The Recent Pen for “Other Sheep”
“I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; those also I must bring, and they will listen to my voice, and they will become one flock, one shepherd.”—JOHN 10:16.
1. What addition regarding the sheepfold of spiritual Israel occurred in 36 C.E.?
WITH the introduction of the new sheepfold of spiritual Israel on the day of Pentecost in 33 C.E., the former sheepfold for the natural Jews under the Mosaic Law covenant passed away as having served its purpose. Three and a half years later came the conversion, baptism and spirit anointing of the Roman centurion Cornelius and his believing family and friends at Caesarea. Thus the nonproselyted, uncircumcised Gentiles were brought into the sheepfold of which Jesus Christ is “the door.” (Acts, chapter 10) This fold encloses “the Israel of God,” Israelites according to the spirit, or spiritual Israelites. Could it be said of any of these—Jew or Gentile—that they “are not of this fold”—the fold gathered according to the new covenant arrangement? Surely not!—Galatians 6:16; John 10:16.
2. How is Jesus still serving as the Fine Shepherd of those in the new covenant?
2 At this late date there is a remnant of this Israel of God still on earth, this fact proving that Jesus Christ, the Mediator of the new covenant, has been a Faithful and Fine Shepherd. So even today, after more than 19 centuries of time, the glorified Jesus Christ can rightfully say, without any braggadocio, what he said before his death and resurrection, and we read it at John 10:14, 15: “I am the fine shepherd, and I know my sheep and my sheep know me, just as the Father [the Supreme Shepherd] knows me and I know the Father; and I surrender my soul in behalf of the sheep.”
3, 4. Why are the “other sheep” to be distinguished from the “little flock”?
3 At this point Jesus went on to make the remarkable but large-hearted statement: “And I have other sheep, which are not of this fold [or, “pen,” New International Version; Today’s English Version]; those also I must bring, and they will listen to my voice, and they will become one flock, one shepherd.” (John 10:16) To whom did he refer as “other sheep”?
4 Since those “other sheep” were not of “this fold,” they were not to be included among the Israel of God, the members of which have a spiritual or heavenly inheritance. At most, these spiritual Israelites would make up a “little flock,” for Jesus said to the disciples who were in line for the outpouring of the holy spirit at Pentecost: “Have no fear, little flock, because your Father has approved of giving you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32) The little flock of sheep to whom the heavenly Kingdom is to be given and who are to reign with the Fine Shepherd, Jesus Christ, in that Kingdom is to number only 144,000 spiritual Israelites.—Revelation 7:1-8; 14:1-5.
5. How could you use Revelation 14:4 to show that the other sheep logically have a hope different from that of the little flock?
5 Revelation 14:4 says: “These were bought from among mankind as firstfruits to God and to the Lamb.” How could those 144,000 spiritual Israelites be symbolic firstfruits from among mankind if there were to be no other fruits, no afterfruits? Inexorably, then, besides the 144,000 spiritual Israelites, who make up the little flock of royal sheep in the new covenant sheepfold, there should be other sheep that should be gathered later. And so it has even turned out to be, has it not?
6, 7. How is Revelation 22:17 being fulfilled, and who are not here being invited to “come”?
6 At Revelation 22:17 it was foretold that “the spirit and the bride keep on saying: ‘Come!’ And let anyone hearing say: ‘Come!’ And let anyone thirsting come; let anyone that wishes take life’s water free.” The spiritual bride of Christ is not saying the invitation “Come!” to herself, that is, to those whom Jehovah God would yet need to make up a part of the bride class in order to make it 144,000 strong. It has been during this “conclusion of the system of things” that started in 1914 that we have heard the invitation being extended by the “bride,” in collaboration with the holy spirit of the Supreme Shepherd.—Matthew 24:3.
7 Those words of invitation are extended to humans here on earth, who want to attain to perfect human life in God’s image and likeness in the Paradise that God’s Kingdom by Christ will restore to the earth. Today, during this conclusion of the system of things, these invitees are the “other sheep” of Jesus’ long-range prophecy at John 10:16. They are not of “this fold” that the Fine Shepherd Jesus there mentioned. But they receive the invitation by means of the remnant of the “sheep” that are in “this fold,” and they have become associated with the spiritual remnant in extending the invitation to still others down to the terminus of this conclusion of the system of things.
