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Institute in Basic Life Principles

Command 20 : Beware of False Prophets | Day 134

Recognize the Nature of Wolves!

A wolf is a strong, aggressive, and rapacious beast of the wilderness. It continually searches for weaker prey and is relentless in tracking it down. A hungry wolf can be a ferocious foe. When caught, a wolf's victim is likely to be torn to pieces. A wolf may use craftiness to get near its prey, but its conquest is a bold act of violence.

One wolf can be dangerous, and a pack of wolves is tenacious and treacherous. They take turns biting the legs of a fleeing elk or larger animal until finally, due to weakness and loss of blood, it collapses to become their next victim. Thus, Jesus commands:

Command Twenty: “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits ...” (Matthew 7:15-16).

The first characteristic of these "wolves" is that they approach the flock of God under the pretense of religion. They claim to be messengers of God, yet they are diviners of lies, “saying, Thus saith the Lord GOD, when the LORD hath not spoken” (Ezekiel 22:28).

The second distinctive is that these wolves take every possible measure to be accepted by unsuspecting believers, often arising out of their midst. They look like them, talk like them, and act like them, but they do not think like them, nor do they have the power of God's Spirit in them.

The Greek word for wolf is lukos, which means "whitish hair [covering]." It comes from leukos, which means "white." This matches the sheep's clothing and the warning of Paul: “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light” (II Corinthians 11:13-14).

The third mark of a wolf's nature is its ravenous appetite. Its persistent hunger drives it on a continual search for new victims. Paul gives a further description: “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts” (II Timothy 3:5-6). Paul recognized such wolves among his own followers and stated:

“For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock” (Acts 20:29).

Paul continued, “Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch ...” (Acts 20:30-31).

Dads, are you watching? Do you know what to look for? Are you allowing or even welcoming into your home false messengers who, under the guise of religious talk, music, entertainment, magazines, etc., are drawing away the hearts of your sons and daughters to themselves?

This is a matter of life and death! Let's follow Paul's example in shepherding those whom God has placed in our care by teaching them God's Word so that they are well grounded in truth and able to recognize and escape the deceptive and deadly intentions of wolves.

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matthew 7:15).

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Contributing writer: Bill Gothard