Beware of False Christs
Dr. Saju Joseph
One painful truth that Church history reveals is the emergence of numerous false teachers who have misled thousands. These false teachers exploited the innocents and gained popularity for their own selfish causes.
When a person emerges with a special doctrine and with the intent to dissuade people from the True Christ, he/she is identified as a false Christ. Jesus warned that in the last days counterfeit christs would arise calling themselves as the Messiah and claim to be the savior of the world. “Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,” and will deceive many’ ” (Matthew 24:4, 5)
In the New Testament, the original Greek word for Christ is ‘Christos’. The equivalent Hebrew word in the Old Testament is Mashiach, meaning ‘Messiah’. The literal translation of both the Greek and Hebrew words is ‘The Anointed One’. It is the title and identity which Jesus assumed during His ministry on Earth. “The woman said to Him, ‘I know that Messiah is coming’ (who is called Christ). ‘When He comes, He will tell us all things.’ Jesus said to her, ‘I who speak to you am He.’ ” (John 4:25, 26).
Shortly before His crucifixion, Jesus preached His great prophetic discourse concerning profound events that would occur at the end of the age just prior to His Second Coming. Among those events, He said, would be false prophets and false christs. Who is the evil power behind these false christs? There is no doubt that it is Satan himself. It is of these false christs and false prophets, Paul wrote, “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” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15, NIV). These false christs masquerade as “servants of righteousness,” just as their master, Satan, masquerades as an angel of light.
Woefully, these false christs sincerely regard themselves to be genuine believers, eagerly serving and doing the work of Christ, but are leading many into deception. They will even prophesy in the name of Jesus, cast out demons in the name of Jesus, and work miracles in His name. But they are serving a false Christ—not the real Jesus. “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers’ ” (Matthew 7:22, 23). The followers of the false Christ disregard the commandments of Jesus. In contrast, Jesus declares, “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him”. (John 14:21)
Imitating Christ’s life is more important for God than imitating His miracles. False christs can imitate only Christ’s miracles, not His life.