False Christs (Mk 13:22-13:22)

“False Messiah Christs

Will appear!

False prophets

Will appear!

They will produce

Signs!

They will produce

Omens

To lead astray,

If possible,

The elect.”

 

ἐγερθήσονται δὲ ψευδόχριστοι καὶ ψευδοπροφῆται καὶ ποιήσουσιν σημεῖα καὶ τέρατα πρὸς τὸ ἀποπλανᾶν εἰ δυνατὸν τοὺς ἐκλεκτούς·

 

This is almost word for word, in Matthew, chapter 24:24.  Mark said that both false or pseudo-Christs and false and pseudo-prophets would appear (ἐγερθήσονται δὲ ψευδόχριστοι καὶ ψευδοπροφῆται).  They would give signs and wonders (καὶ ποιήσουσιν σημεῖα καὶ τέρατα), in order to deceive, if possible, even the elect or the chosen ones (πρὸς τὸ ἀποπλανᾶν εἰ δυνατὸν τοὺς ἐκλεκτούς).  The 3 synoptic gospels often warned against people who might lead them astray.  Some people would come saying that they were the Messiah Christ in order to deceive them.  Apparently, there were quite a few deceptive Jewish messianic leaders who were saying that they were the Christ Messiah.  John the Baptist was an example of a messianic leader in the 1st century CE.  Other political Jewish leaders had messianic ambitions also, especially those who led the revolt against the Romans in the 2nd half of the 1st century.  Jesus was warning against all of them.

 

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Declaration of Isaiah to his disciples (Isa 8:16-8:20)

“Bind up the testimony!

Seal the teaching

Among my disciples!

I will wait for Yahweh,

Who is hiding his face

From the house of Jacob.

I will hope in him.

See!

I am a sign.

The children

Whom Yahweh has given me

Are portents in Israel

From Yahweh of hosts.

He dwells on Mount Zion.

Now if people say to you.

‘Consult the wizard ghosts!

Consult with the familiar spirits

Who chirp and mutter!’

Should not a people consult their gods?

Should they not consult the dead

On behalf of the living

For teaching,

For instruction?

Surely those who speak like this

Will have no dawn.”

Isaiah wanted his disciples to have and keep his testimony. He wanted his teachings to be put aside and bound up his works. This is probably why we have so many oracles of Isaiah. He was waiting on Yahweh, the Lord, who was hiding his face from the house of Jacob. However, Isaiah had hope because he and his children were signs or omens of good things to come. He knew that Yahweh lived on Mount Zion. He then warned his disciples not to be fooled when people told them to consult with various idol gods, ghosts, mediums, wizards, or spirits to find out what to do. Why would you want to consult with the dead to find out instructions on how to live? As he points out, people like this probably will not see the dawn, since they are destined for death.

Senseless dreams (Sir 34:1-34:8)

“The senseless have vain hopes.

The senseless have false hopes.

Dreams give wings to fools.

As one who catches at a shadow,

As one who pursues the wind,

So is anyone who believes in dreams.

What is seen in dreams

Is but a reflection.

It is like a face

Looking at itself.

From an unclean thing

What can be clean?

From something false,

What can be true?

Divinations are unreal.

Omens are unreal.

Dreams are unreal.

Like a woman in labor,

The mind has fantasies.

Unless they are by intervention

From the Most High,

Pay no attention to them.

Dreams have deceived many.

Those who put their hope in them

Have failed.

Without such deceptions,

The law will be fulfilled.

Wisdom is complete

In the mouth of the faithful.”

Sirach takes on the role of dreams. The dreams of Joseph in Egypt played a major role in the Genesis story. However, Sirach seems to point holes in theory of dreams. He believes that the dreams of the senseless fools are in vain. They give false hope to these fools. They are like trying to catch a shadow or a gust of wind as they easily disappear. A dream is nothing more than a reflection of yourself. Your dreams are nothing more than looking at yourself. How can anything good or clean come from an unclean person? No truth can come from falsehood. Dreams are like unreal divinations and omens. They are like the fantasies of a woman in labor. Unless they are sent from the Most High God, dreams should be disregarded. Many people have been deceived by dreams. Sirach believes that the law and wisdom are more important than dreams.