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False prophets (5578) (pseudoprophetes from pseudes = false, untrue + prophetes = prophet) who teach any other way than that our Lord has clearly marked out in this passage. These men (1) claim to be a prophet from God and (2) utter falsehoods under the name of divine prophecies. This term pseudoprophetes also refers to a specific historical individual (who is yet to be revealed) who will be the "front man" for the Antichrist in the end times (see Rev16:13-note; Rev 19:20-note. Rev 20:10-note). Below is a description of the False Prophet (from Tony Garland's highly recommended literal interpretation of the Revelation = A Testimony of Jesus Christ) The False Prophet is the second beast which John sees which comes up out of the earth having two horns like a lamb and who spoke like a dragon (Rev. 13:11-note). His appearance is benign, like that of a lamb, but his prophecies and commands have their source in the devil. This is why Scripture refers to him as the “False Prophet” (Rev. 19:20-note; Rev 20:10-note). The False Prophet performs great signs and miracles which are used to witness to the Beast from which he derives his power. “He exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast” (Rev. 13:12-note). He causes those on the earth to worship the Beast and to make an image to the beast (Rev. 13:14-note). He is even granted power “to give breath to the image of the beast” (Rev. 13:15-note). It appears that the miracles he performs are genuine, but what they attest to is false. It is the False Prophet who causes all men to receive a mark in order to be able to buy or sell (Rev. 13:16, 17-note). Along with the dragon and the Beast, he forms an anti-trinity wherein the dragon occupies a position like that of the Father, the Beast like that of the Son, and the False Prophet like that of the Holy Spirit, but testifies to the false son . All three are the source of demons which gather the kings of the earth to battle (Rev 16:13,14-note). (See Campaign of Armageddon) Both the False Prophet and the Beast are taken at the Second Coming of Christ and cast into the Lake of Fire as its first populace (Rev. 19:20-note). They are still there one thousand years later when joined by the devil (Rev. 20:10-note). No doubt the False Prophet plays a key role in the deception which Paul described in his letter to the church at Thessalonica: The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2Th. 2:9-12) [emphasis added] He is an instrument of both the dragon and the Beast, but ultimately of God. See Symbols of Kingdoms See commentary on Revelation 13:11. (A Testimony of Jesus Christ - False Prophet) Related Resources: See ISBE article on False Prophesying. See below for multiple Scriptures related to false prophets False prophets are not just wrong but are very dangerous (cf "savage wolves" Acts 20:28, 29, 30), and one should not expose their minds (Remember: The battle is not as much physical as it is mental, so the battlefield is our mind and the great divine weapon is His Word and Sword of Truth, Ep 6:17-note, [2Co 6:7, Col 1:5-note, 2Ti 2:15-note, Jas 1:18-note]) to their false message because they inevitably pervert (Acts 20:30- where "perverse" = to turn or twist the truth throughout and) distort their listener's thinking and poison their souls. False prophets are more deadly than physical wolves and other predators, because they can kill not just the body but the soul. Pseudoprophetes - 11x in 11v Matthew 7:15-note "Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. Matthew 24:11 "Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Matthew 24:24 "For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. Mark 13:22 for false Christs and false prophets will arise, and will show signs and wonders, in order to lead astray, if possible, the elect. Luke 6:26 "Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way. Acts 13:6 When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they found a magician, a Jewish false prophet whose name was Bar-Jesus, 2 Peter 2:1-note But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. 1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. Revelation 16:13-note And I saw coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs; Revelation 19:20-note And the beast was seized, and with him the false prophet who performed the signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image; these two were thrown alive into the lake of fire which burns with brimstone. Revelation 20:10-note And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Pseudoprophetes - 10x in the Septuagint (LXX) - Zech 13:2; Jer 6:13; 8" class="scriptRef">33:7, 8, 11, 16; 34:9; 35:1; 36:1, 8 (Note that preponderance of uses are in Jeremiah who is prophesying before, during and after the fall of Jerusalem. How interesting that Jesus predicts false prophets will arise in the "last" of the last days, just before the true Prophet [Dt 18:15] returns as King of kings, Rev 19:16) Kistemaker mentions some specific ploys of modern day false teachers... “Heaven and hell are myths.” “The God of love will not permit anyone to be punished everlastingly.” “Satan is a myth.” “Sin is sickness. It has nothing to do with guilt. Get rid of your guilt-complex.” “An individual is not responsible for his own so-called