Question 4: The religious pastors and elders often preach to believers that any testimony about the Lord’s return in the flesh is false. They base this on the Bible verses: “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” (Mat 24:23–24). We now have no idea how we should discern the true Christ from false ones. Can you shed some light on this question?
The Lord Jesus did indeed foretell that there would be false Christs and false prophets in the last days. This is a fact. But the Lord Jesus also clearly prophesied many times that He would come back. Don’t we believe this? When examining the prophecies of the Lord Jesus’ return, many people give priority to being wary of false Christs and false prophets, and spare no thought to how to welcome the arrival of the Bridegroom, and how to hear the voice of the Bridegroom. What’s the issue here? Isn’t it a case of not eating for fear of choking, of being penny-wise and pound-foolish? In fact, no matter how we guard against false Christs and false prophets, if we do not welcome the return of the Lord, and we cannot be taken before God’s throne, we are foolish virgins who are eliminated and forsaken by God, and our belief in the Lord is an utter failure! Key to whether or not we can welcome the return of the Lord is whether or not we are able to hear the voice of God. As long as we recognize that Christ is the truth, the way, and the life, we will have no difficulty in identifying the voice of God. If we can’t discern what is the truth, and only focus on the signs and wonders, then we will surely be deceived by false Christs and false prophets. If we do not seek and examine the true way, then we will never be able to hear the voice of God. Are we not waiting for death, and bringing about our own destruction? We believe in the words of the Lord: God’s sheep hear the voice of God. Those who truly have brains, and caliber, and can hear the voice of God will not be deceived by false Christs and false prophets. For false Christs and false prophets are without the truth, and unable to do the work of God. This is not something we need to be concerned about. Only those who are confused and brainless can be deceived by false Christs and false prophets. The clever virgins will not be deceived by false Christs and false prophets, because they have God’s care and protection. When God made man, the clever virgins were given the spirit of man and able to hear the voice of God. So God’s sheep hear His voice, which is ordained by God. Only foolish virgins devote themselves to guarding against false Christs and false prophets, and neglect to seek and examine the Lord’s return. If we wish to welcome the return of the Lord, and not be deceived by false Christs and false prophets, then we must understand how false Christs deceive people. Actually, the Lord Jesus has already told us about the deceitful practices of false Christs and false prophets. The Lord Jesus said: “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” (Mat 24:24). The words of the Lord Jesus show us that false Christs and false prophets mainly rely on performing signs and wonders to deceive God’s chosen people. This is the primary manifestation of false Christs’ and false prophets’ deception of people. In this, we must understand why false Christs and false prophets use the signs and wonders to deceive people. Above all, it is because false Christs and false prophets are utterly devoid of the truth. In nature and substance, they are extremely wicked evil spirits. So they have to rely on signs and wonders to deceive people. If false Christs and false prophets were possessed of the truth, they wouldn’t use signs and wonders to deceive people. Looked at in this way, false Christs and false prophets perform signs and wonders because that’s all they can do. If we can’t see this, then it will be extremely easy for them to deceive us. Only Christ is the truth, the way, and the life. The One who can express the truth, and show mankind the way, and give them the life is the One who is Christ. Those who call themselves Christ, yet cannot express the truth, are surely false Christs; they’re frauds. This is the basic principle of identifying false Christs and false prophets. All those who seek and examine the true way should abide by this principle to seek and ascertain the voice of God, and in this they do no wrong.
