Troublesome Topic: “In the Barren Wastelands” and ” In the Inner Room”

Matthew 24:25



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I have told you in advance.

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Pay attention and watch out! There is a reason why I am telling you this before it happens.

Matthew 24:26


Therefore, if they say to you, ‘Behold, he is in the barren wastelands’ do not go out, or ‘behold, in the inner rooms’

do not believe it.

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Therefore, if someone says to you, ‘Follow me to the desert; the Messiah will meet us there’ do not go out there; or if someone says, ‘Listen to me, He has revealed Himself to me privately,’ or ‘God commands us to go to the Temple to receive miraculous signs of deliverance, do not believe it.

Why would someone claiming to be the Messiah be found in the barren wastelands, instead of where the population lives? To a Jew it made sense because God had met with His people and taught them many important truths while they were in the barren wastelands, i.e. the desert. Jesus went to the desert to pray and fast. God sent Elijah to the desert to get over his desire for God to end his life. The desert is where God met with Moses the first time. John the baptizer lived in the desert and expected people to come to him, and they did. Paul went to the desert to study. Meeting with God in the desert was a common theme for them.

Josephus recorded that before the destruction of the temple, a number of imposters arose and deceived the people with their claims to be the Messiah. All of them were focused on attaining freedom from Rome. He wrote about one who led the people into “the wilderness, pretending that God would there show them signs of liberty.” Another promised the people “deliverance and freedom from their miseries” if they would follow him to the wilderness. This seems to have been a common ploy among Messiah claimants. These Messiah-wanna-bes were tapping into the motivation found in Jewish history in which the desert was associated with their deliverance from Egypt, the most powerful nation of that time. Some of the Messiah claimants acquired a large following because the people were so desperate for freedom from Rome. These historic details show the wisdom of Jesus’ warning about those who would come claiming that the Messiah would be found by going to the desert.

Now we move on to discuss the phrase “in the inner rooms.” This usually meant “bedroom,” because that was the room that was further inside the house, if the people were wealthy enough to have a bedroom. It was often without any access to an outside wall, thus it was called the “inner chamber.”

The inner room was a symbol of closeness, and intimate relationship, as well as seclusion and complete privacy. One possible way to interpret this statement is the concept of a private meeting or a unique connection with God that no one else has access to. It would sound something like this: “The Messiah has chosen to let me to know about him before anyone else because I am special and He wants me to be an important part of his team. Follow me because I am the only one who can show you the Messiah.” In contrast to the attitude of these imposters who excelled at self-aggrandizement and always said “Look at me,” Jesus taught humility, concern for others and even self-sacrifice.

Jesus warned against those who would come claiming that the Messiah was in the “inner room.” While all of them claimed to have heard from God in a special way, one of them fit this warning in different way; Josephus recorded the following: “Even when Jerusalem was already in process of destruction by the Romans, a prophet suborned (forced or tricked) by the defenders to keep the people from deserting, announced that God commanded them to come to the Temple, there to receive miraculous signs of their deliverance. Those who came met death in the flames.”

Jesus’ warning to not believe someone claiming that the Messiah was in the inner rooms can have two different applications. It can refer to the incident about going to the temple, or it can refer to anyone who claimed that God gave him a special revelation in private. I believe that both interpretations fit, and it is possible that Jesus chose the wording He did so it could have a double meaning.

The next lesson is: Will Jesus’ Return Be Visible or Secret?



This is the word the King James always translates as “behold.” It means “Look!” and it was used in three ways, to show amazement, to get someone’s attention or to issue a warning. In this case it is part of a warning.


Expect hard times. Expect deception. Don’t be fooled. Don’t be led astray. Keep your focus on the right things so you do not compromise your faith.

The fact that Jesus follows His prediction with this kind of a warning tells me that the followers of Jesus have a role to play, we have to do our part against deception; we cannot simply rely on being part of the “chosen ones” as if that means we will be protected from such deceptions and there is no possibility of us falling for it. I believe that God does His part, but we must do our part. God offers us help in many ways so we can avoid yielding to temptation or deceit, but we have choices we must make. God does not do our part for us.


They were not to believe claims that sounded spiritual (in the desert) or claims to a special connection to someone claiming to be the Messiah (in the bedroom). Even though Jesus had not been what they had expected because He had not overthrown the Romans, they should not seek anyone else, for there was no other Messiah. They had to believe that Jesus knew what He was doing.