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Church: Did John 10:16 predict the church of today? 

Gary Googe Mar 17

Let us begin by first looking at this verse in its context.

John 10:14-18

14 I [Jesus the Christ] am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.

15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.

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.

17 Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.

18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father. [Emphasis added]

Even though Jesus predicts that He will lay down His life for his “sheep,” He says nothing about what that would accomplish.  He doesn’t here or at any other time during His earthly ministry.  All that would later be revealed through the message He would give the apostle Paul to pass on to us.

It usually comes as a complete surprise to people when they realize that the way of salvation for us today is nowhere to be found in Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John.  The events of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection are there, but not specifically what He was accomplishing by those things.  If you want more information about this, please see my other articles about it—

Gospel:  Is OUR gospel in “the four gospels”?

Gospel:  Which gospel did the 12 apostles preach after the ascension?

Gospels:  Did Peter & Paul preach the same gospel?

Was John 10:16 predicting the formation of what the apostle Paul spoke of as the Body of Christ? Most preachers of today think it was.  But is this actually what the Scriptures tell us? Doesn’t the apostle Paul tell us that his gospel message that is ours today was a mystery, that is, a secret that was not known to anyone until it was revealed through him?

Romans 16:25

25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, [Emphasis added]

There are numerous passages about this in Paul’s writings that speak of it in a variety of ways.  Here’s one of them.

Ephesians 3:3-4

3 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,

4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) [Emphasis added]

Yes, the cross, burial, and resurrection of Christ came as a complete shock to the apostles and to all who were close to Him.  The record of these events in the “gospel writings” is plain, but the accomplishments of all this are not given there.  We have to go to Paul’s writings for that.

2 Corinthians 5:19

19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. [Emphasis added]

In Paul’s writings, God’s people are spoken of as members of His body, the Body of Christ.

Ephesians 5:30

30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. [Emphasis added]

However, in earlier times God’s people were spoken of as His sheep.  This is but one of many differences between God’s people today and God’s people of Israel in times past. They are by no means the same, having multiple differences.

Again, our passage, John 10:14-15

14 I [Jesus the Christ] am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.

15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. [Emphasis added]

We find that Christ’s earthly ministry was totally directed toward Israel, His lost sheep.

Matthew 15:24

24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. [Emphasis added]

His ministry in this regard was prophesied many centuries earlier.

Isaiah 40:11

11 He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. [Emphasis added]

There are many passages like these that speak of Israel being His sheep even though much of what was stated was not understood when it was first given.  As it is sometimes said, hindsight is 20/20.  There are many of what are called Messianic passages that are like this.  They’re all one way or another speaking of God’s work in bringing about His blessing to them, the regenerate people of Israel.  Also, so many of the passages speak of God’s frustration with both the sheep and even the shepherds for their rebelliousness.  Here’s an example of that.

Ezekiel 34:1-15

1 And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,

2 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?

3 Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock.

4 The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them.

5 And they were scattered, because there is no shepherd: and they became meat to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered.

6 My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and upon every high hill: yea, my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them.

All this is a description of why Israel disintegrated spiritually, materially and in every other way.  Bad decisions always produce bad consequences.  Their unfaithfulness to their Lord was ongoing.  Idolatry was at the heart of it all.  The writings of all the prophets, their “shepherd leaders,” speak of it in nearly every generation.

7 Therefore, ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord;

8 As I live, saith the Lord God, surely because my flock became a prey, and my flock became meat to every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, neither did my shepherds search for my flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not my flock;

9 Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord;

10 Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them. [Emphasis added]

It is because of passages like this that people assume God works with His people this same way today.  But such is not the case! God hasn’t changed but many of His policies have. One example of that is regarding discipline.  I have a whole article about it on this website—

Discipline: Does God punish Christians for their sins?

But even though His people were unfaithful to Him, He remained faithful to them as He does to us todayThat is something very important that hasn’t changed.

