by John and Ruth Greene
It is fair to say that Christianity is splintered and divided. It is competitive, not necessarily for your well being, but for your resources and whatever it can get from you. This is not The Way of YHWH, but the way of man. (2 Timothy 2:15; 2 Corinthians 4:2; 2 Peter 2:2-3; Ephesians 4:11-15; Colossians 2:6-7) The Bible is clear about this kind of shepherding in Ezekiel 34:2-6 –
“Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus said the Master YHWH to the shepherds, “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who have been feeding themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flock? You eat the fat and you put on the wool. You slaughter the fatlings – you do not feed the flock.
You have not strengthened the weak, nor have you healed the sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back the straying, nor sought what was lost; but you have ruled them with might and harshness. And they were scattered because there was no shepherd. And they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill. And My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them.'” – ISR98
While the priests of Israel had additional duties to provide in making animal sacrifices, they had become enslaved to the rituals of the priesthood. They ceased looking after the proper teaching and welfare of the people of YHWH. As a result of this lack of teaching the nation began to segment, with multitudes being deluded and following after false gods. (“The Idolatry Factor“; “Video: What is Idolatry?“)
This falling away can happen to the most honest hearted shepherds of YHWH’s people. Over time, with the ‘responsibilities’ and role playing of society, those that claim to be shepherds of YHWH’s people become programmed with automatic thinking, the peer pressure of others that claim to be superiors and the concerns of daily life, including the pull of family life and other life issues. They become divided and fractured as Satan has purposed, losing the peace of YHWH if they had it at all to begin with. (“Which Shepherd Do You Believe?“; “Good Shepherd – Bad Shepherd“; “Are You Running Away from Messiah?“; “Beware of False Teachers & Disciples“) Then, they begin to look to themselves, what vacations and distractions they can harness and how they can benefit over “the calling” that they have professed. They allow the world to get into their thinking, worrying about how they will pay their bills “on such a paltry salary.” They may give in to traditions of man in order to please men into supporting their church or ministry. Finally, a spirit of entitlement becomes their calling, as they begin to plunder the resources of the people that listen to their teaching. They become opportunists that seek only their own health and well-being to the detriment of those they claim to serve and help. This is the way of the world. The bad shepherd serves himself:
“Thus saith the Sovereign Yahweh; ‘Woe unto the foolish prophets, that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing. O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts. Ye have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel to stand in the battle in the day of Yahweh. They have seen vanity and lying divination, saying, Yahweh saith: and Yahweh hath not sent them: and they have made others to hope that they would confirm the word.” – Ezekiel 13:3-6, WoY
“Your prophets have seen for you false and deceptive visions; they have not uncovered your iniquity, to bring back your captives, but have envisioned for you false prophecies and delusions.” – Lamentations 2:14, NKJV
“‘As I live,’ declares the Master YHWH ‘because My flock became a prey, and My flock became food for every beast of the field, from not having a shepherd, and My shepherds did not search for My flock, but the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock, therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of YHWH!'” – Ezekiel 34:8-9, ISR98
Imagine that! Listening to and supporting a bad shepherd that caters to “ear tickling” and false teaching is no better than being without a shepherd at all! Multitudes of Christians cannot discern between the false and the true. In the end, lives can be lost because of the selfish life patterns and deception of wicked shepherds, prophets and other servants that rob and denude the flock both physically and spiritually for their own personal benefit. (“The Wheels of Ezekiel“; “Knowing Where You Stand on YHWH’s Threshing Floor“; “Truth About the Modern Concept of Pastor“) They will reap only this judgment:
“Thus said the Master YHWH, ‘See, I am against the shepherds, and shall require My flock at their hand, and shall make them cease feeding the sheep, and the shepherds shall feed themselves no more. And I shall deliver My flock from their mouths, and they shall no longer be food for them.’” – Ezekiel 34:10, ISR98
On the other hand, the Almighty will use good shepherds and spiritual watchmen (Ezekiel 2-3; Luke 12:38) to shine the light for the deceived of a misled, spiritually sleeping Christianity and the deceived of a confused world. (Matthew 5:15-16; Mark 4:21; 2 Corinthians 4:6; Isaiah 60:1; Joshua 24:15) The actions of men embroiled in the depths of the dark kingdom scatters people in spiritual darkness. YHWH will seek out His people (Psalm 23) as He did in days of old using good shepherds and spiritual watchmen that represent the teachers, apostles and prophets of this age:
“For thus said the Master YHWH, ‘See, I Myself shall search for My sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so I shall seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered in a day of cloud and thick darkness. And I shall bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the lands, and shall bring them to their own land. And I shall feed them on the mountains of Israel, in the valleys, and in all the dwellings of the land.
