Jehovah-RAAH, THE LORD IS OUR GUIDE, our SHEPHERD, our PASTOR
The Lord’s unhappiness over shepherds of His people.
It is amazing that the same problems God had with the shepherds or pastors of Israel, are the same problems He has with the pastors or spiritual leaders of His people today. For whatsoever things were written afore-time, were written for our learning, that we, through patience and comfort of the scriptures, might have hope (Romans 15:4). It is amazing that when we read them, we think God is only speaking to them and not to us, but when the disciples asked Jesus whether what He was saying only applied to them, Jesus’ answer was this: what I say to you, I say to all, watch (Mark 13:37). We ought to take heed, and what God said to those leaders back then, He is still saying the same thing to all of us today. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come (1Corinthians 10:11).
The prophet Ezekiel received the Lord’s oracle concerning the pastors, shepherds or spiritual leaders of his days, it is the same message God has for our days. We will see how unhappy God was with them back then, and we will relate it to, what is happening nowadays.
I.1 The irresponsible Shepherds or pastors versus responsible Shepherd.
Ezekiel 34:1 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
Ezekiel 34:2 Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, thus says the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel who do feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks?
When God is talking about shepherds, He is not just talking about people behind the pulpit in church. Each one of us has someone following us. If we are in a family setting, our children are following us. If we are in a church setting a new convert is looking up to us, for inspiration and guidance. No matter what we think, whether we like it or not, we are examples to other believers around us. They look at how we are following the Lord and they want to do the same. It would be selfish for a parent to feed himself or herself, and let the children starve to death, it would be irresponsible!
Some people, especially in the family setting, think that it is the sole role of the man to feed the family with the word of God, since he is the “head of the home”. In Genesis 29:6 we see Rachel, Jacob’s wife, coming to the well with the sheep, she was a shepherdess! In the book of Exodus 2:16 we read of the seven daughters of Jethro, the father-in-law to be of Moses, those daughters were shepherdesses. Moses knew nothing about shepherding! He had to learn it from the daughters of Jethro, for he was raised as an Egyptian prince, and the Egyptians hate shepherds; it was a job for the Hebrews and strangers not for the Egyptians (Genesis 46:34).
Some women are unhappy with their husband because their husband is not as versed in the scriptures as their pastor in church. And they spend their time, complaining, saying to their husband: you are the head of this home, and you cannot even share the word of God with us, you cannot even teach the word to the children and to me your wife! Sisters stop all that. But be like Ziporah the wife of Moses, who taught her husband how to shepherd the flock. And see how, later God used that experience of shepherding that Moses had in Midian, to come and shepherd the nation of Israel! Your husband can be known tomorrow as a great shepherd of many nations, if only you act like Ziporah acted with Moses, by teaching him how to shepherd. So sisters, if, in the house you are the one who is versed in the scriptures, share the scriptures with your husband and your children, for you are the shepherdess of the house like Rachel, your mother was, and like Ziporah was. Do not give up, until your husband is also versed in the scriptures, and can do the shepherding with you like Moses did (Exodus 3:1).
God is saying: Woe be to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Woe or hardship be to the shepherds or shepherdesses who do not feed their flock. If you are the one versed in the scriptures in your house, start sharing with your whole household. Why? Because the bible says: my people perish or are destroyed for lack of knowledge, because they have rejected the knowledge (Hosea 4:6). If you keep the knowledge of the scriptures for yourself, or you only feed yourself, you will be the only one in the house who is strong spiritually. The other members of the household will be weak, and they will be acting in the flesh all the time. And when you pray, there will not be a great level of agreement; because you have the knowledge, but they do not have the knowledge you have. The enemy will always use the people in the house who are not well versed in the knowledge of the truth, to do his evil work in the house.
The bible says we shall know the truth and the truth shall make us free. As long as we are the only ones in the household who know the truth, our life is not easy at all. The rest of the family members are still held captive by their old ways, by some addictions or bad habits or uncontrolled spending! But when the whole family has the knowledge of the truth, the whole family is made free. There is unity of purpose in the home. The two of them will put ten thousand to flight. Share the word you have with people around you. Many times we are happy to be the only one to have the knowledge of the truth. And we still want people to always come to us for prayer, and for the word of God. This is not good at all. God wants us to be feeding the people around us with the knowledge of the truth, so they can stand on their own. If the people who follow us, or who are in our household, or in our church have the same knowledge of the truth we have, they will be able to pray for us when we are in trouble.
Paul said to the church: I know that this will turn out for my deliverance, through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus (Philippians 1:19). If Paul had not taught the churches how to pray for themselves, he could not have been confident that the members’ prayers would set him free from his bonds. When the Lord says woe or hardship it is for our own good. If Paul had waited to be in prison before teaching the truth to the people, then he would have been in great trouble! The people, who will stand in the gap with us, are the people around us. The greatest level of agreement you will ever have is in the family setting, that is why all the family members must have the same revelation of the scriptures. I remember growing up in a praying family. Even the children were sharing the word of God with their parents. All the prayer points we brought to the family altar, God answered them: be it sickness or finances, God answered them.
God used men as well as women to be shepherds or shepherdesses over Israel. Deborah is one of the shepherdesses that God used to Judge His people, she was a prophetess (Judges 4). When Jesus was brought into the temple when he was a baby, the prophet Simeon and the prophetess Anna both prophesied the destiny of the Child Jesus (Luke 2:22-38). Jesus, the Son of God, allowed Anna, to prophesy over Him and fast for his coming into the world, in the temple. Sisters share the word of God, do not keep it to yourselves! Since Jesus deemed the prophecy and fast of Anna, which she did in the temple, I believe the prophecy or the word of God that a woman gives me in church or in a house setting. If Jesus who is fully God received a prophecy from a woman I will receive it as well. The four daughters of Philip were prophesying in the churches (Acts 21:8-9). And furthermore the Lord said: it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy (Acts 2:17-18).
God even poured out of His Spirit upon the flesh of the donkey to prophecy to Balaam in Numbers 22. And Jesus says: I tell you that, if these [people] should hold their peace [keep silent], the stones would immediately cry out (Luke 19:40). I think I would rather receive the word of God from the mouth of a woman who is created in the image of God and after His own likeness, than from the mouth of an ass or stones. Some men, who are still oppressing women and not believing that God uses women, will have a surprise when God uses an ass to correct their foolishness. May it never be your portion, in Jesus’ name!
I.2 Beware of the traditions and customs of men
Sometimes when we read the New Testament and read some of the letters of Paul, we do not understand what the background of the story was or what was the mindset of Paul. Paul writes to Timothy saying: let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence (1Timothy 2:11-12). Paul was a Jew and used to be a Pharisee. In the early church, when the Gentiles were being added to the church, the Jewish believers had a problem with that. So sometimes they wanted to impose their Jewish traditions on the Gentiles, or because they were not bold enough to stand for the truth, they imposed Jewish traditions on Gentiles, so that they would be at peace with other Jewish believers. It was the case for circumcision. Paul knew the truth, that people did not need to be circumcised in the flesh to be saved, he said: for in Jesus Christ, neither circumcision avails anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which works by love (Galatians 5:6). For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision avails anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature (Galatians 6:15).
But Paul, because he was afraid of the Jewish believers, and because he wanted Jewish believers to accept Timothy, whose mother was a Jew but his father a Greek, Paul circumcised Timothy (Acts 16:1-3). You see even Paul, though he knew the scriptures, was still trying to be a pleaser of men in his early days in the faith. But later Paul refused to compromise with the Jewish traditions, and forbade any gentile convert to be circumcised like he did Timothy. Paul says to the Galatians: I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to those who were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain. But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised (Galatians 2:2-3). And the counsel of the Apostles in Jerusalem also decided to stand for the truth, and no longer try to please the Jewish believers, and they commanded by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that no Gentile convert should be circumcised (Acts 15:1-29).
The same thing happened with associating with Gentiles. The Jewish tradition forbade a Jew to associate with Gentiles; for according to their tradition, Gentiles were dogs, they were unclean. So in the beginning of Christianity, the Jewish believers of Christ only preached Jesus to the Jews. When they were scattered from Jerusalem by the persecution; wherever they went they only preached Jesus to the Jews and to the Greek speaking Jews, called Hellenist Jews. But God wanted to get rid of those Jewish traditions, so that they could bring the gospel to the Gentiles. So in Acts 10, Jesus gives a vision of a sheet coming down from heaven with all kinds of animals and told Peter: rise kill and eat. But Peter said: not so Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean. And the Lord told Peter: what God has cleansed you must not call common or unclean (Acts 10:13-15).
In the Old Testament God used the pictures of animals and birds to talk about nations of the world. Some of the animals and birds were clean and others were unclean. For instance pigs or swine represented the gentiles; dogs also represented gentiles, camels and dromedaries represented Arabic nations. Gentiles were called dogs; because of their sexual immoralities. Just like a dog is not faithful to one partner for life; but even in a day, they can mate with different partners. So physically and spiritually gentiles had many gods and many partners. Gentiles were also called swine or pigs; because the swine split the hoof, which allows it to climb mountains, but does not chew the cud or ruminate. In other words the gentiles are able to reach heights in development, increase in their wealth and riches; but they do not sit down to ponder or meditate, to find out who caused them to prosper, who gave them those riches and wealth. They ascribe their achievements to the works of their hands and to their dungy idols, like the king of Assyria did in the book of Habakkuk 1, and Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon did in the book of Daniel. Not knowing that every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning (James 1:17).
The Arab nations (Ishmael the son of Abraham, through Hagar and the sons of Keturah, the wife of Abraham, after the death of Sarah in Genesis 25) are called camels (have one hump or protuberance on the back, are the Ishmaelites, the first stumbling block of Abraham) and dromedaries (have two humps or protuberances on the back, are the sons of Keturah, the second stumbling block of Abraham). Camels and dromedaries chew the cud or ruminate, but do not split the hoof so they cannot climb mountains. Camels and dromedaries can keep the same food water for days and ruminate on the same food and same water for days. Normal ruminants only ruminate on that food the same day, but camels and dromedaries will do so for days on the same food. So in other words Ishmael and the sons of Keturah have been ruminating on that same injustice that father Abraham did to them, when he gave the whole inheritance to Isaac and gave them only gifts and sent them away (Genesis 25:6). Ishmael and the sons of Keturah kept their anger against Isaac forever. They should have let it go and moved on; for God blessed them as well (Genesis 16:11-13). And as we read in the book of Judges we see how Ishmael and Midian, who is one of the sons of Keturah persecuted Israel, even until today!
These animals were unclean for Jews; they were forbidden to eat them. So God was telling Peter that all nations are now clean in the eyes of God for the blood of Jesus has cleansed them; therefore Jewish born again should no longer see gentiles as common and unclean. Peter struggled with that and was not willing to let go of his Jewish traditions so when He arrived at Cornelius’ house, who was a gentile, he expressed his unwillingness to come to a gentile’s home, saying: you know how unlawful it is for a Jew to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man or woman common or unclean (Acts 10:28).
So you see, the Jewish traditions were so strong that it even hindered the furtherance of the Gospel of Christ. Peter had to defend himself when he came back to Jerusalem, because some of the Jewish believers condemned him, because he went into the house of a Gentile. But Peter knew how the Jewish believers would fight him, so he took with him some other Jewish believers who would testify of what God had done among the Gentiles (Acts 11:1-18). So Peter knew that Jewish believers were not happy that God was taking away their traditions, so when he was at Antioch with the gentiles, far away from the Jewish believers of Jerusalem, he associated himself with the gentiles, ate their food for now nothing is unclean in the eyes of God. But as soon as some Jewish brethren from Jerusalem came to Antioch, Peter was afraid of them, he wanted to please them so he separated himself from the gentiles, so Barnabas also joined Peter in his hypocrisy.
Paul was not happy, not that Paul was perfect, for we have seen how he himself also compromised the truth when he circumcised Timothy. But Paul wanted to move forward with the gospel of Christ, and not allow the Jewish traditions to hinder the furtherance of the Gospel again. So Paul withstood Peter to his face, because he was to be blamed. Paul said to Peter before them all, Jewish who came from Jerusalem and gentiles of Antioch: if you, Peter, being a Jew, live in the manner of Gentiles and not as the Jews, why do you or how can you compel Gentiles to live as Jews? So after Paul had explained that we should associate with everybody, regardless of their nationality, and not follow Jewish traditions; Peter acknowledged his hypocrisy (Galatians 2:11-21). You see brethren the disciples of Jesus were not perfect; they were humans like you and me. Sometimes they were also afraid of what people would say about them and they also wanted to be accepted by people around them, so in the beginning they compromised the truth; but at the end they decided to stand for the truth and reject the Jewish traditions and customs for of the truth Jesus told us: thus have you made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition (Matthew 15:6).
Now back to our case of women being silent in church and not sharing the word of God. Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence (1Timothy 2:11-12). Paul was a Jew and a former Pharisee. The Jewish traditions gave little consideration to women. According to the Jewish traditions in the days of Jesus and Paul; it was not decent, right or proper, nor indeed lawful to enter into a conversation or hold any long discourse with a woman. Those Jews used to say: do not multiply discourse with a woman, with your wife and much less with your neighbour’s wife. Their so-called wise men used to say: whatever time a man multiplies discourse with a woman, even with his wife, causes evil to himself and ceases from the word of the law, and shall go down to hell. So you see how those Jewish traditions discouraged men to listen to women, even their own wives. They will not even have a long conversation with their wives at home. And some of the Pharisees would divorce their wives if they spoke to them in public.
But Jesus wanted to destroy their traditions about women. So in John chapter four, He shares the word of God with the Samaritan woman at the well of Jacob. When His disciples, who were Jewish came, they marvelled that Jesus talked with a woman; yet no one said: what do You seek? Or Why are you talking with her (John 4:27)? They were not saying and thinking these things because the Jew had no dealing with Samaritans (John 4:9); but because a Jewish man, and especially a rabbi or teacher like Jesus should not talk with a woman in public, even his wife, do not even talk of someone else’s wife. Jesus went into the house of Martha and Mary, and taught in that house and Mary sat at the feet of Jesus to hear His teaching (Luke 10:38-40). According to the Jewish traditions, Jesus was not supposed to talk to them, and Mary was not supposed to come so close to Him. Jesus should speak to Lazarus their brother or their husband, if they were married, and at home, when everybody had gone, they would question their husband or their brother Lazarus, but not many questions, for their husband and their brother, were not allowed to have a long conversation with them. But Jesus talked directly to women, and answered their questions directly.
God never told them to treat their women this way, it was some macho men and insecure men who came up with those man-made laws that belittled women. If you read through the Bible you will see examples of how people treated their wives nicely. Abraham considered the input of Sarah his wife. Isaac was playing with His wife in public; there was romance between Isaac and Rebecca. Abimelech king of the Philistines looked through a window and saw, and there was Isaac showing endearment to Rebekah his wife, or caressing Rebekah his wife (Genesis 26:8). Those Pharisees would never do that in public, when their wives talked to them in public, it was a cause of divorce. Jacob, when he was about to leave Laban’s house, God gave him a dream about leaving Laban’s house; he asked the counsel of his wives and they were the ones who encouraged him to go back into the land of Abraham his father (Genesis 31). Jacob did not say: God gave me a dream to go back to the land of my father Abraham; I do not need the input of my wives. But he shared the dream with them and they supported him.
So, though those Jews came up with their traditions, to suppress the opinion and the voice of women, God came to prove them wrong. God chose Deborah, the prophetess, the wife of Lapidoh, to Judge Israel (Judges 4:4). God did not tell her husband Lapidoh to judge Israel, but told Deborah. The whole nation came to Deborah, to receive direction and judgement from the Lord. Deborah is the one who went with Barak and the armies of Israel, to fight the Canaanites (Judges 4). God used Esther to deliver the Jewish people. Esther is the one who asked all the Jews to fast for three days and three nights; not her uncle Mordecai. She said to her uncle Mordecai: go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me, neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day, so I will go to the king, which is against the law, and if I perish, I perish! And Mordecai went his way and did according to all that Esther commanded him (Esther 4:16-17).
You see God thinks that women can lead His nations, we have the example of Deborah and Esther, Moses and Paul tell us: by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word of God shall be established (2Corinthians 13:1, Deuteronomy 19:15). Joseph also understood that principle and said to pharaoh: since the dream was repeated to Pharaoh twice, it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass (Genesis 41:32). Jesus himself confirms the spiritual principle Moses and Paul had, saying: take one or two more with you, so that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established (Matthew 18:16).
Paul was still struggling with his Jewish traditions which make the word of God of none effect. But he started noticing that God was pouring His Holy Spirit upon all flesh men and women (Joel 2:28-29), so that the four daughters of Philip were prophesying (Acts 21:8-9). Even in the temple of the Jews, the prophetess Anna gave prophecies, no matter how the Pharisees and the chief priests did not like it, because it was violating their traditions, God was speaking through Her, and she prophesied over Jesus, not those Pharisees and chief priests (Luke 2:36-38). So Paul in view of all these witnesses of God said: you are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you have been baptised into Christ, have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:26-28). Praise the Lord that Paul decided to obey the word of God and not Jewish traditions.
Then there arose another issue between Jewish women and Gentile women in the church. Jewish traditions asked the women to have their heads covered when they pray, and men should not have their heads covered. Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonours his head. But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonours her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered (1Corinthians 11:4-6). The gentiles did not have that tradition. Let us say for instance it is raining and a man puts on a raincoat which has a hood, so does it mean because the man is wearing that raincoat with a hood under the rain, he cannot pray to God? Or does it mean that if a woman is taking her shower and washing her head she cannot pray to God?
Paul commands us by the Holy Spirit: I desire that the men and women pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting (1Timothy 2:8). So if we are to pray everywhere, and not only in church; it means I can pray under my shower, in my bed, in my office, at school, in the supermarket, when it is snowing and I had my head covered because of the cold. David used to commune or fellowship with God and meditate on His bed. As it is written: know that the LORD has set apart him that is godly for Himself: the LORD will hear when I call unto Him. Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah (Psalm 4:3-4). My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips: When I remember You upon my bed, and meditate on You in the night watches. Because You have been my help, therefore in the shadow of Your wings will I rejoice (Psalm 63:5-6).
