It is important to beware of a false prophet for they do exist. “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. 16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. 21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity” (Matt. 7:15-23).
In this passage Jesus describes the nature of a false prophet.
The false prophet does not look like a false prophet.
The false prophet does not sound like a false prophet.
The false prophet does not act like a false prophet.
The false prophet looks, and acts, and sounds like the genuine article.
Jesus used the perfect illustration to provide the abiding expression, “wolves in sheep’s clothing.” A false prophet may look like a lovely lamb, but in reality they are a savage wolf.
Jesus also said that a bad tree cannot bring forth good fruit. This is puzzling to many who look at those in a cult and note they live good moral, and ethical lives. Many live a life that puts Christians to shame. The world sees this, and concludes there is good fruit in cultic teaching. To that idea the Bible says, “God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar” (Rom. 3:4).
The tree, to bear good fruit, must be a good tree. Herein is the spiritual irony. It is possible for a person to live outwardly in a moral and ethical way, while at the same time being inwardly at war with God. There is amble evidence for this in Scripture, and in daily life. Many religious people are living a good life, but they are hostile to God. They deny that Jesus Christ is God’s way of saving souls. The life may be good, but the doctrine is unacceptable to God. A spiritual tree is to be judged not only by the fruit of the life that is lived, but by the kind of doctrine that is taught.
Jesus said that false prophets would call Jesus “Lord.” Indeed, many do. “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works?” (Matt. 7:22). Cultic people often call Jesus “Lord”, but the meaning of the term has changed. In this way, they beguile Christians.
It is possible to preach “another Jesus”, in “another spirit”, and “another gospel.” “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him” (2 Cor. 11:3). The apostle reveals there is a counterfeit Christ, a counterfeit Spirit, and a counterfeit gospel. Therefore, it is vital to test all things, and hold fast to that which is good.
A good starting point in discerning the true from the false is to remember that the cults attack the church first.
It was the Mormons, Christian Scientists, Jehovah Witnesses, and Unitarians that attacked the church and Christian theology first, and not vice versa. In response, the church has defended itself from these evil assaults. “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15).
In discussing the Kingdom of the Cults, a definition is in order. The word “cult”, is from the Latin, and refers to a group of individuals. The term “cult” is used to distinguish from Denominations, and that which is clearly the church. There is to be no sympathy towards the cults if the cause of Christ is to be advanced. While the cults may want to be sympathetic to Christians, they all have a common theme, in that they deny the eternal divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Mormons will talk about divinity of Christ, and acknowledge His deity, but they have in mind another Jesus than the eternal member of the Trinity. Their Jesus was once a man who has been exalted to godhood status. Mormons are god makers of many men. Jesus is merely one God, in a pantheon of gods. All male Mormons are striving to become gods.
The Jesus of the Jehovah Witness is really Michael, the Archangel, the first and greatest created entity of Jehovah God. This Jesus came to earth, lived as a man, died and rose as a spirit, who came back to earth invisibly in 1914, who began the Millennium, and established His headquarters in Brooklyn, New York.
The Jesus of the Spiritist is an advanced spirit of the astro projection, whatever that might be.
The Jesus of the Christian Scientist is a Divine Ideal.
The Jesus of the Unitarian is an Extraordinary Good Man, whom his mistaken followers deified.
The Jesus of the Bible declared Himself to be the Eternal God. “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24).
Christology, the person, nature, and work of Christ, is what separates Christianity from the cults. If Jesus is the Eternal God in human form then the Kingdom of the Cults disintegrates, for ever cult has as a basic premise that Jesus is not the One and Only Eternal God in human form.
The Christian Church should be concerned about the cults for two very good reasons. First, about eighty percent of the members of the cults come from mainstream denominations, such as Baptist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, and Methodist. “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us” (1 John 2:19). Second, cultic members are extremely evangelistic in promoting their false doctrine.
The rise of the Kingdom of the Cults is partly explained by the lethargy of the Christian church, by the fulfillment of prophesy. “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of” (2 Peter 2:1-2).
The success of the cults can also be explained scripturally. They are of the world, and the world listens to them. The cults tell the world what it wants to hear, not what it needs to hear. “He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God” (John 8:47). “They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. 6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error” (1 John 4:5).
There is such a thing as “the spirit of truth.” There is such a thing as “the spirit of error.” Not everyone can be right. Either the church is wrong, or the cults are wrong. Because there is error, the Church must be apologists for Christ by giving a defense of the faith, and not merely evangelists.
Like Christ, Christians must take the time to reprove, and rebuke those who distort the truth. The world will welcome and embrace the Jesus who invited children to come to Him. But they will never welcome the Christ who said to the wicked, “Depart from me” (Luke 13:27). The world will listen to the love of God, but it wants nothing to do with the justice of God.
When the Christian stands up for his faith, he is accused of attacking the world, when in reality, it is the world that hates and attacks the Christian for telling the truth about their ruin, and need for redemption. “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3).
What this verse reveals is that there is no need for the Book of Mormon, or the writings of Judge Rutherford, or the teaching of Christian Science. We have a sure word of doctrine and prophesy in the Bible. To take this stand is to be accused of being unloving. However, Truth is the incarnation of love. Incarnate Love spoke of divine justice. So must the Church. It is the love of God that will constrain the Christian to preach the gospel.
In contrast to true love, the cults earnestly spread their error, because they are energized by other motives.
There is religious zeal, without knowledge. This is what the Jews had. Romans 10:2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.
There is satanic power. 2 Corinthians 11:13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
The existence of the Kingdom of the Cults confirms there is the original. There is the true doctrine. There is the true church. There were true apostles. There are true teachers of righteousness. Become an authority on Jesus Christ, and you will never be confused by the counterfeit cults.
So ask a cult member. “Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God?” Then ask, “Do you believe that Jesus is God the Son, the second person of the Trinity, and Savior of the world?” The answer to these questions will determine one’s eternal destiny.