Sheep

 •  1 min. read  •  grade level: 8
Sheep were bred in great numbers in Palestine, and formed a large part of the property of the Israelites. The species common there was the broad tailed sheep with horns (Ovis laticaudatus and Ovis aries). In Palestine they follow the shepherd and know his voice, and will not follow a stranger. Sheep and lambs were constantly offered in sacrifice. The morning and evening lamb and the passover lambs were all types of the sacred One who was called “the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.”
Symbolically sheep are figurative of mankind, as being prone to wander: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way” (Isa. 53:6; Luke 15:4-7). The Lord said, “My sheep shall never perish.” The Good Shepherd calls His own sheep by name, and when brought into His own company they have perfect security, liberty, and sustenance (John 10:9). The Lord led His sheep out of the Jewish fold: these were united with His “other sheep” (Gentile believers), that they all should become “one flock” with one Shepherd (John 10:3, 16). In the future judgment of the nations, those saved are called “sheep,” in distinction from the lost, who are called “goats” (Matt. 25:31-46).