Matt 24:24 False Christs and False Prophets 3/10/2019 ßà
#1. Children of the Congregation (Matt 24:19, 21:16, Luke 23:29, Psalm 8:2, Isa 66:10-12)
#2. False Christs and False Prophets (Matt 24:23-24, 37-39, 2Thess 2:9)
#3. Behold, I Have Told You Before (Matt 24:25, 7:15-20,23, 12:33-37, Prov 1:7)
Please open your Bibles to the Gospel According to Matthew, Matt 24:15 (2X). This is the seventh sermon on Matt 24, and we have only come half-way. This is an important chapter, for herein we find that we crystallize our understandings of the Gospel of salvation. If we really understand God’s plan of salvation, then we will also have no trouble understanding eschatology, which is the area of end time events, for all of God’s actions coherently harmonize into one great plan. And if we understand Matt 24 very well, then it must harmonize with the last revelation of God in the Bible, the Revelation of Jesus Christ. And if we understand eschatology, if we observe all the calamities that occur, then we also have a better understanding of who God is and who the Lord Jesus Christ really is, for He causes these calamities to occur. The Lord Jesus describes here a period of time of which we are in the midst of it.
Verse 14 summarizes this entire passage: The true Gospel of salvation shall be preached into all the world, and then shall the end come. Why shall the end come at this time? Would the Lord not enjoy to see the accumulation of saints on the earth who will be rejoicing and glorifying God for a thousand years? No, this is the wrong view of the holiness of God and the wickedness of man. The opposite will come to pass: The end will come because there will no more people become saved, for the wickedness of man shall have made a mockery of the true Gospel, so that the true Gospel will no longer be heard. That is why the end shall come. And that is why the period of the end time of this world’s history shall be characterized by great spiritual tribulation. The evidence of this great tribulation is that the saints shall be able to see the abomination of desolation standing in the pulpit of their church, by which they shall know that their church has turned to worshipping Satan. We must flee our church, but only if our church has gone apostate. And by this evidence we shall know that the great tribulation is in full swing. It is a sign that the saints must flee to the kingdom where God is found. Not the physical mountain, but the Lord’s holy mountain is the only place where there is real peace with God, and the only place where there is safety, and the only place where the saints are secure, for God Himself shall be our Defender. And where is this ideal mountain retreat? It is the Bible, where the true Gospel can be found, and it is the faithful church where the true Gospel is still preached. And so, we see from the content of this passage that we are studying today that it is “woe unto the churches” at this time. We also see from the context of trials, and tribulations, and falsehoods, and great deceiving that the saints are spiritually under attack. And if we can see the abomination of desolation standing in the pulpit of our church, we must get out. That church will be judged. Therefore the title of the sermon today is, “False Christs and False Prophets” (2X). The Lord is warning us for false christs and false prophets, and we need to understand what this means. First I would like us to reconsider something I have said last week concerning children.
#1. Children of the Congregation (Matt 24:19, 21:16, Luke 23:29, Psalm 8:2, Isa 66:10-12)
Mt 24:19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck <2337> in those days!
How does the Lord apply these words to the end times? Does He really refer to literal women, and literal babies that suck the breast, and babies in the womb? We must be on our guard, for the Lord may be speaking in parabolic language. First of all we notice that “them that give suck” is actually a faulty translation, for it is not them that give suck but the sucklings themselves that are in focus in this verse. Literally Matt 24:19 says, “And woe to the one having in the womb, and to those suckling <2337> in those days”. The Lord pronounces woe to the woman, and woe to the sucklings <2337>. Who does the Lord have in view here? Does the Lord Jesus say that you will not receive this woe, but you will be called blessed, if you have never borne any children? That is a very unbiblical idea. For example, also concerning the end times, the Lord Jesus said in Luke 23:29 (2X), “For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck”. May we interpret this verse in a literal sense? No! For then we are at odds with many other verses in the Bible which say that “children are a heritage from the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is His reward”. And likewise we may not interpret Matt 24:19 in a literal sense, for then we are in conflict with other parts of the Bible. There is another reason why we may not interpret Matt 24:19 in a literal sense. Put a sticker here in Matt 24, and please turn in your Bibles a few pages to your left, to Matt 21:16 (2X). When we compare Scripture with Scripture, which is the Biblical method of hermeneutics, we find how God wants us to understand these words. In Matt 21:16 the Lord Jesus responded to the gripes of the chief priests and scribes who did not like that the children were glorifying the Lord Jesus, and were saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David”. Then we read in Matt 21:16,
Mt 21:16 And (they) said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings <2337> thou hast perfected praise?
