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: '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.'
Notice that the same scripture in the International Standard Version reads: '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.'
In Greek, the above highlighted words are, PseudoChristoi kai PseudoProphetai, or, False/Anointed and False/Prophets. And as you can see, the wording of the King James (and several other Bibles) gives the impression that Jesus was warning that people would come claiming to be him. However, what he was really saying is that people would come claiming to be Messiahs, which is just the Hebrew word for the Anointed.
The reason why there is considerable confusion about the proper rendering of this text in Matthew 24, is because in the 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, which 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 referred to him 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 an almost word-for-word translation of the Hebrew Text.
So, what was anointing all about? This was the outward proof, which was always testified to by witnesses, that God had chosen a person for a special position such as a King or Priest. David, for example, was chosen to be the king of Judah and IsraEl by God, and as proof of this, He sent His Prophet SamuEl to anoint him with oil several years before he 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 of his being selected. Therefore, notice that there is no such thing as a 'secret anointing,' for the purpose of anointing is to show that one has been selected by God before witnesses. Even Jesus had a witness to his anointing, John the Baptist.
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 notice that anointing wasn't the choosing, but the 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 in fact 'christs' ('the anointed'), 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.
How can one 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 might have been selected (not anointed) by God for a particular assignment or service would surely not move us to try to use this to elevate ourselves over others by claiming a presumptuous title. For Jesus told us (at Matthew 23:8-11): 'But not you! Don't [have people] call you rabbi; for you have but one teacher, and you are all brothers. So, don't address anyone on earth as Father, because there's just One who is your Father, the Heavenly One. Nor should you be called leaders; for you have but one Leader, the Anointed One. However, the greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever promotes himself will be humbled and whoever humbles himself will be promoted.'
So, how would we come to recognize those who are falsely claiming to be 'the anointed?' In the same way that we would recognize 'false prophets.' Notice the standard that the Bible sets for determining the true from the false 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:
'And if there's a man who still prophesies;
His father and the mother who bore him,
Must tell him that he cannot live!
For, he has told lies in the Name of the Lord.
Then his father and the mother who bore him,
Will bind him, because of his prophecies.
'And it will be in that Day,
That 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. But whenever some person or group insists that others must believe something they teach because it comes from the Holy Spirit of their anointing, and the teaching thereafter proves to be wrong; then the spirit of their anointing is questionable, since God's Spirit never lies.
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