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How could Jesus already "have other sheep"
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Post: #16
RE: How could Jesus already "have other sheep"

"No temptation is more subtle or more potent than that which bids us judge everything by one standard. Practically we are inclined to measure others by ourselves, other ages by our own, other forms of civilization by that under which we live, as the true and final measure of all. Against this error, which is sufficient almost to cloud the whole world, the Bible contains the surest safeguard. In that we see side by side how God finds a dwelling-place among nations and families in every stage of social advancement, and recognizes faithful worshippers even where they are hidden from the eyes of prophets.

"The absorbing cares of daily life, the imperious claims of those immediately around us, tend to narrow our sympathies, but the Bible shows to us, in an abiding record, every condition and every power of man blessed by the Divine Spirit. It lifts us out of the circle of daily influences and introduces us to prophets and kings and deep thinkers and preachers of righteousness, each working in their own spheres variously and yet by one power and for one end.

"It may be objected that devout students of the Bible have often proved to be the sternest fanatics. But the answer is easy. They were fanatics because they were students not of the whole Bible but of some one fragment of it to which all else is sacrificed. The teaching of one part only, if taken without any regard to its relative position in connexion with other times and other books, may lead to narrowness of thought, but the whole recognizes and ennobles every excellence of man." (The Bible and the Church, B. F. Westcott, italics mine)


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05-20-2011 05:25 AM
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Post: #17
RE: How could Jesus already "have other sheep"

COMankind Wrote:
"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 shall be one flock and one shepherd." - John 10:16

---------

After speaking with a few pastors, I've noticed a common theme with the Christian faith...that salvation relies on a version of the following: 'follow Christ' 'through the blood of Christ' 'grace of Christ' etc. This means ultimately that only those who profess to be Christians can have the opportunity to gain salvation.

'Follow Jesus' or the personal invitation to follow his voice as a shepherd, is used like a religious beacon or mascot. When instead the invitation seemed to imply an offer to follow what he taught and seek him out.

------------

Which brings me to the point....When Jesus said "I HAVE other sheep" - most of us will agree he was referring to the Gentiles (anyone, around the globe, not a Jew.) However:

- the Gentiles did not actually 'know' him yet. Cornelius was a few years away.
- How could they currently be his sheep if they didn't know him?
- If they were worshiping pagan Gods, or none at all, how could Jesus call them sheep?


Could this have something to do with it?

Revelation 13:8: All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.

Does time, as we know it here on earth, really mean anything to God? :questioning:

05-25-2011 12:52 AM
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COMankind
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Post: #18
RE: How could Jesus already "have other sheep"

Isaiah 43:10 Wrote:
Could this have something to do with it?

Revelation 13:8: All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.

Does time, as we know it here on earth, really mean anything to God? :questioning:


Great verse to apply, thank you!
Completely agree that time must change from physical to spiritual. How exactly, we'll never know till we get there.

But the verse you quoted gives credence to the fact that Jesus/God have managed sheep long before Jesus came to earth. The way around this for many Christian faiths is to say the 'founding of the world' was the death of Jesus. An abstraction of epic proportions.


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05-25-2011 01:02 AM
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Post: #19
RE: How could Jesus already "have other sheep"

Hmmm...I just noticed how the KJV puts this verse:

"And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world."

I actually read this week that one sect uses this verse to teach that Jesus died twice: once before the world was formed, and again on Calvary. Odd. Oh, I just looked it up to find out who it was--it was Harold Camping. :funnyface:

I guess I look at it as we serve an awesome God! There is no limit to his knowledge and understanding.

Psalm 147:5: Great is our Lord and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite.

Hebrews 4:13: And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

So it's not such a stretch for me to believe that, while yet allowing free will, God knew those who belonged to him (or those sheep who would choose to put their faith in him) from before the foundation of the world.

05-25-2011 03:27 AM
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Post: #20
RE: How could Jesus already "have other sheep"

Isaiah 43:10 Wrote:

So it's not such a stretch for me to believe that, while yet allowing free will, God knew those who belonged to him (or those sheep who would choose to put their faith in him) from before the foundation of the world.

