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Here is one of the New Testament passages which record how Jesus warned his disciples about deceivers.
Matthew 24:24 For false messiahs [a] and false prophets will appear and produce great signs and omens, to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. (NRSV, note sign added)
a In this verse and also in Mark 13:22 which is a parallel passage, the above-quoted NRSV translates the word pseudochristoi in the Greek text as “false messiahs”. The part pseudo means “false”. The part christos means “anointed” and is a Greek translation of the Hebrew mashiyach (whence “messiah”) which likewise means “anointed”.
Jesus was often titled ho Christos, “the Anointed”. Here, he was warning his disciples about false “anointed ones” and false prophets – religious deceivers.
It is not only Matthew 24:24 and Mark 13:22 but even other New Testament passages that record how Jesus warned about false prophets, deceivers and deception. He said that there would be many deceivers, and that many would be deceived. Not a few, but many.
Mark 13:5 Then Jesus began to say to them, “Beware that no one leads you astray. 6 Many will come in my name [b] and say, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray. (NRSV, note sign added)
b The words “in my name” in verse 6 appear to mean that there would come forth persons claiming that they are the Messiah, the one anointed and sent by God.
Now, it is true that that passage records something Jesus said to certain people in the first century, as a warning to them. But, there are many religious deceivers, even in our day.
A note, regarding the words “the elect” in the earlier quoted Matthew 24:24 – apparently, some have thought that it was “not possible” for that special group to be deceived. But, that passage does not say that. It records that Jesus warned about deception, and said that many would be deceived. We have even these verses:
Matthew 24:10 Then many will fall away, and they will betray one another and hate one another. 11 And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12 And because of the increase of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold. (NRSV, highlighting added)
Many false prophets were to arise, and deceive many. Many people’s love (obviously, love towards Jesus) would become cold. It is clear that Jesus warned his disciples for the reason that they were in danger of being deceived.
A side-note: In some churches, people have been caused to think that they are “the elect” which for instance Matthew 24:24 and Mark 13:22 refer to. If even you have been caused to think so, make sure to read the articles rga032.htm, rta032.htm and rga042.htm; the latter has some notes regarding the timing of the in Matthew 24 mentioned events.
2 Peter 2:1 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you; who will privately introduce destructive sects, denying even the Lord who bought them, bringing on themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their lewd practices, on account of whom, they way of truth will be evil spoken of. 3 And through covetousness, they will make merchandise of you, by fictitious tales: to whom the punishment threatened of old lingers not, and their destruction slumbers not. (LO, highlighting added)
2 Peter 2:1 But there were false prophets among the people, as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly put forward wrong teachings for your destruction, even turning away from the Lord who gave himself for them; whose destruction will come quickly, and they themselves will be the cause of it. 2 And a great number will go with them in their evil ways, through whom the true way will have a bad name. 3 And in their desire for profit they will come to you with words of deceit, like traders doing business in souls: whose punishment has been ready for a long time and their destruction is watching for them. (BBE, highlighting added)
It is true that even that was regarding things and people of New Testament times. But, we can draw an analogy, from the above highlighted words in verse 3, to things in our day. Even today, a common reason why “religious leaders” cause people to believe lies, is that they want to empty their wallets and bank accounts, or even more.
So, the apostle’s words, as recorded in the first part of 2 Peter 2:3, are true even today, just as they were back in those days.
The article roa021.htm has more on those passages.
Again, it is true that the warnings which are recorded in the earlier quoted verses, were directed to people of the first century. But certainly, even we can learn something from those passages. Even today, there are many who in one way or another claim that they are “speaking for God”, or that they are “God’s apostle” [c] or “God’s anointed”, [d] and perhaps even that they have “special revelations” or “inspiration” or “unique new understanding” which is “only through them being revealed to the world”.
c “God’s apostle”: Those who carefully study the New Testament, will see that only Jesus was God’s apostle (a messenger sent by God). The twelve and Paul in their turn were Jesus’ apostles. Point: The title “God’s apostle” belongs to Jesus alone.
d “God’s anointed”: Some “religious leaders” have been called or titled “God’s anointed”. But, it is Jesus who is God’s anointed. The apostle Simon Peter understood this. We read:
Luke 9:20 “But you,” He asked, “who do you say that I am?” “God’s Anointed One,” replied Peter. (WEY)
In the Greek text of that verse, the wording is ton Christon tou Theou, “the Anointed (one) of God”. The old Greek adjective christos was a translation of the Hebrew mashiyach; both words mean “anointed”. In short: Hebrew ha-Mashiyach (whence “Messiah”) = Greek ho Christos = English “the Anointed”. – Calling someone “the Anointed” or “God’s anointed”, would be the same as calling that person “Messiah” or “Christ”.
Deceivers do their best to cause people to stop thinking. When people no longer think for themselves, a deceiver can control and use them. Many kinds of doctrines have been created, for that very purpose. (Please note that doctrines are compiled by men, and consist of teachings of men. The article rsa082.htm has more on this.)
All too often, people accept whatever some church or preacher tells them, without personally checking things up. This has led to that many people look up to men and men’s teachings and follow some “religious leader”, instead of looking up to Jesus and following Him and His teachings. Consider this passage which records something Jesus said to his disciples:
Matthew 23:8 “But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 “And do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10 “And do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. (NASB77)
If one wants to avoid being deceived, one must study the Scriptures, personally and in depth. And yes, that means studying the Bible, and not some “study material” produced by a church or preacher. The article rga022.htm provides a number of easy keys to deeper understanding of the Scriptures.
The article rsa062.htm considers the matter of spiritual or religious authority – that is, the question, who can speak for God? The articles rsa072.htm and rea022.htm have some notes on the words and concepts “clergy” and “laity” respectively “ordaining” and “ordination”.
See also the “recommended reading” section, below.
Please tell others about this site. Please also link to it. The address to the table of contents page is biblepages.net/contents.htm
An explanation of the short names for the bible-translations that are quoted or mentioned at this site. → rsa092.htm
On the King James version. The story behind king James’ bible, including the men who were involved in producing it. → rsa032.htm
On the word “saint” and what it means and refers to, in the Bible. → rga032.htm
Who are the 144000 and the great multitude of Revelation 7? Also, who are the first-fruits or virgins of Revelation 14:1–4? → rta032.htm
What happened to the saints of the New Testament? Why is there no record of their doings, after the middle of the first century? → rga042.htm
What does the Bible say about the antichrist or antichrists? On the meaning of the words antichristos and pseudochristos in the Greek text of the New Testament. → roa021.htm
What does the Bible say about authority? Who has biblical, spiritual or religious authority? Who can speak for God? → rsa062.htm
What does the word “doctrine” really mean and refer to? Likewise, what is the meaning of the terms “dogma”, “creed” and “tenet”? → rsa082.htm
How did the saints of the New Testament choose their elders? Also, were those elders “ordained”, and did they function as “priests” of some kind? → rea022.htm
On the words and concepts “clergy” and “laity”. → rsa072.htm
Easy keys to deeper understanding of the Scriptures. → rga022.htm
Table of contents – Key-word index – On the goal and purpose of this site
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