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False Prophets in Sheep’s Clothing
Jesus warned His followers, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves” (Matthew 7:15). A true prophet is one who speaks for God. Correspondingly, a false prophet is one who pretends to be speaking for God when in truth he speaks only the evil ideas of his corrupt mind (Isaiah 30:10; Jeremiah 14:13–15; Ezekiel 13:2, 3).
The false prophets are those who teach that it is possible for men to enter the kingdom of God by the broad gate and the broad way. They lie. For this reason, Jesus calls them “thieves,” whose only purpose is to steal, to kill, and to destroy (John 10:7–10). False prophets wear sheep’s clothing. So, their likeness to the “sheep” is only external.
These evil men have no transformed lives, but only the appearance in order to deceive the sheep and lull them into a false sense of security in order to destroy them. These “wolves” are not only evil at heart, but they hate the truth and those who honor it (Zephaniah 3:3; Matthew 10:16; John 10:12). They are greedy for riches and power.
The prophet Jeremiah wrote about his experiences with the false prophets of his day (Jeremiah 27–29). And due to their evil work, the people of Israel were taken into captivity. Likewise, the prophet Micah denounced the false prophets. He showed that they were merely concerned with their own benefit. Instead of warning God’s children and calling sin by its name, they gave comforting messages of “Peace” (Micah 3:5-11). And in the New Testament the apostle Paul, Peter and John also warned the believers of the false prophets (Acts 20:28–31; 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 7; 2 Peter 2; 1 John 2:18, 19).
The Test of a False Prophet
The appealing messages of these false prophets are no evidence of their true character. Their colorful words and status are no good test of who they really are, nor can their deceptive miracles (Matthew 7: 22) be relied on. For they “secretly introduce destructive heresies,” “bring the way of truth into disrepute,” and “exploit you with fabricated stories” (2 Peter 2:1–3).
Thankfully, the Lord gives us the test by which we know if they are speaking the truth or not: “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there[a] is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20). If these teachers don’t uphold the law of God and the testimony of His prophets, then they are false teachers.
Also, Jesus gives the believers another test to discipleship, “Therefore by their fruits you will know them” (Matthew 7:20). Mere profession is worthless. He who claims to know God and yet disobeys His commandments “is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 John 2:4), irrespective of any good messages he may give. These false teachers “never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed” (2 Peter 3:14). These (2 Corinthians 11:15) resemble Satan himself, who masquerades as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14).
The genuine prophet is the one who performs the will of God when he learns of it. Faith in God must accompany actions. For “faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone” (James 2:17). Those who have heard God’s voice speaking to their hearts and yet continue in the evil paths “have no cloke for their sin” (John 15:22).
In the great time of trial that is soon coming upon the world, only those who know the truth and live by it will be able to resist the lies of Satan (Hosea 4:6; 2 Thessalonians 2:9, 10). Those who genuinely love God, are fully surrendered to His will, and obey him, should have no fear of being deceived by false prophets
In His service,