The Good Shepherd

“As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so I shall seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they are scattered in a day of cloud and thick darkness.”  Yehezqel 34:12  ISR

Seek out – Watch out!  God is after you!  The Great Hunter is the Good Shepherd.  He will never let up until you are within the fold. 

Do you ever have those days when you feel like God must have decided you are no longer welcome, no longer needed, too much a mess to do anything with?  Have you ever felt like your living in the thirteen years of silence that Abraham experienced?  Do you need some reassurance that God hasn’t gone off to take care of someone else?  Let the words of the Lord to Ezekiel comfort you.  God will never give up on you!  You might close the door for good, but it won’t be because He stepped away.  As long as you have breath, God pursues.

Yeshua uses these words from Yehezqel when He speaks of Himself and the Good Shepherd.  No one hearing His comparison could have missed the point.  Yeshua was claiming to take the role that the prophet declared belonged to YHWH.  If we want to really understand the imagery as it would have been understood by Yeshua’s first audience, we need to know what YHWH said through Ezekiel.

Ezekiel’s prophecy is first an indictment of the current religious leaders of Israel.  They have taken care of themselves but failed to care for the flock.  Specifically, they have not strengthened the weak, healed the sick, fetched the strays, sought the lost.  Now God is going to remove them from their role and replace them with Himself.  He will do what they should have done.  God will rescue the people, bring them back from their scattering and care for them in His land.  “I myself will tend my flock, and I myself will let them lie down” (verse 15).  It couldn’t be clearer.  The Good Shepherd is God.  Do you think that anyone who heard Yeshua on that day didn’t draw the same conclusion that we draw now?  Yeshua claims to be the One true God of Israel, the One who will bring back the scattered and lost.

Ah, but wait just a minute.  Who is He (YHWH or Yeshua) bringing back?  Who is He rescuing from the hand of the religious rulers?  The children of Israel, that’s who!  There is nothing in this imagery that allows us to think that either Ezekiel or Yeshua were talking about pagans, the Gentiles or those outside the tribes of Israel.  The ones He is gathering are not the ones who raised a hand at a crusade or went forward for an altar call.  He is bringing Israel back.  The failure is not Israel’s failure.  The failure belongs to the leaders of Israel.  Israel as a people is going to experience the shepherding of God Himself.  Israel is the center of this picture.  The Gentiles are nowhere in sight.  The Good Shepherd is the good shepherd of Israel, not of everyone, and if you want to experience the gathering you will have to be part of Israel.

Topical Index:  Israel, shepherd, seek, John 10:14, Ezekiel 34:12

23 thoughts on “The Good Shepherd

  1. When Isreal was scattered many lost their identity, correct? Doesn’t the word say that in the last days He will call His people home more specifically Ephraim, which is the tens northern tribes scattered to the uttermost parts of the earth? Well I don’t have my bible references in front of me but don’t you just wonder if maybe those who are experiencing this draw to walk in the true way aren’t really part of the scattered tribes? I just so happened to find out from my mother from her estranged father that I am by blood an Isrealite but it changed everything and made such a clear understanding to why I had such yearnings for the truth from an early age which I could never explain to know Yaweh. Shema YIsreal Adonai Eloheinu Adonai echad.

    1. While I am sure that some of the ones who are finding this path may be related to some “lost” tribes, it doesn’t seem reasonable to suggest that all of them are. After all, ethnicity is not the only criterion for inclusion in the Kingdom. Since I know people from India, China, Central America and all over who are coming to this view, there must be more for the “gentiles” as well as the tribes. And, just to clarify, not all the the 10 tribes were actually lost. Some part of each tribe was removed but many never left the land.

      1. I totally agree it just never seems that anyone mentions the one who are the scattered tribes. Also another thing I have wondered and discussed with others. When someone is adopted they become part of that family and receive their name and all that goes with it. If we are adopted why call ourselves gentiles?

        1. Gentile is an ethnic term designating origin. So is Jew. But in the Kingdom we are all family. So I am a family member with a non-Jewish origin (Gentile). No problem on the inside of the family. We all came from somewhere.

