“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.” Matthew 7:15
Now listen to me, in the case of the sheep’s clothing, what you have here is not some guy crawling on all fours into the flock with a sheep’s head hanging over his head. Shepherds for the most part, wore cloaks made of the wool of the sheep,’ do you see? The wool of the sheep when it was sheared was made into cloth for garments, the mark of a shepherd was he wore a wool cloak. Israel is much like California the evenings are very cold, even in the summer it cools down, and they needed that. The idea is not that he comes dressed like a sheep, the idea is that he comes dressed like a what? Shepherd, wearing the garment made from the sheep, sheep’s clothing is just another term for wool, And so as the false prophet wore the garment of the prophet, the false shepherd wears the garment of the shepherd. It isn’t that we’re dealing with a sheep who’s infiltrated, it is that we’re dealing with a shepherd who has infiltrated. And we find out that though he looks to be a shepherd he is a wolf, and he’s very subtle.
There are three kinds of false prophets, I see in the Bible, three kinds, and this is a definitive statement that might help you in understanding it.
It is the third kind of false prophet, I call the deceiver, that is the one Jesus is referring to here, this is the one you don’t see, this is the one who comes with the cloak of the shepherd. This is not the cultist, this is not the Mormon or the Jehovah’s Witness or, or somebody who belongs to Christian Science who, who openly and flagrantly teaches false doctrine, those are apostates or heretics. This is the one who talks about Jesus and he talks about the cross and he talks about God and he talks about the Bible and he talks about the church and the Holy Spirit and he hangs around with people that are true Christians and he mingles within the framework of evangelicalism, and he’s on the radio and he’s on television and he’s in the pulpit and he’s on the platform and he writes the books, and he always looks like a Christian. That’s the one Jesus refers to. Not heretics, heretics are obvious. Apostates are obvious too because they’ve denied the faith. But these are subtle. The Lord is not warning us against heretics, He’s not warning us against apostates, He’s warning us against people who sound like they teach the Gospel, who sound like Christians, who use the speech of the Bible, the speech of the Gospel, but it’s only a guise. They express orthodox terminology.