Jesus said to His disciples: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but underneath are ravenous wolves. By their fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. So by their fruits you will know them.”
BEWARE OF FALSE PROPHETS. Who are the false prophets? We can identify one from the Old Testament: Hananiah, son of Azzur (cf Jer 28). He prophesied during the time of Jeremiah. He contradicted Jeremiah who was guiding the people of Israel to make a good decision during that time of crisis. There was no way then to check which of them was false.
Jeremiah would later emerge as the true prophet, and Hananiah would be unmasked as false (cf Jer 28:15-17). Jeremiah spoke in behalf of God. He communicated God’s message even if it was not acceptable to the people. False prophets would proclaim what people wanted to hear.
Jesus warns us of false prophets who misrepresent God. In terms of faith and morals, whom should we heed? We should listen to those who study and reflect on the Word of God and have a deep prayer life.
True prophets are selfless. They discern where the Spirit is leading the people. They usually prophesy against the complacent, those who refuse to accept the truth. They are sensitive to injustices. They do not cover them up. They register their protests.
False prophets look nice in sheep’s clothing. They sweet-talk to sway people to their side. They make money out of people’s miserable life. They bluff and give false hopes. They do not go to church or listen to the ordained ministers of God. They promote their own personal agenda.