John chapter 10
Jesus Christ will now teach us the difference between false shepherds and shepherds of the True Shepherd.
In chapter 9 we saw Jesus give a man who was born blind a new pair of "eyes with which to see". And see he did! He was delivered before the Pharisees, the religious leaders who were supposed to be the shepherds of truth and of the sheep of God's flock, and he saw right through their hypocrisy and wickedness, and so out the door he went, a man free from blindness and the bondage of religion too! Of course the Pharisees excommunicated him, but I'll speculate that as he was leaving he said to them something like, "Let me tell you what you can do with your excommunication papers!"
It therefore logically follows that Jesus Christ will now teach us the difference between false shepherds and shepherds of the True Shepherd. But first we need to know a little about sheep and how they are cared for. You see, shepherds tend their sheep during the day, and at night they "fold" them, i.e. gather them together in a safe place and bed them down for the night. Back then this was often done in a safe haven called a sheepcote or a sheepfold, a place to fold the sheep.
Now that we know what a sheepfold is, it will be much easier to understand the following parable (vs. 6). These are the words of Jesus Christ, the one and only True Shepherd.Sheepfold and Sheepcote.
An inclosure for sheep (Jer. 23:3, Ezek.34:14) whither the flock was ordinarily driven for the night. Many were permanent pens, surrounded by a stone wall (cp. Num. 32:16) and entered by a gate (John 10:1). The wall was often surmounted with branches of thorny shrubs. The sheep lay in the yard under the open sky; but doubtless there were in former days, as there are now, low, flat buildings on the sheltered side of the area, in which the flocks were shut up on cold nights. It was common for several flocks to pass the night in one fold under the care of an under-shepherd. The shepherds came in the morning, and were admitted by the under-shepherd. Each shepherd knew the sheep of his own flock, and was known by them (John 10:3,4). Less substantial inclosures were hastily formed of tangled thorn branches for temporary use on pastures remote from home, and caves and other natural shelters were taken advantage of for protecting the sheep at night, the shepherds camping with their flocks. On ranges exposed to the raids of robbers or hostile tribes, towers were erected, about which the flocks and herds were pastured and at night folded (2 Kings 27:9; 2 Chron. 26:10; Mic. 4:8). ("A Dictionary of the Bible", John D. Davis, Baker Book House, 1958, pg. 706.)
There is only one way to enter into the sheepfold, and that is by the DOOR or the gate.John 10:1
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.
Not only do the false shepherds not enter in through the "Door" but as thieves they steal the birthright and even eternal life from the sheep. But know this: The false shepherd of false shepherds, Satan, is soon coming into the sheepfold to steal ALL the sheep who do not have the seal of the True Shepherd in their foreheads (Rev. 9:4). He will look just like the True Shepherd but he is the Antishepherd, a thief and a robber indeed.But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
But he that enters in by the door is a real shepherd, as opposed to a false one.
He CALLS his own sheep by name and they willfully follow him. He does not have to drive them because they know His voice and follow his lead.To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out.
The sheep know and recognize his voice because they have ears to hear the True Shepherd. But many of the sheep of the True Shepherd, who were born blind, were in times past lead about by different shepherds who had not entered the sheepcote through the door. Then one day they (His sheep) heard the voice of the True Shepherd call them and intuitively knew that it was His Voice. And many marveled why they hadn't heard it before when it is so audible, so crisp and so clear. You see, the voice of the True Shepherd is His Word, not that of a man!And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice.
Once they have heard His Voice, His Word, they can then spot a false shepherd easily because false shepherds speak with their own voice!John 10:5
And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.
Do you understand this parable? Has the shepherd of the sheepfold you are in entered through the door or climbed into the pulpit another way? Here's how you can tell: This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them.
Here we see Jesus, using that sacred name, "I AM", once again, declare that He is the "Door", and it is through that "Door" which one must enter! Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.
Yes, it is true historically, even before Christ's advent, that none of His sheep listened to the thieves and robbers. But you should ask yourself this question: "Before you heard the voice of the True Shepherd, which perked up your ears and you began to hear [understand], just who were you listening to?" All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them.