    A nice point Isaiah 43:10. In his pre-human life our Lord would be well aware of fine hearts wherever they were, and it's the heart - not the genealogy - which makes a sheep. Even discounting future sheep because of free will, the number of fine gentile hearts who were already alive within the range of the apostles' post-Pentecost ministry could well have been considerable.

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05-25-2011 05:14 AM
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Seraphim
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Post: #21
RE: How could Jesus already "have other sheep"

I like what's been said in this thread, but one issue might need to be flagged up. What is the need for Jesus if all that is needed is a body of teachings which anyone could be given in book form or/and a good heart? In fact if God can read hearts why the need for this reality at all with its propensity to test and refine us and why the need for Christ to die and so horribly?

05-25-2011 09:14 AM
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Post: #22
RE: How could Jesus already "have other sheep"

Seraphim Wrote:
I like what's been said in this thread, but one issue might need to be flagged up. What is the need for Jesus if all that is needed is a body of teachings which anyone could be given in book form or/and a good heart? In fact if God can read hearts why the need for this reality at all with its propensity to test and refine us and why the need for Christ to die and so horribly?

    Brilliant question! and is itself the very reason why we need Jesus to return.

    Knowledge is not enough, and we don't know how to develop a good enough heart - we have no examples down here to move us even up to the level Adam had in his better days. We don't even know what the higher standard - the better way of living - might look like, we are blind without practical guidance. Sheep don't know the way anywhere! That is why our Lord has to return - his example and his teachings are not safely transfered from generation to generation without his presence, not enough to move us where we're going.

    When he returns, and we experience the difference between knowledge-of-the-scriptures plus holy spirit, and continual active Divine guidance, we'll understand the targets which we cannot imagine now. Or more simply put:


      If you don't know where you're going, you're never going to get there.

    Great question Seraphim

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05-25-2011 10:23 AM
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COMankind
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Post: #23
RE: How could Jesus already "have other sheep"

Seraphim Wrote:
I like what's been said in this thread, but one issue might need to be flagged up. What is the need for Jesus if all that is needed is a body of teachings which anyone could be given in book form or/and a good heart? In fact if God can read hearts why the need for this reality at all with its propensity to test and refine us and why the need for Christ to die and so horribly?


Seraphim - this is THE question that comes out of this discussion. It is a huge one too, one that I've given a lot of thought BTW. Here's my thoughts:

If there was no Jesus:

- Israel would still have a contract that says they are God's chosen ones.

- The Mosaic Law would be viewed as the only way to God, and anyone who doesn't comply would be viewed as sinners that are condemned because of their sin.

- We would not have the open-minded, spiritual view of God's relationship with humankind as presented in the New Testament, the complete contrast to the judgmental failure of the Jews.

- The view of the literal promise land and temple, instead of the heavenly kingdom, would have stayed. (Of course - if a Jew believes in the promise land, that's one thing. If a Jew says people who don't accept the promise land are condemned - then THATS what's wrong in God's eyes. The presumptuousness is the failure, not the lack of knowledge)


Why the need for the reality if God can read hearts:


- Because the Jews were done with their lesson, and Jesus was dramatically showing them, with a personal sacrifice, that a new covenant was in place - one that focused first on who they were (spiritual) not what they did (physical/law)

- The Jews needed to accept the rest of the world (Gentiles) This required them to soften their hearts. Those who remain hard-hearted, who kept barriers up, would be the kind of people that God would not want in his family (thus why Jesus really strong-armed the Pharisees, but not the Samaritan woman - it was clear whose hearts were in the wrong place)

- The same reason Job was allowed to be tested. He didn't need to comply with a regulation or law, he simply needed to prove that he loved God. That was his refinement. The Bible becomes in effect the riches to rags to riches story of Israel, teaching us that God simply wanted each individual to show love.


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05-25-2011 08:35 PM
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Post: #24
RE: How could Jesus already "have other sheep"

Quote:
When I see Christian religions, especially televangelists, on missionary tours to convert primitive tribes to Christianity - it really makes me cringe. To me, it seems like those tribes are the only ones that have it right, and we all need to learn from them.


