"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's
clothing, but inwardly they are
ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits." Matthew 7:15, 16.
Christ warned His disciples that false Christs and false prophets shall arise. They would teach many and varied doctrines some of which would be deceptive and false leading many people away from the truth. Some will show great signs and wonders and these will be done so convincingly that unless God’s elect people are on guard, even they will be deceived by them.
"And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. … Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." Matthew 24:11, 23, 24.
Paul in writing to Timothy tells us what men in the last days will be like:
"For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." 2 Timothy 3:2-5.
These texts are not talking about those who don’t believe in God. No! They are talking about people who profess to be Christians. We know this because they have a form of godliness. They may go to church, and do some Christian like acts, but they also have the other characteristics spoken of here. They have the works of the flesh manifesting in their lives.
"Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." Galatians 5:19-23.
Here we see the works of the flesh contrasted with the fruit of the Spirit which we should see in any prophet’s life. Note a couple very important words in these texts – works and fruit. The first word "works" is plural showing that the flesh can manifest one or some of these characteristics. The second word "fruit" is singular showing that what the Spirit produces in us is all of these things combined. We may have one more than another, but if we have the Holy Spirit dwelling in our hearts and minds we will develop all of them.
Christ explained further:-
"Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." Matthew 7:16-21.
Not everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will make it into God’s kingdom. Only those who do the will of God will enter in. God’s will is written in His Holy Law and can only be kept by loving Him.
Not only are we to look out for false prophets in the last days, but according to Acts 2:17 & 18 we are to expect true prophets also. The Holy Spirit will be poured out upon young men and women giving them dreams, visions, and prophesies. So we need to test them all by their fruits and according to Isaiah 8:20, "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them."
© S. D. Goeldner, February, 2013. Last updated August, 2017.
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