False prophets - The word prophet originally means one who foretells future events. As prophets, however, were commonly regarded as public instructors on the subject of religion, the word came to denote all who were religious teachers. See the notes at Romans 12:6. In this sense it is probably used here. A false prophet is a teacher of incorrect doctrine, or one falsely and unjustly laying claims to divine inspiration. It probably had reference to the false teachers then among the Jews.
Who come in sheep‘s clothing - The sheep is an emblem of innocence, sincerity, and harmlessness. To come in sheep‘s clothing is to assume the appearance of sanctity and innocence, when the heart is evil.
Ravening wolves - Rapacious; voraciously devouring; hungry even to rage. Applied to the false teachers, it means that they assumed the appearance of holiness in order that they might the more readily get the property of the people. They were full of extortion and excess. See Matthew 23:25.
Beware of false prophets - By false prophets we are to understand teachers of erroneous doctrines, who come professing a commission from God, but whose aim is not to bring the heavenly treasure to the people, but rather to rob them of their earthly good. Teachers who preach for hire, having no motive to enter into the ministry but to get a living, as it is ominously called by some, however they may bear the garb and appearance of the innocent useful sheep, the true pastors commissioned by the Lord Jesus, or to whatever name, class or party they may belong, are, in the sight of the heart-searching God, no other than ravenous wolves, whose design is to feed themselves with the fat, and clothe themselves with the fleece, and thus ruin, instead of save, the flock.
Satan has come down in these last days to work with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish. His satanic majesty works miracles in the sight of false prophets, in the sight of men, claiming that he is indeed Christ Himself. Satan gives his power to those who are aiding him in his deceptions; therefore those who claim to have the great power of God can only be discerned by the great detector, the law of Jehovah. The Lord tells us if it were possible they would deceive the very elect. The sheep's clothing seems so real, so genuine, that the wolf can be discerned only as we go to God's great moral standard and there find that they are transgressors of the law of Jehovah. FW 45.1Read in context »
Now, we want to understand what sin is—that it is the transgression of God's law. This is the only definition given in the Scriptures. Therefore we see that those who claim to be led of God, and go right away from Him and His law, do not search the Scriptures. But the Lord will lead His people; for He says that His sheep will follow if they hear His voice, but a stranger will they not follow. Then it becomes us to thoroughly understand the Scriptures. And we will not have to inquire whether others have the truth, for it will be seen in their characters. FW 56.1
The time is coming when Satan will work miracles right in your sight, claiming that he is Christ; and if your feet are not firmly established upon the truth of God, then you will be led away from your foundation. The only safety for you is to search for the truth as for hid treasures. Dig for the truth as you would for treasures in the earth, and present the Word of God, the Bible, before your heavenly Father, and say, “Enlighten me; teach me what is truth.” FW 56.2Read in context »
And these who had been uncorrupted fall into the snare [which] Satan, through the bad shepherd, has set for them under different pretenses and excuses. You have hid your evil heart of deadly opposition to purity and holiness. The fly enticed into the spider's web, the fish which is lured on by the bait on the hook, has been ensnared and taken. TSB 205.1
Erroneous Approach to Marriage Counseling—You have by your course of action debased sacred things to the level of the common. Many have come near being ruined who have, as it were, been plucked as a brand from the burning; but the performance of yours to break down the barriers which preserve the sanctity of the family relation between husband and wife, the arranged plans to make the wife communicate to you the secrets of her married life, induce those who are yielding in disposition, who have become captivated with you, to open their heart to you as to a Catholic confessor; and you encourage in them the thought that they have made a mistake in the married life. TSB 205.2
In every family there are at times misunderstandings. There are thoughts and feelings expressed that Satan takes advantage of, but if both husband and wife will resist the devil and humble their hearts before God, then the difficulties soon will be healed without leaving ugly scars. But you have done a work to encourage alienation in the place of healing the difficulties; and peace of mind, harmony, and the usefulness not only of women but of men has been destroyed, and the seeds of licentious practices that you have sown have produced a bitter, bitter harvest. The wanderings from God in this way are common, but the fact is, so few return. TSB 205.3Read in context »
Let the Testimonies be judged by their fruits. What is the spirit of their teaching? What has been the result of their influence? “All who desire to do so can acquaint themselves with the fruits of these visions. For seventeen years God has seen fit to let them survive and strengthen against the opposition of Satan's forces and the influence of human agencies that have aided Satan in his work.” [Testimonies for the Church 1:330 (1862).] 5T 671.1
“God is either teaching His church, reproving their wrongs and strengthening their faith, or He is not. This work is of God, or it is not. God does nothing in partnership with Satan. My work ... bears the stamp of God or the stamp of the enemy. There is no halfway work in the matter. The Testimonies are of the Spirit of God, or of the devil.” [Testimonies for the Church 4:230.] 5T 671.2Read in context »
Christ warned His disciples: “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. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” Here is a test, and, Brother G, you can apply it if you will. You need not go in uncertainty and doubt. Satan is at hand to suggest a variety of doubts, but if you will open your eyes in faith you will find sufficient evidence for belief. But God will never remove from any man all causes for doubts. Those who love to dwell in the atmosphere of doubt and questioning unbelief can have the unenviable privilege. God gives sufficient evidence for the candid mind to believe; but he who turns from the weight of evidence because there are a few things which he cannot make plain to his finite understanding will be left in the cold, chilling atmosphere of unbelief and questioning doubts, and will make shipwreck of faith. You have seemed to consider it a virtue to be on the side of the doubting rather than on the side of the believing. Jesus never praised unbelief; He never commended doubts. He gave to His nation evidences of His Messiahship in the miracles He wrought, but there were some who considered it a virtue to doubt and who would reason these evidences away and find something in every good work to question and censure. 4T 232.1
The centurion who desired Christ to come and heal his servant felt unworthy to have Jesus come under his roof; his faith was so strong in the power of Christ that he entreated Him just to say the word and the work would be done. “When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.” 4T 233.1
Here Jesus exalted faith in contrast with doubt. He showed that the children of Israel would stumble because of their unbelief, which would lead to the rejection of great light and would result in their condemnation and overthrow. Thomas declared that he would not believe unless he put his finger into the prints of the nails and thrust his hand into the side of his Lord. Christ gave him the evidence he desired and then reproved his unbelief: “Because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” 4T 233.2Read in context »