David praised the Lord, meditated on the Lord and communed with the Lord (which is prayer) on His bed at night and he said God heard him even in his bed. So why should not a woman do the same things in her bed. Do you think that because she does not sleep with her head covered, that when she praises, meditates and communes with the Lord, that the Lord will tell her: go cover your head first of all, before I accept your praise, meditation and fellowship? People will say, Paul said: the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head, because of the angels (1Corinthians 11:10). So do you think that angels are mentally retarded, that they cannot differentiate who is a female and who is a male, that when God sends them to a woman, that they will deliver that message to a man; because that man covered his head, or if God sends them to a man, they will deliver that message to a woman, who did not cover her head? The Jewish, when they pray in the morning, they cover their head with a Tallit or prayer shawl, and they wear it during the whole prayer!
So the people who think that angels are confused when they do not see the sign of authority over the woman; their “angels” might have been very confused then! Because both men and women wore Tallits or prayer shawls during the Morning Prayer! Yet you have never read in the bible, both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament, that an angel made a mistake of delivering a message that was meant for a woman to a man, because that man confused that angel by covering his head with that prayer shawl during the whole Morning Prayer! Archangel Gabriel did not say to Joseph: you will be pregnant; but he said it to Mary, and then told Joseph that his wife was pregnant (Matthew 1). Archangel Gabriel did not make a mistake in telling Zachariah, the priest, who was ministering at the altar of incense with his head covered by the priestly turban, according to Zechariah 3:5 and Exodus 39:28-29, that he was pregnant with John the Baptist; but he told him that it was Elizabeth his wife that was pregnant with John the Baptist (Luke 1)! So if it was God who asked the priests to cover their head with turbans, and minister before Him in the temple, His angels were not confused when those priests covered their head, they did not think that those priests were women!
Angels are not stupid! And whether your head is covered or uncovered, God will hear your praise, your meditation and your prayer whether you are a man or a woman! Paul therefore says to the gentile churches: if any man or woman seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God (1Corinthians 11:16). But as God has distributed to everyone, man and woman, as the Lord has called every one, so let him or her walk. And so I ordain in all churches. Is any man called being circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? Let him not be circumcised (1Corinthians 7:17-18).
For peace sake, Paul says: if the Jewish traditions and customs are not your traditions and customs, you are not obliged to observe them, for the church of God does not have such customs or traditions. Therefore if you are a Jew, and you want to keep the Jewish customs and traditions, you can keep them as long as they do not violate the word of God and make the commandments of God of none effect. That is why when you go into churches of Jewish, Christian or messianic Jews, you will see them wearing their Tallits or prayer shawls, both men and women, but Gentiles are not to copy it! Now if we have a church in which the Gentile and Jewish believers are worshipping together: Jewish believers who are female, can cover their head when they are praying in a church setting, the Jewish males can also wear their tallits if they want. But if you are a gentile, and are now converted, you are under no obligation to follow Jewish traditions and customs, but if a gentile woman, who believes in Christ, wants to pray with her head covered like the Jewish women, she does not sin, but if she prays with her head uncovered she does not sin either.
Paul had to settle a lot of conflicts in the early church, because the traditions and customs of the Jews, were clashing with the traditions and the customs of the Gentiles. And in the early church the Christians were going to the Jewish synagogues, staying afar off in the gentile court to hear the word of God, for Christians did not have their own worship building yet. So if you go to a Jewish temple or synagogue; you must abide by the Jewish traditions and customs. If they forbid women to speak in their temples, do not speak; if they oblige women to cover their head, cover your head for peace sake. The same thing applies in our days. But later on the Jewish believers in Christ had their own churches separated from the gentile believers in Christ. They kept their traditions and customs of their fathers that do not violate the word of God, and they call themselves Messianic Jews. The gentiles also had their own buildings of worship separate from the Jews. Thus they did not need to observe any Jewish customs or traditions anymore.
The reality of things is this: even today among gentile churches, each one of them has a little of their own customs and traditions. If you attend an English church, you will find their traditions there; if you attend a Nigerian church, you will find their traditions there; if you attend an American church, you will find their traditions there; if you attend a Jamaican church, you will find their tradition there; and so on. As long as the traditions and customs of those people, do not violate the word of God; for peace sake follow them, if they ask their women to cover their head, if you are a woman, please cover your head; if they do not allow woman to speak or prophecy, and you want to stay in their midst, then if you are a woman do not speak. I was in a Jamaican church for two years; everybody who was not Jamaican that came to that church would get saved; but after a while would leave the church. And they did not know what was happening. They asked me: G, you are not a Jamaican how come you stay in our midst? I told them it is because I am like Paul, I died to people’s traditions as long as it does not violate the word of God and make the word of God of none effect, I will stay with you. And I have become all things to all men, so that I may win some: to the Jamaicans I became Jamaican, to the Nigerians I became Nigerian, and to the British I became British.
Sometimes people tell me: Gery it is not good enough for you to only attend our church, you must become one of us. What they mean by being one of them, is that I must marry a woman of their nationality, or their ethnic group. I was in a church and they were pressuring me to marry one woman of their country. They thought because I was attending their church, eating their food and even understanding their language; it meant I wanted to marry a woman of their country. The same thing happened to me in two Jamaican churches, in a Nigerian church, in a Malawian church, with brethren from Pakistan, with brethren from the Democratic republic of Congo the former Zaire and among Chinese brethren. They told me, if I marry one of them, I will be part of them and the people will embrace me and my preaching. I always smile when they say it, and I say praise the Lord. Some of them even give me so-called prophecies of a woman of their country I will marry. I just smile and say: praise the Lord and amen! I just do not want to hurt their feelings, for if I correct them according to the scriptures, they will not like it, but I remember I had to correct some Jamaican brethren because they were going too far. It does not matter the nationality or the skin colour of the person I marry, God knows who He has ordained for me, when we are born again we see Jesus in people not their skin colour, their nationality or ethnicity.
Then how does brother Gery think in his heart? I think according to the scriptures. Those dear brothers or sisters who tell me such things are still carnal, according to the word of God, their mind is not yet renewed according to the word of God. I share the word of God with people of different nationalities, skin colours and ethnicity. I do not become part of those people by marrying one of them, but I am part of them, because we all have the same Father: God (1John 3:2); the same elder brother and Saviour: Jesus (Romans 8:29), the same Comforter: the Holy Spirit (Galatians 4:6), we all live in the same city: our heavenly Jerusalem which is the mother of all born again believers (Galatians 4:26-27), we are all part of the household of God and have the same heavenly citizenship (Ephesians 2:19).
This is how I see other believers: we may have different earthly citizenship, but the moment we are born again, we have the same heavenly citizenship, our citizenship is now in heaven and here on earth we are Christ’s ambassadors (2Corinthians 5:20); we might have different earthly ethnicities, skin colours, but when we are born again we have the same Heavenly Father, and the same spiritual blood is running in us: the blood of Jesus. I beseech you, in the name of Jesus, to always think according to the scriptures. Solomon tried to have peace with all the nations around him, so married 700 wives, and had 300 concubines (1Kings 11:3). God called brother Gery for 50 nations in the West, and South and in most of those nations they have many ethnic groups, so how many wives do I need to marry in those 50 nations, or how many children born of fornication and adultery do I need to have in each ethnic group of those 50 nations, for each of those ethnic groups of the 50 nations to receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ I am preaching? The kingdom of God is a spiritual thing, not a fleshly thing, people will accept you and be at peace with you, not because you marry one of them, or bred with one of them; but because the peace of God is in you, the Spirit of God is in you, and the love of God is in you. The king of Egypt, who gave his daughter as wife to Solomon, later hid Jeroboam who rebelled against Solomon and was fighting Israel (1Kings 11:26-40).
Paul who was the apostle to the gentiles, travelled all over the world. And he was never married to anybody among the gentile nations, or the Jews. He understood that people received his message of Christ, because Christ was with him and in him, not because he made some marriage alliances with those nations like Solomon did. So Paul says to the people in Corinth: I determined to know nothing among you, except Jesus Christ and Him crucified (1Corinthians 2:2). Therefore from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh, even though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer (2Corinthians 5:16). Soul winning, healing, deliverance and dead raising are spiritual warfare, and the weapons we use are not carnal. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh; for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God, to the pulling down of strong holds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ (2Corinthians 10:3-5).
So when I come into a church, or to someone; in my heart I determined to know nothing about them, their nationality, their skin colour, their background their gender male or female; truly none of these matters to me, for I am not after anything. I just want to know if Christ Jesus is in them, if it is the case, I will fellowship with them. If Christ is not in them, I will do my best to give them Christ Jesus, and explain to them the way of salvation. I decided to know no one after the flesh, or to make any alliances of marriage, so that they would receive my message of Jesus. Christ Jesus was a Jew after the flesh, He never married anybody on earth, so you and I are not Jews, and we received Jesus in our life, not because He was of our earthly nationality, or He married someone of our nationality. But we received Him because He is the saviour of the world, and God has borne witness of Him. I do not preach Gery, I preach Jesus; I decided to know nobody after the flesh, but to bring them Jesus. I will never advance the kingdom of God using carnal weapons, or relying on the arm of the flesh, but I will trust in God and remember the name of the Lord Jesus. If they reject me for any carnal reason, it is not me that they are rejecting, it is Jesus they are rejecting, for Jesus told me: he who receives you receives Me, Jesus; and he who receives Me receives Him, Father God, who sent Me (Matthew 10:40).
I.3 The Heart of the Good Shepherd toward divorce and remarriage
Whenever we want to interpret a scripture, we always need to see the whole counsel of the scriptures from Geneses to Revelation, and from Revelation to Genesis again. When you read the gospel, do not just be content with the reading of or understanding of one gospel; but read the four gospels so that you will have an accurate idea of what Jesus truly meant. Think of it this way, if you attend a lecture, and there are no handouts given by the lecturer, and the lecturer does not write anything on the blackboard; but each student is free to take notes of what the lecturer is saying. At the end of the lectures, if we compare the notes of the students in the lecture, they will be slightly different. Some students will just summarise the main ideas of the lecturer, I Gery was never good at that; others will write down as many details as they can, on what the lecturer said.
I remember when I was in school, I could not afford to miss a lecture; because the other students did not write down as much information about the lecture as I do. When I was sick, and could not come to the lecture; I would take notes from two of my friends who attended that lecture; that way I could have as much information as I needed. You should do the same thing when you study the word of God. Many times people miss the heart of God, and it becomes legalism, instead of love and freedom to the oppressed.
When for instance you read the notes of Luke on the Sermon on the Mount of Jesus; he said: blessed are you poor for yours is the kingdom of God (Luke 6:20). But when you read the notes of Matthew, who paid attention to the details, he said: blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:3). Sister Louise once asked me: what does it mean to be poor in spirit? I said: when you are poor in the United Kingdom, you depend and rely entirely on the government: they house you, they give you money that covers the feeding and clothing of yourself and your children, they pay for your tuition fees and your children’s tuition fees; they give your children scholarships to further their studies. Always remember, no analogy is perfect, the Kingdom of God is so much better than the United Kingdom.
The same thing when we are poor in spirit, we rely and depend entirely on God to provide for us; all that we have is because we have received it from His hand; there is nothing that we have that is ours. Whoever we are, He made us. That is what we teach every born again Christian in these series of the perfect redemption plan. We have received everything from Jesus Christ, all things have been imputed or credited unto us by the death burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. God has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness, according to His divine power (2Peter 1:3). Whoever we are and whatever we have, we have received it from His hand, we did not merit anything, yet He favoured us and empowered us; thus no flesh can boast of anything.
Therefore you need to read all the gospels and the whole counsel of the scriptures, to know the true heart of God concerning a subject. For many years I have avoided touching the subject of divorce and remarriage. Though in the bible studies on “He kept the good wine for the end” and the one on “It is well with my children and me”; we have indirectly talked about divorce and remarriage; but until now I had always wanted to talk about divorce and remarriage on a one to one level, instead of a general teaching. I always feared that people will use that teaching as a license to sin. Then the time came when I could no longer do that on a one to one basis; I had to put it in black and white and trust God, that people will see the heart of God and not use it as a license to sin or divorce.
As I was talking with a dearest Sister on December 10th, 2015 the subject of divorce and remarriage came again, and we were heartbroken when we saw what other believers are being taught, and in what bondage they have been brought into by ministers of the gospel. Some of the things I will say here on this subject about the counsel of the word of God, will be twisted by evil people and legalistic ministers. But I commit myself to the hands of God, and God knows my heart that I am not giving anybody a license to sin. Peter says: our beloved brother Paul, [and today our beloved brother Gery] also according to the wisdom given unto him, has written unto you; As also in all his epistles [even in the My Weekly Milk letters], speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable twist, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. You therefore, beloved, seeing you know these things before, beware lest you also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen (2Peter 3:16-18).
Now to start off let us state clearly that God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16)! God does not just hate divorce He also hates all sin, trespass and iniquity. As it is written of Jesus: You have loved righteousness and hated iniquity (Hebrews 1:9). God hates all sin, trespass and iniquity; but loves the sinner; likewise God hates divorce; yet He loves the divorcee. In John 8 the woman was caught in the very act of adultery and was brought to Jesus; Jesus never condoned her adultery at any time; but she was convicted of her sin; and Jesus said to her: neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more (John 8:11)! The fact that she was forgiven and not condemned by Jesus, did not mean that Jesus had approved of her wicked and adulteress ways; on the contrary the Holy Ghost convicted her of sin and Jesus clearly said to her, go and sin no more!
In John 4 we have Jesus talking with a Samaritan woman at the well of Jacob. Jesus convicted her of sin, by exposing the fact that she had been married and divorced five times, and now she was with the sixth man and they were not married yet; thus defiling the marital bed. God still hates divorce, hates fornication and all sexual immoralities. Paul reminds us: Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled, but fornicators and adulterers God will judge (Hebrews 13:4). So God will judge fornicators and adulterers. That woman of Samaria was convicted of her sin by Jesus.
Now let us go straight into the subject of marriage and divorce and especially divorce. Before you get married or remarried, please read the bible study on “He kept the good wine for the end” and the one on “It is well with my children and me”. People deliberately disobey the word of God when it comes to marriage, and they wonder why they divorce at the end. A couple of times my heart has been broken; because I counselled a brother or sister in the Lord about marriage, and showed them the scriptures; yet they deliberately disobeyed the counsel of the scriptures, and went ahead with their plans. My job is to pray for them that God will give them the willingness to obey the word of God, even in the area of marriage.
Jesus tells us: which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he may have enough to finish it; lest perhaps, after he has laid the foundation and is not able to finish, all those seeing begin to mock him, saying, This man began to build and was not able to finish (Luke 14:28-30). In marriage we are building a tower or house together. Starting is not a problem; finishing building that house is the goal; and you only finish it the day death do you part! Divorce among born again Christians, has become so common that it puts the name of our God to shame; and the unsaved blaspheme the name of our Lord; because they see that we are no different than they (Romans 2:24). We are not setting an example for the unsaved to imitate us, as we are imitating Christ’s marriage to the Church; Christ our bridegroom promises us, that He will never leave us nor forsake us (1Corinthians 11:1, Ephesians 5).
I like Matthew because He paid close attention to the details of stories and the intents behind the questions of people. The Pharisees also came unto Jesus, tempting Him, and saying unto Him, Is it lawful for a man to put away [vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text][or to divorce] his wife for every cause (Matthew 19:3)? These Pharisees knew exactly what the Law of Moses said, they came to tempt Jesus so that He would be caught by His words. If Jesus taught what was contrary to the Law, they would arrest Him and stone him to death. Remember also in John 8 when they brought the woman caught in the very act of adultery to Him! They brought her to Jesus to tempt Him, so that they would catch him in His word, and stone Him to death, by saying what was contrary to the Law of Moses, please read the bible study on “Neither do I condemn you”.
These two instances were not the only ones they used to tempt Him. Matthew tells us: the Pharisees took counsel how they might entangle Jesus in his talk. And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that You are true, and teach the way of God in truth, neither do You care for any man: for You do not regard the person of men. Tell us therefore, What do you think? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why do you tempt me, you hypocrites? Show Me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a denarius. And he said unto them, Whose image and inscription is this? They said unto him, Caesar’s. Then He said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s (Matthew 22:15-21).
It always amazes me, that some ministers of God, actually preach and teach the wicked ways of those hypocrites, who were tempting Jesus to kill Him. Now that you know what is in the mind of those wicked Pharisees, when they were tempting Jesus with that question: Is it lawful [or is it scriptural or is it permitted in the Holy Scriptures] for a man to put away [or divorce] his wife for every cause (Matthew 19:3)? Jesus answered and said unto them, Have you not read, that he who made them at the beginning, made them male and female, And said, for this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they two shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder (Matthew 19:4-6). Jesus was quoting what Moses wrote in Genesis 2:24; so they could not catch Him in His answer; but they did not give up so easily.
They said unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away (Matthew 19:7)? Let us stop there first. At this point I believe that they have a legitimate question. But let us first see if there are causes for which the word of God allows Christians to divorce. Jesus tells us: It has been said, Whosoever shall put away or divorce his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement (Matthew 5:31). Jesus here was quoting what Moses told them saying: When a man has taken a wife, and married her, and it came to pass that she found no favour in his eyes, because he had found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife (Deuteronomy 24:1-2).
So according to what God said to Moses if that man has divorced His wife, the wife can remarry another man. And if the latter husband hates her, and writes her a bill of divorcement, and gives it into her hand, and sends her out of his house; or if the latter husband dies, who took her to be his wife; Her former husband, who sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is abomination before the LORD: and you shall not cause the land to sin, which the LORD your God gives you for an inheritance (Deuteronomy 24:3-4). So in other words, if you divorced, and the two of you did not remarry another person, you can come back together; but if one of you remarried and now is divorced again, or became a widow or widower; you should not go back to marry your first husband or first wife whom you divorced to marry another.
