Matthew 7:15 NASB
Beware¹ of the false prophets²,
who come to you in sheep’s clothing,
but inwardly³ are ravenous⁴ wolves⁵.
¹) Beware – Προσέχετε (Prosechete) – To hold the mind towards, i.e. Pay attention to, be cautious about.
²) False prophets – ψευδοπροφητῶν (pseudoprophētōn) – A pseudo prophet; a spurious prophet, i.e. Pretended foreteller or religious impostor.
³) Inwardly – ἔσωθεν (esōthen) – From inside.
⁴) Ravenous – ἅρπαγες (harpages) – Rapacious, ravenous; a robber, an extortioner.
⁵) Wolves – λύκοι (lykoi) – A wolf, of perhaps a jackal; often applied to persons of wolfish proclivities.
Beware of the false prophets, [teachers] who come to you dressed as sheep [appearing gentle and innocent], but inwardly are ravenous wolves.
King James Bible
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Literal Standard Version
But take heed of the false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, and inwardly are ravenous wolves
Beware of false prophets
Who in their preaching describe a broad way to heaven: it is their prophesying, their teaching the broad way, that is here chiefly spoken of.
All those are false prophets who teach any other way than that which our Lord hath here marked out.
While most of us are thinking of the teachers that are outside our assembly, let us not forget that we all have within us a false prophet, the most insidious, and therefore the most dangerous of all.
Who come to you in sheep’s clothing
With a form of godliness and fair professions of love;
But inwardly they are ravening wolves
Not feeding but destroying souls; feeding themselves by the destruction of the flock.
“A wolf in sheep’s clothing,” says Doddridge, is “grown into a proverb for a wicked man that makes a great profession of religion, yet cannot dissemble so well as not to be discovered by attentive observation; which was just the character of the Pharisees in our Saviour’s days.”
There have always been a lot of people who thought they had learned the wisdom in the spiritual realm, and who interpreted their own words for those of the words of God.
They are prophets, but false prophets.
Sometimes we can discover that falsehood quickly, but sometimes they can also hide it under a veil that seems to resemble the truth.
The Lord Jesus shows us these prophets, as they were then, and always will be, as with a strong stroke of the pen.
He says they look like lovely and friendly sheep outwardly, but he who is given to look closely will discover a wolf nature underneath the outward appearances.
And the nature of a wolf has the mark that he wants to devour.
They don’t get that from just anyone. For their prince is the father of lies, and he is said to go about seeking whom he may devour.
It is the devil always to do to work out the destruction of man, and therefore he also instructs his servants to do so.
Blessed is the man who has received discernment from the Lord, and turns to the one and true Prophet, the Christ, Who is always in for our salvation.
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