Christian Churches of God
Ezekiel 34 and the Shepherds of Israel
(Edition 1.0 20100520-20100520)
The prophet Ezekiel was given a most important prophecy dealing with the Shepherds of Israel. It speaks directly to us today.
Ezekiel 34 and the Shepherds of Israel
The text in Ezekiel 34 is directed squarely at the Shepherds of Israel. The text in Ezekiel leads up to the Last Days and into the Millennium.
The temptation is to say that Ezekiel 34 is a warning to the Shepherds of Israel at the time of Ezekiel.
The problem with that scenario is that Ezekiel was prophesying when the Shepherds of Israel were long gone into captivity over the Araxes and were not in command of the Levite structure in the Temple. There were twenty-one divisions gone into captivity and only three were left with Judah in what was then the remnant of Levi. From this three the twenty-four divisions were reformed.
It is thus ridiculous to assert that the Shepherds of Israel were the remnant left with Judah in the Babylonian captivity.
This text is thus a prophecy of the Shepherds of Israel in the Last Days and thus refers to the period of the Church in the Last Days as there is no Temple and there has not been a Temple with Israel since 722 BCE.
This prophecy applies directly to the eras of the churches of the Last Days.
Two of those eras are rejected by God as a result of their actions. One era, the Sardis, is dead and the other, the Laodicean, which is the more powerful and wealthy, is lukewarm and God spits it out of His mouth.
We will see here that God tears the sheep out of these groups and puts them together under a third church which has a little strength and they are judged one against the other.
This text directly refers to Revelation chapter 3 and to those three church eras, and should be read in that light.
The churches in the 20th century were direct representatives of all the bad things that God has condemned here through Ezekiel.
Note how they treated the rich and the weak sheep and what they did to the feeding of the sheep.
“ The word of the LORD came to me:  "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord GOD: Ho, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep?  You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fatlings; but you do not feed the sheep.  The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the crippled you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them.”
There is no doubt that the brethren of the 20th century would claim this to be so, especially from the middle to the end of the century. They became scattered because they had no overall shepherd and the ministry were squabbling parasites on the body of Christ.
The writings and the record stand against the shepherds for the way they have behaved and still behave.
The next text shows that it happened all over the face of the earth.
“ So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the wild beasts.  My sheep were scattered, they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill; my sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them.”
God then pronounced judgment on them. The judgment began in 1987 at the beginning of the 40 years of the Last Generation spoken of by Christ.
 "Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:  As I live, says the Lord GOD, because my sheep have become a prey, and my sheep have become food for all the wild beasts, since there was no shepherd; and because my shepherds have not searched for my sheep, but the shepherds have fed themselves, and have not fed my sheep;  therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:  Thus says the Lord GOD, Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my sheep at their hand, and put a stop to their feeding the sheep; no longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, that they may not be food for them.”
God says in this text three major sentences:
God then goes in search of and rescues the sheep Himself from all the places in which they were scattered. He then places them in good pasture.
 "For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep, and will seek them out.  As a shepherd seeks out his flock when some of his sheep have been scattered abroad, so will I seek out my sheep; and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness.
Notice in this verse that sheep are brought out from the peoples and gathered from the countries.
 “And I will bring them out from the peoples, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the fountains, and in all the inhabited places of the country.  I will feed them with good pasture, and upon the mountain heights of Israel shall be their pasture; there they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on fat pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel.  I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I will make them lie down, says the Lord GOD.”
Notice that in verses 13-15 God outlines the procedure He will follow.
God will heal all the damaged of the elect and all the people who call on Him. He will heal the weak and crippled and bind them up and feed them and watch over the strong so that they can no longer push against the weak and abuse them.
 “I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the crippled, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will watch over; I will feed them in justice.
Note how God then judges the sheep.
 "As for you, my flock, thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I judge between sheep and sheep, rams and he-goats.”
This period of judging is the Philadelphian era. It is an era of sheep judged against sheep and there will be no shepherds that feed off them and none that are able to use and abuse them. It is judged on brotherly love and will continue until the entire system is restored under Messiah.
Hear then what God says of the rich and the fat sheep in this last phase:
 “Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pasture; and to drink of clear water, that you must foul the rest with your feet?  And must my sheep eat what you have trodden with your feet, and drink what you have fouled with your feet?”
This is the phase we are going through now where the sheep are fouling the pastures for others and are not serving the others with diligence and care. All of those sheep will be judged for that and the weak sheep will be protected.
 "Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD to them: Behold, I, I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep.  Because you push with side and shoulder, and thrust at all the weak with your horns, till you have scattered them abroad,”
This period of scattering has been under way for decades, and longer.
God sees and says:
 “I will save my flock, they shall no longer be a prey; and I will judge between sheep and sheep.
This period is the last phase of judgment before the resurrection under Messiah. Then we are judged and the worthy are resurrected. This is the text referred to also in Zechariah 12:8.
