In my study, mainly of millennium passages, I have come up with ten descriptions of Christ as Shepherd, especially as the Shepherd of Israel.
1. He looks for those who are lost. Our Lord is always concerned for the lost—for their salvation and safety. He loves every one of us whom He has given life to (Read Ezekiel 34:11).
2. He defeats the enemy. The good Shepherd not only looks for His lost sheep in order to bring them back into the fold and care for them, He also delivers His sheep from all enemies and will defeat them. And in most cases the enemy will be false shepherds—shepherds who seek to take advantage of the sheep in order to feed themselves. Thus they care nothing for the sheep but only for themselves. Hence, when the Lord sets up His kingdom, the first order of business will be to defeat and destroy those false and evil shepherds; and He will gather the sheep to Himself to care for them (Read Jeremiah 23:1-2).
3. He will tame the wild animals. In the millennium, the Lord will work to make His people perfectly safe, not only from false shepherds but from wild animals that no doubt will be especially fierce during the seven year tribulation period, from which many will escape (Read Rev. 6:8).
4. He will gather the scattered sheep and bring them back to their land. A good shepherd always tries to keep the sheep together; He will gather the scattered ones and bring them into the fold. For hundreds of years Israel has been scattered throughout the nations; God himself has driven them (Jer. 23:3). But in these last days we have seen Him gathering His flock back together. Soon He will bring every last one of them back to their land; and there He will care for them (Read Jer. 23:3-4; Isa. 40:11; 54:7; Ezek. 34:10-13; 37:21).
5. He has great compassion and love for His sheep. There has been brief moments in Israel’s history where God has been angry with His people; however, He has never failed to love them and gather them back to Himself. In Isaiah 54:7-8 God assures Israel of His love.
6. He is a wonderful counselor and a tender comforter. The Lord has and will be a wonderful counselor and a tender comforter to His people. In the last days, especially in the great tribulation, as He gathers Israel to Himself (and to the land) and saves them, they will need special counseling and tenderness—and he will give it to them. Listen to these wonderful words of encouragement God gives to Israel, and which He also speaks to all who will believe in Him.
‘Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
11 “Behold, all those who are angered at you will be shamed and dishonored;
Those who contend with you will be as nothing, and will perish.
12 “You will seek those who quarrel with you, but will not find them,
Those who war with you will be as nothing, and non-existent.
13 “For I am the Lord your God, who upholds your right hand,
Who says to you, ‘Do not fear, I will help you.’
(Read also Isa. 9:6; 12:1-2; 40:11; 41:14-20; Jer. 33:8.)
7. He heals and cares for the sheep. In addition to the Lord’s counsel and encouragement, He will also see to physical needs; He will bind wounds, heal the sick, and feed the hungry until they are made strong. In Ezekiel 34:12-16 the Lord prophesies to Israel how He will gather them and care for them (Read also Isa. 41:10-14; Jer. 33:6-8; Ezek. 34:25-26).
8. He is a stronghold for those who seek safety. For all who seek refuge from their enemies and from the trials of life, the Lord our Shepherd is a stronghold. He is not one who will give us aid and then pull back. No, He Himself is our stronghold and refuge. If we trust Him and ask Him, He will always be there with us to help us in all our battles (Read Isaiah 25:4-5).
9. He knows each of His sheep by name. I grew up on a farm and we had cows and pigs and chickens and sheep. We had a few cows that we named, but we didn’t name any of the sheep! To me that would seem quite impossible, because they all looked the same. But apparently, a good shepherd did that. And certainly God our shepherd knows us all by name. And He knows everything about us. To Him we are all unique and He loves every one of us.
“I am the good shepherd; and I know My own, and My own know Me…”
(Read also John 10:3-4, 27.)
10. He leads and guides His sheep. The Lord our God knows us, and He wants to lead us and guide us on a good path—a path that leads to eternal life. If we hear His voice we ought to follow Him.
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand.