Sheep or Goat?

Sheep or Goat?
Sheep or Goat?

“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. ‘All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left…” (Matthew 25:32).

Have you ever thought about why there needs to be a separation of sheep and goats?  I remember the first time I heard that sheep and goats look alike, especially Middle Eastern goats and sheep.     I found a fun article about how sheep and goats are similar and how they are different.

Sheep are grazers while  goats are browsers and tend to be loaners and wander in the mountains. Sheep are bold and confident once they get over their initial fears. They are survivors for they have the ability to  evade predators by following dominant ‘lead sheep’.  Sheep are hard workers (carry salt in Mongolia) while goats tend to be lazy or would ‘lay down.’  Sheep are more robust than goats and tend to get less disease.

There are 63 references to goats in Scripture most of which are about sacrifice while a few are about Rebecca using goatskin to deceive Jacob and Jacob using DNA to create a goat flock for himself.    There are 230 references to sheep.  Many are in reference to sacrifice, but most throughout the prophets are of  sheep as symbols of God’s people.   In Isaiah we are ‘all like sheep who have wandered away’ and need a Shepherd.  In Jeremiah ‘false shepherds destroyed the sheep by leading them into the mountains’ and make them wanderers (browsers) which is contrary to their nature.  They are followers.   In Ezekiel, God will rescue his sheep and then judge between the fat sheep and thin sheep, rams and billy-goats.

“He is like a shepherd feeding his flock, gathering his lambs with his arm, carrying them against his chest, gently leading the mother sheep” (Isaiah 40:11). 

God gave Yeshua, the Shepherd to His people and Yeshua continued to use sheep as a symbol for God’s people.   There are those who follow him and those who follow deceiving shepherds or ‘wolves in sheep’s clothing’. There are ‘the lost sheep of the House of Israel’ who are ‘without a shepherd’.    There is the ‘one lost sheep’ that needs saving because ‘the value of man’s life is greater than a sheep’.  There are ‘sheep in other pens that need to be brought into the fold’ (separating the sheep from the goats that are wandering in the mountains).  He sends his disciples out like ‘sheep among wolves’.  He tells Peter to ‘feed my sheep’.  He ‘lays down his life’ for his sheep.

One woman who knew the correct animal in the above picture said: “It’s  all in the ‘ears'”.

“Yeshua answered them, “I have already told you, and you don’t trust me. The works I do in my Father’s name testify on my behalf, but the reason you don’t trust is that you are not included among my sheep.  My sheep listen to my voice, I recognize them, they follow me,(John 10:25-27).

What kind of ears do you have?

©2015 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. 

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