Myth 21 (b) : be deceived by either false prophets/teachers, or by your own self because of not taking heed to do God’s will. Matt 24:4, 5, 11, 23, 24; James 1:22
Have you ever encountered people on the web who would accuse of almost of anybody to be a false prophet? I have seen people calling good meaning people such as Joel Osteen, Joseph Prince, Creflo Dollar, Joyce Meyer and heck even me a false prophet. Many are also calling Pastor Kong Hee one. I am actually quite disgusted with this kind of attitude. These people have no inkling of who these false prophets are or the context of what is being said in Matthew 24. I hope this note put an end to all these stupid name callings. You may be very surprised who Jesus refers to as false prophets! Let’s start!
It is pertinent to note the verse in James 1:22 has really nothing to do with Matthew 24. The writer in the article “70 ways of falling away” suggests that the deception in Matthew 24 can only be done away by obedience to the “perfect law”. May I suggest that this is not so. (His full article is here: http://smashingidols7.wordpress.com/2011/02/12/70-ways-a-believer-can-fall-away/
Also you can follow the refutes of his 70 ways here by just click to this link:https://hischarisisenough.wordpress.com/tag/70-ways-to-lose-your-salvation/)
Let me first deal with Matthew 24. The first reading seems to suggest that the elect (this could mean the Jews or the Christians, but if you read on you will find it to irrelevant!) may be deceived by false Christ and teachers. The writer seems to suggest that these false Christ teachers refer to people like me or grace teachers, predominantly Calvinist. These are the verses he quoted in Matthew 24.
4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many.
11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.
23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
The word seems to suggest that the elect are the favorite of the Lord. Let us then look into the context of the passage. I will highlight what is relevant and place my comments in italics:
24 Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. 2 “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
(Note the context here is about the temple and its buildings)
3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
(Note also the conversation also speaks about the end of the age)
4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.
9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
(Note this is only reference made about people who are not Jews here, note also the term used for the whole world is not “You”. This is because Jesus seems to say when the people he referred as “you” will suffer while the gospel will prosper in the Gentile world. I hereby submit here that the “you” referred to here is not the Gentiles.)
15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’[a] spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.
(Dear friends, it is important to understand the abomination that causes the desolation is a term which refer to the Anti Christ offering a pig in the Jewish temple that is resurrected for his (the anti Christ) coming. This means a temple must first be rebuilt. As we speak now, the temple is being rebuilt is Israel. Now, let me ask you this question? The rebuilding of the temple is for the purpose of the grace gospel or for the purpose of the law?
The rebuilding of the temple is for the purpose of temple worship i. e. the offering of bulls and goats. What imposes the offering of bulls and goats? It is the law! Hebrews 10:8
Amplified Bible (AMP)
8 When He said just before, You have neither desired, nor have You taken delight in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings—all of which are offered according to the Law—
As such please note this very important point: These false teachers are preaching for the resurrection of the Law of Moses!)
22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.
(Dear friends, it is important to note the following, Jesus is drawing us to a hypo-tactical situation. He is not saying that the elect may be deceived. He is saying even if it be possible for the elect to be deceived, the elect will still be saved. I know, I know … you are now jumping at me and saying that is selective reading. Let me submit to you why I make such a statement. Firstly, Jesus said “the days are cut short for the sake of the elect”. That means Jesus won’t let the elect suffer the deception because the time given to the anti-Christ is shortened.
As for my next authority, read the following verses.)
26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.
29 “Immediately after the distress of those days
“‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’[b]
30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth[c] will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.[d]31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
(There you have it, the 2nd reason is because the elect are gathered away from the deception. How can I overstate this, the elect are saved! They are taken away from the deception!!! If that is so, how in the world can the elect be deceived to the extent of losing their salvation?)
Let us now look at the different translations of Matthew 24.
Mounce Reverse-Interlinear New Testament (MOUNCE)
23 Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘There he is!’ Do not believe him. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear, and they will perform great signs and wonders so as to lead astray, if that were possible, even the elect.
21st Century King James Version (KJ21)
23 Then if any man shall say unto you, ‘Lo, here is Christ,’ or ‘there,’ believe it not.
24 For there shall arise false christs and false prophets and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
23 “At that time, if someone says to you, ‘Look! Here’s the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ don’t believe him. 24 For there will appear false Messiahs and false prophets performing great miracles — amazing things! — so as to fool even the chosen, if possible.
Dear friends, look at what our Saviour is saying:
a) He identified the things the false Christ would;
b) He speaks about the false Christ would resurrect the temple sacrifice, bring the law back to either the church or the nation of Israel;
c) He speaks about the signs surrounding the earth and the stars to identify the time where these false prophets would appear;
d) Massive warnings of not to believe this people;
e) He then says the anti Christ would offer a detestable animal in the temple and proclaim himself as the Son of God;
f) He cuts short the time even if you could be deceived; and
g) Before you could be deceived and even if you could be deceived, He will gather you and take you away.
Only a madman would say that despite all the warnings and a PERSONAL rescue from Jesus and the Angels, that you can lose your salvation!
Now let’s explore James. What is he really saying?
What is this perfect mirror?
It is an excellent article by Mark Boyce.
I hope I have removed your concern on this verse. Please note our Lord will never ever leave you stranded. He loves you and will protect and keep you. Shalom!