A Repeat Warning
Text: Matthew 24 : 1 - 51
Once again Jesus brought up the warning concerning wicked people who would try and take advantage of the difficult times! Imagine people trying to take advantage in times of great tribulation!
“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’
or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets
will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible,
even the elect. See I have told you beforehand.
Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’
do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’
do not believe it.
For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west,
so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For wherever
the carcass is, there the eagles will be gathered together.”
THE THREAT OF DECEPTION
Could there be people who were so gullible that they would fall for such a line? Could people be so easily led astray? Sadly, the answer is “Yes!”
1. When times are desperate
In difficult and desperate times, people would pin their hopes on just about anything, especially when the offer comes in a religious form. Times of tribulation can be so distressful that people turn to religion for comfort or solace! When needs are so great, people tend to be less discriminating or discerning especially of people who declare that they are specially anointed of God!
2. The use of the name of “Christ”
The name “Christ” suggests someone who is anointed of God. The individual would claim that he was sent by God to deliver people from their problems. They would portray themselves as messiahs! It seems unimaginable that anyone would actually attempt to do something like that, and yet it was all too true! The history of Israel had been pockmarked by false prophets! For that matter, false messiahs have from time to time arisen all over the world and have had some measure of success in gaining devotees!
3. The use of supernatural power!
How could these charlatans be so persuasive? Jesus warned that these false prophets would be able to perform “great signs and wonders”. The less discerning would be suitably impressed! They would figure that if anyone could perform miracles, like healing, then they must be from God!
The apostle Paul took this thought up and warned the Thessalonians Church on this very matter. With particular reference to the Anti-Christ, Paul wrote the following words.
“The coming of the lawless one is according to
the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and
lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception
among those who perish, because they did not receive
the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”
2 THESSALONIANS 2:9-10
Obviously, one cannot easily see through the guise of people who claim that they are special messengers of God! These people would be armed with great spiritual powers – but not from God!
4. The Coming of the Son of Man
The true Christ was The Eschatological Son of Man! Those who knew the Scriptures would recall that glorious prophecy in Daniel concerning His coming.
“I was watching in the night visions,
And behold, One like the Son of Man,
Coming with the clouds of heaven!”
Jesus added His own thoughts concerning His second coming! His Return would be inimitable! He would not be found by some “in the desert”. He would return with great power and glory! No one could mistake His Presence, just as no one could miss a bolt of lightning streaking through the sky! As obvious as “eagles” or better “raptors” (this word would include ‘vultures’) descending on carcasses so would people be able to recognize the Second Coming of the Son of Man!
THE SUBJECT OF “THE ELECT”
Two times now, Jesus mentioned “the elect”. This word simply has root ideas of being “called” and “chosen”.
1. It is therefore a reference to those who respond and embrace Jesus as Saviour and Lord.
2. A special relationship now exists between the Lord and His believers. He calls them tenderly as His “chosen”.
3. He has special regard and concern for their well-being.
4. Though “the chosen ones” must of necessity go through what others in general suffer, they will be specially cared for.
a) For their sake, their tribulation will be shortened.
b) For their sake they will be kept by the power of God.
5. However, they must exercise wisdom and responsibility.
They must learn to know and love the truth well, then will they not be deceived!