A Voice in the
Wilderness

site navigation

free newsletter

" Sheeple "
    "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, each one to his own way; and Jehovah has laid upon Him the iniquity of us all" (Is53:6)
Sheeple: from the Urban Dictionary (online)
  1. People unable to think for themselves. Followers. Lemmings. Those with no cognitive abilities of their own.

  2. An individual that forfeits their right to choose in favor of inclusion in groupthink and what is viewed as popular or elite group. Allowing the influences of different forms of media and group members to hold great sway in the formation of attitudes, behavior and opinion.

    To accept the group mentality and opinion as fact without examination. Not only to be told what to do, but accepting the paradigm of thought as absolute thereby removing the weight of personal responsibility in the making of decisions.

My own observation of the use of the word: "sheeple", a conjoining of "sheep" and "people", to suggest PEOPLE BEHAVING LIKE SHEEP. That's the simple definition. But for this to mean anything, we need to know a bit about sheep.

This concept or observation is not new to 'our' generation. Back in Isaiah's day it was apparently the same as today. Seeing as how neither of my computer dictionaries have the word, the Bible is once again shown to be more "with the times" than modern man's academic publications.

In these days the term seems to be used more in political contexts: somebody comes along, boasting great things, promising change; and without investigating the person's background or the truth of what he is promising, they swallow his rhetoric hook-line-and-sinker, and vote for him. And then as he pushes through his agenda, little by little buyer's remorse starts to set it. Rousing, stirring speeches with stadiums full of cheering fans, and the sheeple follow the excitement, emotions and (as the one definiton says) groupthink.

The same excuse for why sinful behavior is condoned... Everybody's Doing It! And also why the apostasy is so popular these days: -everybody- is joining together... "unity in diversity".

So the question is asked: If everybody was jumping off a cliff, would you also jump off a cliff? You might be surprised at the truth.

The accounts are told of the cattle or herd of buffalo who, being spooked, had been set to stampede for whatever reason, where, because everybody was following the herd, when the lead animals ran over the edge of the cliff, and fell to their deaths, the entire herd was wiped out. They speak of being "dumb like cattle". The "herd mentality".

But surely, -people- are not like that?

Currently, as this is being written, one of the main arterials that goes past my work place is undergoing a 'rebuild' project. Grinding/digging up the top asphalt surface, and then digging down into the ground to remove old railroad ties and other stuff from many years ago, where in the past newer layers were just built upon older layers, to build a new solid foundation for a completely new road surface. Since it is a 4-lane street, with middle turn-lane, and it is a main arterial with heavy traffic flow, they are doing one side first, and then the other. They cone off 2 lanes for 2-way traffic, putting up cones to block off the three lanes being worked on. It is the intention that traffic does NOT drive through the cones over on the side being worked on. Of course, as the grinding began way down at the other end, my end had no construction activity. My end is right next to a major intersection with another primary arterial, all with right-turn lane, etc. And of course, until the grinding starts, cars can turn off, through the coned-off space to go onto side streets.

But they were not content with that. For an entire day the three lanes near the intersection became a 'speed-way', as cars would duck through the cones and 'race' each other to the right-turn lane. Mind you, as they ducked through the cones, they would be faced with this 'wall' of cones directly across their path; which they would 'squeeze' through. As the day began, as my work was right next to the plate glass windows, I was observing their behavior, and yelling at them (as if they could hear me!), "Idiots!" Then, after a bit, one of the construction worker cone ladies came along replacing cones that had been knocked over, and re-positioning them to try to stop their activity. And even with her BEING RIGHT THERE, -wearing- the 'bright' (safety) clothing that they do, the cars would swerve over into no-go-zone. She would yell at them, waving her arms, pointing over to the 2-lane area where they were 'supposed' to drive; and as they would come racing past her, she would raise her shoulders, making hand gestures, yell at them through their open windows, shaking her head. After a bit, I went out and chatted with her. If the city traffic cops had setup an observation post there, they could have hauled in a bunch of money for the city treasuries in the tickets they could have written! After all, in construction zones, fines are 'double'...for speeding, reckless driving, not observing posted directions.

The pattern was always the same: traffic might go along in the 2-lane lanes for awhile. But then, get -one- person veering through the cones, and then a whole -dozen- (at least) vehicles would follow... a mad dash for the right-turn lane, through no-go-zone.