Almighty God has already laid bare the deceitful practices of false Christs and false prophets. Let us read a few passages of the words of Almighty God. Almighty God says, “Healing the sick and casting out demons was the work of the Age of Grace, the first step in the redemptive work, and now that God has saved man from the cross, He no longer performs that work. If in the last days a ‘God’ the same as Jesus appeared, one who healed the sick, cast out demons, and was crucified for man, that ‘God,’ though identical to the description of God in the Bible and easy for man to accept, would not, in its essence, be the flesh worn by the Spirit of God, but by an evil spirit. For it is the principle of God’s work never to repeat what He has already completed” (“The Essence of the Flesh Inhabited by God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “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 the counterfeit of evil spirits, and their imitation of 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. … In the conceptions of man, God must always display signs and wonders, must always heal the sick and cast out demons, and must always be just like Jesus, yet this time God is not like that at all. 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” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “Not ever does the work of God conform to the conceptions of man, for His work is always new and never old, and never does He repeat old work, but rather forges ahead with work never done before” (“How Can Man Who Has Delimited God in His Conceptions Receive the Revelations of God?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
The words of Almighty God clearly tell us that God is always new and never old, and never does the same work. This is just like when Jesus came to work: He ushered in the Age of Grace, and brought to an end the Age of Law. He did one stage of the work of redemption, and rescued mankind from sin. In order that His work would be effective, He performed some signs and wonders. In the last days, Almighty God has come, He has ushered in the Age of Kingdom, and brought to an end the Age of Grace. But He does not repeat the work done by the Lord Jesus. Instead, based upon the foundation of the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption, He carries out the work of judgment beginning from the house of God. He expresses all truths for the purification and salvation of mankind to resolve the source of our sin and our satanic disposition, and to thoroughly save us from the influence of Satan, so that we will be gained by God. And the false Christs? They are all evil spirits who fake Christ. They are incapable of doing work of ushering in a new age and bringing the old age to an end. They can only imitate the Lord Jesus by performing simple signs and wonders to deceive those muddle-headed people without discernment. But they are incapable of copying what Jesus did as raising the dead and feeding five thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish, or rebuking the wind and sea, which is totally beyond them. In substance, false Christs are wicked, they are evil spirits and totally devoid of the truth. And so, they can only imitate God by performing some simple signs and miracles to deceive people. Or else they deceive and admonish people by imitating the tone of God’s words and simple words once spoken by God.
With regard to the truth about how to tell the difference between the true Christ and false Christs, let us look at the words of Almighty God. Almighty God says, “God become flesh is called Christ, and so the Christ that can give people the truth is called God. There is nothing excessive about this, for He possesses the substance of God, and possesses God’s disposition, and wisdom in His work, that are unattainable by man. Those who call themselves Christ, yet cannot do the work of God, are frauds. Christ is not merely the manifestation of God on earth, but also the particular flesh assumed by God as He carries out and completes His work among man. This flesh cannot be supplanted by just any man, but is a flesh that can adequately bear God’s work on earth, and express the disposition of God, and well represent God, and provide man with life. Sooner or later, those who impersonate Christ will all fall, for although they claim to be Christ, they possess none of the substance of Christ. And so I say that the authenticity of Christ cannot be defined by man, but is answered and decided by God Himself” (“Only Christ of the Last Days Can Give Man the Way of Eternal Life” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). From the words of Almighty God we can see clearly that Christ is God become flesh, He is God’s Spirit realized in the flesh. That is, all that God possesses, including what God has and is, God’s disposition, and the wisdom of God are all realized in His flesh. Christ has the substance of divinity, and is the embodiment of the truth. He is always able to express the truth to provide to man, and shepherd man in all places. Only Christ can do the work of redeeming mankind and saving mankind. No one else can imitate this, nor can they deny it. While most false Christs are possessed by evil spirits. They are supremely arrogant and ridiculous. In substance, they are evil spirits and demons. Thus, no matter what signs and wonders they perform by imitating God, or how they misinterpret the Bible, or talk of profound knowledge and theory, they do nothing but deceive us, harm us, and bring us to ruin. Nothing they do is edifying to us. All they do is bring ever more darkness to our hearts, they leave us with no path to tread, to be ultimately swallowed by Satan. It can be seen that all false Christs and false prophets are the incarnation of Satan, they are evil demons that have come to interrupt and disturb God’s work. Regardless of how many people they deceive, harm, or bring to ruin, they will soon fall and perish of themselves, for they are without the slightest truth. If we truly understand the truth about how to differentiate between the true Christ and false Christs, then there is no way we could refuse to hear the voice of God or welcome the appearance of God for fear of being deceived by false Christs.
from Classic Questions and Answers on the Gospel of the Kingdom
Ever since Almighty God started expressing truths to perform His judgment work of the last days, mankind has already entered the Age of Kingdom and the Age of Kingdom has started. If our belief in God remains stuck in the Age of Grace, then we have been left behind and cast aside by God’s work. When the Lord Jesus returns in secret to perform His work of judgment that begins from the house of God, there will inevitably be many false Christs and deceitful people who will appear at the same time trailing the work of God and disrupting the work of God. Therefore, when false Christs appear, God has actually already come and arrived in secret. It’s just that we don’t know it. At this time, we should proactively seek and investigate God’s work of the last days, but now there are still a lot of people who, when it comes to the Lord’s second coming, still treat guarding against false Christs as the most important thing, rather than pay attention on how to be wise virgins and listen for God’s voice and on how to welcome the second coming of the Lord. Instead, they cling to their own notions and imaginations, thinking that all testimonies of the Lord Jesus’ return are false. Aren’t they precisely the foolish virgins the Lord Jesus spoke of? Isn’t this a condemnation of the return of the Lord Jesus? Do these people even believe in the return of the Lord Jesus? Isn’t this covertly denying the second coming of the Lord Jesus?
