(Matthew 7:15) 15 “Be on the watch for the false prophets that come to YOU in sheep’s covering, but inside they are ravenous wolves.
Until reading this today, I had failed to notice that the ravenous wolves are false prophets. Now “prophet” in those days meant more than ‘foreteller of future events’. The Samaritan woman perceived Jesus to be a prophet even though he had not foretold the future, but only things of the present and past that he couldn’t have otherwise known had it not been revealed to him by God. So prophet refers to one who reveals things from God, or who speaks inspired utterances. A false prophet, therefore, would be one to pretends to speak things revealed by God to him. (John 4:19)
Now the way to recognize these ravenous wolves is by their fruits not their behavior. Obviously, these men can hide their true nature very well; but they cannot hide the fruits they produce.
(Matthew 7:16-20) . . .By their fruits YOU will recognize them. Never do people gather grapes from thorns or figs from thistles, do they? 17 Likewise every good tree produces fine fruit, but every rotten tree produces worthless fruit; 18 a good tree cannot bear worthless fruit, neither can a rotten tree produce fine fruit. 19 Every tree not producing fine fruit gets cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Really, then, by their fruits YOU will recognize those [men].
There is no way of knowing if a fruit tree is good or bad until the harvest time. Even as the fruit is growing, one doesn’t know whether it will be good or not. Only when the fruit is ripe will anyone—any average Joe or Jane—be able to tell if it is good or bad.
The false prophets hide their true nature. We have no idea they are “ravenous wolves”. However, after enough time goes by—possibly years or decades—the harvest arrives and the fruit is ripe for the picking.
I am constantly amazed by the depth of wisdom Jesus was able to pack into just a few well-chosen words. He has done just that with these six short verses recorded by Matthew.
We all know men who purport to be prophets, revealers of God’s will. These men give the appearance of godly devotion. Are they true prophets or false prophets? Are they sheep or ravenous wolves? Will they lead us to Christ or devour us?
No one should answer that question for you. Why would you take someone’s word for it, when all you have to do is taste the fruit to know. The fruit does not lie.
Its interesting meleti that in the parallel account at luke 6 V 43 to 45 the fruits have to do with the things that are spoken by these people and that reveals what is in their heart also the context of both accounts warn of the tendency to be judgemental and critical of others which may give us another indication of poor fruit especially if we practice the very same things we have condemned others for and i personally believe god judges individuals god will not condemn any entity but the men at the helm the mouth piece if they… Read more »
“I am constantly amazed by the depth of wisdom Jesus was able to pack into just a few well-chosen words.” Yes, very well said. Jesus words are so well chosen and I am starting to see that more and more as I try to read the bible for myself. One of my favourites is Matt 24:35 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.” 1) If that isn’t a prophecy fulfilled to this day, then I don’t know what is! Jesus speaks a prophecy within a prophecy to confirm another prophecy! 2) he also says… Read more »
Matthew 7:16-20 – for a long time a brother and I could not get our heads around this (when we thought that JW’s were the true religion), but the words of Jesus are very emphatic and clear. A good tree CANNOT produce rotten fruits. Now ask yourself, which Christian organisation does NOT produce rotten fruit? They ALL do, to a lesser or greater extent. Therefore, ALL Christian denominations must be in line to be cut down.Will Jesus overlook JW’s? Well with the countless child molestation cases, murders, adultery etc I think we are as much in line to be cut… Read more »
I found your comment very interesting and I have had similar thoughts of my own. Being raised a witness, I honestly think it has it’s pluses. But as strong as some of those plus points may be, they haven’t proved enough for me. So, I look around and I see the thousands of Christian denominations – and I realise I will never in a lifetime be able to look into them all. Still, I tried to look at as many as seemed necessary, to improve my knowledge if nothing else (silver lining). I review websites, videos, etc. Some have doctrines… Read more »
I tried reading the Bible once as a kid but got bored. The district convention on God’s Word is Truth bothered me, because there we were told that truth doesn’t change. I had a chance to attend a special convention with a GB member present and while I was thoroughly impressed by the brotherhood, I was disturbed by the organizational propaganda. I also knew that corporate policy was what prevailed in my congregation and not true love. I decided to begin reading the Bible alone and without any WT publications. I also used the JW library phone app to compare… Read more »
That is a powerful scripture . I enjoyed the comments on that scripture as well. It is amazing that the situations that befall all Christians ( non JW alike) Jesus had the foresight and knowledge to be able to help us today in our service to God. I never applied this scripture to JW’s . I believed like many of us that it was foretold that a great apostasy would occur ( and it has) and that JW’s emerged out of that dark era as true Christianity (based on the consideration the Revelation book ). Now that I look back… Read more »
Unlike you, I never got into the habit of reading the daily text. My parents never did it, and so I didn’t form the habit at an early age. Even when I started pioneering and “made the truth my own”, I wasn’t able to get into the habit, though I did try several times. Likewise, I never prepared for the midweek meeting. I have trouble studying things I already know. My mind wanders. It has made it difficult to follow public talks since they are rarely interesting nor cover anything that hasn’t been covered many times before. So I will… Read more »
Daily Bible reading is a good habit to develop. I read chapters of the bible every other day . I have always been overwhelmed with keeping up with the WT’s and Awakes, Studying for the meetings , FS, daily text reading new releases , and the yearbook. I can honestly say I did it more out of routine and the fear of falling behind the ever moving “celestial chariot”. Additionally, the information I studied made for good conversations in FS and I could answer the question , “ Did you get a chance to read the new wt or the… Read more »
Don’t feel bad about not reading the days text. That is the number one thing a person HAS to do, if they are to break free from the mental shackles of the WT. You see in my opinion the Days Text is only there to reinforce teachings of the WT. This has the effect of undermining whatever you may come to realise about the teachings of the Society. In my case the end result was cognitive dissonance. I found that I was able to make more sense of the Bible after I stopped reading the Days Text, because I didn’t… Read more »
That $0.02 is very valuable to me! Thanks imjustasking for the suggestion. I did not realize how perfunctory my worship had become. I don’t believe worship is the right word for what I have been doing all these years … service? Sacred service defined by the GB . I believed that devoting most of my time in Field Service, stellar mtg attendance and studying the bible w/ publications was the way to salvation. My prayers were mostly that Jehovah could help me accomplish those things. Instead of attempting meticulously follow the organization’s rules/principles/laws, I pray that I can concentrate on… Read more »