Later on, some cones were again 'down'. I'm the sort of person, see a need, I do something about it. At McDonalds if the trays at the garbage bin are stacked all willy nilly because people just 'tossed' their trays there, I will take a few seconds to straighten out the pile first, and then put my tray on top. If there is a larger piece of debris out on the street, a hazzard to traffic, I will go out and pick it up. So, seeing some cones knocked over and driven over, I went out into (what was supposed to be) the no-go-zone, to replace some cones. As I'm out there, thusly-engaged, somebody decided to veer off again, followed by a handful of others. Mind you... this is a 'wall' of cones, right in their path! 'Can't miss them! As they are coming right for me, I point over to the 2-lane lanes. They are suddenly 'confused' by my presence, and my waving arms. They don't know 'what' to do. (Well Duh!! ... drive where you're supposed to... where you -were- UNTIL YOU VEERED AWAY! Just go back where you were!)

But here's where it got interesting. Most of them 'sputtered' and figured their way back. But this one driver was quite 'comical' to observe. He's coming right at me, looking right at me, and DOESN'T KNOW WHAT TO DO. Wide-eyed terror, and moving the steering wheel wildly back and forth, left and right. The man's expression and behavior reminded me -exactly- of SHEEP! (Thus this commentary, "sheeple")

Last place I remember seeing such an expression was many years ago, when I was a youth, on my uncle's farm. What I saw all day in traffic out my window was -exactly- like sheep!

Sheep generally are -peaceful- sort of creatures. They will stay penned up in the fenced pasture or corral. They don't go up to the fence trying to climb over it, or to knock it down. They don't do like some animals, when put in a cage, searching every last millimeter for a path to escape. As I recall, they don't 'patrol' the fence, like some of my neighbors' dogs.

-BUT-, if one sheep happens upon a 'hole' in the fence, and butts its head through and goes out, -immediately- a whole hord more sheep will follow suit and go through the hole, and they are out -running- 'wild'.

And if you go out there, open the gate, and start chasing them back in....you might get the bunch to go in a general direction toward the gate, but then a stray wanders off, so you go over to "head them off" back towards the pack, they are -just- like that driver. They are suddenly 'confused'. They dart back and forth wildly (like the driver and his steering wheel). They have it stubbornly in their head the direction they want to go, and refuse to be diverted back on course.

This right-turn lane is -one- lane. But the way things were going, with so many veering off-course, it was like the right-turn lane had suddenly become three lanes...a -wide- 'broad' path. Combine Isaiah with Jesus' words...

    "...for WIDE is the gate and BROAD is the way that leads to destruction, and there are -MANY- entering in through it." (Mt7:13)
In order to -go- astray, it assumes that at one point originally the person was going the right way. All the cars, way down 'there' were going (properly) along the 2-lane section. But then -somebody- got it into their head to veer off, and then that -individual- suddenly had a lot of followers.

Mankind originally was created -perfect- and sinless. But as Paul says...

    "Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to every person, because everyone sinned." (Ro5:12)
The lead driver is not the only one at fault! The rest all followed! They are -all- 'guilty'. It is not only the lead sheep that is outside the fence; each one that followed is also outside the fence. And in the same way, it is not -just- Adam and Eve who were guilty. Everyone who is born to the Adamic human race is not only "conceived" in sin (Ps51:5); but we all -followed- in the behavior...
    "They have all TURNED ASIDE, together they have BECOME CORRUPT; there is no one who does good, no, not one." (Ps14:3, Ro3:12)
And notice that Isaiah is very specific, grammatically. It is not merely a -generic- 'all' who have sinned, but he says, "we have turned -EACH- ONE TO -HIS- OWN way". When Rom3:23 says that "all" have sinned, the word "all" carries the notion of 'each and every -individual-'... every last one of them.

You face any individual sheep, wave your arms and hollar, its tendency is to go ANYWHERE -BUT- where you are trying to direct it. It might even try to run you over to get past you, than to turn the right way. When a handful of cars were barrelling down the no-go-zone, and the cone lady would try to wave them off, pointing to the 2-lane lanes, they would all dart back and forth, 'confused', but NOT going back to the 2-lanes. They, all, -each-, 'individual' drivers, making their -own- choices in how to drive; refusing the right, and insisting on the wrong way.

