Alright, now how can we identify these false teachers who move in the antiChrist spirit? There are three sins that identify them:
Hello Readers, hope all’s well. Time for another End Times post.
I wrote about the antiChrist in the previous End Times post. So today I’m writing more about false teachers and false prophets. How will these false teacher antiChrists operate? How will we be able to recognize them?
As always, the answers we’re looking for are in Scripture. So that’s what we’re going to explore today.
Warning: False Prophets Incoming!
First, in these End Times we know to be on the lookout not only for the antiChrist, but also for false prophets, false teachers, and false Christs. Jesus warned us that all these would appear in the final days. He says this in Matthew 24, when He warns us about the End Times. Note what He says about false prophets and false Christs. This is Matthew 24:11; 23-27.
(11) Many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. […]Matthew 24:11; 23-27 (CEB)
(23) “Then if somebody says to you, ‘Look, here’s the Christ,’ or ‘He’s over here,’ don’t believe it. (24) False christs and false prophets will appear, and they will offer great signs and wonders in order to deceive, if possible, even those whom God has chosen. (25) Look, I’ve told you ahead of time. (26) So if they say to you, ‘Look, he’s in the desert,’ don’t go out. And if they say, ‘Look, he’s in the rooms deep inside the house,’ don’t believe it. (27) Just as the lightning flashes from the east to the west, so it will be with the coming of the Human One.
So we know that there will be many of these false prophets, even false Christs. We are also warned not to believe any of them, or believe anyone who says they’re The Christ. We’re given this warning because we know from Revelation how Jesus will return. In verse 27, Jesus says everyone will see Him coming, like everyone sees lightning as it flashes from east to west. The entire world will see Jesus returning, and it will be unmistakable and obvious.
So wait for that day; wait for the day when we see our LORD and Savior coming in the clouds. Until that happens, never believe anyone who says they’re The Christ, or that The Christ is over here or there. These are false, demonic deceptions meant to deceive even Saved believers.
By the way, this is not to mention that there is one and only one Jesus Christ. Many people claim to be Him, but they’re all false Christs. When Jesus returns, it will be obvious and unmistakable to all. And when He returns, this world will be judged and destroyed. Until that happens, He has not returned!
Now how about false prophets? Deuteronomy 18:21-22 gives us a clear and easy rule straight from the LORD about how to identify a false prophet. If a prophet makes a prophesy in the LORD’s name, and it doesn’t happen, then the prophet didn’t speak the LORD’s Word. They’re a false prophet. They may have had good intentions, but they were deceived into making false prophesy by Baal or other demonic powers.
(21) Now, you might be wondering, How will we know which word God hasn’t spoken? (22) Here’s the answer: The prophet who speaks in the LORD’s name and the thing doesn’t happen or come about—that’s the word the LORD hasn’t spoken. That prophet spoke arrogantly. Don’t be afraid of him.Deuteronomy 18:21-22 (CEB)
So the rule is easy: If what they said doesn’t happen, they’re a false prophet. In other words, a true prophet speaking the LORD’s Word must have a 100% accuracy rate for true predictions. Yes that’s right, 100% of their predictions must come true. Anything less than 100.00% = false prophet. It’s that simple.
OK, that covers false Christs and false prophets. Now what about false teachers? How do we spot them?
Three Sins of antiChrist False Teachers
For the authoritative teaching on false teachers, we turn to 1 John 2 (and also 2 Peter 2 for a bit).
Before looking at what 1 John 2 says about who is a false teacher, note what this chapter says about the antiChrist. Or to be more specific, the antiChrists, plural.
(18) Little children, it is the last hour. Just as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have appeared. This is how we know it is the last hour.1 John 2:18 (CEB)
Second Thessalonians 2 describes a “man of sin” who is a singular, male antiChrist figure who will appear before the return of Jesus Christ. But 1 John 2:18 explains that many antiChrists have already appeared besides this singular antiChrist who’s on the way.
Reading through the chapter, we learn that “an antiChrist” according to 1 John 2 is any false teacher who denies Christ. Anyone denying Christ is moving in the antiChrist spirit rather than God’s Holy Spirit.
Alright, now how can we identify these false teachers who move in the antiChrist spirit? There are three sins that identify them:
- Leaving fellowship/the Christian community
- Lying about Jesus, His Divinity, etc.
- Leading people astray to follow their own lusts (2 Peter 2)
I will turn to Scripture and explain each one in order.
Leaving Christian Fellowship
False teachers who move in an antiChrist spirit will leave a Christian fellowship if they can’t corrupt it with their lies. This means that they’ll leave their church, their Bible study, their Christian volunteering group, their online Christian forum … and whatever else! If their false and blasphemous teachings are challenged and rebuked, as they must be, the false teacher moving in an antiChrist spirit will leave.
