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False Christs or False Christians?

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  • False Christs or False Christians?

    "For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many." - Matthew 24:5.

    I believe the common argument here is individuals rising up and claiming that they themselves are Christ. An example would be Charles Manson who directly claimed he was Christ (note that there aren't that many individuals that directly claimed they were Christ, as a lot of so-called Christ claimants of religious cults didn't actually claim they were Christ, though they were dubbed that way by the mainstream media).

    I contend that this is not the case and not how it should be translated. I believe Jesus was actually referring to the fake Christians of Matthew 7:21-23.

    I have a few reasons to support this, but the main reason is that the passage doesn't make sense as false Christ claimants. How can they come in the name of Christ at the same time declaring that they themselves are Christ? In order to get the meaning of a person claiming to be Christ themselves, you'd have to assume the phrase "in my name" should really mean something like "in my disposition," which doesn't seem to support the words used.

    I think it should instead be translated "For many shall come in my name, professing I am Christ; and shall deceive many." He was referring to false Christians (faith healers, prosperity teachers, outright Christian scam artists... typically the ones that get the most national attention), and he was referring to the generation of the 21st century where the word "many" has the most meaning, because of, once again, our communication technology.

    As an aside, can preterists demonstrate there was even one individual (let alone "many") who claimed to be Christ prior to 70 AD and fooled many?
    Last edited by seanD; 01-28-2020, 05:45 PM.
    "I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole, it was like... we had entire training courses. It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment." - Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State (source).

  • #2
    Originally posted by seanD View Post
    "For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many." - Matthew 24:5.

    I believe the common argument here is individuals rising up and claiming that they themselves are Christ. An example would be Charles Manson who directly claimed he was Christ (note that there aren't that many individuals that directly claimed they were Christ, as a lot of so-called Christ claimants of religious cults didn't actually claim they were Christ, though they were dubbed that way by the mainstream media).

    I contend that this is not the case and not how it should be translated. I believe Jesus was actually referring to the fake Christians of Matthew 7:21-23.

    I have a few reasons to support this, but the main reason is that the passage doesn't make sense as false Christ claimants. How can they come in the name of Christ at the same time declaring that they themselves are Christ? In order to get the meaning of a person claiming to be Christ themselves, you'd have to assume the phrase "in my name" should really mean something like "in my disposition," which doesn't seem to support the words used.

    I think it should instead be translated "For many shall come in my name, professing I am Christ; and shall deceive many." He was referring to false Christians (faith healers, prosperity teachers, outright Christian scam artists... typically the ones that get the most national attention), and he was referring to the generation of the 21st century where the word "many" has the most meaning, because of, once again, our communication technology.
    It's a bit of a stretch. Why wouldn't Christ have used false teachers instead of False Christs?

    As
    an aside, can preterists demonstrate there was even one individual (let alone "many") who claimed to be Christ prior to 70 AD and fooled many?
    There's at least 3 mentioned in Acts.
    "What has the Church gained if it is popular, but there is no conviction, no repentance, no power?" - A.W. Tozer

    "... there are two parties in Washington, the stupid party and the evil party, who occasionally get together and do something both stupid and evil, and this is called bipartisanship." - Everett Dirksen

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Littlejoe View Post
      It's a bit of a stretch. Why wouldn't Christ have used false teachers instead of False Christs?

      AsThere's at least 3 mentioned in Acts.
      Because my argument was that he wasn't saying they were claiming to be Christ themselves. They were professing Christ because they came in his name. IOW, here's another translation just to better clarify what I mean:

      "Many will come in my name, admitting (professing) that I (Jesus) am the Christ, but will deceive many." This goes well with Matthew 7:21-23 where they're saying we did this and that "in your name."

      Can you give me those passages from Acts?
      "I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole, it was like... we had entire training courses. It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment." - Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State (source).

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by seanD View Post
        Because my argument was that he wasn't saying they were claiming to be Christ themselves. They were professing Christ because they came in his name. IOW, here's another translation just to better clarify what I mean:

        "Many will come in my name, admitting (professing) that I (Jesus) am the Christ, but will deceive many." This goes well with Matthew 7:21-23 where they're saying we did this and that "in your name."

