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FALSE CHRISTS – A SIGN OF THE END – PART II

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached on Lord’s Day Evening, October 19, 2008
at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles

“For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (Matthew 24:24).


The Disciples asked Christ, “What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3). Actually, the Greek word for “world” means “age.” “What shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the age?”

Christ did not give them one sign, which they had asked Him for. Instead He gave them many signs. The first sign He gave is spiritual deception concerning who Christ is.

“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 24:4-5).

Then our text says,

“For there shall arise false Christs…insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (Matthew 24:24).

The word translated “deceive” in each of those verses is from forms of the Greek word “planaō.” It means to “cause go to astray…from truth” (Strong), “to deceive, by leading into error” (Vine). The point is this – there will be great error and deception concerning Christ at the end of this age. There will be many false, counterfeit “Christs.” That is the sign that He gave – many false, counterfeit Christs in the last days.

Dr. M. R. DeHaan wrote a good book called The Days of Noah (Zondervan Publishing House, 1971 edition). One chapter is titled, “The Age of Deception.” Commenting on our text, Dr. DeHaan wrote,

The last days, says Jesus, will be characterized first of all by the multiplication of false doctrines and deceptive cults… all of them claiming they are right, and yet all differing in greater or lesser degree with one another. Is it any wonder that men are confused and are asking, What can we believe anyway? Who, after all, is right? Where can the truth be found? It is right here that Jesus’ answer comes with tremendous power:

“Take heed that no man deceive you”
      (Mattthew 24:4).

The test is this: Is it in the Word of God [the Bible] or the additions of men?...Is it based solely and exclusively on the Bible, or is it based upon the Bible plus something – additional revelation or vision, dreams or voices, or the discovery of additional documents? It may be the creeds or dogmas or interpretations of men, or traditions. Anything added to the Word of God as we have it in the sixty-six books of the Bible, brands it as false and dangerous – the thing Jesus gave warning against (M. R. DeHaan, M.D., The Days of Noah, Zondervan Publishing House, 1971 edition, pp. 55-56).

Jesus said that one of the signs of the end would be false, counterfeit Christs.

“For there shall arise false Christs…insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (Matthew 24:24).

He said that many people would be led into error and believe in a false Christ instead of the real One. We are now confronted with so many false “Christs” that it is bewildering to the average person.

How can we know who the real Christ is? Dr. DeHaan said,

The test is this: Is it in the Word of God [the Bible] or the additions of men?...Is it based solely and exclusively on the Bible, or is it based on the Bible plus something – additional revelation…Anything added to the Word of God as we have it in the sixty-six books of the Bible, brands it as false and dangerous – the thing Jesus gave warning against (ibid.).

The only Christ who is real is the Christ revealed in the Bible. The Apostle Paul warned against believing in

“another Jesus, whom we have not preached”
      (II Corinthians 11:4).

Last Sunday night I gave two examples of “another Jesus,” a false “Christ” not revealed in the Bible itself. I gave the false “Christ” of theological liberalism, who is only a man. I also gave the false “Christ” of much of “Decisionist” evangelicalism, who is only a “spirit” that supposedly lives in their hearts, rather than the real Christ who, according to the Bible, is at the right hand of God – up in Heaven (Ephesians 1:20; Mark 16:19, etc.).

“For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets…”
      (Matthew 24:24).

Tonight I will give five additional false “Christs” that deceive many today.

I. First, the false “Christ” of Mormonism.

Dr. Walter Martin said,

The teachings of the Mormon religion…claim that their god is one among many gods…in fact, the Mormons have a full pantheon of gods. Jesus, who before his incarnation was the spirit-brother of Lucifer, was also a polygamist, the husband of the Marys and Martha. [The Bible demonstrates] the absolute falsity of the idea that there are a multiplicity of gods and an exaltation to godhood to which men can aspire. As for the concept of Jesus as a polygamist and a brother of Lucifer, this need not be dignified by further comment. The Jesus of Mormonism is quite obviously “another Jesus” with whom redeemed men have nothing in common, even though he be arrayed as an angel of light and with all the credentials of the Angel Moroni’s angelic proclamation to Joseph Smith (Walter Martin, Ph.D., The Kingdom of the Cults, Bethany House Publishers, 2003 edition, p. 472).

“For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets…”
      (Matthew 24:24).

