“And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD.” (Zech. 11:13)
This verse in Zechariah was fulfilled when Judas betrayed Christ for thirty pieces of silver:
“Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself. And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury, because it is the price of blood.”And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter’s field, to bury strangers in. Wherefore that field was called, The field of blood, unto this day. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was valued, whom they of the children of Israel did value” (Matt. 27:3-9)
But why was Jeremiah mentioned here, while it was Zechariah who wrote about it? Well, there is indeed a coded connection. Let’s start in Jeremiah 18:
“The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. Then I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.”(vv. 1-6)
The potter here refers to God and we are the clay. And like the potter, God is implying that –
“when a lump of clay that he designed to form into one shape either proved too stiff, or had a stone in it, or some way or other came to be marred in his hand, he presently turned it into another shape; if it will not serve for a vessel of honour, it will serve for a vessel of dishonour, just as seems good to the potter.” (Matthew Henry Commentary)
To better understand this subject, let’s further consider the steps in pottery making:
Lessons from …THE MASTER POTTER
There are seven important steps in pottery making. First, let us briefly examine these seven steps. Then we shall draw the crucial spiritual analogy — how God actually develops spiritual character within the lives of the ‘clay models’ with whom He is directly dealing.
Seven Vital Steps
(1) The master potter must first SELECT the type of clay which he wants to use in making a specific piece of pottery. There are many types and colors of clays — each with its own particular advantages.
(2) The potter then lets this clay age, weather, or ferment — until it ‘STINKS’ and is therefore ready for use.
(3) Next, the potter WEDGES — kneads, beats, treads upon or pummels — the clay to remove lumps, air bubbles, etc., and to make it more pliable.
(4) The potter is then ready to begin actually shaping and forming the clay into whatever shape or design he has chosen. Throughout this process it is necessary to add WATER or OIL to keep the clay malleable.
(5) Once the potter has shaped the clay, he then puts it into a furnace (or kiln) where it is heated until it reaches its “maturing point.” This initial BAKING, or FIRING in the furnace, permanently sets or hardens the vessel in its desired form so that it can never be altered.
(6) After the first firing of the clay model, it is removed from the fire, let cool, DECORATED and finally glazed over. This newly-glazed pottery is then given a second firing to bake these decorations onto the clay model. (There are often several decorations and firings before the pottery vessel reaches its ultimate perfection of beauty. The FINAL DECORATIVE WORK may include fine gold, silver or other beautiful and precious metals arrayed in artistic patterns.)
(7) Finally the potter is ready to JUDGE his work. If the clay model hasn’t cracked, exploded or become marred in some way during these firings, it is at last ready to be used in whatever manner the designer and creator may decide.
(From The Good News, September-October 1970)
Now that we have mentioned the seven vital steps in pottery making, let’s consider what the prophet Zechariah discussed in verse 13 – the “potter in the house of the LORD”; and when we compare it to that of the account in Matthew 27, the thirty pieces of silver was thrown back “to the chief priests and elders” in the temple!
Were those priests and elders, the same people being referred to by Zechariah as the “potter in the house of the Lord”?
Well, as we shall see, they are without a doubt one and the same, since they were responsible for molding and shaping the minds of the people. The priests and the elders were supposed to be God’s hands in molding and shaping the spiritual image of the people to conform to that of the image of God Father.
But what have they done? They did just the opposite – they formed and shaped the minds of the people to conform unto THEIR image which is actually SATAN’S. Even Judas Iscariot became conformed to the image of Satan and he was even called the “son of perdition”! While Judas became a vessel of dishonor, Jesus Christ formed and shaped the minds of His disciples to conform unto the image of His Father in heaven and they became a vessel of honor and were eventually called the “sons of God.”
“Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?” (Isa. 45:9)
“Hands” in this verse is the same Hebrew word that was used in Zechariah 4:9 and in the Strong’s Concordance it means this way:
“a hand – the open one indicating power, means, direction, etc., ministry, power”
The ministers are supposed to be God’s hands in doing His Work and of molding and shaping the minds of every member in God’s Church to conform unto the image of God the Father.
