False Anointed and False Prophets
When he was speaking of the difficult time (gr. thlipsis megale, or, great tribulation) that was to come upon Jerusalem (at Matthew 24:23, 24, KJ), Jesus warned (as rendered in the Authorized King James Bible): 'Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here [is] Christ, or there; believe [it] not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if [it were] possible, they shall deceive the very elect.'
Then notice how that same scripture is translated in the International Standard Version: 'At that time, if anyone says to you, Look! Here is the Messiah! or There he is!, don't believe it, because false messiahs and false prophets will appear and display great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.'
So the question we might ask is: What are the actual signs that we are to look for before the coming of Jesus?
Notice that in the original Greek text, the highlighted words above are, PseudoChristoi kai PseudoProphetai, or, False/Anointed and False/Prophets. However, the way that they are translated in the King James (as well as in several other Bibles) gives the impression that Jesus was warning that people would come claiming to be him (the Christ). However, what he was really saying is that people would come claiming to be the Anointed, or in Hebrew, Messiahs.
Unfortunately, in most English copies of the Christian-Era Scriptures (NT), the Greek word christos is rendered as Christ in every case, which people have come to think of as Jesus' last name… it wasn't! Rather, after his baptism by John, when the Holy Spirit came down on him (or anointed him) in the form of a dove, he was thereafter referred to by his followers as the Christ (gr. ho Christon), or, the Anointed [One]. Why did they use that term? Because the Jews had been looking for God to send a king from the line of David to rule over IsraEl and to deliver them from Roman oppression. And since all kings whom God had selected were anointed to show that they had been chosen by Him, they thereafter referred to Jesus as 'the Christ,' 'the Anointed,' 'the Messiah,' or, 'the Chosen One.'
Notice that in the Greek Septuagint (the Old Testament of Jesus' day), all the kings were referred to as 'Christs.' Take for example, unrighteous King Saul. David referred to him as 'the Christ of the Lord' (gr. ton christon kyriou)' at 2 Samuel 1:16. In fact, notice that this is almost exactly how the words are translated in the Hebrew Text of that verse!
So, what was anointing all about? Having oil poured over your head by a Priest or Prophet served as the outward proof, which was always testified to by witnesses, that the person had been chosen for a special position such as a King, Priest, or Prophet. David, for example, was chosen to be the king of Judah and IsraEl by God, and as proof of this, God sent His Prophet SamuEl to anoint him with oil several years before David actually became the king (see 1 Samuel 16:12, 13). So the choosing came first, followed by the anointing, which was the proof to him and to others that he had been chosen. And if you understand this, you will understand why there is no such thing as a 'secret anointing' known only by God and the person He chooses, since the very purpose of anointing is to show others that such a one has been selected.
Notice that even Jesus had a witness to his anointing, John the Baptist. And in the case of David; he was publicly anointed two more times after this primary anointing by SamuEl, the first time as king of the tribe of Judah, and the second time as the king over all IsraEl. So understand that his anointing wasn't the choosing, but the visible sign to others that he had been chosen.
Although the Ancient Scriptures of IsraEl (OT) use the word christ (or anointed) many times when referring to Prophets, kings, and Priests, the same word is used almost exclusively in reference to Jesus in the Christian-Era Scriptures (NT). And this is the reason why there are no Bible references to Christians ever calling themselves the Anointed. Rather, that term was reserved for Jesus alone.
Also notice that there are only two scriptures in the Bible that refer to Christians as being anointed. They are found at 2 Corinthians 1:21, 22 and 1 John 2:27. So although all faithful Christians are likely anointed, which makes them 'christs,' this doesn't appear to be a title that they would take for themselves in order to claim a more special relationship with God. For simple humility (and the ancient Christian examples) should move us to leave such a title of respect to our Lord Jesus.
But notice that Jesus warned his Apostles about the coming of 'false anointed' and 'false prophets.' And this is a good reason why Christians should be very careful about applying the terms 'anointed' and 'prophets' to themselves, lest they should in fact prove to be 'false.' For this is the snare of those who think too much of themselves.
Then, how could a Christian tell if he or she is approaching the gate to becoming a false prophet or a false anointed one? Notice that making the claim of being such is the first step, for this shows a lack of humility and a desire to lord over others. Inward knowledge that we may have been selected (not anointed) by God for a particular assignment or service would surely not move us to try to use this choosing as a title to elevate ourselves over other Christians. For Jesus said this about taking presumptuous titles (at Matthew 23:11): 'The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever promotes himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be promoted.'
And how would we recognize those who are falsely claiming to be 'the anointed?' In the same way that we would recognize 'false prophets.'
Notice the Bible standard that shows how to recognize true Prophets from false prophets, at Deuteronomy 18:21, 22:
'And if you ever wonder in your hearts which words Jehovah didn't say; [remember that] anything a prophet says in the Name of the Lord that doesn't come true, is something that Jehovah didn't say. So that prophet has spoken wickedly and he must die!'
Also Zechariah 13:3, 4 tell us:'
'So, if there's a man who still prophesies;
His father and the mother who bore him
Must tell him that he can no longer live,
Because he's told lies in the Name of the Lord.
Then his father and the mother who bore him
Must bind him, because he has prophesied.
'And in that Day;
Their visions will bring them disgrace,
As will the things that they prophesied.
They'll cover their heads with animal hides,
Because they will know that they've lied.'
Likewise, those who claim to be the anointed and who teach things that they claim are inspired (on the basis of their anointing) but don't prove to be true, are the false anointed.
Then are we saying that those who are chosen by God for a particular service may never be wrong or change their minds on spiritual matters? No, for if a person has true Christian humility, he or she should realize that the Holy Spirit may not have taught them everything yet; so they should never condemn people who may disagree with them. But whenever some person or group insists that others must believe and agree with everything that they teach because it comes from the spirit of their anointing, and thereafter some of their teachings are proven to be wrong; then their claim of being anointed is questionable, and they should likely be viewed as the 'false anointed' of whom Jesus warned, since God's Spirit never lies.
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