FALSE PROPHETS

People often speak of “war and rumors of war”, as well as global disasters as being signs of the end time. I would ask you today to look with fresh eyes and consider the Lord’s heart in this regard.

Matthew 24:1.  And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to Him to show him the buildings of the temple.

At the end of a busy day,  Jesus and his disciples find a quiet place, and they simply comment on the view of the temple mount. The Lord surprises them with a very precise and shocking prophecy.

Mt. 24:2.  And Jesus said unto them,  See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.         

Jesus has mentioned a few times that He would face rejection and death in Jerusalem, but now He speaks of God’s soon judgment on the city and they immediately make a jump in their own minds that this pertains to the end of the age.

Mt. 24:3.  And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?     

We know that most of the Lord’s followers would have lived to see the destruction of the temple, this event was not a herald of the end times. While the questions reveal what was on their hearts, only the Lord’s answers can show us His priorities.

Mt. 24:4.  And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you 

Now if we pause here in the discourse and ask the question, “what do you think was the Lord’s primary concern regarding the subject of signs and the end of the age? Your answer should be that He was concerned with deceptive teachings that would come forth in this regard. Did He not once say this concerning signs:

Matthew 16:4.    A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign.

He continues the discourse by elaborating on the subject of deceptions, not signs.

Mt. 24:5.  For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

To be clear here, the Lord is not talking about anyone claiming to be the Messiah. Anyone who comes “in His name”, are claiming to be legitimate ambassadors speaking on His behalf.  The claim “I am Christ”, should be translated: “I am anointed”, because christos means anointed, and this is a claim that every false teacher, preacher and prophet is making these days. This is more than a sign of the end times, this is a caution for the wise follower to avoid being deceived.

Mt. 24:5.  And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 

These words “the end is not yet” should be enough to convince you that quoting “wars and rumors of wars” as if to imply that the end of the age is upon us is to greatly discredit your understanding.

Mt. 24:7.  For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
Yada, yada, yada….
Mt:24:8.  All these are the beginning of sorrows.  

Now this is something to consider. This expression of early birth pangs says a lot about being misinformed. Most people know that you don’t rush to the hospital with the first contractions of birth. Couples are coached to time contractions to be sure that labor has begun. However, there are still occasions where an expectant mother is rushed to a hospital, only to return later that evening saying; “false alarm”. A good possibility is that  greater awareness avoids reacting inappropriately to the beginning of sorrows.

Mt. 24:11  And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.  .

Again with the warnings and concerns over being deceived.

Mt. 24:12. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

This verse uses the word agape for love and therefore cannot be interpreted as a state of the world we live. Only believers can know the agape love of God, and only believers can lose their “first love” and fall away due to lawlessness (iniquity) within the church.

2 Thessalonians 2:3  Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition.

This is why Jesus now says:

Mt. 24:13.   But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

There are two verses I will now post for consideration on this topic.

Luke 21:24.  And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until “the times of the Gentiles” are fulfilled.

Notice that this is the “the end of the age” for the Gentiles, and the sovereignty of Jerusalem is a legitimate point of inquiry.

Romans 11:25.  For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should  be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.

Again with the Gentiles in the age we now occupy. With a growing number of Jews in Israel who see the historical Jesus (Yeshua) as the Son of God and Messiah, we draw closer to a true remnant in the promised land. Another reality worthy of attention.

Matthew 24:24.  For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

Let me speak frankly to younger readers. Years ago, few preachers claimed to be anointed or to have “the anointing”. Now, essentially everyone on television, radio or otherwise makes this claim. They are the same people who love to talk about “the signs of the end times” in Matthew 24, without realizing they are fulfilling prophecy in so stating.

Galatians 3:29.  And if you are Christ’s then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.

The text of Galatians 3:29 begins “de ei hymeis christos”, and the word christos means anointed, thus “if you are anointed” (or claim to be). Compare this to Matthew 24:5: For many shall come in my name saying I am anointed (christos) and shall deceive many.

This is why Jesus said, “you will know them by their fruit”, not who they claim to be as testimony of themselves. This is an antichrist spirit that had already manifested in the first century church.

1 John 2:18.  Little children it is the last time and as you have heard that antichrist shall come even now are there many antichrists whereby we know that is the last time.

Now please consider what Paul is saying:

2 Corinthians 10:7: Do you look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is anointed let him of himself think this again, that as he is anointed even so are we anointed.

Among the first century church there already were many preaching “in that name” and claiming an anointing to do so, and yet they were contradicting what Paul and his companions were preaching!

I implore you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ:

1 John 4:1.   Beloved believe not every spirit but try the spirits whether they are of God because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

Sanctified By The Eternal Spirit

Hebrews 9:14  How much more will the blood of Messiah—who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God—cleanse our conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

The work of the Holy Spirit is to perfect our spirit and our conscience, in the presence of God. To enjoy access among those who have been sanctified.

