ARE THERE FALSE CHRISTS TODAY?
Jesus Christ is expected to return soon, first to rapture the church, and soon thereafter, to return and rule and reign on this earth for a 1000 years. There were, even in the days of the apostles, some claiming to be ones who would rule and bring millennial blessings, wealth transfer, prosperity to Christians. In our day, we call some of them ‘dominion theologists.’ The Mormons also have a belief that someday the President of the United States will give the land and wealth to Mormons, who then will rule, rent out properties to others, and bring prosperity to the world. The Muslim belief is that a Mahdi will return, and his ‘christ’ will slay all who do not convert to the Muslim religion, and the Mahdi will rule and reign.
These and others of different religions are what we call ‘false christs’. In the tribulation, these false christs will be replaced by the ANTICHRIST. Yet, even in the days of John the apostle, there were already false christs exerting influence, making claims, and believed upon by some who should have known better.
In our world today, we hear some claiming dominion theology, running for office, with messengers calling out to the world that the person is ‘anointed’ and if Christians do not vote for them, they are not hearing God. They promise a wealth transfer of the riches of the sinners to Christians, and they are falsely claiming what only Jesus has a right to claim. Jesus Christ is the One, the ONLY One, we are to look to for millennial restoration of this world.
Notice what John said as he wrote in that day:
I John 2:18-28
"Little children, it is the last time, and as ye have heard that the antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us, for if they had been of us, they would no doubt continued with us; but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. Who is a liar, but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father; but he that acknowedgeth the Son hath the Father also. Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. And this is the promise that He hath promised us, even eternal life. These things have I written unto you, concerning them that seduce you. But the anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you; but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him. And now, little children, abide in Him; that when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming."
John's epistle is primarily a warning against false doctrines that creep into congregations. There were false christs, who were preaching doctrines, trying to rise to political power on the backs of Christians they can deceive.
John attacks such false doctrines and heresies in three ways.
Firstly, he gives instructions on what is the truth.
Secondly, he warns against the error, the heresy, and the false doctrine. Then, thirdly, he assures us that God will help us avoid error.
The ones with the false doctrines are called (by John) to be:
"antichrists" (I John 2:18),
"liars" (I John 2:22),
and "seducers" (I John 2:26).
These ones in his day were what history calls the "gnostics". Today, we know them by different names. We call such ones today to be "modernists", "liberals", dominionists, Mormons, Chrislamites, etc. Jesus called them "tares", and other names.
There were some main points to which they adhere:
1. They claim a higher knowledge than ordinary believers and wanted others to see them as superior.
2. They saw the flesh as essentially evil. They try to de-emphasize sins of lust and passion, for they are taken and bound by such themselves, they want others to see them as helpless creatures bound by a corrupted flesh, but not guilty of sin in such impure actions.
3. They believe the Creator to be a separate deity from the Supreme God. There are many today willing to create by their teachings that there are different roads to heaven, different gods to be worshipped.
4. They deny the free will of man. They think that they are chosen to be superior, holy, and pure, and nothing they could do would change that.
5. They claim a spiritual communion with God, but they are indifferent to sin and licentiousness. They not only tolerate such sins, they make them a practice.
6. They combine certain Christian doctrines with the pagan philosophies. They corrupt true faith and doctrine to try to make doctrine more palatable to carnal mankind.
These teachings, were then, in the days that John wrote this epistle, and still now in our day, fallacious, erroneous, and heretical. The Christian community has errantly tried to often to tolerate, ignore, or acquiesce to such false doctrines. We need to allow the Spirit of Truth to do His ministry and to reveal truth and to uncover heresy and falsehood!
There are many cults of the Christian community that are deceiving the real Christians. Some are found within church buildings, and now in politics we find some claiming to be the ONE that is chosen by God, and is anointed, and despite their lies, their licentious and lustful nature, are to be elected to political office.
I John 2:18
"Little children, it is the last time, and as ye have heard that the antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time."
We are in the last time. John was even then, and now we are in the ‘last times of the last time. In these last days, we can be assured that these words of John in his epistle are even more pertinent and relevant to us, than they were in his time of writing this warning. We need to be alert and aware of these important things.
As has been predicted in the Bible, there are many even today that "scoff" at the idea of the second coming. They are blind, and are not alert:
to the prophetic fulfillments,
to the witnesses of Scripture,
and to the confirmations from the Spirit of Truth.
How can we take seriously the foolish rantings of people so far from being spiritually aware... We need to heed tier scoffings as much as we would heed the opinion of a three year old on the stock market.
John, who was:
spiritually aware of the age,
knowledgeable of the signs,
cognizant of the current fulfillment of prophetic truth,
and definitely in tune with the Spirit of Truth,
warns and alerts us to beware the ones who act in conjunction with the scheme of the Antichrist himself. He calls them "antichrists", and we here are calling them ‘false christs’. They are pretending to do some things only the returning Jesus, our Savior, can do. Their lies, their lustful natures, and other sins betray them as decievers.
