My Sheep Hear My Voice (NEW 12/26/18)
24 Truly, truly I say unto you, He that enters not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that enters in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him, the porter opens and the sheep hear his voice. And he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he puts forth his own sheep, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him for they know not the voice of strangers. This parable spoke Jesus unto them, but they understood not what things they were which he spoke unto them.
25 Then said Jesus unto them again, Truly, truly I say unto you, I am the door of the sheepfold. All that ever came before me who testified not of me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door. By me, if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief comes not but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly.
26 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives his life for his sheep. And the shepherd is not as a hired hand, whose own the sheep are not, who sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep, and flees, and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. For I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. But he who is a hired hand flees because he is a hired hand and cares not for the sheep. As the Father knows me, even so know I the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. 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.
29 And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch. Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long do you make us to doubt? If you be the Christ, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I told you, and you believed not. The works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. But you believe not, because you are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give unto them Eternal life and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, who gave them me, is greater than all, and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.
9 In the name of Father Ahman I tell you, If you do not enter by the doorway into the protective sheepfold, but climb in any other way, then you are only a thief and a robber. But when you enter at the door and the shepherd lets you enter, then you belong. The shepherd guards the entry, and his sheep respond to his voice. He calls his sheep by name and leads them up. He leads his sheep by his example and asks them to follow in his path, and they follow because they trust his words. His sheep will not follow another, but will flee from a stranger. They do not recognize the stranger’s voice. Jesus told this parable to them, but they could not understand what he meant by the parable.
14 Another confrontation happened at Jerusalem during the wintertime Feast of the Dedication. Jesus walked in the temple on Solomon’s porch. The Jewish leaders came and surrounded him and said, How long do you intend to leave us guessing? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly. Jesus answered them, I have already told you, and you did not believe. Consider the deeds I have accomplished in my Father Ahman’s name, they identify me. But you will not believe even what you have seen me do, because you are not part of the flock given to me by the Father, as I have also told you before. My sheep respond to my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and I cause them to have life. They shall never die throughout the eons, neither can any adversary remove them out of my hand. My Father, who gave them to me, is greater than all, and no adversary is able to take them out of my Father’s hand. My Father and I are one.
5 And the Lord will surely prepare a way for his people, unto the fulfilling of the words of Moses, which he spake, saying, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you, like unto me. Him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass that all those who will not hear that prophet shall be cut off from among the people. And now I, Nephi, declare unto you that this prophet of whom Moses spake was the Holy One of Israel; wherefore, he shall execute judgment in righteousness. And the righteous need not fear, for they are those who shall not be confounded, but it is the kingdom of the Devil, which shall be built up among the children of men, which kingdom is established among them which are in the flesh. For the time speedily shall come that all churches which are built up to get gain, and all those who are built up to get power over the flesh, and those who are built up to become popular in the eyes of the world, and those who seek the lusts of the flesh and the things of the world and to do all manner of iniquity — yea, in fine, all those who belong to the kingdom of the Devil — are they who need fear, and tremble, and quake. They are those who must be brought low in the dust, they are those who must be consumed as stubble; and this is according to the words of the prophet. And the time cometh speedily that the righteous must be led up as calves of the stall, and the Holy One of Israel must reign in dominion, and might, and power, and great glory. And he gathereth his children from the four quarters of the earth, and he numbereth his sheep, and they know him. And there shall be one fold and one shepherd, and he shall feed his sheep, and in him they shall find pasture. And because of the righteousness of his people, Satan has no power. Wherefore, he cannot be loosed for the space of many years, for he hath no power over the hearts of the people, for they dwell in righteousness, and the Holy One of Israel reigneth. And now behold, I, Nephi, say unto you that all these things must come according to the flesh. But behold, all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people shall dwell safely in the Holy One of Israel if it so be that they will repent.
21 And thou shalt serve me, and go forth in my name, and shall gather together my sheep. And he that will hear my voice shall be my sheep; and him shall ye receive into the church, and him will I also receive. For behold, this is my church. Whosoever is baptized shall be baptized unto repentance, and whosoever ye receive shall believe in my name, and him will I freely forgive. For it is I that taketh upon me the sins of the world, for it is I that hath created them. And it is I that granteth unto him that believeth unto the end a place at my right hand. For behold, in my name are they called; and if they know me, they shall come forth and shall have a place eternally at my right hand. And it shall come to pass that when the second trump shall sound, then shall they that never knew me come forth and shall stand before me. And then shall they know that I am the Lord their God, that I am their Redeemer, but they would not be redeemed. And then will I confess unto them that I never knew them, and they shall depart into everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels. Therefore I say unto you that he that will not hear my voice, the same shall ye not receive into my church, for him will I not receive at the last day.
