Servants Feed the Flock
“Feed the flock of God.”—1 Pet. 5:2.
1. How is Jehovah the Great Shepherd over his people?
JEHOVAH is the Great Shepherd over all his people. None are greater than he in the expression of love and wisdom and in the exercise of justice and strength toward his people. He is more faithful and just in dealing with his flock than is any human shepherd, more tender and compassionate toward his little ones than any herdsman of this world, more powerful and fierce in defending his people than any guardian of natural sheep. At all times Jehovah protects those devoted to him from wild and beastly enemies, while at the same time he provides them fertile pasturelands of spiritual food and leads them along the life-sustaining streams of refreshing waters that constantly flow from his Word of truth. Surely The Great Shepherd is Jehovah!
2. In appointing whom does he show himself a superior shepherd?
2 It is not surprising to find that this Superior Shepherd employs methods that are superior and altogether different from those used by others, in handling, tending and looking after the needs of his multitudinous flock. Instead of bringing in hirelings, such as popes, cardinals, archbishops and bishops, giving them lofty and high-sounding titles and setting them up to rule over the flock, Almighty God raises up from among his own flock certain ones whom He appoints as servants or “slaves” to look after and care for the needs of their brethren as he directs. Faithful to their appointments as servants, these sheep-tenders never try to turn the flock to one side or out of the right way or exploit the flock for their own profit, but rather they guide and direct the Lord’s sheep in the God-appointed way. It is therefore Jehovah God that takes full responsibility and receives full credit and praise for the way of prosperity in which his people now find themselves. That this is the Lord God’s orderly way of providing for the needs of his Theocratic organization we shall see from a study of the Scriptures.
3. How did he show himself a shepherd by means of Moses and David?
3 In ancient times it was the Great Shepherd Jehovah that led his people Israel, together with a mixed multitude, out of Egypt through the wilds of the Sinai peninsula and into the hostile country now known as Palestine, and he did so by the hands of such faithful servants as Moses and Aaron. “Thou leddest thy people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.” (Ps. 77:20) It was Jehovah that “made his own people to go forth like sheep, and guided them in the wilderness like a flock”. (Ps. 78:52) When they fell away and were in distress it was to their Great Shepherd Jehovah that they cried, saying: “Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a flock; thou that dwellest between the cherubims.” (Ps. 80:1) In the course of time God called forth David from among his brethren and set him over the flock of Israel to care for their particular needs. “And Jehovah said to [David], Thou shalt be shepherd of my people Israel, and thou shalt be prince over Israel.” (2 Sam. 5:2; 1 Chron. 11:2, Am. Stan. Ver.) Now David was a humble man, a man after God’s own heart, and though he sat on “the throne of Jehovah” he never forgot that he was merely the servant of the Great Shepherd. (1 Sam. 13:14; Acts 13:22; 1 Chron. 29:23, Am. Stan. Ver.) David appreciated that actually it was God who provided the necessary food, care and proper guidance in the right way for his chosen people, and so he sang: “Jehovah is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside still waters. He restoreth my soul: he guideth 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 thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.”—Ps. 23:1-4, Am. Stan. Ver.
4. Why should servants know God’s method of caring for his sheep?
4 The “flock of God” today, as in times past, are not four-legged, wool-bearing, dumb beasts, but, as the Scriptures say, they are “men”, men of good-will, the people of the Lord. “Ye my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord Jehovah.” (Ezek. 34:31, Am. Stan. Ver.) The majority of the readers of this magazine, being meek and teachable and having gentle, sheeplike dispositions, show by their willingness to follow the Great Shepherd Jehovah that they are now gathered or are being gathered together into the Lord’s fold. “Know ye that Jehovah, he is God: it is he that hath made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” (Ps. 100:3, Am. Stan. Ver.) It is therefore important for all of such flock to know and understand God’s method for caring for the needs of his people. They should appreciate that he has appointed servants to feed, aid and comfort them in these modern times. It is also good for such servants to realize and appreciate the great responsibilities and duties placed upon them by the Lord. They must not neglect such duties. They must not abuse such privileges. They must faithfully look after and care for such God-assigned duties to the honor and glory of the Great Shepherd and the blessing of his flock.
THE CHIEF SERVANT AND SHEPHERD
5. Who is the Chief and Good Shepherd? Why should we look to him?
5 Behold Christ Jesus whom God has appointed as both Chief Shepherd and Good Shepherd over His flock! (1 Pet. 5:4; John 10:14) Look unto “Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds”. (Heb. 12:2, 3) Yes, look to this Son of God as the perfect example of one raised up from among his brethren to be a servant over the flock. (Acts 3:22) Faithfully he endured all manner of persecution and hardship while searching out and looking after the lost sheep. Shame and reproach brought upon him by this world of antitypical Egyptians, who hated and despised him because he was the Chief Shepherd, the Son of the great Shepherd-Father, did not stop or turn him aside from his assignment. “For every shepherd is an abomination unto the Egyptians,” both typically and antitypically; but this did not cause Jesus to change his occupation as God’s foremost servant and shepherd.—Gen. 46:34.
6. By what three special characters was he foreshadowed?
6 Prophecy recorded centuries before Jesus was born showed that he was destined to be Jehovah’s Chief Shepherd, and he was determined to fulfill such role. Moses, the shepherd over fleshly Israel, was a type of Christ, the shepherd over the true Israel of God. (Deut. 18:15; Acts 3:22) David, who shepherded God’s chosen people, was a picture of Christ Jesus the Greater David, in whom Ezekiel’s prophecy finds fulfillment: “And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd.” (Ezek. 37:24; Luke 1:32, 33) Christ the Shepherd is also spoken of in prophecy as the Greater Cyrus, concerning whom Isaiah foretold, saying: “Thus saith Jehovah . . . Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure.”—Isa. 44:24, 28, Am. Stan. Ver.
7. How did Jesus on earth show compassion like God’s for sheep?
7 So we find “Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep”, showing the same love and devotion and tender compassion for the Lord’s sheep as exhibited by his Father. (Heb. 13:20) Ceaselessly the anointed Jesus ministered to the needs of his brethren, the flock of God. Untiringly he searched out the strayed and hungry sheep, and when he found them he fed them on food convenient for their health and well-being. “And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.” (Matt. 9:35, 36) The Good Shepherd did not ignore this multitude of people who were hungering and thirsting for the bread of life and water of truth. He may have been tired and weary from his extensive travels throughout all the cities and villages, and from his exhaustive work of teaching and preaching and healing the sick and diseased, yet he did not pass up this multitude and leave them without a shepherd until sometime later. When he saw that they were sheep who were going astray, the record says that “he began to teach them many things”, pointing out to them the right way that leads to eternal life. (Mark 6:34) Doubtless many of that multitude gave heed, returned from their waywardness and thereafter continued to follow the Good Shepherd, giving praise to the Great Shepherd, Jehovah. All Christians, the apostle Peter tells us, were at one time in a similar hopeless condition. “For ye were going astray like sheep; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”—1 Pet. 2:25, Am. Stan. Ver., margin.
8. What steps did he take to become and prove himself shepherd?
8 In becoming Jehovah’s Chief Servant, it was necessary for Jesus to lay aside his former heavenly glory that he had enjoyed as the Logos, and take on the form of a servant, even humbling himself to do the work usually performed by slaves. Jesus had made a consecration to do, not his own will, but the will of his heavenly Father; hence, if it was the will and purpose of Jehovah that his beloved Son should become a servant or slave to his brethren, who was he to find fault or rebel or grumble over this assignment? Instead of complaining or undertaking the job half-heartedly, Jesus zealously and energetically worked as a humble slave among the flock of God. His meat and strength was the doing of his heavenly Father’s will, no matter what personal discomfort or hardship it brought upon him. (John 4:34; 6:38) In this he is a noble example for all servants of God to follow. If any would aspire to be servants of the Most High God let them have this same mental attitude and follow the same course of humility—this is the advice of the apostle Paul. “Have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he possessed the nature of God, he did not grasp at equality with God, but laid it aside to take on the nature of a slave and become like other men. When he had assumed human form, he still further humbled himself and carried his obedience so far as to die, and to die upon the cross.”—Phil. 2:5-8, An Amer. Trans.
