Hypocrites :: By Grant Phillips

A hypocrite is:

  • a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion
  • a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings

Merriam-Webster dictionary provides the origination of the word “hypocrite.”

“A number of different things might pop to mind when we hear the word hypocrite. Maybe it’s a politician caught in a scandal; maybe it’s a religious leader doing something counter to their creed; maybe it’s a scheming and conniving character featured in soap operas. But it’s likely that the one thing that doesn’t come to mind is the theater.

The word hypocrite ultimately came into English from the Greek word hypokrites, which means “an actor” or “a stage player.” The Greek word itself is a compound noun: it’s made up of two Greek words that literally translate as “an interpreter from underneath.” That bizarre compound makes more sense when you know that the actors in ancient Greek theater wore large masks to mark which character they were playing, and so they interpreted the story from underneath their masks.

The Greek word took on an extended meaning to refer to any person who was wearing a figurative mask and pretending to be someone or something they were not. This sense was taken into medieval French and then into English, where it showed up with its earlier spelling, ypocrite, in 13th-century religious texts to refer to someone who pretends to be morally good or pious in order to deceive others. (Hypocrite gained its initial h- by the 16th century.)

It took a surprisingly long time for hypocrite to gain its more general meaning that we use today: “a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings.” Our first citations for this use are from the early 1700s, nearly 500 years after hypocrite first stepped onto English’s stage.” (Merriam-Webster dictionary)

Also, several words come to mind which are synonymous with “hypocrite.” Check these out; charlatan, fraud, phony, dissembler, double-dealer, pretender, whited sepulcher, deceiver, liar, sanctimonious person, plaster saint, sham and fake. This is not an exhaustive list, but it gets the point across.

Probably the worse scathing verbal assault the Lord Jesus gave the scribes and Pharisees is found in Matthew chapter 23. He identified them before one and all as hypocrites, and then had this to say in chapter 24.

“The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 24:50-51)

Then Mark records for us what Jesus had to say to the scribes and Pharisees on another occasion.

“He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “ ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’ You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.” And he continued, “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions!” (Mark 7:6-9)

Then in a letter written to Timothy, Paul is moved by the Holy Spirit to say the following:

“The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.” (1 Timothy 4:1-2)

If we take an honest look at ourselves, using the Bible as our mirror, can we without hesitation say, “I am not a hypocrite?” On the back of the magazine The Voice of the Martyrs for September 2017 are the words, “A man really believes not what he recites in his creed, but only the things he is willing to die for.”

Many Christians in other parts of the world are being persecuted and even dying for Jesus Christ because they are not hypocrites. They actually believe God’s Word and are willing to put everything they have, including their life, on the line for Jesus.

I am not saying that all Christians in America are hypocrites, but I am saying that many of us are. My saying that is not meant to be malicious, but to encourage us to honestly examine our Christian stance. Do we really mean what we say when we say, “I am a follower of Jesus Christ?”

“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?” (2 Corinthians 13:5)

Some of our brothers and sisters in Christ are already being tested (by Satan) in this country. Satan is unleashing groups like the ACLU and the LBGT, etc. upon them simply because they love Jesus and will not turn their back upon Him.

Who among us would have ever thought that this once Christian nation would turn against the very God that made it the greatest nation that has ever existed? We have many hypocrites among us. Most of them do not know Jesus, but yet claim to be a Christian … on their terms. On the other side of the coin, many who actually are Christians have gotten spiritually fat and lazy. We are a spoiled people and the day is coming when the hypocrites may be revealed.

If Jesus continues to delay His coming for His bride, satanic groups will continue to bring down the heavy hand of government upon the true Church. We may not be raptured out of this fallen world before we all have to take a stand for Christ. Most of us have never undergone any type of persecution for our Lord, but let us not get too comfortable in the belief that it will never happen here. It could, and if Jesus delays His coming, it will.

“So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” (Isaiah 41:10, 13)

Judas was a hypocrite. He pretended to be something he wasn’t.

As Jesus pointed out, the scribes and Pharisees were hypocrites. Oh, they were very religious, but their father was Satan, not God. (John 8:44)

Many today claim to have the love of God within them which can only come by true faith in His Son Jesus, but they too are hypocrites. They pretend to possess something they do not have.

When our faith is tested, do we follow the example of Daniel and his three friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, or do we reply, “I don’t know the man?” (see Matthew 26:72, 74) – [Side note: Peter was forgiven and from then on served the Lord faithfully. See Acts 4:18-19. Also, read his messages beginning at Acts 2:14.]

Jesus provides comfort for us with these words He spoke through Paul.

“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 15:4-6)

“These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:11-13)

With all this said, we’ve considered our reaction to extreme situations, but what about our day-to-day living? Are we wearing a mask and just pretending, or are we letting our light to shine in the workplace, at home and in our neighborhoods? We don’t have to be “pushy” toward others, but are we taking advantage of the opportunities that come our way to speak up for Christ? Let me give just three examples.


Do we loaf on the job, thereby stealing time from our employers, or do we work diligently throughout the day to accomplish what we were hired to do?


What kind of example are we giving to other members of the family with what we watch on television? Are we grateful enough to thank God for the meals He provides us, or do we just dig right in?


Do we partake in neighborhood gossip, whether it’s true or false, or do we not participate?

Let’s face it, all through most of our days, we have opportunities to stand up for Jesus Christ by letting our light shine for Him and refusing to be numbered with the world.

As women love to look in the mirror (now don’t argue, you know you do), let us continue to use our Bible as our mirror and look in it each day and ask, “Who stands before me today, a follower of Jesus Christ, or a hypocrite?”

Grant Phillips

Email: grantphillips@windstream.net

Pre-Rapture Commentary: http://grant-phillips.blogspot.com

Rapture Ready: https://www.raptureready.com/featured/phillips/phillips.html