Ron Graham was called home on March 14, 2013. He began writing this commentary before his death and had asked me, Nathele Graham, to continue his service to our Lord by finishing what he began.
“And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ” (Luke 21:8a).
In this passage Jesus warned His disciples that there is a deception coming and they need to be careful that they are not taken in by lies. The disciples had questioned Jesus about the end-times and He was explaining the events leading up to the end.
We now can see that the events He described are all around us and are becoming more intense. His words were meant as a warning to Peter, John and those who were first with Christ. But also these words are a warning to us. Throughout the ages many have come claiming to be Christ and we need to be alert to the deception, especially because we are in the very end time.
“And the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them” (Luke 21:8b).
As always, the words Jesus spoke are certainly true. In the short time I’ve been on this planet many people have come forward claiming to be, “The Christ.” The Greek word “polys” is translated into English as “many” and means: multitudes, huge throngs masses. How many more will show up making the same claim? Jesus said there would be: multitudes. Don’t be deceived by these people.
The folks who follow these pretenders obviously haven’t read the Bible. This same warning, which is recorded in Luke 21, is also cited in two other gospels.
“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 24:4-5).
In Mark’s Gospel we’re given the same admonition:
“And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you: For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” (Mark 13:5-6).
Matthew, Mark, and Luke all recorded Jesus’ words in order to advise the brethren to be alert, to be ready for the deception because the deception had begun even then. The word “planaō” is translated “deceive” and “deceived” and means: to cause to stray, to lead astray, lead aside from the right way. If we are not alert, the deception will lead us astray and we will follow a false Christ…a false teacher and false doctrine. Jesus doesn’t say the deception might happen, but that it will happen.
The disciples wanted to know about the end times (they didn’t know about the Rapture yet, so they were not asking when that would happen). Jesus told them about the wars, earthquakes and famines, saying these things would start gradually but would intensify as the end nears. Knowledge of the end-days has been revealed throughout the Bible a little at a time. Daniel was given information about the future and wrote of the end-times, but he was not allowed to reveal all he was told:
“But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased” (Daniel 12:4).
Although Daniel had been given prophecy concerning the time of the Great Tribulation and the end, he wasn’t allowed to write all that had been revealed to him. When the disciples asked Jesus about the end, He revealed more to them with the warning to “be not deceived.” The disciples weren’t told everything. But after Christ was crucified and conquered death by His resurrection, a bit more was revealed. A new “entity” was created─the born-again, Spirit filled group known as─Christians. Then more of God’s plan was revealed through the apostle Paul when he told of the “Harpazō” (the “snatching away” or Rapture).
Finally, John would be shown the horrors of the post-Rapture end-times and wrote it all down in the book of Revelation. Satan knows his time is getting short and is hard at work to deceive as many as possible before he is bound for a thousand years. We who are not deceived by Satan’s lies can see that Jesus’ arrival must be on the horizon because the events are getting closer together with greater intensity.
Now before we go any further lets be perfectly clear as we talk about this fallen angel known as, Satan. He is a created being─a cherub. Not just any cherub but:
“Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee” (Ezekiel 28:14-15).
Satan has hatred for all humans─the entire human race─is in his sight for him to deceive and to destroy. He has been working his lies since the Garden of Eden when he deceived Eve. Eve made the mistake of talking to Satan. He was able to convince her that she and Adam had been deceived (by God who had told them not to eat the forbidden fruit because it would bring death). Satan lied and said their eyes would be opened and they would be as gods.
“And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4-5).
Adam and Eve found out who the liar is. God had not deceived them at all, but Satan had. Why is it that we humans continue to buy into Satan’s lies? We have God’s truth given to us in the Bible, yet we continue to question it. People who worship Satan haven’t a clue about how evil and deceptive he is. He hates those who follow him just as much as he hates those who follow Jesus Christ. We cannot possibly understand Satan’s hatred, but we need to not listen to his lies.
Satan has had it in for all true Christians since Jesus commanded His followers to spread His Good News (the gospel) throughout the world. Satan will do all he can to deceive us and stop the spreading of God’s Word. With great craftiness, Satan is trying to make the true gospel of no effect. Just as he did with Eve, he is able to convince people today to twist God’s Word: “All religions worship the same God” and “You are a good person so surely you will go to heaven” (along with many more such deceptions). He has supplanted God’s truth with his version of events and his lies are now boring holes into the hearts and minds of many. The deception is great.
“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:8).
Don’t believe the lies of Satan and follow a false Christ.
Believe the One who is Truth.
“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
There is only one way to the Father, and that is Jesus Christ. He is the Truth.
How can we recognize deception? When I first became a Christian we attended worship services with some wonderful people. The preacher was very good at putting words together and I was very gung-ho about it all. On the other hand, my wife had been a Christian for many years and had studied her Bible. Much of what was preached and taught, bothered her, but she didn’t want to dampen my enthusiasm.
What did she do? She challenged me. We discussed the sermons then she would bring up a point that was questionable in her mind and would ask me to find support for it in the Bible. I was very disturbed to find that what the preacher was preaching didn’t add up to what I found in God’s Word.
“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11).
If we know God’s truth we will not be deceived by lies. As we study God’s Word we need to pray and allow the Holy Spirit to lead us and help us learn. That was a good lesson for me early in my Christian walk. I learned to be cautious and use Scripture so as not to be deceived. My desire is to follow Jesus Christ, and not a false Christ.
Everything in this life should be seen and done through the lens of Scripture. That is how we can know for certain that we are following the one true God. If we don’t respect God’s inerrant word we will undoubtedly follow the god of this world─the father of all lies. Everyone who does not follow Jesus Christ is already following the deceptions of Satan and a false Christ. If we are to “be not deceived” then only God’s truth can keep us from that deception.
Whether you are reading one of my commentaries or listening to your favorite Bible teacher, always search the Scriptures for yourself so you can be sure you are not being led astray. I make every effort to keep these commentaries in line with God’s Word and I put Scripture in to support my statements. But everyone who reads my commentaries or those of other commentators, needs to make the effort to prayerfully search the Scriptures to be sure there is no deception. This is just common sense, folks.
The Holy Spirit is there to help you to draw closer to Jesus. He is sealed inside of each truly born-again Christian and will never lead you the wrong way. Jesus has told you to be on the watch for deception, stating that it will come. You and I have no idea who might head off track and begin to offer a substitute gospel. Be not deceived.
Although we cannot know the exact timing, we know the Rapture will happen very soon. After that there will be the most horrendous time of judgment known as the Great Tribulation. Then comes the millennium
“And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years” (Revelation 20:1-2).
Satan will try every conniving trick he can to deceive as many as he can before he is bound. Don’t be deceived by a false Christ, but listen to Jesus’ words and, “Take heed that ye be not deceived.”
God bless you all,