BEWARE OF FALSE PROPHETS/TEACHERS - Matthew 7:15-23

14th of the 11th month 2017/2018

Shalom all,

Kěpha Bět/2 Peter 3:17-18You, then, beloved ones, being forewarned, watch, lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the delusion of the lawless, 18 but grow in the favour and knowledge of our Master and Saviour יהושע Messiah. To Him be the esteem both now and to a day that abides. Aměn.

These are the words that end the 2nd letter of Kěpha, and are a clear reminder to us of how we are to be continually on guard against being led away with the delusion of the lawless and therefore be on guard against being led astray by false teachings and the trickery of evil men!

In a message called ‘BEWARE OF FALSE PROPHETS/TEACHERS’, I would like to take a closer look at the words of our Master and Elohim, יהושע Messiah, which teaches us to beware of false prophets, as recorded in:

Mattithyahu/Matthew 7:15-23 “But beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are savage wolves. 16 “By their fruits you shall know them. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 “So every good tree yields good fruit, but a rotten tree yields wicked fruit. 18 “A good tree is unable to yield wicked fruit, and a rotten tree to yield good fruit. 19 “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 “So then, by their fruits you shall know them – 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Master, Master,’ shall enter into the reign of the heavens, but he who is doing the desire of My Father in the heavens. 22 “Many shall say to Me in that day, ‘Master, Master, have we not prophesied in Your Name, and cast out demons in Your Name, and done many mighty works in Your Name?’ 23 “And then I shall declare to them, ‘I never knew you, depart from Me, you who work lawlessness!’

These words of our Master are words that need to be heard and understood clearly, as the craftiness of falsehood that comes in the appearance of truth is what we are to be on guard against and recognise how urgent we must be in being sober, alert and watchful, so that we do not find ourselves being falsely malnourished by the junk of lawlessness.

Our Master clearly warns us to take heed against being led astray by false prophets as He tells us to beware of such.

The Greek word that is translated as ‘beware’ comes from the root word προσέχω prosechō – Strong’s G4337 which means, be alert for, watch out, be on guard, consider carefully, beware, attend to, pay attention, give attention. Messiah warns us that there are many who profess to know Him and follow Him, yet by their lawlessness they reveal that they are not known by Him, and here we are to take heed of the clear warning that He is giving here! And that is that we must be on guard against the prophets and teachers of lawlessness, that may come with an appearance that looks, and even sounds, authentic to most, while their fruits will reveal the wolves that they really are. The basic principle being outlined here by our Master is simply that we must be on guard against prophets and teachers of falsehood! Be careful who you give your ear to! You may think the words are sound and soothing, yet they could lead you away by the delusion of lawlessness and cause you to be identified as unknown and rejected!

The Greek word that is translated as ‘false prophets’ comes from the word ψευδοπροφήτης pseudoprophētēs – Strong’s G5578 which simply means, false prophet, and is understood as one who falsely assumes the work of a prophet or messenger of Elohim, when they are pretending to foretell things to come, or teach false doctrines, in the Name of Elohim. This word is constructed from two root words:

1) ψευδής pseudēs – Strong’s G5571 which means, lying, false, liars, deceitful, which comes from the word ψεύδομαι pseudomai – Strong’s G5574 which means, to lie, speak deliberate falsehoods, and

2) προφήτης prophētēs – Strong’s G4396 which means, interpreter of oracles or hidden things, spokesmen for Elohim, one who calls people back to Elohim.

The Hebrew word for ‘prophet’ is נָבִיא naḇiy – Strong’s H5030 which means, prophet, spokesman, speaker, prophesyand comes from the root verb נָבָא naḇa – Strong’s H5012 which simply means ‘to speak or sing (by inspiration) or communicate a message from a deity - either of proper behavior to a standard, or of future events. A prophet’s role is to call people back to the Torah of Elohim and give a severe warning of what will happen if they do not listen!

We are to beware of the false prophets – that is – those who are masquerading as servants of Elohim, yet are not calling you back to the Torah but rather leading you away from it!

In a rebuke given to Yisra’ěl and the following of the falsehood we see how the priests and prophets were speaking words of peace when there was no peace:

Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 6:13-14 “For from the least of them even to the greatest of them, they are all greedy for gain. And from the prophet even to the priest, all act falsely. 14 “And they heal the breach of My people slightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.

The Hebrew word that is translated as ‘falsely’ comes from the root word שֶׁקֶר sheqer – Strong’s H8267 which means, deception, disappointment, falsehood, lies, and comes from the root verb שָׁקַר shaqar – Strong’s H8266 which means, to do or deal falsely, lie’.

Ěḵah/Lamentations 2:14Your prophets have seen falsehood and folly for you, and have not shown you your crookedness, to turn back your captivity. But their visions for you are false and misleading messages.

Through the false and misleading messages, we see how so many have actually begun to teach themselves to speak falsehood; a falsehood that has been so ingrained in them as we are able to see through the mirror of the example given to us in Yirmeyahu being a clear reflection of the state of falsehood that prevails on the earth today!

Ear-tickling falsehood does not show the true mirror of the Word and misleads people into thinking that they are ok, when in fact their lawlessness and sin has not been properly dealt with and stopped, as they reject the need to submit to and walk in the Torah of Elohim, due to being misled by false prophets and teachers.

Yisra’ěl was repeatedly rebuked and given serious woes for the falsehood that was being brought forth by the prophets and priests and leaders, and our Master comes to warn us against such falsehood that still misleads people and therefore should be a clear call to be sober, alert and watchful, through a proper hearing, guarding and doing of the Torah, listening to those that our Master Himself has appointed to equip and mature His Body!!!

The dilemma that many face today is simply that they are often unable to discern and determine who is a false teacher/prophet and who is not. Who has been appointed by the Master and who has not?

This is where we begin to recognise how important it is to meditate and study the Word in order to test that which may be presented as Truth, yet might be whitewashed falsehood!

