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? 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.Matthew 24:3-5
It was a private moment, when Jesus was at Mount Olives, His disciples came to Him asking Him, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” His disciples probably understood that in the last days, Jesus will return again and asked Him for specifics, when it will happen.
The conduct of men in the past have been quite the same as with men today. And this applies to believers too. And who would not have thought of the idea of trying to figure out when the end times will happen or when Jesus will return again to restore order to this world, or at least asked these questions. Jesus’ disciples were equally curious as we all are today.
When questioned, Jesus never relented and obliging answered them. That when the time is near, people will hear of rumors of wars, nations will rise against nations, and kingdoms against kingdoms. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. Jesus explained further that these are all the beginning of sorrows or birth pains. And He instructed His disciples not to be trouble, AND THAT THESE MUST FIRST COME TO PASS, BUT THE END HAS NOT YET COME.
But before He gave us the vital clues of things that are coming and must first come to pass, Jesus also said to His disciples to be careful that no one deceives them. He said, many will come in His name, saying “I am the Christ” and will deceive many. These words from Christ, that many will come in His name saying “I am the Christ” shall be the topic of discussion in this post today.
Various Translations Of Matthew 24:5
To have a better perspective, I’m going to share several versions of Matthew 24:5, to enable comparisons and to find out what Jesus meant after He said what He said. Here are some popular translations in use by believers worldwide:-
“For many shall come in my name, saying, I am the Christ; and shall lead many astray.” ASV
“For many will come in my name, saying, ” I am the Christ,” and they will lead many astray.” ESV
” For many will come in my name, claiming, “I am the Messiah,” and will deceive many.” NIV
“For many will come in My name, saying, “I am the Christ,” and will deceive many.” NKJV
“For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” KJV
And to take translations a little further, let’s also look at the Strong’s Greek Lexicon Number of this particular verse (lexicons in brackets):-
For (For) many (much, many, often) shall come (to come or go) in (on, to, against, on the basis of) my (of me) name (name, character, fame, reputation), saying (to say, speak), I (I, the first-person) am (I am, exist) Christ (anointed; the Messiah, the Christ) ; and (and, even, also, namely) shall deceive (to make to wander, lead wandering about) many (much, many, often).
The Sequence Of Things To Come
Therefore, if we read Matthew 24:3-8 in context, Jesus said that first and foremost many or a lot of men will come in His name, saying “I am Christ” and these men will deceive many other people. Then we shall be hearing rumors of war, there shall be famines, pestilences and earthquakes in many places. After we witness these things, the end is still not reaching its time, as Jesus describes these things as birth pangs or the time is nearing before the actual event of the end times.
So, it is also common to find that, as the first sign of the beginning of the end times, many believers are looking out for a period where many false preachers will start claiming they are the Christ or the Messiah and many will be deceived. And this is where the situation becomes precarious and quirky. Also, in order to take Jesus’ statement literally, the coming of many false Christs must also be accompanied by many believers being deceived.
If we look around us, certainly we have seen several individuals making demented claims that they are the Christ incarnated, the recent ones namely Todd Kincannon (born 1981), Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez (born 1990), Maurice Clemmons (1972–2009), David Shayler (born 1965) etc. In Malaysia, we also have our Ariffin Mohammed (1943–2016), popularly known as Ayah Pin, the founder of the banned Sky Kingdom cult movement since 1975. He claimed to have direct contact with the heavens and is believed by his followers to have been the incarnation of Jesus, as well as Shiva, and the Buddha, and Muhammad, all in one.
However, the number of people claiming to be Christ in recent generations since the 18th century, is fairly negligible compared to the population of the world, in which these individuals exist in. Besides this, while they do have their own respective, limited count of followers, none of them can be said to have been capable of deceiving many, as stated in the Bible.
The Signs Of Times Are Here
Notwithstanding the issue of false Christs, however, it is without doubt that the world is presently witnessing other signs that have been categorically stated by Jesus Himself. We are already hearing rumors of wars, experienced a worldwide pandemic unfold two years ago, and reading news of increasing earthquake activities across the globe every day.
And unless false Christs start appearing and deceive lots of people, the birth pains technically could not have begun, if we were to illustrate Jesus’ portrayal of the end times, strictly and literally. Or could it be that when Jesus said, “many will come in His name, saying I am Christ”, the “I am” in His sentence referred to Himself and not to others, particularly false Christs? Personally, I am inclined to believe so.
If we read again Matthew 24:5 in its various translations, you will note that all versions except for ASV and KJV, placed the words “I am the Christ” or I am the Messiah” inside brackets, indicating the presumption that those words mentioned by Jesus, are to have been likely said by these false Christs themselves, and not Him. However, we do not find the important phrase bracketed in the ASV and particularly the KJV translations. Adding to this, the lexicons do not provide any clue also that the brackets existed in the Greek origins of the Scripture.
Therefore, if we were to consider the statement made by Jesus as in, “For many shall come in His Name, saying, He is the Christ; and shall deceive many.” then it becomes highly possible that we are already indeed inside the birth pangs period of the end times.
Today, we have rumors of wars, we have a global pandemic, and we have unprecedented number of earthquakes occurring daily. And we also have many false preachers and false prophets whom are already here, coming in the Name of Christ Jesus, and they are certainly and absolutely saying Jesus is the Christ.