Daily Devotional: Day 93
“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand” (Matthew 24:23-25, NKJV).
The biggest threat to Christianity today is the spread of false doctrines. False doctrines have been around since Genesis chapter 3. We find it throughout the history of the Church. Today, however, the phenomenon of false teachings has reached epidemic proportions, and there is no sign that the trend will change anytime soon. That shouldn’t surprise us. As you can see from today’s Scripture reading, Jesus prophesied that this will happen. Jesus was addressing the nature of his Second Coming and the events that will precede it.
Some of the events prophesied by Jesus have already been fulfilled, for example, the destruction of the Jewish Temple in AD 70 by Titus, son of the Roman Emperor Vespasian (AD 69 to AD 79). Jesus predicted other events that have been progressively fulfilled throughout Church history, and other events will happen in the future. It is beyond the scope of this devotional to get into all the details. God willing, in the future, we shall study these prophecies one by one.
For today, let’s focus on Jesus’ prophecy that many false christs and false prophets will arise. Notice that Jesus did not name names. He wants us to use His words as tools for spotting the false christs and false prophets in our midst. Jesus added that these false servants of God will demonstrate great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect, i.e. born-again believers. This prediction is being fulfilled before our very eyes.
What do false christs and false prophets have in common? False doctrines. And what are false doctrines? Teachings which contradict the Bible. At times these false teachings are subtle and therefore not easy to spot because they are nicely wrapped in Bible terminology. It may take careful study and prayerful discernment to uncover the deception that lies beneath.
Jesus wants us all to pay attention to His end time prophecy. Being able to spot false christs and false prophets will help you to protect yourself, your friends, your family, and perhaps your fellow church members from spiritual contamination.
False doctrines are like yoghurt. They come in different flavors, but it’s false nonetheless and they all have one effect: deception. For your convenience, here are a few of the major flavors and sources of false doctrines that have greatly influenced Christianity in the past and even now: Gnosticism, Rome’s Papacy, The Ecumenical Movement, The Emergent/Convergent Church, and The New Apostolic Reformation. The sources of these false doctrines are from diverse Christian traditions namely, Charismatic/Pentecostal, Protestant/Evangelical, and Roman Catholic.
May the Lord bless you, and may His Holy Spirit guide you always and establish your faith on the solid ground of biblical truth. Amen.
For further study: Matthew chapter 24