So how do we recognise or know if a prophet or teacher is a true messenger and ambassador of Elohim and His coming reign or not? Scripture certainly equips us in being able to discern and know how to separate the set-apart from the profane, and if one is being mislead by false teachers and prophets then they may be unable to discern this while being under the delusion of the lawless.

The Torah clearly warns us against false prophets or dreamers of dreams, as we see in:

Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 13:1-4When there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he shall give you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or the wonder shall come true, of which he has spoken to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other mighty ones – which you have not known – and serve them,’ 3 do not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams, for יהוה your Elohim is trying you to know whether you love יהוה your Elohim with all your heart and with all your being. 4 “Walk after יהוה your Elohim and fear Him, and guard His commands and obey His voice, and serve Him and cling to Him.

So many people today do not know these verses and/or do not understand what is clearly being written here. The warning against listening to a false prophet, or teacher, is clear. What is also very striking, when you see these words, is that the warning that is given here is that if that which a false prophet says or does, comes true, we must not just follow because of the sign or wonder that came true! How we can know if they are true or false is in the way in which they tell us to walk/go. If the one who performs signs and wonders, tells you to go and follow other mighty ones, then know that it is יהוה who has sent that false prophet to test you, to know whether you love יהוה with all your heart and being, or not!

 

How do I know he is false? … you may ask! Well, if a prophet leads you away from a proper hearing, guarding and obeying of the Torah, then, by definition of these verses, he is a false prophet – no matter what kind of amazing signs and wonders he performs!!! When we see this clear command to not listen to the words of the false prophet or dreamer of dreams that speaks falsehood, we must recognise that it is still in reference to the previous ending of chapter 12, which states:

Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 12:32All the words I am commanding you, guard to do it – do not add to it nor take away from it.

Those who add to, or take away from, the Torah, and teach others to follow their adding and taking away, are false teachers!!!

Yoḥanan makes it very clear to us what ‘love for Elohim’ is:

Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 5:3For this is the love for Elohim, that we guard His commands, and His commands are not heavy

These words that are given to us here in Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 13 are strong words that are needed to be heard loud and clear today! A prophet is one who speaks, and a dreamer of dreams speaks of one who claims to have visions.

 

What we must always do, is test the words that are being spoken or dreams and visions that are being declared, through the plumb line of the Torah; and if it does not line up then we are to ‘put to death’ that prophet or dreamer of dreams! In today’s terms, we must understand that this certainly does not give us license to go and kill false teachers and prophets; but rather that what we can understand from this is that we are to ‘put to death’ their false and misleading instructions and their leading astray our hearts and minds, from following יהוה completely.

We are to prove all spirits! This does not mean that we must give everything a test, as some may be inclined to think, but rather that we are to prove the spirit behind that which is being spoken or done in trying to lead us.

Yoḥanan Aleph/1 John 4:1-3Beloved ones, do not believe every spirit, but prove the spirits, whether they are of Elohim, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of Elohim: Every spirit that confesses that יהושע Messiah has come in the flesh is of Elohim, 3 and every spirit that does not confess that יהושע Messiah has come in the flesh is not of Elohim. And this is the spirit of the anti-messiah which you heard is coming, and now is already in the world.

DO NOT BELIEVE EVERY SPIRIT! Prove the spirits, to see whether they are of Elohim of not! How? Well, we are given a very clear answer here: Every spirit that confesses that יהושע Messiah has come in the flesh is of Elohim!!!

False prophets and teachers cannot do this! When one reads these words, we need to understand exactly what Yoḥanan is teaching here, for it is extremely vital to grasp this!

What does it mean to confess that: יהושע Messiah has come in the flesh?

What we must remember here is that many of the recipients of Yoḥanan’s letter would have physically seen and even met יהושע Messiah, so there has to be something more that is being identified here as a critical truth in discerning the true from the false! He goes so far as to say that every spirit that does not confess that יהושע has comes in the flesh in not of Elohim and is the spirit of the anti-messiah!!!

That is why I am emphasising that it is of vital importance that we grasp the implication of the words that Yoḥanan is giving us here. To confess that יהושע has comes in the flesh is to acknowledge the spirit of prophecy and declare that יהושע is יהוה our Saviour! Do you hear what I am saying here? To confess that יהושע has comes in the flesh is to acknowledge that יהוה and יהושע are ONE, and not two or three…but ONE! Anyone who cannot confess this is not of Elohim and is of the spirit of the anti-messiah, which we must definitely not listen to!!!

False prophets and teachers cannot declare that יהוה is יהושע!

Sha’ul makes it abundantly clear to us that it is only by the Spirit of Elohim that we can make such a confession!

Qorintiyim Aleph/1 Corinthians 12:3 “Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of Elohim says יהושע is a curse, and no one is able to say that יהושע is Master except by the Set-apart Spirit.

In other words, if you cannot say that יהושע is Master, then what spirit is in you and causing you not to be able to say it? The Aramaic English New Testament gives us some insight that confirms what I am presenting, as this verse 3 reads as follows:

Qorintiyim Aleph/1 Corinthians 12:3 “I therefore explain to you, that there is no man that speaks by the Spirit of Elohim, who says that יהושע is accursed, neither can a man say that Master יהוה is יהושע, except by the Ruach haKodesh.”

This is clearly a simple, yet very powerful statement indeed, and very beautiful as well. This is perhaps the most powerful statement of belief that we can find in all of Sha’ul’s letters. A declaration of such magnitude as this, most certainly demands the proper study and seeking out of the Scriptures from the original Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek texts, in order to fully comprehend the fullness of such a bold statement and revelation, that can only come by the Set-Apart Spirit!

In the Aramaic New testament, with Hebrew letters, we see this verse as:

מטל הנא מודע אנא לכון דלית אנש דברוחא דאלהא ממלל ואמר דחרם הו ישוע ואפלא אנש משכח למאמר דמריא הו ישוע אלא אן ברוחא דקודשא܂ 

I have highlighted the phrase that stands out for us in the Aramaic, rendering that Master יהוה is יהושע.

