Mark 13:21-23. If any shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ See on Matthew 24:23-28. For there shall arise false Christs Grotius, and some others, think our Lord had Barchochebas in view here, because he expressly called himself Messiah, and pretended to work great miracles. But as the passage describes what was to happen about the time of the destruction of Jerusalem, it cannot be applied to Barchochebas, who arose in the reign of Adrian, about sixty years after. Josephus ( Antiq., 20:6) tells us, that under the government of Felix, “the whole country was full of magicians who deceived the people.” In the same chapter, he says, “The magicians and deceivers persuaded the common people to follow them into the wilderness, promising to show them evident signs and miracles.” It seems these impostors pretended that the miracles they were going to perform, were those which God had predicted the Messiah would perform; perhaps they assumed the title directly, though Josephus, after the destruction of his nation, was ashamed to make any mention of the Messiah at all, or of the prophecies relating to him. After the example of Moses, these false Christs appealed to the miracles which they promised to perform, in proof of their being sent to deliver the nation from slavery. This appears evidently from a passage of his Jewish War, (ii. 12,) where, speaking of the affairs under Felix, he says, “Impostors and deceivers, under pretence of inspiration, attempting innovations and changes, made the common people mad, and led them into the wilderness, promising that God would there show them, σημεια ελευθεριας , signs of liberty; ” that is, miracles in proof that they should be delivered from the Roman yoke, and obtain their liberty. This was the benefit the nation expected from the Messiah; and those deceivers who promised it to them were readily believed: for the common people daily expected that the Messiah would put them in possession of universal empire. Every impostor, therefore, who assumed that character, and promised them deliverance, was quickly followed and obeyed. Hence the propriety of Josephus’s observation. The same historian, Antiq., 20:6, mentions an Egyptian Jew, calling himself a prophet, who persuaded the people to go with him to the mount of Olives, promising to show them from that place the walls of Jerusalem falling down, and giving them an entrance into the city. He speaks of this deceiver likewise, Bell. Jud., 2:12, as “gathering together thirty thousand men on the mount of Olives, proposing to go thence and take Jerusalem by force, to drive out the Roman garrison, and rule over the people.” Here this impostor plainly acted the Messiah. But Felix, getting notice of his designs, came out and routed him. And shall show signs and wonders to seduce, if possible, even the elect This relates especially to those impostors who appeared during the time of the siege, of which see Josephus, Bell. Jud., 6:5; and Eusebius, Hist. Ecclesiastes, 4:6. As for the objection which is urged from this text against admitting miracles as a proof of doctrines, two things may be here transiently observed: “1st, That it cannot certainly be proved that the works here referred to were true miracles: they might be like the lying powers, signs, and wonders, mentioned 2 Thessalonians 2:9. Or, 2d, That if we should, for argument’s sake, grant them to be real miracles, yet they are supposed to be wrought at a time when there were in the Christian Church teachers endued with superior miraculous powers. But it can never be inferred from such a supposition in that case, that God will suffer miracles to be wrought in proof of falsehood, when there are none of his servants to perform greater miracles on the side of truth. And when such superior miracles on the side of truth do exist, the opposite miracles, at most, can only prove that some invisible beings of great power, who are the abetters of falsehood, are strongly engaged to support the contrary doctrine; the consideration of which must excite all wise and good men to receive a truth so opposed with greater readiness, and to endeavour to promote it with greater zeal; as they may be sure the excellence and importance of it is proportionable to the solicitude of these malignant spirits to prevent its progress.” Doddridge. But take ye heed Be cautiously upon your guard against so dangerous an imposition: Behold, I have foretold you all these things That, comparing the event with the prediction, your faith may be established by those very circumstances which, in another view, might have a tendency to shake it.
Be the first to react on this!