How we distinguish between the true Christ and false Christs really reveals whether we have the truth or not, and is the best way of showing whether we are wise or foolish virgins. Some people use this passage of the scriptures as the basis for judging and condemning the incarnate Christ and denying the arrival of Christ. These people have shown themselves to be fools. To distinguish between the true Christ and false Christs, we must first have knowledge of Christ’s essence. We all know that the Lord Jesus is Christ incarnate and Christ is God incarnate, that is, God in heaven becomes flesh as the Son of man to work among man. Christ is the embodiment of God’s Spirit and possesses a divine essence. God’s almightiness and wisdom, God’s disposition, and God’s possessions and being that God’s Spirit possesses have all been materialized in Christ. Christ is the truth, the way, and the life. We can thus be certain that Christ is not a vague God, He is not fictional or ethereal. Christ is real and practical; He can be relied upon and trusted by us. Christ is the practical God who can be followed and known. It’s just like the Lord Jesus living vividly among us humans, working and leading man, shepherding man. Now we know Christ’s essence, distinguishing the true Christ and false Christs becomes very easy. Let’s take a look at a passage of Almighty God’s word. Almighty God says, “To study such a thing is not difficult, but requires each of us to know this truth: He who is God’s incarnation shall hold the substance of God, and He who is God’s incarnation shall hold the expression of God. Since God becomes flesh, He shall bring forth the work He must do, and since God becomes flesh, He shall express what He is, and shall be able to bring the truth to man, bestow life upon man, and show man the way. Flesh that does not contain the substance of God is surely not the incarnate God; of this there is no doubt. To investigate whether it is God’s incarnate flesh, man must determine this from the disposition He expresses and the words He speaks. Which is to say, whether or not it is God’s incarnate flesh, and whether or not it is the true way, must be judged from His substance. And so, in determining[a] whether it is the flesh of God incarnate, the key is to pay attention to His substance (His work, His words, His disposition, and many more), rather than external appearance. If man sees only His external appearance, and overlooks His substance, then that shows the ignorance and naivety of man” (Preface to The Word Appears in the Flesh).
When the Lord Jesus came in the Age of Grace, He said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (Jhn 14:6). The Lord Jesus expressed many truths, expressed a disposition that is mainly mercy and love, and completed God’s work of redeeming all mankind. The Lord Jesus’ work, utterances and the disposition He expressed completely verify that Christ is the truth, the way, and the life. In the last days, Almighty God came and said: “My words are the truth, the life, the way….” (“Chapter 12” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Almighty God has expressed several million words and opened the scroll, expressing a disposition that is primarily righteous and performing His judgment work of the last days. Almighty God’s work of judging and chastising, and saving corrupt mankind once again verifies that Christ is the truth, the way, and the life. The Lord Jesus had long prophesied that He would return to perform judgment work in the last days, and that He would do so in the flesh as the Son of man, coming to the world of us humans in the image of the Son of man and speaking to the churches. Almighty God’s work has fulfilled the prophecy of the second coming of the Lord Jesus. This has allowed us to see the true Christ in the flesh can come to express truths and God’s disposition, and can perform God’s judgment work of the last days and can conquer, save, and cleanse man, as well as do God’s will and bear witness to God. Christ is the truth, the way, and the life. All the truths He expresses will surely and thoroughly conquer all corrupt mankind, and can bring all those who truly believe in God before God’s throne. Christ will certainly accomplish God’s work of the last days. That is for sure.