דמריא הו ישוע אלא –which can be transliterated as: demaryah hu Yashua elah; and what this is literally telling us, from the Aramaic text that has been written in Hebrew letters, is that “Master יהוה is יהושע Elohim” – and no one can say this except by the Set-Apart Spirit!!!

The Aramaic term that is used for יהוה is ‘MarYah’, rendering for us “Master יהוה”. The Aramaic word דמריא – ‘deMarYah’ literally means, ‘The Master Yah’, and in the Aramaic text of the Tanak (O.T.) we find that ‘MarYah’ is used everywhere the Name of יהוה is written in the Hebrew!

Another example in the Renewed Writings is seen in:

Pilipiyim/Philippians 2:10-11 “that at the Name of יהושע every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and every tongue should confess that יהושע Messiah is Master, to the esteem of Elohim the Father.

Textus Receptus Greek New Testament with Strong’s Numbers: Pilipiyim/Philippians 2:11

καιG2532 CONJ πασαG3956 A-NSF γλωσσαG1100 N-NSF εξομολογησηταιG1843 V-AMS-3S οτιG3754 CONJ κυριοςG2962 N-NSM ιησουςG2424 N-NSM χριστοςG5547 N-NSM ειςG1519 PREP δοξανG1391 N-ASF θεουG2316 N-GSM πατροςG3962 N-GSM

The Greek word used here for Master is κύριος kurios – Strong’s G2962, clearly showing us in the Greek text that the Messiah is Master, and this, every tongue will confess!!!

In the Aramaic New testament with Hebrew letters we see this verse from Pilipiyim/Philippians 2:11 as:

וכל לשן נודא דמריא הו ישוע משיחא לשובחא דאלהא אבוהי

Here, we again see this phrase: דמריא הו ישוע‘deMarYah hu Yashua’, rendering for us the clear message what every tongue will confess, and that is that “The Master יהוה is יהושע”!!!

 

What is made very clear when looking at either the Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek texts of Scripture, is that there is only One Master and Elohim, and this confession of who one’s Master and Elohim is, is of utmost importance and is extremely vital that the True Bride stand up and declare who Her Master is! 

 

Ok, having now set the scene, what we can learn from this is that the first test, or way we can prove the spirit is to ask for the clear confession of who יהושע is! If He is regarded as only the Son of Elohim, being part of a paganised trinitarian doctrine, or of a twisted doctrine of duality where He is only the Son and only came into existence at his fleshly birth, then the one declaring this is a false prophet/teacher and you should not listen to them!

Kěpha Bět/2 Peter 2:1But there also came to be false prophets among the people, as also among you there shall be false teachers, who shall secretly bring in destructive heresies, and deny the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction on themselves.

False prophets and teachers deny the Master, which means that they deny that יהושע Messiah is Master יהוה, and by doing so they will try to assume that Messiah came to bring a different set of teachings or standards from Elohim and are unable to acknowledge the spirit of prophecy which is the witness of יהושע Messiah:

Ḥazon/Revelation 19:10 “And I fell at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, “See, do not do it! I am your fellow servant, and of your brothers who possess the witness of יהושע. Worship Elohim! For the witness of יהושע is the spirit of prophecy.

The witness of יהושע is the spirit of prophecy!!! To the Yehuḏim who sought to kill Messiah, he said:

Yoḥanan/John 5:39You search the Scriptures, because you think you possess everlasting life in them. And these are the ones that bear witness of Me.

The Scriptures present the clear prophecy of Messiah, whom they denied!

Now that I have laid a brief foundation of the clear difference between the spirit of truth/prophecy and that of falsehood, we are able to begin our process of being able to prove the spirits that come to teach and lead.

While we may have this as a first step in our ability to sift out, and separate, the profane from the set-apart, we also take note how the enemy is crafty and will use strong delusions to lead astray whoever he can.

One might be able to confess that יהושע Messiah is the Master יהוה, yet still be a false and misleading spirit. And herein lies the clear truth that while mouths may confess the Truth, hearts may still be far from the Truth! And this is why our Master and Elohim tells us in Mattithyahu/Matthew 7 that we shall know them by their fruit!!!

What we can learn from this is that while confession of Messiah is critically important indeed, it must be followed up by a proper belief, through a proper working of obedience, for belief without works is dead, and no matter how much you confess to know the Master, and even make the correct confession, if your actions of required obedience to His Torah does not line up with that confession then it is a false and misleading spirit!

Ya’aqoḇ/James 2:19You believe that Elohim is one. You do well. The demons also believe – and shudder!

The demons know who יהושע Messiah is – that He is Elohim – and they shudder! They do not obey, even though they shudder, and this can be a very direct rebuke to many today, as they might believe that Elohim is One, yet they do not even shudder at His voice, nor are they ashamed of their lawlessness. Demons do not have works with belief, as they are appointed to death, at the Master’s coming Judgement, and Ya’aqoḇ highlights a very sobering reality that many need to hear today, and that is that your confession of words alone will not save you, for a true confession is matched with a proper obedience to the commands of Elohim.

That is why we see Messiah making it clear in Mattithyahu/Matthew 7 that many will come and claim to have the confession of Messiah, and even have done many works in His Name, yet they will be rejected as not being known by Him, due to their lawlessness!!

This is where we need to recognise the danger of the false prophets that our Master told us to beware. This caution against false prophets is given straight after His instruction to enter in through the narrow gate, which is hard pressed and leads to life and only few find it!

False prophets disguise themselves and come in sheep’s clothing, which teaches us that we cannot go on appearances, or even words, alone! For even under the gentlest looking garments, that may appear to be truth, there may just be a savage wolf! Smooth words spoken under the disguise of sheep’s clothing cannot be ignorantly accepted as being true, for the whore, as we see in Mishlĕ/Proverbs 5, has smooth words that drip honey and is smoother than oil, yet at the end she is bitter as wormwood and a sharp two-edged sword that strike to destruction! That which may come as gentle and mild, may be very deadly indeed, if one does not know how to discern and prove the spirits!

