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What the Bible says about Wolves in Sheep's Clothing
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Ezekiel 34:1-31

Ezekiel condemns the ministry as a whole for being more concerned for self and paycheck than for the "sheep," the members of the church. Rather than helping, healing, and leading, government was often administered with force and cruelty. Talking the talk was followed far more frequently than walking the walk. God also charges them with defiling the doctrine, which verse 18 pictures as trodden pasture and fouled water. Paul, James, Peter, John, and Jude all warn about "wolves" at the end time infiltrating the flock, introducing another gospel, and rending the sheep.

Is it any wonder respect for the ministry is at low ebb? God Himself is very upset with shepherds who cared more for themselves than for the sheep. Through misuse and abuse, wolves in sheep's clothing ripped and tore the sheep. God and man deplore and reject such a ministry. The ministry today is in sad disarray, distrusted and despised by many. Some ministers are reckoned as hirelings who cared not for the sheep, but only for their paychecks. These men would compromise the truth, even teach what they knew was wrong, to retain their salaries. Zechariah 11:3 describes a forsaken ministry, howling over the loss of their flocks, which they mistreated.

Screaming for "respect for the ministry" will not help. These hurts can only be healed by proper example and time, combined with a forgiving heart, established by God, in those who have been harmed.

Because of these abuses, insidious Laodiceanism, and our natural proclivity to resent any government except our own, we have a church despised and blown apart by God Himself. (Read all of Lamentations, Ezekiel 22:25-29; and 24:21 to confirm who is behind the separation.)

Staff
For the Perfecting of the Saints

Matthew 7:15-20

The description here is very apt—wolves in sheep's clothing. They appear on the outside to be something they are not. When Jesus uttered this, He was probably thinking of false ministers who would insinuate themselves into the church by appearing to be sheep within the sheepfold.

Jesus uses this terminology in regard to His relationship with the church. He was the Shepherd, and we are His sheep. Here we have wolves (false ministers) who look like sheep, but it is hypocrisy. They only look that way on the outside. He tells us we will know them by their fruits. The fruit that is produced will not necessarily appear quickly. But Christ guarantees that over a period of time the church will be stripped of its true spiritual vitality in terms of the character that will be produced within the flock, making the rise of wolves in sheep's clothing more likely.

What is He saying? The implication is that Jesus is connecting belief with practice. If we believe a certain set of doctrines, we will practice something because of the teaching. A religious creed or the dogma that a group is following will produce a certain kind of conduct by the people. Belief and practice, creed and conduct—Jesus is saying they are vitality connected. In other words, the teachers cannot hide what they are going to produce. Eventually it will come out. Their false philosophies, no matter how attractive they may appear at first sight, will in the long run be exposed for what they really are.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Satan (Part 2)

Matthew 7:15

We cannot tell from the outside. We have to get inside and examine the teaching.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Right Use of Power

Matthew 7:15-20

Jesus does not spell out what "fruits" to look for, although in the Olivet Prophecy, He does link the deceptions of false prophets with the lawlessness and lack of love that abounds at the end time (Matthew 24:11-13). However, the rest of the Bible elucidates God's character and nature, so we already have the tools to evaluate whether a message allegedly coming from God fits with what His Word reveals about Him. God is not double-minded; He will not contradict Himself.

David C. Grabbe
What Is a False Prophet?

Jude 1:10

Jude calls the false teachers "brute beasts," just as Paul called them "savage wolves" (Acts 20:29) and Jesus called them "ravenous wolves" "in sheep's clothing" (Matthew 7:15). They have sunk down to the level of animals in that their only desire is to satiate their lusts, the drives that we share with animal kind: food, security, sex, power, authority, prestige. They really cannot comprehend the higher values because they only think in terms of gratifying themselves. If one attempts to convince them of their error from the Scripture, they will never get it because they simply do not care. All they want is what they think is theirs—their position, their food, their sexual gratifcation, their prestige. The object of their desire makes no difference. If they want it, if they feel they need it, no one can convince them from pursuing it in most cases because they are on an entirely different—lower—level. They are being driven purely by their physical desires.

Paul ran into this problem in Corinth. Notice I Corinthians 15:32—34:

If in the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantage is it to me? If the dead do not rise, Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die. Do not be deceived: Evil company corrupts good habits. Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.

People in Corinth were already using such fallacious arguments as saying the resurrection was already past in order to do whatever they wanted to do sexually, or as Paul mentions in chapter 11, to gorge themselves at the feasts and drink until they could hardly stand. The idea here is they used illogic, as far as we are concerned, to justify doing whatever they pleased. It is almost impossible to talk such people out of what they are doing.

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Jude


 




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