In our next part of the series on the thief, I would like to share with you what Jesus called the wolf or wolves. Jesus often used metaphors to explain spiritual concepts. For a few reasons. One was that he did not want his enemies to pounce on him before his time, so he could not speak openly about spiritual things. Jesus said that those with eyes would see but not see, and those with ears would hear but not hear. In other words, the enemy would not understand what he was saying because he used code. Also, Jesus used parables because some things in the natural are parallels to some things in the spiritual realm.
Another reason that the Lord uses parables is that he does not give his wisdom and knowledge to just anybody. To not cast his pearls before swine, he speaks in signs and symbols to his prophets for the most part. In this way, a prophet or one of his followers will seek out a matter. That is, they will search the scriptures diligently and pray for insight. Those faithful in applying and giving out his treasures to others will be given more treasure from him. In this way, the Lord separates the true disciple from one who is not in for the long run.
In the same way, if you gave your child everything they wanted then they may become lazy, ungrateful, and develop a privileged mindset. I don’t think I have to say more for most parents to get what I’m saying.
Using the metaphor of the wolf or wolves, Jesus reveals to us another way the enemy operates. Satan is a wolf, and his demons are wolves. They come to steal, kill, and destroy. (John 10) Jesus said he was the Good Shepherd, the door to the sheep. The sheep are protected by him.
(Refer to my blog link) http://kimbalogh.online/2021/02/24/the-door/
In John 10, Jesus says that those who came before him claiming to be the sheep’s Shepherd, their door, protector, and provider, were thieves. His true sheep did not hear them because they knew the sound of the true Shepherd’s voice.
Then the Lord gives us a critical point in John 10 in discerning the difference between his voice and the false shepherd’s.
“I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.”
So, the first key in discerning if someone represents the Good Shepherd or is a hireling is whether or not they give their lives for the sheep. Look for this sign right away, (regardless of what a person says with their silver tongue, because Satan’s cronies can quote scripture) does the person give to the sheep with their very lives? Do they pour forth themselves for the sheep’s benefit, or do they take from or fleece the sheep for their benefit?
A faithful Shepherd, Jesus said, warns the sheep when the wolf is coming. When disaster comes, does the Shepherd warn the sheep, or does the Shepherd abandon the sheep?
This is another key indicator. Warning the sheep when trouble is coming indicates a true shepherd. If danger is coming and the sheep are not warned, then the sheep are susceptible to being ravaged by the wolf!
A true Shepherd cares about the sheep, so when trouble is coming in their direction, the true Shepherd warns the sheep. The hireling does not care about the sheep. They care more about themselves.
The objective of the thief is to steal, kill and destroy. The wolf analogy reveals how this thief operates.
In Jeremiah 5:6, the wolf is called a destroyer.
Genesis 49:27 says the wolf is ravenous and devours the prey,
Ezekiel 22:27 gives a clear description.
Her princes within her are like wolves tearing the prey by shedding blood and destroying lives to get dishonest gain.
Jesus said that false prophets are wolves. They pretend to be sheep but are inwardly ravenous wolves. (Matthew 7:15)
Jesus also said that he was sending his disciples out among wolves. So be as wise as a serpent in discerning who these wolves are and be innocent as a dove. In other words, don’t be like them!
Paul warns in Acts 20:29 that after he went home to be with the Lord, savage wolves will come into the church, not sparing the flock.
Here are other indicators to look for in a hireling or wolf in sheep’s clothing. They are false prophets speaking words not given to them by God. This includes scripture because Satan loves to quote the Bible. Giving truth with just enough error to lead the sheep astray. This is to get dishonest gain. (Ezekiel 22:27)
Many today are preaching the gospel for personal profit. That is dishonest gain because the tithes and offerings belong to the Lord. They are to be used for the furtherance of the kingdom of God. That does not mean the shepherd cannot get provision, but it does mean having responsible stewardship with finances. We may not know all the ins and outs of what a minister does with God’s money because doing our works in secret is a part of our walk with God, but discerning other factors in the lives of ministers will give us indicators of character.