False prophets and teachers are savage wolves – they do not care about anyone but themselves! And sadly, we are able to see today, how modern-day Christianity has primarily become a very selfish religion, teaching a lawless people that they can get what they want, and even demand it, as they put themselves first, despite the glamorous disguise of looking as though they are meaning well and doing a lot for others!

The Greek word that is translated as ‘savage’ in Mattithyahu/Matthew 7:15 comes from the root word ἅρπαξ harpax – Strong’s G727 which means, ravenous, vicious, destructively ferocious, violently greedy, and the Greek word that is translated as ‘wolves’ comes from the root word λύκος lukos – Strong’s G3074 which means, wolf, wolves, and is metaphorically used to describe a rapacious and violent person.

This word is used in the LXX (Septuagint – Greek translation of the Tanak – O.T.), in the clear woe that was given to a rebellious, defiled and oppressing city, in describing the judges who were supposed to rightly rule according to the Torah, but did not, in:

Tsephanyah/Zephaniah 3:3 “Her rulers in her midst are roaring lions, her judges are evening wolves, they shall leave no bone until morning.

The next verse says the following:

Tsephanyah/Zephaniah 3:4 “Her prophets are reckless, treacherous men. Her priests have profaned the set-apart place, they have done violence to the Torah.

The rebellious, defiled and oppressed city had wolves for judges that would completely devour them up through a corrupted system and prophets were reckless and priests had done violence to the Torah!!!

This was a state of lawlessness where the prophets, teachers and judges were false and leading astray through the delusion of lawlessness.

Now then, “how do we know the difference between a false prophet and a true prophet, or a false judge and a true judge, or a false teacher and a true teacher?

Our Master tells us clearly in Mattithyahu/Matthew 7:16 that “by their fruits you shall know them

He goes on to give a clear parable by asking a rhetorical question of whether grapes can be gathered from thornbushes or figs from thistles! This is a rhetorical question that has the obvious answer of ‘No, they cannot!

In the book of Luqas/Luke we are given a statement rather than a rhetorical question:

Luqas/Luke 6:44-46 “For each tree is known by its own fruit. For they do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. 45 “The good man brings forth what is good out of the good treasure of his heart, and the wicked man brings forth what is wicked out of the wicked treasure of his heart. For out of the overflow of the heart his mouth speaks. 46 “But why do you call Me ‘Master, Master,’ and do not do what I say?

In Luqas we take note that the Master states that they do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush! He then tells us that out of the overflow of the heart one speaks, highlighting a clear lesson on being on guard against false prophets and teachers that will teach false and misleading messages that will lead you on a broad path to destruction.

So, here we can see the two accounts of Mattithyahu/Matthew 7 and Luqas/Luke 6, where in Mattithyahu/Matthew 7 we have the image of how it is impossible to get grapes from thornbushes and in Luqas/Luke 6 we have the statement declaring that figs are not gathered from thorns! Bearing in mind that these are parables, and so we know that it is not physical fruit that our Master is concerned about, but rather he is concerned about the fruit of our lives. Therefore, I would like to expand a little on the lessons we can learn from these pictures of grapes, figs and thornbushes.

The Greek word that is translated as ‘thornbushes in Mattithyahu/Matthew 7:16 and as ‘thorns’ in Luqas/Luke 6:44 comes from the root word ἄκανθα akantha – Strong’s G173 which means, thorny, a prickly plant, brier, prick, a point, and give s a clear idea of something that can pierce and hurt you if you try to grab something from it!

It is clear that in these parables that thorns/thornbushes are likened to false teachers that can hurt you, sting you and even poison you. We are told in:

Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 6:7-8For ground that is drinking the rain often falling on it, and is bearing plants fit for those by whom it is tilled, receives blessing from Elohim, 8 but if it brings forth thorns and thistles, it is rejected and near to being cursed, and ends up by being burned.

The ground that brings forth thorns and thistles will be rejected and end up being burned!

Once again, the analogy of falsehood is being used here, where we can identify the clear warning against getting our source of sustenance from thorny ground!

This parable that our Master gives us in Mattithyahu/Matthew 7 and Luqas/Luke 6 is one of the most important lessons for us to learn and know, in order for us to practice a proper discernment, which is something that is extremely lacking by so many today!

We cannot expect to get the nourishment of grapes from thornbushes! We cannot get the satisfying nourishment of grapes from false teachers and false prophets, for they choke out the Word by excusing it away as no longer being applicable for believers!

We must not receive teachings from false teachers, who we will know by their fruit!

What fruit?

Well, firstly, as discussed already, ‘Do they confess Messiah has comes in the flesh?’ If they cannot confess that He has comes in the flesh then they are thorns that will choke the life out of you instead of nourish you!

Secondly, even if they confess with their mouths that Messiah has comes in the flesh, do they believe with all their heart that he has been raised? By that I mean ‘do they guard and teach a proper Torah observance in Messiah?’

The lips of the priests are supposed to guard the knowledge of Messiah and recognise that people will come to them to seek the Torah:

Mal’aḵi/Malachi 2:7For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and they seek the Torah from his mouth, for he is the messenger of יהוה of hosts.

While we recognise that these words in Mal’aḵi/Malachi were a clear rebuke for what was being done in falsehood as opposed to what should have been done, we take note that the same things is happening today, as those who claim to be teachers (priests) today are not guarding the knowledge, nor are they guiding people in the way of the Torah, but are profaning the covenant of peace through by leading many astray through the delusion of lawlessness!

It is by their fruits that you will know them. In other words, it is by their doctrines, and the practice thereof, that you will know them! If you are seeking to test and prove the spirit of those who claim to be teachers, then find out what they believe, not only by what they confess but also by what they do!

