“‘Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves’” (Matthew 7:15).
False prophets are not simply wrong teachers, propagating a different philosophy or alternative theology. They are spiritually dangerous and we should not expose our souls and minds to their perverse, poisonous influence. These purveyors of error and heresy are spiritual beasts and far more deadly than any physical ones. Peter warns that they are “like unreasoning animals. . . . reveling in their deceptions . . . enticing unstable souls” (2 Peter 2:12, 13, 14; cf. Jude 10). Therefore, perfectly understanding all this, Jesus’ admonition to “beware of the false prophets” is not merely a mention of something but a warning to be on guard against and keep our minds away from what is spiritually harmful.
For the benefit of His listeners, it was natural for Jesus to compare false prophets with wolves. In Palestine, wolves roamed the landscape seeking to prey upon stray or lagging sheep. When a wolf found a defenseless sheep, it attacked quickly and tore the sheep to pieces. Just like those merciless and ferocious animals, false teachers are always seeking new victims.
Jude’s letter warns against false prophets and tells how we can safeguard ourselves against them: “Keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life” (v. 21). Our first priority is to be right with the Lord, living in a place of divine fellowship and sound teaching. Then we can warn others of false prophets and carefully rescue them from the damning influences (Jude 22–23).
Are there any spiritual half-truths that have worked on you in the past? How did they prove to be wolf-like after tricking their way into your thinking?
From Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, Vol. 1, John MacArthur. Copyright © 2008.