Do you remember the story of "The Boy Who Cried Wolf"? This is one of Aesop's Fables, where a shepherd boy is introduced to the readers. He decided that it would be a good trick to play on the village if he cried out that there was a wolf. The villagers came out to help the shepherd save his herd from the impending danger; however, they quickly realized it was just a joke. The shepherd boy decided it was a good trick and did it several more times. Then a wolf really did come and when he cried wolf, no one believed him. Today's reading in Matthew 24 made me think of this story because we are warned against this very thing in regards to the Messiah. Please use the link and read Matthew 24:15-28.
These verses made me think of the boy who cried wolf because Jesus warns us that there will be many claims that the Messiah has returned. While Jesus' return will be an event to rejoice for His followers, these claims are just as dangerous as the shepherd boy in Aesop's tale. First of all, it is dangerous for those who listen to the claims because they will be led astray and follow a false prophet. But we are given these warning so we do not fall into their trap. Jesus tells us that there will be many people calling out that the Messiah is here and people will be following their claims. He even said that they will be performing great signs to make their deception believable. But Jesus said that His return will be so clear and obvious, we will not need to heed the calls of the false prophets.
Jesus said something interesting in Matthew 24:28 (NIV), "Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather." He said this right after telling us that His return will be unmistakably obvious, so what did He mean by this statement? The NLT adds its own interpretation by adding this phrase: "...so these signs indicate that the end is near." Perhaps that is what Jesus was telling us; when we see these things, we will know that the end is near. But I also wonder since Jesus had just mentioned the false messiahs and false prophets if He was referring to them as vultures. It is almost as if Jesus was telling us that maybe they were preying on those who did not know Christ. No matter how we look at that phrase, we know that Jesus had given us warnings to only follow Him and to not be deceived by false messiahs and false prophets. I think prayer is what will protect us from falling prey to their deceptions; prayer for wisdom and understanding.
Are you praying that God will give you wisdom to navigate away from the things that want to pull you off His path?