Wolves among the Sheep
Those who have been a victim of a wolf, as I have, will know exactly what I am writing about. Those who don't know should pay very special attention.
Acts of the Apostles 20:24-35 - The warning
Just prior to taking a journey, Paul the apostle gave a last word of instruction to the elders of the city of Ephesus. More exactly, it was rather a reminder of his warnings made in tears spanning over three years. He taught on grievous wolves. In the process of his reminder, he compares himself and true elders to the wolf. In this comparison, we see exactly what a wolf is, and is not.
The direct qualities of the wolves:
- Come after Paul's departure (29).
- Do not spare the flock (29).
- Arise out of the circle of elders (29).
- Speak perverse things (30).
- Attempt to draw away disciples after themselves (30).
Further qualities of the wolves can be derived from the opposites of qualities Paul gives himself and the work of the elders. We are justified in this technique as Paul contrasts the real with the insincere. We shall use this technique throughout the entire study. Depending on the reader's translation, some of these attributes may be difficult to see.
- Count their own lives as dear (24).
- Preach a false grace (24).
- Preach a false kingdom (25).
- Have blood on their hands (26).
- Hide the counsel of God (27).
- Seek to make the flock defenseless disarm the sheep (28) in tandem with Ephesians 6.
- Disregard the Holy Spirit (28).
- Starve the flock (28).
- Disregard the blood of Jesus (work / meaning of the cross) (28).
- Commend the sheep not to God (32).
- Commend the sheep not to the message of His grace / kindness (32).
- Tear down (32).
- Steal the inheritance of the sanctified (32).
- Covet silver, gold and apparel (33).
- Seek for others to attend for and provide their and their friend's necessities (34).
- Oppress the weak (35).
- Seek to receive (35).
This was the last word that Paul exchanged with the elders - it must have been important. Apparently the apostle had a binding effect on the wolf, for the wolf awaited his departure.
Matthew 7:13-27 - Three parables about the wolf
First we discussed the false elders. Now Jesus warns about false prophets, who are wolves. He discusses their qualities, future and methods in three lessons.
MT 7:15-20 - The qualities of the wolf
The wolf comes as a prophet. A true prophet speaks the words of God. The false prophet pretends to speak the words of God, but does not. It is obvious that the words must in some way be packed in a religious wrapping and in a religious setting.
A wolf wears a sheep-skin with the intention of hiding his true nature. Therefore we know he is a liar - consciously or otherwise -, or "way off base". He wants you to believe that which does not correspond to the truth.
The sheep-skin appears real, for it is real; it used to belong to a sheep. This skin is the skin of the previous victim. Armed with this knowledge, we can conclude a few things:
- The wolf runs from victim to victim. The victim is his nourishment, without which the wolf dies.
- The wolf feeds on the produce of others, he is a parasite.
- The wolf steals the sheep's protection (its skin and fur).
Jesus also speaks about trees and fruit. The up-shot is what? to test the tree, or the fruit? The wolf wants us to turn Jesus' teaching around. He tries to sell himself as a good tree, which in turn de facto means that he produces good fruit. Jesus said however, to test the fruit, not the tree. The wolf routinely surrounds himself with others who witness good things about him. He especially likes to have real Christians publicly spread good tidings about him. The goal here is to have us accept, without testing his fruit, the lie that he is a good tree.
Titus 1:16 confirms the wolf method. They claim to know God, but their actions deny Him. 2 Timomthy 3:3 mentions retaining the outer form of religion but denying its power. Both verses make a contrast between the packaging and the content.
From a biological standpoint, some viruses hide themselves in protein so that the body does not recognize it for what it is. In war, spies pretend to be for one side, but in reality are fighting for the other.
Matthew 7:21-23 - The future
Wolves claim to be serving God, they even call him Lord. They will have prophesied and done many wonderful works (involved in seemingly great Christian works). Often they speak of building God's kingdom. Good camouflage. In the end, they lie in the name of God; they deceive themselves and others. They do not do the will of the Father, but their own will. Thus they are their own lord.
As seen in Acts, they seek after mammon. It would not surprise us then if they present themselves as businessmen. They love to be any where were money flows. They love to have their finger in other's finances. Financial advising is a favorit pass time. It would also not be shocking to see them taking up tithes and offerings to pay for "God's projects". In this manner, they divert funds away from God's work and into distractions.
But in their day of destruction, they will cry out, Lord, Lord, but the Lord shall not answer them.
Matthew 7:24-27 - The method
Who so ever hears Jesus' teachings and practices them, is a wise man who builds his house on a rock. Alternatively, the one who does not, builds his house on sand. At the end of the guaranteed storm to come, the house on the rock stands, while the other crashes in a great crash. The tactic of the false prophet is to bring the victim to build on the sand, by having the victim reject the true teachings of Jesus. This usually appears in the form of a religiously packed teaching, seemingly filled with truth, but is woefully lacking thereof. The wolf wants us to believe and do perverse things.
