THE IDOL SHEPHERD OF ZECHARIAH
by ALAN CAMPBELL B.A.
This booklet is dedicated to the memory of the late JACK SNODGRASS, a faithful adherent of the Gospel of The Kingdom, who "contended earnestly for the Faith", in the ranks of the Scottish Protestant League.
About the Author
Alan Campbell is a graduate of London University and Head of the Religious Studies Department at a large High School near Belfast. He has lectured on Protestant and Prophetic platforms throughout the United Kingdom and also in the United States. He is the author of a number of other Prophetic Studies.
We are all well acquainted with the concept of the Lord Jesus Christ as the Good Shepherd who gave up His life for the redemption of His sheep, and what a beautiful symbolism that is. His sheep know His voice and they follow wherever He leads them. He gives unto them eternal life and no man can pluck them out of His hand. However, in the Book of the Prophet Zechariah we find a little known and even less understood prophecy, concerning one who is described as being the "idol shepherd", one whose entire description is the direct opposite of all that the Holy Scripture teaches us in relation to the Good Shepherd:-
"And the Lord said unto me, Take unto thee yet the instruments of a foolish shepherd. For lo, I will raise up a shepherd in the land which shall not visit those that be cut off, neither shall seek the young one, nor heal that is broken, nor feed that, that standeth still: But he shall eat the flesh of the fat, and tear their claws in pieces. Woe to the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock, the sword shall be upon his arm and upon his right eye, his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened:" (Zechariah 11:15-17)
The Word of God, which came by such major prophets as Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, frequently warns us against false shepherds, wolves in sheep's clothing, hirelings who seek to deceive the very elect of God, but in these few verses, Zechariah warns us against one especially false, cruel and deceptive shepherd, one who by his total inability to perform the duty of a spiritual shepherd, shows that he is in truth a stranger to and, in fact, an enemy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This false shepherd is indicted first of all for the tasks he has failed to perform. He has failed to heal the broken, feed the flock or minister to the needs of those who are described as being "cut off", obviously a reference to Israel, the cast off, divorced, dispersed people of God, put away for their sins and described by Hosea the prophet as Lo Ammi -- 'not My people'. Instead, the false shepherd has catered to his own needs and desires, feeding himself and not the flock, and actually turning upon the flock and devouring them.
This personality is then more clearly described by the use of the all important expression:-- the IDOL shepherd. He is not merely the chief shepherd of an idolatrous and apostate church system, but he himself is actually set up as an idol or object of worship within that System. In all the centuries since the days of Zechariah until now, only one personality, or to be more accurate, one dynasty of men fits the description given:-- THE POPES OF ROME. In order to demonstrate this more fully, we must now look at the IDOL SHEPHERD --
- FEEDING HIMSELF AT THE EXPENSE OF THE FLOCK
- DEVOURING THE FLOCK
- HIS SYSTEM OF IDOLATRY
- HE HIMSELF AS AN IDOL
Finally, we will go on to examine the judgment pronounced upon the Idol Shepherd by God, through the prophet Zechariah.
FEEDING HIMSELF AT THE EXPENSE OF THE FLOCK
Roman Catholicism is not merely a monolithic religious system, or a world wide political conspiracy, it is in essence a system based upon greed, the love of money which our Lord said was the root of every evil. Truly it can be said that the Popes of Rome have eaten the flesh of the fat! One of the chief means by which the Papacy has enriched itself at the expense of the people is by means of the doctrine of Purgatory. By this teaching first proclaimed an Article of Faith in 1439 by the Council of Florence and subsequently confirmed in 1548 by the Council of Trent, the Church of Rome teaches that all who die at peace with the church but who are not perfect, must suffer purification in a mythical intermediate state, or place for departed spirits. The Creed of Pope Plus IV states:-
"I constantly hold that there is a Purgatory, and that the souls detained are helped by the suffrages of the faithful."
