Deception in the End Times: Danger of Being Deceived by Men
In Matthew 24, Jesus responded to the questions that the disciples asked of Him pertaining to “what would be the sign of his coming and the end of the world” with a warning that deception would be prevalent in the earth, especially religious deception. His words warned us of the danger of being deceived by men. This being the case, we need to understand what to look for and also we should be aware of how we can be deceived.
“And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Matthew 24:3-5).
Jesus told us to be on guard and to be careful so that no man would deceive us; and he tells us that much of the deception would come from people who would be using His name and even some people would be so deceived they would literally claim to be Christ, Himself. Jesus, said deception would come from two sources:
- People who would come in His name. These would be people who falsely represented Christ presenting themselves as pastors, prophets, teachers, evangelists and so-called Christian leaders, but were really wolves in sheep’s clothing.
- People who would actually claim they were Christ. This has actually happened, as researching this subject, I found there were over 37 people who have claimed the title of Christ reincarnated in the last few centuries. Among them were Jim Jones (1931–1978) and Sun Myung Moon (1920–2012).
While I believe that Jesus’s prophetic Words have been and are being fulfilled at this time, by so many claiming to be Christ, I also think there is a spiritual interpretation of this scripture as well. When Jesus said people would say “I am Christ,” it would be equivalent of people saying, I am anointed or I am chosen. If we look at the Greek meaning of the word Christ it comes from the Greek word Christos, meaning the “anointed one” or “chosen one.” Jesus was His human name given to Him by Mary, while Christ is His title, the anointed one.
Today many ministers are claiming to move in the anointing of God and declare they are chosen of God to demonstrate His power in miraculous ways. Many of these men and women are certainly called and chosen to represent God and do exploits in Christ’s name and are truly under His anointing and they are His genuine servants. However, there are also false prophets operating under a false anointing that Jesus warned us about. Here is what He said in the Bible in Matthew 7:15-23 about the false ones:
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Here the Lord is talking about how we need to be aware of the danger of being deceived by men. He does not tell us to judge them by their “gifts,” but rather by their “fruits.” Some ministers may be very gifted speakers or move in prophecy or have the gifts of the Spirit operating in their services where people are healed or delivered from demons and yet, they may not be sent of God. How can this be? It is because the devil uses people to counterfeit the true gifts of God and the true anointing of God. How can we know the difference? Jesus said look at their “fruits.”
One of our major faults as Christians is that we tend to quote men on certain subjects instead of referring to the Bible, the Book God gave us. We recognize that God gave us men to lead us into the truths of God, but our problem becomes who are the true men of God and who are the false ones that Christ warned us about? Sometimes we tend to evaluate men according to the size of their ministries, their popularity with men, or their endowment of certain gifts, etc.
Just because some miraculous thing occurs in a service, it does not mean it came from God. Remember the Bible says in 2 Corinthians 11:14: “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.”
Matthew 7:20: “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” What are these fruits?
Galatians 5:22-24 defines them as being the fruit of the Spirit. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”
We are told to look at their lives and see if these fruits are predominant in them and examine if they are living the crucified life. Of course, we must allow for imperfections that have not been overcome yet; but we should readily see the fruit of the Spirit in more abundance than the imperfections. One way we can check this is to notice the words that a man speaks. The Scripture says in Matthew 12:33-35: “Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.”
Many people have been led astray when they could have recognized the wrong spirit simply by the braggadocios and prideful words of men who exalted themselves instead of Christ. Others would have been spared if they had examined the lifestyles of certain men who claim to be God’s anointed if their lifestyles are far from being temperate; reflecting the most expensive and extravagant clothes, diamonds, homes, cars, etc. This is not referring to well-dressed men and women, and nice homes, but the extremes which reveal anything but the nature of Christ. Of course, neither is the other extreme of poverty the nature of Christ. Men of God should live temperate, moderate lives, overcoming poverty and avoiding extreme wealth. Jesus always went about giving to the poor. He never stored up His wealth even though He apparently handled a lot of money, thus the need for a treasurer, Judas. He gave away the things He could have used on Himself, yet He never lacked as He went about ministering. He should be our example today. The affection and lust for the things of this world do not portray the Spirit of Christ.
I have been shocked over the years, as I have witnessed many things done in the name of Jesus by men on a stage that made a fool of himself. Ministers who fell on the floor and crawled around declaring the power of God overcame them while they were supposed to be the one standing and ministering. Jesus is our example and I just cannot see Jesus crawling around on the floor and roaring like a lion, nor do I find this behavior recorded in the New Testament. In fact, just the opposite, as many times people would fall down when Jesus prayed for them and the demons would cry out and leave them. Animal sounds coming from people are indicative of the need of deliverance in those people. We should be cautious about manifestations that do not agree with the Word of God and not attribute every supernatural manifestation to God. The Bible tells us to “prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
Examining the conversation of leaders can quickly reveal the God they serve. Do they speak of God’s kingdom, His righteousness, and His love; or does their conversation center on the things of this world and life? Are they peacemakers, sowing mercy and love? Are they gentle and patient, or do they lose their temper easily? Do they walk in faith, or are they continually looking to other men for their needs to be supplied? Are they always pressuring people for money, or do they simply receive those gifts of money as unto the Lord? Is goodness evident in their lives instead of evil? Do they put people in bondage by always threatening them with the wrath of God, or is freedom of choice extended with the warning of the penalties of sin? Jesus came to set us free, not to bring us under the bondage of men. Let us prove all leaders and see if their fruit is good fruit. In essence they will not live for themselves, but for others as Jesus did. They will live a crucified life that glorifies God!
Proverbs 20:11 says, “Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.”
Examining lives by this standard we must be careful not to go to extremes ourselves and expect total perfection of all ministers. There are many godly men and women who are called of God, who have overcome in many areas, although they still have some weak areas. They are believing as they walk with the Lord that these too will be perfected. We are responsible before God to seek Him for guidance in the area of not becoming deceived by men. If we sincerely want to know the truth and will obey the truth once it is revealed, the Lord will make known His true ministers and true anointing to us.
 Wikipedia Encyclopedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_people_claimed_to_be_Jesus
If you desire additional study on the how to avoid deception in the End Times, the first book in the Overcoming Life Series, entitled “Prove All Things” discusses this topic and others such as discerning the Spirit of truth versus the spirit of error. The book also deals with how to judge without being judgmental.
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