A Voice in the
"Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture!" says the LORD. (Jer23:1)
As we address many apostate issues in these writings, complaints often come from readers, suggesting that VW is too harsh; too judgmen- tal; too legalistic in "condemning everybody that doesn't believe the way we do." That they know "many wonderful churches" and just because there are a FEW "rotten apples" in the bunch, we shouldn't go condemning the whole lot.
Actually Jesus taught that not "everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord' shall enter the kingdom of heaven."(Mt7:21) In the same context He points out that the "broad way" to DESTRUCTION is the one where "MANY" go, and that the "narrow gate" to "life" is found by only a "FEW."(7:13- 14) As Elijah was moaning "I alone am left" God encourages that there were yet "seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal." (1Kg19:14,18) And yet, compared to Israel's population, 7000 was but "few."
Today as we live in the days like the "days of Noah." There are FEW who have not bowed to Babylon. While there are some who have "come out of her" (Rev18:4) and find themselves without a pastor, there are precious "few" good pastors here and there, who faithfully proclaim God's "thus says the Lord." These few will understand that Jeremiah is not proclaiming against them here.
What is the indictment against the shepherds? They have "de- stroyed" and "scattered" the sheep. This was written to Israel, but the same principles can be applied to the apostate "church." Jesus said, "The thief does not come except to steal, to kill, and to destroy.." (Jn10:10)
What are the "thieves" doing? What is so wrong with their "minis- tries?" They "prophesy lies in My name, saying, 'I have dreamed, I have dreamed!" (23:25) "I have a message from the Lord." "The Lord told me..." "words of wisdom." "prophetic utterance." And usually, if one compares those utterances with Scripture, they turn out to be "doctrines of demons." (1Tm4:1) The ones at Berea were commended for "search[ing] the Scriptures daily" to see if the things proclaimed to them "were so." (Acts17:11) It is the Scriptures which keep us from going "astray." (Ps119:67) And yet I've read of pastors who proclaim, "we won't have Scripture tonight, we've had the spirit." How can they "test the spirits" (1Jn4:1) if they don't delve into God's Word? ...to see if the experiences are truly from God?
These shepherds "try to make My people forget My name." (Jer23:27) They teach that repentance is no longer necessary; because we are all already "worth so much" to God. They teach that we are not really sinners in God's eyes. (Is64:6-7) They teach that God won't "really" judge them, that "you shall have peace"..to everyone who walks according to the imagination of his own heart, "no evil shall come upon you."(23:17) There isn't really a hell. God doesn't really care what you do, He accepts you, you're OK.. "just as you are!" You don't need to "change" (repent). And if you "pray" you can have "power" (just "like God" -Gen3:5)
"The prophet and priest are profane" (defiled, corrupt) "they prophesy by Baal..they commit adultery..walk in lies..strengthen the hands of evildoers." (vs11-14)
There are also those who "pretend to be righteous" (Lk20:20) For Jesus, they wanted excuse to arrest Him. Today, they attempt to "correct" those who teach Truth, in an effort to make them teach lies.
VW receives many e-mails from people claiming to be "righteous." As we approach "that day" these communications become ever more numerous, particularly regarding the Truth that Jesus Christ will be "receiving [the Church] to" Himself (Jn14:3) prior to the time of "Jacob's Trouble." Some even suggest that, since VW teaches SO MANY people on the Internet, they are "concerned" for all the poor people who trust in what "I" teach; and thus become "duped" and deceived; and as a result are "not prepared" to go through that time of what is actually Wrath and Judgment from Almighty God upon the rebellious Serpent, Babylon and Israel; because they are being taught "here" that the Believer won't be on earth for that time. And they often speak of the "blood" that will be on my hands if I don't repent and correct the teaching. As they present their cases, they also "twist" the Scriptures.." (2Pt3:16)
What does God say? "I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran. I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied..."(23:21) And He says, "I will attend to you for the evil of your doings.."(vs2) "Yet I did not sent them or command them (vs32) ...for every man's word will be his [own] burden, for you have perverted the words of the living God, the LORD of hosts, our God (vs36) ..therefore behold, I, even I, will utterly forget you and forsake you."(vs39) As.."many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons...and done many wonders in Your name?' and then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!' (Mt7:22-23)
What SHOULD the shepherds be doing? What is the standard by which they are being judged? "But if they had stood in My counsel, and had caused My people to hear My words, then they would have turned them from their evil way and from the evil of their doings." (23:22) They would not be contriving to provide the unregenerate with worldly "entertainment" in the church. They would not softpedal the message against sin, because the wealthy church members might stop giving money. They would be proclaiming "sin" to be "sin" and seeking to make people "uncomfortable" enough to be "cut to the heart." (Acts2:37) Rather than getting people all "pumped up" to leave, "batteries all charged" they would teach submission to God...how to "lament and mourn...humble your- selves in the sight of the Lord" so that THE LORD, then, could "lift [them] up." (Jas4:7-10)
Because the shepherds have taught "rebellion against the LORD" (29:32) the Lord says, "Wail, shepherds, and cry! Roll about in the ashes, you leaders of the flock! For the days of your slaughter and your dispersions are fulfilled; you shall fall like a precious vessel. And the shepherds will have no way to flee...because of the fierce anger of the LORD.."(~25:34-38)
However, God does not forget His "flock." While this is to Israel, we can draw from it for the Church... "I will gather the remnant of My flock...I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them." (23:3-4) While we see the apostasy in full-swing, we also see little "remnants" here and there; meeting in homes & in small rented halls. The "pastors" God is raising up come from many non-seminarian backgrounds. But He sees to it that His flock is not "lacking." (23:4)
And while judgment is pronounced, God's thoughts [desires] are "of peace and not of evil." And He invites, "call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the LORD"(~Jer29:11-14)