I have seen a lot of foolishness in some churches. Please read the bible study on “It is well with My Children and me”. I was visiting a church in Manchester, they loved the Lord Jesus Christ with all their heart and wanted to please Him; but they had the zeal of the Lord but not according to knowledge (Romans 10:2). Therefore they yoked themselves with hard yokes and loaded themselves with heavy burdens; whereas Jesus says to us: my yoke is easy and my burden is light (Matthew 11:30). They used one of the scriptures of Paul to an extreme, that was never intended. Paul said: do you not know, that he being joined to a harlot is one body? For He says, The two shall be one flesh (1Corinthians 6:16).
They interpreted the two shall become one flesh to mean that you are married to the first person who you ever slept with. And unless you marry that first person you slept with, you cannot marry another, you have to wait for that person to die so that you can marry. I remember there was an elderly gentleman in that church; when he used to be in Jamaica he had a girlfriend at the age of 18 years old and they committed fornication together. When he got saved; they told him you must go back to that first girlfriend and marry her, for you have become one flesh according to 1Corinthians 6:16. But the problem is, that the lady was not born again and she was now married to another man by the time the brother got saved. They told him, you have to ask her to come back to you! So wait a second; does God go about breaking marriages, even marriages of unsaved people?
The answer to that question is no! God hates divorce not just the divorce of born again Christians, but even the divorce of unsaved people. That is why even when a man or woman gets saved, but his or her spouse is not saved, God tells Paul to tell the believer, that he or she is not to divorce his or her unsaved spouse; as long as the unsaved spouse is not forbidding him or her to worship His or Her Jesus. But if the unsaved spouse decides to depart, meaning divorce the newly saved spouse; because he or she does not want to have anything to do with Christianity; then the believer is free to remarry, but only remarry a born again believer this time around (1Corinthians 7:10-16). God is very concerned about the children; adults can overcome the effects of divorce but children suffer whenever there is a divorce. That is why God reassures newly born again Christians, who are married to unsaved people and have children together: you do not have to divorce your spouse, God will sanctify your children and I will sanctify your unsaved spouse. Please read the bible study on “He kept the good wine for the end”.
And in that church they said to that Jamaican brother: you should wait until your first girlfriend, with whom you used to fornicate, dies before you marry. And they twisted again other scriptures of Paul to justify their sayings. They said: Paul wrote: The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband lives, but if her husband sleeps in death, she is at liberty to be remarried to whom she will, only in the Lord (1Corinthians 7:39). For the married woman was bound by law to the living husband. But if the husband is dead, she is set free from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she is married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress. But if the husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is no adulteress by becoming another man’s wife (Romans 7:2-3). So they used these two scriptures to say to the man: you see, if you marry you will be committing adultery and your ex-girlfriend is already living in adultery with her husband; she should come back to you!
Go back to her and tell her to come back to you, to leave her husband and her children and come back to you! How pathetic the man looked in the eye of his ex-girlfriend! The man is now in his late sixties and he has been waiting for that ex-girlfriend to come back to him or to die so that he can marry. I have also met young men in some of those churches, they are in their forties. They got married young or had children very young and the marriage did not work or they split up with the mother of their children. The ladies are now married to other men or the men are now married to other women. Now that they are saved I told them to remarry, but they have believed that wrong teaching that they only have to go and break up the marriage of their ex-girlfriend or ex-wife, or wait for their ex-wife or ex-girlfriend to die, before they could get married and vice versa.
I said to them: God does not even delight in the death of the wicked, He even spared the life of Ahab who murdered His prophets, when he repented; you will wait your whole life; for I Gery have prayed that with long life the Lord Jesus will satisfy those ex-wives and ex-girlfriends of yours and show them His salvation (Ezekiel 33:11, 1Kings 21:29 and Psalm 118:17). Why are you praying and wishing for people you once loved to die? You do not know of what spirit you are; Jesus did not come to destroy lives, but to save people; it is the devil that steals, kills and destroys lives, and people’s marriages (Luke 9:54-56, John 10:10).
Once again we ask: Is it lawful [or is it scriptural or is it permitted in the Holy Scriptures] for a man to put away [or divorce] his wife for every cause (Matthew 19:3)? Jesus tells us: though Moses in Deuteronomy 24:1-4 allowed you to divorce; But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away or divorce his wife [for every cause, we should add, for that was what those Pharisees asked Jesus, when tempting Him in Matthew 19:3], saving or except for the cause of fornication or sexual immorality, causes her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced, commits adultery (Matthew 5:32).
In the eyes of God when we are married the two have become one flesh; marriage is a spiritual and a physical blood covenant, not a mere contract. And that blood covenant of marriage is spiritually broken when there is sexual immorality of one of the spouses. What God says to one He says to all according to Mark 13:37. God is no respecter of persons, what He says to the man, He also says to the woman (Acts 10:34). Paul told us: do you not know that he being joined to a harlot is one body? For He says, The two shall be one flesh (1Corinthians 6:16). When you are married you are spiritually one flesh with your spouse; therefore when you commit sexual immorality with another, other than your spouse, you break that spiritual blood covenant of marriage with your spouse, and enter into a new spiritual and physical blood covenant with your lover.
I was watching a YouTube video on marriages around the world; and in Sudan there was a man who was caught in the very act of having sex with his neighbour’s she-goat. He was asked to pay the full dowry for the she-goat, and they did a traditional wedding between that she-goat and the man. It was more of a punishment inflicted by the whole village to that man to give a strong warning to other villagers not to be involved in bestiality. Now we know that bestiality is forbidden in the bible. So when Jesus talks about sexual immoralities it is not just adultery and fornication, but it includes bestiality, homosexuality, rape, paedophilia and incest. You become spiritually one flesh with your goat, dog or any other animal you sleep with, and you become also one flesh with any other person you sleep with; thus you break the first blood covenant of marriage you have with your spouse.
Please read the bible study on “He kept the good wine for the end”, we addressed the kinds of marriages that God does not allow according to the scriptures; and incestuous marriages are not allowed either. Thus it was not for every cause that God allowed the people to divorce, but only for sexual immoralities. Yet even when there has been sexual immoralities, people can still work out that marriage and renew their vows. Father Abraham and mother Sarah, had Hagar come between them. There was an act of adultery, that resulted in the birth of Ishmael. Father Abraham and mother Sarah worked on their mistake, and remained married. Please read the bible study on “It is well with my children and me”.
Idolatry is likened to spiritual adultery by God. Marriage is between one man and one woman. The relationship between God and us, is the same way born again Christians are married to Christ the Bridegroom; we must forsake all other gods, which are but demons, and worship the only true God, through Christ Jesus. Jesus is the only Way, Truth and Life; nobody can come to God the Father except through Jesus Christ. Christians should not be quick to divorce, even when there has been an act of sexual immorality; we need to seek Godly counsel and try to work on our marriage, like Abraham and Sarah did.
God gave a bill of divorce to Israel when they were committing idolatry; and only renewed His vows with Israel when they genuinely repented and forsook their idols to only worship the Lord God in Spirit and in truth. So says Jehovah, Where is your mother’s bill of divorce, whom I have put away? Or to which of My creditors have I sold you? Behold, you were sold for your iniquities, and your mother is put away for your sins (Isaiah 50:1). When you have committed adultery, you need to repent towards God first of all, and you also need to confess it to your spouse; because it is not just against God that you have sinned, but also against your spouse. It is good that you confess it to your pastor or elders; but if they truly obey the scriptures, they will tell you to also tell your spouse. The Church will help you and support you, and give you godly counsel; but you need to confess your adultery to your spouse.
If your brother or sister, in this case your spouse, sins against you, even in adultery, go and tell him or her their fault between the two of you alone. If he or she hears you, you have gained your brother or sister, or even your spouse. But if he or she will not hear you, take with you one or two more spiritual people, who will give you the counsel of the scriptures, so that by two or three witnesses, every word may be established. And if he or she refuses to hear them, tell it to the church and let the church leaders give godly counsel, and spiritual counsel and support (Matthew 18:15-17).
God refused to take back Israel until they had acknowledged to Him that they were wrong, and genuinely repented of their spiritual adultery. Jehovah also said to me in the days of Josiah the king, Have you seen that which backsliding Israel has done? She has gone up on every high mountain, and under every green tree, and has fornicated there. And I said after she had done all these things, Turn to Me! But she did not return. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it. And I saw, when for all the causes for which backsliding Israel committed adultery, I sent her away and gave a bill of divorce to her, yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but she went and whored also. And it happened, from the folly of her whoredom, she defiled the land and fornicated with stones and stocks. And yet for all this, her treacherous sister Judah, has not turned to Me with her whole heart, but with falsehood, says Jehovah.
And Jehovah said to me, the backsliding Israel has justified herself, more than treacherous Judah. Go and cry these words toward the north, and say, Return, O backsliding Israel, says Jehovah; and I will not cause My anger to fall on you; for I am merciful, says Jehovah, and I will not remain angry forever. Only acknowledge your iniquity, that you have sinned against Jehovah your God and have scattered your ways to the strangers under every green tree, and you have not obeyed My voice, says Jehovah. Turn, O backsliding sons, says Jehovah; for I am married to you; and I will take you one from a city, and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion. And I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who shall feed you with knowledge and understanding (Jeremiah 3:6-15).
So you need to acknowledge to your spouse that you have sinned against her, by committing adultery, genuinely repent and forsake your lovers, like backsliding believers have to do. Only then, can God start working on you. In marriage the bible says: they were naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed (Genesis 2:25). There must be total transparency in marriage! James tells us: Confess faults to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous one avails much (James 5:16). If you never told your spouse of your adultery, but you told the elder; the day your spouse discovers it, she or he will never trust you again, and will be so hurt. Furthermore when he or she discovers that the pastor knew about it and kept silent, he or she will leave that church; because she or he will feel betrayed by the church. We confess our fault to one another, that is when the healing of the broken-heartedness starts; for Jesus came to heal the broken hearted (Luke 4:18). And we pray that God will heal our wounds, and give us the grace to forgive and work out that marriage in the name of Jesus!
But if the spouse, that is living in adultery, does not want to repent, nor send the lover away, the other spouse needs to pray, and if she or he cannot take it anymore, he or she can divorce, by so doing he or she is not sinning against God. Now if you catch you spouse sleeping with your goat or dog or any animal; please report it to the church leader immediately; let them minister deliverance to him or her. If He or she genuinely repents and forsakes that bestiality; you can consider working on that marriage with the help of the church leaders. If your spouse is in a homosexual relationship; you need to seek help from the church leadership, so that they will confront him or her according to the written word of God. And if he or she does not repent and forsake his or her ways; you are free to divorce. Trust me, I know some women, where their husband, after more than ten years of marriage, became homosexual. We counselled the sister and prayed, but the man did not repent nor forsake his wicked ways; so the sister went ahead and divorced. She is free to remarry only a born again Christian, according to the scriptures. If the man goes ahead and does a sex change to become a woman or the woman does a sex change to become a man, the other spouse is free to divorce.
If for instance you find your spouse to be a paedophile, and an incestuous person; you need to confront him or her and report it to the church; and in case of paedophilia, you need to call the police immediately to get your spouse arrested. Any man of God or woman of God, who has knowledge of a case of paedophilia happening in a family, must report it to the police immediately! You pray for God to have mercy on the person involved in paedophilia, but have him first arrested by the authorities.
There was a case recently in the news of a Pentecostal bishop in the United Kingdom, who used to rape under aged girls among his church members. This was known by many people, but there was a silence over the matter. The bishop had retired and some of the church members, who were his victims, reported to the police what happened to them when they were much younger. And even the granddaughter of the bishop was also raped by her grandfather, the bishop. The bishop was too old to go to prison. If you are a wife of such a minister of the gospel, that man is from the devil not from God; report him to the police and save the lives of your own daughters and granddaughters that are being raped by him.
I have a sister who was working with me in Manchester, she was Catholic. Her parents were Catholics too. From the age of five years old to the age of fourteen years old, her father was abusing her sexually and her mother knew what was going on. Her mother never reported it to the police, and her mother forbade her to tell anybody outside. She was more concerned about what people would think of them, than protecting her children. At the age of fourteen, she started threatening her father, that if he touched her again, she would tell the social services and the police. So her father did not touch her sexually anymore, but started beating her up, so that she would keep quiet. At the age of 16 years old she had had enough of the beating and she ran away from her parents’ house. Today she is in her fifties, and that is when she shared what happened to her in her father’s house; her father has already died; but her mother was angry at her, for she wanted to take the secret with her to the grave. Her mother died in 2015. Today that dear sister is helping other young women who were raped or abused sexually by their parents.
Religion is of the devil! I curse religion. These things do not happen just among Catholics, I have given you the example of the bishop of a Pentecostal church in the United Kingdom as well. We need to protect our children from wicked men and women. A sister in Warrington reported to me a case of a man, who was jailed for sexual abuses on his little daughter. The wife divorced him; but when he came out of jail, the church leaders told the woman she must go back to him and remarry him. It is not for the church to tell people whom to marry. The sister divorced him for sexual immorality, even paedophilia and incest. She is free to marry whosoever she wants. And yes she must forgive her husband, for God commanded us to forgive; but forgiveness does not automatically mean that they have to be remarried. He first of all must be born again and bear fruit befitting repentance. And it is the choice of the woman if she wants to get back with him or not. We need to know the heart of God and be shepherds after God’s heart.
Jesus says again: I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away or divorce his wife [for every cause we should add, for that was what those Pharisees asked Jesus, when tempting Him in Matthew 19:3], saving or except for the cause of fornication, or sexual immorality, causes her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced commits adultery (Matthew 5:32). So we have put that in context, the reason God allowed divorce initially, was for sexual immoralities. But people did not only stick to that, they started making all kinds of excuses to divorce their wife or husband. Spiritually the blood covenant of marriage was not broken; for there had been no sexual immorality; yet these men or women still wanted to divorce. What was in their heart was already adultery, like Jesus says: You have heard that it was said by them of old time, you shall not commit adultery; But I say unto you, That whosoever looks on a woman to lust after her, has committed adultery with her already in his heart (Matthew 5:27-28).
These men or women who want to divorce, though there has been no sexual immorality, are already adulterers and adulteresses at heart. They have already been eyeing another man or woman and have been chatting with him or her. They think that the grass is greener over there; but that is just a lie from the pit of hell. So the reason why they are committing adultery when they remarry another person, is because the spiritual blood covenant of marriage was not broken, for there has been no sexual immorality. Thus they are sinning against God by so doing. So let us cast blame appropriately; for when we read Matthew 5:28 it seems like Jesus is blaming the two of them. We know already the heart of God by now that the person who is sinning, is the one who decided to divorce though there was no sexual immorality. Paul tells us: but if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God has called us to peace (1Corinthians 7:15).
We must see proof that you both have tried to work on that marriage. Paul is saying, the unbelieving not necessarily the unbeliever, it means the person does not believe and obey the written Word of God. Jesus himself tells us of foolish believers, who hear the word of God, but neither obey it nor act upon it. He says: Therefore whosoever hears these sayings of mine, and does them, I will liken him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that hears these sayings of mine, and does them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it (Matthew 7:24-27).
You see the two houses underwent the same things; the difference was, one acted upon what he heard from the Holy Scriptures, and the other rejected what he heard from the Holy Scriptures. And that is the reason why born again Christians divorce. God says: My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you, that you shall be no priest to me: seeing you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your children (Hosea 4:6). Nowadays Christians deliberately reject the knowledge of the Word of God, to act according to the dictate of their imagination and of their wicked heart. Many believers made Jesus their saviour, but not their Lord, for had He been our Lord, we would obey the counsel of His written Word, and not merely call Him Lord, Lord, and turn around to act contrary to His Holy Scriptures (Luke 6:46).
So if we are always bound to our spouse spiritually when there has been no sexual immoralities, when we go and marry someone else, we are actually committing adultery, according to the law. Why then did Moses, being well aware of this, permit the people to divorce and remarry, even when there had not been sexual immoralities. For Moses said under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit: When a man has taken a wife, and married her, and it comes to pass that she finds no favour in his eyes, because he has found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife [in other words she may remarry]. And if the latter husband hates her, and writes her a bill of divorcement, and gives it in her hand, and sends her out of his house; or if the latter husband dies, who took her to be his wife; Her former husband, who sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that is an abomination before the LORD [but she is free to remarry]: and you shall not cause the land to sin, which the LORD your God gives you for an inheritance (Deuteronomy 24:1-4).
Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away in Deuteronomy 24:1-4? Jesus answered, to the Pharisees and to us today, saying, Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, suffered or allowed you to put away or divorce your wives: but from the beginning it was not so [for in the beginning in Genesis 2:24 God said: Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. The ideal of God is that they should be together until death do them part] (Matthew 19:7-8). Mark puts it nicely saying: Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept [of divorce though there was no sexual immorality]. But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder (Mark 10:5-9).
So again I say, when there has not been any sexual immorality and a person decides to divorce, the one who has decided to divorce instead of working on the marriage, is the one committing adultery. For when people read what Matthew wrote down, saying: I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away or divorce his wife [for every cause, we should add, for that was what those Pharisees asked Jesus when tempting Him in Matthew 19:3], saving or except in the case of fornication or sexual immorality, causes her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced, commits adultery (Matthew 5:32). The people, who do not know the heart of God, will think that God is blaming the two of them equally. God is a just God; He saw who wanted to end that marriage, though there was no sexual immorality and who was trying to work on that marriage and was opposed to divorce.
Therefore Mark writes for us the clarification of Jesus, on whom to blame and who is committing adultery against the other spouse, in the eyes of God by divorcing when there has been no sexual immorality. You see, sometimes when you teach you think all the students or the disciples have the same understanding, but you will soon realise that it is not the case; for many do not yet know the heart of God, nor His ways; so you will have to break it down for them. Sometimes when some of my ministers or my disciples ask me questions I wonder within myself like Jesus did: are you not a teacher of the gospel and yet you do not know these simple things (John 3:10)? Not that I belittle them and the revelation of the word of God they have; but like Jesus I see the need to disciple people, so that they will pass on the correct teaching. I no longer assume that people know the simple truth of the word, I explain everything in detail now, so that nobody is left behind, but I carry everybody along in the teaching.
