How Can One Recognize a False Christ?
Brothers and sisters in the Lord all know that we are now in the age of the last days, and all those who truly believe in the Lord are waiting for His return. There are many prophecies in the Bible concerning the return of the Lord Jesus. For example, “And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him” (Matthew 25:6). “And I saw another angel fly in the middle of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people” (Revelation 14:6). These prophecies tell us that when the Lord comes back, there are to be some people who will spread the news to people all over the world.
Many brothers and sisters, after seeing these prophecies about the return of the Lord Jesus, are looking forward to welcoming the appearance of the Lord as soon as possible. But at the same time, they are afraid of being deceived by false Christs, for the Lord Jesus also prophesied: “Then if any man shall say to you, See, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 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” (Matthew 24:23–24). As a result, whenever they hear strangers preaching the gospel, they guard against them and adopt an attitude of hearing nothing, seeing nothing and investigating nothing. They think this will protect them from being deceived.
In fact, the Lord Jesus spoke this prophecy to warn us to be careful and cautious, and He was reminding us that, in the matter of welcoming the Lord in the last days, we must seek to understand His will and learn to discern in the light of His words lest we be deceived. But if we blindly guard against false Christs, so much so that we don’t even seek or investigate when hearing someone preach that the Lord Jesus has returned, then we are apt to shut out God and miss the chance of receiving the Lord’s coming. This is just like how the parents enjoin their children to be careful when they are not at home and not to lightly open the door for the strangers who knock at the door. The parents’ intention is for their children to protect themselves from being hurt. In this case, if the parents come back and knock at the door without saying anything, their children certainly won’t dare to open the door. But if they say something to their children, the latter will naturally open the door after hearing their voice. So, as long as the children grasp some key points, they will be able to protect themselves without shutting their parents outside. This is the same with the matter of welcoming the Lord. If we carefully ponder the Lord’s words, it’s not difficult to find that the Lord clearly told us the features of false Christs two thousand years ago. So long as we learn to discern in accordance with the Lord’s words, we will be able to avoid being deceived by false Christs and welcome the Lord’s return.
Let’s look at this passage of scripture: “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” (Matthew 24:24). From this verse we can see one of the features of false Christs: They can perform some signs and wonders and imitate the work that the Lord Jesus has done. In regard to the manifestations of false Christs, a passage from a gospel website is even clearer: “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 the counterfeit of evil spirits, and their imitation of 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. The work of God is irreconcilable with the conceptions of man; for example, the Old Testament foretold the coming of a Messiah, but it turned out that Jesus came, so it would be wrong for another Messiah to come again. … 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.”
We can see from this passage that once God has completed a stage of work, evil spirits will imitate the work God has done. So if, in the last days, there is to emerge a person who can perform miracles and exorcise demons, then he or she is definitely a false Christ. This is because God never repeats the same work. For example, in the Age of Law, God proclaimed the law through Moses and guided man in their lives on earth, while in the Age of Grace, the Lord Jesus was crucified for man’s sake on the foundation of Jehovah God’s work, thus redeeming man from sin—He did not repeat the work that Jehovah God did. When the Lord Jesus came to work, He performed many signs and wonders, such as making the blind see and the lame walk, bringing the dead back to life, and so on. When the Lord Jesus returns in the last days, He will no longer perform miracles, nor will He do the work of healing the sick and exorcising demons. So, if now there are some people who pass themselves off with the Lord’s name and perform miracles, healing the sick and casting out demons, then they are Satan and evil spirits that are impersonating God, and they are all false Christs. False Christs and false prophets are completely devoid of the truth and are all extremely arrogant evil spirits. All they can do is perform some simple miracles in order to deceive people. However, they can never emulate what the Lord Jesus did as feeding five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish, calming the wind and sea, bringing a dead man back from the grave and other such miracles.
Now, how should we discern the true Christ? A passage from that gospel website says: “He who is God’s incarnation shall hold the substance of God, and He who is God’s incarnation shall hold the expression of God. Since God becomes flesh, He shall bring forth the work He must do, and since God becomes flesh, He shall express what He is, and shall be able to bring the truth to man, bestow life upon man, and show man the way. Flesh that does not contain the substance of God is surely not the incarnate God; of this there is no doubt.” This passage tells us that discerning whether or not it is God’s incarnate flesh involves looking at what He has and is and His substance, not from looking at His external appearance. Christ has God’s essence, He is able to express the truth, give people a path to practice and grant people life. Just like the Lord Jesus: Though on the surface He looked just like us created beings, He held the substance of God. When He came, He was able to conduct the work of ending the Age of Law and initiating the Age of Grace, and He was capable of expressing the truth at any time and any place, bringing people the way of repentance, and giving them a new path of practice. False Christs, however, can only imitate the work that the Lord Jesus has done and perform some signs and wonders to deceive those who have no understanding of the truth. But they are unable to express the truth, let alone do the work of saving mankind, so no matter how they claim that they are Christ, they can never replace the identity of Christ. Therefore, to make sure whether he is the Lord’s return, we should discern whether he can express the truth. The One who can express the truth is the One who is Christ, while those who are incapable of expressing the truth, showing us the path of practice in the new age, or bestowing upon us new life are false Christs.
The Lord also once 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). “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20). It can be seen from these prophecies that, when the Lord Jesus returns in the last days, He will express the truth and speak many words, telling us the things of the past and those that will happen in the future. Therefore, as long as we pay attention to hearing God’s voice and are able to recognize it, we will be sure to welcome the Lord’s appearance, be raptured before His throne and feast with Him.