Sunday, January 16, 2011

False prophets

Jesus concludes with some specific signs that will take place in the lifetime of his disciples before the end. "false prophets” ( Matthew 24:6,7)

Peter, who was present when Jesus gave this prophecy (Matthew 24:3), and he later wrote about "false prophets" that had risen and of "many" that followed their pernicious ways (2 Peter 2:1). John, who also heard Jesus give this prophecy, recorded the fulfillment: "Many false prophets are gone out into the world" (l John 4:1). "Many deceivers are entered into the world" (2 John 7).

Paul also spoke of "false apostles, deceitful workers" (2 Cor. 11:13). He mentioned Hymenaeus and Philetus who taught false doctrines and overthrew the faith of some (2 Tim. 2:17, 18). By the time of his epistle to Titus, there were "many...deceivers ...who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not" (Titus 1:10, 11).

The apostle Paul, in epistles to the Corinthians, Thessalonians and Galatians, spoke of many other false teachers.

In (Acts 23:2-3) when Paul was in chains and accused of braking the law, by the Jews he called the High Priest Ananias a "whitewashed wall" which meant he was a false prophet. Every Jew understood the symbol in Paul’s language and know he was referring to Ezekiel 13 where God calls Israel’s leaders "false prophets." For your better understand of what God was say to the leaders of Israel, and what Paul meant. I will show you two important verses from Ezekiel 13 using two different translations.

First the G.N.B. "The prophets mislead my people by saying that all is well. All is certainly not well! My people have put up a wall of loose stones, and then the prophets have come and covered it with whitewash. Tell the prophet that their wall is going of fall down. I will send a pouring rain Hailstones will fall on it and a strong wind will blow against it. The wall will collapse, and everyone will ask you what good the whitewash did? (Ezekiel 13:10-12)

Now the N.K.J.V. "Because, indeed, because they have seduced My people, saying, ‘Peace! Then there is no peace and one builds a wall, and they plaster it with untempered mortar. Say to those who plaster it with untempered mortar, that it will fall. There will be flooding rain, and you, O great hailstones, shall fall; and a stormy wind shall tear it down. Surely, when the wall has fallen, will it not be said to you, Where is the mortar with which you plastered it?

Every Jews standing there understood Paul was calling High Priest Ananias a false prophet by this language "whitewashed wall." That is why it is very important to have a good grasp of the language, culture, politics, and historical setting in which scripture was originally written. Too few are willing to look at what first century history and scripture together unveils.

Near the end of the first century John in his letters wrote of false prophets” that was already at work in his time. John tells us that"many false prophets” have gone out into the world (1 John 4:1). Luke mentions false prophets (see Acts 21:38). This confusion seemed to reach a peak in the Jewish nation beginning in the early 60s.

Secular historians record other examples of false messiahs who rose up soon after the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ. Josephus a first-century Jewish historian tells of a certain false prophet who made a public proclamation in the city that God commanded them to get up upon the temple, and that there they should receive miraculous signs of their deliverance (Josephus War of the Jews Book 6/Chapter 5- 2).

There was an Egyptian false prophet that did the Jews more mischief than the former; for he was a cheat, and pretended to be a prophet also, and together thirty thousand men that were deluded by him. Josephus (War of the Jews Book 20/Chapter 8-169). It was only natural that in those days after the Jews killed their real Messiah, that any false prophet would promised miraculous signs of their deliverance would deceive the people into following them in the hope of their finding relief from the persecution of the Roman government.

All this occurred in Jesus’ contemporaries.