New Light on Matthew 24:24—The Key to Discerning False Christs
- Editor’s Note:
Matthew 24:24 says, “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” From this verse, many people have a literal understanding that there will be false Christs and false prophets appearing in the last days, so any preaching that says the Lord has returned is false, and thus they refuse to accept the gospel of the Lord’s return. Now, earthquakes, plagues, famines, floods and other disasters are happening frequently. This is a sign of the Lord’s coming. Many brothers and sisters are afraid of being deceived by false Christs while praying for the Lord’s return. So, how should we discern the true Christ from false Christs? What are the hallmarks of false Christs? How can we follow the true Christ? The following content has the answers. Read now.
Matthew 24:3–8 says, “And as He sat on the mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said to them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that you be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” From the words of the Lord, we can see that when the Lord returns in the last days, there will be many false Christs who impersonate the Lord Jesus to deceive us. Not only that, but disasters such as earthquakes, plagues, famines, floods will also occur. These are all signs of the Lord’s coming. Disasters are now happening all over the world. For example, the novel coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan in 2019 has become a global disaster; a volcano erupted in the Philippines after being silent for decades; a powerful earthquake struck Turkey; torrential rain flooded Indonesia; and so on. The frequent occurrence of these disasters indicates that the Lord has returned.
We all are praying and waiting for the return of the Lord. However, when hearing someone preach that the Lord had returned, some brothers and sisters dare not to investigate it for fear of being deceived by false Christs. However, they are worried that they might thus miss the opportunity to welcome the Lord, so they feel especially troubled. In fact, the reason why they have these troubles is that they do not understand the truth about discerning between the true Christ and false Christs. When we grasp ways to discern the true Christ and false Christs, we are naturally not afraid of being deceived.
First, Discernment Based on the Work
In fact, the Lord Jesus has already told us how false Christs deceive people. Matthew 24:24 says, “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” From the Lord’s words, we can see that the false Christs and false prophets mainly deceive people by imitating the work of the Lord Jesus, showing signs and wonders, and make people mistakenly believe that they have authority and power. This is the false Christs’ deceptive means and their main trait. And God’s work is always new and never old. Every time God appears to work, He does not repeat the same work. This is the principle of God’s work. In regard to this, it will be clearer after we look at a few passages of God’s words.
God says, “If, during the present day, there is to emerge a person who is able to display signs and wonders, cast out demons, heal the sick, and perform many miracles, and if this person claims that they are Jesus who has come, then this would be a counterfeit produced by evil spirits which imitate Jesus. Remember this! God does not repeat the same work. Jesus’ stage of work has already been completed, and God will never again undertake that stage of work. … In the notions of man, God must always display signs and wonders, must always heal the sick and cast out demons, and must always be just like Jesus. Yet this time, God is not like that at all. If, during the last days, God still displayed signs and wonders, and still cast out demons and healed the sick—if He did exactly the same as Jesus—then God would be repeating the same work, and the work of Jesus would have no significance or value. Thus, God carries out one stage of work in every age. Once each stage of His work has been completed, it is soon imitated by evil spirits, and after Satan begins to follow on the heels of God, God changes to a different method. Once God has completed a stage of His work, it is imitated by evil spirits. You must be clear about this.” “Not ever does the work of God conform to the conceptions of man, for His work is always new and never old, and never does He repeat old work, but rather forges ahead with work never done before.”
We can understand from God’s words that God is always new and never old. Every time God appears to work, He will begin a new age, end the old age, and bring a new stage of work. That is to say, every time God appears to work, He will do work that has never been done before, and will never repeat the work of the old age. God’s work is always moving forward. For example, when the Lord Jesus came to work, He did not repeat the work of the Age of the Law, but He ended the Age of Law, opened up the Age of Grace, and did the work of redemption based on Jehovah God’s work of issuing the law. If anyone prayed to the Lord and repented, he would be forgiven of his sins and would enjoy the abundance of grace given by the Lord. This work was completely different from that of the Age of Law, and it brought humanity to a new age. If the Lord Jesus had repeated the work of the Age of Law, the entire human race would have been condemned to death for violating the law. So, God does not repeat the same work, but will always do higher and newer work according to human needs.
Similarly, we accepted the Lord Jesus’ redemption and He has absolved us of all sin, but He has never absolved us of our satanic nature. So, arrogance, selfishness, and deceit and other satanic natures are still rooted in us. These things are deeper than sin. They are much harder to resolve. Controlled by the sinful nature, we always sin involuntarily against God. For example, our arrogant nature makes us always disobey others and yet force others to obey us. Selfish nature makes us think for ourselves everywhere. If someone damages our interests, we can hate him, and we can by no means forgive others from the heart. Deceitful nature makes us always lie and cheat others to protect our personal interests. With our satanic nature not resolved, we can still sin and resist God even if we are forgiven 1,000 times or 10,000 times. Eventually, we will not be eligible to, as the Lord , “Truly, truly, I say to you, Whoever commits sin is the servant of sin. And the servant stays not in the house for ever: but the Son stays ever” (John 8:34–35). If the Lord, after coming back, still did the work of the Age of Grace, mainly showing signs and wonders and giving grace to people, wouldn’t we live forever in the vicious circle of confessing and sinning? Wouldn’t God’s management plan to save people stand still? Therefore, when the Lord returns in the last days, He will do a new work according to the needs of us humanity. In fact, the Lord Jesus has long predicted this, “And if any man hear My words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejects Me, and receives not My words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:47–48). “I pray not that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil. … Sanctify them through Your truth: Your word is truth. … And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth” (John 17:15, 17, 19). In addition, 1 Peter 4:17 says, “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God.” It can be seen from the prophecies that when the Lord comes the second time, He will do a stage of newer and higher work; that is, He will express the truth to do the work of judgment beginning from the house of God, so that we can understand the truth by accepting the judgment of the words of God, rid ourselves of corrupt dispositions, and reach purity. This shows that God’s work is entirely based on the needs of us humanity and that every time God appears, He will bring new work.
