If we really are living in the last days, then this warning from Jesus must apply to something that is happening in the world today; and we need to give serious thought to the implications of it. It is true that, from time to time some new “jesus gospel of love and claims to be Jesus. But for the most part, these kooks don’t fool many of us.

And it is also true that the mainline churches often try to pin this warning on new movements that do not conform with the mainstream, whether or not the leaders of these new movements are claiming to be Jesus.

But, in my opinion, the real deception today is the mainstream itself. Jesus’s description of true prophets was one of persecuted, unpopular nonconformists who dared to knock the establishment. (Matthew 5:11-12 ) And his picture of false prophets is just the opposite: people who are widely revered as “righteous”, and who even appear to be promoting the true prophets of the past, while continuing to persecute the dissenters of the present. (Matthew 23:27-31 )

So who are the false christs of today? In a way, false christs and false prophets are the same people, since “christ” simply means “anointed one”, and pastors, priests, ministers, etc. all claim to have God’s anointing. They do not need to claim that they are Jesus to be claiming that they have God’s anointing.

Some argue that it is not the laity’s job to question whether this anointing is genuine or not; or they invent spurious criteria for determining whether the anointing is genuine (e.g. how many converts they have made, or how many “miracles” they have performed).

But the greatest deception of all, and what I want to focus on in this article and in ones to follow, is just that the person who is actually referred to as “Christ” by the bulk of institutional Christianity is himself a false Christ. We may call him Jesus, or the Lord Jesus Christ, or Our Lord and Saviour, but the bottom line is that he is a myth, a counterfeit, an imposter. He bears almost no resemblance to the true Christ of history and of the Bible.

Until people see this, they will continue to be confused every time there is reference to the teachings of the real Jesus. They will sense that he is different to the Christ that they have been introduced to by their religious leaders; and so they will be inclined to accuse anyone trying to obey the Christ of the Bible of trying to work their way to heaven, laugh at such people as being unrealistic, or in some other way snub the real Christ each time his teachings are presented to them.

It needs to be said very clearly: Unless they accept the teachings of the real Christ, as contained in the Bible, then the Christ that they asked into their hearts and accepted as their hope of salvation is a damnable fake, a total fabrication of an apostate church. He must be exposed, renounced, and replaced with the one and only Son of God.

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