9. What need of his flock after his leaving did he provide for?
9 Even as Moses “was faithful in all his house, as a servant”, so also was the Greater Moses, Christ Jesus. (Heb. 3:5) Even as “Moses spake unto Jehovah, saying, Let Jehovah, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation, who may go out before them, and who may come in before them, and who may lead them out, and who may bring them in; that the congregation of Jehovah be not as sheep which have no shepherd”, so also was Christ concerned over the continued well-being of the Christian congregation after his departure. (Num. 27:15-17, Am. Stan. Ver.) Jesus knew that when his brief ministry on earth was completed the congregation of sheep left behind would need to be shepherded and cared for. Furthermore, the fact that Christ was appointed as the Chief Shepherd in itself implied that it was the will and purpose of God that other shepherds would be associated with and would serve under Christ. For these reasons Christ gave his apostles and disciples special verbal instructions as well as practical examples,on how they should conduct themselves as servants and shepherds of the flock. ‘Listen to my words and follow my example,’ was the substance of this instruction.
10. What rule did the Good Shepherd lay down for fellow servants?
10 On one occasion Jesus called his disciples together and said to them: “You know that those who are supposed to rule the heathen lord it over them, and their great men tyrannize over them; but it is not to be so among you. Whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to hold the first place among you must be everybody’s slave. For the Son of Man himself has not come to be waited on, but to wait on other people, and to give his life to free many others.” (Mark 10:42-45, An Amer. Trans.) Again stating the same thing in fewer words, it is written: “And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.” (Mark 9:35; Matt. 23:11) Those among the flock of God who would be especially honored with greater privileges of service should be servants and slaves to the others, waiting on and helping their brethren in every way possible. “Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord.” (John 15:20) If the Lord Christ Jesus, as a shepherd and servant of God, spent time feeding his Father’s flock, waiting on them, comforting them, and in every way possible helping them, then no less is expected of the servants of Christ. ‘If any man serve me, let him follow my example,’ is the rule laid down by this Good Shepherd.—John 12:26.
11. What demonstration did he make at the last passover? Why?
11 Jesus’ ministry was fast drawing to a close. Now only a few hours remained before he would be betrayed and hung on the cursed torture stake. He must impress upon his disciples’ minds in the strongest possible way the proper position of servants in the congregation. So he rose from the table at which he celebrated the last passover, the account says, and, after laying aside his outer robe, he took a towel and a basin of water and began washing the feet of his brethren. This concluded, the Chief Servant said: “Do you understand what I have been doing to you? You call me Teacher and Master, and you are right, for that is what I am. If I then, your Master and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet too. For I have set you an example, in order that you may do what I have done to you. I tell you, no slave is superior to his master, and no messenger is greater than the man who sends him. Now that you have this knowledge, you will be blessed if you act upon it.”—John 13:12-17, An Amer. Trans.
“FEED MY SHEEP”
12. When and how were his sheep scattered and then regathered?
12 Thus for three years and more this Chief Shepherd showed by way of examples as well as by precepts how servants in the Theocratic arrangement should minister to the needs of their brethren. His period of ministry in the flesh among the Lord’s sheep had come to an end. The time had arrived for the smiting and slaying of the shepherd in fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy, and, as a consequence, it was a time for the momentary scattering of the sheep which was also foretold. (Zech. 13:7; Matt. 26:31; Mark 14:27) That the scattering of those who had followed this shepherd would be of short duration is shown by the events which occurred after the resurrection of Christ. On several occasions Christ appeared to those selected to be special servants, the apostles, in order to strengthen them for the work of regathering the scattered sheep.
13. How did Jesus emphasize with Peter the need to feed the flock?
13 It was on such an occasion, early in the day, at breakfast time, that Jesus inquired of Peter if he really loved him. In answer to the question Peter said: “Yes, Master, you know that I love you.” To this reply Jesus said: “Then feed my lambs!” Again, “Jesus said to him a second time, ‘Simon, son of John, are you devoted to me?’” This time Simon Peter answered with more emphasis, stating in no uncertain language, “Yes, Master, you know that I love you.” To this second answer Jesus replied: “Then be a shepherd to my sheep!” And still again, the third time, Jesus asked the question: “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Well, by now Peter was distressed and perplexed that the Lord would repeatedly question his devotion and love. There was no doubt in his own mind on the matter; hence it says that “Peter was hurt because the third time Jesus asked him if he loved him”. Therefore in great earnestness and most emphatically, Peter declared: “Master, you know everything, you can see that I love you.” Undoubtedly Peter’s sincerity was so visibly displayed he was sure that Christ could even “see” that he loved him, yet the Lord Jesus simply repeated his instruction: “Feed my sheep!” (John 21:15-18, An Amer. Trans.) What Jesus was really doing was emphasizing by repetition the necessity for Peter, and likewise others who would also be servants of the flock, to feed the sheep if they were to really prove that they love the Chief Shepherd Christ Jesus and the Great Shepherd Jehovah.
14. Who especially must preach and feed sheep? After whose example?
14 Peter and the other apostles knew what Jesus meant when he said that they were to feed the Lord’s sheep, for while the Good Shepherd was still on earth he had sent them out from city to city with instructions to go “to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand”. (Matt. 10:1-16) The record says that he sent out seventy of the mature and faithful disciples to engage in this shepherding work. (Luke 10:1-17) It is true that the commission to preach this gospel of the Kingdom falls on every one of God’s people, but especially is this true of those whom the Lord selects as servants in his Theocratic organization. That this is so is shown by what occurred from and after Pentecost. There on that occasion a goodly portion of the Lord’s power and holy spirit was poured out on all present, brothers and sisters alike, old and young alike, servants and nonservants alike. However, the apostles, as appointed servants, were particularly zealous in proving their love for God and his kingdom. They went to the limit in searching out, finding and feeding the Lord’s sheep. As Peter, James, John, Jude and Paul mentioned in the introductions to their epistles, they appreciated that as sheep-tenders over the flock, they were servants of the Lord. (2 Pet. 1:1; Jas. 1:1; Rev. 1:1; Jude 1; Phil. 1:1; Titus 1:1) In this position Peter set Christ up as his pattern and example, and he urged his fellow servants to do likewise. Paul did the same thing, declaring: “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.”—1 Pet. 2:21; 1 Cor. 11:1; 1 Thess. 1:6.
15. Is being flock servant easy? How did Paul illustrate this?
15 Paul writes that to be an apostle and a servant of the flock is no easy task. While his greater responsibilities and privileges of service gave Paul much joy and contentment, they also seemed to bring greater affliction and distress to the flesh, as he writes: “I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised. Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling-place, and labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.” (1 Cor. 4:9-13) Truly Paul endured much while in the line of duty as a faithful servant of the flock; not in his own strength, however, but he endured it by the Lord’s grace and strength, as he writes on another occasion: “Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.”—2 Tim. 4:17.
RELIGIOUS HIRELINGS TAKE OVER FLOCK
16, 17. When did false shepherds enter in, and how conduct themselves?
16 Faithfully the apostles as servants labored in the field, hunting for lost sheep, feeding such when they found them, fighting for the flock against all apostates, disorderly persons and those ravenous ones who tried to cause division among the brethren. Under such Theocratic organization the flock prospered and grew in numbers, and many sheep were gathered together from off the scant and barren ranges of heathendom into the fertile pasturelands of true Christianity. But with the passing of the apostles off the scene it was not long before worthless men set themselves up as the chief or principal ones over the flock. Being altogether negligent of the duties they should have performed as servants, and being lazy and indifferent toward the needs of the flock, they not only refused to get out and hunt for lost sheep, they even refused to feed and care for those already gathered. They called themselves shepherds, yet when wolves entered in to destroy and devour the flock these impostors fled and refused to fight for the sheep. Consequently, the fierce judgment of Jehovah fell upon them.
