Beware of false prophets – Part 1
The Lord Jesus Christ was emphatic, when He warned His disciples, and by extension all believers today, of the coming of the antichrist. He revealed that the antichrist would appear to deceive believers and make them fall from the faith prior to His second coming. This will be done through imitation and manifestation of great powers, signs and wonders. Jesus Christ is Prophet, King, Lord, Saviour and Shepherd. But agents of the antichrist will counterfeit these titles all in an attempt to deceive people, and if possible, believers.
The antichrist, as his name implies, is opposed to Christ, and as a result, his agents will emerge as “false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” This underlines Christ’s warning against the deceptive activities of the antichrist. John, the apostle, also warned the church of the coming of this son of perdition, the Antichrist. He equally hints that there are many antichrists already in the world. These antichrists are backsliders, who could not keep the faith. It is unfortunate that many people today are gullible to the extent that they are willing to identify with everyone that prays and performs miracles in the name of the Lord, attends church and reads the Bible, and talks much about love. But they do not take time to carefully examine these people to know whether they are true or false.
John, the apostle of love, warns the believer to “believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” It is an act of love to warn another of danger of making shipwreck of his faith. It is only this apostle of love that plainly mentions the name “antichrist” in the New Testament among other apostles that spoke of the coming of the evil one. Thus, every believer is warned in love to watch against the influence of the antichrist in his/her life. All ministers of the gospel must be as clear as Apostle John in warning people against the danger of backsliding, perpetrating evil and ending up in hell.
Thousands of years before Jesus Christ came to the world, the Holy Spirit was in the world influencing people and preparing their hearts for His coming. His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, was in all His prophets revealing that He would come to save the world from sin. The believer needs to understand that the spirit, the influence and forerunners of the antichrist too, are in the world. Satan imitates Christ. He, like Christ, had sent his followers, false prophets, with his spirit into the world prior to his coming. His representatives are in the world to influence and turn people’s mind and hearts away from God, and follow the antichrist.
The spirit of antichrist is recognisable by what it does. It does what the antichrist will do, when he eventually emerges in person to oppose Christ and all that is Christ’s. When anyone manifests the attitudes of the antichrist, he has its spirit. The believer must be wise in these last days to be able to recognise the spirit behind different preaching outfits that exist and that are springing up daily, that do not preach the saving gospel. The agents of antichrist will speak of deeper revelations that are extra-biblical because the antichrist, who is also called the king of fierce countenance, will be able to understand “dark sentences.”
Believers must be watchful against falling into the trap of preachers, who do not preach salvation through Christ’s sacrifice, but have power to perform miracles and deal with perceived human enemies. Like the antichrist, whose “power shall be mighty” and “shall destroy wonderfully,” these people do not care about the sacred lives of their fellow human beings, but destroy lives and properties just to have their way and be recognised as possessing mighty power and gift. They speak against Christ and His anointed servants recklessly. Though they also call the name of Christ and go about with the Bible, they are defiled and sinful like their master. They appear peaceable like a lamb, yet they are self-willed, heady and incorrigible. Anyone who manifests such attitudes has the spirit of antichrist. Believers, therefore, need to look beyond Christian dressing and profession to accurately appreciate and categorise the spirit with which these men operate.
Further Reading (King James Version): Matthew 24:23-25; 1 John 2:18,19; 4:1-3; 2 John 7; 1 Peter 1:10,11; 1 John 4:3; Daniel 8:23-25; 11:21,36-38; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12; 1 John 2:18,19,24; Revelation 13:12-15; 16:13,14; 17:14,17.