Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravaging wolves. You’ll recognize them by their fruit. Matthew 7:15-16
Grace and peace to you fellow sojourners! I am blessed to be on this pilgrimage with you during our journey in time. The Lord has most assuredly given us His grace and peace to navigate victoriously along our path; even through the valleys. Therefore, when He has something to say regarding a caution, we want to heed His warning and pay close attention.
This Matthew verse highlights a few things to me. Firstly, is the ‘false prophet.’ If we are speaking of the office of the prophet this person would foretell future events, including declarations, appeals, and warnings based on divine influence. Prophecy is something any believer may exercise as telling forth God’s Word. A Christian is to seriously consider the forthtelling (speaking the Word of God into a situation for edification, guidance, and instruction) spoken by the prophet. The chief ministry of the prophet is to call people to mercy and justice, to obedience and fidelity to God and His Word, therefore, if someone is suggesting an alternative or a way to avoid obedience to God that should trigger a caution flag within you.
Secondly, there is entirely a reason the ‘wolf’ is not attempting to come in among us without a sheep’s disguise. He means to mingle amid us and ‘look’ just like us in order to not be detected. False teaching is anything taught which is contrary to the instruction of Jesus. So if we receive counsel not to forgive, to justify ourselves as better than someone else, or not to have gratitude because things are owed to us, we need to beware of that counsel because if we take these approaches to life, we have fallen prey to the ravages of false teaching.
Thirdly, we must persistently discern. If we have not equipped ourselves with the truth from the Word, we will not be able to discern truth from a lie, or even how to recognize good fruit. If we only judge by the outer coat and assume ravaging wolves never appear as sheep, we will be misled. Once we accept falsehood in our heart, it has the ability to destroy. Truth is the means by which we will be restored. All false teaching no matter how cleverly it bleats will ultimately ravage every sheep that possess ill-prepared shrewdness. (It is interesting to note the word ‘ravaging’ in this verse and its meaning which is to extort or to steal. We have been told in John 10:10 that the enemy’s plan, among other things, is to come among us and steal. (John 10:10))
There is a reason some do not so easily detect false teaching. It is among us, and we do not even know because from the outside of things it looks just like us, behaves just like us, and does not stand out from us. Another false teaching clue will be dissensions arising from diversity of opinions and aims. The wolf in sheep’s clothing will hide malicious intent under the guise of kindliness.
Finally, “We will recognize them by their fruit.” The wolf in sheep’s clothing is used to describe someone playing a role contrary to their real character with whom contact is dangerous because of its predatory nature. Eventually, however, the wolf’s essential nature shows through the disguise, and this is the fruit we are to recognize.
The book of Revelation gives us an example of this ravaging wolf. The lawless mystery religion, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT (Revelation 17:5) shows it appearing with “two horns like a lamb” (presenting itself as Christ-like) but speaking “like a dragon” (Revelation 13:11). The “dragon” in Revelation is Satan the devil, who deceives the whole world (Revelation 12:9). What we see in this coming event is an extremely powerful “wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
Everyday Lord I desire to draw closer to you. Thank you for Your Word that not only brings life to my mind but cautions me regarding the troubles I will encounter in this world. I am grateful for your abundant mercy and grace. Lord, I turn to you, I trust you, I wait for you, teach me your paths and guide me all of my days. In the mighty name of Jesus, I pray, amen.
In His grace,