In Matthew 7:15 Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.” And in verse 20 He says again, “Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”
Many times, the Bible warns us of false prophets. God warns us because He loves us and He does not want us to be led away by false teaching and the greed of men. He wants us to only know the truth and to only listen to His true prophets.
It may not seem important to some, in the day that we live in, to be concerned with false prophets. After all how can they hurt us? How can false prophets and false teachers hurt a Christian?
Some people think false prophets are those who cause their followers to shave their heads and commit murders. There are those who think false prophets are those who gather together their followers and drink poisoned Kool-aid. Others think that leaders who teach their followers to store guns and food for the great war are the false prophets mentioned in the Bible. Well, they may be false leaders and they may use the name of Jesus, but they are not exactly the ones Jesus is referring to here in Matthew 7.
In the last days, there will be many false prophets, apostles, teachers, and brethren, and they will be led by their master, Satan. In 2 Corinthians 11:13-14, we are given some insight into their method of operation. It says, “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light, therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness whose end will be according to their works.”
Second Peter 2:1 is another verse that sheds some light on false prophets saying, “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.”
Many other scriptures refer to these counterfeit people, but here are two points that are extremely important.
1) These false prophets and false teachers will not appear to be false.
Second Corinthians 11:13 says that these leaders will appear to be righteous individuals who appear to radiate the light of Jesus. They will be so camouflaged that many will follow them. But that should not be.
Jesus said that His sheep would know His voice and another they will not follow (John 10:3-5, 27). We need to listen to the voice of Jesus daily (in our hearts) as He speaks to us through the voice of His Holy Spirit. Then when the false prophet comes along stealing, killing, and destroying, we will not be led astray because we will know that the voice is another voice and not the voice of the great shepherd, Jesus (v. 10).
2) They will teach false doctrine.
Without the true Word of God being taught, faith will not grow. With undeveloped faith we will not be as effective in our witnessing and we will not be walking in the promises of God. Instead, we will be walking in the problems and the ways of the world. And that’s what Satan wants for you and me.
Let me give you a word of caution. Be aware that false prophets, teachers, and apostles are in the world. But don’t get goofy and go on a false prophet hunt. Be aware of the negative, but walk in the positive.