|Matthew 24:23-24 |
23 Then if any man says to you, 'Lo, here is Christ,' or 'There he is;' do not believe it. ["The Father is in you all, Christ is in you, and the Kingdom of Heaven is in you; there, in your hearts, is where you will find them all. Know him there searching your hearts, and find him there trying your minds and hearts; incline your ears, and give ear to him there, who will render to everyone of you according to your words and works whether they are good or evil," (by George Fox). Turn inward.]
24 For there will arise false Christs and prophets, and will show great signs and wonders; so much that, if it were possible, they would deceive the very elect.3 [The false church of Babylon shows great signs and wonders, to convince those who have not been taught by revelation in their hearts by the Spirit of God as to what is the true gospel, the true hope, love vs. lust, sin vs. righteousness, turmoil vs. peace, humility vs. pride, good vs. evil, light vs. darkness, bitter vs. sweet. Since the elect have been taught by the Spirit in revelations, they see past the miracles of the false church and the false prophets; which false prophets live in, and excuse, life-long sin. Although Babylon's false prophets are very difficult to discern, the elect are not deceived.]
3 For there will arise false Christs and prophets, and will show great signs and wonders; so much that, if it were possible, they would deceive the very elect. Many people think prophets only foretell the future, but Paul tells us, "he who prophesies speaks to men for edification, and exhortation, and comfort." 1 Cor 14:3. All preachers and teachers prophesy. There are many "Christian" healing ministries with great show, great pomp, great words of vanity, loud and raucous services, but you will know them by the fruits they obviously lack: self-control, peace, gentleness, humility, etc.
Smith Wigglesworth of several years ago, (still highly praised by the Pentecostals), had a faith healing ministry where he slugged people in the stomach to heal them, saying he was slugging the devil in them, not them; one man he slugged so hard that he died, but of course the minister then raised him from the dead; you will know them by their fruits, and violence is not a fruit of the spirit, but gentleness is. A current televangelist, who is widely acclaimed and praised by the leadership of the Pentecostal movement, heals by slugging people, kicking people, and slamming people on the forehead, as he staggers around like a drunk shouting his message.
William Branham was a preacher who performed great miracles, died in a car crash in 1967, still has many dedicated followers today, and has been greatly lauded by Pentecostal and Charismatic leaders like Kenneth Hagin, Oral Roberts, and Benny Hinn — all because of his ability to perform miracles. Branham had many prophecies, received from angels, including that the United States would be destroyed and Jesus would return in 1977. Branham was misogynistic, teaching a very negative message about women in general, while claiming that Eve had sex with the Serpent in the Garden of Eden, which resulted in the birth of Cain and that Cain’s descendents are reprobates, the scientists, and educated people of today. His doctrine is totally false for Cain’s descendents were wiped out during the flood of Noah (Gen 6-9); and according to the Word of the Lord within: "demons do not have sex with humans," (and neither do serpents for that matter). Yet, because he had so many healings across the world, some of followers visit his grave every Easter, expecting him to be resurrected.
Including this verse's warning, the Lord is recorded as warning us three times about false Christian prophets, (ministers, evangelists, teachers), that perform miracles:
And in Revelation, we are told the spirits of demons would be working miracles. Rev 16:14; and the demons work miracles through men who put on a great show of being religious.
Power without truth is how the false church of Babylon was established. Do not be deceived with power accompanied by lies. Unless power is accompanied by the true gospel, (freedom from even the desire to sin, union with Christ and God, and translation into the kingdom of God while still on earth), through repentance on the inward cross of self-denial that results in Jesus appearing in your heart to destroy all sin, such power is from the devil and not God.
Never accept any demonstration of power as necessarily coming from God. Remember Jannes and Jambres, the Egyptian Magicians, who cast down their rods that turned into serpents, and who turned the waters of Egypt to blood. The miracle workers of Christendom, who preach the false gospel of instant grace as a license for excusing continuation of sin, derive their power from Satan. However, the power of Satan is not limited to false Christian ministers; it is also frequently demonstrated in other religions.
Although Babylon's false prophets are very difficult to discern, the elect are not deceived because their love of the truth overrides their being impressed with demonstration of power accompanied by lies.
There is a web page devoted to the doctrines of false prophets/preachers vs. true prophets/minister to help you distinguish a true preacher/teacher from a false preacher/teacher.