sins. The blame, if there is any, rests on the parents or on society.” “In many situations what used to be considered sin is not really that at all.” These men claim to speak in His Name ("thus saith the Lord"), ostensibly setting forth the way of God, which in fact is not the true way but a pseudo-way which leads the listener away from God not to Him. The appear harmless like sheep, some of the most harmless animals known. Their inward character is that like insatiably hungry wolves who always seek to further their own interests at the expense of the flock. The outward appearance of these men belies their sinister inward character, which is why Jesus' next instruction in Mt 7:16 is so critical. Peter warns that false prophets and false teachers are like unreasoning animals, born as creatures of instinct to be captured and killed, reviling where they have no knowledge, will in the destruction of those creatures also be destroyed, suffering wrong as the wages of doing wrong. They count it a pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are stains and blemishes, reveling in their deceptions, as they carouse with you, having eyes full of adultery and that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children; forsaking the right way they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness, but he received a rebuke for his own transgression; for a dumb donkey, speaking with a voice of a man, restrained the madness of the prophet. These are springs without water, and mists driven by a storm, for whom the black darkness has been reserved. For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved. For if after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment delivered to them. It has happened to them according to the true proverb, "A DOG RETURNS TO ITS OWN VOMIT," and, "A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire." (see notes 2Pe 2:12-13, 14, 15-16, 17, 18, 19, 20-21, 22) They preach a so-called "gospel" of self-indulgence which is an utterly different message than Jesus proclaimed in the sermon on the mount. The gate of pride, of self-righteousness, and self-satisfaction is the wide gate of the world, not the narrow gate of God! Pink comments that “False prophets are to be found in the circles of the most orthodox, and they pretend to have a fervent love for souls, yet they fatally delude multitudes concerning the way of salvation. The pulpit, platform, and pamphlet hucksters have wantonly lowered the standard of divine holiness and so adulterated the Gospel in order to make it palatable to the carnal mind.” The Disciple's Study Bible notes that... False prophets plague the church because they can easily deceive with false claims and mighty works (Mt 7:22; 24:24; Re 19:20). To recognize false prophets, the ordinary Christian must examine the way they live and their message. Do their behavior and character conform to Christ and His teaching? Do they proclaim only what people want to hear that makes life easy and pleasurable while ignoring the demanding and difficult requirements of discipleship? (Disciple's Study Bible) Jesus predicted that in the last days... false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. Behold, I have told you in advance. (Mt 24:24,25) False prophets use orthodox language, show biblical piety, and can be almost indistinguishable from true prophets. Since false prophets are so deceptive, how then can they be identified? The answer is that it is in the nature of false prophets to deceive and deny their true character. They can even deceive themselves, believing they are sheep when in fact they are ravenous wolves. They frequently disclose their true nature as ravenous wolves by what they do not affirm. In other words, they are identified not so much by what they say as by what they do not say. They say "Lord, Lord" and thus do not openly deny Jesus’ divinity, His substitutionary atonement, the depravity and lostness of man, the reality and penalty of sin, the destiny of hell for unbelievers, the need for repentance, humility, and submission to God, and other such “negative” and uncomfortable truths. They simply ignore them. Beware of such "prophets" is Jesus' resonating warning! False prophets includes those elsewhere referred to as false brothers (&2Co 11:26&), false apostles (&2Co 11:13&), false teachers (&2Pe 2:1&), false speakers, that is, liars (&1Ti 4:2&), false witnesses (&Mt. 26:60&), and false Christs (&Mt 24:24&). Moses explained how to identify false prophets writing that... "If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, 'Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them (a clear marker of their false nature),' you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams (dreams were a common means of divine revelation, which made the Israelites vulnerable to one who would claim such divine revelation, especially if accompanied by signs or wonders); for (Moses explains why God allowed false prophets some measure of "success") the LORD your God is testing (Hebrew word conveys idea of testing or proving the quality of someone or some thing often by subjecting them to adversity or hardship - the ultimate goal is to show one's genuine character) you to find out if you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall follow the LORD