In the late 1800s and early 1900s, slaughterhouses had a very valuable asset: a goat that was trained to lead sheep to slaughter. This prized possession was called the Judas Goat because, as its name’s sake did, this animal was used as a tool of betrayal.
A hundred years ago, slaughterhouses were often designed as multi-level structures, some reaching as high as five or six stories, each level designed to perform a specific task. It was nearly impossible for a human to lead sheep up the ramp into the higher levels of the slaughterhouses, so a Judas goat was trained to do so. They would place a bell around the goat’s neck, and as it walked up the ramp, the sheep would apathetically follow the goat into the slaughterhouse, blindly walking directly into its demise. The goat would exit a side gate or step aside and leave the sheep to their destruction.
We live in a day where the world and, unfortunately, even the Church, has Judas goats leading people astray, marching them directly towards their own eternal demise. We have world leaders and some church leaders who are focused on deceiving the naïve and the innocent to gain personal wealth and privilege by leading the masses to slaughter.
In the Church, the Judas Goat is the one who places themself above the needs of the flock. Their focus is on themselves, as they desire to be the focus of attention so that they may gain the ability to lead others, often in a legalistic, self-serving way. This person has no desire to be a servant or to be led, rather, they wish to teach others. If they are not in an official leadership position, the Judas Goat will often choose to be in contention with the true shepherd by plotting behind the scenes to achieve influence over the flock to eventually lead some astray.
Scripture Warned of This
Jesus, through the Apostle Peter, warned us of such goats: “There will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies” (2 Peter 2:1). The Apostle Paul warned, “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ” (Colossians 2:8).
Why Do the Sheep Follow the Judas Goat?
Second Timothy 4:3-4 provides an answer to that question, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their desires and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths.”
Unfortunately, churches today seem to be filled with cultural Christians who acknowledge Jesus as Savior but have not accepted Him as Lord. They are comfortable having one foot in the church and the other in the world. On Sunday, they lift their hands to God, but enjoy the carnal life during the week. They seek sermons not renouncing sin and calling for repentance but crave messages of health, wealth, and comfort.
I remember one churchgoer who kept two Facebook accounts, one for her church friends and one for her worldly friends. Everything was fine until the day she posted the wrong message and mixed up the two accounts. To her worldly friends, she posted how much she enjoyed listening to worship music as she dove into God’s Word. To her church Facebook friends, she posted how much she enjoyed the night before as she drank and danced the night away with her “partners of lust.” Neither group was pleased with her post as she outed herself.
The United Nations is a Judas Goat
The U.N. just recently announced it has created a way to safeguard people from destructive information as they oversee an “Internet of Trust” by targeting what it calls “misinformation,” “disinformation,” “hate speech,” and “conspiracy theories.” Their fifty-nine-page document published through UNESCO is entitled “Guidelines for the Governance of Digital Platforms,” which they claim is designed to “Safeguard freedom of expression and access to information through a multistakeholder approach.”
The United Nations’ website proclaims, “The Internet we want is whole and open, universal and inclusive, free-flowing and trustworthy, safe and secure, and rights-respecting.” They also say this new approach/oversight is “a crucial enabler of sustainable development.” The United Nations’ seventeen sustainable development goals are a Judas Goat designed to lead the world to slaughter.
The Appearance of Judas Goats Should Not Be Surprising
Jesus prophesied that “many will fall away” (Matthew 24:10), and the Apostle Paul said the Antichrist cannot be revealed until “the great apostasy” takes place (2 Thessalonians 2:3). In speaking to his spiritual son, Timothy, Paul shows the source of the apostasy prophesying, “Men will hold to a form of religion but will deny its power” (2 Timothy 3:5).
Worldliness is a Judas Goat
Sanctification is the understanding that one is set aside for the purposes of God. When the Church becomes like or tries to model itself after the world, it loses its saltiness (Matthew 5:13). The Apostle John clearly explains this situation when he describes the church in Laodicea: “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth” (Revelation 3:15-16). Christian leaders who model and endorse worldly values and morals act like Judas Goats.
The Judas Goats of Jeremiah
The prophet Jeremiah faithfully warned those in Jerusalem that their service was not proper service — that their time spent with God was more of an abomination than worship. He warned of pending divine judgment, and as he did, the false prophets — the Judas Goats of his day — contradicted his message with the lies that everything would be fine and that God would not bring judgment upon Jerusalem and the Temple. Their words led the nation of Israel to slaughter.
Jeremiah’s ministry took place twenty-six hundred years ago, but his message is still relevant today. In the New Testament, Peter explained, “In the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation'” (2 Peter 3:3-4).
I am amazed and disheartened at how many believers and preachers have decided not to take the coming judgment and the pending Tribulation time seriously. Much like the false prophets of Jeremiah’s time and the scoffers Peter spoke of, we live in a time where the Evangelical Church seems to want to be blind to the fast-approaching hand of God in judgment.
The world is perfectly content with being a Judas Goat and leading the followers of Jesus to slaughter. It is the Church, meaning the people and not a building, that needs to be responsible for sounding the alarm. It must proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord and that all must repent and follow Him. Believers in Christ cannot be like sheep following the Judas Goat to slaughter.
Maranatha, Lord Jesus!