Someday soon, after the rapture of the church, the real Antichrist shall come. Antiochus Epiphanes prefigured him long ago, and so did Nero, Hitler, and Mussolini. Just as God wants us to live as Christ, having His mind, His nature, His works, so the devil seeks to have many of his cohorts among mankind to be like the Antichrist. John tells us that "many antichrists have already arisen." There are still many today. These people embody the anti-christian spirit, and are like forerunners of the eschatological antichrist.
John is the only one in the New Testament to use the word "Antichrist". (I John 2:18, 22, 4:3, II John 7) John who was the one most close to the Lord, and is also the one who is most concerned with warning us against those who are farthest from this Jesus that John loved so much.
"Antichrist" comes from two words, "anti" which when used with another word, means "opposition to", and "opposition in the guise of similarity." The doctrines of the false christs are in opposition to the Bible revelations, and oppose our prophetic knowledge of the return of the true Christ Jesus.
The "antichrists" of all ages are people who have assumed the guise of Christ, tried to assume the authority of the Lord, counterfeited Christ, tried to rival Christ, have usurped the position of Christ, and have been adversarial to Christ.
Jesus warned of such "false christs" :
Mark 13:22-23 (KJV)
22 For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.
23 But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.
In John's day, these ones who had such incentive to counter the Lord Himself were the gnostics. These heretical teachers spread doctrines that threatened Christianity. John was adamantly opposed to not only their doctrine but also to their presence. The Antichrist himself cannot be revealed until we, the saints, have been removed from this earth by the rapture. Yet, too often, unlike John, we have not hindered the other "antichrist" personalities within the congregations of today. John not only taught the truth, he attacked the error and the heresy. John warned strongly against these "antichrists", and we have great need to heed his warning of the false christs of today.
These "antichrists" "went out from us", according to ch. 2:19. This indicates that they had before claimed to be Christians, were pretending to be part of the faith. John says that "they were not of us", indicating that their membership in the congregations was outward, and they were Christians in name only. There are many who the devil has placed within the Christian circles, and have made great play-acting imitation of saints.
When the Word of God is preached in uncompromising, rhema filled fashion, the Spirit of Truth begins to work. Then these hypocrites begin to be uneasy, and will depart. They depart from the midst of the revival. John says that "if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us" (2:19) Continuance, in the presence of the revival of the Spirit of Truth is a mark of true discipleship.
"...If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed. And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free."
The reason the Holy Spirit of Truth drives out such false christs is that He is manifesting truth, and His work of manifesting truth, and uncovering deceit and falsehood. There are many congregations that need such a move of the Spirit of Truth. Some congregations, some political factions, have unrecognized false christs who offend and cause harm in our nation.
God has always desired to make manifest the ones who are fake, false, and hypocritical. Somehow, someway, God seeks to unmask these ones, but the sleeping , apathetic saints hinder such attempts of the Lord. Here in the time of John, the group was exposed and left the revival congregation.
"they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us."
(I John 2:19)
These "antichrists" have distinctive persuasions. One very noticeable sign is that they are LIARS.
Firstly, they tell the ultimate lie, that Jesus is not the Christ, i.e. the Sent One, the Chosen One of heaven, sent by God to earth to be the One to provide redemption for mankind. The ‘false christs’ try to present themselves as filling that role, This lie they tell, trying to claim the work that only Jesus at His second coming can fulfill is more horrible than any other they could tell.
The false christs have an evil purpose.
The intention of these "antichrists" is to seduce the people of God from the truth. They intend to mislead.
I John 2:26
"These things have I written unto you, concerning them that seduce you."
Their intention is to deceive, and they enjoy such deceptions. Their joy is increased if they can frustrate, aggravate, and disturb the saints. They start debates, create hassles, and split friendships and enjoy it.
The believers have security. We have the teachings of the Bible, the revelations of the Holy Spirit, to give us discernment of these deceiving false christs.
I John 2:26-28
"But the anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you; but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him. And now, little children, abide in Him; that when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming."
This "anointing" is the same word as "unction" in verse 20. It is from the Greek word "chrisma". The term signifies not the act of anointing, but the balm that has not just been poured upon and dripped from, but as a remaining cream that continues to affect the one anointed. This anointing is the abiding Lord within us. We are to have this anointing "upon us." John is saying that the true anointing is upon the saints, not the false christs who may claim some great anointing.
When John says that "ye have not need that any man teach you" does not mean we do not have the ministry of teaching still in effect today, but it means that our real Teacher is the Holy Spirit, and He may use some with the gift of teaching to aid His work, but it is His work not the human teachers. All teaching from human teaching should be tested by the Spirit and by His written Word. We can know "all" the things we need to know, via this Great Teacher, the Spirit, Who abides within and upon us.
We, as saints, need to hold to, adhere to, and continue in the true Christian message. We are told to "let that abide in you, which ye heard from the beginning." Hold the teaching of the Word, dig to find the true message, and do not easily relent when another tries to claim you are in error. Search the Word, and keep the Word as the authority.
Maintain a union and a fellowship relationship with the Lord. We are told many times in Scripture to "abide in Him." It is an imperative.
The false christs of the cults, the false christs of the political arena, are to be recognized, rebuked, and avoided. Do not fall for the lies of ‘false christs’.