Why would I try to give an answer to a question that most people do not even consider? I would like to answer the question with another question. How would you recognise someone who is ordained by God?
Let us start by looking at a couple of passages in the Bible. 2 Peter 1:1 “1 ¶ But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. 3 ¶ And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. 4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; 5 And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly; 7 ¶ And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked: 8 (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;) 9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: 10 ¶ But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. 11 Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord. 12 But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; 13 And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; 14 Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: 15 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; 16 But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet. 17 These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever. 18 For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. 19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. 20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. 21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. 22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.”
2Tim 4: 1 “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”
Now that we know what the Bible says concerning false teachers, let us start at the beginning. I would like to start with the priests in the Old Testament, and use this as a basis to evaluate our current situation. It is difficult to believe that there were false priests very early on in the history of Israel with priests like Samuel and Elijah. But it started even before Samuel. Let us look at Eli. 1 Samuel 2 verse 11 “And Elkanah went to Ramah to his house. And the child did minister unto the LORD before Eli the priest. 12 Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the LORD. 13 And the priests’ custom with the people was, that, when any man offered sacrifice, the priest’s servant came, while the flesh was in seething, with a fleshhook of three teeth in his hand; 14 And he struck it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot; all that the fleshhook brought up the priest took for himself. So they did in Shiloh unto all the Israelites that came thither. 15 Also before they burnt the fat, the priest’s servant came, and said to the man that sacrificed, Give flesh to roast for the priest; for he will not have sodden flesh of thee, but raw. 16 And if any man said unto him, Let them not fail to burn the fat presently, and then take as much as thy soul desireth; then he would answer him, Nay; but thou shalt give it me now: and if not, I will take it by force. 17 Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the LORD: for men abhorred the offering of the LORD. 18 But Samuel ministered before the LORD, being a child, girded with a linen ephod. 19 Moreover his mother made him a little coat, and brought it to him from year to year, when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. 20 And Eli blessed Elkanah and his wife, and said, The LORD give thee seed of this woman for the loan which is lent to the LORD. And they went unto their own home. 21 And the LORD visited Hannah, so that she conceived, and bare three sons and two daughters. And the child Samuel grew before the LORD.”
Verse 12 tells us that Eli’s sons did not know the Lord. “12 Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the LORD” The first pointer for us then in evaluating the local pastor or reverend is to look at his children. The Bible tells us that Eli’s sons were sons of Belial, meaning they were worthless, or even worse, sons of Satan. They had no idea about what was happening in the temple, even though they were brought up in the temple and had to succeed their father when he died. They did not know the Lord. So the first step in evaluating a pastor/reverend is to look at his children. Can he control them? If he cannot, how do you expect him to have authority in the local church? “For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?” 1 Tim. 3:5. Eli’s sons did not know the LORD. They wanted to do what they felt like. They were not interested in eating boiled meat; no they wanted grilled rump steak with the fat on. As the Bible puts it: for men abhorred the offering of the LORD. That is why the LORD rejected them. These two sons had to become the high priest when Eli died, but they did not know the LORD. So the first step in evaluating a pastor/reverend is to see how his children behave. If the pastor’s children do not know the LORD, how do you expect him to control a local church?
How did Eli treat his sons? When he was told that they were causing Israel to sin by having sex with woman at the temple, he only told them that what they were doing was wrong. He did nothing to stop this behaviour. How many pastors do you know that does the same? He never confronts his children, and likewise never any of the members of his church living in sin. How many people just live together and never marries. Some pastors actually prefer this, as they do not have to worry about the divorce statistics in their congregations anymore. How many people play the lotto, gamble, sleep around, but the church says nothing as the pastor does not want to lose his income. You see the moment he addresses this problem, his members will leave and join another congregation or church group, and he would lose out on income for the church. It is easy to see if a pastor is really serving the LORD. If he is soft on sin, he is like Eli. The next step after this is actually teaching people that it is preferable to have a trial marriage as you first have to see if you can fit into this role. I know of pastors that are homosexual but everyone accepts this behaviour.
Ezekiel outlines another facet of this type of pastor. “Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks?” How many pastors/reverends are there that does not tell their members the full story of the Bible, as they want to ensure that their members stay dependant on them? How many knows the full impact of the new covenant but leave their members ill informed? One of the reasons for doing this is that they want to cling to old covenant rules like tithing. If he tells his members the full story, he cannot put them on a guilt trip using Malachi 3 anymore.