This is explained in 1 John 2:19-20.
(19) They went out from us, but they were not really part of us. If they had been part of us, they would have stayed with us. But by going out from us, they showed they all are not part of us. (20) But you have an anointing from the holy one, and all of you know the truth.1 John 2:19-20 (CEB)
For a famous example of someone like this, there’s Joseph Smith, the false prophet who wrote a false “gospel” and started Mormonism. Joseph Smith got kicked out of more than one Christian church, which is always a troubling sign. When someone is getting kicked out of more than one church, we have to wonder why that is. The common denominator is that person getting kicked out, so … what’s going on with them? I accept they could turn out to not be at fault, but that’s not the likely outcome.
With Joseph Smith we can clearly see why he kept getting kicked out: He held false and blasphemous ideas. These false ideas later came together in his false “gospel” that denies and complicates the Divinity of Christ. And denying the Divinity of Christ is the next criteria for identifying these false teachers.
Lying About Jesus and/or His Divinity
This is the fastest, easiest way to identify a false teacher moving in an antiChrist spirit. Denying the Divinity of Jesus Christ, and teaching this denial, is the worst sin they commit.
Anyone who denies that Jesus Christ is the Divine Son of God is moving in an antiChrist spirit. It’s that simple.
This is stated in 1 John 2:22-23.
(22) Who is the liar? Isn’t it the person who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This person is the antichrist: the one who denies the Father and the Son.1 John 2:22-23 (CEB)
(23) Everyone who denies the Son does not have the Father, but the one who confesses the Son has the Father also.
So anyone committing the deadly sin of denying Christ’s Divinity is an antiChrist. They are one of the many, plural antiChrists mentioned in verse 18. This is because anyone who denies the Son does not have the Father in them. Anyone who does not have the Father’s Holy Spirit has the opposite—they have the antiChrist spirit.
We see many examples of this false antiChrist teaching in our world today. I sometimes write about New Age on my blog, for example. New Age doesn’t have one established body of theology. But a common belief in New Age about Jesus is that He was only a great enlightened teacher, on par with Buddha and other figures like that. This is clearly an antiChrist-inspired false teaching. It lies about the Divinity of Christ, lowering Him to a level He doesn’t belong on while also elevating the Buddha to a level he doesn’t belong on.
When encountering unfamiliar teachings, pay close attention to what they say about Jesus Christ and His Divinity. Lies on this topic are the easiest way to identify a false teacher moving in the antiChrist spirit.
Teaching Unrestrained Immorality and Walking in the Flesh
For the third way to identify these false teachers, we go backwards one book to 2 Peter. Second Peter Chapter 2 is all about the topic of false teachers, and what they will say and do.
The chapter starts with another warning that false teachers will arise in the Christian community. Like 1 John 2:22, verse 1 also warns that these false teachers will deny Jesus. This is in 2 Peter 2:1.
(1) But false prophets also arose among the people. In the same way, false teachers will come among you. They will introduce destructive opinions and deny the master who bought them, bringing quick destruction on themselves.2 Peter 2:1 (CEB)
Jesus Christ is our Master who purchased us in His Blood, saving us from sin. Once again, Scripture warns that denying Jesus Christ is the main sign of a false teacher.
Moving on, we learn these false teachers will live lives of “unrestrained immorality.” They will follow their own lusts and desires, and will be motivated by greed. That’s 2 Peter 2:2-3.
(2) Many will follow them in their unrestrained immorality, and because of these false teachers the way of truth will be slandered. (3) In their greed they will take advantage of you with lies. The judgment pronounced against them long ago hasn’t fallen idle, nor is their destruction sleeping.2 Peter 2:2-3 (CEB)
So these false teachers live in unrestrained immorality. That means they don’t even bother to walk free of sin. Galatians 5 teaches us the difference between walking in the flesh and walking in the Spirit. We’re called to deny our flesh and walk in the Spirit, forgoing the temporary pleasures of this world for the eternal pleasures of Heaven and God. When we follow the flesh and it’s sinful, momentary, short-lived desires, we grow closer to this fallen world and farther from God. We make our Spirit nature weaker as we indulge all the appetites of our flesh for worldly pleasures.
According to 2 Peter 2:2-3, these false teachers will live the way we’re not supposed to, walking in the flesh. They’ll make all Christians look bad when they do (“the way of truth will be slandered”). Non-Christians will look at them and see that they follow their lusts like anybody else. These false teachers will give Christians a bad name.
They’ll also be driven by greed, which is not limited to greed for money. Verse 3 says they’ll take advantage of us with lies. Well, since they’re greedy for pleasures of the flesh, and they live in unrestrained immorality, these false teachers will try to deceive us on what the Bible says about sin. They will try to mislead us into committing sins with them.