In good pasture I shall feed them, and their fold shall be on the high mountains of Israel. They shall lie there in a good fold and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I shall feed My flock and make them lie down,” declares the Master YHWH. I shall seek out the lost and bring back the strayed. And I shall bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick, but the fat and the strong I shall destroy. I shall feed them with right-ruling.” – Ezekiel 34:11-1, ISR98
YHWH is the shepherd of His people. (John 10:14; Luke 1:32-33; Acts 2:30, 13:23; Hosea 3:5) With the Messiah as mediator, Yahshua [Jesus] prays over them and seeks them with the idea of having them turn to Him. The Almighty gave each man and woman free will as free moral agents. He seeks to reach every scattered one of His flock that will listen. He seeks to nurture and bless them wherever they are, based on the natural and spiritual laws that He has set up on earth. (Psalm 23; Isaiah 30:7) He seeks to touch them with His Holy Spirit and to deliver them through His Son the Messiah. As they learn to listen to Him, He urges His people to slow down, (Psalm 37:7, 46:10; 1 Corinthians 13:1-13) to listen to Him through His Spirit, to seek accurate Bible knowledge, to heal and mend their brokenness, and to love one another more fully, as Messiah does the gathering of His people. (Philippians 4:6-7; Hosea 4:6) He wants His people to trust Him alone. (Jeremiah 17:1-10, 13-14, 16; Psalm 9:10, 32:10, 118:6-9) He pledges to destroy the proud abusers and tormenters, the ones that seek to harass and destroy His people, the ones that refuse to listen to Him through His people or through His Word. (Matthew 18:1-6; Proverbs 15:25; Isaiah 2:11) The sacrifice and earthly ministry of the Messiah expanded the reach and purpose of what YHWH, through the Holy Spirit told Ezekiel. All people have the opportunity to abide with Him if they will only receive Him and obey Him. (John 3:36; 1 John 3:24, 5:14-15; Hebrews 5:9)
“And as for you, O My flock, thus said the Master YHWH, ‘See, I am judging between sheep and sheep, between rams and goats. Is it not enough for you to have eaten up the good pasture, and the rest of your pasture you trample with your feet. Or that you should drink of the clear waters, and the rest you muddy with your feet? And as for My flock, they eat what you have trampled with your feet, and they drink what you have muddied with your feet.
Therefore thus said the Master YHWH to them, ‘See, I Myself shall judge between fat and lean sheep. Because you have pushed with flank and shoulder, and thrust at all the weak ones with your horns, and scattered them abroad, therefore I shall save My flock, and let them no longer be a prey. And I shall judge between sheep and sheep. And I shall raise up over them one shepherd, My servant Dawiḏ, and he shall feed them. He shall feed them and be their shepherd.’” – Ezekiel 34:17-23, ISR98
The Almighty reminds His people of the Last Days, when all will be judged. (John 6:39, 8:47, 12:48; Luke 10:16; Acts 17:31; 2 Peter 3:7) He encourages His people not be as the abusers and oppressors that are destined for the Lake of Fire, (Matthew 8:11-12, 13:41-42, 49-50, 22:12-13, 24:50-51, 25:29-30; Luke 13:27-28) for eternal cutting off and separation from Him. (Revelation 20:15, 21:8) In the same way today, Father YHWH wants His people to drink the pure waters of His Holy Fountain, His unadulterated Holy Spirit, divine knowledge and operation of His Word, impressed on the hearts of all that love Him. (John 7:38; Jeremiah 2:13; Isaiah 44:3, 55:1-11) It is inevitable. He has already proclaimed it. Just as he divides the sheep from the goats (Matthew 25:31-46), He will divide the His sheep from the abusive and oppressive rams that seek to masquerade as His sheep. Yahshua [Jesus] the Messiah alone, a singular Shepherd will govern them in YHWH’s Kingdom, undivided by demonic distortion and interference.