The other problem we face is that all monies collected will be spent as the pastor sees fit. This is what Ezekiel describes in chapter 34 verse 3: “Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock.” We have to remember that according to the Bible the fat belonged to the LORD. So this is what is happening: The shepherds are taking that which belongs to the LORD for themselves, without giving real food to the congregation. Just look at how many pastors are living in comfort while their members are living in need. One thing you can expect is at least a monthly sermon on why they should give to the “church”, because if you don’t, the LORD can’t bless you. They never inform their members of what Paul states in 2 Cor. 8 verse 13: “For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened:” How many times have I seen people that was turned down by their church when they asked if the church could assist them financially. No, they are not a welfare institution. This is what I mean that they are stealing from the LORD. For a full discussion on finances, it is discussed in a separate article.
What was the judgment Eli received? 1 Sam 2 Verse 29: “Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded in my habitation; and honourest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people? 30 Wherefore the LORD God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the LORD saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed. 31 Behold, the days come, that I will cut off thine arm, and the arm of thy father’s house, that there shall not be an old man in thine house. 32 And thou shalt see an enemy in my habitation, in all the wealth which God shall give Israel: and there shall not be an old man in thine house for ever. 33 And the man of thine, whom I shall not cut off from mine altar, shall be to consume thine eyes, and to grieve thine heart: and all the increase of thine house shall die in the flower of their age. 34 And this shall be a sign unto thee, that shall come upon thy two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas; in one day they shall die both of them.”
This scripture addresses a couple of issues.
The first issue is that the LORD announces that He has decided to change His promise. This is never taught in any church I ever attended. No, it is said, once the LORD has decided this, He will never change His views concerning you. You can now sit back and relax and continue with your life as you have done what is required. No, this passage tells us that he LORD will honour those that honour Him, and those that despise Him, shall be lightly esteemed.
The second issue is that the LORD says he will cut of the right arm of Eli and of his ancestors, meaning He will lose the power of his ministry. But what is the power of our ministry today? Again Ezekiel 34 has the answer. Verse 3: “Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock. 4 The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them.” How many people in your congregation have been heeled after the elders prayed for them? How many people were supported when in dire straits, and healed? Has anyone been raised from the dead? How many of the members that were members in name only were returned into the local church serving the LORD again with a new passion? Is the sermon on Sunday just a short exegesis of a Bible verse without calling on you to implement it in you life? Or maybe the Bible is quoted just to give the sermon a religious flavour. This is what the LORD is saying here. The services will continue, but they will have no effect on the people. We do not even bat an eyelid if the government wants to bring in doctrines at school that clash with our very beliefs. No, we are told, to handle these issues at home. How do we do it if these doctrines specifically address the issue on handling authority, and that parents have no legal authority over their children anymore. Similarly government ministers enter into covenants with sangomas, and still sit in the elder’s chair on a Sunday at the church service. Major sports and other gatherings are opened with rituals by sangomas and other cults, but as Christians we have to accept it as we do not want to cause an uproar. This is what happens when the power of God is not there anymore. But do you realise that if His Power is not there, then He is not there either. When someone dares to differ from the pastor he is expelled immediately from the church as no one dares to take on the pastor in his church. Before you can return you are told to ask for forgiveness for coming against the LORD and His anointed. You can check this on numerous websites of local churches. They even print it on their new member information brochures. Others proclaim again that if you do not bring you tithe for three or four months that your membership automatically ceases. They won’t ask you if you have food to eat, no you are no longer a member, and hence they don’t have any obligation towards you anymore. Remember, the pastor does not want to share his money with you.
Another sign that the LORD with all His Power is not there is when we have to start new programs to ensure that the current members stay at this church, and to attract new members to the church. How many courses are there for pastors on how to grow your church, and of course how to double your income. No, if the LORD is there, He will add those that are saved. When we do have outreaches, new converts are visited maybe once or twice, and are then left to their own devices. The wolves and jackals can have a field day now, as we have done our duty. Another sign that the LORD is not there is when we have to handle everyone’s hang-ups, as the person is very important. No the LORD is important. When He does not have the first position in our church, we are busy with humanism.
