One Shepherd and One Flock in all the Earth

nightFrom the very beginning of the early church the spirit of antichrist has been at work, taking the true church into increasing darkness, as Satan sowed tares amongst the sons of the Kingdom and the spirit of error began to deceive. (see Matthew 13:24-30 and 36-43 explained more fully in the booklet, ‘Trying To understand the End of the Age and the Ages to Come’ Page 61) So it is that we see many churches and many flocks today, not one! 
Jesus foretold that false prophets would arise, saying, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” (Matthew 7:15) This warning was not just for the early church for speaking of the end of the age Jesus said, “At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and hate one another. Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.” (Matthew 24:10-12) False teachers and false prophets need to be discerned.  The apostle, John, exhorts us “not to believe every spirit but to test the spirits to see whether they are from God.” (1John 4:1) The spirit behind all deception is the spirit of antichrist, the spirit that has been at work frustrating the plan of God for His church.
In addition to discerning error we also need to understand the plan of the Lord to bring ‘His’ church, which is the body of Christ, to maturity. It may not be a consideration of many, but unless we understand prophecy of scripture that tells of God’s plan and intention for the true church we can misunderstand the plan of God in the here and now. If we are to walk in the Father’s will we must know and understand His plan and purpose as contained in prophecy as given to us in scripture.
If we do not understand the height to which the Father wishes His sons to attain we can settle for a much lower, compromised reality that leaves true sons in the mixture that the spirit of antichrist has deceived the saints to accept.
But Jesus prophesied that at the end of the age, at the time of harvest, the tares would be separated from the wheat as the stumbling blocks and those who commit lawlessness would be gathered out of His Kingdom and then “the righteous would shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father.” (see Matthew 13:40-43) This is the prophesied future for the true church.
We need to understand that this plan of God cannot be brought forth until the end of the age, not because of the slowness of the Lord, but because of the spiritual battle with the antichrist spirit that has ensued for the last 2000 years. Until the church, which is Jesus’ body, has come to understand and know the truth they cannot walk in freedom. It is knowing the truth that sets us free! (see John 8:31-32)
We might not have considered the spirit of antichrist that the apostle John says was already at work in their midst. (see 1 John 2:18) The nature of the spirit of antichrist is to be understood as being ‘in place of Christ’ rather than being overtly against Him. It produces a counterfeit, a copy that contains some truth so as to deceive. So it is we find many who are part of the true church still mixed with the false and still accepting that which is not scriptural.
However, the intention of the Lord Jesus is to “present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing… that she should be holy and blameless.” (Ephesians 5:27)
The plan of God has always been to “equip the saints for the work of service and to build up the body of Christ until ‘all’ attain to the unity of the faith - not some - and all attain to the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fulness of Christ, ”no longer being “as children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming.” (Ephesians 4:12-14)
God’s intent is that the “whole body” - not part - “being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.” (Ephesians 4:16) 
Some might think this reality is so remote that they cannot believe there can ever be one Shepherd and one flock in all the earth. We might think this is so far from being a reality that we misunderstand what has taken place in the church age and what is now taking place to bring this about.
Church history tells of the early church being enveloped in increasing spiritual darkness but also of God bringing His church into a growing knowledge of the truth.
In the 17th century the battle for truth had reached a stage in England and Scotland that had been gained because of the Bible being translated into the English language centuries earlier. The revelation that man is justified by faith and not by works, that Martin Luther had come to understand in the 16th century, had seen true sons arise across Europe. 
During the English Civil War, (1642-1651) a move of God began to take place in the British Isles that emphasised the need for every believer to be led and taught by the Holy Spirit. Many so called non-conformists from Europe and England had already gone to the American Colonies seeking freedom of conscience to worship God. God was moving in Europe as well as in the British Isles as men’s hearts were being opened by the Spirit of God but it had brought great opposition and persecution. 
The true church was still vulnerable to the wiles of Satan and the spirit of antichrist. Every truth had to be fought for, even at the cost of the lives of many true saints. John Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, first printed in 1563, with particular reference to England and Scotland, tells something of the fierceness of this spiritual battle that cost the lives of so many.
It was immediately after the English Civil War, in 1652, that George Fox (see Notes) found himself on top of Pendle Hill in Lancashire. For some years he had been travelling around England ministering truth to many who were at that time hungry for the reality of God that a Spirit-led walk brings, pointing them to the Holy Spirit as Teacher and who was to be found within. 