Bellarmine taught that:-
"There is absolutely no doubt that the pains of purgatory ... endure for entire centuries."
St. Thomas Aquinas said that:-
"It is the same fire that torments the reprobate in Hell and the just in Purgatory."
(Supposed Nail from Calvary and the Monkish Guarantee)
This devious devil doctrine has often been referred to as "pick-pocket purgatory" and the "goldmine of the Papacy", because in order to release their unfortunate loved ones whom they believe to be in this place of torment, deceived Roman Catholic people will pay the priest to say special masses to release the souls from purgatory. Money, often large amounts, is set aside by faithful Romanists when alive, in order to obtain their quick release from the prison house of the spirits. Frequently during their lifetime, devout Papists will go on pilgrimages to idol-shrines and supposed holy places, hoping to earn merit which will reduce the time spent in purgatory. All of these things can be obtained at a price. Salvation is for sale in the Roman Church, and by this cruel deceit, the Papacy -- the Idol Shepherd of Zechariah has amassed a fortune running into billions. How sad to think that so many of our blinded Roman Catholic neighbours have never learned the Bible truth that salvation is "without money and without price" and that it is not the prayers and masses of the priest, or the fiery torments of purgatory, but rather, the blood of Jesus Christ which cleanses Us from all sin.
Closely linked with the doctrine of Purgatory is the belief in Indulgences, or pardons for sin which can be earned or purchased in this life. It was this horribly corrupt practice, advocated throughout Germany by the monk Tetzel in order to raise money for the building of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, that impelled Martin Luther to nail his famous Ninety Five Theses to the church door in Wittenburg and so launch the Reformation in Europe. Lest any reader should think this concept of Indulgences ended with the Middle ages, let us read what an authoritative Twentieth Century Roman Catholic book - "The Question Box" has to say:-
"An indulgence ... is a remission of the whole, or part of the temporal punishment due to forgiven sin, granted by the Pope and the Bishops out of Church's spiritual treasury, which is made up of the infinite redemptive merits of Jesus Christ, AND, the superabundant merits of the saints."
Indulgences can be obtained for saying the Rosary, wearing the Agnus Dei, or the Scapular of the Blessed Simon Stock, or you can share in the storehouse of merit by joining the Confraternity of the Miraculous Medal, or the Society of the Perpetual Novena. In past days Indulgences were even given to those who murdered Protestants:-
"a plenary indulgence was offered to all who took up arms against the Hussites, Albigenses and Waldenses," (Catholic Dic. 442)
In addition to this, the Church of Rome has reaped rich financial reward from such events as "Holy Year" and pilgrimages to shrines, e.g. Lourdes, Fatima and even Knock in Ireland have become big financial tourist business. There is little doubt that the Idol Shepherd in the Vatican has fed and enriched himself and his hierarchy at the expense of his poor, spiritually deluded flock.