How do the following scriptures bear on this subject?

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." (Matt 28;19,20)

"And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come." (Matt 24:14)

Should Christ's the disciples stop preaching when reaching the "primitive" tribes?

Your objection is valid if they are bringing a unique "brand" of Christianity, as with JW or Catholic or "televangelist" missionaries. However, the general principle of bringing the gospel to these people seems valid.

Now, I should point out that I agree with the general gist of your initial post. I think some people can be generally "Christian" in nature, without yet knowing Christ.

However, it's clearly Christ's will that they COME to know him, at some point.

I think that will happen, in due time. I'm sure you remember the prophecies that say the knowledge of God will cover the earth, like the sea.

God is one patient Being! :D


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05-25-2011 09:37 PM
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Post: #25
RE: How could Jesus already "have other sheep"

Hi COMankind

COMankind Wrote:
"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 shall be one flock and one shepherd." - John 10:16


Something just occurred to me about this scripture.

I agree that someone can be a "sheep" without knowing Jesus. However, notice that Jesus says, "They too will listen to my voice..."

In other words, when Jesus speaks to them, they actually listen.

Now, I think Cornelius was the perfect example of this. His heart was clearly in the right place. He was a worshipper of God, although not a natural Jew.

When Peter was sent to him, he immediately responded, and he and his household were baptized.

So I still think that the "other sheep" are Gentiles. Your right that they are viewed as "sheep" even BEFORE actually knowing Christ.

However, when given the opportunity to actually hear the voice of Christ, they listen.

Incidentally, something that somewhat supports your idea is Matthew 25, the gathering of the nations before the throne.

The "sheep" are not viewed as sheep because of being Christian... but because they helped out Christ's brothers. Nowhere is it implied the "sheep" are Christian... but they definitely have a Christ-like view when it comes to helping others.


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05-25-2011 09:51 PM
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COMankind
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Post: #26
RE: How could Jesus already "have other sheep"

Interpretum Wrote:

Quote:
When I see Christian religions, especially televangelists, on missionary tours to convert primitive tribes to Christianity - it really makes me cringe. To me, it seems like those tribes are the only ones that have it right, and we all need to learn from them.


How do the following scriptures bear on this subject?

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." (Matt 28;19,20)

"And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come." (Matt 24:14)

Should Christ's the disciples stop preaching when reaching the "primitive" tribes?


I view this as a one and done activity. Paul said it was completed.

Quote:
Your objection is valid if they are bringing a unique "brand" of Christianity, as with JW or Catholic or "televangelist" missionaries. However, the general principle of bringing the gospel to these people seems valid.


Well, did Abel have the gospel? Was his worship made invalid with Christ? Israel made it VERY complicated to worship. Jesus did what he could to help them untangle their hearts.

Christianity treats the gospel as 'get baptized in Christ to be saved'. But simply teaching people about how to live a moral and loving lives as Jesus taught is VERY different than what we know as preaching gospel.


Quote:
However, it's clearly Christ's will that they COME to know him, at some point.

I think that will happen, in due time. I'm sure you remember the prophecies that say the knowledge of God will cover the earth, like the sea.


We are definitely agreeing that knowing Christ is a good thing :) But the sheep are still sheep under his care. Your definition of 'knowledge of God' is based on one book, one culture's view, one perspective. Isn't it possible that the knowledge of God has already filled the earth?


philia, COMankind

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05-25-2011 11:12 PM
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COMankind
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Post: #27
RE: How could Jesus already "have other sheep"

Interpretum Wrote:
So I still think that the "other sheep" are Gentiles. Your right that they are viewed as "sheep" even BEFORE actually knowing Christ.

However, when given the opportunity to actually hear the voice of Christ, they listen.


Agreed.

Now if you visually represented the population of Jews and Gentiles when Jesus said that...Israel would be a brick, the Gentiles would be New York City. Gentile means 'everyone not a Jew' - He wasn't just referring to Roman Gentiles.

This is also the separation in Revelation BTW. 144K come from the metaphorical tribes of Israel and have a special job - just like physical Israel did. The great crowd that cannot be numbered (because it is perpetual) represents the sheeplike ones from every nation - the Gentiles. Both come together as one.


