Isa 2:2-4 AMP   It shall come to pass in the latter 
days that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be 
[firmly] established as the highest of the mountains 
and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations 
shall flow to it.

Irresponsible Shepherds
Ezekiel 34
Dec. 30th, 2004  Priscilla Van Sutphin

Tonight the Lord led me to this passage in Ezekiel and I believe He is speaking a warning.  This is not the first using this scripture, as for many years He has used this in many prophecies from various prophets of God.  But tonight I have a more stern sense of His fulfilling this shortly in the Church.  For many of these conditions exist now as they did in the time that Jesus came to earth.

Ezekiel 34   NKJV
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 shepherds: "Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves!  Should not the shepherds feed the flocks?

 What does the Lord mean when He says they feed themselves and not the flock ?
Is He only speaking of food in the natural?  No, I think He is speaking of the responsibility shepherds have to TEACH/feed His sheep good food of the WORD.
Are there people today who have starved their sheep?  Are there people who only teach opinion, or who feed them biscuits while they dine on meat?- so as to seem intelligent, but really they are hoarding the food for themselves and not responsibly teaching the sheep.  Do they take the TIME to really disciple them, and make them into shepherds also - since the five fold is to EQUIP the saints to do the work?

3 You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. 4  The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them.

 Fat in this sense refers to OIL - and the anointing.  Do the shepherds today teach so as to reproduce those who also heal and deliver others, and evangelize, and raise the dead, etc.?  The weak you have not strengthened, He says.  Do the shepherds today strengthen the sheep and prepare them for what is ahead?  Do they spend their time in counseling, healing and delivering those who come to them, and being a true shepherd who CARES for the sheep’s concerns?  Do they heal up the wounds from being mauled by mountain lions and wolves in sheep’s clothing?  Do they bind up the brokenhearted and love on them till they are convinced of HIS love?  Some have, but sadly many have not.

 4 So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. 6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes,  My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them."

 Jesus said that the Good Shepherd searches for the one who is lost.  You can come and go in today’s congregations without any shepherd ever seeking you out, unless of course you maybe are a big tither.  It says the sheep became food for the BEASTS of the earth, meaning the people are wending their way, being eaten by the enemy’s forces of darkness, and being deceived and deluded and undelivered, and unhealed from their wounds.  Who is searching for the lost? How many leave the confines of the church building to go looking for the broken and wounded, for the homeless and sick and crippled?

 7 'Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: 8 "As I live," says the Lord GOD, "surely because My flock became a prey, and My flock became food for every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, nor did My shepherds search for My flock, but the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock" —  9 therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the LORD!
10 Thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My flock at their hand; I will cause them to cease feeding the sheep, and the shepherds shall feed themselves no more; for I will deliver My flock from their mouths, that they may no longer be food for them."

 The Lord promises to remove those who are not feeding their sheep nor looking for the lost, and caring for the poor, broken and outcast. He says, I WILL DELIVER my flock from their MOUTHS.  Meaning they are being devoured or neglected by their shepherds.

 In the Didache, an early church document, at the end it says this: 

"Be vigilant on behalf of your life. Do not let your lamps be extinguished, and do not relax your loins. But become prepared. For you do not know the hour in which our Lord is coming. Now you will gather together often, seeking the things that are appropriate for your souls. For all the time of your trust will not profit you, if you do not become complete in the last season.

 For in the last days, the false prophets and the corruptors will be multiplied, and the sheep will be turned into wolves, and love will be turned into hate. For when the lawlessness increases, they will hate one another, and they will persecute and deliver up, and then the deceiver of creation will appear as God's son, and he will do signs and wonders. And the land will be given up into his hands. And he will do lawless things which have never been done from the age.

 Then human creation will come into the fire of examination, and many will stumble and be destroyed. But those who endure in their trust will be saved from this accursed thing. And then the signs of truth will appear. First, the sign of an opening in Heaven, then the sign of a trumpet's sound, and thirdly, a resurrection of dead people. But not of all people; on the contrary, as it was declared, "The Lord will come, and all the holy ones with him." Then creation will see the Lord "coming on the clouds of the sky."

 This also indicates in these times, it is not only the shepherds who are sick or weak, but lawlessness increases such that the body also become wolves, mixed in among the sheep, biting and devouring.

 11 God, the True Shepherd
'For thus says the Lord GOD: "Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a 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; I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, in the valleys and in all the inhabited places of the country. 14 I will feed them in good pasture, and their fold shall be on the high mountains of Israel. There they shall lie down in a good fold and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down," says the Lord GOD. 16 "I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment."

 I will make them to lie down…He is speaking of entering His rest. To no longer be tormented and driven by various winds, and devoured by the beasts of the earth.  There is a sense of no more fear or darkness.  True shepherds will receive those who are plucked from the false.  God will appoint HIS shepherds/shepherdesses to feed the flocks, who will take time with them. Who will truly CARE for the sheep. And those who refuse to change will have their candles extinguished - meaning their church/ministry will die.  Like Ezekiel 47 says; 

Ezek 47:8-11 NKJV
Then he said to me: "This water flows toward the eastern region, goes down into the valley, and enters the sea. When it reaches the sea, its waters are healed. 9 And it shall be that every living thing that moves, wherever the rivers go, will live. There will be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters go there; for they will be healed, and everything will live wherever the river goes. 10 It shall be that fishermen will stand by it from En Gedi to En Eglaim; they will be places for spreading their nets. Their fish will be of the same kinds as the fish of the Great Sea, exceedingly many. 11 But its swamps and marshes will not be healed; they will be given over to salt.

Like Lot’s wife who looked back disobeying instructions, and was turned to salt…so shall the the places where His water is not allowed to flow be turned into marshes and swamps, and places like the DEAD SEA…too salty for fish to swim in !

