“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.” Matthew 25: 31- 33
Are you a sheep or a goat? The foolish will be judged and removed from the wise; the wasteful and fearful will be separated from those who love and trust in Christ (Matt. 25:14-30).
This parable is about the coming, final, inescapable Judgment! There was a judgment that was escapable, when the Jews could flee from their homes and business as the Temple was destroyed in 70 A.D. But, this time there will be no escape; all will be judged! It is about evaluation and separation; the good are set apart from the bad! The faithful are rewarded; the unfaithful are damned. The wise are praised and the foolish are judged Matt. 25:1-46).
Those who are in Christ will receive their blessings, and those who willfully reject Him will be cursed! This is a harsh teaching; nonetheless, it is true, and it will happen (Rom. 3:23; 6:23)!
When the Son of Man comes. This refers to Christ’s reign on earth, predicted by Daniel (Dan. 7:13-14). This is a depiction of our Lord’s absolute authority over the apocalypse, judging all who have ever lived, and of both His omnipresence and omniscience.
Angels. Jesus is perhaps quoting Zechariah 14:5. Angels are important and powerful in Jewish mysticism; however, Jesus is the Judge who will evaluate us as to whether we are saved or not, and reward us for how we served and represented Him (Psalm 62:12; Prov. 24:12; Jer. 17:10; 32:19; Ezek. 18:30; Daniel 7:13-14.).
All nations will be gathered. This is the Judgment to come; no one will be immune or have a “get-out-of-jail-free card,” unless he or she is in Christ (Isa. 2:4 Mic. 4:3).
Sheep and goats. Both the sheep and the goats grazed together and were herded together; they were both for food; the sheep gave clothing and the goats gave milk and cheese. At night, they were separated. The sheep needed the outdoors, for their fur kept them warm; the goats needed to be inside or they might freeze to death. Sheep were much more valuable to the Jews because of the necessity of clothing they provided and the income from the selling of the wool. Sheep are also the representation of God’s chosen people (Ezek. 34; Matt. 10:16; 18:12). In pagan literature, goats were associated with the devil and being bad, whereas sheep were representative of good.
Do you realize who you are in Christ? As His child, do you realize how much He loves you, how valuable you are?
Separate. The segregation referred to individuals, not nations as a whole. Nations referred to all people groups. Right hand. Left, in ancient customs, the right side was the place of authority and power, whereas the left was for guests or those in trouble.
When Jesus comes back, it will be magnificent, but it will also be a time of extreme anguish, as people will be separated and condemned for their blatant foolishness in not accepting Christ as Lord. It will also be a time of condemnation, woe, and guilt, as there will be judgment for those who wasted the gifts and opportunities He gave. We all will be surprised to see who made it and who did not! What Christian leaders will be there, and which ones will not? Which ministry will be praised and which ones will not? Those we think are the real Christians may turn out to be pretenders, and those we toss aside, thinking they are not worthy, may be the heroes, as we look at pride and accomplishments; God looks at the heart (1 Sam. 16:7).
Those who are in Christ will receive blessings, and those who willfully reject Him will be cursed. Is this fair? Yes or no? Why?
At His second coming, Jesus will be looking for those who are prepared and faithful. What have you learned to help you be prepared?
Christ’s return will be glorious and present us, the faithful, with commendation, victory, and security. How can this fact give you confidence and help build your faith?