Can You Discern False Christs and False Prophets?
By Xiaoxiao, Japan
From my childhood, I followed my mother to go to the church. However, I didn’t truly feel the Lord’s presence until I was in the fifth grade. At that time, my mother went to Taiwan because of her job, and therefore, we met only once a year or so. As my mother wasn’t by my side, I felt very lonely, having no choice but to speak my heart to the Lord frequently. Unknowingly, I learnt to pray. Every time I prayed to the Lord, I received strength and felt that He was right beside me. Meantime, I prayed to Him for the health and security of my family. I felt indeed peaceful in my heart. When I was in senior high school, I went to the church alone every weekend and listened to the sermon of “God so loved the world” preached by the pastors, which I felt very good.
In 2009, I came to Japan to study. On the first day of school, I met Sister Li who came to my school to preach the gospel. When she knew I was a believer in the Lord, she invited me to go to their church to have meetings. I realized that it was the Lord’s sovereign arrangement and then I jumped at the invitation to go to the church with her on the weekend.
In the church, she took very good care of me and I also treated her as a member of my family. Later, I moved to Tokyo. When I chose a school, I wanted to choose one near my home, but the church was in Yokohama. If I did that, I had to leave the church in Yokohama. Sister Li, after knowing my thought, persuaded me, “You’d better not change the church. This is what the Lord is not pleased with. He wants us to remain in a fixed church. We should be careful, for there are many heresies in Japan. Don’t read the books given out by other churches which set up stalls on the street, lest you are deceived.” It was the first time I had heard of the word heresy. Though I didn’t have much of an understanding of it, the moment the thought occurred to me that her faith in the Lord was stronger than mine, I deemed that listening to her shouldn’t be the wrong thing to do. Otherwise, once I entered the wrong church and followed false Christs, I not only could not gain the Lord’s praise, but would descend to hell. Consequently, I finally chose a school in Yokohama.
During the subsequent gatherings, I often heard the pastors preach that many churches around us were not genuine churches and were heresies. … Having listened to these words told over and over again, I had some precautions and fear toward other churches. I never dared go to other churches to attend meetings and listen to their preaching, and dared not contact the believers in other churches at my will either. Yet when we had meetings, the pastors always talked about giving offerings, exalted themselves and testified that how they worked and sacrificed for the Lord. … I often felt dozy after listening a few moments. Little by little, because I could not rise up early, I wanted to give up attending meetings. But as long as Sister Li didn’t see me at the meeting, she would give me a call and asked me to attend church services. It got to the point that going to the church every time was like performing a task for me.
In order to interest brothers and sisters in listening to the preaching, the church constantly organized us to participate in some outdoor activities, such as travelling, having dining parties on festival and holiday, putting up tents on the hill to listen to sermons in summer, going to the student center in winter, inviting the pastors from South Korea to preach or inviting others to sing praises. Besides, the church also held fetes. Brothers and sisters sent away the things that they didn’t need to the church and then the church sold them and gave the money to disaster areas. When I took part in these activities, I felt they were bustling, but when I returned home, I felt I gained nothing in life, without increasing in the least faith in and knowledge of the Lord. Later, because of the busy work, I seldom went to the church.
In 2015, I registered a Facebook account. At the beginning, my purpose was only to put my photos taken during my travelling on the Internet to get others’ envy. Later on, I noticed that many people sent some words of the Lord Jesus in the Bible and sent some videos to encourage others to have confidence. I thought they were very good and then forwarded them. As a result, I got acquainted with Sister Ouyang from France and Sister Guo from Netherlands. Sister Guo always attended meetings and heard sermons on the Internet. So she asked me whether I would like to take part in. I thought: I can’t receive any supply from the church. And I seldom go to the church because of busy work. It is a good way to hear the message on the Internet. Thus, I assented.
When I first listened to the preaching on the Internet, I heard the preacher talk about the society’s darkness and evil: People have been corrupted by Satan and have degenerated to such an extent that they have lost their humanity and can do anything for money. So much so that many pastors who service God do not witness to God and lift up the truth. For the sake of their jobs, they continually call believers for donations, having gone astray from the Lord’s way. They are detested and rejected by God. … It was my first time to listen to such preaching. I thought his preaching was so practical and attractive that I successively listened for 4 hours unknowingly, without sleep. I was glad to know that there was another message to listen to the next day. Hence, I invited Sister Ouyang to listen to it with me.