Here are a few easy markers to look out for, (besides having firstly established who they confess Messiah to be):

1 – Do they keep the proper Sabbaths and Feasts of יהוה, without adding or taking away from that which is prescribed in Scripture? DO they teach and keep the Sabbaths and Feasts of יהוה, as outlined in Wayyiqra/Leviticus 23 and do not add to or take away from these prescribed Feasts! If they deviate away from what Scripture teaches then they are thorns. You cannot get grapes from one who teaches that sun-day worship and the keeping of pagan rooted feasts that have been assimilated into Christianity is ok. You will not get grapes from them, but instead you will get choked by them, of you seek to be taught by them!

2 – Do they have beards? This may sound simple and futile, yet is something that clearly marks any man as an obedient believer.

For more on this please see the article called ‘THE BEARD – ALL SET-APART MEN SHOULD HAVE ONE!’, which can be found under the ‘articles’ menu on our site (http://atfotc.com) or by clicking on the following link:

http://atfotc.com/index.php/2012-04-19-08-30-28/view/534-the-beard-all-set-apart-men-should-have-one

3 – Do they teach that our immersion, in the True and Proper Name of יהושע Messiah, is our circumcision which is done from above and that physical circumcision is not a necessity? For more on this highly heated topic, please see our Torah commentary notes on Berěshith/Genesis 17, where I discuss, in-depth, the matter of circumcision and how our immersion/baptism in Messiah satisfies and establishes the Torah as opposed to nullifying it. Those who teach that physical circumcision is still required, deny Messiah and His Blood, and are thorns, from which you will not get grapes!

4 – Do they use and teach the proper Names and Titles of our Mighty Creator, Master and Elohim, or do they continue to mix their teachings with adopted man-made names and titles that may be rooted in false worship practices?

Shemoth/Exodus 23:13 “And in all that I have said to you take heed. And make no mention of the name of other mighty ones, let it not be heard from your mouth. 

While some may argue that it is not just the literal Name of יהוה that is important but rather that we are to recognise His character and the One we call on and follow is the One who we proclaim, they may be correct indeed, yet what we take notice of is that once we have comes out of a falsified system of worship, our Master cleans our lips and renders unto us a clean lip, by which we can know that He is יהוה, our Elohim, and to continue to relate to Him by other names and titles that we once used in ignorant falsehood, would not be a pure witness of who He is.

We have a Creator and Saviour and He has made know His Name to us, and therefore to substitute it with another that one feels more comfortable with, simply because they grew up with it, is selfish and lacks a proper love for the One who has called us out of darkness.

5 – Do they wear tsitsith and teach others to do so to? We are commanded in Bemiḏbar/Numbers 15 to make tzitzit (tassels), and put blue thread in them and put them on the fringes/edges of our garments:

Bemiḏbar/Numbers 15:38-40Speak to the children of Yisra’ěl, and you shall say to them to make tzitzit on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a blue cord in the tzitzit of the corners. 39 “And it shall be to you for a tzitzit, and you shall see it, and shall remember all the commands of יהוה and shall do them, and not search after your own heart and your own eyes after which you went whoring, 40 so that you remember, and shall do all My commands, and be set-apart unto your Elohim.

Please take note that this command in to all the children of Yisra’ěl (which we are in Messiah) throughout all generations!!! To not wear tzitzit is rebellious and so, any prophet or teacher that does not wear tzitzit, with blue in, and teach other to do so to, is a thornbush from which you cannot get grapes!

 

I have just given a few examples of some of the key things that can help one in proving a spirit of truth versus a spirit of falsehood, by simply observing some outward appearances and attributes that ought to be able to be seen very clearly! This is not the limitation by which we can or must prove, as we know that savage wolves can put on sheep’s clothing, but it can be a part of a filtering process that assists in making the proving spirits a little easier to do, before being led astray down a path of falsehood, that can often be too late to identify!!!

 

Too many today are listening to false teachers, who do not even pass these simple few examples I have mentioned!

There are many, who are walking in observance to the Torah, that are listening to the leading and guidance of some teachers who have vocally denied Messiah! And sadly, there are many who are being led astray by such teachers and prophets that are false. Why would I want to listen to someone that denies Messiah, just because there is a claim that they may be so learned in the Hebrew language? Listen to what Yoḥanan tell us, in:

Yoḥanan Bět/2 John 1:7-11Because many who are leading astray went out into the world who do not confess יהושע Messiah as coming in the flesh. This one is he who is leading astray and the anti-messiah. 8 See to yourselves, that we do not lose what we worked for, but that we might receive a complete reward. 9 Everyone who is transgressing and not staying in the teaching of Messiah does not possess Elohim. The one who stays in the teaching of Messiah possesses both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house nor greet him, 11 for he who greets him shares in his wicked works.

Can you see what is being taught to us here? If anyone comes to you and does not confess יהושע Messiah as coming in the flesh, do not receive him into your house, lest you share in his wicked works!!! How many people are sharing in the wicked works of savage wolves that are dressed in sheep’s clothing, by allowing them into their house, through DVD’s, internet channels and other media sources?

This is an urgent message and warning that the Bride needs to hear – do not be led astray by savage wolves who have denied the Master!

 

Another way to prove the spirit of falsehood is to ask whether the prophet or teacher teaches and uphold the Torah, in the witness of Messiah, or do they nullify it through a destructive delusion of lawlessness?

Mal’aḵi/Malachi 2:17You have wearied יהוה with your words, and you have said, “In what way have we wearied Him?” In that you say, “Everyone who does evil is good in the eyes of יהוה, and He is delighting in them,” or, “Where is the Elohim of right-ruling?” 

Continuing with the rebuke for rebellion, we see how Yisra’ěl had wearied יהוה with words of deceit, by claiming that all who do evil are right in יהוה’s eyes! In Hebrew, the concept of good and evil, seen right from the beginning, can be understood as be functional, according to the clear design of our Creator, which is Good; or being evil by being dysfunctional and walking on one’s own ways! The delusion of lawlessness causes those who have been led astray to assume that they are fine and are not evil in יהוה’s eyes. They had words that preached an acceptance of falsehood, which יהוה does not see as good in His eyes!!!

