Wednesday, September 28, 2011

How can the true messengers be identified?

     Matt.7:20


                                   ---Introduction---


When Jesus was asked how his presence, and the last days of our religious system under the new covenant ("End of New Covenant"), could be identified; he gave a list that compared with the last days of the religious system of his time. (Matt.ch.24; Luke ch.21; Mark ch.13)
He compared the list of indicative "signs", to the labor pains of a woman giving birth (Matt.24:6,8,13,14; Mark 13:8; Luke 21:9). Therefore, we can understand these signs as having a growing intensity, that would culminate in a final event. As revealed in Luke, these signs occur before the end arrives, and before the Kingdom is born.


It is of note, that the first symptom/labor pain Jesus mentioned, is found at 


Matthew 24:4,5,24,25
4 And in answer Jesus said to them: “Look out that nobody misleads YOU; 5 for many will come on the basis of my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many.  24 For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will give great signs and wonders so as to mislead, if possible, even the chosen ones. 25 Look! I have forewarned YOU. 


Luke 21:8
8 He said: “Look out that YOU are not misled; for many will come on the basis of my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The due time has approached.’ Do not go after them.  


(Note: These ones were not claiming to be Christ himself, but rather the true messengers/true Christs (anointed)/true prophets. Rev.11:3; Mark 13:6,22)


Mark 13:5-6,22-23


5 So Jesus started to say to them: “Look out that nobody misleads YOU. 6 Many will come on the basis of my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and will mislead many.  22 For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will give signs and wonders to lead astray, if possible, the chosen ones. 23 YOU, then, watch out; I have told YOU all things beforehand."


Clearly, one sign of the last days (labor pains previous to the end) would be a powerful misleading deception...so convincing, that even the Chosen ones blessed with Holy Spirit (1John2:20,27), would be in peril of being swept away by it (Rev.12:15; Heb.13:9; 2Pet.3:17; 2Cor.11:3; Eph.4:14; Matt.24:24-25; Col.2:8; Rev.13:10,7; Luke 21:24,20; Rev.20:8,7-8; 16:13-16; 1Tim.4:1; Rev.19:20; 13:14-15,7).


How then, would these Chosen ones, as well as other disciples of Christ, be able to discern the true messengers from the false? Jesus' words above show that he was clearly aware of the danger to his sheep. How would he equip us to resist being mislead?


As we might expect, the love of the Christ for his sheep, would move him to see to it that we would be amply equipped and provided protection.
The purpose of this article is to forward Jesus' words to you, that you too may be equipped to discern between the true spiritual messengers of the last days, from the rotten.
It is surely the hope of Jehovah God and Christ, that you make good use of Jesus' words.


Jesus himself advises this, when he said:


Matt7:24 “Therefore everyone that hears these sayings of mine and does them will be likened to a discreet man, who built his house upon the rock-mass. 25 And the rain poured down and the floods came and the winds blew and lashed against that house, but it did not cave in, for it had been founded upon the rock-mass. 26Furthermore, everyone hearing these sayings of mine and not doing them will be likened to a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand. 27 And the rain poured down and the floods came and the winds blew and struck against that house and it caved in, and its collapse was great.”


Surely, if we were to build our faith and actions upon the sayings of these false prophets which were foretold for our time; our "house" would be built on the sand. At the arrival of Christ, he will do away with these ones, their misleading teachings, and those who follow them; just as a sand-castle is washed away with the tide.


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So then, what are Jesus' words of direction to equip us with discernment, so that we might distinguish the false prophets from the true, and thereby build our "house" of faith on Jesus, the "rock-mass", and his sayings? 


We will now consider some of the recorded words of Jesus, which equip us to distinguish the true from the false. We will look at Matt.7:13-23; 12:33-37; John 7:17,18; 8:47....


Matt.7:13 “Go in through the narrow gate; because broad and spacious is the road leading off into destruction, and many are the ones going in through it; 14 whereas narrow is the gate and cramped the road leading off into life, and few are the ones finding it.

Jesus starts by telling us that "few" are the ones finding this path of truth leading off into life. The reason for this grievous result? Why are so many deceived and mislead onto the road to destruction?
He continues...

15 “Be on the watch for the false prophets that come to YOU in sheep’s covering, but inside they are ravenous wolves." 

Here Jesus has raised the subject of our concern. Yet here is where he reveals to us, how to tell the difference between the false prophets who "mislead many"; and the true, who lead the "few" to life.
16 By their fruits YOU will recognize them. Never do people gather grapes from thorns or figs from thistles, do they? 17Likewise every good tree produces fine fruit, but every rotten tree produces worthless fruit; 18 a good tree cannot bear worthless fruit, neither can a rotten tree produce fine fruit. 19 Every tree not producing fine fruit gets cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Really, then, by their fruits YOU will recognize those [men]."