Is the Lord Jesus saying that those who suck the breasts began to talk and say, “Blessed is the Son of David”? Absolutely not! The Lord Jesus is equating those who praise Him with babies, who suck the breasts. Now this word “suckling” <2337> is the same word that was used in Matt 24:19, which was mistranslated. And so, is there a connection? Absolutely yes, for we have here the same Greek verb in all its tenses. The Lord was quoting from the Psalms, for He quoted from Psalm 8. We read in Psalm 8:2
Ps 8:2 Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.
Is God saying that literally out of the mouths of sucklings we will hear words of strength, or is God saying spiritually that out of the sucking children’s mouths are the words of ordained strength so that the enemy is stilled? This is the real question. Does God have a deeper spiritual meaning in mind, or does He cater to just a literal superficial application? We know for sure that no enemy is stilled by a literal suckling baby’s babblings, but they have been stilled by those sucklings which these Scriptures refer to. These children must be the children of God, who bring the strength of the Gospel with power, which is able to still the enemy. Who then may these children represent? The solution to this problem lies in the Prophecy of Isaiah. Please turn to the Prophecy of Isaiah, Isa 66:10 (2X). We have here a prophecy of the saints, who were delivered of a man child in Isa 66:7, referring to Christ in His atonement on the cross. And so, the saints are pictured here as little children who were born through Christ, and who as a collective group are called the church on earth. We read in Isa 66:10-12,
What is God saying here? Paraphrased we should read verse 10 as follows, “Rejoice ye saints on earth with Jerusalem that is above, and be glad with her, all ye that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all ye that are mourning for your sins”. And this is Biblically true. There is no salvation without repentance. But when we are saved, when we have been born from above by God the Holy Spirit, we can rejoice, and the saints in heaven are rejoicing with us, for we love the Bride of Christ, which are all the saints both in heaven and on earth. And we love the church, which is that part of the Bride of Christ that is still struggling with the forces of evil on this earth. That is why the church bears the personal pronoun “her” in this verse. Let us continue with verse 11 and see how this works out. In Isa 66:11 God is giving us a picture of the church that will satisfy her children with the milk of the Gospel, so that they may become stronger. The same picture of the church and her children is given in Isa 60:16. If you are like me, you may have wondered many times what these verses mean. And here it is. You see, the congregation is pictured here as the woman, and those in it are those who nurse at the breasts. All those who still are in need of the milk of the Gospel are nursing at the breasts of those whom Christ has put in charge of being His undershepherds, the pastors and teachers of the Word of God. These verses are not referring to the tribulation period, as some pre-tribulation theorists suppose, but these verses apply to the time of the cross and beyond, throughout the NT time period. But like it is a blessing in the NT time period, it will be woe to the children during the great tribulation period. And now we have come full circle back to Matt 24:19. Please turn again to Matt 24:19 (2X). Those who suck the breasts are not only the little children in the congregation, but they are also representing those who are still new in their conversion, and who are in need of much teaching from the Bible. Matt 24:19 speaks about the time of the great tribulation when it will be woe to the woman with child. It is speaking of a time of trial for the church when false gospels and false christs abound, and the love of many for the Word of God grows cold. It is a time near the second coming of Christ when churches are being deceived, and iniquity abounds, and when a great forsaking takes place in the congregations. This is woe unto the woman, and it is woe unto the children, for they are not being fed any more the pure milk of the Gospel. And only those who endure to the end in faithfulness, and in love for the Word of God, will be saved in the sense that they will be saved body and soul. And so, all these verses that I presented to you are focusing on the church. Those who are commissioned to bring the nourishment of the Gospel to the children are them that give suck, and those who suck the breasts are the spiritual children of the churches, both young and old children. The Lord Jesus is warning us that we must be careful in these times of great deception. Please drop down to V.21