29 And now it came to pass that Alma began from this time forward to teach the people, and those who were with Alma at the time the angel appeared unto them: traveling round about through all the land, publishing to all the people the things which they had heard and seen, and preaching the word of God in much tribulation, being greatly persecuted by those who were unbelievers, being smitten by many of them. But notwithstanding all this, they did impart much consolation to the church, confirming their faith, and exhorting them with long-suffering and much travail to keep the commandments of God. And four of them were the sons of Mosiah. And their names were Ammon, and Aaron, and Omner, and Himni — these were the names of the sons of Mosiah. And they traveled throughout all the land of Zarahemla, and among all the people who were under the reign of king Mosiah, zealously striving to repair all the injuries which they had done to the church, confessing all their sins, and publishing all the things which they had seen, and explaining the prophecies and the scriptures to all who desired to hear them. And thus they were instruments in the hands of God in bringing many to the knowledge of the truth, yea, to the knowledge of their Redeemer. And how blessed are they, for they did publish peace; they did publish good tidings of good, and they did declare unto the people that the Lord reigneth.
7 O ye workers of iniquity, ye that are puffed up in the vain things of the world, ye that have professed to have known the ways of righteousness — nevertheless, ye have gone astray as sheep having no shepherd, notwithstanding a shepherd hath called after you, and art still calling after you, but ye will not hearken unto his voice. Behold, I say unto you that the Good Shepherd doth call you; yea, and in his own name he doth call you, which is the name of Christ. And if ye will not hearken unto the voice of the good shepherd, to the name by which ye are called, behold, ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd. And now if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, of what fold are ye? Behold, I say unto you that the Devil is your shepherd, and ye are of his fold. And now who can deny this? Behold, I say unto you, whosoever denieth this is a liar and a child of the Devil.
8 For I say unto you that whatsoever is good cometh from God, and whatsoever is evil cometh from the Devil. Therefore, if a man bringeth forth good works, he hearkeneth unto the voice of the good shepherd, and he doth follow him. But whosoever bringeth forth evil works, the same becometh a child of the Devil, for he hearkeneth unto his voice and doth follow him. And whosoever doeth this must receive his wages of him. Therefore, for his wages he receiveth death as to things pertaining unto righteousness, being dead unto all good works. And now, my brethren, I would that ye should hear me, for I speak in the energy of my soul. For behold, I have spoken unto you plain, that ye cannot err, or have spoken according to the commandments of God. For I am called to speak after this manner, according to the Holy Order of God, which is in Christ Jesus. Yea, I am commanded to stand and testify unto this people the things which have been spoken by our fathers concerning the things which are to come. And this is not all; do ye not suppose that I know of these things myself? Behold, I testify unto you that I do know that these things whereof I have spoken are true. And how do ye suppose that I know of their surety? Behold, I say unto you, they are made known unto me by the holy spirit of God. Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself. And now I do know of myself that they are true, for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his holy spirit; and this is the spirit of revelation which is in me. And moreover, I say unto you that as it has thus been revealed unto me that the words which have been spoken by our fathers are true, even so according to the spirit of prophecy which is in me, which is also by the manifestation of the spirit of God, I say unto you that I know of myself that whatsoever I shall say unto you concerning that which is to come is true. And I say unto you that I know that Jesus Christ shall come, yea, the Son, the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace, and mercy, and truth. And behold, it is he that cometh to take away the sins of the world, yea, the sins of every man who steadfastly believeth on his name.
11 And now I say unto you, all you that are desirous to follow the voice of the good shepherd, come ye out from the wicked and be ye separate, and touch not their unclean things. And behold, their names shall be blotted out, that the names of the wicked shall not be numbered among the names of the righteous, that the word of God may be fulfilled which saith, The names of the wicked shall not be mingled with the names of my people, for the names of the righteous shall be written in the Book of Life, and unto them will I grant an inheritance at my right hand. And now, my brethren, what have ye to say against this? I say unto you, if ye speak against it, it matters not, for the word of God must be fulfilled. For what shepherd is there among you, having many sheep, doth not watch over them that the wolves enter not and devour his flock? And behold, if a wolf enter his flock, doth he not drive him out? Yea, and at the last, if he can, he will destroy him. And now I say unto you that the good shepherd doth call after you. And if you will hearken unto his voice, he will bring you into his fold and ye are his sheep. And he commandeth you that ye suffer no ravenous wolf to enter among you, that ye may not be destroyed.
