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|February, 2017 (5777)||Vol. 43 No. 2|
Other Sheep I Have
Jerusalem of God, Chapter 10
By Dr. Elias E. Hidalgo
Relationships between human beings are one of the hardest tasks assigned to us, especially, if one is to practice the Scriptural injunction, "...Love thy neighbor as thyself." In the Book of I Corinthians 10:32, we read, "...Give none offense, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the Church of GOD." The formula for not offending, either Jews, Gentiles, or the members of the Church of GOD, is found in I Corinthians 13! "...Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up. Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Love never faileth." Also, we read in I John 4:7-11, "...Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of GOD; and every one that loveth is born of GOD, and knoweth GOD. He that loveth not knoweth not GOD: for GOD is love. In this was manifested the love of GOD toward us because that GOD sent His Son into the World, that we might live through Him. Herein is love, not that we loved GOD, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation (SUBSTITUTE) for our sins. Beloved, if GOD so loved us, we ought also to love one another."
Now we know, that in spite of our frailties, weaknesses, and even prejudices, The LORD has commanded, that we love one another; and this can only be properly executed through Him, Who is the personification of LOVE, The Almighty GOD of heaven and earth.
Jesus our LORD, in The Gospel according to John speaks of 'two' entities of people; Jewish and Gentile. One is referred to as, "My Sheep", the other as, "Other Sheep". It is the "Other Sheep", that I would like to focus on, that is, the Gentile people.
The term 'Gentile', simply means, 'Nations' or 'Members of the Nations', with the exclusion of the people of Israel, who are not counted as part of The Nations or Gentiles! From the days of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, GOD's dealings with the Gentiles was minimal, until after the days of Jesus our LORD, especially, through the call and commission of the Apostle Saul-Paul, our LORD began a mighty work of SALVATION amongst the Gentiles, but not to the exclusion of the Jewish people.
As the Gentile believers need to safeguard themselves, not to leave out the Jewish people from their love, and caring witness of Christ Jesus; so also, the Jewish believers must maintain the same standard, of GOD's Love.
We, as believers in Jesus, as our LORD and King, must remember, that The Good News of Salvation, is to be presented, according to Romans 1:16, "...to the Jew First, and also to the Gentile." For the Gentile-Christian, the responsibility, lies in presenting The Gospel 'to the Jew first', and for the Jewish-Christian, the rule of Scriptural order is, to be "a light of the Nations (the Gentiles)" (Isaiah 42:6).
The problem in observing this, sometimes, is a lack of love and true understanding that with GOD, there is no respecter of person, while at the same time, He (GOD) has set forth, in orderliness, the 'best' way of evangelizing 'all men', that is, "...to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile"!
Even though our LORD Jesus Christ did not personally minister to Gentile people, generally speaking, He surely made provisions for them to be incorporated into the Kingdom of Heaven. In case you remember a couple of occasions in The New Testament in which our LORD Jesus does speak and minister unto several Gentile people, you are correct! You see, Christ Jesus said in Matthew 10: 5-7, as He sent forth His disciples, and commanded them, saying, "...Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the House of Israel (The Jewish people). And as ye go, preach, saying, The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand." Also in Matthew 15:24, our LORD Jesus Christ said, "...I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the House of Israel." Even Saul-Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, in Romans 15:8, said of Jesus our LORD, "...that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision (the Jewish people) for the truth of GOD, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob)."
Now, the Apostle Saul-Paul states his case in Romans 15:16, in regards to his ministry, "...that I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering The Gospel of GOD, that the offering up of the Gentiles, might be acceptable, being sanctified by The Holy Spirit." The Apostle Saul-Paul a minister unto the Gentiles, still proceeds to set forth the proper order in presenting The Gospel. We find this in Romans 1:16, "...For I am not ashamed of The Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of GOD unto Salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile."
Again, I must restate, that although, Jesus of Nazareth did not minister but to a few Gentile people, He did make provision for the members of The Nations in His over-all scheme of redemption. To GOD be the glory.
We see a beautiful presentation of this in The Gospel according to John 10: 1-18; "...Verily, verily (of a truth), 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. But he that entereth in by the door is The Shepherd of the sheep. To Him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear His Voice: and He calleth His own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth His own sheep, He goeth before them, and the sheep follow Him: for they know His Voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which He spake unto them. Then said Jesus unto them, again, verily, verily, I say unto you, I AM THE DOOR of the sheep. All that ever came before Me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I AM THE DOOR: by Me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. 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. I AM THE GOOD SHEPHERD: The Good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I AM THE GOOD SHEPHERD, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. 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. Therefore, doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have the power to lay it down, and I have the power to take it again. This commandment have I received of MY FATHER."
Now, before we go any further, I would ask that you follow along with me, in order to properly discern Jesus our LORD's love for you as a Gentile! Verses 1 through 15 applies primarily to Jewish people; notice in verse one, Jesus our LORD said, "...I say unto you", have you every wondered who the 'you' exactly is? Well, it was the Jewish people that Jesus was speaking about and to. Now, don't get me wrong, you don't have to be Jewish to be able to understand Holy Writ. On the other hand, let's be fair and honest, and accept once and for all the fact that GOD chose the Jewish people to, receive, preserve, and transmit The Word of GOD, for your benefit. Thanks be unto our LORD.
