At the End of the World, How Should Christians Discern the True Christ From False Ones?
By Li Li
What will happen at the end of the world is a topic that every Christian cares very much about, for the end of the world means that the old world will end, and that the time when God determines people’s end will come.
With regards to what will happen at the end of the world, Matthew 24:3 says, “And as He sat on the mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the world?” The Lord Jesus said, “Then if any man shall say to you, See, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (Matthew 24:23–24). From these passages of scripture we can see that at the end of the world, the Lord Jesus, whom we have been expecting, will once again descend, and meanwhile, false Christs and false prophets will appear to deceive people. When we welcome the Lord’s coming, we must guard against false Christs and false prophets so as not to be deceived. Pastors and elders frequently say to us that we must uphold the way of the Lord, and never listen, look, or investigate when hearing about the Lord’s coming, lest our life in believing in God be ruined by the hand of false Christs and false prophets, causing us to lose the chance to enter the kingdom of heaven.
However, I often pondered: “Is this really in line with the Lord’s will? The end of the world is when the Lord Jesus returns, and if we don’t listen to or examine any news about the Lord’s coming, on the off chance that the Lord Jesus has really come back, won’t we be shutting Him out?” I remember the Lord told us in the Bible, “And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him” (Matthew 25:6). “Be you therefore ready also: for the Son of man comes at an hour when you think not” (Luke 12:40). From what the Lord said we can understand that when the Lord returns there must be someone to preach the news of the Lord’s coming. The Lord required that when hearing the news about His coming we should not hide behind closed doors but rush out to welcome Him. But now in order to avoid being deceived by false Christs, we simply don’t seek Christ’s coming; isn’t this making the mistake of giving up food for fear of choking? Actually, treating the Lord’s coming with caution is right, but we shouldn’t neglect to be as the wise virgins who can welcome the Lord’s return and be raptured before the Lord’s throne — this is the main thing. If we blindly guard against false Christs for fear of being deceived and are content with sticking to our ways, rather than pay attention on how to welcome the Lord’s return, then we will surely lose the chance to welcome the Lord. We will become foolish virgins that will be abandoned by the Lord, and our life in believing in God will end as well.
Then, in the last days, how can we welcome the return of the Lord and avoid being deceived by false Christs? The only way is to know how to discern the true Christ from false Christs. When we know the substance of Christ and His working principles, and understand the characteristics of false Christs, we will naturally cast false Christs aside and follow Christ.
So how exactly do we discern the true Christ from false Christs? I had sought on this issue from many brothers and sisters, and later a sister fellowshiped about this aspect of truth with me and then gave me a book. Only after communicating with the sister and reading the book, did I finally come to some understanding about this issue. Here is a passage of words in the book, “If, during the present day, there is to emerge a person who is able to display signs and wonders, cast out demons, heal the sick, and perform many miracles, and if this person claims that they are Jesus who has come, then this would be a counterfeit produced by evil spirits which imitate Jesus. Remember this! God does not repeat the same work. Jesus’ stage of work has already been completed, and God will never again undertake that stage of work. … If, during the last days, God still displayed signs and wonders, and still cast out demons and healed the sick — if He did exactly the same as Jesus — then God would be repeating the same work, and the work of Jesus would have no significance or value. Thus, God carries out one stage of work in every age. Once each stage of His work has been completed, it is soon imitated by evil spirits, and after Satan begins to follow on the heels of God, God changes to a different method. Once God has completed a stage of His work, it is imitated by evil spirits. You must be clear about this” (“Knowing God’s Work Today”). From this passage, I understood that God is almighty, and His authority and wisdom are supreme, and that God’s work of saving mankind is always developing in a forward direction, and is always new and never old. God expresses the truth to do the work of saving mankind according to the extent of their corruption, and His work will not repeat. But false Christs don’t have the truth, so they can’t express the truth; they can only imitate and trail the work God did in the past, performing some simple signs and wonders, and cannot do the work of beginning and ending ages based on what people need. Recalling when the Lord Jesus did the work of the Age of Grace, He bestowed grace upon man, healed the sick and cast out demons, and performed many signs and wonders. He taught us to love each other, and forgive others seventy times seven times, and so on. And ultimately, He was nailed to the cross to take on the sins of all mankind. This completed the work of redemption. These are all works that God didn’t do in the Age of Law. In the last days, God will do new work upon the foundation of the Age of Grace, such the works prophesied in the Bible as opening the little book, loosing the seven seals, making the overcomers, and separating the sheep from the goats, the wheat from the tares, and the good servants from the evil servants. They are works that False Christs absolutely cannot perform.