False Christs are evil spirits who fake Christs. They are deceitful. Most false Christs are possessed by evil spirits. Even if they are not possessed by evil spirits, they are extremely arrogant and unreasonable demons. That is why they fake Christs. Faking Christ is committing the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit and will surely be cursed. Because the essence of false Christs is evil spirits, false Christs have no truth whatsoever and are essentially demons. Therefore, everything said by false Christs are lies and fallacies, incapable of convincing people. Nothing said or done by false Christs can withstand scrutiny, and moreover they wouldn’t dare post it online for all mankind to seek and investigate. This is because false Christs and evil spirits are dark and evil, and cannot stand the light of day. They can only rely on performing some simple signs and wonders to deceive those foolish and ignorant people in dark corners everywhere. Hence, we can be certain that any who claim to be Christ but only rely on simple signs and wonders to deceive people are false Christs. All truths expressed by Almighty God, Christ of the last days, have been posted online, openly facing all mankind. All those who truly believe in God and love the truth are all seeking and investigating the true way, one by one returning before Almighty God’s throne to accept the judgment, cleansing, and perfecting of God’s words. This is an accepted fact. What is said and done by false Christs is completely different from that of Christ in the flesh. It is very easy to discern for people who understand the truth. Therefore, distinguishing the true Christ and false Christs based on the principle of Christ being the truth, the way, and the life is the most accurate way. The Lord Jesus once said that God’s sheep listen to God’s voice. Wise virgins can hear God’s voice, and wise virgins will be able to discover the truth in the Bridegroom’s voice, discover God’s disposition in God’s word, discover what God has and is, and be able to see God’s intentions, and thereby they will be able to accept God’s work and return before God’s throne. Why can’t foolish virgins hear the Bridegroom’s voice? Foolish virgins are foolish because they can’t discern what the truth is. They can’t distinguish God’s voice and only know how to abide by rules. They will therefore be exposed and eliminated by God’s work of the last days.
from Classic Questions and Answers on the Gospel of the Kingdom
Those of us who undergo God’s work of the last days all see one fact clearly: Satan and all kinds of evil spirits are right on the heels on every new stage of God’s work to imitate and impersonate His work in order to deceive people. The Lord Jesus healed the sick and cast out demons, and Satan and evil spirits also healed the sick and cast out demons. The Holy Spirit bestowed the gift of speaking in tongues, and evil spirits then manipulated people to speak in so-called “tongues” that no one could understand. However, even though evil spirits will stop at nothing to pander to the needs of man, even though they will perform supernatural acts to deceive people, Satan and evil spirits do not remotely possess the truth. This is why they will never be able to bestow the truth upon man. You can distinguish the true Christ from the false ones based on this point.
When God incarnate began His work this time, He first stayed humble and hidden for quite a while, waiting until His words reached their peak and people were all conquered. Only then did the Holy Spirit bear witness to Christ. Christ has never told anyone to their face that He is Christ; He has never used His position as Christ to lecture others. He has stayed humble and hidden, fully immersing Himself in providing sustenance for people’s needs in their lives, expressing the truth and resolving difficulties in transforming people’s dispositions. Christ has never shown off; He has always remained humble and hidden. This is something with which no creature can compare. Christ has never used His position and status to make people obey and follow Him. Rather, He expresses the truth to judge, chastise and save mankind so that people may attain knowledge of God, obey God and be gained by God. It’s clear from this that God is truly honorable. With God’s Spirit materialized in the flesh, He carries out His work in a humble and hidden manner. He experiences for Himself all the suffering that man goes through in the world without a single complaint. As Christ, He has never shown Himself off or praised Himself, and He certainly has never been condescending or even self-righteous. He completely radiates divine honor and holiness. This reveals His incomparably honorable life essence and that He is precisely the embodiment of love. The work carried out by false Christs and evil spirits is the polar opposite of the work carried out by Christ. Evil spirits are always quick to claim that they themselves are Christ. They claim that if you do not listen to them, you will not be able to enter the kingdom. They do everything they can to get others to see them, they brag, they show off, they praise themselves, or they perform some miracles to deceive people. After people are deceived into accepting them, they will end up collapsing without a sound because they have lacked the sustenance of the truth for a long time. There are so many examples of this, because false Christs are not the truth, the way, or the life. So, they do not possess a path. Those who follow them will be humiliated sooner or later, but if they then try to turn back, it will be too late. This is why the most important thing is to determine with certainty that Christ alone is the truth, the way, and the life. False Christs absolutely do not have any of the truth, nor do the evil spirits. No matter how much they say or how many books they write, there will not be a single truth in any of it—this is absolute. Christ alone can express the truth. Having discernment based on this point is most critical. In addition, Christ has never forced people to accept Him or acknowledge Him. Those who believe in Him will come to see the truth more and more clearly, and the way will become more and more illuminated. This proves that Christ alone can save man, because Christ is the truth. False Christs are only able to say a few things that imitate Him, words that distort right and wrong and contain no truth whatsoever. They will only bring man darkness, disaster, and the work of evil spirits. You absolutely will not be saved if you follow false Christs, but will only become more deeply corrupted by Satan. You will grow number and more dull-witted unto the point of your destruction. Those who follow false Christs are like a blind man boarding a boat of thieves—they are bringing about their own demise!
from Preface to Dissecting Cases of Beguilement by False Christs and Antichrists
a. The original text reads “as for.”