One Fold and One Shepherd.

One Fold and One Shepherd.

E. J. Waggoner

(Chapter 41 of the original Everlating Covenant, London, 1900.)

“THE scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto Him shall the gathering of the people be.” 

These are a portion of the words uttered by the patriarch Jacob just before he “died in faith.” He had called his sons to him, and was giving a prophetic view of what should befall them “in the last days.” (Verse 1.) The meaning of Shiloh is peace or quiet, and as the personal pronoun indicates that it is used with reference to a person, and not to a city, we know that Christ, the “Prince of peace,” “who is our peace,” is the One referred to. “The Government shall be upon His shoulder,” and “of the increase of His Government and peace there shall be no end.” This is indicated in the alternative renderings in the margin of the Revised Version: “Till He come to Shiloh, {504} having the obedience of the peoples,” or “Until that which is His shall come,” or “Till He come whose it is.”

The Prophecy of Caiaphas. 

Many hundred years after these words were spoken, another man of a far different character uttered by inspiration similar words. Jesus was on earth, and was drawing the people to Him by His gracious words and mighty miracles, which caused much trouble to the wicked chief priests and Pharisees, who called a council to determine what should be done to Him. Then up spoke the high priest Caiaphas, and said:

“Ye know nothing at all, nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. And this He spake not of himself; but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; and not for that nation only, but that also He should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.”

The high priest thought of nothing more than that by sacrificing Jesus they would save the people from destruction by the Romans; but God used his mouth for a prophecy that the death of Jesus should indeed save the people from perishing, and save not only the Jewish nation, but all the children of God scattered abroad. This He does by saving His people from their sins; for in Him “we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins.”

The Coming of Christ and the Resurrection.

So we see again that from the most ancient times the hope of God's people has been solely in the death and resurrection of Christ. Jacob and his family were in Egypt when the words first quoted were uttered; but Jacob knew {505} that the gathering of the people from Egypt and from all the lands of their captivity would come only through the cross of Christ, which brings eternal redemption. The cross of Christ embraces the second coming of Christ; for as often as we eat and drink in real faith the body and blood of Christ, we “show the Lord's death till He come.” Jacob was therefore looking forward to the coming of Christ in glory, for the gathering of Israel; even as the Apostle Paul exhorts us “by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him.”

“But how can the promise to gather Israel be taken to mean the gathering of all believers at the second coming of Christ?” The question should rather be, How can it be taken to mean anything else? The promise to Abraham was the same to Isaac and Jacob. The promise to Abraham was, that in him all the families of the earth should be blessed (Gen. 12:3), and this blessing was to be through the death and resurrection of Christ. “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us; for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree; that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” Abraham received the sign of circumcision, “a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being un-circumcised; that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised.” Therefore all the people of the world are possible children of Abraham, or the sheep of the house of Israel. “The {506} whole world lieth in wickedness”—lost, and Christ is come to seek and to save the lost.

The Lost Sheep of Israel. 

Christ is the true Shepherd; the hearing of His voice is the test which determines who are really His sheep. He says, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” Those who refuse to hear His voice place themselves among the goats. Now it was while He was among His disciples that He said, “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.” So we see that the lost sheep of the house of Israel are scattered throughout all the world, and the voice of Jesus alone can find them. He sends undershepherds, but they must speak with His voice, or else the sheep will be driven away, instead of gathered. The words of Jesus, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” when about to grant the request of the Syro-Phoenician woman, who had been drawn by the sound of His voice, show that the poor, believing, heathen woman was one of the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Gathered by the Gospel.

It is by the preaching of the Gospel, therefore, that Israel are to be gathered; for the call of Jesus at His second coming, “Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world,” is but the same voice that now says, “Come unto Me, all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Only those who heed these words will come in response to the call at the last day. {507} It is the word of the Gospel—the word of salvation—that is to renew the earth, and people it with righteous men who have been renewed by that same word. Thus the Lord says, “The captive exile shall speedily be loosed; and he shall not die and go down into the pit, neither shall his bread fail. For I am the Lord thy God, which stirreth up the sea, that the waves thereof roar, the Lord of hosts is His name. And I have put My words in thy mouth, and have covered thee in the shadow of Mine hand, that I may plant the heavens, and lay the foundations of the earth, and say unto Zion, Thou art My people.”