That was what Jesus was doing with His disciples, many times He had to explain again with more accuracy to His disciples in the house what He meant. We have already taken the example of being poor and being poor in spirit of Luke 6:20 and Matthew 5:3. Poverty is part of the curse of the Law, please read the bible study on “Biblical Prosperity”. So we know that Jesus was not talking about being physically poor, but being poor in spirit. And in another instance, Jesus said in public to his disciples, after that young rich man refused to follow Jesus because he did not want to part with his earthly possession. Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:23-26).
People, even ministers of the gospel who hear such sayings of Jesus, but do not know the heart of God, would think that God has a problem with riches and rich people. That is far from the truth, Abraham was very rich in Genesis 13, Isaac prospered so much that even the king Abimelech was afraid of him in Genesis 26. So Jesus, when He realised that people might have misunderstood what He said, because they did not know the heart of God or the ways of God; He clarified things. Mark the disciple of Peter, wrote for us the clarification that Jesus gave, which Matthew did not write down. How hard it is for those that have riches to enter into the kingdom of God! And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answered again, and said unto them, Children, how hard it is for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God (Mark 10:23-25).
So we have our clarification! God has no problem with riches, but with people trusting in their riches, instead of trusting in the Lord God through Christ Jesus. That is what Paul also understood, and asked Timothy to tell rich believers to trust in God, instead of trusting in their earthly riches. He says to us: Charge those who are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life (1Timothy 6:17-19). God is the one who gave us those riches so that we can enjoy them, so let us trust in God and not in the riches; for the riches are not our source of joy, but God is our source of joy. We are making disciples, so I need to teach you how to study and rightly divide the word of truth and teach the same thing to your disciples (2Timothy 2:15).
Let us now see the clarification Jesus gave on who is committing adultery against the other spouse when there has not been any sexual immorality .
In the house, Jesus’ disciples asked Him again on the same matter. [Why? Because they thought that God was blaming the two parties so they needed clarification]. And He said unto them, Whosoever shall put away or divorce his wife [for every cause except for sexual immorality], and marry another, commits adultery against her. And if a woman shall put away or divorce her husband [for every cause except for sexual immorality], and be married to another, she commits adultery against him (Mark 10:10-12). That is why Paul tells us: if the unbelieving depart, let him or her depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God has called us to peace (1Corinthians 7:15).
You are not committing adultery against your spouse if he or she was the one who decided to divorce you, though there was no sexual immorality according to Jesus; furthermore you are not under bondage, talking about marriage bonds, in such a case; you do not have to wait for that spouse of yours to die before you remarry if you want to, and you are free to marry another born again believer. But before you do so, do your best to try to reconcile with your spouse; if he or she goes ahead and marries another person; do not break their new home. For the same, Moses told us: Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled [she has been married to another man and divorced]; for that is abomination before the LORD: and you shall not cause the land to sin, which the LORD your God gives You for an inheritance (Deuteronomy 24:4). The same thing applies to the man who divorced his wife for every cause, except for sexual immorality, and married another woman, and now is again divorced; he should not go back to the former wife he divorced.
Having said that, we need to consider things case by case, and not apply the law blindly. I personally know a sister who was married to a nice man. They were not born again yet. She had three children with her husband. She became born again. Her unsaved husband decided to become polygamous. He took other wives. That is a cause of sexual immorality even adultery against her that her husband did. As he was not willing to repent of his polygamy; she divorced him. The guy had other children with his other wives. He became born again and even a minister of the gospel. So the leaders of that church told her former husband to go and reconcile with his first wife. She never remarried and she was willing to forgive her husband. The man had agreed to no longer be polygamous, since born again Christians are not polygamous. He had genuinely repented of his sin.
It was up to the sister to decide, because according to God, she was no longer bound in marriage to her former husband, not only had he committed adultery, but he went ahead and married other women. He decided to forsake the other women, and never have sex with them again; but he decided that when he went back to his former wife, he would take all his children with him. The sister was willing to consider remarrying him, but the man had about nine children with the other wives. The sister believed she was already struggling raising her own three children, she could not take the children of her husband with the other wives in, and care for them all; so she refused to remarry the man. Mother Sarah also said to Abraham, that she could not allow Hagar to live under the same roof with her, but she was also not ready to raise Ishmael for Abraham. Abraham had to send both Hagar and Ishmael away if he wanted to save his marriage (Genesis 21).
Abraham was displeased by what Sarah told him, but God told him to listen to Sarah and send Hagar and Ishmael away. Now Abraham was to always provide for Ishmael, though he was not living under his roof, he failed to do so. Please read the bible study on “It is well with my children and me”. It takes the grace of God to love and raise children that are not yours, and especially children born out of the adultery of your spouse. If you do not have the heart to do so, God does not blame you; and your spouse should not force you to do so against your will. God said to Abraham, listen to what Sarah is saying and send both Hagar and Ishmael away. Now we have to clarify things here. If you are in a restructured marriage; you were married before and had children and your new spouse also had children, you should embrace the children of your spouse. If you do not like the children born to him or her, before he or she met you, then do not marry him or her. He comes with all his baggage in this restructured home and vice versa. You do not just get the wife, you also get her previous children. And you do not just get the husband you also get his previous children. If you are not willing to embrace them, then it is not the person for you. Please read the bible study on “He kept the good wine for the end”.
Jesus told us it was because of the hardness of our heart that God gave Moses the permission to allow people to divorce for causes other than sexual immoralities. Let us look at what Moses said: When a man has taken a wife, and married her, and it comes to pass that she finds no favour in his eyes, because he has found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house. And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife (Deuteronomy 24:1-2). Here the word uncleanness in her, has nothing to do with her having committed adultery, because she would have been stoned to death, read the bible study on “Neither do I condemn you”. It also does not mean that she had an issue of blood or leprosy; because if it were the case, she would not be allowed to touch anybody, nor to come into the camp; let alone to be given in marriage.
Here Moses says: she finds no favour in his eyes, the Jews understood it to mean it is not agreeable to him, he takes no delight in her person, nor pleasure in her company and conversation; but, on the contrary, his affections are alienated from her, and he cannot bear the sight of her. Some people will say I did not date my spouse enough to know her whole character, now that she is in my house, she has truly shown who she is! In those days also they had introduced marriages, so some would come up with the excuse, I did not see my wife before the day of the wedding, so she is not truly my type of woman. Introduced marriages and arranged marriages can be hard on the couple. People are sometimes afraid of disappointing their parents, and they marry that man or that woman, just to please their parents. The man sometimes makes the life of the wife miserable, because he never loved nor even liked that woman; his love is always for another woman whom he wished he had married or was married to. Please read the bible study on “He kept the good wine for the end” and discover what God has to say about arranged marriage and introduced marriage.
When you look at the marriage between Jacob and Leah in Genesis 29 and Genesis 30, Jacob never loved Leah, his love was for Rachel. Leah did everything to have Jacob love her: she gave him more children; but his love was still for Rachel. Jacob had to stay in that marriage because of the tradition, for he was not allowed to marry Rachel as long as Leah was not married. And they deceived him on the wedding night, that he was getting Rachel, but he got Leah. In the new covenant polygamy is not allowed. Father Isaac had an introduced marriage to Rebecca in Genesis 24. They did not have time to date, she said yes to the servant of Abraham that she would go and marry Isaac. As we read in Genesis they fell in love and there was a lot of romance between these two. Yes, Isaac discovered that Rebecca had some deceptive ways like her brother Laban, and at times she would connive with her son Jacob to deceive him (Genesis 27).
Yet he did not divorce her; saying I found that she has a character that I do not like. If I had dated her, I would have discovered that character and never married her. The truth is you will discover that your spouse is not perfect and has many flaws. It is normal when you get close to a person, you discover that they are not perfect. People who know brother Gery know that I have some big flaws; and I am working on them. Paul tells us: Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended or arrived: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14). If you are looking for the perfect spouse you will still be looking; but if you are looking for a work in progress, you will certainly find one in Jesus’ name, and you will both grow to that perfect man and perfect woman in Christ Jesus!
There is nothing new under the sun. Even today some people come up with some lame excuses, saying: my wife has put on too much weight so I am no longer attracted to her; my wife has breastfed our children, so her breast are no longer the way they used to be, I no longer like them. My wife had given birth to many children; so her body is no longer the same and she cannot wear bikinis. Trust me, some sisters told me that they will not breastfeed their baby because they do not want their breasts to fall; for their husband loves their breasts the way they are. Having children is a blessing from the Lord. If the husband only loves you for your physical appearance, then he needs to renew his mind. Many women have breast implants, buttocks, plastic surgery just to please a man. Aging is part of life! I am not telling you to neglect your body either. We need to exercise and obesity is not good for your health, and bulimia is a sickness.
Some men or women will say: I no longer enjoy the company of my spouse and our conversation. I was even watching a preacher on television, from London teaching on marriage. And he said: women if your husband is an IT man, a banker, a doctor, etc; learn something about IT, banking, get another degree in school, so that you can have an intellectual conversation with him, otherwise he will be bored with your conversation and you will have nothing in common! Of course you need to show an interest in the career of your spouse; but if I married a wife who never went to school, and I have an A-level; I should not force my wife to go to school, to get a GCSC or A-level. We are trying to impress the world, and our love is not genuine. It is based on who we are in the secular world, and not who we are in Christ.
Some of my father’s colleagues were happily married with the wife of their youth, but when they were appointed into a position of power in the university, they started to have mistresses. They would go to the receptions with a female student, because they were ashamed to bring the wife of their youth who was not educated. The bible says: the man and his wife were naked, and were not ashamed (Genesis 2:25). You knew exactly who your wife was, or your husband was, before you married them; why are you now ashamed of him or her when you are promoted to a position of power? I am saddened that Christians are so conformed to the world. Is it because of what the outside world thinks of our wife or husband, that your affections are alienated from them, and you cannot bear the sight of them standing next to you in official dinners and conferences. These things only show that there is no depth in our love, we are so carnal and conformed to the world; the public opinion runs our life, instead of God and His word! We have a shallow love!
Moses said again: because he had found some uncleanness in her. The Jews understood this to mean something that he disliked, and was disagreeable to him, and which made their continuance together in the marriage state very uncomfortable; which led him on to be very ill-natured, severe, and cruel to her; so that her life was exposed to danger, or at least became very uneasy; in which case a divorce was permitted, both for the badness of the man’s heart, and in favour of the woman, that she might be freed from such rigorous usage. Some men have a very low self-esteem and are insecure. So they now try to cover it up by abusing their wife. They cannot handle their anger, so they continually beat up the wife, they oppress the wife mentally to the point that she becomes depressive; they abuse their wife verbally.
Some are so jealous and insecure, that they forbid the wife to talk to anybody of the opposite gender even in church. I know a sister who was married to a man; they were both Christians. The man was so jealous and insecure, that he did not allow her to talk to anybody of the opposite gender, even in church. Whenever a brother talked to her in the church; her husband said nothing in church; but when they got home he would start accusing her of so many things and abusing her verbally. The guy was so manipulative including financially, that he always made the wife feel bad or that she was never doing enough.
They had a son together, the son saw how the father manipulated the mother, he also started to copy the ways of his father. Their son had a little baby with his girlfriend and one day he asked his mother to buy him a motorbike, threatening his mother that if she did not buy it for him he would leave her and she would never see him and her grandchild again. The son had seen his dad doing that to his mother for many years, so he started to manipulate his mother too. She did not have the money to buy the motorbike, so the son disappeared from her life with her grandchild, not even a phone call or an address where she could contact them for over five years now. She was depressed while she was married to that Christian man. She is a chef, and we know that in restaurants we have many men working there. To cut the story short she divorced the man as she could not take it anymore.
My friend you cannot buy love, if a person is threatening to leave you if you do not do something for him or for her, that is not love. And children should not manipulate their parents either. Some men are so insecure that they do not want their wife to go to university or to work; because they think she will meet another man in university or at work. When I was growing up there was an electrician living in our suburb, he was married to a woman who had a bachelor degree. Initially it was not a problem, but with time he became very insecure about the education level of his wife, though he had an A-level. He became very abusive verbally, and was now beating her up. And he would always be saying to his wife: you think you are better than me! She had enough of the beating and she left him. Some men cannot just handle the fact that their wife is more educated, more successful or earns more money than they. There is even a bishop in the USA who married a prophetess, the man has a church of three thousand members but the wife had a ministry that filled up stadiums. He was so insecure and wanted her to stop doing her ministry, then he started beating her and even trying to choke her to death. He had to be arrested by the police; but the wife dropped the charges against him and divorced him.
Let us never forget that in marriage the two have become one flesh, it is now a team not competition. When you read proverbs 31, the virtuous wife is the one doing business, clothing the family, buying lands, etc. And her husband is known in the gate of the city because of her. My mother has always earned more money than my father, yet my father has always been secure. Some women do not handle power and authority well, and it destroys their marriage. Some of my mother’s female colleagues, who were also in positions of power, had their husbands leave them. For prior to them being appointed to those positions of power: CEO, or Attorney Justice; they were honouring their husbands and respecting them; but the moment they were promoted to those positions of power, they became very disrespectful even in public toward their husbands. We need to honour and respect one another and submit to one another. Honour and respect is very important to men; but also to women.
That is also why, even in today’s Christianity, some female ministers of the gospel, end up being divorced by their husband because they stop honouring and respecting their husbands. If you want to keep people you love, with you, you need to honour and respect them, and also learn to submit to them, for we are commanded to submit to one another. Paul explains it to us. Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let wives be to their own husbands in everything.
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loves his wife loves himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence [honour, respect] her husband (Ephesians 5:21-33).
If we truly discover how much Jesus loves us, honours us, respects us and we go and do likewise to people around us, and also to our spouse and children; there will be no divorce among Christians. Basically as you read all these bible studies of “MY Weekly Milk” and discover how much God loves, honours, respects and treats you, you must also go and do likewise to your fellow humans. People always ask me, write bible studies on relationship and marriage; I said to them whatever bible studies I have written, take it and apply it in relation to your spouse and children; for in those bible studies we explain how Jesus, who is the bridegroom, so loves, honours, respects, nourishes and cherishes the church His bride; and we have explained how God the Father so loves, honours, respects, nourishes and cherishes us His children. That is why Paul tells us, though his writing of Ephesians 5 was concerning Christ and the Church, we must apply the same things in marriage.
I know a sister who was converted through a minister that worked a lot with drug addicts, drunkards, prostitutes and the homeless. They send those people into homes for six months or more, where they are taught the word of God and prayer and turned into ministers of God. She was a nice Christian who decided to join that ministry; she met her husband in that ministry. He had just gone through the program and now they ordained him into the ministry. So she married the newly ordained pastor and started pastoring a new church with him. My friend there is a lot of pressure in ministry; you carry the burden of many people and if you are not mature spiritually, ministry will crush you. Some pastors are depressed, there is a very strong financial pressure in ministry, on top of the problems of the church members.
The man was not spiritually mature enough to overcome those overwhelming challenges of ministry, so he went back to using drugs. The wife could not take it anymore, he needed help, for he was hurting himself. They had wonderful children together, today she is even a grandmother now. She divorced that man and raised her children alone, her children got married and are serving the Lord. And she met another Christian man in the new church she attends, and they are getting married in 2016. That former pastor, even if he gets help, he cannot guarantee to his former wife that he has truly changed, and that he will not go back to using drugs. I have a problem with programs, discipleship is not a program. Yes we teach people the word of God, but in the end, it is the Holy Spirit that puts people into ministry, not men.
Jesus prayed for twelve hours before appointing his twelve apostles. Every born again Christian must witness about his faith, that is the ministry of reconciliation that we all have received. But when it comes to appointing someone in one of the fivefold ministry gifts, or being an elder or deacon, we need to pray about it and hear from God, and furthermore we need to follow what Paul wrote to Timothy and Titus. Many times we have a Hollywood star that gets converted, and immediately we want to put him behind the pulpit in church and on Christian television. And a couple of months later, we hear that the Hollywood star has backslidden. They need to share their testimony; but they should not be the one representing the body of Christ, until they have been discipled, and they meet the criteria Paul gave us in the letters to Timothy and Titus.
I also know another Christian sister, her boyfriend was a drunkard and drug addict, and he stabbed her, the knife punctured her lung but she is still alive. With drunkenness and drug addiction you are hurting yourself, and directly or indirectly you are also hurting people who love you. As for that pastor, even after he had come back from another rehabilitation, nothing is guaranteed to his ex-wife, that if she marries him again, he will not go back to using drugs. Unless God specifically tells that woman to go back to that man; no minister of the gospel should put that women through that experience again, constantly being in fear that her husband might have an overdose and die in her arms. If a bother or a sister is a drunk, let them seek help now, for they are destroying their life and that of the children. If he or she refuses to get help, and is being physically violent with the children and the spouse, we need to report it to the police and take the necessary action. And in case he or she is not being violent, but the other spouse cannot live with someone who is destroying his or her life anymore, and refuses to change; we cannot force that spouse to stay with that person.
It is because of the hardness of the heart of the man or woman that God told Moses to allow us to divorce. Because if we obey the word of God, there will be no room for divorce; we will love our wife as Christ loves the church and we will submit to one another. We will nourish and cherish our wife as our own body, so we will not beat her up, abuse her verbally all the time, so that she becomes depressed and suicidal, and vice versa. We will not want to destroy our life with drunkenness and drug addiction; living with our spouse widow or widower. If it were your daughter that was in such an abusive relationship; would you stand there and do nothing? No! you would come and take your daughter and her children and bring her to your house. You do not want your son-in-law to be very ill-natured, severe, and cruel to your daughter; so that her life and at times the life of her children is exposed to danger. If we being so evil know how to do good to our children, how much more God our Father in heaven! By now I hope that you have realised the importance of discipleship; a disciple imitates Jesus’ way, truth and life. It is because we have made converts and not disciples that the rate of divorce among Christians is as bad as among unsaved people.