Sure, Adam planted the sin gene into the human race. And certainly the Dragon (serpent, devil, satan) has been -leading- the nations 'astray' (Re20:3) But when we sin, the Devil did -NOT- "MAKE me do it"! We sin of our own free choice. We cannot "NOT help it" when we sin. We do so because we -want- to sin. And when we study the behavior of sheep and these drivers, it is like the prophet says,

    "Both hands are on evil, to do it well" (Mic7:3)
Again, interesting the 'timing' of things. As this is being written, last night a Jeopardy clue went something like:
    A vampire won't cross over a threshold unless....[what]?
    Answer/Question: What is... UNLESS HE IS -INVITED-.
And this is as Jesus taught. Demon spirits do not force their way into occupied 'houses'...
    "When an unclean spirit goes out from a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he says, I will return to my house from which I came out. And when he comes, he finds it swept and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first." (Lk11:24-26)
Why would an evil spirit find a house empty? If the person is minus the Holy Spirit, the very definition of a person who is not Saved... who is not a Believer.
    "Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His." (Rom8:9)
But the message does not stop there. The acknowledgement is that we -are- like sheep, but there is also provision to get us -back- on the (as they say traditionally) 'straight and narrow'. We quoted the one verse earlier; here's the next...
    "Because narrow is the gate and distressing is the way which leads unto life, and there are few who find it." (Mt7:14)
How does a person find the 'narrow' way? The 2-lane street? The right path?

The same passage that explains the condition, also proclaims the cure.

    "But He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed." (Is53:5)

    The "wages of sin is death" (Rom6:23a), the "soul who sins shall die" (Ezk18:4) -BUT- "the gift of God is Eternal Life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Rom6:23b)

Jesus came "to His own", Israel, and they rejected Him. (Jn1:11) And even today they reject the prophet who told of His coming. Isaiah ch53 is a 'banned' chapter in Judaism, just as the Bible was under catholicism for many centuries when Pope Innocent forbad its reading by the laity in the 13th century. But contrary to Reformation theology that says salvation is "irresistible", Salvation must be "received". To receive something is an act of the non-rebellious personal will. To make a -choice- to reject the wrong way, and go the right path.
    "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the authority to become children of God, to those believing into His name" (Jn1:12)
It is my uncle banging the oats bucket and calling out, "Come Sheeeep! Come Sheeeep!" and they come bleating. It is the driver seeing the barrier, seeing the person -pointing- 'over there', and receiving 'understanding', and making a course correction.

And when a person has received Jesus Christ and His Salvation, it is hearing God's voice....

    "And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way, walk in it, when you turn to the right hand and when you turn to the left." (Is30:21)
It is turning away from evil, turning towards righteousness...
    "Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life. Turn away from you the crooked mouth, and put perverse lips far from you. Let your eyes look straight ahead, and let your eyelids look straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet, then all your ways will be established. Do not turn to the right hand or to the left; remove your foot from evil." (Pr4:23-27)
My uncle would call out, "Come Sheep!" And they would come.

Jesus invited...

    "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." (Mt11:28-30)
Jesus called out...
    "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink." (Jn7:37)
Jesus invites...
    "I am the Bread of Life. He who comes to Me shall not ever hunger, and he who believes into Me shall never ever thirst." (Jn6:35)
But they refused to come...
    "He who is of God hears Godís Words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God." (Jn8:47)

    "But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep..." (Jn10:26)

    "Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to hear My Word. You are of the devil as your father, and the lusts of your father you purpose to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own, for he is a liar and the father of it. And because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me." (Jn8:43-45)

He even proved Himself with signs...
    "But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe into Him" (Jn12:37)
Will the sheeple be saved? It is not that they are ignorant in following their leader, veering off the path. It is not that they DON'T KNOW. No! But when they are shown the right way they STUBBORNLY -RACE- down the wrong way, -REFUSING- to be corrected. My uncle's sheep, at least, would come for the oats. In this, mankind is -worse- than sheep. Not only is the human race "like" sheep, we are WORSE THAN sheep!
    "But the rest of mankind, who were not killed by [the] plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not do homage to demons, and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which are not able to see nor hear nor walk. And they did not repent of their murders nor their sorceries nor their sexual perversions nor their thefts." (Re9:20-21)
And so, at the final judgment...
    "...anyone not found written in the Book of Life [will be] cast into the Lake of Fire." (Re20:15)
Amen!

Related article: "Church Scholarship"


Return to: Commentaries