And Jesus answered and said to them, “Take care that no man lead you astray.” The word “deception” is never used once in the Bible. (Except in English) Words such as “carried away” or “Led astray” carry the greater idea.
Matthew is the most Jewish book in the New Testament. (Brit Hadasha) Students of the Word must give great attention to the grammar of this amazing book. This verse begins the Olivet Discourse proper. Jesus answers questions about “the sign of Your coming” and “the end of the age” from verses 4 through 44. This section deals with the Tribulation. The Tribulation is the 70th week of Daniel (Dan 9:27).
The first three-and-a-half years of the Tribulation run from verses 4 to 14. The last three-and-a-half years are the Great Tribulation, the Time of Jacob’s Trouble. (Jer 30:7) The latter is a time of unprecedented tribulation on earth.
And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives [leads astray] you.
Jesus warned His disciples about premature claims of His coming. There will be a difference between the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 and His Second Coming. We need to distinguish between a partial fulfillment and full fulfillment prophetically. There will be many fakers claiming to be the Messiah. There are many false teachers today as well:
1 But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. (2 Pet 2)
v4. Take heed that no man deceive you — the disciples no doubt believed that the time when Jerusalem would be destroyed would be the end of the world. That they had some doubt of this, appears from the fact that they embraced the two events in two separate questions. Our Lord’s first care was, to set them right, in this paragraph. He therefore warns them, that no future false Christ should tempt them to believe that his second advent had arrived; and that no commotion should induce them to fear that the end of the world was nigh.
1Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; (1 Timothy 4:1-2)
Jesus is giving these warnings so that none who follow Him might be led astray by events of the future. Men have always had weird ideas about what the future would hold. And they have always looked for, and hoped for, future Messiahs who will arise among men and solve all their problems. But Jesus warns severely against expecting the latter, or interpreting the former in the wrong way. All these things that He is about to describe will come on the world but they are not to be looked on as signs of the end.
We must remember as we consider His words what limited experience of the world the disciples as a whole had. They were largely Galileans whose main adventures in their lives had been regular trips to Jerusalem for particular feasts, and while the twelve had occasionally also visited neighboring countries with Jesus, they had had little real experience of them. Therefore, their knowledge of the wider world was almost non-existent. Once they were facing that wider world, therefore, Jesus knew that they might easily have begun to imagine all kinds of things as a result of seeing and experiencing the tumults among nations and the events that took place there, and even more so when they received news of events on an even wider scale. Jesus then warns them not to take these events, both seen and heard, however spectacular, as signs of the end. They are rather simply to see them as the continual outworking of echoes of His coming on the horizon.
The great question with which we have to do is this, in verse 5 it will not be a few but “many” who will pretend to be the Messiah before and during and the Tribulation. There will be an explosion of false Messiahs. Many will fall for their claims, just as they are doing today!
The sign that you and I should notice from these verses is widespread deception! The reminder to not be troubled and the reason for not panicking is given in verse 6.
6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
A friend of ours is fond of saying, concerning the Rapture of the church, “pre-trib, mid-trib, post-trib, it doesn’t matter to me, when He comes I go!”
How close are we? Are we living in the last days?
The real question? Are you ready?
This is not a drill!