In Luke 12:32 Jesus uses an expression to describe the rather small group of followers that were still with him during this point in his ministry.
Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
Today you can find hundreds if not thousands of references to Christians being sheep. Hymn books, devotionals and Sunday sermons are filled with the idea that we are the sheep of God’s pasture. The 23rd Psalm is quoted at weddings and funerals alike with the false idea being reinforced in people’s minds of the Shepherd guiding our steps. Today ill-informed Christians fall prey to this tradition as has so many generations before us. The Apostle Paul uses the word “sheep” one time referencing the OT. The unbiblical idea that we have taken over the place of Israel has perpetuated the myth that we are described in scripture as sheep. The words in scripture do not say this, you must be taught this from a person. For the proper cross references to study I ask you only to turn to one chapter although we could use scores. Ezekiel 34 can’t be any clearer. God is clearly rebuking the “shepherds” in Israel that have failed the people. Read verses one and two below.
And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks?
As you get to verse 8 you read God’s promise and guarantee to Israel. I challenge you to count the number of times God says “I will” and “my flock” in this chapter. In verse 16 you encounter a cross reference even casual Christians should see “I will seek that which was lost” What was lost? Israel!!! Jesus clearly references this when he proclaims he has come to seek and to save “that which was lost” This being the purpose of his earthly ministry to save Israel. Saving Israel would bring hope to Gentiles. In verse 23 of Ezekiel 34 God promises to set up “one shepherd” over them with a reference to David. This is precisely why Jesus is called the “Son of David” while on earth. Let’s read how the Holy Spirit inspires Ezekiel to finish off the chapter in verses 30-31.
Eze 34:30 Thus shall they know that I the LORD their God am with them, and that they, even the house of Israel, are my people, saith the Lord GOD. And ye my flock, the flock of my pasture, are men, and I am your God, saith the Lord GOD.
I ask you how can Christianity today claim to be the flock referenced to in the gospels when the Bible itself makes it crystal clear who this title belongs to? I understand very clearly how Christians today think I’m wrong to believe these verses. I understand I am called names for believing these verses. I understand Christian “friends” won’t talk to me about the Bible because I believe it as it is written. But you notice what Jesus called his followers? The “little” flock. I understand that I have alienated myself from many old friends for believing my Bible. I understand if I would have started a “Baptist” church instead of a church based solely on scripture rightly divided many would have given me their support. Coming up on three years after making this decision I can only say my resolve to believe the Bible as written instead of blindly following the tradition in Christianity has not wavered. No. I’m not a sheep in scripture because the Bible only gives this title to Israel. No, Jesus is not my shepherd. Jesus is my savior and the head of the body. Someday Jesus will return and then he will establish the things described in the 23rd Psalm LITERALLY! No, I will not be there because this promise is to his earthly people Israel. Who are you to correct the Bible! Who are you to decide the entire chapter of Ezekiel 34 and the perfect cross references to Jesus words in the gospels are wrong! No, I will not back down. No, I will not stray from believing my Bible as written. Yes, this makes me part of a small group but not part of the “little flock of Israel”
A while back I had a person ask me if I thought Grace churches put too much emphasis on II Timothy 2:15. I have thought about this question several times since then. I do agree that denominations in general pick the verses they want to emphasize and then drive them into peoples heads constantly. One example is Acts 2:38 and Mark 16:16 which are the whole foundation for those groups that think water is required for salvation. There is one big difference with this example and that of II Timothy 2:15. I can teach the concept of right division of the Bible with hundreds of verses and examples Sunday after Sunday and the people relying on Acts 2:38 and Mark 16:16 can’t. The Bible teaches for itself the fact that we must rightly divide it in many ways. It just so happens that the Apostle to the Gentiles, Paul very clearly states the need to rightly divide the scripture. Books of the Bible themselves tell us who the words are addressed to. Why would a person take a book clearly addressed to Israel and then steal SOME of the verses and teach that they belong to the body of Christ today? Tradition! You pastor was taught to do this. And if he was not taught this because he did not go to Bible college then he learned it from the pastors he sat under. The Bible DOES NOT teach this, man must tell you these things. It cannot be denied that Jesus said he was sent to Israel. This is the basis for right division of the Bible, believing the WORDS EXACTLY as they are written. It cannot be denied the Jesus told the disciples NOT to go to Gentiles. It cannot be denied that Paul was called to go DIRECTLY to the people the disciples were told NOT TO. Why then would you read the book of first John for example and think the words are directly to you when scripture says they are NOT? I believe every word in first John. I can only do this because I know first John is NOT to me today. Why does this matter? Because first John teaches works are required for salvation and to keep your salvation. Why can I still say I believe all these words exactly as written? Because I know WHO they were written to and I know thy are NOT written to us today in the age of grace and doctrine for us now. Yes, they are doctrine, but NOT for today in this age. This is no different than the book of Hebrews that clearly teaches the loss of one’s salvation. I believe ALL these words exactly as written because I know they are NOT to me today. The churches I attended my whole life rarely if ever taught out of Hebrews, especially verse by verse because they have no clue how to properly handle these verses. I do! I believe them EXACTLY as they are written. Yes, they teach you can loose salvation. NO this is NOT doctrine for us today. There is a confidence that comes with a proper understanding of scripture. This is why Paul specifically said knowledge puffeth up. Because the Bible can be understood by anyone if they would only abandon the tradition their pastor teaches them and become a Bible believer. Not a pick and choose verse believer, but a person that has the knowledge to believe every verse exactly as written. Outside of the right division of the Bible this is IMPOSSIBLE! Does II Timothy 2:15 say this? Yes! Is this concept clearly taught all over the Bible? Yes! Then I must ask, why don’t you believe it?
Steve Schoenberger is a student of the Bible and the teacher at Abundant Grace Bible Fellowship, A Mid-Acts Dispensational Bible church teaching the Bible rightly divided according the revelation of the mystery delivered to the Apostle Paul