If you have entered in through the "Door", then not only are you secure and safe and saved, but you are free to go in and out of any sheepfold and find pasture [food], for you have that freedom in Him. In other words you are not trapped in some sheepfold and held there by fear of some rogue shepherd who lords over you. Remember the parents of the blind man? They were afraid that they might be kicked out of the sheepfold, weren't they? Yes, they were afraid they might be outside the sheepcote without a shepherd! You see, if the Lord was their Shepherd, they would have no fear of going in or out! I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
Jesus Christ came to give eternal life, but the thief comes to steal that away and cause the sheep to be slaughtered and perish.John 10:10
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
And so the True Shepherd did become as one of the sheep, even the very Lamb of God, and was killed, crucified, by the thief of thieves and his crooked hirelings. And so it is with a shepherd, let's call him a pastor, who hears and follows the true Voice. He or she cares for the sheep and does not teach for hire or for self glory, but leads the sheep to the true Door, whereby once they are entered into His sheepfold they can now go in and out on their own, without fear or worry because they know that the True Shepherd constantly watches over them. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
Yep, that about sums up the clergy of today. Not very many are willing to take a stand and defend the sheep. Nor do they place real food in the troughs nor "leadeth their flocks to lie down in lush green pastures" to feed on His Word. They are too busy with ceremony and cere-money. They are gutless wonders with scarcely a conviction they can call their own, and they are quick to run from controversy and truth, rather clinging to the traditions of men. They are hirelings all right! They are Judas goats! But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.
The hireling has no real interest in the sheep. It just a ministerial job with health benefits and a 401k. And many are so Biblically illiterate they have no idea what His Voice sounds like! The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.
And though they walk through the valley of death, they will fear no evil: for they know He is with them; and the rod and the staff of the Good Shepherd comforts them (Psalm 23:4). I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.
A Psalm of David.
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
This story is sad but true. There have been many Christians who have followed a "man-shepherd" who eventually let them down or went astray and they suddenly found themselves left outside the sheepcote in the cold, for they had put their trust and faith in that man. However, there is only One True Shepherd, even the Lord Jesus Christ, and if He is your Shepherd then you can listen to any man-shepherd and not fear or be anxious or insecure about tomorrow, because you know where the "door" is, and you recognize His voice when you hear it spoken.It is the Word of God.
This actually poses a real problem for religions, yes even "Christian" religions. You see, when you read and understand God's Word and hear His voice, you discover that there is only one mediator between God and man, and that is the True Shepherd. And in Him we are free to "go in and out", even in and out of the Holy of Holies whereby we can talk directly to our Father. So when we pray [talk to Him] we do not need to dial an 800 number, or pledge $30 a month to some ministry, or go through some other conduit other than that which flows from the Virgin Fountain, or seek the help or voice of some other shepherd. If you really and truly know that, then you will understand how that Christianity is "not a religion", for if He is your Shepherd then there can be "No Man" or "System" that comes between you and God, ONLY the WORD OF GOD! So you are NEVER without a Shepherd, are you?
Jesus has just told us that He is the good Shepherd and knows His sheep and they know Him.
The other sheep that Jesus is referring to here are the gentiles. I think E. W. Bullinger, that great Christian scholar from the early years of this century, in his magnificent book, "How to ENJOY the Bible", gives a great explanation of this. Here are a couple of paragraphs from pg. 146. The topic is the close of the dispensation preceding the Messiah.John 10:15
As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.
 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
And so it was for this purpose that Jesus came into the world to pay the price for all, both Israel and gentile alike, i.e. everyone."During that period (covered by the Gospels and Acts) the called out ones are the "Sheep-fold" of John 10. The assembly was composed of "the lost sheep of the house of Israel." "The Porter" (John the Baptist) opened it and admitted the true Shepherd and the sheep whom He gathered; Baptism (the pool by the sheep-gate) being the mode of admission. Christ was the good Shepherd of these "lost sheep of the House of Israel: thus called out. Hence He was the "door" (vs. 7), and the "shepherd" (vs. 14).
