Jesus said, “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the anointed one,’ and will deceive many.”
As we approach this verse we must make a decision: we must decide whether Jesus was wrong in making this prophetic statement (which would in turn cast doubt on the whole of the New Testament) or whether the men who have translated this verse into English have erred.
Over the centuries, this verse has been rendered so that those who come in Christ’s name say, “I am the Christ,” as if they were saying, “I am the Messiah re-incarnate.” Since the time of Christ, only a handful of radical heretics have made that claim and have gained for themselves a few hundred followers at best. In addition, most who claim to be the Messiah may steal ideas and teachings from the Bible (as well as other religious “Scriptures” and sources) but most of them come in their own name and their teachings and practices are so extreme and bizarre that most followers of Christ back away from them in horror and only a few are caught unawares and deceived. Jesus said, however, that many would come and make this claim and many would be deceived and follow them. So now we must decide: was Jesus, after all, only a false prophet or is the usual English rendering of this verse in error?
If we set aside the usage of “Christ,” a Greek transliteration, and insert the literal meaning of “anointed one” (as at the beginning of this article), we come away with a completely different picture: that many men will purport to teach the way of Christ (claiming to have Christ and God’s anointing on their teachings) but in reality they are deceiving many people with their teachings. And there is indeed one particular group of men active across the world today who fit this description exactly: those who call themselves “pastor” and all those who emulate (in whole or in part) the “pastor’s” teaching “ministry” from behind a pulpit.
The depth of this deception goes further than can be completely covered in this short article but here are a few of the major elements that enable this deception to work on such a grand scale:
- The word “pastor” is a Latin word that was never once used in the original Greek New Testament – but nearly every “church” that purports to practice the New Testament has, as its head, a “pastor.”
- The “pastor” acts more as a university professor and lecturer and a corporation chief executive officer (CEO) than he does as a shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep.
- The “pastor” wears the wool (sheep’s clothing) of his congregation.
- The “pastor” tells his audience what they want to hear (stories that make them feel better about themselves and their supposed relationship with God) and scratches their ears in such a way that the listeners are eager to return and share their financial assets with the “pastor.”
There are many “pastors” (and all their imitators under other titles – “apostle,” “prophet,” “bishop,” etc.) and there are many “pastor”-ites – those sycophants (yes-men) and groupies who hang on the “pastor’s” every word and who will gladly follow their leader into whatever ditch he guides them toward. This is as true of the mega-“church” as it is of the house “church” as it is a common failing of human nature to reject a personal, one-on-one relationship with God in favor of letting the “man of God” go up the “mountain of God” for us and then we will vainly promise and resolve and at least half-heartedly even attempt to obey whatever the “man of God” tells us. But this is not the way of faith in the Son of God.
Jesus was not a false prophet – the usual English translation is in error. So too is the usual practice of “pastor” and all its imitations in error. Those who would be the spotless bride ready for the King’s return must turn from the false shepherds (“pastors,” etc.) and find and listen only to the voice and leading of the one true Shepherd. Anything other than personally and responsibly following Him will be very costly to one’s soul and eternal destiny.
Let he who has ears hear.
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