Identifying Counterfeit Religion
For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible (Matthew 24:24, NIV).
It should have been easy for members of his cult to know that David Koresh was lying when he claimed to be Jesus. He died with many of his followers in Waco years ago when his compound caught fire while surrounded by federal agents. Why should they have known better? He wore glasses! Jesus was perfect and sure wouldn’t need thick glasses sitting on the end of His nose! Unfortunately, false prophets and false teachings aren’t always that easy to spot.
We can learn how to identify false teachings by examining how U.S. Treasury agents are taught to spot counterfeit money. Agents spend many days doing nothing but looking at piles of real money. They carefully study authentic bills, saturating themselves in true currency and its features. And then, when a counterfeit is introduced, it is so obvious to the agent that the bad bill practically jumps out of the stack!
It works the same way with identifying false teachings. If you study the Word of God, learn it, and know it from cover to cover, you will be able to discern false teaching when it comes along. The best way to identify a false prophet is to know the real Christ through knowing His Word.