Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Beware Of False Teachers

Mark 13:1-8

“And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!

And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” (Mark 13:1-2)

The original temple had been built by Solomon about a thousand years before.  That Temple had been destroyed by the Babylonians ant rebuilt about four hundred fifty years before.  Continual fighting with teir neighbors had resulted in the temple being badly damaged so Herod the Great had rebuilt it about fifty years before.  The disciple was simply calling attention to the great construction and that the temple had endure through all the things it had been through.   It could easily last for thousands more years.   Jesus warned that the temple would be destroyed, far beyond what even the Babylonians had done, so that not even a single stone would be left in place. 

Thirty nine years later, the Roman army under Titus would completely dismantle the temple, raze the city, and drive the Jews into exile, in 70 AD.  The nation of Israel would not have a land of their won again until 1948, and the Temple has yet to be rebuilt.  They will be unable to practice the Jewish religion fully until the temple is rebuilt.    

“And as he sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?” (Mark 13:3-4)

Later that afternoon, as they sat on the Mount of Olives, overlooking the temple, the disciples asked Jesus privately about what he had said about the temple being destroyed.    When would it happen and what signs should they be looking for?  Their questions gave Jesus the opportunity to explain many things about the coming Church Age, which will end with his return and the establishment of his kingdom.    Matthew 24 and Luke 21 record additional details of his teaching on the subject.  Knowing these things would make it far easier for them to stay true to god during the period. 

“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)

The first thing they needed to know was that there would be many who started new religions claiming to be the Messiah or to have some new revelation.  They were to be careful not to go along with these leaders because they would deliberately try to deceive them, and many would be led away.  They were not to follow the popular religious fads, but to stick with the word of God.

“And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet.  For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.” (Mark 13:7-8)

Many of the false teachers would use prophecies based on the wars and possible wars to excite the people and convince than they were teaching the truth.  Jesus said the wars were a natural part of human existence, as were natural events such as earthquakes, famines, or floods, and Believers were not to see them as special signs of his coming or allow themselves to fall for such teachings.  They were just the natural results of wickedness in the world and hold no special significance.  They are not signs of the times as many have taught.   

Sadly, thousands of false teachers have used these so-called ‘Signs of the Times’ and fear to manipulate people and attain fame and fortune, even getting people to donate their homes and businesses to the leader because they wouldn’t need it when the Lord returned.   Apparently it never dawned on them that the church and leader wouldn’t either if what they were teaching was true.   Many others have lived in constant fear as a result of such teachings.  

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