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05-25-2011 11:28 PM
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Post: #28
RE: How could Jesus already "have other sheep"

Hi COMankind

COMankind Wrote:
This is also the separation in Revelation BTW. 144K come from the metaphorical tribes of Israel and have a special job - just like physical Israel did. The great crowd that cannot be numbered (because it is perpetual) represents the sheeplike ones from every nation - the Gentiles. Both come together as one.


I'm curious... you say that the preaching was "a one and done activity. Paul said it was completed."

Now, being a Preterist in regard to Matthew 24, I completely agree with you. The preaching commission was FULFILLED by the end of the Jewish age.

(As an aside... there was no more need for Jesus to be with his apostles, because they were now with Jesus again!)

Given that the preaching commission was completed by then, doesn't it make more sense to you that the 144k pictured in Revelation 7 are from the LITERAL tribes of Israel?

Also, the "great crowd" are also said to stand before the throne and the Lamb, saying: ""Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!"

This seems to suggest they understand the concept of "the Lamb" in the first place!

Quote:
Well, did Abel have the gospel? Was his worship made invalid with Christ? Israel made it VERY complicated to worship. Jesus did what he could to help them untangle their hearts.

Christianity treats the gospel as 'get baptized in Christ to be saved'. But simply teaching people about how to live a moral and loving lives as Jesus taught is VERY different than what we know as preaching gospel.


I was going to write something else, but then I thought... in a way, Abel DID have the gospel. He would have known about this...

"The LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel." (Gen 3:14,15)

I suspect Adam knew more about God's plan than is revealed in scripture. Josephus reports that Adam prophesied that the world would be destroyed twice - once by water, and once by fire. We also know that Enoch was a prophet, although we know precious little else about him.

I don't think the "gospel", in its purest sense (that of a Messiah sacrificing himself for the sins of the world) was all that alien to the pre-Christian world.

In fact, one of the criticisms leveled at Christianity is that it stole this idea from pagans!

In reality, I suspect this hope had been planted in mankind from as far back as Adam and Eve.


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05-25-2011 11:48 PM
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COMankind
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Post: #29
RE: How could Jesus already "have other sheep"

Great points Interpretum...

Interpretum Wrote:
Given that the preaching commission was completed by then, doesn't it make more sense to you that the 144k pictured in Revelation 7 are from the LITERAL tribes of Israel?

Also, the "great crowd" are also said to stand before the throne and the Lamb, saying: ""Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!"


Well, the lamb in revelation is actually a lamb that John sees. The great crowd sees a lamb and praises it in this vision. Everything at this point is entirely metaphorical. The lamb represents Jesus, the Great Crowd represents an infinitely growing crowd of sheeplike ones, and then their worship of the Lamb is representative as well. Of what exactly, I don't know - but I do know that if I was standing next to God, I'd say thanks to whoever was in charge!

Quote:
I don't think the "gospel", in its purest sense (that of a Messiah sacrificing himself for the sins of the world) was all that alien to the pre-Christian world.

In reality, I suspect this hope had been planted in mankind from as far back as Adam and Eve.


Got it. Well - then you have a very flexible term for 'gospel' which I'll endorse with you :) But Abel's form of worship was different. No communion, no scriptures, no Law to speak of, no command to preach, no hope of heavenly life, no Sabbath, etc etc...but he did love God. His brother apparently failed to love neighbor in a most EXTREME manner - which is what disappointed God the most. Cain & Abel were as tribal as you can possibly get...sacrificing animals to God, to your point, was what every ancient tribe had that on the itinerary. Was Abel saved because he had some sort of special knowledge of God that an Aborigine didn't?


philia, COMankind

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05-26-2011 12:35 AM
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Post: #30
RE: How could Jesus already "have other sheep"

COMankind Wrote:
Was Abel saved because he had some sort of special knowledge of God that an Aborigine didn't?


Not knowledge, but faith. Faith in the same gospel, which is Christ crucified, only he looked forward in faith while we look back in faith.

"By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks." (Hebrews 11:4)

05-26-2011 01:13 AM
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