Sunday, December 4, 2011
“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32 KJV)
Christendom enjoys claiming the previous verse, “But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things [the material goods of verses 24-30] shall be added unto you” (verse 31). Yet they do not enjoy the verse after today’s Scripture (verse 33): “Sell that ye have, and give alms….” Today’s Scripture identifies the audience of verses 31 and 33—“the little flock,” not us!
Throughout the Bible, God refers to Israel as sheep (Matthew 9:36; Matthew 10:6; et al.). In one parable (Matthew 18:12-14; Luke 15:3-7,10), Jesus likens Himself to a shepherd, who has 100 sheep (the nation Israel). One sheep is lost and cries for help, so He seeks that one sheep. This one sheep symbolizes Jews who acknowledge their lost (unsaved) condition. The other 99 sheep (most Jews) willingly continue in spiritual ignorance.
Notice the adjective “little” in the term “little flock.” Even after Israel saw her Messiah Jesus perform miracles, signs, and wonders, most of them ignored Him. Very few Jews trusted in Jesus as Messiah—the Bible says only 120 believers were in Jerusalem at the end of Christ’s earthly ministry (Acts 1:15). The “little flock” was little indeed!
Although 8,000 Jews were saved during early Acts (Acts 2:41; Acts 4:4), that was just a fraction of Israel. Millions of Jews did not believe. Those who did believe during John the Baptist’s ministry followed his water baptism: the little flock is “a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17). Any Jew who was saved in early Acts obeyed Peter’s instructions of Acts 2:38, and joined that little flock of Jewish believers from Christ’s earthly ministry.
The “little flock” encompasses all Jewish believers from Christ’s earthly ministry, early Acts (pre-Acts chapter 9), and the Tribulation (it does not include any Jewish believers today). In Galatians 2:9, the little flock is called the “circumcision” and in John 21:15-17 they are called “sheep” and “lambs.” Unlike us, they are not members of the Church the Body of Christ. As today’s Scripture indicates, the little flock is the recipients of Christ’s earthly kingdom.