To put it in today’s terms, they were basically saying that people could continue in their disobedience and sin, for יהוה loves and accepts them anyway! By that I mean that any are teaching a falsehood that has rejected the Sabbaths and Feasts and has rejected the Torah of Elohim as being the clear standard for righteousness, and while doing so they say that they are good in His eyes!!! Well, those who cast His words behind them are not heard by Elohim! If you do not hear, guard and do His Word, then he will not hear you!

Tehillah/Psalm 50:16-17 “But to the wrong Elohim said, “What right have you to recite My laws, or take My covenant in your mouth, 17 “While you hated instruction and cast My Words behind you?

So many today are reciting His laws and claim to be in covenant with the Almighty, yet they have cast His Torah behind them!!!

Mishlĕ/Proverbs 28:9He who turns away his ear from hearing the Torah, even his prayer is an abomination.

 

A false prophet can pray all he wants to: if he turns His ear from hearing, and by implication that means hearing and doing, the Torah, then his prayers are an abomination!!! I will even go so far as to say that even if a so-called prophet, who turns his ear from hearing the Torah – which means that they teach that the Torah is no longer an applicable standard to uphold ad keep – and what he says comes true, do not be led astray by the wolf in sheep’s clothing, or the thornbush from which you thought you could get grapes from!

 

Scripture repeatedly used the theme, or picture, of men being likened to trees:

Tehillah/Psalm 1:1-3 “Blessed is the man who shall not walk in the counsel of the wrong, and shall not stand in the path of sinners, and shall not sit in the seat of scoffers, 2 but his delight is in the Torah of יהוה, and he meditates in His Torah day and night. 3 For he shall be as a tree planted by the rivers of water, that yields its fruit in its season, and whose leaf does not wither, and whatever he does prospers.

Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 17:7-8 “Blessed is the man who trusts in יהוה, and whose trust is יהוה8 “For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and does not see when heat comes. And his leaf shall be green, and in the year of drought he is not anxious, nor does he cease from yielding fruit.

 

Trees, shrubs, grapes, olives, and figs are some of the things that are used to teach us many vital lessons in life, and so in this parable that our Master gives us, in telling us to beware of false prophets, we are able to recognise that the grape, which is a fruit of the vine, can be a symbol/picture of the pure and clean nourishment and provision we have continually from our Master and Saviour, for He is The True Vine and we are the branches and as we stay in Him we are equipped to bear much fruits that lasts!!!

False prophets and teachers are not true ambassadors or ‘branches’ of the True Vine, but are dangerous thornbushes or degenerate plants of a strange vine, from which you cannot get the proper nourishment and feeding in righteousness! A rotten tree/shrub/bush yields wicked fruit, it does not yield grapes!

The Greek word that is translated as ‘rotten’ in Mattithyahu/Matthew 7:17 comes from the root word σαπρός sapros – Strong’s G4550 which means, rotten, worthless, bad, unwholesome and figuratively, it means, that which is corrupt or foul.

The Greek word that is translated as ‘wicked’ in Mattithyahu/Matthew 7:17 comes from the root word πονηρός ponēros – Strong’s G4190 which means, malignant, evil which corrupts, worthless, vicious, toilsome, bad’.

 

We are called to bear the fruit of righteousness, and Scripture gives us a very clear and wonderful definition of what righteousness is, as seen in:

Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 6:25And it is righteousness for us when we guard to do all this command before יהוה our Elohim, as He has commanded us.

Righteousness = the hearing, guarding and doing of the commands of Elohim!

If the resulting fruit of listening to teachers, is a doing away with the need to hear, guard and do the Torah of Elohim, in Messiah, then that fruit is wicked and unacceptable, for it is the result of having been taught by a thornbush and not by The Vine!!!

 

Yisra’ěl was planted as a choice vine yet became a degenerate plant of a strange vine, due to wickedness and sin and the false teachings and ramblings of false prophets, persists and judges, that had corrupted their set-aaprtness in Elohim!

Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 2:21 “Yet I had planted you a choice vine, all of it a true seed. How then have you turned before Me into the degenerate plant of a strange vine?

Messiah tells us in Yoḥanan/John 15 that He is The True Vine, which highlights for us that there s also a strange vine, which produces thorns as opposed to grapes!

Luqas uses the imagery of figs that cannot be gathered from thorns, and so as we consider that grapes can be a clear picture of nourishment and provision, we are able to also see that figs too are a source of nourishment, yet when looking at this parable of false teachers, we can identify the image of figs being used to mark our identity in Messiah!

Luqas’ image is another metaphor of the true identity of a fruit bearing set-apart one, which cannot be brought forth from falsehood and thorns that choke the life out of a being!

When I think of figs, I am reminded of the vision that Yirmeyahu was given, when he was shown two baskets of fruit:

Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 24:1-2 “יהוה showed me, and look, there were two baskets of figs set before the Hěḵal of יהוה, after Neḇuḵaḏretstsar sovereign of Baḇel had exiled Yeḵonyahu son of Yehoyaqim, sovereign of Yehuḏah, and the heads of Yehuḏah with the craftsmen and smiths, from Yerushalayim, and had brought them to Baḇel. 2 One basket had very good figs, like the figs that are first ripe. And the other basket had very spoilt figs which could not be eaten, they were so spoilt.” 

 

Throughout the book of Yirmeyahu we see a number of visions that the prophet is given from יהוה, visions that contain some very clear object lessons that Yirmeyahu would have to relate to a people who, at large, were unwilling to listen and heed the words of warning, rebuke, reproof and correction from Elohim. יהוה had shown Yirmeyahu a boiling pot, an almond branch, a linen girdle, and on a trip to the potter’s house, broken clay pots. יהוה had always used something that the people would be able to understand and relate to. While the visions and messages would be clear, most of the time, most of the people refused to hear and remained stubborn and stiff-necked. Now here in Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 24 he is given yet another vision, and this time it is of two baskets of figs that were set before the Hěḵal of יהוה. These two baskets of figs represented two groups of people, two distinct groups that represented a huge division in Yirmeyahu’s day, and a huge division that still exists before us today, a division of two groups of people that will be separated and dealt with, at the coming of our Master and king, with each group being given each according to its work!