          1. I think that is the key: “No problem on the inside of the family”. Does it matter how each one of us got there? The only thing that matters is if we are not there. This whole deal of Gentile vs. Jew is a problem only from the outside: once you’re in, no one should care!

        2. Hi Babs!

          I understand that both the church and the synagogue use “Gentile” to describe non-Jews and Believers who are not Jews. But the scriptures tell us that those who follow the God of Israel belong to him, and are Israel. (Remember historically how we got the name “Jews”? It was only after Judah’s and Benjamin’s return from Babylon, so it seems 11/12 of jewish people aren’t technically “jewish”.) We are either “Israel” or part of “the nations”, we are God’s children or not. I understand why people still use it to distinguish ethnicity, but as I understand it, scripturally it is an inaccurate description since we no longer follow pagan practices.

          1. Bingo, it gets to me sometimes because in Revelation there are twelve gates, none say church or Christian or any other special interest groups.

        3. Ethnicity in my family is a joke. When i was 12 i carried my 6 month old (obviously black) baby sister on my hip just because the looks i got amused me. Yes. I was a jerkette even that young. But i was a happy jerkette.

          My family is beyond ‘bi-racial’, you can tell who’s babies are running around just by looking at them. R’s babies are hispanic; K’s babies are black, S’s babies are european (and yes, 1/2 of all of them are adopted).

          However, when the role is called and the ‘tribe’ stands up…there is no mistake in who we are.

          Pastor Manning (youtube) says the only reason we have ‘black’ commentary and ‘white’ commentary on any given political conversation (he is heatedly anti-politician) is because as a nation we have to become truly ‘christian’.

          It’s like the whole messianic jew thing totally baffles me. Y’shua was jewish, his followers were considered a fringe jewish sect for decades.

          and suddenly we reach for Torah while trying to maintain our independence still? Or, worse yet, try to act like we walked it all along.

          Baffling.

          1. Wow my heart loves you already because the blurring of lines is what I think is seen by our Father when it comes to us as His children who choose to join and want to belong to His chosen! I get so excited when I have a chance to be with people of all types of ethnicity, color, whatever. I don’t care what your skin looks like. I work in an operating room. I am all up in the middle of surgery and have seen all inside every color, race, and sex, guess what, it all looks the same inside! That’s because it’s all made made the same creator!

          2. When all else fails, check the blood.

            We all bleed red.

            Babs. Is that a derivative of barbara?

            Re: Pastor Manning’s quote

            SHOULD read “because we, as a nation, have YET to be come truly christian.”

          3. Yes my name is Barbara, there were two of us at my job and one of us was older and one of us was more like the cartoon Looney toons, and I am not telling who was which one except Babs fits me like a glove. :)

  2. Other Sheep

    The Rest of The Story

    ~ other sheep have I which are not of this fold.. ~ (John 10.16)

    “For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion: the zeal of the LORD of hosts shall do this: ”

    For thus said the Master יהוה, “See, I (Myself} shall search for My sheep and seek them out.

    “As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so I shall seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered in a day of cloud and thick darkness.

    “And I shall bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the lands, and shall bring them to their own land. And I shall feed them on the mountains of Yisra’ĕl, in the valleys, and in all the dwellings of the land.

    “In good pasture I shall feed them, and their fold shall be on the high mountains of Yisra’ĕl. They shall lie there in a good fold and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Yisra’ĕl.

    “I shall feed My flock and make them lie down,” declares the Master יהוה.

    “I shall seek out the lost and bring back the strayed. And I shall bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick, but the fat and the strong I shall destroy. I shall feed them with right-ruling.”

    ‘And as for you, O My flock, thus said the Master יהוה, “See, I am judging between sheep and sheep, between rams and goats.”

    “Is it not enough for you to have eaten up the good pasture, and the rest of your pasture you trample with your feet. Or that you should drink of the clear waters, and the rest you muddy with your feet?

    “And as for My flock, they eat what you have trampled with your feet, and they drink what you have muddied with your feet.”

