Bible Question:

Can you explain what went wrong in Matthew 7:21?

Bible Answer:

Matthew 7:21 reads as follows:

Not everyone who says to Me, “‘Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.” (NASB) Matt. 7:21-23

The Situation

Jesus made a surprising statement. Most of us would assume that anyone who is performing miracles, casting out demons, and predicting the future would be a believer. But Jesus said that this is not true. Why is it not true? The answer can be found in scripture during a discussion that Jesus had with the Jewish leadership.

And if I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? Consequently they shall be your judges. (NASB) Matt. 12:27

Did you notice that the Jews themselves cast out demons? We cannot know if they really cast out demons or only thought they did. But Jesus’ listeners and their sons must have believed they could and did cast out demons.


About A.D. 155, a man by the name of Montanus began to claim that he had a new prophecy and was the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise of the coming Holy Spirit in John 14:26. He claimed to speak in strange sounds with angels and sometimes with Jesus. He claimed to have new authority, a new church polity, and to be ushering in a new age of the Spirit. In his document “Didymus, De Trinitate” 3.41.1 we find an amazing statement from this man, “I am the Father, I am the Son, and I am the Paraclete.” What does he mean by this statement? He claimed to have new prophecies, and according to the early church fathers, they were contrary to the teachings of the apostles John and Paul (Irenaeus. “Against Heresies” 3.11). We also discover according to Asterius Urbanus 3.2 that Montanus committed suicide in the end. Were his “prophecies” from God? Was he a Christian?

Modern Day Evangelist

Currently, a well known television evangelist claims to be able to perform miracles of healing. But recently he declared that “God the Father has a body, soul, and spirit, Jesus has a body, soul, and spirit, and the Holy Spirit has a body, soul, and spirit.” Then he added, “There are nine of them.” He claimed to have “revelation knowledge” direct from the Holy Spirit Himself. This is a problem because the Holy Spirit does not make mistakes. He does not speak error. This evangelist is a false teacher. He taught error with the claim that the Holy Spirit had given him absolute truth.

Jesus’ Message

Is it possible for people to do miracles, give prophecy, and cast out demons? Notice that Jesus did not say they really did these things. Jesus said that people would claim to do these things. In some cases, people can perform miracles, receive prophecies, and appear to cast out demons. This will increasingly occur in the end times. Many will be deceived with false wonders and miracles.

And then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved. (NASB) 2 Thess. 2:8-10


Just because a person performs wonders and claims to have prophecies does not mean he/she is telling the truth. It does not mean the wonders are real. They may be a deception. The proof is found in what they teach. Some “miracles” are faked and some are accomplished through demon powers. Just because they are charismatic in their personality or dynamic in their presentation does not mean they are filled with the Holy Spirit. The test is, what are they teaching. There are not nine of them. If their teaching conflicts with scripture and if they are not living as the scriptures teach, then they are truly God’s people. True Christians who believe in Jesus Christ will not do these things. True Christians cannot lose their salvation .