Building up the Tabernacle of David. 

In addition to all that has already been set forth from the Scriptures, showing most plainly that the number of the people of Israel is made complete only by those from among the Gentiles who accept the Gospel, two portions of Scripture will be noted here. And as we read, let it not be forgotten that the father of all Israel, Abraham, was taken from among the Gentiles, and that he received the promises, and the blessing of the Spirit, before he was circumcised, to show that God is no respecter of persons, but that all who believe are Israel.

The first that we shall consider is in the fifteenth chapter of Acts. The apostles and elders had come together, not to settle a point of doctrine, nor to enact something new, but to ease the minds of the new converts from among the Gentiles, who were being troubled by false teachers. Peter had told how the Gentiles had heard the Gospel at his mouth, and had believed, and that God had given them the Holy Ghost, “and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith;” and then Peter added that by {508} the grace of Christ the Jews themselves would be saved even as the Gentiles. (Verses 7-11.)

Then James addressed the congregation, saying, “Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for His name. And to this agree the words of the prophets, as it is written, After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up; that the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom My name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.” 

The portion which James quoted is from Amos 9:11, 12, and the verses immediately following are: “Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt. And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord thy God.” (Compare this last with the promise to David in 2 Sam. 7:10, 11.)

The tabernacle, or house of David, is to be built up only through the preaching of the Gospel to the Gentiles; and this is what the ancient prophets declared. That it was not done, or at least begun, before the first advent of our Lord, was not the fault of God, nor of His prophets, but of the people, who {509} would not heed. God showed in many ways how anxious He was for the gathering in of all the Gentiles, Let not any Christian in these days repeat the selfish unbelief of the professed people of God in ancient times, and think that Israel are to be gathered in any other way than through faith in the Gospel of Christ, which is “to all people.”

How all Israel shall be Saved. 

The other portion of Scripture which we shall briefly notice in this connection is in the eleventh chapter of Romans. Here the people of God are called an olive tree. This is in harmony with Isa. 11:1 and 53:1, where Christ is called the Root. Some of the branches have been broken off “because of unbelief.” It is the Root that makes the branches holy (verse 16), and therefore when the wild olive branches are grafted in, they partake of “the root and fatness of the olive tree;” but they stand only by faith, and may be cut off if they are heedless. (Verses 16-22.) The branches which because of unbelief have been cut off, will be grafted in again, “if they abide not still in unbelief.” (Verse 23.) Thus we see that both Jew and Gentile according to the flesh stand in exactly the same relation to God. The Jew by nature, who is unbelieving, is separated from the Root, Christ Jesus, while the believing Gentile by nature is joined to Him. But a failure to continue in the faith will result in the cutting off of the Gentile convert, while the Jew who has been cut off because of unbelief has the same privileges that the Gentile has, provided he is obedient to the faith.

“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to {510} Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.” (Verse 25. Blindness in part is the lot of Israel at present, because at present Israel exists only in part. Israel can be made full and complete only by the coming in of the Gentiles, that is, as many as will believe. When “the fulness of the Gentiles” has come in, then will that which is perfect be come, even the perfect day.

“And so all Israel shall be saved; as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is My covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.” (Verses 26, 27. Compare also Acts 3:24-26.)

Note the connection in verses 25 and 26. “Blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved.” That is to say, all Israel cannot be saved except by the bringing in of the Gentiles; which is the same as saying that prospective Israelites are now reckoned as Gentiles, but that in due time they will all come in; “and there shall be one fold and one Shepherd.”

“We have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; as it is written, There is none righteous, no not one.” “There is no difference; for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” But there is hope for all alike; “for God hath concluded them all in unbelief”—“shut them all up together in unbelief”—“that He might have mercy upon all.”