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-What is the connection between "false prophet" (v.15) and "trees/fruits" (v.16-18), and "you" (v. 23)?

Text: Matt. 7:15-23 (ESV)

15“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

21“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

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I am of the opinion that most often in the gospels and beyond, "trees" represent teachers.

The fruit represents their speech and behavior.

The leaves represent their teaching and writings.

[Luk 6:45 NKJV] (45) "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

So a teacher whose life is ungodly will produce corrupt teaching. A man with of righteous behavior will produce good instruction.

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What is the connection between "False Prophets" and "Fruits" in Matthew 7:15-20?

Matthew 7:15 [KJV] "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves."

  • Definition of a False Prophet: The earliest definition of a "False" Prophet (Navi, נָּבִ֜יא) is described in [Deuteronomy 18:22] "If the prophet speaks in the name of YHVH, and the thing does not occur and does not come about, that is the thing the Lord did not speak. The prophet has spoken it wantonly; you shall not be afraid of him." (אֲשֶׁר֩ יְדַבֵּ֨ר הַנָּבִ֜יא בְּשֵׁ֣ם יְהֹוָ֗ה וְלֹא־יִֽהְיֶ֤ה הַדָּבָר֙ וְלֹ֣א יָבֹ֔א ה֣וּא הַדָּבָ֔ר אֲשֶׁ֥ר לֹֽא־דִבְּר֖וֹ יְהֹוָ֑ה בְּזָדוֹן֙ דִּבְּר֣וֹ הַנָּבִ֔יא לֹ֥א תָג֖וּר מִמֶּֽנּוּ )

Matthew 7:16-18 [KJV] [16] "Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?" [17] "Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit." [18] "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit."

  • Fruit of the Lips : In Isaiah 57:19 [KJV] we learn God creates #Fruit of the lips for prophets to speak #Words of truth in order to help those listening understand scripture / dreams / His Instructions : "I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the Lord; and I will heal him."

The connection between False Prophets and Bad Fruit ( incorrect #Words) relates to inaccurate teachings (recitation/interpretation/prophecies) about the Torah.

Good Tree bring forth Good Fruit: In Psalm 92:13-14 [MT], we learn #Righteous people who memorize and recite God's Word will flourish bearing #Fruit : "13The righteous one flourishes like the palm; as a cedar in Lebanon he grows." (צַדִּיק כַּתָּמָ֣ר יִפְרָ֑ח כְּאֶ֖רֶז בַּלְּבָנ֣וֹן יִשְׂגֶּֽה) "14Planted in the house of the Lord, in the courts of our God they will flourish." (שְׁתוּלִים בְּבֵ֣ית יְהֹוָ֑ה בְּחַצְר֖וֹת אֱלֹהֵ֣ינוּ יַפְרִֽיחוּ)

  • The Hebrew word for "Flourish" (יִפְרָ֑ח) is a pun because it shares the root word "Peri" (פְרִי) meaning #Fruit.

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