Now, Contending for the Faith. In this regular feature, Dave and Tom respond to questions from listeners and readers of The Berean Call. Here’s this week’s question: “Dear Mr. Hunt and Mr. McMahon, who is Jesus talking to in Matthew:7:21-23? Nominal Christians? People who think they’re Christians? Born-again Christians who messed up?”
Tom: Wow! “Lord, Lord have we not prophesied in thy name and in thy name have cast out devils and in thy name done many wonderful works?” Jesus who says, “I know my sheep.” That’s John:10:14 declares, “I never knew you.” So they were never true Christians, I think that’s pretty plain.
Dave: Well, Jesus begins that passage, He says, “Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord….’”
Somebody says, “Well, wait a minute, you can’t say—the Scripture says you can’t say Jesus is Lord, except by the Holy Spirit. But here are people who are saying, ‘Lord, Lord’ and if certainly not by the Holy Spirit, how do you reconcile that?”
Well, obviously, you could only say Jesus is Lord and it be true, by the Holy Spirit. In other words, you can only truthfully say this. And there are many who call Jesus Lord and He’s not their Lord at all.
So, who are these people? Well, they said they did miracles. “Didn’t we do miracles? Didn’t we cast out devils?” That’s interesting that this question came in just at this time when we did a— we were talking about casting out devils supposedly.
Tom: Bob Larson’s ministry.
Dave: Right. “Didn’t we prophesy in your name?” And Jesus says, “I will say to them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me you workers of iniquities.’”
Who are these people? Obviously they are professing Christians. They’re not just ordinary run-of-the-mill professing Christians. They’re leaders, they’re ministers. They’re out there on radio, television or in that time, you didn’t have radio and television. But they’re going around in the name of Jesus exorcising people, prophesying, doing signs and wonders. Jesus is saying that—in fact, He’s talking about the last days and you would put these verses together with Matthew 24: 4, 11 and 24, where Jesus says in the last days—the disciples asked Him about the last days. What are the signs?
Well, He said, “A major sign, false prophets will arise. And they will claim to do miracles in My name.” Jesus is saying, “There will be a signs and wonders movement, but it will be false.”
Tom: “Take heed lest you be deceived.”
Dave: Paul says the same thing. He says in 2 Timothy:3:8, “As Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.”
So Paul is saying—and he’s talking about the last days; chapter 3 begins, “In the last days perilous times will come,” and so forth. So he’s also, like Jesus, saying, “You want to know what it’s going to be like in the last days just before the return of Christ? Well, you’re going to have false prophets. You’re going to have a false signs and wonders movement.” And Tom, we’ve got a huge signs and wonders movement from Toronto down to Pensacola, Florida, or off to Holy Trinity Brampton in England or where ever it may be, and people by the thousands coming from all around the world to see signs and wonders. And the Bible says it will be a false signs and wonders movement. These people are reprobate concerning the faith. This is not the true faith.
Well, who were Jannes and Jambres? Because Paul likens them to Jannes and Jambres. Well, Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses. Well, who would they have been? They were the magicians, the sorcerers.
Tom: Dave, can I challenge you on that?
Dave: All right.
Tom: Where do you find these names other than in the New Testament? How do we know they were—that’s who Paul was referring to?
Dave: We don’t find their names. That’s a good challenge, Tom, and that’s why I was saying, I raised the question, well who would they be?
Well, they withstood Moses and Aaron. Who withstood Moses and Aaron? Well, it wasn’t Pharaoh. It’s not talking about Pharaoh. To whom did Pharaoh turn to counter these miracle workers? He turned to the magicians and his court. And what did they do? They duplicated the miracles. I would say that was the biggest opposition that Moses and Aaron had.
Aaron threw down his staff and it became a serpent. And the magicians threw theirs down and they became serpents. Of course, the serpent that came from the staff that Aaron threw down swallowed up the other serpents. Of course this was a little magic on the part of these guys. By that, I mean they withstood Moses and Aaron—how? By doing signs and wonders. They duplicated up to a point the signs and wonders that God did through Moses. They were duplicated by the power of Satan. And Paul is telling us, “You want to know the opposition to the truth in the last days? Forget these university professors, atheistic professors, and the skeptics and so forth. It’s going to be inside the church. And by the power of Satan they will be doing what they call signs and wonders in the name of Christ, even, and this is going to corrupt the faith and corrupt the church. And Tom, we see that everywhere today.
Tom: Dave, the person again says, “Are these Christians, born-again Christians, that messed up?” You know, another point to be made here is that these were not with regard to eternal security; these were not some Christians who blew it and then lost their salvation, because Jesus doesn’t address that all. He says, “I never knew you.”
Dave: So if He never knew them, they were never Christians.