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.

 

False Christs (Mt 24:23-24:24)

“If anyone says to you.

‘Look!

Here is the Messiah Christ!’

Or

‘There he is!’

Do not believe it.

False Christs

And false prophets

Will appear!

They will produce

Great signs

And wonders,

To lead astray,

If possible,

Even the elect.”

 

τότε ἐάν τις ὑμῖν εἴπῃ Ἰδοὺ ὧδε ὁ Χριστός, ἤ Ὧδε, μὴ πιστεύσητε·

ἐγερθήσονται γὰρ ψευδόχριστοι καὶ ψευδοπροφῆται, καὶ δώσουσιν σημεῖα μεγάλα καὶ τέρατα ὥστε πλανῆσαι, εἰ δυνατὸν, καὶ τοὺς ἐκλεκτούς

 

This is exactly the same, almost word for word, in Mark, chapter 13:21-22, with a hint of this in Luke, chapter 17:22-23.  Matthew also spoke about the false Messiahs earlier in this chapter 24:5.  Jesus warned his disciples that if anyone said to them to look because the Messiah Christ was there (τότε ἐάν τις ὑμῖν εἴπῃ Ἰδοὺ ὧδε ὁ Χριστός, ἤ Ὧδε), they were not to believe it (μὴ πιστεύσητε).  Both false or pseudo Christs and false and pseudo prophets would appear (ἐγερθήσονται γὰρ ψευδόχριστοι καὶ ψευδοπροφῆται).  They would produce great signs and wonders (καὶ δώσουσιν σημεῖα μεγάλα καὶ τέρατα), in order to lead astray even the elect or the chosen ones (ὥστε πλανῆσαι, εἰ δυνατὸν, καὶ τοὺς ἐκλεκτούς).  Both Mark, chapter 13:5-6, and Luke, chapter 21:8, also warned them against people who might lead them astray.  Many people would come saying that they were the Messiah Christ in order to deceive them.  Apparently, there were many 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.

 

The decree about the living God of Daniel (Dan 6:26-6:27)

“I make a decree.

In all my royal dominion,

People should tremble,

People should fear,

Before the God of Daniel!

He is the living God!

He endures forever!

His kingdom

Shall never be destroyed!

His dominion

Has no end!

He delivers!

He rescues!

He works signs

In heaven!

He works wonders

On earth!

He has saved Daniel

From the power

Of the lions.”

King Darius made a decree for his royal kingdom. People were to fear and tremble before the God of Daniel, because he was a living God. He would endure forever. His kingdom will never be destroyed, since it has no end. He delivers people. He rescues people. He works signs and does wonders, both in heaven and on earth. Most of all, he has saved Daniel from the power of the lions. This is a universal declaration that all people in the whole world should realize what the God of Daniel has done for him. What a wonderful description of the role of God in human lives. Interesting enough, this great proclamation comes from this questionable Darius the Mede, and not an Israelite leader or prophet.

The powerful God of Israel (Bar 2:11-2:11)

“Now,

O Lord God of Israel!

You brought

Your people

Out of the land of Egypt

With a mighty hand,

With signs,

With wonders,

With great power,

With an outstretched arm.

You made yourself

A name

That continues

To this day.”

The powerful Lord God of Israel brought his people out of Egypt with his mighty hand and many signs and wonders. He showed his great power with his outstretched arm. This powerful God has made a name for himself that has persisted until the present day.

Help during the Exodus from Egypt (Jer 32:20-32:21)

“You!

You showed signs!

You showed wonders

In the land of Egypt!

To this day

In Israel,

As well as among all humans,

You have made yourself

A name,

That continues to this very day.

You brought

Your people Israel

Out of the land of Egypt

With signs,

With wonders,

With a strong hand,

With an outstretched arm,

With great terror.”

The prayer of Jeremiah continues as he says that Yahweh performed many signs and wonders in Egypt. Thus even until the present, not only in Egypt and Israel, but throughout the whole world, everyone knows the name of the God of Israel. Yahweh brought his people out of Egypt with many signs and wonders that brought terror to the Egyptians. He had used a strong outstretched arm and hand to protect them in their journey from Egypt.

The call to return to Israel (Jer 31:21-31:22)

“Set up road markers

For yourself!

Make yourself guideposts!

Consider well the highway!

Consider the road

By which you went.

Return!

O virgin Israel!

Return to these your cities!

How long will you waver?

O faithless daughter!

Yahweh has created

A new thing on the earth.

A woman encompasses a man.”

Yahweh, via Jeremiah, seems to invite the Israelites to return home. He wants them to set up road markers and guideposts. He wants them to remember the highway road that they took, when they went away. He cries out to virgin Israel to return. They were to return to their cities. Yet, he wonders how long they would wait. After all, they were his faithless daughters. Somehow Yahweh was going to create a new thing where women would have more responsibility with men, perhaps woo the man rather than the other way around.

The prayer for deliverance from foreign countries (Sir 36:1-36:12)

“Have mercy upon us!

O Lord!

God of all!

Put all the nations

In fear of you!

Lift up your hand

Against foreign nations!

Let them see your might!

As you have used us

To show your holiness to them,

So use them

To show your glory to us.

Then they will know,

As we have known,

That there is no God but you.

O Lord!

Give new signs!

Work other wonders!

Make your hand glorious!

Make your right arm glorious!

Rouse your anger!

Pour out your wrath!

Destroy the adversary!

Wipe out the enemy!

Hasten the day!

Remember the appointed time!

Let people recount

Your mighty deeds!

Let survivors be consumed

In the fiery wrath!

May those who harm your people

Meet destruction!

Crush the heads of hostile rulers

Who say.

‘There is no one but ourselves.’”

Sirach directs his prayer for deliverance directly to God, the Lord of all. He wanted God to put his fear into all the nations of the world, but especially those foreign nations. Thus they might understand the might, the holiness, and the glory of the Lord, just as they had known the Lord. He wanted new signs and wonders so that others could see the glorious arm and hand of the Lord. He wanted the Lord to get angry and show his wrath against his enemies. They should be wiped out and destroyed. He wanted this to happen soon. He wanted his enemies crushed, especially those proud rulers who thought that they could exist by themselves without God.