Beware the Wolves
15“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.
16You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?
17Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.
18A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.
19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
20Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
Normally, I would piece the entire section of scripture together but we need to see this 6-line warning (6 is the number of man and this is a warning about men/false teachers) in its entirety.
Yes, it does say beware of false prophets not false teachers. However, in this day and age everyone is suddenly a prophet/prophetess or moved themselves into some other office of their own accord.
The Greek word used for “prophets” here means a spurious prophet, that is, pretended foreteller or religious impostor. The people who have inspired this blog definitely fit into that category and therefore fit into this section of scripture.
What’s so amazing about Matthew Chapter 7 is that it flows from one warning to another with clarity and harmony.
We are first warned (verses 1-5) about those who attempt to sit in the Judgment Seat of God only find to find out that the Light of Judgment shines on them as well. There is only One who can sit in that Seat without being burned by the Holy Fire it produces.
Verse 6 warns that if you attempt to share what is holy with “dogs” (a symbol of the demonic) or share the pearls of the Lord’s Wisdom with pigs in a pen (possibly a foreshadowing of the seeker friendly unbiblical church of today) be forewarned that they will attack the wisdom. They will also attack and disrespect you in the process.
Verses 7-12 give us the guidelines of our Heavenly Father’s behavior to show us how He will treat us and that we are to treat others as we want to be treated which conversely is the same manner in which He treats us.
Verses 13 and 14 show us that to walk in the manner pleasing to the Lord and the Father will take effort and at time be uncomfortable. Because of that very few will find it or walk in it.
Verses 15 through 20 are the spiritual parameters we must use to evaluate the purpose and spirituality of those who set themselves up to be teachers/prophets.
Verses 21 through 23 should be the most frightening part of scripture, especially for those of us in the Charismatic/Pentecostal world because the people whom He rejects and refutes claim to move in the Gifts of the Spirit. He never says that they are lying or that the Gifts are not of Him but their eternal rejection comes from their disobedient, sinful fleshly natures based on the internal “heart” of the matter and not their external actions.
Verses 24 and 25 show us the strength and soundness that comes from following these guidelines/warnings.
Verse 26 and 27 conversely show is the end result of disregarding these warnings.
Now that I have set the stage it’s time to open the “curtain”.
Matthew 7:15-20 is our warning regarding those who are causing dissension and agitation among the flock. Wolves will try to scare and scatter the sheep from a distance hoping that the less experienced or younger ones will run. That way they can separate them from the flock and get them away from the watchful eyes of the Shepherd or His sheepdogs. A Good Shepherd and well trained, loyal sheepdogs will not allow this to happen and, more often than not, will go after the wolves in a preemptive strike to drive them off or destroy them.
Wolves are predators and their nature is to find the weakest or slowest of the flock that wanders away from the protection or covering. Wolves in sheep’s clothing, as verse 15, refers to are “ravenous” in that they are looking to pluck or steal away the sheep by force if they have to. They appear outwardly as to being like the other sheep but it’s inwardly that their true nature is found. We cannot assume anyone is what they are simply because of appearance. Their actions produce a result that lets us know if they are sheep or wolf. Hence, it’s by their “fruit” that we know them.
An Apple Tree is not an Apple Tree because we call it an Apple Tree. It’s an Apple Tree because it produces apples. When we see an Apple Tree we expect to find apples. If we see someone who claims to be a Christian we should expect to see “Christ-like” behavior or choices. If we see things like back stabbing criticism, haughtiness, arrogance, promotion of dissension and, at worse, attempting to defame or destroy others we should realize that this is not of the Lord and therefore “wolf” in nature.
Wolves are easy to spot if you know the signs. They tend to inspire petty arguments over meaningless things or theories that have no bearing on someone’s eternity. They take stands against others that have no scriptural merit and when confronted offer no Biblical defense. They are the “clouds” that Jude refer to in verse 12 and clearly indicate their inspiration is demonic and from the fallen angels. It makes perfect sense to me that the origins of this effort began in Genesis Chapter 3 and 6 because many of the wolves I see are trying to scatter the flock to cover up the actions of the angelic participants of Chapters 3 & 6. The winds of dissension and criticism they create attempts cause the flock to scatter or separate.
Some of these “wolves” come as Matthew 7 indicates in the form of religious or spiritual leaders. When exposed they will point the finger and claim you have a “religious spirit”. The fact is the religious spirit is theirs and it has a name. I call it the Spirit of Caiaphas. The Spirit of the Great Shepherd inspires us to leave the many to save the one. The Spirit of Caiaphas claims to destroy the one person/sheep for the sake of the others but really has a self-serving interest in the outcome.
As a sheepdog for the Great Shepherd I have an intense dislike for wolves and what they do to the flock; especially the baby lambs who know no better and are easily fooled. They do not know enough scripture or have enough experience in the church to know how to confront or call out these wolves and, worse, don’t have enough sense to run away from them the minute the sheep mouth opens and instead of a “bah” they get a “growl”.
How do you know who these wolves are that I am warning you about? You will have to seek the Lord and ask Him to reveal them to you. Or, examine the fruit of their efforts and actions to see for yourself who they are.
I fully intended to name names and call them out in this blog. However, as I said, I am a sheepdog not The Shepherd. I must heed His commands and wait for the eventual command that releases me to pounce on these wolves. His love is so great that He wants to save the foolish sheep that are following these wolves before destruction comes. Stop following so blindly and take a good “look” at their fruit. Are their teachings, choices or leadership bringing you sweet fruit or thorns & bristles? Remember, where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty. In His Presence is the fullness of joy. If there is no liberty or joy the Lord is not in it.
He will allow me to say this – I know who these wolves are, I know who the foolish sheep are and I know who the lead wolf is that stays hidden in the bushes. I know of the false sheep whose job it was to distract the sheepdog with false friendship and “treats”. I know your intentions and know whom you are targeting to attack and destroy. And, I know why. Your failed efforts have brought you out into the open and the specificity of the attack has given away the demonic inspiration behind it. Truly by your “fruit” you have been exposed.
If I know who you are the Great Shepherd knows too.
And, for that I say, woe unto you!
Richard J Grund
Sheepdog for the Great Shepherd