I know another sister who was living in fornication with a pastor in London. The pastor used to beat her up and when she was pregnant with her second daughter, the man pushed her down the staircase. He had to call the ambulance; when they arrived they suspected that she did not fall by accident; but she lied to protect that man from being arrested. She was taken into hospital, she was medically confined to a bed for four months until she gave birth to the little girl Ruth. When you look at the beautiful little girl, her head is a little deformed because of the fall of the mother during the pregnancy. The social services never told the man where they had taken the woman, and immediately after she had given birth she was moved to Bolton and they forbade her to contact the father of the daughter. If social services protect women and their children from such men, do you think God will say to that woman go back to that man and marry him? It is because of the hardness of the heart that God allows divorce until today.
May we rescue women from such cruel men. When you know the heart of God, you will know that God does not want His daughters to be treated thus. I remember I used to attend a church in Manchester. There was a female dentist in her mid-thirties in the church. She used to be bubbly and happy, singing in the choir and dressing nicely, taking care of her body. I did not see her for a while in church because she got another job outside Manchester, so she was not able to travel every Sunday to church. But I had a vision in which she was sitting next to a man, and she was very sad, she was depressed and dressed in rags. I came to see the pastor during the week and I told him the vison I had from the Lord of the sister. When the pastor shared the vision with her, she broke into tears and confessed that it was true. She was dating this Christian Brother, who wanted her to change everything about herself, he wanted to change the way she dressed, she should no longer put on makeup, he was being verbally abusive, unreasonably jealous, and she was not happy and depressed. She broke up that relationship with that man. Holiness has nothing to do with dressing in rags and not putting on makeup. We should only be moderate in our dressing and makeup as the scriptures teach us.
A sister asked me: what about the people who divorced when there was no sexual immorality or none of the reasons that Moses told us in Genesis 24:1-4, but just decided to leave the marital home and got married to another person. According to the bible they have committed adultery against their spouse. What should they do? Can God forgive them? The bible says if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1John 1:9). And we have seen that God also hates iniquity, just like he hates divorce (Hebrews 1:9, Malachi 2:16). God will forgive that person if he genuinely repents toward God.
If that person was a Christian, and rejected the counsel of the scripture, and what the church leaders told him, and went ahead to divorce his spouse, though there was no sexual immorality or any of the reasons given by Moses; he is more likely just a backslider. He needs to give his life to Christ again. Sometimes in marriage we feel like we no longer have passion for each other, or we have grown apart. Yet it is not a reason to divorce; we do the same thing with God. We do not go to other gods; we stick with Jesus and work on having a better relationship with Him. When we start making disciples in the church, instead of making mere converts, that is when we will see the rate of divorce among Christians drop.
I.4 Shepherds who are Extortioners
Ezekiel 34:3 You eat the fat, and you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fatling: but you do not feed the flock.
The shepherds of Israel and the shepherds of today, are doing the same thing. They turned any idea of God, into a business thing. Those priests were corrupt; they turned the offerings and sacrifices into a business. In the days of Eli, the sons of Eli were taking more offerings than they were supposed to (1Samuel 2:12-36). They would take the offering by force. Nobody could question the authority of the priests! This is the main reason why many men and woman of God, do not want their congregation or followers to know the truth, because once people know the truth, you can no longer manipulate them, you can no longer exploit them. The people naturally believe the man or woman of God, they think that they hear directly from God. But unfortunately there are so called “men and women of god” who have a hidden agenda.
They deliberately keep the knowledge of the truth to themselves so that they can eat the fat and clothe themselves with wool; all that is obtained from the offerings they collect from the people. Jesus says: Woe unto you, lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge: you entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in you hindered (Luke 11:52). So the leaders of the temple back then deliberately kept the knowledge of the truth from the people. Who would dare question their authority? They knew that God had fixed the tithe (10%). But they could get some money from the offering! Therefore they took the offering by force, taking more than they were supposed to take. They came up with all kinds of gimmicks, to get more money from people. They came up with the idea that the only doves and animals that were acceptable for offerings, were the ones bred by the priests. And they were expensive compared to the doves and animals sold by the local farmers.
Things have not changed today. We have come up with ideas of anointing oil from Jerusalem, our prayer shawl from Jerusalem, our anointing water from Jerusalem, the anointing candle from Jerusalem, anointed incense that was used in the tabernacle of Moses, though God said: as for the incense which you shall make, you shall not make any for yourselves, according to its composition or proportion. It shall be to you holy for the Lord. Whoever makes any like it, to smell it, he shall be cut off from the people (Exodus 30:37-38). But today on Christian television, people are selling it! God fulfilled all these shadows in the body of Jesus, so that no one would make money out of the free gift of God. The reason why people reactivate the shadows of the Old Testament, is for financial purposes. If they tell people the truth, that you do not need those things any more, Jesus is the fulfilment of all those shadows, they will not be in business any more.
The poor women who came to the temple for prayer, they stayed at the entrance of the tabernacle of meeting, the wicked sons of Eli slept with them. Even today, many women are deceived by predators behind the pulpit, who desecrate their body which is the temple of the Holy Ghost. The women sometimes are desperate for a fruit of the womb, or for the “anointing” from the Lord, so they are deceived by those predators that if they desecrate their body they will have that fruit of the womb or that “anointing”. May God deliver our sisters, in Jesus name!
God was so tired of all their gimmicks that He had to fix the offering too; so that those priests would not manipulate people financially. So the Lord spoke to Ezekiel: This is the oblation or offering you shall offer; the sixth part of an ephah of a homer of wheat, and you shall give the sixth part of an ephah of a homer of barley: Concerning the ordinance of oil, the bath of oil, you shall offer the tenth part of a bath out of the cor, which is an homer of ten baths; for ten baths are a homer: And one lamb out of the flock, out of two hundred, out of the fat pastures of Israel; for a meat offering, and for a burnt offering, and for peace offerings, to make reconciliation for them, says the Lord GOD (Ezekiel 45:13-15). The ephah was the measure for grains and the bath was the measure for liquids, God therefore fixed the offerings of grain to be 1/60 of the produce of the field, which is 1.67%; the oil offering to be 1% and the meat offering to be 0.5%. The reason why God asked them to bring more grain was because bread was the staple food in Israel.
That is why when you go through our “biblical prosperity” bible study, you notice that if you sum up all your alms, offerings, firstfruit, tithes you will not give more than 20% of your income, unless God specifically speaks to you, and not someone behind a pulpit asking you to give a certain amount of money. The priests and all the religious leaders could no longer exploit the people, provided that the people knew that truth; that is why they made sure that the people should not have that knowledge. Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all of them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but you have made it a den of thieves (Matthew 21:12-13).
Jesus said unto them in His doctrine, Beware of the scribes, who love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces, and the chief seats in the synagogues [houses of prayer for all nations], and the uppermost rooms at feasts: Who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation (Mark12:38-40). I was talking with a sister who is a minister of the gospel in a church. And she was facing a difficult situation in her life and family. She was praying with a Man of God that she respected a lot. But she had to send money over and over to that man of God in her country. Even when she did not have money she borrowed money to send to him and she would not even have food in her house to feed her children. Because that difficult situation had been going on for years, she spent all her livelihood, not just with the physicians, but also with those men and women of God, who were praying for her case, because she was given the impression that if she does not give: she is not sowing into the “anointing” so she cannot receive her miracle!
When that man of God was in town with his wife, she was the one who would pay for all their transportation, and when they left town she would buy gifts for them, hand bags for his wife, etc. That woman, for more than a decade, had never been able to buy any new clothing for herself; she always dressed in charity shop clothes and all her livelihood she gave to those men of God, to pay for their prayers, and her children even went without food at times. But when she met brother Gery, she also wanted to borrow money “to sow into the “anointing” of brother Gery”. I stopped her straight away. I refused to take her money, and God gave me the word of knowledge concerning her situation. When I told her, she broke into tears, and told me her life story. How desperate she was to get the miracle, that she had given all her livelihood, for more than a decade, and was even in debt because she had to keep paying for the prayers and “anointing” of those men and women of God. It truly broke my heart and Jesus spoke to my heart and said: woe to scribes, Pharisees, priests: hypocrites! They devour widows’ and desperate women’s houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation.
When I explained to her the will of God, that we never pay for prayer or anointing, it is the practice of sorcery, but Jesus told us: as you go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely you have received, freely give (Matthew 10:7-8). She stopped sending those people money for their prayers and paying for their “anointing”. They started to panic, and called her, that they had not received her payments, they came into town and they wondered why she had not paid for all their transportation and bought those gifts like before? They stopped praying for her. But it tells us that their long prayers were just pretences to devour her house. There is nothing wrong with blessing men and women of God financially, but it must be according to what you have. Never borrow to give, and never pay for prayer or for so-called “anointing” it is a witchcraft practice. Please read the bible study on Biblical Prosperity.
These men and women of God, are flaying God’s flock, as it is written: I said, Hear, I pray you, O heads of Jacob, and you rulers of the house of Israel; Is it not for you to know judgment? Who hate the good, and love the evil; who pluck off or strip the skin from off My people, and their flesh from off their bones; Who also eat the flesh of My people, and flay their skin from off them; and they break their bones, and chop them in pieces, as for the pot, and as flesh within the caldron (Micah 3:1-3). There is a worldwide flaying of the flock of God by hirelings who are not truly shepherds, but people who are into the kingdom for money. Jesus says: I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep. But he who is a hireling [one who works for money not because he loves and cares for the sheep], and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep, and flees: and the wolf catches them, and scatters the sheep. The hireling flees, because he is a hireling, and cares not for the sheep (John 10:11-13). If you stop paying for their “anointing” or for their prayers, they will not pray for you anymore, because they are after what you have, and not after you and setting you free of the oppression of the devil. And they do not want you to be free quickly, because they will lose their financial income!
I.4 A Shepherds who do not care about the sheep
Ezekiel 34:4 The diseased have you not strengthened, neither have you healed those who were sick, neither have you bound up the broken, neither have you brought back what was driven away, neither have you sought what was lost; but with force and with cruelty or harshness have you ruled them.
The religious leaders of old and of today, are sometimes only interested by what the people can bring to the temple or the church. But they are not really concerned about the soul, health and the wellbeing of that person. We are all priests and kings, we are all shepherds for Jesus who is the King of kings, our High priest and our great Shepherd dwells in us. We must learn how to minister healing to people around us. We must learn how to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease (Matthew 4:23). For Jesus told us to do the same thing He did, saying: as you go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely you have received, freely give (Matthew 10:7-8). Anybody who asks you for money for your healing, or to raise a dead person, or to cast out devils or to cleanse lepers is not of God, but of the devil.
Jesus who is our Shepherd says: The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord (Luke 4:18-19). Jesus our Shepherd cares about what we are going through and not only what we can do for His kingdom. He says cast all your care upon me because I care for you (1Peter 5:7). He cares for the sheep that are poor, broken, sick, captives and debtors. God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and Power and He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him (Acts 10:38). The same Jesus dwells in every born again believer so each one of us is supposed to be doing what Jesus our Shepherd exemplified. He said to each one of us: I have given you an example that you should do as I have done to you (John 13:15).
The word used for example is the Greek word hupodeigma which is exhibit for imitation, example, pattern and specimen. According to the Webster dictionary a specimen is a sample; a part or small portion of anything, intended to exhibit the kind and quality of the whole. Think of it this way: when a person is sick and goes to the hospital, the General Practitioner asks for some blood tests to be done on the patient, to see what is going on in the whole body. The nurse only takes a small quantity of blood and brings it to the laboratory for analyses. What is found in that small quantity of blood represents exactly what is in the whole body; for that blood was taken as a sample of the whole blood in that body. Jesus Christ is the sample or exhibit for imitation of what and who is in every born again Christian (John 13:15). That is why Paul tells you that you were baptized into the body. For by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit (1Corinthians 12:13).
So Jesus Christ dwells in every born again believer and every born again believer dwells in Christ the body. Since Jesus is the sample of that body or the specimen of that body, or the exhibit for imitation of that body, it means that every born again believer is exactly as Jesus Christ. Just like that sample of blood of the body that was taken to the laboratory for analyses, represents exactly what happens in that whole body, in every drop of blood of that body. Likewise since you were baptized into one body by the Holy Spirit even the body of Christ, every born again Christian is exactly like Christ Jesus our sample exhibit for imitation or specimen. That is why John tells us: we have known and believed the love that God has in us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God and God in him. In this is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the Day of Judgment, that as He (Jesus Christ the sample of the Body) is, so also we are in this world (1John 4:16-17).
And everything that is in that sample Jesus, is in every born again believer, thus John the Baptist tells us: This was he of whom I spoke, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fullness we have all received, and grace for grace (John 1:15-16). Jesus tells us: Verily, verily, I say unto you, he who believes on Me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto My Father (John 14:12). I was sharing the word of God with a Chinese woman who was not saved yet. After I had finished sharing, she asked me: are all Christians so zealous for Jesus and in love with Jesus like you? I said: yes! Because in my heart I knew I am not unique, Jesus Christ is my Sample and He lives in me and I live in him; of His fullness I have received and as He is so I am in this world. Yet I am not a small christ or a small god that is from the devil and we have explained it in the bible study of Application of The Perfect Redemption Plan. Christ Jesus dwells in us and we dwell in Him. We are a new creation but Jesus is fully God and fully Man. Do not fall into that trap of the devil of thinking that you are a god or a christ.
When Jesus the good Shepherd has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, He leaves the ninety nine and goes into the mountains and seeks that which has gone astray. And when He finds it, He rejoices more over that sheep than of the ninety nine which did not go astray (Matthew 18:12:13). For the Son of Man who is our good Shepherd, has come to save that which was lost (Matthew 18:11). They that are whole, have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I, Jesus the Chief Shepherd, came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance (Mark 2:17). We can come to Jesus our Chief Shepherd (1Peter 5:4) just as we are, He says: Come unto Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).
The shepherds of old, like the sons of Eli, and in the day of Ezekiel, they ruled over the people with force and cruelty or harshness. But Jesus our Chief Shepherd said to us: You know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion or lordship over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister or servant (diakonos: one who waits on tables, who washes the feet of guests); And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant or slave (doulos): Even as the Son of Man, your Chief Shepherd, came not to be ministered unto (diakoneo: to be attended as a host so that people would come and serve him, come and wash his feet), but to minister (to serve as one who waits on tables and washes the feet of the guests), and to give His life a ransom for many (Matthew 20:25-28). Jesus demonstrated His style of shepherding in John 13; supper being ended, Jesus rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.
Peter through the Holy Spirit tells us, what the Chief Shepherd is expecting from each one of us His under shepherds, saying: Feed and shepherd the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof (serving as overseers), not by constraint or compulsion (because someone is forcing you to do so), but willingly; not for filthy lucre or dishonest gain (for some think that godliness is a means for gain 1Timothy 6:5), but of a ready mind or eagerly; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage or those who are entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd shall appear, you shall receive a crown of glory that does not fade away (1Peter 5:2-4).
Paul brings the point home and says: though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord has given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed (2Corinthians 10:8). Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power (exousia: delegated influence, delegated authority, delegated power, delegated right, legal authority to exercise power) which the Lord has given me to edification (oikodome: to build people up as a building that is erected from the foundation, to restore people’s life, to repair what has been destroyed in people’s life), and not to destruction (2Corinthians 13:10). We are not master or lord of anybody in the church or body of Christ, these are Gentiles ways. Jesus is the Lord and the Master, and the authority that He has given us is not to rule over brothers and sisters, and it is not our own authority or power, it is delegated authority, and a delegated power, and we are only allowed to edify the brothers and sisters with that delegated authority or power.
Ezekiel 34:5 And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered.
Ezekiel 34:6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them.
Ezekiel 34:7 Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD;
Ezekiel 34:8 As I live, says the Lord GOD, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock;
Ezekiel 34:9 Therefore, O you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD;
Ezekiel 34:10 Thus says the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require My flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves anymore; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.
Many times in church settings all these things that God has listed above, take place and God is not pleased at all. I remember being in a church setting where some of the things listed here by God, were taking place, and in the prayer meetings they asked to pray, so that God would bring the people who had left the church back. But I did not pray that prayer; I pray that God will open the eyes of the people so that they will know the truth, and that the leaders will guide the people the way God wants them to. The reason why people were always leaving that particular church for a period and then came back, was because their ways were not God’s ways. They were ruling over the people and were being lords over them, and some financial manipulations were going on. The devil was not driving the people away, but God was sending them elsewhere, for He says: I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding (shepherding) the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves anymore; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.
When a person does not care about you, you will know it! That person will always be after what you can do for them or for the church. It is impossible to be close to everybody in the church setting, but when you come to a brother or to a sister, and that person is only interested in what you can do for them, or for the church, there is no genuine love there. They are more concerned about you being submissive to their authority. My friend, if you cast out demons from the people and have those demons submit to your God given authority; then the people who have been delivered from those demons will find it easy to submit to you. It is the love of Christ our Chief Shepherd that constrains or compels us (2Corinthians 5:14) to obey or to submit to God, or to the leadership of a person. Paul says to the churches: You are not restricted by us, the apostles and ministers of Jesus, but you are restricted by your own affections (love and zealous attachment) (2Corinthians 6:12).
Joshua had succeeded Moses as the shepherd over Israel, to lead them to the promised land. People saw how great the leadership of Moses was, so stepping into the shoes of Moses is not easy for anyone. But the people told Joshua, saying: all that you command us we will do, and wherever you send us, we will go. Just as we listened to and obeyed Moses in all things, so we will listen to you. Only may The Lord your God be with you as He was with Moses (Joshua 1:16-17). As long as you do not manipulate the word of God, and do not turn from it to the right or to the left (Joshua 1:7-8); and mighty signs and wonders that Moses did, or Jesus did, or the apostles of Jesus did, follow you; the people are ready and willing to follow you wherever you send them, in the name of the Lord and to do whatever you teach them, as you have received from the Lord. Because those mighty signs and wonders testify that God has sent you, and is with you. Jesus says: If I do not the works of My Father, believe Me not. But if I do, though you believe not Me, believe the works: that you may know, and believe, that the Father is in Me, and I in Him (John 10:37-38).