In this then the destruction is preprogrammed. The wolf tricks us by having us maneuver ourselves into a position such that the coming storm destroys us. In effect, the victim reaps what he sows.
The cleverness of this technique is as follows: The cause for the destruction is not obvious. It appears that the hapless soul destroyed himself, while the wolf is standing on the side-lines enjoying the show. It gives the impression as if the wolf had nothing to do with the crash.
After the crash, the wolf is not finished with his work. Ever the opportunist, he attempts to hook the victim for a second round, and hook bystanders listening to his "advice". Typical reactions to the crash by the wolf are:
- "He should have listened to what I said."
- "He was not spiritual enough to accept my words."
- "This is the price for carrying the cross."
- "He did not have enough faith."
- "It is an attack of the devil."
Any excuse to hide the real cause of the crash from the victim and by-standards will do.
If finances are involved, they con victims into making "purchases in faith". The victim buys more than he could possible pay for; "for God's kids deserve to have the best." and then is forced to settle invoices late, or not at all. Subtle lies and manipulation are introduced to "negotiate" with the creditor, sub-contractor or employee, if he might forgive the debt. Eventually the victim must file for bankruptcy. Excuses to cover soured business deals and unsound financial planning sound like this, "This is the price for riches", and "you will be rewarded in the future (in this life or in the hereafter)." Furthermore, "We have been attacked by the devil" or when referring to those who refuse to be manipulated into reducing or canceling the debt, they proclaim, "The traitors are stabbing us in the back", and, "they are not willing to carry the price for riches / of the cross." "God will pay the bills" is another favorit line as an excuse not to pay for what one has bought.
For completeness, we offer a few references of the importance of not giving up one's inheritance. Hebrews 12:16 & Genesis 25:29 - Esau sold his inheritance for a soup. Esau was caught in need, looking for something. Jacob provided it, but at a great cost - the birthright. Paul likens Esau to a fornicator, a profane man, who sought repentance in vain with tears.
2 Corinthians 11:3-21
We have seen bogus elders and prophets - now come the fake apostles. False apostles are exposed here.
- deception through craftiness (3).
- teach complicated and impure devotion to God (3).
- bring a false Jesus (4).
- bring a false spirit (4).
- bring a false Gospel (4).
- present themselves as super-apostles (5).
- boast about serving like real apostles (12).
- tell lies about their work (12).
- masquerade as apostles of Jesus (13).
- masquerade as servants of righteousness (14).
- are fools in their worldly boasting (17-18).
- make others slaves (and the slave enjoys it) (20).
- (13) exploit others (20).
- puff himself up (20).
- slap the slave in the face (20).
Chapter 12:14 is especially interesting. The false servant wants what you own, your wealth. They want the authority of parents without the costs. Moreover, they wish to be children, in that they receive financial support for their consumption.
1 Thessalonians 2:5-9
Paul is speaking of false apostles here, for he begins to make a contrast to how he did not act, and mentions again the packaging vs. content trick, typical of false servants.
- winning favor with men (5).
- employ flattering talk (5).
- put on a false front to mask greed (5).
- seek human praise (6).
- do not hold the saints as dear (7).
- become a burden for others (financially) (9).
We will not delve into the details here. A simple word search for Shepherd in the Original Covenant should convince all that there also exist false shepherds / pastors, for we have no reason to believe that false pastors are for some reason banned from their dirty practice on account that we now live after the Work of Christ. The short lesson from the testament is very plain - the false shepherds sheer the sheep for their own personal gain. The overwhelming absolute majority of passages concerning pastors is, without question, negative. This analysis has not changed.
Explicitly, the bible teaches of false elders, prophets and pastors. Almost explicitly the bible teaches about false teachers 1 Timothy 4:1-2 and evangelists (Acts 20:24-25 and 2 Corinthians 11:4). Where the bona fide version is a servant, the wolf version disguises himself as a servant, but in reality wants to be a master. This is probably the most obvious sign.
An interesting question arises, does the wolf know it is a wolf? I believe that both versions exist. There are wolves who are themselves so deceived, they believe they are going God a favor when they are in reality living according to the desires of the flesh. These must be good at creating plausible justifications for their actions, for themselves and others. This would happen when a fleshly Christian obtains a recognized ministry. Then there are some, who with premeditation, seek to ensnare the elect. Demonic persons, Muslims, Satanists and Buddhists fit the bill. But I believe, as the self-deception grows in the flesh-led person, at some point the person actively chooses the other side. This would seem to fit the passage in Acts 20:29.
