“So when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not” (let the reader understand), “then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let him who is on the housetop not go down into the house, nor enter to take anything out of his house. And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! And pray that your flight may not be in winter. For in those days there will be tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be. And unless the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake, whom He chose, He shortened the days.
“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘Look, He is there!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. But take heed; see, I have told you all things beforehand. (Mark 13:14-23)
There is a time to believe, and a time to disbelieve. Belief is not a good thing if you are believing a lie. One of the things that Jesus warned his disciples against shortly before his crucifixion was, in fact, a problem that the disciples were already aware of: the appearance of false messiahs. In the decades before and after Jesus, many false messiahs appeared, all announcing the same message: the world is a mess, the time of God’s judgment has arrived, and we need to make war against the Romans. When the bad times come, there will always be those who claim that they, and they alone, can solve the problems. Jesus told his followers not to believe those bearers of false hope.
Moses had warned the ancient Israelites not to believe a prophet—even if he performed wonders and even if what he said came true—if he asked them to believe in other gods (Deuteronomy 13:1-5). Likewise Jesus now warns his disciples against believing in any other messiahs but him. No one can take the place of Jesus in the lives of his followers. No one else is necessary, and no one else can do the job. Jesus is the only savior. God wants us to recognize the difference between the truth and a lie, and to believe only the truth.