Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Counterfeiting Jesus

If any man preaches any gospel other than that which you received from us, let him be accursed!” As a young believer, I listened to voices from different churches exposing me to divergent interpretations within the church world. However, despite occasional differences, most churches were proclaiming the same Jesus, the Son of God who gave his life for the sins of the world.

During my Christian education, I became familiar with warnings from the New Testament about coming deceivers, “false prophets” - “many deceivers will come and deceive many.” I imagined they would originate from outside the church; for example, occult practitioners, Hindu mystics, and the like.

Cross in Storm - Photo by Harley Upton on Unsplash
[Photo by Harley Upton on Unsplash]

The reality was rather different. For example, “New Age” and other occult practices have infiltrated many churches, but such ideas and practices were introduced to believers by voices within the Church, even by some “Bible-believing” pastors and teachers.

Mysticism has become the norm in the Charismatic World, though it is typically rebranded as “contemplative prayer” or something similar. Rather than through the careful study of Scripture, Christians divine the will of God by deciphering Hebrew letters and numbers, observing lunar cycles and solar phenomena, and decoding the calendar.

Far worse is the repackaging of the Christ of Scripture. He has become the “Roaring Lion of Judah” rather than the Crucified Lamb of God, and too often he “roars” with a distinctly American accent.

This newly minted Roaring Lion is about to conquer and reform the corrupt institutions of this age judged already by the Lamb of Calvary. No longer meek and gentle, he is hellbent on payback.

This comes as no surprise. Jesus warned that “many false anointed ones and false prophets will arise” and deceive many of God’s “elect.” Did not the Apostle John find himself besieged by deceivers within his congregations, men driven by the “Spirit of the Antichrist” that was already in the world? “Deceiving and being deceived,” men of this sort are always peddling a counterfeit Jesus to the ignorant and the easily duped.

Peter also warned of “false prophets” and “false teachers who will introduce destructive heresies, denying even the Master that purchased them,” an apt description of what the promoters of the Roaring Lion are doing. In this way, they deny the Lord and Messiah who bought them with his shed blood.

Paul, a genuine Apostle of Jesus, warned of the coming “Man of Lawlessness” who would employ “lying signs and wonders” to deceive believers and cause their “apostasy.” While this figure has yet to appear, considering how popular Christianity has been infiltrated by the occult, mysticism, and other deceptions, it is difficult not to conclude that the “apostasy” is well underway.


A verse from Revelation is cited to validate this rebranded “Jesus.” However, the high priests of this new Golden Calf misrepresent the passage and the theology of the Book. They read one brief phrase, “Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David has prevailed to open the scroll and its seven seals,” then conclude Jesus is now this predatory Lion characterized by its ear-splitting roar and bloodlust.

What they ignore is the rest of the passage. John HEARD “lion of Judah,” but he SAW the freshly “slain Lamb.” What he “saw” interpreted what he first “heard.”  Jesus is the “Lion of Judah,” but he fulfills his Messianic role as the “slain Lamb.” He has conquered his enemies through his sacrificial death, and he certainly does not reign as the political powers of this sin-dominated age do.

This understanding was confirmed by the voices that declared the “Lamb” worthy to open the “Sealed Scroll” because “you were slain and purchased for God with your blood men out of every tribe, tongue, people, and nation and made them a kingdom and priests for our God.”

This was the first and last time Revelation called Jesus the “Lion of Judah.” It is the only time he is so labeled in the New Testament. It is also the first time he is identified as the “Lamb” in Revelation. It is used more than any other name in the Book. He is called ‘Jesus’ fourteen times, ‘Christ’ seven times, but ‘Lamb’ twenty-eight times.

It was through his sacrificial death that Jesus qualified to sit on his “Father’s throne,” and he summons his disciples to “overcome” in the same way – “Just as I overcame and sat on my Father’s throne.” Anyone who would follow him must overcome Satan likewise – “By the blood of the Lamb, through the word of his testimony, and because he loved not his life unto death.”

The Book of Revelation subverts a great many popular expectations and myths. While it does apply the Second Psalm to him as the anointed “Son,” rather than “smash the nations” as in the Psalm, he “shepherds” them to New Jerusalem. He does not rule by knocking his enemies on their collective skull with his great “iron scepter,” but he redeems them. The ransom price is his shed blood.

Believers reign with him as “priests,” not tyrants. The call for his disciples to overcome is a summons to persevere through tribulations and persecutions, all while bearing faithful witness to him. Suffering for his Kingdom is what it means to be his disciple and to follow the “Lamb wherever he goes.”

Perseverance and faithful witness are how the Church of Jesus Christ will triumph over the “Dragon,” the “Beast,” and the “False Prophet.” If believers fail to deny themselves, take up the Cross, and follow him, Satan will overcome them and defeat his Church.

The worldly triumphalism being promoted within Evangelical and Charismatic Christianity is “another gospel” that proclaims a radically “different messiah” from the one found in Scripture.

The preaching of “Christ crucified” was scandalous to Jews and folly to Greeks in Paul’s time, and so it remains today. Nevertheless, the Crucified Messiah is “God’s power and wisdom,” the very means by which He conquered sin, death, and Satan, and there is no true knowledge of the Living and Merciful God apart from the Cross.

  • Apostasy and Misdirection - (Believers who are watching for apostasy outside the Church will be among the first who are overtaken by it as it operates in the Assembly)
  • Indisputable Evidence - (The Spirit expressly says that in later seasons some will revolt from the faith, giving heed unto seducing spirits and teachings of demons – 1 Timothy 4:1)
  • Prophetic Blunders - (Time and again, popular preaching on end-time prophecy has propagated predictions and expectations that have not come to pass)