IS JESUS A DECEIVER?
Joh 7:12 "And there was much murmuring among the people concerning him: for some said, He is a good man: others said, Nay; but he deceiveth the people." Some Jews who were themselves deceived ironically thought that Jesus was a deceiver. Today, many who name the name of Christ would likewise consider Jesus to be a deceiver if pressed to come to terms with certain aspects of his doctrine. As an example, there are those today who believe in decisional regeneration (free will salvation) and there are those who believe in sovereign grace (election). These two doctrines are diametrically opposed to each other; the former teaching that a man can by an act of his will obtain eternal salvation, the latter teaching that a man can only by the grace of God receive eternal salvation. Therefore at most only one can be true. Yet each group claims that its doctrine is the exclusive doctrine of the real Jesus Christ. Supposing that one group is right, that means that the other group is wrong and thus the real Jesus Christ is to them a deceiver because he teaches a doctrine opposite to what they believe. On the other hand if Jesus Christ actually teaches two mutually exclusive doctrines, as some incorrectly suppose, then he would indeed be a deceiver. The Pharisees sent officers to take Jesus but the officers did not bring him because he taught like no other man. "Never man spake like this man, " they said when questioned by the Pharisees. (Joh 7:46) They realized there was something distinct about Jesus' teaching. "For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes." (Mat 7:29) When the Pharisees heard this, they said, "Are ye also deceived? Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him? But this people who knoweth not the law are cursed." (Joh 7:47-49) This is a common argument against the truth still to this day. That is, rather than considering the doctrine itself to weigh it against the word of God, instead it is attacked by saying that none of the "learned scholars" believe it, so how can it be true? If it were true (say they), many scholars would believe and teach it. Conversely, if you find a man or small group who believes something other than the commonly accepted teaching they are quickly discredited as false teachers or cult leaders ("this people who knoweth not the law are cursed," Joh 7:49). But does that argument have any basis in scripture? Do we find in scripture that the "learned scholars" are typically correct in their teachings? The Sadducees and Pharisees were the "learned scholars" in Jesus' day and yet he taught his disciples to "Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees" (Mat 16:6) by which "he bade them not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees." (Mat 16:12) Note that these same people are those who denied doctrine by questioning whether any of them had believed it. This is the very definition of arrogance. The term arrogant means "Having or displaying a sense of overbearing self-worth or self-importance; Marked by or arising from a feeling or assumption of one's superiority toward others." God says arrogance is evil and he hates it. (Pro 8:13) These people teach for doctrines the commandments of men and thereby make the word of God of none effect (i.e. deny the word of God). (Mat 15:7-9 c/w Mar 7:6-13 c/w Isa 29:13-14) Jesus also taught that many prophets and teachers of scripture would be deceivers and that they would deceive many. (Mat 24:5 c/w Mat 24:11 & Mar 13:6 & Luk 21:8 & Tit 1:10 & 2 Jo 1:7 & 2 Ti.3:13) The word many means "a large indefinite number; the majority of the people, the masses." Thus it is the case that a large, indefinite number (in fact, likely the majority) of people who purport to teach God's doctrine are deceivers and those who believe them are deceived. History bears this out time and again. Elijah was a single prophet of God amongst an entire nation with only seven thousand people who had not bowed their knee to the false god Baal (Rom 11:2-5 c/w 1 Ki 19:14-18). Noah was the only preacher of righteousness in his day and he and his family alone were saved from the global flood. (2 Pet 2:5 c/w 1 Pet 3:18-20 c/w Heb 11:7 c/w Gen 6:17-18) The nation of Israel continually disobeyed God's commandments, being lead astray by their prophets and priests. "The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so..." (Jer 5:31) Many pastors destroyed and scattered the flock of God in the days of Jeremiah and the Lord said he would "gather the remnant of my flock" and set shepherds over them to feed them. (Jer 23:1-4 c/w Jer 10:21 c/w Jer 12:10) Peter said that there would be false teachers among saints even as there were false prophets in the days of old and "many shall follow their pernicious ways." (2 Pe 2:1-3) The fact is that the Lord's church is a little flock (Luk 12:32) so much so that Jesus asked, "When the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith in the earth?" (Luk 18:8) Let us beware of modern day Pharisees who lead God's people astray with false teaching and false arguments against the truth. Be not deceived, Jesus is not a deceiver. Where you find a doctrine being taught by man that is not found in scripture, the man is wrong. He may be older and wiser than you and have thirty-five years in the ministry, but he is deceived nevertheless. A young man who is taught the truth from scripture knows more than an old man who has been taught the wisdom of men. (Psa.119:99-100 c/w 1 Ti 4:11-12 c/w 2 Ti 3:14-15) Will you be one of the many who follows their pernicious ways? (2 Pet 2:1-3). "God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar" (Rom 3:4). Do not be discouraged if you find yourself amongst a very small minority of like-minded believers. It had been better to be with Noah and his family before the flood than to be with the rest of the world.