8. What view of the other sheep was taken in 1905?
8 In the Zion’s Watch Tower issue of March 15, 1905, an article was published entitled “True Shepherd, True Sheep, True Fold.” It made a distinction between the sheep of “this fold” and those called the other sheep. It stressed that “this fold” has to do with the congregation of Christians who are being taken out during what was called “this Gospel age.” Following the subheadings entitled “Other Sheep of Another Flock” and “Fellow-Heirs of the Same Promise” (pages 89, 90) it was stated:
“The flock which the Lord was gathering to himself at the time of this parable was not natural Israel, but spiritual Israel. . . . Hence the view that some have taken that we who are of the Gentiles or ‘other sheep’ mentioned are now being brought into the one fold is not correct. . . . Evidently these ‘other sheep’ mentioned in this parable are those who will become the Lord’s sheep after the present ‘little flock’ shall have been completed.”
9, 10. (a) Why cannot the parable of the sheep and the goats apply during the Millennium? (b) When would the other sheep be gathered?
9 In a later paragraph of that article the “other sheep” are equated with the “sheep” described in Jesus’ parable of the sheep and the goats, as set out in Matthew 25:31-46. In the year 1905 it was thought that that parable would apply during the Millennial Reign of Christ after “the war of the great day of God the Almighty” at the battlefield of Har–Magedon. (Revelation 16:14-16) However, we must bear in mind that the parable of the sheep and the goats was the final part of Jesus’ answer to his disciples’ question as to what would be the sign of his “presence and of the conclusion of the system of things.” (Matthew 24:3) So the fulfillment of this parable must be realized during this conclusion of the system of things that started in the year 1914.
10 It is thus appreciated that the Fine Shepherd Jesus Christ did not proceed to bring in the “other sheep” of John 10:16 in the first century when the circumcised Samaritans began to be converted to Christianity. Nor did he do so when the Roman centurion, the uncircumcised Gentile Cornelius, was converted about 36 C.E. Well, then, when did the Fine Shepherd set out to bring together his other sheep? Many centuries later, yes, in this 20th century, according to the facts of the case.—Acts 8:4-17; 10:9-48.
11. On what were the spiritual Israelites concentrating up till 1935?
11 We note that up till the spring of the year 1935 the remnant of the spiritual Israelites who belong inside “this fold” were preoccupied with gathering into that fold, or pen, the final ones needed to make up the full membership of 144,000 spiritual Israelites. These would be the last to be brought under the new covenant as mediated by the Fine Shepherd, who died as the Lamb of God to provide “the blood of an everlasting covenant.” (Hebrews 13:20; Psalm 50:5) What, then, happened in 1935?
12. What unusual thing developed in connection with the convention in 1935?
12 A general convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses was called together at the capital of the United States of America, Washington, D.C., to which God-fearing Bible Students who were like the non-Israelite Jonadab were specially invited to attend. On the second day of the convention, May 31, the then president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society thrilled the conventioners with his address on Revelation 7:9-17, regarding the “great multitude.” (Revelation 7:9, Authorized Version) He explained that this foretold “great multitude” was to be made up of the “other sheep,” those foreshadowed by Jonadab, or Jehonadab, the non-Israelite man who accompanied Jehu, the king of Israel, in a display of zeal for Jehovah and against the worshipers of the false god Baal. (2 Kings 10:15-28; Jeremiah 35:6-19) Thus Jehu showed “toleration of no rivalry toward Jehovah,” or according to the Authorized Version, “zeal for the LORD.”—2 Kings 10:16.
13, 14. (a) Who became modern-day Jonadabs? (b) What was it appropriate for them to do, and why?
13 Hundreds of those who wanted to be like Jonadab and be among the “other sheep” of the Fine Shepherd responded to the published invitation and attended the Washington convention. To become modern-day antitypical Jonadabs it was Scripturally necessary for them to make a full dedication of themselves to Jehovah God through his Fine Shepherd and symbolize this dedication by total immersion in water, as the sheep belonging to “this fold” had done. So it was that, on Saturday, June 1, 1935, there were 840 conventioners that got baptized in water, resembling the mass baptism that took place on the day of Pentecost of the year 33 C.E. at Jerusalem. What an impressive, epoch-making way it was for the Fine Shepherd to indicate that he was now set to bring under his pastoral care the other sheep that were to listen to his voice as that of their preferred Shepherd! What a joy this must have been to him! After the Washington convention of 1935, the feature talk in explanation of Revelation 7:9-17 was published in the columns of the Watchtower magazine, in its issues of August 1 and 15, 1935, under the title “The Great Multitude” (Parts 1 and 2).