        Can you give me those passages from Acts?
        Or it could mean that if they were claiming to be Christ they were literally "coming in his name" because they were claiming to be him. They were using his name.

        Comment


        • #5
          [QUOTE=seanD;706643]Because my argument was that he wasn't saying they were claiming to be Christ themselves. They were professing Christ because they came in his name. IOW, here's another translation just to better clarify what I mean:

          "Many will come in my name, admitting (professing) that I (Jesus) am the Christ, but will deceive many." This goes well with Matthew 7:21-23 where they're saying we did this and that "in your name."[quote]Neither was my argument... My point was why didn't he use a different term if he meant other Christians.

          Can you give me those passages from Acts?
          There are 2 in Acts 5 and one in Act 19. And that's not just preterists that recognize that. Several websites that are not preterist say the same thing.
          "What has the Church gained if it is popular, but there is no conviction, no repentance, no power?" - A.W. Tozer

          "... there are two parties in Washington, the stupid party and the evil party, who occasionally get together and do something both stupid and evil, and this is called bipartisanship." - Everett Dirksen

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by seanD View Post
            "For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many." - Matthew 24:5.

            I believe the common argument here is individuals rising up and claiming that they themselves are Christ. An example would be Charles Manson who directly claimed he was Christ (note that there aren't that many individuals that directly claimed they were Christ, as a lot of so-called Christ claimants of religious cults didn't actually claim they were Christ, though they were dubbed that way by the mainstream media).

            I contend that this is not the case and not how it should be translated. I believe Jesus was actually referring to the fake Christians of Matthew 7:21-23.

            I have a few reasons to support this, but the main reason is that the passage doesn't make sense as false Christ claimants. How can they come in the name of Christ at the same time declaring that they themselves are Christ? In order to get the meaning of a person claiming to be Christ themselves, you'd have to assume the phrase "in my name" should really mean something like "in my disposition," which doesn't seem to support the words used.

            I think it should instead be translated "For many shall come in my name, professing I am Christ; and shall deceive many." He was referring to false Christians (faith healers, prosperity teachers, outright Christian scam artists... typically the ones that get the most national attention), and he was referring to the generation of the 21st century where the word "many" has the most meaning, because of, once again, our communication technology.

            As an aside, can preterists demonstrate there was even one individual (let alone "many") who claimed to be Christ prior to 70 AD and fooled many?
            Brilliant, sean. I agree, except I think He meant both, as I've already expounded on in my "double fulfillment" understandings in other threads. But I had not thought of this interpretation. Way to make the Lord a little clearer to us all.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Littlejoe View Post
              Neither was my argument... My point was why didn't he use a different term if he meant other Christians.


              There are 2 in Acts 5 and one in Act 19. And that's not just preterists that recognize that. Several websites that are not preterist say the same thing.


              If you're talking about when he uses the term "false christs" in Matthew 24:24 (it would help if you'd use specific verses to clarify things), I believe this is an entirely different time and situation, thus a different timeline in the OD. The first time precedes or is taking place during the Beginning of Sorrows, whereas 24:24 is taking place well into the Tribulation. The second really are false christs, and notice he's not associating them to himself or the church like the first passage (they will "come in my name").

              And yes, both Luke and Josephus do mention messiah claimants during the first century, but these were self-proclaimed Jewish messiahs who claimed to be the deliverer the Jews were erroneously expecting and thus had completely different objectives than the church had at the time. Were Christians deceived by this? I don't know of any ECF that has claimed this to be the case. Jesus' use of "they will come in my name" and his warning to them that they not be deceived (obviously they'd know a fake Jewish messiah of the first century) to me specifies a distinct association with the Christian church.
              "I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole, it was like... we had entire training courses. It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment." - Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State (source).

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by seanD View Post
                And yes, both Luke and Josephus do mention messiah claimants during the first century, but these were self-proclaimed Jewish messiahs who claimed to be the deliverer the Jews were erroneously expecting and thus had completely different objectives than the church had at the time. Were Christians deceived by this? I don't know of any ECF that has claimed this to be the case.
                Jesus added "if possible" in v 24, so I don't think it's necessary to find any patristic evidence that any Christians were deceived. In any event, anyone who was deceived would then fall outside that camp anyway.
                "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by seanD View Post
                  Because my argument was that he wasn't saying they were claiming to be Christ themselves. They were professing Christ because they came in his name. IOW, here's another translation just to better clarify what I mean:

                  "Many will come in my name, admitting (professing) that I (Jesus) am the Christ, but will deceive many." This goes well with Matthew 7:21-23 where they're saying we did this and that "in your name."