Jesus begins our education by comparing prophets to trees. He instructs that we can identify the difference between them, by examining their "fruit". Our minds may race to what Jesus means by "fruit". Is it their personality, their "spirit", their deeds and works? Knowing our natural thoughts, Jesus continues.....

21 “Not everyone saying to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but the one doing the will of my Father who is in the heavens will. 22 Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and expel demons in your name, and perform many powerful works in your name?’ 23 And yet then I will confess to them: I never knew YOU! Get away from me, YOU workers of lawlessness."

Jesus makes clear to us, that "works" are not necessarily the fruit we are looking for. He says that any works, would have to be ones clearly directed by the will of the Heavenly Father. What is the Father's will?
John 15:8 reads:
 "My Father is glorified in this, that YOU keep bearing much fruit and prove yourselves my disciples."
Ah, we are going in circles. We must identify specifically what that "fruit" is!


Jesus also says that the false prophets are "workers of lawlessness". What does this mean?


1John 3:10,11,23; 4:20,21
 "The children of God and the children of the Devil are evident by this fact: Everyone who does not carry on righteousness does not originate with God, neither does he who does not love his brother. 11 For this is the message which YOU have heard from [the] beginning, that we should have love for one another; 23 Indeed, this is his commandment, that we have faith in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and be loving one another, just as he gave us commandment."


Here we see that the "commandment", or law of Christ, is love (James 2:8; Rom.13:10; Gal.5:14). To go against loving our brothers (1John 4:20), is to break that law, or....to be lawless (2Thess.2:9).
Matt.24:12 confirms...
 "and because of the increasing of lawlessness, the love of the greater number will cool off."


(see http://love-obadiah.blogspot.com/ )


We have seen that the false prophets could be somewhat identified by a lack of love for their brothers. Also, that they would be concentrating on works that were not the will of the heavenly Father.


We are told that the true prophets would be producing much "fruit" and prove themselves Jesus' disciples...both of which would glorify the Father (John 15:8).
What would prove a prophet to be a disciple of Jesus?
Such a one would be imitating Jesus in bearing the correct fruit.


So then, let us move ahead in defining the fruit Jesus said would mark the true messengers (fine fruit) from the false messengers (rotten fruit).


Let us move ahead to Matthew chapter 12:33-37 and Luke 6:43-45


33 “Either YOU people make the tree fine and its fruit fine or make the tree rotten and its fruit rotten; for by its fruit the tree is known. 34 Offspring of vipers, how can YOU speak good things, when YOU are wicked? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 The good man out of his good treasure sends out good things, whereas the wicked man out of his wicked treasure sends out wicked things. 36 I tell YOU that every unprofitable saying that men speak, they will render an account concerning it on Judgment Day; 37 for by your words you will be declared righteous, and by your words you will be condemned.”

43 "For there is no good tree which produces bad fruit, nor, on the other hand, a bad tree which produces good fruit. 44 For each tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they pick grapes from a briar bush. 45 The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth what is evil; for his mouth speaks from that which fills his heart."


Did you catch it?
What was the "fruit"?
"speak","saying","words". (Heb.13:15; Prov.18:21; 12:14)
Yes...the fine trees speak "good things" from the "good treasures" of a "good heart" of "righteousness".
A rotten tree (offspring of vipers/Satan's seed) speaks "wicked things" out of his "wicked treasure" from a "wicked heart" that is "condemned".


By these fruits, the trees are known!


But we are not done yet. Now that we know that the fruit we are looking to examine, are the "words", "sayings", "speech"  (teachings) of the prophets;
and since we already know that even the Chosen can be mislead by the wicked teachings;
we need to know exactly what the true prophets would be teaching/speaking/saying,
and what the false prophets would be teaching/saying/speaking.


Jesus knew this. In his love, he cares for this need.
Now let us go to the book of John.
First, chapter 7:16-18


 "Jesus, in turn, answered them and said: “What I teach is not mine, but belongs to him that sent me. 17 If anyone desires to do His will, he will know concerning the teaching whether it is from God or I speak of my own originality. 18 He that speaks of his own originality is seeking his own glory; but he that seeks the glory of him that sent him, this one is true, and there is no unrighteousness in him."


Here we see two traits of speech that would identify a prophet as a true messenger and disciple of Jesus' example.


True fruit:
  Teachings belong to God. Their sayings reflect a listening/yielding to God's Word (John 8:47a).
  Do not speak of their "own originality" (doctrines of men- Matt.15:9; 2Thess.2:10)
  Seeking not their own glory, but rather the glory and righteousness of God and Christ. (Matt.6:33)
  Considered by God, True (John 7:18 b).


