Four Timelines From Four Shepherd Stories1. Jeremiah 50:2-36
says that the bad Israelite shepherds have caused the sheep to go astray into the mountains where they were devoured by gentiles, but that "the Sword" will be on Babylon who "broke their bones" (v.17), and then the sheep will return and seek out God for a new, everlasting covenant.
35A sword is upon the Chaldeans, saith the LORD, and upon the inhabitants of Babylon, and upon her princes, and upon her wise men. Counterargument:
36A sword is upon the liars; and they shall dote: a sword is upon her mighty men; and they shall be dismayed.
[skip to top]
2Babylon is taken, Bel is confounded, Merodach is broken in pieces; her idols are confounded, her images are broken in pieces.
4In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together, going and weeping: they shall go, and seek the LORD their God.
5They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, saying, Come, and let us join ourselves to the LORD in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten.
6My people hath 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 restingplace.
7All that found them have devoured them: and their adversaries said, We offend not, because they have sinned against the LORD, the habitation of justice, even the LORD, the hope of their fathers.
A Judaic website (http://www.drazin.com/chap12.phtml) points to Jeremiah 50 as a proof against Christianity, saying that this means the shepherds are bad before the sheep scatter. The Shepherd of Zechariah 13:7 ruled the sheep before they scattered, so he must be one of them.2. Ezekial 34
Favoring the Judaic viewpoint that this applies to the Messianic Age: after suffering from bad shepherds, the oppressor is struck, and the sheep come to a new covenant, as in Ezekial 34.
Against the Judaic viewpoint: the bad shepherds who scattered the sheep are distinguished from the gentile oppressors who then found and ate them, and on whom the Sword fell. Zechariah 13, on the other hand says that the Shephard is the one who the sword strikes.
The big problem with using Jeremiah 50 is that it explicitly describes Jews and Israelites' return to God from the Babylonian exile.
Zechariah on the other hand, is writing after the Babylonian exile ended, and making a future prophecy about the day when prophets shall be ashamed, etc.
Ezekial is still writing during the exile, but gives an overall, longterm prophecy of the sheep thrusting away other diseased sheep and the Davidic Shepherd coming to rule them.
describes bad shepherds over Israel, but says that Israel, the sheep, have no primary "Shepherd."
Ezekial (KJV) then says:
21 Because ye have thrust with side and with shoulder, and pushed[or "gored"] all the diseased [or "weak"] 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
25And 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...
30Thus 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.
Ezekial 34 sounds very close to the timeline of Zechariah 13
, where some prophets are "thrust through" by others, and then a primary Shepherd is mentioned. But Zechariah 13 adds on that the Shepherd is smitten with God's sword, and then the sheep scatter.3. Zechariah 11
, on the other hand, describes bad shepherds, then a good primary Shepherd who gets rid of them, then the good Shepherd breaks his covenant, the Good Shepherd gets His severance pay, the Good Shepherd breaks the brotherhood between Judah(the Jews) and Israel(God's people), then a foolish primary Shepherd who leaves his sheep replaces Him, and the foolish Shepherd is struck by God's sword.4. Zechariah 13
describes "you lie" at the end of the prophets' prophesying when parents telling prophets who prophesy, the smiting of The Shepherd, which causes the sheep to scatter, the death of 2/3 of the sheep, and the refining of the remainder as gold.The Timelines
The Scriptures gives four timelines. To see what the scriptures say, we must put them in order.Jeremiah 50:2-36
(Ending of Babylonian Exile)
1. bad Israelite shepherds cause sheep to go astray
2. the gentile oppressor Babylon who broke their bones will be struck by The Sword
3. sheep return to the land of Israel and seek out God for new eternal covenant.Ezekial 34
1. bad shepherds and no primary Shepherd
2. God stops the bad shepherds from eating the sheep and takes the flock from them: "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." At the same time, God searches for the scattered flock and delivers them from the people, and he will deliver them because the sheep have already thrust the diseased sheep away with their horns(v.21-22)
