In the Old Testament Jehovah was the shepherd, and the people of Israel was the sheepfold. The prophet Isaiah says: “Behold, the Lord Jehovah will come as a mighty one, and his arm will rule for him. Behold, his reward is with him, and his recompense before him. He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will gather the lambs in his arm, and carry them in his bosom. He will gently lead those who have their young” (Is. 40:10-11).
In the New Testament Jesus is the shepherd, and his Church is the flock. He said: “I am the good shepherd. I know my own, and I’m known by my own” (John 10:14).
It seems that Jehovah and Jesus are the same person. Let us compare the shepherding style of each one to clear any doubts and be certain of what we believe.
1. The shepherd Jehovah cast terrible curses on his sheep to destroy them (Deut. 28:15-68).
The shepherd Jesus delivered us from the curses and gave us the eternal life (Gal. 3:13; John 5:24).
2. Jehovah rules over his flock with indignation and violence (Ezek. 20:33).
Jesus Christ rules through love. He said: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, just like I have loved you; that you also love one another” (John 13:34).
3. The shepherd Jehovah brings terrible oppression and bondage over his fold (2 Chr. 12:7-8).
The good shepherd, Jesus Christ, makes free. Paul declared: “Stand firm therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and don’t be entangled again with a yoke of bondage” (Gal. 5:1).
4. Jehovah handed on the sheep to be devoured by the nations. He sold his flock for a bargain, and their price did not increase his wealth (Ps. 44:11-12).
The true shepherd gave himself for our sins to deliver us from this present evil world according the will of God our Father (Gal. 1:4).
5. Jehovah, as a shepherd, abandoned his sheep to their fate. He said: “Behold, I will set a plumb line in the midst of my people Israel. I will not again pass by them any more” (Amos 7:8). And he added: “The end has come on my people Israel. I will not again pass by them any more” (Amos 8:2).
Jesus, the good shepherd, goes after the lost sheep wherever it may be found (Luke 15:4-7).
6. The shepherd Jehovah gives his life for the sinners: “But God commends his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8; 1 Tim. 1:15).
7. A popular proverb says that one will not catch flies with vinegar, but with sugar. But Jehovah, the shepherd, says: “Behold, I will feed them, even this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink” (Jer. 9:15).
Jesus, the good shepherd, says: “but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never thirst again; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life” (John 4:14).
8. Jehovah, the shepherd of the Old Testament, throws deadly poisoned arrows against his closest and most intimate servants. David himself is a victim of these arrows and the one who tells us about it: “Jehovah, don’t rebuke me in your wrath, neither chasten me in your hot displeasure. For your arrows have pierced me” (Ps. 38:1-2). And now Job, the most faithful, righteous and sincere man in his time, speaks: “For the arrows of the Almighty are within me. My spirit drinks up their poison” (Job 6:4). A complete lack of charity is required in order to do this to Job. Only Jehovah would be capable of such cruelty to please Satan.
9. Jesus, the good shepherd, clothes us with armor and gives us the shield of faith, with which we can quench the fiery darts of the evil one (Eph. 6:16).
Jesus, the good shepherd, gave his life for the sheep (John 10:11). The good shepherd did not seek his own glory (John 8:50). The glory he received from the Father, he gave to the sheep, such is his love for them (John 17:22).
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira