Beware of Wolves, Part 1
The Wake-up Herald
And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof. Romans 13:11-14
Robert McCurry, Editor & Publisher
February 25, 2011
Beware of Wolves in Sheep's Clothing
by Robert McCurry
Jesus said: “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep . . . I know my sheep and my sheep know me” (John 10:11, 14).
Sheep are mentioned more frequently than any other animal in the Bible.
God revealed His nurturing nature by speaking of Himself as a shepherd of sheep (Ps 23). Jesus also described Himself as the Good Shepherd who takes care of His sheep and gives His life for His sheep (John 10:1-18). Because He demonstrated purity and trustful obedience to the Father, Jesus was also called "the Lamb of God" (John 1:29-36).
The Bible makes many comparisons between the ways of sheep and people. In the New Testament the Lord's Church is often compared to a sheepfold. Jesus is called the "chief Shepherd" of the church and His pastors are His under-shepherds of the church (1 Pet 5:2).
Sheep must have a shepherd because, by nature, sheep are helpless creatures. They depend on shepherds to lead them to water and pasture, to fight off wild beasts, and to anoint their faces with oil when a snake nips them from the grass. Sheep are social animals that gather in flocks, but they tend to wander off and fall into a crevice or get caught in a thorn bush. Then the shepherd must leave the rest of his flock to search for the stray. Jesus used this familiar picture when He described a shepherd who left 99 sheep in the fold to search for one that had wandered off.
Because Jesus loved and cared for His sheep, He warned that sheep are especially in danger of attack by ravening wolves that come in sheep's clothing. That is, these wolves appear to be sheep, but inwardly they are wolves. They are imposters (Matt 7:15). They are subtle and deceptive. Inwardly their heart is evil and treacherous. The sheep is an emblem of innocence, sincerity, and harmlessness. A wolf in sheep's clothing is a wolf that assumes the appearance of sanctity, devotion, and innocence in order that it might more readily get the attention and gain the acceptance of the flock.
A wolf in sheep's clothing is not only not a sheep; it is the worst enemy the sheep have. The wolf comes to tear and devour, to scatter the sheep (John 10:12), and to drive them from God, from one another, and from their shepherd into crooked and perilous paths. Those who would rob us of truth and infect us with error, whatever they may pretend to be doing, actually design harm and destruction to our souls. Paul calls them grievous wolves (Acts 20:29). They plunder, despoil, and make a prey of God's sheep, the Lord's Church, and to advance their own cause.
The Apostle Paul also warned the church about grievous wolves: "For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock" [grievous: causing suffering, grief, or sorrow; wounding] (Acts 20:29).
Since Jesus Himself and the Apostle Paul warned the church about ravening and grievous wolves that enter the church disguised in sheep's clothing, it behooves every Christian to heed these words of warning.
The wolf in the Scriptures
The following allusions are made to the wolf in the Scriptures: Its ferocity: (Gen 49:27; Ezek 22:27; Hab 1:8; Matt 7:15); its prowling in the night: (Jer 5:6; Zeph 3:3; Hab 1:8); its attacking sheep: (John 10:12; Matt 10:16; Luke 10:3).
The figurative speech of the wolf in the Scriptures applies to: the wicked (Matt 10:16; Luke 10:3); wicked rulers (Ezek 22:27; Zeph 3:3); false teachers (Matt 10:16; 7:15; Acts 20:29); the devil (John 10:12); and fierce enemies (Jer 5:6; Hab 1:8).
The patriarch Jacob spoke of his youngest son Benjamin as a ravenous wolf (Gen 49:27). "Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil."
The word "ravin" is the Hebrew word ravenous. It means, "To rip and tear into shreds," indicating the bloodthirsty nature of the wolf. It speaks of fierce cruelty. In many Bible references, wolves represent ruthless enemies. The wolf is the terror of sheep but usually flees from the shepherd. Wolves seem particularly cruel because they seek out the weak, the young, the old, and the defenseless as victims. The flow of blood incites them to rip and tear even more with their powerful jaws.