7 For the Lord God declares: Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd seeks 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. 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. 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. I will feed my flock, and I will cause them to lie down, says the Lord God. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick. But I will destroy the fat and the strong, I will feed them with judgment.
In Ezekiel 34: 11-12 it is written: “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God unto the shepherds: woe be unto the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock.”
This description could be applied with several layers of meaning. However, the one I like best is the interpretation which relates “feeding” to teaching truths. Shepherds were given the calling of teaching the “flocks” of Israel higher truths which would exalt them.
…Ezekiel’s message goes on to promise that in the latter-days the Lord will “both search [His] sheep, and seek them out. 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.” (34: 11-12.) We are in that latter-day time now. He is seeking. But notice that throughout the description of His latter-day work, He alone takes credit for finding and feeding. (34: 13-17.)
When He has gathered enough to establish again His kingdom, He will then make a new day in which “my servant David” will be the “one shepherd” over them, in that Millennial Day. (34: 22-24.)
We’re supposed to be getting gathered now in anticipation of becoming numerous enough for there to be a Millennial King provided for us. We’re supposed to be in contact with the Lord as He alone gathers us in this latter-day. It is a glorious vision for which we should rejoice.
“For behold, angels are declaring it unto many at this time in our land; and this is for the purpose of preparing the hearts of the children of men to receive his word at the time of his coming in his glory.” (Alma 10:3 NC)
If “angels are declaring it unto many” at the time of Alma’s remarks, why are they not declaring it unto many now? Are we any less important than they were? If we are as important, then why are we not hearing of this now?
What is the definition of “angels” who are doing this “declaring” to “many?” Was Alma included? If so, what is it that turns a man from a mortal to ministering angel? Can a mortal become a ministering angel? How would that occur? What would it require? Can we thereby entertain angels unawares? (Heb. 13: 2; Heb. 1:58 NC.)
If an angel comes to visit with a man, gives him a message, and the man then declares it, are they both made “angels” by this message? Are “angels” always either deceased or unborn? If they are, then why did Joseph teach that “there are no angels who minister to this earth but those who do belong or have belonged to it?” (D&C 130: 5.) If angels “do belong” to the earth are they still mortal?
How would you recognize such a person? Would it be the same way the Lord was known before He showed Himself to the disciples on the Road to Emmaus? (Luke 24: 32; Luke 14:4 NC.)
If it is the “hearts” which are to be prepared, then does this relate to the disciples “hearts burning within them” as the Lord spoke to them while in the way? Why do His sheep hear His voice? How do they hear his voice?
Why is preparing “the hearts” enough to prepare a people to “receive His word?” Is it more important to “receive His word” than to receive His person? Why would that be so?
Why are we unable to receive Him in His glory until after our hearts have first “received His word?”
It is more difficult to be taught than to have faith for miracles. (3 Ne. 17: 2-8; 3 Nephi 8:1-2 NC.) Even should you behold the Lord “in His glory” just as the Nephites, it would still be more difficult for you to have the faith to be taught by Him and accept what He has to teach than for Him to perform a miracle.
How alike all the generations of men are. How very relevant, therefore, these words remain for us!
Before I converted, though I did not consider myself a candidate to convert, I also felt a hollowness in life. There was something missing. The void inside us was meant to be there. Filling it was always the responsibility of the Gospel. We were all meant to feel “poor in spirit” until we find truth. Then, upon finding truth, we were meant to “come unto Christ” so the void may be filled. Coming to Christ is the return to life and light. It is the journey back to that light from where we originated.
Converting was more of a homecoming than anything else. The Gospel rings true and His sheep hear His voice (John 10: 27 LE) because these are things we long ago accepted and decided to follow (T&C Abraham 3:2-3). Each of us needs to be converted. Even if you were raised in the church, you still need to convert. The steps Christ is outlining are the ones each of us are expected to follow. Whether you do so as an adult, or did so earlier in life, we are all required to “come unto Christ” and be converted.
Denver Snuffer Blog, “His Sheep,” 4/26/2015 (excerpt)
The fact that God sends a messenger, (or even His Son), does not mean the world will notice or accept it while the message is being delivered. Only a few are ever willing to hear His voice. But the few who do are always chosen by God and acknowledged by Him as “His sheep.” (John 10:27 LE.) They suffer rejection but then learn to understand the Lord through experiences shared with Him. He does not leave them comfortless. He manifests Himself to them, (John 14:18 LE) because their hearts are broken and their spirits contrite. This is His gospel and it was meant to be lived. Very few people notice. Great things in God’s eyes are not the same thing as great things to this world. But those who choose to notice are given treasures of understanding. They hear, see and understand things which are entirely hidden from the world.
