Q. I have a question regarding Mt 24:5 “For many shall come in My Name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many”. This verse is often quoted to describe cult leaders misleading their flock. The text itself however seems to be saying that those doing the deceiving aren’t coming in their own name but His and aren’t saying they themselves are the Christ but Him. What exactly is this verse saying then?
A. In your rendering of Matt. 24:5 you’ve left out some important punctuation. Here’s how the verse should appear. “For many shall come in My Name, saying, ‘I am Christ’ and shall deceive many”. The fact that the phrase ‘I am Christ’ is enclosed in quotation marks means those who say they’ve come in the Lord’s name are also claiming to be the Lord. Many cult leaders have said they’ve come in the Lord’s name, when actually they’ve come in their own name (Matt. 7:21-23). The ultimate example will be the anti-Christ ( John 5:43).
In this verse Jesus warning the people who will be on earth during the end times to watch out for false messiahs.