Paul also tells us: I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed, Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ (Romans 15:18-19). So Paul also had the same revelation of Joshua 1, first of all it is the word of God. The people checked every day, if what Paul said, was lining up with the written word of God (Acts 17:10-11). They wanted to know if Paul was obeying God first of all as a shepherd, as it is written: Only be strong and very courageous, so that you may be careful to do according to all the Law which My servant Moses commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may act wisely wherever you go. This book of the Law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it by day and by night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall act wisely (Joshua 1:7-8).
Once they saw that Paul was not turning to the left or to the right from the written word of God; now they wanted to know whether God was with Paul, like He was with Jesus Christ whom he preaches. For if Jesus was with Paul, he would do the same works, the same preaching of Jesus and the same works of Jesus: signs and wonders by the power of the Spirit of God. And they discovered that everywhere Paul went, not only was he always teaching them what was in line with the written word of God, and they could check it daily for themselves; but also Jesus Christ confirmed Paul’s gospel and teaching, with mighty signs and wonders by the power of the Spirit. These were the things that made them obedient.
David also tells us: the LORD shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion: rule in the midst of Your enemies. Your people shall be willing or volunteer in the day of Your power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: you have the dew of your youth (Psalm 110:2-3). People want you to rule over their enemies: sickness, disease, premature death, poverty which is the curse of the law, demonic oppression, etc. The people will volunteer to serve the Lord, to obey the teaching of the gospel; when they see the mighty signs and wonders God is performing through you. You will not have to force anybody! Paul testifies of what made the Thessalonians follow him, saying: For our gospel, did not come unto you in word only, but also in power (Dunamis: miracle working power), and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as you know what manner of men we were among you for your sake. And you became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: So that you were examples to all who believe in Macedonia and Achaia (1Thessalonians 1:5-7).
They followed Moses, Joshua, David, Jesus, Paul, and Peter, John, Elijah, Elisha, Debora, and the other men and women of God listed in the bible; because of their teachings of the word of God, that was in line with the written word of God, for God confirmed His word with mighty signs and wonders by the power of the Holy Spirit. When you set the captives free, heal them and love them freely like God does (Hosea 14:4); they will willingly follow the God whom you serve and obey your teaching, that lines up with the written word of God. Unless mighty signs and wonders accompany our preaching of the gospel, we cannot say that we have fully preached the gospel! Jesus tells us how to fully preach the gospel, saying: as you go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely you have received, freely give (Matthew 10:7-8).
The Corinthian church stopped sinning after Paul’s letter, not because Paul was threatening them, no, Paul was edifying them, and they restricted themselves from practicing sin, because of their love for God and their love for Paul, they knew that Paul genuinely cared for them, and by those mighty signs and wonders God did through Paul, they knew that he was sent by Jesus and Jesus was with him. They saw the Love of Jesus in the person of Paul, and the love of Jesus constrained them to stop practicing sin. They zealously attached themselves to Paul and to the apostles, because the apostles loved them with the love of Christ and were not trying to rule over them, but to serve them, and build them up. People have already many “lords” and “masters” in the secular world; they do not want such a thing in church, and neither does Jesus our Chief Shepherd. The Gentile way of leading people, is not God’s way. All the disciples of Jesus followed Him to the death even the death of the cross for some of them, because they knew and believed the love that God and Christ had for them. They were zealously attached to Jesus, because of the love of Christ.
We should stop threatening brothers and sisters whom God has entrusted to us to shepherd. Even when we warn people about a danger that might happen to them, if they do not amend their evil ways; we always give them a way out in Christ. So that they know there is hope in Jesus. Paul rebuked the church in Corinth for their sins, but gave them a way out of sin, and they amended their ways so that sin no longer had dominion over them. Peter tells us: Jesus, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to God who judges righteously (1Peter 2:23). And Paul also tells us: you masters, do the same thing to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master, Jesus, also is in heaven and there is no partiality with Him (Ephesians 6:9).
Sometimes when you shepherd people, some of them will revile you, will call you all kinds of names or even lie about you. It has happened to me, and we are all human and nobody wants to be treated that way, and especially when you know you are not after anything except their souls and seeing them healed. Or some of the people whom you are shepherding are acting funny; they are backsliding or now despising your teaching, because you are addressing their sins. Though you are hurt personally, you must take Jesus your Shepherd as The example, and commit yourself to God who judges righteously. God knows the genuineness of your love and care, for them. Do not menace those people; threats are not from God. Tell them the truth in love, that they may grow up into Christ in all things (Ephesians 4:15). Even in the Old Testament when God was sending the prophets to tell the people, that destruction was heading their way because of their wicked ways. He was telling them the truth in love, and telling them: but if you amend your ways you shall not suffer any destruction (Jeremiah 26:1-15). The people of Nineveh repented when they heard the message of Jonah and were not destroyed.
So we should give up threats or menaces. Jesus did nothing wrong; but they crucified Him, reviled Him, abused Him. He suffered in their hands but He refused to threaten the people who were doing those wicked things to Him. It was not a sign of weakness but of meekness which is one of the fruits of the Spirit. We all need to have meekness, which is power under control. He could have commanded angels to come down and kill all of them like in the days of Hezekiah (Isaiah 37:36-38). Or He could have cursed them and they would all die like He cursed the fig tree and it withered up from the root (Mark 11:12-21). Sometimes in churches you see ministers of God cursing some members in the congregation or threatening them. Just pray for those ministers that they will have the knowledge of the ways of God, not just His acts (Psalm 103:7).
If they are telling you the truth according to the word of God; listen to them and amend your ways. But if they are trying to rule as masters over you and because you do not want them to rule over you, they are now cursing you and threatening you or prophesying lies concerning you, or see lying visions and dreams about you. God calls those kinds of prophecies that are not from him, but from the dictate of imagination of man’s heart, those visions and dreams that are not from Him, divinations, and they are from the devil certainly not from God (Jeremiah 14:14; Ezekiel 12:24; Ezekiel 13:6-7). Do not be afraid; for there is no sorcery or enchantment against Jacob, nor any divination or fortune telling against Israel (Numbers 23:23). How shall they curse whom God has not cursed? And how shall they denounce whom God has not denounced (Numbers 23:8)? You are the son or daughter of the Blessed (Mark 14:61). Your Father is the Blessed and only invokes blessings over His children. He has blessed you with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:3). Jesus Your Shepherd was cursed so that you will never be cursed again; for it is written: Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree; so that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles, through Jesus Christ; so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith (Galatians 3:13-14).
Try to love people, to edify them, to heal them, to cast out their demons and to raise their dead; and they will always come back to you. You will have no problem of submission. There is a great difference between obedience and submission, submission is a heart thing. People can obey instruction or submit to the superior in the army, but it does not mean that they are happy with it, or they are doing it joyfully. People can even sacrificially obey God, or a servant of God, but inside them they are unhappy. But we submit to God and to the leadership He placed over us, when we know and believe that God and Jesus loves us, and that the leadership placed over us, edifies and loves us.
The wife will submit to the husband, not because she must obey sacrificially the word of God, but because she knows and believes that God loves her, and so does her husband, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her. The children will submit to the parents because they know and believe that the parents love them. Jesus knows and believes that God loves Him, that is why He submitted to the will of the Father, even to the death of the cross. Though the Father instructed Him to go to the cross, but Jesus did it willingly of His own accord.
Jesus the true and good Shepherd
Jesus said: Verily, verily, I say unto you, He who does not enter by the door into the sheepfold, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But He who enters in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To Him the porter or doorkeeper opens; and the sheep hear His voice: and He calls His own sheep by name, and leads them out. And when He puts forth His own sheep, He goes before them, and the sheep follow Him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they do not know the voice of strangers (John 10:1-5). I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd gives His life for the sheep (John 10:11). Jesus earned the right to be the Shepherd of all, who will put their faith in Him and be born again. He is the only Shepherd that we follow to the death. He is the only one we trust with our life.
No one else on earth died for you and me, but Jesus. If anyone on earth asks you to follow him or her blindly without questioning his or her authority or decisions, because they think it is a theocracy; do not follow such people, they did not die for you, but Jesus did. Paul said: was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptised in the name of Paul? So why is it that each one says: “I am of Paul, or I am of Apollos or I am of Cephas” (1Corinthians 1:12-13). Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one (1Corinthians 3:5). I had to dissociate myself from a ministry who believed in healing; because they became overly zealous about their ministers. Many times I believed that, that ministry had turned into a “personality cult”: an excessive public admiration for, or devotion to their leader. Some of their leaders and members where now dressing up and cutting their hair like the main leader of that ministry. That ministry secluded them from local churches, and having fellowship with other believers, who did not believe the way they did. They would not believe anything shown to them from the bible, unless it was coming from their main leader. When they talked, they would always say: our main leader says, our main leader says, and our main leader says.
And they so wanted to differentiate themselves from other Christians, thinking that they had a special revelation of the written word of God. When they talked they would always say: “This message”, since when you joined “this message”, tell me why each one of us should defend “this message”? The night before one of their meetings the Lord gave me two scriptures. I did not know why; but the Lord knew they would ask during that meeting: why do you think each one of us should defend “this message”? Thus during the meeting I told them: open 1 Corinthians 3:4-9 and read it. For while one says, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are you not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom you believed, even as the Lord gave to each? I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither is he who plants anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. So he planting, and he watering, are one, and each one shall receive his own reward according to his own labour. For of God we are fellow-workers, a field of God, and you are a building of God (1Corinthians 3:4-9).
I said to them, you are still carnal believers according to Paul. If what you are teaching on healing is the written word of God; why do you not just say it is the gospel? When you say “This message”, you already sound like a cult; for every cult started because someone thought he or she had a special revelation of the word of God. Paul tells again: these things, brothers, I have in a figure transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, so that you might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, so that no one of you may be puffed up against one another. For who makes you to differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it (1Corinthians 4:6-7)?
And I explained to them how the late founder of their ministry was a good man; and he learned his healing teaching under another man. And also how their new leader also, who is carrying on the ministry, learned under different preachers, before joining the current ministry that he now oversees. So like Paul says, it is not about Apollos, or about Paul, or about Peter; they were just ministers God used to teach you the truth about a particular aspect of the gospel. When you gave them a prophecy or word of knowledge or shared a testimony of healing God has done through you; they did not have a scriptural response. They were ascribing the glory to you. They sounded like spiritual groupies! I, Gery, hate it when people try to ascribe the glory to me; for it is God who works in me both to will and do for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). The way to acknowledge the service of a man or woman of God; is not the way the world acknowledges the service of a rock star or football player. For the world, it is all about the rock star and the football player; but for the man or woman of God it is all about God!
When I finished updating this bible study on the Lord is my Shepherd; I went to bed. And that night at 22:00 the Holy Spirit spoke to me and said: the twenty four elders! I woke up opened my bible to read Revelation 4. In Revelation 4, we have the throne of God and first of all the four living creatures, standing before that throne; and then twenty four thrones around the throne of God, on which the twenty four elders, clothed in white clothing and having crowns of gold on their heads, sit.
Now the four living creatures John saw, are the seraphim Isaiah saw in his vision of the throne of God. As it is written: In the year that King Uzziah died, I then saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphim; each one had six wings; with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is Jehovah of Hosts; the whole earth full of His glory (Isaiah 6:1-3). Then, I remembered the explanation the Lord gave to Reinhard Bonnke of the reason why each seraphim used his two wings to cover his face, and two to cover his feet when standing before the throne of God. The Lord said to Bonnke: the seraphim are very beautiful and glorious creatures; they do not want to upstage God [steal the show from God, draw attention to themselves away from God]. The face talks about our beauty and the feet about the spreading of the gospel. They covered both their face and their feet: in the presentation of the gospel, we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus and present to the people the beauty of His holiness not ours.
As Paul says: For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake (2Corinthians 4:5). And the psalmist says: ascribe unto the Lord the glory due unto His name; and worship the Lord in the beauty of His holiness (Psalm 29:2). Worship the Lord in the beauty of His holiness; tremble before Him, all the earth (Psalm 96:9). Lucifer, who was one of the archangels, did not want to worship God in the beauty of His holiness, he did not want to preach Christ, but himself, so that people will worship him like they worship God. And we know how badly it ended for Lucifer, as we have explained in length in the first perfect redemption plan bible study.
And the first living creature was like a lion, and the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like a flying eagle. And each one of the four living creatures had six wings about him, and within being full of eyes. And they had no rest day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God, the Almighty, who was and is and is to come. And whenever the living creatures gave glory and honour and thanks to Him who sat on the throne, who lives forever and ever. The twenty-four elders fell down before the One sitting on the throne. And they worshiped Him, who lives forever and ever, and threw their crowns before the throne, saying, O Lord, You are worthy to receive glory and honour and power, because You created all things, and for Your will they are and were created (Revelation 4:7-11). The twenty four elders also worshiped God who sits on the throne. They left their own God-given throne, and fell down, removed their God-given crown of gold, symbol of the glory God bestowed on them; and placed it at the feet of One sitting on the throne.
The disciples of Jesus and the prophets of old, learned to cover their spiritual face and spiritual feet, so that they would never upstage God. Peter explained to the people who saw him healing the lame man at the gate Beautiful of the temple: men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why do you look so intently at us, as though by our own power or own holiness or own godliness we had made this man walk (Acts 3:12). The name of Jesus, through faith in His name, has made this man strong; whom you see and know (Acts 3:16). Peter and John did not think they were holier than the people, but their holiness was the imputed Holiness of Jesus, and faith in Jesus, and the use of the name of Jesus did the miracle.
The bible is a whole book that needs to be read from cover to cover, from Genesis to Revelation. Jesus taught His disciples well, just like the prophets of old and all the angels, seraphim and cherubim are taught to ascribe the glory, honour, power, righteousness and holiness to the One who sits on the throne. They learnt in those three and half years with Jesus, to always give the glory back to God, even though they also were co-labourers together with God (1Corinthians 3:9). Jesus taught us: As the living Father has sent Me, and I live by the Father: so he who eats Me or feeds on Me, even he shall live by Me (John 6:57). They learnt to ascribe the glory to Jesus Christ and not to themselves. Jesus taught us: he who speaks of himself, seeks his own glory: but he who seeks the glory of Him who sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him (John 7:18). When we stand before the people, we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus who sent us; neither do we preach the beauty of our holiness, but the beauty of His holiness (2Corinthians 4:5, Psalm 96:9, Psalm 29:2).
My prayer is that nobody I disciple, will be zealous for Gery; but you will be zealous for Jesus Christ and His written Word. May we ascribe all the glory and holiness to the One who sits on the throne and worship Him casting our crown at His feet. Gery does not differ from any of you; when you have the revelation of the word of God contained in the My Weekly Milk bible studies, and become doers of them, even you will be greatly used by God more than Gery has ever been, that is my prayer! May you move from saying Gery says, to it is written, it is written and it is written; like Jesus exemplified for us His confrontation with the devil (Matthew 4, Luke 4). Gery is pointing you to Jesus Christ and to His written word. Paul did not have a special revelation. If you have been reading these My Weekly Milk bible studies, you have discovered by now that everything Paul said, Peter said, John said and even Jesus said, was already written from Genesis to Malachi. That is why Peter could commend the writings of Paul to the Church, and the Christians of Berea searched the scriptures from Genesis to Malachi every night, to find out whether what Paul taught them was in line with the Old Testament (Acts 17:10-13, 2Peter 3:16). Paul himself wants us to know and be assured, that he only taught and spoke in accordance with the Old Testament, saying: Therefore having obtained help from God, I stand until this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying no other things than those which the prophets [Joshua to Malachi] and Moses [Genesis to Deuteronomy] said was going to happen (Acts 26:22).
At times I have seen believers elevating ministers of Christ as if they were “gods”, they almost worship those ministers of God, and they no longer question what comes out of the mouth of those ministers. Brothers and sisters: nobody, no matter how much we respect and love them, must take the place of Jesus and His written Word in our heart. The Christians of Berea, no matter how much they loved Paul and respected his apostleship to the gentiles; they searched the scriptures daily to find out if what Paul taught, was lining up with the word of God from Genesis to Malachi. Paul commended those Christians of Berea (Acts17:10-11).
The Lord is our shepherd or our guide, when we become born again we can enjoy the divine guidance of the Lord. Please read the bible study on “Divine Guidance”. Our days of wandering in the wilderness are over, our Guide, Jesus, is here. We are the sheep of His pasture and we know His voice. Some born again believers disagree with Jesus, they say they do not know the voice of God, but Jesus says: they know My voice, and they follow Me. It is high time to start agreeing with the word of God, and not with how we feel. The LORD shall guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and make fat your bones: and you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail (Isaiah 58:11). The Lord shall guide you with His counsel (Psalm 73:24). The prophet Ezekiel received that revelation of the New Covenant, when Jesus would die for us and become our Shepherd. The Lord said: I will make a new covenant with them (Ezekiel 34:25).
II.1 The Shepherd seeks and finds that which is lost
Ezekiel 34:11 For thus says the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out.
Ezekiel 34:12 As a shepherd seeks out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places, where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.
Jesus our Shepherd is not only seeking the lost sheep of the house of Israel, but He says, when He died on that cross, He made it possible for the Gentiles, who once were not His sheep to come into His fold. Therefore He said: Other sheep I have which are not of this fold, them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice and there will be one flock and one shepherd, even Jesus (John 10:16). The death and resurrection of Jesus our Shepherd, made it possible for Jews and Gentiles to become one new man, one flock. Paul explains to us: now in Christ Jesus you who were once afar off are made near by the blood of Christ. For He is our peace, He making us both one [Jews and Gentiles], and He has broken down the middle wall of partition between us, having abolished in His flesh the enmity (the Law of commandments contained in ordinances) so that in Himself He might make the two [Jews and Gentiles] into one new man, making peace between them; and so that He might reconcile both to God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity in Himself. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off, and to those who were near. (Ephesians 2:13-17).