But false Christs do not possess the essence of Christ, and they are evil spirits who pretend to be Christ. They have no truth at all, nor do they possess the authority and power of Christ. Therefore, they can only confuse people by imitating the work of the Lord Jesus and showing some simple signs and wonders. The false Christs are incapable of performing the great miracles of the Lord Jesus, such as raising the dead, feeding five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish, and rebuking the wind and sea. And it is impossible for the false Christs to carry out new work according to the needs of mankind and lead mankind to move forward. Therefore, when someone testifies to us that the Lord has come, We can determine whether he is Christ based on whether he imitates the work of the Lord Jesus to show signs and wonders or whether he can do a new step of work to judge and purify people. In this way, we can discern the true Christ from false Christs.
Second, Discernment Based on the Words
God says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). “God become flesh is called Christ, and so the Christ that can give people the truth is called God. There is nothing excessive about this, for He possesses the substance of God, and possesses God’s disposition, and wisdom in His work, that are unattainable by man. Those who call themselves Christ, yet cannot do the work of God, are frauds. Christ is not merely the manifestation of God on earth, but also the particular flesh assumed by God as He carries out and completes His work among man. This flesh cannot be supplanted by just any man, but is a flesh that can adequately bear God’s work on earth, and express the disposition of God, and well represent God, and provide man with life. Sooner or later, those who impersonate Christ will all fall, for although they claim to be Christ, they possess none of the substance of Christ. And so I say that the authenticity of Christ cannot be defined by man, but is answered and decided by God Himself.”
From the words of God, we can know that Christ is God incarnate Himself, and He is the God who comes to the earth and works in the image of the flesh. In appearance, Christ is an ordinary person, but He has the essence of divinity. The disposition of God, all that God has and is, and the wisdom of God’s work are all embodied in the flesh, so Christ is the embodiment of the truth. He can express the truth according to the needs of human beings anytime and anywhere, and provide for human life, which no one can imitate. Take the Lord Jesus for example. He brought the way of repentance, giving the new practice to human beings living under the law, teaching people to be tolerant, patient, forgiving others seventy-seven times, and so on. After receiving the teachings of the Lord Jesus, people know how to confess sins to the Lord, how to get along with people, how to love the enemy, and how to live with more humanity. From this, we can be sure that Christ is the embodiment of the truth. He can supply mankind’s life, make us understand the truth and have a way of practice in everything. When the Lord returns in the last days, He will also express the truth according to our human needs. 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: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come” (John 16:12–13). It is also prophesied in Daniel 12:4, “But you, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” Also, Revelation 2:17 says, “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches; To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the hidden manna.” From these verses we can know that the Lord, when returning in the last days, will express the words the Holy Spirit says to the churches, break open the sealed scroll, uncover the hidden mysteries of the truth, and lead us into all truths. These words are above the truth of any age and are what God wants to say in the new age.
False Christs do not possess the essence of Christ at all. They cannot express the truth, nor can they open the scroll and break the seven seals. False Christs deceive people only by using the Bible out of context and misinterpreting the Bible. They can also use people’s curiosity and mentality of wanting blessings to pass themselves off with the name of Jesus, making false prophecies or saying something to bless and promise people. Can those fallacies that false Christs speak make our life grow? Can they make us break free from Satan’s influence and obey God? Quite the contrary, these fallacies can not only fail to make us understand the truth, increase our faith, love, and obedience to God, but on the contrary, after listening to their words, they will mislead us in acceptance of the truth. Consequently, we’ll not know what to do in the face of difficulties and confusion, and we’ll become darker and darker in our spirit, even to the extent of wanting to betray God. We also need to know this fact: None of the false Christs can possess the truth or provide for man’s life. Even though some people are deceived into following them, such mobs will soon perish themselves. It is impossible for them to exist for a long time. Some false Christs are even cursed by God and die from punishment. The true Christ, however, can express the truth to conquer people, who will all be utterly convinced. With the spread of His gospel, it will definitely attract more and more people to accept it. It can be seen that we can discern the true Christ from false Christs according to who can express the truth to save people, supply people, and give people life. This is an important principle of practice.
Therefore, when someone witnesses to us that the Lord has returned, appearing and working among people, we can determine whether it is true by his work and his words: whether he opens up a new age and does a new stage of work, whether his words are the truth and can supply the needs of our life. Grasp these two principles of discernment, and you will accurately discern between the true Christ and false Christs, no longer afraid of being deceived by false Christs.
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