DEVOURING THE FLOCK
Not only is the Papacy a system which is characterised by inordinate greed and vast wealth, but it is a system infamous for its cruelty and persecuting zeal, and as we shall see, it fits exactly into Zechariah's description of 'tearing in pieces those who fall under its control'. The burning of heretics was first decreed in the Seventh Century and the bloodthirsty Inquisition was established by the Pope of Rome to stamp out all opposition to his dictatorial rule and his false doctrines. This Inquisition was responsible for burning and torturing millions of Protestant martyrs, At its tribunals, the accused were denied all legal representation, they never knew the identity of their accusers, and torture of the most horrific kind was used for days at a time to obtain confessions, and those convicted were usually tortured again after their trials in order to obtain evidence against their friends and relatives. Far from repenting of these crimes, twentieth century Roman Catholic spokesmen have defended them, as follows:-
"Far from being inhuman, they (the Inquisitors) were as a rule, men of spotless character and ... admirable sanctity ... not a few have been canonized by the Church." (Cath. Ency. VIII 31)
"There is nothing exceptionally cruel or intolerant about the statute ... which provided that heretics convicted before a spiritual court and refusing to recant, were to be handed over to the secular arm and burnt." (Cath. Ency. V441)
In addition to such "legalised" persecution, the Church of Rome was responsible for inciting crusades, wars and civil wars which resulted in the cruel slaughter of tens of thousands of Protestants. in the book "The Israel of the Alps" we can read in detail of the fierce persecution of the Vaudois or Waldensians by the forces of the Idol Shepherd. We will quote but a few extracts to illustrate our point:-
"One Bernadino Cento, was covered with pitch, and burned alive in the market place of Consenza. Another martyr, Mazzone, was stripped naked, his body shredded with iron whips, and the mangled frame then beaten to death with lighted brands. Some victims were flayed alive, and some flung from a tower summit. One of the latter named Samson, was a young man of prodigious strength. As his mangled body, still breathing, lay on the ground, the Viceroy passed and enquired, "What carrion is this?" "It is a heretic who will not die," was the answer. With a kick at the dying man's head, the Viceroy said, "Let the pigs come and eat him." Soon the barbarous order was executed, and the poor creature had to suffer the pain of his flesh being torn from his body by the unclean beasts, set on him by a beast more unclean and foul than they."
Since the days of the 1641 massacre, our own land of Ireland has witnessed numerous wars of genocide, designed to drive the Protestant population into the sea, One such period of murder and mayhem was during the 1790s when the Irish Protestants suffered at the hands of the Roman Catholic persecutors named the Defenders. The historian Sibbett tells us that:--
"civilians were mistreated, cattle maimed and crops destroyed .. the most shocking barbarities were perpetrated in the County of Louth and neighbouring counties. In one year the Defenders plundered the homes of 180 Protestant families."
These attacks culminated in the Forkhill Massacre, a fiendish attack by Papists on the home of Alexander Barclay the Protestant schoolmaster in the village of Forkhill in South Armagh. On the night of February 1st, 1791, a gang of armed Roman Catholics burnt into his home, cut out his tongue and chopped off the fingers and thumb of his right hand. They did the same to his wife, and also hacked off her breasts, an injury from which she died. Her brother also had his tongue cut out and the calves of his legs hacked away. It was in this very area that Romanists slew several Protestant families in one night in 1922 in the infamous "Slaughter of Altnaveigh" and it is in this same district of South Armagh that the Roman Catholic terrorists of the I.R.A., I.N.L.A. and "Catholic Reaction Force" have waged a war of genocide over the past fifteen years, killing the heads of Protestant households, and participating in such bloody atrocities as the massacres of Whitecross, Tullyvallen and Mountain Lodge Pentecostal Church, where Protestants were slain as they worshipped. Truly Rome never changes.
HIS SYSTEM OF IDOLATRY
Not only is Rome a System of cruelty and greed, but the chief characteristic of the whole Papal organisation is base idolatry, hence the inspired writer Zechariah calls the Papacy the Idol Shepherd. The worship of images, idols and religious relics is a heathen custom clearly forbidden in the Word of God. For some three centuries after Christ, the early Christians chose martyrdom rather than participate in idolatry, but when Christianity became the state religion under Constantine, all this began to change. The heathen temples became Christian churches, the pagan idols were given the names of Saints and were soon being venerated. The pagan worship of the mother goddess, which had originated in Babylon and spread to pagan Rome as the cult of Cybele, now evolved into the worship of the Virgin Mary as Queen of Heaven. It was in the very city of Ephesus, infamous for its worship of the goddess Diana, that a Church Council in 431 A.D., declared Mary to be "Mother of God". As the idolatrous practices spread and increased throughout Christendom, they received official legality in 788 A.D. at the Second Council of Nicea.