2 Timothy 2:13

13 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself. [Emphasis added]

Like a faithful husband to an unfaithful wife, He remained faithful.

Ezekiel 34 continued

11 For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out.

12 As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.

13 And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land, and feed them upon the mountains of Israel by the rivers, and in all the inhabited places of the country.

14 I will feed them in a good pasture, and upon the high mountains of Israel shall their fold be: there shall they lie in a good fold, and in a fat pasture shall they feed upon the mountains of Israel.

15 I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord God. [Emphasis added]

The passage then goes on to speak of many other things He will do for them in the coming time of Christ’s millennial reign over His people Israel and all the Earth.  Of course, that kingdom has been put off for a time because of Israel’s unbelief.  The Body of Christ church of today is an interruption of the prophecy and fulfillment of all God will eventually do for His people Israel.  Today God’s focus is on what is spoken of as the building of His Body of Christ believers.

1 Corinthians 12:12-13

12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. [Emphasis added]

But, again, none of this was known to the prophets of old.  It is spoken of as a mystery, that is, a secret held in the mind of God until it was finally disclosed through the ministry of the apostle Paul.

During the time of our Lord’s earthly ministry, He worked to bring Israel back into being an obedient people so that then He would establish an earthly kingdom for them.  Notice what He told them.  This is a passage that is commonly taken out of its context and wrongly related to us today.

Luke 12:31-32

31 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.

32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. [Emphasis added]

In anticipation of this earthly kingdom He would provide for Israel, He even told them to go ahead and sell off their earthly possessions.

Luke 12:33

33 Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. [Emphasis added]

It is because of this policy that Jesus said what He said to the one spoken of as “the rich young ruler.”

Luke 18:22

22 Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. [Emphasis added]

Many people in Israel did this for a time.

Acts 2:44-45

44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;

45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. [Emphasis added]

Acts 4:34-35 

34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,

35 And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. [Emphasis added]

And even though there were thousands who believed and did this, most of Israel continued in unbelief.  The book of Acts gives us the record of that.  This came to a head with the stoning of Stephen at the time of the events of Acts 7 followed by God’s salvation of and appointment of Paul as the apostle to the Gentiles.  Israel has been in a mode of rejection ever since.  Here we have Paul’s words about them at the close of that period.

Acts 28:27-28

27 For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

28 Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it. [Emphasis added]

Today it is an extremely rare thing for a Jew to accept the Lord Jesus Christ as His savior.  That will continue until the time when this period ends with what is spoken of as the Rapture of the Body of Christ.  There are articles on this website about that.

Rapture: What is the meaning of this term?

Rapture: How is this different from the Second Coming?

After the Rapture, God’s work with Israel will continue with where things left off.  At the end of that period Christ will return to the Earth and establish His Millennial Kingdom.  We, as members of the Body of Christ, will be enjoying all the wonderful blessings awaiting us in Heaven.  There we all have a lot to look forward to enjoying forever.


The Church which is the Body of Christ is nowhere mentioned in Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John.  Every mention of a “church” [EKKLESIA = church or assembly] there is to do with the “assembly” of God’s people Israel, not us today.  The ministry of Christ on Earth was to establish a people who will reside in an earthly kingdom.  On the other hand, His purpose for us is all to do with a heavenly kingdom He will provide for us.  What is said in John 10:16 is certainly NOT a reference to us, the Church of today known as the Body of Christ.  The same is true of the seven “churches” mentioned in Revelation 2 & 3. We, instead, have a heavenly future rather than one on a restored and new earth.  I hope you’ve made the right preparation for being a part of life in Heaven by accepting Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as the sole basis for your salvation.  This salvation and this “hope” for the future is something God will give you freely without any work at all on your part.  All the “work” for it that needed to be done was accomplished by our Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ.  People today just need to believe it to be saved.

Ephesians 2:8-9

8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. [Emphasis added]

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