Peter called out the "other sheep" which the Shepherd had (Acts 8 -12), and brought them in to the "one flock" (vs. 16). They were "not of this (Jewish) fold," but Gentiles (as such), who were to become "one flock" with Israelites, who confessed Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God."
He was given that power as the next verse will document. So He knew that He would rise again on the 3rd Day.Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.
We have already seen that no one could touch Him because it was not His hour, it was not the appointed time. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
Especially, as we have noted before and will do so again, between the real Judahites and those imposters who claim to be of Judah, but are not.John 10:19
There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings.
These "many" who would be accusing Christ, are the offspring of the "great accuser" of our brethren. They said then, and they still say today, "Why do you listen to Him?" And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him?
Satan can only close your eyes or keep them closed. Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?
Do you know what this feast is? Did you know that there is no appointed feast of God in the winter? Let's read of this feast of the dedication in Smith's Bible Dictionary under the heading "festivals": And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter.
The name this feast goes by is "Hanukkah"."After the Captivity, and in later times, there was the Feast of the Dedication, in memory of the fresh consecration of the temple after it had been profaned by Antiochus Epiphanes (1 Macc. 4:52-59), B.C. 164 (John 10:22). It was held beginning on the 15th day of the 9th month (December) and lasted eight days. The modern Jews light one light on the first day, two on the next, etc. (8 on the last), making it a "Feast of Lights" (Ant. 12. 7,7). Business and jollity going on as usual."
Knowing that we have just been given the time of the year, then why do you suppose Jesus walked in the temple to Solomon's porch? Of course there was a reason, or it wouldn't be given to us. There is a purpose and lesson to be learned from each and every action of the Messiah. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon's porch.
Jesus walked there in order to have the following conversation with those who had worked their way into the temple and were now in charge. Remember we discussed the Nethinim in our last study and how Christ said that the scribes and Pharisees sit in the seat of Moses? It was Solomon who built the temple and who first brought those non-Israelite temple workers, the Nethinims, into God's House. You can look up the definition of "Nethinim" in your Strong's Concordance, but here's a few excerpt's from The Dictionary of the Bible, by John D. Davis.
Nethinim, in A.V. Nethinims [given].
[Now pay close attention to next two sections.]Temple servants or slaves given by David and the princes for the service of the Levites (Ezra 8:20). Prior to their appointment, similar functions seem to have been discharged by the Midianites, whom Moses gave over to the Levites (Num. 31:47), and at a subsequent period by the Gibeonites, whom Joshua assigned as hewers of wood and drawers of water for the house of God (Josh. 9:23). Even after the Nethinim were associated with them or superceded them, the number of the Nethinim may have been too small for the elaborate temple services instituted by David's son and successor, and been increased; for we find in the books of Ezra (2:55-58) and Nehemiah (7:57-60) the children of Solomon's servants, i.e. slaves, mentioned after and numbered with the Nethinim. Although they were organized by David, it was probably under a different name; for the word Nethinim occurs only in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, with a solitary passage in 1 Chron. 9:2. They discharged the more menial duties required by the temple worship. Of the Nethinim and the children of Solomon's servants, 392 returned from captivity with Zerubbabel (Ezra 2:58; Neh. 7:60), and 220 more with Ezra (Ezra 8:17-20).
[That's correct. Foreigners, i.e. kenites, became the scribes for the lazy Levites. It would be these scribes that would work their way "up the ladder", so to speak, and eventually sit in the seat of Moses by the time Christ arrived at His first advent.]The Nethinim seem to have been naturalized foreigners rather than people of true Israelite descent (1 Chron. 9:2. Ezra 2:59; Neh. 7:61), and several of the names on the list of their leading men have a foreign aspect (Ezra 2:43-54; Neh. 7:46-56)...
The children of Tabbaoth and Keros, and of Solomon's servants the children of Sophereth (Ezra 2:43,44,55), which mean the children of rings, of the weaver's comb, and of the scribal office, apparently denote the official duties in the temple which the men of these classes discharged.