In these Ecumenical times, the Papacy seeks to conceal and deny idol worship, but the decrees of the Church make the position crystal clear:-
"I most firmly assert that the images of Christ and the Mother of God ... and also of the other saints, are to be had and retained, and that due honour and veneration are to be given to them." (Creed of Pope Pius IV)
"It is also right to honour the sacred images of Jesus Christ, and of the Saints ... We also honour the relics of the Saints." (Compendium of Pope Pius X)
"The Saints reigning together with Christ are to be honoured and invocated that they offer up prayers to God for us, their relics are to be venerated." (Creed of Pope Pius IV)
"Besides honouring the Saints directly in themselves, we also honour them indirectly in their relics and images ... the Church requires the relics of the Saints to be inserted in all altars where Holy Mass is offered." (Students Catholic Doctrine by C. Hert)
"The Commandment does not forbid the making of images." (The Catechism, Canon Cafferata)
"The Saints ... together with Christ are to be honoured and invoked because they offer prayers to God for us." (The Catechism, Canon Cafferata)
Many Roman Catholic Catechisms omit the Second Commandment forbidding image worship, and seek to conceal this by splitting the Tenth into two parts. Rome even seeks to divide worship into three distinct types:-
- LATRIA -- To be given to God.
- DULIA -- To be given to the Saints.
- HYPERDULIA -- To be given to the Virgin Mary.
In spite of all denials of idolatry, Romish handbooks and manuals of worship clearly expose the facts. In the Good Friday Service of Adoration of the Cross, we read:-
"Behold the wood of the Cross -- Come let us adore ... We adore thy Cross ... Sweet wood, sweet nails ... Hail then, 0 Cross!"
During a recent visit to St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Cathedral, New York, I came across the following prayer to Saint Theresa:-
"Saint Theresa who ... became a mirror of angelic purity ... cast a glance of pity on us as we leave all things in thy hands. Make our troubles your own, speak a word for us to our Lady Immaculate ... beg her as Queen ... by her powerful intercession, to obtain for us the graces we yearn for."
The devotion goes on:-
"Little Theresa of the Child Jesus, remember your promise to make good things on earth. Drop your shower of roses over all in need."
To add to this blasphemy, we are told:-
"The person who finds this prayer should copy it 20 times, and bring it to a church each time. On the 11th time, your prayers will be answered."
Romish idolatry reaches a height in the worship of the Virgin Mary. The present Pope John Paul II has made a point of visiting idolatrous Marian Shrines world wide, to show his devotion. In May 1982 before coming to Britain, he visited the Fatima Shrine in Portugal to show his gratitude to Our Lady of Fatima for saving his life a year earlier from assassins, and on March 25th, 1984, he held a special ceremony in Rome to consecrate the entire world to Mary. Special groups are set up inside Roman Catholicism to encourage Marian devotion e.g. The Legion of Mary, The Archcon fraternity of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, The Central Association of the Miraculous Medal, and the Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima. Roman Catholics are encouraged to participate in the Rosary devotions in which ten time as many prayers are given to Mary as to God. The book "The Glories of Mary" by the Roman Catholic Saint Alphonsus Liguari, goes as far as to state:-
"We often obtain more promptly what we ask by calling on Mary than on Jesus."
We could go on to give many more examples of blasphemous and idolatrous worship of the Virgin, the Saints and their images and relics, but enough has been said to prove the point. We shall now go on to look at the climax of the Idol Shepherd prophecy.
THE POPE HIMSELF AS AN IDOL!
(Pope John Paul blesses the crowds as he follows the statue of Our Lady of Fatima during the celebration of a Family Jubilee in St. Peter's basilica.) ONE MEDIATOR: "For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." (1 Tim. 2:5)
Probably out of all the iniquity of Romanism, the worship of a sinful man, in the person of the Pope, represents the very depths of idolatry. When the Pope is crowned, the following words are addressed to him:-
"Receive this Tiara, adorned with three crowns, and know that Thou art Father of Kings and Princes, Ruler of the World and Vicar of Jesus Christ on earth."
