“BEWARE OF THE FALSE PROPHETS?” By Pastor YAU
Text: Matthew 24:36-44 October 17, 2010.
1) Some false prediction: Earlier in 2009, news reported that a solar eclipse would take place on July 22, 2009. This brought an alarming prediction: the eclipse would sufficiently affect gravitational pull, causing tectonic plates to “pop a seam,” resulting in a sizable earthquake and a subsequent devastating tsunami in Japan. But it never happened. The US Geological Survey responded that no scientist “have ever predicted a major earthquake. They do not know how, and they do not expect to know how, anytime in the near future.”
2) Some false prophets: In mid-September, a breakaway religious group, about 8 people, followed a false prophet who believes that Christ is coming on a certain date soon. The group left their purses, credit cards and driver licenses with “good-by” notes in the house they stayed and went on a prayer ritual in a nearby park, waiting to meet Jesus that day. Couple decades ago, a few Christian “scholars” on eschatology (theories of the end time), went on a sweeping tour across the country, holding large conferences, seminars and lectures, predicting that Christ would come back almost immediately. Some even gave dates and place of the Second Coming Jesus said even he didn’t know.
WHY ARE ALL THE FALSE PROPHETS?
1) Because we want to know: Even though Satan promised Eve that if she eat that forbidden fruit, she will know all the good from band and right from wrong and she will be like God who knows everything. (Genesis 3:5) And Eve believed it and ate the fruit, but she didn’t have that ability to know it all, and so doesn’t anyone else. No one in history has the ability to know everything, things of today or tomorrow. But all of us have the desire, that itch, want to know. So, someone will come to scratch our itch: I will tell you what you want to know.
2) Because we want to be in charge: Everyone is born to have the idea or desire wanting to be in charge of his/her life: If I just know what may happen, I will be in better position to take charge of things in me life. That desire will lead people to seek counsel, advice, read and ask others to tell them what may happen to them down the road so they can be better prepared to handle their life. When there is a market, there are suppliers. We see many claims to have the super knowledge, ability or insights to tell you what your life will be like by using various means and tricks. Fortune-teller is just a small part of this.
3) Because we lack faith in God: Ask yourself and all your friends if they have strong faith in God, will they need someone, other than God, to tell them what their future may be? The answer is NO! The root of all the foreteller running around is because there are so many they don’t know God. For those who claim to know and believe in God but have so little faith in God, they need someone else to tell them what may come and what they can do about their life.
4) Because some are too anxious: Being anxious to see Jesus’ Second Coming is nothing wrong. Due to the severe persecution in the first Christian century, Christians were serious to look for the return of Christ soon. Paul and John were anxious to see Jesus comes back to establish His kingdom on earth. John who wrote the book of Revelation concluded his writing with: “He who testifies to these things says: ‘Yes, I am coming.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.” (Rev. 22:20) But some good Christians are overly anxious to see Jesus comes very soon and they want someone to tell them when and where. Their good will is being misguided on those who actually don’t know anything on this subject. They are partly to be blame for the trend.
WARNINGS ABOUT FALSE PROPHETS:
1) It is not a contemporary issue: False prophets are those who “prophesying lies to you in the name of God. I have not sent them. Declared the Lord.” (Jeremiah 29:9) Satan is the father of all false prophets. He made prediction to Eve, pretending that he knew the mind of God and what would happen if Eve would just do what he wanted her to do. During the last 500 years of Old Testament history, while God sent many messengers to bring his messages to Israel and her neighboring nations, there were many false prophets running around claimed to speak on behalf of God. Today, we still see some of these people.
2) God denounced false prophets: “Yes, this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Do not let the prophets and the diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have.” All false prophets claim that they speak on behalf of God to gain trust and authority they never have. God warned his people never to believe the words and dreams of false prophets because they speak on their own, not from God.
3) Jesus gave stern warning: “Watch out for false prophets. They came to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.” (Matthew 7:15)Unlike true prophets of God who were sent by God to deliver God’s messages for the benefit of God’s people, false prophets come to deceive God’s people for their own benefits. Jesus used “ferocious wolves” to describe them to show us their true face and the danger they bring. Jesus also warned us not to believe false prophets. “For false Christ and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect. If anyone tells you, there he (Christ) is, out in the desert, do not go out; or here he is, in the inner room, do not believe it.” (Matthew 24:24, 26)
4) Warnings of the apostles: Paul pointed out false apostle, “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:13)These false apostles preached false gospel and deserved to be eternally condemned. (Galatians 1:8) Peter warned us “There were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them---bringing swift destruction on themselves. (2 Peter 2:1) John also warns us, “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirit to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1)
THE REAL SUPEREME INSTRUCTION:
How should then handle the question of the Second Coming? Jesus has some plain and easy answers: (Matthew 24:36-44)
1) Don’t follow the crowd: “As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they asked, “when will these happen and what will be the signs of your coming, and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3) Throughout the 2,000 years of Christian history, people who are serious of Jesus always want to know when will be the Second Coming and what will be the sign of the end of the world. There had been countless questions, speculations and even some irrational action taken to prepare for His coming. There have been false predictions, claims and doctrines generated from false assumption and erroneous and incomplete knowledge of the Bible. We all need to be serious about His Second Coming, but there is no need to speculate.
2) It’s the best kept secret: “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (24:36) Nothing is more plain and easy to understand about the day or hour or sign of the Second coming than this plan and easy answer given by the Lord himself. Jesus pointed out not even the angels in heaven who are with God 24/7 since creation would know. Not even the beloved Son of God would know and only God the Father knows the day, the hour and the signs of this event. For human beings to claim something they will never know, and for others to believe what these people try to claim is beyond reason. We better believe the Bible than believe in men.
3) But Jesus is coming back: Jesus assured his disciples that he certainly will come again. “I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also will be where I am.” (John 14:2-3) Again, Jesus, “That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field, one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with hand mill, one will be taken and the other left.” (24:39-41)No one should doubt the promise made by Jesus that he will come back. The fact that no one knows the exact day, time or manner doesn’t mean that he won’t come back. He will come.
4) One thing we need to do: “Therefore keep watch, because you don’t know on what day your Lord will come. So you also must be ready because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” (24:42, 44)Be prepared to welcome the Lord when he comes again. Do not slumber. Do not being lazy. Do not dig deep in this world and do not get tangled up by the earthly matters. Be diligent, be productive, be vigilant and be ready when he comes to bring us to be with Him.
1) No need for false prophets: False prophets, regardless of their claim or level of sincerity, can only distort the truth about the Second Coming. Some may even profit from their false teaching in their claim of status, fame and authority. Countless innocent faithful believers have been brainwashed, misled or even taken advantage by the false prophets. Souls were damaged, churches were divided and pure biblical doctrines were ignored or even destroyed. Christian faith would have been stronger and purer without the infiltration of the false prophets.
2) No need to be alarmed: Our Lord Jesus has lay out a simple, clear and easy to follow plans for Christian to follow. We are to be prepared to welcome the Lord in His Second Coming. We are to be watchful and faithful in following the commandments of the Lord and live or life as light and salt of the world so people in this world will see the grace and love flowing from the cross to their souls.