15 "Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's
clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 "You will know them by
their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from
thistles, are they? 17 "So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad
tree bears bad fruit. 18 "A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can
a bad tree produce good fruit. 19 "Every tree that does not bear good
fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 "So then, you will know
them by their fruits.
Jesus describes a type
of human being here, where the outwardly and the inwardly
contradict. Can you
imagine natures further apart from each other, than the sheep and
the wolf's! But the outwardly is only a sheep's clothing, He says:
"- but inwardly are.."(v.15b).
They do not split in a way that they are equal parts
at the same time, like two sides with the same nature/personality. But
is one of them completely while the other is only a role they play.
How the human being is on
the inside, is how he really is. Not what he at all times
achieves outwardly. And then, when your real inwardly self is the wolfs,
it will soon demand its right and satisfaction. Simply it is just not
normal for a wolf to act like a sheep.
This is also what Jesus points to here - their inwardly will soon be
visible in the outwardly.
What kind of
does Jesus speak about here?
It may be several types of utterances here and we will
try to get to it. Jesus has immediately before this, spoken about
the narrow path, something he also points at in Luke 14:33, where
then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his
There is hardly anything which is so against the wolf’s/predators
nature than to give up anything of his own. It has on the contrary his
ferocity as his particular mark. And it is possibly first and foremost
by this the false prophets reveal themselves.
It is pretty significant that they appear just as prophets, teachers and
leaders. They would never be content to just be ordinary Christians.
They will push and force themselves up and forth by the help of
seductive and flattering speech and pure misuse of power - just
considering what is easiest for them at the moment, with the intention
of achieving their goal. Always having their eyes fixed on the best
themselves can get the greatest profit on behalf of the congregation.
All in all, they will aim at the best and most highly esteemed seats.
Their glare can be big and shiny and they will even be able to do
mighty works in the name of Jesus, speak prophetic (to comfort and to
edification), and to exorcise evil spirits (set the tormented free)
It is worth noticing that Jesus says this in connection with our
text, and it is worth noticing that He starts by saying: “Beware…!”
exactly because of the sheep fur, the glare that so easily blinds us.
These proceed as
strong Christian leaders, who always
where the road leads at
all time. And when they - next to having a particular spiritual
authority - also do a lot of good deeds, it is not easy to reveale who
It will also be a difficult task for the members of the congregation
to reveal them, when most of them probably will not understand it.
Having this said, it is important to mention the Word of Jesus in Luke
14:33, and for example John the baptizer’s index finger who pointed away
from himself, to Jesus: “Look, the Lamb of God who carries all the sin
of the world.”
This will be impossible for the fake Christian, totally against his
nature, without as a move in a game of strategy.
But the greedy nature will not really be able to hide, but will push
itself forth in all sorts of contexts, because a bad tree
bear good fruit, as Jesus
says?. Also notice the opposite, you who struggle yourself with bearing
good fruit for God: ”A good tree
produce bad fruit.” (v.18a).
Your old nature is the way it is and will have its manifestations in
you, but what Jesus have laid down in you by His Word and His Spirit,
will bear the exactly kind of fruit that he intended.
But the bad tree has to - according to its bad
- bear bad fruit. It will occur a restlessness and discord around these
people; people will get hurt, wounded, put outside, made suspicious, put
up against each other, split apart and spread around. A sign that Jesus
also points to in John 10:12b, as a visible evidence that the wolf makes
havoc in the flock: “- and
the wolf snatches them and scatters them.”
There are two things mentioned here that the wolf does: He
them, which means that by bringing something on the side or in addition
to what is already given them in Jesus - something that is given an over
exaggerated meaning - he weakens and robs them bit by bit, what they
have in common, the real foundation, the word of Jesus, the word about
the Cross. And by this “significant” he himself brings inn, he divides
them and they are
The “significant” he brings in, is in reality a tool to create space for
himself and his own, something that does not show easily in the
beginning, because it is probably disguised by his compassion for the
different sides of the Word of God. Need for the unsaved and so on.., but
he takes Jesus place with the believers, and therefore reveals himself
as an antichrist.
That they in reality take Jesus place with the believers they often try
to disguise under something like the ministry of a “pastor” or the
ministry of a “prophet” and so on.
There is always something hidden and covered by the servants of
Satan, as it is by Satan himself. Therefore Jesus also says “Beware!” in
this context, exactly when they will perceive as something else than
what they really are (v.15).
There is one more thing which will do this hard for us; namely the
fact that every true Christian are going to create a division, as Jesus
The difference is that he will never create division and
difficulties, to accomplish something for himself, but he does it to
expose the honor of
in the congregation. Because he presents the righteousness of faith
the honor of Jesus
on the expense of the human being’s
- what needs to be
to be His disciple - both regarding the salvation and the sanctification
and so on.
will meet opposition to anyone who has not had a confrontation with
the self righteous spirit and is satisfied with God’s indescribable
gift (2 Cor. 9:15), Jesus Christ,
Nor will he want to (and especially not in our time), achieve
an advanced place in the congregation, but will rather be where the
persecuted are, and especially the disregarded. But He is a branch
on the good tree, Jesus, and therefore he bears good fruit. First
and foremost that He presents the Word of Life (Phil. 2:16a), and
will shine among them
(the gentiles) as a light in the world (Phil. 2:15b).
The false prophet on the
contrary is a very (false/seductive) light.
Both of these have
existed in the world since Kain and Abel walked on earth. And it will
according to the Word of Jesus appear a lot of the bad kind in the last
days, just before the end of this world in its present condition. It is
the devils last furious thrust when he knows that he only has limited
time left (Rev. 12:12).
Let the difficulty to see through this - as it is the cunning snake who
is swiftly moving about - undress all faith in your own and be driven
towards Jesus as helpless and little as you in reality are in this
context, so He can give you eyes to see with -
and above all
to see who and how He is.
Then you will not follow the strangers (devils) voice so quickly (John
Holy Bible New American Standard
Translator: Benedicte H.Smart