                  Can you give me those passages from Acts?
                  Can you give me the source for that translation, or is just a hypothetical you came up with?
                  Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. St. John Chrysostom

                  Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
                  sigpic
                  I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
                    Can you give me the source for that translation, or is just a hypothetical you came up with?
                    I'm actually using the current translation and trying to make sense of it. The word "saying" has pretty broad usage in the Greek. But, irregardless of that -- how can a person claim that they're Christ themselves but still come in his (Jesus Christ) name? I'm trying to read the passage more logically. Everything else -- i.e. how they could be deceived by this, why and how many deceived by this, etc. -- is secondary.
                    "I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole, it was like... we had entire training courses. It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment." - Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State (source).

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
                      Jesus added "if possible" in v 24, so I don't think it's necessary to find any patristic evidence that any Christians were deceived. In any event, anyone who was deceived would then fall outside that camp anyway.
                      That's why there was an important part of that post you snipped. I find it hard to believe early pre-70 Christians, in an apostolic age no less, could possibly be deceived by a false Jewish person claiming to be messiah with an objective to overthrow the Roman empire (the objectives described by Josephus' false messiahs). I don't even believe it was possible for a few Christians to be deceived by this during this time, much less "many." The closest to that might be the necessity of Paul's warning to the Roman church in Romans 13, but he certainly didn't address any false messiahs in that warning, most likely because there was no need to.
                      "I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole, it was like... we had entire training courses. It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment." - Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State (source).

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by seanD View Post
                        I'm actually using the current translation and trying to make sense of it. The word "saying" has pretty broad usage in the Greek. But, irregardless of that -- how can a person claim that they're Christ themselves but still come in his (Jesus Christ) name? I'm trying to read the passage more logically. Everything else -- i.e. how they could be deceived by this, why and how many deceived by this, etc. -- is secondary.
                        None of the many translations available on Bible Gateway - including the 'amplifications' construe it that way. If a person claims to be Christ, they're necessarily claiming his name (i.o.w., to be him).
                        Enter the Church and wash away your sins. For here there is a hospital and not a court of law. Do not be ashamed to enter the Church; be ashamed when you sin, but not when you repent. St. John Chrysostom

                        Veritas vos Liberabit<>< Learn Greek <>< Look here for an Orthodox Church in America<><Ancient Faith Radio
                        sigpic
                        I recommend you do not try too hard and ...research as little as possible. Such weighty things give me a headache. - Shunyadragon, Baha'i apologist

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
                          None of the many translations available on Bible Gateway - including the 'amplifications' construe it that way. If a person claims to be Christ, they're necessarily claiming his name (i.o.w., to be him).
                          You do know Christian means "little Christ", right?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by One Bad Pig View Post
                            None of the many translations available on Bible Gateway - including the 'amplifications' construe it that way. If a person claims to be Christ, they're necessarily claiming his name (i.o.w., to be him).
                            Fair enough.

                            I guess this takes me back to the likelihood first century Christians, in an apostolic era, would have been fooled by this, and the necessity of Jesus' warning to them vs. the clear necessity of his warning to future generations of the church instead.
                            "I was the CIA director. We lied, we cheated, we stole, it was like... we had entire training courses. It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment." - Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State (source).

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by seanD View Post
                              Fair enough.

                              I guess this takes me back to the likelihood first century Christians, in an apostolic era, would have been fooled by this, and the necessity of Jesus' warning to them vs. the clear necessity of his warning to future generations of the church instead.
                              I don't see what is on face implausible about it given that Hymenaeus and Philetus in 2 Tim 2:18 are on record as having ruined the faith of others by claiming the second coming had already taken place. The implications of this claim are not all that dissimilar from what is under the discussion; certainly, from our perspective, accepting the claim seems similarly implausible. Yet enough people were fooled by it that Paul said the heresy had spread like gangrene.
                              "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

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