Certainly it is a free country; people are free to believe, or
disbelieve, that John the Baptist was the fore-runner who ran ahead for
one who is a.) Jesus Christ, and b.) Jehovah God. But if you believe this
scheme, and it is the Biblical scheme, then you must wiggle and squirm to
avoid saying that Jesus Christ is God. And besides, how many 'Chief Shepherds' can there be?
"Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers...nor
as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples
to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will
receive the crown of glory that does not fade away." (1 Peter 5:4)
The identification of Jesus as the shepherd of the assembly, the people
of God, is found throughout the New Testament:
"For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to
the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls." (1 Peter 2:25);
"Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the
dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood
of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good
work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing
in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever
and ever. Amen." (Hebrews 13:20-21).
This New Testament theme goes equally far back into the Old Testament,
where God is the shepherd of the flock:
"The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him:
But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:)
Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb:.
. ." (Genesis 49:23-25).
"And he blessed Joseph, and said, God,
before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which
fed [ra'ah, 'pasture' or 'tend'] me all my life long unto this
day, The Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads;
and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers
Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the
midst of the earth." (Genesis 48:15-16).
Those readers who see in this an odd coincidence have great faith.
"Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones."
Who is the shepherd who is Jehovah's "fellow"? Jesus says
that it is He:
"Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad."
(Matthew 26:31, Mark 14:27).