“For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect – if that were possible.”
I know that I quote often from the 24th chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, but I do so because it is the clearest and most detailed prophecy from our Lord Jesus Himself regarding the signs and events leading up to the end of the age and the return of Christ in power and glory. Verse 24 is a clear and strong warning to those who claim Christ. In the Last Days the Beast/Antichrist and his false prophet will do many things that can lead poorly informed Christians astray. Now many will claim that would be impossible for believers to be led astray like that. My answer is that if it weren’t possible Jesus would not have bothered to warn us against it. But how can this be possible? If they are the elect then they are the chosen ones of God, aren’t they? That is based on the assumption that everyone who claims Jesus is truly saved, but Jesus Himself says otherwise in Matthew 7:21-23, where the Lord rebukes and rejects those who protested that they had prophesied in the name of Christ and driven out demons and performed many miracles. So for whatever reason, these members of Christianity are false believers, but that would be a subject more appropriate to some other time. It is one thing to say “I am a Christian” and quite another thing to be a disciple of Christ and submit to Him all of your life. As Jesus stated, those who persevere to the end will be saved. But back to the question at hand – how could Bible believing Christians be deceived like that? My brothers and sisters, it happens all of the time even today. There are many people today who believe the Bible who have been led astray by various cults and heretical sects. Heresy abounds in these last days and we must know what the Word teaches so that we don’t fall under the sway of false prophets teaching the doctrines of demons that tickle men’s ears. But again, Christians falling for the lies and wonders of the Antichrist and the False Prophet? Here is an example from relatively recent history that shows it’s possible. Germany, 1933; Adolf Hitler has just become Chancellor of Germany. Within weeks of taking office he turned on the Christian church, largely Lutheran. He issues proclamations stating that all churches must swear loyalty and obedience to the Fuhrer only and complete submission to the Nazi Party. The penalty for disobedience is the seizure of church property and imprisonment for church leaders. Seminaries are closed. Christian publishers are shut down. Many churches in Germany give in and swear their utter submission to Hitler in all things, but some bravely refuse. Men like Dietrich Bonhoeffer resist the establishment of a new German state church operating as a wing of the Nazi party, but they are voices in the wilderness and many pay with their lives for standing up to Adolf Hitler. The new state church supports the Nazis right up to the end of the war, and in the difficult post-war period the church overall is rejected for having lost their effective witness of Jesus Christ. My point is this: prior to Hitler’s coming to power, the church in Germany was thriving and vibrant and produced fine pastors and teachers. Yet they were swayed by totalitarian political power and turned from Jesus Christ to accept Hitler as the new Messiah. They were led astray. I believe strongly that this is how it will be at the end of the age. Many apparently legitimate, Bible believing congregations will fall for the power and humanist appeal of the man who will turn out to be the most vicious dictator ever to rule the nations. That, my friends, is why we must be aware. That is why we must test everything against the Scriptures. If we fall for a charismatic personality, or seeming miracles, or fine sounding arguments that have no basis in Biblical truth, we will be led astray and be led into perdition by evil men and women. If it violates Scripture and leads away from complete faith in Jesus and the grace He won for us on the Cross, reject it and run the other way. Don’t fall for a lie.
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.