On top of Pendle Hill the Lord gave George Fox a vision of the great work of God in the earth, and the way he, himself, was to go forth to begin it! He was shown a people, “as thick as motes in the sun”, that should in time be brought home to the Lord; that there might be one Shepherd and one sheepfold in all the earth
George Fox’s eyes were directed northward beholding a great people that should receive him and his message in those parts.
William Penn recounts that upon this high hill George Fox was moved of the Lord to sound forth His great and notable day, as if he was in a great auditory.
It is a matter of history that from amongst those with whom George Fox shared as he travelled north towards Swarthmoor in the North West of England, those who became the apostles of that day were raised up. The British Isles were to be shaken yet by this mighty move of the Spirit of God that few perhaps realise or have recognised.
We misunderstand the awesomeness of this move of God if we consider it as bringing forth ‘Quakerism’, rather than it being the true church taking a another step in breaking free from the spirit of antichrist. ‘Quakerism’, like all the subsequent moves of God that have resulted in various ‘isms’ came about from this move of God being apostatised. The battle for complete spiritual freedom would have to continue for more than three hundred years more, even to the present day.
But the ultimate purpose of God is clear in scripture, to have the true church, which is the body of Christ, break free and become the one flock under Jesus Headship. 
Speaking to the Jews, Jesus said, “I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one Shepherd.” (John 10:16) 
We misconstrue God’s intent if we justify the various denominations as sheepfolds of the one flock. The purpose of God for the church is not a multitude of various groups but rather one flock of which Jesus is its only Shepherd, all hearing His voice, being His disciples, and taught by the Spirit of Christ within that leads into all Truth. (see 1 John 2:27)
The true church is a level brotherhood that has only one Head, not a hierarchy as we find within the denominations that men have built. Paul explained that the church had “to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the Head, even Christ.” (Ephesians 4:15) 
“One body, and one Spirit, just as we are called to one hope of our calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all, and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:4-6)
Contrary to this, in the name of a ‘unity of the Spirit’ the Ecumenical Movement that emerged in the mid 1950’s has sought to bring forth a uniformity that denies a unity of the faith. This movement has sought to link those in different denominations, each of which have men as their head, rather than Jesus being our only Lord and Master; denominations built on men’s creeds and carnal understanding, even containing a multitude not born again of the Spirit of God. By cunning deception the spirit of antichrist has endeavoured to build a counterfeit of what is God’s prophesied plan. There is, of course, no unity of the Spirit in Ecumenism because a walk in the Spirit is denied and the Holy Spirit is not recognised as Teacher.  Ecumenism upholds a uniformity based on compromise of the truth, allowing varied interpretations of scripture. 
Alarmingly there is now a growing move to link all denominations under Rome. What Luther began 500 years ago in receiving the revelation that man is justified by faith alone and not by works, is being twisted into a compromise that suggests justification by faith does not oppose the works that the Catholic Church upholds, works they teach that can bring salvation and are now calling ‘the works that God has prepared for His true sons to walk in’! It is another deception created by the spirit of antichrist yet many are being deceived into accepting this lie. 
Because God is already separating the tares from among the wheat we are already seeing that which is of the spirit of antichrist being gathered together into bundles. It will continue until the tares are destroyed.
But let us take heart despite the battle being fierce, because Jesus said, “I will build My church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)  
“Thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.” (2 Corinthians 2:14)

Praise God that there will be one Shepherd and one flock in all the earth, the victorious church that Jesus is coming back for.

CW - 2018


  1. George Fox was born in Leicestershire in July 1624 and died in London in January 1691. He left home at the age on nineteen in search of others who were on a similar spiritual journey. He came to be an apostle in his day when God moved mightily in the British Isles, raising up a people who looked to the Holy Spirit as their Teacher and to Jesus Christ as their Head. Throughout his life he was a tireless traveller and preacher, his travels taking him to Ireland, the continent of Europe, and the American colonies. He suffered much persecution and many imprisonments. His account of that time, a spiritual autobiography, can be found in modern day editions of his diary, the ‘Journal of George Fox’ that was first published in 1694. He is more often linked to the form that came to result in ’Quakerism’ but in reality the move of God in his day has many similarities to that which will be the reality of the move of God through the true church at the end of this age. The move of God that George Fox figured in so prominently was a crucial step in the true church breaking out of darkness and which still speaks of the times yet to come.

  2. See Tommy Hicks’ Vision’ that gives an insight into the the nature of the end-time church - “I never saw a church, and I never saw or heard a denomination; but these people were going in the Name of the Lord of hosts.” -

  3. See the section entitled, ‘Separation of the Bride and the Harlot’