4. God puts the Davidic Good Shepherd over them
5. Good Shepherd makes covenant of peace with sheep and protects them.
6. "Thus,"(because of the covenant) they know God their Lord is with them.Zechariah 11
1. bad shepherds
2. Good Shepherd obeys God, comes, and fires the bad shepherds
3. Good Shepherd breaks his first staff, which breaks the covenant, saying "that is to be cut off, let it be cut off."
4. Good Shepherd's employment is severed
5. Good Shepherd breaks his other staff, which breaks the brotherhood between Judah(the Jews) and Israel(God's people).
6. A foolish shepherd comes who does not remember "Those that are cut off."
7. The Sword strikes the worthless shepherd's arm and eye, drying up the arm and blinding the eye.Zechariah 13
("That Day" = Messianic Age)
1. the parents of prophets who prophesy say to them that they lie, and thrust them through
2. the prophets give up their positions and "shall not wear a rough garment to deceive"
3. God's sword smites "the Shepherd"
4. The Shepherd's smiting causes the sheep to scatter.
5. 2/3 the sheep will be cut off and die, and the third shall be tried like gold.
6. the sheep call on God, who takes them back.Putting the Timeline Together:
Jeremiah, writing during the captivity describes:
1. bad Israelite shepherds lead the sheep (Israel) astray. (Jer. 50:6)
2. gentiles eat them and Babylon breaks their bones (Jer. 50:7, 17)
3. Babylon is struck by The Sword (Jer. 50:35-36)
4. The sheep return and start seeking an eternal covenant (Jer. 50:5)Ezekial and Zechariah, prophesying about the coming of "That Day"(Zechariah 13), which is the Davidic Messianic Age (Ezekiel 34:23-24), give this timeline:1.
bad shepherds and no primary Shepherd (Ezekial 34:2-6, Zech 11:3-5)2.
a fount opens, idols are destroyed, parents thrust through "any" who still prophesy, all prophets cease prophesying and won't wear robes to deceive (Zech 13:1-5); The sheep thrust the diseased/weak sheep away with their horns, and God later saves and/or judges them for this. (Ezekiel 34:12,16,20-22)3.
God saves the flock from the bad shepherds, brings in "that which was driven away", sets "up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David... and he shall be their shepherd", and gives them a covenant of peace protecting them from the gentiles forever. (Ezekiel 34:16, 22-31) God appoints a Good Shepherd who fires the bad shepherds, feeds the flock, "even the poor of the flock." (Zech 11:4-5,7-8)4.
The Good Shepherd breaks his first staff to break the covenant, which makes the poor of the flock know that the breaking was "the word of the Lord" -the first time any of the sheep acknowledge God. The Good Shepherd gets severance pay. (Zech 11:6,9-14). "Thus" because of the covenant's protective relationship "they shall they know that I the LORD their God am with them, and that they, even the house of Israel, are my people." (Ezekiel 34:30). God tells "the Sword" to awaken against "the Shepherd and against the man who is my equal." ("equal"=relative, close companion). (Zechariah 13:11)5.
The Good Shepherd breaks his second staff, which breaks the brotherhood between Judah and Israel(God's people). In breaking his first staff, the Good Shepherd had said: "that is to be cut off, let it be cut off." (Zechariah 11:9-14) Smiting "the Shepherd" causes the sheep to be scattered. (Zech 13:7)6.
A Foolish Shepherd comes who does not remember "those that are cut off," heal them, "nor feed that that standeth still: but he shall eat the flesh of the fat, and tear their claws in pieces."(Zech 11:16). "Two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver." (Zech 13:8-9)7.
"The Sword" goes "upon [the] arm, and... eye" of the Foolish "Idol Shepherd," drying the arm up and blinding the eye. Zechariah 11 doesn't say that it smites the Idol Shephard or kills him, like a sword normally would. (Zech 11:17)8.
Only the poor of the flock recognized the Lord's word in the covenant's breaking. But after the refining, God "will say, It is my people: and they [the sheep] shall say, The LORD is my God." (Zech 13:9) The people know that "the LORD their God [is] with them," and God says: "ye my flock... are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord GOD." (Ezekiel 34:31)