At the enthronement of this so-called Vicar of Christ, the Pope is lifted up by the Cardinals and made to sit upon the High Altar in St. Peter's Basilica. The Cardinals in their Scarlet and Purple Vestments, kneel before the newly elected Pontiff and kiss his feet, hands and face, worshipping him as a god. This takes place on some five occasions during the ceremony, which is called the Adoration.
Now it is important that we realize that the High Altar is the very place where the Reserved Sacrament, Rome's Wafer God of flour and water which they tell us has been changed into the body and blood of our Lord, is kept and adored. When the Pope is enthroned above the High Altar and its Wafer God, he ceases to be merely a false shepherd and becomes the Idol Shepherd of Zechariah's prophecy, accepting the highest place of honour, veneration and worship that can be given to a mere mortal.
It is also of interest to note that while sitting as a god above the High Altar, his feet, hands and face are kissed. Kissing as a religious exercise is one of the oldest known forms of idolatry, and we find it referred to in Job 31, v. 27, where the patriarch Job declares that he has not been guilty of joining in the pagan practice of kissing his hand to the sun. We also recall that the kissing of idols and images was practiced by the worshippers of Baal in the days of Elijah, and God actually tells the prophet:-
"I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him." (1 Kings 19)
('Worshipping the Pope.' Newly ordained priests prostate in worship before the Pope in St. Peter's Basilica, Rome.)
It is therefore obvious that the kissing of the Pope is but a continuation of the ancient idolatrous worship associated with the heathen god Baal. At the Coronation of Pope Innocent X, the following words were addressed to him:--
"Most Holy and blessed father, head of the church, ruler of the world, to whom the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven are committed, whom the angels in Heaven adore, and the gates of hell fear, and all the world adores, we especially venerate, worship and adore thee."
There can he no doubt that the whole dynasty of Popes fulfils the prophecy of the Idol Shepherd.
THE DOOM OF THE IDOL SHEPHERD
Zechariah leaves us on a note of encouragement, assuring us that the Idol Shepherd is destined to doom and to destruction. The prophet tells us that:--
"The sword shall be upon his arm and upon his right eye, his arm shall be clean dried up, and his eye shall be utterly darkened."
There was a time when the Popes of Rome ruled over Western Europe, holding undisputed sway, excommunicating and overthrowing Kings and Emperors at will. Such was the power of the Papacy, that one Pope boasted:--
"I can do almost all that God can do."
The arm and the eye of the Idol Shepherd symbolizes the spiritual and political power of the Papacy, and both of these have indeed been darkened, consumed and dried up since the days of the Reformation.
The Bible, freely distributed, has led multitudes of Roman Catholics out of the cage of the Idol Shepherd, into the fold of Christ the Good Shepherd. Internally, the modern Papacy faces revolt and dissent on every hand within the ranks of both clergy and laity. The nations which once wielded the sword on behalf of the Papacy, Spain, Portugal, France and Italy, are today politically controlled by Socialism and have the largest Communist parties outside of the Soviet Union and the nations of the Warsaw Pact. In February 1984, many of the special privileges granted to the Vatican by Mussolini under the Lateran Treaty of 1929 have been stripped away. We are living in the prophetic era which will see the "stripping and burning" of the Harlot Church System Spoken of in Revelation 17 and 18. Soon the Good Shepherd, our Lord Jesus Christ will return as King of Kings and Lord of Lords to finally destroy what remains of the Papal Idol Shepherd by the "brightness of His coming". Until that day, we must continue our witness to Protestant and Romanist alike, that salvation is to be found, not in any church or sacrament, not in any Pope, priest or pastor, not in any image, idol, saint or miraculous medal, but in Christ and Christ alone, because:-