In this meeting, the preacher talked with us about the inside truth regarding the work of Jehovah God in the Age of Law and the work of the Lord Jesus in the Age of Grace. He also mentioned that because the Pharisees didn’t have an understanding of God, they relied on their own conceptions and imaginations to resist and condemn the new work done by the Lord Jesus. God’s work is at odds with the conceptions of man, and the characteristic of His work is new and wondrous. When we face the new work and words of God, we should hold a heart of humble seeking and obedience. … I recognized the fellowship of this brother and thought what he said was reasonable. Afterward, he, by quoting the prophecies of the Bible, said the Lord has returned and He is Almighty God incarnate. In the last days, He opens the book, discloses all the mysteries and brings a stage of new work. At his words, I was surprised, “Has the Lord returned?” I thought the Lord is in heaven and very far away from me and only when we die would we meet the Lord. I never thought that God will still return to earth like two thousand years ago, the Lord Jesus came to earth to preach, to speak, and to be with His disciples. Thinking of that picture, I felt God is very close to me. While he was preaching, I made notes. After a while, I suddenly remembered as though I had heard of the words “Eastern Lightening” and “Almighty God” somewhere before. When I thought Sister Li and the pastors said that there would be many heresies and false Christs in the last days, in an instant I was on the alert.
At that moment, I was on pins and needles and feared whether I met the heresy. Just in case I picked the wrong church and was deceived, I couldn’t go to heaven. Just then, some Bible verses I had read before came to my mind, “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). I was more frightened. But I thought this brother preached quite well and had the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment. Furthermore, his preaching was based on the Bible. What he preached wasn’t like a heresy, a false way. I felt kind of confused and was at a loss what to do for a good while. I prayed to the Lord silently and asked Him to keep me and lead me to learn to discern. After prayer, I suddenly recalled what the brother fellowshiped at the two previous meetings. He once said, “We should recognize the voice of God like the wise virgins did rather than judge and condemn it the moment we hear the words which don’t match our personal conceptions. If we judge and condemn it at will, this won’t concur with the Lord’s teaching. Because God’s work doesn’t accord with man’s conceptions, we should figure it out in everything and not jump to a conclusion. …” I thought to myself: Yes. It’s important to discern God’s voice. Moreover, we are on the Internet. Granted that I listen to it, I will lose nothing. If the Eastern Lightning is the true way, doesn’t it offend the Lord that I blindly abandon and condemn? I can’t be too imprudent. I’d better listen some more.
Although contradictions and fluster occupied my mind, I still finished listening to his preaching carefully. After the meeting, I asked Sister Ouyang’s opinion of this matter. She had the same viewpoint as mine that we both were afraid of blindly condemning the work of Almighty God and of missing the Lord’s coming. Thereupon, we decided to investigate the work of Almighty God in the last days to know on what grounds they testified that Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus. Furthermore, we didn’t want to be those who heeded and trusted only one side.
It was time to have another meeting. After we were online, I asked the preaching brother, “The Lord Jesus prophesied that false Christs and false prophets would arise and deceive people in the last days. You said the Lord has returned. How do I know whether what you said is true or not?”
He said, “The Lord Jesus indeed prophesied that. This is the fact. But He also clearly prophesied many times that He would come again. If we take guarding against false Christs and false prophets as our priority, but don’t place importance on how to hear the bridegroom’s voice, won’t we suffer a great loss for this? The key to whether or not we can welcome the returned Lord is whether or not we are able to discern God’s voice. If we don’t seek to investigate the true way, we will never hear God’s voice and will finally be eliminated. If we want to welcome the returned Lord and not to be deceived by false Christs, we have to understand how they deceive people. Actually, the Lord Jesus has already told us about the practices of false Christs and false prophets. He said, ‘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). The words of the Lord Jesus show us that false Christs and false prophets mainly rely on performing signs and wonders to deceive God’s chosen people. This is the primary manifestation of false Christs’ deception of people. Because false Christs and false prophets are utterly devoid of the truth. In nature and substance, they are extremely wicked evil spirits. And so they have to rely on signs and wonders to deceive people. If we can see through this, we’ll not be deceived. The One who can express the truth, and show us the way, and give us the life is the One who is Christ. Those who are incapable of expressing the truth are surely false Christs, they’re fakes. This is the basic principle of identifying false Christs and false prophets.
“Almighty 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’ (“Knowing God’s Work Today” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). ‘Not ever does the work of God conform to the notions 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’ (“How Can Man Who Has Delimited God in His Notions Receive the Revelations of God?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
God is always new and never old, and never does the same work. This is just like when Jesus came to work: He ushered in the Age of Grace, and brought to an end the Age of Law. He did one stage of the work of redemption, and rescued mankind from sin. In order that His work would be effective, He performed some signs and wonders. In the last days, Almighty God has come, He has ushered in the Age of Kingdom, and brought to an end the Age of Grace. But He does not repeat the work done by the Lord Jesus. Instead, based upon the foundation of the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption, He carries out the work of judgment beginning from the house of God. He has expressed all truths for the purification and salvation of mankind, and has resolved the source of our sin and our satanic disposition. He has thoroughly saved us from the influence of Satan, so that we are ultimately gained by God. And the false Christs? They are all evil spirits who fake Christ. They are incapable of doing work of ushering in a new age and bringing the old age to an end. They can only imitate the Lord Jesus by performing some simple signs and wonders to deceive those who are muddle-headed and unable to discern. But they are incapable of copying what Jesus did as raising the dead and feeding five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish, or rebuking the wind and sea.”