Hebrews 12:22,3.   But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels,  to the general assembly and church of the firstborn registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect.

A Sanctified Conscience

Acts 20:32.  So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

Acts 24:16  I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men.

Acts 26:18.  That they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.

John 17:19.   And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.

Hebrews 2:11.  For both He who sanctifies and those being sanctified are all from one so He is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.

Hebrews 10:10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once.

The Mystery of The Faith

1 Timothy 1:5. Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, a good conscience, and sincere faith.

1 Timothy 3:9.   Holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience.

2 Corinthians 1:12.   For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you.

2 Corinthians 4:2.  Instead, we renounced the hidden shameful ways—not walking in deception or distorting the word of God, but commending ourselves before God to everyone’s conscience by the open proclamation of the truth.

Titus 1:15  All things pure are for the pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled.

Hebrews 10:22. Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Enduring for Conscience Sake 

1 Peter 2:19.    For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully.

1 Peter 3:15, 16.  Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. 

Sanctified and Useful

2 Timothy 2:19-21.   Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” For in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor.  Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.

Isaiah 5:16.   For the Lord of hosts shall be exalted in judgment, and the Holy God shall be sanctified in righteousness.

The Single Eye of The Spirit, a Sanctified Conscience

1 John 5:20.  And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ.  This is the true God and eternal life.

To be given “an understanding”; Greek dianoia: “a way to understand” means that The Logos, the Son of God is the lens through which we view life and rightly comprehend His intent. He has “given us insight”, a clear heart vision to reflect our minds upon and know “the true God and eternal life”. To have inspired comprehension.

Psalm 119:130.  The unfolding of Your words gives light, giving understanding to the simple.

Paul prayed:

Ephesians 1:18.  That the eye of our understanding would be enlightened to know the hope of His Calling, and the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints.

The work of the Holy Spirit is to “open our understanding”.

Luke 24:32.  Did not our heart burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened to us the scriptures?

Those who reject the Lord have their understanding “darkened”.

Ephesians 4:18. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance in them due to the blindness of their heart.
Romans 1:21. Their thinking became futile, and their senseless hearts were made dark.

The Evil Eye

Luke 11:34. The light of the body is the eye: therefore when your eye is single, your whole body also is full of light; but when your eye is evil (distorted), your body also is full of darkness.

In the parable of the vineyard workers, the landowner says:

Matthew 20:15.   “Am I not permitted to do what I want with what belongs to me? Or is your eye evil because I am good?”

An “evil eye” is the failure to rightly comprehend good and evil.

Isaiah 5:20.  Woe to them that call evil good and good evil; that put darkness for light and light for  darkness; that put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!

Christian maturity in the Spirit of Truth brings discernment.

Hebrews 5:14.  Solid food is for the mature, who through practice have their senses trained to discern both good and evil.

1 Corinthians 4:5.  Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.

John 3:21.  Whoever practices the truth comes to the light, that it may be made known that his deeds have been accomplished in God.

Ephesians 5:13. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light.

The Light of Life

John 8:12.  Jesus said, I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.

The energy of sunlight that gives life to all creation is but a type. The Light of Truth is  the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Life from the Son of God.

Hebrews 1:3. The Son is the radiance of His glory and the imprint of His being, upholding all things by His powerful word.

The Son of God is:
John 1:9. The true light, coming into the world, that gives the light of life to every man.

To walk in the Spirit is to walk in the Light. To walk in the Light is to admit our faults to one another, to be made whole.

1 John 1:7 & 9. If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

All worldly knowledge conspires to distort the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to blind the eye of the spirit.

2 Corinthians 4:3 & 4. But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.

And thus we know what we are called to be a light.
Matthew 5:14-16. You are the light of the world. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

A Pure and Sincere Understanding

2 Peter 3:1. Stir up your pure mind (comprehension) by way of remembrance.

The eyes of your understanding is referenced, although dianoia is translated ‘mind’ here and in a couple of other key verses. To be clear: the Greek word for mind is ‘nous’, as in Romans 7:23; ‘the law of my mind’. Peter here speaks of sound comprehension, as in:

1 Peter 1:13. Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind (dianoia=comprehension), be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Again, dianoia is translated mind, when understanding is often used. Dia is way, path, or channel through; implying the way to understand, or comprehend. The expression ‘gird up the loins of your mind’ is a powerful image of sound understanding. Loins refers to the hips, our strongest, weight-bearing joint, and critical for keeping our balance (spiritual). God’s ‘ball and socket’ design is used extensively in modern engineering design. Therefore, a sober, pure and sincere mind keeps us walking in ‘the light of Truth’.

As Paul prays:

Philippians 1:9-11. And this I pray, that your love may abound in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness, by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

This is what is meant when the Lord instructed:

Mark 12:30.  ‘Love the Lord with all of your mind’ (comprehension).

Hebrews 8:10. And, ‘I will put my laws in their mind’ (comprehension)