“Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act.”
Matthew 7:15-16 NLT
False prophets had been around for centuries. In the language of Jesus’ day, false prophets were pretenders or imposters, who robbed or extorted their followers. That sounds to me like counterfeit—an imitation of the real for the sake of deception.
Our world is full of such prophets today who tout ideas that sound like truth but are actually only half-truths. False prophets may seem harmless, yet their flowery words can easily entice people to head down destructive paths. No wonder Jesus warned us to beware—He wants to spare us from the pain we would experience on such a journey!
That’s why Jesus lovingly gave us a sure way to identify false prophets—not by their title or financial status, but by their fruit. What do their actions produce? Just as a good tree produces sweet fruit and a bad tree produces bitter fruit, so do people’s lives. If imposters or pretenders speak and act for their own gain, that self-focus will eventually produce rotten fruit, something nobody wants to taste!
Jesus tried to protect us from such scammers. However, I notice that Jesus did not tell us to judge them—He simply told us to identify them!
Identifying pretenders for the sake of protection is our business—
Judging them is GOD’s business!