For through Him, we, both Jews and Gentiles, have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens (native of the same town: the Jerusalem above the mother of all born again believers as it is written in Galatians 4:26) with the saints, and of the household of God (Ephesians 2:18-19). Our Shepherd, Jesus, made it possible for all of us to have the same access to God, because when we became born again He gave us the same Holy Spirit. The same access Paul had to the Father is the same access you and I have to the Father, better than that, the same access to the Father Jesus has, is the same access you and I have. Let no one deceive you that they have a better access to the Father than you have. Our Shepherd, Jesus, made it possible by His death; for you and me to have the same access to the Father that He has. We are now in Jesus’ fold, members of the household of God: we dwell under the same roof with God and Jesus; because we are sons and daughters of God. We live in the same city, our Jerusalem above, where we are seated with Christ at the right hand of the Father.
II.2 The Shepherd has good, fat and green pasture
Ezekiel 34:13 And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country.
Ezekiel 34:14 I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel.
Ezekiel 34:15 I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, says the Lord GOD.
Our Shepherd provides for us good fold and fat pastures, He says: I am the door: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture (John 10:9). David knew what kind of Shepherd the Lord is, he said under the Holy Spirit: The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures: He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul: He leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff they comfort me You prepare a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever (Psalm 23:1-6).
Unfortunately some born again believers still see their lack and need; when Jesus our Shepherd wants to supply our wants, when our Shepherd has green pastures, fat pastures and good fold for us. Some believers still see their cup empty or half full when our Shepherd wants our cup to be running over. Some believers still think about the harshness of God, when God Himself is against shepherds who rule over His people with cruelty or harshness (Ezekiel 34:4). God is good (Nahum 1:7), and God is love. There are many things in life that we are not sure of; but God wants us to know with absolute certainty, that since Jesus has become our Shepherd, when we received Him: Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever and ever. How can it be otherwise, we are members of His household; when we believed in Him He gave us everlasting life. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall anyone pluck them out of my hand (John 10:27-28).
You and I have eternal life, the very moment we were born again, not after we are dead. He who believes on the Son of God, our Shepherd, has the witness in himself: he who does not believe God has made him a liar; because he does not believe the record that God gave of His Son. And this is the record: that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; and he who does not have the Son of God does not have life (1John 5:10-12). As God the Father has given Jesus power over all flesh, so that He should give eternal life to as many as the Father has given Him. And this is life eternal, that they might know God the Father who is the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom He has sent (John 17:2-3). So the moment you are born again you know God because His Holy Spirit dwells in you; you are now in Christ and have His life even the eternal life.
II.3 The Shepherd defends His sheep
David could walk though the valley and shadow of death and fear no evil because he knew the Shepherd was with him, and He would defend him. He who is a hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep, and flees: and the wolf catches them, and scatters the sheep. The hireling flees, because he is a hireling, and does not care for the sheep (John 10:12-13). David used to be a shepherd before he was enthroned king. When he kept the sheep of his father Jesse, and a lion came and the bear came and took one of the sheep he fought and slew both the lion and the bear; and took back the sheep from their mouth (1Samuel 17:34-37). So David was confident, if he could defend the little sheep of his father Jesse against the lion and the bear, God who is his Shepherd could do much more to the enemies that came against him. God will even go to the extent of dying to protect David, for David was willing to die in the paws of the lion and the bear to protect the little sheep of his father Jesse.
Our Shepherd demonstrated how far He was willing to go to protect us. My Father loves Me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of My Father (John 10:17-18). Our Shepherd knew that the serpent of old, Satan, was against us, but the only way to defeat Satan and his power over us, was for our Shepherd to die, so that we can die to sin in His body; and to rise again, so that we can rise to life and righteousness. So He did it to give us the victory and the triumph over Satan, sin and death. Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord and Shepherd Jesus Christ (1Corinthians 15:57). But furthermore, thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ Jesus our Shepherd (2Corinthains 2:14). We can rest assured that we will always win every battle of life, because the battle is not ours but the Lord’s (2Chronicles 20:17).
II.4 The Shepherd gathers and heals His sheep
Ezekiel 34:16 I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment.
The heart cry of Jesus our Shepherd is that none should perish since He gave His life for the whole world. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often I wanted to gather your children together, even as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing (Matthew 23;37)! What Jesus says to Jerusalem, he says to the whole world. Our Shepherd never uses force to bring people into His fold, under His wings. So He says: All day long I have stretched forth My hands unto a disobedient and gain saying people (contrary people, people who contradict My word, people who deny Me and My word, people who refuse to walk in line with My word) (Romans 10:21). The arms of our Shepherd are still stretched forth waiting for us to come to His embrace.
Even when we are sick, He comes to us for God anointed Jesus Christ of Nazareth, our Shepherd, with the Holy Ghost and power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him (Acts 10:38). David knew that sometimes the sheep are wounded, so the shepherd anoints them with oil, to heal those wounds and to keep the flies, which are the symbol of the demons, from oppressing the sheep. Therefore he said: He anoints my head with oil (Psalm 23:5). Jesus our Shepherd went about all the cities and villages, teaching, preaching the gospel of the kingdom and healing every sickness and every disease among people (Matthew 9:35).
The shepherd brings back into the fold, what was driven away. Sometimes unsaved people or backsliding Christians, think that God does not want to have anything to do with them, because of their sinful lifestyle. And because religious Christians are making them feel unworthy to receive salvation, or be forgiven of all their iniquities; they are, in a way, driven away from the fold of Jesus. But Jesus and shepherds, who have the heart of Jesus, go after those who have been driven away by religious people. Please read the bible studies on: Come Home, David’s Sexual Sin Exposed and Neither Do I Condemn You; these three bible studies teach us how we ought to treat unsaved people, and backsliding Christians, so that we do not drive them away from the fold of Christ Jesus, but actually go after them to bring them into the fold, heal their backsliding and love them freely (Hosea 14:4).
II.5 The Shepherd drives His sheep gently
Ezekiel 34:17 And as for you, O My flock, thus says the Lord GOD; Behold, I judge between cattle and cattle, between the rams and the goats.
God is the Shepherd of the cattle and different animals: sheep, goats, ewes and lambs. When He drives us He considers all these parameters, which Jacob, who was a shepherd knew. Esau, said, let us take our journey, and let us go, and I will go before you. And Jacob said unto Esau, my lord knows that the children are tender and weak, and the flocks and herds, which are nursing, and which have young, are with me: and if the men should overdrive them one day, or drive them hard one day, all the flock will die. Please, let my lord (Esau), pass over before his servant: and I will lead on softly and slowly, according as the cattle, or at a pace which the livestock that go before me and the children, be able to endure, until I come unto my lord unto Seir (Genesis 33:12-14).
We will always be in this Christian journey with our Shepherd Jesus, He will never leave us and He will never forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). But Jesus does not overdrive us at all, or drive us hard on this Christian journey. He leads us at a pace we are able to endure. He knows the difference between the ewe and the ram, the lamb and the young. Paul explains it better by saying: He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord. But he who is married cares for the things of the world, how he may please his wife. There is a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world how she may please her husband (1Corinthians 7:32-34).
The relationship with Our Shepherd will always be first, the time we spend in our personal prayer, personal bible reading and bible study, and then our spouse comes in second position, then the children in third position, in fourth position our work, for if we cannot provide for our own household we are worse than an infidel, and only then in fifth position the church activities and ministry. Some couples did not respect this order God placed and have overdriven themselves. God was not to blame, but their own ambitions or the fear of men. They destroyed their marriage. Or they were never there for their children always in one church activity, the only time they spent with the kids was during the church activities. Brethren this is not supposed to be so. If a lady is single or a widow, she can even be in church 24/7 like Anna the prophetess, she was in the church never departed from the temple and prayed and fasted (Luke 2:36-37). Even if men in church tell a married sister she has a ministry of Anna that sister should be able to say no!
Many people misunderstand the saying of Paul: if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially his family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an infidel (1Timothy 5:8). When people read it out of context it brings guilt and condemnation upon them. Please read the bible study on “Neither Do I Condemn You”. You will discover that condemnation and guilt are never from God but from the devil. The Godhead convicts through the Holy Spirit of Sin, righteousness and judgment! Whenever people only read a verse without reading the verses before and verses after that particular verse, they will not know the context of things.
Let us now read 1Timothy 5 in context. From Acts 6, when the number of disciples had greatly increased; the church decided to use the money that was brought to the feet of the Apostles, from the proceeds of the lands, that some brothers and sisters had sold, to start a welfare program in the church. They gave some financial and food support to the neediest brethren. And from Acts 6 they already put the widows in the priority list for the church aid. But people were abusing the welfare program of the church. People who were not supposed to receive that aid, were receiving it, and some Christians, because they knew that the church was taking care of people in need, shunned their responsibilities of providing for their family and parents. So in 1Timothy 5, Paul straightens things in the church. He says: if a widow is elderly, from 60 years old and above, and she has no children and no grandchildren, she should be the priority of the church, because she has nobody to help her, and she does not have great physical strength to work in the field.
But if that widow is under sixty or even over sixty but she has children and grandchildren, why should the church be giving aid to that widow? Her children and grandchildren who have the ability are commanded by God to take care of their parents. Jesus says: Moses said, Honour your father and your mother; and, Whosoever curses father or mother, let him die the death: But you say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift to the Lord, by whatsoever you might be profited by me; he shall be free. And you suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye (Mark 7:10-13). Honouring a person or God, includes giving them your substance, as it is written: Honour the LORD with your substance, and with the firstfruits of all your increase (Proverbs 3:9).
You see people will say: I want to give my tithe and offering to God, and they think that they always have to bring their tithe and offering into the house of God. But in Deuteronomy 14:28-29, God commanded Israel that every third year: the tithe of those years shall be given to Levites (full time ministers), strangers in Israel, fatherless and widows. Because all these people had no inheritance, God did not want them to be poor. Tithes and offering were meant to create a social system in Israel, so that the poor are cared for, and full time ministers and their children do not suffer. So if your mother or your grandmother is a widow, and you know that they are in a difficult financial situation, give them your tithe, until they are financially stable, do not say to them: the money I was supposed to give you, I have to give it to the church, as my tithe, thus I do not have anything to give you.
Even if in church we call ourselves brothers and sisters, but when you have to ask church brothers or sisters for financial support, it is humiliating! And in your mind, and in the mind of the church members they say: could not his or her family help him or her? His or her relatives truly do love him or her, they have forsaken him or her! It hurts when you have to receive help from the church, when you know your flesh and blood have the means to help you. That is one of the reasons we are not able to convert our family members. We see them struggling financially, and they ask us for help, and we tell them: the only extra money I have is for my tithe to the church, or for the church carpet, for the church building fund! Jesus says, by so doing you have made the word of God of no effect. Even in Isaiah, God told them: do not hide from your flesh, your own family members: feed them, clothe them and bring them into your own house (Isaiah 58:7). Even unsaved people, who are the infidels, take care of their loved ones and you who call yourself Christians, you are hiding from your own flesh! Although you have the ways and means, yet, you are not helping your mother or grandmother who have become a widow, your brother or sister who is struggling to feed his or her children, because he or she lost their job; by so doing you, who call yourself a Christian, are worse than an infidel, because the one you call infidel, does not act that way!
But if you are the one who is poor; because you have lost your job, or because you are going through a terrible divorce, or because you have become a widow; do not condemn yourself. Jesus has compassion on you! He is never calling you worse than an infidel, because you are struggling to feed your children. Sometimes God has spoken to me to take my tithe, or 20% of my income, or sometimes to empty my bank account and give the money to a single mother, or a poor couple. May we never become like the Pharisees, who were lovers of money and would even teach people not to help their own relative, because they wanted all the money to be brought into the house of God. Please read the bible study on Biblical Prosperity. Believe that you are giving to God, not to a church or to a man.
When God leads us, He takes into consideration our married life, our family life, and our children when they are young, and when they are grown up, for that is the heart of our Shepherd. Isaiah had a revelation of Jesus our Shepherd, how He shall lead us in this Christian journey and he said: He, Jesus, shall feed His flock like a shepherd: He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young (Isaiah 40:11). When we cannot even walk, He carries us in His bosom, what manner of love is that! He does not gather us with His rod and staff which are impersonal, but with His arm, He wants us to feel His personal touch. God promised us: I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, fear not, I will help you (Isaiah 41:13). I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness, and I will hold your hand (Isaiah 42:6). Thus says the Lord to His anointed (that’s you), to Cyrus, whose right hand I have held, strengthened and sustained, because I want to subdue nations before him, and loose the armour of kings, to open before him the double door, so that the gates will not be shut. I will go before you and make the crooked places straight; I will break in pieces the gates of bronze and cut the bars of iron. I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of the secret places, that you may know that I, the Lord, who call you by your name, am the God of Israel (Isaiah 45:1-3).
II.6 The Shepherd will separate the sheep from the goats
What was happening in the nation of Israel, is also happening in the church of God. In a congregation, there would always be a mixed multitude like in the wilderness, when they came out of Egypt, the house of bondage (Exodus 12:38). Do not be deceived, not everybody in the church, even behind the pulpit is born again. The mixed multitude followed the Hebrews because of the victory God provided for them over the Egyptians. They came because of the safety they could have, and the prosperity of the Hebrews, since they plundered Egypt the greatest economical power of those days. The same thing happened in the days of Esther, when the Lord gave them victory over their haters, many people were converted for fear of the Jews, because Esther was the queen, and her uncle Mordecai was the second in command in the entire realm of Xerxes (Esther 8:16-17; Esther 10:3).
Some people are in church because the church is full of professionals; they can have good business opportunities. Because the church is full of decent young men and young woman, hence they can find a decent spouse to be; or because the church helps the poor and needy, and they are in that category. Just like Solomon says: there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9). Some people are in church because their parents were born again, but they have never been born again. Joshua had to circumcise the people of Israel the second time, before they went to the promised land, for all who were born in the wilderness, were not circumcised (Joshua 5). The circumcision is a sign that God had imputed His righteousness to a person, for Abraham received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of faith (Romans 4:11).
When you are born again, you know it! For the Spirit of God that is now in you, bears witness with your spirit, that you are a son or daughter of God, that you are now a sheep of his pasture (Romans 8:16). Furthermore, the Lord knows those who are His (2Timothy 2:19). That is why Jesus our shepherd tells us, you must be born again to become His sheep (John 3:7). At the end of the day when all is said and done, only the sheep will inherit the kingdom of God. If we have been in church our entire life, and have never been born again, it is time to be born again. Invite Jesus into your heart, and surrender your life, and your ways to Him. Jesus is the door of the sheep, He said: I am the door: by Me if any man or woman enters in, he or she shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture (John 10:9). As long as we are not found in Christ, we are still unsaved and goats, but when we are in Christ, who is our door, we become His sheep. Therefore if any man or woman be in Christ, he or she is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new (2Corinthians 5:17). He or she is no longer a goat, but a sheep, no longer unrighteous, but righteous, even the righteousness of God, no longer unsaved but saved, no longer dead but has eternal life.
Jesus said in Matthew 25:31-46: When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats: And He shall set the sheep (lambs, ewes and rams) on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you, from the foundation of the world: For I was hungry, and you gave Me meat or fed Me: I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink: I was a stranger, and you took Me in: Naked, and you clothed Me: I was sick, and you visited Me: I was in prison, and you came unto Me. Then shall the righteous answer Him, saying, Lord, when did we see you hungry, and fed you? Or thirsty, and gave You drink? When did we see You a stranger, and took You in? Or naked, and clothed you? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and came unto You? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto Me.
Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from Me, you cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was hungry, and you gave Me no meat: I was thirsty, and you gave Me no drink: I was a stranger, and you did not take Me in: naked, and you did not clothe Me: sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me. Then shall they also answer Him, saying, Lord, when did we see You hungry, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto You? Then shall He answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to Me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.
This will take place at the second coming of our Lord Jesus the Chief Shepherd. The righteous are the sheep. And the unrighteous are the goats. We become righteous when we become born again, yet not our own righteousness, which is based on the works of the law, but the righteousness of faith, which is imputed to us when we believe in Christ Jesus our Shepherd, who laid down His life for the sheep, so that we can become the sheep of His pasture, when we believe in Him. Therefore let no man or woman label you a goat, when you are born again. When you believe in Christ Jesus you became His sheep and he gave you eternal life. For He said: My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand (John 10:27-28). No man or woman can pluck you from the hand of Jesus your Shepherd, so that you stop being a sheep to become a goat, it will never happen.
II.7 The Shepherd judges between rams and he goats
Ezekiel 34:17 And as for you, O My flock, thus says the Lord GOD; Behold, I judge … between the rams and the he goats.
Ezekiel 34:18 Does it seem a small thing unto you to have eaten up the good pasture, but you must tread down with your feet the residue of your pastures? And to have drunk of the deep waters, but you must foul the residue with your feet?
Ezekiel 34:19 And as for my flock, they eat that which you have trodden with your feet; and they drink that which you have fouled with your feet.
The ram is the male of the sheep; the female is called the ewe. The ram has two horns, the horns talk about the power. Zacharias prophesied: Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for He has visited and redeemed His people, And has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David (Luke 1:68-69). David said: The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; The God of my rock; in Him will I trust: He is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, My saviour; You save me from violence (2Samuel 22:2-3). And in the book of the prophets, when they had visions and dreams, which involved horns, it talked about the power. The goats look like sheep but are not, they are nearly the size of sheep, but stronger, less timid and agile. They are also stubborn; they resist the will of God. The goat also has two horns like the ram.