 Lest you think that God is too kind to kill anyone, remember the priest who went into the Holy of Holies wearing a rope and bells on his tunic…so that if he was not walking in holiness, they’d have to drag him out because the Lord’s glory/presence would slay him !  You might say, that couldn’t happen today. We are under GRACE.  However it happened in the early church with Ananias and Sapphira, remember?  And all it took for them was to PRETEND – to tell a lie.  Seems like not that great an offense these days does it?  Yet when the glory comes, it EXPOSES.  

Many of you have been getting more glory and not realizing it, because your sins are being exposed to you, by the grace and glory of God.  That is His favor.  For if He didn’t favor you, you would be allowed to continue to bask in your pride and ignorance of your sin, your spiritual blindness.

 Do not allow the enemy to gloat over you as you discover your heart is not as pure as you thought.  Thank the Lord for that weakness and thank Him that He is helping expose it and He is helping you overcome it. Thank Him daily if necessary, but REJOICE in Him, and praise Him.  For HE is readying you for the EXPLOSION He is about to do…Just like the tsunami that just happened, due to an earthquake that has been described as equivalent of 100 atom bombs.  100 is the number for GOD’s ELECTIONS OF GRACE!!!!  Hallelujah!  And for years, the Lord has been speaking of sending a TSUNAMI of His love and power into our lives to heal us and deliver us and empower us! PRAISE HIS GLORIOUS NAME!!  HE IS OPENING A DOOR.  But the door swings both ways.  Glory cleanses we know, because He sanctified the first temple with His glory the Word says…

 Ex 29:42-43 NKJV  And there I will meet with the children of Israel, and the tabernacle shall be sanctified by My glory.

 Ex 19:16-18  NKJV    Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the trumpet was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. 17 And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. 18 Now Mount Sinai was completely in smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly.

 The 9.0 earthquake in Sumatra was a sign, and the tsunami a sign…of His glory about to come.  The number of the Holy Spirit is 9 - 9 gifts, 9 fruits, etc.

Glywn had a vision that had to do with blocks spelling out the words DOOR in three dimensions with blocks…and Judy had a word about the DOOR being opened.  God is bringing judgment on evil.  But so often we misunderstand HIS judgment.

 Ps 119:120 NKJV  My flesh trembles for fear of You, And I am afraid of Your judgments.

Ps 119:137 NKJV   TSADDE   Righteous are You, O LORD, and upright are Your judgments. 

Prov 19:29 NKJV  Judgments are prepared for scoffers,and beatings for the backs of fools.

 Isa 26:9-10 NKJV  With my soul I have desired You in the night, Yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early; For when Your judgments are in the earth, The inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. 10 Let grace be shown to the wicked,Yet he will not learn righteousness;In the land of uprightness he will deal unjustly,And will not behold the majesty of the LORD.

 Jer 1:16 NKJV  I will utter My judgments against them concerning all their wickedness, because they have forsaken Me, burned incense to other gods, And worshiped the works of their own hands.

 Ezek 5:7-9 NKJV  therefore thus says the Lord GOD: 'Indeed I, even I, am against you and will execute judgments in your midst in the sight of the nations. 9 And I will do among you what I have never done, and the like of which I will never do again, because of all your abominations.

 Ezek 25:10-11 NKJV  And I will execute judgments upon Moab, and they shall know that I am the LORD."

Ezek 28:20-22 NKJV  Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 21 "Son of man, set your face toward Sidon, and prophesy against her, 22 and say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD:  "Behold, I am against you, O Sidon; I will be glorified in your midst; And they shall know that I am the LORD, When I execute judgments in her and am hallowed in her.

 Ezek 28:25-29:1 NKJV    Israel's Future Blessing
'Thus says the Lord GOD: "When I have gathered the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they are scattered, and am hallowed in them in the sight of the Gentiles, then they will dwell in their own land which I gave to My servant Jacob. 26 And they will dwell safely there, build houses, and plant vineyards; yes, they will dwell securely, when I execute judgments on all those around them who despise them. Then they shall know that I am the LORD their God."'"

Ezek 30:19 NKJV  Thus I will execute judgments on Egypt, Then they shall know that I am the LORD."'" 

see  Zeph 3:15 – NKJV  

All these scriptures seem to focus on the fact that God judges wickedness and when something happens that is disastrous, is it because He is judging?  or is it because the enemy is trying to do something to steal and rob souls?  Or is it that the earth is on a course that is in God’s control, and nothing we can do can halt the earth’s groanings?  Haven’t we been warned of what is happening and maybe some hoping that it would not be yet? 

Rom 8:22-23 NIV   We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

 Matt 24:7-28 AMP
7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in place after place; 8 All this is but the beginning [the early pains] of the birth pangs [of the intolerable anguish]. 9 Then they will hand you over to suffer affliction and tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake.10 And then many will be offended and repelled and will begin to distrust and desert [Him Whom they ought to trust and obey] and will stumble and fall away and betray one another and pursue one another with hatred.
11 And many false prophets will rise up and deceive and lead many into error.12 And the love of the great body of people will grow cold because of the multiplied lawlessness and iniquity, 13 But he who endures to the end will be saved. 14 And this good news of the kingdom (the Gospel) will be preached throughout the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then will come the end.
had not been shortened, no human being would endure and survive, but for the sake of the elect (God's chosen ones) those days will be shortened.

Ps 102:19-22  NKJV
19 For He looked down from the height of His sanctuary; From heaven the LORD viewed the earth, 20 To hear the groaning of the prisoner, To release those appointed to death, 21 To declare the name of the LORD in Zion, And His praise in Jerusalem, 22 When the peoples are gathered together, And the kingdoms, to serve the LORD