Beware of False Prophets

Matthew 7: 15-20
2 Kgs 22:8-13;23:1-3 / Ps 119

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.
(Matthew 7:15-16)

Don’t be deceived by flowery speech,
Or bible verses they know so well;
Fruits of their work, and not what they teach
Tell us the truth, or lead us to hell.

Jesus said to His disciples, “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 thornbushes, 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

In today’s Gospel, our Lord emphasized the danger of falling prey to charlatans whose devious schemes can bring disaster to our souls (not to mention our pockets). Thousands of “Christian” denominations have proliferated all over the world bearing witness to the accuracy of our Lord’s prophecy. The principle of the separation of church and state has given rise to so many ‘propheteers’ who have seen the opportunity of making millions of tax-free money, with just a little charisma and a good memory for verses in the Bible. Multitudes of people all over the world in search of an “alternative religion” or a more modern church are simply ripe pickings for these wolves. Instead of repentance, they preach the “prosperity principle” of tithing and love offerings for the salvation of souls.

Jesus, however, tells us that we can recognize these false prophets by their fruit (or lack of it). Of course our Lord tells us not to be judgmental, but cautions us to be more discerning in choosing the leaders that we can trust. The “fruit” that we can recognize are the good examples that they have shown – in shepherding and in stewardship. Are they leading others to Christ, or to themselves alone? How well are they managing the resources that have been entrusted to them? St. Paul had warned about these false prophets in his letter to Timothy: “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, Hare Krishna, etc. These modern-day cults share common techniques of disorientation and mind control (meditation), that disillusioned Christians find attractive. Their mental techniques and tenets promise self-control and tranquility, 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 a supreme being. But the clearest proof that this movement comes from the Prince of Lies is its teaching that there is no need to strive for holiness because God loves you no matter what you do. According to its adherents, sin is just a human weakness that God in all His goodness will tolerate if not forgive. This clearly contradicts God’s Word that we find in Psalm 5:5-6: “You are not a God who delights in evil… you hate all who do iniquity.”

Let God’s Word in the Bible be our guide: “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)

We have been sufficiently warned about false prophets. Writers in both the Old and the New Testament have written about them on this earth. They will be around deceiving millions until the Second Coming of Christ. As members of the true Church instituted by Jesus Christ, let us pray that God our Father will protect us from the evil influence of these false prophets in our midst.

Dear God, send us 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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