your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him. But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has counseled rebellion against the LORD your God who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to seduce you from the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from among you." (Deut 13:1-5) In his last known letter Paul warns against fallen man's tendency to gravitate toward false prophets and false teachers warning Timothy that... the time will come when they will not endure ("put up with" - they despise sound teaching and so will leave sound teachers!) sound (hugiaino > English hygiene, hygienic. Hugiaino [word study] = Healthy and wholesome, that which protects and preserves life) doctrine (that which is taught); but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate (heap one thing on another) for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires (see epithumia); and will turn away their ears (it is but a short step from itching ears to turning ears) from the truth, and will turn aside to myths (see muthos - word study) (becoming a church filled with comfortable, professing ''Christians'' as in - Titus 1:16-note - listening to comfortable religious talk that contains little if any of God's Holy Word). (notes 2 Timothy 4:3-4) Charles Spurgeon said “You and your sins must separate or you and your God will never come together. No one sin may you keep; they must all be given up, they must be brought out like Canaanite kings from the cave and be hanged up in the sun.” WHO COME TO YOU IN SHEEP'S CLOTHING: hoitines erchontai (3PPMI) pros humas en endhumasin probaton (Who come 13.4" class="scriptRef">Zech 13:4; Mk 12:38, 39, 40; Ro 16:17,18; 2Co 11:13, 14, 15; Ga 2:4; Ep 4:14; Ep 5:6; Col 2:8; 1Ti 4:1, 2, 3; 2Ti 3:5, 6, 7, 8, 9,13; 4:3; 2Pe 2:1, 2, 3,18,19; Jude 1:4; Re 13:11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17) Sheep's clothing - Sheep, on account of their simplicity, mildness, inoffensiveness, patience and obedience, are used as emblems of believers in Christ. Since these false prophets resemble sheep they are more readily accepted into the "flock". When an enemy is seen for what he is, as are mocking, scoffing dogs and swine (Mt 7:6-note), "sheep" are alerted and wary, but when an enemy poses as one of "our own", then we drop our defenses. John MacArthur has a somewhat different interpretation of "sheep's clothing" explaining that Similarly, shepherds invariably wore woolen clothing, made from the wool of the sheep they tended. That is the sheep’s clothing of which Jesus here speaks. False prophets do not deceive the flock by impersonating sheep but by impersonating the shepherd, who wears sheep’s clothing in the form of his wool garments. Just as the ancient false prophets often wore the garments of the true prophet, so false shepherds often disguise themselves as true shepherds. Satan’s man goes under the guise of God’s man, claiming to teach the truth in order to deceive, mislead, and, if possible, destroy God’s people. Scripture speaks of three basic kinds of false teachers: heretics, apostates, and deceivers. Heretics are those who openly reject the word of God and teach that which is contrary to divine truth. Apostate teachers are those who once followed the true faith but have turned away from it, rejected it, and are trying to lead others away. Those two kinds of false teachers at least have the virtue of a certain honesty. They do not claim to represent orthodox, biblical Christianity. The false shepherd (the deceiver), on the other hand, gives the appearance of orthodoxy, frequently with great declarations and fanfare. He is not a liberal or a cultist but one who speaks favorably of Christ, the Cross, the Bible, the Holy Spirit, and so on, and who associates with true believers. He may go out of his way to appear orthodox, fundamental, and evangelical. From his looks, vocabulary, and associations he gives considerable evidence of genuine belief. But he is not genuine; he is a fake and a deceiver. He has the speech of orthodoxy, but is a living lie. (MacArthur, J: Matthew 1-7 Macarthur New Testament Commentary Chicago: Moody Press) (Bolding added) Paul warns the church in Corinth to be on the look out for these men... For such men are false apostles, deceitful (deliberately attempting to mislead by telling lies - skilled at "baiting" the trap) workers, disguising (transfiguring, disguising, changing the external appearance without a change the internal, their heart and character remain unregenerate) themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their deeds. (2Corinthians 11:13, 14, 15) The amazing thing about these deceivers is that they themselves are usually self deceived. Paul writes that... evil men and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and (continually - present tense) being (passive voice - outside force causes this effect) deceived. (see note 2Ti 3:13) BUT INWARDLY ARE RAVENOUS WOLVES: esothen de eisin (3PPAI) lukoi harpages (Wolves Is 56:10,11; Ezek 22:25; Mic 3:5; Zeph 3:3,4; Ac 20:29, 30, 31; Re 17:6) Ravenous (727) (harpax from harpazo [word study] = seize up, catch away) means grasping. This word was used to describe a certain kind of wolf and also for the grappling irons by which ships were boarded in naval battles. Harpax describes the spirit which grasps that to which