Or: How Cults Are Established
False Prophets Are The Founders Of Cults
“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but My Father only.” Matthew 24:36
Jesus continuously warned His disciples that heretics would creep into the church; some intentionally to deceive and others unintentionally. Subsequently the Apostle Paul, John, Jude, and others warned the believers to be on their guard continually and “to earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” Jude 3. Many of us remember the tragedy of the Jim Jones cult which ended in over 900 people taking their own lives because of heresy. We remember the tragedy of the Branch Davidians in Waco Texas and their charismatic leader David Koresh who persuaded many to take their own lives. Yet in light of all these tragedies, believers and non-believers continually set dates with dire results and great casualties following in their wake.
Many cults of today and of the past, started as a seemingly innocent study. Consider the following… Back in 1818, a Baptist preacher named William Miller predicted that Jesus would return in the year from March 21, 1843 to March 21, 1844. Miller interpreted Daniel 8:14’s 2,300 days as 2,300 years and came to the conclusion that this was clearly the time that Jesus would return. When his prediction did not materialize and Jesus did not return, he and his followers, known as the Millerites, set one final date of October 22, 1844 as the return of Jesus Christ. With great disappointment, when this date failed to occur, Miller confessed that he was wrong and should never had set any dates. Never-the-less, the damage had been done, and it set in motion the creation of numerous cults that would spin off of his erroneous teaching.
One of the groups who tenaciously followed Miller’s teachings, were a husband and wife named James and Ellen White. When the Miller’s predictions failed to come to pass, the White’s proclaimed that Jesus did actually cleanse the sanctuary on October 22, 1844, but He cleansed it in heaven, not on the earth because men had not been keeping the Sabbath. This then began the Seventh Day Adventist movement. From there, a man named Charles Taze Russell studied with the Adventists but decided to break fellowship with them as he had a disagreement about the atonement of Christ. Russell then started his own group which became the Russellites, which then became the Jehovah Witnesses. Russell, whose parents were Presbyterian Congregationalists was terrified of the doctrine of hell, so he conveniently changed the doctrine to accommodate his own fears and belief. From the Jehovah Witnesses, over 9 different cults have emanated, such as the Christadelphians.
When I was a new believer, I read a seemingly innocent prophecy ad in a local newspaper. I called the number, left my address, and they said that they would send me some additional information. They did send me the information, through a personal messenger with a personal visit. As I listened intently to them, their false doctrine began to surface in the visit, and they began to try to undermine my new faith. They informed me that hell did not exist; God was limited in what He could do; etc., etc. yet the Holy Spirit inside of me was screaming, “That’s not right!!!” I went to a pastor; he showed me their errors, and it set my life on a course to know THE BOOK and to be ready always to give an answer to every man (1 Peter 3:15).
The bottom line is when we intentionally or unintentionally disobey or disregard Scripture; the consequences are serious, catastrophic and affect many! May you and I know GOD’s Word, defend GOD’s Word, and share GOD’s Word! “A little leaven leavens the whole lump.” (Galatians 5:9)