Hoping to Follow God’s Footsteps, But Worrying About Being Deceived?
I want to ask a question: It is said in the Bible, “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 mentioned above, false Christs and false prophets will deceive believers in the last days when the Lord Jesus comes again. We believers in the Lord are longing for His return. However, when hearing someone preaching the Lord’s second coming, we often dare not approach them or investigate the gospel for fear of being deceived by the false Christs and false prophets. So, how exactly can we solve this problem?
We Christians pay close attention to the topic of the Lord’s second coming, for it is a major event concerning whether our beliefs are approved of by the Lord. Today, in the last days, we all know it is the time when the Lord will come again. Therefore, many people are eagerly expecting to welcome the Lord’s return at an early date and see the Lord. But at the same time, they remember the Lord Jesus’ admonitions to man, “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets…,” and treat any news about the Lord’s return with caution and prudence for fear of being deceived. Many brothers and sisters in the Lord have this kind of conflicted feelings. So, how can we follow in the Lord’s footsteps and avoid being deceived?
In fact, the crux of the matter is to have correct interpretations of the Lord’s words. The Lord Jesus said, “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). The Lord’s words indicate that we should be cautious and discerning about the news of the Lord’s return while waiting. They certainly don’t forbid us to seek His return because false Christs appear during the last days. If we fear being deceived by false Christs, and refuse all the news about the Lord’s return, we will never meet the returned Lord Jesus. That’s because when we are blindly guarding against false Christs, the Lord has long ago returned and has raptured those believers who seek and investigate the true way into the kingdom of God. We shouldn’t “give up eating for fear of choking.” Many people who think themselves wise often stumble over this, while, by contrast, the wise virgins are watching and waiting, as well as seeking, with a humble heart, as in the Lord’s words “My sheep hear my voice” (John 10:27). Only those who can recognize God’s voice can follow in the Lamb’s footsteps and are the ones blessed by God.
If we want to keep ourselves from being deceived by false Christs, we need to have discernment. As long as we grasp the truth about how to discern the true Christ from false Christs, we’ll be able to distinguish true from false no matter how well false Christs impersonate Christ. So, how do we discern the true Christ from false Christs?
God says, “He who is God incarnate shall possess the essence of God, and He who is God incarnate shall possess the expression of God. Since God becomes flesh, He shall bring forth the work He intends to 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 him, and point the way for him. Flesh that does not have the essence of God is decidedly not the incarnate God; of this there is no doubt. If man intends to inquire into whether it is God’s incarnate flesh, then he must corroborate this from the disposition He expresses and the words He speaks. Which is to say, to corroborate whether or not it is God’s incarnate flesh, and whether or not it is the true way, one must discriminate on the basis of His essence. And so, in determining whether it is the flesh of God incarnate, the key lies in His essence (His work, His utterances, His disposition, and many other aspects), rather than external appearance. If man scrutinizes only His external appearance, and as a result overlooks His essence, this shows that man is benighted and ignorant” (Preface to The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“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 essence 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” (“Only Christ of the Last Days Can Give Man the Way of Eternal Life” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“Apart from Christ, those who falsely claim to be Christ do not possess His qualities. When juxtaposed against the arrogant and self-exalting disposition of those false Christs, it becomes apparent what manner of flesh is truly Christ. The falser they are, the more such false Christs flaunt themselves, and the more capable they are of working signs and wonders to deceive man. False Christs do not have the qualities of God; Christ is not tainted by any element belonging to false Christs” (“The Essence of Christ Is Obedience to the Will of the Heavenly Father” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“You are unable to bring forth new paths or to represent the Spirit. You cannot express the work of the Spirit or the words that He speaks. You are unable to do the work of God Himself, and that of the Spirit you are unable to do. The wisdom, wonder, and unfathomability of God, and the entirety of the disposition by which God chastises man — all of these are beyond your capacity to express. It would therefore be useless to try to claim to be God; you would have only the name and none of the substance. … If you are unable to make way for a new age, or to bring the old to an end, or to usher in a new age, or to do new work, then you cannot be called God!” (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
From God’s words, we learn that Christ is able to usher in a new age, end the old age, bring the new work and bestow upon us the truth, the way, and the life. The Lord Jesus ended the Age of Law and brought the Age of Grace. He did the redemptive work based on the Age of Law, and brought us the new way to practice, such as teaching us to confess our sins, repent, and love each other, etc. In the last days, Almighty God’s arrival has ended the Age of Grace and has brought the Age of Kingdom. He is carrying out a stage of the work of judgment and purification on the basis of the redemptive work. In this stage of the work of the last days, He is judging mankind through words and is thereby bestowing upon us corrupt humans all the truths for our pursuit of salvation, and the ways for us to be transformed in our dispositions, so that we can get rid of satanic corrupt dispositions and eventually be taken to the beautiful final destination. The false Christs, however, can neither usher in a new age nor do God’s new work. After God finishes a stage of work, they can only follow behind and try to imitate Him and deceive people by displaying some simple signs and wonders like healing and casting out demons. Some great miracles, like raising the dead and giving sight to the blind, are definitely beyond their abilities. What’s more, false Christs cannot express truths at all, much less bring us the path by which to change our life disposition. This is because false Christs definitely do not possess divine substance. So it is said in the Bible, “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). It can be seen that the Lord Jesus wants to warn people of the last days to guard against false Christs and false prophets who perform some simple signs and wonders to try and imitate Him and deceive us. He wants us to have discernment about the deeds of false Christs and false prophets. Meanwhile, He also wants to let us know that when He comes again in the last days He will not do the work He did in the past, because He is always new and never old. If we cannot properly understand the words of the Lord Jesus, but use His own words to reject His second coming and His new work, aren’t we being extremely foolish?
For fear of being deceived by false Christs, we refuse to investigate the second coming of the Lord Jesus. This is indeed a tragedy caused by not understanding the truth. If we could seek humbly and understand this aspect of truth from the words of Almighty God, would we still refuse the Christ who has returned incarnate? Nowadays, Christ is knocking at the door outside, and those who close their heart and hold on to their own notions will miss the last opportunity to be saved and will regret it for eternity!
From: Grow in Christ
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