12 These are hidden rocky reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you, shepherds who without fear feed themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn leaves without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots
“These are hidden rocky reefs in your love feasts” Coral reefs can be very beautiful to behold and alluring to go look at, but the reefs can have very sharp edges and can cut a person if they brush against it by mistake. Also, lurking in the coral reefs are very deadly creatures like the blue-ringed octopus whose venom can kill any human with no antivenom known to be available.
That is how dangerous a false prophet can be to your spiritual life. They can seem very attractive with their speech and even their appearances, but what comes out of their mouths [teachings] is full-blown venom. His teaching is so convincing that to bring you back to the truth will be very difficult.
“when they feast with you, shepherds who without fear feed themselves” These false teachers pretend to be a caring friend just to get something out of you. They only care how you can bless them with what you have instead of them being a blessing to you.
“clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn leaves without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots” Since they do not have the Holy Spirit, you think that they will bless you with godly wisdom, however, it will be worldly wisdom which is detestable to the Lord. Their venom that spews out of their mouths promises that if you live by their interpretation, God will have to bless you. In reality, that type of doctrine will start to corrode your faith if you put it into practice.
The last part of the verse describes false teachers as being “twice dead” which shows that their consciences are seared. When you come across a person like that, their door to the truth has been permanently closed. If meeting a person this deadly is unavoidable, we must approach him with extreme caution.
We must take a false teacher very seriously. The potential for damaging our faith is very great so, we have to constantly be ready by reading Scripture, praying, and applying God’s Word to our daily life.