False Christs are a tool of the devil to blind mortals into following a figure that actually leads them away from the true Christ. The word “Christ” is a title, which means “the anointed one.” Thus, a false Christ is a person who pretends to be anointed by God, but in fact, is not. False Christs often mingle truth with their lies and have many seemingly good qualities so they can convince others of their validity. In order to avoid being deceived, we must be aware of the attributes and messages of the real Christ and reject those who only pretend to be Him.
One of the markers of a false Christ is the presence of what is called priestcraft. This means preaching to people for the purpose of becoming rich and popular. They are more interested in what men think of them rather than what God thinks of them. They often claim their philosophies will lead to greater freedom and happiness, and the old ways are outdated. They mingle truths such as “God loves all of His children” with falsehoods such as “He will save all of them regardless of what they do in life.” True servants of God will preach the truth, whether or not it makes them popular, and do not seek financial gain.
Deceiving the Very Elect
In Mathew 24:24, Christ warns, “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” This means that those whose faith is strong must be careful not to be deceived, because these false Christs will have the power to do marvelous things that some will see as signs of power from Heaven. It is important to remember that the devil also has great power, and can even transform himself to look like an angel of light.
The Book of Mormon tells of a false Christ named Korihor who eventually was cursed by God for his sins. He explained what caused him to do this in his own words:
But behold, the devil hath deceived me; for he appeared unto me in the form of an angel, and said unto me: Go and reclaim this people, for they have all gone astray after an unknown God. And he said unto me: There is no God; yea, and he taught me that which I should say. And I have taught his words; and I taught them because they were pleasing unto the carnal mind; and I taught them, even until I had much success, insomuch that I verily believed that they were true; and for this cause I withstood the truth, even until I have brought this great curse upon me. (Alma 30: 53)
A Sign of the Times
The arrival of false Christs is one of the signs of the last days that precede the Second Coming of Christ. When His disciples asked Jesus about the signs of His coming, He said:
…Take heed lest any man deceive you: For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many… And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not: (Mark 13:5,6,21)
Because we know that these false Christs are coming, we can be watchful. We can study and learn of the nature of the true Christ, so when He comes again, we will know Him because “we shall be like Him” (see Moroni 7:48). The scriptures are full of examples of how the true Christ will be: “meek and lowly in heart,” “a good shepherd,” and at the same time “king of kings.” If we both learn of Him, and seek to emulate Him, we will not be deceived when false Christs arise.
More about “False Christs”
“False Christs” was written by Michael D. Young. The subject, “False Christs” is important to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. If you would like to know more about Mormons with no obligation, please click on the following links: