Abstract: The Book of Mormon sheds light on a “great mystery” located in John 10:16 (D&C 10:64). In this paper, using a comparative method that traces intersecting pastoral imagery, I argue that John 10:16–18 (as opposed to merely John 10:16) not only refers to Jesus’s visit to the Lehites in Bountiful and the lost tribes of Israel (the standard LDS view), but that it has a scripturally warranted covenant-connection to the emergence and dissemination of the Nephite record. Specifically, the Book of Mormon, according to the Good Shepherd (3 Nephi 15:12–16:20), effectively serves as his recognizable voice to the inhabitants of the earth across time and space. The Nephite record has come forth so that the Lord’s sheep (those who hear his voice in and through that record in the final dispensation) may be safely gathered into the fold before he comes in glory to reign as a second King David. The Nephite record’s coming forth to eventually establish peace on earth was foretold by prophets such as Isaiah (Isaiah 52:7–10), Ezekiel (Ezekiel 34:23–25; 37:15–26), and Nephi (1 Nephi 13:34–37, 40–14:2; 1 Nephi 22:16–28). The value of this comparative approach is to recast our understanding of various passages of scripture, even as additional value is assigned to the Nephite record as the covenant of peace.
“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.” (John 10:16)
Jesus Christ’s reference to his “other sheep” in John 10:16 is perhaps not well understood. Latter-day Saint scholars generally view the reference as pointing to the Lehites that Jesus addresses in 3 Nephi and those of the lost tribes of the house of Israel whom he subsequently visits, [Page 146]of whom we have no present account. Among non-Latter-day Saint scholars, there appear to be several perspectives on the “other sheep,” but one predominates: the other-sheep phrase refers to those who would hear the Good Shepherd’s voice among the early Gentiles.1 On one hand, though, a little learning is a dangerous thing insofar as it diminishes the expectation of discovery due to received assumptions; on the other hand, where there is no exegetical inheritance, scholarly speculations tend to multiply. Some scholars have posited in the concise and elusive passage in John 10:16 an assurance that others would yet hear the voice of the Good Shepherd in future generations, that his voice would eventually be unto all across time and place. The Good Shepherd’s voice, for these scholars, would be unto all the “children of God, both Jews and Gentiles.”2 Nevertheless, what is precisely evoked when examining John 10:16 appears to remain a relative mystery. This paper, therefore, seeks to explain not only who the other sheep are, but more significantly, when and especially how they are to be brought into the fold according to the eschatological prophecies that employ pastoral imagery. Implicit in this approach is an affirmation that the gathering and numbering of the sheep requires meeting the conditions of the gospel covenant of peace as articulated in the Book of Mormon and elsewhere in scripture.
Symbolic imagery in the ancient scriptures can be lost on modern believers. This is because references, even those once considered ordinary, cannot be fully appreciated without cultural context. Reading scripture is a risk that requires a mutual interest in the text and in the exegete’s experience.3 Historically distant times and places and the emergence of more modern concerns and questions naturally place limitations on our ability to fully comprehend. Fortunately, some scriptural imagery has been explained to us more frequently by those trained in such things4 (or used in our influential literature and iconography)5 and therefore the interpretive gap has been minimized, if not entirely eliminated. One example of this more familiar visual material common to scriptural teaching is that of the shepherd and his sheep. Most understand that the shepherd in certain societies cared for and protected his sheep. He numbered them, knew them (and they knew him), and protected them with his life against predators. The sheep were gathered into an enclosure, and the shepherd guarded them by night and led them out to feed in the best pastures by day. To graze them, the shepherd would call them from their pen where they were gathered with others’ flocks. He could do this because they recognized his particular voice. The sheep and their lambs were the shepherd’s livelihood and thus of great importance to [Page 147]him. If one sheep became separated or lost, he would seek it out and bring it back to the fold. King David famously was a shepherd called from tending the animals in his flock to eventually become king. To this day, Jesus Christ, in King David’s lineage, is referenced by the name-title the Good Shepherd. The sheep of the Good Shepherd are those persons who hear his voice and follow him. They become his disciples and by covenant are gathered into his fold. Most of this is rather familiar to the average church-going, Bible-believing person.
This pastoral motif of the caring shepherd and his responsive sheep common to the word of the Lord can have interesting iterations and appropriations in scripture.6 For instance, Ezekiel reproves the leaders of the Lord’s people because they fail to shepherd the flock. Speaking for the Lord, Ezekiel accuses them of ruling the sheep “with force and with cruelty” (Ezekiel 34:4).7 Due to the wickedness of the Lord’s shepherds, the Lord says, “my flock was scattered upon all the face of the earth, and none did search or seek after them” (Ezekiel 34:6). The Lord even suggests through Ezekiel that the shepherds have attempted to feed on their own hungry sheep: “I will deliver my flock from their [the shepherds’] mouth, that they [my sheep, cattle, rams, and goats] may not be meat for them” (Ezekiel 34:10). This promise of deliverance and, implicitly, of gathering in, according to the exiled prophet, will occur in a future “cloudy and dark day” (v. 12) and will occur through the zeal of the Lord himself. After the flock is scattered to all places, the Lord promises, “therefore will I save my flock, and they shall no more be a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle. And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David. … And I the Lord will be their God. … And I will make with them a covenant of peace” (Ezekiel 34:22–25). This same imagery and these same promises, including the assurance that the Lord “will make a covenant of peace,” are reminiscent of Ezekiel 37. There, we learn that the Lord’s sheep will be gathered and that there will be one fold and “one shepherd” over all the earth when the “stick of Joseph” and “of Judah” become “one in mine hand” (Ezekiel 37:19–28). In this way, Israel will be restored before the final stages of the first resurrection through the Book of Mormon.
The Good Shepherd imagery of Ezekiel — including its imagery of the scattering and gathering of the sheep of the house of Israel — is also found outside the Old Testament, and it tends to be employed in similar ways. For example, both Alma1, and his son, Alma2, use it when regulating the Nephite church (see Mosiah 26:17–32 and Alma 5:37–42, 57–62).8 Ezekiel’s treatment of the pastoral imagery clearly influences [Page 148]John 10:1–30, which in turn directly impacts the Lord’s use of the motif in 3 Nephi 15:12–16:20 and D&C 10:57–64. These relevant scriptures harmonize the pastoral imagery and language.