[The tower of Ophel, where these kenites lived, was above the conduit through which the water from the Virgin Fountain flowed into the Pool of Siloam. So even though these false shepherds of the sons of Cain were in charge of the temple, the Living Water flowed right beneath them. Talk about symbolic?]Some of them lived on Ophel, a southern prolongation of the temple hill...
[Now there's a surprise! Kenites avoiding taxes! Just shows there is nothing new under the sun.]Holding an official position at the temple, although the office was menial, they were exempt from imperial taxation (Ezra 7:24).
Yes, they embraced the covenant so cordially! Bah humbug! They embrace only the gods of money, power and ego! But at least now you should have a little better understanding of the mixing in of the kenites into the temple and their claim to be of the tribe of Judah. And yet the major portion of these "foreigners", i.e. kenites, would later in history be mixed in with Judah. That occurred around 650-750 A.D. Read the article in the Encyclopedia Britannica (preferably an older version) about the "Khazars". Here is one paragraph:They seem to have adopted with some cordiality the covenant made at the instance of Nehemiah to worship Jehovah (Neh. 10:28,29).
You should also look up the meaning of the word "Khazar". You see, it was not Christ's sheep from His sheepfold (which included Judah) that crucified Him. It was those robbers and murderers who had entered in another way. Of course Judah has been blamed for it."Khazar civilization shows a fairly complex texture and their religious life raises more than one problem. Christianity, Islam, Judaism and some sort of "pagan" worship are all attested by sources. About 740 the Khazar ruler - and probably the greater part of the ruling classes - were converted to Judaism. The circumstances of their conversion remain obscure, the depth of the Jewish layer difficult to assess; the fact itself is, however, undisputed and unparalled in the history of central Eurasia."
So let's now return to Solomon's porch during the celebration of Hannakah and see what the imposters, those who claim to be of Israel, but are not, yet who are in charge of the temple have to say to the Messiah.
Again, as we have noted before, the Greek word Ioudous, translated "Jews", means either a person of the tribe of Judah or a resident of Judea, which was also where the Nethimin lived.John 10:24
Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.
They want Jesus to just say, "I am the Messiah", and yet these thieving, murderous, rogue shepherds have already seen the miracles Jesus has performed, and Jesus already said several times, I AM, but they didn't "hear" Him.
There is a reason they did not believe.Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me.
They were not children of Abraham. Remember, they were FOREIGNERS claiming to be descendents of Abraham. Worse yet, they were not only liars (Rev. 2:9; 3:9) but they were direct descendents of their father Cain, whose father was Satan himself. Remember Christ told them just that in John 8:44 - 47? They were not of God. They were of Satan, the devil. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
Had the scribes and Pharisees been who they claimed to be, they would have followed Christ .Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathaea were who they claimed to be, and they did follow Him, didn't they?John 10:27
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
One more verse:
He meant every word of John 3:16. And when you are of the sheepfold of the True Shepherd, no little goat herder can close your eyes and lead you blindly off into some other sheepcote! And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
The Jews had encircled Jesus (vs. 24) and demanded that He say the words, "I am the Christ". However, Jesus already told them that, but they didn't believe Him, even in light of all the works and miracles He performed that could obviously ONLY be from the Father. And He also told them the reason they didn't believe Him is that they were NOT His sheep.
Jesus then told the Jews that He gives eternal life to His sheep who know and hear His voice and that they shall never perish. Furthermore, He made it quite clear that no one can undo that which He does nor take away anything or anyone from His hand (vs. 28).
And the reason they couldn't take anyone from His hand is because God Almighty, His Father, the most powerful One in the universe, gave them to Him, and NO ONE takes anything out of the Father's hand, least of all some puny man.
There is much comfort in this verse.You see, once you are in His sheepfold you cannot be stolen or plucked out. Jesus Christ will not permit it. As it is written concerning these last days, no one can touch you if you have the seal of God, His Word, locked in your forehead (Rev. 9:4). So with that kind of security and guarantee why would anyone need to fly away in the Rapturemobile? As Paul wrote in Ephesians chapter 6, we are to put on the Gospel Armor and take a stand, not run or fly away!John 10:29
My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.
The strength of the Almighty is with Christ. Verse 38 will explain.John 10:30
I and my Father are one.
