The World Tomorrow

Warning To Pastors in Jeremiah 23

by Herbert W Armstrong


And greetings friends. This is Herbert W Armstrong with the Good News of the World Tomorrow.

And there is good news ahead, but you've got to jump over all the bad news we're getting today, before we're ever going to get to it or see it.

Yes, better times are coming, but not until worse times have come first. And one of the worst things that we're are facing today; not only all this chaos between nations, not only all of our troubles here at home, all of you people driven frantic, many of you, by financial worries, and by sickness and disease in your homes, and by strife between husbands and wives, homes being broken up; children not having homes and no wonder we have a lot of juvenile delinquency.

But one of the worst things right now, is the weather, and I tell you we need to pay some attention to it. You know weather's always been sort of a subject of conversation, if you can't find something else to talk about, just talk about the weather. But today we really have something to talk about in the weather because the weather is changing; it's changing all over the world, it's changing rapidly.

We're in a time when even nature is shuddering and shaking with convulsions because something terrifying is ahead! It's in your Bible, God Almighty has foretold it. Even nature realizes that something is coming. We're hearing of more and more earthquakes all the time; almost every day now there is a report of an earthquake somewhere, we've had a couple of them right here in California recently.

My friends, there are a lot of prophecies in the Bible about this weather and about what is coming and what is forecast. Let me give you a long range forecast, a little farther ahead than our weather bureau can. I can give you a long range weather forecast and I don't know anything about weather as such; I'm not a weatherman but my friends we can have understanding of God's prophecies, and let me tell you, God is the greatest weatherman there is because He controls the weather.

God sends the rain on the just and the unjust alike; or He withholds the rain. And there is plenty in these prophecies about the fact that God is going to withhold the rain and we're going to have drought - so terrible, it's going to bring national calamity and in less, in less than twenty years. And weather is going to become progressively worse in the meantime. We've had our droughts, we've had our floods, we've had our hurricanes, we've had our earthquakes, we're having everything. Weather is topsy-turvy.

My friends these things are sent upon us for a purpose. God Almighty in His high heaven is controlling these things and it isn't causing such a terrible danger now. Do you know why God is sending it? Not because He's angry at us and wants to see us suffer. God is love and God is love to the extent that He knows what we're bringing on ourselves. He knows that we're bringing ourselves to the grand smash climax, where as our scientists tell us, soon, we will annihilate human life from off this planet. The weapons are available. Means of destruction are now available to destroy the entire North American continent!

Now we go on just so callous, it's in your newspapers, it's in your news magazines, if you read news magazines. And by news magazines I mean such publications – the three best known I presume and most prominent are the 'Time,' and 'Newsweek' and 'US News and World Report.' There are a number of others that don't have such wide circulation, but are still large nationally circulated publications, analyzing news and giving you the news all the time – do you read them?

Warnings For Our Time (PLAY FROM 03:59)

My friends, Jesus Christ Himself 1900 years ago said, that the only ones that are going to be accounted worthy to escape all these things that are coming to pass, are those that are watching as well as praying always (Luke 21:36 KJV), and the chances are you aren't doing either. You could know what's coming, you should be excited about it, you should be terribly concerned about it, most of you aren't. Oh no, you're interested in your day to day activities. I've been shouting these things and thundering them at you day after day. Most of you go on, you don't pay any attention.

Let me tell you something my friends; you're going to be without excuse one of these days, these things are coming - you're being warned! And you aren't heeding it. Your blood will be on your own head and not on mine, I'm telling you. Alright now, we're going through some of the prophecies. Specifically, I've gone through the long range of all of them and given you a summary of them.

But now we've been going through this book of Jeremiah, not taking every word of it, but we were skimming through many of the very important parts. Now let's come to the twenty-third chapter of Jeremiah. I think that the last time we were back here, about the sixteenth chapter - no the seventeenth chapter, we were in. Now we come up to the twenty-third; there's something here I want you to catch as we go through the prophecies of Jeremiah; one of the great prophecies.

You know, my friends, when you read of these things in the prophecies, whatever pertains to our time, that is to happen according to the prophecy, in the next ten, fifteen, twenty years, it's going to happen; you can be absolutely certain of that.