There can be no question that the “Christ” of Mormonism is “another Jesus” (II Corinthians 11:4), a “false Christ” (Matthew 24:24) which deceives many in the closing days of this age.

II. Second, the false “Christ” of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Josh McDowell said,

In the theological system of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jesus Christ is not God in human flesh, but rather a created being… [They say],

“He was a god, but not the Almighty God, who is Jehovah” (Let God Be True, p. 88)…

The denial of the deity of Christ is nothing new…It is a revival of the ancient heresy known as Arianism [named for the fourth century A.D. heretic Arius]. Arianism teaches that the Son was of a substance different than the Father and was, in fact, created. To the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jesus is not equal to Jehovah God. He was rather, Michael the Archangel in his preexistent state (Josh McDowell, Don Stewart, Handbook of Today’s Religions, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1992 edition, page 46).

But I John 5:7 says,

“There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one”
      (I John 5:7).

And Jesus said,

“I and my Father are one” (John 10:30).

Furthermore, the Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that

Christ was not raised in flesh, but a spiritual body (Make Sure of All Things, 1965, p. 426).

Yet Jesus Himself, after He was raised from the dead, said in Luke 24:39,

“Handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have” (Luke 24:39).

“For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets…”
      (Matthew 24:24).

There can be no question that the “Christ” of the Jehovah’s Witnesses is “another Jesus” (II Corinthians 11:4), a “false Christ” (Matthew 24:24) which deceives many in the closing days of this age.

III. Third, the false “Christ” of Islam.

Josh McDowell said,

For the Christian the resurrection of Jesus Christ as the incarnate Son of God is the vital cornerstone of faith, yet the Muslim does not hold to either of these truths – that Christ is the Son of God or that He rose from the dead…Of the crucifixion, the Quran states in Surah 4:157, “They slew him not nor crucified, but it appeared so unto them.” Most Muslims believe Judas was put in the place of Christ, and Christ went to heaven [without being crucified]…The Quran presents Jesus as one of the great prophets…But they are adamant in declaring that Jesus is not the Son of God and Savior…More than this, they do not believe that he was crucified. Instead, God took him to heaven without dying, and someone else died in his place (Josh McDowell and Don Stewart, ibid., pp. 394-395).

Muslims reject the incarnation of God in Christ. They reject the resurrection of Christ from the dead. They do not believe Christ died on the Cross to pay for our sins. They reject Jesus as the Son of God and the Saviour.  Yet the New Testament repeatedly calls Jesus the “Son of God.” And the New Testament plainly says,

“Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (I Corinthians 15:3-4).

Muslims say that Jesus was a great prophet, not the Son of God, God in human flesh, who died for our sins and rose again to give us life.

Dr. John S. Waldrip said,

The Jesus of the Bible is profoundly different from the Islamic conception of Him…The Islamic “Jesus” is clearly not the Jesus of the Bible (John S. Waldrip, “The Blight of Islam,” in Demons in the Smoke of the World Trade Center, with Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr., Hearthstone Publishing, Ltd., 2002, pp. 132, 133).

Muslims may say they believe in Jesus. But the “Jesus” they believe in is only a prophet. Thus, they make the same mistake about Him that some Jews made when He entered Jerusalem riding on a donkey and hundreds of them cried, “Hosanna in the highest” (Matthew 21:9). When others in Jerusalem said, “Who is this?,” the multitude said, “This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee” (Matthew 21:11). These Jewish people made the same mistake as the Muslims. They said He was only a prophet, not the Messiah, not God in human flesh as the Bible teaches.

Thus, there cannot be any question that the “Christ” of Islam is “another Jesus” (II Corinthians 11:4), a “false Christ” (Matthew 24:24) which deceives many millions of people in the closing days of this age.

“For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets…”
      (Matthew 24:24).

IV. Fourth, the false “Christ” of Catholicism.

This one is a little more difficult to deal with because, on paper, the Catholic Church presents the correct Biblical view of Christ. Therefore the Catholic Church is not in quite the same category as the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Muslims. Catholic beliefs about Christ Himself on paper are orthodox and Biblical for the most part.

Yet the Catholic Church’s view of Christ has morphed and changed, so what they believe “on paper” is not what comes across in Catechism class, or to the man in the pew during Mass.