it has no right with a kind of savage ferocity. The adjective harpax characterizes these false teachers as destructive, rapacious, grasping, robbing, greedy men. Keep your eyes open for this attitude in those who seek to be your spiritual leaders. Ravenous in English is the idea of very eager or greedy for food, satisfaction, or gratification. The English word implies excessive hunger and suggests violent or grasping methods of dealing with food or with whatever satisfies an appetite. Wolves (3074) (lukos) describes a literal wolf but here of course is used metaphorically of a rapacious (excessively grasping or covetous; living on prey and often suggests excessive and utterly selfish acquisitiveness or avarice), violent, "wolf-like" person. In Palestine, wolves were the most common natural enemy of sheep. They were known for being merciless and ferocious. They roamed the hills and valleys, looking for a sheep that strayed away from the flock or lagged behind. When a wolf found such a sheep it quickly attacked and tore it to pieces. Even a grown, healthy sheep was utterly defenseless against a clever, wily wolf. In Paul's last meeting with the elders of the church at Ephesus he issued a similar stern warning declaring... Be on guard (prosecho = same verb Jesus used and also in present imperative) for yourselves (examine yourself first!) and for all the flock (guide, guard and graze the flock, rather than "fleecing" the flock), among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse (literally twisted throughout, distorted truth) things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of three years I did not cease to admonish each one with tears. (Acts 20:28, 29, 30, 31) Since savage wolves, consumed with greed, Seek simple sheep on which to feed, Wise are those wary lambs who graze Close by their Shepherd's watchful gaze. --Gustafson ><>><>><> How To Catch A Rat - My grandson's chicken coop was invaded by rats. Attracted by the feed, they had moved in. He asked for my help and we set out a couple of traps. After a week, though, we had not caught a single one. Then a farmer friend offered some advice. "No rat," he said, "will touch an exposed trap. You must disguise it with food. Fill a pan with meal and place the trap in it. Cover it well with meal so it is completely hidden." It worked! The next morning we had a big fat rat. All this reminded me that the devil knows this trick too. He carefully disguises his trap with truth. Nowhere is it better seen than in the numerous false cults and religions in the world today. All set their traps of error in a pan of meal. Many quote the Bible and preach a certain amount of gospel truth. They talk about prayer and Jesus and the Bible. But under the layer of truth is the trap of error. This is the age of deception. The Bible therefore warns us to "test the spirits" (1Jn 4:1) and beware of deceivers (2Ti 3:13-note; 2Jn 1:7). The only antidote against the clever deceptions that come in the name of Christ (Mk. 13:5, 6) is to know your Bible. Be rooted and grounded in the truth (Col 2:6, 7, 8 -see notes Col 2:6; 7; 8). "Test all things; hold fast what is good" (1Th 5:21-note). Beware of Satan's traps. —M. R. De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved) Satan dogs the steps of the saints And digs a pit for their feet; He craftily sows his tares in the field, Wherever God sows His wheat! —Anon. Satan often disguises error with a veneer of truth. ><>><>><> Torrey's Topic False Prophets Pretended to be sent by God -Je 23:17,18,31 Not sent or commissioned by God -Je 14:14; 23:21; 29:31 Made use of by God to prove Israel -Dt 13:3 DESCRIBED AS Light and treacherous -Zephaniah 3:4 Covetous -Micah 3:11 Crafty -Matthew 7:15 Drunken -Isaiah 28:7 Immoral and profane -Jeremiah 23:11,14 Women sometimes acted as -Neh 6:14; Re 2:20 Called foolish prophets -Ezekiel 13:2 Compared to foxes in the desert -Ezekiel 13:4 Compared to wind -Jeremiah 5:13 Influenced by evil spirits -1Ki 22:21,22 PROPHESIED Falsely -Jeremiah 5:31 Lies in the name of the Lord -Je 14:14 Out of their own heart -Jeremiah 23:16,26; Ezekiel 13:2 In the name of false gods -Jeremiah 2:8 Peace, when there was no peace -Je 6:14; 23:17; Ezek 13:10; Mic 3:5 Often practiced divination and witchcraft -Je 14:14; Ezek 22:28; Acts 13:6 Often pretended to dreams -Jeremiah 23:28,32 Often deceived by God as a judgment -Ezekiel 14:9 THE PEOPLE Led into error -Jeremiah 23:13; Micah 3:5 Made to forget God’s name by -Je 23:27 Deprived of God’s word by -Je 23:30 Taught profaneness and sin by -Je 23:14,15 Oppressed and defrauded by -Ezek 22:25 Warned not to listen to -Dt 13:3; Je 23:16; 27:9,15,16 Encouraged and praised -Je 5:31; Lk 6:26 Mode of trying and detecting -Deuteronomy 13:1,2; 18:21,22; 1 John 4:1-3 PREDICTED TO ARISE Before destruction of Jerusalem -24.11" class="scriptRef">Matthew 24:11,24 In the latter times -2Peter 2:1 Judgments denounced against -Jeremiah 8:1,2; 14:15; 28:16,17; 29:32 Involved the people in their own ruin -Isaiah 9:15,16; Jeremiah 20:6; Ezekiel 14:10 Matthew 7:16 "You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? (NASB: Lockman) Greek: apo ton karpon auton epignosesthe (2PFMI) autous; meti sullegousin (3PPAI) apo akanthon staphulas e apo tribolon suka? Amplified: You will fully recognize them by their fruits. Do people pick grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? (Amplified Bible - Lockman) KJV: Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? NLT: You can detect them by the way they act, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit. You don't pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles. (NLT - Tyndale House) Phillips: You can tell them by their fruit. Do you pick a bunch of grapes from a thorn-bush or figs from a clump of thistles? (New Testament in Modern English) Wuest: By their fruits you will clearly recognize them. They do not gather up grapes from bramble bushes or figs from a prickly wild plant, the thistle, do they? (Eerdmans) Young's: From their fruits ye shall know them; do men gather from thorns grapes? or from thistles figs? YOU WILL KNOW THEM BY THEIR FRUITS. GRAPES ARE NOT GATHERED FROM THORN BUSHES NOR FIGS FROM THISTLES, ARE THEY?: apo ton karpon auton epignosesthe (2PFMI) autous; meti sullegousin (3PPAI) apo akanthon staphulas e apo tribolon suka (Mt 7:20; 12:33; 2Pe 2:10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18; Jude 1:10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19) (Lk 6:43, 44, 45; Jas 3:12) Jesus now addresses how His followers can recognize these false teachers. Spurgeon writes... &How? By their eloquence? No. Some of the worst of teachers have had great persuasiveness. You shall know them by their earnestness? No. Some have compassed sea and land to make proselytes to a lie. You shall know them how, then? &If their teaching makes you better, if it makes you love God, if it draws you to holiness, if it inspires you with noble and heroic sentiments, so that you imitate Christ, then listen to them. Know (1921) (epiginosko from epi = intensifies meaning of + ginosko = know by experience) means to fully know them or be fully acquainted with. False doctrine cannot restrain the flesh, so false prophets will always eventually manifest the innate wickedness of their hearts. (2Pe 2:1-see notes on false teachers beginning in 2Pe 2:1). The conduct of one's life is the true mirror of one's doctrine. As Vincent says "Character is satisfactorily tested by its fruits." Remember however that character and reputation are not synonymous, because reputation is what men think you are while character is what God knows you are. Lincoln Character is like a tree and reputation its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing. John Calvin If we would judge rightly of any man we must see how he bears good and bad fortune. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones Our behaviour in times of need and crisis proclaims what we really are. Matthew Henry The Lord knows them that are his by name, but we must know them by their character. Samuel Smiles Daylight can be seen through very small holes, so little things will illustrate a person's character. Geoffrey Wilson The actions of men form an infallible index of their character. R. B. Kuiper A man's heart is what he is. Blaise Pascal Orthodoxy of words is blasphemy unless it is backed up by superiority of character. Fruit trees may be beautiful but they have as their primary purpose the bearing of fruit, and so they are judged not by looks but by fruit produced. Jesus is saying that in the same way a prophet or anyone who speaks for God is to be judged by his life and not just by his lips (words). Just as a genuine fruit tree cannot keep from being revealed by its fruit, the nature of the prophet cannot help being revealed. Jesus is making it quite clear that although false prophets will come, we do not have to be deceived by them but we can in fact accurately identify them if we look closely at their "fruit". On the other hand, the implication is that if genuine believers fail to look closely at the "fruit" of a prophet's life, they can be ensnared by them. Fruit Test (Thompson Chain Ref) - Mt 3:8, 7:16, 7:20, Lk 13:7 Jn 15:8 Php 4:17 Baker Evangelical Dictionary notes that... John the Baptist and Jesus teach that the disciple is to produce fruit (good works) as evidence of true repentance (Matt 3:8; Luke 3:8), and they explain that a good tree (the repentant individual) cannot produce bad fruit, that is, a life filled with wicked Acts, and a bad tree (an unrepentant person) cannot produce good fruit, that is, a life of godly works (Matt 3:10; 7:16-20; Luke 3:9; 6:43). (Ref) Guzik comments that... There are many who would try to guide us along the broad path that leads to destruction; how can we guard ourselves against them? We guard ourselves against false prophets by taking heed to their fruits. This means paying attention to many aspects of their life and ministry. We should pay attention to the manner of living a teacher shows. Do they show righteousness, humility and faithfulness in the way they live? We should pay attention to the content of their teaching. Is it true fruit from God's Word, or is it man-centered, appealing to ears that want to be tickled? We should pay attention to the effect of their teaching. Are people growing in Jesus or merely being entertained, and eventually falling away? This fruit is the inevitable result of who we are. Eventually - though it may take a time for the harvest to come - the good or bad fruit is evident, revealing what sort of "tree" we are. (Ref)

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