Upon the shepherds of national Israel rested tremendous responsibility in that the care of Jehovah's "sheep" was largely in their hands. The careful observer will soon detect a remarkable resemblance between the responsibilities of the shepherds, pastors, prophets and leaders of national Israel and the shepherds, pastors and overseers of the Lord's churches in this age. That the Israelites were God's special people, "the sheep of his pasture", in Old Testament days, is evident.
Many of Israel's shepherds were unfaithful. They used their offices and influence for self-advancement. The weeping prophet cried out against the "pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep", (Jer. 23:1). Both prophet and priest had become profane. The Lord had discovered their wickedness in His own house. The northern prophets prophesied "in Baal" -- causing Israel to err. The Jerusalem prophets committed horrible sins. Adulterers and liars, they strengthened the hands of evildoers so that none saw any need to repent. Instead of declaring the WORD OF THE LORD, they supplanted the divine message by