… the truth will make you free

John 8:32

False Shepherds and True Prophets

The Prophet

1 Corinthians 14:22 Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is not for unbelievers but for believers.

1 Corinthians 14:24-25 But if you all prophesy, and some unbeliever or uninstructed person enters, he is convicted of sin by all, he is brought under judgment by all, and the secrets of his heart are laid bare; so he falls on his face and worships God, saying, "God is really here among you!" What is our conclusion, brothers? Whenever you come together, let everyone be ready with a psalm or a teaching or a revelation (the prophets, for the believers), or ready to use his gift of tongues or give an interpretation; but let everything be for edification.

Consequently, we can say: the job of the prophets is to convict the unbelieving among God's people of sin and bring him under judgement by laying bare the secrets of his heart. This is what a prophet has always been, what he is, and what he will always be. What does the shepherd do?

Taking the direct shepherd analogy, he herds the sheep to the pasture and lets them graze. Over and above that, he protects them from the wild beast looking for a feast, and brings the sheep home again.

The modern day shepherd often does things in the opposite fashion. The pastor goes alone to the pasture with his lawnmower, cuts down the grass, binds it in bags, brings the bags of grass back to the sheep, and feeds it to them. By the time the grass has arrived, it is long since dead. Those pastors delivering the sweetest tasting grass attract more and more grass eaters, which in turn calls for larger and larger stalls. The largest stall wins!

This unnatural shepherding and grazing is due to laziness. It takes more effort to do things right than to cut corners. Corner cutting is not without consequences. The sheep are notoriously weak, for they get no exercise. They cannot eat the raw feed themselves, for like animals kept in a zoo, they have lost the will and the ability to rip the grass out of the dirt under their own power. So they become overly dependent upon the zookeeper for their nourishment, "proving" that they need a pastor for good spiritual health. Just as a caged animal will never reach its potential for splendor, power and pride, so will those dependent upon a pastor for their feed will never obtain God's best for his life.

Ezekiel 34:2 Human being, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel. Prophesy!

In an effort to save space we refrain from quoting verses 3 through 24. It should, however, be read before continuing.

It is not surprising that the job of the Prophet has been regulated to speaking encouraging (in the fleshly positive sense, not in the Biblical sense) thoughts. Some go as far to proclaim prophets no longer exist. The Prophet is the evangelist for God's people, and their conscience. By the very nature of the pyramid system - which concerns itself much more with a submissive relationship with the leaders in direct opposition to a focus on a relationship with God - there is no room for the real Prophet. For if the Prophet were to speak, the sheep may enter into God's plan as follows:

Ezekiel 34:25-27 I will make a covenant of peace with them; I will rid the land of wild animals; and they will live securely in the desert and sleep in the forests. I will make them and the places around my hill a blessing, and I will cause the rain to fall when it should — there will be showers of blessing. The trees in the field will bear their fruit and the soil its produce, and they will be secure in their land. Then they will know that I am Adonai, when I break the bars of their yoke and rescue them from the power of those who turned them into slaves.

Ezekiel 34:28-29 No longer will they be prey for the gentiles, nor will the wild animals devour them; but they will live securely, with no one to make them afraid. I will make the productivity of their crops famous, and they will no longer be consumed by hunger in the land or bear the shame of the gentiles any more.

Ezekiel 34:30-31 They will know that I, Adonai their God, am with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are my people,' says Adonai Elohim. 'You, my sheep, the sheep in my pasture, are human beings; and I am your God,' says Adonai Elohim."

This is life in true blessing. How many sheep live here? The promised shepherd is in reference to Jesus.

Ezekiel 34:23-24 "'I will raise up one shepherd to be in charge of them, and he will let them feed — my servant David. He will pasture them and be their shepherd. I, Adonai, will be their God; and my servant David will be prince among them. I, Adonai, have spoken.

Take special note that of "I will make a covenant of peace with them". It does not say I will make a contract with the apex of the pyramid, who will then subcontract down to the second tier, and so on down through the lower levels. The pyramid is the absolute antithesis of the relationship that God wants. He desires no middle people. The pyramid does not fit into the spirit of the Written Word.

Question: how many of the mishandled sheep realized they were being exploited? The sheep keep returning under their own free will. Would they do it if they knew? Most people who are abused, do not know it. A seldom quoted verse bears repeating:

2 Corinthians 11:19-20 For since you yourselves are so 'wise', you gladly put up with fools! You put up with it if someone makes slaves of you, exploits you, takes you in, puffs himself up, slaps you in the face.

It does happen. It can happen to you, dear reader. Everyone reading this should take a quick pause to consider if he is a victim of being too 'wise'.

Jeremiah's Call out of the City

Jeremiah 38:1-6 But Shephatiah the son of Mattan, Gedaliah the son of Pashhur, Jehucal the son of Shelemiah and Pashhur the son of Malkijah heard these words which Jeremiah had said to all the people,

Jeremiah 38:2 "Here is what Adonai says: whoever remains in this city will die by sword, famine and plague; but whoever leaves and surrenders to the Babylonians will stay alive; his own life will be his only 'spoils of war,' but he will stay alive.

Jeremiah 38:3 Adonai says that this city will certainly be handed over to the army of the king of Babel, and he will capture it."

Jeremiah 38:4 The leaders said to the king, "Please let this man be put to death; because by speaking such words to the soldiers left in this city and to all the people, he is demoralizing them. This man is seeking not to benefit this people, but to harm them."

Jeremiah 38:5 Zedekiah the king said, "All right, he is in your hands; for the king can't prevent you from doing as you please."

Jeremiah 38:6 Then they took Jeremiah and threw him into the cistern of Malkijah the king's son, which was in the guards' quarters; they let down Jeremiah into it with ropes. In the pit there was no water, but there was mud; and Jeremiah sank into the mud.

The prophets were disliked, expelled and killed. Was this because they routinely had nice messages to present? Quite the contrary. God depends on the prophets to tell the ugly truth. This is why the prophets - the real ones at least - are not allowed into the pyramid structure; for then the whole house would crash into one huge heap of straw and stubble.

If one wants to be a career prophet - those repeatedly invited to speak at the pyramid meetings on Sunday morning - the best bet is to proclaim peace, where there is no peace. They should prophecy that there are some in the audience this morning who will be great businessmen bringing money into the kingdom (of the pyramids), and that they should not forget to pay the tithe to the local pyramid storehouse. Proclaim that others will have international ministries to be sent out under the spiritual covering of the pharaoh. You get the idea. This is too easy. Anyone can do it. But the prophets from God have a different mission. They say, "Get out of the city".

The city represented, in the usual case, a place of fortification and security from enemies. Jeremiah - going against the grain, which is par for the prophets - claims the exact opposite. The logic emanating from the king's men is impeccable. Once the people flee the bogus safety of the city, the king is no longer king; for kings need subjects to be boss over. No subjects, no king. This is a lingering problem for the king. His pride does not allow the salvation of the souls, since he is more interested in his own position and prestige.

Jeremiah calls the people to surrender, in order that they may live. The leaders find this demoralizing for the troops and the regular sheep. The leaders determined that Jeremiah is trying to harm the sheep. The opposite is the case. "Just don't let those sheep out of the stall! They need the king to save them!" All the while, the king was dragging them to certain destruction.

Scott Wallace Brians
March 2014
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