Rotten fruit:
  Teach their own doctrines (Matt.15:9; Gal.1:8; 2Cor.11:4).
  Speaks of their own originality/ideas/doctrines/orders/arrangements/own interests (John 7:18 a; 2Thess.2:9)
  Seeking their own glory/accomplishments/righteousness/prominence/power (1Cor.4:8; 2Thess.2:4; 1John 2:15).
  Considered by God, Unrighteous (2Cor.11:15; Acts 20:29,30,31).


Along these lines, at John 8:47, Jesus stated:


"He that is from God listens to the sayings of God. This is why YOU do not listen, because YOU are not from God.”


True prophets "from God", listen to scripture. They work and strive whole-souled to make certain that their sayings/teachings/words are sourced and based on the scriptural "sayings of God".
Clearly, those prophets who reject being corrected by the scriptures brought to their attention, do not "listen to the sayings of God". These then, according to Jesus, are "not from God".


So then, we, being physical humans, oriented to the flesh and the system in which we live, may naturally look to outward signs of impressive works, to try and determine who the true trees/prophets/messengers are in these last days.
Although few will find truth and life (Luke 13:23,24; Matt.7:14; 24:37; 1Pet.3:20), Jesus has given us ample warning about the presence of false teachers. He has also given us ample guidance on how to identify the true trees, who will present Jesus' sheep with true food/fruit/teachings.


Before you accept fruit from a prophet, and "eat" the fruit offered to you, you should wisely ask yourself...


What is the record of teachings from this messenger?...
Have they proven to be true through being completely based on God's Word?
Are their teachings and expectations of others, wholly sourced by scripture?
Do their teachings seek their own recognition and glory, set policy which dominates others unlovingly, or enforce a self-made stature of power? Ec.8:9
When notified of needed changes, in order to be more in harmony with God's Word, do they react with humility and yield?
Or, like the Scribes and Pharisees, do they seek their own interests of glory and power instead?


May we all make good use of the words of our Lord and Saviour.
If we do,
we are promised good results...


Matt7:24,25 
“Therefore everyone that hears these sayings of mine and does them will be likened to a discreet man, who built his house upon the rock-mass. 25 And the rain poured down and the floods came and the winds blew and lashed against that house, but it did not cave in, for it had been founded upon the rock-mass."


------------------------PART TWO--------------------------------


We see clearly from the above scriptures, that while all the prophets who claim to be anointed ones (Christs) are busy teaching, they are referred to by the scriptures as "Trees".
Their teachings are symbolized by the "fruit" of those "trees".


Now we will look at how the Bible continues to use this illustration of trees and their fruit, as it describes the unfolding events that the "fine trees" go through.


Once all the prophets/trees become manifest to God, as either fine or rotten, what will take place?


Those who become clearly identified as "fine trees", become sealed as such. How are these sealed trees described?
We can find out, at Rev.11:3,4:
" And I will cause my two witnesses to prophesy a thousand two hundred and sixty days dressed in sackcloth.” 4 These are [symbolized by] the two olive trees and the two lampstands and are standing before the Lord of the earth."


Now they are not simple fruit trees, but are now described as "olive trees" who have remained "standing" before the inspecting eyes of their Lord.
But there is much more. They are also described as "lampstands". These have taken their position in the spiritual temple sanctuary as Jehovah's approved light bearers of truth.
But when we read that " These are [symbolized by] the two olive trees", this is a reference to the symbols of these ones, in the Hebrew scriptures. By examining the scriptures that Rev.11:4 is pointing us to, we can learn much more about the changed condition of these "olive trees".


You can follow up with the article, 
pearl-treesoflife.blogspot.com


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5 comments:

  1. What do you think about James 3:2,8-10

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Since you asked me under this blog, I will answer accordingly.
      Christ's words were perfect. The more we strive to imitate him, the better our fruit/tongue/teachings will be. Love, respect, mildness and truth are the goals of Christian discipline. With Yhwh's help, we can be a clean vessel, able to be used by Him. Our mouths are a reflection of our hearts abundance (Matt.12:34b). The scriptures speak of "a fine and good heart" (Luke 8:15). With God, it is possible to have a good tongue as well. But this needs to be worked on always, until we are made perfect (Gal.4:19; Eph.4:13; 1Cor.2:16; Matt.5:48; Heb.12:23; Rev.14:4,5; Jer.2:3). This "perfection" is accomplished through "walking by spirit" (Gal.5:16; Rom.8:14).

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  2. Hello Pearl, you have done an excellent presentation on this subject and I enjoyed it very much. Good support using scripture.

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    Replies
    1. I am refreshed to learn of your appreciation. Thank you for expressing it. Knowing that readers are learning and accepting what they need to know from Christ, in order to gain life, is the one reward for all my work. I pray God continue to bless you with the perception needed, to live (Luke18:26-27; 10:21; 8:10).

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    2. If you believe what you have learned here, please share the information, to help alleviate the present spiritual famine (Amos8:11; Matt.25:34-35).

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