    ‘Therefore thus said the Master יהוה to them, “See, I Myself shall judge between fat and lean sheep.

    “Because you have pushed with flank and shoulder, and thrust at all the weak ones with your horns, and scattered them abroad, therefore I shall save My flock, and let them no longer be a prey. And I shall judge between sheep and sheep.

    “And I shall raise up over them One shepherd, My servant Dawiḏ, and he shall feed them. He shall feed them and be their shepherd.

    “And I, יהוה, shall be their Elohim, and My servant Dawiḏ a prince in their midst. I, יהוה, have spoken.

    “And I shall make a covenant of peace with them, and make evil beasts cease from the land. And they shall dwell safely in the wilderness and sleep in the forest.

    “And I shall make them and the places all around My hill a blessing, and shall cause showers to come down in their season – showers of blessing they are.

    “And the trees of the field shall yield their fruit and the earth yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land. And they shall know that I am יהוה, when I have broken the bars of their yoke. And I shall deliver them from the hand of those who enslaved them, and they shall no longer be a prey for the gentiles, and the beast of the earth shall not devour them.

    And they shall dwell safely, with no one to make them afraid.

    “And I shall raise up for them a planting place of name, and they shall no longer be consumed by hunger in the land, nor bear the shame of the gentiles any more.

    “And they shall know that I, יהוה their Elohim, am with them, and that they, the house of Yisra’ĕl, are My people,” declares the Master יהוה.’ ”

    “And you, My flock, the flock of My pasture, are men, and I am your Elohim,” declares the Master יהוה.’ ”

    ~ He shall feed His flock like a Shepherd: He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young ~ (Isaiah 40.11)

    The Great Physician now is near,
    The sympathizing Jesus;

    He speaks the drooping heart to cheer,
    Oh, hear the voice of Jesus!

    Sweetest note in seraph song;
    Sweetest Name on mortal tongue;

    Sweetest carol ever sung:
    Jesus, blessed Jesus!

    Your many sins are all forgiv’n,
    Oh, hear the voice of Jesus;

    The veil ’twixt you and God is riven,
    Redemption wrought by Jesus.

    Sweetest note in seraph song;
    Sweetest Name on mortal tongue;

    Sweetest carol ever sung:
    Jesus, blessed Jesus!

    All glory to the dying Lamb!
    I now believe in Jesus;

    I love the blessed Savior’s Name,
    I love the Name of Jesus.

    Sweetest note in seraph song;
    Sweetest Name on mortal tongue;

    Sweetest carol ever sung:
    Jesus, blessed Jesus!

    tHis Name dispels my guilt and fear,
    No other name but Jesus;

    Oh, how my soul delights to hear
    The precious Name of Jesus!

    Sweetest note in seraph song;
    Sweetest Name on mortal tongue;

    Sweetest carol ever sung:
    Jesus, blessed Jesus!

    Lyrics: William Hunter (1811-1877)

    ~ And I, when I AM lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to Myself ~

    Let every kindred, every tribe
    on this terrestrial ball,

    to Him all majesty ascribe,

    and crown Him LORD of all.

  3. All I can say … is AMEN and AMEN … we either ‘come to the house’ .. or we stay in the streets….choice is ours to make. We who were strangers and far off from the promises of Abraham, have been invited into the King’s House!!! HallelYAH!