The rams represent the believers who are powerful, and the goats the unsaved who are powerful. The horns on the head of the ram or the goat, signify the person is superior in earthly and religious power and authority, of greater wealth and riches, of more wisdom (religious or secular wisdom or both) and knowledge (spiritual and secular knowledge or both). God promised to judge between the rams and the goats. There is a wisdom and knowledge that is found in the world that amounts to nothing in the kingdom of God. For the wisdom (sophia: worldly and spiritual wisdom) of this world, is foolishness with God. For it is written, He takes the wise in their own craftiness (1Corinthians 3:19). There is another wisdom which we speak, not the worldly wisdom or the spiritual wisdom found in the diverse religions of the world, but we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom (sophia: worldly and spiritual wisdom) which God ordained before the world unto our glory (1Corinthians 2:7). Christ Jesus is the power of God and the wisdom of God (1Corinthians 1:24).
My friend, if our wisdom, both spiritual wisdom and worldly wisdom, is not found in Christ our Shepherd, it is only foolishness, no matter how high we view them in our own conceits. Sometimes even behind the pulpit of some churches, we hear philosophy or psychology or science, instead of Christ Jesus, and the word of God. Beware lest any man or woman spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ (Colossians 2:8). The goats have no spirit of the Lord, since they are not sheep, so to them Christ and His word, do not make any sense, so they promote the secular wisdom and knowledge. But unfortunately some believers have been deceived and seduced by the wisdom and knowledge of the world. So they have brought within the church, the wisdom of the pagan religions of the world, they have brought in the psychology and philosophy. When the word of God says something is caused by a demon; they say it is only a psychological thing. So the people remain in bondage to that demon their entire life, when God intended for them to be loosed.
Our Shepherd delights in our prosperity, He wishes above all things that we prosper and be in health, even as our soul prospers (3John1:2). But there is wealth and riches that are found in Christ Jesus and others in the world. The blessing of the Lord makes rich and adds no sorrow with it (Proverbs 10:22). When we are in Christ, and enter the door, for He is the door, we go in and find pastures (John 10:9). He has fat, green pastures for us beside still waters. But the unsaved, the one who says there is no God is a fool (Psalm 14:1). Their wealth and riches are not found in Christ, and they do not follow God’s way to get them. Unfortunately some saved people are envious of the prosperity of the wicked (Psalm 73:3). They decide to ignore God’s way, and cut corners to be able to get wealth and riches. God promised that He will prosper us, there is no need for us to envy the prosperity of the wicked, and copy their ways.
Some believers also envy the authority and power of the wicked. They think that God’s way is too gentle and slow. They think there is a need to implement a secular leadership in the church of God, and there is a need to even help God to perform miracles, so they add some idol worship to Christ Jesus, to have power from those idols. The goats do not know any better since they are unsaved, the only authority they know is the secular authority, the only power they know, is the power of their idols. But we born again believers know better, Jesus our Shepherd told us the kind of authority we should implement in His church. In Matthew 20:25-28, in 1Peter 5:2-4 and in Ezekiel 34:4. Jesus through the Holy Spirit from Genesis to Revelation, told us everything we will ever need in our life and in the church. When believers embrace the ways of the world, they act like the world, they become self-centred, conceited, everything they do is through strive or vainglory (Philippians 2:3) when they are supposed to do everything with love (1Corinthians 16:14) to edify others (1Corinthians 14:26).
When believers behave like that, the consequences of their actions do not matter to them, they seem a small thing to them. That is why they eat up the good pasture, and then tread down with their feet the residue of their pastures. And they drink of the deep waters, and then foul the residue with their feet. And as for the flock of the Lord, they eat that which was trodden under foot; and they drink that which was fouled (Ezekiel 34:18-19). Rams who act like goats are insecure; they want to be the only one who enjoys the good pasture. When they have the revelation of the word of God, or how the prosperity of God works, they keep it to themselves and never share it with other sheep. They want to be the only one who has the wisdom and the knowledge of God. When they have the revelation of how faith works, they keep it to themselves; because they want to be seen as the only man or woman of faith. And they will tell everybody that it is hard to become like them. It is because they are so special in the sight of God that they are what they are. On purpose, they will tread the pastures underfoot to damage the seed, so that it will never grow in the lives of the other sheep.
Jesus told the parable of the sower: a sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it (Luke 8:5). These dear rams that act like goats, by treading down the pastures, are crushing the seed of the word of God on purpose, and it will never produce the expected harvest in the life of the other sheep. It is as if I come and I tell a person, to prosper financially you only need to pray, I have deliberately kept the knowledge of giving and receiving for myself. The person will pray all his life for financial prosperity, but will not have it because he did not couple it with giving. Let us not be like that when we have found good pastures, or deep waters let us pass the message around so other sheep can enjoy what we are enjoying. John said: that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship or communion with us; and truly our fellowship or communion is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ (1John 1:3).
Imagine for a moment if the apostles decided to keep for themselves the good pastures that they found in Christ our Shepherd, when they entered through Him who is our door, if they did not tell us what they saw in the ministry of Christ, what they heard from him. Christianity would have stopped at the death of the apostles; but because they told us everything they saw, heard and handled, so that we can have the same joy, the same life and the same power of God in us, through Christ Jesus.
The deep waters they drank, or water of the Holy Spirit they drank, showed us how we can also drink the same water. He who believes in Jesus, as the scripture has said, out of their heart will flow rivers of living water (John 7:38). Whoever drinks the water that I shall give him, (to drink is to believe in Jesus) will never thirst, but the water (Holy Spirit) that I shall give him, will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life (John 4:14). They told us where to get a fountain of water, even deep waters. They did not hide anything from us neither did they foul that water. Do your utmost, to pass the message around that you have found a good pasture in Christ our Shepherd, that you have found deep waters, and do not foul the waters or tread underfoot the pasture, but allow others to have the same benefits you have, from the good pastures and the deep waters.
II.8 The Shepherd will Judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep
Ezekiel 34:20 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD unto them; Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat cattle and between the lean cattle or between the fat sheep and the lean sheep.
Ezekiel 34:21 Because you have thrust with side and with shoulder, and pushed all the diseased with your horns, till you have scattered them abroad;
I was listening to a Christian TV program and the minister said: he used to attend a group who preached the “prosperity gospel”. We have already established God wants us to prosper, so there is nothing wrong with that. But the minister said that the one leading the group told him, that many times he wanted to tell him to remove his old car from the car park, for they were preaching prosperity, and his car was not reflecting the message of prosperity. When I heard that, my spirit did not bear witness with that. So I asked God, what does your word say? And the Lord said to me: Behold, I will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. Because you have thrust with side and with shoulder, and pushed all the diseased with your horns, till you have scattered them abroad.
Unfortunately today people say, you are anointed when you drive the best car, and when you have a mansion. Some of us would not receive The Apostle Paul today, we would say he is not anointed because he said: even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked or poorly clothed, and are buffeted or beaten, and have no certain dwelling place or homeless (1Corinthians 4:11). Who among us in our generation will listen to a preacher like Paul, who did not have a $2,000 suit, who sometimes could not even afford to buy his food? Paul testified: I have learnt in whatever state I am, to be content. I know how to be abased, and know how to abound, everywhere and in all things I have learned to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:11-13). So Paul had a period in his life as a minister of the gospel, when he was poorly clothed, hungry, and homeless, because he was an itinerant preacher; but he said God helped him to go through all of them.
Your level of spirituality is not determined by your earthly possessions. Your level of success is not determined by the crowds that follow you either; but by you doing the will of God who called you. There came a time in the ministry of Jesus, when the crowds and his disciples left him because the teaching became hard, only twelve were left with Him (John 6:53-71). And during his passion, all his disciples including the twelve, forsook Jesus. But Jesus was still the same, even when all forsook Him. Yes crowds will come and earthly possessions; but they do not commend us to God. Sometimes in some churches fat sheep, by which is meant wealthy and rich believers, highly educated believers and believers superior in earthly and religious authority, scatter the lean sheep abroad. They cause the lean sheep to leave the church or to stop exercising their gift and ministry in church. The fat sheep thrust them with side and shoulder and push them with their horn. Today in churches some people are appointed elders or deacons because of their pay cheque, not because of how spiritual they are. The horn of their financial power has pushed the brother or sister, who is rightfully qualified according to the criteria of choosing an elder and a deacon given by Paul to Titus and Timothy.
I have heard messages behind pulpits, saying: only listen to the prosperity message of people who have prospered financially. But the same people use the scriptures of Paul for prosperity. Paul said in all things he approved himself as a minister of God, as poor yet making many rich (2Corinthians 6:4-10). Jesus Himself for our sake became poor that we through his poverty might be rich (2Corinthians 8:9). So according to these preachers the words of Jesus and the words of Paul would not be credible, since on earth they were not as rich as Solomon was for instance, yet all their books on prosperity are full of the words of Jesus and of Paul. My friends our earthly possessions do not commend us to God. Paul was content with what he had on earth, his priorities were elsewhere, Jesus was also content with what He had, His priorities were elsewhere: to save the world, heal the sick, cast out devils, cleanse the lepers and raise the dead, destroy the works of the devil. God is not pleased when we push lean sheep because we are more powerful.
Onesimus was once a slave of Philemon (Philemon 1); he fled from him, and became born again in Rome. He was the one now at the right hand of Paul when Paul was in prison in Rome. So Paul was now sending him to the churches. In the early churches, rich people were converted; prominent people in the society were converted as well as slave owners and slaves. Paul sent the slave Onesimus as a messenger to the churches. Paul said to the churches: Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother with Tychicus a beloved brother, and a faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord, They shall make known unto you all things which are done here (Colossians 4:7-9). The churches heard the gospel by the mouth of Onesimus the slave and they believed it. Whenever we start having favouritism in the church, God is not happy at all.
James says in James 2:1-6: My brethren and sisters, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons (whether they are fat sheep or lean sheep) or partiality. For if there come into your assembly a man with a gold ring (ring of authority, worn by Roman officials), in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; and you have respect or pay attention to him who wears the gay clothing or fine clothing, and say unto him, you sit here in a good place; and say to the poor, you stand there, or sit here under my footstool: Are you not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? Hearken, my beloved brethren, Has God not chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which He has promised to them that love him? But you have despised the poor (lean sheep). Do not rich men oppress you, and draw you before the judgment seats? It is the same salvation that the lean sheep and the fat sheep have received, we should treat them equally in church and not show partiality.
II.9 Follow the Shepherd
Ezekiel 34:22 Therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle.
Ezekiel 34:23 And I will set up one Shepherd over them, and He shall feed them, even my servant David; He shall feed them, and He shall be their shepherd.
Ezekiel 34:24 And I the LORD will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them; I the LORD have spoken it.
We have studied succinctly what God did not like in the shepherds He placed over His people, and what the ideal shepherding God wants over His people is. No shepherd on earth, by his own power, can offer you that ideal shepherding, for one must lay down his life for the sheep, decrease so that Jesus the Chief Shepherd may increase in him (John 3:30). Jesus has made each one of us a shepherd of His flock, overseer of His flock (1Peter 5:2-4). Let us all learn from Jesus the Chief Shepherd, that we may all grow up into Him, not just in Him but into Him, meaning we must become like Him (Ephesians 4:15). Jesus Christ is the Shepherd of the sheep, because He laid down His life for us, so that we can become the sheep of His pasture. Him we follow. He said: follow Me (Matthew 9:9). He will never lead us into a ditch. God has seen the kind of shepherds we had over us and was not pleased with some of their ways; therefore He decided to send His Son Jesus, as One Shepherd over all His sheep, so there is only one fold. You do not have to worry which shepherd should I follow, in which fold should I be? Follow Jesus, and be in His fold.
God prophetically said, even David my servant, He shall feed them, and He shall be their shepherd. He is not talking about David, what God is saying, the One Shepherd who will be over His sheep, will be a man after His own heart, a shepherd like David who will be willing to fight the lions and the bears that come against the sheep, even to the death. Furthermore David means beloved, and God said about Jesus: He is the son of David, He said of Jesus: this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased (Mark 1:11). And I the LORD will be their God, and My servant David, by which He means His beloved Son Jesus, the Son of David, a prince among them; I the LORD have spoken it (Ezekiel 34:24).
If we follow Jesus our shepherd, we will make it in our Christian journey. Let us look unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). Even if human shepherds disappoint us. Let us take Him as an example of shepherding, for He has given us an example that we should do as He has done to us (John 13:15). He does not mean that we should die for the world, no He did it already but in all the other aspects we should follow Him. Jesus said: If anyone wants to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me (Matthew 16:24). Come unto Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls; for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30).
II.9 The Shepherd takes care of wandering sheep
Deuteronomy 22:1 You shall not see your brother’s ox or his sheep go astray and hide yourself from them. You shall surely bring them again to your brother.
Deuteronomy 22:2 And if your brother is not near you, or if you do not know him, then you shall bring it into your own house, and it shall be with you until your brother seeks after it, and you shall give it back to him again.
Deuteronomy 22:3 In the same way you shall do with his ass. And so shall you do with his clothing. And with any lost thing of your brother’s, which he has lost and you have found, you shall do the same. You may not hide yourself.
Deuteronomy 22:4 You shall not see your brother’s ass or his ox fall down by the way, and hide yourself from them. You shall surely help him to lift it up again.
This aspect of shepherding I learned it the hard way, and it had broken my heart at times; because I got attached to the wandering sheep. And at times, when I saw them wandering into my fold: I prayed: God can they not wander into someone else’s fold? Jesus says: I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep. But he who is a hireling, and not the shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming, and leaves the sheep, and flees; and the wolf catches them, and scatters the sheep. The hireling flees, because he is a hireling, and does not care for the sheep (John 10:11-13). The rendering of the French Louis Second bible for the word hireling of John 10 is mercenary: One who is hired; a soldier that is hired into Foreign Service; a hireling.
When you are truly a shepherd, you cannot have the heart of a mercenary. The mercenary does not truly care about the lives of the people of that kingdom; for he is foreign to that kingdom. He is just there for the money he is getting. But you and I, we have the heart of the shepherd; because Christ Jesus, the True and good Shepherd, dwells in us. We are not mercenaries or hirelings. We are not there for the people’s money. When you have a heart of a shepherd, you want to help any sheep, whether they are of your fold or of someone else’s. That is how God intended it to be; it is one and the same Kingdom of God. People come to you because they want healing, deliverance from demonic possession and oppression, deliverance from debts, deliverance from immigration trouble, etc. They come to you; because they have heard that God performs all kinds of miracles through you.
Some of them have no intention of becoming disciples of Jesus Christ; they just want to be converts. The latter have already planned that the moment they get their miracles, they will leave you and return to their previous fold. God will test your heart, whether you act according to the scriptures or according to your emotions. Being Christians does not take away our emotions; but we surrender them unto our Lord Jesus the good Shepherd! He knows how to heal our broken-heartedness (Luke 4:18). Moses tells us: You shall not see your brother’s ass or his ox or his sheep fall down by the way, and hide yourself from them. You shall surely help him to lift it up again. You shall bring it into your own house, and it shall be with you (Deuteronomy 22:1-4). And since they are in your fold, you should treat them the same way you treat your own sheep; for God, The good Shepherd, shows no partiality (Acts 10:34).
You will pray for them and fast for them. And sometimes they come in such a bad shape that you will have to pray and fast more for their deliverance, than for that of your own sheep. And some of them, the moment they get their deliverance, they will just tell you: I am going back to my old fold. I used to be broken hearted, and at times I still am, for I got attached to the sheep, and thought they would become disciples after Jesus Christ had delivered them. I always explain to them; the purpose of you becoming a disciple, is so that since God delivered you from your own problem, He now wants to teach you how you also can go and help someone else, not just being the one that is helped all the time. But they are too selfish and only think about themselves. They have received their deliverance, why should they care about being trained to help other people who are in the same situation they used to be? If all of us had been that selfish: first Jesus Christ would not have come to die for such an ungrateful world, and nobody would have prayed for you or taught you the word of God!
Christianity is not self-centeredness but rather selflessness. John says: By this we have known the love of God, because Jesus laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers (1John 3:16). Choose to become a disciple of Jesus Christ; for God also wants to use you to help others; do not be the one who is eternally being helped! Do not be offended when people leave you for their old fold, after they have received their miracles. I know it hurts because you feel like you have been used and abused. I have been there! It is just a taste of what Jesus Christ feels; for He is looking for disciples, but some Christians only come to Him for what they can get and the moment they have what they want, they stop fellowshipping with Him; He will only see them again when they are in trouble again!
Since then we have a great High Priest who has passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted just as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:14-16). Jesus knows exactly what you and I are going through. In John 6; He had performed many miracles for them: healings, food multiplication; yet when He wanted to teach them in depth; many left Him. He was only left with twelve disciples and yet one of them was the devil, even Judas Iscariot. God will give you real disciples who will want to be trained so that they will be used by God.
If the body of Christ was walking in unity and not in competition and envy; we could willingly send our sheep to another shepherd’s fold to receive a particular diet which is not available in abundance in our pasture. What do I mean? If you are not an evangelist you can send your sheep to a scripturally sound evangelist, who will train your sheep on soul winning. If you are not a prophet, you can send your sheep to a scripturally sound prophet, to learn on how to prophesy. You do likewise for the other ministerial gifts in the fivefold ministry gifts. If you are not having great results in healing, deliverance, debt cancellation; you can send your sheep to a scripturally sound born again Christian, who is having better results in healing, deliverance and debt cancellation. And they will return your sheep back to you according to Deuteronomy 22:1-4.
We are building the same Kingdom of God, and there is no need to fight over the sheep. Jesus says: No one can come to Me unless the Father who has sent Me draw him, and I will raise him up at the last day (John 6:44). The same goes for you and me: God will send us our sheep; after all they are His sheep! He just entrusts them to our care. If you act according to the scriptures; God will give you a sphere of influence and your sheep will be your disciples. You might be just a teacher to others, but to those whom God will draw you to, you will be a discipler. They imitate you as you imitate Christ Jesus (1Corinthians 11:1). Paul says: For though you have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet you do not have many fathers; for I have begotten you in Christ Jesus through the gospel. Therefore I beseech you, be imitators of me (1Corinthians 4:15-16).
Now may the God of peace (who brought again our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant) make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen (Hebrews 13:20-21). Brothers and sisters, remember me in your prayers as I also remember everybody who reads these My Weekly Milk bible studies in my prayers and fasting.