In Matthew 24 Jesus gave His disciples the signs that precede His return at the end of human history. “For many will come in my name, claiming , I am the Christ.’ and will deceive many,” (Matthew 24:5).
The last days will not be characterised by voices coming from different corners of the religious world declaring , “This is the way.” Follow me.” “I am a voice from heaven.” Many people will claim divine light, prophetic powers, and even equality with the Son of God. Men and women will perform amazing miracles and great wonders to “to deceive even the elect–if that were possible” (Verse 24). Such deception will be so overwhelming that even God’s people will be misled.
Cult groups have grown exponentially throughout the world during recent decades. In survey results first released by USA Today in the mid 1990s some 20,ooo in a sample of 113,000 claimed they accepted the theories of the New Age movement. False religions have increased phenomenally in our generation. Books on paranormal sell in the multimillion throughout America. Universities offer students classes in nontraditional religions. Many young people who were raised in Christianity have begun to explore non-Christian religions and teachings. Cult especially target those who are searching.
Whether it be the New Age movement admonishing its followers to develop the god within them or cult leaders claiming they are divine, the result is the same deception. The gradual increase of interest in alternative religions and the proliferation of religious leaders claiming divine powers reflect the accuracy of our Lord’s prediction.
Deception is part of Satan’s plan: “They are spirits of demons performing miraculous signs, and they go out to the kings of the world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty” (Revelation 16:14).
One thing is certain–such people will not come with a sign around their necks saying, “We are false christs and false prophets.” they’ll simple lead and those who are looking for a leader will follow them.
In March 1997, 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate cult produced a farewell video and then took their own lives. They believe that trailing the Hale-Bopp comet was a spacecraft coming to take them to the next level of existence. Investigators found the victims with purple cloth over their head and shoulders.
In trying to identify the bodies, police set up toll free numbers for relatives to call. In 24 hours they field calls from more than 1,500 anguished relatives who had been out of contact with their loved ones for months or even years and suspected they might be part of the cult.
Such false christs and false prophets do not limit themselves to any one part of the world. On the continent of Africa religious leaders who claim to heal the sick and raise the dead have arisen. they presents themselves as the new Messiah. Mary David Christ purported to be reincarnation of divinity in Russia. She attracted more than 15,000 followers whom she called the “White Brotherhood.” Central and South America have their share of counterfeit messiah, Jesus’ words are being fulfilled.