Counting Sheep

Happy indeed are those who listen and who are “born again” to “enter into the kingdom of God” in union with the King. Happy are the “other sheep” who listen to the voice of this Shepherd-King and gain life. (All Scripture Is Inspired of God and Beneficial, page 199, paragraph 35)

To which happy group do you belong?
Are you of the “other sheep” or of those who’ve been “born again” to “enter into the kingdom of God?”

The majority of Jehovah’s Witnesses will tell you they belong to the “other sheep” class of Christians.  Since they believe only a limited number of 144,000 comprise those who’ve been born again and enter into the kingdom of God, they don’t believe they are in that group. But don’t feel sorry for them, remember, their literature told them they’re HAPPY! And why are they so happy? Because the “other sheep” get to support the anointed class!

Anointed Christians share in the work of prophesying. They speak about “the magnificent things of God” and proclaim the “good news of the Kingdom.” (Ac 2:11, 17-21; Mt 24:14) The other sheep support them by participating in this work (Life and Ministry Meeting Workbook | October 2017 – TREASURES FROM GOD’S WORD | JOEL 1-3 “Your Sons and Your Daughters Will Prophesy”)

In order to understand how Jehovah’s Witnesses separate themselves into the two classes of “anointed Christians” and “the other sheep,” we’ll first examine two key Bible verses the Watchtower consistently uses to train the thought process of their members.

John 10:16 in the New World Translation reads: “And I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; those too I must bring in, and they will listen to my voice, and they will become one flock, one shepherd.”

There is “this fold” and then there is the “other sheep not of this fold.”

If you look up John 10:16 on their website, you’ll note that they reference Luke 12:32 to clarify who “this fold” is.

Luke 12:32 in the New World Translation reads as: “Have no fear, little flock, for your Father has approved of giving you the Kingdom.”

They teach their members that “this fold” in John 10:16 refers to the “little flock” of Luke 12:32.

And thus, they solidify in their minds that the “other sheep” is a larger fold than the “little flock” of “this fold.” This is important later when they connect that “little flock” to the twice mentioned number of 144,000 in Revelation chapters 7 and 14 and contrast that small number with the great crowd mentioned at Revelation 7:9.

The cross reference to the “little flock” in Luke 12:32 takes us back to John 10:14 where we learn Jesus refers to the original fold as “my sheep” who listen to His voice. The “little flock” is not the “other sheep.” Only one group, therefore, listens to the voice of Jesus.

With this firmly in place, we see why the “other sheep” follow the “little flock” since they are the only ones who can hear the voice of Jesus. The “other sheep” accept that they don’t have as intimate a relationship with Jesus. They admire him as a teacher and moral guide and know that he is important in Jehovah’s arrangement, but the real Lord in their lives is the “anointed class” of the “little flock.” They are happy to FOLLOW THEM because they’ve been convinced that the “little flock” will rule over them in heaven. The cross reference at the end of Luke 12:32 has told them this by referencing the verse directly to Daniel 7:27 in their New World Translation.

“‘And the kingdom and the rulership and the grandeur of the kingdoms under all the heavens were given to the people who are the holy ones of the Supreme One. Their kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all rulerships will serve and obey them.’

In Watchtower theology, there are TWO classes of Christians: the heavenly “anointed class” who rule in the everlasting kingdom and the earthly “other sheep” who will obediently follow their lead.

“All of this should impress upon the minds of the other sheep why the Christian Greek Scriptures focus so much attention on Christ and his anointed brothers and their central role in the outworking of Jehovah’s purposes. The other sheep therefore consider it a PRIVILEGE TO SUPPORT in every way possible the anointed slave class while awaiting “the revealing of the sons of God” at Armageddon and during the Millennium.”
–Watchtower 2002 February 1 p. 23

Now do you understand why the “other sheep” are so “happy?”

But are there really TWO DISTINCT GROUPS?

Let’s first explore what the Watchtower study edition of February 1, 2002 said about that.

In paragraph 9 under the heading “The Spirit and the Other Sheep,” the question is posed:

What two distinct groups are mentioned in the Gospels and in the book of Revelation?

