In our day, when we hear the word "pastor" it connotes the leader of a congregation.
In the Old Testament "Pastors" could have been branch leaders, but the meaning was more general, and thus more condemning. The word 'pastors' in the Old Testament referred to the churches' shepherds, the rulers, the teachers--those entrusted to keep the people morally pure and spiritually straight.
So why bring this up? The reason is because God's condemnation of the Old Testament church starts shifting from the people in general, to the leaders of the church.
The culture had so impregnated the church with its ideas, that not only were the people snookered, but the leaders were too. In fact, the leaders were shepherding the way to the moral and spiritual abyss facing the church. (But not to worry, God would soon help them 'about face' with a little visit from Nebuchadnezzar and the Assyrian armies. Nothing like seeing your entire nation devastated, and being taken hostage to get your mind thinking straight again. But that's another story).
Listen to the language of the prophet Jeremiah to the people who were at Jerusalem, under the leadership of the church by Judah. God pulls no punches here, just telling it like it was:
Jeremiah 2:8 ....the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit.
Jeremiah 10:21 For the pastors are become brutish, and have not sought the Lord: therefore they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered.
Jeremiah 12:10 Many pastors have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness.
Jeremiah 22:22 The wind shall eat up all thy pastors, and thy lovers shall go into captivity; surely then shalt thou be ashamed and confounded for all thy wickedness.
Jeremiah 23:1 Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the Lord.
Jeremiah 23:2 Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them; behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the Lord.
Jeremiah 17:23 But they obeyed not, neither inclined their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear, nor receive instruction.
Serious accusations. When people once endowed with spiritual enlightenment lose it, they are slow to admit it. The process of losing it starts with a loss of the Word first, then a loss of the Spirit. This is an eternal principle born out at:
Helaman 5:10 Therefore thus saith the Lord, Because of the hardness of the hearts of the people of the Nephites, except they repent I will take away my word from them, and I will withdraw my Spirit from them, and I will suffer them no longer, and I will turn the hearts of their brethren against them;
So ancient Judah had a problem because the spiritual light had gone out, but no one would admit it. At least not the people who could do anything about it. The Lord through Jeremiah and Ezekiel became even more direct in his condemnation:
Jeremiah 23:11 For both prophet and priest are profane; yea, in my house have I found their wickedness, saith the Lord.
The point was that no one was talking about sin anymore. Not the prophet, not the priesthood. No one said that anything was bad. What's worse, as we will see in another event, they all started talking about peace, when war was at their door.
The point was because there was no spiritual enlightenment coming from heaven. The leaders all started talking about things that sounded good to them, good to the people. No one wanted to hear that there were spiritual boundaries, moral absolutes. Everyone's notion of God was OK as long as it didn't make someone else feel bad. (note God’s use of clean and unclean in the Old Testament was a lesson to teach that life has the spiritually clean and unclean—things to indulge in and things to avoid.)
Ezekiel 22:26 Her priests have violated my law, and have profaned mine holy things; they have put no difference between the holy and profane, neither have they showed difference between the unclean and the clean, and have hid their eyes from my sabbaths, and I am profaned among them.
Jeremiah caps the thought with:
Jeremiah 50:6 My people have been lost sheep; 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 resting place.
The condemnation of the whole church comes in the end of the Old Testament as Malachi explains:
Malachi 2:11 Judah hath dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah hath profaned the holiness of the Lord which he loved, and hath married the daughter of a strange god.
So the question now becomes, if the leaders became so wicked, what was happening to the people? The next lesson, They Worshipped the Queen of Heaven helps explain.
Searching for scriptures regarding sexuality and homosexuality? It is a popular search topic, and with good reason: people want to know what God's word says about it.
While our culture has produced new words in our day describing issues of sexuality, the spiritual and moral issues regarding sexuality are are age-old, and are dealt with directly in scripture. Click Here To Find The Words Used in Scripture Regarding Sexuality
The topic of Sexuality and Homosexuality has faced the Christian Church in New ways. What does the world teach? What does the Word of God teach?
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|They become Words...|
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|They become Habits...|
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