When God Almighty said through Ezekiel, that ancient Tyre was going to be attacked by Nebuchadnezzar and destroyed; later it was going to be attacked by other nations and every bit of its topsoil and of its woods, its great timbers of its building, and its stones; they would all be torn down of its walls, and all be dumped into the Mediterranean Sea; that happened, two and a half centuries later, yes, but it happened. Alexander the Great came down and did that.

The Bible is the revelation from God Almighty to man. It is inspired - divinely inspired by the Almighty God – that every word of that Bible is absolute truth from the supernatural God who has more knowledge than all of the scientists; than all of the so-called big-wigs and intelligentsia and the people that are pride of their little puny human intellect; all of them combined that ever lived on this earth. It's a revelation from God. And you're going to find proof, if you want proof, that this book is inspired and that these prophecies are absolutely sure.

The Bible - The Inspired Word Of God (PLAY FROM 06:40)

Have you ever proved whether the Bible is inspired? Supposing some doubter, some sceptic friend of yours that isn't quite convinced would come along and would say to you, "You believe that Bible is really inspired?" Now let's say you're one of the people that says, "Yes I do." Perhaps you don't believe it alright, maybe you're the doubter. Well, could you prove it? If they'd say, "Well no, I don't believe that." Why you know most scholarship today, most of the scientists, the better educated people seem to think that the Bible is merely the writing, the literary writings, religious writings of an ancient little small race of Jews that were ignorant, as all the world was at that time, groping around in the dark and merely trying to find some kind of a concept of a God. They didn't know whether there was one or not, but it's just the writings of men. You know, that's what most so-called highly educated people really believe today in their ignorance - they don't know the difference. Could you prove otherwise; could you prove to the sceptic that the Bible is inspired, that there is a supernatural God? Well maybe you're the doubter, maybe you doubt it, maybe you're not convinced. Would you be willing to see the proof?

You come to me and ask me can I prove it and I'll say 'Yes sir, I can prove it.' An atheist came to me one time and he was going to make a monkey out of me, he was going to prove evolution was true by making a monkey out of me. When we got through he admitted that the Bible is the inspired word of God. He admitted that God exists. He said he wasn't going to worship that God if I did make him admit that God exists. Well, I told him I wasn't attempting to do any such thing. That gave God gave him all of the freedom of free moral agency, that's up to him what he does about it. He can surrender to God Almighty and come under God's protection – God's Government and enjoy all the benefits and inherit eternal life or he can reject it and suffer the penalties; that's up to him if he wants to suffer, a lot of people do, they want it the hard way. That's your right and privilege.

Let me tell you that whatever this word says it's God speaking; it is Almighty God speaking. Now here's what He says in Jeremiah 23, you better listen. "Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture saith the [Eterna]." {1} (Jeremiah 23:1)

Now this is not just some historic writing, this is a prophecy. This is a prophecy for our time now, this pertains to the time in which we live!

False Shepherds And Pastors (PLAY FROM 09:08)

Pastors means the ministers, the pastors, the preachers of the churches that claim to be Christian; of those that claim and profess Christianity; of God's sheep - or at least they profess to be - " that scatter the sheep of my pasture". That is the Christian flock, that isn't the sheep of Baal's pasture. That isn't the sheep of the Mohammedans; well, I think the Mohammedans even believe in God, they believe in Mohammed I guess instead of Christ but nevertheless, I mean now Buddhists or something of that sort.

No, this is those that scatter the sheep of Christ's pasture, of God's pasture. "Woe be to the pastors that destroy and scatter..." (Jeremiah 23:1). In other words the sheep, that's what Christ called them and in Bible language that is merely referring to the members, the, well, Church members if they are converted, that means the Christian people, whose hearts are right and who are really seeking the religion of God; and to come under God's Truth. And it says that their pastors have misled them.

