"God's people often follow a leader of Satan's choice into evil and eventual disaster..." - Illustrations From Nature
"Sheep-herders train a bell-wether to lead the rest of the sheep, sometimes to their destruction. The leader is drilled to respond to his master's whistle, then wherever the wether goes, the rest of the sheep follow. By this means an entire flock is enticed to board a truck. After it is loaded, the gate is closed and then the bell-wether is whisked out of the truck by a different route, only to be used to lead another flock into another truck. In this manner an entire herd has been loaded and dispatched on its way to the slaughterhouse. God's people often follow a leader of Satan's choice into evil and eventual disaster..." - Illustrations From Nature
What exactly is a "bell-wether"? It is the leading sheep of the flock which leads the rest of the sheep to their destruction.
Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary also includes this general definition - "one that takes the lead or the initiative; an indicator of trends."
If the "bell-wether" is raised up by God to be an "initiator" or an "indicator of trends" in the Body of Christ, that is one thing; but to have such a one in a crucial position of authority raised up by Satan is a matter of great concern.
This one is raised up as a pointer or a gauge of the general direction or movement...drift...prevailing tendency or inclination... swing...or current style or preference of a people.
There have been many leaders who were placed in positions of authority who had such power and influence over a people. But how devastating it was when they were raised up by Satan, for they swiftly led the people away from God's purpose for their lives and into every imaginable evil.
These Satanically-inspired "bell-wethers" do not necessarily have to be preachers or ministers. They simply are "false," "deceitful," "unruly," "vain," and "ungodly" leaders placed across our paths in some way, shape, or form - whether it be in the church...job force... friendly neighborhood atmosphere... media...sports realm... entertainment field...music industry...or government.
The Scriptures allude to such leaders -
2 John 1:7 says - "For many deceivers are entered into the world...This is a deceiver..."
2 Corinthians 11:13 says - "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers..."
Titus 1:10 says - "For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers..."
2 Peter 2:19 says - "While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption..."
Jude 4 says - "For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men..."
How do they do their insidious work?
The Bible informs us of their ways -
Isaiah 9:15 says - "...teacheth lies..."
Jeremiah 14:14 says - "...prophesy lies in My name... prophesy unto you...the deceit of their heart."
Jeremiah 23:14 says - "...walk in lies..."
Jeremiah 23:32 says - "...cause My people to err by their lies..."
Jeremiah 28:15 says - "...makest this people to trust in a lie."
It cannot be overly stressed that Satan's personal "bell-wether" for your life does not necessarily have to be someone found in a pulpit or in the church house. It can be a co-worker - seeking your friendship, or even an acquaintance - seeking your hand in marriage.
Other mannerisms of Satan's "bell-wethers" - as seen throughout the Scriptures - include -
Jeremiah 23:13 says - "...caused My people Israel to err."
Jeremiah 23:14 says - "...strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness..."
Jeremiah 28:16 says - "...thou hast taught rebellion against the LORD."
Zephaniah 3:4 says - "...they have done violence to the law."
Acts 20:30 says - "Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them."
Galatians 1:7 says - "...but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ."
Colossians 2:4 says - "And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words."
1 Timothy 4:2 says - "Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron."
2 Peter 2:1 says - "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..."
2 Peter 2:2 says - "And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of."
2 Peter 2:3 says - "And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you..."
Jude 4 says - "...turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness..."
The words of the Apostle John sound out loud and clear as a warning to us all in these last days - these difficult, perilous, and wretched times when all kinds of vices are having full reign -
3 John 1:11 says - "Beloved, follow not that which is evil..."
In other words, what John was telling us - while under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost - was that we should not mimic, copy, or simulate the wickedness, depravity, or worthlessness that surrounds us.
We must be forewarned and stay alert to the "bell-wethers" which Satan would send across our paths to lead us into destruction and ruin. These "bell-wethers" can fall into two basic categories -
1. False Prophets
Matthew 7:15 says - "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves."
These include any and all Bible teachers who propagate incorrect and erroneous doctrines. They attack the truth - teaching that which is contrary to the truth and that which cheats their followers of all truth.
So as not to be easily identified, they come disguised in "sheep's clothing." They assume the appearance of holiness and godliness - only to "pocket" your money and assets in the end. They preach for hire - are "money-loving preachers."
Oftentimes, their ministries include lying signs and wonders to deceive even the very elect.
1 John 2:18 says - "Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time."
These are any and all persons who seek to drive us from God and His people into the crooked paths of evil. They oppose His reign in the world, their own lives, and our lives. They vehemently seek to lower the Gospel standard of holiness, godliness, and purity of heart in order to get us to conform to the spirit of the world.
They include every and all wicked people.
We must realize that Satan will raise them up in our lives to act in place of Christ. Their whole intent is to cause us to "lose out" with God and become as they are - rebellious and lawless.
At this point in the message, it is very important that we ask ourselves some heart-searching questions -
...Are we following that which is evil?
...At the present time, is there a "bell-wether" - raised up by Satan - who is seeking to pull us away from God and everything that pertains to His kingdom and righteousness?
...Is there someone whom we are mimicking, copying, or emulating - who is actually teaching us rebellion and causing us to believe lies instead of the Truth?
...Can we be honest enough with ourselves to admit it?
Never forget - The purpose of the "bell-wether" is to round up the sheep to take them to the slaughterhouse.
Is your destination the "slaughterhouse"?
You can stop that today.
Get out of the line - so to speak - leading to ruin and destruction, and turn your life completely over to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Determine that - from this day forward - you will be on a vigilant watch for any who would dare to teach you rebellion or cause you to lower your godly standards in order to simply "fit in" to their society.
Cry out like never before for Holy Ghost boldness and strength to reject any and all persons who would come your way - seeking to draw you away from the Lord Jesus and His Word.
Don't compromise. Don't lower your Gospel standards for any one. Reject the lies of the "bell-wether" - no matter how convincing he may seem.
Stay in the Word and you will be sure to stay out of the "slaughterhouse."