9 Having in mind the limited number of Christians called to make up spiritual Israel, Jesus referred to them as the “little flock.” They are admitted into the “fold” of the new covenant, in contrast with the numberless “other sheep,” whom Jesus said he must also gather. (Luke 12:32; John 10:16) Those of the other sheep gathered in the time of the end will make up the “great crowd” destined to survive “the great tribulation,” with the prospect of living forever on a paradise earth. Interestingly, the vision John received at the end of the first century C.E. distinguishes between this great crowd and the 144,000 members of spiritual Israel. (Revelation 7:4, 9, 14) Do the other sheep also receive the holy spirit, and if so, how does it affect their lives?

10 The holy spirit does indeed play an important part in the lives of the other sheep. They symbolize their dedication to Jehovah by being baptized “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit.” (Matthew 28:19) They recognize Jehovah’s sovereignty, submit to Christ as their King and Redeemer, and yield to the action of God’s spirit, or active force, in their lives. Day by day, they make room in their lives for “the fruitage of the spirit,” namely “love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, mildness, self-control.”—Galatians 5:22, 23.

11, 12. (a) How are the anointed sanctified in a very special way? (b) In what way are the other sheep sanctified and made holy?

11 The other sheep must also allow God’s Word and his holy spirit to purify, or sanctify, them. The anointed are already sanctified in a very special way, being declared righteous and holy as Christ’s bride. (John 17:17; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Ephesians 5:23-27) The prophet Daniel speaks of them as “the holy ones of the Supreme One,” who receive the Kingdom under the “son of man,” Christ Jesus. (Daniel 7:13, 14, 18, 27) Earlier, through Moses and Aaron, Jehovah declared to the nation of Israel: “I am Jehovah your God; and you must sanctify yourselves and you must prove yourselves holy, because I am holy.”—Leviticus 11:44.

12 The word “sanctification” basically means “the act or process of making holy, separating, or setting apart for the service or use of Jehovah God; the state of being holy, sanctified, or purified.” As early as 1938, The Watchtower stated that the Jonadabs, or other sheep, “must learn that consecration [dedication] and sanctification are required of each one who shall become a part of the great multitude and live on earth.” In the vision of the great crowd, recorded in the book of Revelation, they are spoken of as having “washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” and as rendering Jehovah “sacred service day and night in his temple.” (Revelation 7:9, 14, 15) With the help of the holy spirit, the other sheep do their utmost to measure up to Jehovah’s requirements of holiness.—2 Corinthians 7:1.
(Watchtower study edition February 1, 2002 – Have You Received “the Spirit of the Truth”?)

The above article asked “What two distinct groups are mentioned in the Gospels and in the book of Revelation?” And paragraphs 9 through 12 explained their view of who those two groups are. The Watchtower Society clearly promotes the idea that there are two distinct groups mentioned in the Gospels and in the book of Revelation. They base their belief of an anointed class and an earthly class from passages in John and Luke which are in the “Gospels.” But what about the epistles? Do they differ from the Gospels and Revelation? Notice in the letter to the Romans, Paul preaches also to two groups. Here is what Jehovah’s Witnesses read from their publication “All Scripture Is Inspired of God and Beneficial.”

[Romans] discusses at length the new equality between Jews and non-Jews, the two classes to whom Paul preached. It explains a turning point in God’s dealings with his people and shows that the inspired Hebrew Scriptures had long foretold that the good news would be proclaimed also to the non-Jews. (All Scripture Is Inspired of God and Beneficial, page 206, paragraph 1)

In the Christian Greek Scriptures, Paul is preaching to Jews and non-Jews. Why? Because as it says, the inspired Hebrew Scriptures, which comprise our Old Testament, FORETOLD that the good news would be proclaimed to two classes: the Jews and the non-Jews. There is no mention of a heavenly class or an earthly class in Paul’s letter to the Romans because apparently he found no reference for it in the Hebrew scrolls.

Referencing Romans 2:11, 29; 10:12; 3:28 in the same “All Scripture Is Inspired” book, the Watchtower asserts this:

In the Christian congregation, there is no longer a distinction between Jew and Gentile, but persons of all nations may share in Jehovah’s undeserved kindness through Jesus Christ. “There is no partiality with God.” “He is a Jew who is one on the inside, and his circumcision is that of the heart by spirit, and not by a written code.” “There is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for there is the same Lord over all, who is rich to all those calling upon him.” For all of these it is faith, and not works, that is counted to them as righteousness.​ (All Scripture Is Inspired of God and Beneficial, page 209, paragraph 21)

So the chosen apostle Paul preached to two classes — Jew and Gentile. Paul’s lesson is that there is no distinction between them. Sounds like one flock under one Shepherd doesn’t it? And notice that both classes are declared righteous by faith and both undergo a “circumcision of the heart by spirit.” Hmmm… sounds a bit like being born of spirit. These two classes made righteous by faith don’t appear to be the SAME two classes that the Watchtower highlights as the two distinct groups of the heavenly, spirit born ruling class and the earthly class who is neither born of spirit nor made righteous and holy by faith.

I wonder. If Paul were to read John 10:16 what would he have come up with? Would he preach that the “other sheep” pertains to the Gentiles in contrast to the Jews that Jesus first spoke to or would the Spirit of God give Paul some “new light” revealing that John 10:16 actually separates Christians into a heavenly class and an earthly class?

Perhaps we can figure this out with a question posed by the writers of the “All Scripture Is Inspired” book under the heading “Why Beneficial” in their commentary on Romans.

What advice does Paul give with a view to building zeal and happy relations within the congregation?

In the closing chapters, Paul gives strong admonition on watching and avoiding those who cause divisions, but he also speaks of the mutual joy and refreshment that come from clean associations in the congregation.​—16:17-19; 15:7, 32. (All Scripture Is Inspired of God and Beneficial, page 209, paragraph 24)

What would cause division? Since only two classes of people who become one flock were mentioned by Paul (as validated by this introduction to his letter to the Romans), would it be causing division if some time in the future a religious organization were to manipulate the Scriptures in such a way as to introduce additional classes of people?

The Watchtower wants us to know that even though Paul taught from a standpoint of TWO classes (Jews and Gentiles) and their February 1, 2002 study article also teaches there are TWO distinct classes in the Gospels and Revelation (Heaven bound Anointed and the earth bound other sheep), there are not FOUR classes. No, because two plus two does not equal four! Instead, they declare that Jesus actually taught there are THREE!

Jesus now uses an illustration in which he mentions three sheepfolds and his role as the Fine Shepherd. The first sheepfold he speaks of is identified with the Mosaic Law covenant arrangement. (The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived, Chapter 80: The Sheepfolds and the Shepherd, paragraph 3)

They go on to explain that these sheep are called by name and then led out to “another sheepfold” signifying the heavenly, anointed class admitted into the new covenant. They are the second sheepfold. And so, that leaves the THIRD class of people they name as the “other sheep!”

Recently, Jesus had comforted his followers, saying: “Have no fear, little flock, because your Father has approved of giving you the kingdom.” This little flock, which eventually numbers 144,000, comes into this new, or second, sheepfold. But Jesus goes on to observe: “I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; those also I must bring, and they will listen to my voice, and they will become one flock, one shepherd.”

Since the “other sheep” are “not of this fold,” they must be of another fold, a third one. These last two folds, or pens of sheep, have different destinies. The “little flock” in one fold will rule with Christ in heaven, and the “other sheep” in the other fold will live on the Paradise earth. Yet, despite being in two folds, the sheep have no jealousy, nor do they feel segregated, for as Jesus says, they “become one flock” under “one shepherd.” (The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived, Chapter 80: The Sheepfolds and the Shepherd, paragraph 7-8)

The question at the end of the lesson asks “Who make up the Fine Shepherd’s two folds, and how many flocks do they become?”

Huh? It’s enough to keep you up all night counting sheep!

Keep yourself in God’s love,

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Author: Julie

As a convert to Jehovah’s Witnesses, Julie believed she had found “the Truth,” but when she was “disfellowshipped” for “apostasy” when she questioned the organization's policies and refused to trust the organization over Jesus as her ONLY mediator, Julie left to find true freedom serving the REAL Jehovah God in joy and truth! Call Julie at 719-355-7164 ext 113