Enthusiasm can lead to impatience. Impatience causes those who ought to await direction from the Lord to charge ahead and be destroyed.
But it is better for the impatient to be drawn away than gather to destroy the work of God.
A strait and narrow way will be found by only few. (Jacob 6: 11-12; Jacob 4:2 NC.) To find it the few will confront dozens of voices imploring them to diverge from what God has underway (2 Ne. 2: 11; 2 Ne. 1:8 NC), crying “Lo, Here!” and “Lo, There!” (JSH Pt 1:11 T&C.) It is required for the few to reject false offers of salvation, purported higher knowledge, pacifying doctrines, flattery and errors coming from teachers who command people to hearken to their precepts. (2 Ne. 28: 20-32; 2 Nephi 12:4-7 NC.)
How the Lord can accomplish His work in this fallen place will be a wonder to behold. None in this generation seem to have the patience to allow Him to do as He has promised.
Can it be done, Lord?
Fear not… “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.” (John 6:29 NC.)
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 19:2 OC)
The Savior referred to those who would follow Him as His “sheep.” (John 10: 27 LE.) However, Isaiah’s use of “sheep” here is not about those who would follow Him, but rather those who would scatter, find other shepherds, or lose their way altogether. Isaiah’s “sheep” are disorderly and have gone “astray.”
The bookends of these two messages – Isaiah’s sheep, who are astray, and Christ’s, who“hear His voice” – are two sides of the same coin. Until “ALL” of us have been, or to some degree, have gone “astray,” we are unprepared to “hear His voice” and be gathered by Him.
We have turned away from the True Shepherd and gone into our “own way.” That errant “way” is appealing to the ego, the mind, the imagination, or the traditions we need to control us because they are safe, tested or handed to us by those whom we trust. Whatever the reason for choosing our own way, it is nevertheless ours. We must leave it, respond to the True Shepherd’s “voice” and gather again to Him.
It is His “voice” whenever He sends a true messenger, empowered with a message from Him. It is not His “voice” when the messenger has not been sent or empowered with a message from Him.
The “iniquity of us all” in finding ourselves in these strange paths has been laid upon Him. He has found His way back from every error man can make. He has solved every dilemma, confronted every error, overcome every false and tempting doctrine the devil has thrown at you. He can solve your imponderable problems. He knows the answers. He has overcome the iniquities of every false, evil or prideful teaching ever given to any man or woman.
He can lead you back to the light, because He has remained true to the light throughout. Therefore, look to Him.
…today we have people whose notions, visions, dreams and experiences are being promulgated through blogs, lectures, seminars, books and sermons. Most are unanchored in scripture. Because the scriptures are not being used to anchor these messages, there are widely disparate views of what is going on now and what is supposed to happen in the future.
What if the Lord restricted today’s visionaries the same way he restricted Nephi? What if the visionary information was used by the recipient to explain, expound and preach from holy scripture? Things would be much clearer for His people in these last days if we were given the assurance that God is the same yesterday, today and forever. This is the message of the scriptures. The scriptures are how God gets His word out to His people. Using the scriptures to expound the word of the Lord is not an antiquated notion. What if the Lord wants His word vindicated by referring to them now? Using them now? Expounding them now? What if the Lord’s example on the Road to Emmaus is to be taken seriously? His example was to teach using the law and all the prophets to show how in all things He was to suffer as He did.
It should be relatively plain to judge between what the Lord commissions and wants preached and what comes from the foolish imaginations of men and women. Apparently the best way to sift sheep and goats is to allow every wind of doctrine to come upon mankind and see which are wise and which are foolish virgins. Who keeps themselves unspotted and who runs to and fro with itching ears to consume on their lusts every new thing.
What a perfect test we are taking. Everyone knows they ought to be grounding themselves on a rock, but then mistake sand, leaves, air, wood and dung for the rock. There are people waste-deep in excrement who are certain they are standing on holy ground.
How much sooner might we be able to agree on the things that matter most if we put our understanding into words of scripture? How can we ever come to unity if we do not share a common scripture; an anchor to hold us together?
The pathway back is guarded by shiny trinkets that get all the wayfaring fools to step off a cliff to their ruin. Just because you are in the largest crowd leaving the pathway doesn’t mean the landing is going to be any less destructive. To stay on it the iron rod is needed.