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New Testament Warnings of Deceivers
Jesus wondered if he would find faith when he came back. Many people think today is near the end, when Jesus comes back. If Jesus came back today and everyone who calls themselves a Christian would qualify as having faith, then why would Jesus wonder if there would be faith? There are over a billion Christians alive today.
So either a large majority of Christians are wrong, or Jesus is not coming back soon.
To help determine if we are near the end times, Peter also gave us a prophecy.
In the last days, "scoffers" or disbelievers will be ignorant of three things: the creation, the flood, and the coming judgment. Since the conception of the Big Bang theory and Evolution theory have destroyed faith in the creation story and the flood, and the doctrine of uniformitarianism (that the past is the same as the present is the same as the future) destroyed belief in the coming judgment, we may be closer to the last days than we may think.
It is good to dwell in the Bible and even more so on Jesus's words.
Matthew records as part of Jesus's Olivet Discourse,
Already we know that 'many' will be deceived. But these deceived will believe that they serve Christ. We would label them as a 'Christian'. Defining 'many' is tough, encompassing a range as low as twenty people to many billions of people. Nevertheless, we know that 'many' Christians will believe falsely.
Jesus also said,
People believe that they know Jesus and have a relationship with him, and these people even do many good
works. But Jesus says that he never knew them. Not at all. "Never." But he tells us why, saying,
John sums this up well:
The logical conclusion from John is that if we know Jesus, then we follow his commandments, otherwise we
are a liar. It follows that if we do not follow Jesus's commandments, we do not know him. This is why Jesus
would say to us,
This is evidence that we need to be on the lookout for false prophets. Many people will be deceived. That
is why these warnings exist. Without these warnings, we would have little reason to doubt anything regarding
what Christ's apostles said. But since we have these warnings, we should be on the lookout and ensure that
our doctrine lines up with what Jesus said. Jesus said,
12, not 13 Back to Top ↑
Why do we suspect Paul as being a false apostle? The Book of Revelation reveals that there are only twelve
- Simon Peter (Matthew 10:2, Mark 3:16, Luke 6:14, Acts 1:13.)
- Andrew (Matthew 10:2, Mark 3:18, Luke 6:14, Acts 1:13.)
- James the son of Zebedee (Matthew 10:2, Mark 3:17, Luke 6:14, Acts 1:13.)
- John the son of Zebedee (Matthew 10:2, Mark 3:17, Luke 6:14, Acts 1:13.)
- Philip (Matthew 10:3, Mark 3:18, Luke 6:14, Acts 1:13.)
- Thomas (Matthew 10:3, Mark 3:18, Luke 6:15, Acts 1:13.)
- Matthew, the Publican (Matthew 10:3, Mark 3:18, Luke 6:15, Acts 1:13.)
- Bartholomew (Matthew 10:3, Mark 3:18, Luke 6:14, Acts 1:13.)
- James the son of Alphaeus (Matthew 10:30, Mark 3:18, Luke 6:15, Acts 1:13.)
- Lebbaeus Thaddaeus (Matthew 10:3, Mark 3:18.) aka Judas the son of James (Luke 6:16, Acts 1:13.)
- Simon the Zealot (Matthew 10:4, Mark 3:18, Luke 6:15, Acts 1:13.)
- Judas Iscariot (Matthew 10:4, Mark 3:19, Luke 6:16.)
Matthias replaces Judas Iscariot:
And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.Acts 1:26
So, there are 12 apostles. Jesus cemented this during his life, and after his resurrection, the other eleven apostles chose Matthias, making twelve again. All is well, there is harmony again.
And then there were thirteen, as Paul received Christ in his Damascus experience. Alone. Without witnesses
to which he could call on.(As compared to Matthias who had the apostles, disciples, and women to vouch
for him. Acts 1:13-15.) Without ever having been with Jesus
Back to the book of Revelation, John wrote,
Now, John did not write "thirteen," he wrote "twelve." So, if John received a false vision (i.e., he made it up), then John believed that one of these apostles was a false apostle. If John received a real vision, then there is absolutely a false apostle. We cannot debate a vision from Jesus. Regardless of the legitimacy of John's vision, he teaches that there is a false apostle among the thirteen.
So then, which of these thirteen is the false apostle? Researching this matter we can come to an easy answer to this question. We came to suspect Paul, and so collected the evidence contained within this book.
To begin with, Paul has a major disadvantage. Jesus called eleven of the apostles. The other eleven chose
Only one person, besides Paul himself, is a witness for his apostleship. And that is his protégé, Luke. Luke
Paul has one person to rely on for his apostleship. Each of the other twelve apostles have each other and many disciples to rely on. It is for this reason that we examine Paul to determine if he is an apostle or not.
The stakes are not that high: If we find that Paul is a real apostle, nothing changes, and we continue to
read and interpret the New and Old Testaments through him. And if we find that Paul is a false apostle, then
we rely on what Jesus and the other apostles wrote and did. Since Paul claims he imitates Jesus,
Types of One Evil in Good Places Back to Top ↑
How can we even conceive that God might put a false prophet in the Holy Bible? God said he would test us
with false prophets.
In modern days, we see many other false prophets, though we would make many mad if we were to list even one. However, anyone with at least a little curiosity of Christianity could name a few people they thought were false prophets that lived in the last few centuries.
If God can send false prophets to test the Hebrews and us, what stops the early church from being tested as well?
Then we realized that God had already put a test like this to us.
When God planted the Garden of Eden, he told Adam to do whatever he pleased, only warning him not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.Genesis 2:17 So out of all the trees in the Garden of Eden, a place where one could assume that everything is safe, there was one tree that could taint a person. And Adam ate of that one tree.
The same can be said of the Bible. People assume the Bible is completely good, just like the Garden of Eden. But Jesus warned of false prophets, so it makes sense then that the Bible could possibly contain one evil thing, granting us the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
But, there is no harm in testing. As previously mentioned, if Paul turns out to be correct and in cohesion with Jesus, then nothing changes. But if Paul is wrong about Jesus, then we ignore him and his writings, and only listen to Jesus. We should not consider the stakes high, since every Christian is listening to Jesus anyway.
All we are doing is listening to our Lord, Jesus Christ, when he says,