I have always taken Matthew 24:24 to mean that when ‘the antichrist’ came, he would be so convincing that he would very nearly fool true Christians, but that it isn’t possible for him to. This has led me not to blindly accept the common interpretations of end-times prophecies.

Ironically, looking more closely at this verse has caused me to consider that my interpretation of it might not be the meaning that the Lord was trying to convey to us.

When I compare different translations of the verse, the meaning I take away now is, to paraphrase: false messiahs and false prophets will come and they’ll use great signs and wonders in an attempt to deceive everyone, including Christians, if possible. I don’t see that verse assuring us that we cannot be led astray. The King James version and the NIV seem to imply it, but the other versions don’t. (See comparison of versions here.)

In fact, we have seen people follow (and worship?) men like Charles Manson, Jim Jones, and David Koresh, and who may have believed their leader was a Messiah. Some of them would undoubtedly have insisted that they (themselves) were Christians.

Joseph Smith and Muhammed (false prophets) claimed divine revelation and supernatural signs. (Did Joseph Smith ‘target’ sincere, but not well-grounded Christians?) Today, via the wonders of modern technology, we have some televangelists whose target audience is Christians, that they deliberately lead astray to line their own pockets.

I think the point of the verse may be, that there are evil men who will pose as prophets and saviors in a deliberate attempt to lead people astray—and some of them will purposely target Christians. Take heed that NO man deceive you.

A common teaching is that ‘the antichrist’ will be a man of great charisma and charm who is loved by everyone, and almost no one can discern that he is the guy. I don’t see that spelled out in Scripture. I believe it is a common assumption.

By the way, don’t make the mistake of believing ‘the antichrist’ (as people call him) is the same as ‘the beast’ in Revelation 13. The antichrist is the ‘mouth’ of the beast (Rev. 13:5), the spokesman for the beast (empire), if you will. This spokesman/leader will be given authority over everyone, and everyone will worship the beast (empire) he represents. He is the one who will make war against Christians. This is who people refer to as ‘the antichrist’.

While we are on the subject of assumptions—don’t assume God gives the antichrist his authority. (Rev. 13:5, 13:7) It MAY come from God, or it may be granted as the result of a vote by the people, an appointment by a committee or organization (such as the UN, a world council of churches, the Vatican, the leaders of Islam, etc.).

It might be that he is elected, or appointed for 42 months, or that God only allows him 42 months.

‘Power to make war against the saints and to conquer them’ might be what God allows him, or it might be a job assigned to him by men.

All the inhabitants of the Earth (except those chosen by God) may willingly, adoringly worship the beast empire—or they people may ‘worship’ it by being in awe of it, or by paying a tithe or tax to it, etc.

I think many times we don’t even realize that we are making assumptions, but a word can have many meanings, and words combined can have a multitude of possible interpretations.

Many prophecies were given concerning the (first) coming of Jesus Christ. He fulfilled them all, but some of them were so subtle that their fulfillment was overlooked. I believe that the religious had already determined in their minds just what His coming would ‘look like’—but apparently they were wrong. For that reason, I encourage you to keep an open mind, and seek God for wisdom, in the perilous times that lay ahead!

The (first) coming of Christ was revealed to the ordinary, the humble, and the outcast. God did not reveal himself to the powerful, the prideful, or the religious. It was not revealed to Bible scholars, religious leaders, or kings. But it was revealed to shepherds, an aged widow, and a devout man (Luke 2:8-38). His birth was revealed to those who were waiting and hoping in Him.

It is ALL about the condition of our heart. It is not by having knowledge, and a complete understanding of God’s word that some will be able to recognize ‘the antichrist’ when he comes. I believe his appearing, while fulfilling prophecies, will not be what people expect. I think many of the prophecies will be very subtle, and low-key in their fulfillment (ie. easy to miss). But I believe that those whose hearts are humble, and turned toward God, will receive His revelation—and warning–when it comes to them.

One last thing, in regards to the coming of the antichrist, and the first coming of Christ–it bears repeating, that most people don’t believe Jesus was the Messiah.  They are most likely looking for the same sort of leader that they were looking for when He came the first time.  More clues to what the antichrist will be like might be found simply by finding out what people who are looking for a messiah are expecting.

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