And then there is the time. If the service dares to continue for one or two minutes longer than the published time, we all start looking at our watches as the pastor is wasting our time again. I did not come to listen to him; no I came to have my ego boosted. I have now recharged my spiritual batteries and look forward to facing the week again. What or who church is does not bother me at all, as it is something the church board has to address.
Then there is the issue of prayer. All people involved in the service, from the musicians to the ministry team, to the people on door duty are asked to meet for prayer before the service. When you arrive there, nobody is there. After a couple of weeks someone else sticks their head into the room, and all of a sudden all panic breaks loose as everyone is reminded to get there in time before the service. After a while it is back to normal with nobody showing up. The alternative is that one or two people who can start at 8 and finish at 12 without taking a breath control this time. And then they did not even pray for the service. Or as I have experienced for many years, that if there is a set schedule of who should open and close meetings on a Sunday, that you have to inform people two to three weeks before hand in order for them to have time to work out an appropriate prayer.
You might tell me that you know of very few of these types of churches. I can take you to so many churches where this is the case. But, fortunately I can also take you to churches where you can experience the LORD every moment. Thank the LORD for this.
The Bible also declares what the end of both types of pastors will be. Ezekiel 44:6 :”6 And thou shalt say to the rebellious, even to the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; O ye house of Israel, let it suffice you of all your abominations, 7 In that ye have brought into my sanctuary strangers, uncircumcised in heart, and uncircumcised in flesh, to be in my sanctuary, to pollute it, even my house, when ye offer my bread, the fat and the blood, and they have broken my covenant because of all your abominations. 8 And ye have not kept the charge of mine holy things: but ye have set keepers of my charge in my sanctuary for yourselves. 9 Thus saith the Lord GOD; No stranger, uncircumcised in heart, nor uncircumcised in flesh, shall enter into my sanctuary, of any stranger that is among the children of Israel. 10¶ And the Levites that are gone away far from me, when Israel went astray, which went astray away from me after their idols; they shall even bear their iniquity. 11 Yet they shall be ministers in my sanctuary, having charge at the gates of the house, and ministering to the house: they shall slay the burnt offering and the sacrifice for the people, and they shall stand before them to minister unto them. 12 Because they ministered unto them before their idols, and caused the house of Israel to fall into iniquity; therefore have I lifted up mine hand against them, saith the Lord GOD, and they shall bear their iniquity. 13 And they shall not come near unto me, to do the office of a priest unto me, nor to come near to any of my holy things, in the most holy place: but they shall bear their shame, and their abominations which they have committed. 14 But I will make them keepers of the charge of the house, for all the service thereof, and for all that shall be done therein. 15 But the priests the Levites, the sons of Zadok, that kept the charge of my sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from me, they shall come near to me to minister unto me, and they shall stand before me to offer unto me the fat and the blood, saith the Lord GOD: 16 They shall enter into my sanctuary, and they shall come near to my table, to minister unto me, and they shall keep my charge.”
My question to you is: What does your local church look like? Is the LORD there in all His power, or not?
I would like to end this with a further quote from Ezekiel 34, saying what the LORD will do in the last days. Verse 10: “10 Thus saith 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 any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them. 11 For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. 12 As a shepherd seeketh 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. 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. 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. 15 I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord GOD. 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. 17¶ And as for you, O my flock, thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I judge between cattle and cattle, between the rams and the he goats. 18 Seemeth it a small thing unto you to have eaten up the good pasture, but ye must tread down with your feet the residue of your pastures? and to have drunk of the deep waters, but ye must foul the residue with your feet? 19 And as for my flock, they eat that which ye have trodden with your feet; and they drink that which ye have fouled with your feet. 20 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD unto them; Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat cattle and between the lean cattle. 21 Because ye have thrust with side and with shoulder, and pushed all the diseased with your horns, till ye have scattered them abroad; 22 Therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle. 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. 24 And I the LORD will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them; I the LORD have spoken it. 25 And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods. 26 And I will make them and the places round about my hill a blessing; and I will cause the shower to come down in his season; there shall be showers of blessing. 27 And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I am the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them. 28 And they shall no more be a prey to the heathen, neither shall the beast of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and none shall make them afraid. 29 And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more. 30 Thus shall they know that I the LORD their God am with them, and that they, even the house of Israel, are my people, saith the Lord GOD. 31 And ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord God,”