"There is none other name, (but Jesus) under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved." (Acts 4, v. 12)
The Pope of Rome as God
|Left: Pope Leo X at his coronation impersonating Christ as the KING OF GLORY and as the LIGHT OF THE WORLD. A.D. 1512. Beneath this painting was the inscription "The World hath Unveiled to Light. The King of Glory has come Forth." This representation of the Pope appropriating to himself the Offices and Functions of Christ, was hung on the Coronation route between the Castle of St. Angelo and the Vatican. - Roscoe's Life of Leo, XXI>|
|Right: Pope Leo X, at his Coronation, April, 1512, A.D., impersonation Christ as Ruler of Earth, Sea, and Heaven. Beneath this painting was hung the inscription, "In Thy Hand I Beheld the Empire of Earth, and Sea, and Heaven." Reve 10:2 "And he set his right foot upon the sea, and his left foot on the earth." Rev 10:5 "And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven."|
CATALOGUE OF ROME'S UNSCRIPTURAL DOCTRINES
AND DATES OF THEIR INCEPTION
|1. Prayers for the dead||300 A.D.|
|2. Sign of the Cross||310 A.D.|
|3. Wax votive candles||320 A.D.|
|4. Veneration of saints and angels||375 A.D.|
|5. Mary declared "Mother of God"||431 A.D.|
|6. Priests begin to wear vestments||500 A.D.|
|7. Worship in Latin||600 A.D.|
|8. Temporal power of Papacy granted by Phocas||610 A.D.|
|9. Feast days in honour of Mary||650 A.D.|
|10. Kissing of the Pope's feet||709 A.D.|
|11. Temporal power of Papacy confirmed||750 A.D.|
|12. Adoration of Mary, saints, images and relics |
legalised by 2nd Council of Nicea
|13. Holy water||850 A.D.|
|14. Veneration of St. Joseph||890 A.D.|
|15. Baptism of bells||965 A.D.|
|16. Canonization of dead saints||995 A.D.|
|17. Fasting on Fridays and Lent||998 A.D.|
|18. Rosary beads||1090 A.D.|
|19. Pope Boniface VII decrees celibacy of priests||1097 A.D.|
|20. Inquisition of heretics||1184 A.D.|
|21. Sale of Indulgences||1190 A.D.|
|22. Transubstantiation of the wafer||1215 A.D.|
|23. Confession to a priest||1215 A.D.|
|24. Adoration of the host (Wafer God)||1220 A.D.|
|25. Bible forbidden and placed on index of forbidden books -- |
by Council of Valencia
|26. Red hats for Cardinals||1245 A.D.|
|27. Feast of Corpus Christi||1264 A.D.|
|28. The Miraculous scapular||1287 A.D.|
|29. Roman church as the only true church||1303 A.D.|
|30. Cup forbidden to laity at Communion||1415 A.D.|
|31. Purgatory decreed by Council of Florence||1439 A.D.|
|32. Doctrine of the seven sacraments||1439 A.D.|
|33. Tradition of equal authority to the Bible||1545 A.D.|
|34. Justification by works and not faith alone||1545 A.D.|
|35. Creed of Pope Plus IV makes all the unscriptural |
doctrines of Council of Trent binding
|36. Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary||1854 A.D.|
|37. Papal infallibility||1870 A.D.|
|38. Papal decree on mixed marriages -- all marriages not |
celebrated by a Roman priest declared null and void
|39. Pope reaffirms Mary as Mother of God||1931 A.D.|
|40. Assumption of the Virgin Mary||1950 A.D.|
Seeking Truth -- You should read in the same series:--
The Reformation in Prophecy
29 Mountainview Park
Belfast BT14 7GT
Coming soon -- The Scarlet Woman of Revelation
The Author wishes to thank the faithful few whose generous support makes possible the publication of these booklets, also Mrs. D. McCaskill for typing the manuscripts.
AN OPEN-BIBLE PUBLICATION
FIRST EDITION -- AUGUST 1985 SECOND EDITION -- DECEMBER 1985