  4. Ship,
    In your recent blogs about “Israel”, I notice that some of the readers get the impression that pedigree, bloodlines or genealogy (they all mean the same thing) have a role to play in this salvation game that God is calling people into. For example, I notice that Babs is stimulated by your blog today to respond and tell us that he has learned that “he is by blood an Israelite”. I am happy for Babs but pray tell, what has that to do with the calling and salvation that God is offering us all?
    The name “Israel” means a lot of things to a lot of different people and I thing readers would benefit from a comprehensive elaboration from you on this topic…..(another book topic for you!) The last paragraph of your blog today could easily be construed by a reader to understand that there is no hope for them because unlike Babs they may not find any Israelite or Jewish blood in their ancestry leaving them hopeless and discouraged! Let’s look at a few points from the last paragraph of your blog
    “There is nothing in this imagery that allows us to think that either Ezekiel or Yeshua were talking about pagans, the Gentiles or those outside the tribes of Israel. The ones He is gathering are not the ones who raised a hand at a crusade or went forward for an altar call. He is bringing Israel back.”
    Then you go on to say: “Israel is the center of this picture. The Gentiles are nowhere in sight. The Good Shepherd is the good shepherd of Israel, not of everyone……”
    Now, Skip, if I were a new reader of TW, you could hardly blame me for thinking that you were some sort of Zionist fanatic as I read that last paragraph, but of course, I know you a little better than that, I think.
    But I ask- Who are you and I to question the sincerity of someone who “raises a hand at a crusade or went forward for an altar call”. I have never done such myself, but for some it may be the first step in their commitment to Messiah – with lots more to learn and obey as they go forward and the Spirit leads them. To me your words in this blog seem to run contrary to the words of Paul. As I read your blog, the following Scriptures were screaming at me inside my head:
    “Here there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Syth’ian, slave, free man, but Christ is all, and in ALL.” (Col. 3:11) RSV
    Paul called himself a “teacher of the Gentiles.” (1Tim. 2:7) He was hardly wasting his time. Paul goes on to also say:
    “There is neither Jew not Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for YOU ARE ALL ONE in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” (Gal. 3:28-29)RSV
    “Or is God the God of Jews only? IS HE NOT THE GOD OF GENTILES ALSO? YES, OF GENTILES ALSO.” (Rom. 3:29) RSV Capitalizations mine
    In Revelation Yahshua reveals to John:
    “for thou wast slain and by thy blood didst ransom men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation..” (Rev 5:9) RSV
    “After this I looked, and behold a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes, and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, ” (Rev 7:9) RSV
    Indeed, in the Good Shepherd reference in John chapter 10, we find Yahshua also telling us:
    “And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice.” (John 10:16)

    These Scriptures seem to indicate to me that the Good Shepherd is the good shepherd of everyone, not just “Israel”. If we want to experience the gathering, we will have to “be part of Messiah”, not necessarily Israel – but it depends on what we mean by “Israel”! Our definitions would seem to differ?

      1. Thanks for the heads up Suzanne re the issues discussed on the Jan 12 TW. I did indeed miss that discussion and would like to have been in on it. I went back and took a glance at the TW of Jan 12 and see the overlap and continuity of theme. But it did not seem to answer the concerns that I raised in todays post at first glance. I will go back and review it more thoroughly over Shabbat.
        Perhaps, this is one of the few arenas where Skip and I differ. And that is fine!
        Shalom

    1. And, Skip’s TW’s aren’t necessarily an island to themselves. They are built one on top of another, progressing in understanding from day to day, week to week. They are not a 30 minute TV show with everything solved, answered and summed up in one episode.

      New readers can dive in and get a feel for it all by going back and reading the vast bulk of previous TW offerings that address foundational issues. They all build and fit together, piece to piece to gradual form a whole picture.

      I’m pretty sure I understand what he was saying because I know the basics that Skip has shared building up to this particular topic. Truth while very simple is simultaneously quite involved. I’d say to those that are taken aback buy a surface reading of this TW is simply invited to do further reading of previous posts.

    2. Thanks for the extended reply. Lots to consider. Since you are NOT a new reader, I suspect that you know full well that I do not consider ethnicity alone as a mark of inclusion. And, yes, I am sure that some who raised a hand at a crusade are included. But that doesn’t mean the TEXT under investigation in for those outside Israel. The question is how you define “Israel,” not how you extend the text. If Israel is all those adopted into the Kingdom (and even Abraham was adopted), then the verse makes perfect sense to me. It means that those who have not adopted the reign of the Sovereign of this kingdom, who have refused to live by His instructions, are not included in this verse no matter what their ethnicity.

      Does this help? Your point is good about those who have just arrived, but that only makes it more apparent that a single paragraph does not account for a man’s thought.