Then he read me another paragraph of God’s words, “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. 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 essence of Christ. And so I say that the authenticity of Christ cannot be defined by man, but is answered and decided by God Himself” (“Only Christ of the Last Days Can Give Man the Way of Eternal Life” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
He continued, “Christ is God become flesh, He is God’s Spirit realized in the flesh. That is, all that God possesses, including what God has and is, God’s disposition, and the wisdom of God are all realized in His flesh. Christ has the substance of divinity, and is the embodiment of the truth. He is able to express the truth to provide to man, and tend to man, always, in all places. Only Christ can do the work of redeeming mankind and saving mankind. No one else can imitate this, nor can they deny it. Most false Christs, meanwhile, are possessed by evil spirits. They are supremely arrogant and ridiculous. In substance, they are evil spirits and demons. Thus, no matter what signs and wonders they perform, or how they misinterpret the Bible, or talk of profound knowledge and theory, they do nothing but deceive people, and harm them, and bring them to ruin. Nothing they do is edifying to people. All they do is bring ever more darkness to people’s hearts, they leave them with no path to tread, to be ultimately swallowed by Satan. It can be seen that all false Christs and false prophets are the incarnation of Satan, they are evil demons that have come to interrupt and disturb God’s work. And so, regardless of how many people they deceive, harm, or bring to ruin, they will soon fall, and perish of themselves, for they are without the slightest truth. If we truly understand the truth about how to differentiate between the true Christ and false Christs, then there is no way we could refuse to hear the voice of God or welcome the appearance of God for fear of being deceived by false Christs.”
Hearing his fellowship, I felt brightened. The words of Almighty God indeed are the truth, the way and the life, which explain so clearly the truth concerning the true Christ and false ones so that we can easily understand. The Church of Almighty God really has the truth. What this brother fellowshiped had God’s guidance. When I raised a question, he fellowshiped so clearly and plainly, which our pastors couldn’t do. In the past, the pastors led us to read this line of the scriptures many times and we also often heard them expound on it, but we didn’t understand the true meaning of it. As a matter of fact, the Lord Jesus has long told us the means and features of false Christs’ deceiving people in the last days. However, the pastors merely told us to guard against the false Christs but have never told us how to discern them. As a result, I had done nothing but simply fear and guard. Admitting that I couldn’t receive any supply in the church, I dared not leave the church to search elsewhere. In times past, the pastors frequently judged and downgraded other churches, saying that other churches misinterpreted the Bible and expounded it out of context and that only the acceptance of our church was the straightest and purest. Now, it seemed that was not the case.
Seeing the brother fellowshiped quite well, I again raised other questions. And he answered them one by one according to the words of Almighty God and combining with the Bible. I was utterly convinced. No matter what kind of questions I had, the answers could be found in the words of Almighty God. After having several meetings with them, I felt they had the guidance of the Holy Spirit and what they fellowshiped edified others and provided benefits for others. Each of them fellowshiped better than the pastors did in our church. The truth I got here was much more than that I learnt in the church for 6 years. This made me feel more and more that Almighty God is God incarnate. Were He not the true God, how could He express so much truth?
From that point on, I often read the words of Almighty God and participate in church life. From His words, I understood: How Satan corrupts man; how God saves man; the mysteries of God incarnate; the difference between God’s work and man’s work, and so on. I had never heard and understood these truths before. I truly felt Almighty God is the appearance of Christ of the last days. Now thinking back on the words of guarding against false Christs taught by the pastors and Sister Li, I realize these words are really something that deceive people and are the obstacle and stumbling block to man’s seeking and investigating the true way and welcoming the Lord’s coming. They neither have the truth nor seek and investigate it humbly, but instead, taught us to abide by the rules, namely, to guard blindly. That is very easy to shut the door on the true Christ. Thank Almighty God for giving me an opportunity of gaining the truth!
Source: Grow in Christ — The Second Coming of Christ
Disasters have become more frequent in recent years and the prophecies in the Bible concerning the coming of the Lord have now been fulfilled. So why have we still not seen the Lord descending on a cloud? Has the Christ returned or not? How exactly will the Lord appear to man when He returns, and what can we do to greet Him? Click here to discuss with us.