As the days on Earth are coming towards its end, Jesus warned us to be aware of false religious preachers and teachers who would deceive people and lead them away from God and His Son Jesus Christ.
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. –Jesus said to his disciples, Matthew 24:24, KJV
Do you remember Jim Jones? He was a minister who led his 900 members of the Peoples Temple to their deaths in Jonestown, Guyana in the late 1970s. This was a cult. He did not preach through the Word of God. He focused more on himself and his glory. He committed false miracles, manipulated people’s minds who were already seeking help or peace, and by the end of his deceptive leadership he pronounced himself as the Messiah. When he heard the FBI was coming for him in Guyana he had his members drink poisoned Kool-Aid. This is a cult. This is what Jesus warned his people of in the Bible.
The Bible gives the true followers of Jesus ways to distinguish between a true and false religious leaders and group of people. Let’s go through them in these six identifying features.
Cults will have a powerful human leader who would eventually claim themselves as the Messiah
– The Bible teaches us that it is bad to put your trust in humans because they would not help you or may stab you in the back. –Psalm 146:3
-Our only Messiah, our only source of salvation is through Jesus Christ. Man is made of flesh and the flesh is weak (Galatians 5). If you seek the cult leaders for salvation they cannot forgive you of your sins or get you into Heaven. No they are only man and man is prone to sin and deceptions if they do not keep their focus on Jesus. –Isaiah 45:22, Acts 4:12
Cult leader’s word or teachings overshadow the teachings of the Scriptures.
-What did Jesus say about placing the teachings of any human being above the Word of God? He told us that every word that slithers from their mouths will be in vain. None of it would profit you or get you into Heaven or change you for the good. –Mark 7:7, Luke 11:52
-To avoid being deceived by the teachings of these cults we must prove all things. This means take what they say and compare it with the Word of God. Pray and seek Jesus for understanding and knowledge and the Holy Spirit to discern the right from the wrong. Do not drool on everything these cults teach or eventually they will take your mind. Manipulation will be the number one tool a cult will use. So God’s Word is a reliable guide and is the only Truth. If the cult excludes the Bible just for his own pleasures then it is the work of Satan, not God. –1 Thessalonians 5:21, Isaiah 8:20, John 17:17
Cults will use pressure tactics to coerce its members into submission.
-Remember, God does not want us to serve and to love Him through fear. He wants us to do so in our own choice. This is one of his characteristics- mercy.
-A cult would do the opposite. They will force you to join through the means of manipulation and pressure. Ex. If you don’t do this then Jesus won’t love you. Whoever says something or in some form like this is giving false teachings. God loves even the sinner. He loves us all. God only wishes that we make the right decision to choose Him over Satan. As America gives us the freedoms of life, so does God give us the same. Your life is your life which means you are in control of your destiny not your parents, not your religious leaders, YOU. So choose the better path- Jesus Christ and he will guide you through to your destiny and open your eyes to false religions. –Joshua 24:14; Revelation 22:17
Cults will do miracles and would turn it towards their own divinity rather than God.
-Do you know who the anti-christ is? He will be the devil chosen man to pretend he is Jesus Christ to deceive the world so they would not make it to Heaven. In Revelation 13:13 they call him the “Beast” who would deceive the majority of Earth including the very elect (rich and politicians).
-Be aware that only through the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior, can miracles and spectacular things occur. But if the person praises him or herself it is false. The Bible tells us that even the Devil has a specific amount of power to do supernatural things. –Revelation 16:14, Revelation 19:20. So God tells us in His Word that Satan does have power but he uses it only to deceive and to cut your path towards living eternally. Satan had lost that wonderful privilege a long time ago when he sought to be above God; he had made his decision, so make yours.
-The Word said that the reason many will be deceived by these cults is because they have not accepted Jesus Christ and have not changed their lifestyles to follow Jesus Christ. Without the Holy Spirit it will be hard for people to distinguish between the false and the truth. –2 Thessalonians 2:9-12
Cults will often urge members to leave their families.
