“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit”. (Matthew 7:15-17)

false prophets. These deceive not by disguising themselves as sheep, but by impersonating true shepherds. They promote the wide gate and the wide way. sheep’s clothing. This may refer to the woolen attire that was the characteristic garb of a shepherd.

Commentary from John MacArthur

It is nearly always the case that false prophets will attract avowed unbelievers as well as nominal and carnal believers. He appeals to the natural man and carefully avoids anything that is offensive to man’s proud, fallen nature. He makes a point of being attractive, likeable, and of giving no offense.

A second area in which a false prophet can be judged is that of doctrine. Superficially what he teaches may seem biblical and orthodox, but careful examination will always reveal ideas that are unscriptural and the absence of a strong, clear theology. False ideas will be taught, or at least important truths will be omitted. Frequently there will be a combination of both. Eventually the fruit will show a tree for what it is, because a good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.

Excerpt from John MacArthur sermon “What Are the Marks of a False Teacher”?