False Teachers as a Sign

Jesus Christ, the one person in the history of the world whose word can be trusted 100% of the time, stated that false teachers would arise in the church prior to the end of the Jewish System. This is stated in Matthew 24:11-14 as well as verse 24. He also said “this generation shall not pass until all these things be fulfilled” (Matthew 24:34). Jesus also called this judgment on the Jews “the coming of the Son of man” (Matthew 24:27, 30). Therefore, we can know 100% that one of the signs that the Jewish system was about to be destroyed (a.k.a. the Roman-Jewish War, the worst thing to ever happen in the history of mankind, the coming of Jesus Christ in judgment on them) was that false teachers would arise in the church.

The apostle Paul told the elders at Ephesus that false teachers would arise from among them—this isn’t some time in the far-off future, he’s saying that the false teachers would arise from among those specific men he was talking to! (Acts 20:29-30).

The apostle John wrote to Christians, telling them that the fact that there were “many antichrists” (false teachers) was definitive proof that the “final hour” had come (1 John 2:18). To the inspired apostle, these false teachers were a sign that the end of something was upon them.

The apostle Peter stated that the primary thing the Jewish Christians in AD 64-65 needed to remember was that in the “last of the days” mockers (false teachers) would arise, walking after their own lusts, denying that Jesus was coming in judgment. The mockers were a sign to the Christians that the “last of the days” were upon them.

It was less than two years later that Jude wrote his letter, describing the false teachers who had now made their presence known. While Peter spoke of it as something in the future, Jude spoke of as a then-present reality. Look for yourself at Jude 12, “These [false teachers] are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you…” Is there any doubt that Jude meant what he said? These false teachers were in some of the same congregations that first received Jude’s letter!!! By the time Jude wrote, the false teachers that Peter had prophesied about had come. And to cement this fact, Jude quotes 2 Peter 3:3, showing that it was being fulfilled a short time after it was written.

Jesus said the false teachers in the church was a sign that the Jewish system would be violently destroyed. Paul foretold that false teachers would arise in Ephesus during the lifetime of the elders that he spoke to. John said that the false teachers in his day were a sign that the “final hour” was upon them. Peter said that false teachers would be proof that the “last of the days” were upon them. Jude quoted Peter’s prophecy as being fulfilled in AD 65 or 66—right before the beginning of the Roman-Jewish War.

A question that must be asked is this: Did Peter tell the Jewish Christians that the primary thing for them to remember is that sometime in the far-off future (at least 1900 years later), false teachers would arise in the church? Or was he referencing something that they would actually need to worry about?

Should someone object to that question and say “Peter was just warning them, he didn’t know when Jesus was coming back,” my response is this: God knew. God knows. And God is the one who inspired Peter to write what he did. If the “last of the days” in 2 Peter 3:3 is speaking of the end of time, then you have to conclude that God thought the most important thing for first-century Jewish Christians—who were about to endure the worst thing that ever happened in the history of man—to remember is that false teachers would arise in the church thousands of years after they themselves were dead and gone.

-Bradley Cobb

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