Note on commas in the text of Matthew 24:4,5


Most modern English Bibles add three commas to Matthew 24:4,5, and this narrows the meaning of Jesus' warning: And Jesus answered and said to them: "Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many."

However, since the original Greek New Testament was probably written without punctuation, the addition of the three commas may be incorrect, because it is actually more common for false teachers to claim to be followers of Christ than to be the Christ themselves. Paul affirmed this in 2 Cor. 11:13-15, "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works."

Besides, Jesus warned of false Christs in Mt. 24:23,24. Perhaps most Bible translators could not imagine the extent to which the institutional church would stray from Jesus and sound Biblical truth, so perhaps they inserted three extra commas to make the meaning fit with their view of Christianity. Even if the insertion of the three commas is correct, and Mt. 24:23,24 is just a further elaboration of Mt. 24:4,5, then the narrower warning is still applicable regarding people who are openly claiming to be Christ, such as the following:

  • A woman from China who claims that she is Christ and has gathered a large following called Eastern Lightning (see Where Did Eastern Lighting Come From?)
  • Jose Luis De Jesus Miranda, a leader in North and South America, who says he is greater than Jesus of Nazareth; he teaches there is no sin, no devil, and no hell, and he has followers in 20 countries. (2 min. video)
  • Lord Ra-El 

Note that regardless of how commas are used or not used, Mt. 24:4,5 is not saying that Jesus was not the Jewish Messiah. He was and still is the Jewish Messiah (see proof), and He also created the world and all that is in it (see Col. 1:16). He is "the only begotten Son of God" (see John 3:18).

Another way to read it might be, "Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am anointed,' and will deceive many." (Since 'Christ' means 'anointed' in Greek.)

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