My friends, that's a serious charge, and yet it's all through your Bible. Did you ever read Ezekiel 34? (Ezekiel 34:2) It's in Isaiah; here it is in Jeremiah 23 and in other places in Jeremiah (Jeremiah 14:14). Jesus said, many false prophets will arise, He said they'll come in my name, they'll come as Christian ministers using the name of Christ, using the name of Christian. They'll say, "I'm a Christian." They'll say, "I am a minister of Jesus Christ," but they'll come deceiving the people. (Mark 13:6)

You read of it in the apostle Paul's writings. Did you ever turn over to II Corinthians the eleventh chapter? And there he says, they pose as the ministers of Christ, they pretend they're the ministers of righteousness; but they're actually the servants of the devil and many of them are deceived and don't know it themselves (II Corinthians 11: 13-15). You'll find it over in Jude that they have turned grace into lasciviousness, into license. In other words they say grace means you can do what you please today (Jude v: 4).

Why friends, that's the popular teaching today, that has all happened. Your New Testament says in the writings of the apostle Paul inspired by God Almighty, that the time would come when they won't endure sound doctrine, they turn away their ears from hearing the truth. They'd be turned unto fables (II Timothy 4:3-4 paraphrased), that they would heap teachers to themselves, in other words, the pastors of the flock; and they'll say here, "We won't pay you your salary if you don't preach soft and smooth things and preach the things we want." Well, Isaiah said, "Preach the soft and smooth things that deceive:" (Isaiah 30:10 paraphrased). People don't want to hear the law of the Eternal. (verse 11)

My friends, if the ministers don't understand, how can our world statesmen and great leaders; the kings, the presidents, the prime ministers and the men at the head of the governments of the world? How can they understand and how can they bring us world peace? They can never bring us anything but war because they don't know any way but the way that leads to war. The way of God's law is the only way that will lead to peace. If all of the nations of the world believed in and really followed and obeyed the Ten Commandments there'd never be another war.

Let's continue the second verse here, Jeremiah 23: " Therefore thus saith the [Eternal] God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people [that's the preachers today. And it is talking of today and it is talking of the United States of America, and of Canada, and of England, and of north western Europe; our democratic nations. Here's what He says]: You have scattered my flock, and driven them away" (Jeremiah 23:2). Are we scattered?

How many hundreds of denominations do we have today, all scattered, all divided; the people don't know why. Does the average Methodist today know why he's a Methodist and why he's not a Baptist, a Presbyterian, a Congregationalist or something else? No, they don't know. They don't know why they belong where they do even. And yet the thing that divides them, is the difference in doctrine and most of the members don't even know what that is. But the ministers know; they're the ones that have divided them, that's what this says. "...and driven them away and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the [Eternal]." (Jeremiah 23:2)

Listen you ministers listening to me; I'm speaking by the authority of Jesus Christ and this is going to come on your heads. Why aren't you warning the people of these things instead of weakly getting up and trying to deny the truth. You'll say as, even this says here; well down in verse 17: "They say unto the people that despise me [that despise the Eternal because they think God was not fair in giving us His law], the [Eternal] hath said, you'll have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart..." (Jeremiah 23:17), that is, according to conscience. They teach today that sin is the transgression or your own conscience; you walk according to the imagination of your heart, they tell you you're alright.

You know, I'm trying to tell you that when you violate God's law no matter what your conscience says you're a sinner and you're going to bring down the wrath of that law upon you. The law is love but when you break it, it brings wrath upon you. Now they say to everyone then that thinks he's not under law, but under grace and all that sort of thing, and doesn't know what that means; because actually, if, if you are really Christ's, IF you have the Spirit of God, that fulfills the law of God, if you're walking in that way, you are not under the law you are under grace, but very few people know what that means.

A Time Of Great Danger (PLAY FROM 14:35)

Now they say you'll have peace everyone that walketh after the imagination of his own heart or according to his own conscience, no evil shall come upon you. I'm telling you that evil will come upon you and that's what God's word says. Now: "...they're speaking a vision out of their own heart; not out of the mouth of the [Eternal]" (Jeremiah 23:16 last part): says verse sixteen. You'd better read these things, you'd better wake up my friends, you'd better heed it because this is true and there isn't much time left.