Verse 21 starts with the word “For”. What is the word “For” there for? It means that the woes of those who suck the breasts are the result of a famine of hearing the Word of the Lord, like I already stated last week. The children need to hear the Word of the Lord, but they cannot find it. And this famine is the nature of the final tribulation period, because church after church has gone apostate. Who is causing this apostacy? God is not causing this great apostacy, for God cannot be the author of sin. We read in Jam 1:13, “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man”. God knew that this apostacy would come, and He knew when it would come, for the Lord Jesus warned us that it would come near the end of time. It would come, for the Lord knew the heart of man that it was desperately wicked. The Lord knew that the beautiful Gospel of grace alone, which is to the glory of Christ alone, would be gradually reduced to a free-will gospel whereby man would receive all the glory, for therein man would be the king-maker. And because this is a gospel under which no man can be saved, more and more churches would be dead, for if the leaders in the church are unsaved, then very soon the whole church would be spiritually dead. This process has already been going on for at least 150 years. But this has set the stage for even greater sin, the worship of Satan through the workings of his messengers in the flesh, Antichrist. Antichrist, in the form of many preachers, shall tempt people to believe satanic doctrines, such as that God is still bringing divine messages today, or that the people in the charismatic movement shall have power over anything that they say and want. And people are not checking these things out in their Bibles, for they are brain-washed into believing everything their spiritual leaders tell them. Antichrist is not one human being. This is a myth from the Devil to diffuse the true understanding of Antichrist. God says in 1John 2:18,
There are many antichrists, and they are distributed into pulpits all over the world, and there they cause the abomination of desolation to stand in the holy place. By this manifestation we shall know that the end is very near. That is why we know that we are in the FTP. God says in Luke 21:22,
Lu 21:22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.
It is the vengeance of God on the apostate church. And it is the vengeance from God that He also strengthens those churches in their apostacy by sending them strong delusion. God did not cause this great apostacy. We need to understand that man sins voluntarily, and a church voluntarily decides to move away from God and to create new doctrines that are not in the Bible. Please turn in your Bibles to the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Rev 13:7 (2X). This new trend in the churches is so popular that all that dwell upon the earth shall worship Satan one way or another. Satan is not choosy. They do not have to call themselves Christian. They can be of the Moslem, or Hindu, or Buddhist religion, as long as they are all going to the same place. All, except those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, are going to worship Satan one way or another. We read in Rev 13:7-8,
Re 13:7-8 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
God warns us that all that dwell upon the earth shall worship Satan, except those whose names have been written in the Lamb’s Book of life which was written from before the foundation of the world. The fact that the Lamb is called slain from the foundation of the world does not mean that Christ was crucified twice, once at the beginning of creation, and the second time in AD 33. This is a lie that has been spread by a certain radio program. At the beginning of creation there was nothing, and the earth was without form and void. There was no wood, and no iron nails, and there were no soldiers to crucify the Lord of glory, and there was no unrighteous god who demanded that Christ be crucified twice for the same sins. No, all of that is nonsense. But when God says that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world, it means that the forgiveness of the sins that He atoned for was in effect from the foundation of the world. It was in this sense that God forgave the sins of Adam and Eve. But notice that the Lord is warning us in verse 7, “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them”. The true Gospel shall be silenced. This is the nature of the FTP.