It is obvious that the word "wolves" used by Jesus and the Apostle Paul in warning the church about their dangerous enemies was chosen wisely to describe the seriousness of the problem of "wolves in sheep's clothing."
Wolves in the church
“For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock” (Acts 20:29).
Concerning this verse, Pastor Handley Milby in his excellent book, The Wolves in Your Church, said:
"Dear Brothers and sisters, if the apostle Paul really knew what he was talking about, if God the Holy Spirit really inspired this verse, then without a doubt there are wolves in our churches today. Times may have changed, but the nature of people has not. I have pastored eight churches and have been involved in twenty-five to thirty-five revivals each year for several years. In every church that I have tried to pastor there has always been at least one wolf in regular attendance. I must pause here to say that it is impossible to pastor a wolf. If the wolf-member stays with you, you must 'manage' him/her and 'handle' him/her but you cannot be an effective scriptural pastor to a wolf. If you think you can, and are determined to change the wolf to a sheep, then you certainly had better read the rest of this book and plan to do a lot of praying, fasting, crying, and spending a lot of time in depression.
"When a wolf is confined and controlled, in many ways he will cease to act like a true wolf. However, a wolf is a wolf and the true wolf nature will eventually come out when the situation is right." (The Wolves In Your Church — $5.00; Pastor Handley Milby, 5099 Mt Sherman Rd, Mt Sherman, KY 42764 - Phone 270-325-3817).
A wolf is a wolf
Wolves cannot be anything other than a wolf and cannot be successfully tamed or domesticated. Like dogs, wolves are very beautiful and intelligent animals. However, very careful consideration should be given to the implications of owning a wolf which is essentially a wild animal. Wolves are wild, extremely intelligent and independent, and will not obey any human command unless they feel like it. Wolves that have been socialized will treat people like other wolves and it is not possible to develop a pet/master relationship with a wolf.
Some may think that wolves would make good guard dogs, but they are totally unsuited to this role as they will avoid hostile situations and will not attack or bark on command.
There would be extreme difficulties in providing an adequate diet for a pet wolf. Wolves need plenty of raw meat and a single wolf will easily eat a large amount of meat per week.
It is difficult to confine a wolf and still ensure its quality of life. Wolves communicate by scent-marking and cannot be housebroken. They also have extremely powerful jaws and can dig large tunnels and climb tall fences. An adequate facility to keep a wolf is costly. Also, veterinary care must be available, but many vets are unwilling to care for wild animals and do not have the facilities to do so. Certain dog vaccinations are not proven to be effective on wolves. Wolves are by their very nature predators. In the wild wolves have an intense fear of humans and will avoid them. However, captive wolves do not fear humans but will retain their predatory instincts. Wolves are not dogs, they are an important component of the wild where they can run, hunt, and roam freely, and there is absolutely no substitute for this freedom. (Wolf Helps; wolves as pets)
While wolves in the wild generally do not pose a threat to humans, wolves in captivity and wolf-dog hybrids have attacked and killed people. Because wolves in captivity do not fear humans, retain their predatory instincts, and have exceptional strength and intelligence, they can cause instant tragedy with a single bite.
It is not a matter of if the predatory instincts of captive wolves and wolf-dog hybrids will manifest themselves, it is just a matter of when they will be manifested.
Wolves just do not make good pets no matter how young they may be when "domesticated."
And neither do church wolves in sheep's clothing make good church members - no matter how religiously domesticated they are.
Continued in Part 2
Wake-up, Pastors! Wake-up, Christians!
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The Wake-Up Herald is published by Robert McCurry. The publication is designed to exalt the true God of the Bible, the Lord Jesus Christ, and inform, inspire, and challenge its readers regarding biblical truth and real-life issues. The contents are the sole responsibility of Robert McCurry and do not represent or speak for or on behalf of any other person or group. There is no subscription charge. The publication is a ministry of faith dependent on the contributions of its readers. Contributions are not tax-deductible. Send all correspondence to: Robert McCurry,605 Moore Rd, Newnan, GA 30263 or firstname.lastname@example.org Remove? Send reply with “remove” in Subject line