The Other Sheep and the Little Flock -- Simplified Suggestion

by FusionTheism 7 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • FusionTheism

    If you look at the context of the Scriptures, you'll see that the "little flock" Jesus was going to give the Kingdom to (Luke 12:32) are the leaders in the Congregations, the ones who faithfully serve his sheep, beginning with the Apostles and original Jewish believers.

    In addition, the "other sheep" who would be brought into the Congregation later, given the context in the Gospel of John, would be the Gentile (non-Jewish) Christians. (See John 12:20-32)

    Nothing in these Scriptures says anything about an earthly hope for the other sheep and a heavenly hope for the little flock.

    That is going beyond what is written.

  • Island Man
    Island Man

    I agree with you on the identity of the "other sheep" being gentile christians.

    However, I think that when Jesus used the expression "little flock" he was referring specifically to his then present 12 (or 11) apostles. 12 people out of a nation of millions truly is a little flock. Although large crowds followed Jesus and he at one time had upwards of 70 disciples, it was the very little flock of 12 that faithfully stuck with him up until his arrest. The apostles are given the most prominent inheritance in the kingdom. (Matthew 19:28; Revelation 21:14) After Jesus, the highest authority in the kingdom will be the apostles. In this sense they are given the kingdom.

    I don't think "little flock" refers to all the leaders in the congregations down to our time because the context shows that Jesus was clearly speaking to those present with him at the time. He was calling them the "little flock". Thus little flock simply refers to his close disciples/apostles highlighting the fact that they were a small group. In contrast, Jesus clearly indicated that the "other sheep" was a future group which wasn't present when he spoke about them. He used the future tense and indicated they were not then present ("not of this fold")

    Often, the simplest explanation that fits the context is the correct one and there is no need to be reading too much into what Jesus says unless the context indicates that he was speaking in parables.

  • FusionTheism

    Island Man,

    That's definitely a valid possible interpretation. It could be that way, since in another passage, Jesus tells the Apostles they will be twelve kings on thrones and in Revelation it portrays the 12 Apostles and 12 Tribe-Leaders as the 24 Elder-Kings.

  • prologos
    FT you are right. of course there would be different positions, and hence the rivalry, even among the mothers of the apostles for that favoured right hand place. Peter of course wrote about the dual hope, New Heavens and New Earth, but the Israel/Other Sheep= Gentile believers does not enter into that. "Great Crowd of Other Sheep" on earth is a wt invention. like all of them without basis.
  • jhine

    Reading these posts I thought about John 10:16

    " I have other sheep , that are not of this sheep pen . I must bring them also . They too will listen to my voice , and there will be ONE flock and ONE shepherd ". Capitols mine

    I have always understood that this referred to the original Jewish believers ( who thought that the Messiah would only be for them ) and gentile converts .

    This idea of leaders somehow being in a separate category somehow , seems to me to be a WT invention . I do not believe that the Bible gives any indication that leaders are in any way a separate body of people .

    I agree totally that this idea of different destinations for believers is a WT fabrication .


  • Brother Jeramy
    Brother Jeramy

    The "little flock" illustration is part of a large sermon Jesus gave to "a crowd of so many thousands." (Luke 12:1) It covers the entirety of Luke chapter 12.

    In verses 1 to 21 Jesus addresses the crowd.

    In verses 22 to 40 he addresses his disciples (whom we can assume are the twelve, though it could have included others).

    In verse 32 Jesus says, "Have no fear, little flock, for your Father has approved of giving you the Kingdom." He then continues the illustration by emphasizing the need for readiness in anticipation of the Master's return.

    At verse 41 Peter asks Jesus, "Lord, are you telling this illustration to us or also to everyone?"

    This is an interesting question for Peter to ask, because it suggests that Peter felt Jesus' audience may not have been limited to just the twelve, and that those among the "crowd of so many thousands" may have also been Jesus' intended audience for the "little flock" illustration.

    Instead of giving a direct answer to Peter, Jesus' response in verses 42-53 is broad and very telling: "Who really is the faithful steward, the discreet one, whom his master will appoint over his body of attendants to keep giving them their measure of food supplies at the proper time?"

    Then at verse 54 Jesus addresses "the crowds" again. What he tells them directly correlates with what he had just said to the disciples moments earlier about the necessity of diligence and readiness, and the cost of negligence and unreadiness. See verses 45-46 where he tells his disciples the illustration of the consequences of bad stewardship, and then compare verses 54-59 where he likewise tells the crowds another illustration about the consequences of bad stewardship.

    The answer to Peter's question seems to be clear: Jesus' "little flock" illustration was meant for, and applicable to, the disciples as well as the crowds.

    This ultimately suggests that anyone who "takes the lead" by undertaking the responsibility to shepherd God's people is a "faithful steward, the discreet one." And with that responsibility comes tremendous accountability.

  • The Searcher
    The Searcher

    I agree with Island Man - the scriptures he cites - in both cases - reveal that only 12 will judge, and only 12 are foundation stones.

    Also, only 12 are promised thrones in the Bible. (apart from Christ)

    Nowhere in the Bible are 144,000 thrones mentioned - not even in Revelation 5:9,10; 7:4; or 14:1,3!

    Neither is anyone declared as "kings" in the original Greek, except Christ himself!

    They reign as princes - on the earth, (Psalm 45:16) but only one king can ever rule at any given time!

    Needless to say, Christ won't need 144,000 wannabee kings to help him rule!

  • jhine

    Let me clarify -when I said that the Bible gives no indication that leaders are in a separate category I was refering to what Island Man said about "all the leaders in the congregations down to our time " and agreeing with his statement .


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