|Ezekiel 34 |
1 And the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
2 "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD to the shepherd: Woe be to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the sheep?
3 You eat the fat, you clothe yourself with the wool, you kill the sheep that are fat, but you do not feed the sheep.1
4 You have not strengthened the diseased, you have not healed the sick or bound up that which was broken, you have not brought back that which was driven away or sought that which was lost; instead you have ruled them with force and with cruelty.
5 And they were scattered because there is no shepherd, and when they were scattered, they became food for all the beasts of the field.
6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains and upon every high hill; yes, my sheep were scattered upon all the face of the earth and none searched or sought after them.
7 Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:
8 As I live, says the Lord GOD, because there was no shepherd and so my sheep became a prey and food for every beast of the field, and because my shepherds did not search for my sheep, but fed themselves and did not feed my sheep,
9 Therefore, O you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:
10 Thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require my sheep at their hand and cause them to cease from feeding the sheep, neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more. For I will deliver my sheep from their mouth, so that they may no longer be food for them.2
11 For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold I, even I, will both search for my sheep and seek them out.
12 As a shepherd seeks out his sheep in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered, so I will seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all the places where they have been scattered on the cloudy and dark day.
13 And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries and will bring them to their own land; and I will feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country.
14 I will feed them in a good pasture, and their fold shall be upon the high mountains of Israel; there they shall lie down in a good land, and they shall feed in a fat pasture upon the mountains of Israel.
15 I will feed my sheep and I will cause them to lie down3, says the Lord GOD.
16 I will seek that which was lost and bring again that which has strayed, and will bind up that which was broken and strengthen that which was sick. But I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with justice.
17 And as for you, O my sheep, thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I judge between sheep and sheep, between the rams and the he goats.
18 Does it seem a small thing to you that you have eaten on the good pasture, that you must also tread down with your feet the remainder of your pastures? And to have drunk of the clear waters, that you must also foul the rest with your feet?
19 And as for my sheep, must they eat that which you have trodden with your feet and drink that which you have fouled with your feet.
20 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD to them: Behold I, even I, will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep.
21 Because you have shoved with side and with shoulder and butted all the diseased with your horns, until you have scattered them abroad,
22 Therefore I will save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between sheep and sheep.
23 And I will set up one shepherd over them and he shall feed them, even my servant David [Jesus as the descendant of David]; he shall feed them and he shall be their shepherd.
24 And I the LORD will be their God and my servant David [Jesus] a prince among them; I the LORD have spoken it.
25 And I will make a covenant of peace with them, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land, so that they may dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods.
26 And I will make them and the places around my hill a blessing, and I will cause the showers to come down in their season; there shall be showers of blessing.
27 And the tree of the field shall yield its fruit and the earth shall yield its increase; and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bonds of their yoke and delivered them out of the hand of those who enslaved them.
28 And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beast of the land devour them, but they shall dwell safely and none shall make them afraid.
29 And I will raise up for them a plant of renown [Jesus], and they shall no more be consumed with hunger in the land nor bear the scorn of the heathen any more.
30 Thus shall they know that I, the LORD their God, am with them, and that they, even the house of Israel, are my people, says the Lord GOD.
31 And you my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, are men, and I am your God,'" says the Lord GOD.
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1 Woe be to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the sheep? The shepherds feed themselves, by taking money from the sheep instead: You eat the fat, you clothe yourself with the wool, you kill the sheep that are fat, but you do not feed the sheep. The shepherds, (ministers, preachers, priests), then and now don't even know how to feed the sheep, they only know how to be fed by the sheep; they think they are feeding the sheep, but they only speak from the nature of death with their carnal minds that are enmity with God. Jesus said: The words I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life;" he does not say the words as written, much less the scriptures or writings, are spirit and life. When Christ himself speaks to a soul, his words are spirit and life to that soul, for spirit and life are in his words, when he speaks them. But when another reads or speaks them without his spirit, they minister neither spirit nor life. For instance, Christ's calling to Lazarus when dead and buried, “Lazarus come forth;" his words were spirit and life to Lazarus. But let another read or speak the same words to a man dead and buried, and cry to him to come forth, they will not raise him to life. (From A Christian Progress).
To feed the sheep is to speak words and teachings heard from the Spirit of God. The Spirit gives life, so words supplied by the Spirit of God to a true teacher or preacher, increase the life of God in their listeners. Reading from the dead letter of the Bible, does not give life to the listeners. The letter kills, but the spirit gives life. 2 Cor 3:6. As Paul said: Which things also we speak, not in the words, which man's wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Spirit instructs; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 1 Cor 2:13. As Peter said: If any man speaks, let him speak with God's words [oracles]; 1 Pet 4:11.
Even Jesus did not judge, speak, or act without the Spirit's specific prompting. Jesus said:
Jesus said that a man who preaches from his own mind seeks his own glory. He seeks your money, your admiration, and your subjection to his authority. The preachers of Christendom stand condemned for seeking their own glory and then accepting pay for their worthless words; when to even charge for true words of life like Balaam, spoken from the spirit of God, is expressly forbidden by Peter and Jesus. Seeking their own glory, the preachers of Christendom speak from their carnal minds, the nature of death, and preach their opinions from the vain imaginations of their evil hearts.
They do not feed the sheep. They are incapable of feeding the sheep because they have not been taught, perfected, and authorized by the Lord; they are self-appointed. They don't have words supplied by the Holy Spirit. They have not been appointed through gift by the Holy Spirit. The preachers today, feed themselves, by taking money from the flock. Preaching for a salary is the error of Balaam, which is spiritual adultery, loving wages and profit — both Peter and Jude had some very grave things to say about those who solicit donations or preach for a salary. Woe to them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, have run greedily in the error of Balaam for profit, and perished in the rebellion of Korah. They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children — for whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever. Peter and Paul and Jesus all spoke strongly against preachers who took money from the flock, feeding themselves at the expense of the sheep.
2 I will deliver my sheep from their mouth, so that they may no longer be food for them. He calls his sheep out of the false churches, with ministers of Satan, transformed to look like ministers of righteousness; and they don't know they are Satan's ministers; they think they are Christ's, even though Christ never called them, never trained them, never perfected them, never authorized them, and never gifted them with the ministry. Come out of her my people, so that you may not share in her sins, neither participate in her plagues. Rev 18:4.
3 I will feed my sheep and I will cause them to lie down. So the Lord calls his true sheep to be separate, to come to him, to be taught by Him, to be charged with sin by him, to have the sin removed from their hearts by him, and to enter the rest through him. He [Jesus] becomes the true sheep's shepherd.
Therefore "'come out from among them, and be separate,' says the Lord, 'and touch no unclean thing; and I will receive you.
And I will be a Father to you, and you shall be my sons and daughters,' says the Lord Almighty." 2 Cor 6:17-18.
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