So what is the nature of this project? First, using a comparative method, this paper provides in context a new and comprehensive reading for each of three related pastoral passages found in scripture (D&C 10:59–64, John 10:16–18, and 3 Nephi 15:12–16:20). Second, an attempt is made to harmonize these scattered passages, gathering them together into one eschatological meaning with implications for our safety and salvation. Accordingly, I argue that there is a teleology in the imagery that for many remains a “great mystery” (D&C 10:64).9 Third, I show that the Book of Mormon builds up (D&C 10:52, 62) the biblical record. The new covenant, a covenant of gospel peace, establishes the truth of the Old Testament and New Testaments. “This great mystery” (what Jesus meant when he said, “other sheep I have, which are not of this fold”) examined here clarifies, amplifies, explains, and adapts a current prophetic teaching: that we are to hear him (John 10:16) in and through the Book of Mormon.
As indicated, I consider three strongly related texts in turn and venture an interpretation having to do with their sum, a harmonious sum greater than their individual parts. The value of this approach is to bring to light some potential understandings that until now have been overlooked and to suggest that they point toward the new covenant of the Book of Mormon as the fulfillment of the promised covenant of peace. Then, the Good Shepherd will gather his sheep before the danger of night closes in and consumes.
Pastoral Text #1 (D&C 10:59–64)
D&C 10 is one of many early revelations about the coming forth of the Book of Mormon (see D&C 3, 5, 8–10, 18, 20). The scholars who have worked on D&C 10 (1828) have largely concentrated on its historical context.10 The section records the Lord’s words to Joseph Smith and Martin Harris after they lost the hundred and sixteen pages that Joseph Smith translated from the Book of Lehi.11 The designing persons who planned to alter the 116 pages, if translated again, apparently erroneously assumed that they were doing God a service in opposing the work of someone they considered a deceiver (see D&C 10:28–29). However, the Lord, according to the revelation, had long in advance made abundant provision for the loss of the manuscript by having Mormon include the small plates of Nephi (Words of Mormon 1:3) during his abridgment process. Thus, the Lord in his providence prepared a way to thwart the work of the devil by bringing forth [Page 149]a record that would “throw greater views on [His] gospel” than those found in the earlier lost translation. The complete record’s emergence as the Book of Mormon would be unto the fulfilling of the prayers of the righteous who had inhabited the Americas. Indeed, it would make the Lord’s doctrine freely available to “other nations,” to “whosoever should believe in this gospel,” of “whatsoever nation, kindred, tongue, or people they may be” (D&C 10:46–52). The mention of these “other nations” that would gather to the Americas in the day of the Gentiles is, though admittedly subtle, an instance of the pastoral teachings of the past. It is yet another way to understand the Lord’s reference to his “other sheep” and his promised covenant of peace.12
The Lord’s obviously intentional comparison between D&C 10 and John 10 is confirmed when he introduces himself in the same revelation indirectly addressed to the modern Gentiles, announcing, “Behold, I am Jesus Christ … I am he who said — Other sheep have I which are not of this fold” (D&C 10:57, 59). The second half of D&C 10, unlike its first half, then suggests that the newly constituted record (the Book of Mormon) would, in consequence of the promises, come forth, according to the prayers of the faithful, unto all nations, including unto those gathered to this land. This eventuality would provide another fulfillment of Jesus’s mysterious statement about his other sheep in John’s gospel and would confirm the Lord’s explanation of it in 3 Nephi 15–16.13 Moreover, in D&C 10, Jesus, introducing himself, describes the type of reception the Nephite record would have. Its poor reception would mirror his own first-century reception. Thus he draws a comparison between himself (the Light) and the sacred book he inspired and kept and preserved for a wise purpose. In the following verses, Jesus explains that as he came unto the Jews and was not received because of darkness, so also will the Nephite record have its naysayers, detractors, and enemies who are agents of the darkness (D&C 84:43–60). Jesus clarifies that as he taught his gospel and performed heavenly miracles among the Jews, so also would the Book of Mormon powerfully articulate his doctrine and document the divine miracles he effected while among his ancient American sheep. Notice that the cross-dispensational comparison hinges on the familiar Johannine imagery of darkness and light and the Johannine motif of the other sheep. I have divided up the inverted comparison into its two parts for easier access:.
[Page 150]Part 1:
Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I came unto mine own, and mine own received me not.
I am the light which shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not.
I am he who said — Other sheep have I which are not of this fold — unto my disciples,14 and many there were that understood me not. (D&C 10:57–59)
And I will show unto this people that I had other sheep, and they were a branch of the house of Jacob;
And I will bring to light their marvelous works, which they did in my name;
Yea, and I will also bring to light my gospel which was ministered unto them, and, behold, they [Nephite writings] shall not deny that which you have received, but they shall build it up, and shall bring to light the true points of my doctrine, yea, and the only doctrine which is in me.
And this I do that I may establish my gospel, that there may not be so much contention; yea, Satan doth stir up the hearts of the people to contention concerning the points of my doctrine; and in these things they do err,15 for they do wrest the scriptures and do not understand them.
Therefore, I will unfold unto them this great mystery. (D&C 10:60–62)16
Using this comparative method, I attempt to demonstrate that Jesus figuratively associates himself with the Nephite record, a record that testifies relentlessly of him and his mission.17 This comparison is signaled by the patterned use of the word light as he discusses the historic (and future) reception of both himself among the Jews and the Nephite record among the Gentiles. Each term in the comparison — Jesus and the Nephite record — shines as a light in darkness only to encounter opposition and those who fight against him/it. In the first passage above, Jesus promises to explain his enigmatic reference to the “other sheep” and to bring to light his gospel in such a way as to lay down contentions and establish peace (2 Nephi 3:12). It is of similar interest that the Gentiles in the second passage above are said to have received the Bible, but not the additional [Page 151]light offered them in the Book of Mormon, much as the Jews had the light of the Law of Moses, but would not receive more light when Christ came among them as fulfillment of the law. Many of the first-century Jews clung to the old covenant when the new covenant was manifest to them like a light in a dark place. Accordingly, Jesus promises in this revelation to explain in the forthcoming Book of Mormon what he meant when he announced that he would bring other sheep not of his fold. This gesture would be one of many calculated to establish peace among disputing believers. Before turning to Jesus’s explanation in the Nephite record, let us examine the original context for the statement in John 10:16.
Pastoral Text # 2 (John 10:16)
When contextualized, Jesus’s statement in John 10:16 becomes interesting and suggestive. To remind my reader, Jesus explains in this verse, “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.” This enigmatic statement has been interpreted in various ways, as mentioned. The “other sheep” have been identified by scholars with such groups as these: the non-Christian Jews and non- Christians,18 the non-Johannine Christians (see footnote 5), and even more generally the “children of God.” However, the “broad scholarly consensus” remains that the declaration in John 10:16 prefigures “the future mission of the exalted Lord through His disciples” whom he soon would send to the “Gentiles.”19 In contrast, Latter-day Saints, having the helpful 3 Nephi account, understandably may assume that they have in mind the whole picture. The other sheep for them are the Lehites and lost tribes as Jesus explains in 3 Nephi 15:21 and 16:1–3.20 That said, here I would like to argue that John 9 and 10 are best understood when seen as “complementary scenes”21 — as physical miracle (John 9) and spiritual teaching (John 10)22 — and that John 10:16 really cannot be appreciated as much as it might be, unless we read verse 16 in context with its surrounding verses, particularly those which follow it.23 The Gospel of John, comparable to 3 Nephi (itself Johannine in character), has been divided in two. S.A. Cummins calls it a “two-act divine drama.” The first part treats the saving words spoken by Jesus (see John 1–12) and the second part treats the final acts of redemption performed by Jesus (John 13–21). John’s gospel is famously not as straightforward as it seems. Thus, according to Cummins, it has variously been described by scholars in such terms as “exhaust[s] all human interpretation,” “profound theology,” “sublime,” [Page 152]“distinctive,” a book of “depth and substance,” and “Hellenistic [philosophical].”24
Further, like D&C 10, the Gospel of John (see also 1 John and D&C 93) relies heavily on the imagery of light and dark and other figures and tropes to convey spiritual understanding and oneness between Father, Son, and disciples. As for John 9, it contains the narrative of the man born blind. John 10 is the continuation of John 9. In it, John’s Jesus shares with the Jews the sermon on the Good Shepherd and Sheep and some about his and our divine identity. As we have it, John 9 seemingly depicts the man born blind in messianic terms. This should be unsurprising, since the text says that the man was born blind not because of sin but “that the works of God should be made manifest in him” (John 9:3; see also John 10:25).25 Accordingly, I propose that John’s blind man is a type of the Messiah, such that several aspects of the life and works of Christ are manifested through his story.
To establish the messianic identity of the blind man will require reading the text in a literary, or, if preferred, in an untechnical, typological way.26 The man born blind indirectly resembles the Messiah in each of the following ten ways:
- the man seems to be an only son and is delivered over for an informal trial by the Jewish leaders after being assumed sinful (John 9:1–2, 13–24);
- the man is “anointed” by one who has authority to work the “works of God” (John 9:3–4, 6);
- the man is to wash in water (John 9:7) (not unlike Jesus’s baptism);
- the man is sent to wash (John 9:7);
- the man’s identity is disputed among even his neighbors; his confession that “I am he” is not believed (John 9:8–9, 18)27;
- the man is apparently the son of parents who confirm his identity, but let him, or insist that he “speak for himself,” since he has come of age (John 9:18–23)28;
- the man acts as a bold teacher, even testifying of the one who sent him to wash more than once, but the testimony was not understood or received by the Jews (John 9:17, 24–27, 31–34);
- [Page 153]the man is “reviled,” denounced, and “cast out” (John 9:28–29, 34);
- the man mocks his judges (an unexpected reversal in the messianic pattern) (John 9:27, 30); and
- the man is visited a second time by the Messiah, believes and, it is pointed out, has undergone a kind of intermediate judgment, the result of which confirms that the blind see, and the seeing walk blind (John 9:35–39).
John 9 at several points confuses nouns and pronouns, so that it is left unclear (at least in the KJV) which man — the blind man or Jesus — is referenced, ostensibly to establish their intended similitude and oneness in the reader’s mind (see John 9:16, 17, 40). I have given grounds for this messianic parallel because of what it may suggest about how one is to read the ensuing “symbolic discourse.”29 To put a finer point on it, because the words of the man born blind were not regarded (and were even disputed) by the Jews, neither will those who are not the sheep of the Good Shepherd believe him on hearing his voice.
John’s intended connection between John 9 and 10 is underscored when, near the end of the Good Shepherd discourse in John 10, he records the nature of the disputation that follows it: “There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings [of Jesus]. And many of them [Jews] said [to other Jews],30 He [Jesus] hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him? Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?” (John 10:21). This last question — “Can a devil open the eyes of the blind?” — clearly returns John’s reader to the previous chapter’s material, since the phrase “open the eyes of the blind” (or a variant of it) occurs no fewer than six times in John 9 (vv. 14, 17, 21, 26, 30, 32). In addition, much is made in John 9 of the fact that many of the Jews would not hear the words of the man born blind, although he was emphatically plain unto them, even repeating himself for their benefit. As John 9’s dialogue will only become more important as we go forward, here is the relevant language which suggests that the problem of seeing is actually more a problem of hearing and understanding:
Then again called they [the Pharisees] the man that was blind, and said unto him, Give God the praise: we know that this man [Jesus] is a sinner. …
Then said they to him again, what did he to thee? how opened he thine eyes?
[Page 154]He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be his disciples?31 (John 9:24, 26–27)
The man born blind at this point is reviled; and then, enlightened by the Spirit, he somewhat mockingly teaches his self-pious interrogators about how one who serves God is to be identified:
Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshiper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.
Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind.32
If this man [Jesus] were not of God, he could do nothing. (John 9: 31–32)
The above passages demonstrate that one manifestation of the messianic likeness or persona of the man born blind is reflected by his inspired teaching and testimony that those who become disciples of Jesus must learn to hear and believe in him. Those who become Jesus’s disciples hear his voice and respond to it. In fact, to end John 9, it appears that some Pharisees, upon seeing and hearing the blind man’s inspired witness and teachings, sincerely ask, “Are we blind also?” Jesus’s Good Shepherd teaching, which begins in John 10, is probably his answer to their interesting follow-up question. For Jesus explains to them, “If ye were [only] blind [like this man], ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see [but are as yet spiritually blind]; therefore your sin remaineth” (John 10:40–41). This somewhat speculative reading suggests diversity among the Jews; and that the other sheep discourse was specifically intended for a subset of potentially honest Jews. At least these Jews received a greater portion of the word.
Because John’s discourse on the shepherd and sheep is well known among the Latter-day Saints, I will deal with it only briefly here.33 First, though, the Good Shepherd’s discourse should be summarized, John 10:1–15 recounts that the Good Shepherd cares for his sheep so much that he protects them and even is willing, unlike the “hireling,” to lay down his life for the sheep by combating those animals of prey (or persons) who have and will seek to “steal, and to kill, and to destroy” (John 10:7–10). The sheep know their shepherd and are known of him. They hear his voice and follow him and are not strangers. John’s teaching centers on the importance of hearing the voice of the Good Shepherd. The thematic relationship between John 9 and 10 should now be obvious. Just as the man born blind was suggestive of the Messiah and was not [Page 155]received by all those he interacted with, neither will the Good Shepherd be received by any who are not his sheep. Thus the answer to the earlier question posed by some of the Jews, “Are we blind also?” depends on whether one has learned to hear, believe, and obey. If those who have seen the recent sign will repent and begin to believe in the words of testimony and teaching they have heard, they will see and understand. In John 10, Jesus attempts to open the spiritual eyes of those who have begun to exercise faith in him, saying, “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” (John 10:16; see also Ezekiel 34:23, 37:22). This pastoral imagery returns John’s reader again to Ezekiel’s prophecies of redemption and the second David34 who would gather his sheep in the “cloudy and dark day” (Ezekiel 34:12) when the Lord would again establish a “covenant of peace” with his once scattered and afflicted flock (Psalms 85:8, 10–12; Ezekiel 34:25, 37:26; see also Isaiah 54:10, 56:3–8; Zechariah 11:4–14, 13:7).35
Jesus continues his teaching on his “other sheep” longer than some readers may realize. He does not leave the subject of the other sheep after John 10:16. Instead, Jesus in John 10:16–18 constructs a logic that can be recovered, given the difficulties of the text, only by resorting to details in 3 Nephi, where Jesus returns to this same teaching. But before going to our next pastoral text to determine how he fleshes it out there (3 Nephi 15–16), an attempt should be made to clarify Jesus’s specific logic in John 10:16–18. This reading seeks to recover the messianic and Johannine logic as far as possible. In that recovery effort, it may be helpful to remember that at this stage in the symbolic sermon of the Good Shepherd and sheep, Jesus has already spoken about the Shepherd’s willingness to “lay down [his] life” for his sheep. It is also worth pointing out that the awkwardly worded statement “them also I must bring,” is the antecedent to the demonstrative pronominal phrase (“This commandment”) that ends the sequence of verses. Importantly, the imperative term “must” implies that bringing into the fold the other sheep is the “commandment” he has “received of [his] Father.” Jesus says to his audience:
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.
Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.36
[Page 156]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 [to bring them] have I received of my Father. (John 10:16–18)37
Whether or not any of the Jews described in John 9 and 10 really understood this pronouncement, Jesus apparently delivered it to them to open their eyes to the universality of his mission and the extent of his pasture even after his resurrection and ascension. Their immediate but varied reactions suggest that they thought they understood, at least in part, his intended meaning, as John reports in his response. Notice how this passage gathers together the earlier strands of John’s account and underscores the significance and implications of hearing his divine voice and believing on him:
There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings.38
And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad;39 why hear ye him?
Others said, These are not the words of him that hath a devil. Can a devil open the eyes of the blind [as he has opened the man’s and now ours’]? (John 10:19–21)
Then some of the same Jews who later in the day stood around him in Solomon’s Porch requested further assurances:
If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.
Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.
But ye believe not, because ye are not my sheep, as I said unto you.
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. (John 10: 24–27)
Based on the foregoing, I propose that
- John 9 and 10 are complementary;
- the man born blind is a similitude of the Messiah in John’s account;
- one major theme of John 9 and 10 is the importance of hearing and believing Jesus;
- [Page 157]that Jesus is the “Good Shepherd” over all people of the earth and that, according to the prophets, at his Father’s command he would gather his sheep “in one;” and
- that John 9 and 10 have a strong relationship to modern revelation, especially D&C 10 and Third Nephi.
The Book of Mormon shines a bright light on Jesus’s symbolic discourse in John 10:16–18. Nowhere else in scripture is the intent of Jesus’s first-century teaching on the Good Shepherd so plainly explained as in 3 Nephi. And yet, 3 Nephi 15 and 16 also contain something of a mystery, a mystery that returns us back to that which was suggested in D&C 10: that Jesus in the latter-days has still other sheep to bring through the Nephite record into his universal and expanding fold. To this day, the Good Shepherd seeks to gather his other sheep, all those who will hear his voice in the pages of the Nephite record, before he comes in glory. This teleological understanding of the purpose of the Book of Mormon, the new covenant, is what Jesus, himself the great exegete and executor of the Father’s every command, emphasizes in his lengthy, two-day discourse in 3 Nephi (3 Nephi 11–28).40 As part of the approach used here, only a small portion of 3 Nephi’s extensive sermonic offerings will be examined in an effort to support the idea that the Nephite record is the articulation of the covenant and the divine voice or instrument for gathering the sheep before the prophesied calamities cut off those who will not hear the Shepherd’s voice (see also 3 Nephi 20:10–23:5).
Pastoral Text # 3 (3 Nephi 16:7, 15)
Third Nephi is remarkably complex and full of interpretative possibilities.41 Following the Sermon at the Temple (a sermon similar to the Sermon on the Mount), Jesus responds to a question posed by his audience. He had taught, “Old things are done away, and all things have become new” (3 Nephi 12:47). Some persons present on the occasion could not understand from that statement what he “would concerning the law of Moses” (3 Nephi 15:2). Jesus teaches them that whereas the law given unto Moses is fulfilled, the prophecies that were given of old are not all fulfilled. Thus, he says: “Behold, I do not destroy the prophets [prophecies] for as many as have not been fulfilled in me [already], verily I say unto you, shall all be fulfilled” (3 Nephi 15:6). Jesus led with a similar thought when his sermon first came from his mouth: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets. I am not come to destroy but to fulfill” (3 Nephi 12:17). All this gives D&C 10 a great relevance, [Page 158]since the language of that revelation draws upon this same sermon in terms of the prophecies concerning the Book of Mormon’s emergence. In D&C 10, Jesus explained to his modern Gentile audience that those who sought to destroy the work/book containing his gospel would be thwarted: “And now, behold, according to their faith in their prayers [faith of fathers] will I bring this part of my gospel [small plates] to the knowledge of my people. The Lord again affirms his purpose “Behold, I do not bring it [Nephite record] to destroy that which they [Gentiles] have received [Bible], but to build it up” (D&C 10:52; see also v. 62).
Third Nephi 15:12–16:16 thus interweaves the three passages examined in this present work on the Good Shepherd and his sheep. This claim for harmony among these passages is further confirmed if it is remembered that D&C 10 spoke of the prayers of the faithful concerning those who would inherit the Americas (see D&C 10:46–51). That is why it is unsurprising that in 3 Nephi 15 Jesus connects his statement about the yet unfulfilled prophecies to the lands of the Americas. Jesus declares to his Bountiful disciples, “Ye are my disciples; and ye are a light unto this people, who are a remnant of the house of Joseph. And behold, this is the land of your inheritance; and the Father hath given it unto you [and your seed]” (3 Nephi 15:12–13). This same teaching sequence ends similarly with a focus on location: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, thus hath the Father commanded me — that I should give unto this people [the assembled Lehites] this land for their inheritance” (3 Nephi 16:16). Both D&C 10 and 3 Nephi 15:12–16:16 concentrate on the land and the record to come forth. This discussion of place brings us to Jesus’s exposition while among his Bountiful disciples of what he meant when in Palestine he said he had “other sheep” not of the Jewish fold, and that they would also hear his voice. The Jesus of 3 Nephi connects the Johannine prophecy and commandment of the Lord to four groups:
- the Jews among whom he had recently taught;
- the Lehites gathered at Bountiful;
- the “other tribes” of the house of Israel (3 Nephi 15:15, 20–21); and
- the latter-day Gentiles and others of the house of Israel who would also hear his voice by means of a sacred record, even if they would hear him in a way that was different from how he addressed the Gentiles in Palestine in the first century.
Those peoples of the first century among whom Jesus ministered would see and hear his voice directly. Whereas those persons who [Page 159]would hear his voice in the day of salvation before his coming in glory as a second David would not see him. They would indirectly hear his voice through a sacred record that would come forth out of darkness unto light and would be comparable to the Messiah himself.
Since most students of the Book of Mormon are aware of items one-through-three above, it may be beneficial here to elaborate on item number four. Briefly, then, we learn from the account in 3 Nephi that when the Jews initially heard the statement about the “other sheep,” they assumed that Jesus meant that He spoke of the first-century Gentiles. As documented, this is still a common way among Christian scholars to understand the passage. In what follows, Jesus’s likely original meaning will be explained as it relates to the commandment he referred to in John 10:16–18:
And verily I say unto you, that ye are they of whom I said: Other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring,42 and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
And they understood me not, for they supposed it had been the Gentiles; for they understood not that the Gentiles should be converted through their preaching.43
And they understood me not that I said they shall hear my voice; and they understood me not that the Gentiles should not at any time hear my voice — that I should not manifest myself unto them save it were by the Holy Ghost.
But behold, ye [Lehites] have both heard my voice, and seen me; and ye are my sheep, and ye are numbered among those whom the Father hath given me.
And verily, verily, I say unto you that I have other sheep [lost tribes], which are not of this land, neither of the land of Jerusalem, neither in any parts of that land round about whither I have been to minister.
For they of whom I speak are they who have not as yet heard my voice; neither have I at any time manifested myself unto them.
But I have received commandment of the Father [see John 10:18] that I shall go unto them, and that they shall hear my voice, and shall be numbered among my sheep, that there may be one fold and one shepherd; therefore I go to show myself unto them. (3 Nephi 15:21–16:3)
[Page 160]I share this pastoral passage to point out that the 3 Nephi account not only clarifies John 10:16–18 but builds it up by adding additional material about other commandments and other sheep.44 Significantly, this passage is not broken up across two chapters in the 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon as it is in our current versification system.45 John mentions the “other sheep,” but the Nephite record clarifies that these “other sheep” were not the Gentiles among the Jews (as it was supposed) but the remnant of the house of Joseph in the Americas, to which Jesus also adds the lost tribes of Israel. He has others yet to go and see; they also will hear his voice. But there is more than this that Jesus teaches these faithful people.
3 Nephi 15–16 also justifies reading John 10:16–18 as applying to the Lord’s post-resurrection visit to the Lehites. I have argued that John’s line “This commandment have I received of my Father” refers to Jesus’s statement “other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring.” Accordingly, Jesus tells his New World disciples at least six times in 3 Nephi 15 and 16 that “This much did the Father command me” and again “the Father hath commanded me, and I tell it unto you” (3 Nephi 15:16, 19). Given that 3 Nephi has a strong relation to the New Testament gospels and especially to the Fourth Gospel, including three direct allusions to John 10:16 within the space of two chapters (3 Nephi 15:17, 21; 16:3), this textual evidence seems to affirm adequately that the commandment alluded to in John 10:16–18 was not solely that Jesus should take up his life but that he should “take it again” that he might manifest himself unto his other sheep of whom he spoke in John 10:16. On this point, the Book of Mormon clarifies the Bible and affords its readers still more to think about.
Accordingly, in 3 Nephi 15 and 16, Jesus not only speaks of the Jews, Lehi’s seed, and of his lost brethren, he suggests that he still has other latter-day sheep among the modern Gentile nations who will also hear his voice and follow him (along with many others of the house of Israel). This last idea that many people would hear his voice by means of a record is not well understood even among Latter-day Saints. That is, 3 Nephi 16 addresses this matter in a particular way that is not commonly appreciated. 3 Nephi 15–16 teaches that because the Jews misunderstood Jesus’s original saying (and for many other reasons), a record would be kept and preserved that it might come forth to clarify such matters and fulfill the covenant made to the fathers in a latter-day (see 3 Nephi 16:4–6; see also 2 Nephi 3:12; Ezekiel 34:25; 37:15–20; Isaiah 54:10). And that record, or new covenant, would contain, as does the Bible, a “fulness of the gospel” which would go first to the Gentiles and then to all peoples (3 Nephi 16:6–14). It [Page 161]would be a covenant of peace (see Isaiah 52:6–10).46 Or, it would lay down contentions. The Nephite record would be instrumental in gathering the sheep before fire would cleanse the earth. And, whosoever would — on hearing his voice anew through the Nephite record — believe in him and obey the requirements of the new covenant would be saved, “body and soul” (1 Nephi 19:7). Whereas those Gentiles (and others) who would not hearken and heed his voice through the Nephite record would, in effect, be “trodden under foot,” like “salt that hath lost its savor” (3 Nephi 16:15; see also 3 Nephi 20:10–23:5).
Jesus said that “the Gentiles should not at any time hear my voice — that I should not manifest myself unto them save it were by the Holy Ghost” (3 Nephi 15:23). That paradox — how they (Gentiles) could hear his voice even if he would not speak to them directly — is what makes 3 Nephi 16 of real worth. For after Jesus decrees that the Gentiles should not hear his voice or be personally visited by him, he immediately teaches them that they would have the Holy Ghost: “And blessed are the Gentiles, because of their belief in me, in and of the Holy Ghost, which witnesses unto them of me and of the Father” (3 Nephi 16:6). Because the Gentiles’ opportunity to accept the gospel will soon end, the Father pronounces a “wo” on them if they do not repent: “But wo, saith the Father, unto the unbelieving Gentiles. … At that day when the Gentiles shall sin against my gospel [covenant], and shall reject the fulness of my gospel,” the Father will take the fullness of the gospel from them (3 Nephi 16:8, 10). “And then,” Jesus promises, “will I remember my covenant which I have made unto my people, O house of Israel, and I will bring my gospel unto them” (3 Nephi 16:11). This statement prefigures the Nephite record. “But if the Gentiles will repent and return unto me, saith the Father, behold they shall be numbered among my people, O house of Israel” (3 Nephi 16:13). “But if they will not turn unto me,” he continues, “and hearken unto my voice, I will suffer [the Gentiles to be trodden under foot] … as salt that hath lost its savor” (3 Nephi 16:15). Simply put, the record referred to in 3 Nephi 16:4–5 may be understood as the “voice” of the Lord unto the Gentiles that is referred to in 3 Nephi 16:13–15. This reading is not unreasonable, given that Jesus continues the theme in much the same way from 3 Nephi 20:10–23:5. So the Gentiles collectively never directly hear the Lord’s voice but do hear it indirectly. The book prepares the way for the eventual corporeal presence of the Lord. The great gathering comes by hearing not by seeing as Nephi teaches (see 2 Nephi 27:12–14).
[Page 162]Perhaps it would be helpful to connect Jesus’s teachings in 3 Nephi 15–16 to the promise of the Holy Ghost to the Gentiles. (Note that Isaiah 52:8–10 concludes 3 Nephi 16):
Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing, for they shall see eye to eye when the Lord shall bring again Zion.
Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem; for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem.
The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of God. (3 Nephi 16:18–20)
Here, once again, the “voice” of the Lord is foregrounded and merged into themes of redemption and salvation. In the Isaianic passage, the “voice,” not unlike the brass serpent in the Old Testament story, is “lift[ed] up”; and thereafter, the “waste places of Jerusalem” and “all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of God.”47 Jesus expounds Isaiah 52:7–10 in his subsequent Sermon on the Covenant (see 3 Nephi 20:10–23:5). It is beyond the parameters of this paper to analyze that complex sermon here. However, it is a teaching that largely concentrates on the role of the Book of Mormon in the latter-day fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant through the Gentile fullness.48 3 Nephi 20:10–23:5 then is not a separate sermon so much as a continuation of the same sermon that began earlier in 3 Nephi 15–16. Although interrupted in places, the Sermon on the Covenant discontinued in 3 Nephi 16:20 resumes in 3 Nephi 20:10 and concludes at 3 Nephi 23:5.
Not unlike Nephi’s use of it (see 1 Nephi 22:19–21, 24–28), Jesus’s treatment of the Good Shepherd’s voice in 3 Nephi 20:10–23:5 is seemingly allied to Deuteronomy 18:15–19, which centers the people on the importance of hearkening.49 This Mosaic passage with messianic implications is cited twice by Jesus during his visit (see 3 Nephi 20:23; see also Matthew 21:55 JST; Joseph Smith—History 1:40; Acts 3:22–23).50 The second 3-Nephi-iteration of Deuteronomy 18:15 is particularly telling. This particular deployment of the messianic prophecy comes in the middle of a sermon on the Book of Mormon’s latter-day role in fulfilling the covenant. Here are Jesus’s words to his other sheep in Bountiful:
Therefore it shall come to pass that whosoever will not believe in my words, who am Jesus Christ, which the Father shall cause him [latter-day servant] to bring forth unto the [Page 163]Gentiles, and give unto him power that he shall bring them [Nephite writings] forth unto the Gentiles, (it shall be done even as Moses said) they shall be cut off from among my people who are of the covenant. …
And I will execute vengeance and fury upon them. …
But if they will repent and hearken unto my words … I will establish my church among them, and they shall come into the covenant and be numbered [as sheep] among this the remnant of Jacob, unto whom I have given this land for their inheritance. (3 Nephi 21:11, 21–22)
These verses return us to D&C 10, where Jesus said:
I do not bring it [the Nephite record] to destroy that which they have received, but to build it up.
And for this cause have I said: If this generation harden not their hearts [against my words], I will establish my church among them. [see 3 Nephi 20:22 above]; …
Therefore, whosoever belongeth to my church [or enters into the new covenant] need not fear, …
But it is they who do not fear me … that I will disturb and cause to tremble and shake to the center. (D&C 10:52–53, 55–56, see also 2 Nephi 28:19)
D&C 10:52–53, 55–56 echoes Nephi’s similar teaching on the sheepfold of God in his great prophecy on the role of the Nephite record near the end of his first book:
For the time soon cometh that the fulness of the wrath of God shall be poured out upon all the children of men; …
Wherefore, the righteous need not fear; for thus saith the prophet, they shall be saved, even if it so be as by fire. …
And the Lord will surely prepare a way [of escape] for his people. …
And the time cometh speedily that the righteous must be led up as calves of the stall. …
And he [the Holy One of Israel] 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 [Page 164]shepherd; and he shall feed his sheep and in him they shall find pasture. …
Behold, all nations, kindreds, tongues, and people shall dwell safely in the Holy One of Israel if it so be that they will repent. (1 Nephi 22:16–17, 20, 24–25, 28)
The promise of safety, deliverance, and ultimate salvation is unto all who — upon hearing his word/voice — choose to repent of their sins and be baptized in water and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. This constitutes entering the church. The promise is that they who enter the covenant would receive on condition of righteousness the peace of the Holy Ghost and come to a knowledge thereby of the Father and Son, and have his sanctifying and enlarging companionship. This doctrine, that the Gentiles and all nations of the earth would have access to the Holy Ghost (if not the immediate, corporeal presence of God among them to speak to them) before Jesus’s second advent, is taught in many places in scripture (see 1 Nephi 13:37; 3 Nephi 15:23; Ether 4:11; Moroni 10:3–5; D&C 5:16). The way that would be prepared as a means of deliverance would be the coming forth of the Nephite record. This same teaching is further fleshed out in Nephi’s final prophecy in 2 Nephi 25–30.
Nephi has said more about the worth of the word before the Lord comes in glory than John the apostle or anyone else on record. Notice how his teachings further fuse into one the concept that the promised manifestation of the Holy Ghost answers the paradox suggested in 3 Nephi 15–16: how it was that the Gentiles would in general not directly hear the Lord’s voice and yet would hear it in some other way before his coming that they might be gathered and blessed with safety and peace.
In the foregoing, we have seen by means of a comparative method how it is that the Nephite record illuminates the “great mystery” identified in D&C 10. The other sheep referred to in John 10:16–18 were an allusion to those remnants of the scattered house of Israel that the Lord would visit after his ascension and resurrection. Third Nephi makes John 10:16 perfectly clear and yet opens up new vistas to explore. The Good Shepherd in John 10:6–18 was not referring to a ministry among the Gentiles in the first century, as most suppose. It is true that after Jesus’s life, the work of salvation turned to the Gentiles, but not at any time did they hear his voice except through his servants who preached by the Holy Ghost. In that sense, the Gentiles heard his voice but did not enjoy his physical [Page 165]presence. However, what I suggest here is that the prophecies of Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Nephi all speak of a gathering that would occur in a latter day through a book that would prepare the way for the coming of the Lord in glory. The record would represent the voice of the Good Shepherd to the nations of the earth. All those who would gather unto that covenant would be spared the destruction of the last days and saved in the kingdom of God (2 Nephi 30:10). The Nephite record would allow the Good Shepherd to continue gathering his sheep, on certain conditions, into his expanding fold, so that they might have peace and safety near the end wherever they were on earth. One greater than King David would stand on earth again, but even before that, the Royal Shepherd would invite all to come unto him and have pasture in his true church and fold. One of the most common phrases in the Book of Mormon is “come unto Christ [and its variants],” a phrase that invites readers into the covenant (see 3 Nephi 12:19–20; 3 Nephi 30:2; Ether 4:8–19; and Moroni 10:32). The Nephite record is the necessity of a new covenant because the Gentiles of the first century “strayed from mine ordinances, and have broken mine everlasting covenant” (D&C 1:14–15). The Book of Mormon is the covenant of peace spoken of by the prophets that would prepare the way of the Lord and initiate the fulfillment of the remaining prophecies (see 3 Nephi 15:6–8; see 3 Nephi 29:1–2).
The following visionary excerpt from 1 Nephi 13 gathers into one the pastoral imagery that we as Saints have examined from D&C 10, John 9–10, and 3 Nephi 15–16 much as the Good Shepherd himself gathers his sheep and numbers and knows them. The unity of the scriptures, as evidenced here, is remarkable, and yet they are endlessly generative, as I have explained. After describing the great apostasy among the Gentiles, Nephi records this covenant and promise articulated by the angel sent to him from God, who himself is the ultimate Good Shepherd over his son, his Lamb, and over the others of his family and flock in all nations and across all time periods. Notice the emphasis on the Nephite record as harbinger and establisher of gospel peace:
I will be merciful unto the Gentiles in that day, insomuch that I will bring forth unto them, in mine own power, much of my gospel. …
For, behold, saith the Lamb: I will manifest myself unto thy seed, that they shall write many things which I shall minister unto them. …
[Page 166]And in them [the Nephite writings] shall be written my gospel, saith the Lamb, and my rock and my salvation.
And blessed are they who shall seek to bring forth my Zion at that day, for they shall have the gift and the power of the Holy Ghost; and if they endure unto the end they shall be lifted up at the last day, and shall be saved in the everlasting kingdom of the Lamb; and whoso shall publish peace, yea, tidings of great joy, how beautiful upon the mountains shall they be. (1 Nephi 13:34–37; see Isaiah 52:7–10)51
After clarifying that the Good Shepherd has sheep in all places and in all dispensations,52 Nephi reports that the angel said to him that “other books” and ministering servants would come to gather still “other sheep,” for he writes that the angel who revealed these things unto him said that the joining of the records would be instrumental in bringing to pass the prophecies concerning the Good Shepherd and his intention to establish a covenant of peace among all those who would hear his voice through his word. Ezekiel foretold of this destined day when the records would become one and thereafter the divisive nations one:
These last records, which thou hast seen among the Gentiles, shall establish the truth of the first, which are of the twelve apostles of the Lamb, … and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father,53 and the Savior of the world; and that all men must come unto him, or they cannot be saved.