Let us examine the wolf parable to see what character traits to look for in discerning a false Shepherd. Most of the time, wolves hunt in packs. Their pack consists of family members. You can see this in the lives of false Shepherds, teachers, and prophets. They have a network of family and friends working on their team. They hire in rather than source out to qualified individuals. Why is this? Accountability. If the ministry team are family members, the less likely to expose or call out a family member for mismanagement.
This is why the hirelings go undetected for years sometimes. It is good to have a few nonfamily members on your ministry team. Keeps you watching your life and ministry like scripture exhorts us to!
Wolves are expert hunters. They assess their prey carefully, looking for weakness, the right conditions, things in their favor, right timing. Wolves use whatever they find to their advantage to cease their prey.
In the same way, false shepherds, false teachers, and false prophets prey on the weak. Those needy, sick, and infirmed. They give them false promises, false hope, and constant attention. Now that sounds harsh, you may think because the weak need those things. However, let me point this out. Hirelings don’t really want the sheep to get well. They keep the sheep returning for more false words because their motive is to fleece the sheep to death!
When Jesus was here, he taught the sheep how to pray, grow in the faith, abide in the vine, and search the scriptures to learn about him. Paul did the same thing! The purpose of the Shepherd is to feed the sheep. This is another indicator to look for. Are you getting fed? Being taught to mature in the Lord, or are you constantly being fed baby food where you stay where you are forever?
In hunting for sheep to take down, wolves do what is called herding. They will dart back and forth to cause confusion and prevent escape. This happens when a sheep tries to escape a pack of wolves. Most of us have heard the testimonies of those who have experienced spiritual abuse. They are made to feel like they are the perpetrator instead of the victim, made to feel shame and confusion.
When this happens, sometimes the weak sheep are taken out. They leave the fold, never to return, and some who have been hurt go into revenge mode. Trying to bring the wolf down by themselves! A wounded sheep can be dangerous. The persecuted will often become the persecutor.
Wolves do not attack a sheep quickly and directly. If they did, the sheep would die of shock or be damaged goods. Not suitable for eating. To bring a sheep down, the wolves seize the sheep from behind or by the nose. In the same way, a false shepherd or false prophet will not attack directly. They come up from a blind side or by leading the sheep astray.
The false shepherd or false prophet knows the weakness of their prey. They don’t come right out and tell you what they really believe. They wait until they have led the sheep by the nose a bit. When they have made some new friends, become a part of the group, and are made to feel needed and that they belong. Then they move in for the kill.
Wolves work as a team. Their hunt is masterfully coordinated! They know how to defend themselves, being well aware of the danger if they are found out. The hireling gets the sheep in deep. Too deep to fight back for the most part.
Another type of wolf that is dangerous to the sheep is the lone wolf. This wolf is independent and strong-willed. When the lone wolf leaves the pack to strike out on its own, it has to become highly cunning to survive. The lone wolf looks for new territory. Some place or someone where there are no other wolf packs. The lone wolf looks for another wolf. Someone to partner with to form a new pack. Then the cycle repeats itself. The new guy who comes to town should be thoroughly vetted.
I experienced this scenario once. A new guy came to the church I was in, claiming to be a prophet with a message for that church. Soon he was in their ministry having meetings. That guy browbeat so many people that many left that church, never to return. He was pointing out everyone’s sins without love and compassion, but he could not see the pride and arrogance in his own life!
Long story short, there was a conflict, and the guy left, BUT he left a trail of disaster. That’s what the thief does; he destroys like a ravaging wolf. Since then, that church has had turnovers, splits, and scandals. It is good policy to not let in a lone wolf knocking at your door!
In conclusion, the thief in this blog is the wolf who comes to kill, steal, and destroy. Taking heed to what our Lord Jesus has taught us from his word about this thief, we can look for the signs. When we see the wolf coming in our direction, we should high tail it out of there! Also, we must warn the other sheep.
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