Translating 'Christ' Matthew 24:4-5

Don't be Deceived

by Edward Langenback

© 03/27/07

The next place 'Christ' is used is in Matthew 24. First, to put this in context, Jesus was leaving the temple and his disciples met up with him, talking about the buildings of the temple and how impressive it all was. He responded with a prophecy that all of that would be totally destroyed.

Matthew 24:1-2, "And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. 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."

Later, his disciples came to him privately. They asked important questions about when these prophecies of his would come to pass, and the sign of his coming and the end of the age. The balance of chapter 24 and all of chapter 25 is where Jesus responds to these questions and teaches lessons related to being prepared for and watching for this time.

Matthew 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?"

The first thing Jesus does before telling them anything else is to warn them to be careful to not allow themselves to be deceived because many would come in his name claiming to be Anointed or even The Anointed One Himself.

Matthew 24:4-5, "And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many."

Looking at verse five again and translating Christ, we get a clearer picture:

"For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Anointed (or 'I am The Anointed One'); and shall deceive many."

To do something in someone's name is to act with that person's authority or even to act AS that person using their authority. He's letting his followers know that there were going to be people who come along claiming to be sent by God, saying that they are The Anointed One or are acting on His orders and that they will deceive a lot of people.

How many people have claimed over the years to be sent by God only to have it turn out that they very clearly were not? Jesus is warning his followers to be careful because there would come many who would try to get people to believe and follow them for reasons varying from personal pride to money and social and political power.

Matthew 24:23-26, "Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 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. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not."

Again He repeats the warning, not to believe claims that 'here is an anointed one', or there . . . He tells us specifically not to believe such claims and where the King James says "Behold, I have told you before." In Matthew 24:25, the word before is translated from the Greek proereo {pronounced pro-er-eh'-o} [strongs number 4280] and means to say before, to say beforehand, i.e., before the event. A prophecy. The Bible in Worldwide English renders that verse most effectively: "Watch! I have told you these things before they happen"

Jesus made it very clear that these things would happen and in telling his followers to Ďtake heedí, He gave a simple yet vital instruction how to avoid being deceived by those who claimed to be the Anointed One or have been sent by Him.

The words "take heed" in Matthew 24:4 is translated from the Greek blepo {pronounced blep'-o} [strongs number 991] which means: perceive by the use of the eyes: to see, look, to turn the eyes to anything: to look at, look upon, gaze at, to perceive by the senses, to have (the power of) understanding, to discern mentally, observe, perceive, discover, understand

He is telling us plainly not to simply believe every smooth talker that comes along claiming to have a special relationship with Jesus or a mission from God. We are to use our eyes, senses and our minds. We are not to simply accept their word that they are Anointed by God and dimly follow them. We are to make certain who and what they really are and if they are truly sent by God or not.

The apostle John repeated this warning:

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."

Today as we live in the last days, this danger is more widespread than ever before and we have to be more careful than ever. The warning Jesus gave his disciples when He sent out the twelve on their mission rings more true now than ever before:

Matthew 10:16, "Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves."

Jesus knows the kind of world He is sending us into and that He is sending us like defenseless sheep into a world of wolves that would devour us given half a chance. He tells us that because of this we must be wise. The word translated wise in this verse is the Greek phronimos {pronounced fron'-ee-mos} [strongs number 5429] intelligent, wise, prudent, i.e. mindful of one's interests.

This shows what he means by telling us to be wise. We are to function as intelligent people. We cannot simply accept something someone preaches as if it were Godís word. Itís important that we compare teachings with Godís word and study for ourselves. Only thus armed with prayer and studying scripture to learn for ourselves the truth that God has given us can we hope to avoid these deceivers who come along and claim to be Anointed people with a special mission from God. If what they say or teach does not agree with scripture, then they are not of God.

On the other hand, this does not mean that just because somebody teaches something contrary to Godís word that theyíre an evil person out to deceive and destroy. There are a lot of well meaning people who have not taken the time to pray, study and make use of language references to be certain of the meanings. In either case, the only way we can be sure of what someone teaches is to pray, look up their references and study carefully.

2 Timothy 2:15, "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."

This study is something that God expects of us so that we can be secure in knowledge of His Word. It's essential if we're to know when somebody is either ignorant or trying to deceive us. So it's time to get out your Bible and begin studying.