The shepherds of Israel, the spiritual leaders of the people, were not exempt from God's scathing words! Even the sheep themselves would be judged.
Does God issue any commands?
- God told Ezekiel to prophesy against the shepherds of Israel because they were more interested in their own welfare instead of that of the flock under their care. (God is talking about spiritual leaders, pastors, and not those involved in animal husbandry.) The shepherds/pastors were growing fat from that which they extorted from their flock. They were not caring for the sick or wounded or sought for those that had strayed away. They ruled the flock with cruelty.
Does God make any promises?
- God promised that He would require an account of the shepherds' dealings with His flock. Then God would remove them from being shepherds.
- God promised that He would separate the sheep into fat and lean. (See Matthew 25:32)
- Peace and safety are promised to Israel as well as the food to sustain them. God promised to be with them. (Remember Emmanuel: God with us!)
Does this chapter teach anything about Jesus?
- Jesus is the True Shepherd that searches for His sheep and seeks them out. (verse 11-12) Compare to John 10:11
- Jesus seeks and saves the lost. (verse 16)
- Jesus is the Shepherd that separates the sheep. (See Matthew 25:32)
- Jesus is God's servant, David, that will be the Shepherd of the sheep. (verses 23-24)
- Jesus is the One who feeds Israel. (See Revelation 7:17)
Does this chapter teach anything about yet-future events?
- Jesus will gather His sheep from among all people and will bring them to their own land. There He will feed them upon the mountains of Israel in good pasture in His fold. The New Testament teaches that all the redeemed will be citizens of the New Earth and that Jesus will be the shepherd that oversees His flock from the New Jerusalem.
- If any of this passage is a dual passage that deals with the return of Israel after the captivity as well as a future restoration upon the New Earth, Randy Alcorn's book, Heaven, says that the tree that bears fruit (verse 27) could be the tree of life as mentioned in Revelation. It seems likely because this passage promises perpetual peace under the Shepherd of the Davidic covenant.