“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” (Mark 13:21-23).
In Jesus’ temple speech he warns against the deceptions of “false Christs.” They too will perform signs and miracles and “deceive the elect.” But how were Jesus’ hearers (more importantly, how are we) supposed to tell the difference? If both performed miracles, how will anyone tell the true Jesus from the pretender?
Jesus isn’t coming back to convince anyone he is back, or to spend time trying to “make disciples” or get people to believe. His return will be for judgment. There will be no need for miracles. More likely for us though are those who claim to speak for Jesus, but don’t. It is the responsibility of the elect to know the word of God well enough to tell the difference. And it’s good to remember that, for the most part, what we think is okay with God, without actually consulting God, is most likely, not. The Lord Himself says: “my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:7-8).
The uninformed have no chance at avoiding anxiety, deception nor calamity. Being informed requires dwelling in, and on, the word of God. As Isaiah put it: “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn.”
So . . . how’s your daily Bible reading going? In which Bible class are you participating? Are you “on your guard”?