False Christs - Persons claiming to be the Messiah.
False prophets - Persons claiming to be “the prophet” spoken of by Moses Deuteronomy 18:15; or persons pretending to declare the way of deliverance from the Romans, and calling the people to follow them. See Matthew 24:5.
Shall show great signs and wonders - That is, shall pretend to work miracles. They will so nearly resemble prophets in their miraculous power as to render it difficult to detect the imposture. Josephus represents the false Christs and prophets that appeared as “magicians and sorcerers.” He says they led the people out into the deserts, and promised to work miracles to deliver them, Antiq. b. 20 chapter 8, section 6.
If it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect - So nearly would their pretended miracles resemble true miracles as to render it difficult to detect the imposture; so much so, that if it were possible they would persuade even true Christians that they were the Messiah. But that was not possible. His real friends would be too firmly established in the belief that he was the Christ to be wholly led away by others. Christians may be sometimes led far astray; they may be in doubt about some great doctrines of religion; they may be perplexed by the cavils and cunning craftiness of those who do not love the truth, but they cannot be entirely deceived and seduced from the Saviour. Our Saviour says that if this “were possible,” it would be done then; but it was not possible. Compare the notes at John 10:28-29.
Satan has come down in these last days to work with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish. His satanic majesty works miracles in the sight of false prophets, in the sight of men, claiming that he is indeed Christ Himself. Satan gives his power to those who are aiding him in his deceptions; therefore those who claim to have the great power of God can only be discerned by the great detector, the law of Jehovah. The Lord tells us if it were possible they would deceive the very elect. The sheep's clothing seems so real, so genuine, that the wolf can be discerned only as we go to God's great moral standard and there find that they are transgressors of the law of Jehovah. FW 45.1Read in context »
On every side, Satan seeks to entice the youth into the path of perdition; and if he can once get their feet set in the way, he hurries them on in their downward course, leading them from one dissipation to another, until his victims lose their tenderness of conscience, and have no more the fear of God before their eyes. They exercise less and less self-restraint. They become addicted to the use of wine and alcohol, tobacco and opium, [Note: The source of morphine is opium. A fast-working derivative of morphine is heroin.] and go from one stage of debasement to another. They are slaves to appetite. Counsel which they once respected, they learn to despise. They put on swaggering airs, and boast of liberty when they are the slaves to selfishness, debased appetite, and licentiousness. [Temperance, 274.] NL 53.2Read in context »
Many choose unrighteousness because Satan presents it in such a way that it seems attractive to those who are not on guard against his wiles. And he works in a special manner through unsanctified men and women who profess to be children of God. In some way or other the enemy will seek to deceive all, even the very elect. Only as we are partakers of the divine nature can we escape the corrupting influences that are brought to bear upon us by the enemy of our souls. OHC 15.3Read in context »
God's Word warns us that we have manifold enemies, not open and avowed, but enemies who come with smooth words and fair speeches, and who would deceive if possible the very elect. Thus Satan comes. And again, when it suits his purpose, he goes about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Man's will, unless kept in subjection to the will of God, is as often on the enemy's side as on the Lord's side. Therefore watch unto prayer; watch and pray always. OHC 132.5Read in context »
As we near the time ... when Satan's deceptive power will be so great that, if it were possible, he would deceive the very elect, our discernment must be sharpened by divine enlightenment, that we may not be ignorant of Satan's devices. The whole treasury of heaven is at our command in the work of preparing the way of the Lord. OHC 172.5Read in context »