Due to centuries of false teaching on salvation, the Catholic Christ has become, not the loving Saviour, but the “pantocrator,” the judge. It is true that He will be the judge of man in the future, but the wrong emphasis of Catholicism makes Him the angry judge of the future right now, instead of the loving Christ of the present. Catholics tend to think that Christ is angry with them for being sinners. I know this is true because I have heard countless numbers of Catholics tell me Christ is angry with them, when I have counselled them regarding salvation. This makes the “Christ” they believe in “another Jesus” (II Corinthians 11:4), a “false Christ” (Matthew 24:24). The Christ of the Bible is not the angry judge He will be at the Last Judgment, in the future. He is now the loving Saviour who said,

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

Because of their wrong emphasis on Christ as judge in this dispensation, we must say that there is no question that the Christ most Catholics believe in is “another Jesus” (II Corinthians 11:4), a “false Christ” (Matthew 24:24) which deceives many millions of people in the closing days of this age.

“For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (Matthew 24:24).

The false “Christ” of Catholicism demands confessions and absolutions from a priest. He demands obedience to the Roman Catholic Church. He demands Baptism and good works to secure salvation. This is not the Christ of the Bible who saves sinners by grace alone, through faith in Him alone, as the Reformers taught these Bible truths from the New Testament.

Dr. Walter Martin showed that all these views of Christ are counterfeits, and that none of them measure up to the plain teaching of the New Testament concerning the real Christ. He said,

The Jesus of Christian Science, the Mormons, the Jehovah’s Witnesses and all the cult systems is but a subtle caricature of the Christ of divine revelation. In cult theology, He becomes an abstraction (Christian Science, Unity, Metaphysics, New Thought), a second god (Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, etc.)…but he is still uncontrovertibly “another Jesus,” who represents another gospel and imparts another spirit, which by no conceivable stretch of the imagination could be called holy. Herein lies the problem that Christians must face and come to grips with, and there are excellent reasons why it is not only our responsibility, but our duty to do so (Walter Martin, ibid.).

“For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (Matthew 24:24).

V. Fifth, the false “Christ” of many Pentecostals.

And one more thing to remember. Dr. J. Vernon McGee gave this comment on our text,

The ability to work miracles in our day should be looked upon with suspicion because the next great miracle worker will not be Christ; he will be Antichrist with his false prophets (J. Vernon McGee, Th.D., Thru the Bible, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Volume IV, p. 129).

The “holy ghost” spoken of in many Pentecostal services is not the Christ of Scripture. It seems to me that they often confound the persons of the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ. Christ is not a spirit, “For a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have” (Luke 24:39).

Christ is coming again. But it will not be a false “Christ” who comes. It will be the real Christ, spoken of in the Scripture who comes. He will come down from Heaven to the Mount of Olives at Jerusalem

“And they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30).

“And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east…and the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints with thee” (Zechariah 14:4-5).

He is coming again; He is coming again,
The very same Jesus, rejected of men;
He is coming again, He is coming again,
With power and great glory, He is coming again.
   (“He Is Coming Again” by Mabel Johnston Camp, 1871-1937).

That is Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity! That is the Christ who is fully God and fully man! That is the Christ who died on the Cross to pay the penalty for your sin. That is the Christ who can wash your sins away with His precious Blood. That is the Christ who lives at the right hand of God in Heaven. And that is the Christ you must come to, and trust in, if you want to be saved. May you do so soon. Amen.

(END OF SERMON)
 You can read Dr. Hymers' sermons each week on the Internet
at www.realconversion.com. Click on “Sermon Manuscripts.”

Scripture Read Before the Sermon by Dr. Kreighton L. Chan: Luke 21:7-19.
Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“He Is Coming Again” (by Mabel Johnston Camp, 1871-1937).


THE OUTLINE OF

FALSE CHRISTS – A SIGN OF THE END – PART II

by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

“For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (Matthew 24:24).

(Matthew 24:3, 4-5; II Corinthians 11:4)

I.   First, the false “Christ” of Mormonism, II Corinthians 11:4.

II.  Second, the false “Christ” of the Jehovah’s Witnesses,
I John 5:7; John 10:30; Luke 24:39.

III. Third, the false “Christ” of Islam, I Corinthians 15:3-4;
Matthew 21:9, 11.

IV.  Fourth, the false “Christ” of Catholicism, Matthew 11:28.

V.   Fifth, the false “Christ” of many Pentecostals, Luke 24:39;
Matthew 24:30; Zechariah 14:4-5.