17 A sorry condition it was, even as the apostle Paul had warned it would be if the appointed servants were not faithful to their assignments: “Take heed unto yourselves, and to all the flock, in which the holy spirit hath made you overseers, to feed the church of the Lord which he purchased with his own blood. I know that after my departing grievous wolves shall enter in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them. Wherefore watch ye.” (Acts 20:27-31, Am. Stan. Ver., margin) Even in Jude’s day some had crept in and were “feeding themselves without fear”. (Jude 12) Perverse and apostate men they were. Coveting the approval and praise of men, and desiring the sheep for themselves, they raided the Good Shepherd’s fold and drove disciples off to their own religious quarters. “Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter.” (Isa. 56:11) As shepherds without understanding they fleeced the sheep even in the wintertime. As greedy dogs who are never satisfied they continually fed themselves at the expense of the sheep.
18. How have they exalted themselves? In what religious systems?
18 The important yet humble position occupied by a servant or slave in the Lord’s congregation was looked down upon with scorn and contempt by these puffed-up and pompous ones who presumptuously assumed shepherdhood over the sheep. Proud and haughty, they pushed aside the privilege of being servants, installed themselves as the clergy (a class not provided or arranged for by either Christ or the apostles), and took upon themselves flattering titles, such as bishop, archbishop, metropolitan, pope, sovereign pontiff, etc. (Matt. 23:5-11) With force and with cruelty they ruled their flocks. Such was the state of affairs by the time Constantine the Great laid the foundation of the Catholic church in the fourth century A.D., and down through the centuries since then, Christendom’s multitudinous sects and cults have continued to hold sheeplike persons in their parish folds, where they are plundered, exploited, fleeced and devoured for the pleasure and profit of the false shepherds. “My people have been lost sheep,” says Jehovah by the mouth of Jeremiah, “their shepherds have caused them to go astray; they have turned them away on the mountains; they have gone from mountain to hill; they have forgotten their restingplace. All that found them have devoured them; and their adversaries said, We are not guilty, because they have sinned against Jehovah.”—Jer. 50:6, 7, Am. Stan. Ver.
19, 20. What will Jehovah do for the sheep and to the false shepherds?
19 They may not think so, but the Great Shepherd Jehovah does hold the false shepherds guilty for leading the sheep of his flock astray, and his burning wrath and fierce anger are ignited against all such, as he says: “Mine anger is kindled against the shepherds, and I will punish the he-goats; for Jehovah of hosts hath visited his flock.” (Zech. 10:3, Am. Stan. Ver.) Yes, long ago Jehovah promised that in his own due time he would visit his flock of scattered sheep and would justly punish the false shepherds.
20 Jehovah the Great Shepherd by the hand of his Chief Shepherd, the Greater David, is fully capable of separating the sheep from the oppressive horned ones. So, when he came to deliver his flock from the power of the wicked shepherds he also separated them from the horned oppressors who horn and butt the sick and weak and who trample underfoot the message of the Kingdom and muddy up the clear water of truth. Delivering his sheep from all these evils Jehovah sets them in good pastures amid the Kingdom heights of his mountain.—Ezekiel 34.
REGATHERING SCATTERED FLOCK
21. How has Ezekiel’s prophecy on the “one shepherd” come true?
21 The facts that have come to pass in “the cloudy and dark day” of this twentieth century show beyond all doubt that the complete fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecy has taken place in our day. Jehovah has gathered the “remnant” of his people out of the far countries of Christendom where they were scattered. Over them God has set up “my servant” Christ Jesus the Greater David, and this “one shepherd”, the Chief Shepherd, is feeding them. For some time prior to A.D. 1918 the preparing of the Lord’s way was going on and then suddenly the Lord came to his temple, there to take account with his servants rewarding those that had been faithful and punishing the unfaithful. This is described for us by Jesus in his great prophecy on “the end of the world” in Matthew 24:42-51. As Malachi foretold, it would be a time of fiery judgment and one that would last for some time, until all the evil servants were purged and cleaned out from among the Lord’s remnant.—Mal. 3:1-3.