Uh oh! Now they are really "ticked off". Jesus has made Himself at one with the Father. Time to do the mature, adult, religious thing. Pick up stones and throw them.Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.
But wait just minute! Jesus has a little question for ya'll!
This question is so perfect as it will cause these hypocrites to admit they ARE NOT stoning Him because of His "good" works. This will put them in a difficult position because you see, this subject of works and miracles will come up again as soon as they are once again put to shame for not knowing the scriptures they claim to know and teach! Here is their answer: Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?
There was no doubt in their minds that He was making Himself equal with God. The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.
OK fellas, it is once again time for your Bible lesson.
Have you ever noticed how Jesus always prefaced His answers to the scribes and Pharisees with,"It is written", or "Is it not written?", or "Haven't you read?" They claimed to be knowledgeable shepherds, trustees of the Laws of God, you know? What better way to convict them than by (1) scriptural documentation and (2) common sense reasoning!John 10:34
Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?
So Jesus quoted Psalms 82:6 to them.
And now the perfect explanation by the Messiah, to which these goons have no "come back", no intelligent rebuttal, because the point is so well made.Psalm 82:6
I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.
If those to whom the Word of God came were called gods, i.e. elohim or sons of God (the Hebrew word for children in Ps. 82:6 is "ben", which means "son of") and the scripture cannot be broken;John 10:35
If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;
Then how can you say that the One whom the Father has sanctified, and sent into the world, and given such credentials to through mighty "good" works, is a blasphemer? Hmmm?Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?
Like I said, there is no logical nor scriptural argument that be made in defense of their stated reason why they were going to stone Him. Therefore:
Back to the subject of works. Christ has totally undermined their "blasphemy" accusation using scripture and common sense and now He tells them if they can prove that the works He did were not good and of God, then they should have cause and justification to not believe in Him. If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.
But who on earth are they going to convince that healing the sick and giving sight to the blind (on their own merits) is a bad thing?
Jesus then says, "Just focus a minute on the works and the miracles! They ought to tell you something, at least that God is present, that the Father is in me and I in Him."
If a person has any spiritual sensibility about them at all then it should be self-evident that the Father was in Him. Never in the history of the world has any man performed such wonders.John 10:38
But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.
Also, notice the further explanation of verse 10, "I and the Father are One", that "The Father is in me, and I in Him."
Hey, where's the wisdom and rebuttal from the great scripture lawyers, the mouthy Pharisees? They are LOSERS! Therefore they sought again to take him: but he escaped out of their hand,
And to prove that they are losers, they try to "take" Him again. They tried this before, but it didn't work! Remember, "Now you see Him, now you don't?"
Note from the Companion Bible: This was in December, and He remained away till April, visiting Bethany (11:1) in the interval, and spending the latter part of the time at the city of Ephraim (11:54). And went away again beyond Jordan into the place where John at first baptized; and there he abode.
So Jesus went back to the place where John the Baptist taught and first baptized. This would naturally lend itself to bringing up the subject of John the Baptist and the things he taught and said.
Many to whom the ministry of John the Baptist had left a lasting impression came [resorted] unto Him. Notice that it wasn't necessary for them to see a miracle. Just the witnessing of the exact fulfillment of so many scriptures which could not be denied, declared Jesus Christ as Messiah. And you know what? It still does to this very day. And many resorted unto him, and said, John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man were true.
What a marvelous teacher, the Word of God. And many believed on Him there.
In chapter 11 we are going see Jesus perform the 7th miracle, or sign as John calls them, in this Gospel of John. Jesus is going to raise a man from the dead! But not just any man to show He can do it! He will raise one named Lazarus, and for a very special reason, to teach a very special lesson to those with eyes to see and ears to hear. So try not to be too busy and miss it! It is amazing indeed!
The "American Wisdom Series"
Rhine Publishing Co.
E-mail address - firstname.lastname@example.org
If you would like to have your essay published
as part of the American Wisdom Series
submit your manuscript to Rhine Publishing Co
at the address above for consideration, or e-mail us
at the address shown on our home page.
Click Here to Return to "The American Wisdom Series" home page.