      1. “That’s how we learn” – O so true Skip! I often tell people that I learn more from those who disagree with me than those who agree but then I add to those who disagree: “but please show me the logic of your reasoning for your particular viewpoint.!” And that’s when it can be a lot of fun and we all learn and grow in patience and consideration of others who may hold a different opinion. And let’s not forget that the characters of the early church most certainly did not agree on everything!
        Love you, brother!

      2. OK Skip, thanks for the feedback but for the life of me I cannot see why “ethnicity alone as a mark of inclusion” is a consideration at all from God’s perspective on who makes the cut and qualifies to be a first fruit to rule with Messiah for 1000 years. ( Beyond that, you know that I am a passionate believer in the notion that God is eventually going to save everyone at some point!)
        Of course, I do appreciate Paul asking the question at the beginning of Romans chapter 3: “What advantage has the Jew?” and then responding: “Much in every way”! Because to them were given “the oracles of Go.”d
        The Jew and the Israelite as well were blessed to have been chosen and given Torah, and given the responsibility to be a light to the Gentiles (all unbelievers as I see it). Biblical history shows that Israel failed miserably in the responsibility given to them, so God, after giving them warning after warning of pending punishment did what He said He would do – He sent Israel into captivity and they later migrated into western Europe where most of them can be fairly easily identified even today. A few quick examples: Great Britain is fairly easily the descendants of Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh). No group of people has been as blessed as the English speaking peoples! France clearly has the traits of Reuben (sexual promiscuity!) The Dutch are clearly of Zebulun. The history of the tribe of Dan settling in Ireland is very well documented in Irish history, and so on. Judah was kicked into captivity too but returned, not because of their great repentance but because they were needed to fulfill the prophecy of Messiah being born in the land. Sad to say, they refused to recognize their Messiah when He walked among them. And like the prophets before Him, He gave them due warning of pending catastrophe unless they amended their ways. Matthew chapter 21 is a poignant summary of what was going on between Messiah and the Jews at the very end of His ministry. Surely the Jews would have “understood” the meaning of His parable of the vineyard owner and his problem with his “tenants” who murdered his son. But it seems that they did not. We notice Yahshua telling them:
        “When therefore the owner of he vineyard comes, what will he do to those tenants? They said to Him” He will put those wretches to a miserable death, and let out the vineyard to other tenants who give him the fruits in their season”. (Unbelievable irony in that response!)
        Then Yahshua waxed prophetic with a crushing statement:
        “Therefore, I tell you the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and
        given to a nation producing the fruits of it”.
        We should ask: who is that “nation”?

        So where am I going with all this?
        Skip, the view that I see from 10,000 feet up is that Yahshua judged Judah and they marginalized themselves 2000 years ago. The same thing had happened to the rest of Israel 600 years earlier. (not all Jews, of course – God always keeps a remnant faithful!) And so for the last 2000 years we have had a paradigm shift. Since the day of the festival of Shavuot recorded in Acts chapter 2, it seems rather clear to me that God has blown open the doors invited in peoples from every tribe and tongue and people and nation, as I mentioned yesterday. (Rev.5:9) (Rev.7:9)
        This is such wonderful news that words escape me to do it justice. Race or skin color, ethnicity, or heritage or economic status or religious background are no longer an issue. “God shows no partiality” (Rom. 2:11)

        God is doing the calling (John 6:44) and it is not for us to question His Sovereignty over His decision making.
        Skip, I know you know all this stuff backwards. But I notice some confusion among your beloved readers about where to position “Israel” and Judaism. They are not helped by some of the teachings I see out there in the Messianic community at large on Israel, the Old covenant and the New Covenant, etc.,
        And the Protestant and Evangelical theology crown are even worse!
        Hence my desirer to express my 10 cents worth…..
        Shalom

    3. The name is a girl’s. I must not have been clear in my thought process , well in the ability to say what I meant, I totally understand that My bloodline isn’t what gets me in. It is in the hearing and in the answering, in the obedience we choose to walk in. My heart yearned for truth and I sought truth for fifty years before I knew what bloodlines were involved. It is the fact of the call that matters!

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