We're in the most dangerous days of all earth's history; the very fact that we're in a time of prosperity; that we're in a time of only cold war and what we think is peace, means we're in the time of greatest danger, because it's lulling you people asleep. You don't realize what is under cover, you don't realize what's lurking right around the corner and you don't see it, yet and it's going to crash down on you and on your guilty head sooner than you realize.

Now, this is Christ speaking and He says He's going to really require the blood of the flock, at the head of these ministers that have led them - misled them rather. "...I'll visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the [Eternal]. And I will gather the remnant of my flock [now remnant is the last generation, the last generation of His flock. You know Daniel the prophet speaks of when they have accomplished to scatter, the power of the holy people. (Daniel 12:7) It's prophesied that God's people were to be scattered in these latter days. And God says]: I'll gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries whither I have driven them, and I will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase." (Jeremiah 23:2-3)

Here again He's talking about what is going to happen at the Second Coming of Christ. "I will gather the remnant." This is the One who later was born of the virgin Mary and became the Messiah, Jesus the Christ. He is coming to this earth again and when He comes He is going to gather the flock, the remnant, the last generation. And you will find that they are in their enemies' lands and they're in slavery; and that's what's going to happen to really professing Christian people if their hearts are right. They're going to be taken into captivity, they're going to be tortured; except, that if you are watching and you've got to understand the prophecies and you've got to read the news.

You ought to be subscribing to at least one of these news magazines. You ought to keep abreast of it; but you can keep abreast of what's going on; you can be right up on the prophecies as is taking place in the news if you get the Plain Truth magazine that we send out and that doesn't cost you anything. No subscription price and I'll be happy to put you on the mailing list and if you don't voluntarily become a co-worker you'll never be asked for any money either; not unless you desire to, you never will be.

Christ To Set Up Shepherds (PLAY FROM 17:20

Now then, God says that - well, it's Christ really speaking here before He became the Christ. And He says, "And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them; and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the [Eternal]." (Jeremiah 23:4)

He's going to set up shepherds over them right here on this earth after the Second Coming of Christ and they shall know the truth.

Back here in Isaiah eleven you read this, in the ninth verse. The earth then at that time, that's the time the sixth verse says, when all the wild animals are tame and the seventh verse; and He says here: "...the earth [verse nine] shall be full of the knowledge of the [Eternal], as the waters cover the sea" (Isaiah 11:9). Christ will be there as an ensign for the people, as a Savior to save them, and to that ensign, or to Christ shall the Gentiles seek and He's going to set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people Israel and Judah (reference to verses 10-11 in Isaiah 11).

You read over in the eleventh chapter now of Romans, and let me see, about the twenty-fifth verse there; that Israel is blinded temporarily "...until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in and then all Israel shall be saved: as it is written the Deliverer shall come to Sion" (Romans 11:25-26 paraphrased).

That's Christ – is coming to deliver His people. He's coming again to this earth. And all Israel is going to be saved and He's going to take away ungodliness from them. So, He says, "I'll set up shepherds," you know who they are? Jesus Christ said if we are really surrendered to God – if we've come to God by Him and are really Christians, if we overcome, if we grow in grace and in knowledge we'll sit with Him on His throne; He'll give us power over the nations. We're going to be kings and priests; and we're going to see that the earth is full of the knowledge of God. (References to Matthew 25:31; Revelation 3:21; Revelation 1:6) We'll be the shepherds that are going to feed the flocks. We won't be dismayed and they won't and neither shall they be lacking saith the [Eternal]. (Jeremiah 23:4 paraphrased)

Well, He says He will set up shepherds over these people and will feed them; feed them on the law of God that some people think is so terrible today. They're going to learn that God is love and not a harsh stern God and that the law is love and not something terrible and terrifying; not contrary to our interests but the law that would bring us peace; the law that it takes the love of God in your heart to fulfill.

Only converted persons can keep that law, carnal minded people can't. And so "...the carnal mind is enmity against God [or, that is hostile toward God]: and is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." (Romans 8:7)

When you hear people preaching against the law of God you know there is a carnal mind; a very carnal mind that isn't subject to the law of God - it can't be opened up to it – and can't understand, which is the way of peace.

