Matt. 24:5 – FALSE CHRISTS – History shows that there were many false messiahs in the period between AD 30 – 70. For example, during the Jewish war there were four messianic movements led by Menahem, Eleazar b. Ananias, John of Gischala, and Simon b. Giora. The Jewish historian, Josephus, said that there were five groups producing false messiahs who were involved in the resistance against Rome at this time. (Parallel Luke 21:7-8 “these things” all grouped as one question. In Luke 21:8 Jesus clearly showing He is speaking to His disciples. Also, see false messiahs already recorded in the Bible: Acts 5:34-37, Acts 8:9-11; 13:6-10).
“23Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. 24For FALSE CHRISTS and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” (Matt. 24:23-26; Mark 13:22).
The unbelieving Jews expected the Messiah to come and establish a physical kingdom on earth for the nation of Israel. They looked for the Messiah to be a conqueror that would lead them into battle and bring victory to Israel over its enemies, which at that time was the Roman Empire in that first century AD.
At His trial, Jesus told Pontius Pilate that His Kingdom was not of this world (John 18:36). Jesus had previously told the Pharisees with His disciples present that the Kingdom would come as a spiritual Kingdom, not a physical kingdom. Those who believe in a physical kingdom for Israel, are advocating something that Christ rejected. That was the position of the FALSE CHRISTS and FALSE PROPHETS in the first century. Jesus said do not listen to them or follow them.
“20Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The Kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS WITHIN YOU “ (Luke 17:20-21). “ 23And they will say to you, ‘Look here!’ or ‘Look there!’ Do NOT go after them or follow them. ” (Luke 17:23).
So the key to understanding prophecy is to know that Jesus taught spiritual things, while the FALSE CHRISTS and FALSE PROPHETS taught physical things. In AD 70, God brought complete destruction to the physical city of Jerusalem and the physical temple, which was part of the physical Old Covenant Jewish religious system with its laws, sacrifices, ceremonies, days, and rules (aka: part of cosmological order of the old heavens and old earth).
Christ then fully established His eternal spiritual Kingdom under the New Covenant, which is based on His shed blood on the cross and about grace and faith in Him. All born-again Christians (believing Jews and believing Gentiles) are a part of the earthly seen realm of the Kingdom until they physically die, upon which they immediately receive their new individual, perfect, immortal, spiritual body and enter the unseen heavenly realm of the Kingdom.
[For a more in-depth study see eschatology “Study Series 7 Lesson 1 Matt. 24:1-14”]
[For a more in-depth study see eschatology “Study Series 15 Lesson 1 Revelation Intro, Purpose and Background”]