22. How since 1918 has the Theocratic organization been restored?
22 The gathering together of the remnant, the visiting of evil upon their oppressors, the installing of the Chief Shepherd as King, and the reestablishment of the Theocratic organization as it existed in apostolic times were also foretold by still another prophet, namely, Jeremiah. (Jer. 23:1-8) With Christ Jesus the Shepherd-King in charge since the regathering of the remnant after 1918, things moved along rapidly toward the setting up among them of a Theocratic organization similar in design to that in existence 1,900 years ago. This meant they all recognized the fact that Jehovah is the Great Shepherd over and above all; that Christ Jesus, the enthroned and reigning King of the heavenly Theocratic government, is Jehovah’s Chief Shepherd; that here upon earth the “faithful and wise servant” organization has been placed in charge of all the Kingdom interests, and that in such Theocratic arrangement mature and faithful brethren have been appointed as various servants to look after, wait upon and care for the needs of the Lord’s sheep.
23, 24. How do we account for the great flock today? Who feed them?
23 At first the flock that followed Christ Jesus were few in number, only a “little flock”, and when the regathering work began after the Lord’s coming to the temple in 1918 there was only a small remnant of this little flock remaining on earth. (Luke 12:32) However, today there is a great and mighty flock of sheep, meek and teachable people, following the Good Shepherd, even as Jesus said there would be. “Other sheep I have, which are not of this fold [not of the “little flock” fold]: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” (John 10:16) The parable of the “sheep and goats” reveals that Christ Jesus would begin to gather and “bring” these “other sheep” following his enthronement as King in 1914 and his coming to the temple for judgment in 1918. “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 divideth his sheep from the goats.”—Matt. 25:31, 34.
24 In such separating work, now progressing among the nations, the “other sheep” class are placed on the King’s right hand of favor. The Revelation vision given to John describes these “other sheep” as a “great multitude” of persons of good-will who have been gathered together in recent years and are now joyfully singing: “Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.” Never again will they hunger or thirst, “for the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters.” (Rev. 7:9-17) Some sheep have been in this one flock organization of the Lord for twenty or thirty years, others for a much shorter time, and still others, like newborn lambs, are now studying this Watchtower magazine for the first time. But all together, Jehovah and Christ Jesus are feeding the “sheep”, whether they be young or old. “Behold, the Lord Jehovah will come as a mighty one, . . . He will feed his flock like a shepherd, he will gather the lambs in his arm [“with his arm”; His right arm Christ Jesus (Septuagint, Bagster; Douay; Leeser)], and carry them in his bosom, and will gently lead those that have their young.”—Isa. 40:10, 11, Am. Stan. Ver.
25. What do the clergy now do, but the faithful servants do?
25 This gathering of the half-starved “other sheep” out of Christendom’s dried-up strongholds by the Good Shepherd has progressed so rapidly since the Lord came to the temple that it has filled the clergy and the principal of their flocks with fear and anguish and has caused them to howl out in bitter rage. They see that this righteous work of the Lord is dividing off and bringing out from their ecclesiastical pens all the “sheep”, leaving only the “goats”, and so they weep and curse and gnash their teeth in anger over this loss in membership and revenue. “Howl, ye shepherds, and cry; and wallow yourselves in the ashes, ye principal of the flock: for the days of your slaughter and of your dispersions are accomplished; and ye shall fall like a pleasant vessel. And the shepherds shall have no way to flee, nor the principal of the flock to escape. A voice of the cry of the shepherds, and an howling of the principal of the flock, shall be heard: for the LORD hath spoiled their pasture.” (Jer. 25:34-36) Better that they howl now, for shortly, when this work is completed, Armageddon’s slaughter of Christendom’s false shepherds will silence them forever! Hence all you faithful servants, feed now the flock!