Monday, August 24, 2009

Who Were Christ's Other Sheep?

bJohn 10: 16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
Who were these "other sheep" Jesus Christ was referring to in the New Testament. Jesus Christ in the Book of Mormon tells the Nephites that they were the "other sheep" with whom he was referring. However, Evangelicals interpret this scripture verse to be referring to the Gentiles. However, if you read the verse carefully, it is clear, that the verse cannot be correctly interpreted making it refer to the Gentiles.

First, Jesus Christ says that the people he is referring to are His sheep. The gentiles at the time Christ stated these words had not been converted yet, so they couldn't be considered his sheep. The Gentiles hadn't become sheep yet. According to the verse, this group were already sheep. The Nephites in the Book of Mormon on the other hand were already converted to the Lord Jesus and were awaiting his appearance in America. Therefore, the Nephites were already sheep while the Gentiles were not yet sheep.

In fact in Matt 10:5-7 Christ specifically tells the 12 Apostles to not preach to the Gentiles or even the Samaritans. The revelation to begin preaching to the Gentiles only was received after the gospel had gone to the Jews and the lost sheep of the House of Israel first, and then it was given to the Gentiles later. Therefore, the "other sheep" must have been also of the House of Israel and not the Gentiles because it wouldn't make any sense for Christ to tell the us in John 10 that these other sheep would hear His voice and then to tell the Apostles in Matt 10 to not preach unto the Gentiles.

Matt 10: 5-7 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Second, Christ tells us that these sheep would hear His voice. From the Book of Mormon we learn that the Gentiles never as a group heard Christ's voice directly but only indirectly through the preaching of the Apostles and the reading of scripture. Remember Christ said that he had only come to the lost sheep of the House of Israel. The Nephites in America were of the House of Israel and according to the Book of Mormon were blessed to see and hear Jesus Christ who appeared to them in America after his resurrection.

Matt. 15: 24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Third. Jesus Christ directly implies that these other sheep were part of a specific fold. Christ says these "other sheep" were "not of this fold" which clearly suggests that Christ had a group of believers somewhere else in the world and that these sheep were already organized into a fold or into a body of believers. This cannot be talking about the Gentiles because the Gentiles in the parable of the wedding feast were likened to random people invited off the street. Therefore, Gentiles were not yet sheep and they were absolutely not part of any organized fold.

Matt 22: 8-10 Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.

Conversely, the Nephites in America observed the Law of Moses, but also had a knowledge of Christ. These sheep in America recognized the sign of Christ's birth and were awaiting the sign of His death. The Nephites, unlike the Gentiles, were an organized body of believers who Christ appeared to and taught the same truths that he taught to the Old World Saints in the New Testament. And through the teaching recorded in the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, the believers in America and the believers in the Old World became one fold under One Shepherd.

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