by Annie Duarte
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‘For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect’ (Matthew 24:24).
A messiah is one anointed for God’s purpose. A counterfeit messiah, then, is someone who is self-proclaimed; someone who is carrying out his or her own will under the guise of it being God’s anointed purpose. A false messiah will claim exclusivity – that only he or she has the true knowledge or wisdom, instead of referring to the Father.
A prophet is one who speaks the word of God into a situation. A false prophet is someone who will bring his or her own words and insist that they be regarded with the same authority as God’s words.
If you’re like me, you may have imagined these false messiahs and false prophets as sinister magician-type characters – easy to detect because they’re wild, eccentric and phony. But that isn’t how Jesus says they will come. In Matthew 7, Jesus tells us that they will be in sheep’s clothing but that they will inwardly be ferocious like wolves. Sheep’s clothing, looking similar to the sheep in the Shepherd’s flock.
How can you recognise a false prophet or messiah if they come so cleverly disguised? Anyone who comes promoting anyone but Jesus and anything besides the word of God is false. Jesus says we can recognise them by their fruit. What are the repercussions of their actions? What type of seeds are they sowing? Are they sowing seeds of discord and division within the church? Are they sowing seeds of gossip or manipulation?
Outlined for us in Galatians is the fruit of ministry that is empowered by the Living God. Ministry and prophecy that is breathed by the Holy Spirit will produce the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, humility and self-discipline.
As you test the spirits and discern whether you are encountering a false prophet or false messiah, look for the fruits of the Spirit to be evident in their life and ministry. The fruit of the Spirit cannot be counterfeit. Satan simply cannot produce love, joy or peace. There is nothing patient, kind or good about him; therefore, his work through false prophets and messiahs will not, and cannot, produce such fruits.
Father, give me the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that I may know you better. Please help me to identify imposters by becoming so familiar with your true character and loving nature. Amen.