So to setup the argument or scenario:
The Hebrews/Jews had their own preconceptions of what the Messiah would be like. And in many respects they were both wrong and surprised by Jesus. They had become very much trusting in themselves, self-righteous, and condemning towards other people. Very Cliquey, maybe. Not even understanding what God actually wanted to do, or what God actually felt about certain things concerning the Jewish people, the Gentiles and the then current time period. There seemed to be a huge disconnect going on between the people of God, and God. As seen by Jesus' dealings with the Jewish leaders.
Jesus and John the Baptist seem to be a the first part of the fulfillment of the dual prophecy of Malachi about the "coming of the LORD":
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD.” (Malachi 4:5, NKJV)
But where the "end times" will see the actual translated "Elijah" return as one of the two witnesses. I am assuming the 2nd witness will be Enoch, who was also translated and never saw death like Elijah. This is also what The Apocalypse of Peter states, which was accepted by the early church as scripture in the Muratorian Canon.
My question is how can believers be deceived in similar, or not so similar, ways the Jews were deceived?Revelation 11:1–14 (NASB95)
1Then there was given me a measuring rod like a staff; and someone said, “Get up and measure the temple of God and the altar, and those who worship in it.
2“Leave out the court which is outside the temple and do not measure it, for it has been given to the nations; and they will tread under foot the holy city for forty-two months.
3“And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.”
4These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth.
5And if anyone wants to harm them, fire flows out of their mouth and devours their enemies; so if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this way.
6These have the power to shut up the sky, so that rain will not fall during the days of their prophesying; and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every plague, as often as they desire.
7When they have finished their testimony, the beast that comes up out of the abyss will make war with them, and overcome them and kill them.
8And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which mystically is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified.
9Those from the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations will look at their dead bodies for three and a half days, and will not permit their dead bodies to be laid in a tomb.
10And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and celebrate; and they will send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth.
11But after the three and a half days, the breath of life from God came into them, and they stood on their feet; and great fear fell upon those who were watching them.
12And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” Then they went up into heaven in the cloud, and their enemies watched them.
13And in that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell; seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.
14The second woe is past; behold, the third woe is coming quickly.
I recently saw Francis Chan on a video talking with Preston Sprinkle about how what was taught as a Christian growing up in Church was wrong, certain "slander" or bad things said about other believers or groups or speakers/leaders, and he found out what he had heard years ago was wrong when he actually met some of these people.
An Honest and Raw Conversation with Francis Chan
Here's a shorter clip:
I look up to Francis Chan a lot, even though I would disagree with some of his theological beliefs. I used to attend his church as well for quite a while in CA. I respect his willingness to look at things afresh, and see if he is wrong about something. Or if the church is wrong about something. And his willingness to change his mind and to do church/life differently if that's what needs to be done. Etc etc.
It gives me hope that such a leading pastoral leader can be so honest and real, and humble.
So yeah, a very open ended question.
The thought to start this thread came when reading Malachi 4:
I was thinking, "Do those who claim some sort of belief in God, and are self-righteous and judgmental and arrogant, not understand that the sin of arrogance is listed right next to the sin of wickedness here?"Malachi 4:1 (NASB95)
1“For behold, the day is coming, burning like a furnace; and all the arrogant and every evildoer will be chaff; and the day that is coming will set them ablaze,” says the LORD of hosts, “so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.”
Same kind of thinking about the verse below. Do they realize some of their own "sins" are listed here?Matthew 5:7 (NASB95)
7“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
I have always thought it was weird, ever since becoming a believer, the "Christian" version of the disconnect with God, similar to the Jewish disconnect with God in Jesus time.Malachi 3:5 (NASB95)
5“Then I will draw near to you for judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers and against the adulterers and against those who swear falsely, and against those who oppress the wage earner in his wages, the widow and the orphan, and those who turn aside the alien and do not fear Me,” says the LORD of hosts.