The Bible has a lot to say about false prophets, false teachers, false Christs, and false doctrine. Both Testaments speak much to this. Yet for all the warnings, it seems that gullible people – even gullible, undiscerning and unbiblical Christians – are falling for these fakes all the time.
There seems to be a never ending selection of such false prophets around. Indeed, they are a dime a dozen. Jesus warned constantly about this issue. Consider just a few passages:
Matt 7:15: Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.
Matt 24:4-5: Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ, and will deceive many.
Matt 24:10-11: At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.
Mark 13:21-23: At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and miracles to deceive the elect – if that were possible. So be on your guard; I have told you everything ahead of time.
Luke 21:8: He replied: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them.”
Yet for two thousand years false Christs and false prophets have appeared on a regular basis. Consider one of the most recent examples of this. Up in Queensland there is a youngish couple claiming to be Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene! For those eager to see what Jesus and Mary look like, a photo is provided in the link below.
This is how one news report covers the story: “A couple who claim they are Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene have set up base in Queensland’s Bible Belt and are drawing in disciples from across the country. The pair, real names Alan John Miller and Mary Suzanne Luck, operate from rural Wilkesdale, near Kingaroy, where they claim to have been joined by 30-40 followers.
“‘My name is Jesus and I’m serious,’ Mr Miller says in a video recording from a workshop. Cult watchers and the Anglican and Catholic churches are concerned the pair, who ask followers to donate to sustain them, could draw in the vulnerable. Mr Miller bought a 16ha property at Wilkesdale in 2007 and his Divine Truth followers have since been buying nearby blocks to be close to the charismatic leader, 47, and Ms Luck, 32.
“Locals and real estate agents confirmed the group had sparked an unlikely property boom, with estimates they have bought up to 30 blocks and with new properties in high demand. Followers joined forces in 2009 to buy a $400,000, 240ha property where they hold weekly meetings and plan to build a centre for international visitors.”
The article continues, “Mr Miller was born in Loxton, South Australia, and has two children from a previous marriage, which he says ended after he ‘began to remember details’ of his past life. Tailoring his appearance to look like Jesus, he yesterday held a workshop in Albury, NSW, where he stood by his claims.
“In one recording he says: ‘There’s probably a million people who say they’re Jesus and most of them are in asylums. But one of us has to be. ‘How do I know I am? Because I remember everything about my life’.”
Just in case some believers are wondering if this guy might be the real deal, can I suggest that we have all the info we need to know he is a nutter and a false prophet. Firstly, the passages mentioned above should forever settle the question. When Jesus does return again, there will be no doubt whatsoever that it is him.
And in the above quote it is clear that this guy is not only into reincarnation (a fully unbiblical belief) but he is having a bit of trouble keeping his marriages intact. I would have thought that the Son of God could at least keep a marriage together. But given that Jesus never was married to begin with, I think we can quickly give this couple the flick.
Another obvious example of a false prophet is Harold Camping. He has been setting dates for Christ’s return for decades now. He has been found to be a false prophet time and time again, yet he keeps at it, and he manages to keep attracting deluded and mindless followers.
Most recently he has been telling us with the utmost insistence that May 21, 2011 is the end of the world – judgment day. He said, “Judgment Day on May 21, 2011 will occur because the bible declares it. Anyone whom God has not saved will arrive at that day with no hope for salvation. God warns simply the ‘door will be shut’.”
Well, unless I have missed something, May 21 has come and gone, and we have had no judgment, no return of Jesus, no nothing. Things are business as usual. Even allowing for differing global time zones, the day is basically gone and Camping is once again shown to be a liar and a seducer.
I have written all about this deceptive character before: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2011/04/07/on-date-setting-and-the-return-of-christ-part-one/
So what do we read on his website now? Strange – or maybe not so strange – but I can’t seem to get it to open. I take it these guys have hightailed it out of town, laughing all the way to the bank. No admission of guilt, no confession of deceit, fraud and falsehood. No recantations. No apologies.
Or maybe just those who maintain his website have been raptured, and the other 99.999999 per cent of Christians have been left behind. Seriously however, this guy is a repeat offender, and deserves all the criticism he can get. This nut case and false prophet has unfortunately derailed a legitimate and important biblical doctrine, the Second Coming of Christ.
We expect uninformed unbelievers to follow this sort of foolishness. But when people who call themselves Christians fall for this nonsense, then obviously biblical discernment and literacy is at an all-time low. Paul clearly warned the Ephesians about this:
“Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them” (Acts 20:28-31).
The savage wolves are certainly still out there – in abundance. And obviously so too are ignorant, uninformed and easily deceived Christians.