Now let’s see how a mere lump of clay could strive and contend with the Master Potter – in Luke 22we read: “And the chief priests and scribes sought how they might kill him (Jesus Christ); for they feared the people. Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray him unto them. And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money. And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray him unto them in the absence of the multitude.” (vv. 2-6)
Would it also be true today if we say that the ministry is responsible for such actions, whether they form a vessel of honor conforming to the image of God or shape a vessel of dishonor conforming to the image of Satan? Is Christ coming in their flesh or is it Satan coming in their flesh? Depending on who is coming in their flesh, the resultant product will become a type of which vessel has been made – unto honor or unto dishonor – and God is allowing it as He sees fit in His plan. (2 Tim.2:20-21)
In physical man, made of the dust of the ground, God created the material with which He may mold, shape, form and create the spiritual being. He pictures us as the clay, Himself as the Potter—forming us into the spiritual image of His designing. (Royal Vision, May-June 2003)
As the Apostle Paul wrote: “Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory” (Rom. 9:21-23)
“Hath not the potter power over the clay – The apostle continues his answer to the Jew. Hath not God shown, by the parable of the potter, Jer. 18:1, etc., that He may justly dispose of nations, and of the Jews in particular, according as He in his infinite wisdom may judge most right and fitting; even as the potter has a right, out of the same lump of clay, to make one vessel to a more honorable and another to a less honorable use, as his own judgment and skill may direct; for no potter will take pains to make a vessel merely that he may show that he has power to dash it to pieces?” (Clarke’s Commentary)
Is it possible then that the ministers in God’s Church could also form and shape an individual’s mind through the use of their own human nature which is actually Satan’s nature, and while in utter ignorance, they are actually molding that individual in conformance to the image of Satan? And if that would be so, then it is tantamount to being called a carved image of Satan, spiritually speaking! A very good example is Judas Iscariot, who is even called “the SON of perdition” – and who is his FATHER? Satan the devil!
Christ even told the Pharisees:
“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”(John 8:44)
Again for emphasis, if a so called minister in God’s Church form and shape an individual’s mind through the use of their own human nature will eventually be conformed to the image of Satan, then that individual shall actually become a spiritual graven image of Satan the devil.
The same is true on the opposite side of it, when a minister in God’s Church form and shape an individual’s mind using God’s Holy Spirit, that individual shall be conformed to the image of God the Father. That’s why our REPENTANCE MUST BE TOWARDS GOD, so that we shall be converted and conformed unto the image of God.
As we can see from the verses in Zechariah and in Matthew, how important the role of the priests or the ministers is: Being a potter in God’s Church, they are accountable to God for whatever happens to the clay (lay member) once it has taken its final form. The Apostle Paul asks; “Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?” (Rom. 9:21)
Notice what Pastor General Gerald Flurry told the ministers during the 2014 Ministerial Conference held last June 18-24 in Armstrong Auditorium in Edmond, Oklahoma:
‘Special blessings’ of instruction, correction for God’s ministry
Lectures at 2014 ministerial conference reflect urgency of the times, seriousness of the ministerial calling
The pastor general’s four two-hour lectures set a sobering tone for the conference, held in Armstrong Auditorium. Mr. Flurry painted a detailed picture of end-time events—some already fulfilled, some unfolding, and others just ahead—particularly focusing on prophecies in the book of Ezekiel...
Mr. Flurry’s messages were sobering and motivating, underscoring the accountability of the ministerial calling, often directly corrective, and urgent…
Mr. Flurry concluded his final message by emphasizing to the ministers how important it is to recognize and resist their own human nature in carrying out their jobs. He read Paul’s statement in Hebrews 5:2 that ministers are themselves “compassed with infirmity,” susceptible to mistakes, humanly incapable, and deeply reliant upon God to provide leadership of any value to God’s people. “Realize who the Head of this Church is!” Mr. Flurry said. “Be attuned to Him and back Him every way we possibly can. That is the only way to make this work!” (by Joel Hilliker, p. 4, The Philadelphian, July 3, 2014)
Now ask yourself: To whose IMAGE are you being conformed into – the image of God the Father through His Holy Spirit or the image of Satan through the minister’s own human nature?