Alright, now verse five: "Behold, the days come, saith the [Eternal], that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch [a righteous Branch, or shoot, now that means a branch or a shoot of a tree, comparing here a, Israel to a tree and Christ is the Branch] and a King shall reign and prosper [that Branch then becomes a King, and Christ is coming again to this earth; the heavens have received Him until the time of restitution of all things. And He's coming to restore what? To restore the law of God the Government of God and the way of peace to man. When we will have peace on earth, goodwill toward men and with men of goodwill too], and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth" (Jeremiah 23:5). My friends there's a terrifying lack of justice now. We're going to have real justice then.

Judah To Be Saved (PLAY FROM 21:21)

"In his days [listen] Judah shall be saved [Judah means the Jewish people], and Israel [and Israel does not mean the Jewish people, that's a different nation altogether; that means the American people and the British people, the Canadian, the Australian, South African people and the Dutch and the Danes, and the Norwegians and the Swedes, and the Swiss and those people], and they shall dwell safely: and this is the name whereby he shall be called (that's God, or Christ rather, He is God) THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS. Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the [Eternal], that they shall no more say, The [Eternal] liveth, which brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt: But, the [Eternal] liveth, which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel out of the north country, and from all of the countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land." (Jeremiah 23:6-8)

Now didn't we read that back here, yes, just a day or so ago back here in the sixteenth chapter and the fourteenth verse: "Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the [Eternal], that it shall no more be said, The [Eternal] liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt; But, the [Eternal] liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from the lands whither He had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave to their fathers." (Jeremiah 16:14-15)

Now, the Zionist movement of the Jewish people going back to Palestine is not the fulfillment of that prophecy. That is a prophecy – and I've read you the other prophecies that tie up with it - when Israel and Judah will go together; and its only part of Judah going now. They're not going weeping and trying to say, "let's find the way back to our God." No, they're going there for national advantage not because they're repentant.

"The [Eternal] liveth which brought up and which led the seed of the house of Israel [and the house of Israel are the people of America and Britain my friends, not the Jewish people; they are the house of Judah] out of the north country, and from all the countries whither I had driven them; and they shall dwell in their own land." (Jeremiah 23:8)

Now there is a duality in all prophecies. Our people were driven out my friends, 130 years before Jeremiah wrote this; he wrote this right around, oh, 580 to 600 BC. But about 720 BC our forefathers had been driven out of Palestine. And once more they're going to be driven out of the land that God has given us now in another captivity; and from that captivity this time in Babylon, in the modern Babylon not out of Egypt, they're going to be taken back.

Alright, let's drop down now to the sixteenth verse: "Thus saith the [Eternal] of hosts, Hearken not to the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain; they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Eternal. They say still unto them that despise me, the [Eternal] hath said, Ye shall have peace [God doesn't say that my friends, God says we're not going to have peace; God says we're riding toward war yes]; they say, unto them that despise me [that is God, and people do despise God if they don't want to obey Him and keep His commandments; even though, oh they'll sing the praises of Christ, and they profess Christ, and they say 'Oh, I'm saved and I, the Lord is my Savior.' I don't think they very often say He's their Shepherd because they don't follow Him really, no, they follow their own conscience. Well, what does God say about that? The preachers say you shall have peace]; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart [that's your conscience, the way your heart leads you], No evil shall come upon you." (Jeremiah 23:16-17)

In other words; as long as you don't do anything that hurts your conscience you're alright. Isn't that what you've heard? Your Bible says your conscience is no guide: "There is a way that seems right to a man [that won't hurt your conscience] and the end thereof are the ways of death" (Proverbs 16:25). So says God.

Well, there it is; and God lays it all at the doorstep of false ministers and there certainly are, well, there are many, many thousands of them today, not the few. Jesus said many false prophets will arise – coming in my name, saying that I, that means that Jesus is the Christ; not that they're the Christ, but they come in the name of Christ deceiving the people. And this whole western world is drunk on the false wine that has emanated out of this modern female Babylon, and that means a religious Babylon.


{1} Mr Armstrong substitutes the term [Eternal] in place of LORD throughout.