At that time if anyone says to you, `Look, here is the Christ!' or, `There he is!' do
not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs
and miracles to deceive even the elect--if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead
of time. "So if anyone tells you, `There he is, out in the desert,' do not go out;
or, `Here he is, in the inner rooms,' do not believe it. For as lightning that comes from
the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever
there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather
A writer for the March, 1980 Reader's Digest comments, "If you're planning to
vacation in Zambia, beware of the street-corner 'emerald vendors.' And if you're driving,
be prepared for some confusion in the streets, owing to stolen traffic lights. The two
warnings are related: The traffic light thieves are selling green glass chips to
unsuspecting tourists who think they're getting bargain-basement emeralds."
Our world seems in a hurry these days to find the genuine article--yet they look it
straight in the face and deny it. So many people wander through life trying to find
purpose and direction in so many things. For there is much that the religions and the
aspirations of men will boast. And yet, in all their wandering it would seem as though the
very answer they seek has become "an offense" and a "stumbling block"
to them. For it would seem that the preaching of Christ, and Him crucified, is foolishness
to them, and not worth true consideration--and so they look further.
It is the wisdom (faulty wisdom) of a fallen people who will not trust in the
steadfastness of a perfect God. We don't just want answers, we want answers that make
sense, that fit our logic as it has been developed by our culture. Virgin births and a
blood shedding, atoning sacrifice have no place in modern philosophy, for to modern man,
both ideas are primitive. But new life has always been found in the shedding of blood as
it is during the birth of a child; why should it be any different that new life should
also come through the by willful shedding of blood by One who would bring life to all of
The world thinks our God and our Christ to be preposterous. They see no place for Him
within our day unless the perception of His person can be distorted enough to make Him fit
comfortably into the world's way of thinking. But in reality, they cannot distort His
person but can only create for themselves other gods, and therewith, other christs or
messiahs. And they go chasing after a false christ, claiming, "Look, here is the
Christ!" or, "There he is!" All the while they do not realize that as they
seek the "bargain-basement emeralds" of christs, and they are being taken by
thieves who lure them away from the reality of the genuine article.
Be certain, that in these last days many will come claiming this or that about Christ.
They will be puppets of the devil, who through their craving for logical answers will
accept the devil's twisting of the truth. Satan will mingle enough truth with his lies and
will deceive many. They will buy into philosophies that soften God and eliminate His
judgment on sin. They will filter God through science and dilute the truth to a reasonable
product, void of miracles and supernatural happenings. And they will exchange the truth
for a lie in order that they might appease their lusts, their liberties and their
Broken chips from a green streetlight look an awful lot like emeralds, but they are not
emeralds. We must be careful not to allow the cravings of a world that seeks out the
bargain-basement gods, to lure us in toward the same. A certain phrase that Jesus passed
on to His disciples comes to mind, "I am sending you out like sheep among wolves.
Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves" (Matthew 10:16).