In a time of great distress, Yirmeyahu is given this clear vision, as a great source of encouragement, along with a stern rebuke and warning for those who lack the true fruit of righteousness!

With these two baskets being found before the Hěḵal of יהוה, we are also given a prophetic glimpse into the coming reward for the righteous, as well as the judgement on the unrighteous. The first fruit of figs were usually offered up at the Temple/ Hěḵal of יהוה at Sukkot, and so here we are able to see the ‘time of selecting’ these two baskets coinciding with that which will take place before Sukkot – that is from the time of Yom Teruah to Yom Kippur, where there will be a clear separation of sheep and goats – those who are marked for eternity and those who are marked for destruction!

Mattithyahu/Matthew 25:31-36 “And when the Son of Aḏam comes in His esteem, and all the set-apart messengers with Him, then He shall sit on the throne of His esteem. 32 “And all the nations shall be gathered before Him, and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates his sheep from the goats. 33 “And He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 “Then the Sovereign shall say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the reign prepared for you from the foundation of the world – 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food, I was thirsty and you gave Me drink, I was a stranger and you took Me in, 36 was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you visited Me, I was in prison and you came to Me.’

I find this text very fitting with that which we have just read from Yirmeyahu, as we are able to pick up the clear reference to that which is edible and good, and that which is not able to be eaten and is wicked!

This passage goes on to describe how the righteous will ask how they fed the Master when He was hungry, as well as how the unrighteous will ask when did they see Him hungry! While this text goes on in describing thirst, clothing and further care, I am simply mentioning the ‘eating’ part, for practical lessons contained in connection with the vision of Yirmeyahu! Fruit is something that is to be eaten, and only good nourishing fruit is able to be eaten and cause many to be sustained, while fruit that is rotten and unbearable is no good and can only be thrown out and destroyed! Good edible figs speak of a people who bear the pure fruit of righteousness and peace to perfection, while bad figs that cannot be eaten speaks of those who bear the ugly fruit of rebellion and unrighteousness.

Yirmeyahu had been warning the people for about 20 years regarding יהוה’s coming judgement. The majority of the people ignored his warnings and refused to turn back to יהוה. They had become so hardened that his continual warnings meant nothing; and so, they just carried on in their rebellion against יהוה, doing as they please while rejecting the needed obedience to His Torah.

What is interesting to take note of here is how this vision shows us that these two baskets were both before the Hěḵal of יהוה, and what we see today is how so many people think that they are ripe and fine before the Hěḵal of יהוה, when in fact they are nothing but rotten and evil! So many today assume that they are all fine and that there is absolutely nothing wrong with their worship, while their lives are riddled with selfishness and compromise! In Yirmeyahu 7 there is a clear warning from יהוה, telling them not to use false words and say ‘This is the Hěḵal of יהוה, the Hěḵal of יהוה’, when the rest of their lives are filled with deceit and compromise. Many display a ‘form of worship’ yet lack the true power of complete obedience in living set-apart lives unto יהוה. The question we need to always be able to answer as we live our lives, in total set-apartness is, “what basket we are in?”!!!

Before anyone simply assumes to be in the ripe and good basket, they must make sure that their lives are in complete submission to the Word and that they remain in Messiah, through total obedience in walking in His commands, in order that He remain in them and is able to present them as acceptable and good before the Father without shame!

Marqos/Mark 8:38 “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinning generation, of him the Son of Aḏam also shall be ashamed when He comes in the esteem of His Father with the set-apart messengers.

In Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 24:4-10 we are given the explanation of the vision, where יהוה makes it clear to Yirmeyahu that those who have gone into exile will be acknowledged!!! They will be acknowledged because they obeyed!

He is further told that this exile was for their own good! The understanding of these words carries great insight for us, as we recognise here that this disciplining of יהוה was necessary, so as to bring His people back to Him, and that they would serve Him with all their heart. We too can learn from this, that while we may not always like needed discipline, it is necessary and will cause us to reap a great reward, if we submit to proper disciplining that is required!

Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 12:11And indeed, no discipline seems pleasant at the time, but grievous, but afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Discipline yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who submit to it and follow in it!

In Yirmeyahu/Jeremiah 24:6-7 יהוה sets forth the clear promises given to the basket of good ripe fruit: He firstly says that He will set His eyes upon them – this alone speaks of a redemption and a restoration! It is by the blood of Messiah that we are able to come near to the throne of favour and find help in our time of need, and we recognise that this is not of our own work but only by that which Elohim Himself has done for us! His loving-commitment endures forever!

In verse 8 of Yirmeyahu 24 we are told the fate of the spoilt figs that cannot be eaten! יהוה cannot stomach wickedness, unrighteousness and rebellion, and He will discard of the wicked, vomit out the lukewarm and consume the unrighteous!

The warning or judgment was very clear here – those who had refused to go to Baḇel as well as those who went to Mitsrayim would be destroyed by sword, famine and plague! Yirmeyahu had pleaded for years for the rebellious to listen, but they refused! What we can learn here is that if you reject יהוה’s discipline, you will be rejected! What we also recognise from this chapter is that it was never יהוה’s plan to keep His people in Baḇel, but rather He used Baḇel to cause them to return. We know that those who refuse to come out of Baḇelon and Mitsrayim, shall be gathered together with the rotten and spoilt figs!

The call for us to come out and be separate is very clear – the problem is that so many are not coming out, but prefer to stay in the depravity of their self-consumed lifestyles, as they are unwilling to submit to the pure obedience to the Torah, that is called for by Elohim.

