“BEWARE OF FALSE PROPHETS!”
What is the main distinguishing trait of a false prophet?
Summary vid + full text.
Our Lord Jesus Christ, concerned that his sheep be led astray from his fold, from the Church he himself instituted, warned his listeners and the posterity at the Sermon of the Mount:
15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 you will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit. 18 A sound tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
20 Thus you will know them by their fruits.”
Mt 5: 15-20
- In the Old Testament to false prophets, there are many references on the false prophet, the best perhaps is passage taken from Jeremiah 23:9-40 where he condemns the impiety of those prophets who
“prophesied by Baal and led my people Israel astray”;
“who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes; they speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord…. I did not send the prophets, yet they ran. I did not speak to them, yet they prophesied”; they “lead my people astray by their lies and their recklessness, when I did not send them or charge them; so that they do not profit this people at all.”
- In the life of the Church founded by Jesus Himself, the Church Fathers see these false prophets of whom Jesus speaks in the heretics, who apparently are pious and reformist but who in fact do not have Christ’s sentiments (cf. St Jerome, Comm in Matth., 7). St John Chrysostom applies this teaching to anyone who appears to be virtuous but in fact is not, and thereby misleads others.
HOW CAN ONE DISTINGUISH GENUINE PROPHETS FROM THE FALSE ONES?
- By the fruit they produce.
- A genuine prophet is he who truly speaks the things of God, and in his human nobility and moved by God’s grace and inspiration, sows faith, hope, charity, peace, understanding and fidelity to the teachings of the Church which Our Lord Jesus Christ founded, the Catholic Church.
- A false prophet on the other hand is he who in his preaching and behaviour, sows division, hatred, resentment, pride and sensuality (cf. Gal 5:16-25) and attacks the teachings of Christ through the Church he founded.
- Hence, the MAIN DISTINGUISHING FEATURE OF A FALSE PROPHET is that HE SEPARATES THE PEOPLE OF GOD FROM THE MAGISTERIUM OF THE CHURCH, THROUGH WHICH CHRIST’S TEACHING IS DECLARED TO THE WORLD and Our Lord also indicates that these deceivers are destined to eternal perdition (Mt 5:19).
Dear brethren in Christ, let us be faithful to Christ and His Church by being prudent and cautious with people who sow a doctrine which is incompatible with our Catholic faith.
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