This is called out in the next Scripture passage. Moving on a little, the next verses are 2 Peter 2:13 (partial) and 14.
(13) […] They even enjoy unruly parties in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, taking delight in their seductive pleasures while feasting with you. (14) They are always looking for someone with whom to commit adultery. They are always on the lookout for opportunities to sin. They ensnare people whose faith is weak. They have hearts trained in greed. They are under God’s curse.2 Peter 2:13-14 (CEB)
“Unruly parties” is how the CEB translates something that’s like an orgy or revel.
Once again, we see that these false teachers will enjoy their life of immorality. They’ll always be on the lookout for chances to sin, to indulge in the pleasures of this world. They’re always looking for someone to fornicate with, having no respect for marriage.
Living a genuine Christian life is hard. It’s hard to give up the tempting pleasures of this world. But as Christians, we do this hard work so we can enjoy the eternal pleasures of God and Heaven, not the short-lived pleasures of earth. These false teachers who don’t even care to try to give up this world’s pleasures aren’t living a Christian life at all!
The message of Christianity is not about a life of pleasure-seeking. No, not at all. Living in this way makes us a slave to our own bodies and its momentary lusts and desires. And this is the most tragic consequence of these false teachers and their lies. Jesus died to break us out of slavery to sin. These false teachers try to put us right back in our chains! This is in 2 Peter 2:18-19.
(18) With empty, self-important speech, they use sinful cravings and unrestrained immorality to ensnare people who have only just escaped life with those who have wandered from the truth. (19) These false teachers promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves of immorality; whatever overpowers you, enslaves you.2 Peter 2:19-20 (CEB)
Note the part about empty speech in verse 18. False, antiChrist-inspired teachers like to talk a lot and use big words. It’s all show and pretense. Any Christian paying attention will look at their actions (their fruits) rather than their words, and see how they live a life of unrestrained immorality. It will be clear to Christian believers that these false teachers walk in the flesh.
Sadly, these teachers ensnare new believers who have only recently escaped the life of sin of the people of this world. These new believers aren’t well-versed in God’s Word yet, and still immature in their Faith. So they get deceived by these antiChrists, believing the false teachers and their lies. It’s sad, it grieves God, and we must stop this when we see it.
Jesus came to free us from the slavery of a life of pleasure-seeking. He taught us the Way to the true, eternal pleasures of Heaven. The pleasures of this world are so short-lived; they never last. If we’re driven by our desire for these pleasures, and we never deny ourselves, then we’re always on a quest for more, more, more, and more of these pleasures to sate our appetite. It never ends. It truly is slavery. Jesus teaches the way out of this slavery, but false teachers put people back in slavery. They promise freedom the whole time, but what they offer is the same old slavery.
For an example of such false teachers, think of anyone who preaches prosperity “gospel.” Now prosperity “gospel” is a topic for another time, but I’ll give a quick summary. Prosperity “gospel” is the belief that God blesses us with material wealth and prosperity if we worship Him … and the worship usually happens to take the form of donating to the church. This creates the so-called “mega pastors” who hoard ridiculous amounts of wealth, driving around in fancy cars and flying private jets, that kind of thing. They take advantage of Christians with their lies, robbing them of their money so they can live a life of unrestrained pleasure-seeking.
The saddest part is that they also pull innocent Christians into their false, antiChrist-inspired belief system. They may not look so dangerous, but these “mega pastors” moving in the antiChrist spirit lead people to hell like any other antiChrist.
You Will Know them by their Fruit
So Scripture warns us many times to watch out for false prophets, false Christs, antiChrists, and false teachers. We need to watch out for anyone perverting or twisting the message of the Gospel, and oppose them.
Reading God’s Word every day is one way to understand who the false antiChrist teachers are, because all this is spelled out in Scripture. We must be reading Scripture every day during these End Times, as I often say on my blog. In today’s post I used 1 John 2 and 2 Peter 2 to pick out the signs that show someone is a false teacher, an antiChrist.
But Jesus gave us a simpler way to detect false prophets in Matthew 7. He said we will know false prophets by their fruits. Their fruits are their actions and what they’re doing in their life. We will know false prophets by their actions and how they live.
(15) “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you dressed like sheep, but inside they are vicious wolves. (16) You will know them by their fruit. Do people get bunches of grapes from thorny weeds, or do they get figs from thistles?Matthew 7:15-16 (CEB)
If they aren’t living the life of a genuine believer, we will see it through their actions. Leaving fellowship, denying Christ, or living a life of unrestrained immorality are all big red flags. But in the end, a person’s actions and the kind of life they live says all we need to know.
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Until next time, be strong and do good!
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