Pictured above is a misleading deception and betrayal of trust. The sheep are unwittingly following this trained goat directly into the slaughterhouse. This goat is known as a “Judas goat.” The Judas goat is trained to associate with sheep, befriend them, and then lead them to a specific destination. In stockyards, a Judas goat will lead sheep into the chute for slaughter, where it alone is removed and spared.
In the Lord’s “little flock” was a spiritual goat that gave our modern Judas goat his name. Even in that first church was one that Jesus described as “a devil” (Jn. 6:70). Judas was at the bottom of much of the arguing, strife and discontent in the Lord’s flock (see Jn 12:4-6). I believe firmly that much strifewithin the church comes from people who are religious but unsaved members – often in positions of authority, as Judas was. He was an apostle and church treasurer, but he was lost. I wonder how much trouble is caused in the church today because of involved but unregenerated deacons, Sunday School teachers, musicians, and ministry leaders?
In the Garden of Gethsemane, it was Judas that betrayed the Lord, the Lamb of God, into the hands of the enemy, effectively delivering Him to the slaughter.
Satan still employs Judas goats today. These people – unsaved false professors, carnal and worldly Christians, or bitter backsliders operating in the flesh – are a hindrance and a nuisance to the local church. These scornful, critical, gossipy members cause strife, bring division, mislead people from the Lord, and seek to split members and families away from the church God put them in.
In these days of the Internet, email, blogs, forums and social networking, it has become even easier for Judas goats to mislead and disrupt the unity of a local church. Christians need to remember that we have been called to follow a pastor as he follows Christ – and not a friendly goat that may be leading us towards the slaughterhouse door.