14 Thousands upon thousands of readers then saw their privilege of really becoming other sheep of the Fine Shepherd and of being assigned to the proper fold, or pen. To that end they got baptized at the earliest opportunity in symbol of the intelligent dedication that they made to the Supreme Shepherd through his Undershepherd, Jesus Christ. Since they recognize that Jehovah’s Undershepherd surrendered his human soul in behalf of all the sheep, they, in effect, “have washed their robes” of identification in the “blood” of this “Lamb” of God and “made them white” so as to pass the divine inspection.—Revelation 7:14.
15. How numerous have the other sheep become, and to what does this bear witness?
15 The conclusion of the system of things that began at the end of the Gentile Times in 1914 did not terminate in 1935 in view of the Fine Shepherd’s turning his lifesaving attention to the other sheep. But it has continued on into this year of 1984, with the end yet to be reached after the final Kingdom preaching has been accomplished. Already those showing themselves to be in the fold of the other sheep at celebrations of the Lord’s Evening Meal number into the millions, with countless others still on their way into the fold. Already they enormously outnumber the foreordained number of 144,000, which limited figure has been set for those brought into “this fold” that is reserved for the spiritual Israelites, the coheirs with the Fine Shepherd in his heavenly Kingdom. This fact gives further evidence that they are not in “this fold” of the Fine Shepherd’s “little flock.”—Luke 12:32.
16, 17. (a) What is the relationship between the other sheep and the little flock? (b) Jesus’ words about becoming “one flock” have found what fulfillment?
16 Has the difference of hopes—the heavenly hope for the sheep in “this fold” and the earthly hope for the other sheep belonging to the recently provided other fold—influenced them into parting company from one another as if they had nothing in common? Developments since the year 1935 answer, Positively No! Jesus, the Fine Shepherd, foretold that this would not be the case, for he went on to say: “And they will become one flock.” (John 10:16) We notice that he did not say, “One flock in one fold.” But though there might be separate folds, there was to be only “one shepherd,” and this one proves to be the Shepherd-King who has been reigning in the heavens since the close of the Gentile Times in 1914. Appropriate to this fact, the “sheep” have the one job to carry out in common, ‘the preaching of this good news of the Kingdom in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations,’ before the end of this old-world system of things.—Matthew 24:14.
17 In no way do the other sheep feel that they are segregated from the little flock. Together, they make up the one flock of the sheep of the Fine Shepherd. The other sheep rejoice at their intimate association with the little flock, counting it a great privilege to serve for a season with those future kings and priests, whose subjects they will become during the Millennial Kingdom.
18. (a) What does the future hold for the new covenant and the anointed sheep in “this fold”? (b) The other sheep have what prospect?
18 When, in God’s due time, the remnant of the spiritual Israelites finish their earthly course and pass off the scene to enter their heavenly reward, the new covenant that was based on the blood of the Mediator, the Fine Shepherd, Jesus Christ, will cease to apply, it having successfully served its purpose. With this the observing of the Lord’s Evening Meal on Passover Day of each year will stop. Then, too, “this fold” for the flock of spiritual Israelites will cease to exist. The dedicated, baptized other sheep will remain on the earth to enter into the blessings that the Kingdom, composed of the Fine Shepherd, Jesus Christ, and his 144,000 fellow priests and kings, will pour down upon them. The flock that will be left upon the cleansed earth will be made up of only the united other sheep. They will continue to listen to the voice of their Shepherd-King, and this will lead to their gaining eternal life in human perfection upon a Paradise earth.
Can You Explain?
□ What indicates that the other sheep are different from those in the little flock?
□ How is Revelation 22:17 being fulfilled today?
□ When and where did the other sheep begin to come to the fore?
□ Since the other sheep are in a different fold from the anointed, how are they one flock?
[Picture on page 17]
The article “The Great Multitude,” published in 1935, helped to identify the “other sheep”
[Picture on page 19]
As the calling out of the “little flock” drew to an end, Jesus gathered a crowd of “other sheep”