Flock and Fold

By Charles H. Welch

Flock and Fold. In John 10:16, the Saviour is recorded as saying:

"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."

The R.V. reads: "And they shall become one flock," which recognizes that there are two Greek words here, one aule, translated "fold", and one poimne, which is better translated "flock". Poimne is related to poimen a "shepherd", but aule refers rather to the enclosure of the fold, and is translated in John 18:15 "palace", while the verb aulizomai is rendered "lodge" (Matt. 21:17) and "abide" (Luke 21:37). It was Israel who said:

"We are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand" (Psa. 95:7).

It was the Saviour who said:

"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" (Matt. 10:5,6).

It was Peter who was commissioned to feed the sheep, and his epistles are addressed to the dispersed of Israel. In John ten the' Lord envisaged another company of the redeemed, a company who never were of the FOLD of Israel, yet who shall eventually be united with that people and make one FLOCK. Among the lessons of dispensational importance are the following. The fact that the greater gathering is called a flock and not a fold suggests that there is no confusion, no carrying over of Israel's distinct position and sphere by giving it to the Gentiles. There is no justification here or anywhere in the Scriptures to use the term "spiritual Israel" of any company of believing Gentiles; that is but confusing the "fold" with the "flock". However distinct these two companies may be, they are yet to be united under one Shepherd. The ministry of John is at work today in a wider circle than that covered by the Mystery and the epistle to the Romans. Many believers today are manifestly "John 3: 16" believers, and their destiny is indicated in this reference to the future flock and Shepherd.

Members of the church of the Mystery are neither called sheep, nor will they ever be brought into union with the "fold" of Israel to form one "flock". The one common characteristic that unites the two companies envisaged in John ten is that they both hear the voice of their Shepherd (John 10:2,3,4,16,27). This too is the characteristic of all who believe unto everlasting life (John 5:24,25) and looks forward to the day of resurrection for its fulfilment (John 5:28,29). The distinguishing mark of all these "sheep" of whatever "fold" they be is given in John 18:37 "every one that is OF THE TRUTH heareth My voice." Such are "of God" according to John 8:47. There is therefore great blessing in store for many today to whom the dispensation of the Mystery is a closed book, and if they do not own Him as the "one Head", what a privilege it will be to know Him as the "one Shepherd". Differences in sphere, calling and destiny there most certainly are, even one star is said to differ from another star in glory, yet only sovereign grace causes us to differ, and we have nothing but what we have received. Grace reigns and it is nothing less than our duty, to say nothing of our love, to readily accept all that the Scriptures reveal concerning these things that differ. (See JOHN.)

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