Now we can understand that when the Lord Jesus returns at the end of the world He won’t repeat work that He has performed before. If someone who can cast out demons and heal the sick and perform signs and wonders claims that he is the returned Lord Jesus, this must be a false Christ who has come to deceive people. This is the main characteristic of false Christs. Just as the Lord Jesus said, “Then if any man shall say to you, See, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (Matthew 24:23–24). It is further confirmed from the Lord’s prophecy that as the last days come, all kinds of false Christs and evil spirits will impersonate the Lord by performing signs and wonders in order to achieve the goal of deceiving people. But because false Christs are evil spirits posing as Christ, they don’t have God’s unique authority and power and don’t possess the least bit of the substance of Christ. Thus major signs such as the Lord Jesus resurrecting the dead, feeding five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish, and rebuking the wind and sea could never be done by false Christs and evil spirits.
Besides, to discern the true Christ from false Christs we should grasp a key point, that is, the One who can express the truth is the One who is Christ. This is for sure, and is accurate and inerrant. As the Lord Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Christ is God incarnate, is the embodiment of the Spirit of God, and thus can express the truth and supply life. This is reliant on the essence of Christ, and this is something that cannot be done by any created or non-created being, and moreover, something that cannot be done by any evil spirit in His stead. Our spirits are filled after listening to the words and utterances of Christ; the more we listen, the more enlightened we feel. When we encounter difficulties, practicing God’s words will provide a way forward; the more we practice God’s words, the more normal humanity we will live out, the more qualified we will become in fulfilling duties and serving God, and the closer our relationship with God will become. For example, the Lord Jesus expressed many truths, showed man the way of repentance and taught us to love others as we love ourselves, to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth, to love our enemies, to be a pure, honest person, and to serve and love God with all our heart and soul. When practicing according to the Lord’s teachings, we increasingly live out the likeness of a human being, our relationship with God becomes more and more normal, and we often have God’s guidance, care, protection and blessing. False Christs, meanwhile, are evil spirits that fake Christ, and don’t have the substance of God, so they are unable to express the truth, unable to provide life for man, and unable to bring a new way. They can only imitate the work that the Lord Jesus has done. All they can do is perform some small signs and wonders to deceive people. In the end, they will all collapse without a sound, and some of them were cursed by God and died. Those who are following false Christs don’t gain any of the truth and their spirits are parched, dark and hopeless. What is even more pitiful is that some of them are even possessed by evil spirits, which is unbearable suffering.
Apart from grasping these two principles of discerning the true Christ from false Christs, we must also know what work the Lord will do when He returns; only in this way can we more quickly and more accurately welcome the Lord. To this end, let’s read some more verses of scripture:
In John 16:12–13, it says: “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come.” In John 5:22, it says: “For the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment to the Son.” In the First Epistle of Peter 4:17, it says: “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God.” And Revelation 22:12 says, “And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be.” From these verses of scripture, we can see that when the Lord returns in the last days, He will speak more, provide us with all truths, and tell us all the things to come. He will do the work of rewarding good and punishing evil and the work of judgment starting from the house of God, and finally He will bring into His kingdom those who receive His new work and are cleansed and made perfect. Therefore, whoever can express all truths to purify and save man and do the work of judgment is the Christ of the last days and is undoubtedly the returned Lord Jesus.
It says in the book that “Since we are searching for the footprints of God, it behooves us to search for God’s will, for the words of God, for His utterances — because wherever there are new words spoken by God, the voice of God is there, and wherever there are the footsteps of God, God’s deeds are there. Wherever there is the expression of God, there God appears, and wherever God appears, there the truth, the way, and the life exist” (“The Appearance of God Has Ushered in a New Age”). From this passage, we can see that where there is the voice of God and where there are expressions of the truth, there is the appearance of God. At the end of the world, people who belong to God should pay close attention to listening to God’s voice, actively seek and investigate; that way, we will find God’s footprints. Therefore, as long as we can grasp the principles of discerning the true Christ from false Christs, we need not worry about being deceived by false Christs any more. When someone preaches that the Lord has returned and that He is performing the work of judging and purifying man, we should seek and investigate whether this way has the truth, and whether it contains the provision of life; only by practicing in that way will we be able to welcome the Lord at the end of the world, be raptured up before His throne, and meet with the Lord!