#2. False Christs and False Prophets (Matt 24:23-24, 37-39, 2Thess 2:9)
Please turn again to the Gospel According to Matthew, Matt 24:23 (2X). The nature of the FTP is stated succinctly in Matt 24:23-24. The Lord stated here clearly that the nature of the FTP consists of deception. Lies and deception shall be believed through the entire world. We read in Matt 24:23-24,
In other words, false gospels shall be proclaimed that are o-so-close to the true Gospel. So close, in fact, that they might deceive the elect of God, if that were possible. In addition, the Lord clearly stated in Matt 24:37-39 what the FTP is not. Please drop down to verse 37, Matt 24:37. We read in Matt 24:37-39
The Lord tells us here that the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ is pictured by the days before Noah’s flood. And thus, the FTP will be like the days before the flood, where people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, as if the world would go on forever. No one expected any calamity whatsoever. No one expected any violent army of Antichrist to move against the people of God. No one expected any great persecution which would decimate the true believers. Instead it was business as usual. Likewise, we can expect that the days before Christ’s return will be relatively calm. It will be business as usual. There will be no nuclear war, no great armies fighting in the Middle East, and no severe persecution and killing of the saints all over the world. According to Rev 13:7, Antichrist shall make war with the saints and shall overcome them, not by brute force, but by joining their congregations and taking over their pulpits. This is how the saints shall be caught unawares. Let us now return to verse 23, Matt 24:23. Let me read to you what the Greek text says literally. What does the Lord mean when He said, “Then if anyone of you says, Lo, here the Christ, or here; do not believe”. In other words, it is not that any man shall say unto you, but someone out of the midst of you shall say this. And what shall he say? “Lo here the Christ”. The definite article is really there. I can tell you what it does not mean. It does not refer to a few insane people who in past history have claimed to be Jesus Christ. The Lord would not have to warn us for them for no one has believed them. But what does “the Christ” stand for? “The Christ” means the Anointed one, or the Messiah who was promised by God to bring salvation. And thus “the Christ” stands for an entire belief system thought to bring salvation. The Lord is warning us for different plans of salvation, other than the salvation of the Bible, that shall be brought to our attention to lure us away from the Gospel of the Bible, by someone out of the midst of the church. They shall claim to have biblical warrant for their claims, for they use the name of Christ, and they shall use the blood of Christ, and many more things pleasing to your ears. But if their story does not agree with the Bible, believe it not. For, we read in the next verse, Matt 24:24, “False Christs and false prophets shall shew great signs and wonders” to demonstrate that the gospels they are bringing have God’s approval. The problem with this lie is that at the time the Lord Jesus walked on earth, Jesus and the apostles were doing great signs and wonders, but Satan was not allowed to do signs and wonders, or else it would cause confusion. But when we look up all the verses dealing with signs and wonders near the end of time, we find that Satan is doing al the signs and wonders, but the saints are not, or else it would cause confusion. And so, today we should not be impressed by signs and wonders and healing miracles, for God has declared them to be done by Satan. For example, God says in 2Thess 2:9,
2Th 2:9, Whosee coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders.
Moreover, we read in Matt 24:24 that the gospels they are bringing are o-so-close to the true Gospel that even the elect might be deceived, if that were possible. And thus it is really important that we study and know our Bible, and that we pray for wisdom from God the Holy Spirit, for we want to be able to recognize the false gospels when we encounter them. What are the gospels that feature signs and wonders? This is a characteristic of the charismatic gospels. The charismatic gospels are taking those who have already gone astray and are leading them into a path of absolute abomination before God.
For example, let me quote to you some of the heresies that are now common as grass among the charismatic gospels. #1. "God has never used sickness to discipline His children". #2. "AIDS is 'absolutely not' God's way of punishing immoral people". #3. “Jesus did not claim to be God when He lived on earth”. #4. “The New Age and occult techniques of positive imaging and visualization are for God's people today”. #5. “God intends for His people to be united, and, that union will not be based on doctrine". #6. “Speaking in tongues are for the entire Body of Christ”. #7. “To perform healing miracles is for every believer”. #8. "It would have been impossible for Jesus to have been poor!" #9. The Word-Faith movement teaches that faith is a matter of what we say more than whom we trust or what truths we embrace and affirm in our hearts. #10. A favorite term in the Word-Faith movement is "positive confession." It refers to the Word-Faith teaching that words have creative power. What you say, Word-Faith teachers claim, determines everything that happens to you. Your "confessions," that is, the things you say -- especially the favors you demand of God - -must all be stated positively and withoout wavering. Then God is required to answer. #11. Word-Faith believers view their positive confessions as an incantation by which they can conjure up anything they desire: "Believe it in your heart; say it with your mouth. That is the principle of faith. You can have what you say". That is the power that every person would like to have, like the serpent said to the woman, “Ye shall be as gods”. #12. For a pastor or anyone to drive a Chevrolet instead of a luxury car isn't "being humble, that's being ignorant" of God's "law of prosperity" that works for "whoever you are," saint or sinner. The battle-cry of the Positive Confession movement is: "Have faith in your faith." This is a far cry from what Jesus taught: "Have faith in God". This is at the heart of the Positive Confession movement today, also known as the "name-it-and-claim-it" gospel. The Positive Confession movement is a charismatic form of Christian Science. This can be substantiated by simply comparing the similarities in their common beliefs. Positive Confession is basically a warmed-over New Thought dressed in evangelical/charismatic language. #13. Adam was God manifest in the flesh. God’s reason for creating Adam was His desire to reproduce Himself. I mean a reproduction of Himself, and in the Garden of Eden He did just that. He was not a little like God. He was not almost like God. He was not subordinate to God even. ... Adam is as much like God as you could get, just the same as Jesus. ... Adam, in the Garden of Eden, was God manifested in the flesh. #14. God is the greatest failure in the universe. He lost His top-ranking, most anointed angel; the first man He ever created; the first woman He ever created; the whole earth and all the Fullness therein; and one third of the angels, at least. #15. God lives on a mother planet. Heaven has a north and a south and an east and a west. Consequently, it must be a planet.