 And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd.  And I, the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them; I, the LORD, have spoken.  "I will make with them a covenant of peace and banish wild beasts from the land, so that they may dwell securely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods.  And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will send down the showers in their season; they shall be showers of blessing.”
So the people of the nation will be given peace and security and they will be safe.
Note that God says that the earth will yield its increase and the trees its fruit. Thus the earth is no longer cursed. More particularly, the people are no longer enslaved and under the yoke of bondage.
” And the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield its increase, and they shall be secure in their land; and they shall know that I am the LORD, when I break the bars of their yoke, and deliver them from the hand of those who enslaved them.  They shall no more be a prey to the nations, nor shall the beasts of the land devour them; they shall dwell securely, and none shall make them afraid.”
Thus we will see the restoration of God’s people from bondage and Christ will be sent to take captivity captive.
God will establish His people and they will no longer suffer the reproach of the nations. We will see how this is accomplished and how the people of God are established in the body of Christ for the Witnesses and through the tribulation of the Last Days.
As God has promised:
 “And I will provide for them prosperous plantations so that they shall no more be consumed with hunger in the land, and no longer suffer the reproach of the nations.  And they shall know that I, the LORD their God, am with them, and that they, the house of Israel, are my people, says the Lord GOD.  And you are my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, and I am your God, says the Lord GOD."
In dealing with Ezekiel 34 it becomes obvious that in the Last Days no ministers of the Churches of God will be allowed to live off the brethren. All sheep will be torn out of the hands of the shepherds because of their oppression and false doctrines.
It follows therefore that the last church of the Last Days into which God grafts the sheep will be an unpaid ministry judged on the way it deals with its brethren and how they all deal with each other and how they implement the doctrines of the Churches of God.
To further examine that process we will now turn to the Churches of Revelation.
Let us now look at the texts of Revelation 3 for the churches in the Last Days.
In Revelation 2 we are told that the church of the Thyatirans will be given no other burden as they suffered greatly in the persecutions in previous centuries. They will be gathered and placed in the system with the Philadelphians at the end of the trials.
We can see from the text of Revelation chapter three what the message is to the last three churches.
This has been covered in much more detail in the paper The Pillars of Philadelphia (No. 283). It is suggested that paper be studied in conjunction with this paper.
 "And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: `The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars. "`I know your works; you have the name of being alive, and you are dead.  Awake, and strengthen what remains and is on the point of death, for I have not found your works perfect in the sight of my God.  Remember then what you received and heard; keep that, and repent. If you will not awake, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come upon you.  Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white, for they are worthy.  He who conquers shall be clad thus in white garments, and I will not blot his name out of the book of life; I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'”
Thus we see that the Sardis system is dead even though its demarcation point has the name that it is “living.” There is only one church in history that has the name the “Living” Church of God. That is the demarcation church of the Sardis era.
There are some in this system that are worthy and they are taken out of this system as part of the tearing of the sheep from the hands of the shepherds.
This era covered many centuries but was dead and did virtually nothing over many church systems.
This church has a number of aspects of power and tasks. It has and understands the Key of David. It has the power to open and shut in the Churches of God and the nations and power over the demons and the pit.
 "And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: `The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one shall shut, who shuts and no one opens.  "`I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut; I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.
This church faces the time of the troubles of the Last Days and the persecution of the body of Christ and does not deny his name.
The system takes on the synagogue of Satan and deals with it and in the end they are made to prostrate themselves in adoration before them. This church is taken into the resurrection and it is kept from the hour of trial. The other two churches are not spared and they are not part of the First Resurrection.
 “Behold, I will make those of the synagogue of Satan who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie -- behold, I will make them come and bow down before your feet, and learn that I have loved you.  Because you have kept my word of patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial which is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell upon the earth.
This church is here at the return of Christ:
 “I am coming soon; hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.  He who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God; never shall he go out of it, and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem which comes down from my God out of heaven, and my own new name.  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'“
These people become the core pillars of the Temple of God.
Laodicea is the largest of the Sabbath churches and they think they are rich but they are poor, pitiable, blind and naked. Those of them God wants He tears from that church and places them also in Philadelphia.
 "And to the angel of the church in La-odice'a write: `The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God's creation.  "`I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot!  So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth.  For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing; not knowing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.  Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, that you may be rich, and white garments to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, that you may see.  Those whom I love, I reprove and chasten; so be zealous and repent.  Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.  He who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.”
Those that are zealous and repent are removed from them and they are placed with Philadelphia where they will no more go out.
Refer to the paper The Pillars of Philadelphia (No. 283).
God deals with the churches and prepares them for the First Resurrection after their judgment which for the Last Days will be tested on brotherly love and fidelity to the doctrines. Two entire church systems are rejected because of their errors.