-The Word of God teaches us about togetherness, love, and the importance of family. Jesus urged his disciples and us today to preach and teach Salvation to everyone even your families. The cults on the other hand will tell you otherwise. They will make you think that you are above your family so to exclude you from their warnings to help you escape the cult.
-The whole purpose of Salvation is for us to be reunited with God as the family we were supposed to be. Cults will attack the lonely, the broken, the confused, the young, the atheists, the scientists, and all those who block God from their hearts and minds. Satan wants to attack our confidence and lure you away from the Truth. –Ephesians 1:7; 2:19-20, 1 Corinthians 7:13-14, Ephesians 5:32,33.
Cults do not live a righteous life.
-God gave us his commandments for us to obey and to show our love for Him. If the leader and his or her people do not live a righteous life then it is a cult.
-The number 1 way to detect a cult through his or her lifestyle is the day of worship. God had rested, blessed, and sanctified the seventh day. Remember He had done this way before there was a nation of people (Israels, Jews, Seventh-Day Adventist, Jehovah Witnesses, etc.) This day of worship was for all man before sin entered the world. Man has created the divisions of religion. There is only one religion, one law, one faith, one baptism, one God, and one savior Jesus Christ. He wrote his commandments with his own finger and gave it to Moses so His people would be refreshed on their laws. The Seventh Day Sabbath Day is the day of the Lord’s. All work is placed aside and the day is dedicated to worshiping and thanking God for He is worthy of all the praise. Jesus came to fulfill the Law not rid of it. –Exodus 20:1-17, Genesis 2:1-3, Luke 24:44.
-The reason people today worship God on Sunday (the First Day) and call it the Sabbath is because of the papacy. In 1893 during an interview the pope admitted that the Catholic Church had changed the Sabbath Day (Seventh Day) to Sunday (First Day). Why did they do it? Because they felt as though they had the power and authority to do so. Remember, no one must change or mess with God’s word.
-Revelation 22:18-19 says- For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
-Also if the cult eats unhealthy foods according to Leviticus 11, then they are defiling their bodies. Remember our bodies are living temples of God. What we put into our bodies will affect us mentally, physically, and spiritually. Daniel and his brothers had showed us how wise you become if you eat only vegetables and grains and other foods God permitted. When Nebuchadnezzar tested them against his other servants they were smarter and wiser and was placed above the others. Satan wants to attack our minds through us physically, so he will deceive you to eat unclean.
-Cursing and Foul Language. The Bible and even Jesus himself showed us how we should communicate to one another. Using foul language is unacceptable and foolish. We as the people of God must WATCH. W– Ways, A– Actions, T-Tongue, C-Conversation, H– Habits. Guess what, God is watching us and knows our hearts and hears our thoughts. Do not let the devil get you caught up into the influences of the world. Cults will tell you to live your life the way you want too, not according to what God said.
As someone I know told me, the Bible is our Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. It is our guidelines to make sure we stay focused on Jesus rather than man. God wants us to worship him because we want to and love Him. God gave us His Word to help us because He loves us all. He does not want to see us lost, but he is a merciful God and gives us the opportunity to choose between good or evil. He gives us many scriptures throughout the Bible concerning religious leaders and how to know if they are real men or women of God or false deceivers of the devil. So take the time to read and study the Word of God, not alone but with others. Ask and seek the wisdom and knowledge of God and he will answer your prayer.
God Bless you in your studies and your life journey with Jesus Christ.
If you have any questions or comments please tell your thoughts below.
King James Version Bible
The Catholic Mirror, September 1893
Roman Catholic and Protestant Confessions about Sunday
Tampering with Heaven’s Constitution, Search for Certainty, 2010
Modern Cults Identified Five Ways, Search for Certainty, 2010
Our Greatest Need- New Lifestyle, Search for Certainty, 2010
Spiritual Battle: Good Verses Evil
Controversy Between Good and Evil
How Evil Began
Documentary- Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple