Sheep and goats under the care of a shepherd (Genesis 30:31-32). God's people are sometimes described as sheep without a shepherd (Numbers 27:17;
Ezekiel 34:5,Ezekiel 34:8;
Mark 6:34), that is, in need of leaders who would rule them justly and nurture them spiritually. God's people can be described as a flock shepherded by God (Psalms 100:3;
Ezekiel 34:31) or by Christ, the “great Shepherd of the sheep” (Hebrews 13:20; compare
1 Peter 5:4).
The unity of all Christians is pictured by the image of one flock composed of many folds (John 10:16). Flocks can refer to individual congregations under the care of a pastor (1 Peter 5:2-3).
Judgment is sometimes pictured as the sorting of a flock. In
Ezekiel 34:1 the fat, strong sheep (the oppressive leaders of Israel) are separated from the weak sheep that they victimized (Ezekiel 34:16-17,Ezekiel 34:20-21). In
Matthew 25:32-46 sheep are separated from goats on the basis of concrete acts of love shown to the needy.