This is just a smattering of heresies that are abundant in the charismatic gospel. There are many more, and they would distract us from studying the passage at hand. So, let us turn again to Matt 24:25,
#3. Behold, I Have Told You Before (Matt 24:25, 7:15-20,23, 12:33-37, Prov 1:7)
Mt 24:25 Behold, I have told you before.
What did the Lord Jesus mean by that? Did He mean, “I have now told you in advance, so when it comes to pass you will remember that I gave you advance warning”. Or did He mean, “I have told you already in the past, and do you remember when I have told you?” Yes, we do remember that the Lord already warned us for false prophets. Please turn in your Bibles to Matthew 7:15 (2X). This passage is almost at the end of the Sermon on the Mount, which we find in chapters 5, 6, and 7. This passage serves to underline the truth of the Gospel that we find all throughout the Bible. This beautiful passage will make us focus on the real Gospel that brings salvation, so that we shall be able to distinguish between good and evil. The Lord Jesus said in Matt 7:15-20,
Mt 7:15-20 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
What does the Lord mean by, “Ye shall know them by their fruits”? What are those fruits? The trees that are cut down and thrown in the fire in verse 19 represent the same men to whom the Lord Jesus commands to depart from Him in verse 23. There we read in Matt 7:23,
Mt 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
These are men who have done spectacular works in the name of Jesus on the earth, as is described
in verse 22. But Jesus sends them to Hell. Does this not mean that the fruit by which we are to know them are perhaps not their works at all, but their doctrine, their teaching. We are so accustomed to thinking of fruit as their good behavior, or their good deeds, that we have missed the Lord’s point in His warning against false prophets. They are recognized by their doctrines. What they teach is their fruit. The notion that fruit is doctrine or teaching, rather than good works or behavior, is so clearly taught in Scripture. Please turn to chapter 12 in this Gospel of Matthew, Matt 12:33 (2X). We have here another example whereby the Lord Jesus compares good trees and corrupt trees. We read in Matt 12:33-37
Mt 12:33-37 Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
Can you see that the Lord Jesus is using fruit as a metaphor for words, or doctrine, or speaking, or teaching? Evil fruit is false teaching; good fruit is true teaching. And we are to judge men by their fruit, that is, by their teaching. This is absolutely consistent with the tests described in the OT, such as in Deut 13 and 18, where we read about tests concerning false prophets. The tests were doctrinal. The Israelites were commanded to disbelieve false prophets even if they performed miracles and foretold the future. The Lord Jesus prescribes a doctrinal test for recognizing false prophets, because a behavioral test is unreliable. We all have known some non-Christians whose behavior is often better than that of some Christians that we know. It ought not to be that way, but that is simply a fact of life. And why is it that doctrine is much more important than good works? It is because our good works are not worth anything. Our wonderful works are of no value in obtaining salvation, simply because even our best works are tainted with sin. The only instrument of salvation that God uses is simply faith in the Gospel that the Lord Jesus Christ paid for all our sins on the cross, and this is a faith that God gave us by grace. It is not a faith that we have conjured up ourselves in our sinful mind. It must be by grace, or else grace is not grace any more. This then is a salvation over which we have no control, and that is why this is a salvation that is not popular with the natural man. And now we can clearly see the course of history of which I spoke in the beginning of this sermon. God causes this Gospel of the kingdom to reach into all the world before the wickedness of man has carried out their hatred of this Gospel, and man has had the opportunity to completely extinguish this Gospel whereby God will receive all the glory. Man wants a gospel whereby man get at least part of the glory. They figure that a loving God will not cast them into Hell for such a minor sin. But what does the Bible say? God says in Prov 1:7, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction”. Woe unto us if we die as fools. Therefore let us not despise wisdom and instruction. AMEN. Let us turn to the Lord in prayer.