And they must come [to him] according to the words which shall be established by the mouth of the Lamb; and the words of the Lamb shall be made known in the records of thy seed, as well as in the records of the twelve apostles of the Lamb; wherefore they both shall be established in one; for there is one God and one Shepherd over all the earth.
And the time cometh that he shall manifest himself unto all nations [in word], both unto the Jews and also unto the Gentiles; and after he has manifested himself unto the Jews and also unto the Gentiles; … then he shall manifest himself unto the Gentiles and also unto the Jews, and the last shall be first, and the first shall be last.
And it shall come to pass, that if the Gentiles shall hearken unto the Lamb of God in that day that he shall manifest [Page 167]himself unto them in word, and also in power, in very deed [see 1 Nephi 13:35], unto the taking away of their stumbling blocks — and harden not their hearts against the Lamb of God, they shall be numbered [as so many sheep] among the seed of thy father; yea, they shall be numbered among the house of Israel; and they shall be a blessed people upon the promised land forever. (1 Nephi 13:40; 14:1).
Because of the timely emergence of the Nephite record and the other revelations of the gospel Restoration, all of the Good Shepherd’s sheep who have been gathered into and numbered among those within the fold by him and his under-shepherds (as opposed to hirelings) will then lie down with him in green pastures forever and ever (Psalm 23).54 The records will be one, and so will all the sheep be safely gathered in; all those who have heard his voice in the Nephite record, which record is in effect the covenant of peace to the world (D&C 84:47, 52).55 Thus salvation will come to all those who embrace “every word that shall proceed from the mouth of God” (D&C 84:44; see also Moroni 7:25). The sheep will have been gathered across time and across geography into the fold.
The other sheep Jesus referred to in scripture are not just those who would hear him after his resurrection and ascension in the first century, but all those who would hear him before his coming in glory as King David, when again the earth would hear his word from his mouth in tangible form (see 2 Nephi 33:4, 10, 14; Ether 4:10–12). Then he will graze them and they will have no more enemies threatening their peace. Sin and death and the devil and endless torment and all robbers and thieves and wolves in sheep’s clothing who have sought to steal, kill, and ravage will be far off. The whole earth will be full of the knowledge and peace of the Lord (Jeremiah 31:31–34). Isaiah’s prophecies confirm Ezekiel’s and Jeremiah’s: “the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform this” (Isaiah 9:6–7; see also Isaiah 40:11).
Thou art my servant … and thou shalt … go forth in my name, and shalt gather together my sheep.
[Page 170]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. (Mosiah 26:20–21)
However, among non-LDS scholars, there has not been so much certainty. Raymond E. Brown, citing another scholar, tentatively suggests that some may have understood the “other sheep” in John 10:16 reference as having to do with other sects within the “larger Christian sectarian movement.” He posits that “Johannine Christians” may have understood Jesus’s statement as prefiguring a desired unification between “Apostolic Christians” and “Jewish Christians.” Brown, ‘“Other Sheep Not of This Fold’: The Johannine Perspective on Christian Diversity in the Late First Century,” Journal of Biblical Literature 97, no. 1 (March 1978): 6, 20. Another scholar reminds us that in general, “exegetical diversity and disagreement” is par for the course when wrestling with John’s gospel. S.A. Cummins, “John, Book of,” Dictionary for Theological Interpretation, 394. The Book of Mormon itself explains that the earliest misapprehension of the divine statement about the [Page 171]other sheep (and, it turns out, the current one) occurred when it first came from Jesus’s lips. The Jews that listened to his saying assumed that He spoke of the “Gentiles.” This interpretive error was corrected while Jesus taught among his Nephite sheep in the Americas (3 Nephi 15:22–23). I say more on page 149–51 about the now more established notion that the “other sheep” in John 10:16 refers to the Gentiles to whom the Lord’s disciples would go.
In 3 Nephi, as we shall see, Jesus tells his assembled disciples that their words (in written form) will go forth, according to the promises/ covenants, unto the gathering of his sheep well beyond their small New World context and even well beyond their first- century context. His other sheep would be gathered into his fold through a special sacred record they were then receiving and preparing for future generations (see 3 Nephi 23:4–5).
So the question may arise, if this author finds a universal covenant alluded to in John 10:16, then what does this present study add? For one thing, Kostenberger is only really considering the first-[Page 178]century implications of John 10:16 (and only among the Gentiles). Moreover, he does not say anything (how could he?) about the associated modern revelations or about the Book of Mormon’s role in extending the voice of the Lord to the latter-day, scattered house of Israel through the latter-day non-Jews. On that point, Kostenberger avers that the “covenant of peace” referred to in the Old Testament prophecies is to be fulfilled in the first century (he may be open to a latter-day fulfillment of it too, as argued here), but not through the instrumentality of a new messianic record (or through the Son of God whose living breath it embodies) (ibid., 77). Instead, Kostenberger locates salvation, for “Jews and Gentiles,” in the “substitutionary cross-death” of the biblical account (i.e., the death of Christ for his people on the cross as reported in the New Testament), and, by implication, the preaching of the same without reference to the companion Nephite record referred to in Ezekiel 37 (see 2 Nephi 3:12). The argument here, then, is temporally located in the last days before the end of wickedness on earth, while Kostenberger’s argument is primarily located in the last days of the Jews (or in the day of their dispersion by the Romans and other nations). This argument centers on the Good Shepherd speaking anew through a revealed book, a new covenant offered unto all. In any case, Kostenberger insightfully speaks of John 10:16 as not only a “paradigm shift” but as a “message of judgment” (ibid., 74–75).
Go here to leave your thoughts on ““This Great Mystery”: Gathering Still Other Sheep through the New Covenant of Peace.”