The wolf exists, and is a fact of life. The Bible does not say that we should not concern ourselves with them, but rather that we should keep guard. Those who are not awake are the easiest victims. Truly, all who do not guard against the wolf is assuredly and without a doubt soon to be prey, if not already, without realizing it. "Look both ways before crossing the street" is wise advice - as is, "watch out for the wolf".
Through the veil we can recognize the wolf by his fruits, if we are watchful - Jesus said so. The wolf wants to steal for himself your inheritance by selling lies. The wolf does not travel alone, but rather in a pack. The bible only refers (if my memory serves me correctly) to wolves and false servants in the plural, i.e. a pack.
One of the traits of the wolf, otherwise known as a power-monger, is the demand for complete submission; submission not to the anointing (see Ephesians 5:21, where the word "Christ" means "anointing"), but rather to the person. All questioning of his teaching and disobedience is classified as rebellion against him, and since God has set him over you, rebellion against God. If one accuses you of having a "problem" with authority, be on the look-out. They invariably harp on "submit to me" teachings, make themselves out to be "front-runners" of a mighty move of God, and specialize in teaching on the sanctity of "tithing", "offering" and "giving".
To further understand the wolf, I suggest reading Psalms 55, paying careful attention to 13-14, 21-22 and the last half of 23. When the sheep looses its skin, with that it loses its ability to be productive. Obviously the wool cannot be shaven anymore, the meat is no longer usable, and the sheep no longer gives milk, for it succumbs quickly to disease and dies. The wolf wants to make its victim unproductive / ineffective for the Kingdom, and fill his pocket doing it as payment for his services.
We have fist hand knowledge of wolf-action. All of it financial.
A pastor used church finances to purchase a house. The house was transferred to his name, while the church held the debt.
A pastor suckered individuals out of hundreds of thousands of euros in the name of a short term debt. The pastor presumably spent it, the money is gone and he refuses to pay it back. The, "don't take your brother to court" trick is often successfully used. Sad thing the victims don't understand they are not dealing with a brother, but rather a wolf.
A "business man", claiming to be a Christian, pays for "God's Projects" out of his company's finances. All the while sub-contractors are being paid late, or not at all. All debts could have been paid, and on time, except the funds went to private projects. Negotiations start, requesting that creditors back down on their demand for payment. Meanwhile, he "employs" his wife with a fat pay check, who is absolutely incapable of doing the job. As the situation deteriorates, more money is used to pay for things that are actually for private projects and other companies (embezzlement). He files for bankruptcy, all creditors are left high and dry. Suddenly he is given a high position in the company, to which the money was embezzled.
He threatens to sue his private bank, for giving him too much credit in an effort to save his financed house. This same "business man" smuggles himself into a manager slot, against the existing general manager's wishes, for he knew the wolf was a swindler. He does no work, except to give a high priced task order to one of his secretaries - who works for the company receiving the embezzled cash -, for work the secretary is hopelessly unqualified. He sends in his bill for two months pay, although he did not show for work even one day.
The same person sued the part owners of a sister company for 300k Euros which he himself ran into the ground, by claiming the sister company did not fulfill its contractual obligations. The contract in question was not only instigated by the wolf, but was also managed by him. In effect, he is suing another, for his own misdeeds.
This person is the disciple of a bigger wolf, who does this type of thing often according to hear-say, and is a highly respected roll-model for business Christians in Germany. The bigger wolf prides himself how God routinely allows him to evade paying his bills through various methods.
Never, ever, give others (friends, pastors, churches, family) money as a credit without the right to take ownership of something of value. Make sure the value is about twice the value of the money lent, and make sure you have the legal right to take it (sometimes there are items that one cannot legally take). Make sure the item is not used more than once by obtaining title rights. Ensure that you can obtain the item without having to legally or logistically through the debtor (take ownership of car keys, safety deposit boxes); or better yet, take possession of the item, which will be returned when your credit is repaid.
Don't lend credit if you are not stable and strong enough to actually exercise your right. If you are a wimp, the wolf will run all over you, and your money will be gone.
"Just be patient, the Lord will provide". If I have heard it once, I have heard it a thousand times. The wolf is a master at drumming up a sob story. "This happened, that happened, etc." Don't buy it. Do not accept excuses in lieu of cash. The only chance you have to obtain your money is to push hard and not give a single millimeter.
A final word of advice: don't lend money that you need for your family (food, car, housing, education for the kids, etc.). A word to the wise: you cannot get blood from a tulip.
Author: Scott Brians
Date: 17 October 2005
Web Site: www.his-kingdom.net
Copyright: All Rights Reserved
Bible Text: Complete Jewish Bible by David Stern