Two Flocks

(John 10:16)

There is an interesting comment that The Lord made in this one verse of the bible. He alludes here to the fact there there are two flocks that in time will come together so that there will be just a single flock who will follow The Lord. Look at what the verse says.

The little flock follow Jesus
Photo sourced from www.aljabakphoto.com

“And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd.”

Now the question is, who are the two flocks? Who is this second flock that He will bring along to join the flock He is speaking to or about so that they become one single and united flock following Jesus. I have to say that there are a number of possible explanations as to who and what He was speaking about, and on this point I would especially like to hear any thoughts you may have. Please feel free to add your comments below. In the meantime though I will give my opinion as to what this means to me.

The Little Flock

In Luke 12:32-34 we see the following information given to us by Jesus.

32 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
33 Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.
34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Here Jesus talks about the little flock. This is a small group of followers of The Lord who we see will be mightily blessed. They are to inherit the Kingdom of God. Jesus tells them to forgo all the things of this world and not to worry about the things needed to sustain this physical life for He will provide all of their needs. This flock is the same as the first flock He is speaking to back in John 10:16.

One of the things we see that is critical about this flock is that they “follow Jesus.” When we read some of the scriptures prior to this verse in John 10 we see Him say,

4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.
5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.”

This little flock are “followers” of Jesus and they know His voice. They follow Him wherever He goes and they do not turn aside to listen to strangers who bring strange and diverse teachings that have no accord with the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They have found the joy of the truth of the gospel and the joy of the knowledge of Jesus Christ and the freedom that comes from knowing his ways.

I believe this small flock is the 144,000 referred to in the book of Revelation. When these people are described in Revelation 14:1-5 we see they fit the description above.

1 Then I looked, and behold, on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads.
2 And I heard a voice from heaven like the roar of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder. The voice I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps,
3 and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.
4 It is these who have not defiled themselves with women, for they are virgins. It is these who follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These have been redeemed from mankind as firstfruits for God and the Lamb,
5 and in their mouth no lie was found, for they are blameless.

These people are the first fruits of mankind. They go into the heavenly places singing for they have found the joy of the truth of the New Covenant. We see also in vs. 4 that they are holy and they “…follow the Lamb wherever he goes.” This matches the description of the little flock described in John 10:4-5 above. They have found the truth of the way in this lifetime and gone through the process of perfection in the work of the Holy Spirit and have been gathered as first fruits to The Lord.

The Big Flock

But then if we go back to John 10:16, we see The Lord alludes to a second flock that must join the little flock so that there will be only one flock. Who is the other flock?

Well it is evident that there will be more than just the 144,000 who will be saved, so the second flock, who we can call the large flock are in my opinion the others that Jesus is referring to.

If those in the small flock have found the fullness of the truth in the New Covenant, it is clear that the large flock have not. There are many people who will be saved with the most minimal level of faith who have not found the fullness of the truth of the New Covenant. The power of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ can bring a person to perfection in the sight of God. But this can only occur when a person follows Jesus according to the way that are requires. Many will accept Jesus but not find that way. They will be accepted for the faith that they have, but will not reach the level of the 144,000 in this age and will need to continue to come to perfection in the next age.

Consider as an example the thief who died with Jesus. He made his confession of faith literally within hours of his own death and had no opportunity to be baptised, receive the Holy Spirit and learn the ways of The Lord. However he was still accepted by Jesus even at that late stage. Many others will be at different levels of their understanding and walks in Christ and will be accepted too even though they do not reach the perfection that the 144,000 achieve in this lifetime.

This large flock are also described in Revelation 7 and the way that they come into the kingdom of God is very different to the 144,000.

John writes about them after defining the 144,000 describing them as a great multitude that no one could number in Rev 7:1. They come from every nations, tribes, peoples and tongues. But the way they enter the kingdom is very different as we see in verses 13-17.

13 Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?”
14 I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15 “Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple; and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.
16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any scorching heat.
17 For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Unlike the 144,000 who entered the kingdom singing and rejoicing, the great multitude came in suffering. They were hungry, thirsty and suffering under scorching heat and the sun. They also came in tears for they needed God to wipe away their tears.

When he speaks of these things he is talking about their spiritual condition. They were hungry and thirsty for the spiritual food and drink that would sustain them spiritually. They suffered under the heat of the fiery ordeals that came up against them in this life. Why? Because they were not fed truth they had no armour to stand in the face of adversity. They could not hold up against the barrage of opposition that came from the devil and they lacked the knowledge to overcome and use the victory that they have in Jesus Christ.

And finally we see that The Lord himself would then lead them to springs of living water where they would be soothed, nourished and brought to a place of full understanding of the new life in Jesus Christ.

The Truth

It should be the goal of all Christians to fain the fullness of the truth that would lead them to the level attained by the 144,000. Unfortunately that won’t be the case, but the further we can go along that path now the better it will be for everyone.

There will be levels in the maturity of Christians and this will be based upon the teaching and doctrine that each individual accepts. If you aspire to the 144,000 then you need to find the truth for yourself. You need to seek The Lord in accordance with the way He wants us to worship. You need to learn the truth of the New Covenant and all that it represents.

No person can expect to receive that fullness by just accepting blindly what someone else might teach or say. There are false teachers and there are false prophets and there are anti-christs out there now. They will capture some and lead them astray because they did not take the time to find out for themselves whether the words they were listening to are of the truth or not.

So my call to you and anyone you speak to is this. Seek the truth. Find it. Go to The Lord in prayer and ask him to help you find the truth. Test everything and find out for yourself what the bible says. Apply it in your life and then you will certainly be further down the path than otherwise. Also you will be less likely to fall prey to the false teachers because like the little flock you will know the voice of The Lord and will not follow the voice of strangers who aim only to lead astray.

 

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2 Replies to “Two Flocks”

  1. John
    The “other sheep…… not of this fold” was spoken in the present tense. As such those sheep were already existent and not future. He is simply referring to non Jewish believers. This would include Cornelius, who from the record of the Book of Acts was a believer before Peter arrived. It would also include Ruth and Rahab to name a few.
    As Paul said, these and all other believing Gentiles were grafted onto Israel.
    The “little flock” is faithful Israel, as opposed to unbelieving Israel. In particular this would be the disciples because they were the ones he was addressing. It also includes the great cloud of witnesses that had gone before them described in Hebrews.

    1. Hi Francis,
      Thanks for your input on this point. This is certainly another way that this scripture can be interpreted, and there may be many others we have not considered.
      In my opinion I don’t believe the Lord is making a distinction between Gentile and Jew in this section as you propose, but you may be right. I’ll leave this to others to consider.
      Thanks again for the comment.

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