Prophets or Profiteers?

Matthew 7:15-20
2 Kings 22:8 -23:1-3 / Ps 119

By their fruits you will know them.
(Matthew 7:20)

May the Lord God help me to find
A true prophet who speaks the Truth;
May God’s Word help my heart and mind
To recognize him by his fruit.

“Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath they are ravenous wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruits you will recognize them.” (Matthew 7:15-20)

Reflection

Jesus warned us about them, charlatans who use God’s gift of communication skills for selfish gain. Many have been misled by these ‘modern prophets’ with their glib tongues and flair for the dramatic. Their proficiency in memorizing verses in the Bible give them the confidence to draw out “tithes” and “love offerings” from the wallets of their members, promising them “the floodgates of heaven to pour down blessings upon you without measure” (Mal.3:10). They blatantly use the Word of God to enrich themselves. But their temporal wealth and power will reserve for them a special place in damnation. “By their fruits you will know them.”

In his second letter to Timothy, St. Paul had warned about false prophets and their heretical teachings: “For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine; but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth, and will be diverted to myths” (2 Tim. 4:3-4). This prophecy is now evident in such popular “New Age” religions like the Unification Church, Scientology, “The Name Above Every Name”, Hare Krishna, etc.

These modern-day cults share common techniques of disorientation and mind control (meditation, TM), and usually attract disillusioned Christians and anti-traditionalists. Their meditation techniques and tenets promise self-control and tranquility, and are drawn from a mixture of eastern mysticism, psychology, and enough Christian doctrine to fool their recruits. This New Age Movement boasts that its leaders have a very intimate relationship with God and they experience visions, encounters and conversations with the Supreme Being. But the clearest ‘fruit’ that this movement comes from the Prince of Lies is its teaching that there is no need to strive for righteousness or holiness because God loves you no matter what you do. According to these false prophets, sin is a natural human weakness that God in His goodness has already forgiven. This is a clear contradiction of God’s Word that says, “You are not a God who delights in evil… you hate all who do iniquity” (Psalm 5:5-6).

Let St. Paul, God’s true prophet be our guide. He said, “Even if an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel other than the one which you have received from us, let him be accursed.” (Gal.1:8) “Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, whether by word, or by our epistle” (2 Thess. 2:15). The Word of God has warned us repeatedly about these “wolves in sheep’s clothing”. Writers in both the Old and the New Testament have written about many false prophets on this earth. They will be around for a time, deceiving multitudes until the Second Coming of Christ. As members of the Communion of Saints, let us pray for the intercession of our prophets and saints in heaven that God our Father will protect us from the evil influence of these false prophets in our land.

Dear God, help us to fiind true prophets to counter the false; true leaders to show us the right ways in following Your will. May Your judgment fall swiftly on the anti-christs who are leading so many away from Your kingdom. Amen.

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