The reason for me mentioning this vision of the two baskets of figs is to highlight a clear separation that takes place between the good and wicked, and so, further emphasises the picture that figs cannot be gathered from thorns! This teaches us that we cannot get our identity, or even learn who we are in Messiah, from thorns!

We, like false teachers, shall be known by our fruit, and will be separated at the end. That which is rotten is brought forth from thornbushes that have choked out the life of the Word.

The Torah is life to us!!!

Deḇarim/Deuteronomy 32:45-47And when Mosheh ended speaking all these words to all Yisra’ěl46 he said to them, “Set your heart on all the words with which I warn you today, so that you command your children to guard to do all the Words of this Torah. 47 For it is not a worthless Word for you, because it is your life, and by this Word you prolong your days on the soil which you pass over the Yardĕn to possess.” 

Teachers of lawlessness that tickle the ear, deny Messiah and lack the true source of nourishment and lack the ability to properly teach true identity in Messiah, as a set-apart one of the Most-High!

 

Where are you trying to get your fruit from?

Where are you trying to get your nourishment from? (grapes – Mattithyahu/Matthew 7)

Where are you growing in your knowledge of Messiah and your true identity in the True Vine? (figs – Luqas/Luke 6)

 

Is the fruit of righteousness evident in your life or has the Truth been chocked out by ravenous wolves that have dressed themselves in sheep’s clothing and tickled your ears in order to lead you on the broad path of destruction that leads to death?

Mattithyahu/Matthew 7:20 our Master tells us again that we shall know them by their fruit! What is worth taking note of here is what follows this parable of grapes and thornbushes! Mattithyahu/Matthew 7:21-23 highlights how many will claim that they have been teachers and prophets and believers, yet will be rejected for:

1) being lawless, having no true and good fruit, revealing that they have not been nourished and sustained by the Truth, (no grapes) and:

2) Not being known by the Master, revealing that they have no true identity in Him, as they are grouped among that which is wicked and gathered to destruction (no figs)

 

Beware of false prophets and teachers – for it is a matter of life, growth and identity in the Master!

Rotten figs are thrown out, regarded as unknown as they had followed falsehood, as they followed the wicked king Tsiḏqiyahu, who was the 19th and last king of the House of Yehuḏah! The name צִדְקִיָּהוּ Tsiḏqiyahu – Strong’s H6667 means, Yah is righteous, yet his life did not reflect the fruit of righteousness and so profaned the Name of our Righteous Elohim and was regarded as rotten!

 

We are you seeking grapes and figs from? Are you able to bear grapes and figs for others to taste and see how good our Master and Elohim is?

You shall know them by their fruit – by their doctrines that they teach and by their works/actions that they display.

 

Timotiyos Bět/2 Timothy 4:1-4 In the sight of Elohim and the Master יהושע Messiah, who shall judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His reign, I earnestly charge you: 2 Proclaim the Word! Be urgent in season, out of season. Convict, warn, appeal, with all patience and teaching. 3 For there shall be a time when they shall not bear sound teaching, but according to their own desires, they shall heap up for themselves teachers tickling the ear, 4 and they shall indeed turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to myths.

 

In a time where most will not bear sound teaching, we must beware of false prophets and teachers, who are likened to damaging thornbushes that will choke you until you die, as opposed to nourishing you, establishing you, equipping you and bringing you to maturity in the Master!

Eph’siyim/Ephesians 4:11-15 “And He Himself gave some as emissaries, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as shepherds and teachers 12 for the perfecting of the set-apart ones, to the work of service to a building up of the body of the Messiah, 13 until we all come to the unity of the belief and of the knowledge of the Son of Elohim, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the completeness of Messiah, 14 so that we should no longer be children, tossed and borne about by every wind of teaching, by the trickery of men, in cleverness, unto the craftiness of leading astray, 15 but, maintaining the truth in love, we grow up in all respects into Him who is the head, Messiah

 

As we consider these clear words of warning given to us by our Master and Elohim, recognise that you cannot get grapes (nourishment and provision and sustenance) of figs (true identity) from thornbushes!

Messiah has appointed those who are called to equip the body to maturity – know them too by their fruit and when you see that there are true grapes and ripe good figs from their lives, then listen to them and follow their way of life and be subject to them!

Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 13:7-9 Remember those leading you, who spoke the Word of Elohim to you. Consider the outcome of their behaviour and imitate their belief. 8 יהושע Messiah is the same yesterday, and today, and forever. 9 Do not be borne about by various and strange teachings. For it is good for the heart to be established by favour, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them.

Iḇ’rim/Hebrews 13:17 Obey those leading you, and be subject to them, for they watch for your lives, as having to give account. Let them do so with joy and not groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you. 

The day of our Master draws near, and so we, as a Bride that has prepared herself, must rise up and be dressed in the complete armour of His Truth, clothed in righteousness, nourished in His Truth and adorned with the splendour of obedience to His Word that identifies us as His own, so that He shall find belief when He comes – for the fig tree has ripened and the grapes reflect the fragrance of our Master:

Shir HaShirim/Sing of Songs 2:13 “The fig tree has ripened her figs, And the vines with the tender grapes have given a good fragrance. Rise up, my love, my beautiful one, and come away!

 

Beware of false prophets/teachers and cling to our Good Teacher as you guard to keep producing fruit that lasts, having your figs ripe and your grapes sweet, for many to eat from, and be nourished and identified with you in the Master, so that you are not cast out as rotten figs and not known, or thrown into the winepress of His wrath for following after falsehood.

 

As we consider the sure promises of our Master and King, let us do our utmost to remain in Him and encourage each other daily, as we see the day approaching – not neglecting the gathering as some are in the habit of doing, and let us go out and bear the good and ripe peaceable fruit of righteousness! And remember – you cannot get grapes and figs from thorns – so why waste precious time trying?

יהוה bless you and guard you; יהוה make His face shine upon you and show you favour; יהוה lift up His face to you and give you Shalom!