PLEASE notice, what Romans 3:1-2 says to us, "...What advantage then hath the Jew? Or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed THE ORACLES OF GOD." That is, The Holy Bible, both the Old Testament and the New Testament.
By the way, it wasn't simply a matter of speaking to 40 Jewish men, who in turn wrote The Holy Scriptures over a period of 1,500 years, but rather, the whole of The Nation of Israel (the Jewish people), had to live each word, each sentence, each paragraph, each chapter, each book. Yes, Book by Book, and generation after generation.
Yes, the House of Israel has written with its own blood often times the events recorded in Holy Writ, and all of this under the inspiration of The Spirit of The Almighty GOD. (see: II Timothy 3:16).
As a result, you and I should be or could be blessed today, in reading GOD's love letter, that is, Genesis to Revelation! Therefore, in John 10:1-15 Jesus our LORD is addressing Himself primarily and solely to His brethren according to the flesh, His kinsmen! When we begin reading in verse 16, we are brought face to face with the realization that our LORD Jesus Christ is looking far beyond the regions of Israel, yes, even unto the whole world. He said, "OTHER SHEEP I HAVE", which accentuates the fact that, The Sheep spoken of in the first fifteen verses come from a different flock! Yes my friend, here you have sheep from a Jewish entity, as well as from a Gentile entity. Although Jesus Himself, did not minister to Gentile people, but rather to His own, that is, the Jewish people; He nevertheless, speaks in John 10 of you, a Gentile, being brought into the fold.
Please notice also that, although Jesus our LORD speaks of two folds (Jewish and Gentile): they both shall be One, and have One Shepherd. In Ephesians 2:11-14. The Apostle Saul-Paul follows up on this by the inspiration of The Spirit of GOD, "Wherefore remember, that ye being in times past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called uncircumcision by that which is called the circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the Commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without GOD in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the Blood of Christ. For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us..." Notice the condition of the Gentile people as mentioned in verse 12:
(1) ALIENS FROM THE COMMONWEALTH OF ISRAEL.
(2) STRANGERS FROM THE COVENANTS OF PROMISE.
(3) HAVING NO HOPE.
(4) WITHOUT GOD IN THE WORLD.
What a sad, sad position to be in, and yet in verse 13 we see the grace and mercy of The Almighty GOD upon you as a Gentile. "...But NOW IN CHRIST JESUS ye (Gentiles) who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ." Also in Ephesians 3:6, the Apostle Saul-Paul tells the Gentiles, "...That the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same (One) body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by The Gospel."
So you see, the very words of Jesus that, "OTHER SHEEP I HAVE" (speaking of The Gentile People), and being brought into One fold (with the Jewish People), and having One Shepherd (Jesus of Nazareth), is exactly what The Apostle Saul-Paul is speaking about in Ephesians 2 and 3!
Therefore, Gentile believers in Jesus Christ our LORD, are as much a part of the JERUSALEM OF GOD, as Jewish believers are, because, whether one is a Jewish or a Gentile individual, we know that SALVATION IS OF GOD, and, He chose it to be from JERUSALEM, ISRAEL!
I would like to point out (at least, this is how I see it), that when a Jewish person accepts Christ as LORD and SAVIOUR, they become a 'JEWEL' for Him; and when a Gentile accepts Christ as LORD and SAVIOUR, they become a 'GEM' for Him! Whether you are a Jewel or a Gem, please understand, that our status and position before GOD is due to His Grace, Mercy, Tenderness, and Love, for you and me, even, "...While we were yet unlovely." So, as a Gentile believer in Christ Jesus, you are part of "the mystery", spoken of by The Apostle Saul-Paul in Ephesians 3:8-9, "...Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in GOD, Who created all things by Jesus Christ."
THE MYSTERY, spoken of by The Apostle Saul-Paul is the 'SALVATION' of the Gentiles. To know and understand this, is to realize how much GOD loves you. Before the days of Christ Jesus our LORD, the only way that a Gentile individual could ever have been saved, was to enter the realms of The House of Israel, and become a proselyte, which in turn would place the Gentile proselyte under the Sacrificial System! This was the only way that any Gentile could have had acceptation with The GOD of ISRAEL, and there are some classic examples of this; RAHAB, RUTH, AND MANY OTHERS!!!
But now, through The Greatest Jewish man that ever lived, for He is GOD in the flesh, The LORD Jesus Christ; you as a Gentile can have a personal relationship with GOD through His Beloved Son, and you don't have to become Jewish! And you who are Jewish, when you believe and receive Jesus as LORD and SAVIOUR, you don't become a Gentile, you remain Jewish!
How wonderful that GOD loves you, whether you are a member of 'the Sheep' (the Jewish people), or 'the other Sheep' (the Gentile people), and He has made provision that we become ONE FOLD, and have ONE SHEPHERD. Some day soon, our Chief Shepherd will usher us into His very Kingdom, in Jerusalem, where we will reign with our MESSIAH Jesus! PRAISE HIS HOLY NAME!
IS AN ENGLISH WORD THAT MEANS