happen in time. Every eye will see Him, we are told. Every person will know who He is. Everything on earth will screech to a halt. There will be no doubt. His Second Coming will be an event like no other event in history. No other so-called “christ” can match it.
Those who were willing to undergo the surgery of the gospel will welcome the Second Coming of Jesus Christ in jubilation. It will come as a terror to those who refused His spiritual surgery and healing power. Those who are unprepared for it will try to flee. They will even cry out to the mountains to hide them, but it will be in vain, and it will be too late.
Such a Second Coming puts to shame all other so-called “christs” and reveals these people for what they really are—fakes, imposters, charlatans.
There are many signs which will precede this Second Coming of Jesus. We do not have the time and space to describe these signs in detail, but they include (this list is not exhaustive):
The coming of false christs.
Wars and rumors of wars.
An increase in famines and earthquakes.
An increase in lawlessness.
The preaching of the gospel to all peoples around the world.
The re-emergence of an independent nation of Israel (when Jesus walked the earth and years afterwards, the territory we know as Israel was under the control of other nations and empires. This prophecy was fulfilled in 1948).
The coming of the biggest false christ of all, the so-called anti-christ who will deceive many.
All of these things indicate how important it is for us to become familiar with our Bibles and with the portrait of Jesus Christ we read both in the Old Testament and the New Testament. The more familiar we become with the “real thing,” the easier it becomes to spot the counterfeits. While you study the Bible, be sure to ask God for a spirit that discerns the real from the counterfeit. When we find the “real thing,” make sure that you let Jesus Christ become your Great Physician.
When we discover the true Jesus Christ as taught in the Bible, let us make sure we tell others about Him, that they may also welcome Him and stand before Him one day in joy and gladness.
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Father God, thank you for sending your Son, Jesus Christ, the Great Physician, to rid us of sin, death and hell through His life, death on the cross and His resurrection. Give us eyes to see Jesus Christ for who He really is that we may one day stand before you whole and complete because of what He alone has accomplished. Help us to better share His Good News to others who have yet to hear it. In Jesus’ Name. Amen